43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (Full Version)

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Aditia -> 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 3:45:49 PM)

Since my PBEM opponent is out of town and I am bored, I figured I would make an AAR of our 43-45 PBEM.

- v1.03
- Full FoW
- Random weather

AAR will be lagging behind our game since we are still playing and I don't want to give away all of my relevant thoughts :)

We restarted the game after 3 turns as I insisted on trying out a Kursk offensive that I tested against the AI. Against the AI the offensive is barely doable. Against a solid human opponent it turned out to be suicidal and with a random mud turn on turn 3, which sealed my mobile formations behind enemy lines I conceded and we restarted.

I have most end of turn saves, so feel free to ask for more screenshots or what have you.

Edit: this is my first WitE pvp, so suggestions etc. ae very welcome

Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 3:50:47 PM)


Overall considerations:
The plan is simple. Delay the Soviets for as much as possible for as little loss as possible
- Try to bleed the soviets with fighting in good terrain/fortifications
- Donít give ground easily where the terrain is good and urban hexes are present
- Shorten the lines where possible, especially if the ground is bad to hold a line
- Major consolidation in the north to free up AGN divisions
- Disband non-essential units to generate manpower. I am leaving most non-infantry TOE alone since I have plenty of armament points and rifle kits available.
- Use as few regiments as possible
- In the first few turns I will try to hold the initial line, as it has good fortifications, after that I need to be careful to have enough ZOCís behind the line to prevent major flooding by Red Army tsunami.
- Concentrate the Luftwaffe where the pressure is the highest, and use my turns to strike artillery units or HQís in the open. Focus on interdiction to both inflict damage and keep track of his movements.

Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 3:56:15 PM)

Turn 2: North

In the north I prepare to shorten the lines of Army Group North to put around 11 combat ready divisions in strategic reserve.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 4:04:33 PM)

Turn 2 : Orel area

With Zitadelle cancelled I needed to decide what to do with the Orel salient.

I did not evacuate the Orel salient. I like the terrain there and want the soviets to bleed for it. Not too worried about getting cut off before I do evacuate the salient, since the line is strong and reserves are present. Note the regiments and divisions digging a fall back line. I want my opponent to attack here, since I feel I can control the situation well, so I feel leaving this sausage of a bunch of pocketable divisions dangling is better than straightening the line


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 4:13:26 PM)

Turn 2: Vitebsk - Smolensk - Orel sector

The situation of 4th Army worries me the most, as its position is weak and at the same time it is providing security for the Orel/Kursk/Kharkov line. Also, the weakest section of the wehrmacht line is around vitebsk, which is supposed to be the anchor for both AGN and AGC. Since my opponent declined to attack in the opening turn, I used the given time to strengthen the line a bit and move 2 reserve divisions and a PzG division from the Orel salient into the line.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 4:24:46 PM)

Turn 2: Kharkov area

I am taking a risk at Belgorod, leaving strong divisions exposed mostly because interdiction and recon shows he is concentrating near Orel. I do have 3 Panzer divisions in reserve mode behind the line, hopefully it is enough. I need to get some more units digging behind the line before he breaks through tho.

But as stated, I feel I am strong here, and I don't want to give up good forts/terrain without a fight if I can avoid it and slow down the soviet juggernaut.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 4:29:12 PM)

Turn 2: Stalino area

Around Stalino I am digging a line to fall back on in Turn 3 and shorten the line. Hopefully this will free up a few units to dig between the Kharkov-Stalino line and the Dnepr. I spent half of my APís around here in the first 2 turns to activate some infantry divisions to put them into refit mode. After Stalino the terrain is horrible for me, so I hope I manage to delay long enough to do some digging.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 4:33:49 PM)

Turn 2: Crimea

So, the Crimea is the only place my opponent decided to do some air recon on turn 1. Not a good sign. I spent some AP to prepare to extract the Armies here out of this death trap and hope I get one more turn without an amphibious assault to take care of business here. Air recon shows that I am likely to get that turn. This concludes turn 2


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 4:56:03 PM)

To give a basic overview of the starting situation of the campaign:

The early summer of 1943 represents the last time that the Wehrmacht was somewhat in a position to mount an offensive in the east. Unfortunately for them they only had the forces available to do it in one sector and they concentrated forces where the Red Army was strong and the Kursk operation was doomed from the start.

Historical play here is suicide for the Germans, you just lack the weight of force to sustain the offensive. Well, until someone proves otherwise :)

Both players start out with a lot of units in static mode. For the Germans you start out with most of AGN and a good chunk of AGS in static mode. Both players will have to decide how to spend their AP in the opening turns.

For the Luftwaffe the situation is mixed. The Luftwaffe has very experienced fighter squadrons at this point but there simply are just not enough fighters to counter being outnumbered 6:1. On the other hand most of the bomberwaffe is comprised of obsolete stukas and limited range He 111's. To make matters worse, the best fighter the Luftwaffe has, the FW 190 is produced at pitiful numbers.

The Wehrmacht suffers from bugs in this scenario. A good chunk of the wehrmacht's best equipment is tied up in support units (e.g. most of the Panthers and Tigers) and is near useless on the defence. With the Wehrmacht having to switch to a full defensive posture mid-1943 this is obviously bad for the German player. With v1.04 defensive SU get fixed so this should make life harder for the Soviet player attacking reinforced hexes.

Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 6:50:04 PM)

Turn 3

My opponent is not attacking a whole lot. He tells me his priority lies with organizing his army for an offensive and this takes a couple turns of AP. I am not complaining and use the given time to straighten out some lines and dig fall back lines.

Two interesting battles occur this turn.

1. I decide to try a little preemptive attack and strike a stack of guards corps with the full might of my panzer forces. The results are frankly sobering, and later my opponent tells me that I actually activated one of his corps and that most units that I rout get rallied to the front on the next turn. So, in the future, any unnecessary counter attacks should be made with overwhelming force or not at all

2. A unit in reserve decides to join a fight in the Orel area. Obviously reserve commitments in clear hexes are not very useful at all. In my opinion reserve units should be able to utilize at least some of the fortifications in the battle hex. Especially mobile divisions, that should be able to reach the fight in a matter of hours. This is the PzC player in me talking. In those series I always use mobile reserves to help out trouble spots in the line if the line is still holding. If the line is compromised the front line will fall back to positions that might even be prepared by mobile reserve units. No need to send armored units into a losing fight most of the time.

This concludes turn 3


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 10:21:40 PM)

Turn 4:

Turn 4 sees another turn without a lot of attacks. One probe near Kharkov gets the door slammed in its face. I try to use the data from interdiction attacks to predict his movement of forces as a forewarning as to where to deploy my strongest formations.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 10:28:38 PM)

Turn 4, Stalino area.

As you can see I have now completely straightened my lines around Stalino, in keeping with my strategy to focus force on the best defensive terrain around, to delay a full scale retreat in a sector for as long as possible. Have to make use of those initial fort levels in my opinion, and luckily my opponentís strategy gives me ample time to organize that as best as possible.
Another costly preemptive strike here, to give a soft spot in the line some more time to dig in. Not sure if worthwhile.

In this scenario AP are a major restricting factor for both sides in the beginning, but my opponent is giving me time to organize things as I want. Very different from what Oleg did to Bob I think. Altho from what I can recolloct Bob also facilitated Oleg's attacks by weakening his frontline and making second lines behind the front.

My local strategy for every sector is to basically make the front as strong as possible where I think he is likely to attack. If I feel he does not have the strength to make 2-3 hex breakthroughs I am not too worried about making the area behind the front strong and trust the ability of armored divisions to fix crises in the line. When I do feel he is very strong, or I am not strong enough to fortify an entire section of front (say 4 to 10 hexes worth of front), I try to have enough stuff behind the front to make disastrous breakthroughs unlikely. When affordable I keep trying to make fall back lines, but already I am lacking enough strength to do this everywhere.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 10:34:10 PM)

Turn 4, northern sector.

I use AP when I can to activate divisions that I want to extract to the South, but for now AP are swallowed up by AGS and the Crimean army. I decide that before I move in the north I will eliminate the Oranienbaum enclave. I hope to be ready to move divisions south by turn 7 or 8.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/20/2011 10:38:20 PM)

A view of what 3 turns of partisan attacks have done to my rail network, I need to get this under control or I wonít be able to do any strategic movement. Most cities that are far from the Rumanian border are blue by now, so I hope my diligent movement with the butchers of the SS cavalry and security divisions to kill partisans and civilians pays off.

I do enjoy watching all those frozen Rumanian units while there are city centres to plunder, errrr garisson.
This concludes turn 4


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 6:43:19 PM)

Since I just managed to get myself bubbled in a MTT it's time for a an update.

Turn 5 saw a push from the Soviets between Smolensk and Orel. He is obviously trying to cut off the Orel salient, but I have been preparing for this and will fall back to my prepared lines. I am very strong in this sector so I am not worried. In the screenshot you see the devastating effect a Panzer Division showing up in a fight can have when the Soviets are not overwhelmingly present with artillery.

I count myself fortunate to have preserved the Orel salient for this long, attracting the attention of the Soviet high command, and diverting attention from much weaker sectors.

screenshot of premove


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 6:46:27 PM)

The Soviet push around Smolensk is much more worrisome. This is where I am weak and I have limited reinforcements available before I clear out of the Orel salient. 2 regiments have been cut off but I think I have enough strength to get them out.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 6:50:28 PM)

Turn 5 end, Orel sector. Most of the Orel salient withdraws in good order towards prepared positions, while routing a handful of mobile Soviet units. One division has its columns strafed by Sturmoviks for 2 consecutive days and is unable to join the lines. I will not attempt to save them, I need to withdraw without complications and free up mobile forces for duty elsewhere. I have transferred the better part of a Pz corps from the Kharkov area to here, including the GroŖ Deutschland division, to assist at Smolensk or relieve any issues near Orel.

I learned my lesson to move reinforcements by rail whenever possible; I lost 35% of the GD fighting strength by moving over roads.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 6:55:38 PM)

turn 5, end of turn. In the Smolensk area I made a mess of things. I relieved the 2 cut off regiments but at the expense of creating a very weak line. This was the most important reason for me to transfer 48th Pz Corps up here from Kharkov. I hope I donít see a random mud turn next turn, because that would seriously hamper my ability to shore up the line with reserves.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 6:59:43 PM)

Turn 5, Leningrad area. I have activated almost everything I needed here and have started reducing the Oranienbaum enclave. I decided to extract 8 full strength infantry divisions as strategic reserve for the centre/south, use the Luftwaffe units to dig where needed (preferably up here unless I have spare AP to move them around), and leave the rest here to hold the line and prepare fall back lines towards the Narva and the Peipus. The 8 divisions (conveniently already attached to a corp HQ at the start of the scenario, whose leader is fairly decent) should be on the rail network in either turn 6, 7 or 8, depending on if Del forces me to use AP elsewhere first.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 7:05:49 PM)

Losses at the beginning of turn 5. The Soviet has decided to execute a few more attacks this turn, but still a lot of losses have been from front line attrition thus far, and not from operations. For now, my replacements are mostly keeping up with losses, especially AFV and fighter planes, although my manpower pool is empty. I will start disbanding some airbases and HQ to keep the manpower flowing in this crucial summer. My main issue at the moment is with Stukas and their pilots, the stukas are not all piloted by Rudel and are falling from the sky like flies. I will have to address somehow sooner or later


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 7:11:29 PM)

Turn 6 end, AGC northern wing.
The only thing I truly feared has happened, mud... 2 very bright sides to this tho:

1. He did not punish me as hard as he should have near Smolensk
2. Mud will prevent him from making attacks along most sectors of the front.

The worrying part is that only my very weakest part of the line has good weather still, and I am unable to put a lot of reinforcements in. I might have a major crisis on my hands. Luckily I donít see big stacks behind his front in that area. We will see.

Since the GD division is unable to reach the lines in this turn, I will give it a week to repair some Tigers and Panzer IVís.

He obviously surrounded the stuck infantry division near Orel. Oh well, an acceptable loss. Of course to shoot myself in the foot, I discovered I forgot to extract the attached StuG battalion.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 7:19:56 PM)

Turn 7, end

In the North I have now finished what I set out to do from the start. My rear is clear, lines are shortened, and 8 full strength infantry divisions are ready to be railed to wherever I please. Not that I can rail across the map, Partisans have left a big chunk of my rail network unusable.

The partisan situation is almost under control now though, and attacks on turn 7 have dwindled down to around 20 in total.

For me this concludes the opening phase of the campaign as I work with the assumption that the Soviets have by now finished most of the preparations for a major offensive.

I think I am in good shape. Due to Soviet timidity I have only given ground under pressure around Smolensk, most of my armies retain their combat strength, I have created a strategic option for myself by extracting 8 divisions from the North and have only lost 1 division in the process.

While my lines are strong on most parts of the front, the sector West of Kursk seems to be the only spot where a multihex breakthrough is likely on the short term. I have armored formations available to rush in though.

The next turns should see constant fighting until mud season hits. While my original plan of not giving ground where the defenses are strong will still apply, I will be more than willing to give up sectors of frontage to prevent subjecting my troops to a meat grinder. I should remember to dig fall back positions when I can so I am not forced to give ground too fast.
The start of the offensive should show if my decision to focus strength on the front in fortified positions, leaving rear areas exposed and only covered by the potential fire brigade work of armored divisions, was correct or that I will be presented with calamitous small encirclements all over the front line. Keep in mind that this strategy of focusing strength in the front will only be applied if I think the front is actually strong on a wide sector, denying the Soviets multi hex breakthroughs. If the strength is not there to prevent that, I will put more strength behind the lines to prevent eliminations of entire sectors of front. And again, either dig fall back positions, or be prepared to give up ground at fast pace. In any case I will try to refrain from subjecting my troops to a meat grinder. I have ground to give and lines to shorten. If necessary I can fall back AGN to the Peipus and shorten the line dramatically. I will probably have to do that as soon as AGS is forced to retreat as there will be more kilometers of front to cover then. Basically I feel shortening the lines of AGN is the only real strategic option left to the Wehrmacht, while putting out fires with Armored divisions in the meantime.

At the end of turn 7 the situation for the Luftwaffe is mixed. Fighter kommando is doing very well and losing very few planes. I have plenty of Messerschmitts and Focke Wulfs in the pool to sustain a long defensive campaign as long as my ace pilots donít die. On the other hand, my Stuka force is all but depleted and will be pulled back to reform in Germany in turn 8. Most veteran Stuka pilots are dead and I have rookies nose diving straight for AAA formations.
Bomber kommando is doing OK, suffering a good deal of losses but they are for now sustainable. I am thinking of focusing my bombers to strike the Sturmovik plant in Moscow while I still can. The IL-2 Sturmoviks will become a huge factor later on, interdicting my retreating forces. I should have probably done this from turn 1 onwards, to cripple at least the Moscow part of Sturmovik production (no idea where the other plants are) or force him to keep fighter elements around there. Unfortunately the Luftwaffe does not possess long range escort planes (unless I am missing something) so any strategic strike can only be done at cities where the Soviets do not have fighter protection.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 7:26:39 PM)

When I opened turn 7 and looked at the Smolensk sector I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The line near Smolensk is virtually intact!

At the end of turn 7, I have deployed a lot of armored divisions to shore up the line and a major crisis should be prevented. Areal recon shows he has moved some units to this sector to apply more pressure. In this sector I now only have a weak spot left between Vitebsk and Smolensk. 3rd Pz Army (the bright green colored units) was the weakest link in the entire German line from the start and it might come under pressure in the Soviet turn.

If he hits between Vitebsk and Smolensk it will be a problem, but I now have enough mobile reserves freed up to put out fires in almost any part of the lines of AGC.
Areal recon showed he moved a small Army towards Velikie Luki, so I committed my only infantry reinforcements into the line there to prevent multi hex breakthrough.

My only other worry spot at the moment is the original most western part of the Kursk bulge. I am very weak there but the area is flanked by the very strong Bryansk and Kharkov sectors. Especially around Kharkov I have room to give or strength to move out. I donít want to vacate a river line with level 4 forts though.

The screenshot shows a counter attack that has a loss ratio that I would like to see more. I executed this attack to deny the Soviets an extra hex to execute a deliberate attack from, with the added bonus that it gave the Luftwaffe a chance to smack the Red Air Force in the face again.

In the Crimea I was about ready to eliminate the pocket that exists there at the start of the scenario. But the Soviets struck first and preempted it. I am now slowly falling back there, while I had units secure the rear, railways, and ports from turn 1, so I am not tooooo worried about being slapped by amphibious/airborne operations.


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 8:00:23 PM)

Finally let's look at some stats after 7 turns of play. This is all before any major push by my opponent.

I am bad at reading OOB numbers (comparing turn 2 vs. turn 7). All it tells me is that the Soviet armed forces are increasing in size, while the Germans are decreasing. My allies don't count, since they all sit on their ass not garissoning cities anyway.

Production numbers are actually interesting. Behold the miracle of logic that is called fascist economics. We are building tons of Messerschmitts while Focke Wulfs are way more effective. Erich Hartmann must have corrupted the industrialists with tales about how awesome the messerschmitt is. We keep producing stukas while THEY SUCK. The best part is the PzKw IIIn. It's an infantry tank and apparently no division commander wants them. But yet, we produce them in large numbers.

Luckily we are getting it right regarding Panthers. Rightly anticipating me throwing Panthers away in a useless slaughter, the fatherland is stuffing the pool with spare machines. Unfortunately, most panthers/tigers/StuG's are stuck in support units and with the game as it is in v 1.03, support units suck on the defence :(

Edit: rifle squad numbers seem barely readable. I have 31.5k ready squads atm.


morvael -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 9:50:31 PM)

Interesting read, I'm tired of all those 1941 blitzes. Let's see how the Axis fares in elastic defense.

Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 10:33:22 PM)

Oh btw, I could use some tips since this is my first campaign. This game is currently at turn 12 and mud season is approching fast. Any definite do's and dont's during mud for the defending side?

Also, I assume freezing conditions affect the defensibility of river lines? (and do impassable hexsides become passable?)

Oleg Mastruko -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 11:35:54 PM)

Aditia your German numbers after 7 turns look great. Compare with the Excel table from my 43-45 GC game.

This goes to prove that with some balancing between fighting and retreating Germans can indeed keep their forces in relatively good shape. For how long, though, it remains to be seen.

Oleg Mastruko -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/28/2011 11:44:30 PM)

As for the mud season... if the rest of the campaign for the Germans is careful balance between fighting and retreating, mud season is great time to just stop your retreats and hold a nice position till the mud lasts. My opponent in 43-45 is retreating in some sectors even during mud, he may have his reasons to do so, but I see none... (I am Soviet) I can't attack him during mud....

JJKettunen -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (4/29/2011 12:06:18 AM)

Great AAR, but there is a much better version of this campaign available (shameless plug!):


Aditia -> RE: 43-45 campaign (Axis) Aditia vs Delatabel (Sov) (5/3/2011 10:44:59 AM)

Turn 8, end of turn.

My AGN reserve divisions are railing south. While I had hoped to be able to keep them in reserve in order to enable me to do some sort of move it looks like I will have to spread them out on the front and assign them to different armies to strengthen the line and relieve some frontline divisions that need a rest.

In the south the Soviets have started cracking my level 4 fort river line. Nothing major yet, but it will fall sooner or later. The highlighted battle shows how touch and go it is for him to breach my line.

In the screenshot you see the Kharkov sector and the northern edge of the Stalino sector. This is where breaches of my line are taking place.
Encircled in blue you see 48th Pz corps returning from the Smolensk sector. The front there is stabilized and I need my Panzers in the south where most of his mobile forces are.

Encircled in red you see hubris at work. Recon spots a build up of Soviet troop concentrations but I decide to ignore it and leave a weak spot in the line.


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