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This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis)

 
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This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/29/2011 5:15:48 AM   
heliodorus04


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I need to start an AAR and discuss what the hell I do now. Might have thought to do that a few turns ago, say, when the Germans were 150 miles from Moscow on Turn 9Ö I thought the Soviets would be SOoooo easy.

Letís start there: Me and Carlos (speedy.gh) started a GCí41 and my feeling was (under 1.3x) that Soviets were a bit too easy, especially with regard to fortification. I wanted a long, fun game for both sides, and so I posited and insisted that the Soviet side (me) take a 10 point hit (so 90) in Morale, Admin, and Fortification, and the Axis is at full values. This was my handicap, so please bear that in mind as you see my performance thus far. The Admin points hurt a lot, the fortification a bit more, and the Morale isnít actually all that noticeable in 41 so far.

This is my first GC versus a human, and my first GC of any type as Soviet, though Iíd played, and won major victories, each 41 mini-campaign and played a GCí41 as Axis against AI. I donít feel my inexperience has been a huge issue, because I at least understand the German side pretty well.

It is now Turn 11. So letís give you the statistics first:






Iím doing well on the manpower side of things, but wait till you see the central frontsÖ
Iím going to make several posts in succession showing the various fronts and their areas of operation (AO). You will see that Iíve given up a good bit of land in the center Ė an alarming bit. North to south, thenÖ


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< Message edited by heliodorus04 -- 4/29/2011 5:17:08 AM >
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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/29/2011 5:17:10 AM   
heliodorus04


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Northern Front:





Speedy got a LOT better somehow between the time we started and aborted a Barbarossa scenario. Heís been reading more AARs than me (Iím in grad school till May 13, god I canít wait to be done). He took Pskov on T4 and was at the Luga by about T7. But his mistakes in the early game was to enable me to keep pockets of Soviets alive and bothering his supply lines, and in AGN, on T9, I came 1 hex from encircling ALL of the units north of the Luga/Ordezh. My 'encirclers' were doomed, I knew, but his inattention to pockets cost him trucks (at least I hope it did) and time.

Future outlook is somewhat optimistic in Northern Front. Zukhov is in command, with lots of good Army commanders. For the last 3 turns, my forces have been able to knock back 1, sometimes 2 German infantry divisions. Heís clearly weakening, but Iíve clearly run out of room to buy time with.

Proper use of reserves, refit (we have NOT yet patched 1.04x and donít plan to for a while), and movement will keep Leningrad open, I hope. Itís really just a matter of who is stronger, the hammer, or the anvil. The Volkhov is secure (as is the Pola down to lake Seliger). Heís not trying to attack across it yet. Wait and see?


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< Message edited by heliodorus04 -- 4/29/2011 5:32:52 AM >

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/29/2011 5:18:12 AM   
heliodorus04


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Northwest Front




Another good-performing army. Note there is another, newly re-constituted NW front Army NW of Moscow, but weíll deal with that later. You can also see the pocket closing around Rzhev a bit here, but that will be seen more in the Moscow shots. Obviously I lost a lot of ground, and Velikie Luki fell before Vitebsk. I kept massive pockets alive here, for a long time, but the center started to fold early due to crossings of the northern Dnepr very early (T5 I think? Not in force then, but soon thereafter).

Future outlook is tough to call. The Reserve Front army near Rzhev has to extract itself Ė do I create some pockets around the panzers, or do I just fall back towards the cities and protect Moscow? Holding that river series NW of Moscow looks really important but new reinforcements are arriving in strength now. I worry about Vishny Volechek and a very long German Ďright hookí to the North, but I canít imagine he has the supply capacity for that (heís burned 6 or 7 HQ buildups to date (minimum), and is currently setting himself up for more, I think.


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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/29/2011 5:19:27 AM   
heliodorus04


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Letís just do Moscow as best we can hereÖ It will include part of NW Front, all of Reserve Front, some of Western Front, and Bryanks Front, with lots of Cav is near enough to matter, but is holding the gap between AGC and AGS.






Where do you begin? You begin, I think, with the fact that I have about 10 divisions around 60% TOE east of the edge of the screen, currently in rail mode (having started in the far east last turn). No real pockets are formed right now. And the Germans are easily isolated in a few key spots.

Iím gonna have a post at the end of all the screenies about Moscow, but letís get the rest of the strategic picture first.


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< Message edited by heliodorus04 -- 4/29/2011 5:20:55 AM >

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/29/2011 5:21:21 AM   
heliodorus04


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Not much going on there. This is a bit of a supply dead-zone I think, for the German, at least for now. Iíve not seen armor here from AGC.




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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/29/2011 5:22:04 AM   
heliodorus04


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Southwestern & Southern Fronts





In my estimation, which may be flawed given my inexperience, I have done very well in the South. No real Kiev, although I did lose a lot of units piecemeal in a rolling series of pockets that I sometimes kept open well beyond my expectation. Note that the morale handicap I took seems most visible to me in how quickly isolated units surrender.

Two things are key, as I review it: 1) The rolling pockets I had kept AGSís two FBDs from taking optimal paths, or forced them to expand less than full MP on rail building because I still held the rail lines. 2) I fell backward to the Dnepr and held it nicely until T9 (weak crossings) and T10, breakout enabled by my pullbacks. I am in good order, good supply, good TOE, good morale. Not the best leadership down there, but thatís something I work on every turn Ė replacing Army leaders. (I have a LOT of Armies from STAVKA that Iím not even using yet, though I do pilfer their good commanders).

The crimea seems to be a secondary front to him, as itís mostly Axis minors (I forced a Hungarian motorized brigade to surrender!). Factories along the Dnepr are moved (next focus Kharkov, but Moscow!!!). My rolling retreat from the Dnepr focused on slowing him down, holding river lines, and creating an echelon defense. The fortification handicap I took hurts the most here. But Iíve got plenty of units, and some casualties to give over the next 6 turns (12 to 17).


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< Message edited by heliodorus04 -- 4/29/2011 5:23:03 AM >

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/29/2011 5:29:25 AM   
heliodorus04


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So thatís the sitrep for the start of T11. These are my thoughts on what to do over the next 6 turns:

1) Donít let any kind of Ďright hookí isolate Northern/Northwestern Front. I donít think thatís too tall an order unless his Rzhev encirclement is really going to emphasize Vyshny Volochek. That doesnít seem very likely given the dispersal of his armor right now. Moscow is.

2) Whatís the optimal course of action to hold Moscow till Mud? If thatís impossible, whatís the optimal way to hold Moscow long enough to rail out all the industry. Iíve moved only 1 aircraft factory (the C-47 clone). But much of the rest of the country is fine in terms of industry at risk. I havenít done recon yet (I never have much to go around). Iím trying to plug the rivers that will help keep it from being encircled in a large multi-turn movement. I think his rail situation favors my effort there, but his HQ buildup possibilities mean Iíve got to constantly think Panzers with 50 MPÖ He may burn trucks, but that doesnít matter if he takes Moscow Ė thatís the whole reason heís doing it (I think).

3) In the south, continue the orderly withdrawl. Iím very confident that he wonít break through into the Crimea and that he wonít hold Rostov once mud hits.

4) What should I do about the panzer pincers near Moscow? Isolate them, or preserve units at this point?

What else should I be thinking about?

Statistics Dudes (something I'm trying to put to use from my grad school studies):
I'm keeping track of Rifle Squads and Manpower in Pool, and have been since End of Turn 9:

Turn 9
Rifle Squads
35,871
Rifle (-) Squads
6401
Manpower in Pool
290,983

Turn 10 (start)
Rifle Squads
38,971
Rifle (-) Squads
9820
Manpower in Pool
276,833

Turn 11 (start)
Rifle Squads
42,161
Rifle (-) Squads
12,345 (seriously, 1-2-3-4-5?)
Manpower in Pool
250,801

I'm not sure what the trend means, but I think it's good. No idea how I should feel about that Manpower in Pool figure. Never read a Soviet AAR before. (Remember, Soviets are easy...


< Message edited by heliodorus04 -- 4/29/2011 5:38:13 AM >

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 4/30/2011 4:34:33 PM   
heliodorus04


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Well, no one is yet interested enough to get involved so I played the turn sans sound advice, and this is what I came up with.




Iím only showing Moscowís area this turn Ė you can tell how everything else is going well comparatively. Iím a little worried about the northern flank of my Southwestern Front because the gap between SW and Western Front is held by the pink Bryanks units, and they are relatively weak in number, if not capabilities (a lot of cav and no real casualties yet).

I decided it was more important to hold on to units for the next 6 turns than to keep trying to mess with his supply. I could have cost him a turn, but it would have cost me a lot of reasonably good units.

I simply tried to extend the line to the north along the rivers around Moscow. For the long term, Iím concerned about loss of MP via city capture, and Moscowís industry. I moved most all industry out of N. Moscow and W. Moscow. Unless he has a very good turn, I should be able to get the rest out next turn. No other industry got moved.

This turn I also noted the artillery in the pool for 152mm and 122 mm howitzers, and seeing a few hundred of each in pool, I finally turned my howitzer SUs up to 75% TOE (up from 50). Will be checking that next turn to see how the pool is, and see if combats go my way a little more.

I was able to put a lot of aircraft back into front-line units (mostly bi-planes, but they have good experience). I put some IL-2s up in Northern Frontís area. I also decided to try some Airbase Attacks against AGN and AGC. Iíd like to know if thatís unfair. I managed a kill ratio of about 1:2 (in favor of Axis) during the turn, with few bombers getting shot down. I didnít hurt many German AC, but I damaged some. Iíll keep that up for the turns through Mud, unless I hear from readers that itís too gamey. Iíve heard it is, but damit, I have a heavy handicap and Iím losing badly. Time to accept gamey might be necessary for a few turns!
I spent my Admin on the following items:

ē Moving AA battalions to STAVKA (where hopefully they end up on airfields) or disbanding them.
ē Re-aligning divisions in Northern front (movement is tight up there, and I ensure no stacks are mixed if theyíre going to be attacked Ė I do not want the combat penalty).
ē Ensuring HQs have good mixes of artillery and sappers to throw into combats, especially in Northern, Reserve, and Western fronts.
ē Placed Eremenko into command in an Army in Northern Front (was in pool with 0-2 combats, donít know why).
I finished with 1 AP remaining (started with 48).

My hope is that the relative ease of moving North and South around Moscow, as opposed to east, will give him some incentive to disperse his units in those directions. Iím also hopeful that the surrounded motorized division will throw off some organization and maybe get an over-reaction (but I doubt it).
In the south, I did have to throw a couple divisions away simply because they couldnít get out of the encirclements. But I did open pathways to all but 1 division down there, so maybe some of them will be routed rather than re-encircled.

I doubt Moscow can hold, but as I said, it will come down to the debate over which is stronger, the hammer (axis) or the anvil (Soviet)Ö


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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/6/2011 2:53:24 AM   
heliodorus04


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Here is the start of T12. Summary: Nothing collapsed!
Iím going to do this a little differently starting this turn. There will be the usual maps, but also some sub-maps. And some different looks at interesting combat hexes that might hopefully help those of us who are dumb in reading all the output, because I certainly donít know what to look at. I had a stack survive something like 7 attacks this turn (or 6 and a retreat at least) and itís not where youíd expect.

Iím going to start with the summary statistics first before we get to maps. I think the Soviet benefits from seeing the big picture during the summer of defeats. If youíre managing the casualty statistics well, you always have a partner in solace at the empty Russian gravesÖ





I donít know any benchmarks except ď4 million by the last turn before BlizzardĒ. Iíd say Iím doing well on casualties. I donít know whether the German is doing better or worse than historical (anyone know?).

Remember last turn I raided 3 Luftwaffe airfields, and didnít destroy many aircraft, but damaged a lot. Exploitive? Perhaps. But remember the handicaps I took on (-10 to admin, fortification, and morale). Iím not sure if Iím going to do it this turn. Iíd love some reader opinions on whether itís just breaking an aspect of the game to use the air mechanics this way.
Hopefully I donít forget to look at Rifle Squads and Manpower before I get to moving stuffÖ


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< Message edited by heliodorus04 -- 5/6/2011 2:54:44 AM >

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/6/2011 2:54:42 AM   
heliodorus04


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Northern (Zhukov) and Northwestern Front (Purkaev):
Combined command. 1 million men. 9,000 guns. 460 AFVs.





White lines: Areas where I am secure given the German focus.
Red lines. Areas that are critical to defend effectively.
Blue line: Not sure what to do there. Also the boundary between Reserve Front and Northwestern Front (with 1 NW Front army clearly SE of its appropriate boundary; I was desperate).

The usual went on. Disappointed to have lost a hex on the south bank of the Neva, but the thing I remind myself is that I planned on the loss of Leningrad (mostly). I left some factories behind that will convert, 4 HI, 5 Armament, and 7 worth of T34-1942 (they were T-50 plants; I didnít realize they converted Ė someone needs to make a list!). Fine Ė a prize the German play has earned, and will continue to earn hopefully for 2 more turns. The problem with heavy commitments of Leningrad is that once you reach the point where I am, replenishment is exceptionally difficult. The other problem with Leningrad is that once it falls, the Finns on the east side of Ladoga are loose in your back yard. And theyíre actually ridiculously hard to stop.

My strategic threat is that the loss of Leningrad immediately creates an encirclement threat to ALL of Northern Front. Time to decide whether to double-down on holding Leningrad by sneaking as much into the city now as I can, or to cut some nearby divisions back toward the Northeast to prepare better defenses against the Finns. Thatís something Iím thinking about heavily right now. My plan was to lose LeningradÖ

On the southeast side of the screen, things are going better than you might think. I have a reserve at Vyshny Volochek. The panzer pincer you see there (and youíll see a lot more when I get to Reserve Front & Moscow) doesnít look to have a lot of force right now.


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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/6/2011 1:22:30 PM   
heliodorus04


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Reserve Front (Vatutin), Western Front (Meretskov).
Combined Power: 840,000 men, 8300 guns, 630 AFV




Key:
Red lines: The places Iím trying to hold the line.
Circles represent the 3 masses of German armor.
Black lines represent the general path of advance I expect the German to take.

This is post recon, by the way. Administratively, as I was looking up the forces for the Reserve and Western fronts, I noticed that Reserve Front had an awful commander. And I only have 46 AP (thatís how much I get a turn, basically, from the handicap I have). Well, Reserve Front has been, since the fall of Smolensk, the most important entity in the defense of Moscow (Western Front collapsed and is now starting to get some spine back, but it was useless since the Dnepr was breached). And I have some amazing Army commanders up in the Leningrad area, one of whom is Vatutin. And Vatutin held the most important arena in the Leningrad front, so Iíll have to figure out how to handle his departure up there. But Vatutin is quite good, so letís hope things start improving around Moscow.

The focus around Moscow is on one singular thing: Prevent panzer pincers encircling Moscow. And I have pretty adequate force at my disposal for that. Note the figures in terms of command do not count the reinforcements arriving. And I have a lot of armor brigades showing up, most of which have about 10 T-26s in them. Thanks a lot! (/sarcasm). To me, newly arrived infantry needs 1 turn out of the way and then it can go into a defensive position (once TOE is over 55). Longer is better, but 2 turns is plenty. For these armor units, I wonder how long it will takeÖ

Looking at the German armor, the northern-most (Green circle) is running out of steam. It had a very hard time making progress from what I could tell in the combat windows. I think I have the least to fear from it. The central mass (blue) is strong, but it also struggled to make progress, and Iíve had some heroes of the Soviet Union defending there. I think I can contain this one. The southern-most mass is the strongest and has the most flexible position where it can advance eastward along either side of the bank of the river Oka. Iím going to create a sub-screenshot of that mass, because something interesting happened there and I want to talk about it.

Overall, Iím thinking of switching from hedgehog to linear here, and just really make the Germans grind for each hex. I havenít done linear the way I see some Soviets do (Iím thinking specifically of Klydonís AAR vs. Hfarrish (Klydon = Axis). This is because of the fortification handicap, and also ignorance on my part. I just didnít manage my unitsí MP well enough to dig in better. I definitely feel better about Moscow now. I think thereís a stronger possibility I can hold it.

Now on to the sub-screenshot, and learning about your opponentís fearsÖ


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< Message edited by heliodorus04 -- 5/6/2011 1:24:01 PM >

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/6/2011 1:24:10 PM   
heliodorus04


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So this is the Southern-most armored mass around Moscow from the prior screenshot, AND itís the surrounded motorized division from my T11 end-of-game shot.




On the left is the T11 screenshot showing my weak surround of the motorized division. On the right is the start of T12.

Now I donít want to take credit for this if itís not what happened, but what happened is exactly what I hoped would happen. Carlos over-reacted to the surround. It looked bad to him, a hard stack and various other units surrounding one of his most important units. But the reality was he only needed to win one simple combat to unlock that unit, and if he had focused harder on breaching the minor river to the south of Kaluga, he could have achieved far more important work last turn. Most of the units I put in the surround were weak, low morale, and/or Unready. They had no chance of forcing a surrender there. None.

Another thing to notice is that the armor actually didnít move that much. Heís preparing an HQ buildup., I suspect (I would!).

Ultimately, one of the things you have to try to do when playing a game like this is figure out what your opponent is afraid to do. Mine is afraid to attack city/urban, so I can park weak, unready units in cities knowing heíll just bypass them (weíll see an example of this down south). The other thing he is afraid of is getting a mobile unit surrounded. Last turn, I deflected his attack somewhat by surrounding one division. It bought me some time. But now I have to prepare for the HQ buildup issueÖ


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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/6/2011 1:25:13 PM   
heliodorus04


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Bryansk Front (Budyonny) and Southwestern Front (Timoshenko)
Combined Force: 710,000 men, 6900 guns, 890 AFVs




So Bryansk front runs some risk of encirclement between the pincers here, but this assumes the AGC armor mass from the Moscow area turns south of the Oka. I think going south of the Oka gives the German more flexibility in deciding whether to go for mass encirclement (Bryansk front) or Moscow encirclement. By the way, I seem to always type Bryansk wrong and donít notice. Sorry.
Simple enough display. I want to say that the north-easterly direction that the AGS armor took was exactly what I wanted. When the Dnepr started to fall, my goal was to channel the Germans into the center toward Kursk. Iíve held the terrain that provides benefit to me, and heís avoided hard fights (another lesson about this particular opponent Ė heíll avoid stacks with level 2 forts).

There is some opportunity for the cav in the center of Bryansk front to move west and really make life hard for an infantry division, possibly surround it quite well. Iím debating it. If I move west, Iím liable to entice him to launch a rescue operation from either the south or the north. Iím not sure what to do there. I also have quite a number of encircled Bryansk front units that Iíd like to do something with, but there arenít many options. At this point, given my low casualty total, Iím okay writing off a few more divisions in the name of messing up his supply situation, especially when I just donít have the resources to effectively save them.


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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/6/2011 1:26:25 PM   
heliodorus04


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Southern Front (Kirponos)
Force: 435,000 men. 3800 guns. 200 AFVs.





Not much needs to be said here. Heís leaving this theater to the minors, and Iím fine to take it slow here. I see no major threats here. I managed to hold Odessa till T9, and therefore his supply is very weak here. At some point I have to decide if I want to strip this area of units to defend elsewhere. In any event, between Southwestern and Southern fronts youíll see me flex and extend my defense northward to meet the German drive and threaten it with a very secure southern flank. Heís got to start thinking about digging in soon (though note we have not patched and therefore there is no incentive to build to level 3 forts, etc.)

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/6/2011 2:46:01 PM   
heliodorus04


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Over in Fulkerson's game vs. KLilly I've talked about the metrics I'm starting to try to track in order to better understand the push-pull dynamic of manpower relative to rifle and cav squads.

Here is a screenshot of my database, primitive though it be.






So my thought was that the decrease in manpower should correlate to an increase in rifle squads equal to:
Lost Manpower = delta-Rifle Squads(x10)
Now, the full equation would be rifle squads + cav squads + the variations of stuff that uses manpower. But I thought a simple tool would be the Rifle & Cav squads relative to manpower.

So I lost 63,000 manpower (which is a change in the delta of about 120 percent, so manpower is starting to drain at an accelerating rate, which worries me).
And I got about 6000 rifle squads built, so that looks to be a good guess at a relationship.
Note that I don't know if "built" rifle squads means "units still in the field fighting/ready" or if it simply means "you've built this many, don't ask us how many of that has died". Right now I'm operating under the assumption that "Built" means the number of squads out there in circulation to fight the Germans.

I am also starting to track on a separate sheet the number of 122mm and 152mm guns in the Pool for two reasons. A) I have all my arty SUs at 75% TOE, and I'd like to move it back to 100 (and seem to have stock to do so). B) If I start accumulating guns in the pool even after going to 100% TOE, I'm going to start building artillery SUs based on the guns I have in the pool.

I'm tracking tanks, but as yet, no meaningful tanks are in the pool.

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RE: This one starts at 11 (Helio SV vs Speedy.gh Axis) - 5/7/2011 6:44:13 PM   
mr_flappypants

 

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Nice AAR thus far. I'm playing the Soviets for the first time as well and am on turn 7. The action down south has been kind of lacking right now, similar to yours. I've lost a lot in the center and I forsee the Germans being as close to Moscow as in your situation. Its a bit unnerving the gaps I have in my line from my Moscow defensive line up to Leningrad however. I don't have enough troops to plug in the gaps and if the AI is halfway decent, a spearhead would drive a wedge between the two leaving my Leningrad defense for dust. Granted its only turn 7 for me so I should see the arrival of some units to start funneling toward that part of the line. I'm just glad this is the AI I'm playing against. A human would crush me with the predicament I'm in.

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