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Decisive Victory
The Second Battle of the Marne
by Tim Gale


Whatever you do, you lose a lot of men - General Mangin, commander French 10 Army.

Decisive Victory, 1918, cover the Allied offensive in July of 1918 know as the Second Battle of the Marne. It is significant for a number of reasons; it was the first time that the French army used a large-scale attack with tanks supported by a surprise (i.e. not pre-registered) artillery bombardment, similar to the British attack the previous year at Cambrai, and it was the first time that full-size US divisions went on the offensive incorporated in the French army. It was not known at the time, although suspected by many, that this battle was the death-knell of the German army.

This simulation helps illustrate the serious problems facing commanders in the Great War. Even with the element of complete surprise and greater numbers of troops & equipment facing a tired enemy, the French army was unable to maintain the pace of the advance attained on the first two days. This was not through any lack of competence but because during the war the defence could nearly always bring in reinforcements of men and equipment faster than the attacker could. Popular opinion might believe that commanders in the war were almost without exception poor but an examination of this battle shows how sophisticated the armies on the Western Front had become. By this stage in the war, commanders could almost guarantee breaking through the enemy frontline but the difficulty was maintaining the advance once attacking troops had gone beyond friendly artillery cover. Both the French and the German player will need their wits about them to better the achievements of their historical counter-parts. The simulation will succeed if players come away with a sense of how difficult it was for the historical commanders to achieve a decisive victory with the fragile assets available. It is hoped that it will draw some attention to a very interesting battle that Robert Citino calls "the turning point on the western front".

Game Scale:

Allied infantry units are divisions, and Allied tank units are roughly battalion sized.
German infantry units are regiments/divisions.
Artillery and air units vary in size.
Ground scale is 1 km per hex.
Time Scale is 12 hours per game turn.

The game will include 3 single map scenarios, and one campaign game using all 3 22"x34" maps covering a region from roughly Soissons to Rheims to Epernay, to Chateau Theirry.