The last salvos from the King’s Frigates had whined overhead moments earlier. The heavy morning fog had lifted slightly since LST 1, (landing ship troop), had started for the shore. For the first time in this long and terrible conflict you could see the Rebel Home Island, Saint Lo. The landscape, still some distance away, was quite breathtaking, made all the more so by the brilliant accents of bronze and gold. Bestowed upon all by the rising Sun. A sandy beach with lush hills behind it, still shrouded in the early morning mist was what greeted your gaze. This is some beautiful country you thought to yourself. Just beyond the hills, you could make out the skyline of a town, Vierville to be exact. Your final inland objective for the first day of the assault. It was then that you realized everything was wrong. There should be no town of Vierville! The town and all of its innocent inhabitants were to have been incinerated by the naval bombardment.
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“3 MINUTES!”, Cried Popeye. As Captain Poppell was affectionately called by his crew. ‘3 minutes’ you thought ‘3 minutes to figure your way out of the King’s latest tactical blunder’. The LST crested another large wave. Water sprayed over the sides of the ship, soaking you and your brothers, the members of your loyal 7th Division. More than one member of your unit lost his morning rations, joining the ranks of dozens of others in your poor beleaguered craft who had already done so. Designed especially for the assault, comfort of the occupants had not been an overall priority. You thought back to the Kings briefing room the day before “Do not rely on the town as a landmark. By the time you hit the beach, everything will have been flattened by my Fathers navy.” Those were the Crown Prince’s words. Although he had blistered at your inquiry of whether he had a contingent plan should the bombardment fail, the Prince had emphatically insisted that such a plan was not necessary. You had taken this in stride at the time. Long ago having learned to choose your battles. However, you were beginning to loathe the fact that you were always right about such matters.
The first thing you had to do was alert the other landing craft. You looked to port for LST 2, the craft was nowhere to be seen. Instead you saw LSC 3, (landing ship catapult), which should have been several craft to starboard of its current position. “Popeye”, you snapped, “What’s happened, why are we off coarse!” “Were not Boss!” as Popeye had taken to calling you. “Everyone else is!” Within seconds you surmised that he was indeed correct. Directly in front of your LST you could see the Westernmost Mangonel Bunker of the Rebels. You were exactly where you should be. The current was stronger than the King’s strategists had anticipated. Other than your own craft, every ship of the landing force had drifted starboard and were now going to hit the beach directly underneath the fortified Rebel positions defending the Draws. Instead of being able to easily Flank these defenses, you were now in the worst possible position to begin the assault. Only one thing could be done now to avoid disaster.
“TWO MINUTES!” Popeye barked. “Signal Boy” you yelled. A lad of thirteen clutching his signal lantern like a baby wriggled through the ranks of troops to your position in the landing craft “Yes, M’Lord?” the boy asked. “Send this message to his Majesties Flagship, The Jalis.” you said. “The Bombardment has failed, Repeat. The Rebel Bunkers are still intact, Current has made landing assignments impossible. Mission as planned is no longer viable. Request permission to abort.” The young lad scurried off to relay the message.
You scanned the horizon to starboard. Directly to the right of your landing craft, you saw LST 4. Beyond that, LSC 1. Not only were all the craft off coarse but they were now not even in their correct landing order. The King’s “foolproof” plan was falling apart. Beyond LSC 1, you recognized LST 2, the object of your search and even more so, the very man you were looking for. Your trusted Lieutenant, The Young Sir Edward. He had perched himself upon the crafts bows so as to make himself immediately visible to you. It was almost as if he had anticipated your glance. You signaled towards your eyes and then to the enemy bunkers now clearly visible. Sir Edward nodded knowingly that he understood. You had to trust that he would get his men off that craft and up the beach as quickly as possible.
“ONE MINUTE!” Popeye yelled, and from the strain in his voice and his pained expression, you could tell that even a sea dog such as he understood what your landing troops were about to face. “Signal Boy!” you yelled. The young lad again appeared but his presence was no relief to you. In fact, his horrified expression caused your stomach to drop so sharply, that for a split second you thought that you too might lose your breakfast upon the landing crafts deck. As white as a ghost and in a voice that was barely even considerable as a whimper, the boy said “Flagship Jalis sends signal: proceed as directed, upon establishment of beach head, destroy town of Vierville.”
“30 SECONDS!” Popeye reported and this time he was looking directly at you as he said it. Perhaps you would have responded with something more encouraging had you the time but that old man was no longer on your side. ‘That last signal had to be a mistake,’ you thought. ‘The bombardment was one thing but to intentionally slaughter an entire town?’. “Signal Boy,” you snapped. Remembering the lad’s fear, you said your orders in the most soothing and comforting voice you could muster at that moment. “Send signal, Please repeat, Destroy town? Under who’s authority? Again, repeat, request permission to abort.” The lad looked at you empathetically with the glimmer of hope that only youth can provide. As if the words of a young Lord such as yourself could not fail to dissuade the King from the impending suicide that was about to befall his legions, you of coarse knew better. The signal boy bolted to the stern like lightning. Before he even reached it, The Jalis, almost obscured now by the morning mist flashed a second signal to all of the landing craft. “Continue assault, destroy everything under orders of the King and penalty of Death.”
After all you and your Loyal 7th had been through. After all of the suffering and death you had caused, now you realized the devastating truth. YOU were the enemy! The noble Kingdom you had fought so hard to preserve was dead and had been for some time. The anger and betrayal that welled in you at that moment was of no value and you quickly suppressed it. All that mattered now was survival. The survival of you and your Loyal 7th. You turned to your troops. “Listen up,” You scowled. “ The Second this ramp drops were going to catch hell. Get out of the LST as quickly as you can and spread out. One man is a waste of ammunition, 5 men is a golden opportunity, remember that and I will see you on the beach.”
Authors Notes - this map is only guaranteed for play with Stronghold Warchest. You must at least have the V1.2 patch installed on your computer. The patch is free and available at this site.
As with all of my later maps, the King’s orders appear on the launch page. They have been scripted to appear a certain way and have a bizarre appearance in the editor because of it.
Naturally, the secondary objectives in the King’s orders are optional and merely presented as added challenges involving some nice bits of eye candy. However, in order to make them more alluring, I have added a couple of rewards if you undertake them.
1. Burning the town of Vierville will kill a good number of its defenders including the enemy Lord. This will make the task of taking the town easier later on.
UPDATE 7/23/07 :
2.The defending troops have a -5% deducted from their combat ability. This is to simulate the low moral of having their home island assaulted. However, while you are destroying the towns well* and smelter, you can also destroy the towns two good things. Remember, unlike Crusader, good things do not burn in Stronghold. If you succeed in destroying both, the Rebel Troops Combat bonus will drop from -5% to -20%! (was only 10% before update.) Imagine the Rebels position at this point. Their town burning behind them, the enemy assaulting the beach in front! This will also make your overall fight easier. Be aware, one of the good things is “hidden” but both are indeed inside the town.
This map has been listed as a Siege but will play in Stronghold as an Invasion. My reasons for doing this are first, the map truly is a siege and was designed as one. You will find it has no scripting or eco-goals and that the action is most definitely designed in the same manner as many of my other maps which are all sieges. Secondly, a weird uncontrollable and untraceable victory glitch occurred. I was able to eliminate the glitch by playing the map as an Invasion.
Troop numbers are set and cannot be changed so the Difficulty Setting does not matter although I advise you keep it at Normal as this seems more agreeable with the AI.
The knowledge of how to gain access to the Town's Hall can be found at the following link.
You can also just batter it to pieces as the terrain underneath has been modified to allow permanent access.
Special Notes, Hints:
-Use your armored units for the “First Wave”
-Catapults**, ladder men, mace men and all ballistic units should comprise your second and third waves if needed.
- You will need to destroy all enemy units including engineers and the Lord to obtain the victory page.
*In Henn Dommen setting fire to the weapons facility was quite easy. In The Vierville Draws it will not be so simple. In order for the burning of the town of Vierville to be completely successful, you will need to kill the towns well man and destroy the well. Apparently, the AI really likes Vierville. If you only kill the well man another towns person will become the well man almost as soon as their former occupation collapses from fire damage. I have personally never seen a Siege map do this, Go figure.
**Because of their extremely complex design, using catapults on the Mangonel Bunkers may cause some Rebel troops to become inaccessible. This will result in costly and time consuming measures to eliminate them. Yes, it is on purpose. It is to simulate bunkers that were far too fortified for your Sherman’s puny 76mm, OOPS!! I mean catapults to be effective on. Use of catapults on the other bunkers and the town is acceptable and encouraged.
The Vierville Draws Is Chapter 7 In The Saga of The Seventh,
The Story thus far….
Ambush At Manathma
The Cumberland Downs
The Battle At Andolin
The Vierville Draws
The Heligoland Bight - coming soon
...Also related ‘The Interlude’ Battle of the Solomon Sea.
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