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Subject: "The War Of Lost Opportunities" - Campaign Game Replay Allied Fall 1939 rss

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Doug Poskitt
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As I write up the Allied Fall 1939 turn for posting to BGG, I do so with the feedback already posted to date for the Axis Fall 1939 turn.

Thanks to Patrick Bauer and moonglum01 (both of whom gave invaluable comments/explanations) for their input on shore bombardment losses on an EX. In this session report, all decisions were taken on the assumption that shore bombardment factors were required to be taken as losses to meet the requirements of an EX. This was a significant factor in the Allies deciding against a DoW and subsequent invasion of Italy. Please bear this in mind when reading this report.

Prior to playing Winter 1939, we will discuss this issue and finalise an agreement for the rest of the game. (As no invasion was made in Fall 1939, the game won’t suffer from an inconsistency in playing this rule two different ways.)

Allied Fall 1939

DoW
The Soviet Union declares war on East Europe (10 BRPs).

A much more difficult decision presents itself in the Mediterranean. After much anguished deliberation, I decide not to declare war on Italy with a view to invading the Italian mainland. I baulk at the possible British naval losses in the event of an EX when trying to get ashore. (See Axis Fall 1939 discussion).

The temptation to declare war on Italy and occupy Libya is also resisted. While it’s true that the majority of the Italian fleet are out of action this turn due to their having been used for Sea Escort or being newly constructed, and hence a seaborne assault at LL19 by the French is more than a viable option, my decision is based on economic considerations and the consequences of a corresponding Axis double move over Winter 1939 – Spring 1940.

For a start, France does not have enough BRPs to declare war on Italy and launch an offensive in the same turn, so it would be Britain that would have to bear the 35 BRP burden. Add to that 15 BRPs for an offensive, and Britain would be left with 12 BRPs from her per-turn spending limit. That would mean only 74 BRPs-worth of construction for Britain over Fall-Winter 1939. Thus, she would be limited to only two 9-factor fleets (54 BRPs), leaving only 20 BRPs remaining for construction of ground and/or air units.

I do not think the occupation of Libya is worth the weakened state the Allies would be in – particularly Britain – as this would give the Axis greater strategic flexibility over Winter 1939 – Spring 1940 (and if France should fall as a result of the double move, even beyond). Britain would be weaker in ground and air forces than I would be comfortable with, and as I stated at setup, my overall goal is to defend France and make sure she survives until at least Summer 1940, if not Fall 1940. To my mind, while conquering Italy would be worth the trade off of an early French collapse, Libya would not.

It’s at this point that something else begins to dawn on me. I had been focusing so much on the options of attacking Italy and/or Libya that a consequence of my opponent building that fleet on his opening turn has only just registered.

Germany spent her full allotment of 75 BRPs in Fall 1939, while Italy did the same, spending 37 BRPs. The Axis now have a total of 113 BRPs. With Britain and France’s total BRPs at 210, that makes an Allied lead of 97 BRPs.

With no declaration of war on Italy, Britain can go ahead and spend up to her turn-limit of 62 BRPs. However, France is the problem here. If she constructs all her force pool – 2 x 3-5 Armoured Corps, 4 x 2-3 Infantry Corps, and 2 x Replacements, that will cost her 22 BRPs. The total Allied spending in the Fall 1939 Construction Phase would be 84 BRPs. That would leave the Allies’ BRP total at 126 at the end of the turn. It would be higher than that of the Axis! Hellfire … a double turn looms. Horror of horrors! After having decided to decline a declaration of war on Italy (fearful in part of handing the Axis a double move over Winter 1939 – Spring 1940), I now find a double move staring me in the face – and without any recompense other than a full construction program.

The building of that Italian fleet in Fall 1939 has ramifications beyond just purely military considerations.

What to do? France must spend at least another 13 BRPs to avoid the double move. With her being denied expenditure of BRPs on Foreign Aid, France can at least blow 5 BRPs on the Intelligence Table. However, that leaves her 8 BRPs short.

There are only two options that the French can undertake. One is to spend 10 BRPs on a Dow against Luxembourg in conjunction with a roll on the Intelligence Table, the other is to blow 15 BRPs on an offensive (in which case there is no need to spend an extra 5 BRPs on intelligence).

Given that France has got to find some way to bring the Allies BRPs total down to at least parity with the Axis, the choice will be an offensive. This way, Germany has to spend 10 BRPs of her own to declare war on Luxembourg when she launches her western offensive.

Options
Western: Britain = P; France = O (15 BRPs); USSR = P; Denmark = A
Eastern: USSR = A; Britain = P; France = P
Med: Britain = A; France = A; USSR = P

France spends 15 BRPs on a western front offensive, leaving her with 70 BRPs.

Unconquered Minor Movement and Combat Phase
Denmark, as an attacked minor in the previous turn, gets a movement and combat phase at this stage of the turn. Her attrition roll is a 4, which is a no effect.

Movement Phase
Even though Britain is forced into taking a Pass option on the western front, she can still have her fleets change base, as there is no enemy fleet based on that front and no Axis air unit is based within four hexes of the course such base changes will take. She moves her fleets as follows: one 9-factor fleet from Gibraltar to Malta (making Malta safe from a surprise invasion while Britain is in the process of strategic redeployment of her forces in the two 1939 turns); two 9-factor fleets from Portsmouth/Southampton to Gibraltar (ensuring the second leg of Sea Escort capability of three SR’s from Britain to the Mediterranean and vice versa); one 9-factor fleet from Portsmouth/Southampton to Rosyth (to be joined by two newly-constructed fleets later in the turn), so as to benefit from the naval battle multiplier (thanks for pointing that out moonglum01!) should an invasion be attempted by Germany in 1940 ... they will also be used to Sea Escort the initial British contingent to France.

On the Eastern front, the Soviet Union moves its forces west to occupy the required cities to control East Europe. Note in Rumania they move forward to occupy the two Rumanian cities before falling back to take their place in the line.



In Britain, the 3-4 Infantry Corps in Plymouth moves to London. (The German airborne might be in G32 and thus not an immediate danger, but it is on the board and I am aware of its potential for inflicting a surprise visit on Whitehall lest London be left unprepared). The airwing at Harwich moves to Portsmouth/Southampton, as when the Axis declares war on the Netherlands, they could stage an airwing or two to Wilhelmshaven (by building an airbase there) and counter-air the RAF at Harwich.



The Middle East sees the British withdraw to the safety of the Qattara Depression. The main idea here is that the Italians can only get (at present) six factors of ground units in contact with the British defenders, and have only a 33% chance of causing the British any casualties at all … and that will only be one unit … met by the British 1-3 Infantry Corps in Palestine. The 2-5 (WDF) moves up from Port Said to provide backup to the projected screen of 1-3 Infantry Corps’. The 1-4 AF at Alexandria stages to Port Said where it will combine with the 1-4 AF there in the SR phase, so as to cost only one SR against Britain’s SR limits.



Combat Phase
Given that the attacker must make one ground attack or conduct one air or naval mission whilst undertaking an offensive, the French High Command orders its 2-3 Infantry Corps at Strasbourg to attack the German 3-3 Infantry Corps in Q25 at 2:9 (less than 1:4) which results in an automatic A elim.

Observers might comment that as I was taking an offensive, “Why not try and take out the German unit instead of simply committing suicide with the French unit?”

To have stood a good chance of eliminating the German would have meant committing two 2-3 Infantry Corps to the attack along with at least 5 AF’s (9:9). An EX would have cost me a minimum of 19 BRPs (very bad), while a CA EX would have cost me 4 BRPs (not so bad at all). However, that attack had a 16.67% chance of an A Elim, and a 33.33% chance of an EX. That adds up to a 50% chance that the French treasury would be called upon to find 19 BRPs.

The math speaks for itself. At 50%-odds the French lose 19 BRPs, which would then be added to the 15 BRPs already spent on the offensive. That’s 34 BRPs, leaving only eight for construction. I could build the four infantry units and that’s all. The two armoured units and the two replacement units would remain unbuilt.

As the Allied player, I like to try and build a double stack of French units facing the Belgian border so that in the event of an EX, German losses are as heavy as possible. With only 8 BRPs left over, I would have to use infantry in peripheral hexes where the replacements would normally go. (I say this because I remember games where the German has invaded Belgium and in the same turn exploited into the first row of hexes in north-east France.)

That is the rationale employed by Gamelin, Weygand, and Georges as they order the suicide assault.

Conquests
Having occupied all the Pact cities in East Europe, the USSR will receive 25 BRPs in the 1940 YSS should this remain the case.

Construction
France builds 2 x 3-5 Armour; 5 x 2-3 Inf; and 2 x Rep for a total of 24 BRPs, leaving 46 BRPs.
Britain builds 2 x 9-factor fleets; one 3-4 Inf; and 5 x Rep for a total of 62 BRPs, leaving 63 BRPs.
USSR builds one 3-5 Arm; 5 x 3-3 Inf; 5 x 2-3 Inf; and 3 x 1-3 Inf for a total of 34 BRPs, leaving 46 BRPs.

The French plug the “gap” at Calais with a 2-3 Infantry Corps. As already noted, the FHC have doubled up the next three hexes in the line (opposite Brussels to Luxembourg). This has a two-fold purpose: First, to discourage the German from trying to occupy any of theses hexes on exploitation in Winter 1939 should he attack the Belgian line of defense; Second, if he does, his losses are likely to be high, with an EX costing him eight factors instead of four.



A Replacement is constructed in Dieppe; this hex is far from Paris, and could not be reached until the second turn of a German attack in the west (which hopefully means Spring/Summer 1940, by which date the loss of Dieppe is likely to be the least of my problems). Lastly, a Replacement is also placed at Lyons, limiting exploitation opportunities should he try an end run through Italy.

Britain constructs a 3-4 Infantry Corps in London, bringing the stack of ground units there up to 10 factors. Should the German try an airborne assault on the capital, the maximum odds he could get would be 12:20 (1:2) with a CA at 10:12 (1:2). Mind you, this doesn’t include DAS from the RAF, which would make the odds even worse for the German. To my mind, this should be enough to discourage a German airdrop on London.



Replacements are placed all around the south and east coast hexes of Britain, from the beach above Great Yarmouth all the way round the coast to Plymouth. The remaining Replacement unit will be constructed at L23 in Winter 1939.

As I re-learn some of the finer points of the rules after all these years, I see that newly constructed fleets (i.e. the two at Rosyth) cannot be used for any purpose in the turn of construction. Given I have moved two fleets from Britain to Gibraltar this turn, that leaves only one 9-factor fleet free for Sea Escort this Fall 1939 turn. Thus, only one 3-4 Infantry Corps will be taking its place in the French line. (It was in my mind to send two to France, but further reinforcements to France will have to wait until Winter 1939).

As far as the Soviet defense is concerned, at present I am torn between two alternative ways to construct the line.

Forward Defence



This was the way that I remember most Soviet setups way back in the 1980’s when I first got into the game. In its favour, this type of defence gives up little ground initially, and any successful exploitations can only get as far as the second line. Even if the German airborne unit succeeds in punching a hole in the second line (which I saw happen often), the third line of defense (i.e. the armour units) limits the depth of any panzer penetration.

However, if the German player is willing to chance some 1:1’s in certain places, there is the chance to place exploiting panzers into the second line of defence at intervals running the length of the whole line. I remember this happening quite often too, with the result that a successful German assault places a significant number of Soviet units out of supply. Thus the Soviet player has to respond with an offensive in order to break the mesh of ZOC’s of the exploiting panzers, or take an attrition hoping to push some panzers out of the way and resupply some of his units.

Either way, the counter-move by the Soviets requires careful planning and execution and success cannot be guaranteed. Also, it makes it much harder to form a subsequent line of defense with any degree of cohesion to it.

“Gap” or “Delay” Defence



This is an idea I am currently toying with. The basic idea is to have the Soviet second line three hexes back from the first, where practical. That puts the second line out of range of Axis air power, which means any exploitation attacks will be made by unsupported armour, and in the center and south at least, the German airborne will have to make a very low odds attack (dropping on a unit in the face of uncontested DAS); something that hopefully he would be loath to do.

The principle cannot be applied to the northern sector, as there isn’t space there that can be traded for time. The heaviest Soviet units would be deployed there, hoping to slow the German advance on the Pact cities. Sadly, German air power would come into play here, and the airborne could drop with GS from the Luftwaffe.

As I say, this is a defense I am currently tinkering about with. I have to admit, the amount of ground that will be given up to the initial German assault does make me feel uneasy. Even though it might make it a little easier to form a coherent line of defense for the second Axis turn of Barbarossa, at this stage such a defense lays setup on a second board while I attempt to “play the Axis” and launch a variety of attacks against it. At this point, this defense is a "work in progress". (Any comments, suggestions, advice and/or criticisms on this or the Soviet defense in general are very welcome).

Wary of counting my chickens before they’ve hatched, I am going to proceed upon the assumption that – given his positions on the board – the Axis will launch “Operation Yellow” in either Winter 1939 or Spring 1940, so I reckon on having a full game year before Barbarossa. Time to reorient my Soviet defense if I so choose.

The image below shows the initial builds in Fall 1939 that start the process of constructing the forward defense.



Strategic Redeployment
The French SR: 2-3 Infantry Corps from O23 to N23; 2-3 Infantry Corps from Algiers to P22 (Sea Escort from Oran); 9-factor fleet from Cherbourg to Oran.



The British SR: 3-4 Infantry Corps from J25 to O23 (Sea Escort from Rosyth); 1-3 Infantry Corps from Malta to MM27 (Sea Escort from Malta); 2-4 (2 x 1-4 AF’s combined) from Port Said to Coventry (Sea Escort from Port Said and Gibraltar); 1-4 AF from Malta to Coventry (via Constantine, Marseilles, Cherbourg and Portsmouth/Southampton); 1-4 AF from Gibraltar to Coventry (via Algiers, Marseilles, Cherbourg and Portsmouth/Southampton).





The USSR SR: 1-3 Infantry Corps from Lvov to P37; 1-3 Infantry Corps from Brest-Litovsk to N36; 1-3 Infantry Corps from L38 to I37; 2-3 Infantry Corps from K39 to L38; 2-3 Infantry Corps from Vilna to K38; I39 to J38.



That wraps up the Allied Fall 1939 turn, and with the Axis having 113 BRPs to the Allies 109, it will be the Axis who will move first in Winter 1939.

Looking at the Axis deployment at present, I am of the opinion that Denmark and Norway will be odds-on targets in Winter 1939. As for the Low Countries and Luxembourg, will the Germans attack? Or will he build to the full with his remaining BRPs and launch his assault in Spring 1940?

(Assuming an attack on the Scandinavian targets, it would make sense to combine an attack on the Low Countries with one offensive, not to mention the extra 25-30 BRPs that will be added to the German 1940 YSS inventory. In addition, he would start 1940 one hex row nearer to Paris.)

We shall see.

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Patrick Bauer
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Yet again a masterful post.

I couldn't agree more with your deferment of a DOW on Italy. Your opponent set up for a near maximum defense and has engaged in no Italian adventures. Regardless of the shore bombardment issue, you've made the best decision for Britain and I think France. If the Axis keeps Italy neutral you may then be able to time a DOW with a double turn.

The French offensive of a single < 1:4 is wizardly, an absolutely masterful display of wargaming: Italy can not in '39 declare war and offensive in the same turn. Malta, Egypt and the whole of the Med are safe if you avoid the flip-flop. Expending 17 French BRP's to make the Axis spend 45 is well worth it.

If the Admiralty had a better grasp of SR, the Western Allies' turn would have been flawless. Oddly, if Germany had had her fleets in Kiel you probably would have been in a better SR position. No real harm.

As for the Soviets; it has been a long, long time since I played against a Gap defense. Its draw back is that the next turn is fraught the danger of huge encirlements.

For those new to 3R, isolated units are not removed until after the build phase. The Soviet player must decide to rescue or abandon the isolated front line units. If he abandons them, this turn's second line becomes next turn's front line with many units tied down by enemy ZOC. If he tries to rescue them, he can end up with a disjointed forward defense.

The defense's advantage is it almost always draws the Axis south, leading to classic looking mid-game lines along the Volga. Russia survives and all the defense's disadvantages become Axis disadvantages. The Forward defense is more cohesive, but far more fragile when breached. As I am more comfortable with the Forward defense and so seldom see the Gap; I am sort of rooting for its implementation. But that's an emotional and not a strategic desire. Both are viable

Awaiting the next turn like a giddy school girl.
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Doug Poskitt
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Anyone got any advice on what's happened here?

My report has gotten cut off at the knees, or so it would seem.

About two-thirds of it has disappeared and repeated efforts to restore the report to it's original condition get cut off at the same point.

The report is now back in it's original state ... I don't know if anyone else has ever experienced this problem, but it kept cutting my report off a third of the way through ... the only way I could restore it was to add it back section by section ... hence the number of edits.
 
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Patrick Bauer
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I had the same thing happpen with my reply. I had to retype it. All I can suggest is to retype yours and always always copy the whole text before previewing or posting.

Must be some problem with the site.
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E Butler
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I never realized how aggressive of an allied player I was.

Avoiding war with Italy was a good call, as well as avoiding the flop without a DOW... no sense getting you hands dirty - looks bad in the world press.


I'm not saying your play was wrong in any way, but my deployment and SRs would have been very different. With the German airborne out of the action there isn't really any need to keep a force in Paris, especially 2 armors. Their strength is in dropping ZOCs and frustrating the krauts... which they cant do stacked together and in the rear. Leaving the Maginot so lightly defended... might entice the Germans to waste a turn clearing out two of the hexes, but those always supplied Frenchies are so useful in keeping the German player from doing something reckless. I also try to get a British inf and armor on shore right away.

I'd also be a bit concerned that you might be inviting a back door invasion in Palistine with a blitz into Port Said by leaving the beach open. That would be B A D with a really big 'B'. It wouldn't happen this turn but you need to watch the Italian armor carefully.

I also usually go with a far forward defense in Egypt. If you set up on the frontier you expose only 3 hexes to an attrition instead of four and you have a turn or two to bring in more troops and build a defense around Quatar, in your deployment you are giving up quatar right off the bat. If the Italians get past it before you can bring in reinforcements Egypt is in serious trouble.


And since I'm being nit-picky (it's always easier to be the evaluator than the evaluatee) I'd have my UK fleets based in Scapa to stop any possible invasion, or down on the coast (Germans won't attack your fleets in port until after France is toast and keeping your fleets there help prevent any surprise London gambits). I might suggest the air unit north of London might be better placed in Cherbourg where it can cover your 3-4 and all of southern England.


These comments are based on the luxury of extended time to study the board and with the removal of the stress having to actually be the one playing... kind of like a sportswriter.

Good job so far, and I love these reports
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Patrick Bauer
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moonglum01 wrote:

And since I'm being nit-picky (it's always easier to be the evaluator than the evaluatee) I'd have my UK fleets based in Scapa to stop any possible invasion, or down on the coast (Germans won't attack your fleets in port until after France is toast and keeping your fleets there help prevent any surprise London gambits). I might suggest the air unit north of London might be better placed in Cherbourg where it can cover your 3-4 and all of southern England.


I agree, one 9 factor on Scapa Flow and the rest in Portsmouth. No invasion of either hex and the larger force within the 1-5 interception of the beaches. Put the air in Portsmouth also, to defend the fleets and cover the BEF.
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Doug Poskitt
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moonglum01 wrote:



I never realized how aggressive of an allied player I was.

Avoiding war with Italy was a good call, as well as avoiding the flop without a DOW... no sense getting you hands dirty - looks bad in the world press.

Firstly, let me express my appreciation for your comments, and also those made by Patrick. I am over the moon that you both take the time to post your thoughts on this replay.

I'm not saying your play was wrong in any way, but my deployment and SRs would have been very different. With the German airborne out of the action there isn't really any need to keep a force in Paris, especially 2 armors. Their strength is in dropping ZOCs and frustrating the krauts... which they cant do stacked together and in the rear. Leaving the Maginot so lightly defended... might entice the Germans to waste a turn clearing out two of the hexes, but those always supplied Frenchies are so useful in keeping the German player from doing something reckless. I also try to get a British inf and armor on shore right away.

I am quite ready to admit to adopting a conservative approach to the Allies in France. That may be due in part to it having been a couple of decades since I played a full game, and as we have already seen, the process of re-learning the rules can mean mistakes made might not easily be recovered from.

Granted, the French armour units cannot scare the Germans from Paris, let alone frustrate them. However, in the current situation, where could I usefully deploy them?

Adventures in Norway, Belgium and Holland are ruled out, for reasons I'll give in the next replay.

I do remember using the French armour further towards the front when I used to play regularly, but that often meant that they were taken out in the early stages of a German attack, resulting in a higher BRP cost for re-building compared to infantry losses.

As it stands, the French armour units are well placed to respond to whatever avenue of approach is chosen by the German. My plan in north-eastern France is that if he goes into Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg in Winter 1939 - given that he only has four panzer units - the double stacks on the Franco-Belgian border will hopefully cause a pause, with the possible costs on an exploitation EX being the brake.

Actually, I am convinced that he will go through the Low Countries, as an attack via the Alps looks most unlikely given the disposition of German and Italian infantry.

So, if he launches an invasion of the Low Countries, I will have the Winter 1939 turn to make any necessary adjustments to the defences in France. (At least that's the plan.)

Regarding the Maginot Line, I agree that the units there can utilize their supply status to cause problems for a German while he zeros in on Paris. In my eyes, two infantry factors quadrupled to eight provide sufficient defense against attack, at least in Winter 1939. The Germans don't have enough Infantry units to devote to attacking the Maginot Line, as well as playing their part in attacking Holland and Belgium.

Of course, I could have put the French armour in Metz and Strasbourg ... and that still remains an option for next turn when he starts to reveal his invasion plans.


I'd also be a bit concerned that you might be inviting a back door invasion in Palistine with a blitz into Port Said by leaving the beach open. That would be B A D with a really big 'B'. It wouldn't happen this turn but you need to watch the Italian armor carefully.

I am aware of that and will be watching subsequent deployments of the Italian armour like a hawk. It is here that another potential mistake could be made. At present I am perusing Rule 35. As I understand it, two 9-factor fleets based at Port Said would reduce Italian supply capability to zero in that area. Be that as it may, as you have said, it cannot happen in Winter 1939, so I still have that turn to construct a counter to this.

I also usually go with a far forward defense in Egypt. If you set up on the frontier you expose only 3 hexes to an attrition instead of four and you have a turn or two to bring in more troops and build a defense around Quatar, in your deployment you are giving up quatar right off the bat. If the Italians get past it before you can bring in reinforcements Egypt is in serious trouble.

Agreed 100%. In the past, I have also tended to defend on the Egyptian frontier rather than at Quattara. If, however, he is going to attempt to strike for Alexandria/Suez from Libya, he could make a DoW next turn (Winter 1939), but he cannot afford to build the second armour unit. No matter if he SR's his 3-3 Infantry Corps to the theatre, he can still get no more than 10 factors for an attrition. That gives him only a 33% chance of a "1C" result, which won't involve losses on the frontier. He could attack the 1-3 Infantry units, but that cannot happen until Spring 1940 at the earliest. Reinforcement of Egypt is obviously required, and I will be in a better position to judge what can be spared after I see his Winter 1939 moves.

And since I'm being nit-picky (it's always easier to be the evaluator than the evaluatee) I'd have my UK fleets based in Scapa to stop any possible invasion, or down on the coast (Germans won't attack your fleets in port until after France is toast and keeping your fleets there help prevent any surprise London gambits). I might suggest the air unit north of London might be better placed in Cherbourg where it can cover your 3-4 and all of southern England.

The defense of Scapa Flow will be taken care of next turn ... it wasn't necessary this turn as there is no way he could construct an invasion there.

I remember keeping the British fleets down south when I used to play, but I found that the German player often went after them if he could afford even a few air factors with which to do so. At first I welcomed this as a diversion of air resources from the Battle of France. However, it only takes one hit to reduce a fleet to eight factors, with the result that Sea Escort capability is reduced.

Working on the maxim that each nation should be played to its strengths, the strength of Britain in the early game rests with the Royal Navy. Given the dual burden of the defense of France and the possessions in the Middle-East, I always like to ensure the British retain as much strategic flexibility as possible, and to my mind that means retaining the ability to switch resources from one front to the other.

That fleets based down south can be covered by British air is a valid point, but then again, Germany's economy is stronger than Britain's, and providing opportunities for the Axis to counter-air British air means an air war of attrition would work in their favour. Whether the air is lost in France or southern England doesn't matter ... at least from the Axis point of view.

Point taken concerning the air factors north of London. I have it already in mind as to where the air will be deployed in Winter 1939.

I should say that any points made above are based on what I think my oppoent may do next turn, and not just on what he can do. But ... and this is the great thing about this game ... the options are myriad, and I could be wrong!


These comments are based on the luxury of extended time to study the board and with the removal of the stress having to actually be the one playing... kind of like a sportswriter.

It's been a long time since I played this game, but I must say I am enjoying it tremendously ... it is a blast! While my opponent may be new to 3R, I've played a few campaign games of World In Flames with him in the past, and he is no mug. He will give the rule book, and the 3R literature I have given him, the respect and scrutiny it deserves, and knowing him, he will no doubt have unearthed his own sources of advice and such ...

Now that Christmas is over, we are due to meet this afternoon/evening and plan to complete Winter 1939 and the 1940 YSS.

Once again thank you both for taking the time to weigh in with your comments, advice and criticisms ... I really do appreciate it no end.

Happy New Year.


Good job so far, and I love these reports :)
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Peter Veenstra
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Wonderful AAR!
Keep them coming!!
Regards
Peter
 
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E Butler
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I'd also be a bit concerned that you might be inviting a back door invasion in Palistine with a blitz into Port Said by leaving the beach open. That would be B A D with a really big 'B'. It wouldn't happen this turn but you need to watch the Italian armor carefully.

dougposkitt wrote:
I am aware of that and will be watching subsequent deployments of the Italian armour like a hawk. It is here that another potential mistake could be made. At present I am perusing Rule 35. As I understand it, two 9-factor fleets based at Port Said would reduce Italian supply capability to zero in that area. Be that as it may, as you have said, it cannot happen in Winter 1939, so I still have that turn to construct a counter to this.


I'd somewhat forgotten that rule... now that I'm seeing the turn by turn play I'm realizing just how stripped down the 3R PC game I've been playing for the last 10+ years is (for example 35 et al. is not included). The danger is that axis units do not die out of supply, so they will just sit there in your rear or an armor could blitz into Port Said uncontested with the current deployment, since an invading armor would be supplied first turn and a blitzed armor would still have supply second turn.


I think you are probably correct in playing a conservative Allies. I suspect a DOW UK in the winter to move on Egypt and Germany wipes out the minors and eastern Maginot, pretty standard fair. Any idea why the German fleets remain in the Baltic?

Curious, if the attack on Belgium comes this turn are you going to deploy in every hex or max defend Brussels? Not a big deal either way, but there are pros and cons to both.
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Really it's hard to complain about anything you did this turn.

As it's your opponent's first game it would be bad form for the Allied player to be too aggressive. He should be allowed a little leeway. His WiF experience should really help speed things up; but he may be underwhelmed by some of 3R's abstractions. I would expect him to maybe try a little too hard for objective hexes; he might miss an opportunity or three -- it'll be up to you to point them out at the appropriate time (read as "when it's way too late").

He's already done some minor, odd things. Most notably the placement of the German fleet -- this is giving you plenty of time to decide on a strategy and react to any threat to Britain. He clearly is planning nothing unusual with Italy.

Time is on your side.
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moonglum01 wrote:
I think you are probably correct in playing a conservative Allies. I suspect a DOW UK in the winter to move on Egypt and Germany wipes out the minors and eastern Maginot, pretty standard fair. Any idea why the German fleets remain in the Baltic?

I haven't really paid much attention to his fleet disposition ... perhaps to avoid attack by the Danish airwing last turn? Losing one fleet factor when you've only got two fleets would not be good.

Curious, if the attack on Belgium comes this turn are you going to deploy in every hex or max defend Brussels? Not a big deal either way, but there are pros and cons to both.

I'd be interested to hear your take on the Belgian setup.
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It never occurred to me to forgo the Danish attrition and attack the German fleet instead. That's a very interesting idea. The loss of a German 9 is a real problem long term (as a 9F is usually used to hold Norway and I use the second on the German beach). It's not completely unlikely that the Germans will have their fleets in Kiel and no fresh air about.... huh

I usually spread the Belgians out to force the Germans into a funnel in the north - if they want both Antwerp and Brussels they need to attack both from a single hex or do a armor blitz. Either way they are exposing a lot of costly air / armor to the threat of exchange... on the flip side if he doesn't care about Antwerp you are making Belgium a bit easier to conquer as he can easily get a 3-1 attack on the capital.

I really hate it when the Axis does an across river attack into southern Belgium and gets the Bridgehead. I've never tried it in a real game, but I wonder if it wouldn't almost be worth it to only defend Brussels and Antwerp.
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moonglum01 wrote:
It never occurred to me to forgo the Danish attrition and attack the German fleet instead. That's a very interesting idea. The loss of a German 9 is a real problem long term (as a 9F is usually used to hold Norway and I use the second on the German beach). It's not completely unlikely that the Germans will have their fleets in Kiel and no fresh air about.... huh


Odd, I tend to take the offensive with a minor that can get at the naval units. Just never thought about leaving my fleets in the Baltic unless I was going for Sweden or the Allies had way too many air.

moonglum01 wrote:
I usually spread the Belgians out to force the Germans into a funnel in the north - if they want both Antwerp and Brussels they need to attack both from a single hex or do a armor blitz. Either way they are exposing a lot of costly air / armor to the threat of exchange... on the flip side if he doesn't care about Antwerp you are making Belgium a bit easier to conquer as he can easily get a 3-1 attack on the capital.


I'm a little formulaic too, 2-3 and 1-3 in Brussels, a 1-3 in Antwerp and the other SE of Brussels

moonglum01 wrote:
I really hate it when the Axis does an across river attack into southern Belgium and gets the Bridgehead. I've never tried it in a real game, but I wonder if it wouldn't almost be worth it to only defend Brussels and Antwerp.


I have, but I seldom bother as I tend to attack France early with far fewer units than I should. More glorious campaigns that make my opponents wonder why they wasted time letting me play.
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moonglum01 wrote:
I really hate it when the Axis does an across river attack into southern Belgium and gets the Bridgehead. I've never tried it in a real game, but I wonder if it wouldn't almost be worth it to only defend Brussels and Antwerp.

I couldn't agree more. I have been thinking very much along the same lines. Given that Antwerp and Brussels are attrition-proof hexes, a bridgehead in N25 completes the hat-trick, and leaves the Allied player with only two options. Launch an offensive (15 BRPs plus losses) in pursuit of a Belgian hex (or two?) or do nothing, and sit passively on the defensive (much like the Allies did in the real war during this period.)

Here's a challenge ... is there anything to be gained by not defending hex N25 (and thus denying the Axis a bridgehead there)? I love the idea ... anything to upset the German! So, how to deploy the Belgians while keeping hex N25 vacant?

My standard Belgian defense (from the old days) is identical to Patrick's. What effect would not defending N25 have on the Germans? Does it make their life easier or tougher?

While contemplating this type of response to a German DoW on Belgium, I considered the facts that: a) only two units may attack out of a bridgehead; b) All (up to five) units can counter-attack.

 
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dougposkitt wrote:
Here's a challenge ... is there anything to be gained by not defending hex N25 (and thus denying the Axis a bridgehead there)? I love the idea ... anything to upset the German! So, how to deploy the Belgians while keeping hex N25 vacant?


Sure, it denies the bridgehead and increases the EX for Antwerp; but I don't know about upsetting the German player. You allow SE Brussles and Luxembourg to be a two hex attack against Sedan; Brussels can still be taken from NE of Brussles and an armored breakthrough attack SW of Brussles creates a nifty bulge with two hexes within two of Paris, risking the BH on Paris the next turn instead of in Belgium. Less than 40 Allied units would mean only a one in six of retaking both during an attrition; >40 three in six. So if you end with < 40 you're compelled to offensive, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it has its risks.

It does however direct the flow of enemy units. You are dictating the lines of attack and can better defend and counterattack when you know what your opponent is going to do.


P.S. When I typed < 40 without a space between the < and the 4 everything after that would not show up. The < sign (and others) may be why Doug had so many problems with his first post.
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SewerStarFish wrote:
P.S. When I typed < 40 without a space between the < and the 4 everything after that would not show up. The < sign (and others) may be why Doug had so many problems with his first post.

That is it exactly. I noticed I had used > instead of < and while attempting to change it everything got lost ... in the end, I was forced to type "less than" instead of >

interestingly, this cut off also happens when trying to put quote marks around a symbol such as >

 
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A few thoughts on deployment Doug – gleaned from over 20 years of bungled setups.

France.

As noted, the infantry line was in exactly the wrong place. But quickly moving on…

Air deployment. Not bad, but I prefer to place them both on airbases sufficiently close to Corsica but also to be kept from German mischief on possibly the second turn too.
This means, from memory, hexes Q20 and P20. This admittedly weakens cover on the Maginot line and Alps hexes, but does manage to cover all the parts of the French second/third lines that count, and, crucially, allows the entire airforce to be preserved for the upcoming Paris counterattack.
Also to be noted is that a French 1-4 on an airbase in hex P25 can reach Krakow (and any of 4 other Polish hexes) thus allowing possible Fall 1939 French intervention in Poland and almost forcing a German conquest in 1939 unless they wish for the 20 BRP’s to be added to the Allied total in the 1940 YSS. (Of course in almost every sane German strategy Poland goes down in flames in Fall 1939 anyway. But this is a just in case deployment to be held up the sleeve.)

Fleets. A 9 factor in the Atlantic is a good policy if only for supply purposes for ANY Western Allied units trapped in France. This frees up the Royal Navy to concentrate for better, more useful, purposes.
The Oran deployment? Hmm. To taste I suppose. I always go for one each at Oran and Beirut. This allows for the rounding up of every last French overseas trooper for the defence of the homeland.

British deployment. (Just some technique.)

I go for all fleets in Scapa save one covering the beach at Portsmouth. This sole fleet goes north as soon as possible. My opponent and I have known entire games revolving round early turn German interventions with the full strength of the Luftwaffe on the Home Fleet at anchor in Portsmouth. The losses on both sides were huge, but definitely not in Britain’s favour in the long run.

The 4-5 setting up at Gibraltar opens up more offensive options, materially influences Italian setup, and still allows for deployment to France if required.

That fleet sitting at Port Said to prevent invasion. Obvious and necessary. However in the later turns note must be taken of rule 37.3 and the necessity of a sea escort capable fleet based in Suez so as to SR British based units on into the Mediterranean. The Port Said deployment does NOT count for the purposes of this rule. (Possibly 10 years of our gaming was ‘invalidated’ by not noting this.)

USSR.

I recently, in a genuine game (ie all points being up for grabs) launched a Fall 1939 invasion of the USSR and no amount of vocab can describe the depths of that tragedy. The boards were very quickly reversed in early 1940 I seem to recall, after no end of terrifyingly unpredictable flip flops. My opponent, at least, got a good laugh out of it; me...?

We generally play with fleet deployment reversed. Our experience is that we play for keeps for Leningrad because – if it holds – we find that extra fleet materially assists in the late turn advances on Berlin by threats to the north European coast, and also Copenhagen, whose source of supply can be absolutely crucial to the German player on the very last turn of the game.

Leningrad. Our German generals, after having gamed this thing to death over 20 years, are generally unable to find their way through the Russian front to any great degree anymore; Rokosovsky, Vatutin, Koniev and the rest being, on the whole, too savy these days, despite their reliably horrendous losses.
Hence Barbarossa for us usually comes down to a crap shoot for Eastern Europe with Leningrad as the big cookie at the end of it. Because it’s close. Sad, yes. But such is where continually refined skill gets you. And hence the search for a viable western strategy.

Germany.

Fleets at Konigsberg is good if the plan states Denmark to be an early target for seaborne invasion. If necessary 2 3-3’s can come from East Prussia/Poland as per 4th sentence of rule 43.2 and said fleets are saved from a potential Pearl Harbouring at Kiel (rule 12.16) by what we laughingly term the Danish ‘airforce’ should they have survived. And if you are truly serious about Russia, Norway is no game. Its conquest really matters.

Yes the first turn Holland declaration. We’ve never played for a Fall 1939 roll on the 11-20 attrition column. Looks promising. I find this game to be a continuous search for every last efficiency (down to the last replacement unit and BRP.)


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"While it is often said that the Allied player would accept the early demise of France in return for knocking out Italy, what, I wonder, is the prevailing wisdom of risking a possible early French collapse in exchange for an Allied-controlled Libya?"

Depends entirely on your judgement of your opponent’s aggressiveness and your own capabilities in defence (as Britain.)

This opens up the can of worms that is the 1942/43 Italian Campaign. This was introduced by my opponent roughly 5 years ago and regardless of all expectations to the contrary (due to narrow frontages) it has proved exceedingly successful for the Allied player.

A successful Italian Campaign is judged by the existence (or not) of an Allied unit in Rome before the Spring of 1943 (the time the Italian surrender rule kicks in.) This presupposes an invasion of Italy no later than Spring 1942 (in time for the inevitable Sp/Su flip flop) which presupposes conquest of Sicily by the end of 1941 latest, presupposing the gobbling of Libya (thence spring boarding on to the rest of North Africa) asap after the beginning of the game.

An early Italian conquest (opposed: Italian surrender) can be seriously detrimental to German chances - even if taking place on a turn after the Fall/Winter 1939 flip flop. And an early conquest is generally only possible in the long game with the early securing of North Africa. Hence an answer to the above question. But acknowledged as risky to Britain if your opponent is partial to fancy tricks in the West.

PS. An Italian conquest can be a wonderful thing to watch - as the Allied player. Entire armee groups have been known to come off out of supply due to dilligent use of an Allied airborne unit coupled with rule 26.5. And attempting to reset the defense of the Reich at or about Berchtesgaden in the SR phase sure pokes a stick into the best laid plans.
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cccw wrote:
A few thoughts on deployment Doug – gleaned from over 20 years of bungled setups.

Many thanks for this post Chris. I really enjoyed reading it. Along with your second post, it has given me much food for thought.

France.

As noted, the infantry line was in exactly the wrong place. But quickly moving on…

Air deployment. Not bad, but I prefer to place them both on airbases sufficiently close to Corsica but also to be kept from German mischief on possibly the second turn too.
This means, from memory, hexes Q20 and P20. This admittedly weakens cover on the Maginot line and Alps hexes, but does manage to cover all the parts of the French second/third lines that count, and, crucially, allows the entire airforce to be preserved for the upcoming Paris counterattack.

Looking at my setup, both French airwings are in position to stage to Ajaccio in Corsica. They can also maintain maximum coverage of the first line of French units in the Franco-Belgian border, (or at least they would be, had I put a French unit in Calais!), as well as being out of range of German air.

I take your point though about German mischief in the second turn. Mind you, they always have the option to SR their airbases back a hexrow or two in the second turn.


Also to be noted is that a French 1-4 on an airbase in hex P25 can reach Krakow (and any of 4 other Polish hexes) thus allowing possible Fall 1939 French intervention in Poland and almost forcing a German conquest in 1939 unless they wish for the 20 BRP’s to be added to the Allied total in the 1940 YSS. (Of course in almost every sane German strategy Poland goes down in flames in Fall 1939 anyway. But this is a just in case deployment to be held up the sleeve.)

Wow! Do you know, that had never occured to me. French intervention in Poland in 1939. (Even with a 1-4 AF in P25, I wonder how many German players would spot that?)

Fleets. A 9 factor in the Atlantic is a good policy if only for supply purposes for ANY Western Allied units trapped in France. This frees up the Royal Navy to concentrate for better, more useful, purposes.
The Oran deployment? Hmm. To taste I suppose. I always go for one each at Oran and Beirut. This allows for the rounding up of every last French overseas trooper for the defence of the homeland.

I used to do that in the 1980's when I played. I used to SR the French 2-3 to France asap ... but then I remember a couple of games where the threat of an Axis invasion in the Levant at the right time (for the Axis) caused me to have to juggle my naval dispositions so that I had two fleets in the eastern med ... usually at a time when it was most inconvenient.

Given the scarcity of British units in the eastern Med ... whilst the French remain "French", that 2-3 Infantry could come in handy should the Axis try anything rash ... though "Murphy's Law" will probably dictate that those extra two factors could be crucial in the defense of France. (Funny how 3R often throws up "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations where two factors might possibly be crucial or meaningless, in that I've played games where the extra French infantry didn't make much difference ... whereas if you don't send it to France, you find yourself one or two factors short for a crucial counter-attack!)

Out of interest, in this current game, I am thinking of moving a fleet to Beirut with a view to SR'ing the French infantry to France ... though in view of the Italian naval deployment, I'm wondering if I've left it too late?


British deployment. (Just some technique.)

I go for all fleets in Scapa save one covering the beach at Portsmouth. This sole fleet goes north as soon as possible. My opponent and I have known entire games revolving round early turn German interventions with the full strength of the Luftwaffe on the Home Fleet at anchor in Portsmouth. The losses on both sides were huge, but definitely not in Britain’s favour in the long run.

The 4-5 setting up at Gibraltar opens up more offensive options, materially influences Italian setup, and still allows for deployment to France if required.

That fleet sitting at Port Said to prevent invasion. Obvious and necessary. However in the later turns note must be taken of rule 37.3 and the necessity of a sea escort capable fleet based in Suez so as to SR British based units on into the Mediterranean. The Port Said deployment does NOT count for the purposes of this rule. (Possibly 10 years of our gaming was ‘invalidated’ by not noting this.)

In complete agreement on this one Chris ... once the British have built to capacity and SR'd their initial contingent to France, the eastern Med will receive it's naval forces in the right place ...

USSR.

I recently, in a genuine game (ie all points being up for grabs) launched a Fall 1939 invasion of the USSR and no amount of vocab can describe the depths of that tragedy. The boards were very quickly reversed in early 1940 I seem to recall, after no end of terrifyingly unpredictable flip flops. My opponent, at least, got a good laugh out of it; me...?

We generally play with fleet deployment reversed. Our experience is that we play for keeps for Leningrad because – if it holds – we find that extra fleet materially assists in the late turn advances on Berlin by threats to the north European coast, and also Copenhagen, whose source of supply can be absolutely crucial to the German player on the very last turn of the game.

My long-term thinking here is that I want every advantage possible in the southern portion of the Soviet front; when the Soviets are on the offensive in 1943 onwards, my main strategic goal is to knock Rumania out of the war asap ... thereby straining the German defence in the east through lack of units. The loss of the Rumanian units will hamper an effective defence along the whole of the German front ... at least that's the plan.

Leningrad. Our German generals, after having gamed this thing to death over 20 years, are generally unable to find their way through the Russian front to any great degree anymore; Rokosovsky, Vatutin, Koniev and the rest being, on the whole, too savy these days, despite their reliably horrendous losses.
Hence Barbarossa for us usually comes down to a crap shoot for Eastern Europe with Leningrad as the big cookie at the end of it. Because it’s close. Sad, yes. But such is where continually refined skill gets you. And hence the search for a viable western strategy.

Germany.

Fleets at Konigsberg is good if the plan states Denmark to be an early target for seaborne invasion. If necessary 2 3-3’s can come from East Prussia/Poland as per 4th sentence of rule 43.2 and said fleets are saved from a potential Pearl Harbouring at Kiel (rule 12.16) by what we laughingly term the Danish ‘airforce’ should they have survived. And if you are truly serious about Russia, Norway is no game. Its conquest really matters.

Yes the first turn Holland declaration. We’ve never played for a Fall 1939 roll on the 11-20 attrition column. Looks promising. I find this game to be a continuous search for every last efficiency (down to the last replacement unit and BRP.)


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It's legal for the Brit's to SR forces through French colonies? Oh I didn't realise that.
 
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cccw wrote:

It's legal for the Brit's to SR forces through French colonies? Oh I didn't realise that.

I don't think I specifically advocated British forces SR'ing through French colonies ... but anyways, the rules for Franco-British Co-operation prohibit French units from entering Britain or British colonies, but the prohibition isn't stated for the reverse. I've always seen it played that way, that British forces can enter French colonies prior to 1942.

Anyone care to comment in this topic?
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dougposkitt wrote:
cccw wrote:
It's legal for the Brit's to SR forces through French colonies? Oh I didn't realise that.
I don't think I specifically advocated British forces SR'ing through French colonies ... but anyways, the rules for Franco-British Co-operation prohibit French units from entering Britain or British colonies, but the prohibition isn't stated for the reverse. I've always seen it played that way, that British forces can enter French colonies prior to 1942.
Anyone care to comment in this topic?


You are correct, British units are only prohibited from stopping in Paris, Vichy, Marseilles or a Maginot hex. British forces may stop in any Maginot hex once any Maginot hex has been occupied. They may sea transport through Marseilles so long as they do not end their movement there.

While French units are prohibited from entering Britain and her colonies she may help reconquer those colonies and may fly offensive ground support over any British hex; should Germany try Sea Lion in '39.

Anglo-French cooperation prevents combined naval missions but: counter-interception of an Axis fleet attacking an Anglo mission may be intercepted by a French fleet. Likewise a French Invasion may be supported by the RAF in an Offensive Ground Support role. (Vice versa of course)
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Thank you people. Very useful to know. (Doug if I read you correctly you SR'ed through Constantine and Algiers...)
Yes the 'vice versa' rules only begin at 34.31 (after the mention of this rule.)
Guess we've never found it useful - but certainly will now.
 
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cccw wrote:

Thank you people. Very useful to know. (Doug if I read you correctly you SR'ed through Constantine and Algiers...)
Yes the 'vice versa' rules only begin at 34.31 (after the mention of this rule.)
Guess we've never found it useful - but certainly will now.

A little bit of confusion on my part when reading your original post Chris ... reading this post, I realise what you meant. Yes, you are right ... I SR'd the British 1-4 AF from Malta via Constantine via Marseilles and onward to GB, and the British 1-4 AF from Gibraltar via Algiers via Marseilles and onward to GB ...

Thank you once again for your double-post re: this turn ... you gave me some new insights/perspectives I'd not contemplated before ... in particular, your schedule/timetable for the clearance of North Africa, invasion of Sicily and Italy was very thought-provoking.
 
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Few more random thoughts.

French replacements. Much care must be given to the placement of these - as I see was done - because, of course, they may not be voluntarily eliminated.
And there is another reason for the placement of that replacement unit at Lyons beyond an exploitation defense.

Thoughts on the Maginot Line: if ya got it, use it. A viable strategy is to completely shut the German's down in this area - as occurred historically - by stacking at least P25 and Metz 2 high with infantry. This defense is admittedly difficult (because it weakens other areas of the front) but can be interesting in that it tempts the German player to great risk.

British replacements: needed to protect all ports in Britain from chance airdrop (and subsequent transfer of the requisite Panzer Armee via sea escort.)

Rumania. Concur with the broad effect the loss of their units will have on the German defensive line in the East. We used to play with 3x 9 factors in the Black Sea when our Soviets were in their 'invade Turkey in Fall 1939' phase; a phase they've grown out of it seems.
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