From: The Duchy of Cornwall, nr England
I know every Axis player is looking for an "I win" button, and is currently wondering if they will ever find it.
Is a decisive Victory achievable in PBEM play? Personally I think only a major skill/experience mis-match will ever see a decisive victory, and only if the losing player doesn't concede.
To achieve a draw the Axis has to hold on to Berlin and a bunch of Cities South of Berlin until October 1945.
To achieve a Minor Victory the Axis has to hold the line it starts Barbarossa at until Turn 225, and I think the Axis should base their Strategic Principles on achieving this.
I believe this can be done by preventing the Soviets from building an army capable of achieving their objectives. In WITE, the Red Army needs 4 things to achieve their objectives: Manpower, Resources, APs and Time. The Axis therefore needs to base all it's planning on depriving the Red Army of these resources. Each year of the Campaign will enable the Axis to achieve better than historical success in each category:
1941. This is the best opportunity to deprive the Red Army of it's manpower. Large pockets and capture of Manpower Centres should be the basis for all operations.
1942. The Red Army stops getting free replacement divisions and will have to spend APs to replace destroyed units. This year also sees the best opportunity to deprive the Red Army of the resources it needs. A campaign in the south which is pocket-friendly and resource heavy will force the SU to spend APs on replacing losses instead of building the Tank Corps and Artillery Divisions that he needs for offensive operations. Less resource availability will slow down the rate at which the units can build up to full strength.
1943. Assuming the Axis has not given the SU the opportunity to recreate Stalingrad; 1943 gives the Axis the best opportunity to deprive the SU of what he needs the most - Time. If you have captured resources in the south the Axis should make the Soviets fight for every hex south of the Don as there are a lot of them. The area between the Don and Rostov will gain in importance as the SU needs this to cut off the Caucasus.
If, by July 1943 the Axis is holding a line Leningrad/Rzhev/Tula/Voronezh/Boguchar/Voroshilovsk, they have 115 turns to keep the Red Army east of the Barbarossa start line. The shortest distance between those 2 lines is 50 hexes. It may not seem like a lot, so that will be the challenge for 1944.
1944. Time. Defend, delay, counter attack and manage your manpower to maintain your infantry front line strength, because while you have been applying the Axis Strategic Principles, the Soviet will have been applying his main tool - Attrition. The Axis simply does not have the manpower to maintain front line strength at 1941 levels, and will need to find every source of manpower to keep rifle squad strength at levels that can maintain the infantry front line at a decent level of combat effectiveness. If you fall below 24k rifle squads, start to worry, if you fall below 16k, the line will be close to collapse!
Defence of Finland will be important, as if the Soviets get this the Axis will need to hold VPs east of the start line on turn 225.
1945. By forcing the SU to take back more territory faster than they did historically, the Axis Allies should be available for longer to help absorb the attritional losses. As Historically, AGS will be under the most pressure as the terrain is the least helpful for defence once the Dnepr is breached.
Have I done this myself? No, but I look forward to having a lot of fun trying to achieve it. None of the individual objectives look unachievable based on my testing to date.
It's only a Game