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PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German)

 
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PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/22/2010 2:31:31 AM   
el hefe


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Introduction: My name is Trey and I am a WitE scenario designer and Axis unit researcher and joined the team back in October. My nemesis is Andy (Sabre) who introduced me to the game in a series of PBEM games we had playing the 1941 campaign. Andy always played the Soviets and I always played the Germans and it was Andy who taught me that your playing skills will have to be honed to take on a skilled human player. You can get away with reckless risk taking against the AI, Andy however, was a cruel taskmaster. So now that my designing needs are winding down, I decided to play some more. I am a bit rusty in that I haven't actually played the game since January and Andy is the tester tasked to break the AI. It will be interesting.

Goal: Me and Andy's goal is to test the balance of this scenario (and the 1941 campaigh upon which it is based) to see how difficult (or easy) it is to capture Leningrad by the end of September 1941.

Situation: Andy knows that there are not many options in taking Leningrad and it doesn't take a genius to figure out the defensive strategy. The keys to this attack are:

1) Securing the lines of communication from Riga to Novgorod for supplies
2) Breaking out of the Pskov defenses
3) Securing Novgorod
4) Breaching the Leningrad defensive belt

Enemy: Andy will defend Leningrad in four defensive belts and in depth if he can afford it. His first line of defense will be the Narva-Velikya River line with his main defensive effort at Pskov. Once Pskov is taken, he will retreat the Northwest Front to Sheldon-Lovat River Line to protect Velikye Luki proper. After he has sufficiently manned the Velkiya River, he will start digging in an army around Leningrad proper utilizing the highground southwest of Leningrad. By doing this, he will have given these units the maximum amount of time to dig in and build up his defenses. This will be the fourth and final belt. Once this belt is in place, he will start fortifying the Plyussa River-Novgorod Line and this will be the second defensive belt. After that line is secure, he will start on the third defensive belt along the Luga River and anchored on Novgorod. He probably will fortify Novgorod and the rail lines crossing the Luga early though to get them nice and dug-in. He will try to evacuate his troops from Latvia via the port at Ventspils. He will also strip the Finn Front to the bare minimum.

Andy will take every opportunity to breach my supply lines and catch any undefended HQs in the open. He will deploy a portion of his force as skirmishers in front of his defenses and along supply routes to force me to stop my drive and deal with him. He will probably try to dig in a couple of rifle divisions in the high ground northeast of Riga along the rail lines to force me to dig them out. If Andy gets the opportunity he will try to isolate mobile divisions that get too aggressive and drive too deep without flank support. It is also a possibility that he will retain a couple of divisions in Estonia to try and disrupt supply lines running from Riga to Pskov. This whole scenario is time driven and speed is the key. Andy has to delay me long enough to build Leningrad into a fortress. If he does not delay me sufficiently, he will lose.

Plan: The main effort will be the 4th Panzer Army as they are the speed that I need to capture Leningrad. Normally, I use the Riga-Pskov-Novgorod line as my main supply line but I am going to divert it this time slightly. Instead, I am going to use the rail line over the Daugava River at Jekpils which is about 60-70 miles southeast of Riga. I don't want my supply lines running adjacent to the high ground northwest of Riga where Andy is likely to try and disrupt them. I won't send more than a two division corps up into Estonia to secure Tallinn and secure the Narva.

Since Andy will likely fortify Pskov directly, I might try to breach at Ostrov instead which is 40 miles south of Pskov and I can easily occupy the four hexes adjacent to the city to launch an assault from. Pskov is better protected by the Velikya River and Pskov Lake where I can only get one hex adjacent easily without forcing a breach across the river. I haven't decided yet whether to try to breach early with the 4th Panzer Army which will probably be running dry on fuel or wait until the infantry of Army Group North catches up. Then I could try some kind of envelopment. I do not like assaulting with my mobile divisions as these are a precious commodity. I like to let the infantry do the heavy lifting and have the mobile units go rampant in the rear.

After the Pskov defenses, there aren't many options. There is the single rail line that runs north and directly into Leningrad and the Novgorod line that is further east. An advance by the 4th Panzer Army will have to take one of those two routes. The direct line to Leningrad will doubtlessly be heavily fortified and the Novogorod route will take more time to work my way eastward but will put me in a better position to hit Leningrad from the southeast. The direct line has high ground that affords good defenses.




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"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

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Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis
Post #: 1
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/22/2010 2:49:31 AM   
el hefe


Posts: 3192
Joined: 10/28/2002
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Turn 1

The turn kicked off with the usual. Luftwaffe attacks on Soviet airfields devastated Soviet air forces across the front. A nice pocket was created southwest of Riga and the border defenses were completely destroyed. Somewhat unorthodox is that I sent the Totenkopf to capture the port of Ventspils. This drew off an important mobile division but it also ensured that Andy won't get to evacuate 3-5 units to help with the defense of Leningrad and will be stuck in Latvia to get mopped up. I also cut all rail lines leading out of Latvia. His troops will only be able to evacuate via foot and very slowly at that. Most of his corps headquarters were driven east and leaving these troops isolated.

I am not perfect and this turn is a perfect example of the mistakes one can make. First, I didn't secure the pocket southwest of Riga well enough. Andy will link up that pocket next turn with that un-routed Tank Division. This will mean that I won't get the east surrenders next turn and they might turn into a nuisance later. I also tried a single panzer division attack into Riga and it was rebuffed. I sent another panzer division in and tried a double panzer hasty attack which was also rebuffed. The last panzer division tried a final hasty attack and was rebuffed again! The casualties weren't bad but it serves as a reminder not to underestimate the enemies' capabilities.

Overall, I am not in bad shape. The lose of the pocket is disheartening though. I am going to divert those two panzer divisions southeast and join the other corps for a look see at the Velikya River line. I might try a to secure a bridgehead over the Velikya near Ostrov if it looks weak enough, If not, I will wait for the infantry to arrive.

Trey




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

WiTE Scenario Designer
WitW Scenario/Data Team Lead
Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis

(in reply to el hefe)
Post #: 2
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/22/2010 10:55:42 AM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

Great Trey - best of luck!

BTW, I see that you are not planning the fast thrust north via Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia) and then swing to right... you plan to go to Pskov and then directly north towards Leningrad... interesting...


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/22/2010 3:13:04 PM   
Hard Sarge


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Trey, I wouldn't go for pockets in the north at start, just break though and crush, the pockets are in the center and south on the first turn or so

(of course you got a chance of just routing them away, but you can hurt them pretty badly doing so)




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RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/22/2010 9:43:55 PM   
el hefe


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In our past games, I have gone the Riga-Pskov route and Andy knows this. Gonna try a different route. Even though I failed taking Riga by the two panzer divisions, maybe it will be an effective feint and Andy will move some divisions up into that area.

Trey

quote:

ORIGINAL: Apollo11

Hi all,

Great Trey - best of luck!

BTW, I see that you are not planning the fast thrust north via Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia) and then swing to right... you plan to go to Pskov and then directly north towards Leningrad... interesting...


Leo "Apollo11"



_____________________________

"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

WiTE Scenario Designer
WitW Scenario/Data Team Lead
Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis

(in reply to Apollo11)
Post #: 5
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/22/2010 9:45:34 PM   
el hefe


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Joined: 10/28/2002
Status: online
The mobile divisions won't be stopping to clean up. I am pushing for a bridgehead over the Velikya River as soon as I can. I will definitely need infantry support to push any further though. I have to keep his units away from that rail line south of Riga until I can secure the area though.

Trey

quote:

ORIGINAL: Hard Sarge

Trey, I wouldn't go for pockets in the north at start, just break though and crush, the pockets are in the center and south on the first turn or so

(of course you got a chance of just routing them away, but you can hurt them pretty badly doing so)






_____________________________

"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

WiTE Scenario Designer
WitW Scenario/Data Team Lead
Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis

(in reply to Hard Sarge)
Post #: 6
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/23/2010 12:29:34 AM   
ComradeP

 

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Trey, Andy suggested to move a question I asked in his AAR over to you: how many divisions do the Soviets have at the start of the scenario/get as reinforcements during the scenario?

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RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/23/2010 1:57:09 AM   
el hefe


Posts: 3192
Joined: 10/28/2002
Status: online
I don't have the answer to that off the top of my head - I would have to do some counting. I do know that when I finished this scenario a few days ago on a test that I had around 59 Soviet divisions at the end of September 1941 when the scenario ended.

Trey


quote:

ORIGINAL: ComradeP

Trey, Andy suggested to move a question I asked in his AAR over to you: how many divisions do the Soviets have at the start of the scenario/get as reinforcements during the scenario?



_____________________________

"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

WiTE Scenario Designer
WitW Scenario/Data Team Lead
Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis

(in reply to ComradeP)
Post #: 8
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/23/2010 3:18:55 AM   
el hefe


Posts: 3192
Joined: 10/28/2002
Status: online
Turn 2

A very optimistic turn here. NW Latvia was cleared out by the 18th Army and continuing its advance on Riga. 16th Army on the right flank forced out a small Soviet Army sized element where you now see a single security regiment. Totenkopf moved out of Ventspils and took up a blocking position southeast of Riga. XXXXI Pz Corps displaced from the west of Riga, engaged a couple of Tank Divisions holding out to the southwest of Riga and the moved to to the east of Riga forming a nice little pocket. The XXXXI Pz Corps was at its max movement points anyways so I went ahead and closed this pocket. It is larger than normal because I blocked the Western Latvian ports and preventing him from evacuating several divisions by sea to Leningrad. There should be no way that Andy links up and re-establishes supply within that pocket and they should be ripe next turn to collapse.

I chose to make a bold move with LVI Panzer Corps. 8th Panzer Division struck out northeast and engaged several Soviet units to clear the rail line of supply. The 3rd Motorized then moved south of the 8th Panzer and proceeded to clear out Soviet units threatening to try and block our supply route. You can see by the screen shot that a lone Soviet Parachute Brigade hiding in the swamps was missed by my aerial recon and I guarentee that Andy will move it northwest to block the supply line. Other than that lone brigade, I didn't see any units that could possibly hinder my movement but they could be hiding.

This puts me in a position, if I have enough fuel, for LVI Panzer Corps to try and make a punch across the Velikya River at Ostrov. With only two turns complete, Andy will not have enough time to dig in any amount of depth and at a minimum, I want a bridgehead over the river. LVI Pz Corps may have to fight on its own for a couple of turns until the rest of Army Group North can catch up. I should be able to resume the drive with XXXXI Pz Corps next turn although one mobile unit may have to remain behind to mop up Riga.

Trey




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_____________________________

"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

WiTE Scenario Designer
WitW Scenario/Data Team Lead
Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis

(in reply to el hefe)
Post #: 9
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/23/2010 9:41:04 AM   
von Jaeger


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Force march those Landser, Trey!    "Sweat saves blood!"

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Post #: 10
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/23/2010 10:39:25 PM   
dlazov66


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Trey, I posted the following in the Soviet thread:

quote:


ComradeP,

I just loaded the most current version of the RTL scenario and it shows:

51 on map Soviet divisions (of all types) with a total strength of men 516,707, guns 7,292 and AFV of 2,406 with 17 divisions coming on as reinforcements through 9/25/41.




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RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/23/2010 11:34:15 PM   
Joel Billings


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Don, I just loaded the latest and count 35 Soviet reinforcement divisions and 12 brigades. Of these 47 units, 32 are empty and needing to be filled out with new recruits, with only 15 actually coming on with manpower already in the units.

This is more than was in the version that Stuart is showcasing in his AAR for Beginners. Don, were you looking at that version when you counted 17 divisions?

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RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/24/2010 12:25:29 AM   
el hefe


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Turn 3

The Soviets slipped some units out of the Riga harbor last turn and managed to slip more units into my line of supply isolating several mobile divisions. The defensive game that Andy plays is a much more aggressive one as he is using a checkerboard forward defense that you can easily see. He is not retreating en masse to dig in behind the natural terrain features and this is forcing me to deal with individual units and spend up valuable MPs. The infantry still has not caught up to keep the flanks secure and thus Andy is making it much slower going. It remains to be seen how effective this strategy will be in the long run.

You can see that my recon is showing a strong defensive position behind the Velikya River at Pskov as expected. At my expected point of penetration at Ostrov and further south, the line appears to be completely empty. He does have two mechanized corps sitting in front of the river and if I over extend my mobile units, he will slip them in. I still want to try a strike towards Ostrov and gain a foothold over the Velikya. I will need to be consolidated before I continue on though.

Trey




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_____________________________

"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

WiTE Scenario Designer
WitW Scenario/Data Team Lead
Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis

(in reply to Joel Billings)
Post #: 13
RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/24/2010 2:16:24 AM   
dlazov66


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-> Joel, Yes. <- (or I mean the old version)

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RE: PBEM AAR Trey vs. Andy (German) - 7/26/2010 1:59:47 PM   
el hefe


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Well, we have come across some bugs and issues that have affected this game so we are going to have to end this game.

Trey

_____________________________

"You want mercy!? I'm chaotic neutral!"

WiTE Scenario Designer
WitW Scenario/Data Team Lead
Sabre 21's perpetual arch-nemisis

(in reply to el hefe)
Post #: 15
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