jjdenver -> Half Again: Axis Perspective (4/7/2009 1:46:51 AM)
I've been asked to start an Axis AAR for this game. I'll write one but I'm not sure how updated I'll keep it nor how extensive it will be.
My thanks to Chuck for offering me a PBEM game and answering my questions about the game as we go. I'm learning a lot.
I'm a noob:
Just to set the stage I'm an experienced strategy gamer but an absolute neophyte with this game: RTV. I really enjoy a lot of things about it although it definitely has some ugly duckling flaws. I'm glad I bought it though.
I'd fiddled around w/ RTV against the AI but didn't feel like it was enough of a challenge to give me a real game so I played some of the 1941 scenario to see what the first month of Barbarossa was like, ran the first 18 months as Germany vs the AI, and that was about it.
My worst moment so far was in this game when I flew 2/3 of the Italian air force from Tobruk to the south part of Sicily thinking that I'd have a peek at Malta on the way back to northern Italy w/ my air unit. Malta had 2 units btw. The next turn I selected my air army to fly it up to Genoa but got the message from the game that I didn't have enough supply to rebase. What?? So I organized a convoy line (which I didn't want to do since the French navy would surely be waiting) to supply Sicily so I could get my air out of there. Chuck landed a unit next to my air unit, attacked and destroyed my air army. Wow! That was some serious pain to absorb. 2/3 of my Italian air force dead because I didn't know they couldn't rebase w/o some particular level of supply. :(
The special rules:
We are using Germany +50% production and UK +50% production since other AAR's here seem to have Germany losing consistently and never getting really any penetration at all into Russia.
The plan - or lack of plan....
My general strategy at the start of the game was pretty much non-existent. I really wasn't sure what was possible nor how to achieve it so I decided to build for the first year in a generic way that wouldn't commit me to any particular strategy while I got the feel of the game. I knew that I would probably diplo Spain and take Gibraltar and had a vague notion that I might try to make the Med an Axis lake, fortify the northern Euro coastline, D up against USSR, build a lot of subs/navy, and maybe fiddle with an attack on Turkey in the mid game if I had extra resources. Really I had no good plan nor any real idea how to achieve anything that I thought about doing. :)
The game started with what I thought was a rather bloody and difficult Polish campaign as the Germans quickly fell back into a Russian Doll defense of Warsaw. After Poland I took Denmark.
1940 (Low Countries)
Netherlands and Belgium also proved bloody as the Brits showed up to defend the low countries.
I knew that I would have little chance to penetrate France's lines early so I concentrated on just bleeding them at every opportunity to wear them down so that I could achieve a breakthough somewhere.
Eventually I started to find some holes, outflank the French locally and force them back. When a break opened up west of Metz I threw everything I had into it and raced south to ensure the French couldn't reform anything resembling a defensive line against me. From that point it was just a matter of (a long) time until I could conquer all of France. It was bloody, it was slow to reduce French strongpoints, and the Brits defended south France to make things worse.
I diplo-ed Spain into the Axis camp as soon as I had a hex on Spain to rail troops in and immediately went for Gibraltar and took out Portugal.
While I was reducing Marseilles, and banging my head against Gibraltar I organized an attack on Yugo to conquer it.
1940 (Italy - navy)
I have no clue whatsoever about how to play Italy effectively. I shipped some troops to Tobruk but I was afraid to sail the Regia Marina or set u convoy lines because the French navy was around for most of 1940 since France didn't take my Vichy offer. I sailed the Italian Navy once when I thought the French Navy would stay even after France surrendered but when I asked Chuck he informed me that the navy would go away once I conquered France so after that I didn't want to engage them further.
1940 (Italy - land)
Chuck ran mobile British troops around my Tobruk build-up. I had no supply so could only move 1 hex at a time and had no real shot to react. With the Brits swarming, French navy sitting in Central Med, and France several turns from surrender I decided to pull out of Africa completely and use the Italian army to garrison ports in Europe. N. Africa has only a few PP's, and I felt completely incompetent w/ Italy...so I decided to preserve their navy as a force in being, avoid a disaster to the Italian army, and just play it conservative with them. I know it was probably not a great move but really I just need to learn the game before I have any shot in a theatre like the Med vs a player like Chuck. I ran away to Italy w/ all the Italians I could get out of Africa. :)
I've resolved on a strategy that I'll pursue.
1) Finish off the last threat in Europe - Greece.
2) Use Italians and Axis minors to defend ports in Europe as much as I can. I'm going to pack them in thick at the ports though and where there aren't enough I'll use Germans instead. Festung Europe will be built. :)
3) Germans spent 200 PP on naval research - no more into Navy, everything into Luftwaffe and Wermacht.
4) Russia will be Germany's main target. Yes I'm aware that in every AAR Germany barely makes it into Russia before Russian winter, partisan effects (I'm not sure how that works in this game really), and hordes of red units forces the Germans on the permanent defensive. However I want to give Barbarossa a fair shot in this game. I don't expect to win, but I expect to gain some experience w/ the front, have some fun, and get a good idea whether it would ever be possible to succeed in Russia as Germany.
5) Maintain a rotating set of air units up in Russia so that they are always available to force a breakthrough in Russian lines. I understand that air as it's modeled in this game can't really be used as close air support efficiently (they take tons of losses). However I want to try to avoid a situation where the Red Army just forms a huge line that I can't penetrate and air might help me get breakthroughs.
6) Invest in tank units as a priority for the same reason - I don't want to get into a WW1 situation vs Russia if I can avoid it....and I know it may be impossible but I have to give it a try.
7) Focus the German effort in the north. The terrain is rough but the distance to Leningrad and Moskva is less than that to Stalingrad and Caucasus. Also a thrust in the south leaves a long left flank open to the Russians. I plan to aim between Leningrad and Moskva to threaten the flanks of both.
Here's a screenie of my paras staged in southern Yugoslavia preparing to drop on Athens. I will have 2 paras + 4 air for the Greek campaign. I'm not quite sure I can take it in one turn so I also have some armor + inf down there as backup.
FYI - I bought the 4th air to support breakthroughs in Russia, and I bought the first para to take Denmark early in the game. The only unit that I bought specifically for Greece is the 2nd para. I guess it might turn out to be useful later - not sure really. Maybe it's wasted PP's along w/ the Italian air I lost on Sicily and for that matter maybe the 4th air was wasted PP - I have no idea. :P