I went for a large army at 108 points while Andy had 89 points. With a 19 point difference Andy elected to defend in the very appropriate 'Breakthrough' scenario.
The game started badly for the Germans as they only got 10 terrain choices resulting in a very open battlefield. In this scenario the Allies place two Allied objectives which I played in open terrain on my left and the Germans two more Allied objectives which Andy placed in towns in his centre.
To win the game the Allies have to hold two out of four objectives at nightfall while retaining one they start with.
The Allies stacked up on the left against the objectives in the open while leaving some units to threaten the other two objectives if the Germans abandoned them:
Most of the action was going to be on the Allied left where the majority of the Armoured CC was deployed. The Infantry RCT was deployed to defend the substantial Allied artillery park and the flank of the Armoured CC:
With the ability of the late war Germans to deploy numerous field fortifications the Allies push forward hard immediately to try to take at least one and ideally two objectives before the Germans can react:
The initial attack (using the massive artillery and air support I figured out in our last game) does some damage to the troops holding the nearest objective but fails against the second one:
A follow-up attack almost captures the nearest objective but a single German Paratrooper battalion grimly hangs on against all odds:
The Germans reveal their deployment and move some units across to counter the Allied outflanking movement on the left end of the line:
The Germans quickly deploy their prepared positions. They decide not to contest the objective the sole Paratrooper holds and fall back.
The Americans take their first objective and the adjacent wood that the Germans have also abandoned. They make a surprise attack on the other objective and do a lot of damage to the German defenders but fail to capture it. Finally in a very sneaky move they carpet bomb the German artillery which is condensed in a single square. Carpet bombing inflicts one hit per group in the square and, as artillery only have one hit, wipes them out. The Germans are shocked and demoralised by this!:
The Americans push the Paratroopers and the Stug on the left back exposing the objective to future flank attacks:
It looks like the second objective will fall! A single damaged PzIV holds it as the Americans attack again:
It's the Americans turn to be rattled though as the Germans use 'rapid reaction' to rush another tank into the fight and the attack fails narrowly!:
Night is about to fall and the American Armoured CC is pretty much spent with all the units having taken heavy losses. There is one last chance for the Americans though as the so-far unengaged Sherman's and the slightly damaged Hellcats from the Infantry RCT are able to make one last attack on the objective. The weakened Germans fall and the objective is taken giving victory to the Allies, the breakthrough in Normandy is on!:
Both of us really enjoyed this game, every game we play seems to get more thoughtful and actually feels like you are commanding an army.
My evolved tactics of using maximum heavy artillery support, surprise attacks and airstrikes to support one major attack each turn work well and are I think historical. The downside is that the attacks are very Op intensive and the turns pass quickly though sometimes I used a second tactical phase to try to mop up survivors from the first attack.
The carpet bombing was a great surprise to Andy (I thought after the way my artillery was so useful in the last game might encourage him to use more artillery himself) but won't work again as next time he will disperse them so they can't all be flattened at once. Dispersal leaves them more vulnerable to attack though, as ever in Rommel there are pluses and minuses to everything you do (if I had instead carpet bombed the first objective before I attacked it I'd have taken it easily).
Andy's use of fast reaction equally shocked me, I hadn't thought of that and it looked like it snatched victory from me. Another thing I have learned though is that you need to use all your forces so as the day was coming to a close I moved the unengaged Infantry RCT which had been doing the dual task of protecting the flank and threatening the other objectives to a place where it could make a final assault on the objective I'd concentrated on with it's tanks rather than having to use the remnants of the Armoured CC which was totally battered by now.
Our next game will probably be replaying the 'Juno' D-Day scenario on June 6th. Such is my enthusiasm for Rommel now that I bought a 6ft long stretch of coastline to add to the mat we use for Rommel and have ordered all the extra British tanks needed for the scenario (some Comets basically) and some Sherman DD's plus a Sherman Flail tank. If I get time I might even build a few defences for the Germans as I doubt they will be hard to make.