STRATEGIC COMMAND WWII: WAR IN EUROPE – France in Five [Part One]27 Feb 2017 3
This article carries on my play-through of Fury Software’s Strategic Command WWII: War in Europe (SC:WiE), which started here and here. I continue the “1939 Storm Over Europe” scenario essentially where I left off, except that I have already redeployed my forces to the Western Front. As mentioned, I Operate as many as possible, while reinforcing and upgrading those that need it (usually before they redeploy, although this doesn’t matter). I leave four or five corps and one army in the east; you need only three units – including garrisons – to ensure the Soviets don’t perceive ‘weakness’, but I do this in part because any more causes almost literal traffic jams in the west. You won’t have enough HQs to attach everything anyway, and units just tend to get in one another’s way, as the front is too narrow.
Also noted in the previous parts, you will have a few turns to prepare, but I await only good weather – sometime in March is usually possible, or perhaps early April; there’s no need to wait until the ‘historical’ date. Moreover, while you may wish to add just one more panzerkorps or army, I say again that there is only so much room at the front, and what you already have – plus what’s in the pipeline – will be more than enough. Remember that, along with VII. Fliegerkorps, 1. Fallschirmjäger will arrive in March, as will SG.1 Tactical Bombers, V. Panzerkorps, and II./St.G.51 Med. Bombers (not to mention later on the Tirpitz, Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, a couple of subs, and von Leeb’s HQ). I only purchase two or three Garrisons to be ready for occupation; a Naval Bomber to try to fend off encroaching hostile navies; and an AA to put in Loos Mine/Lille, which the AI seems to enjoy bombing. Oh, and more u boats! Never enough u boats…
Note that I have not yet upgraded my HQs with Mobility; they will not be going very far very fast anyway until it’s time to Operate them back to the Eastern Front, and that, along with the cost of those Operations, is a good use of your plunder from conquering France and the Low Countries (in the neighbourhood of 1500-1600 MPP total).
As for upgrading, garrisons don’t need Infantry Weapons tech, with the exception of later on in Russia, nor do bombers require Naval Weaponry or your Westwall forces need Infantry Weapons or Mobility; save your MPP for now. This goes for all forces you’re leaving in the east as well; in fact, don’t bring any you haven’t upgraded or don’t intend to. As for Research, I like to invest in Command and Control ASAP, in addition to Logistics; the increased HQ build limit and attachments will be big in Russia. Advanced Subs are key to winning the Battle of the Atlantic, and you don’t want to fall behind in aircraft techs (Advanced and, somewhat less of a priority, Long Range). Production and Industrial Tech are always useful as well.
Now, don’t forget your navy, and be sure to make all possible HQ attachments. Use the War Maps tab to DoW The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and we’re all set! No, wait! Just before we get on with it, see the previous parts for a reminder, if necessary, of the abbreviations I am wont to use. Finally, I must reiterate that battle outcomes can vary quite significantly, depending on the Difficulty setting as well.
GENERAL STRATEGY, MAJOR TACTICS
Since there are so many more permutations of specific attacks here than we had in Poland, I will not attempt a ‘guide’; it would likely be more confusing than useful. I’ll simply tell you my tactics, and, with relevant screenshots, hopefully give you enough information that you can follow suit, sweeping all before you!
First up, Events/Decisions: If you choose the Danish Occupation and the Invasion of Norway – I always do – bear in mind you will have 140 less MPP for a turn, -90 the next. This will be more than offset with the income you’ll receive, though. Naval Plan ‘Z’ – the Graf Zeppelin – will likely already have cost you another 25x8=200 (or not). I choose Yes on this Event as well, albeit I will be using her in the Baltic vs. the Soviets, venturing out of the Skagerrak only in the rare instance that I might be able to put a few holes in the Royal Navy/US Navy; not likely unless my U boats fare well. (I have actually been able to hold my own and more, once my subs are upgraded to Level 3 with few losses, and most are at 1-3 over-strength.)
Speaking of which, by this time your wolfpacks are either battered or low on supplies (≤5) or both; start bringing them – including Deutschland – back into port. I leave them in the Bay of Biscay near Portugal, clustered together on Silent, where they can’t be detected by other than destroyers; when I take France, they can rebase in Arcachon, St. Nazaire, Lorient, and Brest. They’re doomed if they try to run the Channel, and going home via the long route north is almost as risky, plus takes more or less as much time. This way they also protect each other. Nonetheless, be advised that deep trouble is almost guaranteed if they are detected, seeing that the AI uses ‘swarm’ tactics. This means that, once a sub is found, seemingly every enemy destroyer, cruiser, and carrier within range is dispatched to engage! Having a few adjacent to one another can intercept attackers and prevent them from ganging up on one or two, yet this leaves more or less all of them vulnerable if even one is detected. I have lurked unnoticed most times, suffered grievously on others…
Now for Diplomacy. You can leave Italy on AI for a bit; it will make a DoW on the Allies within a turn or two, otherwise you’ll want to take control and do it yourself. When it does, you’ll then want to take over regardless, otherwise it will Operate units up near the Westwall instead of leave them in place to attack Nice/Grenoble. Even so, in the long term, Italy’s efforts appear to make little difference in France, so don’t waste MPP around here. I prefer to start concentrating on North Africa, since the Allies will start attacking soon after the DoW, and Italy alone cannot hold. (Don’t worry; if you didn’t already know, the Deutschen Afrikakorps is on its way via Event!)
Next, check Finland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey; Spain may need a ‘nudge’, though Franco will swing your way upon the fall of France. Like Spain, Turkey is worth 5 MPP/turn once it looks favourably upon the Axis, but the others will be fine unless the Allies meddle. Italy on AI can and will use its Influence as well, so if you don’t want Italy spending its MPP this way, ensure it’s not on AI.
Make sure you come back next week for Part Two, where I go through my turn-by-turn strategy to take Paris by Turn 5!
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