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Subject: On the road to Berlin rss

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Pedro Barradas
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Having wanted to play some decent D-day invasion game for some time, I decided to get this SCS beauty.

With a fabulous map, and the usual excellent "the Gamers" style counters, I setup for a full campaign. Solo!

The following lines tell a story of courage...

...

Sometime around May 1944, and looking at the french beach fronts, the Allies hesitated regarding which beaches to use. The terrain surrounding the northern beaches in Holland were too clumsy an probably difficult to launch the offensive from. Southern beaches were good, but too far from Paris with only so much real ports to use.
The Allied command decided to go with Normandy, reports said that food was good there at Cafe Gondré. And THAT was the main reason behind it...

First landing was successful for both the American and CW units. Some thousands dead, but nothing to worry about given the bigger picture.
And the landing success stops here. For the americans... Having to deal with the landing spots near Caen, the German resistance was something more than just stiff. It was hell. They just kept on coming, relentlessly, like they were just sprouting out from the ground. (Indeed they were)

The CW front on the other hand was impressive. Never so few have done so much. Landing near Carentan, the CW command reached Cherbourg in under a month, and managed to held that little peninsula decently. More than decently and more than little, because they've managed to held a copious amount of ground and started moving left towards the German units holding the Americans in the sand.
...

Three months have passed.
The average American GI had a really good tan by then.
The piles of dead units were simply awesome, both for German and American units.
It was without a doubt a war of attrition. Not even a huge carpet bombing did any difference (bloody dice!).
The German command placed their hopes in holding the Allies at the beach, and it was a good bet. Americans faced stacking limits, not able to amass enough strength, no maneuvering ability... all that contributed for the prolonged summer vacations at the landing beaches.

On the other hand the CW units were doing their thing. Like a slow steamroller, they were starting to move downwards and to the left, eating scones and drinking tea while at it. French food was not their thing.

Allied command decided to start a new landing beach, to try to dillute the Axis concentration of force in the North. A new invasion landed near Bordeaux, this time the main reason being red wine.
It had some effect, not as much as expected, but some. In the following forthnight, another invasion was placed near Marseille, in an effort to really convice the German command to stop focusing on the Northen beaches. Indeed it went quite well, storming down to Marseille in just a couple of turns, with fresh troops landing and putting even more pressure on the Axis.
The decision of Marseille had nothing to do with food or wine this time. It was just because the French command wanted to get to Cannes in time for the festival.

Around September 1st, the Germans decided to withdraw, having made life difficult enough for the Americans, and having to worry about the incoming forces from Bordeaux and Marseille.

A slow retreat made the trick, taking advantage of the terrain and the inability of the Americans to stretch their supply too far so fast (Trucks were still in England gathering dust).

By mid October Allied command saw Paris at a distance, and now with ground to maneuver, with all those troops properly reinforced, the city of light fell in under two weeks. Yes, the german command did allowed for that to happen. The loss of troops in Normandy was heavy, and they needed some time without firefights to regain their strength as well.

Slowly withdrawing, the Axis made advancing a bit difficult for the Allies in all fronts. Bordeaux was the exception, having no real opposition. They soon joined the main landing force near Avranches, and while the force grew fearsome, they also grew supplyless due to the scarcity of trucks and heaps of ground to cover.

Marseille was like a slow motion movie, with the Germans denying combat and using the mountain terrain to their advantage. Not hit and run, but stop and run. Some time passed before the rebuilt French Army could join up with the rest of the offensive.

On the Northen front, rivers made attacks quite difficult for the Allied command. The Axis just wouldn't let go of the Paris neighbourhoods. And what the Allied command did?
The obvious: Another gastronomic incursion, this time in the beautiful beaches of Dunkerque. That did the trick. With the Fatherland at stake (read that as: Having long passed turn 8), the German command decided it was time to defend the Reich!

The following month was a chase through the rivers and forests, with Germans running everywhere but still holding a propper line of defense, and with the Allied command going nuts trying to cope with the redesign of the front line and the supply streching all over the place, because the German was smart enough to leave small pockets of resistance here and there. Quite historical as it seems.

In late November, german positions in the Homeland were starting to look properly managed, and it looked like the big summer beach party of 44 was an excellent decision. The Allies were still regrouping, reinforcing and replacing while time went by.
The allied command was overstressed and overstreched.
Still, advances were made, Bologne-sur-Mer and Antwerp were captured, and Le Havre as well with an amazing and unexpected Air Drop!
But with all the damage they took, those ports would take some time to start shipping Attack orders. Belgium was quickly liberated, and chocolate flowed in the Allied Supply lines. Luxembourg was a tad more difficult, the Ardennes held on.

In early days of December 1944, the Allied command got together and decided that they should hold up until January, and on the second week, the big offensive would take place.
That came as a relief for the Germans, both because of replacements and reinforcments. The lines got thicker on both sides.

By middle December, with a suprise counteroffensive near Arnhem, Allied command woke up to a sad reality: They HAD to attack, NOW!
Unfortunately, attack supply was too streched as it was, and the offensive was too slow, being just supported by Antwerp, Le Havre and Cherbourg. Supply trucks from the south had to be diverted North, so Marseille and Bordeaux were nothing more than easily forgotten names.

Arnhem switched hands quite a few times, with that position becoming quite essential for the Allies to force their entry on the Northen front and to completely liberate Holland, and for the Germans to hold the offensive back from Germany's unprotected border as long as possible.

Innumerous incursions were made against the fortified line with much of the damage done to the Axis being absorbed by replacements. Amanzingly (or perhaps not), the 1st PZ SS division was still calling the shots across the Rein.

Finally Arnhem broke free, and some Allied units crossed painfully towards Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Unfortunately Supply couldn't stretch that far, as Attack supply was needed elsewhere.

After a small successful incursion from the German command near Metz, and with the full blunt of the American sword slashing the last fortified positions at the border, the Axis retreated to scattered defensive positions on the Victory Point locations, determined to sell those positions as expensively as possible.

This situation was rushed because of an unforseen event dictated by the High Command at Berlin(read: didn't see that I had to withdraw 6 PZ divisions in February!!!!!).

On their side of things, the CW did an amazing job at containing the german attempts to cut supply, holding on bravely (and loosing irrecuperable steps) with the short ammount of replacements available and with only one attack supply from Cherbourg!

The Allied command did an amazing job of spreading resources, planning attack supply given that it only had 5 truck point to spread!
Some historians (players) might arch an eyebrow while reading this. So did I when I realized that I had two truck units that I haven't used from the Med Box!!!!!
I guess this is a risk you take when you play solo.
After kicking myself a few times, I moved on..

Dusseldorf and Essen were a tough nut to crack. Actually they didn't crack at all, thanks to the same feared (#@$?"!!!) 1st Pz SS division. No matter how much force the Americans spent, the Dice Gods were not very impressed, and like a Phoenix, the black division always rose from the ashes.

The first days of April saw an amazing breakthrough from the Americans, penetrating deep into germany with a well planned exploitation movement. Although becoming out of suplpy, 4 armoured divisions reached vitory point some 50 miles behind Essen, controling them just by being there, hoping the germans would not try to dislodge them.
So it happened, with middle April seeing the last effort from the Allied command to shred the Axis defensive effort to bits. Somewhat acomplished, Cologne, Bonn, Koblenz and Mainz fell in a swift blow. The Rhine was definitively crossed! Would it be on time?...

---

The game ended up as a draw, but given the really bad dice rolling at the beaches, and the terrible supply mistake, I would have to count this as an Allied moral Victory. Surely Germany didn't colapsed as soon as expected, but it surely would.

This is an awesome game. Truly awesome.
My congrats to Dean Essig and the rest of the team.
Impressively enough, this game is so well structured that history almost happens naturally, without the feeling of being scripted at all. Terrain and supply do create a magnificent simulation, and I did feel the stress from both sides.
I will play this gem again, but with a real opponent this time.

Allied sure does have the upper hand, but if not managed properly, victory is more than a few miles away.
German has a huge task at hand, but it can be done.
Care must be taken in reading the reinforcement table beforehand, even if that doesn't sound very historical.

I give this game 5 stars.
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john f stup
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agreed-that this is a very good game
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Steve Constantelos
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Brilliant, entertaining write-up! The gastronomic motivations of the Allied command was also a revelation.
 
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alan beaumont
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Quote:
Pedro Barradas
(pbar1469)
The Allied command decided to go with Normandy, reports said that food was good there at Cafe Gondré. And THAT was the main reason behind it...

Nice review, almost tempted to invest the time. But I hope this comment is just humour, you don't risk 250,000 men on a whim (and check out Eisenhower's 'Defeat' speech, written to apologise for a disaster).
 
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Pedro Barradas
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No, it's real. That cafe had the best bagles in all of France! :o)
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Deacon
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Outstanding report! thumbsupthumbsup
 
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