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Subject: Disaster at Normandy rss

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Ben Vincent
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(I've lost this post to computer crashes twice already. Here's hoping third time's the charm!)

As is probably obvious from all the questions we've been asking here, Dan (autumnweave) and I have started up the Battle for Normandy campaign game by PBEM on Vassal. He offered to let me play the allies because they'd probably be "more fun," but so far they just been more agonizing. Here's a quick overview of the situation through the invasion turn, in case anyone's interested...

Utah Beach / Airborne Landings:


The 82nd had a pretty clean drop. A few companies were scattered or lost in the marshes, but several battalions quickly formed up and engaged the Germans around Pont l'Abbe. Unfortunately both artillery battalion landings were failures.

The 101st landing did not go so well. An entire battalion of the 501st was dropped in the sea. Several companies dropped right on top of German positions and were eliminated. Still, the remnants have managed to form up and have eliminated several coastal artillery emplacements.

The 4th ID did not make much progress through the morning at Utah beach, however many of the beach defenses wee destroyed when the navy moved in to provide emergency support.

Omaha Beach:


Omaha Beach is a mess. The Americans failed to make any progress against the defenses, and have sustained significant losses. Naval gunfire was able to reduce a few of the strongpoints late in the morning, but the interlocking fields of fire still have the invasion pinned on the beach.

Note the hole in the naval formation where USS Texas was struck by a mine before firing a shot.

One point of light: the 2nd Ranger BN did manage to destroy the guns at Pt du Hoc.

Gold-Juno-Sword:


Things are looking better in the CW sector. Although there are still defenses at every beach, some of the invading forces have managed to ooze around the flanks and are have gained the freedom to maneuver. The Canadians in particular have performed well - except for the Canadian airborne battalion, which spent the morning inneffectually attacking a coastal battery only to find themselves surrounded in a swamp.

Here we see the body count:


That's 71 steps for the allies, plus at least 6 Ranger/Commando steps.

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The German command cheered as a full battalion of American paratroopers dropped into the ocean. Surprisingly enough our Eastern European troops quartered in Ste. Mere-Eglise put up a valiant fight, eliminating 2 companies of paratroops as they landed before being surrounded by overwhelming forces.

On Omaha in particular, the poorly trained Americans could not stand up to the withering fire from the German troops and died in wave after wave. One could almost feel sorry for the Americans. The allies, always falling for gimmicks rather than solid German engineering, were no doubt disappointed by their latest trick, the DD tank, most of which foundered in the waves, not making it to shore. On the CW beaches, Monty in his conservative fashion held his precious Crocodile tanks back until the second wave, which offered no support for the first wave of landings. When naval support was called in the results were devastating for the German coastal defenses. However, to get off the beaches and clear the nearby areas the allies were forced to spend 35 supply points in their morning and afternoon attacks, a loss that will hinder future operations.

Unfortunately the German command did not mobilize correctly and the afternoon found many companies out of supply as a result of some faulty orders. However we will succeed in pushing the allies back into the sea. Rommel just needs to get the fuhrer to release the panzer divisions immediately.
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Ben Vincent
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A couple of observations:

- The turn sequence during the invasion turn is brutal on the allies. You stack up the beaches with a bunch of units, giving the Germans a bonus to attack them before they get a chance to do anything. During my movement phase I'd look at the map and figure I could take down a few enemy positions, but by the time it got around to my fire phase, my odds had been greatly diminished. And with no advance after combat, you can't really take advantage of a gap in the line because you're most likely still in an EZOC. But I think the biggest impact is on stacking. If I have a reduced company and an armor company on the beach (total stacking value 5), I can't land anything else there because during the invasion turn allied units don't combine until the fire phase.


- I used more than the minimum number of DDs, but only a single one made it ashore across all 5 landing sites. In most cases I would have rather had another infantry company on the beach, especially if it would have let me form up a full strength battalion (which has the same firepower and better stacking compared to 2 infantry companies + 1 armor company).

- I didn't realize it until the afternoon turn, but getting the division HQs ashore quickly is very important - it's the only way to add naval gunfire, artillery, and air support into the fight. And, as I mentioned in another thread, if the landings have gone badly and you have a whole bunch of assault units queued up as the first waves of reinforcements, it could be a while before you get the HQs ashore if you didn't plan for it from the beginning. I think in the future I'd put the div HQs in one of the phase 3 hexes of each beach.

- The flipside of this is that the Germans also need to start checking supply normally in the afternoon. If you didn't plan for this with your AM turn movement, you could suddenly find you've left a whole bunch of units OOS.

- I spent 19 CSPs on naval gunfire support during phase 3 (5 to bring in ships at each beach, and 14 shots). I don't have a good yardstick, but this seems like a lot. I decided I needed to get a better foothold before the turn ended though, so I wouldn't be stuck making a bunch of low odds attacks once we shifted to the CRT.
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SabreRedleg wrote:
A couple of observations:

- The turn sequence during the invasion turn is brutal on the allies. You stack up the beaches with a bunch of units, giving the Germans a bonus to attack them before they get a chance to do anything.

Any sympathy I felt for you evaporated when the shells from the battleships started landing.

SabreRedleg wrote:

- The flipside of this is that the Germans also need to start checking supply normally in the afternoon. If you didn't plan for this with your AM turn movement, you could suddenly find you've left a whole bunch of units OOS.
blush He's speaking hypothetically of course.

Don't worry. I picked up both 'Command Logistics for Dummy's', and 'How to Conquer Europe on $40 a Day' and am still prepared to push you into the sea. Or failing that, hold you off long enough to get a weekend pass to Paris one more time.
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Steve Herron
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It is on my list of want games. Thanks for posting.
 
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sherron wrote:
It is on my list of want games. Thanks for posting.


We haven't gotten too far into it, but the landing day is lotsa fun.
 
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Brent Pollock
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I soloed the CW landing on Monday and, having first seen your warning post, made sure the HQs were in the third wave. It is still difficult to land them in the AM and I am curious to know if I understand the PM sequence properly. I assume that they can be queued to hit the beach first thing in the PM turn, which means that they can get everyone in supply before the attacks happen, yes? Also, did you treat them as a company or battalion for stacking dring the AM turn? [I should really remember to look these up once I have my rules book in front of me]

SabreRedleg wrote:
[snipped]
- I didn't realize it until the afternoon turn, but getting the division HQs ashore quickly is very important - it's the only way to add naval gunfire, artillery, and air support into the fight. And, as I mentioned in another thread, if the landings have gone badly and you have a whole bunch of assault units queued up as the first waves of reinforcements, it could be a while before you get the HQs ashore if you didn't plan for it from the beginning. I think in the future I'd put the div HQs in one of the phase 3 hexes of each beach.
[snipped]
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Yes general supply is different from combat supply. The beachhead provides general supply, and once the HQ lands it will put everyone in combat supply.

The assault set-up isn't 100% clear to me, but it does say in the rules that HQ's can always stack with one other unit, so I'd be inclined to put them in the assault queue with a battalion. (I wouldn't bet a huge amount of money on my interpretation though.) Once they hit the beach they count as one point towards the stacking limit, so you can stack them with 2 companies for protection.

Since at least you and I are both wondering about HQs in the invasion queue, I went ahead and posted the question in the rules forum.
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WBRP wrote:
Also, did you treat them as a company or battalion for stacking dring the AM turn? [I should really remember to look these up once I have my rules book in front of me]

Dan replied in a rules thread on this. They can stack with 2 companies. The 3rd company goes in the holding box. In other words they are treated like the support tanks which land with the commandos. The actual answer to your question is that they are treated like a company.
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Ben Vincent
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WBRP wrote:
I soloed the CW landing on Monday and, having first seen your warning post, made sure the HQs were in the third wave. It is still difficult to land them in the AM and I am curious to know if I understand the PM sequence properly. I assume that they can be queued to hit the beach first thing in the PM turn, which means that they can get everyone in supply before the attacks happen, yes? Also, did you treat them as a company or battalion for stacking dring the AM turn? [I should really remember to look these up once I have my rules book in front of me]


You don't really need to land them in the AM. Hardly any of my units in the phase 3 hex made it ashore because of congestion on the beach. But you want to have them in the assault hexes so that when you regroup (per 18.8.1) you can put them at the front of the queue to land in the PM turn. At the beginning of the PM turn all your units on the beach will draw general supply directly from the beachhead. Then move your HQ ashore, and when you attack, you'll be able to trace combat supply through the HQ, allowing you to use naval gunfire, air support, and artillery (if you've managed to land any).
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Ben Vincent
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Update through the 6-7 Night interphase.

American Sector


Here we see that the Utah beach defenses were completely reduced during the afternoon, The strongpoint at Ste Marie du Mont was destroyed, and the 82nd Abn captured Ste Mere Eglise. The German 91st division attacked in force out of Pont l'Abbe, pushing the 82nd east. The 82nd received reinforcements by glider, unfortunately for them they lost yet another artillery unit on the drop zone. Several German battalions block the northern approach to Carentan, but they have overextended their supply line in order to hold the position.

At Omaha, the Americans have finally managed to get troops over the bluff. However, the German 352nd division has moved in to contain the landing. The rest of the American fleet moved in to support the Omaha beachhead, losing a light cruiser in the process.

CW Sector


Major attacks at all three CW beaches in the afternoon broke the beach defenses. In particular, Juno has been cleared and units are beginning to head inland to capture key crossroads. 6AB is now able to draw supply throught he Sword beachhead. Meanwhile, the 21st Panzer has moved in Caen.
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All those black squares are German units out of supply. Be sure to zoom in on Omaha to see the Wehrmacht attempting to push the Americans off the beach. The Americans really don't have an exit path off of Omaha at this point and the 352nd is rushing up to keep it that way.

Let's gloss over the rest of the map. It's much less pretty. I'm scramblin' to the West of Juno. The picture isn't very pretty, Bayeux is definitely threatened.
 
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Here's another update through the end of the 6-7 turn. Actually, we're in the middle of the night interphase - I've placed allied RPs and reinforcements and the Germans are about to do that next.

In the West:


The 4ID has pushed north from Utah beach, engaging the German 709th division around Ravenoville. The 82nd pulled back to the eastern banks of the Merderet River, establishing defensive positions around St. Mere Eglise. The German 243rd has pushed SE and lauched a major assault against the 1/508 north of the city. Meanwhile the 101st is attempting to push south into Carentan. The elements of the 91st there have been reinforced a newly arrived brigade from the 30th division.

The bocage has proved an obstacle to both sides as they are unable to press the advantage after forcing the defenders to retreat.

The German coastal batteries scored a major victory in the afternoon when they sank the BB Arkansas.

In the Center:


The Americans have expanded the beachhead at Normandy. A day ago it looked like the Germans might bottle them up on the beach, and perhaps even push them back into the sea, but with a major application of resources the allies look to have secured a foothold here. They are significantly behind schedule however. Progress on the mulberry harbor at Omaha is proceeding slowly (5/21 so far)

The British 50th have advanced inland from Gold towards Cruelly, clearing the roads towards Bayeux. A lone German infantry company - backed by significant artillery support - halted the division's advance NW of Cruelly in the afternoon.

In the East:


The three CW beachheads have linked up, as well as established supply to the 6ABN. The Canadian and British 3rd divisions are both pushing towards Caen, however the 21st Panzer has proved a formidable obstacle, particulary when supported by their massed artillery in the city itself. The 6th Airborne has established a defensive perimeter around Ranville.

The German 12th SS and Panzer Lehr divisions both arrived in Caen on the evening of the 7th, significantly bolstering the defenses there.

The CW mulberry harbor at Juno is already half built (11/21).

Allied air attacks destroyed bridges in St Pierre sur Dives and Villedeur in an effort to slow German reinforcements.

The weather for the 8th is heavy overcast, which bodes well for the Germans. The allies have expended nearly half of there starting supplies to this point. (87 CSPs available).
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