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Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29)

 
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Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:11:59 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by Toidi if I would take over a game that he had going with Mike29. You can read his AAR thread here. Toidi had become disillusioned with various aspects of the game, and wanted to quit playing WitE altogether, but did not want to leave his opponent in the lurch. Given that the game was one with Random Weather, Toidi recalled from my various forum posts that I only play random weather games, and figured I was a likely candidate for being a permanent substitute for him in the game.

After reviewing the turn that Toidi had originally sent, of his nearly completed turn 38, I asked him if I could see the start of the turn. I was unhappy with his mass withdrawal away from the Axis units surrounding nearly 200k men in the Ukraine. Clearly his enjoyment of the game, and what I felt to be a failed personal "morale" roll, was due to the situation that he (like so many other Soviet players) found himself in, during "March Madness".

While it was clear that there wasn't anything that I could immediately do to rescue the trapped Soviets, the game, overall, looked to be both interesting, as well as "normal". Interesting in that the Soviets were, in my opinion, operating under their potential, yet normal in that the OOBs, overall losses, and territorial positioning of the forces on both sides were rather typical of most 1.05 games that I've seen. Neither player seemed to have been making any critical mistakes, and the game was at a very good and balanced state for this stage of the game, the last month of the first winter.

I had to first determine the overall state of the Red Army, Air Force, and supporting forces. My main concern was the generally run-down condition of the Soviet front line units, while what I felt to be an over abundance of forces were tied down in the rear, getting fat, dumb and happy, occupying fort lines that I felt were overly redundant.

Now, I realize that the common wisdom is for the Soviet player to build multiple fall back lines, and to maintain large numbers of deep strategic reserves. However, I felt that Toidi had perhaps taken this to an extreme, to the detriment of his front line. What I felt he was allowing was the piecemeal destruction of his front line forces, by not actively committing enough of his reserves to gain parity with, or superiority over, his counterpart. So, what follows will be my chronicle of a massive rethinking of Soviet 1942 strategy and tactics. I hope to add some new twists to Soviet play, and to avoid crashing and burning due to my throwing out the rulebook of conventional wisdom...

This first screenshot shows a zoomed out view of the North, as I got the turn from Toidi. Things are relatively stable, due to the good defensive terrain. German and Finnish forces are making a handful of attacks, driving back Soviets here and there, but no massive concentrations of mobile units are noted.




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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:12:15 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Mike29 was kind enough to let me replay turn 38 from the start, so that I could do what I could to make it "my own". I mentioned that I wasn't happy that Toidi had turned away from the fight in the Ukraine, and I saw many opportunities for Soviet attacks this turn against exposed, or weak Axis units. Though Toidi had done an admirable job in getting Guards units during his tenure, I wanted to accelerate this, as well as to begin contesting and controlling the operational tempo that he had allowed Mike to wrest away from him over the last couple of turns.

This picture shows roughly the same territory as the one immediately above, but at the end of my turn 38. Of course, at this zoom resolution, things aren't going to look all that different. Especially up here where there were no real emergencies to deal with.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:21:33 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:12:29 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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In the Center, at the end of Toidi's turn 38. He has "reserves" all over the place, but it is a real mashup of depleted units, full strength units, and everything in between. Many are occupying fall back lines, that are really far back from the frontlines. I estimate that he has been fighting Mike with only about 25% of his force, and those forces are really tired and spent. No wonder that Mike was able to roll him over as soon as he got some non-blizzard turns - even before "March Madness".




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:27:45 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:12:41 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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This is a more zoomed in shot from the Center, at the end of Toidi's turn 38. Forces are in decent shape here, but I want to put the Soviet Army on a more offensively oriented stance. Some of these reserves are going to be thrown into battle, both locally, as well as being shipped off to the Ukraine to deal with the developing disaster there.

Oops...nevermind. After uploading the screenshot, I realized that I had somehow overwritten it with a different picture.

< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:33:26 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:12:53 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Moving right along...

Here is a shot of my Center, at the end of the turn. Again, at this zoom level it is hard to see detail, but you might notice that some of the boondock reserves have been moved, merged, and repositioned to places where I feel they will do more good.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:36:01 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:13:08 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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This shows the "big picture" in the South, at the end of Toidi's turn 38. He has withdrawn to the Stalino urban area, leaving about 200k brave Soviets trapped with zero hope of rescue. He has been sent off to the Gulag for some reeducation.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:39:41 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:13:23 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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This shows the "big picture" at the end of my turn 38. I may not be able to relieve those trapped forces, but I am damned sure going to give them some hope...




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:41:18 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:13:36 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Here is a shot, in detail, of part of the South, at the end of Toidi's turn 38.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:43:03 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:13:48 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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By comparison, my more aggressive defense.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:44:15 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:14:00 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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A detailed shot of the front from Zaporozhye to the Black Sea, at the end of Toidi's turn 38.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:46:36 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:14:14 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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And my repositioning of forces in the same area.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:47:32 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:14:26 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Losses at the end of Toidi's turn 38. I didn't include the OOB in this shot, as it won't vary too much from the one in the next post. The difference will be due to the difference in combat results over the turn.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:49:46 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 5:14:38 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Losses, OOB, destroyed and disbanded units (includes merges), and commentary, from the end of my turn 38.




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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 5:51:23 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:35:33 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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It is important to get a good feel for your opponent, as soon as possible in a game. Even more so, when you jump into the middle of a game that has had a lot of time to develop without you! My attacks last turn were as much as anything, and attempt to gauge how Mike would react to my aggressive play, and to see how he would move in response to my engagement of his mobile units. This turn will be more of the same.

This picture is a zoomed out view of the North. I'm saving the exciting stuff for last...





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< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 1/27/2012 8:02:22 AM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:35:48 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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This is a zoomed out view of the Center.






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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:36:03 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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More detail in the Center.




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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:36:27 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Details on the south, in front of Kharkov.




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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:36:38 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Another detailed look at the South, where some really interesting stuff is happening...




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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:36:52 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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And the big picture in the South to put it into perspective.




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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:37:07 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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Losses and OOB for the end of Turn 39.




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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 7:37:18 AM   
JAMiAM

 

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A count of "destroyed" units, along with some statistics.




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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 12:13:54 PM   
vlcz


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Interesting "battle clinic" anilisys, I´m on the bandwagon of those who thinks soviet play is being a little too conservative from 1.5 onwards, so will follow your developments.

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 12:28:34 PM   
Pelton

 

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Nice AAR.

Running never pays off in the long run for Russian players. The only ones that have given me a game fight forward.

Very few players look at the big picture on eather side.

I have played Mike before and he takes to many unessary risks and will probably pay the price vs you as he did me.

Pelton

< Message edited by Pelton -- 1/27/2012 12:29:34 PM >


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15 games ended in 41 (15-0-0)
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8 games ended in 43 (2-3-3)
4 games ended in 44 (0-1-3)


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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 12:51:32 PM   
sath

 

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His situation wasn't really that bad to begin with

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 1:45:36 PM   
Wuffer

 

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As every european schoolkid knews today, the final victory of the working class was inevitable. However, after only moderate Axis' casualties during the first months of war (including at least a complete panzercorps), there is no doubt amongst historicans that the change of charge to Marshall Jamiamski shortened the whole patriotic war significantly. "The Germans had never expected the forecoming disasters", the Marshall explains during the victory parade 8th May 1944 in Paris.


< Message edited by Wuffer -- 1/27/2012 1:46:34 PM >

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 2:01:45 PM   
Flaviusx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sath

His situation wasn't really that bad to begin with


Indeed not, he was in a perfectly good position. Much better than a lot of 1.05 games.

James, I'm skeptical about disbanding and merging so many units. You're incurring serious AP costs doing this: upfront for the disbands proper, and down the line when (and it is when) you have to build more units. The reduction of the overload on STAVKA is meaningless.

As much as I hate doing it, the real answer here is: the attrition shuffle. You just need to cycle in fresh in units up front and get the clapped out ones into the rear. Once you have the junk in the rear, then you have to micromanage refits and TOE settings to get replacements where you want them -- more tedium. It's a ton of busywork. But in the end, better than what you're doing.

I think you were right to put more strength up front though. And I also agree with you that far too many Soviets are playing passively now and foregoing perfectly good counterattacking opportunities. There's way too much panzer fright out there.

The game is severely biased towards the offense in terms of the morale mechanism. As such mere passive defense isn't good enough. You absolutely must, even as the defender, find places and create opportunities to take shots at the German. This lowers his morale and raises yours. It is far more effective than mere training. Training just gets completely green units to a tolerable level of morale, but after that, it's the school of hard knocks. And no amount of training will ever lower the enemy's morale.

< Message edited by Flaviusx -- 1/27/2012 2:09:41 PM >


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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 3:28:30 PM   
Wuffer

 

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merging of units

In theory, Flavius, you are right.
But in this special case _both_ armies had been suffered badly (look at all the out-of-supply turns of German infantry during the summer!) and while the soviet case could handle nearly everything, the Axis will never ever recouver when it's broken by gamedesign.
I wouldn't wonder if we see a destruction of an Armeegruppe muuuuch before '44... James is allready on the offensive.



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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 3:34:34 PM   
Wuffer

 

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morale mechanism

yeah, it's a bit strange, one had involuntarily making associations with socialdarwinism, you more you eat, the stronger you'll be
At least, it's survival of the fittest, not the strongest...



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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 6:30:02 PM   
Seminole


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How many Guards, and Guards eligible, formations do you have?

Another factor in disbanding and merging units, you're driving down the denominator in Guards limit calculation.  Speaking of which, does that go by counters on the map, or is there a unit size consideration that factors in (does 300 Inf Div mean I can have as many Guards Inf Div as 225 Inf Div and 75 Inf Bde?)

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RE: Taking arms against a sea of troubles...(no Mike 29) - 1/27/2012 11:46:44 PM   
sillyflower


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quote:

ORIGINAL: vlcz

, I´m on the bandwagon of those who thinks soviet play is being a little too conservative from 1.5 onwards,

Don't include me amongst the conservatives. I've kicked Carnage out of Holy Russia and it still September '41

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