After the . . . interesting experience with the Avranches Breakthrough, I decided to go back and play all the Breakthrough scenarios provided in Campaign Book 2. I had a bad memory of them, and wanted to check again to see whether that was warranted, or whether I had missed something.
First up – Cut Off the Cotentin
Unable to advance toward Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, the 90th US Infantry Division was soon replaced by two other divisions: the 82nd US Airborne Division and the 9th US Infantry Division. From June 14 on, the American advance westward found itself reinvigorated. The Douve river was crossed on the 16th by US paratroopers at Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte and by US infantrymen at Néou, in spite of fierce German artillery fire. On the morning of the 17th, vanguards of the 9th US Infantry Division reached the west coast at Portbail and Barneville. The Cotentin peninsula was now cut off by troops of the VIIth US Army Corps, and the German garrison at Cherbourg definitively isolated.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
Once again, this is an official scenario, so no proper picture is available. This photo will give you an idea of what it looks like.
The key engagements in this map will happen around the river crossings, and the gap on the American left flank. In theory. In practice, just about any direct attack by the Americans will result in a bloody failure. Crossing those bridges is damn hard, and the Germans hiding the forests can murder any units that make it across. The left flank is covered beautifully by the single tank and the heavy artillery – even with an infantry assault, attacking American infantry will be vulnerable and in the open.
If you enjoy a long and slow match of position, in which both sides maneuver in order to get the best possible advantage in a difficult situation, then you might get some enjoyment out of this map. The long slow buildup to a massive attack does have a certain interest, after all. However, in most situations the artillery duel is what will really decide this scenario. A long plink-fest, in which one side or the other is beat into submission one infantry figure at a time, is just not interesting.
General Evaluation – 1/5 – For the Americans, the “best” way to play this map is incredibly boring, and the “fun” way to play this map is doomed. For the Germans, it’s wait to get shot.
First Turn Win Possibility – None.
Plink-Fest Danger – Strong. This map SHOULD be little more than a very long, and very drawn out plink-fest.