43,000 American soldiers are present in Europe at the time of the evacuation order. When word gets around, rumors will quickly follow: There won’t be enough space for everybody to go home.
Going Home is one of my favorite adventure modules for Twilight 2000. It completes the Poland adventure campaign started under fire in Escape From Kalisz, and continuing on in The Free City of Krakow, The Black Madonna, Pirates of the Vistula, and Ruins of Warsaw. The order those modules are run, or which are actually used, of course depends on the game group.
Going Home takes the party on a whirlwind trip through Germany and to the evacuation point.
The first 2 essays:
Assessing the module
So, not including the Kalisz mini-adventure from the Twilight 2000 1st edition box set, Poland got four adventure modules.
Germany gets one book. 48 pages. Plus that beautiful color map that extends the original T2000 Poland map to the west.
Since the party could potentially take paths through a huge swath of Germany, the module necessarily must cover a wide area succinctly. In that 48 pages, how efficiently does GH inform the referee about the situation in western Poland and Germany?
I’d give the module a “B” grade in that respect.
It has several B&W detail maps, lots of cities described, all the major factions and military units, intelligence handouts, a few NPCS, and a way home (the train). This is generally well-done.
I have a quibble with how the information is organized. Going Home begins in the Bremerhaven region, and works its way eastward to Poland. Which is exactly the reverse of the route most Twilight 2000 parties would travel. And the train info is split in front and back of the book.
This is not helpful.
I also take exception with a choice they made: France.
“In January 1998, the French government authorized its army to occupy all territory west of the Rhine to secure a solid geographic barrier and guarantee its frontiers against the hordes of refugees and renegade military personnel which were swarming across the border. In 2000, the French army continues to occupy this area.” [Going Home, page 29]
Really, this was all they needed to write about France, plus some quick stats for Dead Zone encounters. Groups headed to Bremerhaven, Germany from Poland will not be travelling to the Dead Zone unless events have gone badly awry. Or perhaps the players arrive very early and are loitering around the region. But these are edge cases.
Going Home spends three precious pages detailing the French Army and equipment. Where was the same information about German Bundeswehr, which could easily end up an adversary to the party? Germany is the country that the party is travelling through, not France. Six pages, by contrast, are devoted to describing cities in Poland and Germany. Many cities in the party’s path get no mention at all if they don’t host a military unit. In summary, I think France’s pages should have been given over to more German cities and factions.
It is worth seeing Dunkerque on the French coast in the color map, which was itself the scene of a mass evacuation in the last European war.
The Twilight 2000 adventure Rooks Gambit ties in with Going Home. Well-written, and a bargain for a 74-page PDF.
“Ensconced in his sprawling castle headquarters in northern Poland, an ambitious Soviet Field Marshall, acting without orders from Stavka, plans to destroy the gathering military might of the United States in Europe with one fell swoop, single-handedly winning World War III for his motherland.”
Mentioned in my last post was the mass migration of American personnel moving from southern Germany to the North Sea coast. Thousands of troops passing through will destabilize areas they pass through.
“The Evacuation” on page 12 lays out a number of areas of potential conflict stirred up by the migration.
“The movement of large numbers of soldiers has caused great strain to be placed on the local communities of central Germany. Many units are following the old custom of foraging (some would say extorting) food and fuel from the locals as they pass through, who are understandably reluctant to part with them. Sporadic incidents between local militias and the military units are not uncommon.
Many bands of marauders are taking advantage of the disorder to accumulate loot. Some bands are relieving American units of their vehicles, claiming to be lawful representatives of the German government, acting in fulfillment of the evacuation orders.
In addition, lawful units of the German army are reluctant to allow good tanks and other AFVs to travel to the rear when they feel they need them on the front lines. Most German units will try to commandeer any vehicles in an American unit passing through their area. Some are more polite about it than others.
The situation is complicated by the fact that many marauder units contain German soldiers and German equipment, and many German Army units contain non-German personnel and equipment. It is often difficult to tell one from another.
There is a further complication. Some Germans feel that their country is being deserted by America, and considerable bad feelings have been generated. Firefights between Americans and small bands of discontent Germans (both military and civilian) are becoming increasingly common.”
Everyone expected this strategic chokepoint to be a hot spot in any US/Soviet European war. In this WWIII, however, the Fulda Gap never saw action. When the West Germans were overcome with reunification zeal and attacked Soviet bases in East Germany, and with the Soviets bogged down in China, the Warsaw Pact was left in a decidedly defensive posture. Most of the fighting was to the east.
“…(T)he US Army maintained a garrison there before the war. Part of that garrison was the 11th US Armored Cavalry Regiment. Upon the announcement of the evacuation order, the 11th withdrew itself from the authority of its chain of command and returned to Fulda, where many of the men had wives and families. The 11th intends to remain there and become the city’s defense forces led by the 11th’s commander, Colonel D. Howard Masterson.
The city is somewhat the worse for wear after the war, but almost 9,000 people have survived in the Fulda River Valley.” [page 24]
The first complication northward-bound units will encounter is the Freibroderbund.
“A band of pro-German partisans, dedicated to the expulsion of all foreigners from German soil, (by violence if necessary) and to the restoration of Germany’s rightful place among nations.” [page 34]
Americans have already dealt with them:
“The Freibroderbund is armed with a mixture of NATO and Warsaw Pact equipment, and has recently acquired 4 M60A4 tanks, 300 M-16A2 rifles, 10 60mm mortars, and 19 M-60 machineguns as well as other small arms, several thousand rounds of ammunition, and other miscellaneous equipment. This was extorted from units of the US VII Corps in return for safe conduct past the Freibroderbund’s territory.” [page 34]
This is the same falling-apart US VII Corps that is just now (October 2000) arriving in British-held cities in central Germany.
“The British Army in Europe has taken up winter quarters in the area around and between the cities of Hannover and Magdeburg. Exactly what the British Army intends to do next is unknown… the British are being rather secretive. They have let slip that they intend to return to the UK come spring, but many believe that they really intend to remain in Germany. The German Third Army would prefer that they take up residence somewhere other than the remains of a industrial region, which also happens to be in the middle of the richest oil producing area in Germany.
The British will cooperate with the evacuation by helping Americans move through their area as quickly as possible. They will be very reluctant to part with food or fuel.” [page 23]
Before the war, larger ships which had too great a draft to be able to sail all the way up the Weser River to Bremen stopped at the old fishing port at Bremerhaven. By a fluke, the nuclear warhead aimed at Bremerhaven landed in the sea about 12 kilometers west northwest of the city. This caused some minor damage to the port facilities, but they are still mostly functional.
A perimeter has been established around the port area, within which the Americans will wait out the time remaining until evacuation. This perimeter is patrolled by Americans, with liaison parties from the 1st Panzer. The countryside surrounding the town is patrolled by the 1st Panzer Division, with liaison parties from the American divisions in Bremerhaven.
The city is garrisoned by the 1st German Panzer Division, which will be responsible for securing the enclave’s perimeter when the last Americans are loaded.
The V US Corps headquarters is responsible for the orderly embarkation of the Americans to the evacuation fleet, TF 34. [page 21]
Food and Sanitation
As of October 2000, several US divisions are already in Bremerhaven, and more are just arriving. By the time the rest of October passes into November, thousands more will arrive.
The logistics involved in food and sanitation for tens of thousands of soldiers in Bremerhaven will be formidable. Remember that Germany is a war-torn country that can scarcely feed itself in 2000. US and German military authorities will struggle to keep these troops fed and prevent the outbreak of disease.
At Noon, 15 Nov 2000, the ramshackle fleet will depart Bremerhaven for America. The flagship of the fleet is noted as the USS John Hancock (DD 981).
For anybody arriving a little too late:
“One CH-47 cargo helicopter and a small quantity of avgas is available in Bremerhaven. This will be used to evacuate the last of the perimeter guards, after the ships have departed and are about 30 kms out to sea. If the players arrive within this time, they might be able to catch a lift.” [page 38]
And so ends the Twilight 2000 European campaign.
GDW cranked out several American modules during and after this time for parties that went home, and two modules for those that went to the Middle East instead.
See my analysis of America in Twilight 2000: Northeast USA in the Twilight 2000 America Campaign
Two years after Going Home – filling a nostalgia that gamers had for their time in Europe – GDW published The Last Submarine. This was the beginning of a series of adventures that would see players returning to their old stomping grounds in Poland.
See Also: Going Home – The Railroad Maps
Here’s our campaign’s Going Home kick-off: Going Home: Heading West
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