Thursday, June 17, 2010

Panzer Campaigns France '40 AAR: Maastricht

I haven't written up one of these in a while. Actually since Korsun Pocket. I believe that was back in 2006 or so. You can read that one here:

This next AAR is one from John Tiller's Panzer Campaigns series and the title is France 1940. At the moment it is the only one that I own and it has provided plenty of wargamey goodness. Remember this is a wargame designed to replace face to face gaming when you cannot find an opponent so the graphics will not be flashy but its the meat of the game that matters.

John Tiller has been doing this series of games since he left Talonsoft back in 1999 or so and went on to start this series with Smolensk '41 and that game got him a lot of critical acclaim. Not only are the games deep but they provide a huge amount of gameplay since you can fight an entire campaign or several small battles.

Since I just got the series started (yes I am behind 10 years) I started with small scenarios, printed out the rulebook and tried to get my head around how to play the game.

My first AAR is a famous occurrence in WW2 and that is the German assault and surprise capture of Fort Eben-Emael.
Eben-Emael was a Belgian fortress between Liège and Maastricht, near the Albert Canal, defending the Belgian-German border.

This fort was taken early on May 10, 1940 through the use of German gliders of the 7th Flieger which landed on the roof and blew their way into the fort.

My last attempt to play this scenario ended in a draw, my FIRST one ended in a Allied victory so I was getting better at the game. In this attempt I was determined to use my crack Wermacht units to hit the enemy hard, isolate them and push on toward the victory point towns. The initial setup looks like as seen below, with the Germans moving in from RIGHT to left.


I divided up my plans by sectors this time around. 1, 2, and 3. I use the color coding turned on so I know which HQ's command which units. Turn 1 I jumped right out and moved forward to attack and surround the enemy units and quickly bypass them. Since the game was only 7 turns I had to move fast.

At the end of Turn 1 the German gliders dropped in and unloaded, and I quickly made moved to assault the disrupted Belgian troops. You can see in the shot below where the troops landed on the map

In turn 2 I assault Eben-Emael and take it easily and then I notice that the town of Maastricht is wide open and not defended. I move one of the glider dropped units straight NorthEast to take the town. There in the town is a Belgian HQ unit defending a supply point. You can see this in the screen below:

Meanwhile further east two of my panzer units break through and streak toward a 100 point objective. All totaled this is about 68 panzers I send toward that area.

In turn 3 I surround and isolate many enemy units in Holland and prepare to push forward to link up with the panzers that I sent ahead. It was important to not let my panzers become stranded or out of supply since they were the vanguard of my thrust. I surround, isolate and then later in turn 4 assault the units and open a corridor into Holland.

By turn 6 I was using my panzers with great skill, driving deep into enemy territory and then following up with the infantry to isolate and fire then assault disrupted enemy units. By the end of turn 6 I had a nice corridor open into Holland was able to bypass enemy Zones of Control and go deep into their territory to capture these 100 and 250 point objectives I could not do the first few times I had played the game. Speed was key and I would not stop this time like I did before. I guarded my flanks with smaller infantry units but pushed through with my more powerful troops and armor.

Units race ahead and attack the Belgian HQ in Maastricht but are unable to force it out of its heavily defended hex. Although their situation is hopeless, the Belgians refuse to surrender. As the game nears an end, I have cleared most of Holland and linked up with the glider units as well as isolated Maastricht and pushed the majority enemy units aside and solidified a nice lane through which to move the majority of the German army.