Another breakthrough scenario from Campaign Book v. 2, The Hedgerow Breach, is another boring disappointment.
After the capture of Saint-Lô, 1st US Army, under the command of General Bradley, found itself in position to launch a major offensive to breakthrough the German lines; they had suffered so much attrition they had reached their breaking point. On July 25th, after a massive carpet bombing, three infantry divisions of the 7th US Army Corps (Gal Collins) advanced through the disrupted lines of the Panzer Lehr Division – Operation Cobra had just begun. In spite of the disruption and despite taking heavy losses, the surviving German troops fought desperately, making the US advance slow and painful. By evening, the hoped-for breakthrough hadn’t materialized. On July 26, general Collins ordered the 2nd “Hell on Wheels” US Armored Division to go into action. Leaving infantry behind, the tanks quickly reached Canisy. Finally, on the 27th, US troops reached Pont-Brocard and le Mesnil-Herman. The breakthrough had succeeded; now the breakout toward Coutances and Avranches could begin.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
Once again, I provide a photograph. Sorry for the reflective flare.
This scenario has a couple of special rules. First off, the Axis start with a tiny hand, then draw up. Second, the Allies have airstrikes enabled. In all but the most desperate battles, I HATE the airstrikes rule. I feel cheap using it. The rare, occasional Air Power is fine, but Air Strikes is just ugly.
The Allies in the map have overwhelming firepower superiority, and most of the time this should give them a slow but easy victory. Stay out of range, blast away, Air Strike, move up slowly. However, this does not guarantee victory. We played the map twice, and the first playthrough was a crushing Axis victory. When cards and dice are against you, pretty much nothing can help. I may put up a video of this in the near future, for your amusement.
The second playthrough did nothing to improve my opinion of the map. This time the Allies were able to leverage their firepower to good effect, and it was overwhelming. The Axis have no ability to counterattack against a properly assembled Allied battle line, and will lose their tanks quickly if they try. An over-aggressive Allied player can throw the game away, but nothing short of catastrophically bad luck should result in an Axis victory.
This is nowhere near as broken as The Avranches Breakthrough, nor is it as painfully slow as Cut off the Cotentin, but it’s still not a fun map.
General Evaluation – 1/5 – Boring for the Americans, and boring for the Germans. Unless bad luck makes the game just stupid, that is.
First Turn Win Possibility – None
Plink-Fest Danger – HIGH – A good American player will routinely win this via slow attrition, and there’s pretty much nothing the German player can do to stop it.