Where will the CW Generals focus? Last week we looked at Maps, VP locations and victory conditions. Now let us see what the Commonwealth can get up to!
There are three obvious approaches marked in red below. But where will the main thrust come from? Where will the Enemy bring his force to bear? What will he focus on?
The ability to drive wholesale into Damascus really worries me. The Open City rule negates a lot of the defensive value of the site and this means that the area from Sassaa to eastern Wadi’s needs to be defended! How will that be possible?
If there are 3 routes lets help ourselves by labeling them! Route Alpha the coastal route, route Bravo the Mountain route and finally Route Charlie via the desert or plains route.
You may have noticed the primary road between Route B & C. This poses a problem if the forces of the Commonwealth advance toward and up B but switch to support C the Vichy could be left flat footed. As do the trails between A and B for that matter.
High speed, mostly clear, hemmed by rough, low hills and rivers cross it every 5-6 hexes.
Defensible subject to Supply and where commandos land and how successful that landing is.
If possible the Vichy will with draw to North of the Litani River ASAP. with the objective of looking to hold at Sidon; which has just two traversable hexsides along the coastal road at that point. Commandos may attempt to land in this area. Another Likely location is between Sidon and Damour for Commandos to wreck havoc! Breaks in Supply can hinder any response or effective defense.
Damour River provides the next natural defense line if Litani falls…or when it falls. Pressing supply down to Damour must be a priority and shifting 1T of truck capacity to service that will likely be needed. If the forces cannot fight effectively or disrupt attacks with air or arty Vichy are in trouble. The Cavalry in Beirut will move to a reserve location while the rest of the forces support the Route A defense.
The first thing I notice is that 17th Sengalese is out on a limb! These Infantry are excellent quality units that we must attempt to preserve to bolster the defense of the Merdjayoun-El Masna corridor.
The terrain here is also favorable, and narrow, but a wrong move will see us in jeopardy. One HQ will need to go here also. The hex line from Lake Qurooun to Rachaye looks the most defensible just north of Mt. Hermon. That will be the fall back after the Litani line has been breached, otherwise we expose the Left Flank of the Coastal defense. The restricted units in Zahle will provide a mobile defense once they are released and some much needed arty support. I will try to pair each unit with a 5^3-3 to use in combat…or perhaps combine with the 6th Chasseurs units to form a roving battle group based at El Masna in Reserve.
Another interesting route. This one is wide open. The el Awaj River is a perfect defensive line for several divisions but rough for a handful of Brigades. Thankfully the route receives early reinforcements. It also has 2 units of arty. One of which may be moved to aid Route B. The other advantage is air. If an early push to eradicate the Commonwealth air is successful this will make late game play easier.
Roads, rail and trucks. The Vichy will average 1.5 SP a turn. They start with 6 SP in and north of Damour (2t wagons) on map. As well as 3SP in Merjyoun, 3SP in Souedia (2t wagons) and finally 3 SP in Damascus (2t trucks). With 2t trucks in Beirut one of those can shuttle 3t a turn to Damour for staging, and Vichy should place an HQ in Damour. Supplying the Mountainous center valley will be a challenge. Rail (1.5 SP a turn) to Dimas and shuttle from there is one option as is transporting from Damascus/ Supply zone 3.
The Allies have 2SP in Haifa, 5SP in Safad for Route B, 5SP in Irib on route C and 2 near Mafra. Transports are limited to 4t of trucks to be allocated at start [this will also be a leading indicator of where focus is for the Commonwealth]. They will also generate 2.5 SP on average a turn, but have a lot more lorried equipment than the Vichy. Each of the attack routes has strong trace supply avenues. It is only at the Sidon-Massra hexrow that we start to see higher risk positions that could allow CW forces to force the Vichy OOS. The CW have the added benefit of Royal Naval Supply capabilities along the coast too.
Thus Damour to my mind is the critical hex/city to hold. Letting Damascus fall late game is ok only if a strong counter attack can either re capture it or take one location in the Yellow box above to deny the 10VP count.
This leads me to believe that the focus of the Vichy defense should be Damour. Therefore the single Hedgehog available should be built their(this adds protection during Air attacks and aids with surprise rolls etc during combat). As I go back to the rules I see that this is where the defenses were historically!
Now of course the enemy may have other plans, so making these commitments too early are a bad idea.
Lots of other options exist for the enemy. A Right hook through Damascus, a direct left thru to Beirut! Right up the middle…..
So now we come to psychology. Who are we playing how do they work and what is their battle ‘philosophy’?
My opponent is methodical, accurate and a good student of tactics. I think he like to take chances and possible to follow a bit of the history. Having just finished reading the historical notes it appears my thinking about how the CW will approach things was historical in tune. Funny how terrain and force mix drive choices.
Assuming all of the above is accurate we can safely estimate that Route A will be CW’s focal point in the end but he will no doubt attempt to press the other two routes for opportunities.
The old adage holds true here. Timing of a solid counter attack will be important to delay the inevitable pressure brought to bear by turn 2,6,10 reinforcements of the CW. Thus knocking out units early for low losses is useful, however if it does not achieve a knockout blow the effort may be pointless.
“Knockout Blow”. By this I mean a strike deep to a Sudden Death win. If forces defending Route C can lunge to Amman it is game over. Similarly if forces along the Coastal Route A can take Haifa, then we have victory. Otherwise our entire focus should be defensive in stance.
Can the Vichy be on the offense here? If so where? More on this later.