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.
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.