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Breaking the line, tactics for noobs


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Hi all,

I've been lurking here for a couple of weeks while I experimented with the game. I went back a few pages and saw many threads devoted to grand strategy such as defending against the Dutch gambit but little on basic tactics.

I'd like to hear some opinions on breaking a defensive line. All things being equal such as terrian, would you attack a corp unit hoping for an easy break-through and encirclement or tackle an army unit head on with brute force?


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Some elementary stuff about breakthroughs. Some of the 'real pros' can no doubt expand on this! Or perhaps someone with a good memory can post links to earlier discussions...Jersey John?

Best opportunities for a successful breakthrough (the first three items are in my priority order):

1. Find a low-experience unit; preferably one that sits in a 'bulge' in the line where you can get 2 or 3 whacks at it. The experience and strength of the unit are more important than the size. An experienced corps can be tougher than a rookie army. And avoid entrenched units if possible. The best 'candidates' are new units that have just moved into the line, or units that have been seriously wounded and have been heavily reinforced in the previous turn.

2 . Look for clear terrain: No swamps, rivers, etc. to slow down your breakthrough.

3. Look for hexes that are furthest from towns, so your opponent can't "operate in" or "purchase" instant reinforcements.

(in SC, everyone is like the Russian Army, units go into battle right off the trains...this is a little weird)

4. Air, air, air: Try to kill the unit with your air, so adjacent ground units can follow through.

5. When you get a hole, zip tanks (or corps) through to attack neighboring hexes from the rear. From the initial penetration hex, you can widen the gap to each side (hopefully).

5a. If you don't have a lot of spare units, be sure to have at least one "free" unit to stick in the hole as a "place holder" You can then move through on the next turn. Try to keep the momentum of the breakthrough so he can't reinforce.

6. Try to get as many of "your color" hexes behind the enemy line as you can--it runs them out of supply and they become easy targets. On long fronts (like in Russia), tanks are good for this. Try to get two penetrations about 4-6 hexes apart, then "connect the dots" with a tank running south from the northern hole, and one running north from the southern hole. Then the infantry can work to surround them.

Even if you lose one tank unit, you can surround and destroy several of the enemy units; or force a large scale withdrawal. If you can pull this off with corps, so much the better--they're cheaper.

7. Avoid the temptation to go too 'deep' into the enemy's backfield too soon. Work north/south along the line, killing his 'up front' units. A one or two hex gap can be reinforced, a big hole will force a withdrawal.

7a. Avoid the temptation to try to go too far too fast. Keep your units together in case of a counter attack. Don't let them get too weak, or out of supply (keep a HQ nearby).

8. Remember you're really trying to force a withdrawal...not necessarily to kill everything in sight. Capture ground, resources, MPPs...

9. If the enemy doesn't withdraw, try to turn large fronts into small, isolated groups. Make him pay for being heroic!

[ April 12, 2003, 12:47 PM: Message edited by: santabear ]

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Thanks for the mention. There have been many entries on these tactics but I don't remember any of them being subjects of a main Topic.

There have also been several threads started by others on how to play with either the Axis or the Allies. If their originators don't paste them in the FAQ section before much longer I probably will, though I'd rather leave it for others to paste their own creations there.

Beyond which your own treatment of the subject in this thread is worthy of a Rommel! I think you've answered the man's question most admirably. smile.gif

[ April 12, 2003, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Too add to the good advice, since it seems before your air tech gets up you have a lot of trenchlike warfare to deal with. In France, have your forces operated over to attack the Allies before they entrench and or get HQs and reinforcements. Don't let any of the units entrench even if it should cost you... Get France out of the picture early regardless of heavy losses. The more she stays in with exp. units and reinforcements the harder she is to dig out! Like an ingrown toenail...

Same with the Russians, by December 1941 you've likely drawn most of the border for that War unless you're on a roll. You want to learn to move units with HQs to keep supply, readiness and units in a position where they cannot be struck by more than 3-4 enemy units at once<unless they're much stronger and the enemy is much weaker> In France there is one hex to sneak through by the time the Dutch Gambit is performed. Even though in some cases I've found that my transfered Air was able to help me to take the Dutch capitol in one turn! Work yourself and build up air they unentrench units as well as zap their strength! Often you can use 3 or 4 air units with 2-3 army attacks to destroy just about anything without HQ and experience, garaunteed. If every turn you can rotate your forces and keep the ones in the rear managed with strength you can piece away at the French reserves quickly. Once he's out of armies he's out of time. Quickly cut off supply, quickly pressure him with the Italians and choke the retreating British! Important<!> do not leave the French capitol any longer than neccessary. He will ship free french across the ocean! Nab that baby... and practice it about 10 times with ladder players.

Move the Krauts to intercept the Frogs rnd 3! A direct strike upon them after the Dutch Gambit! Offer up corp for the slaughter if in turn you get a quicker kill of France!...wedge them between the frog lines

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Good stuff there, Santa. smile.gif

I've printed it up and stabled it to my copy of "Terif's thread."

Sorry if I covered old ground. I did go back a few pages before posting but didn't see anything. Perhaps a separate sticky on strategy and tactics might be in order.

[ April 13, 2003, 09:10 AM: Message edited by: ChuckK ]

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I appreciate the kind words--from the members of this forum they're meaningful.

Liam's post reminded me of one other thing (that dovetails with the thread about AI): Playing against AI, especially when he gets an experience bonus, is a great way to develop your "technique."

The AI is not brilliant tactically, but it's relentless at exploiting any human mistakes. Play some AI games, and you'll learn what NOT to do quickly. (As in: "I'll just zip this tank unit back three hexes to get that air unit." Bye, bye, tank!)

[ April 13, 2003, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: santabear ]

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