Allied Strategy for D-Day

If you opened up your game of D-Day, read the rules, sat down at the table, and have only known Diet Soda, Pretzels, and IPC’s for the last 20 years, then it might be a good idea to understand how to manage the new structures. If you need a review to get a well rounded understanding of some of the most important changes then read my D-Day review posted here at axisandallies.org.

I will take this approach not on a technical level, cutting down the moves and rolls with mathematical precision, but I will try to put it into Turn to Turn Ideas that will give you Strategy concepts aiming towards victory. As always all strategies are not perfect and what your enemy does determines a majority of what you respond with. Keep his movements in mind and let these ideas give you a framework to build an attack plan upon.

Turn 1: You start out with a good landing force: 30 Infantry, 6 Artillery, and 3 Tanks. In the First Order you will usually nab one enemy unit with the Airborne, and with your Bombardment of Blockhouses get 2 hits. When selecting these hits I would carefully consider your position. Blockhouses can Fire to sea before units can land. They choose Casualties, and with your limited amount of Tanks you may want to lay your fire on Gold, Juno, or Sword Rather than the typical Omaha. The Americans don’t get their tanks for a while and the British will get theirs this Turn (or should depending on your Reinforcement Roll). I would take out Blockhouses in the following order: Juno, Gold, and Sword. Sword has 2 Blockhouses firing at it, so I wouldn’t risk losing an Armor that unless I commit all firepower on the beach, only reduces the chance of saving it by half.

Now the fun part: airpower. Your crowning jewel that keeps those Germans behind Signposts that say “20 KM to St. Lo” is a few brave fighters. And that is exactly where I place them, on the re-supply zones. The Germans are trying to constantly debark from these areas and you can easily use it to your advantage. I usually place Turn 1 at least one fighter on every supply zone, insuring the Germans that they will be hurting if they bring anything in. Statistically you will destroy 17% of German Reinforcements landing on Turn one which adds up in the long run. The question that usually comes is what happens to the other 2 fighters? I usually have 2 options:

  1. Caen Cover: 1 Fighters over Caen, one over Sword Beach.
  2. Chartres Stack: 1 Fighter on Each Chatres Zone

For the Caen Cover you are guaranteed that this will probably slow the Axis from getting units into Caen. The 2 Tanks they would have otherwise committed their will either be used to attack the Sword Beachhead and the Fighter their can unleash its fury, or recompiled back. This will give you first turn breathing space for a possible turn 2 assault on Caen. The disadvantage to it is the possibility of Fighter losses and the lack of coherent strafing, or strafing over a stretch of Territories that adds up to several chances of hits. Whenever you structure your fighter cover you should keep that in mind. The Chatres Stack offers a good cover zone over the pertinent center stretch, but only forces the Germans to place Units in other Zones. Whichever one you choose is entirely up to you. I might also consider placing them in the Rouen Zones since they are close to Caen and the immediate British threat.

Bombers in the first turn also should be focused at targeting immediate threats. The most pressing threats to your forces are still those pesky Blockhouses. The Land Bombardment has hopefully reduced a couple of these threats from harassing your British Armor. You should still keep the Armor in mind. If you didn’t score an additional hit to clear Gold, then one Bomber should attack their. If you were successful in clearing those beaches and possibly scored hits on Sword, then Bomb their, still keeping the armor in mind. If you still have 3 Blockhouses left guarding that beach, I would bomb 2 of the following targets:

  • Armor Southwest of Utah Beach
  • Blockhouse on Utah Beach
  • Armor East of Caen
  • Armor + Artillery in Caen

Those targets immediately supply the German front line with mobile “heavies” and sidestep confrontation with large scale Anti-Aircraft Defenses.

Allied Armies will hit the shores after the Blockhouses have raked them. Your losses should be accounted for, for later times when you may need to switch armies from one side or the other to different flanks. Pretty much so you should be able to clear Utah, Gold, and Juno if you have successfully knocked out their blockhouses or supporting Infantry. If possible attack the Blockhouse Zone above Utah with combined Airborne Forces, since you can clear a path towards Cherbourg. The Germans could attack any stack after that and I will not try to guess moves. The Germans most likely will the Airborne Armies and fortify Caen. Your Reinforcements should come in appropriately (In the US Case it is required). The place I would land British forces is Gold. Why? Because the British Land with enough to initiate an extended battle in Caen and could move forces to flanks if necessary. The Americans in Omaha, your one major force devoted to taking the middle city, Saint Lo, won’t get reinforcements till Turn 2 maybe even Turn 3. A British Tank supporting them could mean a cleared beach by then, and support in case the Germans flank. That much said Turn one German Reinforcements will come in at least in trepidation of impending strafes. As I said you have 17% Casualty rate expected. Germany should reinforce with white knuckles.

Turn 2 and 3: At this stage in the Game your strategy should start to be shaping up for you. Your Bombardments against the Blockhouses should be focused wherever Tanks are coming in. You only have a limited number and they serve as you offensive power. Your fighters should now be placed in an interesting manner. Usually the Germans will stock their units in one zone, so that they can cover everyone with Anti-Air Support. These “stacks” Should only have 1 Fighter placed on them. The places stacked with no units should have 2 Fighters. In order for the Germans to bring in Reinforcements they must either clear the zones they already have units in, being hit once with fighter cover, and then reinforcing the same zones, getting hit again. If they choose to not move units they still have to use the zones with 2 Fighters in them getting hit twice again. Either way they lose.

Bombers are free reign. They could target the Blockhouse adjacent to Sword along with the Artillery, or they could prey on the stray Armor. Either way they achieve their goal.

Allied Armies now have an interesting position they can move out of. With the Eastern Beachheads most likely cleared you need to tactically commit units into Caen. What does that entail? The best mix in my opinion is 2 Armor, 3 Artillery, and 3 Infantry. You have plenty of Infantry to cover the 2 Cycles of combat, and you have enough support fire committed the Armor that was immediately available in Caen could be destroyed without Infantry support, an added bonus. In the Center if you whether you were successful in Omaha or not, I would move your British column of Infantry and Artillery from Gold to the Territory directly below and to the left. This column will rejoin the Armor committed at Omaha to flank the Germans in the South, supporting the Americans who will drive into Saint Lo. If you cleared the Beachhead then start moving American units below and to the left. In Cherbourg’s Sector your units in Utah should be free to attack the Territory Directly above. If you Airborne Army Hit their first and cleared it, continue north. You will want to make a path through the Blockhouse Zones, getting to Cherbourg by Turn 5. If the Germans chose to attack directly at the landing zone then use your Airborne to help the Infantry clear it again. The Germans most likely stockpiled in Cherbourg so keep in mind that the first American Armor needs to be committed in the north.

The Germans will continue their previous strategies and try to hit your stacks. You should be able to cause greater casualties because of your fighter’s positions. Use these positions till otherwise needed on cities. If you are having slow Reinforcements don’t use anything for flanking operations. Just try to take cities. After all this is your eventual goal.

Turn 4-6: Alright by Turn 4 a couple things should be accomplished:

  1. You should have partial or complete control of Caen
  2. St. Lo and Cherbourg’s outskirts should be reached. 
  3. You should have all of your Landing Zones Clear and you should have threatening blockhouses out of the way

Even if you haven’t accomplished these, you should be near to accomplishing them or to a place where you can take it by “ear”. Your Fighters should now be prioritizing on cities (excluding Cherbourg ofcourse). German Reinforcements bogged down by the threat of patrols most likely will have taken a couple fighters down. These threats removed will have a great bearing on the movement of battle groups to places like St. Lo. Preventing these stacks from developing is the key. The British Division stationed in Gold could instead of heading east to assist in taking Caen could be a blocking force on the German Right Flank, preventing a successful buildup in St. Lo. Provided that the Germans have chosen to Fortify Cherbourg, you might also want to attack their Artillery with your Bombers. Cherbourg’s fall will determine whether precious armor units that would otherwise go to St. Lo will be required for a distant front. If possible engage the Germans in the Territory directly to the east of Caen. Remember with only 8 units per Territory your ability to tie up more German units is essential. The more you force the Germans to commit elsewhere the better. Yes your units will be committed as well, but assuming that fighters are either on Caen or on the German Reinforcement Zones, the more fronts he needs to Reinforce per turn the more KIA’s he takes.

Turn 7-10: All I can say at this point is Attack the Cities!!! The Strategies may vary as far as angles (try to attack from points the Germans can’t get at you; the Zone right above and to the West of St. Lo, Juno Beach.), But the general take on the attacks are the same, maximize fighter cover over cities, Bomb solo Tanks or the “least” Threatening Group (if your bombers have made it this far). Get as much Armor in Cities as possible providing Cannon Fodder as per his attacking and Defending Abilities. There is no way till turn 9 for you to really know whether enough of his military has been weakened to allow an allied victory, but if you take some steps ahead of time I believe that allied defeat can be curved.

Happy Gaming,
Guerrilla Guy

Category: Axis & Allies D-Day, Strategy

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  1. john says:

    hey guy, thanks for the insight. I’ll use some of it on our next game. Some ideas? 1.Fighter cover – Three each on the Rennes zones and two on the westernmost Chartes, the idea is to keep his reinforcemnts away from st lo. 2. Clear Gold and Juno first, reason, you can land 12 british units there (max you can roll with two die) so you don’t even have to land at Sword.
    3. Cherbourg is the hardest to take, so allies: don’t skimp on men and materiel and axis: make a line of men up to cherbourg and then use your tactic card and sneak an extra tank up there.
    4. Finaly, always look at your fortune cards, sometimes taking the gamble and losing is of no consequence. eg. if you lose and can only move out of two zones, but are only moving out of two zones anyways, why not take the gamble.

    Thanks,
    John R.
    Ottawa Ont.

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