Part XXXV: Initial Strategy Update
The France First Strategy was chosen with one supreme objective in mind: To take out France -- the main enemy in the West -- very quickly in order to allow a subsequent attack against the Soviet Union by 1940 or even 1939. France will be defeated by triggering the Vichy France event as soon as we capture Paris and control thirty-five percent of their national provinces. Of course, we have to battle through the Low Countries first before we can attack the French mainland as the Maginot Line is in Darkest Hour as lethal as before. The OKW therefore presents this operational schedule:
- Capture of Amsterdam until the 23rd of July, 1939.
- Total occupation of the Netherlands, including firm control of the Middelburg-Eindhoven-Maastricht line until the 30th of July, 1939.
- Capture of Brussels until the 16th of August, 1939.
- Launch of a first spearhead attack against Paris through Bruges until the 16th of August, 1939.
- Launch of a second spearhead attack against Paris through Brussels or Mons until the 23rd of August, 1939.
- Capture of Paris and total occupation of Belgium until the 30th of September, 1939.
- French capitulation until the 30th of October, 1939.
Case Yellow is the plan that aims at the destruction of France. It is difficult to divide the operation into several stages -- like we did during the Spanish Civil War -- as the French and their allies will certainly have the ability to force some alterations to our plans and the application of some strategies is also not bound to a certain stage. I will therefore explain some general strategies I will use to defeat the French, and my detailed tactic for the first stage during the Netherlands campaign for the time being. The tactics for the subsequent stages of the operation will be revealed as soon as we approach these stages.
General Scheme of Things
The Luxembourg gap will probably cause the diversion of a huge part of the French forces to the area around the Maginot Line. The French will avariciously try to advance into the German mainland through undefended Luxembourg -- and I will allow this, to a certain degree, because the difficulty of the campaign as a whole lies primarily in the fact that the French have more units at their disposal than we have, which would normally make such an ambitious Case Yellow not possible. Therefore, I think that sacrificing Luxembourg and some other provinces is acceptable if it will help us to remove at least some of the French forces that guard the Franco-Belgian border. In contrast to France, Berlin is positioned not at the enemy's fingertips, while Paris is actually quite close to the front. A medium-sized French offensive into South Germany is not as devastating for me as a grand German offensive against Northern France and Paris for the French would be. Perhaps the French will also make some mistakes, which would give us the opportunity to cut them off and encircle them on our own soil. I expect that any French forces in Germany would either way collapse with the capture of Paris. The AI is sometimes too greedy after the sighting of undefended enemy provinces and advances a little bit unorganized, after all.
The Air Force will be used througout the campaign intensively -- not extensively. Due to the small size of the Air Force I can only focus my attention at one area. Parallel engagements would not be effective and would likely result in losses for me.
It is most imperative to capture Paris as quickly as possible. Everything else is secondary (therefore I'm, for example, willing to sacrifice Luxembourg and parts of South Germany, and the Luftwaffe will be always used in areas that are crucial in order to take Paris). A failure in this point would be a catastrophe and could very well lead to my downfall, as the war against France would probably continue into eternity, or at least into 1942 like during one of my test games. We will therefore use two armor corps, and they will have the honour to lead a lightning attack against Paris. I used this strategy before and it was, at least in the majority of cases, successful. Capturing Paris is so important that I'm actually inclined to storm against Paris without waiting for the slower infantry divisions that would protect the route towards Paris. Both spearheads will operate independently from each other to maximise the chance of success. The French are usually able to stop one spearhead, but fail to stop the other. By launching two parallel attacks we have, in a manner of speaking, one backup. I will elaborate on this further as soon as we finish the Netherlands campaign.
I don't plan to outflank the Maginot Line with an advance from Belgium to Switzerland. Occupying Northern France should be enough to trigger the Vichy France event. I just hope that the south part of the Siegfried Line will hold. With a combined attack the French could amass 18 divisions against just 12 of mine -- and the divisions in Baden are only of average quality, so shifting around some units from time to time may become necessary.
I won't speak about the Polish yet. Let sleeping dogs lie -- there is a realistic chance that they will stay out of the war.
Stage I - Netherlands Campaign
The Dutch have laughable forces, so there is no brilliant strategy here apart from attacking and defeating them. Actually, I have, with the exception of Groningen completely ignored the mere existence of Dutch forces and just thought about the desired outcome of this stage -- and that is the position of my forces at the Middelburg-Eindhoven-Maastricht line:
- Middelburg: The nineteen divisions (one HQ division, six armor division, twelve infantry division) from Aachen will be moved here.
- Eindhoven: The nineteen divisions (same composition) from Münster will be move here.
- Maastricht: The twelve divisions from Cologne (all infantry) and the seven divisions from Wilhelmshaven (one HQ division and six infantry divisions) will be moved here.
The routes the particular corps will take are somewhat "creative", as you can see in the screenshot, in order to capture all Dutch provinces in Europe. However, the corps that are "travelling" from Münster to Eindhoven will, after visiting the lovely city of Arnhem, take a short break from sightseeing and pay a visit to the Dutch soldiers in Groningen which are in DH unfortunately not able to escape to Amsterdam like in HoI and Arma and will therefore enjoy the extraordinary gift of a special job offer -- as harvest hands in East Prussia.
The whole Axis Air Force is set to persisting Ground Support and Air Superiority missions above the Benelux region.
It's time to resume the game ...