Turn 15 to End of Scenario
Woops! A German Army advanced through the Ardennes, broke through at Sedan, and is threatening Allied troops in Belgium and Northern France. Destroying most of the advance units arriving somewhere South/Southeast of Lille is a new secondary objective.
The last road bridge in the North is blown. French forces broke contact with the pursuing Germans and another bridge is wired by British Combat Engineers for demolition.
French forces continue to retreat towards Lille on turn 16. Since no German bombers have been reported on the front, two fighter units are scouting in the South and Southeast for approaching German units.
Pursing German units fail to catch up with the French rearguard by turn 18. A bridge is blown on the approach to Lille making the French defenders task easier. There are only seven turns left. All of the road bridges from the North towards Lille have been blown. The railroad bridge has been mined. There are a significant number of defenders blocking the approaches to Lille from all directions.
On turn 19 the lead German spearhead from Sedan attack British forces South of Lille capturing Arras.
Allied counter attacks near Arras destroy all of the lead Ardennes force spearhead excepting two units on turn 20. German armor attacks on turn 21 destroying a unit of French armored cars.
However, the British main force with support from French Armor and Infantry attacks on turn 22 destroying the initial spearhead from Sedan giving the Allies a major victory.
In sum, I’ve played this scenario about a dozen times on the First Lieutenant level of difficulty. By chance, when I played this scenario for the AAR and screenshots the Allies got very lucky. Both German Stuka Units blundered into French AA guns without fighter support in the first couple of turns and were destroyed. Then, a Bf-109 unit made the same mistake and was destroyed.
Next, German Armor pursued without adequate infantry support which enabled the French defenders to effectively use anti-tank guns to severely damage most of the armored units. This made it easy to pick off the heavily damaged units or to surround and destroy German light armor if it advanced too far in advance of the infantry.
Overall, the strategy was sound but the Allies benefitted from a lot of luck this play through. I’ve never had this battle nearly this well in a dozen attempts.
Would this strategy work on a higher difficulty level? I played Norway on the Captain level of difficulty and had no problems. The Low Countries scenario is more difficult on the Captain level of difficulty – the basic strategy of carefully blowing bridges and having units covered by anti-tank guns is sound.
This scenario’s AAR contains 69 annotated screenshots and five pages of text. I’m not redoing the AAR on a different level of difficulty. However, I did pare down the screenshots from a level 3 difficulty to about a dozen that I will post in the upcoming week on the Slitherine website to demonstrate how the strategy works on a higher difficulty level.