Having the previous skirmishes at Best (cakewalk) and Carpiquet (challenging) being so different from each other, I was unsure what to expect from the AI. Would they sit back like at Best and make some quilts, or be like Carpiquet where they attacked and attacked, and then seemingly quit to make quilts?
What I did end up with however is easily the most difficult (like how I did that?) skirmish to date in this effort. Although I went with the standard fare of resource and territory denial followed with a dose of Airborne Doctrine and heavy armor, I was pushed back several times and for the first time in this series I actually had the enemy at my doorstep pounding the shit out of my base at the end.
Having one Bud Light in me already and the Labor Day weekend in all its three days off glory at my beck and call, I rallied what troops I had left and could call up given the lay of the land, and made a final push at their base which snatched a Pyric Victory from the jaws of a merciless defeat. In Carpiquet the enemy failed to advance his superior heavy armor - in Duclair the enemy seemed to advance everything.
I made four concerted pushes into their base with M4 Sherman’s, 57mm AT Guns from the Airborne Doctrine and some Rangers when I had the manpower available to afford them. The first three waves did cause damage to the HQ building and were able to destroy some buildings; however each were eventually defeated by 50mm Pack 38 AT units, Mortar Teams and the standard Volksgrenadiers.
While being focused on this effort to cut off the head of the Hun Beast, I wasn't securing resources or territory while the Germans were cutting off my supplies at several points. The result was I never had enough munitions points accumulated to use the strafing or bombing aspects of the Airborne Doctrine and to upgrade any of my fielded Sherman’s with the .50cal machinegun.
The enemy on the other hand was securing resources and territory which allowed them to crank out SdKfz armored cars, StuG's and the formidable 50mm Pack 38 AT units which could reduce a Sherman to half strength with one well-placed shot. I lost an M4 Sherman on the way to their base with it never having made it half way across the map before being pulverized.
While those forces were advancing towards my base along the upper part of the map, I managed to produce a single M4 Sherman and drove south away from their thrust. When this tank was within range of a building I opened fire while dropping a 57mm AT Gun to support. I moved this small force forward inch by inch to destroy only what was in sight (the tank acted as a spotter to increase the firing range of the AT Gun).
By the time the leading elements of the Wehrmacht had reached my base and started hammering it, I squeezed out two more M4 Sherman’s and brought them south and into the fight at the HQ, which I was finally able to destroy. After that it was a simple mop-up operation to find the last remaining bunker to be destroyed for the win (before they destroyed my last building).
Other thoughts: The opening push to deny resources to the enemy faltered and from that point forward there was little strategy involved in this game as it boiled down to my freaking out and desperately throwing anything I could build as soon as I could build it at the south to avoid enemy contact in the effort to pick apart their remaining base structures for the win.
Had the Germans moved a 50mm Pack 38 AT unit down south to cover the approach into their base, this skirmish very well may have ended in a loss as they were already attacking my base and I would have had issues bringing any more M4 Sherman's out of there, assuming my Tank Depot would have still been standing.