Holy crap, we made it to the end of turn 2. Almost. Now for the US actions in the East sector.
Since units may make at least one action per turn, I find it useful to rotate them 45 degrees after they take an action so that I know they've done so. I start with removing disruption markers (as these are mandatory), as well as adjusting the units in the middle of scaling cliffs or bluffs (which we'll look at later). We have none of these, so it's on to Preservation Movement, also a free action.
I described it before, but here's a good example in the photo below, which shows units *after* preservation movement (they're the tilted units). On the far left, you see a unit tilted that moved up from the beach to the closest space with a protective hexside, in this case the scalable cliff hexside signified by the solid grey line. Unscalable cliffs, interestingly, which are solid red lines, are *not* protective terrain. The unit in question had no other choice. Remember too that the units can only be infantry - any other unit type (Rangers are infantry) must use an action or be able to take a free action for other reasons. Here's the East sector after preservation movement, which unfortunately puts an awful lot of our men into Intense Fire hexes:
Here's the West sector. You can see the shingle clearly in both of these photos: it's the line between the light beige beach hexes and the medium beige "pavilion" hexes just above them. The shingle was the line where the water rarely rose beyond, forming a steady slope down to the water on one side and a more level but "rougher" sand surface on the other. The shingle formed a natural small ridge that the soldiers could lay behind and gain some cover, and it was the place they headed for right after leaving the landing craft. Once your units reach a hex with a protective hexside, they no longer use preservation movement as a free action, and they can only use it to get *closer* to the *closest* such hex, no lateral movement allowed. Think of it as free movement in the early game to get your units to cover, even the poor cover of the shingle.
That's it for free actions this turn, unfortunately. As the game goes on and you gain leadership and heroes, you'll get more free actions, but for now it's pretty much limited to what we've seen so far. In the East, I decide to get the tanks off of the waterline rather than get the one tank already under intense fire out of the way. I do this partly to prevent too much overstacking of landing units, although this turn it's less of an issue. I also do it to draw fire *from* the infantry units for a very simple reason - every infantry unit that has it's full strength counter removed from the board counts toward Catastrophic Loss. In the early game, if eight infantry units in either sector end up in the loss box, it's Game Over, no redos. At least until you start the game again. As such, tank units are actually relatively expendable, although as you'll see once we get to combat actions they do tend to be useful, and also for barrages in the early game once you've attacked a few WN positions and can do so. Here's the East sector after using two actions to move tanks off of the beach:
Here's the West sector after doing the same (the two tanks are on the left side of the photo). Note that the Cleared markers have no effect on movement, the obstacles are only a problem for landing units, not units that *have* landed earlier in the turn.
That's the end of turn 2, and you should now have a very good idea of how the first few turns of the game work. We don't have units in any position to attack next turn, and nothing will really change other than position, so I will skip over turn 3 and pick up again once we have some combat to work with.
I will also make one last comment as it occurs to me: There is a separate column for DUKA (I'm almost certainly screwing up this acronym) artillery units, one that's a little more deadly, once you get to turn 4 and on. Unfortunately, the units have white symbology and numbers on green backgrounds, but the DUKA lettering is both over the arty symbol as well as black. To my aging eyes, I didn't see this until very late in my first playthrough, so as you play be sure to note this difference carefully. Not that the arty plays a big role early, but it can make a difference when there are more units on the board and more targets to shoot at.
More in a few days (definitely - I haven't made it to turn 3 yet as I type this) when we start to get to new situations. Assuming I survive for that long!