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1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI

 
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1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 9:42:47 AM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
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Hi Everyone,
This is my first post. I've had this game for a couple of months now - find it addictive. I've tried the smaller scenarios - won the Leningrad, Minsk, Smolensk and Kiev and have now attempted a full campaign (my previous attempt lasted a dozen turns, but made too many newbie mistakes there).

This is a AAR on the first 48 turns of the 1943 scenario, playing the Germans. I chose the 1943 scenario, because felt the war would be unwillable for the Germans by then (irrespective of weather they went in for a Kursk offensive or not) and I wanted to see to what extent I could delay the inevitable.

I will put the details of what I have done in subsequent posts, but I'd like to start by summarising:

I've tried to make this scenario realistic, (normal difficulty, no fog of war advantage and no replaying turns).

1. The front has hardly moved, except in sectors where I had made planned withdrawals. I subsequently recaptured some lost
territory.
2. I believe I've inflicted disproportionately high casualties on the Red Army. (screenshot attached).
I've suffered irrecoverable casualties of 452000 dead and 9900 POW, but have inflicted 931000 dead and 731000 POW
on the Red Army. (In my current turn, my forces have created 2 encirclements, so I expect another 50,000 Red Army
prisoners in turn 48.

My feeling is that AI's strategy has been inept - probably as bad as the red Army in 1941. I had succeeded in carrying out
7 encirclements (AI escaped once) with between 12 & 300,000 POW's in each and will probably succeed in another 2, in this turn.
Additionally, AI persists in sending weak divisions into salients where they can be attacked from 3 sides (or by 2 stronger hexes), which has probably cost the Red Army avoidable losses of at least 50,000 men so far in the game.
AI has also not exploited breakthroughs (which the Red Army was was ruthless in doing in reality) and allowed me to stablise the line.

In Feb 1944, I'm occupying more or less the same front as the Germans did in Aug 1943 (in some places I'm better off - I've captured Kursk and Velkye Luki for e.g.). I dont have the strength to win outright, but I also dont see AI doing so.

So, is AI weaker than it should be ?








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RE: 1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 9:47:08 AM   
DrewBlack


Posts: 366
Joined: 7/3/2004
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Hi

What where your levels of the AI, to get half decent game you need 110%+ on Moral. Thats so you get a more realistic game, no wonder the Ai struggled.

Joel recomends these settings and I must concur with him, trust me start again it will kick ya butt under 1.06.04

Drew

< Message edited by DrewBlack -- 3/4/2012 9:51:08 AM >

(in reply to Deans)
Post #: 2
RE: 1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 10:08:06 AM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
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Command changes:

Right at the beginning, I appointed Von Kluge as head of OKW. This automatically puts Guderian in charge of AG Centre (which is what I wanted). That saves me Admn points.
Army group A (Von Kliest) was dissolved. This gives Manstein (commanding AG south) additional forces. I wanted Von Kliest to command an Army, but am not allowed to do that.

The Crimea army was put under AG North, to relieve some of the burden on 16th & 18th Armies. This is a small army of 6 divisions (no corps) drawn from 16th and 18th Armies,
located North and South of lake Llmen. This army has virtually remained static for the game so far.

8th Army HQ (which replaces 2nd Pz Army HQ) is commanded by Von Mackensen.
Schorner (who has a better record with infantry) gets appointed as 18th Army commander, as soon as I have enough Admn points.

The bulk of my fighting has been conducted by 5 different Panzer corps, working closely with each other. These are:

47th Pz Corps (9th Army), deployed at the southern end of 9A, commanded by Hermann Balck.
(I want to retain him when the corps withdraws, but cant)

57th Pz Corps (4th Pz Army) with 3 SS Pz divisions, led by Hasso Von Manteuffel
48th Pz Corps (4th Pz Army) with 3 Pz and 1 Pz Gr division, led by Von Knobelsdroff

24th Pz corps (1st Pz Army) with 3 (+1 about to be returned home), Pz Divisions, led by Nehring.
1st Pz Army is led by Leo Geyr Von Schweppenburg. &

3rd Pz corps (Det Kempf) with 3 Pz divisions, led by Hermann Brieth.

Thus I've had upto 17 Pz divisons, working closely with each other, occupying a front of barely 20 hexes. This has given me the ability to attach a single hex with (sometimes) over 900 tanks. That's something the Red army has not been able to deal with, nor have they been able to exploit the near absence of any mobile or armoured reserves in the rest of the front.

Det Kempf gives up one Corps headquarters and retains one Pz corps of 3 Pz divisions. The remaining divisions (since it is a small army), report directly to the Army.



< Message edited by Deans -- 3/13/2012 5:29:37 AM >

(in reply to Deans)
Post #: 3
RE: 1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 10:10:03 AM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: DrewBlack

Hi

What where your levels of the AI, to get half decent game you need 110%+ on Moral. Thats so you get a more realistic game, no wonder the Ai struggled.

Joel recomends these settings and I must concur with him, trust me start again it will kick ya butt under 1.06.04

Drew


AI is at 100%, will try 110%

(in reply to DrewBlack)
Post #: 4
RE: 1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 11:05:07 AM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
Status: offline
Continuing where I left off:
The South (lower Dneiper). (attached screenshot)

As soon they become unfrozen (turn 4), 17th Army abandons the Kuban bridgehead and the Crimea and moves West of the Dnieper (the area between the coast and Zaparozhye). Movements are done by train.
they are accompanies by all Romanian forces, giving me a strength of 2 divisions per hex along the river line. This movement was completed by move 10 and there has been negligible activity since then.
I've retained General Janacke in command of 17th Army (I'd ideally like Von Kliest, but he is not available) since there is no one better, so far.

6th Army abandons the Mius line (from turn 4) and also moves to West of the Dneiper - between Zaparozhye and Dnieperpetrovosk
They have been able to make a fighting withdrawl to this line with negligible casualties. The Panzer Grenadier division attached to 6th Army, was moved to 1st Panzer Army, which was then under pressure. The Slovak brigade is also part of 6th Army's area of operations.
The only other units assigned to reinforce 6th Army have been a Romanian division (from Romania), a Para regiment (now withdrawing and being replaced by a new Infantry division) and a security division (since I dont have a serious partisan problem in the Ukraine), whose 3 regiments each reinforce the division in their hex.

Once reserves became available, a Panzer division was moved West of 6th Army (part of Army Group South). This is the only mobile reserve West of the Dnieper. It cannot be seen in the screenshot, since it is embedded with 2 other divisions on the river line, to counter an heavy enemy buildup that air recon has detected.

The Red army was able to cross this line twice (the first time, it was the bottom most hex, which was uncovered, the next time, it was a determined attack on 06th Army. On both occasions, a weak division crossed over and I was able to throw it back across the river.
Given my lack of reserves, I believe a determined attack, or an amphibious landing behind my line can unhinge the entire Dnieper position, but AI has not really attempted it. On the other hand, constant attacks (with heavy Red army casualties) have lowered my fort levels, for every hex along the line.

Attacks on enemy HQ's opposing 17th Army have been fairly effective. I dont know how to prevent my airforce from interdicting Red Army units moving to the front (I think they are a waste) I'd rather reserve them for more HQ attacks.





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RE: 1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 4:00:09 PM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
Status: offline
Moving towards the Centre:
(Attached screenshot of 1st Panzer Army and Det Kempf).

1st Panzer Army, pivots about 120 degrees, and locates itself between Det Kempf and the Northern part of 6th Army - North of the Dnieper bend, placing itself as far as possible, West of river lines.
It has been able to hold the line, thanks to the Nehring's Panzer corps, which is later bolstered by 1 SS Pz Div, which I had aloocated to it. Its commander later moves to command 8th Army, since by then I have a better armoured officer - Von Schweppenburg, available to command it.

In the screenshot, a panzer division of 3rd Pz corps (part of Det Kempf), moves south to help complete the encirclement of
2 corps formations (indicated by the arrow). This should give me at least 30,000 POW's. This is the 3rd such encirclement that 1st Pz Army has accomplished, which to be is a sign of AI's poor skill. To ensure the Red army does not escape, I've placed a Hungarian divisions, recently arrived from Hungary and reporting to a new Corps (the third Hungarian corps made available) to strengthen the ring. In the screenshot, you can see 3 of these divisions with their Corps HQ, embedded with the weak infantry divisions of 1st Panzer. The Hungarians have done fairly well in this kind of role. I've also made max use of 1 SS Panzer Div (returning home next turn), which has played a role in all encirclements of 1st Panzer Army.

Det Kempf's location has been almost unchanged since the start of the 1943 campaign. I initally gave up Belgorad, but found that it could be recaptured easily. The Panzer corps has not been seriously tested (apart from the first 10 turns) and has therefore been able to give a hand to both 1st and 4th Panzer Armies. (as is the case with the current encirclement). At the start of the campaign, it surrenders a corps HQ to 4th Pz. (since the SS Panzer corps is withdrawn early in the campaign.
Det Kempf's 3rd Panzer Corps also does some serious damage immediately north and West of Belgorod. The infantry divisions of Det Kempf are located west of a river, blunting whatever weak attacks are thrown at it.





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< Message edited by Deans -- 3/4/2012 4:02:19 PM >

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RE: 1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 4:12:14 PM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
Status: offline
At the centre of the front, I had declined to do battle at Kursk. I've explained the consequent repositioning of 1st Panzer Army.
Similarly, 9th Army withdraws from the Orel sailent and occupies a reduced frontage, West of river lines. This is a screenshot - from turn 18, (but represents the front since turn 3), showing what the front looked like, for 1st Panzer Army, 2nd Army and 9th Army.

The light green units are Hungarian divisions that have been embedded with German divisions from all 3 Armies.




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< Message edited by Deans -- 3/13/2012 5:23:17 AM >

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1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 4:39:26 PM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
Status: offline
Centre continued....

The current position of the Front - 4th Panzer, 2nd Army, 9th Army and 8th Army (turn 48) is shown in the following screenshot.
These armies have done most of the fighting. For the first 15 turns, they have worn down Red Army attacks and the Panzer corps have either routed weaker formations, or created several encirclements, I managed the first, as early as turn 5, but the latter 3 after turn 25. (3 more encirclements were managed by 1st Panzer, to the south and another by 3rd Pz Army to the north.
The turning point for this section of the front was a 3 hex encirclement, which yielded 300000 prisoners (the Red army also broke a 2 hex encirclement, since the Mud season prevented attacks and forced me to continue the `seige' into 3 turns.

Basically, I was doing a Kursk in reverse, forcing the Red army to move out of their defensive positions and attack across a river.
My armour was able to concentrate better and get local superiority where it mattered.

In the north of this front, the Red Army had frittered away their numerical advantage, by pushing weak divisions into salients, opposing my stronger, entrenched divisions. 41st Pz corps of 9th Army, was retained East of the river line and inflicted considerable damage. 2nd Panzer (later 8th Army), was not really tested, but gained a lot of victories against weak enemy divisions.
8th Army had only 1 Pz Grenader division and has recently been reinforced by a fresh infantry division.

The Southern half of this section of front is where the classic armoured battles have been fought. Here 47th Pz corps (9th Army) has worked closely with 57th and 48th Panzer corps of 4th Pz Army and 3rd Pz corps of Det Kempf. In all 13 Panzer divisions had been concentrated. Initially, the focus was on spoiling attacks on enemy concentrations (or their flanks). Later it was operations deeper in the enemy rear, resulting in encirclements. Just east of Kursk, you can see another encirclement (1 hex) in the current turn, caused by the SS Pz corps working together with 48th Panzer corps.

Once the enemy was sufficiently weakened, I started an advance towards Kursk and Orel, both of which were captured at turn 40.
8th Army, to the north of 9th Army, has moved some of its divisions east of Bryansk, to support the flank of the advancing 9th Army.

This had involved attacks during the mud season and in snow which consequent higher than usual costs, but I though that necessary to inflict the required levels of attrition on the Red Army and give them no time to recover. Also, from next turn, I start losing more divisions than I get (starting with 47th Pz corps HQ) and my existing divisions are in poor shape, so I am unlikely to be able to sustain further attacks. This is a pity because air reconnaisance shows few enemy divisions East of my lines. My focus however, is to build up my existing divisions along the new front and await the Red Army's summer offensive.

The Hungarian divisions have been effectively used and without then, my infantry divisions would not have been able to hold the line.
Hungarian divisions that became `unready' in the course of fighting, were transferred to Anti Partisan duties.





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< Message edited by Deans -- 3/13/2012 5:42:34 AM >

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1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/4/2012 5:02:36 PM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
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Moving North:

The screenshot shows 4th Army (north of 8th Army) & 3rd Panzer Army (South of 16th Army).
3rd Panzer initially was tasked with reducing the length of the front between the junction of itself and 16th Army (where it was most vulnerable. This was done and in the process, 3rd Pz Army, also managed to capture Velkie Luki (The Red Army was negligient, otherwise its difficult to explain how AI managed to allow its capture by inferior forces). Though the divisions of 3rd Panzer and 16th Army are weak, they are entrenched in the marshes and behind rivers, on a reduced frontage, which makes any assault difficult.

I have deployed a new SS Panzer corps - shaded in black in the screenshot (with 2 late arriving Panzer divisions and SS motorised brigades) at the junction of 4th and 3 Pz Armies. This has arrived just in time, as The Red army managed to concentrate at this part of the front, by turn 30. Before that however, AI missed a trick, when they had concentrated overwhelming force north of Smolensk, but in the face of spoiling attacks, put off an offensive, that seemed certain to break my line (with no reserves behind it). Eventually, this force weakened and even allowed itself to be encircled by my freshing arriving SS corps, with its Panzer divisions.

I am not pleased with the performance of this Panzer corps, still it has managed to stabilise the line and it is my only mobile reserve
North of Bryansk. In fact its my only reserve of any kind.

4th Army. has been static for almost the entire campaign. Generals Henrici and Redulic have been promoted, purely because the Red Army persisted in placing weak divisions next to strong German ones, which get slaughtered, turn after turn.




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< Message edited by Deans -- 3/13/2012 5:44:46 AM >

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RE: 1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/5/2012 4:55:21 PM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
Status: offline
Finally, the situation in the North.
Screenshot attached.

At the start of the scenario, I withdrew the Finnish forces to a more defensible line and away from the Red Army's supply sources.
I had concluded that Leningrad could not be captured, so there was no point subecting it to a seige and I also wanted advance warning of any Red Army offensive against the Finns.
I was also prepared for 18th Army to give up a lot more ground - basically ending the Leningrad seige and moving to a more defensible line with a shorter front.
16th Army has remained virtually static during all of this campaign.

As explained earlier, the Crimea Army was brought up, from the South, right at the start of this campaign, to act as a large independent corps under AG North (shown by the Arrow and the units shaded in white) . This `Army' compises 6 divisions (3 each from 18th & 16th Army), deployed North and South of Lake llmen. This has reduced the command and control problems of both armies. Divisions of Crimea army have been dislodged twice, but have regained their positions along the river line, as the enemy did not consolidate their breakthrough.

In my view the Red army had enough strength in the Leningrad sector, to either break the seige around Leningrad (hitting 18th Army badly), or push the Finns out of the War. They have done neither. Weak attacks against the Finns have been foiled and this has weakened the push against 18th Army. The Finns have just been reinforced and I believe the Red Army has lost its opportunity.
South of Leningrad. I had given up a lot more ground initially (than shown in the screenshot), but was able to recover what I
wanted to and continue to mantain pressure on the city.

18th Army got reinforced by 1 Panzer and 2 Panzer Grn divisons. This is not good terrain for tanks but I had no other way of reinforcing the weak divisions of 18th Army, against what seemed to be an overwhelming concentration against it.
I also disbanded a weak LW division. (2 of the 4 FBD's have also been disbanded) of 18th Army.

I had no intention of sending my forces north of the Neva and just East of (touching) the Leningrad city hex. However, the repulsing of some weak attacks by my Ad hoc corps (1 Pz + 2 Pz Gr divisions), created an opportunity. I believe the divisions Noth of the Neva can be extracted, if attacked and threatened with encirclement and their presence gives an outside chance to capture Leningrad, or at least delay an offensive against 18th Army.

18th Army has failed in several of its attacks, but their commander (Schorner) seems to be doing a good job in defence, helped by the fact that the enemy has not really launched a coordinated offensive against it. They are also a lot weaker now than around 10 turns back, while I am now stronger (I was expecting an offensive, at the end of mud season),

The weakest point of my front seems (particularly given the force against it), to be 18th Army and an attack against it can literally unhinge the entire front. (If forced to retreat, I plan to fall back along the Luga, mantaining contact with 16th Army).
If I was in command of Stavka, that is where I would focus.
Both 16th Army and 3rd Pz Army do not have any forces to spare, to act as a reserve, in case there is a breakthrough in 18th Army's sector.

I'm hoping that the Red Army's setbacks in the Orel/Kursk/Belgorod sectors would prevent the transfer of more forces to the North.




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< Message edited by Deans -- 3/13/2012 5:51:05 AM >

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1943 (Germans) senario - newbie vs AI - 3/13/2012 5:27:05 AM   
Deans

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 3/2/2012
From: India
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That brings me back to my original observation. for which I would appreciate your feedback. My view is that AI's strategy is just not good enough, so a reasonably competent human opponent can actually win a 1943 scenario, playing the Germans (which I don't think would have been possible in reality). Sure, I can increase AI competence levels beyond 100, though my understanding is that a stronger AI will only make me pay a higher price for each battle, not fundamentally change the way AI thinks.

And it would be great if the forum could provide a critique of what I have done so far.

< Message edited by Deans -- 3/13/2012 4:47:08 PM >

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