CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (Full Version)

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Bonners -> CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 9:45:28 PM)

Just a bit of background to this really. This is my first ever strategy game of any type against a human opponent. I wanted to play against somebody more experienced and Isokron kindly stepped up to the mark.

The other reason for posting is that all the campaigns so far (well certainly Case Blue)have been pretty much in favour of the Axis...as you shall see, this is very much not the case here. We made a couple of house rules, no dismissal (we'd like to play the game to conclusion if possible), the Soviet gets free aircraft set up on first turn and the Axis player needs to use common sense on the northern border (although with the way things are going that may not be an issue[;)]).

I didnt decide to do this until the July 10th turn so my first post below will be a brief synopsis of 28th June to 8th July and then I'll try and post details of most turns.

I've never put one of these up before so feel free to comment on things I've missed or that might be useful to see.

Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:08:16 PM)

28th June to 8th July

I had a few main strategies for the first couple of turns, none of which really worked:

1. At Sevastapol

The idea was to basically rock and roll up there with all my artillery, a couple of extra artillery units and take it in a couple of turns. I also decided to take a big risk with my fleets and try and contest the seas. On land, although things didnt go too well, with the airforce and fleets interdicting the sea supply I was able to get most units after about 3 turns IIRC. Isokron was able to ferry some units out though and it should be noted that some of his units had virtually full supply left at the time of taking. So overall my victory but I reckon Isokron will have been pleased with the amount of units he managed to get out. My experiment with the fleets didnt work too well...suffice to say I now no longer have any fleets left, which means that I'm having to leave quite a few units in the Crimea, some units covering the neck and further units covering all the coastal ports as I have nothing to stop him making any seaborne landings on my flanks. I also did a couple of stupid land attacks before sufficient artillery preparation and my infantry got quite chewed up. I have no other way of taking Rostov or landing opposite Kerch, so it is going to be a straight on struggle for Rostov with 11th Army in support.

2. The rest of the front. We can cover this quite easily with 2 words.....cock up.

Basically I suppose I've been making classic noob errors all along the front. On the first turn my idea was to chew him up with my infantry and then launch the Panzers at his weakened defences from the second turn. That went really well as he basically had retreated all his units back a couple of hexes. This left me in a quandary from my second turn and I ended up making lots of rushed attacks in the wrong places and ended up with exposed units which he took full advantage of. Since then he has always been retreating just ahead of my forces, never allowing me on top of him to make considered attacks across the front. I've had to take chances a couple of times to get in amongst him and nothing has paid off...I should've been more patient. My overall strategy of where to advance hasnt changed though. Either side of the cities and head for the clear ground. Providing the weather stays clear most turns my supply should keep up in the early stages of the game even though I'm not following the rail lines and roads. It is overall a bad situation for the Axis, but it is not yet catastrophic....

3. The Air War

I havent got the hang of this at all, any advice is certainly welcome. My airforce is basically played out, I've been indecisive, not knowing when to recon or go for airbases and feel like I'm already on the defensive. I completely lost sight of his airforce for a couple of turns until they turned up South and West of Rostov. basically it was a bit nasty, the only redeeming feature was that this is the first time he has played his airforce in the game in any force and overall losses were high for him as well, I even managed to bag a few on one of his airfields.

4. Rostov

Again making the classic mistakes of not knowing when to give up. I've been basically fighting it out tooth and nail, as has he. You'll see more on this below, but Axis players of a sensitive disposition may want to look away.

And that was basically where I was up to. No breakthroughs, no encirclements and a clever Soviet opponent who has been very impressive in taking full advantage of any mistakes or weaknesses on my part. Despite him retreating every turn I cant but help the feeling I'm dancing to his tune[:D]

Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:22:24 PM)

July 10th

Another example of the above really, retreats all along the line apart from at Starobelsk where I thought I might be able to get a bridgehead. The trouble is I was again too hasty and the 60th motorized was promptly thrown back across the river with heavy losses to all regiments.


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:24:11 PM)

July 10th

At Voronezh I was making steady progress, but again before Isokron retreated he as able to inflict significant damage, this time on the 82nd Division. I keep feeling I have to try these advances, but whenever I leave an exposed division I feel a bit of panic before opening my opponent's turn.


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:28:43 PM)

July 10th

...and here is Rostov...very messy. I feel like I've sucked myself into it and now dont know how to extract my forces. The infantry and artillery from the 11th Army is joining in the fight and have managed to get myself a three way attack on his frontline, but the losses on both sides are horrific. This was also the turn when the Soviet airforce turned up in force. i did politely request if I could have my airforce back but was got told to check to see if OKH had nay special offers on[:'(]


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:34:43 PM)

July 10th

...and finally here is the evidence of the destruction of the Luftwaffe and also the overall troops for each side:


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:42:47 PM)

July 12th

...all quiet on the Eastern Front. Lots more pulling back and this time I decided not to make any hasty attacks but got all my forces up to the line and basically miss a turn of attacking in Summer[:(] This also gave my artillery a bit of chance to stock up and I was hopeful that the next turn I'd be able to make some progress around Starobelsk. I am convinced Isokron has a card for it as it is one of the only places he is trying to hold and he does have another river line to fall back to.

My only major attacks were against Rostov...the grinding machine carries on. No breakthroughs but I must be reducing his entrenchment by now. Also no show by the Soviet airforce, he must be resting up as my recon planes didnt see anything either. Notice his fleets serenely pottering around to the West of Rostov. I need to keep an eye on them. I'm not too sure how much bombardment damage they can do but none of my aircraft are now based in coastal hexes just in case!


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:49:34 PM)

July 14th

Finally I make a little bit of progress and gain bridgeheads either side of Starobelsk which should hopefully be a bit more secure. I think this is one of the mistakes I made in the earlier part of the game. Axis HQ cards should be used for speed rather than attacks I reckon, unless it is for attacking cities like Rostov and Sevastapol. I was able to use the speed cards to get three sided attacks either side of Starobelsk even on a mud turn. Talking of which this was the first turn I had to use my air transport as some units (particularly in the swamp by Rostov) were suffering from a lack of supply. On which note it should be said that they were on yellow and I was able to deliver supplies to them. But it only worked when the unit selected was one of the ones with the yellow supply status (i.e. one of the units in the hex had green supply and when that unit was selected I could not deliver supplies).


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:52:57 PM)

July 14th

I also finally make it to Voronezh as the Soviet troops made the decision to holiday on the East side of the Don this year despite my best invitations for them to come and join me on the West bank. I'm not going to be too hasty here and when I attack it is going to be in force either side. I've decided to play the more time card in a couple of turns to make sure I'm not panicked into a premature attack. I need to get over the Don in force on both sides of Voronezh all at once as 5th tank is waiting patiently for me on the other side to counter-attack....


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/4/2012 10:57:47 PM)

July 14th

No further progress at Rostov beyond reducing entrenchment with artillery. I have a feeling that a Manstein gamble will be needed at some point.

More stats, overall casualties inflicted. Look at previous AARs (and also games I've played against the AI) and Axis casualties look quite high for this point. I wouldnt mind that if I'd managed to inflict some damage on the Soviets though, but no significant losses so far.


olivier34 -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 3:20:39 PM)

Hi Bonners, great to read your AAR ! The soviets have manage to retreat without losing to much and are building some good line of defenses. He may think that he can hold your advance. If he does not retreat, you may be abble to destroy a lot of his units in the coming days. Concentrate your forces, try to gain some hexes that will push him to retreat and then launch your panzers (play some offensive cards at the right time).
Have you fire Von Paulus ? How was the weather ?
Don't know if it works but when you advance with your panzers and recon some threat (soviets tanks, some impressive stacks) launch some airstrikes on those units. They will lose some APs and maybe they won't be abble to counter attack.
In front of Rostov, keep the pressure but retreat your motorised units and send them in another part of the front. Good luck ! [:)]

Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 3:35:30 PM)

Cheers Olivier. Some useful advice there. I have enough time if I play the extra time cards (although Paulus stays for now). I may start moving my airforce up north in force as my opponent seems to mass his fighters for interception, my feeling is that is where they now are as well. So with playing the card I'll wait until my infantry arrive in force with full action points. As for Rostov, I agree, the 11th and Wiking will be moved out of the line this turn and next as 11th Army will be making the main assault and taking over their positions. They have mainly been holding the line whilst I am railing everything in.

James Ward -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 4:13:46 PM)

Once you take Sevastopol the artillery there can be used elsewhere. They can blow a hole anywhere you like.

Keunert -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 5:12:29 PM)

you can minimize losses by choosing the right spot, concentrate firepower and break through in a manner that will take more than one attack to push you back. as long as he is retreating follow him, concentrate on bombing his armor.

once his taking a stand chose terrain with low def value (open) concentrate tanks, artillery and infantry. next turn first bomb him, then shell him. and then infantry with an attack card pushes open a gap. then tanks with a tank drive card follow up, destroy retreated ennemies and push behind his lines. do not attack with low ap, without support, you have to play carefully.

attack units with low entrenchment, attack where you can do so from multiple sides. keep good order for divisional and hq bonus, only use units with high readiness.

good luck Bonners!

Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 6:30:02 PM)

Cheers Keunert and James. As for artillery I am using it all in the Rostov area for now. That was the first stuff I railed out, which has worked out well as I've had a rolling full stength artillery barrage for a couple of turns now. After Rostov I will probably end up distributing some of it to other armies.

And Keunert, you are right, my downfall has been sporadic attacks with dispersed force across too wide a front, then not following them up. I reckon I should wait a turn (even with increased defensive entrenchment) and make sure I can exploit the gaps.

James Ward -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 7:09:05 PM)

Yes once you have the artillery from the 11th army you can blast away and really open holes, especially on stacks in clear terrain.

Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 7:51:51 PM)

July 16th

...more racing towards the Don...the Soviets are winning the race and getting there fairly undisrupted and in force....when I try and breach the Don my earlier failings are going to come back and haunt me by a steep line pointing to the sky showing my horrific casualties. Entrenchment doesnt matter now, my only chance is to breakthrough with infantry using action cards. I may go next turn or may wait a further turn for full replenishment of most of my artillery. Suffice to say nothing to report around Voronezh apart from Axis forces reaching the Don in force.

On the central front he has had enough and has retreated. There may be a slight opportunity there as the defences dont look quite so tough, just judging where to try and breakthrough.


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 7:56:14 PM)

July 16th

Rostov....feed the grinder[:(] Although I have to say this turn went slightly in my favour. Manstein played a card for the attacking Corp and combined with artillery we actually broke a couple of units this turn, it is still a foot slog now. As more 11th Army units come on line the 17th Army units are gradually withdrawing from the fight. A nasty counter attack on Wiking this turn, luckily although a retreat casualties werent as bad as they could've been. All my 11th Army artillery is now involved in the fight for Rostov. I'm still not quite sure why I decided to go head on and not flank, but I am committed now and we will see this through to its bloody conclusion.


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/5/2012 7:57:52 PM)

July 16th

..and finally I had a bit of success against his fleets, managed to do a bit of damage to one of his cruisers, although I did lose a plane against his battleship.


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/6/2012 3:08:23 PM)

July 18th

Finally a bit of success, bridgeheads across the Don.

But first, on opening my turn I was presented with the fact that my Italians had turned tail. They were guarding a quiet bit of the front. Isokron keeps reminding me of the calibre of player I am up against, any weakness is immediately exploited and two regiments have disappeared into the night. I must remember to give my allies German units as bracing or I'm likely to have a few more nasty shocks on opening my turn.

Rostov, havent bothered with a screenshot, but advantage again to the Soviets. Slightly more Soviet losses and a couple more broken units, but it feels a bit like playing Stalingrad a couple of months early at the moment. 11th Army is now fully gathered and 17th Army, particularly the mechanised troops will soon be starting to feel around the edges.

Anyway onto the northern front around Voronezh. As I suspected before, the Soviet airforce is gathered in strength. My recon units struggled a bit, but I did manage to find a couple of his airfields and with my movement north of my fighters the previous turn I had some major success. I have also been suffering losses, but I am particularly pleased with this:


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/6/2012 3:17:29 PM)

July 18th

I also noticed a few gaps on the central front and have managed to play a movement card on 3rd Pz Div to get them across the river.

..and so onto Voronezh. I'm afraid noob play has come back to the fore. Looking at his units he was obviously suffering from command and control penalties so I thought it was time to strike. the basic plan was to get a bridgehead two hexes wide either side of Voronezh so I have a chance of defending it next turn. Well blow me down with a feather, it would appear that my units do actually want to cross the Don after all. I have used up all my card points for my HQs and played a mixture of movement cards and attack cards to get across the river in force. Despite some heavy losses (although the Soviet losses were worse) We are across on all planned bridgeheads, now to see if we can hold them despite the inevitable counter-attacks from 5th Tank Army. I have done everything I can to stop them as every Stuka unit not involved in the attacks across the river has been off loading everything they have on the armoured units. Again bad losses for me, but if I was ever going to sacrifice my bombers, this felt like the turn to do it.

I am slightly scared to see what Isokron comes up with next turn as I know he is fully prepared for this assault.

Overview of Voronezh Front:


Keunert -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/6/2012 7:59:25 PM)

that one airstrike was pretty impressive!

Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/6/2012 9:50:14 PM)

July 20th

I'm beginning to think I should be putting a health warning on this thread for Axis players....the following report is not going to be pretty, I think my limitations as a player are being shown up big style.

I opened my turn up so see another mud turn.....I thought this was bad news.....I was wrong.

The bad news was anywhere across the front I cared to mention. All the way along the front there were little nibbling attacks wherever I had put a unit slightly in danger. By themselves they are not dangerous, but they all add to my ever mounting losses.

I then looked at Voronezh. Luckily for my sanity I didnt take a screen shot, but it was not a pretty sight. Both bridgeheads thrown back across the river with ease. Minimal Soviet losses, but my total losses for the offensive amounted to almost 20,000 troops in one turn and approximately 100 tanks. These losses are not sustainable for long. Yet OKH says I have to take these objectives, so take them I will.

The battle carries on. I crumble a bit further north of Voronezh and in a very costly offensive retake the Southern bridgeheads. This is not looking good though. I used my last card to get some more units across the river, but I am still going to be thrown back again. The lack of supply is also a bit of an issue in places wit hthe mud turns. I took a gamble in trying to bypass towns, but it is beginning to backfire. Despite my fighters struggling to get off the ground some fighters managed to intercept my air transport and I suffered my first Ju-52 losses. This is not looking pretty. Full marks to Isokron, I thought my play was improving, but he is still managing to be ready to find the weak spots and also to know exactly when to counterattack in force with everything that vaguely looks like it a pick up a rifle.

The overall picture on Voronezh Front at the end of my turn:


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/6/2012 9:53:55 PM)

July 20th

..and just to complete the picture here are some stats showing casualties inflicted. This is not pretty, I've included the tank breakdown just to show how badly I am doing.

When I asked for this game I asked for a learning experience. I'm certainly getting it! Isokron is a perfect gentleman as an opponent and has been kind enough to offer me a few tips through the game as well. So I am hopefully picking things up for future games.


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/8/2012 8:28:49 PM)

July 24th

I didnt bother to update for July 22nd as it was much the same as the previous turn, more horrific German losses for no gain. However, there is a little glimmer of light across the Don, only a little one, but we are starting to make a little progress both North and South of Voronezh and the 6th Army Panzers are also pushing forward to help from the South. I am beginning to get the feeling that mine are not the only forces suffering in this battle of attrition. Still massive advantage to the Soviets, but maybe I'm not quite dead and buried just yet.

Overall view on the Voronezh Front:


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/8/2012 8:33:54 PM)

July 24th

....and I have a feeling that this here could be the game. Let's be honest through extreme ineptitude my offensive forces are almost spent. My only decent reserves are 1st Panzer. Well they are going for Millerowo. I have played the more time card and if he keeps retreating I'm just going to follow, play the more time card again if necessary and make sure this offensive bursts over him in full force. It is not going to make up for my earlier mistakes and dispersal of force, but I'm hoping I can at least get some kind of breakthrough and give him a bit of a game.

Preparations for operation **** or bust!


Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/8/2012 8:35:54 PM)

July 24th

Finally a quick look at some stats. I think they tell their own tale[:(] Included the aircraft as this is the only area where I am at least holding my own.


olivier34 -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/9/2012 1:02:34 PM)

I can compare with my two previous games and your losses are really high !
The soviets are abble to push back the german bridgeheads south of Voronezh but the axis player can then counter attack and finally keep the position. Always costly. I never tried to cross the Don north of Voronezh in the same time. I prefer to concentrate south all the artillery but I am sure that we (axis players) could improve this.
Try to get those prestige pts and save them to get more and more pps per turn.
Great to follow this !

Keunert -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/9/2012 3:14:44 PM)

wrong thread

Bonners -> RE: CB: Bonners (axis) vs Isokron (Soviet) (10/9/2012 8:28:52 PM)

July 26th

I think it could be game over soon, the chances are that we'll be fighting in Kharkov not Stalingrad in November[:(]

Opened my turn to horrific losses. Approximately 30k total losses, I'm now well below the 700k mark for total troops and the Soviets are now in a strong position across the front. My forces are now spent North and South with the Soviets going over to the offensive in general, I suspect from this turn. No movement on the central front beyond a couple of hexes moved back again, so no offensive yet. Despite the clear weather I have supply problems in various places, I just cant airlift the supplies fast enough or get the bridges repaired quickly enough.

Here is the overall front as it now stands:


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