After finally trying out U.S. Civil War, Mark and I went back to the “ZOC-bond” series to try out Normandy ’44. For the first time out, we did the seven-turn mini game, and I had the invading Allies. Unfortunately, after the very good module for Ardennes ’44, I do have some complaints here, most notably that it uses a bunch of shift-commands on the counters, which had us both inadvertently firing off commands as we typed. (Never, ever, use a bare shift-command in a Vassal module, it’s very bad practice.)

Somewhat oddly, the Germans go first in this game, followed by the Allies. But the first turn starts with a special invasion phase, where the Allied first wave comes ashore, and then the second wave comes on the normal Allied turn after the German turn. The first thing that happens is the three airborne divisions drop, and the Allies roll to see how the drops go. Each division has it’s own table, with the 82nd having the worst one, but good die rolls meant that two regiments landed fine, with the third scattering and losing two steps. The 101st did worse, losing three steps across two regiments, that at least the last one had not scattered. The British 6th Airborne, with the easiest results table, still lost two steps, though one unit also did not scatter.

Then comes the initial assaults to get on the beach, which also have unique CRTs (with Omaha having a special result of losing a step, and then rolling again). As these are just ‘results’, you don’t check odds or anything, and the DD tanks check to see if they lose steps separately. Point du Hoc is treated as a separate mini-beach with a chance that the 5th Ranger Battalion will get word to come ashore there (despite the area being cleared, they historically went to Omaha because they didn’t get word in time). Overall, I came ashore in pretty good order, with only one ‘repeat’ result on Omaha, but lost steps on the majority of DD units.

Mark had a somewhat abbreviated first turn as he tried to figure out just where the problems were going to be. He made one attack to shift an element of the 6th Airborne off their landing hex. The British, in turn, were able to get to the outskirts of Caen, and launched attacks to clear strongpoints, and couple weaker units, clearing the front fairly nicely. The Americans were able to clear out a unit in front of Omaha, and advance to the Aure for a small, but secure, beachhead, while units moved up to secure the Airborne perimeter behind Utah. We never got into the habit of doing much with reserves, but I had a few here, which helped the British advance.

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