Andrew Laws
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The overall design intention of the battlepack was to have an initial German invasion followed by an Allied counter attack that would repulse the invaders. The reasoning for this was twofold; firstly, even if (and it is an enourmous if) the German army could land successfully in Britain their supply situation would very quickly become highly stressed. There are only two major ports on the South coast within the invasion umbrella; Dover and Portsmouth (possibly Southampton). I couldn’t see how the invading armies could sustain the fight. Secondly and perhaps more prosaically, I didn’t want to design an entire battlepack where the British were defending and the Germans attacking. This way I was able to include a lot of variety in the forces used and their postures. The pack features five factions in a variety of postures.

Rationale

By the end of June 1940 the German armed forces had achieved unprecedented military success; almost all of Western Europe had been occupied in less than a year and the British Army had been flanked, routed and had left most of its heavy equipment in Belgium. The speed of the victories had surprised everyone including the Germans, who had not up to this point even considered an invasion of Britain. A further surprise was to come when a painfully exposed Britain not only refused to surrender but refused to even come to terms. In response on the 16th of July 1940 Hitler issued Directive 16: 'As England, in spite of the hopelessness of her military position, has so far shown herself unwilling to come to any compromise, I have decided to begin to prepare for, and if necessary to carry out, an invasion of England... and if necessary the island will be occupied.' Hitler announced that the invasion would commence on the 15th of August, which gave General Franz Halder less than a month to plan the most complicated seaborne invasion in history.

When completed, Halder’s plan called for an invasion front of almost 200 miles from Lyme Regis to Ramsgate, and the near simultaneous landing of nearly 160,000 men in order that British defenders could not contain multiple beachheads. Admiral Raeder of the Kriegsmarine balked at the idea that his forces could control the English Channel against the Royal Navy and ventured that even with large-scale minefield screens, torpedo boats, submarines and air cover the most he could guarantee was a 60-mile stretch of coast line, to which General Halder retorted: 'I utterly reject the Navy's proposals. I might just as well put the troops through a sausage machine.' Ultimately Hitler forced a compromise; the front would be narrowed to Bognor Regis in the West and Ramsgate in the east. This meant that only one German Army Group would carry out the initial invasion.

The 9th Army was planned to land in the Bognor-Worthing-Brighton area, in order to establish a beachhead that could be exploited by a second wave of Panzer Divisions who were due to sweep West to Portsmouth. The 16th Army was scheduled to land at Folkestone, and Bexhill-Hastings, with Panzer divisions following to breakout and establish crossings over the River Medway to the North. These landings were to be supported by large airborne assaults, in the South Downs North of Brighton, and to the North of Hastings in a bid to delay reinforcements and resupply to these heavily defended towns, and also north-west of Folkestone to capture the Royal Military Canal – a potential anti-tank obstacle that could styme the advance of panzer divisions from the 16th army’s beachhead.

Meanwhile Britain was not idling in its preparations; General Sir Edmund Ironside was charged with organizing the defence of Britain. With the BEF mauled on the continent and an acute shortage of equipment Ironside saw that his only chance was a static system of defence manned by a ‘coastal crust’ of troops which would serve to delay invasion forces long enough for a mobile reserve to react. By June 1940 1.5 million men had volunteered for the Home Guard and Ironside devised a plan based on ‘defence in depth’. A series of ‘stop lines’ were to be constructed across the South coast using whatever natural defences were available. The River Medway was a key part of these lines as it protects the south of London from Tonbridge Wells to the coast of the Thames Estuary. Ironside’s pragmatic plan was to be one of brutal attrition; the Home Guard and BEF were to bleed the German forces as much as possible, relying on the Royal Navy to interdict seaborne supply and reinforcements. The grim outlook was reflected by Churchill who remarked: “If the long history of our island is to come to an end, then it shall only end when every last one of us is beaten to the ground and lies choking in his blood”.

Once the Germans had established a beachhead and captured a channel port the remainder of German Army Group A under the command of General von Rundstedt were to follow. After establishing a line from Southampton to Gillingham on the Thames Estuary, the invading forces were due to encircle London, establishing crossings over the Thames river on the way. Protected from a pincer movement by the Thames Estuary von Rundstedt was tasked with creating a massive arc around the West of the Capital taking Oxford, and Reading in the process. It was anticipated by the Germans that once London fell, it would only be necessary to hold a line at around Northampton and Britain would rapidly surrender.

If the invasion plans were rushed then the post-invasion plan was barely a sketch. Hitler determined that Blenheim Palace would serve as the headquarters of the German Occupation Government with potentially Joachim von Ribbentrop or Ernst Bohle at its head. The German Foreign Ministry drew up a list of those that could be trusted to form a new puppet government with Oswald Moseley it's likely leader. Draft plans include the detachment of Scotland from Britain, and the creation of a united Ireland. Hitler made comments to the effect that Britain’s cultural treasures would be moved to the Reich, specifically mentioning the transportation of Nelson’s Column to Berlin.

The information so far allowed me to generate Scenarios 1-6.

Scenario 1 is an airborne landing in a village on the route to Hastings, likely to be part of the 16th Army’s landings. Scenario 2 represents the 9th army’s attempt to seize the westernmost end of the invasion zone, capturing a Royal Navy spotting station at Bognor Regis Pier in the process. Scenarios 3-4 represent the breakout of German forces, striking at obvious targets like Portsmouth and the River Medway. Scenarios 5-6 were set in London and begin to stray from purely military objectives but are based in political realities. Also, the further I got from the actual coastal landings the less information is available, so the scenarios set in London though based on German military and political objectives were also selected for the chance to game over iconic locations. The final 4 scenarios are my interpretation of how any Allied counter attack may unfurl.

I saw an American Expeditionary force as the only likely way to halt the German advance, and the only likely way to do that would be a counter attack into the arm of the German encirclement around London. Scenarios 7-8 are based in the countryside in this area. Scenario 8 represents an American assault on a German-held airbase that would have been critical to prevent Luftwaffe disruption of the counter attack.

Scenario 9 imagines that the Allied counteroffensive is working and represents a Geurrilla action in the German rear. British authorities prepared the British people in small measure tactically but more widely and perhaps importantly they prepared a mindset of unending resistance. Propaganda posters included a lone man advancing on a tank with the quintessentially British slogan; “You can always take one with you”. Scenario 10 imagines a near-total disintegration of the German lines through Allied counter-offensive, guerrilla disruption and Royal Naval supply interdiction. The British are racing to seize the massive cross-channel artillery at Dover and in doing so effectively close the channel to German reinforcements. Also you can’t have a Sealion Battlepack and not feature Dover!

I hope that goes some way to reassure those on the fence that there aren't any scenarios where German Paratroopers land on Buckingham Palace, kidnap the King, and battle their way to a U-boat moored in the Thames.

Of course there's only one way to know for sure....
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Mark Buetow
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McHenry
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Hastings! I guess Foyle will get to directly contribute to the war effort after all. laugh
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David Clausen
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Malacandra wrote:
Hastings! I guess Foyle will get to directly contribute to the war effort after all. laugh


While looking sad and gloomy
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Richard Pardoe
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
there aren't any scenarios where German Paratroopers land on Buckingham Palace, kidnap the King, and battle their way to a U-boat moored in the Thames.

Oh well, guess I need to cancel my pre-order then...
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Andrew Laws
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"I play to win, as much or more than any egoist who thinks he's going to win by other means. I want to win the match. But I don't give in to tactical reasoning as the only way to win, rather I believe that efficacy is not divorced from beauty."
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RPardoe wrote:
HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
there aren't any scenarios where German Paratroopers land on Buckingham Palace, kidnap the King, and battle their way to a U-boat moored in the Thames.

Oh well, guess I need to cancel my pre-order then...


You won't cancel a damn thing and we all know it.

I'd also like to mention that Pardoe worked out this would be the next battlepack about a month ago.

So it's not just rules questions where he's got the jump on all of you.
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Chris Friend
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Awesome write-up Andrew. Can't wait for this BP! Thanks for all the hard work.
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Volko Ruhnke
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Very interesting and attractive concept -- I usually don't go for historical what-if starting points, but this is very alluring!
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Chick Lewis
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You know very well that I have been "IN" since I saw the first of your gorgeous maps !!
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nick P
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Back in the 1980s I lived in a house adjacent to Holloway Prison. I would be most interested to see whether it appears on your map and, if so, whether the stone bench in my back garden is depicted.
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Andrew Laws
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"I play to win, as much or more than any egoist who thinks he's going to win by other means. I want to win the match. But I don't give in to tactical reasoning as the only way to win, rather I believe that efficacy is not divorced from beauty."
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nickp wrote:
Back in the 1980s I lived in a house adjacent to Holloway Prison. I would be most interested to see whether it appears on your map and, if so, whether the stone bench in my back garden is depicted.


I also used to live adjacent to Holloway and my house is on there.

Back gardens are definitely depicted.
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David Janik-Jones
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Wojtyla wrote:
Malacandra wrote:
Hastings! I guess Foyle will get to directly contribute to the war effort after all. laugh


While looking sad and gloomy

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beresford dickens
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I'm not too keen on fantasy games either (yes I know all CC scenarios are fantasy really) but I have now ordered this as like many others I am a sad CC completist (gotta have them all). Please no future BPs on the Nazi invasion of Washington with new flying saucer technology.

No I am not sour because my country is depicted, many of us from elsewhere in the country LOVE the idea of London being trashed, though preferably by Godzilla rather than a mere German army.

Now that the principle of tanks on one side has finally been accepted, I hope to see packs with Tigers attacking the British perimeter at Arnhem or Finnish skitroops ambushing Russian armoured columns on snow-maps.

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Freddy Dekker
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Nah, the next battlepack will be about the nazi forces on the dark side of the moon invading the US.


I wonder does this battlepack come with any new units or is it just map and rules and use what you've got?
 
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Andrew Laws
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"I play to win, as much or more than any egoist who thinks he's going to win by other means. I want to win the match. But I don't give in to tactical reasoning as the only way to win, rather I believe that efficacy is not divorced from beauty."
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sagitar wrote:
Nah, the next battlepack will be about the nazi forces on the dark side of the moon invading the US.


I wonder does this battlepack come with any new units or is it just map and rules and use what you've got?


Maps and rules and use what you've got.

I did have new units envisaged, but not even close to the requisite number to make a chit sheet cost-effective.
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Jeff Yeackle
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
I did have new units envisaged, but not even close to the requisite number to make a chit sheet cost-effective.


C3i Bonus!
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Joe Donnelly
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RPardoe wrote:
[q="HarlemMimeSchool"]there aren't any scenarios where German Paratroopers land on Buckingham Palace, kidnap the King, and battle their way to a U-boat moored in the Thames.


That’s a pity, since a similar operation WAS in fact planned. The palace was to be secured by 500 paras, 100 of them landing within the grounds, but only as part of a full-fledged invasion operation. It’s noted in this book:

https://www.amazon.ca/Operation-Sea-Lion-Failed-Invasion/dp/...

Battling to a U-boat was not part of the plan. The thinking was that the British wouldn’t dare risk royal lives by counterattacking.

Sounds like the basis for an intriguing scenario!
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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Thank you for designing these scenarios! My friend John (who grew up in Kent in the 1950's) and I played through them all, very well done all around.
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