Okay, with the rules and stuff taken care of, I spent three days laying out the maps on trestle tables (and a circular garden table to place the Iberian peninsula in the correct spot that got me in no end of strife with the cheese and kisses – how was I to know she put her pegs on it for the clothes line??), counters and setting up the reinforcement counters on my specially made reinforcement charts. This was naturally interrupted by my new born proving to everyone just how loud he could cry when his dad wasn’t picking him up and fussing over him.
Finally I was able to go the Allied player – hurrah for me! Unfortunately this meant my opponent had to spend another couple of hours setting up his defences which included burning up exisiting RPs as forts along the east bank of the Seine, along the Tiber, Po and around Cassino as well as making Normandy look like a death trap – forts everywhere. He also was very conscious of the fact that Spain stood out like the dog’s proverbials (lets face it, the whole reason why I devised this game was so I could invade Spain so it was a no brainer to know that I would do it and probably before November 1943 when the Garrisons of Spain convert to the 2-3-6* XXs). With this in mind a Panzer XX was stationed along the border along the Mediterranean coast and a PG XX across from San Sebastian in Bayonne with a couple of insignificant units along the Pyrenees.
In Corsica the Germans cringe in Bastia while the Italians are spread over Sardinia, Sicily and southern Corsica to dissuade any Allied heroics in the area. Most surprising was a fort placed in Cagliari which made me adjust my preconceptions over where I was to intially invade. Messina and Reggio and Villa San Giova are stuffed full of AA works with the HG Pz XX and and Whermacht Pz XX wait on the italian mainland to be shuttled across to Sicily by the LC stationed at Messina. The Italian navy skulk about in Genoa and Naples, catching horrid diseases and sharing a few new ones about.
In France there is little to say other than Normandy and Brittany was heavily defended – the heaviest I have ever seen actually and the interior and south was bare (except for the Italians of course). The Luftwaffe were in strong force in Holland and Belgium and AA and construction units were positioned along a central rail line running through France. Obviously the intention was to maintain a single RR at least to ensure units would remain in supply throughout the bulk of France and well into Spain if needed. This sort of tactic was poo-poohed by Allied Air Command as the sort of devious and cowardly trick that “Jerry” would get up to. Confidence was high however that superior Air power would make a mockery of the supply situation in France.
Allied air turn – massive bombing of Sicily and southern Italy, lots of harrassment flown around Messina. Northern france starts looking like a case of the measles as red hit markers sprout up along the rail lines. The intention is to continue these at a rate that makes it impossible for the German to fix with the construction units he has available before shutting down the rail network before any cross channel attack in 1944. This continues throughout the period described below.