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Subject: A BKN Teaching Game rss

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Nels Thompson
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I'm starting this thread to begin a teaching game of Breakout: Normandy.
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Joe Kundlak
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I am in!

As part of the Allied forces and also as the man with the tripod laterna magica whistle
 
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Nels Thompson
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Let's play with the L2 rules. For anyone with the AH edition, there are very few changes, and L2 and Don Greenwood have granted permission to list the changes. The L2 game is almost identical to the AH game, and I think the L2 rules are a modest improvement.
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Darin Helgeson
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I just got this on the table a few days ago and have been reading the rules. I've tried a few times to learn the game by myself but never get very far. This couldn't have happened at a better time. Looking forward to learning it along with some other folks.
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Jason Albert
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I’ve never done this before, so maybe there’s a best way, but how do we impose some order on this process? Because while the choices for any given impulse are finite, they’re not few. If we as a collective try to come to agreement with everything at our disposal, that could take awhile and be counterproductive.

Nels, might it make sense at least for the first couple turns, to give us, I don’t know, three choices? Assault here, bombard here, etc.? Which do you guys think is best?

That kind of thing? Or is that a bad idea?

Also, it'd probably make sense to set a regular time (once a day at 8:00 am or whatever’s best) to lock in a move.

I honestly have no idea. Just throwing this stuff out there to make sure we’re as streamlined as we can be, and even more so, not to waste Nels’ time that he’s graciously offered.
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Nels Thompson
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This is actually pretty easy, because your choices are streamlined to start. I will advise you of what you need to choose to do, and I'll explain the rules so you see the odds, effects, etc. We will be a dozen moves in or so before you have more significant decisions. I think I can keep it streamlined by using this approach.

For example, your first choices are what to do with the paratroopers in the night phase. There are only about 3 options to choose from. I'll explain them to you. Normally, one wouldn't start the rulebook by reading the Night Phase rules, but it actually works really well to show the game mechanics with that start.

I will be able to get us started later this evening, I believe.
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Joe Kundlak
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That limited amount of choices is a good idea, at the start of the game.

And yes, the best would be a daily move (if at least someone casts their "vote") to keep the game moving... Of course we have to see for real, but still.
 
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Jason Albert
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Sounds great, Nels, thank you. Night rules it is!

Joeyeti wrote:
And yes, the best would be a daily move (if at least someone casts their "vote") to keep the game moving... Of course we have to see for real, but still.


I'm here daily, obsessively. No worries on this grinding to a halt. Looking forward to it --
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Joe Kundlak
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I am here also daily, althoug GMT +1
So when you folks start sitting down into your couches at 6pm, I slowly turn off my computer (if the kids do not interrupt).
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Kevin Wojtaszczyk
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Just to lend a helping hand, at the start of the game it is all Allies with the "game setup" D-Day invasion. This unique mechanic makes each game different and prevents the game from getting too static with standard openings and such. Put all the initial German units on the board using the Setup Card to guide you and leave all the Allied units on the D-Day setup card as they can be deployed from there. In the L2 rule book, turn to page 18, section 21.D-Day.

1A Deals with the Paratroopers which land in Merville(A7), St. Mere-Eglise(A50) and Pont l'Abbe(A49) the night before D-Day. This is a special phase where the allies chooses to attack with none, some or all of the units in each area and/or decides to spend a unit to get a free bridge control. This is the only phase where you can get a free bridge control just by spending a unit. Later in this demo the normal game rules on how to capture a bridge will be explained. Move those units to their respective area's as listed on the Allied setup card.

I'd propose a typical conservative start, which is used by the majority of players, namely:

In Merville(A7): One Canadian unit will attack the German unit in Merville as a 3 vs 3 attack roll and the other unit will seize the Merville(A7)-Sword(A8) bridge.

In Pont l'Abbe(A49): One US unit will seize the Pont l'Abbe(A49)-St. Mere-Eglise(A50) bridge and the other US unit will not be used and will just stay fresh.

In St.Mere-Eglise(A50): One US unit will seize the St.Mere-Eglise(A50)-Carentan(A44) bridge and one US unit will seize the St.Mere-Eglise(A50)-Montebourg(A52) "Magic" bridge. [if you do some reading, this is the 'Magic' bridge that sometimes is mentioned] Do not use the other two US units, just leave them fresh.



2A Deals with all the ships which bombarded the beaches prior to the landings on the morning of D-Day. Basically, the Allied player just goes through the landing beaches and rolls the dice to see if any of the German units are damaged. The attack/defense values are below. Naval attack strength is 8 as listed on the boat chits.
Sword(A8) 8 vs 4 [ 1(target area TEM) +1(German CA unit) +2(Beach Fortification) = 4 ]
Juno(A17) 8 vs 4 [ 1(target area TEM) +1(German CA unit) +2(Beach Fortification) = 4 ]
Gold(A18) 8 vs 4 [ 1(target area TEM) +1(German CA unit) +2(Beach Fortification) = 4 ]
Omaha(A30) 8 vs 4 [ 1(target area TEM) +1(German CA unit) +2(Beach Fortification) = 4 ]
Utah(A51) 8 vs 3 [ 1(target area TEM) +2(Beach Fortification) = 3 ]



3A Deals with the airstrikes which occurred just before the beach landings happened on D-Day. The Allied player has one British and one US airstrike which have to be used in two different areas. Any area on a beach or adjacent to a beach are legal and both air strikes have to be decided upon before the attack roll is made. The air strike attack strength is 5, the defense of the area will depend on the target TEM + the number of German FLAK unit’s which are fresh in the area.

Typical uses of the Airstrikes are to supplement the naval bombardments so less German CA's are fresh. As you will find below, every fresh German CA unit has 1 pip of beach interdiction value for it's beach and ones adjacent to it. Since Port-en-Bessin is next to both Gold and Omaha landing beaches, that is a very typical target for one of the Airstrikes. (Which would be 5 vs 1 since only the target area TEM and any fresh FLAK units count toward defense for air strikes). The Allied player would then use the other one on another beach which survived it's naval assault. Sometimes it is done against Omaha(5vs1), Sword(5vs1) or Caen(5vs5 because Caen has a 4 for it's TEM and has a fresh FLAK unit in it at the start of the game) to try and flip more units than just a single CA since those areas have multiple German forces.


4A The last special D-Day board setup are the amphibious beach landings. For this phase the Allied player first determines how many units for each beach from the landing forces will be used in the D-Day assaults. Any artillery units stay in their approach boxes and can not land in these initial assaults. Typically a player puts those pieces next to their respective beaches and any left over units are placed in their respective beach approach boxes from the Allied setup card. The following is a typical landing choice:

Sword(A8) : Land all units (just the artillery stays behind)
Juno(A17) : Land all three 3CA 5-5-5 infantry units (6-6-6 Armor and artillery stays behind)
Gold(A18) : Land all three 50th 4-4-5 infantry units (6-6-6 Armor, 4-4-5 and art stays behind)
Omaha(A30) : Land all units but one of the 5-5-5’s (one 5-5-5 and both artillery stay behind)
Utah(A51) : Land one 4th 6-5-5 unit (two 6-5-5 units and the artillery stay behind)

After all the decisions have been made then:

1. Each unit has to face a d6 interdiction die roll if it is landing on a beach that has a fresh German CA unit still on it or a fresh German CA unit adjacent to it. If only 1 German CA is on or adjacent to the beach the units are landing then any 1’s rolled flips the attacking unit over and they aren’t part of the attack strength. If two CA’s are on or adjacent, then a 1 makes the unit Disrupt-1 and a 2 rolled makes them spent. If there are three CA’s a 1 or 2 makes them D-1 and a 3 makes them spent. The German player goes through all the landing forces and rolls a die for each unit to see if any of them flip. [This ‘interdiction’ roll will happen during the game too whenever Allied forces land on a beach from the approach boxes and there is a fresh German CA on the beach or adjacent to it.]

2. Ok, now everyone one who is left fresh in the attacking forces gets to assault the beach. Tally up the attack strength of the force and the defense strength of the Germans and roll the dice and figure out the results. Once all the results are applied, the 'game setup' is completed and normal game impulse phases begin with the Germans moving first with Impulse 0. ( 6G0 is a typical notation. For June 6th, German move on Impulse 0. Then 6A0, 6G1, 6A1, etc... )

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Nels Thompson
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Kevin W is going to join us, and he has drafted a primer on the Night Phase and the D-Day landings.

Have a look at the opening setup. You begin with the Night Phase. In Merville, you have two paratrooper units, each with '3' attack factors. The setup begins after they have landed during the night. What are their objectives? There are only two of them, so they cannot get a +1 divisional integrity modifier if they attack together. It is night, so they don't get a +1 for air support. At Merville, both of the paras could attack the CA together:

Attack Value: 3 (lead) + 1 (additional attacker) = 4
Defense Value: 2 (lead) + 1 (Terrain Effects Modifier) = 3

Even dice will cause 1 Casualty Point (CP) to the defender. No big deal, right? The Germans could just refit that unit back to Fresh at the end of the day. But one CP will flip that Coastal Artillery (CA), and prevent it from interdicting the landings at Sword. Pretty nice.

But there is another task. That bridge (I call them causeways when they cross flooded boundaries) between Merville and Sword can't be taken until one of those areas is cleared, and it won't be automatic even then. The Germans might blow that bridge at just the wrong time, too. It's more important to seize that bridge than it is to attack the CA. Ordinarily, seizing a bridge costs 1 MP (and it's not a sure thing), but the Night Phase is special. There is no movement at all. You can seize a bridge with a para as its only action, automatically. You could even flip both paras to spent and seize both causeways.

So you're going to want that Sword causeway, at least. The standard opening is to use one para to attack the CA @ 3:3, and to use the other one to seize the causeway to Sword. Good Allied play takes risks with individual units when the rewards are high. Some players will wait until they see the attack outcome before seizing the causeway, and if they get lucky and eliminate the CA they keep one para fresh for other mischief later in the day.

Your first choice: What do you want to do at Merville?
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Nels Thompson
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Your second decision, and the first big one of the game, is in the American sector. Pont l'Abbe is easy. Use one para to seize the St. Mere causeway and keep the other one fresh. If you attack at Pont l'Abbe the odds are terrible:

AV = 3 lead + 1 additional = 4
DV = 5 lead + 3 TEM = 8

Pont l'Abbe is bocage terrain and the 1st CP inflicted is ignored, so you'd need to roll up *6* just to cause a hit there, and up *9* to clear the area.

You might get tempted to seize a second bridge out of Pont l'Abbe, but the Americans generally come of Utah pretty slowly due to the terrain and limited supply there, and you want that second para fresh to play defense, if needed.

Now for the big choice. St. Mere Eglise. You read players talking about 3-bridge and 4-bridge openings. This refers to how many bridges you take adjacent to St. Mere Eglise during the Night Phase. You have the one to Pont l'Abbe, from the other side. In St. Mere Eglise, you have 4 paras (3 of the 101st, one of the 82nd). You can "go postal on the coastal") and attack outright:

AV = 3 lead + 3 additional + 1 integrity = 7
DV = 2 lead + 3 TEM = 5 (but bocage absorbs the first CP)

Practically speaking, you need to clear the area or die trying (use the Advantage marker to re-roll if you fail). You need to roll up 3 to inflict 4 CPs to eliminate a fresh unit or force it to retreat (7 + 3 = 10 to 5, resulting in 5 CPs, down 1 to 4 CPs for bocage). The 4 CPs go in this order: from fresh to spent for 1, to Disrupt 1 for 1 more, to Disrupt 2 for 1 more, and elimination *or* retreat (but CA's can't move and can't retreat) for 1 more. Four total CPs to clear an area that has one fresh defender.

Why do you need to clear it or die trying? Because if you clear it, any German units cannot enter the area until they have made a successful mandatory assault. There is a strong 6-strength unit in Carentan that can enter St. Mere. If the paras clear St. Mere Eglise, it could counterattack:

AV = 6 lead
DV = 2 lead + 3 TEM + 1 mandatory over a bridge + 1 that bridge is in fact a causeway + 2 air support = 9

(Allied units get a +1 to attacks and a +2 to defense in clear weather, for air support.)

That's a tall order. But if you don't clear the area on your attack, that assault is *not* mandatory for the German player, because he'll be entering a contested area over a friendly bridge. He will not assault at all, and he'll just stuff as many units as he can into St. Mere Eglise, slowing up the Americans coming off of Utah. And "slowing up" here is a euphemism for winning the game. Believe it or not, this one area can wreck an otherwise competitive game, and Breakout is such a fantastic game that those of us who play it hardly mind. (Well, I mind, but that's a screed for another day.)

What you need to do is seal off St. Mere Eglise, so the 4th Infantry Division can do the heavy lifting of clearing the area later. Seize the bridge to Montebourg, and the one to Carentan. Now if that big German unit in Carentan wants to reinforce St. Mere Eglise, it's a mandatory assault, due to the Allied-held bridge (even though he owns St. Mere and it's contested):

AV = 6 lead
DV = 4 lead + 1 additional fresh unit (the other two seized bridges) + 3 TEM + 2 air support + 3 for the causeway (note that the bridges are worth one more to the defense if they're held by the defender, but you can cross any bridge unless it's destroyed) = 13

Six to 13. Those are odds you can live with if the game rests on them.

You have a more serious vulnerability at St. Mere at this point. Check the bridge seizure rules. (Note the difference between seizing an intact bridge and repairing a destroyed one.) A unit in a free area can spend one Movement Point (MP) to attempt to seize a bridge adjacent to the area. The seizure attempt succeeds on a single die roll (dr, as opposed to DR, which is used for rolling to dice) 4 or better: a 50-50 shot. If the German player seizes one of the bridges the paras have just taken, he can then stuff St. Mere without risk, because entering a contested area over a friendly bridge makes assaulting optional. (You don't have to fight your way through defenders at the bridge. One of the things I like about BKN is the way the game abstractly models the way area boundaries are fought over. If you hold a bridge, you can think of it like this: friendly forces have entered the adjacent area and are now setting a defensive perimeter on the far side of the area boundary. If the bridge is enemy-held, the reverse is true: the enemy has a defensive perimeter on your side of the river.)

Bridge seizure odds are lowered by one for every fresh enemy unit in the far side area. Any area with three fresh units can hold all of its bridges. (Causeways also lower the odds by one, so a causeway can be held if there are only two fresh units in the area.)

If you take the 3-bridge opening (the Pont l'Abbe, Montebourg, and Carentan bridges), you have two fresh units remaining in St. Mere, and the Germans cannot seize the causeway from Carentan. But they can seize the Montebourg bridge on a '6'. Thus the "magic" bridge. The most conservative way to play is to take the 3-bridge opening and hold the advantage to use for a magic bridge reroll, if the German player manages to roll a 6 and seize it.

There is another option, though. If you take the 3-bridge opening, you will have to force your way over the Utah Beach causeway to clear St. Mere Eglise. This is not as easy as it looks with that 2-strength unit in St. Mere. There are no overruns allowed on the initial D-Day landings, and it would cost too much movement anyway (3 to enter an area with a spent defender on the beach, presuming it is spent by the naval bombardment, plus 4 to enter St. Mere with its fresh defender, equals 7 MPs, and your units only have 5). The best you can hope for is one or two units in a followup wave hitting St. Mere. One unit of the 4th ID can attack later in the day, but the odds aren't great:

AV = 6 lead + 1 air support = 7
DV = 2 lead + 3 TEM + 3 mandatory over causeway = 8

You need +1 on the dice just to enter St. Mere and force the causeway to your control. Once the Utah causeway is held, the assault into St. Mere from Utah is optional, and the defender gets no bonus for the causeway. That 7 to 8 becomes a 7 to 5.

Ah, but couldn't you take it during the Night Phase with one of those fresh paras? Yes, you could. That's the 4-bridge opening. What's the downside? The "magic" bridge will fall on a 5 or a 6.

Choose wisely, my friends.

And with that, I send it over to you. You may execute the landings. I'll answer any questions and help you through it. I recommend we roll the dice right here in the forum. The attacker rolls all dice. There is literally nothing for the German player to do during the Night Phase and the landings, except to name a lead defender and execute retreats. In a pbem game, the Allied player usually opens with all of the D-Day special actions and then sends the game over to the Germans.

Good luck!
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Nels Thompson
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Extra credit: Which unit should the Germans use for their first attempt to seize the Montebourg to St. Mere Eglise bridge?
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Jason Albert
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Thank you, Kevin and Nels. Above and beyond.

I don’t know where everyone who’s playing along is time zone-wise, but I’m CST. It’s really going to help me learn to push some counters with our tasks now in hand to see how the puzzle interrelates. That’ll surely generate a few questions, too. When I knock off of work later this aft, that’ll be what I do.

What should we say, Allies? Get all questions/thoughts in and pull the trigger on our moves this evening sometime? Sound cool?

QUESTION(S)
1. What’s the upshot of leaving the armor/arty behind on the amphib landings as part of a typical opening? Or, what are the bad things that happen if you bring it along?
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Eric Brosius
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The safest plan is to land every unit you can in each initial beach assault. This gives you the best chance of winning and of inflicting losses on the Germans in that space.

But the game isn't only about safety. If your goal was safety, you should have stayed in England. You also want upside---the chance to break the game open in your favor. After all, the Germans are tough opponents, and you have a schedule to keep up with (e.g., achieve a winning total by game end.)

By holding some units back, you get the chance to use them later in follow up attacks that can move inland and take some key real estate relatively cheaply. After all, the German defenses will never be as thin again as they are on June 6.

So the question you need to ask is "how much safety do I want, and how much upside?". You can't have it all.
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Łukasz
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Thanks for the effort. Can we hope for a Vassal save/log or a screenshot, maybe?
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Joe Kundlak
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Sure, I will post the initial status from Vassal soon...
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Nels Thompson
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I recommend you run all the way through the naval bombardments. You can pause at that point, if you wish, to decide where to bombard with your air, and to designate your initial landings. No harm in going all the way through the landings, if you're up for it.
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Grant LaDue
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Is there a cyberboard for BKN with the initial setup?
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Nels Thompson
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I've thought about it, and I'd like to have you only do the Night Phase for now. I'll take you forward from there.

For some order on the process, I'll nudge you along if you're slowing down too much. Mastering the rules is more important than mastering the game this time out, and Joe and I will keep things going. If either of us feels it's time to roll dice and move on, we'll do it. In the interest of speed, I will roll some dice and make some decisions for you, but I'll explain myself as I do it.

Back to the task at hand, though. Night Phase. Enjoy!

(Grant, I'll find and post a Cyberboard starting scenario later.)
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Joe Kundlak
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As promised, the initial setup from Vassal:

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Grant LaDue
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Why can't the Germans seize the Caretan bridge if you take it?

I'm presuming it's because of the flooded boundary.
 
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Grant LaDue
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So, this is what I'm seeing.

Presuming the use of the advantage:

1) There is only a 1/36 chance of losing the Montebourg bridge with a 3 bridge opening.

2) There is a 1/9 chance of losing the bridge in a 4 bridge open.

So, if the bridge *is* seized by the Germans, how much does that lower your odds of winning? If the bridge to Utah is *not* seized by the Americans, how much does *that* lower your odds of not clearing St Mere on the 6th/7th?
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Nels Thompson
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ladue wrote:
Why can't the Germans seize the Caretan bridge if you take it?

I'm presuming it's because of the flooded boundary.


Flooded basically counts for 1 fresh unit. Three fresh units keeps a normal bridge from being seized. Leaving 2 fresh paras in St. Mere prevents the flooded boundary from being seized. (In a 4-bridge opening, the Carentan bridge can be seized on a 6: it leaves 1 American para fresh in St. Mere Eglise.)
 
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Kevin Wojtaszczyk
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The Carentan bridge is a flooded boundary, so that is another -1 modifier on attempting to take it. So if there are 2 fresh US units in St.Mere, the die roll needed would be a 7 on a d6. ( 4-5-6 rolled gets a bridge normally, 5-6 if flooded, and keep removing one for each fresh enemy unit in the area )

If the US does the 4 bridge opening, the German's could try the Carentan bridge, since a 6 would work. But the Monteburg bridge in that case is a 5 or 6, so the better odds is the better choice. Additionally, you need a german unit to try and there are a number of units available on the Monteburg side, but not as much on the Carentan side.

Guess for which German unit should try the magic bridge first:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Valongnes 91st infantry walks to Monteburg and tries to seize the bridge.

Reasoning behind not the 709th in Monteburg is the amount of movement each unit has. Any unit can enter/attack an adjacent space regardless of movement points on the chit. So the 3-3-3 can move into St.Mere. The Valongnes 4-5-4 however moves 1 MP to Monteburg which leaves it just 3MP's left. To move into an area with a fresh enemy unit it takes 4 MPs. So the Valongnes unit wouldn't be able to make it. Additionally, no air interdiction roll is needed because the german unit only moved 1 area. That is the risk of the Barfleur AOK7 unit. It can walk to Monteburg and try to seize the bridge, but since it would have moved into more than one area, without passing through any FLAK unit protection, the allies would roll a d6 of air interdiction in clear weather. On a 1 the unit doesn't move to the 2nd space and goes to D1 status, on a 2 the unit doesn't move to the 2nd space and flips as spent.
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