Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (Full Version)

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heliodorus04 -> Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 3:23:52 AM)

Dear Ivan:

Advice from an Axis player to a Soviet without as much experience.
Heliodorus04 Axis (ostensible narrator 1). Iím getting the hang of 1941.

Iíve played Road to Kiev as Axis and as Soviet vs. AI, and am playing a solid first-game as Soviet vs. human so far, but donít hold me to thatÖ
Nathan06 is Soviet, his first time playing Soviet, so I intend to help him with as little as I know.

However, I am actually attempting a decisive victory with my Axis, and I donít want to help him TOO much. Just basics.
To start, Turn 1 sucks for the Soviet. Itís like listening to your wifeís testimony in divorce court. Itís hurtful, but itís completely legal, and thereís nothing you can do about itÖ
So Iím off to blast a path through what Stavka thinks is a passable defense and rearguard.

The only Ďlessoní to be learned from turn 1 is to see just how far a well supplied panzer division can move in a single turn. I think itís pretty close to the speed of light. Respect that distance they can put behind your Ďlineí and your supply line. Just because they moved east last turn doesnít mean they canít cut all the way to Leningrad in a turn if you leave the rear open for exploitation.

Unfortunately for Nathan, Iíve just earlier today finished my AGN north moves in my first (vs. AI) Barbarossa scenario, and Iíve played enough RtL that I think I have the first move down to a science. This is what Iím going for for AGN. Note that much of the panzer group still has about 1/4 of its move and is ďstagingĒ while I see how other areas of the front, and other encirclements go. If I achieve this in T1 of my game with Nathan, Iíll be quite pleased.


Iím not going to go for a giant gulp of land on T1. The German forces at hand can manhandle anything between the border and Pskov. And thereís little benefit to moving as far as you can versus how far you need to for your priority mission. For me thatís to create a couple pockets that collapse to infantry on T2, consolidate rear-area supplies, and move the hell forward on T2. T3 should be the line at Pskov.

And thatís all you need to know for this installment of Dear IvanÖ

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 3:24:45 AM)

So hereís how it went for poor Ivan as the bulk of my movements and combats is complete:

I mean, this is a typical move. I make a point to take the two ports that protect that small encirclement on the coast. Those units arenít much, but everything helps. Thereís a motorized division north of the screenshot edge that took the port up there and opened a line to the panzer corps HQ at the top of this map.

I dislike Kaunas a lot. But Iíll be darned if I let them escape. I did this encirclement okay, I think, and got a bonus from how the routed units retreated.

Note to Germans: Donít force Displacement Moves (15.10) on Soviet units when you donít have to. Notice the two enemy units/stacks in red circles. Those armored/motorized divisions at my southeastern edge of advance Ė I had to move them in stages because if Iíd let the computer take itís path of least resistance, they would have moved adjacent to the circled stack of an HQ and 2 routed units Ė that would have caused them to Displace, and even though the Displacement Move causes easy casualties, it also gives the Soviet free distance away from Hans. Hans wants to capture as many Ivans as possible in 1941 Ė itís easy, remarkably safe, and it makes you feel really good (morale bonuses for won combats Ė and combats against encircled units are SO much easier). Plus no one gets away!

So I had to move around those carefully Ė the automated move routine doesnít realize this. All it knows is that the HQ/routed unit stack exert no ZOC, so youíre free to move right on next to them. At times, it might grant you an extra important hex to force the Displacement (say a city, or cross a key river). In such cases go for the land if itís more important. But on Turn 1, be careful. Let no Ivans escape. This holds true until you run up against solid defensive lines in 1941.

Also note the Blue line. I want to highlight the concept of converting friendly hexes. Some of that frontier may revert to Soviet control Ė perhaps where I have no ZOC NE from Kaunas. Those that do will have to be reconverted, costing extra movement next turn, which is especially problematic for your infantry. Early on, as the Germans, you need to try to convert Soviet territory smartly so that your infantry can advance over friendly controlled hexes. When you own it, they only pay 1 MP per hex (assuming no terrain or ZOC issues), and thatís essential to catching up your infantry to your armor. The armor are not just for encircling, they are for converting a safe path for infantry to follow.

Iím not sure, and Iíd like to do some study, but I think when youíre moving HQs and such over friendly terrain, fewer of your trucks will self-immolate. But weíll get to your suicidal truck drivers laterÖ

My notes for Ivan for his turn.

Run east as fast as you can. If thereís a marsh near the end of one of your moves, and it makes some sense as a defensive posture, get in the marsh. Put all your aircraft in National Reserve this turn (do it via the commanderís report Air Groups tab. Time consuming, but necessary to save you important VPs. Encircled air groups canít redeploy to national reserve. Fortunately for you I destroyed the vast majority of planes that were on the now-encircled airfields. Next turn, you will redeploy the planes you put in NR to safe airfields, and you can leave the badly damaged and useless aircraft out of my reach.

Focus on two things in re-organizing your army. Try not to let Northwestern Front end up with too much of the units. Northern Front is in Leningrad. I found that as I re-organized, it always made more sense to put units into Northwestern Front, and then the next thing I knew, it had 130 of 75 command (or something). That wasnít good. So focus on how your armies report to either of these two Fronts. This will do you well as more divisions join the game. The second thing is: Always try to be within 5 hexes of your commanding HQ, even if itís an Army.

Use rail movement wisely Ė it can help you a lot if youíre not careless. Remember to de-train if you can (click on counter or just move them off rail).
Know how to use refit, and know when to use it. If you put everyone on Refit, you might as well have no one on it. But refit can help build you some key divisions that can be used in important places.

As soon as practical, put your motorized units into good terrain that they can hang out in for a long time, and put them on Static mode. It gives you APs. I put one of mine in Pskov, and it held out two turns (with the right mix of friends in a level 2 fort). The other was in Leningrad.

Safeguard routed units to the rear whenever possible (rail is good for this, even if just a few hexes east of a safe line).

Never attack unless youíre isolated. Or until about turn 7Ö And then only if I do something very stupid like leave a regiment where you can smack it.
Donít forget that the Finns come in on T4 or so, and theyíre tough. But they canít attack below the No-Attack line (Hans has a frowy face on that one). So Northern Leningrad is perfectly safe. Just donít let Hans link up with the Finns east of Ladoga. That makes Stalin pretty pissed. Defend the No-Attack line, if the Finns cross it in force they can make life very hard for you. Simply putting a fort there (something I normally use a house-rule to prevent, but if you want to waste a lot of AP on that, Iíll go with it this game) or any of the surviving Security units you have, plus the units that start against Finland (assuming they survive and retreat in reasonable order).

Last but not least: Do not forget how far a panzer division can go on this or any future turn!

johntoml56 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 5:09:38 AM)

hmmm, interesting philosophy; I tend to work some AXIS inf divs to the bone clearing the frontier, the rest follow up to create sides of the pocket, whilst most of my armour makes for the river crossing, on the road to Pskov; one or 2 mots head for Riga to complete the encriclement. i find that manual airfeild attack is much more productive than the AI, and if you are going to bump into a airfield, bomb it first to increase the losses. How do you handle the airwar, naval transport, which route will you convert the railways, do you mot any infantry divs????? can you please post some losses windows please. Thxs

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 6:10:09 AM)


ORIGINAL: johntoml56

hmmm, interesting philosophy; I tend to work some AXIS inf divs to the bone clearing the frontier, the rest follow up to create sides of the pocket, whilst most of my armour makes for the river crossing, on the road to Pskov; one or 2 mots head for Riga to complete the encriclement. i find that manual airfeild attack is much more productive than the AI, and if you are going to bump into a airfield, bomb it first to increase the losses. How do you handle the airwar, naval transport, which route will you convert the railways, do you mot any infantry divs????? can you please post some losses windows please. Thxs

I definitely do air manually. There's a good Turn 1 guide here on doing massive air damage. That being said, I wasted flying miles on bombing the airfield in Kaunas and the one in the central pocket. In the future, it might be better to not devestate those as much, but I don't know. I had the miles. You don't need a lot of airpower for ground support on T1.

I'll try to remember loss windows - for scenarios, they aren't as critical as for CGs.

Note also that my pockets are secure, for the most part, with Infantry. And my Infantry will have (assuming Nathan's moves are as limited as I think they are) two things to do next turn: 1) pound the encircled Soviets into surrender, which should be very easy in almost all cases. 2) Move east along the pathways of friendly hexes created by the Armor.

Hopefully the infantry closest to the frontier does the fighting, and the infantry on the flanks moves forward fast.

The German can definitely get to Pskov on T3, but can he do anything with it? It depends on the defense. And regardless of the defense, Germany will be at the limit of supply out that far, and infantry will be a turn behind, probably. I don't think there's much the German can do to optimize his strategic situation, at least in the Leningrad scenario, by turn 3 other than pressure Pskov and the river line there.

Pskov, as I see RtL, becomes the phase line for what you're going to do regarding Leningrad - straight up between Peipus and Ilmen, a westward approach along the coast, or the 'right hook' around Ilmen.

I'm even debating a Vellikie Luki to Rzhev to Vyshny Volochek (but I don't think there's time) to Lodeynoe Pole and the complete encirclement of Leningrad. Certainly not possible in a whole-theater game like Barbarossa or a GC, but possibly here.

As far as rail goes, one key point to the Axis players: Remember that the "baltic zone" (it's outlined on the map) is cheaper to convert rail hexes while you're in the zone. WHen you plan where your rail lines go after they leave that zone, be sure to remember the change from 1 MP to 3 MP and calculate your distances accordingly.

As for my rail line this game, I did something differently. My rail unit is under the Security division which is just across the frontier border on the Baltic. I'm going to head toward Riga from there, but my plan is to rail eastward and south of Riga (that east-west line). I just prefer it for some reason.

The one thing I personally had to adjust to when playing the Soviets was not how weak the divisions are (although that is certainly a constant nagging problem managed with good use of refit and proper distance to HQ). It was the realization that soviets just do not have the movement of the Germans, ever. Especially when you want to move in enemy owned territory.

Turn 1 is even worse, it seems, which is why I think those encirclements will be doomed to surrender. Soviets can run backward on friendly ground fine. But they can't move far in enemy ZOCs, so use them well.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 2:52:11 PM)

Iím starting T2 talking to newbs about conversion of friendly territory and how itís NOT guaranteed that if you moved through it last turn, it will be yours this turn. Compare this screenshot with the end of the previous turn (here in a side-by-side SS Iíve edited).

(next time I'll be sure to make my SSs narrower - I don't like to have to left-right scroll to read. Apologies).

Sorry about the differing scales of SSs, and the ďmaximum moveĒ Iíve enabled on the right-side SS. Several points to illustrate. As a starting point, letís look at the center encirclement that I created in T1. Notice the yellow circle there on the NE side of that pocket. Thatís where German Ďpending conversioní hexes actually reverted to Soviet control. This represents the abstraction of patrols and low-intensity combat.

In this specific case of conversion, itís not a big deal to me as the German. At the time I took this screenshot, it was before I even did Recon, so I wasnít sure Nathan wasnít trying to break out. But it turns out he was not. It was simply conversion. What I was more worried about was the conversion areas east of Kaunas. One of my important tasks for T1 was to create a safe, friendly-controlled movement path for my infantry divisions, and that pathway between the central and Kaunas pocket were vital to have in my control for T2 moves.

On to other details: The unit currently selected is a Panzer division 2 hexes SW of Riga, and you can see how far it can move this turn in the difference between the redder pink shading (stuff I donít own and canít reach) and the lighter pink shading (stuff I donít own but can reach this turn). I can be about 3 hexes west of Pskov this turn, if I want to (I donít, Iíll get into that more later). So thereís the blue arcing line of the places I can go, just with that division, this turn.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 3:26:40 PM)

Hereís how my move looked after ALL was said and done, including moving HQs and air bases.

The first thing I want to talk about is for Axis players: Why did I not shoot for the moon in terms of how far forward I can move? I could have gotten all the way up to the Sinyaya (great name!) River on the outskirts of Pskov. Why not do that?

The first reason is that it doesnít do me any good to just BE there. I have to be poised to do something next turn, and while itís perfectly possible to REACH Pskov on Turn 2 (I didnít go all out for the eastern edge of possible movement in T1, either, and if I had Iíd be at the gates of the city) Ė itís quite another story to do something operationally useful if you reach Pskov on T2. Just doing so stretches your supply limit to the max, will strain the Motor Pool, causing truck drivers to commit suicide, and will present the problem of hexes behind you possible converting back to Soviet, leaving you isolated (thatís happened to me in Army Group South situations often, where Ďballs-outí can have a lot higher payday given the open terrain.) Itís entirely plausible to advance 30 hexes through no enemy contact and still have those hexes close behind you if you have no ZOCs to keep pathways open.

So the second aspect to this involves the blue outline, which represents the Ďboxí that my Infantry units will be moving through next turn. That box is realistically as far as they can move next turn. They canít reach Pskov, and panzers arenít going to do much to win the war without infantry to help. So notice the line from my forward-most Infantry unit to my forward-most tank unit (the black line connecting the circled units). Thatís 10 raw hexes. Next turn, all those hexes will be friendly, almost certainly, and my infantry isnít going to get much farther than those 10 hexes. Considering the terrain (especially the major Daugauva river), making the full 10 hexes is optimistic.

So in summary, two things governed my armor penetration distance.
1) Only going so far as my supply line could realistically maintain a supply corridor through

2) Converting hexes to friendly along a good path for my infantry to move on T3.

Thereís one other thing going on, though, and thatís the mistakes Ivan made.
I said two things to Ivan that I hope he didnít misinterpret too badly. 1) Move to the east as fast as possible (I think I said Ďas fast as possible) and 2) If thereís a swamp that looks okay to hold along your retreat, hold it.
Well, it looks like Nathan mistook some of the swamps he could hold further west for good positions. In Road to Leningrad, your first two turns as Soviet have to be about saving units more than anything else. And it looks to me like Nathan moved some competent airborne brigades to try to hold the Southern Daugava.

I canít say itís a flawed approach, because I actually had to divert armor to knock out the one unit west of the Daugauva river, simply because it threatened my preferred railway crossing at the river. Thatís the one NE of the black-circled infantry division Ė thatís where I like to convert rail for my drives east.

The problem is that he enabled them, and several other units to get encircled again by underestimating how far panzer divisions can go in a turn. Sorry to say to Nathan that heíll regret that over-commitment of forces on the western edge of his perimeter. Those airborne brigades in swamps NW of Vitebsk can slow down the German well, and now youíll probably need other reinforcements to plug the line between me and Vellikie LukiÖ
But donít worry, Iím going to post a strategy session for me and Nathan to look over, that should help.

One interesting point is that Nathan did not evacuate Riga, and this actually wasnít expected. The thing about Riga thatís good for the Soviet is that it can be sea-supplied by port, so just moving past it wonít make it brittle the way encircled pockets are brittle. I might have to fight him there. The disadvantage is that at this early stage of the war, one Deliberate attack by one or two divisions will probably crush it because my units are so strong.

Were I Nathan, now would be a good time to sea-evacuate those units. You can make me attack them at the cost of a division using half itís move, but thatís not a very severe penalty. Whereas evacuating them enables them to be used in the checkerboard delay-defense youíll need very soon once make solid contact with the bulk of my infantry against the bulk of yours. Your call though. Others may feel differently.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 3:44:53 PM)

Here are my losses by the end of T2.

None of this is particularly meaningful to me right now Ė itís too early, and thereís no pride in the victories of the early game. You stuff your fist down Ivanís throat and heís pretty powerless to stop it.

HOWEVER: I am really trying to pay attention to the correlation between how I move HQs, especially Army HQs, and also airbases. I am trying to determine if my methodology of armor movement, where I try hard to convert good movement paths for infantry and HQs/airbases, helps alleviate the suicide problem that my motor pool personnel seem to have.

The motor pool is critically important in this game for carrying supplies between your railhead and your units. Iíd like to gather a better understanding about how the attrition of Motor Pool assets functions. Iíd like to have a good model for understanding that, but itís too early yet to figure it all out. Iím going to observe, though.

The first thing Iíd like to know is how HQ/airbase movement that is specifically conducted through the safe path that the armor created on the previous turn, might minimize truck suicides in the ďtransporting units/transporting suppliesĒ section. In this game, Iím being a minimalist in how I move Army HQs and airbases. Exception for the Panzer Gruppe HQÖ

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 4:31:04 PM)

Now this section is specifically for Nathan about how Iím operating my game.
Map overview:

Itís a busy map, yes.
Allow me to explain a little bit.

The white arrows are typical (& historic) German advance paths. The advantage of this line of attack is that itís the shortest route to Leningrad. The disadvantage is that you end up at the heavily fortified city of Leningrad, with a difficult path to try to flank Leningrad and cut off itís supply if you try to move east from the area you arrive at South of Leningrad.

The gray area is something Iím theorizing about Ė a path to high-payoff victory locations for the Axis (if you donít take Leningrad, you at least need these ones), and you might possible catch a Soviet off-guard not protecting too much between Vellikie Luki and Rzhev. Thereís also the chance you could box in a good number of newly arrived units, which seem to come in the Rzhev area, but youíd have to get their early (T5/T6-ish).
The black is the infamous ďRight HookĒ (at least how Iíve taken it). The right hook is probably the most dangerous attack strategy in that, if it succeeds in linking up with the Finns, two very very bad things happen. 1) Leningrad is fully isolated and instantly vulnerable to direct assault regardless of the fortification levels, which spells doom for the Soviets in this scenario. 2) The Finns can get out and hold territory in defense, and they are really really good divisions that the Soviet wonít be beating in combat.

The trick I have found as a Soviet player against a human opponent is manning defensive lines in such a way that you donít give any one of these away easily.

So you have to be smart about how you set up your lines, and you have to be flexible in adapting your lines to what the Germans indicates heís trying to do. And thatís not easy because you have a lot of weak units. In my game as Soviet, I over-committed south of Lake Ilmen, and on Turn 6 or 7, my German opponent has made it to Leningrad via the white path. He has 10 turns to hurt Leningrad in direct assault, which, maybe he can doÖ.

I try to have a 3-tiered line when Iím Soviet. The first line maintains contact with the Germans so that he canít move too freely. Itís wise to put weaker units here, but not the WEAKEST, because your best hope is to retreat in good order from these positions when Germans attack.

The second line is competent units holding key positions with good fortifications (Level 2 is Ďgoodí). If these units are attacked, they arenít likely to retreat because they have good TOE values (from smart refits the turn before) and theyíre in good defensive terrain (cough: swamps: cough)
The rear-most line is composed of the weakest units Ė units that were routed but managed to evacuate, units that arrive as reinforcements but have the usual 20-percent TOE problem. You want them close enough to the front that they can serve some digging-in functions and start digging in favorable terrain, but you donít want them attacked because theyíll route.

In this concept, you rotate your Soviet divisions as follows:
Line 1: Line one retreats when required, but tries to maintain contact with German ZOCs (if not directly with German units). If Line 1 units are forced to retreat or route, find a new spot for them in a Line 3 position.
Line 2 units become Line 1 units as the Germans force the original line backward. Hopefully Line 2 units hold if attacked. I try to protect my most valuable divisions when I fear they might be hammered in a Line 2 position, and Iíll move them to a Line 3 position.

Line 3 positions can do several things: They can take the place of Line 1 units, if its practical (if their TOE got high enough between turns and if the terrain they move into is solid for defense). They can become Line 2 units (either by default as the line moves toward them, or by moving forward when theyíre strong enough), or they can make new Line 3 positions.

The problem with this 3-tiered defensive approach is that it commits a lot of units to geography, and if the German outmaneuvers you, you can end up with a lot of units out of place for where the German is actually concentrating his force. This may be whatís happening to me in my game playing Soviet against a human Ė I could lose because I tried to defend everything equally (he who defends everything defends nothing well). But if you have an option of letting the Germans get SOMEplace fast, itís probably best to let them get to Leningrad fast Ė itís a hard nut to crack.

Finally, just know your fortification rules, and understand how to create construction battalions in your HQs. These are essential skills for Soviet defense.

pensfan -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 8:47:54 PM)


ORIGINAL: heliodorus04


Thereís one other thing going on, though, and thatís the mistakes Ivan made.
I said two things to Ivan that I hope he didnít misinterpret too badly. 1) Move to the east as fast as possible (I think I said Ďas fast as possible) and 2) If thereís a swamp that looks okay to hold along your retreat, hold it.
Well, it looks like Nathan mistook some of the swamps he could hold further west for good positions. In Road to Leningrad, your first two turns as Soviet have to be about saving units more than anything else. And it looks to me like Nathan moved some competent airborne brigades to try to hold the Southern Daugav

Now I have an idea of how Grasshopper felt in the presence of the Master in the Kung Fu series. I truly am a newbie playing as the Soviets. This is my 1st time playing the Soviets. I've played most of the 'Road to' Scenarios as the Axis and am currently playing 2 PBEM as the Axis. So this is a whole new ball of wax for me. That said, I listen to heliodorus' advice, for turn 1, but wanted to sacrifice the above mentioned airborne brigades to buy some time, allowing my forces a better chance of retreating. After seeing the results of the Axis turn 2, this was perhaps not a very wise decision. This is truly a learning experience for me. Hopefuly I can learn some valuable lessons from this experience.

raizer -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 9:45:50 PM)

you got the panzer corps HQ sitting out there like a fat turkey better put a body on it because if he recons your panzer movement paths he is gonna see it and its gonna get displaced

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 10:38:38 PM)


ORIGINAL: raizer

you got the panzer corps HQ sitting out there like a fat turkey better put a body on it because if he recons your panzer movement paths he is gonna see it and its gonna get displaced

Yeah, I know - and I left it there for the turn and got away with it...
I debated what to do about that, since my opponent (Pensfan from here on; apparently his name is different here than Multiplayer) could see it if he looked.

But I also counted on his inexperience. For those reading and learning, what I did was really, really dangerous, with little up-side. Had something come next to the HQ, it would have displaced (suffering casualties) and not been able to move back up to the Panzer divisions for a turn or two, which really would have hurt.

But honestly, even a veteran Soviet player might not hit that HQ for several realistic reasons: He didn't bother to recon it - this early most Soviet players are trying to get units to safety, and thus, not very concerned with where exactly the Germans are. Even if they reconnoitered the hex, they probably only saw a nameless, symbol-less unit, not an HQ.

The Soviets are so restricted in movement that he might not have been able to reach it.

And if something had reached it, that would have made me very mad. Not something I do very often, but I did do it deliberately.

Al: PLEASE stop calling me a master. Somebody will start gunning for me thinking I claim to be something I'm not. This is my 6th WITE game, and 3 of those (including this one) are ongoing and I'm still learning. I've YET to actually play a mud or blizzard turn in this game, so I don't know much other than how to maximize Axis advantage, and I have some ideas on playing as Soviet.

I'm a decent writer of AARs, and this is my 3rd time playing RtL (second as Axis) so I know the scenario better than other scenarios. Also, the first four or five turns are so ridiculously easy for the German it defies description. Seriously. I've not done anything spectacular. I've only written a decent AAR through two turns.

pensfan -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (1/31/2011 11:26:27 PM)


ORIGINAL: heliodorus04


Al: PLEASE stop calling me a master

Chill. Simply making a refrence to an old TV series. Maybe you are too young to understand the refrence. You are making a great AAR for newbies like me. You have some very sound advice and are able to communicate it very well. I appreciate your effort.


EDIT: I did not have sufficient information regarding what type of unit the above mentioned HQ unit was. I did not really pay much attention to that screenshot when taking my turn. Even if I had identified it as a HQ, I do not believe I had sufficient range to get close to it while isolated?

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/1/2011 12:11:27 AM)

Iím not at much liberty to show SSs of Turn 3 because they would give away too much of my operational emphasis. So Iím taking a screenie with units turned off, and then Iíll overlay one of only Soviet troops on top of that, such that you see what the German sees, but not German units (those tech-savvy Germans!)

Please forgive the odd lines as that took a while to do and was imprecise. Blue represents where my units are (Pensfan will know that as Iím adjacent to his units. Yellow are units that I have encircled. Red represents the first real Hero of the Soviet UnionÖ

Iíll start with that. Everyone will tell you Fortified Regions suck and are simply surrenders waiting to happen. Well I donít know how exactly this happened (although I know Marsh terrain played a big part, as did level 2 fortification). I had a Motorized Div attack: held. Then I brought up a Panzer Div: held! Damn! That was a big penalty for me this turn, because I thought if I could dislodge it, I had a fairly unguarded crossing south of Pskov that gives me the ďGray AdvanceĒ option (from a few screen shots ago). Now, thatís not out of the question, but the Infantry will have to do it instead of the Panzers. I had come to the conclusion that no matter what, fortified regions without a supporting counter-type unit will simply surrender. I canít ever remember seeing them hold anything, anywhere Ė until this battle (and the one after it, grumble grumble).

Here again this turn, I put my panzers to the job of simply creating movement pathways that the infantry can use to hurry up to Pskov on T4. Hopefully theyíll make it there (but Iím not exactly sure if they will Ė it depends on supply replenishment).

And that was all this turn was really about. I have had since the start the goal of getting to the Velekaya/Senyaya rivers (the ones running south from Pskov) by Turn 4 and to hopefully cross in strength there. In the screenshot you can see the brighter green (hexes I owned at the start of this turn) and a little dimmer green (hexes that are now Ďpendingí conversion for start of next turn.

That really is one of the most important aspects of exploitation movement you need to understand: the movement relationship between pending-friendly and friendly. Itís a key strategy element of this game. If youíre Soviet opponent is running away, you canít really stop him anyway. Just ensure your infantry can move as fast as possible until they reach the place where the Soviet in fact does want to defend.

Youíll note that I didnít make a big press to destroy the airborne brigades and other units caught up in the center of my line. Once youíre isolated, youíre not getting ANY stronger Ė period. It was more important for me to move units forward than to deal with isolated units behind me (I have two corps of 9th Army that arrived T2/T3 and can handle that job just fine on their way to the front). Iím even letting units south of the southern Daugava get away Ė let them eat cake! Iíd rather not have to cross major rivers to chase down a relatively insignificant Ivan or two. Operationally, it takes me too far out of my way.

One of the big differences, hopefully improvements, in my play in this scenario versus when I played the AI is Iím moving faster and smarter. I donít know if my units will be in sufficient position on T4 to conduct good attacks in the Pskov area. Some might, some might not Ė that will become the first operationally important decision I have to make next turn- continue maneuver or stop and fight for a bit.

Pensfan did a much better job in establishing a defense. I personally might have done things differently, like occupying all of the Velekaya river even if it meant 1-unit per hex rather than the stacks Pensfan has here. Iím curious to see whether Pensfanís defense is heartier than mine was against a human. I honestly donít know what will happen.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/1/2011 12:27:28 AM)

Now on to the truck-driver suicide watchÖ

This is T2ís and T3ís respective losses Ė Iím not paying attention to casualty figures for men, etc., because Iím not playing a full campaign (and even if I were, I donít know that T3 1941 tells you much about your grand campaign). I am, however, trying to figure out how to slow the rate at which my truck drivers do whatever it is they do that DESTROY 750 trucks this turnÖ

So comparing T2 vs T3, T3 saw a 26 percent increase in truck-abduction from moving supplies. T3 saw a 30 percent increase from moving units.
Figures derived as follows Ė math ainít my strong suit: (226-179)/179; (536-412)/412. I think thatís right in terms of percent increase over last turn.

Those are frighteningly high increases. But Iím actually more surprised by the fact that the attrition from carrying supply is lower, and Iím not concerned about that as a result. My supply line has gotten might long (but my rail repair unit is making awesome progress now that itís got nothing but friendly terrain ahead of it). My supply line probably did get about 25 percent longer between T2 and T3.

Now, how to bring attrition down for moving unitsÖ Soon Iíll catch up to the Soviets, and that problem will probably resolve itself to a large degree around that issue. T4 is going to see HUGE attrition from moving units because thatís just about all I did this turn, was move everything as far as it could go (air bases moved, too, which will make it worse), and I received a new corps with 3 divisions this turn (from 9 Army).

I donít know enough to make any observations about the difference in truck driver death rate when travelling over friendly hexes versus pending friendly Ė most of my units (everything but motorized) are moving most (and in many cases ALL) of their movement value while on friendly hexes. Yet we still see massive truck driver deathÖ
Sorry if these posts bore you Ė theyíre important to winning longer games, and Iím trying to figure out. If I were in the Wehrmacht, Iíd be damned afraid to get onboard trucksÖ

johntoml56 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/1/2011 5:15:56 AM)

Excellent stuff; as this is a scenario you can flog your army to death because it ends on Turn 17; probably teaches bad habits; have you used naval transport? do you use your bombers to drop supplies to your fwd units?

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/1/2011 2:22:55 PM)

Yes, I do drop supplies forward, mostly using Ju52s, but when it looks rough, I can use bombers too. But it doesn't get too rough in THIS one (AGS is another story entirely).

For newbs reading this, Johntoml56 makes a very good point:
This scenario is a great beginner scenario for so many reasons, but...

You can learn bad habits in it in terms of how you would play Grand Campaigns (GCs). I don't have to worry about partisans, and I can go balls-out to turn 17 and then it ends. In a GC, turn 18 becomes mud (using historical weather) and that changes things drastically (from what I hear).

This Road to... scenario is also almost twice as long as the others, which are typically 10 turns. In those, you have to concern yourself a lot more with giant armored leaps forward, and worry about how their supply will be.

For newbs, I recommend Road to Leningrad first, followed by Road to Kiev.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 2:09:04 AM)

Here's the start of T4:


Resolution is a bit off of where I might like it, but I also like keeping Pensfan from seeing exact combat figures.

From this, I would say Pensfan has done a praiseworthy job of creating a checkerboard defense. As I mentioned last turn, Iím not sure how his Ďstacks & spacesí defensive posture is going to work, but honestly, it looks to be superior to how I defended it in my PvP game playing Soviet. I held the whole river, but units were only 1-counter stacks (which technically isnít a stack, I guess). But we had a lot of level 2 forts. Pensfan also has level 2 forts as far as I can see behind the river. Building construction battalions, I take it?

I wonít be showing an end-of-turn screenshot. I need to disguise what Iím going to do as much as possible, so weíll finish the turn on truck losses, and thatís about it. Suffice it to say that I think Iím doing very well on my schedule to this point Ė I would call it darn near perfect (relative to what my plan was).

Oh, Pensfan Ė NOTE THAT THE FINS are in the war now! And they started off pretty poorly. A lot of held results up there which I wasnít expecting. But honestly, that front isnít particularly important to this game, at least for the Axis. The no-attack line takes all the bite out of them. Most players simply run away as fast as possible and create a solid wall of 1-unit stacks the hex behind the no-attack line, and the Fins can do NOTHING about it. Only if the Germans can get up there and pierce that line will the Fins have any further meaningful role in the game (which I personally find very sad Ė those lines need to be randomized, and not visible to the Soviet playerÖ)

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 2:11:23 AM)

Truck losses between T3/T4...


Okay, now Iím starting to see a couple of things here Ė the losses due to supply movement are not particularly rough. On T3, my supply line was outpaced by my movement a good bit (and Iím using my infantry forces, which advance at a pretty steady pace each turn so far, as my aggregate main body). On T4, simply because my RR Repair unit is making great progress now that everything before it is friendly-converted, probably kept pace moving east with the main body of infantry Ė but overall my infantry moved less for a variety of reasons (the Daugava river factors heavily in their MP expenditures). So the supplyDISTANCE (railhead to units) doesnít seem to be too harsh.

On the other hand, the number of units Iím moving, and the fact that each unit is probably getting 8 to 10 HEXES a turn (estimated, infantry only of course), has a big impact on truck entropy. NOW to figure out how moving Air units factors into thisÖ Because my air units wonít need to move a lot of hexes anymore the rest of the game. Unfortunately, this will be hard to measure in the next few turns because my infantry will be fighting finally, and thus covering fewer hexes in movement. Itís going to be a while before I figure out how to deal with minimization of my truck-driving corps.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 3:14:34 AM)

Turn 5 Begins, what I hope will be for me the start of a second breakthrough phase. But after recon and rail movement (the things I always do first), this is how it looks:

Again, Pensfan has what appears to be a reasonably, if not spectacularly (in terms of the terrain he chose) constructed defense. Pensfan, Iím wondering if you indeed created construction battalions, because you dug in very well. Iím surprised to see a level 3 fort near Pskov (SE) and the number of L2 Forts you have. Note to anyone new to Soviet: Construction Battalions are essential, and you need to know your rules for digging in.
Letís talk about the circles near the lakes.

First and foremost, egregious error (and a newb error so donít take it too hard) between Lake Pskov and Lake Peipus, where the yellow circle marks the spot where a Soviet unit SHOULD have been, but instead a (slightly out of bounds 16 Army) Inf Div has snuck through. Soviets MUST hold that hex. Itís not impassible to Germans, but if you put a brigade or a division there (not necessarily a SEC regiment), it will be something Germans will bypass. Pensfan didnít, and I am going to see what I can make of that. Iíve already checked my movement allowance, and I can reach the edge of the swamp, depriving Pensfan of the good defense it offers.

Now imagine that Totenkopf SS Motorized were there rather than an Inf divÖ I kinda wish Iíd thought of that last turn, but meh, I had other plans for Totenkopf last turn. To me, it was critical to move a motorized unit up that direction to convert territory, allowing 18 Army units to speed along up there at best possible speed. That closest corps of 18 Army can make contact with the Soviets. And will.

So I circled two other Marsh hexes up there, in a lighter yellow (dare I say Ďcreamí?). That western marsh hex and the eastern one create a ZOC loop that will buy you 1 turn, Iíd figure, even with crappy infantry divisions holding them and a level 2 fort. So if Pensfan had started there earlier, heíd have better probability for holding my advance back along that route.

German Players: I have seen people in every game talk about the long, slow grind of movement from Riga to Talinn. The reason it sucks to move that is because you didnít lead with a motorized unit. My infantry can cover that friendly-converted territory in THIS turn and be fighting the Soviets next. And if/when that happens, Ivan has some priorities to start thinking about.
We will see, later in this turnís analysis, some of the hard choices the Soviet is going to have to make (hint, I used HQ buildup last turn on at least one of my Panzer corps)Ö

But Iím not there yet. And as I write this, I have not yet done any of my combats Ė Iíll be thinking over them a long time, actually.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 3:42:04 AM)

Letís go back and look at an earlier screenshot:

Remember that from early on when I sorta laid down the options Germany has to Pensfan?

Letís talk about the 9 principals of warfare:

Mass: Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time

Objective: Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective

Offensive: Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative

Surprise: Strike the enemy at a time, at a place, or in a manner for which he is unprepared

Economy of force: Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts

Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power

Unity of command: For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander

Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage
Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding

Unity of command doesnít really apply to our game. Security doesnít really apply to this scenario (for the German) because the Soviet limitations are so heavy in 1941 that thereís little he can do without Guards units, and there are no Guards units in this scenario. Please remember that this scenario, and most of the Road-to scenarios, are 1-dimensional. One side attacks, always, one side defends. Great for learning. Boring a bit for variety, and I encourage you all to play both sides and multiple scenarios (for example, Iím still playing my RtL as the Soviet).

In relationship to the T5 map Iíve posted, the strategy map (above) and the principals of warfare, Iíd like to point some things out that Iíve done pretty reasonably well.

Mass: Note that most of 16 and 18 Armies are able to get into combat (in and around Pskov) THIS turn. I wasnít sure what turn weíd get there, but when I got to Pskov, I did not want to have armor there having to do all combats by itself without infantry to consolidate gains. Last turn (after the SS I took), I consolidated my armor across the Velikaya. Iím not sure Pensfan has made any egregious mistakes in his defense, but there are a couple things I intend to make him pay for, if his Fortification levels donít have something else to say about it. The most important of which is: Rivers are good defensive terrain.

But as I have said elsewhere, Pensfanís defense is solid, fortified, checkerboard, and stacked. Weíre about to learn how that fairs, and Iíd be lying if I didnít say Iím nervous if I can do what it is I intend to do this turn.

Objective: Any doubt in anyoneís mind that my objective was, is, and remains Pskov and the Velikaya river? Itís the first place you can hit the Soviets hard after T1ís rompínístomp.

Economy of force: Notice my northwest flank? Iím not wasting a lot of time converting that territory so infantry can hit it. Remember those units south of the Daugava that I didnít pursue? I was pursuing efficiency, and that was deliberate. Better to have all my mass where it needs to be than to scatter hither and yon chasing ghost HQs and units youíve already sent running. Not on my flanks.

Simplicity: Notice how I always had an orchestrated concept: armor clears the path, infantry hurries as fast as it can. Simple.

Now, I am not trying to be boastful. Really what Iím doing is trying to connect the dots between warfare theory (if not WW2 history) and an operational game like GGWitE. If you understand these principals, youíre a step ahead of the gamer who doesnít.

And the beautiful thing about WitE is that it its operations mechanisms, the Ďunder the hoodí programming mechanics, make your life a lot more difficult when you donít remember these principals.

johntoml56 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 4:32:33 AM)

Excellent; (i think you have too much 'weight' down South and are moving too slow, but ...prove me wrong...I typically use the AGC divs to take VL and RZ); do you ever change your corps commanders in a scenario?. Keep it coming please.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 5:25:24 AM)


ORIGINAL: johntoml56

Excellent; (i think you have too much 'weight' down South and are moving too slow, but ...prove me wrong...I typically use the AGC divs to take VL and RZ); do you ever change your corps commanders in a scenario?. Keep it coming please.

Moving too slowly? In saying that, what do you assert would have made me move faster? I find that comment puzzling, because my infantry has moved as fast as possible and my armor's priority was enabling that movement.

There were a couple other factors at work in my movement plan that I'm not willing to discuss, mind you. Part of 'the plan' I've been working under.

In a scenario like this, I horde APs for important turns. Over the course of 17 turns, I'm uncertain how much impact different commanders can have - it's an area of the game I have not played with much. And where I have, it's been on the Soviet side - they have really bad commanders in places, and good ones can make a huge difference. But the Germans start with competence.

Next time I play one of the scenarios I understand well, I'll tinker with that as the German to see if it increases my supply and corresponding infantry movement.

But I like to save APs for HQ buildup as the Germans. And on occasion, I have made use of the ability to motorize an infantry unit and just send him screaming along to catch up to the armor. That probably causes a lot of truck-driver suicide, though.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 5:26:27 AM)

Combats will now be analyzedÖ Starting with this Hasty attack that was within 5 of the HQ of the units in question (without having moved).

T5 C1 Hasty
This ainít T1 anymore, Hans! Note that not even a reduction in Fort level! I actually have to question the artillery of the Axis side. ZERO CV? Not sure I understand whyÖ But I donít watch detailed combat returns. Maybe itís a range thing (as in: Germans too close to fire arty). Now, the only thing I have to say here to explain myself is that I actually didnít notice that there was armor thereÖ At least I got a fair number of aircraft, which Iím very glad about. That helps the Axis VPs a good bit on occasion.

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 5:30:39 AM)

Same hex, same attackers/defenders (I figured they werenít going to get any farther that turn anyway, and besides, their HQ was in range!).


Same basic results. My power didnít change much, his came down a little. Still no fort destruction, which is all I was really hoping for with a second Hasty, but donít worry, Hans. Things WILL get betterÖ

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 5:32:25 AM)

Now, I want to see what I can do against Pskov with deliberate attacks. The entire point of my bringing these infantry and armor up together on line, in mass, was so that I could use deliberate attacks (I thought my prior attacks would free up the right flank of my armor and that 3 Hans Inf Divs could dislodge 2 Ivan Divs in a level 2 Fort (probably couldíve if it werenít for that armorÖ

What! Odds of 1 to 2.4? WTF?

Okay, I was stunned by this result. FIVE Hans Inf attacking a Div & a brigade? If youíre looking at the German combat elements, youíll notice one thing: I only attacked with THREE infantry divisions (I didnít notice this until I was editing the screen-shot). A careless error of the mouse-click. How very little-corporal of me!

There are a couple good things here, though. First, look at all the support units I brought to bear. I think in that stack there are two corps in the fight. I donít know if itís helpful or hurtful to a combat when you have multiple commands in one fight (if we look at the principals of warfare, one would think itís bad). Second, I inflicted more casualties than I took (which is the opposite of those hasty attacks). Third, I got some more of the Red Air Force. But thatís about all that went well here. Look at those modified combat values! Oh, I just noticed something: y Command Mod is 80 percentÖ Thatís probably the inefficiency brought about by having multiple commands. Iím not ready to do the calculations, but we could figure out who might have been removed to increase that percentage, and then see whether it was better to add the unit(s) from a separate command, or proceed with a smaller attack.

Also note on this attack that the stack which attacked was across a minor river. The whole reason I wanted those other two divisions was to minimize that river penaltyÖ Let me leave that mistake with a DíOh. Iím sure Pensfan has mistakes he regrets, and if he doesnít, well hopefully he soon willÖ

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 5:34:06 AM)

Now, even before I realized that I had only used three divisions in the Pskov attack when I meant to use 5, I started an attack with the 2 divisions on the east side of the Velikaya. That might have been a mistake too, because I was emotional, like ďDamn you, Ivan!Ē and I launched another deliberate attack because those units had the movement remainingÖ

Okay, good news first. Ivan runs away. Bad news of sorts: I had three divisions. It is apparent to me that I am not paying attention to detail, perhaps because Iím writing and playing, and talking to familyÖ In the end, I launched the same attack I would have had I done the whole Deliberate in one click without mistakes, and I got the result I wanted. In addition to those routes, note that the Armor divisionsí mechanized corps has had to displace Ė dunno to where, but that should cause some harm to Soviet resupply (hopefully of ammo, which is a bit of a problem for the Soviets in 41).

Now letís look at oddities. Well, the first thing isnít an oddity, itís just an observation. My German modified command mod was 90 percent. But hereís whatís odd. Look at the Soviet defending forcesí CVs. 0, 0, and 2? Is that AFTER they route? Because how did a motorcycle regimentís CV of 2 get ballooned into 116? This makes no sense, and Iíll have to ask about the display. That figure HAS to be their CVs after they route, but that also doesnít make sense that youíd program it to display as suchÖ Anyone know?

Routes arenít as good as surrenders, obviously, but those Soviet units arenít going to be much of a factor probably for two turns at the earliest. Maybe thereís a bonus and that Motorized Div was set to static (which is what I encouraged Pensfan to do, and is solidly back by the community). If so, the downside of his static mode would be that youíll have to move him to a railhead to get him more than one hex a turn, and I doubt you want to take him out of Static Mode (but maybe Iím wrong).

DIGRESSION: Since Iím writing, editing graphics, and playing (and being social with family, although they might disagree depending on the definition of Ďsocialí), I didnít really look at the Corps command structure. Indeed, the first attack had 3 corps, 1 unit each. The second attack had 2 corps, 3 units. Thus, using more Corps might bring in more SUs, but if you look at the CVs of the SUs brought in, and contemplate the loss from Command Mod, it appears to strongly favor unity of command over more SUs. The 10 percent hit is far worse than the added value of SUs (but itís probably not quite as linear as that, knowing Gary GrigsbyÖ). This becomes something to ponder.

One thing I have done in this game is to make I Corps, 16 Army, and II Corps, 18 Army, into 4-division corps with a lot of SUs. I intended to use them as ďhammersĒ. Weíll have to see how that plays out, although I think from your perspective as the AAR reader (or Pensfan) youíre not going to see that in action because I donít include unit data like that. I might make a point to talk about when these corps are in fights and if itís somehow noticeable, but I might forget, or I might decide that it gives too much to Pensfan.

Iím still executing the turn, but I can post these now Ė makes my AAR a little better organized to post them now.

johntoml56 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 9:55:48 AM)


Moving too slowly? In saying that, what do you assert would have made me move faster? I find that comment puzzling, because my infantry has moved as fast as possible and my armor's priority was enabling that movement.

Well, IMO RtL is a race against time; you could probably eliminate the whole Soviet army but if you dont take Leningrad you lose. I have seen some AAR where the AXIS is in Pskov by turn 2, and I think historically they got there by the end of turn 3?? Unleash the panzers, refuel by air if you have to..unfortunately the closer you get, the less conducive the terrain is to the movement of armour...are you assinging pioneers directly to your attacking inf divs?; thxs

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 12:57:47 PM)

Okay, I see your point.  And it's something to consider.  I actually had to put 1 of the 2 Ju52 air units to reserve last turn; it had taken harsh losses (less than 50 percent, but more than 25).  I'm certainly not that experienced at this game and the various strategies one can use to accelerate movement.

From my perspective, you don't get all that much mileage out of air refueling.  Maybe I'm doing it wrong, or looking at it wrong, or applying it inconsistently.  I'd enjoy knowing your specific approach in this scenario, if you can share it.

If I look back at my RtL vs. AI AAR, I actually got to Novgorod and took it around T5, without first taking Pskov (it was the great coup of that game).  But the AI is not a human by any stretch.  From my own play as Soviet, in this scenario, I saw how easy it was to slow down the German at Pskov and the Velikaya River, and I made it my mission, then as Germans here, to set up a drive that starts there with a force composition very similar to what you have at T1.  That's been my plan, and it's gone off well.

I'm not talking about the Plan for after Pskov for secrecy purposes (Pensfan is reading here, by open invitation, so I have to conceal certain things as best I can).  All I can say in my own defence is that this was the plan, and after at least the first few combats, I'm pleased at the opportunities the Plan has created.

pensfan -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 2:12:11 PM)

Ok, from this point forward I will no longer view this thread until game is over or the Axis realize the futility of breaking their non-aggression pact and retreat back to the borders.[;)]

heliodorus04 -> RE: Dear Ivan: A RtLenigrad friendly PvP AAR/tutorial (2/2/2011 5:34:25 PM)

Now we get to ďThe trouble with stacksĒÖ

On the one hand, they defend better. Reference the battles I fought first, the two hasty attacks that didnít produce results I expected. Effective.
On the other hand, you reduce your ZOCs, making it easier for the German to maneuver. Think back to how far a panzer division can go in a turn on full fuel. Last turn, I shuffled all my armor into one Panzer Corps, and performed an HQ buildup, and my units had 46 MP to start. I could have gone a great distance on that, and spent a long time thinking over what I wanted to do.

With single unit stacks in the circled locations, I would have had to pay a lot more movement points to move freely, or else I would have had to attack certain units (and I probably would have done a little of both Ė thatís what I was prepared for.

Well, after those Hasty attacks failed, and the Deliberate attacks at Pskov succeeded (at least the second one did), I started to examine how that pocket is now contained, I noticed that I had 3 armored divisions and one or two motor divisions, and while killing units is no longer part of the infamous Plan I keep talking about, in this particular case, I changed the Plan in order to isolate them, hopefully making easy pickings of them next turn (not sure that will be the case, but weíll see). Those units are exceptionally mobile, and the Tank Divs are the most powerful formations left in the Soviet arsenal. Add to that the fact that the hasty attacks against stacks were very rough for me, and I tried to do a little Armor jujitsu on Ivan, and Iím reasonably confident nothing is getting out of that pocket.

If you look at my map and compare the various red circles, putting a unit in a few of those hexes could have maintained a retreat path for those units. ZOCs inhibit the German as much, and arguably more, then solid defense in 1941. I admit you canít defend everything. Heck, I admit that you canít defend most of those hexes with one weak Soviet division unless you have a level 2 fort in Swamp, Rough, or woods AND behind river (woods + river).

Look, I donít know if Iím right here. It is entirely possible that the penetration moves that were possible after Pskov feel, and which I abandoned in favor of those 7 divisions (3 Tank, 2 Mot) may actually be one of the leading factors that costs me some kind of victory. I gave up 10 to 20 hexes to do this. But I also kept my supply line close for another turn, I managed to make some pending-conversions on the way to Leningrad/Novgorod, and I am eliminating the best units in the Soviet chain of command, right now. I have 12 more turns, and that issue might also play very well, especially as I compete for both Velikie Luki (those guys were a serious threat to an advance in that direction). I thought about leaving them alone, and then I thought that in 2 turns, those units could be moved by rail to anywhere in the path of my advance, and Iíd be presented with this same dilemma again. I decided that was not worth the frustration. I had them in the open with a chance at (what I think is) an unbreakable encirclement, with the entire AGN infantry body right there next to them to finish them off in T6.

The mistakes Pensfan made here are 1) failure to have a good ZOC wall to hinder armored movement, and 2) putting armor in the open.
Now the game is getting interestingÖ

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