Friday, June 23, 2006

Strange Defeat: The invasion begins

The German attack opened on turn 1 with a strong armored thrust out of the Ardennes, a large German drive into Belgium and a smaller operation launched into the Netherlands.

The Dutch gave the invaders a bit of a bloody nose. German paratroops dropped on the lone Dutch fortress unit in Amsterdam, but their attack in conjunction with three additional units was a complete shambles that resulted in the elimination of the paras and no losses inflicted on the Dutch.

But that was pretty much it for the Allied highlight reel. The second parachute regiment dropped as part of the assault against the fortress of Liege and was considerably more successful. The Belgians took very heavy losses getting driven back from the Dyle, although by the end of the German turn they still held both Eban Emael and Namur. Only 5 SP of Belgian troops remained on the map, however. The German advance into Belgium cost them losses amounting to two steps of infantry and one step of motorized infantry.

The German panzer spearheads exploded from the Ardennes and hammered the French defenders. The assault on the northern-most of the Maginot forts met painful repulse, but the panzer forces skirted that battle and quickly drove back or elimnated the French defenders of Sedan and Mezieres. By the end of the turn four French units had been destroyed and a large gap blown in their defenses. German losses were very light, totalling just one step from the 5th Panzer Division. The first photo here shows the situation at the end of the German turn.

The Allies, faced with some severe movement restrictions on Turn 1, did what they could to slow the Germans and inflict some casualties. British and French forces moved forward to counter-attack in Belgium, and they also made use of some strategic movement opportunities to mount an operation against Guderian's spearhead at Mezieres. They also managed to score a minor success with the evacuation die roll for Queen Wilhelminia, gaining them one very happy Political Point.

The Dutch were forced to attack the superior German forces outside of Amsterdam (combat is mandatory unless the phasing units are in a fortress hex), but the Germans muffed their 9 defensive dice and neither side inflicted a casualty.

The first attempt at a joint British/French attack, against the German forward-most troops just north of Eban Emael, fizzled amid bickering and British fumbling. Alexander, the Royal Armored Corps and British 1 Corps evidently had bad maps, which left General Piroux and his DLM alone in a valiant assault that managed to inflict a step loss on 16 Panzer Corps. It was, however, a death ride for the French armor, as the DLM was destroyed and Piroux killed in the process.

French and British commanders farther to the south proved more cooperative. One of the French corps in the "MR" deployment group passed its movement check and moved against the Germans at Mezieres, providing some operational cover as British 3 Corps used strategic movement to join the assault. The coordination roll succeeded, and 3 French and the British corps slammed into Guderian's troops. Both sides suffered two hits, and both elected to take their second step loss as a retreat. The Allies lost one French infantry step in the attack, while the Germans lost a step from 10th Panzer Division.

The turn ended with the Allies able to form some sort of a line in front of the Germans, although the situation in the south is tenuous at best. The political point index stands at -7. The second photo shows the situation at the end of the first turn.

No comments: