28 February 2013

Exit Benedict XVI

So, Benedict XVI becomes the first Pope to leave office without dying in nearly 600 years. It's far to say that he's not been a brilliant Pontiff, more reacting to events (including much scandal in the Church) than influencing them.

The Conclave needs to have a good pray about how they can make half of the Christian church relevant to the 21st century while keeping true to the core teachings of Jesus.

23 February 2013

Let's Play Persian Incursion: Turn 9

USN F/A-18F Super Hornet


It’s been a while, but I’ve managed to get another turn done for this game.


As the sun set on the third day, 14 US naval jets were preparing for an attack mission – the destruction of the S-200 site guarding Isfahan. Eight Hornets would be tasked with suppressing the two I-Hawk units guarding it, while four more would accompany two E/A-18G Growlers on the main strike.


Rolled a US airstrike. I considered going for the S-200 and the I-Hawks with a strike each, but decided that was against the spirit of the rules.


The suppression Hornets did their job and while the S-200 got a shot off at a Growler, it was easily dealt with by the jamming systems on board. However, the US had a slightly bigger problem as two F-5Es from 41 TFS headed in to intercept. However, it wasn’t that big a problem as the Tiger IIs were spotted early with one being destroyed (the pilot survived) and the other going home damaged, reducing 41 to only 7 available aircraft.


The main element launched 2 AGM-88 HARM missiles against the main radar and that ended that.  With the I-Hawks down, the Iranian sent another solitary F-5E to go against the strikers, but it too was sent packing. Then the second lot of interceptors came in – two pairs of F-4s (three from 92 TFS and one from 62 TFS respectively). One Hornet each broke off for the enemy aircraft.


The US crossed two air defence sectors on the flight in and the flight out, so Iran got two intercept chances  - although it lacked alert aircraft in the southern sector for the inbound strike. I actually rolled for three pairs of aircraft, but there weren’t the available jets in that sector for that. The order of the latter two attacks were determined randomly.


The first strike was from 2 aircraft from 92 Tactical Fighter Squadron. The Super Hornet fired one missile at each of them and four Iranian aircrew did a parachute jump compliments of the US Navy. The other element actually got into dogfight range, but two Sidewinders resulted in something similar – although only two lived to post on Experian about it. 62 TFS was down to 9 aircraft, but 92 only had four.


16 Iranian jets broke down in additional, leaving 55 aircraft available for operations. They would need many more as the main Israeli strike on Isfahan loomed.


I realised I’ve been reading the breakdown rules incorrectly – it’s one roll for the entire IRIAF with the results applied to all the active squadrons. While I continued to use the old method for this turn, I’ll do the quicker and proper method next time.


Israel is doing very well internationally, but we are now a third of the way through the game and they need to start influencing the Iranian opinion track in a big way to win this game.

22 February 2013

Harpoon: 1.57 - I was hoping for nukes

A Tu-22M "Backfire" being escorted by a Norwegian F-16 (image: US DoD)

This one also had the sound issue. This did not impact my game that much.

I wanted to see what nuclear weapons were like in the game, so I decided to go for one that might have one - The First Step from HDSB - MEDC.

In this mission, I was playing REDFOR, attacking US forces from bases in Turkey and the USSR to cover the retreat of Soviet forces from the Middle East. There was a possibility of special weapons release being authorised. It was a 24-hour long scenario and I was equipped with a batch of ships, subs and aircraft. The latter saw the main use, being mostly strike aircraft and with my fighters essentially being limited to Floggers.

The US had a couple of surface groups, focussed around a carrier (which I never found) and a bunch of amphibs.

I started off by launching a number of attacks on the various surface contacts I had detected and an airbase in Italy. Basically, get into standoff range, launch missiles, go home, rinse and repeat. If I did not get shot down first - something that proved much easier said done.

As my forces approached, I started losing planes to SAMs from a cruiser (which had a lot of them) and AAMs from an F-14. Stick a Tomcat against a MiG-23 and there is likely to be only one winner - it won't be the Russian bird. Eventually, some of my MiG-27s got into AS-14 range on a Spruance and unloaded, damaging a Spruance, sinking a Belknap and later taking out another Spru-can that may be the same one. Anyways, the Americans got in range of my surface ships near the Dardanelles and opened fire with Harpoons... causing me to lose a Kresta II.

Things were not going too well - my missiles were being shot down by the  Tico and my aircraft were taking a poor ratio in air-to-air operations. I lost four Floggers for a single F-16 in one case. To make things worse, the Marine amphibious group near Egypt was making a big attack on Mersa Matruh. I sent the Backfires after an Italian airbase, intending to put nukes on them when they returned.

The Tu-22Ms destroyed the Italian base and two enemy attacks (on helicopter carrier Moskva and Mersa Matruh) all failed. However, as of 2244 I had lost 63 aircraft for only 13 of the enemy and 20 missiles were now heading for Port Said.

Thirteen got through and did 27% damage, as further missiles got through against surface ships and air bases, with most of my interceptors being stuck on the ground to refuel.

I scrambled them as I could, downing a Tomcat and also launched further strikes against BLUFOR, managing to get off four shots against USS Dale, a Leahy-class CG. Two of them sent that particular nuisance to the bottom.

It was just as well - Mersa Matruh was now at 95% damage despite downing four A-7Hs and an OHP took out all six missiles that I had launched on it from my Floggers. To deal with the American frigate, I launched eight Su-24s against it.

As midnight passed things got interesting. The Su-24s were unescorted and took losses, but were able to eliminate three Tomcats somehow. Al Mansurah's defences bagged three Corsairs and somehow MiG-23s managed to down F-14s with heatseekers. My Backfires, launched against surface group ADS, fired from 240nm out on bearing only...

After a 7-8 flight time, they took out two frigates - and the Tico guarding that group! The remaining Fencers got into firing position as one of my Tangos came under torpedo attack and a MiG-27 ran out of fuel.

The submarine dodged and weaved (taking out an S-3 helped), but eventually it took two hits and sunk at 0124. However, this wasn't something that I needed to worry about too much. The Backfires were back for another attack on the amphibious group and fired. As the missiles flew, I lost Mersa Matruh to Walleye bombs.

This was however, the last big setback that I had. I sunk another Spru-can and with the amphibious group now completely exposed, I launched my Backfires and two Floggers on a standoff attack. I lost the latter two to enemy fire, but the Tu-22Ms got into range easily.

They launched BOL and blew away a LPD - which was enough for the minimum victory conditions. At that point I called it a day.

I never did get nuclear release - probably because I was winning. Will have to go for a different scenario next time.

17 February 2013

The beginning of the end - 'Doctor Who' Season 24 (1987)

Everybody gets sick of lift music eventually


The condition for the show’s renewal was the replacement of its star – Michael Grade insisted that Colin Baker go over the objections of John Nathan-Turner.


JNT had been informed that he would reassigned from Doctor Who in exchange for being the one to tell Baker he was going, something he had hoped would happen after the production problems of Season 23. However, that agreement was rescinded by his superiors and he would have to remain on the show. He now faced a situation where he had no star, no script editor and no stories.


An agreement was reached between Grade and JNT that Baker should appear in an opening four-parter where he would regenerate, so Pip and Jane Baker were commissioned to write what was then called “Strange Matter”. However, Baker declined to even appear in a regeneration sequence and any hope of him changing his mind was ended when he had a public go at Grade in an interview with The Sun. So, in the end the new guy would have to wear a wig for the opening scene…


The search for a new Doctor very quickly settled on a comic actor and performer named Sylvester McCoy – although others were auditioned (all alongside Janet Fielding, who had played Tegan[1]) at the BBC’s insistence.


Getting the script editor was somewhat easier – although the choice was an unlikely one, a Canadian-born man called Andrew Cartmel who had graduated in computer science and gotten an agent based on some unproduced scripts. Cartmel began working with the other writers on what has been called “The Cartmel Masterplan”, an arc that restored some of the mystery to the Doctor and would have eventually revealed his true identity had not cancellation intervened – the Virgin New Adventures novels cover much of the planned ground.


We now turn our attention to a man who could well have been the final Doctor…


Sylvester McCoy – the dark clown


The Seventh Doctor does not rate as highly as some of the others, but he has his fans. Starting off as an intelligent man who disguised his intelligence with clownishness, he later developed a darker personality, becoming a grand manipulator of events and people, including companions, to achieve a greater end (he really liked chess too). Usually seen with a Panama hat and a question mark umbrella used for purposes other than protection against rain, his costume became darker as he did. It’s a strong point of the EU that the other incarnations of the Doctor don’t like him. He is also the first Doctor with a noticeable regional accent, hailing from Dundee and using a slight Scottish lilt – he also liked to roll his Rs.


Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith (1943-present), far better known by his stage name, started off life training for the priesthood, but then chose to went into insurance. After a variety of jobs, including working as a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones, he was spotted by comedian Ken Campbell working in a box office and became part of his comedy act. There his most notable role was as stuntman ‘Sylveste McCoy’, who liked to put ferrets down his trousers and explode bombs on his chest. As a joke, the programme had the character as being played by Sylvester McCoy and when a reviewer thought that was a real person… you get the idea.


More work followed, including a two-year stint on ATV’s anarchic Saturday morning show Tiswas and just before DW, appearing in a B-movie called Three Kinds of Heat, where his character killed Mary Tamm’s one.


After his tenure, he has mostly focussed on theatre including appearing in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear, but he still does TV and film work. Recently, he appeared in an episode BBC daytime soap Doctors playing an actor who had done a role similar to the Doctor – the part written for him. His biggest role to date, however, is as Radagast in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.


He likes to recite Matt Smith’s speech from “The Pandorica Opens” at conventions – and does it very well indeed. Finally, he is the second Doctor that I have actually met.

The 14-episode Season 24 was moved from Saturdays to Mondays – directly opposite the nationally-aired Granada soap opera Coronation Street… a show that it did not stand an ice cube’s chance on Venus of doing well against. Indeed, the modern show would struggle in a slot like that, although DVR would help it… However, it must also be said that this is probably the weakest of the three McCoy seasons.


The show also got a new title sequence and version of the theme tune, arranged by Keith McCulloch. For the former, McCoy’s face was painted silver for some reason.


Time and the Rani (4 parts)


The Rani brings the TARDIS to the planet Lakertya, in the process forcing the Doctor’s regeneration[2]. There she wants him to help her complete a machine that will allow her to use history’s greatest minds to reshape the universe.


The final Pip and Jane Baker story; this one has a dire reputation and came 198th in the Mighty 200. Featuring bad dialogue ('I have the loyhargil - nothing can stop me now!') and the Rani impersonating Mel, the excuse that they were writing this story ‘blind’ does not entirely wash. Sue Perryman handed this one a -1 on The Wife in Space; her lowest score to date.


Paradise Towers (4 parts)


The Doctor and Mel decide to go on holiday to a famed tower block – only to discover that it has fallen into a very bad state indeed…


Some very interesting concepts in this one, but it’s let down by a lot of bad production decisions and acting. This one also has two cannibal grannies, something which probably isn’t best for a show like this.


Delta and the Bannermen (3 parts)


Team TARDIS wins a free trip to Disneyland in 1959 on an alien tour bus. However, the tour bus gets hit by a satellite and ends up in Wales, where a beautiful princess is on the run from her would-be killers…


Guest starring Ken Dodd[3], this has been described as Hi-de-Hi![4] directed by James Cameron and has some surprisingly adult moments in it. Might watch this again sometime. Bonnie Langford considered leaving mid-season and a character was written as a potential new companion here –the end, she stayed a bit longer.


Dragonfire (3 parts)


Sabalom Glitz ropes the time travellers into a treasure hunt on the space trading colony Iceworld, ruled by a literally cold-blooded criminal.


An at times chilling [Ba doom tish – Ed.] story that contains an awful literal cliff-hanger moment (the Doctor for some reason hanging off a cliff by his umbrella – after climbing off it[5]), the villain’s face literally melting, an in-joke reference to a 1983 media studies book on the show and Mel for some reason deciding to leave to tame Glitz, although her leaving scene is very good. Her replacement is a waitress who may be 16, but certainly acts a lot older…


One Wicked Batter – Dorothy “Ace” McShane[6]


Ah, Ace… the companion who is arguably closest to the modern five ladies of Who. She certainly has the sass for it, but Amy Pond never carried around home-made high explosives or had a go at a Dalek with a baseball bat.


Hailing from Perivale, West London, after blowing up her school and being a generally troubled teen, Ace was swept up in a ‘time storm’[7] and ended up on Iceworld, where she got a job as a waitress and slept with Glitz[8]. She goes with the Doctor (who she calls “The Professor” over his repeated objections) at story’s end, travelling with him through cancellation. As she was the companion as the hiatus arrived, Ace’s expanded universe appearances are extensive – although she still turns up in Big Finish stuff.


The role went to Sophie Aldred (1962-)[9], who had in fact auditioned initially for another character in “Delta and the Bannermen”. Aldred had started in children’s theatre and most of her work outside of DW (before and after) has been for young kids, although she started by singing in working men’s clubs to get her Equity card. She is currently voicing CBeebies series Tree Fu Tom – alongside David Tennant.

The average rating ticked up to 4.9 million, but the show never troubled the 6 million mark – with the highest figure all season being 5.5 million for the first part of “Dragonfire”, which aired on the show’s 24th birthday. However, the show was safe for the time being and BBC management were happy with their new star.


For the 25th season, two monsters would be returning. One story would be considered a classic, but the other…

[1]Bonnie Langford was unavailable due to other commitments. McCoy’s audition tape with Fielding, a companion departure scene, got its script largely re-used for Mel’s departure at the end of this season – it was that good.

[2]The precise reason for the Doctor being ‘killed’ and Mel surviving isn’t made clear on the screen, but it is stated in the EU that he hit his head on the console.

[3]A British stand-up comic and singer, who specialises in one-liners and has the world record for the longest joke-telling session at 3½ hours.

[4]BBC sitcom (1980-1988) written by renowned duo Jimmy Perry and David Croft, set at a holiday camp in Essex and revolving around its staff, mostly struggling or past-it entertainers.

[5]It made sense in the script – the passage was a dead end. However, it was really badly shot)

[6]Ace’s surname is never given on screen, but is given in the novels. The production team used Gale internally and eventually her full name become Dorothy Gale McShane. We just call her Ace.

[7]The Wizard of Oz parallels were quite intentional, although the stuffed dog idea was dropped.

[8]That was in the production notes only and never even hinted at on screen for obvious reasons.

[9]Most teenagers on TV are played by fully-grown adults for a number of reasons, including legislation on child actors. Somehow we adjust to it.

15 February 2013

The Copenhagen Gambit (Grand Review: 'Borgen' Season 2)

(This one is a bit later than I’d hoped – a lot on my planner at the moment)


Sarah Lund has hung up her gun, but BBC4 isn’t done with the Danish television. Oh no, not at all. We’re back in the turbulent world of Danish politics.


After the first season where she sacrificed a marriage for a premiership, the now Birgitte Nyborg is two years into her reign as Statsminister of the Kingdom of Denmark. Meanwhile, Katrine Fønsmark is no longer working for TV1 (she quit over an editorial decision), but for the tabloid newspaper run by former Labour leader Michael Laugesen, a man for whom journalistic scruples do not fit in the same elevator. Together (well not really together), they experience problems at home and abroad, ranging from the deaths of Danish soldiers in Afghanistan to the loss of Nyborg’s majority in the Danish legislature to Birgitte’s daughter Laura) suffering from mental health problems.


The ten episodes of this run are nearly all excellent – although I can see the objections to the two-part Africa episode, which has a distinct triumphalist feel that reminds one of some of the poorer episodes of The West Wing and some plot developments are clearly telegraphed (Laura’s hair reminded me of another mentally ill person from Scandi fiction – Lisbeth Salander). The writing is superb, there’s a lot of humour and you feel for the characters, especially when we discover some of Kasper Juul’s backstory. Indeed, this show has many great characters from all the parties and the press – such as Svend Åge Saltum, the bigoted yet comedic leader of the Freedom Party (think he’s played by a comic actor) or Hanne Holm, an alcoholic TV1 journalist.


What I also really like is the portrayal of Denmark – a country similar and yet different to my own.




Another superb season of a brilliant Danish import. We will be getting Season 3 and from the great big spoiler on the Guardian news story reporting its acquisition (Tak for that – not!), it will be very interesting.


It’s a shame that our political culture is far too cynical to make something like this – instead we get the inferior new version of Yes, Prime Minister



09 February 2013

More like slip-up (Review: 'Doctor Who', "Slipback")



A lot of Doctor Who fans do not like Eric Saward. His stories are frequently poor, his era was responsible for some of the show’s biggest turkeys and the manner of his departure really rankles. Anyway, I’m reviewing something he wrote as my “Eleven Faces” series does its second Sixth Doctor story – the radio drama “Slipback” from 1985, the first proper foray of the show into radio, broadcast as part of children’s’ magazine show Pirate Radio Four. Is it any good though?


Sadly, I’ve got to say no.




The Doctor and Peri land on a starship where the computer has gone crazy and the alien captain is dangerously ill. Dangerous to other people.




The plot here is a mishmash of different ideas and characters that does not fit together that well when the final twist is revealed. For one thing that final twist contradicts two other stories that Eric Saward script-edited. The pacing is off badly, some cliff-hangers get resolved in a stupid manner and Saward commits a major editing failure when he has the TARDIS appear to materialise twice. In addition, a whole batch of clichés get taken for a ride, including a homicidal computer, although that one is done rather well in my opinion. I’ve not got a great deal good to say about this, except that it is only sixty minutes long.


Also, you would not get away with this line (Peri discussing the TARDIS) in any show intended for children today:


“It started to wink and flash and grunt like some dirty old man in a park”.


Sound design


It’s a BBC production, so excellence is assured. However, since one takes that sort of thing for granted, it really doesn’t boost the story. There are some 1980s style music stings here, which also has a net zero effect.


The regulars


The Sixth Doctor really needs a good script to work – and he doesn’t get one here. He starts off with being naïve about the effects of alcohol and later on has a big “Noooooooo!” in a cliff-hanger, neither of which really seem Doctorish at all.


Peri, apart from being lusted over by yet another alien creature, doesn’t do anything remarkable here either good or bad. In fact, she’s largely forgettable in audio.


The guest cast


A bit of a mixed bag here, that’s for sure. The computer and robot characters do very well with the script, especially the former, who has a ‘New York’ accent that works well with the personality. Even if it is a bit of stereotype.


The organic characters generally stink (you can’t even remember most of their names), with the exception of the Captain. Played by Valentine Dyall (also known for playing the Black Guardian, but having a voice that has led to people calling him “the British Vincent Price” meant he had a long career), he is superbly slimy, literally and metaphorically, in one of his final roles before his death – this in fact went out posthumously.




I totted up my scores for each of the episodes and came to an average of 4/10. However, as I felt really rather cold with this story and there isn’t really much good in it, I knocked my score down to:



02 February 2013

Maas Effect: A PBEM TOAW III game report

I’ve just played an email game of The Operational Art of War III with Mackie. The scenario, a 40-turn biggie recreating Operation Market Garden (Arnhem) took just over a year of RL time to play out. During this, I took notes and instead of an AAR, I’m going to present a DAR - During Action Report, with Mackie kindly providing his own comments as we go along. The notes are unchanged about from some spelling corrections.

So, here we go:

Operation Market Garden - During Action Report

Overall plan - seize every bridge bar Arnhem and then take the last one with the combined forces. Feint attack on Eindhoven.

Overall German Plan - Delay, delay and delay. Did I mention delay? That was essentially my plan, to delay the allies as long as possible. Whether it be from last stands, to fighting retreats or to capturing and destroying bridges.

I didn’t take notes as the game went along so I am going from memory. If some things don’t match up then that’s why!

Turn 1

I chose to opt for a "three" bridge approach - only going as far as Nijmegen. My tank forces would head for Eindhoven, but only the lead elements would actually attack the town before retreating as the other units would then then detour to the West and work their way up that way.

My airborne forces dropped around as many of the bridges on the route as they could - plus a few others to a) divert German attention and b) give me some more options. Once they took the bridge, they would dig in until relieved. Some of these were kept in reserve - although possibly too few - but that said I have got an airborne division unable to move at the moment, which can go in later for key bridges I need to take.

One group of paratroops was dropped near the NW corner of the map to delay any German reinforcements coming from that direction. Possibly I could have put them somewhere better, but I think the glider range was limited.

The group to the west of Arnhem? I was curious as to why you dropped them there. At first I was wondering where the hell the British paratroopers were and then I got a bit of a shock when I encountered that large force as I moved west. Unfortunately, at least in the first half or so of the game, most of my reinforcements came from the north of Arnhem or from the east of Nijmegen.

My results seem to have been mixed - I got a lot of overruns, but when it came to actual battles, I lost a few and the Germans did blow a bridge or two.

I just wish there was a way to do bulk movement.

Turn 2

Some limited German attacks in Turn 1. I choose to adopt local attacks on some units where I think I can beat them with my parachutists while the rest dig in.

My main armour is going to assault across four bridges, the feint going for Eindhoven and the rest going for the other three. I've kept some units back to avoid traffic jams and use as a mobile reserve to go for which objectives need them most.

Of all the areas of the map, for whatever reason, the main route through the cities were the least defended. Apart from a couple of fortified lines just north of your starting point the way was pretty much open. What little units I did have there were good for defence only and units nearby that I could have moved were static and remained that way for the duration of the game (I had an option to release two units which I chose but it didn’t work). Most of my units were concentrated around Nijmegen and Arnhem.

Conducted airstrikes against some German units. My parachutists were generally unsuccessful against the Germans, but did take a couple of objectives and also inflicted good losses on Heergruppe B. The armoured assault is currently making slow progress - for a start I need to fix some bridges.

Red made a bunch of moves during his turn and a few attacks, but with no real success.

Turn 3

A case of digging in and/or clearing out the local defences for my Paras, who are really going to enjoy the defences of the former. They're not strong enough to take out some of the forces, so the option there will be digging in and hoping.

My armoured forces continued to try and force a way through the enemy "roadblocks" - the heavily fortified German positions (some of which are SS) near my formation area that I need to get through.

My attacks were decidingly mixed, ranging from failure with heavy losses for some airborne units (paras are no good for frontal assaults) to total annilhation of the Germans. Once the bridges are repaired, I'll be getting moving.

There were a few enemy assaults in the Germans' turn, but most of my units held up. Most of them.

Turn 4

At last, my reserves have activated. This will provide much useful armoured capability for later.

My general plan here was to move up my southern forces as far forward as I could, while the airborne forces hunkered down on any objectives they held or tried to take some. I couldn't get any more paratroops in.

One armoured thrust is approaching Valkenswaard - which should relieve some forces there. Much of the force is stuck in a traffic jam. There are only so many tanks you can fit in a hex.

I don’t know if you’re aware but if you place MP or security troops along your main routes of advance then it will improve the traffic flow. Then your units get supplies quicker and they get more movement points.

My attacks proved to be very successful - when I didn't force the enemy to retreat, I was generally inflicting greater damage on him than he was on me. Slowly, I'm moving forward. Mind you, I did lose a key bridge during one fight.

Mackie used his turn to move up a lot of his units and then launched a number of successful attacks on my airborne units, dislodging or destroying a few.

Turn 5

I was able to drop some more people in, putting several companies of 101 Airborne around the 80 VP objective of Eindhoven, but chose to hold off on an attack until the forces were fully organised. Another lot of paras went for Hoeven, surrounding the German force there.

A further group arrived to aid the under seige units on the north west corner and knocked a few HQ units around.

Other forces, holding bridges with little VP value, blew them were possible to deny their use to the enemy or just dug in and hoped.

In the south, with two bridges now intact and engineers working on a third, my armour began to surge forward over the bridges and spread out for a high speed run up the west of the map. If I got far enough up, I could outflank the 90 VP Eindhoven objectives I hadn't already got.

My attacks were highly successful - light German units got knocked from pillar to post. I didn't gain any objectives, although I did a lot of damage to the garrison at Uden (45 VP) and my forces continued to advance.

The German turn saw Mackie bring up a lot of reinforcements to attack my parachute units and successfully dislodge a few of them - he seems, though to be leaving Arnhem comparatively empty.

If I remember correctly, as I hadn’t noticed a jump on Arnhem, I diverted forces to the south or west of it.

Turn 6

My paratroopers continued to dig in. One force at Walkenswaard is very near relief and actually managed to kick one unit out of a 5 VP objective before kicking them back in. I also decided, probably not wisely to launch an across river attack at Nijmegen.

My armour continued to move up - with some of my forces moving to skip past the local forces while others moved to finish those ones off - a number went in my initial attacks.

I may well now go for Arnhem - the paratroopers in the North West are providing an excellent diversion for Mackie's forces.

I won nearly all of the 23 assaults I launched - causing a few units to evaporate entirely. No new objectives - I lost both Walkenswaard ones - but I can feel confident. At the moment.

Mackie's response was bringing up a lot of his forces, mainly from Germany proper to attack my scattered paratroopers. His attacks were more successful than previously.

Turn 7

One of my Generals has been captured and both sides have gained reinforcements. So this will be interesting.

I disengaged some of my units and had others dig in - in some cases it's best to avoid a fight. Others still attempted break out operations to avoid being trapped. Paratroopers cannot hold places long term.

I launched an attack on the 80 VP objective of Eindhoven, dislodging the unit - who blew the bridge at the same time. Oh, well, I'll fix it later.

A number of my air squadrons were switched from combat support to air superiority - as my units were coming under air attack while moving. Can't be having that.

My armoured forces arrived at Walkenswaard - crossing the intact bridge there. Once the locals are cleared out, on we go.

I made thrusts up the map and found some light units - Eindhoven is now getting close. Many of the local forces were surrounded and I hoped I could eliminate them quickly.

My attacks generally ranged from slightly successful to very successful - in fact, my Paras have pretty much taken Eindhoven on their own. I didn't get Uden, but that garrison must not be happy.

I was a bit annoyed with the lack of forces along this main route. If you had chosen to do a ‘thunder run’ up it I’m not sure if I could have stopped you. Of course, you might have left your flanks open to counter-attacks but then again they could have held. Who knows.

The German turn saw Mackie move a considerable amount of his forces over to the NW para group, where he dislodged and destroyed a couple of units. He's falling for my bait nicely. He also took away a large number of units from Nijmegen - that'll help later.

His assaults were mixed - I lost a few units, but most of them either got away or held up to the attacks.

Turn 8

My forces continued to race forward from the south - most skipping past the enemy forces with the exception of those engaging in mopping up operations or having to clear those that were blocking the roads. The paras generally dug in, but some fell back to better positions.

My main thrust has now reached Eindhoven - I've got the 5th Company of the Coldstream Guards in the town - but it's going to be difficult to clear the enemy out and get people round to repair the bridges.

My attacks ran from abject failure with higher casualties to total success. I finally took Uden, but as my attacks were directed more against units, I didn't get any more objectives. Many of the German units retreated instead of being destroyed - so they're still there as a potential thorn in my rear area.

So, the German turn... With limited reconnaisance, it's difficult to know what precisely they're doing, but there is a large force coming from the east. The attacks dislodged a good number of my paratroop units, but there was no impact on my armoured thrust, probably because it's not in contact with anyone.

The east as in Nijmegen? A good lot of my reinforcements came that way right into your paratroopers in the surrounding areas! I wonder if I would have been able to push your forces out if you had secured all of Nijmegen?

Turn 9

My paratroops generally dug in, or broke contact. I set attacks and then discovered they were hopeless, so I merely lost the defensive posture bonus.

As for those back in the Allies - I was able to deploy many more falling skirmish fighters. I dropped them around the north west of the map, even on Arnhem itself, which seems relatively lightly defended (famous last words). I seized a good number of key German objectives and the areas around some bridges I'll need to repair later.

My armoured forces, with nearly all the bridges at Eindhoven level currently inoperative, either moved up or focussed on mopping up. I'll need to bring Engineers up next turn to start fixing some of these so I can move everyone further up.

I detected some riverine forces near Arnhem and allocated some bombers to take them out. Let's hope it works...

My attacks were mostly successful, but inconclusive, as I kicked German units around the lower half of the map. I did eliminate a few units and take a couple of objectives, but the turn could have gone better for me.

To fight delaying actions I put those units on a mobile posture and to take low casualties. Sounds like it worked?

Mackie's turn saw further assaults on my paras - in fact I lost a couple of units during this time.

Turn 10

My forces continued to move north, but as they did, they come under frequent air attack. I retasked some of my fighter squadrons to an air superiority role, which should help.

I was a bit surprised to read this as I didn’t really alter the missions of my air units. I just assumed they would be destroyed in the opening few turns.

The paras continued digging in, but one lot took the 43 VP objective of Nijmegen.

At Eindhoven, I got one bridge repaired and got another Engineering unit working on another bridge, getting 80 VPs in the meantime.

To the south, I allocated my forces for further attacks on the Germans still there, kicking quite a few around.

Combat resolution began with a large number of German air strikes, which caused a couple of units to evaporate. My main thrust did pretty well, the paras less so. However, all in all, it was a very satisfactory turn. Soon I'll be over Eindhoven and heading for Nijmegen...

The Germans are positioning themselves for a serious assault around Arnhem and the NW forces, while their attacks saw a large number of the paras dislodged or destroyed. Nothing on my armoured force though...

When you took Arnhem bridge I had to clear it out as you cut off my supply route from the north. Regarding the NW para stronghold, they were too near my northern reinforcement to points to leave them and they were holding down a number of units I needed elsewhere. The sooner they were gone the better.

Turn 11

My paras were now starting to run low on supplies and so I spent the victory points for a supply drop at SD1, as well as calling in another bomber wing. With the bridges at Eindhoven repaired, I began cleaning up in there, while in the south, I allocated forces to deal with the local resistance - some of which was still reasonably heavy.

I was also able to bring in a couple of divisions via airlift.

My attacks were very successful - even in the NW where I forced the retreat of a Corps HQ and hardened SS troops with my beleaguered paratroops. In the south, many German units fled or evaporated entirely. I had a lot of air support all round, which helped.

They were a thorn in my side! I was surprised they held out for so long. If this game allowed you to award medals I bet a bunch of those guys would have gotten the VC!

So, German turn: a largeish amount of movement that was then followed by intensive attacks on light para units, wiping out a good number of them. So, not so good.

Turn 12

More reinforcements - in fact an entire division or so, I'd say. I moved those up and spread them up, intending to use them in multiple areas.

Arnhem was going badly wrong for me - my units dug in further and I fired the bridge to delay the Germans later on. Elsewhere, units either dug in or tried to break contact, mostly successfully.

At Uden, I moved some units up on the road to Zeeland to block any German advance from the north.

I conducted further moving up of the southern forces - I'm well across at Arnhem and my engineers are repairing or have repaired a good number of bridges. I'll be able to relieve some more paras next turn and also get a few more bridges...

My attacks went well, generally inflicting at 10% casualties on the Germans and eliminating a few more of the pesky southern units. Even the paras had some success up in the north-west of the map.

The German response was pretty much the same as Turn 11, really.

Turn 13

The march forward continued - as bridges were repaired, I could move more easily in the marshy countryside. There's a few more bridges, particularly one at Oirshot, that I'd like to repair in the next few turns - this will allow for greater freedom of action.

I was able to drop more paratroopers. These often went to reinforce beleaguered units in the north (especially around Arnhem), but I used a few to screen my forces. These landed in north-eastern areas of the map, seizing some of the higher value objectives and blowing a couple of bridges. That should give Mackie something to think about.

Yeah, that was annoying! :P

On the whole my attacks went very well - the Germans suffered heavy losses and more than a few evaporations - some objectives were seized in addition.

Mackie's turn had a lot fewer events than previously. He made a large number of local moves and then took out a whole batch of para units that were mostly surrounded and badly outnumbered.

Fortunately for me - this game is now currently a draw.

Turn 14

The engineers deserve a bonus - they've been working a lot of overtime. My main force continued mopping up operations and those forces not engaged there continued to move north. I've realised that I'll need to clear the northern bank by Oirshot before I can get that bridge repaired - the units there are under enemy fire. A couple of arty strikes on the engineers will help nicely. I also used some long-range arty to help with other attacks.

Paras in the north either dug in or broke contact, some grabbing a couple more objectives in the process. Keep Mackie distracted.

Overall, attacks went very well - one Para unit retreated, but many German units have just gone.

The second half of the turn... I just killed John Hackett, as his para unit evaporated. The Germans reshuffled their forces away from the front line and took out a number of the airborne counters - they also attacked the main advance in one location and forced a small retreat.

Not to worry - yet.

Turn 15

The Oirshot bridges are back up - there's now just a Divisional HQ and a couple of other units to deal with there, before I can clear the colossal traffic jam.

More moving up of forces and some para adjustments/digging in; I really wish there was a group move feature here.

The attacks were on the whole very successful - I've battered those Oirshot holdouts quite a bit (38% casualties) and also some Para units managed to help another lot that was surrounded by SS (they're the black units) security troops, by breaking the siege.

So, German response... 1010 events, so a lot more movement, I'd say. He brought up a lot of stuff to attack my paras and generally enjoyed a lot of success. There was also a counter-attack in the SE of the map that I will need to deal with sooner rather than later.

That NW diversion is tying up a lot of his forces, which is a good thing.

Turn 16

It seems I've killed a German Colonel and captured a Gen-Lt. Plus we've got both more reinforcements.

Looks like I'll be able to clear the German forces around the Oirshot bridge (which in reality was liberated a month later), because they're really blocking the traffic at the moment.

I've got a few more bridges and locations, although I will lose Arnhem next turn. Any forces not needed to inflict a very light/excellent result on Germans in the south are being sent north.

My 20 assaults pretty much all succeeded - inflicting a lot of German casualties and a few total defeats. Oirshot is getting clearer, but there's another pesky unit blocking the road north.

I'm doing well here, but for how much longer?

Mackie's informed me that he is paying for some earlier mistake. Will be interesting to find out what it actually was - if it was one. His turn saw a huge amount of invisible movement combined with some effective anti-para attacks. The paras aren't the main threat though!

That mistake was sending a precious armoured force on a counter-attack that got them destroyed. As they were advancing I spotted (what I thought was) an easy opportunity to destroy a potentially important series of bridges. I believe I destroyed one, however, your own armour began to arrive. As I tried to retreat north I attacked a para held bridge which failed and those valuable units got trapped and eventually destroyed.

Turn 17 - GB

Time to protect my right flank, in case he's about to drop an entire Panzer Division or two on me. I moved up a lot of units over that direction and also brought in the remaining paratroopers - mostly to help with other combat by landing east of bridges I still need to cross. I've also figured out to use my bridging units.

Your capture of my eastern reinforcement areas crippled me for the rest of the game as the units coming in from the north and east dried up some turns later. It forced me to go entirely on the defensive.

Oirshot area is clear and I'm doing to be clearing the remaining German units in the south pretty soon. The main body is at Boxtel in the far west and the furthest north is at Veghel - two more canals to go before I reach Nijmegen.

My attacks were pretty unsuccessful - I only destroyed a couple of units and gained no new objectives.

Game is still a draw.

Turn 17 - Germany

820 events. So not that much activity then... what there was though was important, as Mackie's moved up a lot of artillery and some Panzers. A number of para units have now gone entirely - and there's no reconstitution for most of them in this scenario. There has been some counter-attacking in the south - not too much to worry about at this stage.

Turn 18 - Allies

I'm back to marginal defeat - the Germans have also lost a depot. Supply situation is looking good though. Now, where are those bridging units?

Bowtel depot is gone - there's now a bunch of German infantry units blocking the road that don't get the hint and a whole batch of other guys nearby. I sent some Green Howards nearer to Gemeert than was wise - they won't be able to get help for a while.

Remaining forces continued to move north - my eastern flank was reinforced, but it's still more vulnerable than I'd like. German forces south of my line are nearly gone. I've run into heavy German resistance across most of the line and the narrowness of much of the map is slowing down my advance.

I've decided to take 4th Armored Brigade. It costs me 100 VPs, but the forces will be worth it in the long run.

30 assaults this turn. Many succeeded, but I took heavy losses on some and even lost one Para unit. Got a couple more objectives and it's always nice to see Paras beating up German mechanised infantry.

Turn 18 - Germany

904 events. Quite a bit of stuff, I'd imagine.

Germans moved up a lot of infantry and other foot units, then conducted a lot of successful attacks on the northern para units.

Still not a huge threat - yet.

Turn 19 - Allies

Got my tanks - this is still a marginal defeat. For the time being. I'm going to focus my forces on Nijmegen and to the east of the map, hopefully gaining enough objectives to win.

The Germans have got some effective bottlenecks on the front line, which will take time to clear. I've had my para units grab a couple of NE objectives to distract their attention and put me back on a draw.

The 35 attacks - well, this is now turning into a meat grinder. I'm making much slower progress, with noticeable losses and the Germans are generally holding in place or retreating largely intact.

Turn 19 - Germany

855 events. Again, a lot of his forces are in place. There's some slight retreating and further moving of forces south. What I really don't want is to lose this battle because I'm bogged down getting through the Germans. Time for some outflanking, I think.

Lost a lot of para units this turn - they've arguably done their job by tying up the German forces, but I'd have liked them for a bit longer...

Turn 20 - Allies

Game is still a draw - Germans are taking a lot of casualties. My problem is that there's a lot of space between my current lines and the next large batch of objectives.

I'm continuing to go north - with some of my units leapfrogging ahead to scout ahead/take territory. The big German roadblock near the Aa river will be outflanked fairly sooner and once cleared, I can move up forces much more quickly. I am keeping some of forces a bit further back - if the Germans manage to counterattack in strength and break through my lines, they'll be needed.

I reduced a couple of urban areas to ruins with my 33 attacks - they did destroy a few German units, which will help me later.

Turn 20 - Germany

1271 events. This will be a big turn...

Germans are bringing in a lot of reinforcements and conducting movements that I can't see. This is concerning me a lot - Mackie's possibly spent some VPs for these. A lot of movement across the bridge at Arnhem. So there might be problems at Nijmegen.

No VPs for me, unfortunately.

German attacks took their toll on the paras and forced some retreats down south. Not too much to worry about in the latter part. At the moment.

Turn 21 - Allies

Got reinforcements - also back to a marginal defeat. This said, he's taking a lot of casualties at the moment.

I've taken a free infantry brigade and activated 11 Bomber Group to give me some more air support (at a cost of 10 VPs).

I carried on moving up - there's a number of German forces in my way, but I'm going as far as I can. I discovered one parachute unit left, who were dropped on a pair of German resupply points, taking them out.

My forces are now closing on Nijmegen - there's a lot of objectives there, but there's also quite a few German units that will be reinforced. This might be, to use the German, the Schwerpunkt of this entire game.

Attack time... Many successes, including a couple of total victories. There's a rather big group of mechanised and armoured forces north of Veghel that is trapped in a pocket with a swamp on three sides. Will need to deal with them.

I think that’s the armoured unit I stupidly lost.

Turn 21 - Germany

1710 events- what on earth is happening here?

There are big attacks coming from the NE and the NW. If I had paras left, I could have interdicted those moves - I'm going to put more squadrons onto interdiction for next turn as I think I'll need it.

Interdiction became a problem for me after that. Every time I moved my units they got hit by air.

The Germans didn't do a big attack on my line, the paras suffered, but some of them held out well. It's the reinforcements I'm concerned about; let's hope the bombers will be enough.

Turn 22 - Allies

Yep, the Germans have got more forces, but so have I.

There's a big nasty problem around s-Hergotenbosch; some of my forces that crossed the Aa river south of it have been cut off from the rest of the force by the Germans. I'm flanking them from the east, but they're not got there and won't until Turn 23.

The big juicy objectives are just beyond my lines...

26 assaults - some not successful, but others very much so. The blockage south of the Aa is clear and I can relieve my forces north of it...

Turn 22 - Germany

1539. A lot of stuff going down here.

Germans seem to have put a lot of stuff north and south of the Nijmegen bridge, but I don't know how much is there. I need better intel on that area.

Their attacks on the paras were limited and somewhat unsuccessful - still lost a few of them though.

Turn 23 - Allies

I've destroyed three depots and captured a General-Leutnant named Erdmann. Good.

The current plan is carry on heading up the west, then launch an attack on Nijmegen (and possibly Arnhem) from the West. The marshy terrain will make an assault harder, but hopefully, he won't anticipate it. If it distracts him enough, I can grab the other territories elsewhere on the map...

I'll also carry on heading up the east. The key river I need to cross is the Maas, preferably east of Nijmegen, which is where many key objective sit. Most of my forces are in the west of the map, but it'll take time to move them over (and possibly time I don't have). There are also the reinforcements I got in the SE of the map, slowly working their way up - so I'll need to use them as well.

Bridge repair, that's what takes the time.

Many of my attacks were unsuccessful - the Germans are getting better and my forces threw themselves against them and suffered minor casualties for inflicting nothing on them.

Turn 23 - Germany

1177 events. Seems to be all happening around Nijmegen and the island north of it. He's unable to counterattack south due to the blown bridges, but I think he's hoping that he can hold out here until game end.

Yeah, by this point I saw an opportunity to establish a defensive line along the Maas so I tried to clear the north of it before the British arrived. It was really the only option I had since you were taking all my reinforcement “spawn points” to the south of the Maas. My goal was to hold there for as long as possible.

More paras gone, but my Maas bridgehead is intact - for the time being.

Turn 24 - Allies

My VP count is getting worse...

I'm moving the forces moving north to attack east of the Maas junction - if I can get over that, I'll be able to grab a huge change of objectives over there in Germany itself, then attack Nijmegen from three directions at once.

The boat forces, can go there to cross the Rhine as well. I think I've sent those the wrong way, but I can shift them back.

16 turns to go.

Attacks were not hugely successful. I've got the Aa crossing more or less clear, but the rest of my forces aren't in a position to bring their power to bear.

Turn 24 - Germany

1141 events saw a lot of rail movements through Arnhem and Nijmegen. There weren't a lot of attacks this time, but he's obviously now digging in.

He is reinforcing the Western approach to Nijmegen. I need to keep those forces there for the attack in the east.

Turn 25 - Allies

Still a marginal defeat. I've yet to get repaired bridges over the Aa and the eastern Maas. There's key ones at Mook and Ooefelt that once I'm over and I've got the Germans cleared out, I'll be able to get some more objectives. I also need to tie up the Germans south of Nijmegen - a lot of the forces that are needed for that are getting closer to the area and should get there in Turns 26 and 27.

29 assaults this turn. I didn't get any new objectives, but I've taken out a few more German units, which will help at the end of the game when it comes to victory points.

Turn 25 - Germany

1254 events. Another big one.

He's reinforcing the Nijmegen area, as I thought. There's a lot of forces there and I'm not going to get through that barrier in the time I have left, oh no.

Not many attacks, but they were pretty successful ones at that. The bridgehead is taking a beating.

Turn 26 - Allies

Forces are coming up now, but many won't be able to fully attack until next turn. I'm over the Aa at last and closing in on the western Maas - I should also get an eastern Maas bridgehead in the next couple of turns. The plan is going to be to grab the areas south of the Rhine, then attack Nijmegen from three directions.

I've moved many of my forces closer to the line of battle, but I've noticed that many are running low on supplies. I'll rest some of the others, so I'll be in better shape next turn when it comes to the main attack.

My 20 attacks weren't that successful - although I did get one small objectives. I'm going to implement a general rest next turn for the forces at the front (putting them on a defensive posture) and those with under 50% supplies to allow for extra stuff to reach them.

Turn 26 - Germany

950 events. That's not as many.

Oh dear, he's reinforcing the eastern Maas area. I'll have to see how the attacks go and shuffle my forces for the centre attack. My interdiction air units are certainly helping though.

Attacks were few but very successful from his POV - only a few para units left and my bridgeheads are being thrown back.

Turn 27 - Allies

My supply situation is pretty awful. In a change of plan, I'll keep attacking with the forces at the front to keep the pressure on the Germans (or putting them into tactical reserve against a German counterattack), but nearly everyone is getting a rest. I got most of the units, but I may have missed some. That will help them later.

I launched 20 assaults again this turn. Some of these failed utterly, but others were very successful - with a few pockets of resistance destroyed or nearly so.

In the west, I am closing on the Maas river - and once beyond that, I can reach one of the bigger rivers.

Turn 27 - Germany

After a few weeks delay, the game has resumed.

745 events - well, he is mostly in place now. A lot of moving up (should have destroyed that railway line when I had the chance) and some effective local counter attacks.

Turn 28 - Allies

Still a marginal defeat, but my supply is a bit better.

Everyone with over 25% supplies or in the front is going to be moving up. I need all the forces I can muster at this point, but there's no point going off half-cocked, so to speak.

I've ordered three of my fighter squadrons to attack the Nijmegen bridge. I can fix it later.

OK, here we go.

17 assaults went down. Nearly all of them succeed, inflicting retreats. I also managed to destroy a few of the pockets of resistance behind my lines that had been causing me problems - that will help later. However, I still have only one Maas bridgehead and there's going to be some to-and-froing there. Let's hope it ends on 'to' and sooner rather than later.

Turn 28 - Germany

684 events - again, he is in place.

My Maas defence line? I actually had one bridge that was not held by me or you. I can’t remember the name now but it was one that led to the “island” and situated in the middle between to urban areas. For 2-3 turns you could have gotten your forces across it without opposition - possibly.

General shuffling around followed by limited, but effective counter-attacking. Need to bring up more of my forces to the Maas to grind this through.

I hate meat-grinders.

Turn 29 - Allies

I've captured a Major General and destroyed a base. Oh, joy.

I managed to repair a bridge at Grave and I should get a couple of others up next turn. In addition, a good deal of units (white and red on brown, some mechanised or armoured) east of Helmond are now free to assault the two eastern bridges in the coming turns - just a case of getting them in place. I don't have a lot of depth at the front, so these will help once they're there.

There's a small holdout in the east of the map I forgot to attack - I'll deal with them next turn. My 16 assaults didn't achieve a great deal, but they're wearing the enemy down. Slowly.

Turn 29 - Germany

1016 events. Oh oh; how much does he have left?

He's moving forces away from the surviving paratroop units north of the the Rhine - probably to reinforce his lines. Oh, well, they've done a good job.

After all that, he only made a few attacks - there are still two para units (a company and a platoon) north of my goal line.

Turn 30 - Allies

Still a marginal defeat.

The Cyuk bridge is now back up - unfortunately it took nine lots of engineers to do it and so I can't move across it until next turn.

Most guys are at the Maas or close to it - I've put units not in direct contact into tactical reserve to assist against any counter attacks.

My main attacks will go at Offelt and Cyuk - once across there I've got a lot of objectives to try and get to.

Those German holdouts near Meijel didn't go in one strike - so I left nine units to deal with them. It might take while

In the attack phase, I inflicted 82% casualties on those Meijel guys, so they'll be gone next turn. My other attacks did a lot of damage on other units and there's a bridgehead starting to form in the centre now.

Turn 31 *could* be very good for me.

Turn 30 - Germany

1112 events - big attack, perhaps? In fact, it was further reinforcements, mostly from the north through Arnhem, combined with a shuffling at the front.


Turn 31 - Allies

Strength in depth is not very good in terms of offense - the narrowness of the contact areas mean I can only use limited forces, while the Germans have a lot of things behind their lines.

I've continued to move people up, but I'll leave a few further back - they're low on supplies and won't be able to make much contribution at present.

My 19 assaults produced the least success so far - I've not gotten across the Maas at all and taken more casualties - especially now some SS Panzer units have shown up. The Meijel unit crumbled, but that was to expected.

Turn 31 - Germany

1679 events. A lot of attacks or even more movement?

More movement in fact. With the north clear, Mackie's been able to move forces to the front and strength his lines there, including a little bit in the West. His attacks this turn were nearly all artillery strikes against my front, but the forces held up - mostly.

Turn 32 - Allies

Seems he's thinned his lines around Gennep. Could be good for me. I'm getting three more aircraft wings ordered - the 45 VPs should be worth it.

I've just released something - the bridging and boat units can cross the Maas! Unfortunately, most of them aren't there yet (and the two that are will need to move back to the river to build the ferrys), but in the next couple of turns, they will be.

This could have really been a game changing move, I think. I thought these may have only been able to cross at specific points and to be honest I didn’t really anticipate them. I had no units to really counter a crossing. All were aimed at stopping you at the bridges. If this had been done just a bit earlier you may have been able to win. Once you put units across with them it was only a matter of time before I had to abandon Nijmegen.

My 17 attacks weren't really successful, but I have now reached the Maas in the West and got a small bridgehead at Grave.

Turn 32 - Germany

1008 events. Hmmm...

Forces around Gennep are being thinned and he's tasked a few units to go after that bridging guy. Hopefully, they'll just force a retreat.

He's moved a lot more forces through Arnhem south of the Rhine - I guess he wants to get them to the Maas eventually.

Attacks were largely limited to bombardment - he evaporated one unit and forced another to retreat.

Now time to get those bridging units into place.

Turn 33 - Allies

Should have really checked what some of these bridges were - some of my engineers have been fixing rail bridges, which are ultimately of no use to me. Oh well.

Got a bridgehead east of Gennep now, but I can't find suitable places for some the other bridging and boat units at present. I did get one into position at Blankenberg though.

However, I've got a couple more bridges fixed and that should help.

Many of my forces will be getting a rest - their supply situation is very poor and there's no sense in going off one-eighth-cocked.

So, attack time. Definitely mixed - some failed utterly. However, I now have a secure bridgehead east of Gennep that will cause the Germans problems.

Turn 33 - Germany

Only 694 events this time. Mackie moved some forces east to deal with my attack, but they're not yet in contact. Other actions were limited to bombardments and a couple of successful attacks in the west.

Turn 34 - Allies

The Gennep bridge is up! I've rotated out the engineers and have allocated an attack force there, but it won't get through straightaway. East of there, I'm sending reinforcements across, with my armoured units acting as a screen on the left flank against the imminent German counterattack. One unit (B/3 RAC, 3 Inf Div) has just got the honour of being the first unit into Germany proper. There are a lot of good VP targets nearby and I'll try to knock them off before I go for Nijmegen.

Generally engaged in a further bring up, but most of my units are in place and the others need supplies.

Attack results weren't great, but there is now only one German unit surviving south of the Maas (I forgot about him, I'll deal with him next turn). I'm a little more confident I can get a draw in this game.

Turn 34 - Germany

760 events this time. These involved some shuffling around and surprisingly a *retreat* around my bridgehead. Attacks were limited to the extreme west (where I lost a couple of para units) for actual contact and some general artillery strike.

Turn 35 - Allies

The eastern forces have retreated, but they're still there and they can trade ground for time, engaging in a brief battle before falling back. My victory confidence has now dropped considerably: I'm at -1192 and really need to get 300 or so points (at least) in six turns. Not likely to happen.

I continued to move forces across that bridgehead and attacked on a broad front - there is a 90 point batch of objectives at Kleve if I can get there. Kleve is historically known as 'Cleves' as in Anne of Cleves.

16 assaults produced very mixed results - I only gained one small objective, but other attacks went from major retreats to total loss.

Turn 35 - Germany

440 events - this is a really short turn. Mackie moved forces east to block me there and launched a couple of small counter-attacks. I can't wrong-foot him now - I'm committed.

Turn 36 - Allies

I took three objectives (total 30 points) on the eastern edge of the map, but I'm now running into strong resistance here and in the most of the map. Kleves is probably a turn or two away.

I've moved up some forces, but most of them don't have the supplies to make a real difference to the outcome - my prediction is for a marginal defeat.

The 19 attacks forced retreats, killed a couple of units and gained 5 VPs. The road to Kleves is now open, but I don't know for sure what is there.

Nothing! You stopped all my reinforcements and pulled off that great and unexpected river crossing far east on the Maas. Brilliant moves, just a bit late.

Turn 36 - Germany

821 events this time. Mackie moved a lot of units west to east, obviously to blunt my attack, then destroyed one unit in his defensive bombardments. Will they reach there in time?

Turn 37- Allies

I'm not going to do this... the defences are too strong. I've got the Western Maas bridge back up, which will help there, but those forces won't be in place until next turn.

In the east, I put what units I could into contact, although I severely doubt that I'll be successful in my attacks here.

My 24 assaults generally failed, but I did take a couple of small objectives (including Mook) and inflict noticeable German casualties.

Turn 37- Germany

Only 509 events this turn. The Germans did some retreating in the centre and west of the map, but held firm in the east - then counter attacked. A number of units were destroyed or forced back, costing me Mook and Overasselt.

By this time I was trying to do an orderly retreat to Nijmegen to hold one last stand there. More valuable units like armour were being pulled back across the river.

Turn 38 - Allies

Reached Kleves and bagged over 100 VPs in one go. Now to hold it, as I don't think there is much else I can pick up in the time remaining.

Broad plan is a general across the front assault - I won't break the lines, but I might inflict some good number of casualties that has a small chance of making the game a draw. A small chance.

20 very successful assaults - I recaptured Overasselt and took Milsbeek, forcing general retreats and strong damage on the Germans. Druten got turned into ruins though.

Turn 38 - Germany

583 events: Seems to have been a large-scale retreat along much of the German lines - don't know why. They launched a couple of counter attacks in the centre killing a few units and costing me Overasselt. Again.

No more units coming in and your flank river crossing compromised my defences. You had already given them too much of a beating so I couldn’t really hold south of Nijmegen anymore.

Turn 39 - Allies

Still a marginal defeat (at -790 before my attacks were resolved). I launched an assault across the front, knocking away a large number of German units. In particular, I made strong advances in the left and the centre of the map, which will allow me to flank the forces around Overasselt.

I'm really close to a batch of small objectives around the Maas Waal Canal worth a good number of points - but I doubt I will reach them in time.

My 27 assaults continued to grind away at the Germans and caused a few units to go entirely, but I took no further objectives (Overasselt has no VPs attached to it - it is just the northern end of a bridge) and I only have one lot of moves left.

Turn 39 - Germany

728 events. This could be a big one... it was in fact a big retreat. Mackie engaged in a general withdrawal back towards Nijmegen, which wasn't my goal in time remaining anyway. He destroyed one unit in a small attack, but otherwise kept things to artillery.

Turn 40 - Allies

-800. Still a marginal defeat. It also appears we each have lost two depots.

I took a couple of small objectives and eliminated a few units in my movement (one armoured unit kicked a German one around five times then eliminated it), but I was just short of a 50 point objective. I instead focussed on a broad front attack to try and wipe out as many German units as possible, although I doubt it will save the game.

My 28 assaults did not in fact wipe out that many units - the Germans generally stood there or retreated. I also failed to gain any more objectives.

One more turn and I could have drawn this.

Turn 40 - Germany

Only 354 events this time. Mackie engaged in some further retreats, a little attacking (that took out another supply unit) and that was really it.

End result: -802. Marginal defeat.

It was a good game and you put up a good fight. There are a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios with this one just like there are with the real Operation Market Garden. It was a very tough one for the Allied player but you potentially came close to winning through a couple of missed opportunities and a more concerted drive up the main roads might have yielded better results. Still, that’s hindsight. I certainly couldn’t have done any better. Each potential move may have been more favourable or brought on different sets of problems. Terrain and time was always on my side and once you secured my reinforcement spawns all I really had, could, do was defend.

Great game and I enjoyed playing it. If you want another one at some point just let me know.

Thanks very much for this Mackie. I'll certainly consider it!