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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies)

 
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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/6/2012 3:05:41 PM   
USXpat

 

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T038 - January 22, 1943
Caucasus


Showing current situation and desired stop lines. The situation is more or less static. The XLVIII Panzer and XLIX Mountain Corps continue to make periodic small gains along the Black Sea Coast.

While significant forces remain at Grozny, Russian forces are sitting in fortified positions with significant artillery support and a significant edge in the air. The 7th Flieger and 22nd Airlanding Divisions have been sitting in reserve waiting for a chance to "make a difference". As air parity is gradually slipping away, their time has arrived. I'd have liked for the objective to be somewhat more "decisive" - but the ultimate objective, Baku, is simply too far away.

The first regiment of the 22nd Airlanding Division is dropped behind the Soviet defensive perimeter around Grozny. If it survives this next turn, 7th Flieger will drop, then 2nd and 3rd Regiments the turn after that. The first goal is to reduce break the rail line allowing the defenses to be rapidly reinforced, and with it their rate of supply. The second goal is to see some portion of the defense assigned to deal with the landings - with the hope there aren't significant Soviet reinforcements already waiting in Makhachkala.

Fourth Panzer Armee - 1st, 2nd and 20th Panzer; 3rd SS Totenkopf, 25th PanzerGrenadier, plus 46th, 102nd and 225th Infantry Divisions will be pressing the assault. Soviet defenses include units from the 8th, 40th, 51st, 60th and 67th Armies - plus the relatively fresh 10th Tank Corps. Most of the other units are in various stages of depletion.

Contending with the units in the mountain passes south of Grozny will have to wait for reinforcements - that may never arrive.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/6/2012 3:43:30 PM   
USXpat

 

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T038 - January 22, 1943
The Long Blue & Grey Line on the Don


Total forces on the front line, not including regional reserves include:

Germany:
-18 Infantry Divisions
- 2 Security Divisions
- 1 PanzerGrenadier Division
- 1 Assault Gun Brigade

Romania:
- 8 Infantry Divisions
- 5 Cavalry Divisions

Italy:
- 3 Infantry Divisions
- 1 Motorized & 1 Cavalry Division
- 2 Artillery Brigades

Hungary: (To the immediate north)
- 9 Infantry Divisions
- 1 Armored Division
reinforced with 1 German Infantry and 1 PanzerGrenadier Division.

All units are at full strength, have 150% supply and are in fortified positions with artillery support. The same can be said for everything on the "other side of the river".

This entire area has been quiet and having made it through the winter of '42, is likely to remain quiet for quite a while longer. I have considered an offensive for Stalingrad at different points. However, from the beginning, my intention to press an offensive on Stalingrad was predicated upon "clearing the Caucasus". I'm not delusional enough to think that could be achieved - at least not without a fantastic string of successes very early on. Mike denied the opportunity for those to happen by emphasizing force preservation and trading ground. My early advance to the Don was rapid, but there were few large encirclements.






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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/6/2012 3:58:16 PM   
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T038 - January 22, 1943
Army Group Center (southern flank)


This area is relatively quiet with periodic flare-ups in the vicinity indicated by the red circle. Forces on the front line include:

Germany:
31 Infantry Divisions and 1 Infantry Brigade
3 Motorized/Panzergrenadier Divisions
5 Panzer Divisions

Plus 1 Hungarian Infantry Division




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/6/2012 4:04:05 PM   
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T038 - January 22, 1943
Murmansk


About to take a break, meant to cover more but capping T038 posts with Murmansk. Overall situation is a 15 km advance on a 45 km front. Now on the outskirts of Murmansk with Admiral Scheer deployed to block naval transport.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/8/2012 5:55:58 AM   
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T039 - January 29, 1943
Tunis


Not wishing to risk another panzer division in Africa, 15th Panzer bugged out for a scenic view in Italy. I don't expect Tunis to hold out for long. While I don't expect an Allied invasion of Southern Europe until Tunis is taken, my aim is to be prepared for when it does.





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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/8/2012 6:05:15 AM   
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T039 - January 29, 1943
Black Sea Coast


XLVIII Panzer Korps with 5th Panzer Division (on loan from XLI Panzer Korps) manages to punch through along the coastal road. In another 30 km or so, the terrain starts to open up a bit. While this will mean the Soviet defense will need to spread out more, it also means the offensive will be diluted unless reinforcements can be found... reinforcements have been pretty sparse, but OKW will come up with something.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/8/2012 6:17:02 AM   
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T039 - January 29, 1943
Grozny - Operation Dust Devil


Provided Grozny can be held for 24 turns, it will net +5 supply (next update reduces this to +4 supply if held for 48 turns) - in increments of +1/+2/+2. With the 1st/22nd Airlanding Regiment dropping last turn and surviving, it is followed by 7th Flieger and 2nd/22nd. Local Soviet Air Superiority forced the 3rd Regiment to return to base with losses.

While this turn global air ratio favors the Axis 120 to 108, the numbers have started reversing more and more... with the Allies having 120 to 108. This is likely to be the last significant airborne operation by the Axis in this war.

Thus far, the defenses facing Grozny haven't budged - and as I feared, there were Soviet reserves near Makchalaka. Still, more breathing room is needed around Grozny and I'm willing to pay the price for it.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/8/2012 6:33:52 AM   
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T039 - January 29, 1943
Astrakahn Bulge


Being lazy with the screenshots...

Fighting has erupted again along the Astrakahn Bulge. As more infantry poured into Grozny, more SS and Panzer divisions were freed up to contend with the growing Soviet build-up. My estimate is that this area is at a stalemate for the time being.

This is the price to be paid for not committing enough forces to the flank of the Grozny offensive to begin with - and for taking my time about it, too. What could have been a 105km front along the lower Volga is a 375km front requiring additional divisions to compensate for the lack of defensible ground.

The irony is that the forces that I would normally have used to beef up the flank were all directed to the assault on Leningrad. The situation was only truly stabilized once the forces of 11th Army were free to return to support this operation. Leningrad's down however, and Murmansk is likely to follow... a reasonable trade.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/8/2012 6:53:57 AM   
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T039 - January 29 1943
Murmansk


18th Panzergrenadier Division leads the way in cutting off 4 rifle divisions and a tank brigade from contributing further to the port's defense. Further, getting this airfield adjacent to Murmansk gives local air supremacy to Axis air forces.

The rest of the Murmansk defense includes:

* HQs for the 14th, 19th, 33rd and 5th Shock Armies;
* 13 Rifle Divisions,
* 3 Rifle/Naval Brigades
* 3 AT Brigades
* 2 Tank Brigades
* 1 Fortified Region

And there's a British naval group which just got hammered by the JU-87's outside of Petsamo.

That's a wrap for now...




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/10/2012 12:08:12 PM   
Edwire

 

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Amazing AAR

Just curious, do you think it will be worth to punch a hole in the south or center in Blitzkrieg style to eliminate as many Soviet troops as possible rather than attacking defended position (Murmansk) ?

I know capturing Murmansk will free more Axis units though.

How many hours you spent for one turn? I want to give this scenario a try.

Cheers,
Edwire

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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/10/2012 11:28:57 PM   
USXpat

 

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Thanks Ed! A major offensive is not entirely out of the question at this stage (early 43), but requires concentrating a large amount of force, hitting hard and fast. If the Allied Player watches the replays, they may be able to anticipate an offensive. Even if the buildup goes undetected, the Soviets could probably contain the attack with extra nearby armies and rail 3-4 more armies to respond the following turn.

For Axis, most turns take about 30-45 minutes once you have a routine. Early on - could be up to 90 minutes or maybe 2 hours. A new version will be available soon, another 1-2 weeks. I'll likely be up for another game as Axis and one as the Allies as hopefully this will be the last major update.

Have a good one - let me know if you'll be up for a game, too!

Mark

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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/10/2012 11:49:42 PM   
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T040 - February 5, 1943
Grozny


1st and 20th Panzer Divisions virtually ran themselves into the ground taking on the 286th Rifle Division in fortified positions east of Grozny. Its companion units retreated, but every turn held up here counts against the survival of the 7th Flieger and the 22nd Airlanding divisions. Totenkopf, 2nd Panzer and a fresh 225th Infantry Division will be able to pick up the offensive next week.

Elsewhere - things are relatively quiet. Fighting continues around Murmansk with the first major assaults starting on the port itself. By the end of the turn, only the fort garrison occupies the port - and that through the valiant efforts of 1 company of engineers - 8 squads.

(In game we're up to Turn 75 -- so I'll likely be skipping a few turns and doing more summaries ahead to catch up some).




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/11/2012 1:56:21 PM   
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Hi Mark,

I'm definitely up for a game! Is the next update a major one? Maybe wait until the new version.

Waiting for your next post. I'm curious where you will send the extra troops after capturing Murmansk. Grozny is still swarmed with Soviet troops around, Astrakhan Bulge, North Africa, and i don't think the Soviet will stay quiet.

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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/12/2012 12:29:22 AM   
USXpat

 

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Hi Ed, yes - the next update started small, but has "grown"...

* A number of TO&E adjustments;
* Axis replacements slightly reduced;
* more country-specific vehicles;
* eliminating most Soviet AT Brigades consolidating AT assets into Tank Brigades and support elements into the Rocket Brigades giving the Soviets a bit more punch.
* Overhaul of the RAF - Mike Goldsberry got me stats by squadron which I consolidated into Groups - net effect is that English bombers start out somewhat weaker, fighters significantly stronger. * Added motorized infantry assets to British Armoured Brigades.
* Made for a deeper winter.
* Major map expansion in the Middle East
* slightly reduced some super-rivers
* Refinement of a few surrender routines.
* A longer Caucasus Oil 'repair' sequence.
And looking to add a couple of "historical variants" and other effects.

Either way, will have to review all of the events carefully and make sure they all work as intended. Plugging away at it steadily, but not going to rush too much, do my best to make sure it gets done right the first time -- but no guarantee even then. Anyways... will keep these threads updated accordingly.

Have a good one!

Mark

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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/12/2012 1:26:22 AM   
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T040 - 045: March 12, 1943
Voronezh - Yeletz


Covering several turns to get caught up a bit relative to the game progress (at Turn 76) and work.

What was periodic fighting on the Yeletz-Voronezh Line has turned into a full-blown Soviet offensive. The Soviet Assault is led by 1st, 2nd and 3rd Guards Armies plus the 2nd Guards Tank Army and at least 6 Artillery Divisions (maybe as many as 12), supported by elements of 3rd and 16th Armies. I've tried to maintain an aggressive defense, punching back as hard and as frequently as possible - giving ground taking it back, and back and forth for the past few turns.

On defense are the 3rd and 9th Panzer Divisions, the 16th Motorized Division, infantry from the VII and XXXV Korps backed up by the Hungarian VII Korps. The 3rd Cavalry Division and IV Luftwaffe Field Korps have been sent in as reinforcements.

16th Motorized Division was hit so hard by the 11th & 20th Tank Corps that it fragmented. 3rd Panzer between being hit and hitting back is rapidly losing punch. It's still functional with 42 Pz III H/J's, 19 Pz IV E/F2's and 17 Pz IIF's - but there are no more IIIH, IVE or IIF's in inventory. And it's down to one effective regiment of motorized troops. 9th Panzer (the area reserve) is not in much better shape except that it is relatively fresh except for the fighting of this turn.

Committing infantry to counterattacks is simply suicide with at least 6 and likely 12 artillery divisions concentrated in a 30 km line.

And the Red Air Force has been busy blowing the hell out of my bridges. A full half of my engineers are in dedicated positions on almost every bridge leading to the Caucasus. Where I would normally delegate an Army or Korps HQ to rail repair for a few turns, they have artillery needed to support units on the front lines.

The commander of 2nd Panzer Armee attempted to handle the situation with forces on hand, but has put in the call for "Lawyers, Guns and Money" - the secret code for Pioneers, Panzers and some air cover. A package of pioneers and panzers is in the process of being assembled, but as for air cover - he'll have to do without for now. Instead, he'll get something arguably just as good, if not better - some brand new, state of the art, self-propelled, heavier than hell anti-tank support. Elefants - and there'll be plenty of CAP to make sure it reaches the front in one piece.






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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/12/2012 1:59:50 AM   
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T040 - 045, March 12, 1943
Karelia


As of this turn, aside from one elusive Rifle Division in the roughlands SE of Murmansk, the last of the Soviet forces were forced to surrender. The loss of three armies amounts only to a bloody lip to the Soviets - I'm relatively sure they will be back in the near future... Just not at Murmansk and without the benefit of further Lend Lease shipments.

A full Finnish Infantry Korps is pending redeployment at Murmansk, destination - the western shore of Lake Onega. German forces have already moved to reinforce their brothers NW of Kem.

The black dashed line indicated my desired top point - with the two circles representing the only areas requiring a defense in depth. The gray dashed line represents what I reasonably expect to achieve, and is a bit optimistic at that. Much depends upon Soviet response.

If objectives are achieved, it leads to a shortening of the line for everyone. Ultimately that will lead to the Soviets being able to concentrate even more force anywhere of their choosing. However, it does make it somewhat easier to guess where that might be.

Whether I will have enough "there" when the times comes is a completely different story.

Soviet interdiction is hitting up to 10 units per combat round - sometimes hard enough to "unfortify" some front line positions. And then there are the Artillery Divisions. Luftwaffe efforts to pummel them have been... shall we say, "aggressively discouraged"?

Three units in particular have given an excellent accounting for themselves - long-range rail artillery, able to reach out 3 to 5 hexes to hit airbases and also proving moderately effective with counter-battery fire.

The problem is... if they attempt to move, they get whacked by the Red Air Force - immediately. So, for now I have them sitting semi-safe in the midst of a division and flak brigade each - reduce the odds of them being hit. Enemy Air Strength is at 131 vs Luftwaffe at 116.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/12/2012 2:34:34 AM   
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T040 - 045: Mar 12, 1943
Algeria - Tunisia


Tunis still stands.

Harassment & Defensive actions
1. 25 Bologna Division hiding in the hills south of the coastal road advanced to "surrender" itself to Allied authorities, damaging some rail lines in the process.
2. 13 Re Division deployed from the Balkans early on is playing a game of tag or hide-and-go-seek with at least one Allied brigade. Where there's one brigade, there's likely to be a second close at hand.
3. 37 Modena Division's mission was to delay any Allied units coming up from the mountain passes. Not very many did, and its efforts to link up with Tunis have not fared well.
4. 29 Piemonte Division was one of four divisions initially assigned to guard Kasserine Pass. It was the only one ordered to stay as the rest moved up to defend Tunis.

Current strength: 3x infantry platoons, 2x heavy weapons platoons, 2x 75mm and 1x 100mm field pieces, plus 1x 75mm ATG.

The operation against Tunis itself has started hitting for effect but Axis forces are holding strong, so far. The main concern is the Allied naval blockade of the port. The Italian navy is still fully functional, close to full strength - and STG 2 is in the area. When the times comes for evacuating Tunis, that blockade will have to be broken...

Elsewhere - progress continues along the Black Sea Coast, inching ever closer to Poti, the last stop before Sokhumi. And...one more screen...




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/12/2012 3:02:30 AM   
USXpat

 

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T040 - 045: March 12, 1943
Grozny


1st and 2nd Regiments of the 22nd Airlanding Division were destroyed by Soviet counterattacks.

Recalling SS units previously diverted to contain the situation at the Astrakahn Bulge, efforts of the 2nd, 4th and 20th Panzer Divisions plus SS Das Reich, Totenkopf and Polizei Divisions finally managed to breakthrough and link up with 7th Flieger.

This doesn't create a full-fledged pocket as Soviet units have the potential to escape via the mountain passes between the major escarpments. Soviet strength in this area includes 8th, 18th and 60th Armies, and two more HQ's likely either from the 40th, 51st and/or 67th Armies. Total strength is estimated at 12 rifle divisions, 4 tank brigades and supporting elements, plus the 10th Tank Corps.

This sets the stage for an advance to Makchalaka.

And from there, Baku is only 405 km away. The Panzer Division refit process starts in 3 weeks (T048). That will lead up to 4 - 5, possibly 6 panzer divisions being unavailable - until that process is completed. What this does allow is for depleted divisions to begin picking up some older equipment no longer in production or available as replacements (Pz IIF/IIIH/IIIJ/IVE/IVF2) to help during the transition.

The main equipment shortages at this point include 105/150mm artillery and SPW 251 halftracks. Even when the new refurbished divisions return with Pz IVH and Panthers, it will take them several turns to reach full strength. And they won't if they are immediately committed to combat. If the strain gets too much I'll begin disbanding some of the reserve panzer divisions - each with up to 72 SPW 251/1, some artillery and up to 40/44 Panther/PzIVH's each.





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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/13/2012 10:34:20 PM   
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T048 - April 2, 1943
Voronezh - Yeletz Line


With the intensity of fighting escalating over the course of a full month of stroke - counterstroke, OKW finally comes through with lawyers, guns and some gold. Coming soon will be the first test of the new wonderwaffen Elefant heavy anti-tank behemoths.

3rd and 23rd Panzer, plus 16th Motorized, are in desperate need of rest, but only the 3rd is relieved from the front. The see-saw of offensives has forced 9th Panzer into reorganization. Nevertheless, the Soviet offensive remains more or less contained, largely through the efforts of these four units.

8th, 12th, 16th and 22nd Panzer have arrived on the scene over the past few turns. Together, they bring 190 Pz 38t's, 46 Pz IIF's, 160 Pz IIIH/J's, and 137 Pz IVE/F2's.

News for the first panzer division refit sequence came in this turn. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Panzer divisions were selected as the first group to get the new PzIVH and Panther tanks. Grossdeutchland and 1st SS LSSAH were already withdrawn dumping their early tanks into the replacement pool.

Functionally, all of the tank types listed above are no longer in production. The available pool consists of 7 Pz 38t's, 18 Pz IIF's, 14 PzIIIH's, 32 Pz IIIJ's, 5 Pz IVE's and 44 PzIVF2's. The refit sequence continues into late 1944.

The refitting requires some planning - withdrawing the wrong group can put a hole in the line. It's worthwhile to stage those being withdrawn accordingly (and match them up with a replacement if they are on the front line). It's also a matter of which units are strongest or weakest in on hand equipment, in example - I'd really like to get the Pz38t's replaced by PzIVH's as soon as possible. That will provide a larger increase in firepower vs. those units equipped with mostly PzIIIJ's or even IIIH's.





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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/13/2012 10:50:52 PM   
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T048 - April 2, 1943
Tunisia


I'm a bit surprised the Axis still have a presence in North Africa. Every turn counts now. Historically, the Axis surrendered in Tunisia on May 13, six weeks away. Italian SM 79 III and German JU-87's are periodically hitting the Allied naval blockade - but it is hard to tell what gets permanently knocked out. The Italian navy occasionally also makes a showing - and is down by only 1 Battlecruiser and 4 Light Cruisers.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/13/2012 11:29:37 PM   
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T048 - April 2, 1943
Black Sea Coast


5th and 6th Panzer, now assigned to XLVIII Panzer Korps, along with SS Panzer 102 Bn (Tigers) forced their way into Poti. Batumi is now only 75 km away as the crow flies, 90 by road.

5th Mountain Division with support from the 3rd Werfer Brigade also managed to advance through the passes - giving potential for a link up.

If control over the road net can be secured, this link up should improve supply passing through to Grozny. Presently, supply has to pass along 285 km via unimproved road leading to only 8 points of supply reaching Axis forces in Grozny presently. Getting control of that road should increase supply to about 14 points. IF and that is a big one, as I only have 5 available, a mobile supply unit can be positioned along this route, it could increase supply a bit further - maybe to 18 points.

If Batumi is captured - the Soviets will be forced to scuttle the Black Sea Fleet. If Batumi can be held and given some breathing space, then portions of the 11 divisions of mixed security-Italian infantry and Luftwaffe units can be freed up for second line defenses in "weak spots".

In this regard, on the Eastern Front alone, there are roughly 24 "light divisions" assigned to rear area security. My intentions are to keep them in that role as when all hell breaks lose and it likely will - these are the units that will buy some time... maybe. A few them will anyway, some I'm not so sure about...

Otherwise - France and the Lowlands: 43 mixed German Divisions are in garrison mode. Of these only 16 are regular "1st line" type Infantry Divisions. Most of the remainder are static, reserve, understrength or Luftwaffe Field Divisions. Total armor presence as of this turn includes 1 panzer division, 1 heavy tank battalion and 1 heavy anti-tank battalion.


Karelia: Not much sooner after Axis forces cascaded down from Murmansk to the Kem-Belomorsk area did the 5th Guards Tank Army show up. This show of strength convinced the only Panzer Division on the front, the 25th, more like a brigade at this point, and that with a majority of French tanks to switch over to the defensive. I can rely upon the German infantry in this kind of stubborn terrain to be an adequate defense.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/17/2012 2:37:53 AM   
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T051 - April 23, 1943
Tunisia


Capturing about 3 turns quick. Little action on T50 with a spring thaw.

Main development is at Tunis. The screenshot speaks for itself, a joint English, Canadian and American force pushes into Tunis, taking the last Axis supply point in Africa.

Leading up to this, the Italian navy backed by JU-87's and SM79 III's took a serious toll on the Allied navies. Exact losses are unknown, but two full aircraft carrier groups were sunk. If this were the Pacific Theater, that would be a significant event. The impact here is minimal.

Still controlling the port and having broken through the naval blockade, there is hope for at least some of the remaining Afrika Corps to continue the fight on the mainland.

Elsewhere:
- Sicily: Renewing defensive build-up.
- Italy: Beginning construction of new fortified line.
- Balkans: Quiet.
- Black Sea: Axis forces push to within 75 km to Sokhumi.
- Grozny Area: Axis forces reach the outskirts of Makchalaka on the Caspian Sea.
- Astrakahn Bulge: Quiet.
- Don River: Quiet.
- Voronezh - Yelets: Soviet offensive appears to be simmering down, between mud conditions and fresh reinforcements. Heavy casualties on both sides.
- Rhzev-Vyama: Quiet
- Velikye Luki: Quiet
- Finland & Karelia: Quiet

The new Soviet Artillery Divisions are getting their practice in on firing on front line units - frequently taking them out of (F)ortified Status and making them Mobile. This makes these segments of the defensive line exponentially more vulnerable. Sometimes it can take a few months for a unit to get back to fort status. Eventually the Soviets will have almost 3 dozen of these artillery divisions, I can't think of anything more frightening.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/27/2012 7:03:13 PM   
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T055 - May 21st
Black Sea Coast & General Overview


Very busy (working on next version) and work, generally. We're up into the mid- 90's - 1944 in game, so will try to fast forward a bit.

Aside from periodic fighting in the Yeletz - Voronezh areas; off/on fighting in Karelia; the only Axis offensive activity is on the Black Sea Coast - objective Batumi. Screenshot shows Axis forces close to linking up with the 5th Gebirgs Division on the first major mountain pass. The situation now is not so static having finally broken into some open ground vs. fighting on a 45 km front for the past year.

Elsewhere:

Remnants of the Afrika Korps surrendered to Allied Forces on April 30th (2-3 weeks shy of historical) - including the von Arnim mobile supply point (+5 Allied VP). 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions were extracted earlier, but the Bayerlein HQ was snuffed out in eastern Libya, so both of these divisions are operating at 50% of their usual proficiency. That is the one Korps HQ which does not reconstitute...

Now... it is a matter of waiting for the inevitable invasion of Southern Europe.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/27/2012 7:28:17 PM   
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T060 - June 25, 1943
Black Sea Coast - Batumi


Following a few turns of Spring Thaw severely hampering movement, the global situation is pretty quiet. The drive on Batumi is the only significant offensive underway - and has reached the outskirts of the last port available to the Black Sea Fleet.

The lull in activity is not likely to last long. Mike's been hammering my airfields and bridges at every turn. Allied to Axis Air Superiority is 178 to 135. This turn, fewer of my units are in re-org; sitting around 110-120 usually.

Six full artillery divisions have been spotted just west of Rhzev, with another six staring at my line near Mozaisk. That's a lot of firepower and there are not too many reasons why they would be concentrated like two pinchers against the bulge just 165km west of Moscow.

Things are about to break loose...






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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 7/29/2012 12:16:00 PM   
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T062 - July 9, 1943
Sicily


The Allies have invaded Sicily! A few things of note. As this is a playtest, I'm interested to make sure everything works, but also how it plays. Sicily/Italy encountered some difficulties in Justus's game requiring some remedial in-game fixes - giving ground to the Allies to provide them access to Supply Points as some had gone on vacation to the Greek islands. Real-time, we've run into another example of this in later parts of the Italian Campaign.

Amphibious invasions that result in units not making it ashore are usually hammered, I think legitimately in most cases, but discretion should be applied, too. So, I didn't work over the Syracuse landing.

Allies reaching within a certain radius of a fixed point will trigger the Italian capitulation routine - leading to a withdrawal of all Italian units on a variable timer. I'm not liking how that works, as it is easy for the Axis player to "game the system" if they have any idea of what to expect. Hell... I did even whilst saying... "this isn't right".

Overall though, it comes down to how much the Axis Player is willing to invest to keep the Italians in the game vs. "they're doomed anyway, we'll use the Italians to delay the Allies while the Germans set up the Volturno Line."

So, efforts in the next version are geared to making the Italian Campaign more interesting, less predictable, and more painful for the Axis, and/or more rewarding for the Allies. In the first version, I tried to keep the event sequences very simple and not use very many. So, not much of an AAR here, just an explanation of portions of current vs. intended events.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 8/5/2012 11:33:37 AM   
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T063 - July 16, 1943
Rhzev


Earlier plans to consolidate the line from Rhzev to Velikye Luki were abandoned a few months back in favor of expanding operations in Karelia. Instead, Mike is taking the initiative to try to chop of the Axis Bulge aimed at Moscow - making pretty good progress in the opening assaults.

Orders for the units in the Bulge are to hold fast in the hopes of 3rd Panzer Armee being able to contain the situation. This amounts to 2nd, 22nd and 23rd Panzer Divisions, 16th PanzerGrenadiers, and 505th Hvy Panzer Panzer Battalion. Additional reinforcements will likely be needed, but then - they will also be needed in Italy, too.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 8/5/2012 12:18:54 PM   
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T065 - July 31, 1943
Rhzev


Two turns later, the Rhzev bubble is about to pop. The Rhzev perimeter is held by the main body of VI, XX and XXVII Armee Korps. Third Panzer Armee's efforts served little purpose other than to keep a 15-30 km corridor open to the town. Even this is extremely tenuous and reliant upon active counterattacks to re-establish the supply route. Moreover, it is apparent that the 2nd and 4th Guards Tank Armies, along with the 8th Guards Army have joined into the fighting - a simply overwhelming situation.

Reinforcements continue to flow into the area, grudgingly, the defense of Rhzev will be abandoned in a fighting withdrawal starting in August.

Elsewhere --

Sicily: Unable to trust the Italians to remain in the war following the capture of Palermo, the defense of Sicily is largely left to the Italians. German forces instead will focus on the construction of an "unbreakable" defensive line in southern Italy, beginning at Salerno.

The Balkans: Partisan forces are largely contained to a large pocket between Sarajevo and Banja Luka. With the imminent collapse of Sicily and Italy, I'm increasingly concerned about an Allied invasion along the Balkan coastline. Italians have been withdrawn to defend Italy, and German replacement/reserve/security divisions have moved in to take their place. Meanwhile, I'm looking to assemble an assault group strong enough to break the backbone of the People's Liberation Army under Tito residing in these mountains. This will better enable the Croatian forces to concentrate on coastal defenses and containment efforts should the Western Allies opt launch in this area. If there are no allied partisans to greet them, such an invasion may never even happen.

(Note -- The Balkans are being made radically tougher in the next PBEM version, all (I)rregulars will instead be actual (G)uerrillas - and so should normally reconstitute barring enemy occupation of the hex. What is working as intended - the fewer partisan units there are - the stronger they get. Where they start out with 2-2/2-3, some regular divisions are showing as 11-28's making offensives by regular Croatians with 4-9's suicidal. These being "relative combat values".)

Other Areas have periodic fighting, but are dropping off the scale of relevance compared to Sicily and Rhzev. Voronezh continues with its periodic fighting, back and forth over the same 6 - 10 hexes. The Black Sea, Grozny and Makchalaka are all stabilized fronts - though still 30km shy of Batumi. Same for the Stalingrad, Volga and Upper Don (up to Voronezh) - all relatively quiet areas.

Karelia... my goal here is still intact, namely an effort to shorten the line, even if it comes in spurts of a couple hexes. Presently, there's really not enough of a concentration of force here to engage in a prolonged offensive with a full cycling units into and out of combat. Win or lose - any Soviet forces that I can divert away from "the center" is a "desired outcome".





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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 8/9/2012 9:10:33 PM   
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T067 - August 13, 1943
Rhzev


Third Panzer Armee with 4 Panzer and 1 PzG Division have managed to keep a corridor open for VI and XX Korps to withdraw from their original positions around Rhzev. The Red Air Force continues to blow bridges almost as fast as I can repair them. Repair one and another one gets blown. Interdiction is a constant and continuous pain -- anywhere from 8 to 10 hits (per combat round). Occasionally they knock fortified units out of their status.

Casualties at Rhzev are heavy - and I've disbanded a few more replacement divisions so that destroyed divisions will be reformed closer to full strength. Engineers and artillery for regular infantry divisions, however, are in a state of persistent, critical shortage.

Elsewhere: Most areas are relatively quiet. The Italians can surrender "anytime", but I've basically written them off. Most reinforcements are being allocated to Italy to build my "impenetrable defensive line". I still have my eyes on Karelia and the Caucasus, more for tactical considerations than anything strategic.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 8/9/2012 9:35:59 PM   
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T069 - August 27, 1943
Karelia


The main body of 20th Gebirgs Armee with XXVI and XXXVI Korps manage to overrun defenses of the 70th Army. A small gain, but every journey begins with a single step.

Rhzev:

Everything that can make it out Rhzev has done so. The 256th Infantry Division was unable to run the gauntlet and remains irretrievably trapped by the 5th Guards Tank Army. A new defensive line has been formed 30 km north of Vyazma.

Reinforcements -- Tenth Army is in the process of being formed and will arrive next week along with several divisions. Tenth Army will likely be sent to Italy.

Allied Air Forces have virtually achieved "global" Supremacy 169 to 93. The bulk of the Luftwaffe has been recalled to Air Defense over Germany pending a total rethink of how I intend to conduct the air war. The basic situation as it stands is that I have plenty of aircraft, but not enough pilots to fly them -- and the proficiency of most of the ones I do have is a far cry from the 75% proficiency most of my units started at.

I do have some air units in the 90%+ range (mostly bombers - which I've used fairly sparingly) but a few high quality fighter units, too. The best of these fighter units will be flying CAP solely for units that absolutely-positively MUST make it to "the front". That's not an issue applying so much "now" as one that I anticipate developing later. The Allied Air Forces are still ramping up - and entrained units are consistently taking a beating. Add a bit of CAP though and their chances of getting hit are reduced in frequency and severity.







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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 8/12/2012 8:04:23 PM   
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T072 - Sep 17, 1943
Grozny


With the Soviet Forces becoming more active, I'm looking again to shorten my lines to create more reserves. Grozny's just the place. Up to this point, there's been a 105 km front to the southwest which could potentially be reduced to 15 km -- if the Soviets can be forced back into the mountains. It's a relatively small operation that barely justifies mentioning.




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