Breaking into Festung Europa (A Guided tour for invading Europe!)

For the Allied player gaining a foothold in Normandy is the order of the day for 6 June! In order to satisfactorily accomplish this mission a through analysis of each landing beach is needed.  What follows is one look at how to make the most of your turn one in SSGís Battles in Normandy Overlord campaign.

Overall Situation 

How the Allied player breaks into Normandy during the first two days will set the tone for the campaign.  Excel during this time and the German player is in a world of hurtÖ stuff it up badly and a second Dunkirk may be in order! 

Attacking Forces: The Allied player has 11 division equivalents (7 infantry divisions, 3 airborne divisions, and the British equivalent of an armored division) to take control of five landing beaches on D-Day.  Additionally 3 infantry divisions and a British armored division will arrive on 7 June.  The British can land two corps supply units on D-Day while the Americans have two supply units available to land on 7 June.

Defending Forces:  German player has 7 infantry divisions and 3 panzer divisions available to halt the Allied Invasion during the critical first two days.

Allied Supply:  Allies have a very limited supply capability for the first week to 10 days.  Securing beachheads and expanding the road network are the keys to Allied success until the Mulberrys and enhanced supply units arrive around 15 June.  Critically important is the ability to take replacements at Utah Beach which can only be done by creating an uninterrupted road network to the Omaha Beach supply source.

Allied Airborne Troops: These elite units took a long time to train and did not use replacements from the ordinary manpower pool.   For thios reason, airborne replacements are simply not available for the entire campaign. The only way these high quality units regain strength after taking step losses is by using their internal timed replacements.  Once the timed replacements are used up, the airborne units will start taking permanent losses during further combat.

Airpower:  Allies are able to dominate the skies over Normandy.  By using air interdiction carefully the Allied player can strongly influence the German supply situation and movement of combat units

Utah Beach Objectives

The Allies have three objectives to be completed by the troops that land at Utah beach. These are:

  1. Capture Carentan
  2. Establish a supply link to Omaha beach, so that Allied troops can take replacements
  3. Cut the Contentin peninsula, preferably by capturing St Sauveur (denying the Axis Victory Points) and then Gennetot.
  4. Capture Cherbourg

Objectives 1 and 2 are closely linked, since Carentan controls the road network that will be needed for Allied logistics. Carentan is also worth 20 VPs per turn for the Axis.

Objectives 3 and 4 are almost diametrically opposed to objectives 1 and 2, as combat units cannot contribute to both at the same time. The capture of Carentan is normally the most important although if it is defended to the utmost it is possible to obtain supplies from Cherbourg four turns after its capture. It is possible to capture Cherbourg without cutting the peninsula.

Tactics

It is hard to formulate on overall tactical plan for the landing at Utah, since the locations of your para units are very variable. As the Allied player though, you have the consolation of knowing that Utah is the easiest beach to land at, and one at which itís hard to do anything disastrous on the beach itself.

 

Bombardment and Landing

Examine the map that accompanies this article. There are eight steps marked A1, A2 and A3 that can cause attrition on your landing on hex (29,21). Hex (29,21), labelled A2, is probably the most desirable spot for a landing, being closest to Carentan and having a road right into the hex. Unfortunately, all eight enemy steps can cause attrition to this hex.

Depending on where your paras land, the 1058 Grenadier unit at hex A3 (27,23) can sometimes be persuaded to move on. Naval gunfire can play a big part in this less than gentle persuasion, and any retreat result will move the unit out of attrition range.

If the 1058 Grenadier is moved, then with sufficient bombardment it is possible to render hex A2 attrition free. However, this is not necessarily a good idea. Naval assets are at premium on Turn 1, so consider landing a stack at hex (29,20) immediately north of hex A2, and assaulting hex A2 after landing. You should be able to get a guaranteed overrun kill on the lone strongpoint there.

If the Grenadiers prove stubborn, or you do not have the strength to move them, then destruction of the strongpoints at A1 and A2 and the removal of a single step from the strongpoint at hex (27,18) marked A4, will allow landing without attrition at the two northenmost hexes of the beachhead.

Considering Others

Consider the other beaches. Utah is relatively easy, but every ship used here is not available elsewhere, especially at Omaha where conditions are tougher.

Engineers and Rangers

US Engineer and Ranger units can clear minefields in one turn, if there are no enemy units adjacent. All beachhead hexes are mined, but land Engineers or Rangers on hexes critical to your follow up units.

Carentan Strongpoints

The vital hexes at (27,25) and (28,25) marked S1 and S2 on the map are inconveniently protected by strongpoints. They appear to be out of range of naval bombardment, but this is not so. There are two ships, the monitors HMS Erebus (36,14) and HMS Roberts (69,12) which if moved to the hex marked M1 (36,14) can bombard hexes S1 and S2. This will make the conquest of Carentan much easier.

The Road to Carentan

There are only two roads into Carentan, marked R1 and R2 on the map. If you can get close enough to either road to exert OP penalties and prevent supply getting through, then some judiciously placed Air Interdiction will place the defenders of Carentan under a lot pressure. Remember though, the defenders will not use a bullet unless attacked, you may have to do some lower odds attacks in order to force the issue.