Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, May 5, 2022, or: My Not-So-Thrilling Wednesday Night

At least I have quite a few movies and TV shows on home media (DVDs and Blu-ray discs) to watch if I get bored. (Photo by Alex Diaz-Granados)

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It is late morning on Thursday, May 5, 2022. It is a warm spring day in the Tampa Bay area, but it is going to be hotter. Currently, the temperature is 87°F (30°C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 63% and the wind blowing from the southwest at 2 MPH (6 KM/H), the heat index is 93°F (33°C) Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 96°F (35°C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy, and the low will be 70°F (21°C).

The stormy weather we anticipated yesterday never arrived. The skies overhead were cloudy at times, but the thunderstorms in yesterday’s forecast did not materialize. Maybe the wind shifted direction and the conditions necessary for cumulonimbus clouds to form just weren’t there. I thus stayed online till around 8 PM or so, even though I did not do anything important – just puttered around on social media and participated in a few Reddit threads.

This is the first (of four) box sets of Star Wars Blu-rays. Released in 2011 by Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, this “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” rounded up the first six Episodes of the Skywalker in their Blu-ray debut. (C) 2011 Lucasfilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

I also didn’t watch any of my Star Wars movies on May the 4th Be with You Day. Partly because I was still worried about errant thunderstorms popping up in the afternoon – though a cursory look at my Weather app could have easily dispelled that concern. Mostly, though, my heart wasn’t in it.  I enjoy watching movies – from any genre – with other people, and while I can (and often must) watch them in solitude, I don’t have as good a time as when I watch stuff – whether it’s The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Pink Panther, or Star Wars – all by myself.

(C) 1983, 2004 WGBH Boston Video

Instead, Dear Reader, I ended up watching “Roots of a War (1945–1953)” – the first part of the re-edited version of 1983’s Vietnam: A Television History, the first of three documentaries about that sad episode in American history that I have in my home media library. It was a most unsatisfactory viewing experience; I watched it out in the Common Room because “my” spot on the couch is comfortable, but because the Caregiver and her boyfriend had retired for the night, I had to watch the TV with the volume turned down.

Normally, this is not an issue since most of the content I own either on DVD or Blu-ray has subtitles in the Language options on their opening menus. Alas, Vietnam: A Television History only supports closed captions, which are unavailable when you use Blu-ray players with HDMI or 4K UHD HDMI cables.

I’m hard of hearing, so even though I could see the images and hear some of the spoken words in the audio track, I couldn’t grasp much of what the narrator, interviewees, or folks in the archival footage were saying. I could hear the sound effects in the clips of combat footage, but that was about it.

The only benefit I got from attempting to watch Vietnam: A Television History was that it made me drowsy and that I slept till just past 7 in the morning with only one brief interruption to go use the facilities at 5 AM.

If we don’t get any surprise thunderstorms – it’s hot and humid outside, so even if the forecast rules out the formation of storms, experience tells me that forecasts can be wildly wrong at times – I might try rewatching “Roots of a War (1945–1953)” in my room. My futon is not as comfy as the reclining couch out in the Common Room, but at least I can turn my TV’s volume up enough so I can hear what I’m watching!

Well, Dear Reader, that’s all the scuttlebutt I have for you today. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, May 4, 2022, or: Storms, Books, and ‘Star Wars Day’

My 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack display in its final form; we added The Black Series figures of Supreme Leader Snoke (far left) and Emperor Palpatine (far right) to get rid of empty space on the floating shelf.

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. It is a warm, humid day here in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 79°F (26°C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 82% and the wind blowing from the east at 2 MPH (3 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 78°F (26°C). Today’s forecast is a reminder that the rainy season is upon us; thunderstorms will move through the area during the day, and the high will be 90°F. Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 68°F (20°C).

Yesterday we also had thunderstorms as per the forecast, but luckily, they bloomed rather late; I think we had one boomer pass through FishHawk Ranch between 7 and 8 PM. There was a bit of “sound and fury” from lightning and thunder, but due to the lateness of the hour – or the speed of its transit through this part of Hillsborough County – it didn’t last long. I still turned off my computer – which I still have not paid off – just to be on the safe side, though.

(C) 2022 Bantam Books

My package with my copy of Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War 1945-1960, James D. Hornfischer’s final work of naval history, arrived at 7:01 PM Eastern, or around the time when that thunderstorm was in the neighborhood. Usually, Amazon Prime deliveries arrive between 2 and 5 PM, but I guess the bad weather affected Seffner – which is to the north of Lithia – and Hillsborough County roads from there to here, so the delivery was made later than usual. The last thing I did before shutting down the PC for the night was to check on my order status; when I went to the front door to retrieve it, the Caregiver told me she had already brought it inside and placed it on the dining room table.

Here’s the book’s dust jacket blurb from the publisher:

A close-up, action-filled narrative about the crucial role the U.S. Navy played in the early years of the Cold War, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Fleet at Flood Tide

“James D. Hornfischer, the dean of American naval historians, has written a book of dizzying sweep and uncommon ambition.”—Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers

This landmark account of the U.S. Navy in the Cold War, Who Can Hold the Sea combines narrative history with scenes of stirring adventure on—and under—the high seas. In 1945, at the end of World War II, the victorious Navy sends its sailors home and decommissions most of its warships. But this peaceful interlude is short-lived, as Stalin, America’s former ally, makes aggressive moves in Europe and the Far East. Winston Churchill crystallizes the growing Communist threat by declaring the existence of “the Iron Curtain,” and the Truman Doctrine is set up to contain Communism by establishing U.S. military bases throughout the world.

Set against this background of increasing Cold War hostility, Who Can Hold the Sea paints the dramatic rise of the Navy’s crucial postwar role in a series of exciting episodes that include the controversial tests of the A-bombs that were dropped on warships at Bikini Island; the invention of sonar and the developing science of undersea warfare; the Navy’s leading part in key battles of the Korean War; the dramatic sinking of the submarine USS Cochino in the Norwegian Sea; the invention of the nuclear submarine and the dangerous, first-ever cruise of the USS Nautilus under the North Pole; and the growth of the modern Navy with technological breakthroughs such as massive aircraft carriers, and cruisers fitted with surface-to-air missiles.

As in all of Hornfischer’s works, the events unfold in riveting detail. The story of the Cold War at sea is ultimately the story of America’s victorious contest to protect the free world.

Because I received my copy so late in the day, I didn’t go to my usual reading spot in the living room – which is not the same location that I have dubbed the Common Room – and start reading Who Can Hold the Sea. I did read the preface by Sharon Hornfischer, the author’s widow, who tells readers that her husband managed to finish the manuscript even though he was diagnosed with an inoperable glioblastoma brain tumor in early 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores. (James Hornfischer died on June 2, 2021 at his home in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 55.)

I also browsed through the first chapter just to get a feel for how the book will flow and how detailed it will be. I already know that it won’t be as detailed as the other books by Hornfischer that I already have in my library; most of his previous works focused on specific events that took place between December 7, 1941 and September 2, 1945, and they all deal with America’s war in the Pacific.

(C) 2022 Bantam Books

Who Can Hold the Sea covers a 15-year span – 1945 through 1960 – and tells a story that took place around the world; one of the things I managed to read last night was Hornfischer’s reminder to the reader that despite our habit of talking about the “seven seas,” there’s only one world ocean that’s artificially divided by us humans. Compared to Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, Who Can Hold the Sea is a sprawling saga that takes us from the nuclear bomb tests at Bikini Atoll (1946) to the halls of power in Washington, DC (the “Admirals’ Revolt” of 1949, or the creation of the nuclear Navy around that same time), to the waters off Korea and the arctic expanses near the Soviet Union’s northern coasts.

I will probably read more from the book once the thunderstorms arrive and force me to turn off my Lenovo All-in-One to avoid losing it to errant lightning strikes.

Today is also, thanks to a tradition that started 11 years ago, Star Wars Day.

Here’s what my display stand looked like when It was finally assembled and placed on a floating shelf.

Yes, Dear Reader, it’s “May the 4th Be with You” Day, which, according to Wikipedia, is “an informal commemorative day observed annually on May 4 to celebrate the Star Wars media franchise created by founder and former chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm, George Lucas.”

The phrase “May the 4th Be with You” – a pun based on a line that recurs throughout the Star Wars franchise (“May the Force be with you…”) – is far older than that, but since 2011 – the last year that Lucas was President and CEO of Lucasfilm – it has become a widespread (if not official) commemorative day for Star Wars fans, especially on social media.

If it weren’t for the oh-so-dismal forecast, I would watch one of the 11 films in the Star Wars franchise this afternoon. I’d choose Star Wars: A New Hope, aka the original Star Wars, aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Of the nine Skywalker Saga films, it’s still the only one that can be enjoyed on its own as a complete movie-watching experience. There are also the two A Star Wars Story anthology films, Rogue One and Solo, as possible alternatives to A New Hope.

Right now, the radar images don’t show any thunderstorms in the area – my Weather app indicates there is a large mass of severe weather off the coast near Miami, but that’s on the other side (the Atlantic coast) of the state. However, lifelong experience has taught me that heat, humidity, and Florida’s geography all play a role in the sudden formation of thunderstorm cells. I am not going to risk losing a computer – I can watch my Star Wars films on Movies Anywhere if I choose – or my 4K UHD set just because it is Star Wars Day.

Maybe tonight, though!

Anyway, other than the fact that I honestly hate my phone – it’s over five years old and needs either a new battery or a total replacement – because it is not working well lately, I don’t have much else to report. So, until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.  

Musings & Thoughts for Tuesday, May 3, 2022, or: Ho Hum, Just Another $#*&&% Day in Paradise!

At least I have quite a few movies and TV shows on home media (DVDs and Blu-ray discs) to watch if I get bored. (Photo by Alex Diaz-Granados)

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. It is a warm day here in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 77°F (25°C) under mostly cloudy skies. With humidity at 85% and the wind blowing from the southeast at 5 MPH (8 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 76°F (24°C). Today’s forecast is a reminder that the rainy season is upon us. This afternoon we can expect light rain and a high of 90°F (32°C). Tonight, light rain will continue to affect the area. The low will be 68°F (28°C).

(C) 2022 Bantam Books

As you know, I am expecting to receive my pre-ordered copy of Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War 1945-1960, one of three posthumously published books by the late James D. Hornfischer. Bantam’s official publication date is today, and shipments to Amazon and brick-and-mortar stores went out this weekend so the hardcover edition would be in shelves or Amazon Prime vans on time.

My copy shipped yesterday – probably from an Amazon warehouse in Central or North Florida – and made its way from Davenport to Seffner, which is the distribution center that services Lithia/FishHawk. Per the tracking information on my order page, Who Can Hold the Sea was scanned in Seffner as arrived at the carrier facility at 2:35 AM Eastern. Experience with deliveries tells me that the package with the book will go out for delivery sometime around 11:30 AM, and unless the rain gets too heavy and mucks up the traffic from Seffner to Lithia, it should be delivered between 3 and 5 PM.

Terrain and weather affect how well (or poorly) your units perform in 1985’s “Crusade in Europe.” (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Other than that, I don’t have much to tell you. I was going to resume my series on tips for playing Crusade in Europe today, but I’m tired and don’t feel like playing a session of that recently reissued MicroProse game from 1985. I might do it later if I can shake off the shackles of lethargy, but a writeup will have to wait for another day.

I did have some preliminary thoughts about what I was going to write today. Mainly, I was going to focus on how Crusade in Europe’s concept of historical accuracy – as far as the start locations of units, terrain, and variable weather conditions – affects a player’s choices as to what to do with the forces on hand in the Normandy scenarios. So when I do go back to writing about the game, at least I have an inkling as to where I want to go discussion-wise.

Some of my Star Wars collectibles, including some plush items I received as gifts. I like them, and I appreciate the kindness with which they were given, but I prefer the Star Wars The Black Series figures I purchase every so often. (Photo by the author.)

Other than that, things here are Sierra Squared, Delta Squared. The Caregiver and her boyfriend have a visitor from South Florida – a friend of Alfred’s, I’m guessing. I want very little to do with them, so I think I’ll just stay in my room as much as I can.

Well, that’s all the news I have to share today, so I’ll just close this post here. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Monday, May 2, 2022, or: Another Week is Underway in Tampa Bay…..

Sunshine Skyway in Tampa Bay by Carol M Highsmith is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Monday, May 2, 2022. It is a warm spring day in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 77°F (25°C) under sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the east-southeast at 3 MPH (5 KM/H) and humidity at 94%, the feels-like temperature is 75°F (24°C). The forecast for today calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 91°F (33°C). Tonight, the skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 70°F (21°C).

Photo by the author

Yesterday was another uneventful Sunday here in FishHawk. We did get thunderstorms as predicted, but they popped in and out rather late in the evening. The Caregiver had enough time to paint part of the front of the house, and I had enough time to use my laptop out in the kitchenette before the storms passed through Lithia – the town where the huge, and I mean huge, planned community where I live now – is located.

Speaking of laptops, I tried to play Crusade in Europe there so I could resume my Old Gamers Never Die how-to series of tutorials on that game today. I said tried because although Crusade in Europe was tweaked so it would compatible with today’s computers – the original version was released on various platforms back in 1985, the same year I started attending Miami-Dade Community College – it does not mesh perfectly with Windows 10 or 11.

(C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

I’ve already mentioned that you can’t save games to the hard drive so you can play the longer scenarios at your convenience. What I did not mention before is that if you forget that you’re playing Crusade in Europe in DOSBox mode, which simulates the game’s original DOS environment from 1985, and go back to Windows 10 (or 11) to check email or your social media accounts, you’re screwed. The game doesn’t X out, precisely, but it will run on DOSBox in a separate and minimized window…with no way to expand the view to the full-screen perspective you started playing in.

Anyway, I apparently forgot about that, and when I decided to take a quick break just to check my email account, I got out of Crusade in Europe and totally undid the various gains I had made in the Normandy-set Breakout from the Beaches scenario (the third one in The Battle for Normandy).

I must add that I tend to do that “accidental exit” thing from Crusade in Europe when I try to play it on my laptop. Oh, I have done it on this computer (my new Lenovo wireless PC) a couple of times, but because the laptop is (of course) smaller than my desktop computer and its layout is different, I always do it on the smaller machine.

I don’t think I’ll play Crusade in Europe today. I am tired, headachy – again – and simply don’t feel the urge to spend a couple of hours gaming. Maybe tomorrow.

(C) 2022 Bantam Books

Speaking of tomorrow, I will be receiving my pre-ordered copy of James D. Hornfischer’s Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War 1945-1960. I am a fan of the late naval historian’s work – I own three other books by him. This is the first of three books that will be published posthumously; Hornfischer died 11 months ago at the age of 55 after battling cancer for several years.

I first bought one of Hornfischer’s books – Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal – when it was published by Bantam in 2011. This was during the first year of my mother’s final illness, and the book was one of the various books, movies, and TV shows that kept me entertained – and sane – during that time. And one of the last books I read (and finished) in my former Miami home was Hornfischer’s first published book, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour.

Amazon informs me that my copy of Who Can Hold the Sea has not shipped yet, but it should be delivered by 9 PM tomorrow.

I don’t have much else to report, so I will close this up. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, May 1, 2022, or: At Least We Had a Bloomin’ Onion…..

(C) 2022 Outback Steakhouse

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida on Sunday, May 1, 2022. It is a warm spring day here in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 75˚F (24˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 88% and the wind blowing from the east-southeast at 4 MPH (6 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 73˚F (23˚C). Today’s forecast calls for thunderstorms in the afternoon hours and a high of 90˚F (32˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 65˚F (18˚C).

Last night the Caregiver was tired from a late afternoon shopping trip to Home Depot to buy paint supplies and paraphernalia for gardening. Unlike the homeowners’ association where I lived from 1978 to 2016, the maintenance of the houses’ exteriors are the responsibility of the home owners, so if any repairs or renovations are needed, the HOA does not handle them. Apparently, this house’s exterior’s paint needs a touchup, so that’s what the Caregiver (who is also – weirdly – my most recent ex-girlfriend) is working on this weekend.

Anyway, last night the Caregiver was too tired to cook dinner – a task she seems to find ways to avoid as of late – so I was tasked to order food from Outback Steakhouse online.

For those of you who are interested in knowing what we had – I was handed a slip of paper with specific requests – here’s the order details list:

1 x Kookaburra Wings®(1 x $12.99)=$12.99
1 x Medium
1 x Sydney Shrooms(1 x $7.99)=$7.99
1 x Bloomin’ Onion®(1 x $8.99)=$8.99
1 x Victoria’s Filet® Mignon*
***MEDIUM RARE
1 x 6oz Victoria’s Filet® Mignon(1 x $23.49)=$23.49
1 x Medium Rare: Warm Red Center
1 x Baked Potato
1 x Everything
1 x Fresh Steamed Mixed Veggies
1 x Bone-In New York Strip* 16 oz.(1 x $25.49)=$25.49
1 x Medium Well: Warm Brown/Pink Center
1 x Fresh Steamed Seasonal Veggies
1 x House Salad
1 x House Salad
1 x Ranch
1 x The Bloomin’ Burger®*(1 x $13.99)=$13.99
1 x Medium Well: Warm Brown/Pink Center
1 x No Lettuce
1 x No Tomato
1 x No Pickles
1 x New! Tasmanian Chili $
1 x Upcharge of:(1 x $4.00)=$4.00
1 x Add Four Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp(1 x $6.49)=$6.49
1 x French Onion Soup
1 x French Onion Soup(1 x $6.99)=$6.99
1 x Baked Potato Soup
1 x Cup(1 x $4.49)=$4.49
SUBTOTAL$114.91
REDEEMED: $5 Conversion Reward($5.00)
DELIVERY CHARGE$7.99
TAX$8.24
TIP$17.84

TOTAL

$143.98

The Caregiver told me to use her credit or debit card, but because I couldn’t change the payment options on my Outback Steakhouse account, I ended up having to put that $143.98 charge on my Amazon Visa account.

On the one hand, I am a team player and am usually happy to contribute to the household. I like Outback Steakhouse myself, and I was used to inviting the Caregiver and her daughter to dinner back in the days when our relationship was, um different.

On the other hand, this was an unexpected extra expense, and it comes at a not-so-good time for me; I just bought a new computer and have to pay for it in installments. I can pay this Outback bill in one installment, but $143.98 will give my personal expenses fund a big hit this month.

Still, those of us who were here last night went to bed with full stomachs. And as my beloved Mami used to say, Barriga llena, corazon contento.

(C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

As for today, I have no set plans, Dear Reader. I thought about ending my Crusade in Europe hiatus, but if we experience thunderstorms in our area later today, that might not be an option. I would either have to start a game session now – and choose a quick scenario – or not play at all. The game has no viable Save option, so starting a session of Crusade in Europe only to quit before completing a scenario is a waste of time.

(C) 2020 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

I might watch a few episodes of the 1998 documentary series Cold War or the 2005-2013 comedy series The Office before the storms roll in. After that, I might read a chapter or two from one of the many books on my TBR pile.

So. Much. Excitement.

On that note, Dear Reader, I will end this first post for May 2022. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Saturday, April 30, 2022, or: The Weekend is Here, and I Have No Plans!

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

Well, Dear Reader, it’s Saturday, April 30, 2022. Another weekend has begun, and another month ends.

I don’t have much in the way of news here in lovely Lithia, Florida. I am still on my Crusade in Europe hiatus; I have been tempted to click on the game’s desktop shortcut icon and at least play Clearing the Beaches, but I know that then I’ll want to play a longer scenario – such as The Liberation of Paris – and spend more of my time at my desk than is healthy for me.

This unit has been ordered to move two hexes (each hex is six miles square) and has been given an objective. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

I will eventually end the hiatus; I still have a few more blog posts about Crusade in Europe in me, and it is, as I’ve said in other posts, one of my all-time favorite games from the mid- to late 1980s.

As a matter of fact, when I spent three months studying Spanish and social studies (history and government) in Sevilla, Spain almost 34 years ago, I often had vivid dreams in which I was back home in Miami and playing Crusade in Europe. (If memory serves, I bought the Apple version late in the spring of 1988, shortly before I applied for acceptance in the CCIS Semester in Spain Program for the Fall Term of that year.)

I don’t have any concrete plans for today; it’s warm and muggy now (83 degrees Fahrenheit/28 degrees Celsius under partly sunny skies), but the afternoon forecast calls for thunderstorms – the rainy season is starting, I guess – later, so going out for a walk is not in my agenda. I’ll probably watch TV out in the common room for a while or sit on the living room couch with a book.

Np, I don’t read Vietnamese! Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

I don’t want to stay in my room all day, tap-tap-tapping away at my keyboard or surfing the Internet. I do that every day, and although I do enjoy it, too much of a good thing is not good. I guess I do it to feel connected to the outside world in some way, but sometimes I feel depressed that being online has become a substitute for actual socializing with people.

Ugh. The light levels in my room have dropped a bit, which means it must be getting super cloudy outside. The radar map on my Weather app shows no sign that thunderstorms have formed nearby, but it does show that there is some rain activity to the southeast. I still need to go take a shower and get into a fresh change of clothes, so I better do that before the weather turns bad.

With that, Dear Reader, I will close this post. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on  the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Friday, April 29, 2022, or: The End of the Week is Nigh!

I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept that this is my hometown now. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well, it’s late morning on Friday, April 29, 2022, which means I got through another week in the Tampa Bay area relatively unscathed. Even better – even though in real-life terms there is no significant difference – the weekend, it doth beckon. At least on Saturday and Sunday the woman I refer to – sometimes sarcastically – as The Caregiver takes some time to make more than a single cup of café con leche for breakfast.

Last night I watched most of the 1976 war thriller The Eagle Has Landed, starring Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Jenny Agutter, Jean Marsh, Treat Williams, Anthony Quayle, Donald Pleasence, Judy Geeson, and Larry Hagman. An adaptation of Jack Higgins’ 1974 novel (the screenplay was written by Tom Mankiewicz) about a Nazi plot to kidnap Winston Churchill in November 1943, The Eagle Has Landed was the last movie directed by John Sturges.

Although Sturges was said to have been oddly disconnected from the job of directing – Michael Caine and Tom Mankiewicz are both on record as saying he didn’t seem to care about the movie, and that editor Anne V. Coats made it watchable – The Eagle Has Landed is a fun, exciting movie that grabs the viewer’s attention from start to finish. The premise is, of course, not always believable, but many fictional war movies set in World War II often stretch the believability factor.

I’d watched the first half of The Eagle Has Landed when I received the Blu-ray from Amazon 12 days ago; I could have watched it from the beginning last night, I suppose, but I got the opportunity to watch the “big TV” in the common room after 9:30, so I decided to just watch The Eagle Has Landed from the last scene I remember watching on April 17.

I’ll get around to writing a more in-depth review of The Eagle Has Landed in the not-so-distant future. For now, I will say I had fun watching the movie, which includes one of Larry Hagman’s funniest (and hammiest) performances on film.

Even though I only watched half the movie, it was past 11 when I ejected the disc from the Blu-ray player, turned everything in the entertainment center off, and went off to bed. I drifted off to sleep on my futon and woke up at 6:10 AM to, um, answer the call of nature. I tried to go back to sleep, but by 6:33 I realized it was futile, so I got up, booted up the computer, and began my typical daily routine.

I’m tired, sore, and a bit headachy, so I will just post this on WordPress, then go about the business of taking a shower, changing into fresh clothes, and looking for ways to relax that don’t involve Crusade in Europe or the Internet. I know that I need to change up my daily routine, but I tend to take the path of least resistance and often just go through my day by doing the same shit I do every day.

And on this uncertain note, I’ll take my leave of you, Dear Reader. Until next time, stay say, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, April 28, 2022, or: Life Creeps in This Petty Pace….

I took this photo with my smartphone eight years ago while I was on a break from taking care of my mom in South Florida. This is East Wind Lake, a man-made body of water in the center of the condominium gated community where I lived from 1978 to 2016.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing. – William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Photo by Giray Duda on Pexels.com

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon in Lithia, Florida, on Thursday, April 28, 2022. It’s a warm spring day in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 80% and the wind blowing from the north-northeast at 7 MPH (11 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). Today’s forecast calls for scattered rain showers and a high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). Tonight, scattered showers will continue to affect the area. The low will be 67 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

Capturing locations with Victory Points improves your score as a commander in “Crusade in Europe.” (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

I don’t have a heck of a lot to tell you today. As you know, I took a hiatus from playing (and writing about) Crusade in Europe to avoid burning out; after all, too much of anything, even a fun diversion as a computer game, can turn into a not-so-good thing. Playing the game takes a minimum of one hour even in a short battle along the lines of Clearing the Beaches, and because there’s no Save functionality, you either have to play a game session from start to finish or abort it in mid-game.

And as I pointed out yesterday, it’s even more time-consuming when you are writing about Crusade in Europe for a “how to play” or “strategies that work…or not” blog post. I might not have much of a life here in Lithia, but I don’t like spending all day in front of a glowing computer monitor and wasting time on computer games or blog posts with little to no appeal to the average reader.

I think, Dear Reader, that I am not at my best today, and that I have not been at my best for a while. I’m tired, for one thing; I can’t remember the last time when I said, “I had a good night’s sleep and woke up this morning feeling rested and refreshed.” Last night I did fall asleep at a more decent hour and slept till 6:30 AM, but six hours later, all I feel like doing is going to the living room couch and reading. If I could sleep during daylight hours, I would even take a nap like my late mother did when she was my age.

(C) 2020 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Speaking of last night’s activities, I watched two episodes of the American version of The Office. I am on Season Two now, and last night’s viewing included The Fire and Office Olympics. I probably didn’t laugh as hard as I would have had I seen them in 2005 – when they first aired on NBC – had I been “into” the series back then, but I still managed to chuckle at the goings-on in the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company.

This is my second watch-through of The Office; a few years ago, I bought the Complete Series box set of DVDs for my then-girlfriend (but now just caregiver) for her birthday, but earlier this month I bought a box set of my own, but on Blu-ray rather than on DVD. I could have borrowed the DVD set without even asking, but I feel more comfortable owning my own set. Besides, it improves the statistical balance of genres in my Blu-ray collection; currently, Comedy content now makes up 3.2% of my Blu-ray collection, per my Collection Statistics page on Blu-ray.com.

Anyway, after I finished watching Office Olympics, I tried watching two episodes of CNN’s 1998 documentary series Cold War, a sequel of sorts to the 1970s British documentary series about the Second World War, World at War.

I managed to stay awake through the episode Korea: 1949-1953 but it was getting a bit late, and I was tired, so I dozed off halfway through Reds: 1947-1953. I will have to rewatch that one – it’s about McCarthy’s rise and fall, the Red Scare, and how anti-Communist hysteria affected democracy and society in the U.S. at the time. If I do watch it later today, it will have to be at a more reasonable hour; unless I get insomnia, I usually fall asleep whilst I watch TV. Another sad reminder that I’m not 25 years old anymore.

Another photo I snapped with my phone camera in April of 2014

Well, as I said earlier, I don’t have much in the way of news to share, so I’ll close for now. I miss my mom a lot lately, and I also admit to missing South Florida, my old neighborhood, and being able to do the things I can’t do here, such as cooking my own meals or going to a nearby restaurant on my own.  Oh, well. Life is like that, I suppose – full of changes you must learn to accept and adjust to.  Anyway, Dear Reader, until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, April 27, 2022, or: We Now Return to Our Regular Program (Already in Progress)

Photo by Kellie Churchman on Pexels.com

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning in Lithia, Florida on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. It is a warm day here in the Tampa Bay area, and it’s bound to get hotter. The current temperature is 77◦F (25◦C) under sunny skies. With the wind becalmed and humidity at 81%, the feels-like temperature is 75◦F (24◦C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 91◦F (33◦C). Tonight, we can expect partly cloudy skies. The low will be 68◦F (20◦C).

Today I am taking a break from playing Crusade in Europe. I played the 2022 reissue of the MicroProse classic from 1985 that depicts the Allied campaign in Northwest Europe as a command level strategy game that lets a player refight the battles of Normandy, the pursuit to the Rhine, Operation Market-Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and the grand campaign, Crusade: The Battle for France.

I played Crusade in Europe for a while yesterday so I could write Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part Two of a Series). I might have been able to create that post without playing, but I don’t often write “how-to” articles about any topic, and since I wanted to be as accurate as possible when describing specific actions, I played one variant – Clearing the Beaches – of one scenario The Battle for Normandy. That’s the shortest and simplest game in Crusade in Europe, so it’s ideal for a
“tutorial” article.

Here we see the “end of battle” screen. Note that I issued the T (Terrain) command to remove units from the map to see the various terrain features. Those areas dominated by green patchwork terrain symbols represent Normandy’s infamous hedgerow country, where Allied forces found themselves stymied not just by the German defenses, but by the dense, almost jungle-like vegetation of the “bocage.” (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

The upside of that was that I got to spend about an hour playing an old favorite from when I was in college. Sure, the graphics are rudimentary by today’s standards, but of all the games I own, it has a good balance between historical accuracy and ease of play. It’s certainly more fun – for me – and easier to learn and play than its closest counterpart in my game library, Gary Grigsby’s War in the West. And I had been wanting Retroism, Tommo, or Atari – the owners of the “old” MicroProse’s library of computer games – to reissue it for today’s PCs for the longest time.

The downside, from a blogger’s perspective, is that Crusade in Europe lacks a Windows-compatible save option, and you can’t easily minimize the game “window” while you do something else (such as, you know, write a blog post). So first I had to play Clearing the Beaches while I mentally recorded my observations on the progress of the game session and remembered specific keystrokes and decisions I made while playing.

And because I am not a lightning-fast typist – I am not glacially slow, but I’m not secretary material – it took me several hours to write, edit, and revise Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part Two of a Series). So instead of posting the finished article in the early afternoon, I ended up hitting the Publish button sometime after 4 PM yesterday.

I don’t want to do that again today, and I also don’t want to burn out on Crusade in Europe by playing it every day, so I am going to take a hiatus from both the game and the Player’s Guide. I know I’ll get back to both sooner or later – just not any time soon.

Anyway, even if I wanted to play another session of Crusade in Europe or spend almost an entire afternoon writing about it, I am much too tired. I had one of those nights. You know, when it’s one in the morning, you have to wake up early – unless you want to drink café con leche when it’s so cold that it’s turned into an iced coffee – and you have things to do during the day, yet you can’t go to sleep.

I eventually fell asleep around two in the morning, but I was up by 7:33 AM per my computer’s clock, so now I am sleepy, headachy, and not in the mood to stay at my desk all day.

I obviously need a vacation. Or, at the very least, a case of Seagram’s Escapes.

Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part Two of a Series)

Granted, the graphics in Crusade in Europe are not exciting by 21st Century standards, but we who gamed in the 1980s loved our video games! (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

This is the second part of an occasional series on how to learn the basics of Crusade in Europe, a command-level wargame set during the Northwest Europe Campaign of World War II. Originally published in 1985 by the original iteration of MicroProse and re-issued earlier this year by Atari, Crusade in Europe allows you to step into the role of a theater commander for either the Allied or German forces and refight some of the greatest battles of the war on the Western Front between June 1944 and January 1945. (Or, as the blurb on the original game package puts it, “From D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge.”)

As the writer, I am going to make several assumptions. First, I am taking it for granted that you, the reader, are interested in purchasing – or have purchased – Crusade in Europe from Steam or GOG (Good Old Games) and want some pointers on gameplay. My second assumption is that you’ve already read some of my earlier posts, especially Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part One of a Series) That’s where you’ll find all of the lowdown on the various keyboard commands (action, information, and utility) that I will refer to in the main body of the text.

Anyway, that’s enough chit-chat. Let’s get this show on the road. There’s a war on, don’t you know?

Mission for Today: Initial Attack

This is my Steam account’s library of games as it appeared on April 21. Note the cool graphic Atari created for “Crusade in Europe” in the Steam store.

You Will Need: a copy of Crusade in Europe (available on Steam for $6.99)

Scenario: The Battle for Normandy

Variant: Clearing the Beaches (Begins at 6 AM, June 6, 1944. Ends at 6 PM, June 11, 1944)

Note: When MicroProse published Crusade in Europe in 1985, the programmers added a password-protection key – known as the Day Codes system – that required users to type in a code word (associated with the campaign) found in various pages inside the game manual. Atari does not include the manual with the game purchase; I found the PDF in the game’s community page on Steam and downloaded it because it is a useful resource. I suggest you do the same, but if you just want the Day Codes, here they are:

Day Codes for Crusade in Europe:

1. TORCH

2. GARDEN

3. GOODWOOD

4. BOLERO

5. MARKET

6. FRANKLIN

7. OMAHA

8. COBRA

9. DAVID

10. TANGO

11. ANVIL

12. TIGER

13. TOTALIZE

14. OVERLORD

15. SHERMAN

16. BLUE COAT

The game seems to work okay if you just type in random words; before I copied the Day Codes from the PDF version of the manual, just typing TIGER, OMAHA, or GOODWOOD worked for me, as the republished versions seem to have disabled the password protection feature. However, just to be on the safe side, I now type in the Day Codes when I boot up Crusade in Europe.

These are the settings that give the most equal game balance on “Crusade in Europe.” Of course, you can adjust the setting to make the game easier (or harder) to beat. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Game Settings:

Player: Allied

Computer: German

Intelligence Level: Limited

Difficulty: Fair

Speed: Slow

Note: As soon as you hit ENTER to exit your Settings page and the battle map appears on the screen, hit the F key to Freeze the game.

Initial Dispositions

It is 0600 hours on June 6, 1944. Operation Overlord – the long-awaited Allied invasion of Europe – has begun. Along a 50-mile front on the shores of the Bay of the Seine, from the Cotentin Peninsula on the west to the mouth of the River Orne in the east, your first nine divisions – three airborne and six infantry – are in position against the defending German forces in Normandy.

This map reflects (mostly) the dispositions of the Allied and German units on D-Day at the start of Clearing the Beaches, except that the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division is the first Allied unit to capture a contested objective. Here, it announces that it has captured JUNO Beach. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

On the right flank[1] of the Allied invasion area, the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions are on their assigned drop zones in Defend mode just behind UTAH BEACH. The 4th Infantry Division is ashore on UTAH north of Carentan and is attacking the 709th Static Infantry Division (SID) to its north. The German 6th Parachute Regiment occupied Carentan, which is in the gap between UTAH and OMAHA Beaches.

At OMAHA, the U.S. 29th and 1st Infantry Divisions are attacking the dug-in 352nd Infantry Division.

To the east of OMAHA, the British 50th Infantry, 3rd Canadian, and 3rd British Infantry Divisions are coming ashore on GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD Beaches. They are only opposed by the 716th Division, although the 21st Panzer (tank) Division is in position in Caen, just to the south of GOLD Beach. At the far left of the British/Canadian sector, the British 6th Airborne is in Defend mode on its drop zone east of the Orne River. The Germans have a Static Infantry Division to its east, and the SS 12th “Hitler Youth” Panzer Division is some distance away but it will head to the invasion area during the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Hit the SPACE bar when your cursor is on top of a unit. If the unit is “friendly” (one of yours), you will get plenty of information. You can get information from adjacent enemy units, but you won’t get as much data from them. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Oh, yeah. To the north of the first wave of the invasion force, the four Allied tactical air wings seem to “float” on the English Channel as though they’re based on aircraft carriers. They are not “really” there. The U.S. IX and XIX Tactical Air Wings and the British 84 and 83 Tactical Air Groups are actually based in England, but game designers Sid Meier and Ed Bever place them on the SEA to make it easy to give your air support units orders without having to scroll up all the way to Southern England, which in this scenario is off the map.

Reminder: Do not unfreeze the game until you issue your first orders.

The credits page from “Crusade in Europe” identifies this as the IBM version. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Your Orders, Sir?

Three days into Clearing the Beaches, the German 352nd has been “overrun.” and is off-map. The U.S. 2nd “Indianhead” Infantry Division has moved ahead of the other American units and captured St.Lo (in center of the map). The 29th and 1st Infantry are in Reserve mode on OMAHA (just south of the U.S. Supply Depot icon), while the U.S. 90th Infantry pushes the German 709th Static Infantry Division further away from the UTAH beachhead. Two American airborne divisions are dug in near Carentan, which is still occupied by a German parachute infantry regiment. Meanwhile, in the British sector (where all the red unit symbols are). the 50th Infantry Division announces it is in contact with the 716th SID as the British 7th Armored Division (closest to the British Supply Depot icon) and the 51st Infantry Division prepare to enter the “bocage” (hedgerow) country. Note that the Allied air wings are moving south toward the beaches; they are in Reserve mode after suffering heavy losses. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Whenever I play Crusade in Europe – especially in Normandy-set battles – I always issue orders to units according to their positions on the map. I like to start on the western side of the map and work my way east, then I issue orders to my air wings. The computer cycles through the units in this fashion anyway, so even if you issue orders to your air forces first in the hopes that the airstrikes will “soften up” the enemy units before your infantry attacks, the computer will still cycle through the units the way I described, and the air units will attack last anyway.

The first thing you need to do is to tell your airborne units to dig in and Defend. They already start in Defense posture, but it’s good practice to issue orders to your units rather than to let them stay under Local Command (i.e., under the game’s artificial intelligence). So move your cursor over the 82nd and 101st Airborne and reissue the Defend order (D followed by H for Here) and keep them where they are.

“Why?” I hear you asking. The airborne drops were made at night, and for various reasons the U.S. airborne divisions were scattered hither and yon. Not as badly as many accounts claim, but the game takes that into account – I think – so the airborne divisions are not in any shape to carry out attacks. Besides, their mission was to protect the right flank of the invasion area from enemy counterattacks. Right now, the 82nd and 101st are shielding the 4th Infantry on UTAH from the German 91st Infantry Division[2], which is a regular infantry unit with better troops and equipment than the purely defensive 709th.  

Capturing locations with Victory Points improves your score as a commander in “Crusade in Europe.” (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

 Speaking of the 4th Infantry Division (the “Ivy” Division), it is already assigned to attack the 709th SID to its north. Reissue the Attack command just to get used to giving orders. Avoid the temptation to switch targets from 709th SID to the 6th Parachute Regiment. Focus on battering the larger division, though it is unlikely that you will dislodge on June 6.

Next up: the U.S. 29th and 1st Infantry Divisions are attacking the 352nd Infantry Division at OMAHA. The Germans hold this critical (31 Victory Points) location; you need to come ashore ASAP and capture it. So even if the Local Command has already placed them in attack mode, go ahead and order them to Attack the 352nd.

A rudimentary map accompanies the “tutorial” in the Crusade in Europe manual. (C) 1985 Ed Bever, Ph.D and MicroProse/Atari

In the British sector, you have quite a few more options. You could, in theory, order the 50th Infantry Division to attack the 352nd at OMAHA and assist the Americans. However, if you do that, it might be late afternoon (in-game) by the time you see the 50th be in contact with that enemy unit. Sure, it might pressure the Germans off OMAHA, but it will also open a two-hex (12-mile square, based on the hex size) gap between the American and British sectors. Best bet: Order the two British divisions at SWORD and GOLD to move inland (the 50th with the Move command, the 3rd British Infantry to Defend at a point two hexes to the south (on the Orne River), while you Attack the 716th SID with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division from Juno.  

Because air units pack a strong punch but are particularly prone to suffer high casualties quickly, use them sparingly. Because the 352nd Infantry Division on OMAHA is difficult to push out of its defensive position, you can try ordering both American air wings and one British to attack that, then assign the other British to strike another target.

I usually target the 6th Parachute Regiment in Carentan with one air wing on D-Day; you can try to bomb the 21st Panzer in Caen, but usually – unless you set your difficulty levels to give yourself better odds – the German armor holds its own and inflicts heavy losses on your air wing. Attacking SIDs will give you better results, depending on their condition, but attacking the Germans in Carentan is a win-win for you. You inflict heavy casualties on the enemy while suffering low casualties yourself.

Hit the SPACE bar when your cursor is on top of a unit. If the unit is “friendly” (one of yours), you will get plenty of information. You can get information from adjacent enemy units, but you won’t get as much data from them. Note that the 29th Division has not attacked the Germans yet; its EFF (Efficiency) rating is 100%. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Speaking of casualties: every Allied unit, even the paratroopers, starts out at 100% effectiveness, but this will change quickly, depending on how stiff the enemy resistance is. Usually on Fair level, the 4th, 29th, 1st, and 3d Canadian will suffer Moderate to Light casualties during the daylight hours when attacking German units. It has been my experience with Crusade in Europe that units on the Attack will strike at enemy units until they reach 70% effectiveness. At 70% effectiveness, they will react slowly to orders to attack, and they will report that their losses are heavy. At higher difficulty levels, most of the Allied attacks (especially those by units with less experience) will result in high casualties.

Regarding Unit Experience: I neglected to mention that all units have their own experience levels, which range from Raw (the lowest level) to Elite. The higher the experience level, the better the unit can attack, defend, or move.

Per the Crusade in Europe manual:

A unit’s EXPERIENCE rating reflects the extent to which it has been trained for and involved in combat. During the game, particularly during the longer scenarios, units will advance in status as they gain combat experience.

1. RAW: The unit has had no combat training and no combat experience. Don’t expect much from it.

2. GREEN: The unit has been trained but has no prior experience. Green units will perform adequately under normal conditions but cannot be expected to hold up under extreme pressure.

 3. VETERAN: The unit has had prior experience in combat and can be expected to perform well in all situations.

4. CRACK: The unit has had extensive combat experience and has proved to be highly motivated and skilled in the techniques of war. A good unit to have in a tough situation.

 5. ELITE: The unit has extensive combat experience, specialized training, and high esprit de corps. Expect it to perform far beyond its numbers.

Both sides will have forces with a mix of units with different experience levels. On Fair difficulty setting, most Allied units will either be GREEN or VETERAN, with the U.S. 1st Infantry being the only CRACK infantry division available. All three airborne divisions are ELITE. However, on this first day, don’t push them to ATTACK. They are already in Defend mode, and it takes “hours” (in-game) to change from one mode to another.

 D-Day and Beyond

(C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

During the first day of Clearing the Beaches, you will likely have two or three order cycles in which you can attack the German defenses with your infantry and air wings in daylight. Usually, the game cycles through both sides’ armies in the early morning, then close to noon, and then before dusk. Unless the enemy AI makes a mistake – yes, it does happen – and an enemy unit moves in such a way that you can exploit a sudden weak point, stick to the plan, and keep attacking the same German units you struck at earlier, especially at UTAH, OMAHA, and JUNO.

On the real June 6, 1944, the Americans pushed the 352nd off OMAHA by early afternoon on D-Day itself. I might have achieved a similar result back in the late Eighties when I played Crusade in Europe on my Apple II (with an advantage for the Allies, at that), but with play balanced on Fair or even skewed toward the Germans, the Americans do not capture OMAHA until June 7.  

The British infantry captures Bayeux! Crusade in Europe has daylight and nighttime mode. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Do not continue offensive operations at night (you’ll know when night falls because the map and unit counters will change color). If you have ordered divisions to Move or Defend toward specific locations, give them time to follow orders. Remember, terrain affects how quickly a unit moves, and it is likely that some of your units are moving off the beaches and onto rougher ground. The 3rd British Infantry Division will take till the early hours of June 7 to reach its objective just south of the 6th Airborne’s bridgehead on the Orne. Once it arrives, let it dig in and fortify its positions. Do not attack the 21st Panzer at Caen, even though that city was an objective for D-Day itself in June of 1944. The tanks are too well dug in, and you will not dislodge them from Caen.

The reason for placing the 3rd British Infantry at that point on the map is this: The 12th SS Panzer (known as the Hitler Jugend) Division is coming from the east, and your mission is to force the German armor to attack your fortified positions and wear the panzers down. If your division is in Entrenched or Fortified formation by the time that 12th SS Panzer arrives either on the 7th or 8th of June, your casualties should be either low or minimal, while the “Jerries” will be forced to stop their attack and dig in as well.

On June 7, the British and Americans will start getting reinforcements. In the American sector, the 90th Infantry will be offshore right next to the pesky 709th SID, which more than likely has not budged from its positions north of UTAH. Order the 90th to Attack in conjunction with the 4th Infantry Division. Leave the two airborne divisions where they are; they are not even at full strength (the game gives the paratroopers a maximum of 10,000 men and no tanks), and their role is defensive in this scenario.

If the 29th and 1st Infantry Divisions are at 80% efficiency or better (they will not be at 100%, though), order them to attack the 352nd at OMAHA. Then order the British 50th to capture Bayeux (12 VPs) and, if it can, to help the Canadian 3rd deal with the 709th SID. And as with its American counterparts, the British 6th Airborne must be allowed to dig in till it is Fortified. Do not order it to attack any German static divisions that park themselves next door, so to speak.

If my experiences with Crusade in Europe are any guide, your four air wings probably won’t be as useful on June 7 as they were on D-Day. If the IX Tactical Air Wing is at 80% efficiency or better, sic it on the 352nd. It will likely suffer heavy losses, but the 352nd is probably at 60-50% efficiency and it might be dislodged by the “doggies” of the Blue and Gray or the Big Red One Divisions by noon orders cycle. In any case, if you can use one or more of the air wings, bomb the 352nd and/or the 6th Parachute Regiment in Carentan.

However, if the IX Tactical Air Wing or any of the other three wings is at 70% or less, order it to go on Reserve. It will thus not be available for air support missions, but it will recover its efficiency over time.

Note all of the information on the selected German unit, including its Effectiveness level. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse and Atari via Steam

The British 7th Armored Division and the British 51st Infantry Division should be available on the night of June 7. Since they arrive after dusk, they should just be Moved to link the British beachhead with OMAHA.

I am closing this post here, but since Crusade in Europe has no Save functionality – a good reason for Atari to create a reboot, I think, or at least to allow the “new” MicroProse to make its own remake – you should play the rest of this short scenario (it ends at 6 PM on June 11) to its conclusion. Just remember that when American and British units enter “hedgerow country,” their movement rate is slower, and the terrain favors the defender. Try to establish a contiguous perimeter, and on the attack, use two or three divisions against one German.

If you are careful and have paid attention to this how-to guide, you can prevail in Clearing the Beaches. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse./Atari

Good luck, General! The eyes of the world are upon you. The hearts of liberty-loving people everywhere are with you.


[1]  The Allied “right” flank is shown on the left side (western side) of the scrollable map because the American, British, and Canadian forces are attacking mainly on a north-south axis of advance. The American divisions in Normandy were assigned to the “right” flank based on where they had been assembled in England (usually in or around ports that were closest to the United States), while British and Commonwealth forces were assigned to the “left” flank, again, based on the assembly areas they were based in before the Channel crossing on the night of June 5-6, 1944.

Interestingly, this arrangement was the source of some controversy when sometime in 1943 or 1944, FDR expressed his desire that Berlin should be in the U.S. occupation zone after the war. This would have required flipping the British and American occupation zones so that the U.S. forces would be based in northern Germany whilst the British occupation army would be garrisoned in the south. President Roosevelt backed off when he was not only reminded that Stalin would not look too kindly at the notion of Western encroachment on the Soviet zone of occupation, but that the logistics of switching the Anglo-American zones would be too expensive since the invasion routes had been chosen according to where U.S. forces were situated upon their arrival in Britain.

[2] This division should really have been named the 91st Air Landing Division (91. Luftlande-Infanterie-Division), but I think that might have confused players unfamiliar with the organization of the German army.

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