The new Normandy Battles book, subtitled Wargaming D-Day and Beyond, is an excellent one-stop compilation of the airborne assault, glider landing, amphibious assault, beach defense and “hit the beach” special rules that have appeared elsewhere. While this 18-page portion alone would make for a handy reference guide, Battlefront has added a great deal of new and additional content that allows players to fight 13 battles from the Normandy Campaign.
As if that was not enough, the authors had added 11 pages of Total War rules, along with a pair of missions to get players started in this larger than normal battles.
For those not familiar with Total War, this is a modification to the basic rules that allows for each side to field a battalion or battalion-sized combat command/kampfgrupe of multiple companies. While many gamers already fight in multi-player or multi-company battles, these rules provide a unified command structure for forces that may include not only a mix of armor, mechanized and infantry, but also supporting forces – the truly frightening (or comforting, depending on which side of the table you are on) U.S. Armored Field Artillery Battalion of 1,650 points is shown as an example of one such supporting force. It is designed to be the back up component in a 4,000-point army that would include two or three companies from the other combat arms.
The maps for the scenarios are clearly laid out for ease of set up, and include not only orders of battle but also show starting positions for the defenders. These scenarios cover the air and beach landings, the breakout and the mobile battles in the interior – among them the “Wild Ride” by the famous (or notorious) Michael Wittman, who with a single Tiger took on and destroyed a company of the British 7th Armoured Division. This is billed as both a good learning scenario for a new player and a challenge to a veteran (to try to do as well as Wittman).
The range and variety of content in this beautifully illustrated book makes it a good buy for Late War gamers, especially those who want to recreate the battles in Normandy and go on to fight the truly big battles of Total War