Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (Full Version)

All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> Gary Grigsby's War in the East Series >> After Action Reports


glvaca -> Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 1:26:02 PM)

I posted up a challenge for a no whining [;)], all the way, few houserules game up a week or so ago and to my delight and surprise Tarhunnas offered to play, and I promptly accepted. Tarhunnas is currently playing turn 4.
It's a server game and I'm not used to taking screenshots during play and before ending my turn so I've forgot a few times already.

Our house rules are:
* Max 3 airbase attacks per airbase/turn after the first turn.
* No HQ bombings.
* No Soviet landings west of the Crimea before 43 unless Sevastopol is Soviet held.

Weather is non-random. True, it's predictable, but once you've had 3 turns in mud in summer 1941, it stops being fun.

Both players are free to deploy their forces any way they want. Retreats in all its forms are allowed for both sides. There is no limit on reserve usage. I.e. appart from the above house rules, anything goes.

I'm expecting a tough fight and I assume Tarhunnas is going to dispute every inch if I give him the chance. Perhaps to my disadvantage is the current game with MichealT, as I expect he will not checkerboard but use pickets and a MLR several hexes back where he has space to trade for time, i.e. the South.

I want to keep this AAR pretty current so this will necessitate less detail and more of an overview look. I'm looking forward to see if I can apply the same concepts I defend on these forums against a player of the calibre of Tarhunnas. This is going to be interesting!

glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 1:55:33 PM)


Forgot to take SS at the end but I do a pretty standard opening.

Riga falls to the 1st and 6th Panzer divisions but not after the 22nd NKVD puts up a brave defense and repulses the first attack.
SS Totenkopf, ennds its turn in Riga proper.
8th Panzer crosses the Daugava North of Daugavpils.
20th Pz. exploits through Vilnius upto 1 hex short SW of Daugavplis and is attached to LVI Corps.
In the end I create several small pockets but chose not to use the SS Tot. to capture Ventspils.

The Bialystok pocket is easily made.
Kaunas falls easily to a determined attack by II Corps.
At minimum a corridor of 5 hexes is made North and South of the pocket. 3rd Pz G. inf. and several 9th Army infantry divisions make best speed towards Minsk.
Brest is isolated but not attacked. This leaves me short a couple of movement points but nets me 3 extra divisions isolated next turn.
I end the turn with an unbreakable pocket closely huging Minsk.
2nd PzG. is concentrated around Baranovichi (SW Minsk) ready to go straight East or follow-up 3rd PzG through Minsk. Unfortunately, I cannot ZOC the Minsk garison.
4th Army exploits East through the gap while attacking here and there. I generally avoid attacking into the pocket too much as I don't want rout moves to the swamp.

A small Kovel pocket is created and further down the (what I call) normal Lvov pocket by exploiting to Novoselitska.
I start pushing in the Lvov pocket from the West and North but mpost infantry is used to attack through the gap and moves East.
I don't have the time or patience to practice the German opening 15 times so all in all I'm happy with the result and consider all pockets unbreakable bar freaky dice rolls of my opponent.

I start the process of cleaing out the C&C mess the Germans start with. The aim is to have all Corps and Armies at or below C&C limits asap. At the same time I like organizing elite infantry Corps and ideally, each Army should have one. These Corps will contain the highest Morale and Quality infantry units, heavily supported by Stugs, pioneers and heavy arty. When I bump into a heavily defended line, these are the guys that will try to break it.

I start in the North and re-attach high quality units to I & II Corps where necessary. Unfortunately, several of the 85 morale units don't get lucky rolls and don't get a bump up to 86+. Model takes command of I Corps.

For 4th Army, Heirici's XXXXIII Corps is selected and in time it will receive 7th, 17th, Sturm and 23rd infantry divisions which are at or close to 86+ morale.

For the other Armies, it will depend on good morale dice rolls.

For the first turns I use the automated SU tool to do the heavy shuffling.
I set all Corps HQ's to 1. All Army, ArmyG to 0, and OKH to 9. Later, I intend to reassign stuff mostly manual but this is by far the most cost effective way at the start of the game that I have found.

By the way, your comments suggestions are welcome.

glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 2:10:05 PM)


No starting screenshots (forgot [sm=00000734.gif]
But I have this screenshot below. A valiant Airborn brigade manages to blunt the mighty 7th Pz. with 200 tanks in a hasty. Yes, seriously...
This screenshot is taking mid turn in the center.
After extensive recon, I decide to take the direct route due East from Minsk. I don't feel strong enough to achieve decisive results with 2 PzG. operating independantly. Not mentioned previously, XXXXVI Pz Corps has been sent South.
The Panzer Div. next to the Dnepr has enough movement to cross and even exploit 2 more hexes. I ponder this move for a long time. Having faced such a situation against SJ80 as the Russian, I know how deadly it can be. On the other hand, I don't really intend a big move on the East side of the Dnepr just yet. I need infantry support for that, and supply lines which are closer. So in the end I decide to grab as much defensible terrain as I can in the direction of Smolensk.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 2:20:40 PM)

Before German moves and, unfortunately recon.

The Kovel pocket is broken by the Mot. Div in the pocket through ZOC. Hmmm, good dice!
The Lvov pockets holds though, as do all other pockets in the Center and North.

Anyway, I have a very interesting situation here. He retreated far enough that my infantry is no help, except to push away his pickets at places. So whatever I do with the Panzers will be without infantry support for 1 maybe 2 turns. Tarhannus is doing what I expected him to do, move in close with pickets, reduce space for maneuvre, and hugg the panzers. Any corridor I try to make will need to be airtight or suffert he high risk of being cut next turn.

Additionally, recon reveals I do not have the strength or movement to attempt a Rovno like pocket. I don't have the units for a Southern and Northern pincer at this time.
On the other hand, doing nothing is unthinkable, this would give him the time to strenghten his defences and I would probably be drawn in a game of stand and withdraw to the next river for the next turns while my infantry tries to catch up. I don't want to spend a lot of resources on reducing the Lvov pocket and certainly don't want to send in German infantry to hold the Eatern flank so I must push Eastward in any event to increase the distance between the pocket and his lines.



glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 2:50:00 PM)


I decide to put all my weigth into the center of his line with the aim of swinging North and pin the troops around Rovno against the swamps. I know I won't be able to form a pocket outright but at the very least, it will make further strong resistance further East very difficult, if not impossible.

To deny him an easy escape I move in infantry next to Rovno to block the RR.
The inital aim is to exploit with 2 panzer divisions North once the breakthrough is established and swing behind his Rovno force to create Zoc's and flip terrain to further limit his mobility and exploit North to cut the rail line. But fierce resistance determines otherwise.
2 strong Tank Divisions end up stacked together in the Green circled hex. This is too dangerous to allow and this forces me to use the Panzers reserved for the exploit in a hasty attack to push them back. 3 Panzer divs hasty attack a fort lvl 1 with 2 strong Armoured divs with a combined defensive value of 24. My offensive CV is 46. It fails but I knock the fort down. I try again. It fails but inflicts some losses. 3rd attempt is successfull and the divs retreat. However, that's 3x9 movement points down the drain. That's 3x3 hexes not flipped!

As a result the exploit is much shallower and less wide than I had intended but still, even if not perfect, it still achieve the primary aim of blocking an easy retreat and upsetting his staged defense.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 4:22:21 PM)


I hope Tarhunnas has a screenshot of his ending position so perhaps you can check there.
In the North Tarhannus goes checkerboard. With a Panzer Corps North and South of the main body, I decide to try an encirclement which I consider farily successful. I'm lacking one unit to make it unbreakable but I'll just have to hope for the best.
18th Army is funnelled through Riga, while 16th is sent on its way through Daugvapils. 2 small pockets are cleared and the sole open Courdland harbor in Soviet hands is taken.

In the Center I go for the direct approach and head full power towards Smolensk. 2nd PzG clears the way as much as possible before 3rd PzG takes over and exploits.
There is one very strong division guarding the Berezina which I decide to ZOC lock rather than attack. Minsk is cut off but on a budget, I need to move East and prevent a strong defense on the land bridge.
One important positive side effect from a forward defense is that the front is shortest in the West. Once you get East of the Dnepr it widens a lot with much less defensive terrain.
He's keeping a few salients which are just begging to be cut-off, but I refuse to be side tracked in those directions. Full ahead East, I hope the rest will follow later.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 4:30:57 PM)


I continue the C&C reorganization as planned. Always re-assigning divs through OKH and then on to the Corps.
I also free up a Corps from 4th Army which has 5 to start with, 1 too many.
Serveral divisions are attached to OKH in expectance of the activation of 2nd Army. I alos intend to free up one Corps from 3rd PzG to attach to 2nd Army at a later stage.
Several of the excess infantry of 2nd PzG are assigned to OKH and then on to 6th and 17th Armies.
The free Corps attached to OKH in the South (with 4 divs attached) will be used to reinforce 11th Army after it has been liberated of the Rumanian divisions which will all be attached to OKH and be used for garrison duties so they can work up their morale and quality.

Luftwaffe is currently untouched except for moving away recon units from bomber or transport bases.
No reinforcements have been assigned yet.

3 of the reinforcing divs are send to 18th Army. 1 is send South to 11th.

bigbaba -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 5:56:33 PM)

nice opening. espacialy the progress at the dnjepr and landbridge area!

i will follow that for sure.[sm=00000945.gif]

Balou -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 7:13:45 PM)

You empty bomber/transport airbases of recon AC ? To make room for more bombers/transports ? Or for any other reasons ?

glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/4/2012 10:39:12 PM)

Yes, and to keep things organized.
I want to keep my bomber airbases further back so they don't need recon.
For transport, I won't to keep these well below capacity to maximize repairs and keep them as high as possible for commitment next turn.
Fighter bases need to be close to the action for CAP. They can have recon AC although I generally have more then enough with the Army Airbases.

glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 9:20:29 PM)


To my surprise and dissapointment Tarhunnas manages to break the Northern pocket in 2 places. Just slightly to the NE of Riga and around Balvi. A complete Pz Corps is isolated and very low on fuel as a result. Even so, I quickly restore the Madonna (no joke!) pocket and focus on making it foolproof this time.
Stupidly, I forget to move my bomber airbases at the end of my movement and this will cost me 50 or so damaged bombers in his movement. No sloppiness remains unpunished!

Overall this will cost me at least a turn delay and for what probably amounts to a pocket of units with little "fat" left. However, I have to wait for the infantry in any event. Secondly, even if now depleted, they can't be used as pickets or diggers anymore once dead. Still something.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 9:28:38 PM)


Tarhunnas basically jumps my spearheads like flies on s**t [:)]
He infiltrates wherever he can increasing the supply line costs drastically. Just SE of Minsk he isolates 1 Panzer div. which is easily rescued but very low on movement as a result.
I spend most of my turn pushing him back and consolidating my hold on the land bridge. Just to keep him guessing I attack, and push back, the sole Inf. Division guarding the Dnepr bend. The first infantry is making its appearance at the front.
3 Panzer Divs (3rd, 4th, 12th?) are kept in reserve and are on refit with solid movement remaining.
The Bialystok is cleaned up.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 9:47:12 PM)


The Pripjet Marshes are the scene of confused fighting and units popping out of it's length trying to obstruct the advance East and or cut my supply lines. Whether he is successful in the later is debatable, however, he is certainly successful in drawing much more resources than I would like too. I had sent in PzG2's XII Corps to blockade the RR through the marshes in coordination with the offensive down South but I just can't reach the RR junction this turn.

4th Army is moving in the direction of Gomel/Mogilev and is harrassed all the way. Several leading infantry divs are needed to cover the flanks to free up the Mechanized forces.

A word perhaps on Tarhunnas playing style. As mentioned he moves in close anticipating either an effort to surround the huging units or attacks to push them back. At the same time, the lead units are unable to recover fatigue to a sufficient degree to be refreshed next turn. Additionally, they will suffer attrition which I can do without. I can attest that it is effective but I refuse to be side tracked for each weak unit he offers me although I notice by writing this AAR that I have on several occassions done just that [:)]
That's another key advantage of this tactics, the resources that drain away from the tip of the spear by dealing with this strategy. There is, however, in my opinion a very dangerous side to this as well. Putting too many units forward as pickets will invariably weaking the MLR by not having the units to build a true defense in depth by manning key defensive terrain in the rear to prevent a complete breakthrough if I do manage to freeup, rest and fuel the panzers in sufficient quantity. It's a very dangerous game...


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 9:58:23 PM)


In the South more of the same huging every unit in the front line. More importantly, he has not been able to move most of his divisions out of the semi-pocket created last turn.
The 2 Panzer divs and the SS DAS who exploited last turn are cut-off and isolated. But the rest of the line holds which gives me enough punch to push his line back and, with the help of Infantry punch through and create the Northern pincer of the pocket. Most of the divisions in the pocket have had multiple attacks already but most fail to break which lead to the conclusion that some of his best starting Mech divisions are in it. This is a serious loss for him, but it comes at a price. Many Pz divisions are already showing the strain and are down to 80% or below.
The Lvov pocket is further reduced, but a sole tough division of the Kovel pocket refuses to surrender. Annoying.

I need more infatry in the front lines but although I have only 6 German divisions engaged in the Lvov pocket I'm finding myself pretty short...


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 10:05:00 PM)


11th Army is making slow progress towards Odessa facing constant pickets which is very effective against infantry only, especially as badly organized as 11th Army is. I haven't been able to re-attach Rum. Divs yet. At 4 to 8 AP's a pop, it will take a while before I can get to that. The Lvov pocket units are pressing to the East and I must literally scramble everything I have to prevent a linkup while covering all bases to avoid other mishaps.
Another thing that his strategy does is make things very complicated!
I've noticed a few times already that he stacks his Corps very close (or on top) of units to increase the chance of having high movement die rolls. Clever indeed!


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 10:11:07 PM)

The fighting to establish the Southern pocket has been very intense not only on the ground. The VVS turns up in strength and tries to contest air superiority for the first time in the game, and suffers horribly for its efforts. In the South, JG3 stands firm and shoots down bombers and fighters in droves. It does wear them out though, and I assign the II/JG53 Gruppe as reinforcements.

Losses for turn 3 are in excess of 10-1 for the Luftwaffe. However, many of my losses are Operational losses. On pure combat I do in excess to 30-1!


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 10:13:40 PM)

Losses T3:


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 10:14:45 PM)

T3 OOB. Operational tank strength is dropping alarmingly...


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 10:19:40 PM)


Hube is assigned to II Corps.
XVI Pz Corps also gets a new Gereral but I forgot his name. I think Von Knobelsdorff.
All Corps are locked again as are Armies and I start the process of assigning SU's to divs and Corps on a need to have basis. This will take a while.
Luftwaffe, I upgrade the Nacht staffels to Ju87D's.
Generally speaking, Ju87 are suffering attrocious losses. I wonder if that is not overstated.

Does anyone know when GENM recieve promotions to GENL? Is this based on historical dates? Or is it random?

gingerbread -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 10:42:16 PM)

Does anyone know when GENM recieve promotions to GENL? Is this based on historical dates? Or is it random?

The scripted ones can be seen in the editor, other than those, random ones can happen.

glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/5/2012 10:43:18 PM)


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 9:23:52 AM)


No screenshots of turn 4.

The Madona pocket is almost completely reduced, except for 2 hard to die units in the SE of the pocket.
One Pz Corps gets a HQ buildup and is located around Vore, hopefully, giving the impression I'm gearing up for a drive towards Leningrad.
I capture a bridgehead over the Velikaya at Ostrov and put a Mot, Pz and Inf. div. acrros. He's not going to throw me out!

Vitebsk is lightly defended and is taken.
All Panzer divs from 2nd & 3rg PzG's are taken out of the line and are on refit directly behind the front and infantry is moved up to hold the front.
2nd Army is being moved into the gap that is starting to appear between 9th Army and 4th Army which is heading towards the Berezina SW of Mogilev.

After a long debate, I decide to throw the dice and go for a breakthrough roughly in the area between Zhitomir and Vinnitsa. I score the breakthrough I'm after but a few helds and stubborn resistance forces me to spend more units and movement point than I would like. In addition, many Southern panzer divisions are now below 70% TOE and totally exhausted. I carefully weigh the advantage to be had by a shallow deep penatration to cut-off his complete Southern left flank but have to conclude it would be too risky with the current strength of the panzers and remaining movement. The infantry is still too far, the panzers are too weak and 11th Army is not where it should be. So I decide to retreat a couple of hexes back and put them all on refit.
Some more confused fighting in the Pripjet Marshes with Tarhunnas infiltrating where ever he can.
One remaining division of the Kovel pocket refuses to die. Annoying.
The Korets pocket is cleaned out.

glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 9:48:04 AM)


Before German moves but with recon.
In the North I'm ready for the next offensive. 18th and 16th Army infantry is arriving in strength and I have one strong Pz Corps (1st, 6th, 8th Pz and SS Totenkopf) fueled up and ready to go. Von Mansteins Corps is not rested but both divisions in the bridgehead have 40+ movement points. Hmmm, that gives possibilities.

After I succeed in clearing out the blue box on the map I have several possibilities:
1. (red arrows) exploit towards VL and link up with PzG2&3 coming from the Center.
2. (green arrows) Pocket the Pskov defenders and exploit towards Leningrad and the back door.

Both have appealing advantages but option 2 would basically condemn the Center to further frontal attacks as I am not in a position to create an envelopment in the Center by itself. In addition, option 2, would crerate problems with the re-gauging of the RR lines I have planned as the RR running from Rezerke to VL (purple line) is one of the main supply lines I have planned for the assault on Moscow. Option 1 also offers the prospect of a large Front like pocket so 1 it is.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 10:04:58 AM)


Before moves but with recon. Tarhannus carpetted up North & South of Smolensk. Surprisingly he gives up key defensive terrain (light woods) without a fight. Strange.

The other blue area indicated on the map is the killing zone. First, the infantry will attack where it can to pave the way for the panzers.
Secondly, the available Mech divs from 3rd PzG will create the breakthrough with 2-3 div. stack hasty attacks. Only if absolutely necessary will the Pz's do deliberate attacks.
Thirdly, 2rd PzG will complete the breakthrough and exploit into the operational depths and establish the pocket in cooperation with 4th PzG units.
That's the plan at least...


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 10:17:19 AM)


Apart from an occasional held things run like clock work. 18th Army's I Corps and 16th Army's II and XX Corps are used as much as possible in the first stages. Then the breach is established and expanded by the Mech divs. who set up an inner and outer ring of units and flipped hexes.
XIII Corps (previously 4th Army) is attached to 4th PzG (not 2nd Army as first planned). The PzG has Command capacity to spare as does AG North and I need the infantry badly. XII Corps and 16th Army infantry is moved into position to assault the pocket from the West and free enough hexes for undisturbed RR conversion in the coming turns.

The last remnant of the Madona pocket, an Airborn brig. refuses to die.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 10:25:04 AM)


After taking the SS, I change my mind and shift 2 units of position. This prevents any infiltration from inside the pocket and makes the pocket (I hope) unbreakable.

Resistance in the Center is harder than in the North but the Panzers nonetheless break through with relative ease. 2nd PzG exploits the fartest capturing as much highly defensible terrain as possible and expanding the width and depth of the penetration to the max. There seems to be even more units in the pocket than I had first anticipated.

9th Army infantry is relieved of flank duties further West and moved up in strength to just below Vitebsk in anticipation of relieving the panzers next turn and collapsing/safeguarding the pocket.
Several fighter bases are very close to the outer ring of the pocket. He may try to bomb, but it ain't going to be cheap!


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 10:45:22 AM)

In the South I decide to rest & refit the Panzers further. Afterall, they saw major action last turn in the aborted attempt at a breakthrough so they are still in a rather shabby state. Furthermore, I can use the turn to clean up my supply lines and move up the infantry.
The Lvov pocket is cleaned up except for one pesky Sec. Reg. that refuses to die.
The sole remaining inf. div. from the Kovel pocket still refuses to die after more than 6 attacks when out of supply. [8|]

A further disadvantage of the aborted breakthrough last turn is that Tarhannus decides to pull back his line a bit and gives up the Vinitsa bulge completely. To bad. However, recon reveals a rather weak center... I'm tempted but stick to the initial plan to rest. I'm betting he'll stick around...


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 10:54:23 AM)

Further down the Rumanians and 11th Army expand their Dnestr bridgehead and provide a springboard for the planned offensive next turn. To this end, XXXXVI Pz Corps is moved down and hidden in the light woods right next to a functioning RR. No air supply is dropped on this Corps, with some luck he won't notice it.

60th Motorized Div fails miserably in pushing away a pesky Cav. Div & a sec. reg in a fort 2. Even a deliberate assault fails to budge the defenders!
His Southern left flank looks very weak indeed. If he sticks around I might have an opportunity to blow the South open.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 11:09:00 AM)

For the Panzer lovers out there, condition of the Panzers start of turn 5.


glvaca -> RE: Tackling the Russian bear (No Tarhunnas pls) (6/7/2012 11:09:51 AM)



Page: [1] 2 3 4 5   next >   >>

Valid CSS!

Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI