Tom Stearns
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Latest pictures from Atlantic Wall II being played vs Alex via Vassal PBEM. This game works very well PBEM btw. The Blue fieldwork markers are allied. The stack of blue spade markers near Utah is a german infantry company that is going to have to retreat. Americans cleared the area between UTAH and the Merderet river in the afternoon of June 6. This included clearing out St Mere-Egliese.

The game really provides some great narrative within the small unit battles that take place. Along the coast of the inlet between Utah and Omaha was a WN (weapon nest). The 3rd battalion, 8th regiment, 4th division was tasked along with a Corps engineer battalion to clear out the WN. Airstrikes to soften up the WN were ineffective. (actually an artillery shift was accomplished, but was canceled by an artillery shift on the Americans that came from an en-placed artillery, netting no result). The Americans struggled through the marshy/flooded terrain (combat value halved). The WN proved more difficult than expected (rolled poorly) and the Americans lost 2 steps in eliminating the WN. (costly attack).



Omaha beach was difficult to clear within the amphibious module. As a result there were no movement points left to move on the main map in the PM. Americans took around 21 step losses between the 2 beaches.



Gold Beach is in great shape. Strongpoint 42 just west of the beach has successfully repulsed two commando/engineer attacks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. In a daring afternoon attack, 2 battalions of the 15 Devonshire Light Infantry Regiment attacked across the Seulles River into the town of Cruelly without the assistance of engineers (combat values halved). The low odds combined with the terrain had me rolling on the 1-2 column. Fortunately with +15drm and a really good roll they were able to take out the defending motorized engineer company of 21st Panzer that was defending. It was a risky operation that really paid off.

At Juno 3rd Canadian continued to clean up light resistance to their south. The radar station at Douvres is proving tough for them though.



At Sword the British 3rd Division met with mixed results. They successfully eliminated a full strength 21Pz artillery unit and eliminated a couple of WN and strongpoints. However 2 battalions of 8th brigade got roughed up by artillery and an attack on a strongpoint. They took heavy losses and retreated.

Within the Orne River bridgehead, 6th Airborne celebrated the arrival of the 6th Air Landing Brigade in the afternoon. Paratroopers continue to dig in as they expect a big push by the Germans to close the bridgehead. Paratroop companies that landed east of the Dives River and blew several bridges try to make their way back to the airborne perimeter.




I know I have gushed about this game before. With increased play I am less and less fighting the rules and am playing the game. Daniel Quartaroli has taken the dive in and bought Wacht am Rhein II and AWII. We are in the middle of a game of The Dark Valley, in which his Russians are kicking my ass. When we are done with that we are going to start a GOSS game. I also am in the June 6 allied PM turn in my AWII PBEM Vassal game with Joey Sabin. Will post updated pics at the end of the turn. In the game against Joey I am the Germans. 
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Tom Stearns
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Honestly I don't know historically how hamstrung the Allies were D+1. In game terms it makes sense, especially this game. The only thing preventing the British from driving far south early in the game is that supply tether.
 
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Nick Wade
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gohrns wrote:

I know I have gushed about this game before. With increased play I am less and less fighting the rules and am playing the game. 

That's very good to hear as I bought all three but haven't played any yet. They do look great and I love the idea of investing serious time and thinking to immerse yourself fully, but unfortunately I don't have that sort of time currently. Vicariously through AARs will have to do for the time being.
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Tom Stearns
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Nick, look me up when you decide to get started. I think Kevin Sharp is going to give it a go at some point as well as my friend Daniel as I stated above.

Joey and Alex have been a tremendous help to me getting things clarified and able to play the game.
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No probs Tom, that'd be great. I've already pencilled in Joey for a game of Hurtgen too, once I get sorted on what I'm doing (which seems not likely for a little while).
 
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Re: PBEM Vassal Campaign end of Allied June 7 AM turn
My game with Alex continues here are June 7 AM pictures.

Here are looks at each American Beach.





There are close ups of Carentan area and Treviers area. Both saw dramatic low odds cross river attacks with attached engineers that succeeded. For me both locations are key areas. Carentan to A) work toward linking American beaches B) makes Isigny untenable C) allows progress toward St. Lo and D) an alternative westward approach to cutting the peninsula. It's going to be a dog fight there as he is putting most all of 91st there. I have 101st Abn and 4thID working together. 4thID has better proficiency rated infantry than the 90th. 90th was greener thus lower proficiency. 90th is tasked with pushing the line north vs 709th.



At Omaha the 115th Regiment of 29th division made the attack at Treviers. This forces the German line away from Omaha and opens a good road leading south past the flooded area. The highway runs east to Bayeux, away from the American area of operations. The German will have to back to the next river line, which he won't be able to hold.



What helps the German the most at this point in the game is the short supply tether. HQ are tied to the beaches still. Not until the 8th can the HQ's leave the beach area, but then still must remain within 6 MP's. The game forces the Allied player to take objective towns and connect the beaches in order to bring higher level HQ's to the map (Corps and Army) which then extends the supply tether. So unlikely to have an early Allied breakout like we used to see in The Longest Day.
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Re: PBEM Vassal Campaign Allied June 7 AM turn
Here are pictures of the British Areas June 7 AM.

First the overall area of operations for the British.





British 50th Division was able to push into Bayeux. He will probably have to retreat here as he doesn't have the strength to take it back and barely has enough to for a line of defense. So 50th Division has achieved it's primary objective. So early in the game the Americans have Treviers and the British have Bayeux and Cruelly. For me they are all key initial objectives. For the Americans Carentan and Isigny are the next key objectives.



In front of Caen 3rd Canadian and British 3rd Division really want to push south as fast and hard as possible to kill/trap as many German units as possible and to gain as much as the area just north of Caen as possible. Alex appears content to pull back into Caen and entrench. I also want to interdict with my forces the Bayeux-Caen highway and the primary road just south of the highway to disrupt his path of reinforcements. As you will see in the picture following 12SS is coming down the highway in force. I want to try and keep them from getting too far west. This will create bulge in his line. Going to be tough for me to extend too much farther south because of supply issues.



Orne River bridgehead is very important to the British. When I play a Normandy game as the Germans I always try to shut it down. When I play as the Allies I always reinforce it with the British 3rd Div. In this picture you can see some 3rd Div battalions making their way into the bridgehead. To the north a battalion of commando's with the assistance of the 6th Abn light tanks broke through and relieved the surrounded Canadian paratroopers. I think he will begin to pull back those companies now that the 6th Abn is being reinforced. In this game there are a lot of Commando battalions. Each division can only attach one commando battalion. Except the 6th Abn which is not limited. Commando's are really good for attacking fortified areas. The can only be the lead unit in an attack (use of proficiency rating (PR)) when attacking a fortified position. Their attack PR is the max 9. You can German reinforcements pouring in from the east side of the map. 12SS to the south and 346 Div coming in directly east from the bridgehead. I chose to hold the crossing of the Dives River, one hex is vantage point hex as well. This allowed Alex to activate the entire 711 Div, including the off map units. I'm anxious to see how this area develops and how Alex chooses to operate here. Will he max defend with entrenchments or will he attempt to counter attack and close. The key is to watch what he does with 12SS and 21Pz. 346 and 711 divisions are not strong enough to counter attack.

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Re: PBEM Vassal Campaign Allied June 8 AM turn
This update is at the end of the Allied June 8 AM turn. So about one day, 3 game turns from the June 7 update.

First the American area of operations big picture.



Starting at Utah and working east.



90th Div working up the coast against 709 Div. The 4th Cav group and some units of 101st Abn helping them out. Have been able to get a good push along the coast and along the eastern most primary road. There are a lot strongpoints and weapon nests in here that make it a little tougher to dig the German units out of. He is well fortified across the main highway leading north. Really need another division here. 9th Div where are you?



Here is the 82nd Airborne area. The airborne is really slow to regroup and the HQ's are tied to their own LZ, so the 82nd is really in a holding position. Tried to grab some river crossings but he is working hard to cut those northern most units off and blow the bridges. He is also steady digging in. This is going to be a tough path to cut off the peninsula. Will probably need to look at alternative routes.



Suffered a set back in front of Carentan. Attempted to force my way into the entrenched hex with a regiment of the 4th Div, but he had too many supporting units and I was repulsed. I expect he will counter attack now my reduced battalion. At least they are in an improved position. The 101st Abn did make more progress south in their attempt to cut reinforcement and supply path into Carentan from the west. Carentan is usually a tough nut to crack early, but it is vital. I need to connect the American beaches ASAP so I can get an Army HQ on the map which will improve my supply situation.



29th Division making progress south of the Aure river and away from the flooded area. This will allow them to push on Isigny from the east and the north.



1st Division pushing south also trying to gain the Bayeux-St.Lo highway and get as far south as possible before 17SS and Pz Lehr arrive.
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Re: PBEM Vassal Campaign end of Allied June 8 AM turn
Now the British areas.

First the overall British area of operations.





50th Division, having secured Bayeux tries to push into the hedgerow and bocage further south. They do not want to stay in the open/clear hexes. The highway is also secured. They have achieved much with little loss. Attacks this turn south of Bayeux and south of the highway were not very successful. They do have a pretty decent defensive line formed. With 51st division moving in position on their left, 50th Div will be able to shorten their line and pack a little better punch in the coming turns.



Canadians have also been able to shorten their line with 51st Div coming in on their right. They made a grab at a town hex of Caen. There was a stack of 12SS Pz's and engineers in the open just to the left of the entrenched town hex. He exploited with his 12SS recon and reinforced the hex. A successful offensive artillery fire support mission inflicted some loss on the 12SS stack and forced a retreat. The attack on the entrenched 21st Pz units was a draw, with both sides suffering losses. If you look to far right of the picture you will see a British engineer co straddling the Orne canal. As you will see in the next picture, 3rd Division ferried their way across the canal and river and flanked the fortified German line in the bridgehead.



So here you can see where a battalion of 3rd Div was able to make into Colombelles behind the German line. I suspect he will be forced to abandon the entrenchment and withdraw. This breach can be easily reinforced by me as well. Another issue he will have to deal with is he did not supply 21st Pz with fuel. He will have to roll on the Fuel Level Table to see how many, if any, mech units of the division he can move or how many MP's they get. A bad roll and he may be trapped. I was also able to use artillery fire and an attack with 3rd Div and 27x armor to push his line back out of St Honorine la Chardonnette a village with a vantage point and the hex adjacent. My units advanced 2 hexes threatening his rear from that direction as well. A lot infantry from 711 and 346 divisions continue to make their way to the line. He did pull back though in the north. Now I need to clean up those WN's and StP's.
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Tom Stearns
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Alex and I finished the June 8 turn. I posted a bird's eye view of entire map so you can get an idea of how massive this game is.



At Utah the 90th division continues to make headway up the coast. 82nd holding the westward line and infiltrating some south of the Douvre River. Alex began the evacuation of Carentan, leaving only an infantry company behind in the entrenchment. He is moving the 91st division units west toward their HQ. He also abandoned Isigny on the 8th allowing the 29th division to capture it. He has fought a well coordinated delayed withdrawal in front of the 1st Division and bought time for 17SS arrive. You can see they have arrived at St Lo and will begin deploying on the
9th.





Panzer Lehr is also on the map and will being deploying on the 9th as well. The British and 12SS are having a stare down match west of Caen. The 3rd divisions cross canal maneuver behind the German line east of Caen has caused a problem for Alex. He had to abandon the line and is trying to form up on the main highway. This is going to be an interesting fight in the game days ahead.





Weather has hampered the Allied air effort as well as my just not doing a good job maximizing air resources. The Air Marshall has been fired....lol. With 17SS and Panzer Lehr on the map and more reinforcements coming it will be interesting to see if Alex counterattacks. The American 2nd Division has arrived and Omaha and is moving south. The 49th division and 7th Armored have begun to arrive for the British as well. American 9th division should begin to arrive this next game day at Utah.
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Doug Johnson

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Excellent AAR!!

Glad to see you are enjoying the game. Good move on your part crossing the Orne!! I have managed to do the same thing if the Allied player neglects to protect against it.
 
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Great photos!
 
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bdbryant wrote:
Great photos!

Ah, now that I've zoomed in I see that they must be Vassal screenshots.

Still very informative.
 
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bdbryant wrote:
bdbryant wrote:
Great photos!

Ah, now that I've zoomed in I see that they must be Vassal screenshots.

Still very informative.


Yes these are from ongoing Vassal game, of which I currently have 3. The game pictured here is now on June 12. I have not updated in awhile. Will try and get some more pictures up at the end of this game day. Quite a bit has changed in the 4 game days.
 
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Tom Stearns
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Atlantic Wall II update. These pics are from the June 12 night turn after the Allied move.

Bird's Eye View



On the Cotentin Peninsula Alex has chosen to save as many units as possible and has begun to abandon the Peninsula. The Cherbourg garrison remains. 90th Div is starting to head towards the outer works of the port.



9th, 2nd Arm and 4th Div are trying to push the German formations to their front to the south west.



101st, 2nd and 1st Div's are pushing slowly on St. Lo where 17SS and 352nd are making it tough.



Pz Lehr and 50th Div are staring each other down.



51st Div has crossed the Odon south west of Caen and is facing an entrenched, but bloodied 12SS. 2nd Panzer Div is moving south of Caen to the west. 21Pz is dug into Caen and east of the city. 711 has abandoned Cabourg, leaving only a few entrenched, isolated, eastern Europeans to face 49th Div.



Supply is truly a leash on the Allies until they can get Army Group HQ's on the map. I have not met the conditions to bring on Army HQ's yet. Love this game. Still have three ongoing PBEM games going on. This is the one that is furthest along. The other two are on June 7. I am the Allies in one of those and the Germans in the other.

More and more people are starting to give GOSS and AW a more serious look since the release of the newly written and organized rules for the series as well as the exclusive game rules.
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I haven't studied the US sector very much, but comparing the CW sector to the historical phase lines suggests (to me) that either the Allies are too strong or else attacking is too easy.

I see the same thing in everyone else's screenshots.
 
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Tom Stearns
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I don't think it's a game issue, I think it's a player issue. Playing the Germans is much harder than playing the Allies. Figuring out how to best utilize the sparse German units and get them into stacks that will slow the Allies is a steep learning curve. It's easier to do in the American sectors but the British sectors are much tougher. Making a commitment to try and close the bridgehead is one possible way because that forces the CW player to send 3rd Div into the bridgehead quicker.

This is a game where repeated plays as the German will improve your skill and thus have the game play a little more along historical lines.

I will say that even though 3rd Canadian got into the Caen city hexes north of the river, they did so at such cost that they have been dormant ever since trying to recover their strength. 51st division push across the Odon River, but took heavy losses themselves, thus having to dig in. 3rd Divisions progress east of Caen had ground to halt again due to losses and arrival of German reinforcements.

I don't mind the ahistorical time-line because that is why we play the game. If it's just a regurgitation of history then whats the point? I like that things can develop differently. I can also say having played the Germans a couple of times against non-aggressive Allies, the map looked different than this. Alex is picking and choosing where to stand tough. He seems to put premium on unit preservation. I think he's a pretty tough opponent.
 
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gohrns wrote:
I don't mind the ahistorical time-line because that is why we play the game. If it's just a regurgitation of history then whats the point? I like that things can develop differently.
Agreed, but it also STM that if equally competent players follow approximately strategies there should be a tendency toward an approximately historical result. So far everything I recall seeing uniformly biases the result in the same direction.

However, you make a good point about play experience: maybe "equally competent players" also requires a certain minimal experience in order to play both sides equally well.

I should have tried historical strategy in my own first game. I thought the Germans could rush 12 SS over to put some hurt on the airhead/bridgehead, but I'm not accustomed to how many turns it takes to get units moved up, into the line, and stacked like you want them. It may take more than a day to get 21 Pz out of the line east of the Orne and back into line in front of Caen.
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Tom Stearns
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Despite JY's comments I think that is an entirely plausible strategy. Close that bridgehead, take out the airborne and you can hold that river line with the 346th and 711th. Shifting then 12SS to the west. I think the German player can get to hung up on forming a line west of Caen. I think you defend Caen, but the area between Caen and Bayeux is really a no mans land. British can only go so far due to supply. I like to conserve the Panzer Divisions then counter attack. Think down the road how powerful a German counter attack can be with Pz Lehr, 12SS and 2nd Pz along with the NW's. Hold the Caen and the river lines then bloody the Britishness nose.
 
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Sam N/A
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Lots of words will TL,DR at the end.

I think one of the issues with how Normandy games tend to play out is exactly what you mentioned. "Imagine how powerful a German Counter-Attack can be with Pz Lehr, 12SS and 2nd Pz." In fact, the Allied planners imagined just that, and it's that exact reason why 3rd Canadian Division landed as the most powerful formation on D-Day.

German strategy in Normandy games is at it's most vital in the first like, three days of the game. You need to crush the beachheads as soon as possible. If you're too long, the allies will build up enough forces and render that impossible. The problem is that you don't have enough forces unless you wait. As you said, how you use those three Panzer divisions is how you will determine if the Allies will have an easy time of beating you, or a hard time of beating you.

I mean the most popular wargamer strategy for the Germans on D+1 is to try and close the Orne bridgehead. It seems logical, what you're facing is at best a bunch of weakened airborne forces supported by some light AT assets, should be a cakewalk right? Not really, not if the Allied player is smart. The smart thing for the allied player to do is follow historical strategy and make sure that every single bridge in eastern Normandy that isn't over the Orne Canal and River is sent to the bottom.
In this game, you have actually made a critical error in not blowing the bridge over the River Dives and trying to hold it. I mean yes, you have a vantage point, but for what? You can spot units for artillery that is 3 hexes away in open terrain. Guess what isn't around that vantage point? Open terrain. And what did you get for your decision? From what I'm seeing, an early activation of the entire 711 Division and while they can't join in the counter attack, from what I'm parsing they now have more time to get to a defensive position and dig in. That's gonna cause you headaches down the line.

This leaves the German player with two strategies to try and close the bridgehead: Try and move forces through the marsh hexes, which will A) Take an eternity to navigate and B) will still make them subject to movement stoppages due to the glider landed artillery of 6th Airborne, so that's not really viable. Your other strategy for crushing the bridghead then is to use your Panzer divisions to try and launch an attack north from the east of Caen like in bdbryant's game.

Take note that the latest update is the June 7th German AM turn and his 12th SS Units have taken all of one hex of the Bois de Bavant, and to top it off, 3rd British is already reinforcing the bridgehead. This strategy will likely not work because he's locked himself into only using the 12th SS's Infantry units, and not their much stronger Panther assets, because Heavy Armour, which Panthers count as, can not use the trails that lead into the Bois de Bavant because it's CT. To collapse the rest of the bridgehead he's going to have to fight through light forested terrain that will still be hex after hex of movement stopping terrain because if the Paras have the vantage points they can then stop any of the slow Panzer movement with forces hiding in the woods in contact with artillery guns.

So, it's PLAUSIBLE to collapse the bridgehead, but only if your Allied player isn't smart. And even if you do, you likely will have drained at least one Panzer division and made it not viable to partake in the counter-attack against the other beachheads.

So let's look at another strategy. Launch the Panzer Counter-attack somewhere more to the West. This also falls into two avenues of attack, only one of which is actually viable.

First idea, launch the Panzer Counter Attack against the forces exiting off of Gold, through Bayeux. Once again, the terrain is your biggest enemy, because the area is covered in hedgerows, rough terrain, and wooded areas, sometimes a mix of them! If it's not CT, then it's terrain which can cause MH to happen as long as there is artillery in range. That being said, this is also acting on the assumption that Bayeux is still in German hands. If it isn't, then you can just forget it entirely because if you don't have control of that highway junction, you're not going to get your forces in position fast enough.

This then leads us with the final avenue of attack, and the only one that is remotely possible. Go through all that lovely empty terrain between Caen and Bayeux. Look at the map if you don't believe me! It's totally clear, lots of roads and trails for your Heavy Panzers to use, and it's right astride the Bayeux-Caen highway! The only thing stopping you is a bunch of Canucks and what the heck are they going to do?

If the allied player is smart, he will try to follow the Canadian plan on D-Day, which is to set up a defensive line on that exact highway stretching from Putot to Carpiquet as soon as possible. Why would he do this you ask? Well first thing is that it prevents any movement along that highway so those Panzers can't get to Bayeux which further renders the strategy discussed above inert (You actually realize this in your AAR). Secondly, there are enough villages along that path to Juno that as long as you have troops there, and artillery in range, will stop movement. There are also enough vantage points with clear hexes to take advantage of, that any attempts to outflank the villages and wooded areas will be met with artillery fire. True, the wide open spaces make it difficult for the Canadians to defend as well, but if you do what was done historically, and establish a fortress at Villons-les-Buissons, you're gonna give the Germans a bad, bad, D+1 to D+5.

The Juno path is the only viable route of advance for the Panzer divisions, and it's exactly what the allies planned for. It's why 3rd Canadian Division landed with the largest compliment of self propelled artillery and 17 pndr AT guns with Sabot rounds of all the allied forces on D-Day. I mean granted, if your German player follows historical events exactly as they happened, they'll shoot themselves in the foot because Kurt Meyer had his hand forced by the North Novas advancing through Authie and Buron, and were about to stumble on the counter-attack that was forming up and he had no choice but to launch it way before it was ready, and even though the 12th SS managed to push the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade all the way back to Villons-les-Buissons, it still took them the better part of an afternoon, even with their 5 to 1 advantage in infantry, and then the following days consisted of Meyer feeding the 12th SS and Panzer Lehr to the Canadians piecemeal in a series of incredibly stupid attacks when the SS weren't murdering Canadian POWs for the crime of fighting a war better than they did.

But yeah, as long as you don't do something stupid with the Canadians like try to take Hill 112 or Caen, you'll be golden. Anyone who's interested in what happened in the days following June 6th should pick up a copy of Marc Milner's "Stopping the Panzers". It'll completely change how you look at the opening days of Normandy.

TL,DR: The only real way to crush the beachhead is to strike at Juno through the clear space between Bayeux and Caen. A smart allied player will use the Canadians to prevent that from happening. Best Allied strategy in any Normandy game is to play the operation exactly as it was ACTUALLY planned.
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Thanks for sharing your insight. Curious how much you've played this particular game. Of the big Normandy games, The Longest Day, The Battle for Normandy and Atlantic Wall II, AWII is the game the Germans have the most difficulty counter-attacking, in my experience.

All your ideas have merit, but so much depends on your opponent and how things develop. In one of my other games where I am the Allies I've cut the Caen-Bayeux highway with units of the 50th and 3rd Canadian divisions, on the afternoon of the 7th. The German player may still be able to attack with 12SS toward Juno, but the Allies hold the river line there NW of Caen.

Like I said above, it's why we play the game. To try alternate strategies and see what can happen. I don't play with these games so much to "win the game" as I do for the experience. These games really tell a story.
 
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Sam N/A
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I've only recently started trying to play the GOSS series of games, but I've played a fair amount of BfN and the overall strategy kinda remains the same. Ultimately the problem with wargaming, if you base it off of real battles is that eventually you start to find out why things went the way they did. I mean most of my analysis of these plans isn't just research but just looking at the map terrain and game mechanics and extrapolating the issues from there. And when I play solitare with games that don't have solitare mechanics, which is quite the norm, I usually try to play both sides to their most logical. The only real tradition I have with Normandy games is to do the Canadian beach landings last, as that's what happened historically (I'm Canadian, and from Nova Scotia, so the opening of the Normandy Campaign has been one of my many history focuses and I like to play things as historically as possible in regards to them.) I mean if it's something like the Eastern Front, I'm just gonna do whatever and see what happens.
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gohrns wrote:
In one of my other games where I am the Allies I've cut the Caen-Bayeux highway with units of the 50th and 3rd Canadian divisions, on the afternoon of the 7th

Are you using the printed rules? The September e-rules shortened the supply paths for June 7, and I don't think you can go that far anymore.
Edit: Probably I'm wrong. I thought you couldn't deliberately move out of supply, but now I see that that is only in effect if there are enemy units close by.
 
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Tom Stearns
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I think one unit of 3rd Canadian is out of supply (on hand supply st the moment). Rest are in supply.
 
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