From: Bangor, Maine, USA
While not the best units for the job, Guderians force was able to accomplish things on a strategic level beyond the effect of their numbers/force. By draining the Russian main front, they made a huge difference all out of porportion to the force they represented.
In short, you can have as many attackers as you want, but if the front is restricted in size, it makes it much easier on the defense to delay and plug things up. Very effective use of forces to "stretch" the front to the point it broke completely.
Thanks Red prince for all your postings and responding to all the comments and suggestions on your AAR, I think a lot of people have really appreciated it.
Enjoy your time off, this game can totally consume ones mind until its a little mush-puddle, I can totally see why a break is warranted. Remember its just a diversion for many of us, so don't overdue it.
My thanks to both of you, and to everyone else who has been involved. It has been a very fun AAR to explore for me (even when I've felt frustrated at times).
I agree with Klydon that Guderian's role on the strategic level was a major coup for Germany. Until overseas supply was established, there were only a few hexes that could be attacked (3 of the 5 primary defensive hexes, I think), and none could be hit with "safe" odds that might allow all 4 Corps level units to survive. However, the threat itself did ineed "stretch" the main front from the very start of Barbarossa.
While the earlier post from brian brian is correct -- that the force would have been more ideal if it were made up of INF units and HQs, I think a case can be made that the Soviet defense did not retreat early enough or far enough each impulse due to the German shortage of Blitz-units on the main fornt. The ratios, if I remember correctly, were about 1/3 of the Soviets committed to holding the Persian mountains, and only 1/10 of the Germans (though they eventually had help from the Italian INF and MIL units. This resulted in the main front Soviet forces being enormously out-numbered. Even without the ability to blitz regularly, and even though half of the German Luftwaffe didn't reach the front lines until some time after the war began, the defenses were responding to the speed of INF units to set up a lot of stop-gap measures. At the start of each turn, a few more German armor came onto the map. By J/A '41, I think there were a total of 10 Blitz units on the main front, and the Soviet failure to pull back to the Don early enough allowed them to reach the front more quickly, since the front was still relatively close to Germany.
As we've all seen, I'm not very good at setting up defenses yet. I make mistakes that can be real trouble (can't wait to see how that might mean the downfall of Germany, Italy, or Japan). Therefore, the above paragraph should be taken with a grain of salt. It is my opinion that the Soviets should have pulled back to a safer location earlier, but I may not be correct. The way the defense was run, in fact, might have been exactly what was called for with the limited units available. It may simply have been a hopeless situation.
I know my decision to use these particular forces to try to activate Turkey was not popular, and my response was essentially: you may be right, and I may be wrong, but we'll never know if I don't try it. My conclusion is: in this game I was right, but I could just as easily have been wrong. The attack rolls in Persia helped out a bit here. The only conclusion I can make that is probably accurate, is that for a 1941 Barbarossa any units you can get over to Iraq to threaten the Caucasus will be worth it. This, of course, relies on a Closed Med and probably on a game that doesn't run with Vichy France. It also relies on risking an early entry of the United States by blowing through the Low Countries in 1939 and not stopping in 1940 until Europe is completely conquered. (It also helps to have a completely inept player running the CW -- me!) If this were a standard 36-turn game, I might have played it differently, but I still think I would have put pressure on the CW as early as possible, and in as many places as possible, so that some part of that empire will have to crack before it can be reinforced properly.
In defense of the defenses, though, I will say that there were probably 4 or 5 key attacks that Germany probably shouldn't have had as much success in, and 2 of these (that I can remember) were "miracle attacks". Those 2 were the attack on Zhukov and a spectacular round of Ground Strikes that disorganized 9 of 11 targets. Both had a good chance to succeed, but the attack on Zhukov had very slim chances of leaving the attackers organized, and the Ground Strike was just astoundingly successful. For most of the other attacks made on the Soviets, the Germans managed to get odds of 5:1 or better, often with positive die roll modifiers, so it isn't really a surprise that they were successful. I do think that the Germans only had 2 or 3 rolls of '1' on the attack dice, though. That definitely helped out.
WIF_Killzone is also right. After conducting the first 4 turns of the war, running for a total of 37 impulses (19 Axis, 18 Allied), my mind is a little mushy. My first day of doing nothing with MWiF has improved things a lot, though, so I'm going to spend a little time putting together a few more shots of the Commonwealth theatres. Then I'm going to go back to being a non-thinking zombie for most of the day.
First, though, I want to give some figures for the length of turns so far this game. According to the WiF FE Scenarios Booklet, the average turn length is:
So far in this game, through S/O '41 (13 turns), the averages are:
- Jan/Feb = 5.6 impulses
- Mar/Apr = 6.0 impulses
- May/Jun = 8.6 impulses
- Jul/Aug = 9.2 impulses
- Sep/Oct = 7.5 impulses
- Nov/Dec = 6.6 impulses
Granted, it's only a little over 2 years to go on, but you can see that the summers have been longer and the winters shorter than the average. Early in the war, this definitely helped the Axis a lot. According to the averages, there should have been 94.5 impulses so far. There have actually been 106 so far. That's 12% above average, and in all the "wrong" places for the Allies:
- Jan/Feb = 5.0 impulses
- Mar/Apr = 6.5 impulses
- May/Jun = 13.0 impulses
- Jul/Aug = 11.0 impulses
- Sep/Oct = 8.0 impulses
- Nov/Dec = 5.5 impulses
As for total impulses, the Axis has had 55, and the Allies have had 51. The Axis has had 4 double-moves, and the Allies have had 1 double-move. And, for the first 14 turns, the initiative has gone to:
- Jan/Feb = -10.7%
- Mar/Apr = +8.3%
- May/Jun = +51.2%
- Jul/Aug = +19.6%
- Sep/Oct = +6.7%
- Nov/Dec = -16.7%
That totals 6 turns with Axis initiative, and 8 turns with Allied initiative. Since the first turn is automatically an Axis initiative turn, that means the die rolls have favored the Allies at a rate of 8-5, and they have still managed to swing the Initiative Track from +2 in favor of the Axis to +1 in their favor. That's because the Axis has lost 1 on the track 6 times for moving first and last in the same turn, while the Allies have only lost 1 on the track 2 times. Also, each side has demanded a re-roll only once.
- S/O '39 = Axis
- N/D '39 = Allied
- J/F '40 = Axis
- M/A '40 = Allied
- M/J '40 = Axis
- J/A '40 = Axis
- S/O '40 = Allied
- N/D '40 = Allied
- J/F '41 = Allied
- M/A '41 = Axis
- M/J '41 = Allied
- J/A '41 = Axis
- S/O '41 = Allied
- N/D '41 = Allied
Enough mindless statistics. Time to get some images of the CW situation prepared.
Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it!
-Lazarus Long, RAH