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Subject: Summer 1943 Campaign rss

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Currently playing a fun WestFront only game as the Axis against vonpaul's Allies.

We did a semi-historical Summer 1943 start. Axis setup was fairly standard. In the south, the Italians guarded Sardinia and Sicily while German mobile units were placed in the Rome area as a reserve/reaction force. Consensus strategy in France seems to be abandoning the western Channel coast and stacking the Seine river but I wanted to play a bit more historical--I put forts on the beaches and committed PP to building up a counterattacking force.

The Allies attacked in multiple directions in July, landing in Sardinia, Sicily and Bari. The Italians surrendered without too much fuss. After a month or so buildup the Allies blitz invaded northern Italy from two directions--units in Olbia landed in Livorno and units from Taranto landed in Ravenna. Had this worked all of southern Italy would have been cut off from rail supply. While the Allies did clear Livorno the Ravenna combat was not in support and an engaged German infantry held the hex. The Germans blitz HQ "C" in response, reinforcing Ravenna and counterattacking the Livorno beachhead. Although it was a near run thing the Allies held on.

Then came mud. Every turn from November through February was mud, with multiple storms in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea basins. The Allied groups in northern Italy attrited twice over the winter from storms when their BH's stopped functioning. With clear weather in March the Germans blitzed again, clearing Ravenna and drawing a line in the mountains from La Spezia--Bologna--Florence--Rimini.

Northern France also saw plenty of action, with the Allies beginning to raid the Channel coast over the winter, and attempting multiple landings once dry weather hit. Hindsight is 20/20 but this turned out to be premature--the Axis had a mobile force to counterattack with and eliminated multiple landing groups and BH's.

We paused the game at June 1944, with allied airpower about to shut down German movement.

Very fun session and I think it is still anyone's game. The Allies have taken heavy losses, including three BH's, but so have the Germans. Blitzing counterattacks are very expensive at 15 PP per HQ step, and I think the Germans might be out of position with Allied Air Supremacy taking effect. The game shows that the Germans can counterattack in WestFront, however. German mobility and firepower can pack a punch well into 1944.

Pictures:



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B Schneider
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Nice report! Keep us updated!
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Craig Besinque
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Interested in your comment that the current default WF/44 defense strategy is to concede W France and stack on the Seine.

I have played against that once and found it to be a bear. Easy invasion advanced to find a line of Forts along the river. Broke through but got wasted by a brutal armor counterattack (I suppose with PPs saved up from not having to retreat).

Anybody else have experience vs this strategy?

I seem to recall that at least one German general recommended exactly this course but it was obviously not adopted.

Craig
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Quote:
Interested in your comment that the current default WF/44 defense strategy is to concede W France and stack on the Seine.

I have played against that once and found it to be a bear. Easy invasion advanced to find a line of Forts along the river. Broke through but got wasted by a brutal armor counterattack (I suppose with PPs saved up from not having to retreat).

Anybody else have experience vs this strategy?

I seem to recall that at least one German general recommended exactly this course but it was obviously not adopted.


I do not play a lot of WF but this seems to be the optimal approach. Western France is not worth anything from a PP perspective, and the Germans do not spend PP on HQ steps retreating, as you pointed out. Another advantage is that the only major port in the area is Antwerp (Marseilles is a bit too far south). Without a major port handy the Allies will spend 15 PP per HQ step trying to crack the river line.

I think somoeone proposed making Paris an open city, which would help the attacker in both 1940 and 1944. This might just encourage the Germans to withdraw all the way to the Rhine, however, where just about every hex is a forest and/or city.

Without a rules change the best counters are probably:

Try invading behind the Seine, in the Calais/Low Countries area. The Germans cannot have forts everywhere.

Commit hard to Italy and/or the Balkans. The Allies can always try the Churchill route and delay D-Day to 1945...
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Juan de Marco
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Ah interesting. I always fail with an upfront defense west of Seine. Thanks for the report!
 
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