Here is the general strategy that I was following. And now I wonder if the first step of direct artillery attacks did me in with the previously reported artillery/turn burn bug mentioned above. Even following the general guidelines below, my turn completely ended with just the softening up artillery phase, no other combats or movements because that was to come in round 2. Never got the chance, three consecutive turns in Armageddon:
McBride ten tactical rounds
Commentary on Successful Attacks From Daniel McBride
How many TOAW grognards out there have actually had a ten-round turn? How many opt for the easy route and turn the system into a basic all-unit-move-and-then-attack game? Well you are obviously using your Porsche to drive to the corner store, in first gear all the way.
In this article I propose to demonstrate how all-out 10-phase attack turns might be planned for, and made an integral part of your attack strategy. I find myself adopting 3 distinct modes of attack in TOAW:
1) Breakthrough mode (moving all units to their maximum and attacking--I don't want to risk losing any forward movement and one attack will suffice.
2) 50% movement and attack, which usually assures you of a breakthrough phase and a second attack. One sustained attack upon a tough position can ruin this, which leads to
3) Intensive attacks on tough positions.
These must be anticipated and I will use my scenario to be posted soon, Rundstedt's Plan Martin, as an example as I am play testing it daily at this point. In this Bulge variant the initial German assault is far stronger, as was Rundstedt's intention, and German reserves are fed into the battle quickly and not held back as they were historically. Even so, this is no walk-through for the Germans, and in most cases American airborne units can make it into Bastogne if desired. The town has its own supply point and can thus last indefinitely while surrounded. As the German this presents the obvious dilemma: do I go all out to take it, or sprint for the Meuse? We assume here the former and it serves to demonstrate a tough, multi-hex, position. These are obviously places of strategic import, or of such natural defensive characteristics, that we can assume the enemy will go all-out to hold them. Their units will be on "ignore all losses", and this is what will ruin any plans you have for multiple phases in a turn if you choose to attack one of these. And so the idea is that you refrain from doing so until you decide upon an intensive attack turn.
I am suggesting that you anticipate this turn and set it up according to the following criteria:
1) Move up all the units you want to attack and have them echeloned, the second echelon behind the front on a road leading forward if possible to reduce movement costs to engage.
2) Position your HQ's near your units on roads to feed in replacements before the attack at an increased rate. Your units sitting and waiting for the order to attack will also increase their readiness turn by turn.
3) Have all your artillery in place and begin softening up the target hexes for a turn or two.
4) Plan your attack for an AM turn for maximum impact (for half-day turn scenarios such as mine--your attack strength is enhanced on AM turns)
The rest of your front can move and engage as desired during this build-up period; however, you must anticipate "H-Hour" in the sense that it would be better if you had your units elsewhere close up against the enemy and ready to engage without having to move far as you are not going to allow any unit to move more that 10% of its MF that AM turn. Also, and this is important, no attack is to be launched into a hex whose terrain cost to enter exceeds that of your intensive-attack target (yes, you finally have to sit down and figure out exact terrain costs). If a desired movement path requires more than either, forget it. Your priority for that turn is your intensive attack and these units will benefit by sitting it out and recovering supply and readiness in any case. It is not time lost.
In launching the attack you have a number of options. You can start off with a limited attack to feel out the defense, and then escalate it next turn to a regular attack with limited losses, and finally an ignore losses phase if it looks ready to break. You can also go for an all-out assault and mop-up. Keep an eye on your supplies and readiness and pull out units that dip too low, as their losses will be incommensurate with gains--feed in your 2nd echelon assault troops. If you have a number of target hexes, attack the least desirable first to possibly draw off reserves from your primary target.
It is unlikely you will get a 10-phase turn, although I have had it happen (truly a War-gaming epiphany if there is one); however, even a 2-5 phase turn can reduce a series of defensive positions that would take as many normal turns using the move-and-attack mode (1) discussed above. If we are dealing with extensive defenses--i.e. multi-hex locales--then it is imperative that you have fresh reserves to feed into succeeding phases, or even succeeding turns, as you should resist the temptation to just hammer away with depleted, low-readiness troops, or you will be known as the "Butcher of Bastogne" as I came to be known as playing the German in one game. This strategy allows you to take tough positions quicker than usual AND with the chance for reduced casualties if handled properly. Nonetheless, you should anticipate horrific casualties, and this is the beauty of this system in that nothing is guaranteed. You must decide, in advance, if the strategic goals of your larger plan warrant such sacrifice.