Q-Ball -> RE: Death Ride to Russia: Q-Ball (Axis) v Bletchley Geek (Sov). 1.05 beta (10/2/2011 3:16:35 PM)
Turn 13: 9/11/41
Death Ride to Moscow:
The big news I previewed earlier; the Moscow death ride. Here is my note to Blethley Geek, which sums it up:
When you open the turn, you'll see why it took so long. I really had to think about this one hard. I managed to punch a hole in your lines north of Vyazma, and moved Panzers into it (the ones down by Tula; you moved all the industry, so I moved. The HQ there had built-up previously). I did about 100 recon missions up there to be sure, and saw you had a division in one hex of Moscow, but nothing else between my lead Panzers and Moscow after I blew away a couple fort units. I carefully calculated I had enough MPs to get there, but not enough to get back to safety. I had enough left in the other Panzers to form a thin line to Moscow, but that would risk 3 to 4 units. So while I had my lead unit hanging NW of Moscow, with what appeared to be a clear path, decision to make: Forward, or back?
I slept on it, and decided on a suicide run. After I did it I realized I could have taken out 2 hexes of Moscow, I had the MPs, but I couldn't be 100% sure of your dispositions. The German Recon is very good, and you can learn alot without flying so many missions, much better than Soviets, but not 100%. After I did it, I'm not sure it's worth it, because 12th Panzer is one of my highest-morale units (which is why it made it that far of course)
So, 12th Panzer rolled into the Kremiln, but I am pretty sure they will die there......
I think B-G has a real crisis now in front of Moscow. He will be able to close-off that hole in his line, but only by shifting units from Rzhev and South of Moscow. Worse, I cut all the rail lines to Moscow except to the SW, so he won't be able to really move the industry for a couple turns, especially since a Panzer Division in Heavy Urban hex figures to be a tough customer, and will require several units on Deliberate attack to kill off. Killing the Panzer unit will also 100% trash the Railyards and Manpower in Moscow, so even if he holds the city, it will put a dent in his effort for awhile.
The haul in Industry is better than I expected; an IL-2 factory, an IL-4, Pe-2, 9 Armaments, 5 Vehicles, and HI of course. That brings the total haul to 50 ARM and 27 Vehicles, plus those planes. However, I think only the Armaments really hurts. The loss of those bombers isn't helpful, but the VVS can survive; there is ALOT of surplus production after 1942, so you can afford to lose some.
Tarhunnas did this exact same thing to me, except it was the whole city. I think B-G won't have a morale problem, but if he does, he should hang in there. Because fort building for the Germans is a real problem in this version, so winter figures to be extra-fun. And while my game with Tarhunnas showed what a good German opponent can do to trash production, it also showed what a good Soviet player can do to fight back in the Blizzard.
OKH Planning Conference:
Given the current situation, we are shaping our end-summer objectives.
Aside from Moscow, we won't be taking any industry. Tula is empty, and because he can't move Moscow, he'll probably finish moving Voronezh, Voroshilovgrad, and Rostov. They will be empty. Leningrad is already picked clean. So, industry-hunting probably isn't in the cards, other than Moscow.
We are making a push on Moscow. I am sending the newly arrived Panzer Corps to the Moscow area, along with a couple Infantry Divisions. I may divert a Panzer Corps from the Voronezh push, how that it failed, no point in continuing.
Elsewhere, my only objectives are to burn Manpower and create space for winter. B-G continues to retreat in the South; I am already close to Voronezh, and 8 hexes beyond Kharkov. I really want to keep gaining space, though, because as the Germans you can use Space or Forts, and if I can get 12 hexes beyond Kharkov I can probably hold it for the Winter.
Besides, I have basically outrun my supplies in the South. I probably can't advance further toward Rostov, because I risk being out of supply in Mud. Same in the Crimea. I am pulling a couple tricks to get one more push, but mostly I think I'm stuck down there. That's not all bad, because I reached all my geographic objectives, and trashed alot of industry. Not bad with 4 turns to go.
The Red Army retreats have made his losses really tail-off. After T-10, it was 2.46 mil, but now stands at 2.72 mil; the Red Army has been able to grow each turn at that rate, and figures to be well over 4 mil when winter hits. I just can't pocket many units, given my fuel situation and B-Gs retreating, plus his defensive arrangements, which are good.
The Importance of Space:
While industry and killing Reds is most important, some are contemptuous of taking space. I disagree. Space serves a couple purposes.
First, even empty space is helpful in defense. In the winter, most Soviet units will burn 6 or 7 MPs for a clear hex, so you can always trade 2 hexes for a turn of peace.
Second, all those little villages add-up. Burning them denies the Soviets Manpower production, which is important later on. I hate the Crimea, but there is the same Manpower production in the Crimea as there is in Kursk, so it's not worthless to clear it.
I think B-G has done some things very well, and made some mistakes, IMO.
What he has done very well is counterattack. He is better at it than I ever was as Soviets frankly. He has really put a dent in my forward mobile units, and put me behind a couple times with surrounds, despite all my efforts to keep fuel moving. His defensive dispositions are generally very good, and take advantage of terrain and rivers. I also think his industry strategy was good, ignoring the small stuff and focusing on the big towns. And whatever he is doing with the VVS, he is definitely winning the air war. He really knows how to use his airpower, I need some lessons from him.
His errors? First, I think he committed too many units in forward defense, so his losses were really high early-on. He also allows me to destroy Fort Zones; I would probably pick them up, because they consume alot of armaments. If he has an armament problem, this is probably one reason why. He also has left a couple cities ungarrisoned, leaving them vulnerable to raids, like Moscow and the Donbas. I did the same thing vs. Tarhunnas, but it's a lesson we all have to learn the hard way I guess.
B-G figures to be nasty in Winter, because he is very good at using airpower to attack. He is now preserving the Red Army, and it's growing. He's building double-lines everywhere, which is a problem. I am seriously worried about what he will uncork in winter.
I have not played mistake free either; I have run my Panzers too hard, bothced a couple fuel issues, my rail repair is middling, and I am the worst Luftwaffe general in history. Hopefully, I am making him sweat though; I think I am.
I am taking Pelton's advice up here; I have halted, and left a screen along the Volkhov. The first attack against the "Backdoor" hex cost me 1700 infantry, but dropped the forts by one. One down, 2 to go. I think I can get it on this trajectory, though it will be right at T17 I think.
I have moved a bunch of Pioneers. I also found and moved all the Heavy Artillery, including the 3 units with 305mm/355mm guns.
(BTW, HISTORICAL QUESTION: Why are all of them in VIII Corps of 9th Army? What siege were the Germans expecting for that unit, that they loaded-up all the siege guns there? It would make sense to load-up someone in 4th Army opposite Brest Litovsk, but why 9th Army?)
I should have done this a couple turns ago, but I still think I have time. It probably helped to clear the Volkhov line, I don't want any interference when I am reducing Leningrad.
The drive on VORONEZH stalled; not so much due to Soviet resistance, but due to my lack of fuel and general weakness in this area. It's just a long way to the Don from the Polish border. I won't get any industry; and Voronezh itself is a good defensive position with rivers on either side, so I probably won't get the town. I haven't done so yet, but I will probably cancel this drive, and move units north if they can, or form a small pocket, or get an early start on fort building.
Other than that, I'm just entering the space that B-G is giving me in the south. He is starting to halt in front of Voroshilovgrad and Rostov, so I don't think he'll give those up without a fight.