Leaving Normandy-Bordeaux to the French

  • 2019 2018 2017

    A somewhat strange idea occurred to me recently, and I was just wondering what others might think of it. Would be feasible for the Axis not to conquer Normandy-Bordeaux at all and just leave it to the French? There are obvious short-term tactical disadvantages to it, but I also see long-term strategic benefits.

    The main advantage for the Axis in keeping Normandy-Bordeaux French is, that its factory can’t be used by the UK or the US. Normandy-Bordeaux is an attractive first target for an Anglo-American invasion of the European mainland, and especially if the Americans take it, they can easily afford to build high-cost units there that would otherwise need to be carried over from the continental US. And they can keep using the factory until they decide to free France. As Germany/Italy, I’d very much like to deny them that possibility.
    Another point is that it’s unattractive to try and defend Europe by stacking Normandy-Bordeaux. The Allies will attack anyway when they’re strong enough, so the initiative will be theirs. Instead, as Germany I would rather stack France, and strafe the units that they transport into Normandy-Bordeaux. They will have to build new ones overseas, while I can use several nearby factories.

    There are also obvious disadvantages to this idea, especially during the early game:

    1. The Axis will not receive the 2 IPC income form Normandy-Bordeaux. This is partly counterbalanced by the Allies not receiving it either until they free France.
    2. Axis planes can’t land in Normandy-Bordeaux after attacking nearby sea zones, and may therefore depend on Holland-Belgium in some cases. Consequently, guarding Holland-Belgium will require some attention.
    3. The Axis will also need to keep an eye on Southern France.
    4. The Allies may try to stack Normandy-Bordeaux, or may use it to land their planes. But in doing so, they will always need to take a strafing action from France into account, or if the target becomes attractive enough (many Allied planes present), even a belated conquest.

    I’m not sure how to balance the pros and cons of the this idea, and maybe there are other factors I didn’t think of. So I’d be interested to read any comments on it.

  • Its a gutsy play!  I can see the logic in the plan.  But heres my concern:

    You would need to keep German aircraft availible to strafe the Atlantic.  I know they are primarily used for this type of action already, but I like to shift aricraft to the East after the fourth round and have them assist with the Russian front (or the Med if needed)

    There is also something unsettling about having the Allies establish a beach head in Europe.  This is a more psycological advatage to allied players that might see a crack in the Atlantic wall and become more determined to invest troops there, rather then look to the long loop through Africa.  You can run strafe missions on those allied ships, but like we say at our games “the best way to protect a Battleship, is with another Battleship”.  Its just a matter of time before those transports are protected by numerous and superior US surface ships.

    By allowing it to remain under French control, you open your line and need to place troops in defense along three territories, rather then two.  By creating a wall along Normandy, with stacks of Infantry and AA guns, it reads like a “CLOSED” sign to the Allied forces.  Any attempt to break that line will need to be mounted with a large number of troops from the Allies.  Bare in mind that the US has had three turns to invest in this plan and will have plenty of assests lined up to carry it out.

    Overall its not that crazy.  I would consider trying it, and might even give it a shot myself.

    I think it may also put an additional strain on Italian resources earlier on the game.  Working with the Italian player, we usually work it out so that he can focus on the North African Campain while I hold Europe.  Just until the Italians get established and begin to puch East into the Middle East.

  • At first look, it seems crazy.

    But, if you plan on going for a Pacific win, it could be a great diversion to get the US player to stack the atlantic.

    I would be worried about allied fighter stacks though…but it would all depend on how your battle went in France on G1…

  • 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    If you think the Allies will be coming in force early (ie japan declares war J1), then it may make sense to avoid the whole issue of having them mobilize units there.  Otherwise take Normandy G1 or G2 and prepare France to counterattack when they land.

  • 2017 '16 '15

    Sorry… I got distracted by the bad idea t-shirt and forgot what I was gonna say

  • I just don’t think denying the US 1 minor IC is worth the 10 IPC you’d lose from it over 4 rounds of controlling it as Germany.

    Particularly when you consider the fact that assuming the French Ftr does not scramble, the French have 1 Inf, 1 Art, 1 Ftr to attack Paris, Holland or S.France and you’re going to have to maintain a force to protect all 3 in Paris from G2 forward.

    Now by adding 2 Inf, 2 Art to the G1 Paris attack you may save yourself 2-3 Inf, but on G2 you’re going to have to divert some IPC in order to ensure you can effectively remove any Allied advances AND defend Paris at the same time.

    I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have 2 more IPC / round for 4 rounds, and have the freedom to move more units towards Moscow than trying to game the US out of a minor IC - which generally they can take if they want it.

    Granted, you may lure the US into spending more in the Atlantic than it intended to - and this strategy MAY work well in conjunction with a G1 advance into Russia and a J1 DOW.  Now the US really has to decide of the opening in Europe is worth moving on.

  • 2019 2018 2017

    Thanks everybody for your thoughts and comments.

    Of course, this entire idea is based on the assumption that the Allies will at some point in time launch an amphibious attack on Western Europe. If there are clear signs that no such thing is going to happen, it makes sense for Germany to occupy Normandy-Bordeaux anyway. And it’s rather flexible: the Allied player will initially just assume that Normandy-Bordeaux will be taken on G2, and only begin to wonder what’s going on when that doesn’t happen.

    The main philosophy behind the plan is not just to deprive the US of a minor IC, but to be able to put up a flexible defense and start the inevitable fight on Germany’s terms, and closer to where Germany can easily build units. Exchanging units 1-on-1 isn’t so bad for Germany if the Allies need to put a lot of effort into getting those units to the front. It mirrors the situation in the East, where Germany is stronger but Russia can produce closer to the front.
    I do believe that keeping the IC French helps Germany a lot, though. Consider the difference between three US tanks being produced right on Germany’s doorstep versus those same tanks being produced in the eastern US, arriving in Normandy-Bordeaux two turns later and occupying transports in the mean time.

    The plan indeed involves maintaining a sizeable German force in France. My initial thought is to just leave the surviving slow units (inf, art) there after taking France. Then, once an Allied threat to land in Normandy-Bordeaux arises, more units can be built in France or transferred from neighboring Western Germany. The intent is not so much to strafe the Atlantic, but rather to strafe any Allied units that may land in Normandy-Bordeaux itself, and then to retreat back into France. The war can not be won in that theatre, but I think it’s possible to force the Allies into making careful and time-consuming preparations that will buy Germany time for the war in the East. It’s the threat of a strafe rather than the actual strafe itself that should make the invasion force think twice.
    Alternatively, if Germany does take Normandy-Bordeaux, what are they going to do with it? Putting a big stack there hands the initiative to attack those units to the Allies, using naval bombardment and planes in the process. Not defending it gives the US (or even the UK) the IC once they take it.

    I’d put a fighter and a tactical bomber in France, and more short-range planes in Western Germany or Northern Italy where they can still be used against Russian targets that are not too far away. All those planes could assist in a strafe on Normandy-Bordeaux.
    The remaining French forces are indeed a concern. Ideally, I’d like to kill as many French as possible without taking Normandy-Bordeaux. That implies that Italy rather than Germany needs to take Southern France, because otherwise the French might stack in Normandy-Bordeaux.
    As to Holland-Belgium and Southern France, I’d probably focus on being able to recapture them rather than to defend them.

    Anyway, I think I’ll try this some time when playing Germany, to see how it works out.

  • Customizer

    I see your ideas for not taking Normandy. I do agree that it’s a good idea to deny the US/UK a minor factory right there on the continent.

    However, I see more cons on this. For one thing, say the US/UK does put together a landing force and lands there. If it’s still French, their entire landing force will get there intact and they can land fighters there as well, all of which could make it very hard for Germany to defeat. However, if Germany owns Normandy, the Allied landing will have to fight whatever German defenders are there which means the Allied landing force is sure to take some casualties of their own. Also, they won’t be able to land any planes there because it will be a newly captured territory. So, this will make it much easier for Germany to retake the territory.
    Secondly, if Germany takes Normandy, they will control that minor factory and can place 3 new men each turn for defense. This will cost the Allies much more because they will have to build an even larger landing force + transports and be that much harder to take Normandy from Germany or to hold it from the German counterattack.

    I don’t think I would leave Normandy as Germany. Good luck. Let us know how it works for you.

  • Just as a side note, I believe its better to stage Inf/Art in Paris and then the Mech/Armor/Aircraft in WGr.  I’d rather not defend against multiple bombards and a 1-2 US/UK punch, but instead eliminate any US aircraft that would support the landing from the battle.

    It MAY be a net-zero effect as UK aircraft can land and defend at 4 vs eliminating US aircraft from supporting a landing, but letting BOTH US and UK aircraft land to reinforce a landing in Europe just smells like a bad idea to me.  I don’t want to think about trying to eliminate 2-4 US aircraft plus 4+ UK aircraft with ground forces protecting them.

  • Well it makes little sense to actualy not take it.
    Allies can land there and land their fighters as well, i dont like fighters on defence.

    The only advantage you gain is that they cannot use the minor factory,
    To offset that you give them a free place to land, you cannot use the factory either ( it is a great place for subs to start from ) you cant use the naval base ( did i say something about subs ) you can land planes there and every stack they put there will be a lot weaker as there wont be any US planes when they defend.

    And taking it isnt the same as stacking it, you can take it with like 4 inf as a token force and still have your counterattack force in paris just like you do when you dont take it.

  • 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    You might not need to attack the combined US/UK forces in Normandy.  If you leave it French you can just pile up infantry in France and let them attack you.  They are much weaker on the attack than they are on defense because they are 2 powers.

  • 2019 2018 2017

    Overall, we’re looking at a situation where the US and the UK are attacking Western Europe in force, and Germany tries to defend it. I haven’t played the game very often, so I lack the experience to estimate how many units Germany can dedicate to that defense while still making progress in Russia. I guess that would also depend on how the campaign in the East went so far, both in terms of additional income for Germany and remaining Russian resistance that needs to be overcome. But if anybody could enlighten me there, that would be great.
    I’m assuming that Italy would be in decent shape in this scenario, with the US and the UK focusing on D-Day and not committing heavily to the Mediterranean theater.

    In that situation, there are basically six possibilities, based on two decisions: Germany has either initially captured or not captured Normandy-Bordeaux, and the German force in Paris will either stand its ground, or attempt to strafe the invasion force in  Normandy-Bordeaux, or attempt to defeat that force and (re-)capture Normandy-Bordeaux. The first decision, whether or not to initially capture Normandy-Bordeaux, comes early; the second decision needs to be made once D-Day arrives.

    Let’s say that at the time of the invasion, there are 4 US and 4 UK planes in the UK, the Allies have assembled a strong enough fleet in SZ 110 to be safe from German planes, and there are 4 US and 4 UK transports in SZ 110, plus units available in the UK to fill those boats. More US units are underway, being transported from America. And let’s say that the invasion starts on the US turn. I’m not sure whether this is realistic – again, maybe someone could comment on it.

    There are two scenario’s:

    1. As pointed out by several people, the invasion force will be stronger when Normandy-Bordeaux is still French. The full shiploads of US and UK troops will land, and so will all the planes, and there will be a few remaining French units. So Germany is looking at, say, 9 infantry, 5 artillery, 4 tanks, 9 planes sitting there opposite its Paris army.
    2. Conversely, if Normandy-Bordeaux is German and defended by a few units, the US will take it and cannot land its planes. But the UK can still reinforce, and so can the French plane if it’s in the UK. The Allied forces would then be, say, 7 infantry, 5 artillery, 4 tanks, 5 planes.

    Scenario 2 seems more attractive initially, but in scenario 1, Germany has more options. Depending on German strength, a strafe may be possible. In scenario 2, that same strafe would have more chances of success, but after that, the invasion force would then be strengthened by three new US tanks every new round. And if Germany captures Normandy-Bordeaux to avoid that, the US will probably retake it next round.

    At present, I remain undecided as to whether or not this is a good idea.

    On a side note: is Normandy-Bordeaux indeed a good place to build subs for Germany? I’d rather spend my money on land units. Why try an arms race where the Allies can easily outproduce you? Germany buys a sub, America buys a destroyer, Russia is happy – or am I missing something there?

  • I think wheatbeer is using this strategy against me in a league game.

    Very frustrating combined with his air stack in Novograd and 7 inf 3 art in Finland keeping me out of Norway.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    FYI it’s easy for the allies to ensure you almost NEVER recieve the $2 for this territory.

    As Russia, I almost always convoy block this territory with my “free” sub.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Also, the trick to defeating this is simple.

    Land what you know your opponent will not counter.  IE 2 or 3 units,  he doesn’t want to take this territory back from you.

    The following turn you can strike at belgium with your trans + whatever you landed, OR southern france - which is a PAIN for the axis to lose.

    And in terms of “his big finland force”  Just land in Norway anyway, and FORCE him to attack you, mix in an AA gun or two to make him think twice.

    Better that Germans die ATTACKING British and American units, than attacking Russian ones, that’s exactly where you want him to be.

    Best part is… he has to attack, or he loses the NO.

  • 2017

    In addition to the obvious, but very useful, denial of Allied income and mIC:

    1. The Allies cannot build an airbase there (which can open up a lot of options or surprise if the UK has many planes based there).

    2. Germany can keep it’s planes further east.

    3. If your Western front forces are positioned to counterattack France rather than counterattack Normandy, then they are closer the Germany and Italy’s capitols and major ICs.

    4. Every time you retake Normandy, (depending on Allied fleet composition) you might be exposing survivors to bombardment.

  • @Herr:

    On a side note: is Normandy-Bordeaux indeed a good place to build subs for Germany? I’d rather spend my money on land units. Why try an arms race where the Allies can easily outproduce you? Germany buys a sub, America buys a destroyer, Russia is happy � or am I missing something there?

    Every DD the Allies build to counter an Axis sub is 2 IPC they lose in the economic game.  The tradeoff is 2 Inf or 1 Armor against Moscow.  However, if you can effectively force the UK to spend IPC on DD to prevent convoys, they aren’t building units to invade Europe.

    So with that said, a few subs sprinkled in wins an economic cost/benefit analysis early for the Axis as DD purchased by the Allies are harmless in the grand scheme of protecting Europe and equates to less units initially landing for an inevitable invasion.

    The only real question is, can Germany afford to not have a half dozen infantry or 3 armor to take Moscow.  That depends on the dice.

  • This is an interesting out of the box strat, so for that reason alone I like it (would most likely confuse the allies having not seen it before). With that said I think your giving up more then you benefit in the long run. The obvious is the 8-10 IPCs you won’t get for owning it G1 or G2. The other (as mentioned) is the ability to drop boats in the Atlantic. I also like to produce a couple German subs from the French coast early in the game to combined with the Luftwaffe to threaten the US fleet at Gibraltar forcing them to over build their fleet (may delay them a turn which is what you want to achieve). Those subs may just end up retreating to the Baltic or the Med, but could still be useful later even if they don’t engage the enemy in the Atlantic (making the allies over build their fleet could delay them).

    I (as you) would normally not stack the Normandy coast (bombardment and allied air power too effective), I find it better to allow the landing then counter attack from Paris where I can use my own air power (it depends on what they have on the table though). Allowing them to also land the US ftrs and maybe the French ftr are more def 4’s in the battle (my counter attack) that I wouldn’t want to face.

    You say you would be denying the use of the minor IC to the US so they can’t build 3 tanks there on their next turn (which is true), but I say I can deny that by taking it back before their turn comes up with the counter attack. If you leave it French you will be facing many more units in your counter attack (maybe even the French inf/art that starts there if you didn’t strafe it).

    I would be interested in hearing how things went though if you do it.

  • How could US use that factory? If they’re taking the territory wouldn’t it become French again?

  • '16


    How could US use that factory? If they’re taking the territory wouldn’t it become French again?

    Only if (and when) Paris is free.  It would then revert to French control.  You can see this happening in Africa.  If the Italian’s take the french spaces, and the allies liberate them, they keep control of the land and can take it’s IPCs until the French capitol is freed.

  • If US saw this, what’s stopping them from shipping nothing but fighters to London, while UK builds transports/land? US could land fighters in Normandy, UK sends its troops there… Am I missing something?

  • Ya, american fighters in normandy is brutal.

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