From: The Duchy of Cornwall, nr England
Many moons ago I wrote this: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2705668 based on my experience of 10 months of testing WITE.
Since then, much has happened, with many updates to the code, and many different strategies being tried by both sides. I have now played 2 campaigns as Axis under 1.05/1.06, in which I applied these principles, but neither game got past 1942, but in the 2nd I was just short of 260 VPs, so I feel confident that they can be used for the ALT GC 260, and give a reasonable chance of the decisive victory that seems important to many Axis players.
The above was written before "muling" was discovered and I had never used The Lvov Gambit in any game I have played.
I have also played a few multi-player scenario games as Soviet to get a feel for how axis players are approaching the game, and I have been really surprised by what I have seen.
Based on this I would like to revisit the principles, and encourage some more of the experienced axis players out there to add their thoughts and comments.
Planning a Year Ahead. My strategic aims for 1941, are based on the type of offensive I want to make in 1942. In my first campaign (Another year at the front AAR), I wanted to make a strong feint to the South in 1942 with my actual target being Moscow, so in 1941 I went all out for the Crimea and got a bridgehead on the Taman. In my second game my target was Stalingrad and Baku, so my 1942 frontline had to start at a point where I could get to the Don quickly to protect my flank for the Drive on Baku, and also allow me to make a strong feint towards Tambov to keep Red reserves north of the Don.
Adapting Plans on the Fly. No plan survives contact with the enemy, and all the enemies I have faced have surprised me with their responses to my strategies. Generally I have assigned lines of advance to each Panzer Army, and each Panzer Korps within the Army, but sometimes my probing infantry attacks will produce enough routs to thin out the Red Carpet that may be off the pre-set line of advance, and this in turn may set up an additional pocketing opportunity. Also recon can show where the Reds may have over-committed and therefore indicate which sectors are likely to be weaker. For example in my game against gids, he commited a ton of units to the defence of the Dneiper south of Kiev, so I diverted a PZ Korps back to AGC to assist with my drive on Moscow (which was succesful).
Morale, Morale, Morale. I would like to thank Pelton and Jamiam for showing me the importance of Morale: maintaining your own and reducing that of the enemy is a huge factor in keeping the Red Army on the back foot; the lower soviet morale is during the blizzard, the higher % of his units will be unready and therefore unable to move and attack. When attacking,"routs" are your friend, "Hold" results are your enemy and are your friend on defence. Due to Gary's infamous variance, between 8-10% of your attacks are going to be holds regardless, so I now try to ensure that my "Hold" total for each turn is as close to 10% as I can get it, and when defending I am looking to achieve more than 10% holds. This may mean making fewer attacks than you may are used to , but in the longer term every point of morale is precious, and you need to protect your high morale units as best you can during the blizzard.
Blizzard Planning By turn 9 you should be able to assess if and when Leningrad is going to fall, and if you are over the Dneiper in enough strength to get to Kharkov, the Donbas and beyond. It is at this point I decide on the "Blizzard Diagonal" on which I will look to base my defence. My standard diagonal is from Pushkin to Rostov, as this is about 120 hexes and can be defended by 150 German infantry divisions with 30 available to act as linebackers. Obviously you won't make a dead straight line, but the nearer you are, the more infantry units are available to absorb the blizzard, and the more chance you will have to keep the Panzers in winter quarters. Once I have this line in my head, I start allocating 9 hex sectors to Infantry Armies, and 3 hex sectors to Panzer Armies. I also start organising Infantry Armies into 3x4 div Korps, so they can hold each 9 hex sector with 9 divisions in the front line and 3 split into regiments as linebackers; Panzer Armies usually have a corps of 3 Leg infantry divisions so they get allocated a 3 hex sector with a motorised infantry linebacker. If Lenigrad falls, the Finns will hold 9-12 hexes up north giving you 12 Armies to cover the rest. You may have to expand the Pz Army sectors by putting Motorised divisions into the line, and Panzers as a very last resort. If you don't get leningrad, then you will have no choice but to put the Rumanians and Italians into the line, but try got give them a couple a German "bracers". Personally I make minimal use of FZs, but I understand why many axis players use them liberally, I prefer to spend the APs and troops elsewhere.
If the soviets have run away you will usually be able to find a diagonal further east, and have less pressure in getting organised. In my first game Stéphane used an aggressive forward defence so my diagonal was well short of what I was used to, and I had to give the Rumanians 6 hexes to defend (they actually did OK).
Casualty Targets, In the Another Year AAR you will see that I was very focused on achieving certain numbers, and I was fortunate that my opponent's strategy played into my hands and I weakened his blizzard offensive. In my next game gids avoided every pocket like the plague, and gave me tons of territory for free, so I got nowhere near the same casualty numbers, but I had a very organised blizzard defence and the 1942 summer start line that I wanted. So, yes, I think targets are worth having, but not worth getting fixated about if you can still get 1942 going the way you want it.
1942: The Shoestring Offensive Depending on how the Blizzard defence worked out, 1942 will start with 3.1m-3.3m in the OOB with 200-300k in the manpower pool and 2k-2.5k running tanks. If you have managed your Morale and TOE%s, you will have about 40% of your Army with morale in the 60s and 50% TOE, 40% with Morale in the 70s on 66%Toe and 20% with 80+ Morale on 80-100% TOE. Clearly this Army is weaker than 1941's model, and is faced with a well organised defence in depth - the infamous Red Carpet. Well , carpets don't like friction, and will become threadbare if you rub them hard. My personal solution to the Red Carpet is patience, using "friction" attacks by the infantry (thus rebuilding their morale), with the panzers in attacking reserve mode. It may take 4 turns, It may take 6, but eventually a crack will appear, and that is when you ram 2 Panzer armies down their throat while the other Panzer armies commit on either flank of this main thrust, threatening large pockets, and hopefully giving the Axis the initiative so they can pick and choose their targets.
Even If you can't achieve your strategic objectives in 1942, keep looking for the opportunity to rebuild morale with "guaranteed" wins.
I think that this is a big enough wall of text for now. I think my main change from from original post is that I would put a lot more emphasis on Morale maintenance and damage; Manpower is still vital, but it is easier to fight a large low-morale army with a small high-morale army, than a large high-morale army with a small, low-morale army.
Morale is a much bigger component in keeping the Red Army weak and the Axis Strong than I at first thought.
More Ideas and comments are welcomed.
< Message edited by BigAnorak -- 4/20/2012 5:26:48 PM >