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44 Soviet GC vs AI: An examination of the late war conditions

 
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44 Soviet GC vs AI: An examination of the late war cond... - 10/29/2011 7:31:02 PM   
Mike13z50


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I'm starting my third GC, for my first two I played each side once in the 41 GC. First Soviets on easy, then Germans on normal. This time I picked the 44 GC as the Red Army on challenging, since I'll probably never play it again. In the previous incarnations of WIR I preferred the 41 or 42 GC.

First thing I did was export the leaders from the editor as CSV file. Thanks to whoever it was that pointed out that you can do that! Saved a bunch of typing. I can see I've got a bunch of mediocre generals in charge. Unfortunately you start with 0 AP! Shouldn't you have at least one turns worth at start?










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Red Air Force - 10/29/2011 7:42:36 PM   
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After setting up my spread sheet for leaders I next began reviewing the Red Air Force. The first thing that jumped out at me was you start with 0 planes in the pool! Gone are the thousands of spare planes I got used to in the 41 GC. And look at the lack of IL4, build 21 a week for four years and have two lousy under strength squadrons.






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RE: Red Air Force - 10/29/2011 7:55:23 PM   
Mike13z50


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Notice there are 24 squadrons of P39Q and zero factories or reserves. What happened to lend lease?
None of the lend lease planes are showing any factories, no Spitfires or B25J. Interesting decision especially when there are 32 squadrons of useless UVS.
I'm especially going to miss the C-47s. I wonder if I'll still get my trucks?





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I thought I had the inititive? - 10/29/2011 8:22:04 PM   
Mike13z50


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It is June 22, 1944. The three year anniversary of the German invasion. The end of the long mud season and the beginning of prime campaigning time. While reviewing the front I suddenly notice a lot of Zero MP units.

Over half the Red Army is frozen. Much of it for eight turns. Or sooner if attacked or the AI leaves a non frozen in supply unit within three hexes at the beginning of my logistics phase. I guess all the Germans within three hexes of my frozen units are frozen as well, else my units should have unlocked at the beginning of my logistics phase. I think. I'll see, on with the review.




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I don't need no stinking pioneer bn. - 10/29/2011 8:47:57 PM   
Mike13z50


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Who needs pioneer battalions when you have on board sapper brigades? My first impression is that this changes the selection of SU attachments to rifle corps, more combat power less sappers. Probably should prioritize sapper attachments to tank, mech, and cav corps for breakthrough attack where the sapper brigades can't keep up.

Also, if I'm understanding the rules about frozen unlocking then the only unfrozen Finnish units are the ones with the arrows. Since the two indicated Soviet units are still frozen then all Finns within three hexes of them must also be frozen. I think. On with the game.

BTW, I have new respect for all those people doing AARs, what a time sink!






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Some answers - 10/29/2011 9:28:35 PM   
Mike13z50


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Since I haven't actually made any changes at all yet, I went ahead and cycled a turn to get some answers about unfrozen status and lend lease. I got trucks and supplies from lend lease, and most of the front unfroze except for a small section on the Romanian border. Two strange things happened, a SAD airbase disbanded (why is it in the scenario is my question) and I got 54 AP. Not 50, not 60, but 54. Strange. Also, I am going to try out random weather and got Mud in the south zone. Be interesting to see if that repeats when I play the turn. Might help answer the question about how random random really is.

<edit> The 54 AP is because the difficulty level is Challenging, it reduces AP.





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Economy of force - 10/29/2011 10:22:24 PM   
Mike13z50


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I don't want to take unnecessary casualties fighting the Finns. All I have to do is take Narva and Pskov and they will surrender. I already hold Vyborg. So practice economy of force and take Narva and Pskov. Also, the only mountain troops I have are the mountain corp (good to see it, why won't they let us create them in 41 GC?) on the the eastern Finnish border, but since the 7th Separate Army belongs to Stavka, I can rail them out and leave minimal forces to hold the border. Once I have AP I'll create either fort zones or rifle brigades to fill in missing pieces and take the rest to Romania. In the zone north of Leningrad all I have to do is hold Vyborg. After looking the front over I think I can shorten the front to five hexes with limited attacks. and leave the 23rd Army with 3 Rifle Corps on defense.

<edit> I wasted 12 AP here, built three defense zones two turns before Finnish surrender. I should have just left the three Naval brigades, one rifle division, and two of the Sapper brigades to hold the border until surrender. They were still moving to the train tracks on surrender.




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Recon - 10/29/2011 10:35:06 PM   
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Finally after 3 hours I'm going to push a button. Once again let me compliment everyone who regularly does AAR's. I've learned almost as much from reading them as playing the game. I never imagined just how much time goes into crafting the screen shots.


Recon is vital when playing with FOW on, I just finished German 41GC and had 81 squadrons of recon planes. The Red Air Force does not believe in wasting that many airframes on recon, only 12 squadrons of PE2R's, but they have a 332 hex radius so hopefully they will get the job done.




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Air doctrine - 10/29/2011 10:43:13 PM   
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Well that was underwhelming. AI only flew about a dozen recons, have to do manual. But I did realize that I left recon escort on, which seems like a waste of fighter air time. I forgot to set my air doctrines. Here are the settings I like, lots of fighters in the air.






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Second SAD - 10/29/2011 10:58:03 PM   
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One of my twelve recon squadrons is on a frozen SAD airbase, not the one that disbanded in the test run though. Turns out there are two SAD in the OOB, the 257 is in the 7th Air Army which is attached that Stavka army on the Finnish border. I probably shouldn't waste rail capacity moving them to Romania since they will disband at some point. I was able to put their planes in reserve, but not those from the 280th SAD.




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Overcap - 10/30/2011 3:48:33 AM   
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Well I was half way down the front (going from north to south) and ran into the 1st Belorussian front. 147 points over cap. Units scattered higgly piggly. What a mess. Three fronts are almost 300 over cap. Have to straighten that out...once I get some AP. Probably has priority over command changes. I can pull brigades out at 2 AP= 1 CP or divisons at 6 AP= 2CP or Corps at 20 AP = 4 CP or a whole army at 60 AP = max of 33 CP(depends on strength of army). So at least 2/1 for Bde, 3/1 for Div, 5/1 for Corps and around 2/1 for Army. Probably makes the most sense to pull the largest armies out of the most overloaded Front and attach to under strength front. Better yet, attach them to Stavka first, then reassign.

Whats really going to sap AP is there are 13 Corps attached directly to Fronts..and I think one of the patches penalizes combat units attached directly to Front/AG. Have to look that up. Don't see it, now I can't remember if it was only units attached to High Command, or Front/AG.

<edit> Found it, was in patch V1.04.10 – April 18, 2011
"In addition, units that report directly to a high command HQ suffer an additional 20% modifier, and those that report directly to an Army Group or Front suffer an additional 10% modifier (these are shown as part of the total modifier percentage displayed)."

I get a new front in August, which comes with an AP bonus...have to make do until then.




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Support Units - 10/30/2011 4:22:53 AM   
Mike13z50


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I was going to play with HQ locked because I am not a big fan of the auto-assign..mainly because it ignores engineers. But the SU are so imbalanced I'm going to have to unlock it. 50 SU in Moscow MD! I'll let it redistribute then lock it back down. Since HQ can only commit 6 SU to battle I'm going to go with 4 per army, 9 at Stavka, 1 for Fronts and 0 for the MD.




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First Pocket - 10/30/2011 4:40:01 AM   
Mike13z50


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Finally some combat! Pocket a handful of divisions west of Smolensk, on the Front border between 2nd and 3rd Beloruss. Rifle Corps + Sapper Bde + Artillery Div & Bde makes quick work of entrenchments.




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Turn One complete - 10/30/2011 5:23:11 AM   
Mike13z50


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9 hours and 45 minutes for Turn 1! Must be a record. I hate the first turn, always takes for ever. I'm sure I forgot something important but time to push the button.

Conducted 43 attacks, 37 victories and 6 defeats. Inflicted 50k casulities and 1500 guns, which is 5% of his total artillery park. That has to hurt. Plus took out 17 Nashorns. Man I loved the Nashorn in tactical games like Steel Panthers.






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Turn Two - 10/30/2011 9:02:42 AM   
Mike13z50


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29 June 1944

Not much to report, maneuvering for position to push him out of good defensive terrain and knock his forts back. Was able to eliminate the six infantry and on pnz grenadier that were encircled last turn. Isolated one Finnish division and some Hungarian cavalry this turn.

I did get Leningrad Front and 3rd Belorussian Front down to cap. Now just the three big offenders are over.

The 257 SAD disbanded again and the south was mud, so not so random.

95K casualties inflicted and another 1900 guns, but his tube count went up. Hopefully I can get a break out soon. Very slow paced compared with playing the Germans in 41GC.




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Turn 3 - 10/30/2011 9:10:19 PM   
Mike13z50


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6 July 1944

Highlight of the turn Pskov and Narva taken; just a matter of time until the Finns surrender. Eliminated the Hungarians, pocket a couple of more divisions.

Very slow going.








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Where the hell is Vaslui, the world wonders. - 10/31/2011 9:47:42 AM   
Mike13z50


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Finland surrenders! Next strategic objective is a small town east of the Carpathians named Vaslui.
What is so important about Vaslui you ask? It is closest Romanian town with a Y axis value greater than 105. Once it is taken it is only a matter of time until Romania surrenders, striking another 600k less then stellar troops from the Axis roster, and greatly complicating his strategic situation. [Side note, the rule book consistently spells Romania Rumania]

Many advocating leaving the Finns alone, I normally agree, but since the scenario starts with the Soviets controlling Vyburg, and the other two towns will fall at some point, the strategic imperative of removing 350k from the Axis rolls and freeing the Leningrad front for offensive operations was clear.

In 1942 you pick on the minor allies because they are the only ones you can really hurt. In 1944 you pick on them because you can knock them out of the war.




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Minor allies surrender rules - 10/31/2011 10:20:10 AM   
Mike13z50


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Hungary is a more difficult propisition to knock out. Their surrender conditions are take Budapest, or a die roll for each turn that Nyiregyhasa or Arad are Soviet controlled.

In my only previous Soviet campaign I screwed around in the area marked NO GO ZONE. This time I will bypass it and drive straight for the two possible victory cities, then on to Budapest.
Rule changes in patches since then make it easier since the Romainia rail hexes that are not adjacent to Axis units on surrender convert to Russian control. I also have the rail repair units that I was lacking in 1942.

To round out a recap of minor allies surrender rules; Bulgaria goes neutral as soon as the Soviets have a supplied unit adjacent to any hex in Bulgaria. Yugoslavia is the same. Slovakia falls when Bratislava is occupied. After Lvov or any Slovakian city is occupied it will fall based on a successful random 10.

For those interested the surrender rules are random 10> 2 +1 for each geman dvision in capital city, with SS elites counting 3 points each. So if the German stacks three SS divisions in the capital there is no chance of surrender (2+9>10). No Germans mean 80% chance every turn.




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Victory conditions 44 scenario - 10/31/2011 10:25:18 AM   
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Other than the obvious advantage of knocking back the number of Axis "boots on the ground", you need to occupy most of the board in order to win. In my previous game I was surprised when I took Berlin and the war didn't end. You must get the Germans down to 39 or less VP AND occupy Berlin. For decisive victory you have to do both before 1945.

I'm going to have to hustle to achieve that goal.




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Nicht Klekern sodern Klotzen! - 10/31/2011 12:13:49 PM   
Mike13z50


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I was really shocked by the pre-45 requirement for decisive victory. In the long campaigns, no problem. But here you start on 22 June 44, with 1/2 your army frozen for up to 2 months. Oh, and your chain of command is all muddled, and you have no AP to reorganize. Plus mud comes October, then snow. So you only have a couple of months of clear weather.

Enough complaining, shut up and soldier!

To steal from the enemy, Guderian said "Nicht Klekern sodern Klotzen!" (Boot em, don't spatter em!) So time to mass the Panzers, erm Tank Armies. The question is where.

I see two options, red and black on the map.

The advantages of the red option are it is a weak section of the front (see insert) and attacking north of the Daugava allows the use of a major river to shield the flank from relief efforts. Also I have the Leningrad Front in close proximity, now free for offensive options due to surrender of the Finns. The disadvantage is because of access to Baltic shipping he will have beach head supply as long as he holds ports. (Riga, Tallin, Kuressare, and Parnu)

The black option is the bolder course, and a shorter run. But rail communications are poor, slow going repairing rails through the swamp. This will make it difficult to sustain an offense. The same port issue plauging the red option is in play here. Also this AO belongs to the 1st Belorussian front (light green) which is 249/99 over cap on CP. They will stay that way untill 3 Aug when the 4th Ukrainian front arrives.

So, I will go with option red in July followed by option black in mid-August.

There are eight Tank Armies in the OOB. Four are free, three more unlock on next turn, and the last one unlocks in five turns. Mobile corps number ten Mech, 25 tank, and 4 cav (500k men, 8500 guns, 6500 tanks) . I will mass the seven free Tank Armies and Lenigrad front at Smolensk with all available mobile corps and brigades. Three fronts are already in place. (1st Baltic, 2 & 3rd Belorussian.) 1st Belorussian Front will hold the swamp to the south, 2nd & 3rd Baltic Fronts the lines to the north.


Leningrad Front (Govorov)99/99 (500k men, 12k guns, 500 tanks)
1st Baltic Front (Bagramyan) 95/99 (370k men, 10k guns, 500 tanks)
2nd Belorussian Front 58/99 (Zakharov) (275k men, 6k guns, 200 tanks) <== will be reinforced with Tank Armies from other fronts
3rd Belorussian Front 98/99 (Chernyakhovsky) (500k Men 10k guns, 950 tanks)
------------------------
Total= 4 Fronts with <> 2 million men, 50,000 guns, 5000 tanks

Concept of operations: 1st Baltic and 3rd Belorussian front will maintain contact with German front line troops, pushing him back for key terrain over the next two weeks. Rifle Corps will be refitted prior to main attack. Leningrad & 2nd Belorussian Front(reinforced) will occupy assembly areas in the Smolensk, Vitebesk, Moglev triangle. Reinforcing Tank Armies and mobile corps will occupy jump off positions behind Leningrad and 2nd Belorussian Front. Artillery and sappers will preposition forward to support main attack. On order Lenigrad and 2nd Belorussian Fronts will pass through 1st Baltic and 3rd Belorussian creating conditions for exploitation of mobile units. Target date for start of operations is 27 July 1944. After reaching coast in vicinty RIGA, mobile forces will be relieved by follow on forces and withdraw into assembly area vicinty BRESTLITOVSK in preparaton for follow on attack.

Red Air Force: Will rutheless strip other Fronts of attack aviation, leaving only fighters in place to deny enemy air superiorty. 2nd Ukrainian Front will be exhempt from this action until the capture of Vaslui. 7th Indendent Army (currently entrained near Kiev with 127th Mountain Corp) will reinforce 2nd Ukrainian Fronts efforts. The Air Armies supporting the main effort will be reinforced with all available attack and reconissance aircraft. Reinforcements and airbases are to be in position not later than 20 July 1944.

NKPS (train repair) Three of the NKPS units will devoted to the main effort. The fourth will concentrate on repair rail connections in western marsh leading to Brestlitovsk to support follow on attack. Resources permitting additional railroad construction brigades will be raised.

I replaced Zhukov at Stavka with Vasilevsky (9 admin rating!). Ap permitting I will place him in command of 2nd Belorussian Front. If not he will assume command of the 4th Ukrainian when it arrives and spearhead the follow on attack. Generally speaking you have a solid command team in place at start, as you would expect in 1944. The sole exception is Nikolai Oslikovsy (6.5.4.3.2.4.1.1)in command of one of the tank armies (called Group Oslikovskii Mech Corps, don't ask me why his name is spelled with a y and the group has two iis.) His command consists of 3rd Guard Mech Corps and 3rd Guard Cavalry Corp. I will replace him if AP permitt, otherwise they will avoid combat.

If you play the 44 campaign, build a bunch of railroad repair brigades at the start! You don't need them for digging, but you have zero attached to HQs and therefore your only rail repair comes from the four NKPS units. They are fine for the main lines, but having the HQ dispatch little parties to fix the trunk lines is important.




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Thoughts on attrition and splitting corps - 10/31/2011 4:53:32 PM   
Mike13z50


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As the German in 41 about the only time you split your Divisons up into regiments is in order to secure pockets. Oddly, the regiments are usually pretty safe, as they are stronger on defense than most Soviet Divisions on offense. There is a natural hesitation as the Soviet to split your Corps (which you paid good AP to build) into divisons. But like the German in 41, in 44 your Divisons are usually strong enough on defense to deter attack. If they do get attacked great! Gets the German out of his trenches. One good reason to split the Soviet Corps up is the attrition model.

You take 1/2 to 1% losses of all troops in contact with the enemy at the beginning of your turn: and so does the enemy at the beginning of his turn. So unlike combat, where you want as many of your troops in contact with as few of his as possible, in attrition you want as few of your troops in contact with as many of his as possible.

Think of it this way. You have a 100 hex front. Both sides have a 10,000 man division in each hex. 1,000,000 men are on each side of the line. Just cycling the turn, without any combat, each side takes 5-10,000 casulties at the beginning of the turn. I've got 7,000,000 men under arms. If they are all in contact that is 35,000-70,000 casulties at the beginning of the turn. If I only have a million in contact I save 25-60,000 losses every turn. That is why it is a good idea to split the Corps, so instead of 30,000 men in contact you only have 10,000. Reduce attrition losses by 1/3. My current practice is only leave Corps in contact if they cannot move or no smaller unit can occupy the hex.

You know what the really neat part is? The opponent takes the same losses no matter how many men you have in contact. In the notional 100 hex front if one side had only a 1,000 man battalion in each hex (100,000 men) then instead of 5-10,000 losses per turn, he would only take 500-1,000 losses. The enemy? Still taking 5-10,000. But what if you only had a 10 man observation post in each hex? Your 1,000 men would take 5-10 casulities, and kill 5000-10,000 of the enemy. Of course he would just attack all along the front.


You can further reduce attritional losses by setting defenders to static mode. Plus they dig in faster and you gain AP! The only penelty is it costs more to take them out of static mode than it did to put them in.

----------------

From the Rule Book-Pg 18. "Attrition: Damage and losses to men and equipment not directly caused by player initiated combat. Attrition occurs during the phasing players logistics phase."

9.5.2. FRONT LINE ATTRITION
Units that begin their turn adjacent to enemy units during their logistics phase will suffer additional attrition losses representing low intensity combat, with approximately one-half to one percent of ground elements in a unit being destroyed (one-half of the manpower is killed and the other half is disabled). Combat attrition losses are dependent on unit morale, the number of ground elements of a certain type in a unit, and the experience level of each type of ground element. The higher unit morale and ground element experience level, the fewer combat attrition losses. This attrition is in addition to the additional fatigue effects from being adjacent to enemy units (9.4.1).
Ammended by patches:

V1.05.28 – September 29, 2011
5) Rule Change – Reduced front line attrition by 30-50%. In addition, Static units will now only suffer half of the normal front line attrition.

V1.04.10 – April 18, 2011
14) Rule Change – (Section 9.5.2) Increased front line attrition, but reduced the proportion of these attrition loss that is KIA to 30% (was 50%). The net impact should be similar KIA but an increased amount of manpower disabled due to front line attrition.





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RE: I don't need no stinking pioneer bn. - 10/31/2011 5:06:25 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mike13z50

Who needs pioneer battalions when you have on board sapper brigades? My first impression is that this changes the selection of SU attachments to rifle corps, more combat power less sappers. Probably should prioritize sapper attachments to tank, mech, and cav corps for breakthrough attack where the sapper brigades can't keep up.




I noticed them sapper units in my GC43 campaign. Awesome lads. It's August and they are currently loading up their truck with dynamite...headed for the Donets basin for a fateful meeting with the SS Viking division... My worry is that they count toward the max stacking rule of three. I imagine that they could be used as a part of a first wave designed to take the fort level down (and suffer awful casualties, must suck being a sapper) and then let a stack of three GDs Corps step in...that would be realistic Red Army procedure. But maybe one could just attach 3x3 sapper SU regiments to the 3GDs Corps stack, no?

Any suggestions? Tests?

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RE: Thoughts on attrition and splitting corps - 10/31/2011 6:31:49 PM   
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End Turn 4

Only inflicted 50k German causalities this turn, probably caused more by attrition. Mainly devoted to assembling troops for offensive. I need to think of a name for it. You can see the fronts moving into position, next turn starts the preliminary phase. Have to love the Russian rail capacity, no matter what Pelton says. :)




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RE: Thoughts on attrition and splitting corps - 10/31/2011 7:02:46 PM   
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Thanks for the vs AI AAR, we don`t see this much, especially in `44.

Probably enfd up in a race against the clock ?? Maybe you will do a `41 GC vs the AI, which I think is very good, the best of any Garry`s games.

_____________________________

"If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"
A. Maslow

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Closing in on Vaslui - 10/31/2011 7:14:57 PM   
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A small defensive victory near Vaslui. 42 devil bombers shot down by the heroic Red Air Force!
Mainly Romanian troops defending the key city. Seventh Independent Army arrives this turn.




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End Turn 5 - 10/31/2011 10:55:40 PM   
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Eliminated another two German infantry divisions, 68k causalities in total.

Leading Tank Corps have reached clear terrain with nothing but a bunch of ones in front of them.

He has SS Panzers in the front line.

Next turn is D-Day. Hope it works.




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From the front - 11/1/2011 12:37:17 AM   
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I may have to turn in my St. Barbara card.

It just occurred to me that you can deliberate attack with just artillery. Before you send in the infantry. Prep fire. Three attacks from two brigades and good-bye fortification. This is a game changer.




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Tick-Tock Romainia - 11/1/2011 2:25:00 AM   
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Husi or Vaslui, doesn't matter. Romainian town south of 105 captured and now the clock is ticking. Only a matter of time until Romainia is out of the war.

Vaslui is the circle, Husi is the hex.




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Breakthrough! - 11/1/2011 2:44:34 AM   
Mike13z50


Posts: 343
Joined: 1/29/2007
From: New Orleans
Status: offline
Though I picked a very poor location, there is a swamp hex right in the middle of the lane. Still pocketed seven divisions, including one panzergrenadier and some kind of SS. You can see the black peeking out from the bottom of the stack.

Just shy of 100k casualties, the artillery prep makes a big difference.

I am kind of worried by my trucks, only have 134k and need 241k. Funny because I haven't built a single unit. Maybe its because I filled up the airbases? Have to watch what it does and then make a decision. I've already disbanded all the motorcycle regiments. I can always static a bunch of guys. Wish I could disband the three MD, they take 1,000 trucks each just sitting there.




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Romanian Surrender - 11/1/2011 3:19:26 AM   
Mike13z50


Posts: 343
Joined: 1/29/2007
From: New Orleans
Status: offline
Sometimes you get lucky, Romania surrendered right away. Now if I can roll snake eyes, the Hungarians will follow suit. Arad is currently owned by me but not garrisoned. IF they fail the roll at the start of the next German turn, then it won't matter.

Have to get really lucky though because the Hungarian roll is Random (10)> 7+ 1 per div (3 per SS).
So if there are no Germans in Budapest, 30% shot.

I was caught out of position with my train repair..need to link Romania up with network pronto.




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