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Looking at the map, I tried to set forth in my mind my plan of attack (or retreat as the case may be) for the Allied and German forces. The Allied forces of course need to eliminate as many of the German units as they can, while at the same time trying to close the pocket and cut them off from their withdrawal axis. The Germans on the other hand need to bug out as quickly as possible but in an orderly manner so that they do not give the Allies any gaps or mistakes to further exploit.
First thing I did for turn 1 was to determine the Tactical Efficiency Rating (TER) for the 80th US Division. The die roll was a 5, so 1/2 rounded down would be a 2.
Turn 1 is a night turn, so no Allied air strikes.
The bombardment phase was not very effective, again because it was night. I selected targets not adjacent to other Allied units in order to avoid friendly fire casualties. The only unit affected was the Panzer Lehr unit in the 10th US Corps area. That night time -2 DRM hits hard!
On turns 1 and 2, the Germans have the initiative and therefore get the first two chit activations. Only German chits are in the cup for the first two activations.
Activation #1 - 2SS Korps. The roll for movement with applicable DRM ended up at 4 movement points, and they chose a Movement/Mech Assault activation. The two 9th SS KGs stationed behind the front line bugged out to the East. The 8/3 and the 9/3 FJ broke contact and withdrew east.
Activation #2 - 2FJ Korps. This group ended up with 7 movement points. 2FJ breaks contact and two units (the 752/326 and the 243 from 84 Korps) are attached. They break contact at the front (at night, at the cost of 1 extra mp) and withdraw east, again in a Movement/Mech Assault phase.
Activation #3 - US 15th Corps. Die roll plus DRMs got them 5 movement points and chose a Movement/Mech Assault phase. The US 357/90 scoots around and occupies Chambois, cutting off a potential german withdrawal route. The CCA/FF2 conducts a Mech Assault and obtains a BL1 (both forces lose 1 step) against the 47 Pz/116 KG. The KG is eliminated without a line of communication and earns 1 victory point for the Allies.
CCB/FF2 conducts a Mech Assault against the 47 Pz/2 KG. The results was a DL1 (defender lose 1 step) but is treated as a DR (defender retreat) because the Germans have a higher TER than the attacking Free French.
Activation #4 - 1SS. The 501 and the 12 SS KGs are bugging out on the road to Trun. Pz EB is attached and occupies falaise to provide some cover and maintain control of the town for the time being. Other 1SS units fall back to the south and east.
Activation #5 - 8th British Corps. The die roll give them 4 mp’s. They are stuck moving forward slowly through the bocage at night trying to regain contact.
Activation #6 - 84th German Korps. I replaced this one with the special 58th Korps marker to activate a few more units. Once per turn on turns 1-4, the 58th Korps marker can be used to replace any other drawn German chit, and then activate any number of German units south and west of the Orne River, and west of hex 3221. The die roll gave it 5 mp’s so I used them to break contact and move as many units east as I could. The 84th Korps chit went back in the cup. I was able to move several units east to get them away from the advancing Allies.
Activation #7 - 12 British Corps. They got a good 6 mp’s, and conducted a Movement/Mech Assault segment. Their attack against the German 74th Korps units 979/271 and 978/271 generated no effect.
Activation #8 - US 19th Corps. They only received 3 mp’s, and spent their activation slogging through the bocage country, trying to re-engage the Germans who had bugged out at night.
Activation #9 - US 7th Corps. They conducted a movement/mech assault phase, but didn’t do much more than push the front lines north a few hexes.
Activation #10 - German 74th Korps. Not much activity here as most of their units were moved under the 58th Korps activation.
Activation #11 - 1 Polish Division. They only received 2 mp’s and moved south a couple of hexes.
Activation #12 - 2nd Canadian. This unit conducted a Movement/mech assault on Falaise and the Pz Gn EB unit. With a DL1 result, the Canadians took Falaise.
Activation #13 - 47 Panzer. With 5 movement points, most of these units reinforced Argentan in order to secure the road network through the town and facilitate withdrawal. This will be a key town for the Germans in the south part of the pocket.
The last two activations were the 30 British Corps, with 2 mp’s and the 84th German Korps. Not much activity here.
All in all, the Germans are beginning to withdrawal, but I am afraid that I made a few key mistakes on the first turn. One was to allow the Allies to squeeze the pocket from the north and south. The pocket is now several hexes more narrow, and the Germans in the process lost access to a road in the south that could possibly have been used as a retreat path. The Germans are definitely pulling out as fast as possible from the western most edge of the pocket, because those units have the farthest to travel in attempt their escape the trap. However, if the Germans can’t keep the pocket wide enough, the possibility of a quick escape narrows as well as the pocket. The Allies must continue to push to close the pocket and seal off the withdrawal of as many units as possible, while at the same time eliminating as many of them as they can.
I am looking forward to the Turn 2 as it is a day turn. The Allied air force will be out in strength, and bombardments should be a little more effective at disrupting the Germans. In the daylight, the Germans will be slowed considerably (representing the interdiction of the Allied air force) but the Allies will be able to move faster and farther.