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Don to the Danube AAR - Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side

 
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Don to the Danube AAR - Decision in the Ukraine - Axis ... - 1/29/2012 5:04:22 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Moderator note: This is the Axis side AAR of an ongoing test game between Speedy (Soviet player) and ComradeP (Axis player). The scenario is from the upcoming Don to the Danube release. The players opted to use random weather and fog of war.




This is an AAR for one of the new scenarios in the scenario disk, Decision in the Ukraine.

Speedy will be the Soviets and I'm the Axis.

The scenario is challenging for both sides.

The Soviet player has a large number of objectives to capture with (in many cases) half strength or otherwise understrength units, under the constant threat of counterattacks by mobile units or mobile units committing to battles through reserve mode, which can in an instant turn the tide of a battle completely.

The Axis player needs to hold his line along the rivers in the Ukraine as long as possible, gradually falling back under Soviet pressure, and also needs to try to evacuate the German infantry divisions belonging to 17th Army from the Kuban peninsula in a timely manner.

The primary Soviet strengths are the sheer number of units they have (and the possibilities of making their army smaller in terms of on-map units, but more efficient in terms of CV), the VVS and on-map artillery units. The average Soviet unit doesn't have an impressive CV, but that can be compensated by quantity. The Soviets are also greatly aided early on by the poor initial Axis dispositions. Their main weakness is still low individual unit quality.

The primary Axis strength is the quality of their mobile units, particularly the reinforcements later on as the initial ones all start seriously understrength. The Axis can also use the terrain to their advantage/hide behind rivers. Their main weaknesses are not having nearly enough units to hold a line along the Dnepr, and most of their divisions being worn out.

< Message edited by Joel Billings -- 2/4/2012 9:37:23 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/29/2012 6:06:40 PM   
ComradeP

 

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There is no Axis player on turn 1, the Soviets start first.

The situation at the start of turn 2 was as follows.

In the north, limited Soviet attacks were made. Unfortunately, due to the retreat mechanic prioritizing a retreat towards the west for the Axis and towards the east for the Soviets, several divisions withdrew across a river instead of to an adjacent friendly stack and took high retreat losses. The Soviets start with a bridgehead at Kanev, but no other crossings have yet been made.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 1/29/2012 6:07:12 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/29/2012 6:09:03 PM   
ComradeP

 

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The southern part of the front. The Soviets made a dash towards the Crimea and isolated it from overland supply. This greatly complicates my defensive situation.

The partisan attack indicator seems to be some sort of graphical glitch.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/29/2012 6:11:31 PM   
ComradeP

 

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The Crimea+Kuban bridgehead. With a first turn penetration north of the Crimea like that, 17th Army will have to evacuate the Kuban peninsula immediately before the Soviets make attempts to isolate them.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/29/2012 6:18:19 PM   
ComradeP

 

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As we know, late war Axis losses can be severe. One of the downsides of a small scenario starting in mid war is that you have no manpower pool worth mentioning, high initial losses, and no real moment to recover (because even attrition is higher than the per turn replacements).

Retreat losses drop when the unit has around 60 morale or so, but the next significant drop often only happens above 90 morale or so, which means that I'll be taking (by German standards) high retreat losses in most attacks.

As a result, my infantry divisions will grow weaker and weaker, as I have little means to reinforce them. I'll try to focus most of my replacements on getting the best mobile units back in fighting shape. Even a full strength infantry division is quickly cut down several sizes at this point in the war, so it makes sense to primarily reinforce the mobile units.

Due to the sheer number of Rifle squads and high ROF elements in Rifle corps, we won't be making counterattacks against Rifle corps, even though their CV's are fairly low in the scenario. Counterattacking mechanized corps is also something I will try to limit, also due to the Rifle squads and high ROF elements in them. Counterattacks will focus on Rifle divisions and Tank corps.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the reserve mode, I'm not inclined to place units in reserve mode in areas where the Soviets can fairly easily mass significant numbers of units and where my units have no natural defensive barriers to hide behind.

The Luftwaffe's non-fighter units will be mostly placed in the national reserve for now, because as you can see it interdicts/attacks itself to death. That will also allow me to disband air bases, to gain some precious manpower.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 1/29/2012 6:19:43 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/29/2012 10:09:52 PM   
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It's nearly impossible to create a good line along the Dnepr, as only some hexes have (level 1) forts in them. Speedy's first attack across a major river had a modified CV that was nearly 3 times as high as his initial CV, so if for some reason that continues to happen even when attacking across a major river, my defenses will soon vanish.

I essentially sacrificed 17th Panzer to isolate the Soviet units north of the Crimea. Annoyingly, most of my mobile units had only 30 or less MP's. With 40 or so MP's, 17th Panzer could've comfortably moved back to safety, but alas.

I think I'll disband/merge 1 or 2 Panzer divisions later on in the scenario. AFV production doesn't come close to replacing losses. I have already lost a turn worth of production for some AFV types due to the factories not being supplied (presumably). Those 5-6 CV Panzer divisions are not really scary, but full strength Panzer divisions should still pack a punch.

AP's were mostly spent on reorganizations and disbanding air bases.

The situation in the north.

If he manages to move out of the Kanev bridgehead area, I'm in more trouble than if he crosses the river somewhere else with a Rifle unit, so my best units are concentrated there at the moment.

The 10=10 stack at the top of the screenshot was the hex where his modified CV ended up being nearly three times as high as his initial CV even though he was attacking across a major river. I can't afford to have a Rifle corps walking around there, so there's a big stack there for the moment that will hopefully hold this time.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 1/29/2012 10:16:53 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/29/2012 10:12:46 PM   
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The situation in the south.

This area is probably going to be by far the most difficult to defend.

I just noticed the HQ in the awkard position next to the entrained infantry division, ah well, it will probably be displaced.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 1/29/2012 10:13:41 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/29/2012 10:14:42 PM   
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The Crimea.

Naval transport capabilities are not great, so it will take time to move 17th Army out.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 1/31/2012 9:52:53 AM   
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The strategic situation at the start of the third turn wasn't bad.

The Soviet attacks launched at my units across the Dnepr failed and there's mud in the South Soviet Zone. Together with cutting off the Soviet mobile units on turn 2, that seriously complicates the Soviet supply situation (the units in the Perekop area are 94 MP's away from their railhead).

To give the Soviets some difficulty with maintaining their logistics at a high level, the scenario starts with rail repair barely having reached the major cities east of the Dnepr, so the Soviets have some serious rail repair to do before their rail lines reach the front. They do have the time to do so, however. By December, the rail line should be close to the front.

Speedy didn't seriously reinforce his Kanev bridgehead, and as the majority of my mobile units were concentrated in the area, that left him in danger of being pocketed. Even though my mobile units now need full stacks to reach the 20 or so CV that mobile units have in 1941, they still pack a punch. At the end of my turn, 4 Soviet mobile units, a cavalry corps and an airborne brigade were pocketed and it was Speedy's turn to take serious retreat losses for retreating across a major river as an attack resulted in 5000 casualties for him. My own casualties for the attacks required to establish the pocket were about 2000 men. Counterattacking stacks of mobile units causes about 1000 casualties, which is reasonable considering that attacking one or more Rifle corps fairly easily causes over 2000.

The Soviets get (I believe) 11 mobile corps during the course of the scenario, as well as one or more cavalry corps, and he starts with 17 Tank brigades (including about 6 Guards Tank brigades, although creating Guards units might be tricky as the scenario starts with a roughly 50/50 spread in Guards and regular corps and the limit is normally about 35%. All in all replacing the losses won't be that difficult for him even if I can destroy the units, also because he's probably getting over 50.000 replacements each turn.

I'm not a big fan of making long term plans in the first few turns when I'm defending, as a lot will depend on the progress of the attacker. I'll formulate a plan as soon as I've seen the next turn.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 2/4/2012 6:49:18 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 6:52:51 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 3 north. The majority of the mobile units in the Kanev area were pocketed.

Speedy's main defensive problem with holding the territory was that his bridgehead was only 2 hexes wide, and that he didn't remove the infantry regiment in the swamps west of Cherkassy on turn 1, so he would've had 2 difficult terrain hexes as anchors for the bridgehead. Instead, with a 2 hex wide bridgehead, he ended up with a bridgehead in my ZOCs and the combined might of Panzer and PzG divisions in the area was enough to create the pocket.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 6:53:41 PM   
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Not much happened in the south, also due to the mud in part of this sector.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 6:54:28 PM   
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17th Panzer is going to make it. The division wasn't encircled(/surrounded with units) and can slowly move to the Crimea now.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 6:55:23 PM   
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Turn 3 losses.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:06:09 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 4. Snow in the central Soviet zone, mud everywhere else.

In their third turn, the Soviets established two further bridgeheads across the Dnepr, including one in a rough hex that I can't dislodge. The hex was defended by the Florian Geyer SS cavalry division, but it wasn't up for the task. The defenders of the other bridgehead 1 hex southeast of Dnepropetrovsk were tossed back across the river, so at the moment the Soviets hold 2 rough hexes on "my" side of the Dnepr.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:06:58 PM   
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The snow allowed me to eliminate the Kanev pocket earlier than anticipated.

The attack on the defenders of the rough hex failed, although 1 or 2 extra divisions would probably have done the trick. Both sides had a good modified CV compared to initial CV, but the CV of the Soviets increased by more, so the final odds were 1.4:1. Even though the defenders belonged to 3 different armies, their CV went from 164 to a modified CV of 594. Mine went from 521 to a modified CV of 845.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 2/4/2012 7:09:39 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:11:19 PM   
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The situation in the south. There's a mechanized corps and a Guards Rifle corps on my side of the river in a rough hex.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:12:46 PM   
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The Crimea. 17th Panzer is safe.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:13:20 PM   
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Turn 4 losses.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:24:19 PM   
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Turn 5. Mud in the Central Soviet and European zones, clear in the South Soviet zone.

The two Panzer divisions to the southwest of the eastern Soviet bridgehead belonged to two different HQ's. Sadly, instead of picking the one nearby, the game picked the wrong one and the Panzers lost their battle, with the other Panzer units in reserve mode not lifting a finger (presumably due to the unit belonging to a different corps and army). Little more than an annoyance, but still. Reserve mode hasn't done much good thus far.

The SS and GD are refitting.

I'm disbanding most air bases and artillery/Nebelwerfer support units. I don't need the air bases, and the men used by the artillery divisions are of more use in mobile units.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:25:58 PM   
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The north. Aside from one Soviet attack that pushed back the defenders on my side of the Dnepr but featured no actual Soviet crossing, nothing happened.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 2/4/2012 7:26:16 PM >


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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:28:02 PM   
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The south. Aside from the attack with the unfortunate result, nothing happened.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:29:20 PM   
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The Crimea. I'm pulling back, I don't want to get hit with attacks or encircled in one clear weather turn if the next turn is going to be mud again. Note that the European weather zone starts at about the halfway point, so most of my units are in a mud sector.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:29:44 PM   
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Losses.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:38:27 PM   
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Mud everywhere.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:39:27 PM   
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No attacks in the north.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:40:08 PM   
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The Soviets attacked 3rd Panzer southwest of the rough hex bridgehead, but the attack was held.

Reinforcements are slowly arriving, primarily Panzer divisions.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:41:23 PM   
ComradeP

 

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The Crimea. A far less serious push than expected. The Tank corps was isolated.

17th Army starts to dig in near Sevastopol.

We're evacuating about 1 unit by sea per turn (naval transport capacity is limited), about 2 per turn initially.




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RE: Decision in the Ukraine - Axis side - 2/4/2012 7:41:49 PM   
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Losses.




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