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Thursday
Jan182018

Operation Market Garden

Operation Market Garden (17–25 September 1944) was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. Airborne and land forces succeeded in the liberation of the Dutch cities of Eindhoven and Nijmegen, but failed in keeping their further positions in and around the city of Arnhem with its strategically important bridge over the river Rhine.

(This is a double blind game, with the perspective from the German side.)

September 17, 1944: The Germans scramble in response of multiple Allied airdrops. Grave falls to the enemy, as well as parts of Nijmengen and Endhoven. In the south, the Germans regroup in order to face off the attacks of 30 Corps. 

September 18, 1944: The Germans secure the outskirts of Arnhem and prepare a counterattack in the vicinity of Nijmengen. In the south, a stalemate continues, as XXX Corps is bogged down by the German defenses and no one has complete control of Eindhoven.

September 19, 1944: The Germans begin a massive counterattack between Arnhem and Nijmengen...

The results are inconclusive, but it is clear the situation is untenable for the British and American paratroopers. In the south, the Polish Brigade of Gen. Sosabowski is landed in the rear of German lines, in order to facilitate the advance of XXX Corps. In response, the Germans withdraw to the Wilhelmina Canal to form a new defensive line.

September 20, 1944: XXX Corps advances cautiously, as the Allies have not yet realized that the Germans have withdrawn. Meanwhile, the noose is tightened around the Allied paratroopers between Arnhem and Nijmengen. 

September 21, 1944: XXX Corps, assisted by the Poles and American 101st Airborne, reach the Wilhelmina Canal and are confronted by a staunch German defense. Any sort of attack if further complicated by the destruction of many bridges over the canal. As the weather has turned bad, all the paratroopers further north are now out of supply and the Germans take this opportunity to renew their attacks. Staring in the face of disaster, the Allied High Command calls off Operation Market Garden.

 The Allied perspective:

Saturday
Jan062018

Patton's Vanguard

The Battle of Arracourt was a major clash between U.S. and German armored forces near the town of Arracourt, Lorraine, France, between 18–29 September 1944, during World War II. As part of a counteroffensive against recent U.S. advances in France, the German 5th Panzer Army had as its objective the recapture of Lunéville and the elimination of the U.S. XII Corps bridgehead over the Moselle River at Dieulouard. With local superiority in troops and tanks, the Germans anticipated quick defeat of the defending Combat Command A (CCA) of the U.S. 4th Armored Division. However, due in part to better American tactics and use of terrain, the 4th Armored Division's CCA, in concert with U.S. tactical air forces, defeated two Panzer Brigades and elements of two Panzer divisions in a series of engagements over an eleven-day period.

The German attack begins on the 18th.

By the end of the 18th, the German forces reached Hill 246 and it would be hotly contested the following days. American reinforcements streamed in, menacing an encerclement of the Germans.

On the 19th, German reinforcements stabilize the situation by threatening Hill 318 while the battle for Hill 246 rages on.

During the 20th, the Americans lose most of their forces in two ill-fated attacks on Hill 238, while elements of the second German Panzer Division tie up most of the remaining American units in Coincourt.

Wednesday
Oct042017

Marc'hallc'h, June 23 1591 (Avec Infini Regret II)

The Duke of Mercoeur, the governor of Brittanny, declared himself the protector of catholicism in his province and when Henry IV took the French throne, declared his independance. Mercoeur received Spanish aid and became the new leader of the Catholic League in France. Henry IV sent an army to bring Brittany back to the fold, but had to intervene in person to obtain the submission of the Duke, after the royalist defeat of Craon in 1592.

During the battle of Marc'hallc'h, the Duke of Mercoeur did not engage his cavalry reserve, undoubtedly to allow the Royal army to leave the the battlefield without too many losses. In doing so, he left the Spanish commander Aguila to face them on his own. Once again, Mercoeur played both sides: by weakening his Spanish ally whom he found took too much space and by sparing his adversary in case the future became bleak.

Aguila leads the League army down the slope towards the Royal army, stopping short to leave his forces a height advantage. Norreys marches his lines to face the League army.

Norreys attacks and Aguila counter attacks, leading to the former's death. As the central lines of both armies become a tangled mess, Guébriants leads his musketeers on the League's left to hammer the flank of the Royal Army.

The center of both armies collapses and Norreys is killed, but the Royal army has Bastenay and his cavalry to plug the gap, while Mercoeur looks on.

Bastenay charges the Spanish remnants under Aguila's second, Rodrigo. Both leader perish in the attack, but this is a major blow to the League center which no longer has a commander. The League right is pushed out of St. Jude by Dombes. 

With the League army in shambles and the Royal army exhausted, Mercoeur finally leaps into action. He captures the Royal army's artillery and hammers what is left of their effective forces. Unfortunately, his actions come too late and the Royal Army is victorious. (Royalists: 5 - League: 4)

Sunday
Jul092017

TempĂȘte sur Dixmude 1914

The Battle of the Yser was a World War I battle which took place in October 1914 between the towns on Nieuwpoort and Diksmuide along a 35-kilometre (22 mi) long stretch of the Yser river and Yperlee canal in Belgium. The front line was held by a large Belgian force which halted the German advance in a costly defensive battle. The Allied victory at the Yser stopped the German advance into the last corner of unoccupied Belgium but still left the German army in control of 95 percent of Belgian territory.

Victory at the Yser allowed Belgium to retain control of a sliver of territory, while making King Albert a Belgian national hero, sustaining national pride and providing a venue for commemorations of heroic sacrifice for the next century.

October 20th: The Germans attack the outskirts of the town, driving back the Belgian defenders. Only the intervention of French reinforcements prevents a complete German overrun. 

October 23th: Despite a vigorous French and Belgian counter attack to retake the outskirts of the city, the Germans soon have Dixmude nearly surrounded. 

October 25th: Feeling the town is impossible to take, the Germans attempt to find a gap along the Yser, but find the opposite bank well garrisoned.

October 29th: The stalemate continues and Dixmude is reinforced to the point of being unassailable without some heavy bombardements. Yet, despite the best efforts of the German heavy artillery, French counter battery fire proves suprisely effective. A visit from the King of Belgium bolsters the troops.

November 2nd: To break the stalemate, the Germans attempt to attack from the north, having crossed the Yser at another crossing, but do not manage to make any headway. The Belgians flood the Yser in response, preventing any further attack on their flank.

November 5th: The German continue the siege of Dixmude, but are unable to break the stalement, despite the withdrawal of the French heavy artilley.

November 8th: The besieged attempt a counter attack to break out of Dixmude, but German fire is too strong and they are easily pushed back. Despite this setback, the German find themselves still unable to attack the town and the stalemate persists. (Minor Allied Victory)

Monday
Jul032017

Operation Dynamo (France '40)

The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940. The operation commenced after large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by German troops around the mid-point of the six-week long Battle of France. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this "a colossal military disaster", saying "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his "we shall fight on the beaches" speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a "miracle of deliverance".

May 24th The Allies hold on to their positions, largely thanks to Hitler's halt order. 

May 25th Calais falls to the Germans. The Allied pocket shrinks in anticipation of the evactuation.

May 26th The Germans grind against the Allied positions, slowly pushing them back. Hitler's halt order comes to an end.

May 27th The evacuation begins, while the French forces at the tip of the pocket withdraw. The Germans try to break through near Dunkerque, but are barely held off.

May 28th With the surrender of Belgium, the Allied pocket becomes ever smaller and thinner than ever. The sole consolation is the continuing evacuation as the German grip tightens.

May 29th The Allies withdraw closer and closer to Dunkirk, while still keeping the Germans at bay. The evacuation continues at pace.

May 30th The Allies, almost exclusively the French, make a last stand to enable the final evacuations.

May 31st Despite a German breakthrough near Dunkirk, the evacuation is complete.