The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: May 2000 (page 1 of 3)

July II 1944

C, C

Axis Player Turn

In Italy all surviving units are now “secure” behind the Po and Adige Rivers. Despite this, more forts are constructed behind the Piave River. Hitler declares there will forever be a part of Italy that is German! But then he was a nutter. Cossack cavalry enters the Vosges region of France accompanied by SS Mountain and OKW light units. Around the Flanders beachhead units are shuffled to try and maintain the line while some are slipped off to man the Seine and Marne lines. Two hexes are abandoned to avoid three stack US attacks. The beachhead grows…..

Allied Player Turn

“The Breakout”

In Italy the allies make an effort to break the Po Line. the Luftwaffe is slaughtered trying to prevent the massive allied air offensive. Flooding of the canal intensive hexes fails miserably, obviously due to the height of summer being upon the region (rolled unsuccessfully for all hexes). South east of Rovgio a US attack goes in and despite rolling a DR, the thoughtful positioning of SS Political Police just behind the trenches turns the battle into a blood bath and wipes out the defenders for the cost of a few thousand easily replaced US infantry. North east of Ferrara defensive AA aborts 5 out of 6 GS aircraft and causes the attack to fail (AS). At Legnago the Poles are crippled in a brutal EX roll which cadres two German C/M units.

The line holds, but it is battered and smoking, with a nasty gap near Rovigo.

In France around Dijon, the British advance has sucked most of the German motorised and mechanised units towards it. Three British Corps attack the 9th Pz XX and cripple it with a DH result. North and South of Dijon, French and British units attack two SS corps in concentric attacks with lots of GS flown overhead. Both stacks are surrounded and destroyed for HX results. Berlin explodes in fury and spins about on the bunker floor and blames the bolshevik-jewish alliance for providing loaded dice. The 1st SSF slides through the gaps to enter the mountains north of Besancon. West of Beavais, Canadian and British infantry polish off a weak Corp again courtesy of SS Political Police turning a DR into an EX. Hitler orders that all Political Police be round and shot. They spend the next few weeks arresting one another before Goering intervenes and stop the silliness. in the Bordeuax region, the Portuguese and Guards Corp finish off an isolated German Corp in Areachon.

Around the beachhead, the US Army gets serious and batters the defenders. North east of Lille two US Corps attack some paratroopers, infantry and a Panzer cadre rolling a DH on them. At Arras, despite AA beating off a third of the GS aircraft, the defenders are bounced out for a HX result while west of the town the Germans are pushed back with a DR to the Somme (despite two thirds of GS aircraft being beaten off – a curse on AA!). A 32 mile gap is blown in the line and the US Tank crews start salivating at the thought of the upcoming exploitation phase…..

Exploitation: “The Charge”

In Italy the 2nd Armored, 34th Motorised Infantry and an AA regiment overrun a cadre of Croatians and push into Padova, breaching the second line of the Po network. Millions of Reichmarks of fortifications are made redundant.

In France, French and British Motorised and Mechanised units sprint into Nancy while a British Corp pushes in to liberate Luxembourg. Out of the beachhead the US Army pushes into Valenciennes and onto the outskirts of Brussels.

The German line is in tatters and suddenly the units around Paris and the Seine are looking isolated from the rest of the Fatherland. The borders of Germany lie open from Luxembourg to Strasburg and those units that could make a difference are caught behind the spreading tentacles of the US Army in Flanders.

Time to call out the Hitler Youth……..

Jul I 1944

C, C

Axis Player Turn

In Italy the withdrawal to the Po continues, Bologna is abandoned and Light, Mountain and cavalry units are sent over the Alps towards France.

The Seine line is strengthened and the defences around the US units in Flanders are shuffled about to try and spare some units for the south. Paris is declared a Festung and reinforced by more units while a screen is thrown up across the Marne river to prevent a rapid British breakthrough to the beachhead.

Allied Player Turn

32 Transports and Gliders gather in the UK, along with a bundle of special forces and paratroopers. The German High Command spits and dares them to land in Berlin. The Guards Armoured Corp is rebuilt in Spain and starts marching to rejoin the main battle line. The French endeavour to crush the Avignon pocket and courtesy of surrounded ZoCs are successful in destroying the Germans. A joint Canadian-British attack near Rouen over the Seine is able to push over the river but at heavy losses to themselves (HX rolled) while south of here another attack is blocked by the fortified defenders (AS). Elsewhere the British have a slight pause while it deals with rogue German XXs running about in their rear and wait while the slower moving support units snake their way up to the front line. Paris remains untouched, to the mortal indignation of De Gaulle who demands the city be liberated toot sweet! Churchill ignores him and swigs another brandy.

The US Army begins its delayed breakout by slamming into an SS Corp defending Abbeville and forces them out of the town for heavy US losses (EX) while at Bethune a corp of SS and Heer are forced out of the town (DR – despite 8:1 odds!!). The defence holds, but cracks are beginning to appear……….

In Italy, Brescia falls to an overwhelming allied attack while US units try and seize Ferrara but are repulsed by some SS police armed with truncheons. The big victory of the turn is the surrounding and capture of various units fleeing Bologna by US forces. AT Verona a British, SA, NZ, Polish attack fails to budge the defenders despite massive GS from the USAAF thunderbolts. In a rare show of defiance the LW actually try to intercept but are generally ineffective.

Jun II 1944

C, C

Axis Player Turn

In Italy 35 REs worth of units arrive from the South East. The Allied commander groans and curses his recklessness the turn before. The reinforcements are mainly SS Mountain, Lt Infantry, Cavalry, engineers and artillery. The forts along the Po are manned and Florence abandoned. Troops in the west scuttle to Torino and a shield is thrown around Bologna. RSI Static units are positioned as speed bumps in the way of the Allies.

In France a Westwall Emergency is declared (British in Dijon) and a general retreat is begun from the Loire, Brittany, Normandy to the prepared line of fortifications along the Seine River. C/M units (assorted SS and Heer riff raf) head to Dijon while a temporary stop line is set up around Orleans to slow the British advance. Overhead the remnants of the LW rebase into Germany while positional AA takes up posts in the Westwall itself, ready to provide cover for the planned defenders.

Allied Player Turn

The US begins to lurch out of the beachhead (rapidly in danger of becoming a beached whale) by forcing the defenders of St Omer back and seizing the town. The Orleans stop line is shattered as some cadres are destroyed by advancing British units who now have Paris in their eyes. At Dijon a joint Canadian/British attack pushes the SS defenders back but fails to make a significant breakthrough. Every where British units push ahead to catch the retreating Germans but are delayed by blown bridges and carefully placed rear guards.

In Italy Turin falls to a British Corp while a fratricidal battle occurs between RSI Static troops and Allied Italians (supported by the Poles) and a nasty EX results. Elsewhere a German Infantry stack is eaten up by a polygot force of Poles, NZ, SA, British, Indians and US west of Mantova. This attack allows a turning of the Po River line and traps the German 2nd Pz XX in Brescia. In the exploitation phase, US units seize Modena, trapping units in Bologna and breaking the heart of the German commander.

In France, the exploiting British overrun units in the southern part of the Seine line (not fortified) and wheel north to arrive just outside the city of Paris.

June 1944 Special

C, C

Axis Player Turn

In Italy a few units slip into the mountain passes leading across into France while the Arno line is strengthened. Theatre Command designates La Spezia a National Socialist hero city and forms it into a western redoubt, anchoring the line against the Allied advance.

In France around the allied beachhead at Cannes a slight withdrawal is made. Toulon is abandoned to its fate with 2nd rate troops holding the fortress while Marseilles is garrisoned to hold as long as possible. the cadre in Lyon is strengthened by the arrival of a SS PzG XX and Tiger battalion while the area around Clermont is abandoned as the Loire line is reinforced as more and more infantry units arrive. Around the smoking beachhead on Bolougne the Germans withdraw 16 miles to avoid a three hex attack on their position to the boos and hisses of the watching allies. From Dunkirk, V-1 rockets scorch across the sky and impact into London docklands, requiring Fighter Command to beef up its defences.

Allied Player Turn

Calais is assaulted by US infantry and engineers who destroy half the defenders and force the remaining Eastern Troops to flee along the coast.

At Nantes a joint Canadian-British attack surrounds and destroys the defenders, cutting across the mouth of the Loire and threatening Brittany. Around Tours several attacks wipe out some German static units unfortunate enough to be caught in the growing British advance in the region. Stragglers around Clermont are gobbled up and spat into the dead pile.

A French attack across the Rhone west of Avignon fails to dislodge the German defence, especially annoying is the Aborting of 4 GS aircraft by a single LW AA unit.

The beach head around Cannes is expanded further as toulon is assaulted for a HX result and the Paras push north west towards the Rhone over the broken country side.

In Italy, caution is thrown to one side as the border is crossed from France to outflank the German line.

In the mountain passes several defenders are crushed while Pavona is overrun by the South African Armoured and other motorised odds and sods while a Motorised 82nd AB XX attacks and seizes Genoa.

At Festung La Spezia, Poles, Kiwis and Brits attack the city and seize it courtesy of some heavy GS flown by the USAAF. So much for the invulnerable redoubt theory. East of Florence, Indian and Polish Mountain units force back the RSI/SS defenders in the mountains while on the coast of the Adriatic a US Corp treats harshly a joint RSI/PzG stack and blows it away for a HX.

In the exploitation phase Milan falls to the Springboks with Mussolini escaping just in time to take up residence in Trieste. The US 1st Armored and 34th Motorised Infantry enter Ravenna before swinging inland towards Bologna.

In France the Canadians advance to Nevers and the 7th Armoured to Dijon. The bridgehead over the Loire is expanded near Tours and the 1st Armoured enters Rennes while recon units enter an empty Brittany to seize some minor ports along the Channel coast.

Jun I 1944

German Player Turn

A national emergency is declared and all replacements are diverted for use in the West, North and South front. Goebells proclaims Total war and demands the utmost from German workers in producing supplies for the front.

France – Units are reinforced and strengthened. Britanny is stripped of defenders who admin move/rail to the Loire line. The Strategic LW is called out again, the fourth time for the year and is used by the Germans to launch a series of desperate attacks. The Allied commander in his bunker outside Madrid sneers in disgust as news begins to arrive from the front of frantic German activity – surely the death throes of the nazi regime!

Carefully hoarded Pz and PzG units are unleashed onto the unsuspecting US units in the beachhead. Three attacks are launched, the first at the salient south of Le Treport by several corps of German Pz and infantry units – with +1 AECA the US forces are thrown back in a 1.5:1 DR result causing numerous casulties as troops are captured unable to squeeze past the german patrols (ZoC scam!)

The second attack is by the reformed Pz Corp based on Lehr and 21st XXs attacks Boulogne which is defended by a single infantry XX, engineers and seige artillery with no Anti-tank units. The LW holds off most of the allied DAS and the town falls again to a 1.5:1 attack (DE).

The third attack is against the salient west of the beachhead by several SS c/m and infantry units. Overhead another massive air battle rages but most of the units flying DAS get through. 19 points of German AA sends several air units crashing to the ground, but enough remains to keep the odds down to 1.5:1 with no modifiers. It doesn’t matter as the Germans roll EX and with ZoCs extending to all possible retreat hexes, a whole US corp is butchered.

In Madrid, the Allied commander weeps. Surely it can’t get any worse than this? Well yes it can.

In Bourges, the Guards Corp is surrounded by the 1st LSSAH, 2nd DR, 17th GbV, 26th Pz and various German riff raff. With the corp in such an advanced position, the only effective means of supplying DAS is Mustangs flying out of England and bombers. All non-strategic Luftwaffe units fly interception/GS on the battle. British AA sees off a large amount of German GS lowering the odds down to 1.5:1 -2ATEC, +3 AECA = EX with a ZoC scam. The best of the British marches off to join their US compatriots in prison camps in Germany.

To add insult to injury, the c/m units in Italy destroy the advanced US Armored cadre south of Florence while SS, SS Police and RSI militia surround and destroy the mountain units west of Rimini in a ZoC retreat scam. They then shuffle about to restore a rather decent line in Italy and the immediate threat to Arno line is stopped.

The only spot of sunshine was a failed infantry attack from Toulon and Marseilles on US paratroopers (AS).

The Allied high command surveys the wreckage – four 1.5:1 attacks result in the loss of some 35+ Allied units destroyed, several hundred planes aborted or destroyed, the thrust from South West France temporarily blunted, the Italian defences restored and the beachhead reduced by 50% in size. The German commander offers the Allied commander a glass of scotch.

In the exploitation phase, the Loire lines are strengthened.

Allies Player Turn

The drill halls are busy churning replacements for the lost units. British AT units are disbanded and the pools of reserves pretty much drained. More US units are landed to strengthen the beachhead where the Germans in Boulogne are surrounded and destroyed by heavy GS (DH and ZoC scam).

A cautious British advance continues to the Loire valley while mopping up continues in the rear. Several advanced airbases are built to bring fighter cover closer to the lines. The drive on Lyon continues with Etienne falling to the 7th Armoured who exploits through to just outside Lyon, defended by a pathetic looking cadre. North-east of Sete a Anglo-French attack on a German corp dug in the forests fails to dislodge them.

Cote d’Azur – French Armour arrives at Cannes to join a drive by the FFL 1st towards Toulon and push the German infantry defenders back. North of here the 1st A/B XX drives towards Marseilles and pushes the German infantry back to the outskirts of the city where in the exploitation phase the French armoured unit arrives to threaten the city. Along the Italian border Mtn and Special Forces ooze along the border into the mountains. The German CinC is disgusted by such cowardly game play.

Italy – The Polish 1st Armoured attacks across the Arno at its mouth into Pisa and forces back the German infantry XX defending it. South of here the remaining german cadres are mopped up by Polish and US Infantry with the NZ Mech XX doing ZoC scam duty. Elsewhere the US forces are shuffled about ready for the offensive soon to follow to breach the Arno fully and drive onto the Po River before mud returns.

Analysis

An exciting time period once the tears had dried in my eyes. As I watched the attacks go in one after the other at 1.5:1 I was incredulous. One or even two of the attacks causing me damage I could accept, but all four! Even my DAS let me down (although admittedly it reduced odds from 3:1 or 2:1 in all cases) by falling prey to accurate AA fire. Oh well, never underestimate the enemy ability to take risks and the curse of the die. The landing at Pas de Calais lacks the AEC nullifying terrain of Normandy and it showed when a modifier of +1 was enough to force a retreat into terrain that was choc-a-bloc with units or in enemy ZoC. As for the Brits in Bourges, that was just jammy! Watch the flanks!!

The critical factor in this time period was that it again drained the British RPs and put a dent in the US pool, all this before the German can convert most of his units to higher defence strength and the really bad terrain of Holland and the Westwall comes up. The prospect of liberating Norway are starting to look slim unless the remainder of Italy can fall before mud/snow chokes up the map, but we’ll have to wait and see.

With two turns (special June turn included in this game) until I could enter northern Italy and avoid an extra 15 REs of German being released from the South-east, the German player knew this so the Franco-Italian border was manned by a couple of amputees with shotguns while five XXs worth of British and allied units waited to cross the border and flood the Lombardy plain.

The declaration of emergency is a real pain for the allies as it gives the germans the ability to rebuild a lot of units lost in desperate EX battles of in holding up the main allied advance. Oh well, Paris will be mine soon….

May II 1944

German Player Turn

France – Two SS Spanish XXs are formed up and sent to the southern French front to delay the British advance. The SS LSSAH and DR XXs switch from Italy to Lyon to support the front. A mass movement of 4-5 and 5-5 XXs in Britanny and Normandy occurs and troops are sent to the Loire River and the Le Put-Clermont axis to try and build something approaching a speed bump to the British. Bordeaux is abandoned as troops try and slip through the gaps in the allied line to the north. In a sop to Germanic pride, the newly formed 116 Pz XX slips through a gap in the harrassment shield around Reims and destroys the Para regiments in the city. Washington is outraged! Calls for the Divisional commander to be sacked are made in congress. The beachhead is surrounded with the mauled Pz XXs pulled back to Lille for R&R.

Italy – Rome is abandoned to the sound of clucking noises from the Allied lines. The Sienna line is strengthened but units are spread across the peninsula in penny-packets, disrupted by the allied air campaign. Things look grim.

Allied Player Turn

Cote d’Azur – Operation Anvil/Dragoon is launched by in theatre resources based in North Africa. Running on a shoe string budget of LCs, French Mountain Xs, US Eng IIIs and British Inf Xs land with Ranger, Commando and Royal Marine support at Cannes and Nice while the 1st and 82nd Airborne XXs with assorted French and US Special forces lands inland from the beachhead. Surprise is total and despite a short savage one-sided battle with KM ships based in Genoa, the allies land and destroy the German defenders in both areas, especially pleasing is the seizure of Cannes without damage by French and Canadian/US special forces. In the exploitation phase, British and Czech Armoured Xs, Indian 10th and Free French Infantry XXs land and the Czech push up to the Italian border in Sospel Roya (making sure no units enter Italy to avoid the 35 REs of Germans being released from the South East.)

SW France – The 1st Armoured XX attacks and seizes La Rochelle while Canadian tanks and the 7th Armoured XX attack the Clermont-Le Puy line, destroying or cadreing several German minor units. The Anglo-French attack on Sete seizes the port, but with heavy loss of life on both sides (EX). Bordeaux is seized and Canadian infantry quickly attack north out of the city destroying another German stack of units. The Guards Corp swings east to Limouges. Behind the main line, straggling German units are mopped up (although a healthy stack of isolated XXs squat miserably in the wooded swamps halfway between Bayonne and Bordeaux guarded by Portuguese soldiers). More British troops are shipped out from England to Spanish ports to form up two new corps for action in France. In the exploitation segment, the 7th enters Le Puy while the candian Corp seizes Clermont and the Guards Corp triumphantly enters Bourges, threatening the Loire line before it can patch the massive gaps in the river defences.

Pas-de-Calais – Troops head south from Le Treport to expand the beachhead towards Paris. Allied intelligence intercepts strange Axis signals that sound like sudden intakes of breath, similar to someone who has suddenly seen something occur in their favour. This intelligence is poo-pooed by the Allied CinC. Boulogne itself is attacked and falls to US Engineers and Seige artillery units landed especially for the job. The beachhead swells in size and defences eastward. The Allied CinC trumpets via the international press that the greatest landing in history is now secure and unbeatable. Cheers in Parliament from both sides of the house.

Italy – The Poles enter Rome and launch a concentric attack with British/NZ help on retreating German units 16 miles north of the city. All units are destroyed in a DE result. US units flood out of the mountains to assault those Germans unable to retreat – 3 XXs cadred, several cadres and minor units destroyed. An attack towards Florence destroys four cadres for the weakening of a US Armored XX. Mountain Artillery and Infantry battalions cross the mountains and seize a rough hex west of Rimini and breaching the last significant barrier before the Po River. In exploitation armored and mech units press up close to Florence, threatening the city. while the Polish 1st Armoured, NZ Mech and motorised 56th London XXs race up the west coast trapping more German units.

May I 1944

The situation to date:

The cross channel attack has been launched by the US Army based in England. Despite getting ashore with minimal losses, damage to the Landing craft coupled with retention of several LCs in the Mediterranean for decepetion purposes critically weakened the amount of men and material that could be dumped ashore. German response to the landing is confounded by the developing break out into the Dordogne by the British Peninsula Army and Canadian 1st Army while the US forces in Italy are again threatening to break the German lines and flood into the Po Valley while Rome is being surrounded from the north, potentially trapping around a dozen good quality Divisions.

From the Allied point of view, everything is looking good and the only cloud on the horizon is the expected arrival of several high strength divisions in the Western Theatre and from the South East. Elsewhere the poor quality 4-5 XXs wait the opportunity to upgrade, but the race is on between the British and US to see which force can gobble up the most of these units before they can start making a pain of themselves.

Clear everywhere, calm seas.

German Player Turn

France – Reeling from the previous months battles, the German High Command reconstructs several PzG and Infantry units from its hoarded reserves. Luckily for the Germans is that May is a good month for reinforcements arriving in France and from other theatres. An SS battlegroup based around the fresh faced fanatics of the Hitler Youth Division marches along the Somme to threaten the central hex of the Allied beach head. Behind them, some PzG cadres and attached units try and destroy the paratrooper lodgement at St Quentin but to their frustration and joy of the Allies, they are only driven out of the town (DR). In the south of France, Perpignan is abandoned and a fall back towards the Massif Centrale is made while along the bay of Biscay the pull back to Bordeaux is continued and Bayonne is abandoned but the retreating XXs can’t fully break contact with the British.

Italy – The front line is mostly abandoned but Rome is held. The retreating troops slam into the US forces in their rear, destroying a Tank/motorised battlegroup in Sienna and flipping over an Armoured XX NE of Rome. At Perugia the US grunts hold off an attack by mountain troops. The Germans leave a lot of units looking vulnerable and can only shake their fists impotently at the overwhelming Allied air harrassment campaign.

Allied Player Turn

In the UK, dockworkers go out on stike, demanding higher rates of pay and conditions, with only two LC being repaired in the disruption that occurs. Despite this, the beachhead is built up with each corp containing an Armoured XX, two Inf XXs, Arty, AA and Eng units, ready for the breakout.

US units attack the Lehr and 21st Pz XXs with 2 Hvy AA regts attached. Massive air support is flown to help the yanks blast the Germans to pieces. In a deadly display of accuracy (loaded dice commented Whitehall) the AA proceeded to abort 400 and kill 100 GS planes, letting only 250 through to support the attack. In a sneaky attempt to force the odds more in their favour, American mechanised commandoes try to infiltrate the German lines – all are captured by keen eyed sentries (rolled F*). Despite this the Germans are pummeled for an EX result and forced back from the beach-head.

The lonely US paras march to Reims, occupying the city and wait, hoping they can hold out long enough for supplies and reinforcements to reach them. Either way it is agreed that a Spielberg movie will be made about their efforts to date (Saving lots of Privates). To slow any German attack on them, 1500 planes fly harassment around their hex to block the Germans. The HQ of the 101st remains on standby in a heavy glider transport to join the division.

In the south west the British continue their advance, the Portuguese size Bayonne and the canadians replace a Motorised Corp in the forests south of Bordeaux, allowing the British to swing south to assault a LW corp of paras, assault guns and odds and sods defending behind the Garrone River 80 miles south east of Bordeaux. The LW units are destroyed by superior armoured strength. On the Spanish border, French and British units lunge forward to attack the new German stop line at Sete (Port Fortification provides good base for defence). In Bezeirs a 5-8 XX is blasted apart by British infantry but the French assault on Sete is stalled due to lack of engineer and artillery support.

Italy – A US all arms Corp is added to the area to assist in the push up the boot. Rome is attacked by Poles, Kiwis, Indians and Brits but the city holds out (AS). North of the eternal city the US begins to chew up the German forces strung out around them. two mountain XXs are cadred and several high mountian units vapourised while Auezzano falls to a 1.5:1 attack.

Exploitation – Canadian armoured units advance to the centre of the Massif Centrale, the 1st Armoured and Recon forces arrive at Limoges while the 6th and 11th XXs enter Angouleme while the Guards Corp nearly swings the trap shut on the German forces around Bordeaux by entering Libourne on the Garonne estuary. The sound of high pitched shrieking is heard from Berlin.

February 1938

Feb I 38

Muddy weather prevails in the north, the weather in the south is now clear.

Insurgent Player Turn.

The clear weather in the south brings on increased air raids. At Murcia, an escorting Nationalist CR-32 kills an I-15, while at Madrid, a CTV CR-32 and an I-16 abort each other.

Loyalist Turn.

The aborted I-16 is rebuilt. Loyalist troops are not quite prepared to launch their spring offensive. An air raid on Cordoba fails and an escorting 1-16 is aborted by a Nationalist CR-32.

Feb II 38

Bad weather returns to Spain–winter weather again hits the north while the mud returns in the south.

Insurgent Turn.

The Hue XX is upgraded to the 55 XX and the 3 Mad XX to the 24 XX. Even in the mud, air raids are continued. At Murcia, AA fire aborts a RO37. At Madrid, an I-16 manages to bypass an escorting KL Me109B and abort a CTV SM-79, though another SM-79 gets thru and hits the rail marshalling yards.

Loyalist Turn.

The mud precludes opening the spring offensive. The Loyalist forces conserve their strength and wait.

Apr II 1944

Clear weather Zone C! Calm seas in the Channel!

Axis Player Turn

Offers are made via the Swedish Embassy for a surrender by the Third Reich who claim they are in an impossible position. The German commander is bribed by promises of a regular supply of scotch and cuban cigars to maintain the war by bloodthirsty Allied High Command. As an immediate downpayment a bottle is broached and detailed discussion held on how the Germans can salvage the situation which degenerates into a discussion of West Coast Eagles chances of making the finals in the Australian Football competition. The unanimous agreement is not much.

France – Using AA the HG Pz XX manages to struggle out of Tours and push south to Bordeaux. An attempt is made to squash the British bridgehead over the Adour but fails (AS). Troops try and sidle past the British along the coast but 5 XXs and many regiments remain trapped around Bayonne. Units in the Pyrenees begin to pull out and the armoured reserve stationed behind the line at Perpignan (Reserve Pz XXs) is switched to the Bordeaux region. All units in this area are still effectively lacking full supply due to the rail cuts behind them.

In Italy the fortuitous arrival of the SS LSSAH and DR XXs at Pesauro blocks the north option for the US over the Metauro River. Elsewhere in Italy, to the amazement of the Allies the Germans remain in their lines, despite the front now in serious danger of being encircled by the US drive up the Adriatic. Could be an unforeseen result of the Swedish scotch supply line…….

Norway – The three 7-6 XXs set sail for Kiel and arrive safely. Germany starts to build up a new strategic reserve.

Allied Player Turn

France – With England bursting with US forces a cross channel invasion is launched. Allied intelligence had watched with frustration over the past several months as the defences in Normandy and Brittany remained fully manned despite the irritations in Italy and Spain. It was noticed however that the Pas de Calais had several units shipped off to the south, and although the Atlantic Wall defences were quite strong, there were few units in the interior available to the Germans. In a daring gamble the finger was pointed at the space between Bolougne-sur-Mer and Le Treport and the order given -“Invade there!” Four US XXs are broken up, and with Engineer and Amphib tank support land at Le Treport and the two hexes to the north, bypassing the main defences in Normandy and the much vaunted and costly Seine fortifications (A dozen forts on the east side of the river). French naval units scour the minefields, lots of Allied planes take down the Coastal defences in Boulogne and Le Treport to a level that allows the Royal Navy and USN to effectively shut them down in a short engagement. The German Strat Air Force comes out to play again and tries to escort the LW Anti Shipping forces through to hit the fleet as it crosses the Channel. It is surprisingly effective despite massive RAF Spitfire cover and two code V units get though, only to be seen off by naval AA.

In a daring move, the 101st Airborne is landed deep inside France at St Quentin, some 80 miles from the planned beachhead. 5 regiments land, only one is disrupted. The depth of the landing was made to block off a rail line (recently restored) and it was felt that the US beachhead would be quickly expanded.

The landings go off rather well with troops landing unopposed between Boulogne and Le Treport. At Le Treport itself, the defending 4-5 Res XX is shattered by overwhelming Air Support and NGS. (7:1 +1AEC = DE). While the allied commanders are patting each other on the back, it is pointed out by the beach control officer that only 9 LCs remain serviceable following a higher than expected damage rate despite the good weather and unopposed landings. The follow on fleet is forced to land only HQs, Hvy AA and an Artillery brigade while the Armoured Division due to land is sent back to ports in Britain. The Allied commander begins to regret the 6 LCs he left as a deception measure in the Mediterranean. they would come in quite handy. In St Quentin, the US Paratroopers suddenly look very vulnerable and scared.

Southern France – An attack on some Eastern troops, a para cadre and a Reserve Mountain XX expands the breach in the German line (HX) while around Bayonne the pocket is crushed in three attacks on various stacks of German defenders – two 5-7-6 XXs are lost following a DH/ZoC retreat battle, a PzG cadre and attached artillery brigades and bike battalions are lost likewise. Only the units in Bayonne itself hold out due to the Port Fortification (AS). In the follow on phase, the 1st Armoured XX and attached recon units exploit through to reach the outskirts of Toulouse.

In Italy the US Armoured corp changes direction and heads west over the mountains into Tuscany – the German defenders force an EX result but the US shrugs off the minimal losses (one Armored XX cadred). In the exploitation phase the Armored/Motorised units flood into the clear terrain seizing Perugia and Sienna while a 16-10 XX heads south to challenge the German units remaining around Italy.

 

Analysis

It took me until the end of February to wake up and realise that I had to get moving. Despite forces in Italy and Spain, I wasn’t acheiving the desired results – not one hex of France captured and despite the early successes in Italy I was in significantly good position. The sally by the German Pz and PzG units in Italy really hurt and put me on the back foot. It caused the cancellation of an invasion of the Cote D’azur and diverted more troops to Italy than I wanted. It also sucked the guts out of the British replacement pool making any future losses hard to replace. For this reason D-day was a purely US affair and despite advantage taken of the Pas de Calais run down of defences and the good weather things were not looking good. The losses in LCs hampered an immediate build up and I was very lucky that the main German units were not in the area, otherwise a serious reverse could have occurred. The German player offer to give up was real, and he was very realistic about his chances – in trying to cover the whole western front including Spain is beyond German resources with the current counter mix. This game cost me an arm and a leg in scotch and beer bribing him to continue to play. Luckily the following turns gave him something to smile about. Norway looks weakened by the withdrawal of the 7-6 XXs. Might be time to attack.

Apr I 1944

S, M, M, C, C, C, C

Axis Player Turn

Hurried attempts are made to repair the rail network in Southern France. In Italy a further withdrawal is made to the line 16 miles south of Rome to shorten the line and allow the release of the HG Pz XX and attached HG AA regt to attempt to Strategically Rail through Austria to southern France. It can only get as far as Tours. In Norway, three 7-6 XXs are concentrated in Oslo with some Construction units to send to the main front. The KM heads from Kiel to escort them. The withdrawal to Russia of the 21st Pz and SS 10th F PzG XXs weakens the Franco-Spanish border defences and much rolling about on the bunker floor is done by the German commander who forgot these were due to disappear.

Allied Player Turn

Spain/France – Andalucia and Valencia are classed as “pacified” with Spanish Republican units forming up – these in turn are used to release other UK units in the Spanish interior who are sent to the front. In an effort to begin the liberation of France (still not one hex in Allied hands!) the British launch a major offensive aimed at the forts near Perpignan and around San Sebastian. To complement the fighting, harrassment is flown for a block 32 miles deep and 64 miles long behind the German front. Massive air support is flown and again the German Strategic Air force is called out to counter the Allied threat. This time the Allies are better prepared and despite heavy losses in the air for both sides, the defenders are mauled (4:1 = EX). South of this battle a LW Para XX is cadred by a UK/Canadian attack. The message is sent – Pyrenees breached! At Perpignan a French, Canadian and British army assaults the fortified defenders on the border and with several wings of fighter aircraft flying uselessly above as escorts in case of German Strat A/craft interception (which didn’t occur here!) the odds are not enough to force them back and an AS results.

Italy – US forces attack across the Trento river with heavy GS flown. The German Strat A/Craft appear to do battle but are unable to prevent the infantry defenders being bounced out of their positions in exchange for some infantry losses by the Americans. Again behind the German lines a belt of harrassment is flown some 32 miles deep, hopefully to delay the Germans in redeploying to meet the threat developing on the east coast and catch them if a sudden retreat is ordered.

France – The HG Pz XX and attached Hvy AA Regt is subjected to a swarm of Allied Fighter Bomber harrassment – 1000 planes fly harrassment for some 64 miles around the HG XX while in Normandy a Battle Group based on the 5th Para XX with Tiger tank support is likewise blocked in by RAF units. These two formations are the only likely units the Germans can use as a “Strategic reserve” in the western front without seriously weakening the Atlantic wall defences.

The above round of battles now leaves the Germans with more units in their replacement pool than the British, much to the Allied commander’s relief. Signs of stress are starting to appear in the German defences.

Exploitation Phase – in Italy a US Armoured Corp (two “heavies” 16-10 and a motorised Inf XX) swings inland past the remnants of the German coastal defenders and enters Ancona, only a single Italian 0-5 Construction blocks access to Bologna and the Po River. In France at last, the British push the San Sebastian/Bayonne defences and crosses the Adour River, effectively trapping a number of German Divisions in a pocket on the coast.

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