Written by Geoff "DOC" Evans
Producer, Playnet Inc.
As we polish up v1.31 for release, we have prepared a special intermission- a kind of campaign "alternate reality" for our players to enjoy. We're setting up the Allied forces along the western coast of France- a kind of D-Day plus one scenario. This will kick off on Tuesday May 25th.
The Allied and German forces will look quite different to what you are used to in campaign play. The Allies will have a big chunk of coastline each side of Calais, but will be pretty thin on the sides. In the middle, they will be several towns deep and their task will be to break out from this congested beach head and move east. Germany will have brigades in their path, with most of their armor behind, waiting to counter-attack wherever the Allied forces push east. Equipment will not be unlimited like it normally is during a freestyle intermission. Attrition will count.
This intermission will allow us to experiment with a few settings and get feedback from players that could influence some of our development the rest of this year.
There will be some surprises during this event. Unknown armies may appear in unexpected places to catch both sides off guard. The servers may be locked briefly during the event at various times to create these surprises. To facilitate the surprise nature of this, we won't be announcing these types of things ahead of time. It's probably going to feel more like a war than anything you've experienced before in campaign play, and it will certainly be something to talk about for some time to come- at least that's what we're hoping for.
MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE INTERMISSION
The Allies will have a lot of boats. Destroyers and gunboats and freighters. The Germans will not have many boats at all. They will have gunboats to represent the kind of sea based actions they were able to stage during this late stage of the war, with a tiny smattering of torpedo capable destroyers. We expect boats to be a small factor if the Allies manage to move off the coast and make their way inland, but if the Germans push them back on toward the coast, then the boats will pound the shores as they did during the actual Allied invasion of France. This will make it difficult to repel the Allies although they may become trapped.
The Germans will have a small armor advantage in the make up of their armored brigades and a large advantage in armor in their infantry brigades. Although it is a little ad-hoc in make up as was the case at the time. A lot of the infantry attached German armor will be self propelled guns (StuG's) and the Germans also have more machine guns and automatic weapons and a few more mortars in their infantry brigades. This is meant to serve as small, local artillery against the front of the Allied advance. The venerable 88 is expected to play a pivotal role. The Allies have more anti-tank infantry and rifles than the Germans do, but less armor and less automatic weapons and less machine guns. Ammo resupply by players is going to be a critical factor we think.
Almost all the armored vehicles will be tier 2 and 3, although a couple of tier 1 and even the odd tier 0 AFV make it in to substitute for types from later in the war, like the SdKfz232 and the Panhard, and the PzKw.IIIH. All tanks in the French equipment list are American. After a few days we will alter the ToE's to reflect the Germans pulling in more armor from wherever they can find it and the Allies learning the lessons of the QF17 pdr as an ATG and the short-comings of the 75mm M3 armed Shermans.
The Germans have no large bombers but they do have some fighter-bombers (Bf110F/B) and Stukas, although not a great many of them. They will have to have fighters with them who can help to draw off Allied fighters. The German fighters, comprising only the Fw190, Bf109F4 and Bf109G6, are also outnumbered and need to employ strictly hit and run tactics on the Allied bombers, using maybe a separate element to strip off the escorting Allied fighters. Hanging around and dogfighting against Allied air supremacy is not going to be a good idea. Allied players are likewise advised not to go storming into a line of German armor and AT guns either.
If the German fighter pilots can mess up the Allied bomber attacks, and employ their armor advantage they will contribute a lot to their defense against the Allied advance. They will certainly be trying to have a 2 to K/D over the Allied aircraft in order to make less of the big Allied air advantage in bombers.
ENJOY THE VARIETY
We expect this intermission to seem difficult for both sides at first because players won't be able to use all the types of tactics or fighting styles generally employed during campaign play. Things are not going to work the same as they always do and we hope players will like that.
We hope you will accept a few of the inevitable lessons we learn from trying to stage this kind of intermission and allow us to understand what might work and what might not in future campaign play. Please come out end enjoy this intermission, we are looking forward to bringing it to you.