Well, it was a long road and I'd like to say how much I appreciated Terje as an opponent. Always gracious and witty he was also extremely reliable in getting his turns done. His English is so good, I began to think he was an American living in Norway. The AAR is fabulous! As much as possible, he is brutally objective and does a very good job of recording the Soviet war effort. I hope to learn quite a bit from his postings as well as so many postings from veteran WiTE players.
It should be remembered that neither Terje or I had any real experience in the GC other than brief excursions against the AI and I'm not sure Terje had attempted to play the USSR at all. Given that, he proved to be able to learn and adapt quite well so that by the war's end he had produced a good fighting machine and demonstrated some skill in using it.
Here's a very brief summary of my perspective on German operations.
1) Plans & Operations 1941 - Due to having very limited experience in the GC against the AI as well as some experience in Road to Leningrad scenarios against real people, I did not have high expectations for the 41 campaign. While I planned to put pressure on Leningrad and perhaps take it, I did not divert any resources from AGC to do so. Basically, AGN was on its own. I did have high hopes for AGC though. Not so much in taking Moscow, which I saw as unlikely given my experience, but more in killing Russian units. This objective, I steadfastly adhered to throughout the entire period of the war prior to losing the initiative finally in late 1943.
The North: As it turned out, I was able to capture Leningrad very early in the game (T7) whcih surprised me probably as much as it surprised Terje. I was somewhat late in transferring the freed up panzer group to AGC, but given the supply issues I was having, I'm not sure it would've made much difference. All in all, I was more satisfied with my experiences with AGN than any of the other fronts.
The Center: Here, I had higher expectations. Not having transferred any panzers to AGN or AGS, I hoped to wreak havoc. Instead, I waged a campaign frustrated by numerous errors I had made, particularly dealing with supplies. I inadvertently sent one of my RR repair units off to the NE around turn 4 or so and didn't notice the mistake until a few turns later. I lost a few more turns of providing decent supply to AGC in catching up when I sent the RR unit back to the center. In fact, it was severe supply and especially fuel shortages which lasted throughout most of the 41 summer campaign in the center which left me 10 miles short of taking Moscow. This was excerbated by Terje's effective move of a unit 'lost' in the Pripyat to destroy RR hexes near Minsk. This really added to my supply difficulties. All in all, I'd say I bungled the campaign in the center pretty badly, but I suppose it could've been worse.
The South: In the south, I executed a more limited version of the Lvov pocket which encircled fewer units, including some of the best in the area, but did not draw from any of the forces from AGC. I hoped to catch the Soviets off balance and cross the Dneipr as quickly as possible and also intended to get into the Crimea. As it turned out, my post T1 moves were essentially botched and I struggled to get over the Dneipr. It was not until Sept 41 when we managed a Kiev type pocket between the center and south near Kiev that the defense was opened up and we were able to sustain some kind of reasonable advance. Even then, the German advance in the south was much less than impressive, falling a bit behind the historical front lines for the most part across the front. One note on HQ buildups. I only used them twice in the entire game. Once in the drive on Leningrad and once in the far south to redeploy a panzer group towards the Kiev area. I feared the truck penalty and didn't really know what it's impact would be.
2) Plans and Operations 1942 - After an fairly uneventful blizzard and some successful German operations in the late winter, I began to make preparations for a 42 offensive. I had noticed that the Russian units in the winter were weaker than I had expected so I was emboldened to think I might gain some reasonable successes in 42. I planned a grand encirclement of the Soviet northern front with pincers in the far north and west of Moscow. I also planned on another offensive SW of Moscow which I hoped would enable me to open up the front somewhat and drive either north to Moscow or south to Stalingrad. Having said this, I really did not have in mind anything other than encircling and destroying Russian units and these two places seemed to offer opportunities since I felt that they would not be easily given up.
Somewhat humorously, and much to my chagrin, the northern pincer movement failed miserably early on. The terrain and depth of the defenses looked to rule out any quick penetrations there. The other more southern offensive bore fruit however and achived what I considered to be a good penetration. Rather than persisting in pursuing a northern encirclement, I immediately worked to extricate the northern panzer group and redeploy it to the center-south zone of operations. The operations there succeeded beyond my expectations and the Axis were able to conduct one successful encirclement battle after another, essentially rolling up the Soviet line from south to north, culminating in the eventual surrounding of Moscow and it's capture. The Soviet defenses simply lacked the depth necessary to prevent these kinds of encirclements.
There were some opportunities in this campaign to exploit very large gaps which opened up in the Soviet lines and I had to make a difficult decision about how to exploit them. I had not considered the possibility of achieving an automatic victory due to the very high VP requirements and wondered if whether I simply thrust numerous mobile divisions through the gap towards the east and south near Stalingrad whether I might precipitate a total collapse of the Russian defense. In the end, fearing that such a move might bog down through Soviet rail net deployments and fail to do anything other than capture useless territory, I elected to continue to pursue my plan of conducting operational encirclements of the units more close at hand. This might've been a mistake, but the campaign ended successfully nonetheless. In fact, it looked like the Soviets were set back about a year or so and that proved to be the ultimate margin of victory.
3) Plans and Operations 1943 - I have to admit that I had no real strategic plan for operations in this period. Strictly speaking I pursued an opportunistic strategy of encirclement after the failed northern pincer operation of 1942. Throughout the winter of 42-43, I found that I was able to conduct successful operations. It appeared to me that the Red Army had sustained too many losses to mount a successful defense along the entire front and I tried to take advantage of that. Having said that, I was somewhat fearful of launching a major attack in the summer of 43, remembering Kursk and noticed that despite a general lack of depth, the Soviet units did in fact appear stronger than in 42. After enduring a few turns of Soviet attacks in various parts of the front, particularly in the south, I determined that I needed to seize the initiative. It looked to me like losing the initiative would simply result in a weakening of German morale and gradual incapacity to conduct offensive operations in the future. I reformed a large concentration of mobile divisions south of Moscow and began an operation which resulted in a successful penetration of the Soviet defenses east of the city. I pressed this for a few weeks but was unable to achieve a breakout which led to an encirclement. The Russians apparently had strong reserves in the area of my attack and were able to blunt the offensive. I named this operation, "The Drive to Nowhere." Seeing that the operation would not be successful, I retreated the mobile units and reformed. I was able to conduct more encirclement operations throughout the summer, again going from south (or east) to north. Altogether, I was quite pleased with how it worked out and believed that taken together, German operations in 42-43 would win the war.
4) Plans and Operations 1944-1945 - It became apparent to me in the winter of 1943 that the German Army had lost a great deal of offensive punch, despite a large number of AFVs and the incessant Soviet attacks, particulary in the south were becoming quite worrisome. I transformed over to a defensive posture during this period making local counter attacks as the opportunities were presented. Gradually, I was forced to disperse my mobile units along various portions of the front in order to simply hold the line as the Soviet attacks continued to intensify. In November of 1944, I was forced to abandon Moscow and from that point on, the war became an effort to halt an increasingly potent Soviet offensive fighting force. During this period, the German army was gradually attrited to the point where it became increasingly more common to find German units encircled or threatend by it. At first, I was sometimes able to free the pockets but as time wore on, even when I was able to dislodge the enemy, I was not able to hold the ground and keep the pockets open. At this point, I determined to simply supply the pockets that developed and leave them to their eventual Siberian fate. Mostly, they went into captivity on full stomachs. The principal reason for Soviet successes, besides it's army's growing strength was the steady and sometimes rapid decline in German morale. This caused the CVs of the units to decline dramatically over time so that defense against the Red Hordes became problematic at best. The best fighting forces I had were the Finns who were able to hold the Volkov line until the end of the war. The defense of the Leningrad area was largely due to Finnish strength. In 1945, the Soviets simply blew through the German defenses and I resorted to a defense in depth using broken down divisions in many places which probably resembled the Soviet defenses in 1941. After mid-April, the Axis do not receive any new unit reinforcements or airplanes at all which hurt quite a bit. It seems that little thought was given to extending the campaign to October 1945 in terms of German reinforcements. I had hoped to hold Rumania and Hungary until the war's end but alas, the cowards deserted just before victory.
Note on Anti-Partisan Operations - Overall, I found this to be the most annoying part of the game. I deployed broken down security divisions and some allies spread out behind the lines and moved adjacent to partisan units as I found them. This actually proved to be time consuming. Ultimately however, the partisan units were almost completly ineffective. By the time they appear in strength, the German rail net is largely complete. In retrospect, there were only 2-3 times that I was unable to move units exactly where I wished due to partisan activity and even then was able to find acceptable places to detrain.
The final victory point total was 170 and I had a great time playing against Terje. In our next game, I will be playing the Soviets and Terje will have the opportunity to play the Axis. I have almost no experience at all with the Soviets and have been trying to cram as quickly as possible. This AAR has been most helpful. In the next game, I have no real hope of holding Leningrad, but hope to hold Moscow. I expect to be completely creamed in the south. This will truly be a Disaster in the Making...
< Message edited by Oloren -- 2/22/2012 11:46:32 PM >