June was a month of frantic action in Northern France, Axis forces tried to gamble and take Paris but couldn’t do so. French Infantry and the BEF tried to counter attack and cut off the German advance into a pocket. Everything seemed to be on tenterhooks going into July and with the guarantee of good weather for the rest of the summer the war looks to be taking a wide open turn.
French Counter Attack Keeps Axis at Bay (just).
The German 12th Infantry made a sustained attack against Lille with support from the Luftwaffe. The French 7th were cut off from any retreat path due to placement of ZOC’s, as a result they took reduction rather than being able to move back.
They attacked again causing the 7th to surrender around Lille en mass. The Germans were able to march all the way through to Calais. That’s a total National Will loss of 5 (-1 losing a field army defending, -2 losing Lille and -2 losing Calais). Not a good thing for the French and their hopes of staying in the war!
The 1st German Infantry pulled out of the French town of Sedan to make a move against Paris. They were able to move against the 9th French army as the entire French Airforce was out of action at this point. Even with support from Fighter Command in London the Allies couldn’t hold Paris.
Disastrously, the newly reformed 6th French Foot at Le Havre fell victim to the Blitzkrieg. A crushing loss of -3 National will, combined with the -4 from the fall of Paris, meant that the French were sitting at a grand total of 3 points of National Will left. There was basically nothing else the Axis could effectively do to try and finish off the French in July to try and end the campaign on the Western Front but they were so close.
In a move to try and bite the jugular, the Italians pushed for Marseilles. They forced a retreat but were unable to oust the French from the port and as such couldn’t cause the collapse of France.
I’ve been noticing that any army units that aren’t German, French, UK, or USA seem to be pretty toothless in this game; especially when fighting alone. I’m now thinking that I’m going to try and use Non-German Axis units as ancillary units in subsequent turns. I’ll use them as support units for assaults or as defensive patches in lines on the Eastern Front in the coming months. At least, that’ll be the theory.
The Allied counter attack was small but effective. Fighter Command ran sorties to support the French recapture of Paris, raising National Will from the gutters. In the North, that was pretty much all they could do because the 1st RAF wing and Fighter command were stacked with more sorties than they cared for. Without air support, taking any more ground back was a fruitless affair.
The French Armies finally gave up on the Maginot Line, and vacated the forts to try and recapture some cities and pin the German forces on the border. The BEF were able to skip north and take control of Lille and the French took a circuitous route – due to EZOCs – to retake Sedan. All told, the French regained 8 points of national will to sit at 11, which still feels very tenuous.
In the southern reaches of France, the Italians were forced back into the Alps, which basically means that the net result is that the Italians loaded up their Air Force with 4 sorties and have nothing to show for it. A waste of resources that might punish them in the future and hamper offensives.
All in all, the Axis advances are menacing, and the conquering of France seems inevitable at this point, which is a far cry from where they were only 4 months ago. It’s amazing how in this game some good weather and getting into clear terrain causes Fronts to open wide up.
Western Europe looks to be falling under the clutches of the Axis, especially with Spain reconsidering their neutrality in the war up until this point.
It might seem like a small consolation, but the French North African army marched out of Algeria and took control of the defenseless Tripoli. They’re headed across the Libyan desert to try and create a pincer move against the Italians around Tobruk.
Politically nothing happened in July. The Axis pulled a No Event, as did the USSR, and the Western Allies pulled the lone Pro-Axis token from the cup. I had to double check the rule, but when a phasing faction pulls a pro-“non phasing” faction token, it has no effect and is put back in the box. So, the Allies denied the Axis an opportunity to spread fascism further afield in Europe, which was a positive for them.
The weather in all zones will be ‘fair’ in both August and September coming up. This doesn’t bode well for the French, as the good weather means that the German offensives will be at maximum potency. At least it’ll be interesting. Watch out for August coming soon.