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Bill101

1939 Storm over Europe - AAR

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This is not looking good for Germany. The tremendous jump in MPPs for Russia and getting nasty armor tech levels spell doom. It is just a matter of time. Level 4 tanks for Russia at this point? Yikesss! Taking the whole of Poland does not appear good at all. Since Germany went for Gibraltar- the Med would have been a good hunting ground and then just take a limited offensive in the East or even a defensive war. Allies can not afford to lose the med-

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If his tanks were in supply they will not take as long to rebuild. Losing 2 with that much experience is hard but the offensive should still continue. I note he does not pursue AA defense. If Russia builds tactical bombers and fighters, he can also pick off tanks from a distance.

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Well - this is getting white hot. I must admit I was shocked to see level 4 Russian armour in play so early. That is a blow... and I thought I had been quite fortunate to get to level 3 so fast! Still - never mind, that's war.

Now - to the turn in hand.

First of all to highlight one of my major headaches:

partisans.jpg

For newcomers to the game these crossed out partisan symbols show that actual partisan units wont appear, but that supply can be hit by "invisible" units unless they are garrisoned. I am probably 2 turns away from getting a decent supply line into my main theatre of operations, and I need to make sure it is protected. That takes units, and it is an expensive business!!

This turn there was some major fighting. The main battle zone finished like this:

armourbattles.jpg

I threw the kitchen sink at Marc this turn, with 3 Soviet armoured units destroyed on the areas marked with crossed swords, an air unit on the "A" and one more garrison on the G. I was annoyed not to get the second air unit in behind the defensive fortification, but the dice didnt roll my way.

You will note that 2 of my panzers are hanging out to dry, so to speak. Correct - they are. But right now I am in a trading frame of mind. I have a very powerful luftwaffe supporting me, and more armour still in reserve. Marc will probably need to use 2 armour units himself to destroy these 2, and in turn his own will die. Crucially, even if we swap armour units down to nearly 0 I have a very large force of fully upgraded infantry, and I am especially aware that possibly the progress he got in getting level 4 armour may not hold in terms of infantry, and that is an advantage I may hold for a bit longer yet. We will have to see. Also while units in poor supply take longer to rebuild, I am conscious of the calendar: winter passes fast in this scenario and anything I lose now will still be rebuilt by April 1942 even if it is a more expensive rebuild. I cannot allow fears over supply to slow me down at this stage - if I sit tight and do nothing while I wait for supply the game will surely be lost. And I still hold an economic advantage and believe that gap will widen further in the next few months of play.

And like any decent strategist (I hope!) I launched another offensive in the northern part of the front and seized Riga. Like a boxer throwing combinations - keep him off balance. Apologies for no graphic - somehow my copy and paste on that one got deleted by mistake. He seems to have very little at all in the north, and that is something I intend to exploit now. My force there is not so large, but large enough to make a dent.

So how am I feeling? Tense... a little unsure... I have not played this scenario before as I have bleated a number of times, but the lack of knowledge as to how it plays is nerve-wracking... Marc has skillfully hit me when my supply is at its weakest and made the Wehrmacht pay in blood... but this final graphic still has me relatively happy:

resourcesaugust41.jpg

His army is taking a hit, and although the loss of 2 armoured units has hit me also my relative advantage is still growing and I have taken 4 mine squares in the south that will begin to produce income soon.

By winter's arrival I hope to be further forward on the map from where I am now - and in Spring 1942 my army will be ready again, hopefully even bigger in relation to Marc's than it is now, and ready to deliver the killing blow. I must also be wary of operations in the West - there is no way he has enough firepower in the west yet to sustain anything major, but by 1942 that will start to change and I will need to be ready.

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... and now, having whetted your appetite, I'm afraid I am off on holiday! There is no internet where I am going - even if there was I suspect my wife might do very nasty things to me if I tried to use it - so I am offline for a week.

Marc will add one more post and then I will try and get one up on Sat 23rd July...

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Heavy fighting this turn on the Eastern Front. I elected to go for another limited offensive and strike only those units that were low on supply 3 or less. This is chewing up my offensive units in detail but I feel it is costing me less in the long run and hurting him much more in that he is losing the creme of the German army. If I threw in all of my reserves including some more armor I feel confident I would have destroyed another 2 armies possible 3 and a corp. Though I also feel confident due to his air superiortity he would cause me more casualties in the short run than I am willing to accept. Still it was a pretty big offensive in it's own right and could not be said to be a spoiling attack like the last. If he again tries to penetrate my lines in the position he is in currently without destroying the blocking units first he will lose even more crucial units. The charts you see with the massive German army is mostly composed of Garrison and Corps guarding the empire. His real offensive power is down in Southern Russia. He has 1 armor up north with an airborne unit.

This was the situation as my offensive went into gear. 2 German Armor Korps had just been destroyed and an SS unit about to be.

RussianAttack3.jpg

This was the situation after the offensive and I stabilized my lines. I cropped the image a bit as I do not want to show additional reserve units. Sorry. Please note the supply bases Al bypassed in an attempt to strike around my lines. Lack of supply is literally killing him and it's only mid august. Wait till winter sets in. This turn I expect him to finally go for those supply bases this turn and next. He should have no problem securing them... though losses will be high. He had been attempting to get around my lines in an effort to surround me but without long-range aircraft to look deep into my lines he had no idea I had an extremely powerful resever waiting. This is kinda like a Kursk battle in that he tried to perform a pincer movement (not as strong as it could hve been )with his armor and infantry. I was waiting and ready with fortifications to channel his advance around the sides.

RussianFinish.jpg

This details German losses the last 2 turns. Soviet losses will be high as well but mine are more easily replaced. This turn cost him 2 additional German armor korps an SS unit and heavily damaged army. He still has a lot of power there and should use it to bluntly push me back, secure supply sources and then cross the river in force.

GermanGraph.jpg

I estimate he probably only has 2 armored korps left and 2 or 3 SS units. Lost Russian armor and units have been rebought and are in que. The war has gone his way till this point and Russia is huge. I think he will give his next turn a lot of thought. I also expect a strategic pause coming in the next few turns as we are both exhausting our armies. There will come a point when both of us resupply and reequip. And for those who think the game is over... it is a very long way from done. Germany is extremely powerful. He can easily recover from these losses rebuild over the winter and win the war in Spring. It really depends on how far he gets and where he throws his focus next. He will continue to advance until the weather dictates otherwise.

Russian partisans attacked numerous German supply bases. Strategic warefare continued in the West. Tripoli held out against a mass assault.

Though... he may not be on speaking turns with me for a while... this is the most enjoyable and challenging game I've played in a long time.

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For newcomers to the game these crossed out partisan symbols show that actual partisan units wont appear, but that supply can be hit by "invisible" units unless they are garrisoned. I am probably 2 turns away from getting a decent supply line into my main theatre of operations, and I need to make sure it is protected. That takes units, and it is an expensive business!

I've found that only those on vital supply routes are essential to be garrisoned, and a major factor is where the battle is occurring. Minor partisan activity away from the center of operations isn't a problem, but if it happens on the supply line for a major offensive then it could be a big problem! :eek:

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So how do you deal with this? Garrisons? There are a lot more towns on this map, so is that even an option for the German player? I don't seen any in his pictures, so I'm wondering.

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Originally posted this in the wrong thread... :P

While we are waiting for Al to return from "holiday"... I thought I would post some images of the key areas, troop disposition and discuss strategy. Please note: prior to release some of the troop dispositions will be changed as we work on balancing.

Below is how the Campaign starts with Germany poised to invade Poland. This is on the pullback function because the map is so huge.

PolandA.jpg

Notice how very few of the powerful Polish units are on rail heads/cities or towns. The problem with this is you cannot operate units back to Warsaw to help with defense. Many Axis players make the mistake of battered everything in front of them. The Axis should drive right for Warsaw... bypassing units that can be mopped up later or just left because they become irrelevant. As the Axis you want to cut the rail links first. Use your armor. Then move on Warsaw. You will notice that Warsaw is undefended at the start of the game and the Poles only start with 1 HQ and some air . I expect Warsaw to be a bit better defended prior to release. A corps may be moved and positioned in Warsaw to give the Polish more of a fighting chance. We will have to see… the campaign is nearly complete and mostly what’s left is correcting the occasional bug and balancing.

Against a good Axis player Poland should fall in 2 turns possibly 3 depending upon how well the German player does. The key is of course Warsaw... everything else matters little. Occasionally you will take Warsaw and the Poles will fight on for a turn. As the Axis player that is downright frustrating as you need to begin moving everything West and this takes time. Notice the powerful German air units, 2 Tactical units to start. When playing this game (very different from other SC releases) you want to concentrate all available firepower at key points. The map is sooo huge that early on it is very hard to advance on a front... you want to punch holes through the enemy lines, get in behind them and screw up supply so that slower units can mop up demoralized and poorly supplied units with little risk. Driving deep into enemy territory is the armor's job... combined with airpower. If you mesh the two well... you can work wonders. Some players will make the mistake of not using airpower with the armor. They will strike targets looking to blow their way through the lines instead of seeking targets deeper in.

Another use for Poland… is to eliminate every unit to gain experience for your army. This is good and bad. Good because you gain experience… bad because it usually takes 4 turns and complicates your timetable. With a 2 turn victory over Poland you can easily walk all the way back to the West for a Spring offensive and not have to operate. You will have time to rebuild strength, readiness and morale prior to attacking. There is now a forced march feature which allows you to make a non-combat move across the map… sacrificing readiness and only through friendly territory. Saves cash. I think it is a very cool feature.

To give you a comparison:

Regular March

NonforcedMarch.jpg

Forced March

ForcedMarchmoveA.jpg

All around you can see the early power of Germany. If you take Poland, walk back west and focus on builds alone you can essentially double the size of your army by May/June and be ready to just hammer your way into France. If you elect the option of going for experience you can essentially do the same thing but you will take more casualties doing it and your army will be a bit smaller.

Just some food for thought. I hope everyone found it helpful.

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Thanks for the extra info. I do hope that historical tactics of armor and air driving deep will in fact be rewarded.

Just to argue it a bit for fun.. it seems like the soviet campaign showed the opposite... driving the armor forward exposed it and got it destroyed. But maybe that is fair against a strengthened and heavily armored opponent. In other words, deep armored thrusts are an early war tactic.

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The Soviet campaign shows the risks of using Forced March too much in the wrong place. It really can be very useful, but if troops get over extended and neglect their flanks and supply lines, then it can all go horribly wrong!

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lhughes41,

The difference between the fight in the East with Al and other games I've played is that Al only crossed the border south of the swamps and then 4 turns later pushed north with a limited offensive. So far he's only managed to capture Riga in the North and it's late August. All of his power is in the south. This allowed me the freedom to concentrate a lot of firepower south to prepare a defense in depth at the edge of his supply line and when he crossed it, I exclusively hammered his offensive units hard... i.e. armor and SS. There is no doubt he will continue to advance as he has a lot of power down there but it's been very costly and will continue to be so... for both of us. In other games... when players do not rush the fight in the West... they hit the USSR with a sledge hammer of force from North to South and it is much more difficult to defend until they get deep into Russia. Then the tables turn and the German player discovers there is a lot of territory to hold and the Russian player has some freedom in where to strike. I would say that so far my game with Al is kind of unique and it's too early to tell who will win. He went for a non-traditional strategy. It's too early to tell if it will help or hurt him.

On a side note... when I attack and have sufficient air... which Russia does not at this time, I usually work very hard to make sure it supports my armor and or offensive thrust. The best I could do in this game so far was make sure I had 2 fighter units provide a CAP to hinder German air support, which they were able to only do in a limited fashion. They have now been rendered a inneffective and I've withdrawn them to rebuild their strength, morale and readiness.

:)

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Very interesting. How good is your anti-aircraft capacity (unless this is secret :-) ) and how effective are you finding it in reducing Stuka super weapons? In WAW games the stukas would be doing 5 to 7 damage... I understand things are revised.. just trying to get a more specific sense of impact...

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They hurt and appear to be upgraded. I felt them more in the West than I have in the East so far. I think in this game you can build 4 or 5... can't remember but I think I've only seen 2 so far. I expect they will dig into me more when Al makes his next turn but one of the reasons I think I have not seen much of their punch is the distance on the East Front. His supply lines are catching up along with the bulk of his firepower. Which means I will end up getting hurt till I fall back. You want to buy Long Range Tech as the Germans... a level 2 upgrade makes a huge difference... meaning instead of spending a turn moving... you can support your advance units from long range without having to lose a turn to catch up. Make sense?

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Long range. interesting. Howzabout mechanization. That more valuable in this game? I.e. moving quicker.. or still beaten out by the other tech? in terms of priority.

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Here is the West Front at the beginning of the War.

WestFrontA.jpg

WestFrontB.jpg

As you can see the German player is weak and has holes on the West Front that need to be immediately filled. France is also very weak... and in a transitional phase. Money is always a problem for France. You can see what I had to work with when I was under attack on turn 5 or 6 in the West. Britain starts with 1 army and 2 corps in the pool for delivery on turn 2 (BEF) which you have to transport to France.

One option I did consider was throw all my French cash into 4 armies to bring them up to strength. Essentially pull 2 from the line and replace them with corps and then invade Belgium with the BEF, but I decided to play it a bit more conservative because I was not sure what Al was going to do. He can be very unpredictable. As it was I made the right decision. Had I invaded on turn 3 I would have taken casualties and then found myself under immediate attack by Germany. Instead Belgium became a brief speedbump which helped to save me. :P

Notice the French industry at 0. It takes a while for it to mobilize.

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I thought I would now show you Italy. I get a little excited about Italy when playing the Axis because if you play your chips right Italy can easily dominate the Med with German support. You have a number of strategic options with Italy and it can easily drive you crazy deciding which to do.

As you can see Italy starts with a huge “Navy.” Her navy outnumbers the combined UK and French Navy in the Med at the onset of the war. 4 BB (with more building), 3 CA, 1 DD and a Sub.

The Italian army is also large. 4 Armies, 1 Armor, 3 corps, 1 Arty and an HQ. You also start with a fighter and bomber. Later in the war Italy also mobilizes an Eastern Front force, I believe in August 1940, that comes in very handy.

You have a choice as Italy. You can go strong Navy... focus on strengthening, upgrading and building more naval units like subs, and a couple carriers. Or you can focus on Ground going for additional ground units, upgrades, anther HQ. You really can not do both at the same time without significant German support by the time Italy enters the war in the summer of 40. There are just not enough resources and when I try this it usually ends in failure. Significant German support means the Germans become weakened elsewhere… likely on the East Front.

Heavy Navy:

If you go heavy navy… as the Axis you have the tools early to start... I shift ground units to Africa and make sure I bring a lot of Germans. While advancing on Egypt the Italian navy keeps the British Navy busy. (and it gets ugly) I usually time my advance for the Summer of 41 and Winter of 42 and until that point I just fight a holding operation.

My first objective “always” and I can not stress this enough is the capture of Malta. I bring in the entire German air force and airborne units to take the island. Once you take Malta Axis supply for the med is secure.

Why do I advance in summer of 41 and winter of 42? The reason for this is I will build 2 carriers and they tend to deliver around that time. Plus as I advance I usually support my navy with ground based air, both Italian and German.

What you have to watch out for is British carrier Air. The British have 4 Carriers early in the game and they are very dangerous. In a game with another beta tester I destroyed the flower of entire Italian navy (5 BBs) in 2 turns with carrier based air. In the next game we played he stayed well back and advanced only with Ground supported by air. The minute the Italian navy is neutralized the Med is lost and the war for the Axis is in serious trouble no matter how well you are doing on the East Front.

The Italian Navy can be used to great effect especially if you can get Naval Warfare 2. Under cover of Ground based air with 2 Carriers and 5 BB the British will have a seriously difficult time against you. A couple of good battles that go your way can easily swing the war in the med to your favor allowing you to capture Egypt, Syria and Iraq and then turn around and fight the USA. Also… dominating the med early allows the Axis player to amphibious forces into and undefended Syria. (difficult but not impossible)

Heavy Army:

This is an interesting opportunity for the Axis player. You have the building blocks to build up a very large and powerful army but it takes time. You can send them to North Africa or Russia.

If you send your army south you will need limited German support in the form of an army, 2 corps and air. I usually build a second Italian HQ, a tactical unit and invest in infantry tech. You can give the UK a very hard time in North Africa. I hide the Italian Navy till Italy is threatened… otherwise you are just asking to lose it early if you are not successful in taking Egypt. If you lose in North Africa usually around 1943… the Italian navy acts as a deterrent to a quick landing… meaning the Allied player must work to destroy the Italian navy first buying you time to build up a defense in Italy. If Italy is successful in taking Egypt, Syria and Iraq the Italians really get powerful and you have more options.

Another use for Italy’s army is to send the bulk of it to the east front… focus on upgrades, build more units and use it against the Russians. Around 41… you get a Russian contingent meaning the Italians can really field a large army. If you go this route you must plan early for a defense of Italy building garrisons, an engineering unit and sending a limited force to delay the UK advance. Just a handful of units can delay the UK a year in taking Libya, which gives the Axis player time to decisively set the tone for the war in the East. An extra 10 to 15 units on the East front though of lesser quality than the Russians can make a real difference.

With either option… once the ground fighting begins you will end up spending all of your cash on replacements and will have nothing more available to invest and build new units until the fighting ends or pauses. Italy does not make a lot of cash so you have to plan well in advance. A good plan for Italy can decide the game.

There are other options for Italy including using them as defense force in France… but I do not like doing this. You have the potential for making Italy into a real power and asset for the Axis… seriously complicating the Allies job.

Also… defending Italy is very difficult. If you look at the map you will note that Italy is huge. There are a lot of places to defend where the allies could land. Having strategic bombers with long legs helps you to see where the landing will come from… but usually by this point if you are defending against a landing… Allied air will dominate the Mediterranean Theater. It is very important to keep the initiative in the med. Once the Axis loses the initiative in the med… Italy is in trouble and that means Germany has to begin redeploying important and key assets to defend her.

Northern Italy

ItalyNorthA.jpg

Southern Italy

ItalySouth.jpg

Africa West

NorthAfricaWest.jpg

Africa East

NorthAfricaEast.jpg

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Good summary on the Med possibilities, but you failed to mention the invasion of Spain and subsequent occupation of Gibraltar as an Axis option. Known as "Operation Sphinx" put forth by Admiral Erik Raeder in the early part of WW2, the plan has the unique condition of closing the front door of the Med to the RN and really allows the Italians to get things cranked up in the MidEast prior to Barbarossa.

With Germany's help, the Axis can set up a southern threat to the Caucasus and enhance the inevitable invasion of the USSR, not to mention the east - west squeeze on Turkey.

Looking forward to your review of the East deployments with and without the MR pact.

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That's a possibility but by the time the time the invasion of Spain may happen as we saw in this actual game... and remember the Italians were not part of that or contesting Africa, the British had also been building up naval units via the red sea and prior to Gibralter falling the UK struck at the Italian fleet bottling them up. So even with Spain falling... at the moment the Med is a UK lake. That does not mean that will not change. We will have to see.

I've not tried the strategy mentioned above but it seems as if Al's game did not involve or tie in Italy early. Or simply perhaps he had a different plan in mind and I messed with the timetable. As it is now... in the game we are playing I have about 1/3 of the Royal navy in the med with 4 carriers supporting. I think if you are going to try that strategy... then you must go strong Italian Navy so that you can secure the Med and force the UK out and make sure you have German units in Africa to roll across as quickly as possible... but due to the size of the map and supply considerations it will take time to advance.

What you proposed above given determination, committment and the right strategy is I think very doable.

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I believe Al returns tommorow... so somtime this weekend our contest for world domination will resume. To be honest its been driving me nuts to see his next move. :P Anyone else feel the same way?

Oh and I am saving discussing Russia as I do not want to give him any ideas... :P

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