Twin Battles at Warnach and Bigonville is the first Overlord map from the Equipment Pack expansion for Memoir ’44 that I’ve played, and I have to say, it was pretty good. I’ve been harsh on a lot of the scenarios from the Equipment Pack, but this one is a lot of fun.
On the afternoon of December 23, 1944, American engineers completed setting up a bridge south of Warnach. General Earnest’s men, led by the 35th Tank Battalion, rapidly advanced towards Warnach, but were soon pushed back. On their right, Colonel Blanchard’s forces were also on the move, but were soon stopped by withering fire from the Fallschirm Regiment defending Bigonville. Major General Dager’s advance against Burnon also stalled. The Germans had held against these first assaults, but the Americans were reforming and preparing for a three-prong thrust on the 24th.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
As this is an Official Scenario, the map is unavailable from the Days of Wonder site. This photo will have to do.
There are three towns on the map, each of which is worth 1 medal for the Axis, or 2 for the Allied player. Bigonville, on the Allied player’s right flank, has forces already in close engagement range, while Burnon, on the left flank has all forces at distance and separated by a river. To understand the map, it’s important to note that Reduced Visibility rules (Actions 27) are in effect – unless you are in Close Combat, you only hit on a Grenade.
This means that the Allied player has to push his units right up into the teeth of the German defenses to make any progress, turning the battle into the sort of smashmouth brawl that I just love. No artillery duels or plinkage, just tough and nasty close quarters fighting.
The German player has just enough distance firepower, thanks to the 88’s, to force the Allies to engage quickly. They hit tanks on grenades AND stars, meaning that any exposed tank (and there are a lot of them in the opening setup) can get pummeled pretty quickly. The Allied player can’t waste any time hoping for luck rolls on distance shots, as the Axis player is almost guaranteed to do more damage.
However, the Allied player has enough units to break the German positions in both the Center sector and the Right sector, provided his/her cards are good. A bad opening hand can really cripple the Allied player, as it’s suicidal to initiate the engagement in either the Center or the Right with Probes. The Germans will simply tear a piecemeal attack apart. However, if the Allied player has a hand which allows him or her to concentrate forces from multiple sectors, the German player is almost guaranteed to crack.
I love maps with Reduced Visibility, because they do away with cautious, mincing attacks. With plinakge so unreliable, defensive positions are much more useful, and firepower superiority is much less of an issue. This map is designed to take advantage of the unique Winter circumstances to create a fun and reasonably balanced battle. I really liked it.
General Evaluation – 4/5 This is a fun battle for both sides.
Balance Evaluation – Slightly Allied Favored – The Allies have the forces in place to break the German positions, provided they have at least average cards and dice.
First-Turn Win Possibility – None
Plink-Fest Danger – None – Reduced Visibility makes this impossible.