Weather Roll = 6, Mud in zones C & D, clear in E. Atlantic = 2 – calm, Med = 4 – calm.
Axis Player Turn
The defenders of WEST front breath a collective sigh of relief as spring weather continues to be poor. Complements of the weather Allied units in 26.2020 go U-1 yet again. Swaping units has kept the effects to a minimum, but with no way to man-handle supplies the only alternative is a very uncertain air drop (1/3 chance of success). After last turn’s civil unrest in bologna the Emilia garrison is called up to occupy that city (actually allowed due to Allied forces on Elba). Engineers finish two forts and begin three more. With 10 engineers dedicated to fort construction rail repairs proceed at a slow pace. One rail line between Italy and Germany is cleared. There is however, barely a rail hex without a hit below Firenze. Any retreat fom the Gustav line will be by road or cross country. Hit markers are again running low.
The airbase augmented on Elba is completed, and the port will be rebuilt next turn. Neither side calls up strat air. 5 SAS is airlifted to Belle, entering a hex of France – Germans don’t react by popping up their garrison. 3x ENTF, 1x WNTF and 1x RM enter map 17 and make for Brittany. CD at Paimpol engages and gets a hit, return fire silences the CD. Next in line is St Brieuc which misses, but receives 6 hits from return fire. Morlaix is also attacked and silenced. Meanwhile LC’s have loaded a large invasion force and NTs a second wave of armor, artillery and supplies. During the second naval movement step Quimper is bombarded and the CD there is silenced. The naval TF splits up and each sub-part is joined by NTs and LCs. US forces begin landing at 17:0618 and 0717; British, Canadian and French troops land at 17:0519, 0521 and 0722.
Axis command quickly notes the landing at 0722 has no naval cover and immediately orders air strikes. A missile armed FW200 makes contact, is met by 3 groups of interceptors and is returned by the first Allied fighter. A massive strike from Bordeaux inexplicably fails to find the invasion force (rolled a 3). The only remaining naval patrol, a lone Ju88, also fails to make contact. Allied bombing of German air bases along the Biscay has paid off. 2x LC are damaged during first wave landings and 2x US 2-1-10 Amphib Tank Bns sink on their run in to the beach. Fortunately both of the 6-4-10 Amphib Tank Brigades made it safely ashore. After the amphibious troops are ashore a cloud of transports, many staging from Gibraltar and North Africa, drop US and British Parachute divisions (less HQs) at 0718 and 0723, with French Para-Commandos landing at 0622. Despite the use of every available glider and skies clear of any enemy aircraft 2 US Regts and one British Bde are disrupted. 11x gliders go to the eliminated pool.
German defenses in Brittany had been limited to the ports themselves, there are no units in a position to use a reaction move to influence the battle.
Quimper is defended by a mixed lot, including a 1-2-8 SS-Pol X, 3-8 Art, 1-10 Mot LtAA and port CD. The Allies needed 9 of their 12 air units for a 6:1. Sure enough, the 1 point of German AA returns 3 and aborts 1 Allied air unit, reducing the attack to a 5:1 -4. A 2 is rolled for an AS to spoil the day for British and French attackers.
Paimpol is defended by a 5-5 Static XX and local CD. The Allies completely surround the hex and at 6:1 -2 roll a 1 for a DR. Germany loses 5 isolated combat factors while 2x 3-8 Eng and 2x 1-8 Rangers advance to take the port intact.
At Morlaix the Allies make a 7:1 -2 attack against another 5-5 Static XX and roll a 2 for a net 0 and a HX. The German Cadre retreats to 0619, British lose 2x 2-3-8 Engineer X (isolated) and advance 2x 3-8 Mar-Cdo X into the port. -8 VP for isolated losses.
After a lot of less than productive aerial bombardment the turn ends with the Allies holding 12 hexes of Brittany including 2 minor ports. There are 39 REs ashore, including 5 divisions (2x US, 2x British, 1x Canadian). Brest is isolated, but none of the Allied units will be unless both ports are knocked out, an extremely unlikely event given Allied air superiority. However, 5 more LCs were damaged during the second wave, and only 5 undamaged LCs managed to replenish (including 3x LC moved up from the MTO). The Allies should’ve loaded their first wave units at least a turn in advance if they wanted to replenish after landing a second wave. Coastal hexes are fully covered by NGS.
Making an honest landing is probably the hardest thing to do while playing solitaire. I tried to apply previous experience against other players with what I know of Rich Velay’s defense. April I 44 is a low point in German defenses, but with few troops loaded on LCs, no Allied strat air call-up and mud weather I didn’t believe an Axis strat air call-up was warranted. Had there been rough weather in the Atlantic the Allies would’ve waited a turn. Even if the weather turns clear in zone D the Axis will not be able to fix enough rail hits to get their arriving 20-10 Panzers to Brittany. I suspect Allied harassment will slow down any Infantry to a crawl. The France garrison, 2-3 Inf/Static XX, and a few c/m ants will reach Brittany. Germany prays for more bad weather.