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Europa Games and Military History

Category: Baby Grand – Second Front+ (page 1 of 5)

Analysis

The inclusion of SoS and FWTBT maps to Second Front really changes the dynamics of the campaign. I look forward to the designers handling of trying to mesh the games in Grand Europa and trying to account for the neutrals and the Allied ability to invade at will anywhere. In this game, it put the Axis on the back foot once Spain became operational with insufficient troops available to cover Italy and maintain a viable Atlantic Wall while trying to prop up Franco’s tottering regime. In this game Madrid fell far to easily, due to a large amount of luck and to a sub-conscious desire of my opponent to destroy Nationalist Spain (he was Robert Jordan in a previous life and owns a video copy of Land and Freedom – needless to say he is always the Loyalists in FWTBT and never seems to win).

This opened up southern France and Germany faced a three front war in the west – way beyond the existing OoB resources to handle effectively.

The early destruction of Italy helped too – the slaughter in Sicily of the Italians and the seizure of Messina before the Germans were in position to retreat to the Toe accelerated a panic in my opponent who was forced to react more to my plans and upset his timetable for an easy withdrawal up the boot. The advance up the boot was quite speedy as many German units were diverted to the Pyrenees and gaps developed early in the line allowing the succesive lines set up to be outflanked.

The highlight for me was the race across Southern France by the British Army – aside from the hiccup with the Guards Corp it was sheer pleasure to reach the Rhine with minimal effective interference from the Germans.

The Battle for Germany was a hard slog – thankfully the US units were in the right position to fight for the Ruhr and Holland – I don’t think the Commonwealth forces have enough engineers and seige equipment to take this part of the map without extreme losses. The advance through Bavaria and Saxony towards Berlin by the British was very lucky – my opponent had his eyes on the developing US breakout from the Channel Beachhead and put insufficient units in the south until it was too late and the Rhine was crossed in force.

Things I would do differently in a similar game

Ignore Scandanavia – I should have invaded at the begining of Summer with more troops or ignored it completely. By the time the poor weather arrived I was too far from Oslo and hadn’t taken a big enough port to try and activate Swedish involvement. I think Norway is an all or nothing approach. The paratroopers should have been used to reinforce the British drive across southern Germany.

Use paratroopers in assisting the drive across Southern Germany (see above) – I might have lost a few, but it would have assisted in seizing some key terrain, especially the rough hexes leading into Czechoslovkia which meant I could have finished off the southern sector forces a lot earlier (Vienna etc) and shifted my focus onto Berlin.

Invaded at Normandy – the invasion site was chosen to avoid the Atlantic Wall but the lack of Bocage to defend the cardboard troops meant that when my opponent lashed out, it hurt. if anything I would invade at Normandy, and then, after a couple of turns, hit the beaches again around Bolougne-sur-Mer and probably trapped a lot more units.

My opponents biggest regrets

The failure to leave a garrison in Madrid, trusting in mountain terrain in Italy and the Alps to prevent a rapid Allied advance (not in this game – an EX is better than a DR), failing to provide a second line of units in Italy and behind Trento to prevent a rapid advance and (naturally) manning the Westwall earlier.

My opponents highlights:

The Battle of the Shetlands, the Battle off Barcelona (starting to see a trend here?), the near crushing of the beachhead at Boulogne sur Mer and his initial handling of the retreat up Italy up to the Arno (where after, in his words, it all turned to s**t) and, surprisingly, the last few turns of the game where he commanded his shrinking empire from his bunker and tried to hang on with a diminishing army and no replacements other than special RPs.

Victory Points: Without being too exact, the Allies had 98 VPs and the Germans around 74 (10 from failure to maintain the Spanish garrisons). 46 Allied VPs came from cities inside Greater Germany/Berlin hexes – so if I had sat outside the Westwall I would have lost most convincingly (mind you a bundle of German VPs came from the loss of the Canadian Armoured Corp at Kottbus that was still sitting in the dead pile so this logic might be challenged).

All up a very enjoyable, but mentally and physically sapping game. Total casualties: 3 bottles of scotch, 14 cubans (cigars, not people), 3 cartons of beers, one pack of cigarettes. Total time taken: around 35 hours spread over 10 days.

Jan II 1944

S, S, S, S, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

With big withdrawal due to fight the Russian hordes storming over Oder, the few units that actually are not in the dead pile wave farewell to their comrades and disappear off the map (not many disappeared though as most were not available). In Copenhagen, the Garrison commander activates his forces and sends them marching down the Jutland peninsula to join the defenders of Hamburg, Kiel and Lubeck.

In Berlin, the defenders draw themselves into the city and prepare to sell themselves dearly. Kottbus is retaken by a C/M stack drawn from around Dresden but they are too weak to try and break the british grip on the southern approaches to the city.

The few command groups left to Berlin to shuffle about the map are small, weak and generally without flank protection. The boys in the bunker start planning to fly out to Copenhagen or Oslo to prepare an alternative government.

Allied Player Turn

Magdeburg falls to a 6:1 attack DE while Hamburg falls to the US Army in an EX result.

Prague is surrounded and falls to a HX attack and Czechoslovakia is liberated.

At Vienna the Polish armoured forces rush in and secure an undefended eastern hex and launch an attack across the Danube in support of the mixture of Allied forces who try and wrestle control of the western half from the defenders. The attack is unsuccessful and the attackers are stopped in their tracks.

Over Berlin, a massive air battle breaks out as the Strategic reserve contests local air superiority with the Allies. Enough GS sneaks through to aid the two attacks launched on the city from the north and south by the Americans and British/Canadians. The southern Commonwealth attack with massed artillery, engineers and funnies is enough to push back the LW Paratroopers, SS and eastern cossack troops defending the hex. In the north the Americans force an exchange with the defending paratroopers and city is nearly split in two.

Through the smoking rubble, Allied forward scouts observe a ragged Nazi Party official approach with a grimy white flag held of his head, he requests access to the Allied High Commander to discuss terms. With fewer than 6 cities remaining in Greater Germany, resistance is recognised as being futile and the Third Reich surrenders unconditionally to the Allied Alliance.

Jan I 1944

S, S, S, S, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

With the Russians closing in from the east, withdrawals hurt OK West heavily. The Luftwaffe blue is the most noticable colour on the map from Berlins perspective, Goering sits chuckling in his corner of the bunker drinking schnapps – the main defensive power around Berlin are his fanatical paratroopers, the foolish Allied decision to allow the 7th FS XX to fly out of Holland is coming back to haunt them! Hanover is declared a Festung and Harburg is abandoned with troops falling back to join the sailors and Hitler Youth in Hamburg. A rough line is pulled back from Magdeburg to Wittenburge and around Berlin. The remaining elite C/M units guard forward positions to slow the US advance on the Capital. Prague is reinforced by SS mountain troops and a thin line is set up on the road from Linz to Vienna. Over the German capital the newly arrived Jet and Rocket fighters fly in formation, inspiring the cities defenders that the hour of redemption is at hand!

Allied Player Turn

The operations of the Allied air forces are slightly hampered by the appearance of new German aircraft from the Strategic reserve throughout this period. Despite this, the USAAF and Commonwealth airforces more than adequately hold their own and support the frontline offensives.

Ljubjana and Klagenfurt are subjected to heavy US attacks, but both hold out valiently in their fortresses. At Linz, the remaining Germans are destroyed by a mix of Indian armour (finally available after training for so long), US infantry and APC-mounted British infantry. Budweiss falls to Czechs, Indians and Poles who loot the brewery. Disheartened by the news that all local beer supplies are cut off, a German stack south of Prague is surrounded and destroyed easily by French, Poles and the British.

At Luneburg, the Americans attack across the Elbe into two Infantry divisions who are shattered and forced to retreat into Lubeck. The LSSAH Pz XX and attached units fight to the death against surrounding US forces and cause an EX result before surrendering when no escape route is available for the LSSAH cadre.

Magdeburg is attacked by a joint US/French attack but the American engineers pay the ultimate price in the result (-5 die modifiers in this battle – scary) and the city holds on. Hanover falls to a text book use of Seige Artillery and Engineers.

The Third Reich burns……

At Kottbus the British retake the town and in the exploitation phase push into the wooded lake area SE of Berlin cutting off all land contact with the southern front (or what remains of it). Along the danube, American armor rushes along the south bank towards Vienna while Indian armour and mechanised infantry drive along the north bank

Dec II 1944

S, S, S, S, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

“Operation Winter Storm II”

Another offensive is launched, this time on the hapless 7th Armoured XX and attached units. Pz and PzG XXs throw themselves into the battle with determination, but the RAF is in the sky in force and equals up the balance significantly, despite the fact the German Mech Commando’s are successful in infiltrating the British positions and, despite Red cap checks, are able to answer questions on who won the Ashes in the last test series, who was Victor Trumper, what was the Don’s batting average, where can you find a silly mid-on and why is it important to bowl a maiden over. The battle results in in the attackers falling back in disorder and retreat. The Allies breathe a sigh of relief.

Allied Player Turn

With the Ruhr virtually cleared, the vast bulk of the Americans are available to drive onto Berlin. 11 stacks of Americans crash into 4 German Corps between Hanover and Bremen.Several breaches are made in the line but Hanovers defences hold the yanks at bay. The last of the Ruhr falls to the Americans, ominously releasing another 6 US Stacks. Berlin shivers in fear.

At Festung Frankfurt, French and British forces polish off the last of the defenders in a DR ZoC scam and march them to the PoW cages dotted along the Rhine.

At Linz, feeling sick from eating too many chocolates, the defenders are forced to abandon the city after inflicting an EX result on the vengeful Allied attackers.

Festung Ljubjana holds out again, despite extensive air and engineer support, this time chasing the Americans back towards the italian border with an AR result.

In Czechoslovakia the Allies grind towards Prague. The New Zealanders attempt to seize the city in a coup de main but are rebuffed for an AS while the Springboks and attached units destroy some SS training units caught in the open outside Pilsen (cut off from their beer supply the Germans were weak and fatigued and surrended willingly for a litre stein each).

In the exploitation phase the Americans drive purposely forward to the western outskirts of Velzen, almost severing Hamburg’s communications with northern Germany.

Dec I 1944

S, S, S, W, M, R, R

Axis Player Turn

“Operation Winter Storm”

The Canadians in Kottbus are attacked by three Fallschirmjager, one Panzer, One Panzer Grenadier divisional group, an SS Mountain, two Eastern Cossack Divisions and assorted rocket units while Hitler Youth and Infantry assualt from the South. The last of the Luftwaffe flies out of Berlin and Copenhagen to provide GS. In an inept display of aerial combat, the Allied fighter aircraft return to base on 2 of 7 bombers and attack craft. AA is only able to return two more bomber units and allied DAS is slaughtered by German AA. Luckily for the Allies the OKW Mechanised Commado unit fails to have any impact (rolled F). Surrounded the allied units are doing okay in defence until the Canadians spot the Cossacks on their horses. It is almost a year to the day they suffered their ignomious defeat at the hands of Spanish cavalry outside Zaragosa and suffering post traumatic stress flash backs, they panic and abandon the line. The retreat dissolves into a rout and two Canadian armoured divisions, an Indian Infantry division, allied contingents for Belgium and the Netherlands and valuable Engineer tank and motorised Artillery brigades are marched off into captivity (HX ZoC retreat scam).

Linz is recaptured and elsewhere the lines are strengthened. In the exploitation phase Dresden is reinforced and the Elbe line regained.

The thousand year Reich is being born again!

Allied Player Turn

Reports are coming into the news desks that the champagne has been returned to the cooler. Victory parades in Allied capitals have been postponed.

Winter gear is being rushed to the Western Front from mills in the US and Canada. US reinforcements destined for the Pacific Front are being diverted to Europe.

Victory Slogan “Home for Christmas” has been replaced by “Home alive in 45”

Owww. That hurt. The Allied Commander contemplates tossing the table over and resorting to fisticuffs to settle the domination of Western Europe but settles for a good scotch and practices his stiff upper lip in the mirror.

To teach the Germans a lesson Essen falls to the Engineer/Seige Artillery strong US forces as does another hex of the Ruhr conurbation. Around the Frankfurt pocket more troops are thrown into the battle and Festung Frankfurt shrinks back into the city itself, the remaining troops wait expectantly as Goebbels informs them via radio of the massive German offensive coming to relieve them. In northern Germany the US forces begin to crumble the German line – lots of attacks destroy various stacks and units but no significant breakthrough is acheived.

The British take Zossen in a 6:1 attack and press further around the outskirts of Berlin.

In the Sudenten a nasty EX result occurs in some wooded rough terrain and the possibility of liberating Prague appears as distant as ever.

At Linz the Allies attempt to ratake the city but the ferocious defence kills half the attackers and leave a US armoured division a smoking ruin in the snow. Defenders fortify themselves with locally made chocolates.

At Ljubajana the US army is unable to shift the defenders despite superiority of 4:1 due to fortifications and weather.

Exploitation. As a result of the exchange in the Sudenten, the Dominion mechanised units are able to push into Czechoslovakia proper and the SA Armoured XX seizes Pilsen, drinking large quantities of beer and leaving the snow yellow for miles around. The New Zealanders in the north enter Aussig on the border.

Nov II 1944

S, F, F, M, C R, R

Axis Player Turn

Frost! Frost! Frost!

Berlin lines up its Weather Section and shoots them.

The defences of Berlin are strengthened. The last remaining motorised units are gathered together for a final hurrah and positioned outside the capital to strike north or south as circumstances may dictate.

Allied Player Turn

Well, with Frost firming up the ground, an all out assault is launched. In Norway Trondheim is attacked by Commandos, marines and tank brigades but the defenders hold them off (AS) In the Lagen Valley the 6th para XX with Norweigan support gets a HX result against Punitive Troops, SS Police men and some Infantry. The US Amphibious battalions then race down the valley into Hamar. Oslo is looking vulvnerable.

In Greater Germany the following attacks occur – on a pocket near Frankfurt, west of Klagenfurt, and Ljubjana – all are beaten off for AS results much to Allied High Commands shock. At Linz the newly arrived Jewish brigade joins the Americans and Brits in attacking a german battlegroup but is beaten back with an AR! In the Sudentenland, Poles, Czechs, Kiwis and French push further towards Prague (8:1 -5 mods on dice roll!).

Chemnitz falls to an EX result, burning up some valuable (and scarce) British comabat engineers. The Elbe is crossed again north east of Reisa while the Wittenburg bridgehead is expanded by the Guards Corp into Luckenwalde, reaching the outskirts of Berlin itself. In the exploitation phase, the Canadian Armoured Corp overruns a single cadre in some woods before entering Kottbus, cutting Berlin off from the south and splitting the front.

In the American sector, Koln, Duisburg and Essen fall to US Infantry and Engineers. The Ruhr is surrounded by a sea of green cardboard and the German Commander can only hope the region will hold for as long as possible to delay the infantry flooding eastwards and joining the assualt on Berlin. At Bremen, two US corps attack the 1st LSSAH Pz Division with attached troops in support. In what should be a simple attack, the SS dig in and fight tenaciously, forcing the attacking americans to reel backwards with an AR result! To compound the failure, all retreat paths are in German ZoC and the corps are forced to surrender and are marched up into Danish PoW camps. The cadres enter Bremen where they are reinforced in the exploitation phase.

Despite good weather, results were generally terrible for the Allies. Hitler claims that this is the long awaited turning point in the war. With the enemy at the gates of Berlin the miracle has happened – surely the failure to seize significant ground is a sign of divine intervention?

Nov I 1944

S,M,M,M,M,M R&R

Axis Player Turn

A call to arms results in a mass of timely reinforcements for the German High Command. Added to this is the call out of WK III and its mass of units. The Nazi Party chiefs release their special bodygurad units to help defend Berlin. In a special deal with the Allies, the 7th Parachute XX is flown out of Amsterdam to Berlin in return for the surrender of Haarlem, The Hauge and Walchern Island. (Seemed like a good idea at the time!) A bundle of 30+ units are disbanded – mainly training and reserve forces while a new line is formed on the banks of the Elbe River. The US units in Bremen are blocked off and units in the Ruhr are stripped out of the line and sent eastwards to help defend the capital. Naturally most are strung out with little rail capacity or continuous rail lines available for rapid transit. Austria and Czechoslovakia are stengthened.

Allied Player Turn

Le Harve and Dieppe fall to portuguese troops with US engineer support. Most French ports are now Allied and operational. An attempt is made on Ljubjana but is beaten off by the weather and terrain.

SE of Linz the defenders are finally crushed by the American tanks and infantry while some ground is taken pushing towards Pisek and Pilsen. Leipzig falls to a 4:1 DR ZoC scam and kassel is subjected to a 9:1 DE attack. Various operations mop up the defenders around the Rhine Valley and in Holland while the route to Bremen is secured and strengthened by the Americans.

The Guards Corp assaults across the Elbe from Dessau into Wittenburg and seizes the town. To follow up this attack it exploits into Brandenburg – a narrow waist of three hexes links the north and southern fronts for Germany.

Oct II 1944

S, M, M, M, C & R & R

Axis Player Turn

A bundle of WK Garrisons are called out for service and form up a hastily constructed line from Chemnitz – Leipzig – Magdeburg – Hanover. Elsewhere troops pull into hedgehogs or man defences at the Ems River. The Sudenten mountains are defended and a sharp counterattack on British units east of Bayreuth pushes them back, giving a little bit more breathing space to the defenders. Nurnburg is declared a Festung and the loyal suicide troops swear undying loyalty to the Fuhrer.

In Norway the troops dig in confident the foul weather will stop the Allies.

Allied Player Turn

Around Leer several US attacks grind their way forwards with overwhelming odds but weather and fortifications around Onsabruck blunts the tip of the spear with an AS result. At Koblenz a multinational force led by the Brazilians inflict a DH result on the city’s defenders – the collaborator Belgian troops escape destruction and use the time to plan the post war European Union Bureaucracy. Gottingen falls to a DR while at Nordhausen, Bernburg, Halle, Altenburg and Chemnitz a mix of AS, DE and EX results are rolled. An attempt by the New Zealanders, Poles and French to break into Czechoslovakia is stalled in the rough terrain while Polish and Czech tank units, attempting to beat up an SS Training Brigade and Reserve XX are forced into an undignified retreat. Just to rub it in, a US attack south east of Linz results in an AE. At the Ljubjana Gap, the Americans attempt to push into Slovenia and force the defenders back 16 miles to a series of forts placed to defend the gap.

In the exploitation phase the Guards Corp pushes into Dessau, 32 miles from the German capital while American units overrun a training brigade in Bremen. The pincers are closing!

Oct I 1944

(Mud in Zone A, clear and calm elsewhere….)

Axis Player Turn

Massive reinforcements appear when most need for the Germans. This is seen as divine intervention and proof of the durability of the 1000 year Reich, etc etc.

A line is thrown up running from the Donau – Fredrich Ludwig Cannal -Rhine. the British thrust at Nurnburg is hit hard to slow them down but the attack has no effect (AS). A battlegroup forms around Linz/Steyer to block the approach from Salzburg and Munich to Vienna.

At Wesel the US units look up into the sky to see the heavans blacken with aircraft – is it the USAAF? Is it the RAF? No, its the Strategic LW Reserve, called out one last time for 1944 to aid the desperate attack by the Germans. The US units are bundled back across the Rhine in tatters (HX) and the Rhine defence is restored.

In Norway, the northern ports are abandoned and troops fall back onto Narvik and Trondheim. A stand is made in the mountains south of the Allied positions. From Stavanger, the KM sets sail for the North Sea.

The Battle of the Shetlands.

Cruising up and down looking for the Royal Navy, the KM is intercepted by ENTF 1 and 2 on patrol off Forde. In the first engagement KM-1 is hit once while KM-2 suffers 3 hits. This is balanced by 3 hits to ENTF-1 and one to ENTF-2. In the second round both fleets engage and KM-2 is sunk, ENTF-1 and KM-1 is hit twice and ENTF-2 escapes damage. The third and final round sees KM-1 suffer 4 hits and ENTF a further 2 hits. The KM chooses to disengage and slinks away back to Kiel to lick its wounds. The Royal Navy adds another battle honour to its list.

The German turn ends with Norway alight, its fleet unusable, the Strategic LW unable to be used, its theatre aircraft in a smouldering heap and painfully being rebuilt well away from the frontline and a thin line of defence running from Holland to Linz. The RSI holds only Trieste with Mussolini’s empire consisting of half a dozen hexes around the city and Venice. The Alps have been breached, Vienna and Prague lay within the Allied grasp and replacements very hard to come by. Could this be the opening score for Das Gotterdammerung?

Allied Player Turn

In Italy, the Americans attack Trieste, spearheaded by OSS Commando teams who successfully infiltrate the city’s defences and capture Mussolini mid-speech in a balcony. The cities defenders collapse in and EX result and the RSI is no more.

Massive attacks occur again over the front. Between Regensburg and Frankfurt, the French and British are particularly active and it is here the heart of the German line is ripped open. Regensburg falls to the Poles, Czechs and British while at Weisbaden, Wurzburg, Bad Kreuznach are the scene of battles that detroy or seriously harm the German defenders. Berlin’s last hope in the region, a corp based on the 2nd Das Reich Pz and 90th PzG XXs are surrounded by four corps of Canadians and British armour and utterly destroyed. Only Nurnburg holds out against Kiwi and Springbok attacks.

South East of Linz a battlegroup of German Infantry and Anti-tank gunners hold off the thrusting Americans. In the north Rotterdam falls to a 8:1 attack while the Rhine is crossed again at Seigburg where US Armour assaults across from Bonn. West of Arnhem the Americans bludgeon into submission some Luftwaffe ground units for an EX result while in the city itself a single 4-6-6 Infantry XX tries to hold back a complete US Infantry Corp. The results are as expected and the town falls to the Americans. East of Nijmegen a German 8-6 XX with Tiger tank support is pushed back and Berlin is in rapture over the success in the unit surviving.

In Norway the Allied strength gathers itself and forces the defenders back and the approaches of the Forsested Valley leading to Oslo beckon closers and closer…..

Exploitation

The US Army bursts across the Rhine into NE Holland, seizing Groningen and reach the mouth of the Ems River. At Siegburg the bridgehead is cautiously expanded into Hagen and Siegen while further south Canadian and British forces rush through the gap in the German line to consolidate at Erfurt – Jena – Plaven, just before the heavans open up and deluge the front with heavy rain.

Sep II 1944

(special turn skipped becasue the axis needed all the help they could get)
C, C

Axis Player Turn

Replacements and reinforcements are sent to Arnhem and the Westwall. A withdrawal is made to the Rhine in the Netherlands. Munich is garrisoned by Viennese Hitler Jugend and LW criminals with Artillery support. Cossacks and SS units form the Bavarian reserve to seal any Allied breach.

In Norway, bicyclists, Panzer Grenadiers and LW AA units head to Forde to throw the Allies into the North Sea. The KM in Hamburg rebase to Stavanger under the umbrella of lots of AA.

Allies Player Turn

A troop convoy bound for Forde sets off from Scotland. Despite intensive searching and sorties by the KM Battlefleet, it slips its cargo ashore safely to the curses of Berlin. A bitter battle inn the mountains results in a HX but this allows the RMAS and 36 Armoured X to advance to Galdhopigg Mountain.

In Germany, the front is alight with battles. The Allies have a worried eye on the long range meteorological tables and fear poor weather conditions may slow the advance. In a desperate attempt to blow open the front or at least mortally wound the Nazi war machine all available units are thrown into battle.

In the hills north east of Trieste the defenders are forced back while in the Mountain approaches to Klagenfurt an EX is made on some low level Reserve units. At Innsbruck the repositioned and strengthened Allies get a HX on the city’s defenders. Munich falls to an EX result, but the city’s AA aborts 2/3rds of the Allied Ground Support – not pretty. NE of Augsburg the Germans suffer a DH while at Esslingen and Hedenheim DRs occur. Stuttgart falls to a 5:1 Canadian attack thanks to the RE funnies while a joint Candian-French attack clears another hex of the Westwall.

East of Maastricht two US Corps attack the Westwall. Again the LW is foolish enough to try to intercept and the RAF destroys all 250 intercepts (killed). South east of Aachen another Westwall fort falls to the US while an unguarded narrow strait from Roosendaal to outside Rotterdam is crossed by angineer and artillery units to the surprise of the local commander. He is hauled away to Berlin and chastised for this blatant breach. No Iron Cross for him!

In the exploitation phase, the US push across the Rhine and seize Wesel while in Austria the US 1st Armored, fresh from victory at Innsbruck, races to Salzburg while other units push towards Leoben in the Alps. British units head towards Nurnburg and seixe Regensburg and the Sudentenland is entered. Various units “ooze” their way through the gaps in the German lines.

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