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European Campaign - Part II: L'Audace!
by Paul Rohrbaugh

L'Audace! - Counter-attack at Abbeville

Historical Background

After breaking out of the Ardennes Forest and fighting to cross the Meuse River at Dinant and Sedan, German mechanized forces raced across France to the Channel, effectively splitting the Allies in two.

By the end of May the English announced their intention to withdraw the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) at Dunkirk. Increasingly desperate, the French high command cobbled together a counter-attack force centered on the newly-formed 4th DCR (Division Char de Reserve), led by General Charles DeGaulle. The mission was to retake the channel port of Abbeville. Victory here against the strung out 57th Bavarian Infantry Division could reunify the Allied forces, and also cut-off the deadly but depleted panzer divisions that earlier wrought so much havoc.

Aftermath

“I felt myself borne up by a limitless fury. Ah, it is too stupid! The war is beginning badly as it could….”
--General Charles DeGaulle, following the Battle of Abbeville.

The French attacked all along the German defense perimeter and pressed the Bavarians hard in several places. The lack of training and communications among the units comprising the newly formed 4th DCR was painfully demonstrated as opportunities were missed and the attackers failed to coordinate their actions. Even though the British 51st Highlander Infantry Division tried to support the attack (in a part of the battle not reflected in this scenario) the 57th was able to hang onto their bridgehead, keeping the Allies separated. General DeGaulle claimed to have captured over 500 of the enemy, and destroyed several of their guns and tanks, but it would be the last gasp of the Third Republic before its surrender to Germany.

Editor's Note:
Unlike other campaign series developed for Axis & Allies Miniatures that are built around long term campaigns, the "European Campaign" is a holder for miscellaneous single small battles fought at any time during the Second World War in the European theater.









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