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Barbarossa to Berlin - Ash vs Will - Allies

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Alrighty, time for another good old fashioned romp across the steppe. Barbarossa has begun!

I'll be beginning from turn 2. Turn 1 was quite a standard invasion, with the north getting pummeled by German armour while the south actually saw some minor Soviet victories, including the destruction of a Romanian corps and the damaging of a German HQ.

This turn, the counter-attacks continued. My main line of defense is forming at Smolensk. Whether Ash chooses to go for Leningrad or Moscow, he has to go through this city first to protect his flanks.


In the south, a number of surprising victories. Firstly, Ash got a little too optimistic with his placement of his fighters- sending them right to within a few miles of my light armour, presumably in the expectation that I wouldn't have the capacity to counter-attack. He was proven wrong, and I destroyed my first German fighter wing. Meanwhile further south at Roman, the German HQ I hit for 40% damage last turn was hit once again by cavalry and light armour and is now at just 30% strength. I even managed to capture a Romanian town!


So far, so standard really in many respects. The damage I've done to the German HQ and the destruction of an early fighter are nice wins, but ultimately eclipsed by the huge losses of the Red Army. It'll be a few more turns before Ash's true direction and strategy is clear- all I can do for the moment is give ground for time.

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Turn 5

Nothing particularly out of the ordinary so far. Losses are beginning to slow, and I have now bought back every lost land unit (in good supply), and am now focusing on building up my AT capabilities- my best chance to fight the Panzers before T34's arrive next year.

In the north, Smolensk will be the site of the first major battle. Naturally, I will be seriously outgunned and the city inevitably lost, but I might be able to counter-attack, at least in a limited fashion. A sturdier line is being built along the river near Ludza. This area is something of a chokepoint in preventing units from getting to Leningrad. My first engineers arrived this turn, so I need to buy them time to build some fortifications.


In the south, I'm building up my forces around Kiev. Ash lacks the kind of mass tanks that he has in the north so I'm hoping to use my light armour to beat him back. A thin defensive line holds Odessa, but I'm willing to fall back should any panzers show up.


All in all, it's so far so standard. I'm content with the situation- destroying that early fighter is really going to help in the long run, and the damage done to the German HQ in the south will be both expensive and time consuming for Ash to deal with. In the next few turns I should get a good idea of where he wants his main thrust to go- Moscow perhaps, maybe a drive for the Caucasus, or keep pushing to Leningrad to free up the Finnish troops. Experience tells me that even with a fairly low key offensive in the north, Leningrad will fall due to the number of panzers and the presence of the Finnish, but equally, the north is devoid of any particularly useful resources.

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Turn 6

Okay, lots of exciting developments this turn.

Ash has shown his hand- he is pressing hard in the south towards Dnepropetrovsk with what seems to be almost all his armour. Taking into account operating costs, this is quite a gamble for the Germans- he needs to make some serious gains if he's going to recoup those losses. His panzers did rather smash my Odessa line though, and destroyed one of my only slightly experienced HQ's. Fortunately I managed to evacuate my paratroopers before their destruction.


Tired of being pushed back, STAVKA ordered an immediate counter offensive using our Kiev reserves. A forward panzer at strength 11 was destroyed by our light armour in a heroic attack that was plastered across Russian newspapers as a mighty propaganda victory. It cost me 19 steps of light armour to achieve, but ultimately that's still an MPP profit for the Soviets.


In the north, we also counter-attacked. A forward veteran corps was destroyed easily, and even better, out of supply. German armour is still present in the north but I should have a lot more freedom to push back here with the bulk of the Axis blitzkrieg power down south.


That's two corps, one fighter and a panzer down and we're not even into August. So far, I'm very pleased.

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Turn 8

The Germans have slowed their advance. The drive to Leningrad has certainly taken a break, no doubt to refit and rearm the troops. Fortunately, this gives me time to do the same. We made a minor counter-attack; pushing back a corps with our light tanks. My two main defensive lines are still holding firm.


Kiev has been the site of the biggest battle of the war. My decision to upgrade all units in the vicinity to level 1 AA proved worthwhile; Ash lost a lot of MPPs trying in vain to bomb my troops. Unfortunately the first line of defense was broken regardless. Fresh divisions have been sent to fill the gaps.


In the south I noticed a conspicuous lack of German armour- I suspect Ash is reinforcing his elite steps before pushing on any further. I have taken the time to build up my defense.


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Turn 9

The heavy fighting continues! German panzers are moving in the direction of Smolensk, apparently no longer interested in continuing the drive to Leningrad. I took this as an opportunity to apply some pressure and advance my line. A German panzer parked just next to one of my light tanks proved an opportunity too juicy to pass up- I had to sacrifice a whole unit, but I reduced the panzer to 50% strength. Even in purely economic terms these kinds of spoiling attacks can actually be profitable for me, but mainly I'm working on attacking those elite steps. The Russians have a good propensity for comebacks, but if you're facing 13 strength armour, you can kiss goodbye to your chances. The rest of my troops have fallen back to directly defend the city, and my medium bombers have been overhead hitting one of the German HQs for some solid damage.


Kiev is getting pressed pretty hard, and will go down next turn. I've sent one of the HQ's that was here down south to Dnepropetrovsk as my army here is growing quite large. Hopefully this defense will prove a little harder to crack than they have been so far. I resisted the temptation to go on the counter-offensive right away in favour of digging in a little more.


I'm gradually running out of light tanks to counter with, so I'm probably going to have to become more and more defensive as 1941 drags on. With a bit of luck though, I'll have built up enough AT guns that by the time the Soviet winter strikes, I'll have the ability to really hurt those tanks.

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Turn 10

Kiev stands for another turn, but it will surely be the last. Seems Ash is deciding to take a slow 'n steady approach to his invasion, taking the time to reinforce before pushing ahead, despite the fact that he's outgunning me massively. I left a couple of units there in high readiness and supply as they should be able to take a few Germans with them, and fell back the rest.


Further south there have been some minor battles outside Dnepropetrovsk, seeing a German corps sent fleeing and others wounded. The weight of panzers bears heavy on my Russian divisions though, and I'm already preparing the defensive of the Stalino as a second line in case the main line breaks suddenly.


Further north, Russian troop presence is growing. There seems to be an absence of German fighters here, so I'm sending more Russian planes to start hitting the tactical bombers. Smolensk still holds firm, and our medium bombers are doing great work against the German HQ's.


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Turn 11

My northern offensive makes up in sheer numbers what it lacks in depth and variation. A division guarding Ludza was destroyed and the town recaptured, while a corps was driven back from the gates of Smolensk.


South of the marshes, Kiev was taken. Big battles around Dnepropetrovsk- I was tempted to counter attack immediately with my light armour but a good position didn't really open up. I need to let Ash come a little closer to the city before I bite back. Otherwise, divisions are filling in the back lines for when the main defense breaks.


Pretty soon I'm gonna lose my juicy Patriotic War bonus income, so its back to the bog standard ~400 odd MPPs. Time to get building as many units as possible!

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Turn 12

Ash could've taken Smolensk this turn, but instead he turned the attentions of the luftwaffe and his panzers north, against my Red Army incursion. This is very good news for me, as it keeps him fighting on my terms. He has nothing to gain by attacking my thick wall of troops, no nearby cities or MPP sites to claim. With a bit of luck, Smolensk will hold out for another turn with this recent turn of events.


The battle for Dnepropetrovsk is over, with the last troops retreated or destroyed. However, I decided to make a last big attack before retreating- I sacrificed both surviving light tank units to take a 12 step panzer down to 50% strength. Hopefully this will mean he isn't able to reinforce any elite steps on that particular unit- I REALLY don't want to be fighting 13 strength panzers in 1941.

I'm forming a new defensive line behind Kiev to protect my flank at Smolensk. Whichever line breaks first, I'm going to need to fall back closer to Moscow.


I'm all out of light armour now- it's defense only now until Soviet winter strikes and my tanks arrive. I got some Siberian reinforcements this turn which I plan to stockpile in the south.

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Turn 17

The German armour has advanced to Rostov, and it's all I can do to just about hold onto the city. Kharkov is threatened, but well defended. I finally got some AT units this turn though, so I may be able to start hitting back- soon as the winter strikes.


In the north, no further Axis advance. Likely Ash has sent most of his troops south to try and break me, giving me the option to either push in the north myself, or redirect my forces to defend the south.


Winter cannot come soon enough....

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Turn 19

A full scale defense saw multiple counter-active measures across the southern front. Two Panzers were wounded outside of Rostov, and a corps brought to 10% strength in the battle for Kharkov. Unfortunately, despite the river defense, Kursk was lost. With Stalino also gone, this leaves Kharkov as something of a salient. The remaining Kursk defenders have fallen back while a new attacking force is assembling with Siberian reinforcements just south of the new lines.



I'm gearing up for a small scale offensive in the north, try to divert some of Ash's armoured strength away from the pressured south. I need to get my Light Tanks killed off before they become completely useless in 1942.


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Turn 20

The battle for Kharkov continues- two divisions went down around the city fighting, but the entrenchment cost the Germans fairly heavily in corps losses. Attacks by weak Panzers left two armoured units exposed- my Siberian reinforcements were able to hit back, destroying one and seriously damaging (30%) the other. A corps was also knocked down to 50% strength and isolated from the main Axis line.


Outside Rostov, the lack of armour or proper armies is telling. The city is still standing firm but I'm having a hard time hitting back at the Panzers. One AT unit was lost, the other survived to damage the armour nearest to it to 60% strength. Fortunately, I spied an opening and was able to sneak in and smack Manstein's HQ for 40% strength, together with some assistance from a medium bomber.


I got some more Siberian tanks arriving at the end of my turn, and pretty soon the snow will arrive- then I can kick my counter offensive into a high gear.

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IMO, light tanks are never useless, even later in the game. Simply having the x2 attack per turn is very helpful, if for no other reason than knocking entrenchment down 2 points and the ability to move farther than infantry. If you can get the Germans on the run in 1942, light tanks greatly help in following up on weak retreating Germans and really putting a hurting on the Axis powers. They also tend to work well against Romanians and Hungarians.

He has some bad salients poking out all along the front for it being mid-November... if he doesn't pull back soon and consolidate a good defensive line, you could deliver a knock out punch in winter.

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Altaris, I fully agree as you know from our experience that everything can be of use! Nothing is a waste if used properly. Light tanks can open up at times or further and advance to continue a fast pursuit of a retreating German army.

I do believer there are a lot of options open for this game but for consideration for future use light tanks if used in packs of 8 or more can be devastating.

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- I agree with both of you on L-tanks, the 2 strikes can deal a lot of damage to HQs or weak units. I was a bit surprised to see panzers launched east of Rostov so late in 1941. I usually think it's better to grab cities to secure supply before consolidating the front.

- Here the historical Mius river defensive line would help especially when Germans still have all those small pockets in the rear/along the coast. Having Kharkov also deprives Axis of good defensive terrain down to Taganrog for the Winter.

- In the end it's a reversed Kursk salient, quite an interesting situation I must say ^^ . Very entertaining game as always so thanks and keep it going :) !

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My suggestion is when the winter effects hit you have to attack. You have got to pound down their supply even if it costs you. The more you pound him down in the winter the longer he needs to prepare for the summer and the shorter the summer offensive will be.

I just attack units even @ 0-0 and 1-0. The Germans just can't take it. Out flank out maneuver. Wait for the freezing effects.

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My thinking behind the Light Tanks is just that because they can't be bought back, they're effectively disposable weapons. I haven't been just throwing them away willy-nilly, but they've been a pretty key part of my aggressive fall-back.

Indeed Al, I know that the winter strike is just around the corner, so I'm keeping the Germans engaged. Better yet, Ash is playing ball and keeps trying to hit back rather than just accepting his gains and entrenching- prospects are good for 1942.

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Turn 21

A severed rail link to Kharkov meant that supply dropped to just 5 for the city- also meaning my nearest HQ lost his 10 supply in favour of a much weaker 8. I've retaken the rail lines but the damage has been done, and my counter this turn was quite weak. Instead my main attack came in the south out of Morozovsk, where I'm trying to relieve the pressure on Rostov. I destroyed a corps and badly damaged another, so hopefully the Panzers will switch targets to my new forces instead of hammering Rostov.


There were some small engagements in the north, culminating in one of my LT's breaking the line and attacking the artillery behind for some decent damage. I'm also preparing my paratroopers to land behind the small infantry force attempting to break through at Narva- both paras are in range of the towns providing supply to this force, and if I catch Ash unawares, I could do some nasty damage.


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My thinking behind the Light Tanks is just that because they can't be bought back, they're effectively disposable weapons.

I'd argue this is exactly what makes them NOT disposable. Anything which can be rebuilt is disposable for the Russians, as it can be rebuilt at a very reduced cost and in half the time. Divisions in particularly are very disposable, and infantry easily so as long as they serve a worthwhile delaying purpose. You can field more units on the map later in the war by keeping light tanks around, precisely because any lost infantry can be rebuilt but the LT's can't.

As Steel32 very effectively taught me, light tanks are best used entrenched at key spots, waiting on panzers to end up adjacent to them. With their 2x attack, they can then usually inflict 2-5 points of damage to panzers (though taking fair damage in the process), then since they haven't moved yet, be pulled back well out of counter-attack range, refitted over the next few turns, and be useful for the same purpose further back on the line. If done properly, the Russians can salvage anywhere from 12-20 of their starting 25 light tanks by winter. When combined with the 5-6 heavy tanks which roll into the line throughout late 41/early 42, the Russians can have a very mobile, high damage dealing force in Spring 42. It's VERY effective to use infantry to pummel down the Germans throughout the winter and root them out of any good heavy entrenchments, then come March consolidate all the heavy and light tanks under several good commands and just hammer away at a front. Twice now I've effectively destroyed the Wehrmacht as an effective offensive force by summer 1942 this way. Big Al is right... the Germans just can't keep up with this sort of war of attrition.

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But that's assuming your opponent is going to leave his Panzers ajacent to you. Ash is smart with his tanks- he almost never leaves them as the furthest forward unit, and generally favours a slower advance to build experience rather than a straight up Blitzkrieg. If you keep waiting for the perfect opportunity there's a good chance you're just going to get nuked from the sky, or outflanked.

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This is true, and he is indeed playing smart by moving at a slower pace. But just having the threat there forces the Axis player to move slower, which is an advantage in its own way. I agree you shouldn't let yourself be flanked, but after August, it's pretty hard to flank the Russians anyway.

I think you're in good shape, I was just saying I don't think it's ever a good idea to throw away LT's. Since they can't be rebuilt, you are ultimately just reducing the max size of forces you can field later.

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Turn 26

Apologies for the lack of updates. The lines haven't shifted much over the winter- I've done some decent, but not earth shattering, damage to Ash's mainline forces, including destroying another panzer corps and several divisions. The winter event hit him hard and although I wasn't able to take advantage of it to really cripple him, the end result is that the main Axis advance has been halted, and all German tanks have been withdrawn to the rear.

In the south, the main line has remained static, but in the south I lost Rostov. This was unfortunate, but luckily I remain in control of the port, so I still have good supply here. I'm building up troops to try and retake the city. I also destroyed a division this turn, and my attack from the east is gaining both momentum and ground.


In the north, I was finally able to pull off the large scale paratrooper operation I've been planning for some time. Despite the snow, I was able to seriously damage the HQ attached to the small German infantry-only force trying to break my flank at Narva. They've been hammering the town and trading blows but weren't able to take it- and this turn I hit back. This small pocket of German infantry plus the HQ is now isolated without support, and if the snow clears, I should be able to start mopping up. I don't have a huge force here myself, but hopefully I can turn this into a sizable win for the Russians.


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Turn 28

In the south, the snow lifted. The spring will bring pretty heavy bloodshed for both sides, but this time it's the Soviets who draw first blood. Following a winter of creeping up towards the city and finally sieging it, I was able to assault Rostov and recapture the city. Further up the line I reinforced my units and prepared for the mass Axis wave attacks to follow.


In the north, my paratroopers are taking heavy damage behind enemy lines. The race is on to see who can break through first- both of us have troops out of supply. If nothing else, the damage to the HQ will have long-lasting ramifications for troop effectiveness.


I reached armour level 1 and fighters level 1 this turn. I've lost a few armour units but still retain 3- a good number to start hitting back with!

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