0500 6th of June the British Beaches. The landings overall go pretty well. DD tanks sink at historical rates. But troop losses are light! This game under the guidance of Jesse Escobedo ran super smooth. The Large rule book was rarely referenced and the core concepts were explained in 15 minutes….ok so he had to repeat everything due some problem with my head from the night before.
A few Phases in and JUNO & SWORD are wide open! The AT guns in Colleville will be made short work of and then charge!!! Or is it Tally Ho!?
We got very lucky on strong point clearing and drift. We did lose 2 battleships tho!
GOLD further up is a fur ball and all backed up so any pressure on Bayeux will be late. We did not really discuss VC’s, but my plan was to go as hard as possible early for the city of Caen and attempt to dig in quickly to force him onto the offensive, then find a wrinkle to get around the city.
Later on we discussed the Auto Victory condition (a supplied unit in Villiers Bocage.) but first we need to get the paras in good order to do something to thwart the 12th SS. Most players perhaps owuld seek teh secure a line back to the beaches, I elected to go for broke and head for Caen. we are playing to learn and playing for keeps in a con. This is not a drill people!!! :).
I think this took Jesse a bit by surprise.
With a supply source protected and the bridge to Gold secure we sent the 6th into Caen. They took a handful of hexes, fought bravely but were soon being pushed out as can be seen above. In the far distance the breakout from Sword races up the road only to be stymied by German ZOCs across the road. Three roads are under pressure on the 7th of June in the morning turn, surely one will crack!
The plucky Paras are ordered to hold until relieved! Below you can see on of the attacks in Caen have bounced several British units out in the Southern sector.
The night of the 7th the Paras fight a rearguard action, the Gold Beach forces finally clear most of stragglers dug in along the beach and they now drive to re group. Then the effort to move supply up begins.
We spend shamelessly on Arty and Air in the coming day. Using a lot of supply to blow gaps towards Caen. The Paras have kept the SS and Panzer formations busy on the Northern side of the Orne River. This distraction of clearing that sector allows the Allies to run pell mell for the city.
British forces capture Southern part of Caen, but are counterattacked aggressively. The battle see saws for hex control, all the while British Infantry, that is now mechanized race up the roads and by ways to reinforce and secure Caen.
At this point the with Caen reinforced we stop to check VC’s and it is clear that the early lunge to Caen paid some dividends. The Brits move Battalions to block river crossings and keep the Panzers bottled up and towards the coast start reinforcing the beleaguered Paras who did a sterling job under immense pressure.
Then with the HQ we push it forward and send a motorized battalion of Infantry to Villiers Bocage. this triggers the AV. We had agreed that even prior that we would call it as there was little liklie hood of getting the Caen hexes back under control. Towards Bayeaux we came at them from two angles and forced our way into just one hex. So somewhat of a reversed adventure from the historical. After about 9 turn phases in this learning game I think I have a good grasp of the basics. We did mess up a few things along the way but none of them were game changers to a significant degree.
Overall I like the game as it brings the major themes and situations into view without bogging down in grinding minutiae. It struck me that GTS’s system forces a lot of detail on you that while interesting gets to be a bit of a drag after a while. This is particularly true of the landings.
Another aspect of the fighting here is battalion scale with company as the final step in a 3 step process to eliminate a unit is simple and effective ( I understand losses are not so linear but it serves the purpose). While with GTS the game is looking for you to keep battalions clustered at its scale ( they would all be in one hex here in BfN) which begs the question do I need or want to play at company scale with a few million men?
So from my playing of two DDAY games, teh most playable so far has been BfN. So I guess that and the old DDAY from Avalon Hill go to the top of the pile for nice solutions for this monumental event. When we get to the point inthe chronological walk thru for Normandy we will add a few more titles to the mix.
Thanks again to Jesse for making the effort to teach the old dog new tricks and to coach me thru the game play. Lots a fun and sorry about the streaky die rolls…:)