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Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line)

 
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Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/20/2010 7:59:50 PM   
el hefe


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Here is a technique I use in breaking solid Soviet lines and will also work against defenses in depth. Manuever is the key to breaking a line. You will come across intimidating lines that seem difficult or sometimes impossible to break. The key is not to expect to demolish and encircle the enemy on the first turn but think long term. Remember, your opponent has probably placed a lot of expectations on this newly fortified line and defensive zone. Smashing through it will be a considerable morale blow. When I am faced with a line such as this, my most important consideration is how can I make this line untenable to the enemy and force him to withdraw. If I can force him to withdraw, he will do so to new positions which probably aren't well dug-in and thus making them more vunerable to more attacks the next turn.

I use my panzer corps as a precision cutting instrument in that I rarely break them up but keep them focused and working together. Their value to me is more in their ability to manuever rather than their firepower. I try to avoid at all costs using the mobile units to conduct any combats if I can. Leave Axis minor and the infantry to clean up pockets.

In this hypothetical situation we are faced with a formidable linear line along nice rivers near Proskurov. We have contact with our infantry up front with three panzer corps in the rear. The only thing we want to do on this turn is puncture the line in such a way that it will force the opponent to withdraw. We are not looking for any juicy encirclements here as those will come later. What you want to do first is identify the best section of his line to attempt the puncture. You want to consider things such as your strongest supporting infantry sectors, terrain, favorable avenues of approach for follow on attacks, and strength of the enemy units. Air recon is the best way to do this. My assessment is that straight up the middle towards Proskurov between the two rivers is our best bet. The defenders won't have any river defense bonuses and it will cleave the enemy defenses directly in half. Additionally, after the 'Panzer Punch' is done, we have several options based on what the enemy does on his turn.

Trey




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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/20/2010 8:04:50 PM   
el hefe


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Phase I

We have identified the area that we are going to puncture. The first step is to use your local infantry to form the hilt. You may need to form up some two or three unit stacks to form the base of our 'sword'. We want to clear the enemy at least three hexes wide from the enemy's initial defense line with pure infantry hasty or deliberate attacks. The width of our 'sword' will need to be three hexes wide as this is important to maintaining the ZOC of our punch.

Trey




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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/20/2010 8:11:21 PM   
el hefe


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Phase II - Initial Panzer thrust

If the infantry does it job correctly, you should have a nice firm base of three hexes wide. You will then want to use your furthest panzer corps (in this case the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps) to start the punch in a wedge formation and ensuring that you do not have more than one hex in between units in a spear or sword formation. This one hex gap will allow you to extend the length of your spearhead without allowing the enemy to isolate it. The enemy will not be able to break through this kind of formation unless you attempt to use Axis minors, brigades, or broken down divisions. This first panzer corps should have enough MPs to conduct a combination of hasty attacks to clear out this area. If an enemy area looks formidable such as the city of Proskurov itself, you may want to stack the entire panzer corps next to the city and conduct a corps sized hasty attack. There is not many Soviet units that can withstand a full panzer corps stack this early in the game. You then should have enough MPs to move your panzers into the spear formation.

Trey




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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/20/2010 8:14:11 PM   
el hefe


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Phase III - The exploit

By this time you should be through or close to busting through all the defensive units he has in the area. Send in your last panzer corps (or two!) to expand the spearhead using the same formation as before. You want to always start with the furthest unit out and work your way closer to the front. This ensures that your last mobile units can expolit the puncture to its fullest.

Trey




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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/20/2010 8:24:13 PM   
el hefe


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Phase IV - Options

Now, you have some significant options for next turn. You still have one panzer corps left over to either extend the spearhead further or use it for some other mission. Next turn, your opponent will have few options. If he is rational, he will be forced to withdraw as he can no longer defend this line. He'll also probably have to withdraw from the Dnestr too allowing the 11th Army and the Romanians to advance. This helps you tremendously as your opponent now is out in the open retreating and even if he does find significant ground to defend, his entrenchment levels will be low. There might now be a opportunity ripe for an encirclement now that you have him on the move. If not, find his weakest spot and do anther spearhead. Speed, speed, speed, outflank is the key. Figure out what your next obstacle is (Dnepr) and figure out how you are going to outflank it. Worse thing that can happen is for you to lose the initiative and find the enemy firmly on the other side of the bank.

In my current PBEM game, I started the second turn with a maneuver just like this one. I have been keeping the Soviet off balance and reeling as the 1st Panzer Army wheeled southeast towards Kirovograd. Each turn netted around 85-100k in encircled Soviets and my opponent finally ran out of units on the lower Dnepr. 1st Panzer Army crossed the Dnepr with absolutely no resistance just northwest of Dnepropisk (spelling). Supply should be the only thing holding up your panzer groups in 1941.

Trey




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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/20/2010 9:18:59 PM   
sventhebold


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Nicely done. More please!

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/20/2010 9:22:22 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Trey, are you really sure that cavalry division can't move behind that unit in Proskurov? With 22 MP's, it should probably be able to do so.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 3:37:16 AM   
Tzar007


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Thanks el hefe for this very instructive lesson and screenshots !

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 10:47:20 AM   
Negozio

 

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That was very helpful and nicely presented. Thanks a lot Trey!

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 4:49:51 PM   
AZ Gung Ho


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Excellent! Your thoughts on starting with the Panzer corps farthest away and using them in reverse order like that is one of those brilliant but obvious things that make me think, "DUH!! I should have thought of that!"

But I didn't - you did! Let's hope I remember that in my next game!

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 5:27:38 PM   
Franklin Nimitz

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ComradeP

Trey, are you really sure that cavalry division can't move behind that unit in Proskurov? With 22 MP's, it should probably be able to do so.


This is a good point IMO- something I will do on exploitations is move next to enemy units, even if I don't attack. This will make it more difficult for them to manuever b/c they will have to go around while paying elevated ZOC movement costs.


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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 5:37:42 PM   
Flaviusx


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It's unlikely that cav division has anywhere near 22 MPs.

However, I'd love to see the Soviet turn on this. I think I could come up with some interesting counters to this move depending on the Soviet position, but I'd need to see what's ready and how much movement is available.



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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 7:12:25 PM   
ComradeP

 

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It's still risky. Concentrate cavalry units in the likely area of an enemy breakthrough, and one of them will probably end up with 22 MP's.

Of course, you could also gather 4-6 Rifle divisions, bump that Panzer on the northern flank back, and then move the cavalry division in behind Proskurov.

It's a really chancy breakthrough against a Soviet concentration of force.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 7:28:21 PM   
BigAnorak


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A pity Trey's SS don't show CV's - in theory the units at the base are less fatigued and have more ammo to fight off a counter attack, but I agree that the base could be a hex or two wider and/or have a buttress of infantry Divisions, so as not to invite the current opportunity to isolate the "sword thrust". Also I don't think Trey would mind sucking in some units for future encirclement opportunities.

Trey's point about the psychological impact(especially against inexperienced SU players) is also valid, where experienced players are seeing counter-attacking and isolating opportunities, a new player probably would not.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 7:39:46 PM   
el hefe


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There will always be counters and risks associated with any maneuver. I doubt the cavalry division would have enough APs to break two units worth of ZOCs. An additional point to mention is in the ideal situation, your mobile units would have enough APs to hasty attack most if not all of the nearby units. If I have enough APs, I would have them attack the enemy mobile units but this is in a perfect world and the enemy always has surprises for you. The later in the war you get, the more difficult it would to pull off this maneuver but it has worked well for me in the past including games against Andy.

Trey



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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 8:07:18 PM   
ComradeP

 

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A cavalry division with 50 morale can't make it into 2 hexes of enemy ZOC in enemy hexes, I checked. Still, if one of those flank divisions is pushed back, which isn't that difficult to do as mobile divisions retreat quickly it seems, it should be possible to cause some problems, even if the cavalry can't actually isolate the spearhead.

Such a formation is open to a defeat in detail, as none of the units retreat into a hex with another unit.

< Message edited by ComradeP -- 12/21/2010 8:08:36 PM >


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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/21/2010 11:27:49 PM   
Swayin


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"This early in the game" is a key phrase to this example, but it is excellently thought out and presented. I might use that last Panzer Corps to shore up the flanks of the thrust, perhaps NE and NW of Proskurov or perhaps to reinforce the ZOC at the tip of the spear. But as someone who has been playing exclusively the SU thus far, I'd relish the chance to snip the tip off of that spear ... the SU in the shots above has plenty of units with which to push at the base and around the city iself. Could certinaly take some of the zeal out of the "what's next" phase at the very least.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 12:28:48 AM   
randallw

 

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Those screenshots seem to be from turn of the full campaign;  there's maybe two or three Soviet divisions with a decent amount of T-34s and KVs.  The other tanks are mainly T-26s and other spitwads.  It might require sloppiness to lose a division that early in the game.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 4:42:12 AM   
el hefe


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You're not going to defeat this until after the Germans cross the Dnepr when fatigue and poor logistics start settling in. After that, its still a good move but as you pointed out, it is possible to defeat as the Soviets have to have a nice pool of ready mobile units which are in short supply in the later summer of 41. I wasn't able to start forcing mobile units into a retreat until September.

Trey

quote:

ORIGINAL: ComradeP

A cavalry division with 50 morale can't make it into 2 hexes of enemy ZOC in enemy hexes, I checked. Still, if one of those flank divisions is pushed back, which isn't that difficult to do as mobile divisions retreat quickly it seems, it should be possible to cause some problems, even if the cavalry can't actually isolate the spearhead.

Such a formation is open to a defeat in detail, as none of the units retreat into a hex with another unit.



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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 9:19:06 AM   
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Nice step by step, but in my opinion, you should have broken through in that gap on turn one. Not on turn three, or four, or whatever turn you're in here...

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 9:31:19 AM   
Helpless


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quote:

Nice step by step, but in my opinion, you should have broken through in that gap on turn one. Not on turn three, or four, or whatever turn you're in here...


It's all done in one turn.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 9:32:15 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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LoL...I just noticed the jump map shows the rest of the front as it was on turn 1. Was this a special scenario you created for demonstration purposes? My apologies for not recognizing that before I posted.

The reason I did mention it, however, is that the Lvov-Ternopol axis is my preferred focus on turn one for AGS. My objective is to have two Pz Korps sitting around Ternopol at the end of the turn, with the third in reserve between Lvov and Ternopol so that on turn two, I can finish driving past Proskurov, and linking with the Rumanians. This breaks open the southern front pretty well by exploiting exactly what you are trying to show here - focused attacks, maneuver and displacement.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 9:35:55 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Helpless

quote:

Nice step by step, but in my opinion, you should have broken through in that gap on turn one. Not on turn three, or four, or whatever turn you're in here...


It's all done in one turn.

Yes, I understood that. See my other post. I was incorrectly assuming that this was from an inprocess game, and not a specially modified scenario that was created for a demonstration.

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 1:46:27 PM   
el hefe


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No, this wasn't an actual turn. I just used the editor to shuffle around units to display the process. You actually can't do this on turn 1 because the 1st Panzer Group isn't fully active until turn 2. It is however a standard tactic I use on turn 2 to break that line.

Good seeing you again JAMiAM, its been awhile.

Trey


quote:

ORIGINAL: JAMiAM


quote:

ORIGINAL: Helpless

quote:

Nice step by step, but in my opinion, you should have broken through in that gap on turn one. Not on turn three, or four, or whatever turn you're in here...


It's all done in one turn.

Yes, I understood that. See my other post. I was incorrectly assuming that this was from an inprocess game, and not a specially modified scenario that was created for a demonstration.



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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 1:48:23 PM   
Helpless


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quote:

No, this wasn't an actual turn. I just used the editor to shuffle around units to display the process. You actually can't do this on turn 1 because the 1st Panzer Group isn't fully active until turn 2. It is however a standard tactic I use on turn 2 to break that line.

Good seeing you again JAMiAM, its been awhile.

Trey


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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/22/2010 4:39:07 PM   
JAMiAM

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: el hefe

No, this wasn't an actual turn. I just used the editor to shuffle around units to display the process. You actually can't do this on turn 1 because the 1st Panzer Group isn't fully active until turn 2. It is however a standard tactic I use on turn 2 to break that line.

Good seeing you again JAMiAM, its been awhile.

Trey


Thanks Trey! You too. Good to see that you're still keeping busy, kicking butt and taking names...

Yeah...I posted last night without fully reading the accompanying text on all posts, and judged the turn to be around turn 3, because of the advanced positions and front line densities of the Axis infantry. By turn two, getting to those river lines is possible, but not generally in that organized and strong a fashion - even given a wholesale flight by the Soviet player - simply because of the hex conversion costs and turn one locations of the units. Since the Pz Korps were in "reserve and refit" locations, I further (mis)assumed that you might have rested them for the purposes of the demo and was just going through a slow-paced,turn by turn playthrough in order to set up your demonstration. Leave it to you to bypass all that drudgery and go straight for the simpler route of just editing the game...

Well done, sir!

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/26/2010 3:29:08 PM   
Haudrauf1962

 

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I see that you did not move the PzCorps HQ's. Wouldn't that spell trouble because the divisions would not get any supply ? (hq ore than 5 hexes away)

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RE: Panzer Puncture (or how to break a solid line) - 12/26/2010 5:15:11 PM   
el hefe


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Just an oversight. I would have moved those up to keep those divisions in contact with its HQ.

Trey

quote:

ORIGINAL: Haudrauf1962

I see that you did not move the PzCorps HQ's. Wouldn't that spell trouble because the divisions would not get any supply ? (hq ore than 5 hexes away)



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