Michael T -> RE: Razing the Reich (No Pelton) (2/7/2013 10:33:48 PM)
Well part of the fun of these games is that we don't all do things the same way. And for sure the game was well and truly won in 1941, partly to my defence and partly to Pelton's voluntary Poland retreat strategy.
But for your and others benefit, and it is an AAR after all I will elaborate on why I choose to send many hundreds of thousand of electronic hordes to their death.
I knew I would not be able to do much to Pelton prior to Jan 43. But it galled me to think I would just have to sit around and watch his OOB and Arm pool grow and grow. I did some calculations and figured if I just sat around I would be facing a German OOB of around 4.0 million with at least 300K to 400K of Arm in his pools. I did some tests and found that a series of wave attacks run over the course of multiple battles would result in him loosing around 20K of Germans and 25K of Arm. At a cost of 50K to 60K of Soviets and 40K of Arm each turn in clear weather.
I decided to implement this strategy of extreme attrition for the following reasons.
I wanted to hit Jan 1943 with his OOB at around 3.5 to 3.6 million. I wanted his Arm pools to be as close to zero as possible. What was the cost? Well in manpower it made no difference to my situation at all. I have around 2.5 million men sitting in the pool. I could afford the loss in manpower. Armaments was a different matter. Yes I lost a lot of Arm. But I still preferred to see his pool at zero even if my pool was 500K less as well.
My real limit was AP. I knew I could slowly over the second part of 1942 build enough INF Corp to keep hitting him and slowly shift from suicide attacks to more sensible attacks that would have much higher chances of success for less loss of Arm by using Inf Corp. But they cost 20 AP each so it was a false economy to build too many in 1942. I wanted to hit Jan 1943 with 500 AP so I could suddenly put 40 plus Inf Corp on the map in one go and hit 1943 running. As an aside this is why I predicted he would concede in early 1943 because I thought any rational person would see that there was no way they could survive such a steam roller so close to the Fatherland.
Did I achieve my goals? Yes. His OOB came in to 1943 at 3.59 million. Looking at his AAR I see his Arm pool was zero. On Jan 1943 I put exactly 42 Inf Corp on the map.
Bottom line is my limit was AP not Arm or Men, as long as I did not waste too much Arm.
What of territory? Well there was no way I was ever going to gain much ground in 1942 yet somehow to my delight I was able to expand my bridgehead across the Daugava between Riga and Vilnus. Really Pelton should have crushed this bridgehead. He could have but he just could not stomach a stand up fight for it. Once I got my Inf Corp in there it ever so slowly increased. This was the one area I knew he had to defend with his best troops. It was on the direct line to Berlin.
As for the Dnieper line in the south I planned to make it irrelevant by the end of winter 42/43. And again I met that objective. With 3 full turns of snow left I had all but cleared it. He only holds an untenable line of around 6 hexes just to the north of Cherassky and 2 hexes to the south of it. And that part of the line is beginning to look like a Kursk type salient. He would have been forced to withdraw before the mud it.
If I had not attacked in summer 1942 he would have had an OOB of 4 million plus, 300K of Arm in the pool and would still be holding the Daugava line in the north. My lines in the south would be almost identical. As opposed to this he now has an OOB of 3.6 million and zero Arm and I am 10 hexes closer to Berlin. My army is no weaker as my limit is AP not Arm or Manpower.
What of morale? Well yes my many failed attacks did push his morale up and mine down. But I had so many troops I could rotate in and out of the line. I would reckon 80% of my guys are 50 plus morale. As for his morale it makes little difference. It is capped for most of his army at around 70 and after a few batterings from my Inf Corp it would soon be heading south. It was an acceptable side affect.
Guards? I had stacks by Feb 1943. Around 30 INF Corp. Plus Tk, Mech, Art XX and Sapper III Gds. I must have had at least 70 or 80 Guard Sapper III.
The bombing campaign was another high loss area. But it cost me nothing in reality. I have 1000's of Bombers in pools. By bombing him every turn over the course of 1942 I added another 40K of permanent losses to his Germans. Plus another 30K of Arm losses.
As for Finland I could not see how killing Finns in lieu of killing Germans was going to help my cause. In the end my border with Finland was held by the grand total of 8 brigades and 3 or 4 Cav XX. Nothing at all. I was also creating plenty of guards with my final victorious assaults with INF Corp against the Germans. I fail to see what benift I would have gotten from taking them out. There was also the risk that after deploying the neccesary INF Corp to do the job he would have simply given the place up to avoid my gaining the victories to get guard status. No I am happy with my decision.
@Flavius, yes I am an offensive minded player by nature and for better or worse there was just no way I was just going to sit on my hands in 1942 once Pelton went turtle. Thatís just me. Can't change that.
What would I have done differently?
Not run quite so far in the south in 1941.
Advanced a little further with my MLR in the north prior to the Blizzard ending.
Built more Army HQ's in 1941 rather than spend the AP on the VVS.
As much as the game had not been fun for the most part, it was very much a more interesting and fun situation for me from about November 1942 on. Although I go away from the game without a deserved and acknowledged result from my opponent I can say I am a much more knowledgeable Soviet player than previously. I can take many lessons from this to my game with Glenn. In the end I have to admit I would rather have had this experience than not. But I would not repeat it. From now on I will be incorporating some house rules, most likely some Auto VC, to avoid this kind of scenario in any new future games. My game with Glenn has no such rules but he has undertaken not to do what Pelton did.
Finally I am very disappointed that I was not able to march triumphantly in to Berlin at some stage in 1944. It was my much anticipated aim to do so. And after all the trials and tribulations endured it would have been a highlight of my WITE career. But unfortunately, for reasons unknown it was not to be.
My many thanks to Joel and Co for their efforts and time in trying to nail the problem that stopped the game. As Joel said, I hope it never happens again.