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Allied Corps – D-Day AAR

Developer: The Lordz Game Studios

Publisher: Slitherine, Ltd.

Author: Jim Zabek

Today, June 6, 2013, is the 69th anniversary of D-Day. As the years go by the Second World War becomes more distant. Few vets of that conflict still live, and fewer people, like me, grew up with them around us. Despite the fact that they almost never discussed their experiences, many of us felt like there was an infusion of that war’s significance as we grew up. It didn’t need to be said – we simply understood that something significant had happened. The Second World War, how it was conducted and how it ended, shaped our world for better and worse. The world we live in today can directly trace many of its current conflicts to it.

Recognizing the anniversary of D-Day with a game of course fails to do the battle justice and risks trivializing the significance. As a life-long wargamer I recognize the potential hazards. Despite my enjoyment of the hobby there does linger in the back of my mind that the pixels, pewter, or cardboard I order around represents once real lives. So at the risk of treading too casually on history, I will try write an enjoyable review of one of my games in the hope that it is appreciated for what it is: an appreciation for those who were there for real. Thank you.

Turn 1

Firing up the game I eschew the tutorial’s introduction to North Africa. I’ve played Panzer Corps and enjoyed it. I’m not a master, but I like to jump in to an AAR and get down to business. Today is D-Day and my day is already half over. I fire up the 1944 campaign and figure there’s no better time than the present to land on Normandy.

The campaign starts me on June 6th. The weather is clear and the forecast is for dry with clouds. These aren’t the historical conditions I remember from history – the invasion was actually scheduled for June 5th but called off on account of the stormy weather. June 6th was also nearly cancelled, with Eisenhower’s advisors split down the middle on whether the weather would be fit for an invasion.

Nevertheless I won’t quibble. Let us see what the day brings. Victory conditions require I capture at least two town objectives, with four bringing Triumph. I understand and click Continue.

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-014

My first glimpse of the map is reassuring. The sea is covered with ships and aircraft. Parts of Normady also have aircraft over them which can only mean that paratroopers are primed to be dropped behind the lines. I also now see the town objectives I need to capture. I think I see an even dozen and already I’m presented with a choice: which towns to grab? Caen, historically, was a key objective. The Brits originally thought they could take it in the first day. It took them over a week with some very tough fighting. The prize, however, was a spoke of roads radiating out from Caen. Its capture was vital to controlling the ability of the Germans to bring reinforcements on to the beaches.

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-016

However, the quick wins look like Carentan, Isigny, Bayeaux, and the airfield next to Bayeaux. It appears I will be dropping some paratroopers near Caen. If they can take it more power to them, but historically this may be a reach. I’ll be happy if I can just grab the four objectives I just named. Now…to figure out how to drop those paratroopers. Maybe I should have played the tutorial….

After I’ve played this turn I’ve managed to not drop some paratroopers over Bayeaux and Carentan, but everywhere else quickly gets figured out and I’ve handed the Germans a good first blow. Let’s see what they come back with.

The Germans move some troops around and take out a couple of my units, but the damage was much less than I anticipated. I’m feeling good at this point, but realize that I need to move quickly or else they will rush reinforcements in and overwhelm me. I need to take some towns ASAP.

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-020

Turn 2

Turn 2 goes off without a hitch. I blast a bunch of Germans. I haven’t taken any victory towns yet, but I’ve now offloaded almost all of my forces onto the beach, including some heavy armor. Now we’re getting ready to rock.

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-024

The Germans – as expected – bring up more forces including some armor and an 88, but I’m not seeing anything stopping me yet.

Turn 3

I’m starting to push toward Valognes in the north simply because I have the forces to do so. Might as well try to grab as much land as possible. A Stug III awaits my arrival just outside of town, but I have a P-51 on patrol over it and think it may be able to handle the task. After some tough fighting it turns out the first troops to liberate a town are indeed in Valognes. Now let’s see if we can hold it!

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-032

Isigny is the next to fall and Carentan can’t be far behind. The Germans – at least those I can see, are stretched far too thin to keep us out.

I dispatch a Spitfire squadron to take on the Fw 190 that had harassed my B-25. It nearly destroys them and they’re down to just two points.

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-033

On the right flank we battle with some Germans holding Bayeaux and a Sherman Crab unit rolls in, liberating it.

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-036

Then the Mosquitos go to work on Caen. Paratroopers apply pressure and then the 40th Commando walk in. I now have four victory objectives and I’m not done shooting yet. My Firefly unit makes short work of a Panzer III unit I spotted. Wow. I’m rolling these Germans up like a carpet.

One mistake – I’ve moved a Firefly unit into Caen to take on some Werhmacht troop and they totally maul it. Not unexpected since armor units aren’t good at taking towns by themselves. Good to know the game is reflecting reality.

Turn 4

Turn 4 of 18. Now what?

I’ve achieved victory but the game still wants to play. Have I been too cavalier with my units? Have I lost too many taking these towns? Historically I know there are some significant units not on the board yet. I’m just waiting for the hammer to drop.

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-039

Turn 5

This turn indeed sees the hammer drop. Out of nowhere Panzer units start to appear. The AA group to the south of Caen pound my units and I start taking enough losses that I’m worried about how well I’m going to hold on.

I can’t wait to see how this goes, but I seem to have several more days of hard fighting ahead….

D-Day 2013 Allied Corps AAR-041
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