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Barbarossa to Berlin – Ash vs Will - Axis

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Hello guys! This time around me and Will are taking our perpetual fighting (very good natured in real life, if not in the game) to the East Front.

Together with the WWI scenario this is the one we really like. The scale of the map and the scope of the fighting are both very good.

Since I’m a bit worn out after two full length AAR’s (check out the ones in the WW1 forum if you haven’t already) this one will be a bit more periodical and cover lengths of time and larger events. I’ll be commenting a bit on strategy, thoughts on the campaign, and provide some pictures for your viewing pleasure ^^

I hope you have as much fun reading this as I do playing!

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Operation Barbarossa, July 22nd 1941

The start of the Scenario is a setup of the historical positions. From playing this scenario twice before, I know that the historical route is a difficult one. Last time we played this, I just barely scraped out a victory after managing a huge encirclement with a full complement of elite panzers. This time, I’ll try something different. Now, I’ll provide a first turn shot taken from the Soviet perspective in hotseat mode, and then one of my progress.

I’m thinking that regardless of my ultimate goals it would be a large mistake not to destroy the Soviet frontline forces when I have the chance. If I leave too many of them alive they will certainly be back to haunt me. I’ve always favoured hitting all of the aircraft I can reach and the HQ’s, breaking through many units and then dealing with them behind me in bad supply. After a few test rounds in hotseat I came up with an attack I like. It aims at the total destruction of every single air unit the Wehrmacht can plausibly reach the first turn.

Why this obsession with air you ask? Well, come 1942 and 43, the Germans have two and only two advantages left. Don’t trust the tech numbers, they are a lie. Soviet armies have intrinsically better stats than German corps, even with a one step infantry tech advantage, the Germans have the same statistics aside from Tank defence, which is one higher. Also, the AoC tech system makes two things very obvious. The basic progress amount is 2% per turn, no matter your tech level. This means that the 1% bonus the soviets get for “being behind” in technology is extremely significant, and will result in them catching up sometime 42 or 43 at the latest, especially if they manage an intelligence level advantage for even 10 turns or so (which is all down to the luck of the draw). This means that even your tanks will stop having an edge in technology by then, and your infantry will even be inferior.

So what are these two advantages? Experienced troops and generals and a stronger, better air force. It’s a really good idea to make absolutely sure to keep the red airforce down as low as at all possible.

So, aside from spending the first three or four turns destroying as many Soviet units as possible to manage the troop count, what is my general strategy? Well, at this point I want to have the armour in position to operate down south, and from then on my main focus will be to get as far as possible in that direction and take as much many as I can. I don’t really care about Moscow, Leningrad or Stalingrad, just those nice mines and oil fields. Eventually, I would like to be in a position to use the strat bombers I get by event to hurt the Soviet Ural mines. Then attrition, attrition, attrition.

We’ll see how it goes!





As you can see in the above pictures, my initial attack achieved my purposes. Getting all the air units really isn’t that hard if you know just the right order to do things. I took fairly few losses, and built three corps to join the southern thrust later on. Leaving so many units behind my lines means that I will take some losses on Wills turn, that is inevitable. I know from experience that I will soon feel like I have too few units everywhere.

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Turn 2, July 28th 1941.



As expected, I did take some losses. Will, ever keen on the counter attack, threw away quite a few units, both directly and indirectly by leaving them stranded in low supply to hurt few of mine.

One armour unit in the south got reduced to 2str, Schubert HQ near Pruth got hit down to 4, and a single Romanian corps destroyed. Not insurmountable. In return, A good number of soviets were bagged out of supply, and more hq’s destroyed or damaged. By hurting the HQ’s in the first turn, most of the counter attacking units were low on supply and readiness, and the effect was small.


Here is the list of lost units so far, not bad! Then again, the Soviets get a –massive- boost when the great patriotic war kicks in, and all of these units will definitely be back. I have to do much more damage before winter. The numbers in red are significant, especially the amount of fighters and light tanks this early, which should hopefully mean less damaging counter attacks towards the end of 41.

@ Hyazinth von Strachwitz

I also like upgrading the Romanian infantry, I think it’s really about what you want to do with your 1st turn treasury of 400mpps. I find that you can either upgrade the units in the south, buy units, or invest directly into tech.

The downside of upgrading is that it buys the Soviets a turn to move away from immediate danger, reinforce and consolidate. That might to some extent counter the advantage of upgrading the axis minors. I often find that I have too few units at end of 41 start of 42, as other demands and tech draw my attention away. That’s’ why I’m trying the “buy units first turn” route this time. If possible, I’ll try to buy at least one unit and invest in one tech chit per turn. Either way, I think that you have to upgrade the minors at some point, probably in some breathing room in between offensives.

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Turn 3, July 4th (the last turn was June 28th) 1941



Will, going on the counter attack as much as he can all over, found my misplaced fighter. Crap! I tried to recon ahead of my forces, slipped and klutzed it up so that the fighter moved there instead. And then I found out I couldn’t reach to cover it. All I could do then was to cross my fingers. These are the kinds of mistakes that the Germans just cant afford, at any point, in this campaign.

Ah well. Looking on the bright side I think will is playing into my hands with the counter attacks. Sure, I’m taking some losses, but then He’s exposing a lot of his HQ’s to counter attacks and many of his troops to encirclement and destruction. Despite everything, I’m well pleased.

I’m setting up to start the second phase of the attack, shifting my attention to the south…

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Turn 4-6, July


I am resting and reinforcing units in stages across the map, attacking with some while paysing with others. The transfer of a lot of strength south is complete, and revealed as Will tried to build a position around Odessa that would have otherwise been very hard to break. With the newly arrived armoured forces, Guderian swept three armies and another HQ off the map in a turn. Another hard point is emerging around Kiev, and I am gathering forces before attacking.


Leningrad and Minsk both fell painlessly, but it looks like Will is trying to build a line On the approach to Leningrad in the north, and to Smolensk in the east.


Eight HQ have now been destroyed, half of what the Soviets start with. Two paratroopers bagged is also very good, with a third about to be. These can create a lot o trouble if the reds can save them and use them all in concert.

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Turn 7 - 10 Early August

I suffered setbacks in both the south and the north, I forgot the cardinal rule near Kiev, always lead with infantry into unknown territory. As a result, three light armour destroyed one of my Panzer groups. They were promptly destroyed in turn. Those paratroopers got away by transport ship, disappointing.

Soviet strat bombers are causing issues in the north, making supply difficult. One corps of infantry fell victim to more light armour.

Those two are my sole losses over Early august, and progress have slowed. This is pretty natural though, as the exposed and weak soviet units have all been killed, and the rest will have to be fought in more organized forms and in good defensive terrain. Nonetheless, there is progress. The counter attacks have hurt me, but as of mid august 20 light tanks are down, leaving four on the map.


Some real battles are developing on both fronts. In the north this is the start of the battle for Smolensk and the approaches to Leningrad. That fight first raged around Vitebsk, which has now been taken.


Will is, sensibly, attacking me where I am weak and have surged forward from behind the river. However, “weakness” at this point is a relative term. Two soviet medium bomber and one strategic continues to be troublesome, hitting HQ’s in the main. I am slowly consolidating and sending reinforcements to stiffen the lines. Realistically, I aim to take Smolensk. Ideally, I would like to take everything up to the Velikaya river, an excellent defensive position for winter.



The south is falling. Will has made strong blocks of defenders around Kiev and Dneprotovsk, and I am somewhat slowed by paying careful attention to maintaining elite steps on my Panzers. Despite the loss of time this has proved to be an excellent move in the past, if you can keep losses to the first “11” step, and then rebuild it, you soon have a “12” step. And that’s when the panzers really get nasty. Even though the going is slow now I am aiming to burst through both Kiev and Dneprotovsk by the end of August, which will leave me September and October to have a go at the soft area behind where it is much easier to flank and destroy. The ultimate goal, optimistically, is Maikop and the Pyatigorsk-Morozovsk line in the South, and Kursk in the East.

I’ve managed to build units more or less every turn, a corps on some, on or two divisions on others. I also elected to try the “Arctic Fox” operation for 90mpps. Yeah, the chance of success is really small, but the payoff if it succeeds sounds very nice (I’ve never actually seen it hit those 10% if the Soviets reinforce Murmansk). We’ll see if it does this time!

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Hello Ashes, Great campaign as always and glad to see another run between Will and you.

Looking good so far despite losses as they can be entered back in quickly if in supply. I would be wary of allowing too much time for Will to build up entrenchment. Entrenchment/morale of Soviets in this game more than AOD can be a real drag on the hitting/defending power of the axis advance the further it goes. Now's the time to run and perhaps pull off some encirclements with his tanks down.

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To be honest I can not see the German website due to complications with my internet here in China, just will not let me on as Battlefront in the past (even though I been a player since the beginning). My approach to AOC and most SC games is Helter Skelter across the board to keep the initiative with the Axis, stop entrenchment, and not allow the allied player a second to think. But with AOC from what I have noticed is it is more important.

From what I see from Battlefront you have kept a southern approach and looks good. I differ and keep a northern and at the same time multi-approach. Love to join with the Fins, and by doing strength seems to be drawn from the central/southern routes.

But then again who knows! Each game is different, and to each their own, and who am I to say what is right without trying other approaches.

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Turn 11 - 13 Late august



By mid-August I breached Kiev, and had done serious damage to the Dneprotovsk defensive line. The fighting saw the destruction of another light tank and several armies and as the soviets counter attacked to reduce a 12 step armor the other two light tanks went down. As august draws to an end axis forces flood out onto the southern plain and reach new soviet defensive lines, the next battle will be for Stalino.



Axis lines moved to meet the advancing soviets in the north, and after some fighting I saw an opportunity to use panzers shifted northwards to try an encirclement. I need to catch and destroy as many of Wills units as possible before winter, the soviet economy rebuilds units frighteningly fast and they’re back up to 88 even after this latest turns casualties. The danger with encirclements is always that it’s easy to get cut off or badly hurt in turn. The HQ defending the now unoccupied town was destroyed, and with four units adjacent it should go down in supply. With the closer town at only 3, and the northernmost HQ hurt, I’m hoping that the units in the middle will be low on supply and not up for much counter attacking. We’ll see!

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Hello Ashes, Great campaign as always and glad to see another run between Will and you.

Looking good so far despite losses as they can be entered back in quickly if in supply. I would be wary of allowing too much time for Will to build up entrenchment. Entrenchment/morale of Soviets in this game more than AOD can be a real drag on the hitting/defending power of the axis advance the further it goes. Now's the time to run and perhaps pull off some encirclements with his tanks down.

Really interesting... the aggressive approach of the Axis brings way more losses to both sides.. in my own AAR it is the 16th of November 1941, and the relation of lost units is 177:2 ... should I have played more aggressive?


To be honest I can not see the German website due to complications with my internet here in China, just will not let me on as Battlefront in the past (even though I been a player since the beginning). My approach to AOC and most SC games is Helter Skelter across the board to keep the initiative with the Axis, stop entrenchment, and not allow the allied player a second to think. But with AOC from what I have noticed is it is more important.

From what I see from Battlefront you have kept a southern approach and looks good. I differ and keep a northern and at the same time multi-approach. Love to join with the Fins, and by doing strength seems to be drawn from the central/southern routes.

But then again who knows! Each game is different, and to each their own, and who am I to say what is right without trying other approaches.

Happy to see you both following and commenting as always!

I really have no idea whether this strategy will work or not, I'm usually more of a conservative player trying to keep losses low, and I like to go north to link with the finns as well. I thought I'd try something different this time and see how it turns out. I accepted the event with the strat bombers, and if I can get into range of the ural industries that should be fun!

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Turn 14 - 15 Early September



September kicked off with the start of the battle of Stalino, destroying forward defenders on the advance. I started consolidating the plains, moving forces in the direction of Kursk along with the two panzers previously participating in the battle of Kiev. Will deployed reinforcements directly around Stalino, fortunately these begin in lower readiness and unentrenched, so the panzers easily swept them away and took Stalino with the help of Artillery and air bombardment. Panzers striking for Taganrog, hoping to find it undefended or almost so, instead found another HQ and destroyed it. Closing the ring around Stalino, I’m hoping that the mine will drop to 3 supply and that the units trapped wont make it out. If I can strike Kursk and trap the forces in Kharkov these will be major victories. Of course, Will always has the option to withdraw, which gives me time to take more ground, I need to be a bit reckless now to make it to my objectives in the south before winter.


The centre is mostly slow consolidation, outflanking Smolensk from behind. Will withdrew to Roslavi, and the city fell under artillery and bombers.



Rather than be outflanked Will again withdrew his forces on the Leningrad approach. I’m debating whether to push on here towards Leningrad, but I might need the armour to break soviet resistance in the centre and close my lines. Nevertheless, both the primary and secondary objective of army group North has been achieved, anything else is a bonus.

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Turn 16 - 18 Late September, early October



I’m slowing down as I am forced to consolidate and redeploy. Weather is starting to become a problem. The North is largely secure, with the corridor between the north and south front covered by army groups. I’m prepping the panzers to move south and assist with the years final attacks.



The South also stalls for a bit, I’m transferring forces and setting up an encirclement of Stalino. I could have started this turn by cutting in with armour, but chose not to since it would not be very solid and let units re-establish supply leaving my own units stranded and vulnerable. The Soviets got their Siberian reinforcements, and are deploying a lot of units so I have to be slightly more careful. The coming fight for Rostov, Stalino and Kursk will determine whether this has been a successful year or if I’m in for a very hard time in 42. Time and initiative is essential in these last turns of 41, and I'm slightly worried that I might have lost it by preparing and not going full steam ahead. Time will tell!

Will is investing in a lot of aircraft. I personally think this is a mistake early on as the Soviets, seeing as their fighter tech is sub-par. While it can be an annoyance and do some damage, it is also a constant drain on Soviet MPPs which could better be used on ground troops.

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Turn 19 - 21 Late October, Early November

Well. Its about this point that I always feel pretty hopeless about the German situation with winter approaching, scrabbling to reach even the modest goals set at campaign start and watching soviet forces grow ridiculously huge despite all efforts to smash them.


The North has been fairly uneventful, only action of note being Will advancing forces to hit my lines, no doubt hoping to draw forces from the south. No units lost for me so far, none for him either in my counter attack, but plenty of damage spread around. I’ve consolidated the peninsula, grabbing all the cities and now aiming to secure the northernmost passage around lake Peipus. Central Soviet has also stalled, I’m perfectly content to hold the corridor along Smolensk and in a pretty straight line southwards from there.


The south is where the action is. October ended with the capture of Kursk. I debated a really long time about which direction to go and in which order to do things, and finally landed on Kursk as a logical first step. A thrust with armour to outflank Rostov in the south sets up either a strike south to take the city or east to cut the central soviet forces.


I had to push a fairly large concentration of soviets around captured Kursk further north, and did so, while clearing the Rostov corridor further, fighting to this effect raged around November 4th, with no particularly good way of completing either flanking manoeuvre.


As mid November rolls around however, a soviet counter attack with Siberian units manage the destruction of one German armour group. That is a shame, but at least I destroy one enemy “real” armour in turn. Sensing weakness around Rostov, I also use the clear weather to throw a spear straight east in an attempt to close the pocket and trap a fair few soviet units. I’ve had to abandon the last phase of planned territorial conquests, And Rostov will (if successful) be the extent of my territorial gains in 41. I’m definitely feeling the pinch of time, and I need to use massed armour to try and clear the pockets and capture the outlying settlements quickly. There is a quite a lot of German infantry coming, having been built throughout 41, so if I can only capture the cities I should not have any problems setting up a defensive line. We’ll see I guess.

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Turn 22 - 25 Late November and December

The South - Progression




The North - Current position


Well then. Here we are. I think we can safely say at this point that as far as grand strategies go this one hasn’t been very successful. I tend to test outliers during some games as points of reference, and this one definitely needs some tweaking to become more viable. I don’t think my territorial goals were overly ambitious, but nonetheless I have failed to meet them. The goals in the north was so modest as to be embarrassing if not reached, and the ones in the south a little more ambitious. At least I managed to capture Rostov, if nothing else of note. The advance was definitively halted at Rostov, and the Kropotkin – Borisoglebsk line as well as both Markovka and Voronezh remains unconquered.

I’ve also played an unorthodox method for me, I’m usually a careful methodical player, preferring to build experience and consolidate as I go. This time around I realized in September that I simply couldn’t play like that, I had to go balls to the wall, or face total failure with a vast red army to contend with. As an extension of this realization, I’ve dug in around my goal conquests as they were taken, the north has been dug in for a while, and Kursk as well. However, half the south front simply has not had the time, and that is a calculated risk. Faced with a choice of pretty much sitting still and letting the soviets get to critical mass from late October onwards or going for the larger and more important objectives (Kursk, Kharkov, Rostov) and trying to hit the Soviets as much as I’m going to be hit back I chose the latter. Unfortunately, my armour groups seem to have gotten a no retreat order from Hitler three years early and steadfastly refuse to save themselves when counter attacked, despite being led by Guderian and Manstein. I set up every opportunity to retreat behind an infantry screen, but it was not to be.

In the final tally, as of 7th January 1942 I have at least captured the major cities of the immediate south, I’ll have to be satisfied with that, and with the losses incurred on the Soviets.


Let’s look at comparative strength, starting with losses. The soviets have taken huge losses, most notably all but one light tank unit, two real tank units, and a total of 192 units, 181 of these being land units. Despite this they stand at 121 land units to 129, and 17 aircraft to 12. On the flip side, I’ve been badly hurt as well. Four armour groups, four corps down. Not good.

Income and expenditure. The soviets have collected 13864mpps, lost units to a cost of 25288 and rebuilt for 12512. 49% of losses. Considering that quite a few of the lost units were destroyed out of supply this does actually represent something of a win for me. Fun fact, if not a single soviet unit was destroyed or produced by MPPS for the soviets through 41 they would still end at 180 land units.

The Germans then, at a collected income of 9328, lost 11873 in units and built units at 7225. Only one of these units have been destroyed out of supply, which is fortunate. I didn’t quite manage to build the limit of corps and divisions before years end, 2 corps and 4 divisions

I also went with Winter fox, which duly failed. at 90mpps for the germans and 120 for the soviets to counter, its usually worth it in my opinion. Funny thing though, when I did a hotseat all through 41 to have a look at winter effect dates, it succeeded. However, I saw no effect whatsoever on soviet income, something the event description hints at.

When spring rolls around I'll share some thoughts on 1942 tactics and strategy.

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I think those 4 Panzer Korps will be a burden..

Absolutely no doubt about that unfortunately :(

At this point, partly due to bad strategy, partly due to recklessness, and partly due to random (bad) luck its all about finding the silver lining. ;)

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Were you able to take Orel? One more city that brings MPPs...

What is your progress around Sewastopol? I was not able take it... bad dice three times..

No Orel unfortunately, Kursk was the extent of what I managed, I do wish I had gotten that! I also completely ignored Sevastopol, preferring not to spend time or strength taking it. Perhaps that will be a thing for 1942...

Turn 26 - 28 January and February 1942

Winter has not been as bad as I feared, measured over the three initial hits and Jan-Feb soviet assaults. That does, however, not mean that the danger has passed. Quite the opposite. My focus on building the basic backbone of the Wehrmacht over 1941 has left me short of options to deal with Soviet armour, and the latest turns have left me little room to do anything but maintain str losses in the field and constructing a new full armour group for the summer, to be followed by my three “lost” groups as soon as funds allow. Will has been pushing up, and now has a very significant amount of forces facing the German army in the field. My total losses these three turns have been two divisions, and a total of 2300mpps or so of losses overall to both winter and attacks.



The North has seen a fair amount of fighting throughout the first two months, I managed to almost destroy the defenders of Narva once, and even clear the town by forcing the retreat of defenders. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t advance to take it. Will launched that “causing a lot of trouble later” operation with his remaining paratroopers that I grumbled about at the start of the campaign, and cut a severely wounded Kuchler off with his army. Fortunately, the weather made Soviet attacks as ineffective as mine, and so far the fighting is desperate and there is a chance to keep the army alive provided Will fails to destroy the troops keeping the paras cut off. Hoth has railed to Rakvere by train with an army to help the encircled Germans. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top of this one. Meanwhile, I’ve been forced to slowly retreat backwards on the Pskov –Velikiye line, to the loss of one square. This will likely increase, but it’s expected.




In the south the fighting has been fiercer. Fortunately, the infantry of the Wehrmacht does not seem to suffer the blatant hubris of the armour corps, and have been good with the retreats to avoid destruction. All but two units in the former Kharkov encirclement were destroyed, and lines established on the 1941 gains. So far I’m holding on to them. We’ll see if that lasts…

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

This was unfortunately abandoned due to a temporary RL morale dip combined with life getting very busy for a while. I thought about picking it up again, keeping up the fight would be educational if nothing else, but I'd forgotten the password  :blink:.


I made some bad mistakes this game, in hindsight I should probably have been content with Stalino and Kharkov, making some room around those cities and entrenching early. I had an idea regarding sending my armour and aircraft south to avoid the winter, but fierce fighting into late november rendered them unable to escape in time and most of my armour at this point is close to romania and in dismal condition. Regardless, with such lacking progress and the high armour losses this game was always going to be a steep uphill fight from here.  Both Will and I continue to struggle with the Germans in this Scenario, maybe we'll unlock the secret to success at some point. 


I'm glad you guys followed the AAR regardless, more should come in the future! 

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I am not heard much on Battlefront due to my location.  However playing this game I have never loss with either side.


Important is having an initial plan as all state and sticking with it with slight alterations where opportunities arrive.  But the opening turn is very important.  It is not all about destroying units but destroying units to a point where supply is low.  Air I use to think were primary, and they still are somewhat but light armor is truly a destructive force waiting to hit you.  You do not need to destroy the 1st or the 2nd turn or keep in a position where you can before they get away.


Speaking of the same thing is to focus on the light tanks wherever and whenever you can and keep an eye out for them.  I use my armor not hit 1st but destroy units when possible but infantry always move forward to provide protection even if needed to fast march.  This provides a layer to your armor protection and the infantry are somewhat expendable.  This also keeps your armor as strong as possible.


HQ need to move 3 moves each turn, otherwise you are not maximizing your advance.  This takes advance thought and protection, but if the soviets in the end are willing to launch just to hit HQ's then they or you are not maximizing your situation.


Artillery must move forward and who cares if fast advance as there real use is to reduce entrenchment, they are also hard to destroy.


From my point of view but others are different is that the axis can not let the allies recoup and this means constant forward movement and keeping the allies moving.  Once they get a chance to reinforce, and entrench the odds get higher.


Just points from someone who personally has had luck but perhaps not against the best.  I am up for a game if you want me to show you, perhaps you could show me a thing or two?



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