STRATEGIC COMMAND WWII: WAR IN EUROPE – France in Five [Part Two]06 Mar 2017 0
Welcome back to the next part of my 'France in Five' guide for Strategic Command WW2: War in Europe. Carrying on from my swift victory over Poland, I'm now ready to turn my armies west as I aim to take Paris in five turns. In Part 1 of this section, I went over some general theory and management related stuff to help me in my fight. In this part, I will take you through a turn-by-turn breakdown of how I achieved my goal.
Unlike my advance on Poland, this won't be a detailed 'move list' of fixed orders - there are more choices and variables available here, so I will talk about the general strategy requited for each step. So, without further ado, lets get this show on the road!
Similar to taking Warsaw in two turns, marching into Paris in five depends largely on destroying the Dutch Army and II Corps (Netherlands), and occupying The Hague on the first turn, then taking Brussels next. This removes all Dutch and Belgian forces, so don’t waste time attacking anything peripheral to this goal. To that end, using all bombers to reduce Dutch Ar or II Co – whichever is most in your way – is advisable; it’s unlikely that any interceptors can reach you, since the Dutch and Belgians have been taken by surprise and the French and British are too far away as yet. A panzerkorps, one army, and a single armeekorps should suffice to conquer the Netherlands; move the rest up into position for next turn once you also occupy Luxembourg (see below). Having advised that, keep in mind that you get huge NM bonuses for knocking out well-supplied units, especially HQs (360!), so take the opportunity if it doesn’t detract from your overall goal.
An army should be used to occupy Luxembourg; anything less will be threatened by counterattacks. Note that this army need not be Attached; you’ll need that attachment elsewhere. A panzerkorps and two armeekorps should be able to clear Eben Emael and Liège. Move everything else up as close as possible, including HQs.
Set Mode>Ground on any weakened fighter units (not likely to have any from Turn 1), or they could take even more damage escorting your bombers; else just reinforce them if you can afford it – and you should be able to, as this ought to be a priority. Next, Detach weakened units in favour of stronger/closer, and reinforce the former ready for next turn. Generally, I prefer attaching frontline forces in lieu of air, but it’s debatable which is more effective. If you absolutely must soften up an enemy before attacking with ground forces, the latter is probably a better choice. Additionally, your interceptors/escorts perform better when Attached. On the other hand, you want maximised ‘punch’ to make breaches in the enemy lines, in order that your mobile forces can penetrate…
See previous advice re: Diplomacy and Research. I prefer caution over maximisation when it comes to modifying my Swedish Ore Convoys, so I have always chosen ‘Yes’. (Somebody should choose ‘No’ and tell me what happens!) Further, note that the AI will likely probe the Westwall, especially at 163,85 in the Black Forest, so be sure to reinforce as necessary, albeit once Paris is threatened – and the BEF flees; see below – the AI will often withdraw at least a corps from the Maginot Line.
Sooner rather than later it seems the BEF gives up and goes home; apparently upon the fall of Belgium the AI adjudges the Continent a lost cause. Doubtless this decision has to do with how the Axis gets a significant NM boost – and vice-versa – if the BEF is smashed. In any case, carry on clearing the road to Paris. As above, Set Mode>Ground on severely damaged air units or simply reinforce them; Set Mode>Auto (or Escort/Intercept) on those once more ready for action. Check HQ attachments; top up attrition taken in occupying Norway; respond to aforementioned Events if they haven’t yet occurred; otherwise spend on Research/Diplomacy/Purchase as already suggested.
Once U 37 is deployed, Set Mode>Silent before it sails; an enemy destroyer and/or sub is like as not harassing your convoy route along the Norwegian coast, so it’s safest to steam into Dogger Bank/North Sea – even though you’ll probably sail right through an Allied fleet hovering off Heligoland/Frisian Is. (hopefully no destroyers!). Alternatively, wait till Norway is occupied, then ‘leapfrog’ U 37 – using waypoints, on Hunt, for more distance – from port-to-port, and then out into the open sea from Stavanger or Bergen. Do not sail adjacent to ‘?’ contacts in either mode, though!
Again, respond/attack as previous, allocate MPP to priorities. You should be within sight of the Eiffel Tower… One more note of caution: I strongly recommend against attacking the French Char B1 bis 1st DCR Heavy Tanks…
By now you’re knocking down the gates of Paris. There’s a chance that Verdun and/or the Maginot might be completely isolated by now – perhaps using paratroops – but again, I stress that anything not directly in the way of the French capital should be ignored. You may even lose the Saar Mine (161,83) for a turn or two, but that’s insignificant in the long run. Use a garrison to block further penetration – if Italy AI hasn’t moved anything around there already – but it should be of little concern regardless.
Once Paris falls, reverse operations to redeploy back to the east, and upgrade/reinforce most everything. All units going east should have Mobility and Inf. Weapons; those you’re leaving to garrison the west can do without for now; your former Westwall forces will suit. All aircraft should be as Advanced as possible, Long Range if you’ve acquired it. I leave at least one army and 3-4 corps behind, plus a fighter squadron, then get on with preparations for Barbarossa!
My general advice from Part 1 holds, and once more, keep in mind that there is no single course of action that’s guaranteed to work all the time. Indeed, I should caution that taking Paris in five turns may not be that wise a strategy! After all, there’s no time limit or urgency – save, perhaps, for replenishing your wolfpacks – and pushing your troops that hard, especially panzers, is probably even undesirable. After all, that invaluable experience they’re gaining will be for naught if they suffer undue casualties (as I did in this demo). On the other hand, I have been ready to invade Russia fully a year ahead of the historical date…
That's it for this section of Jeff's on-going Strategic Command series - stay tuned for the third section, coming soon!
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