This was an interesting experiment, but should we really expect the results to be much different? The SU tried an aggressive forward defense in real life with disastrous results. Why should this strategy work any better against a very competent German player with full hindsight? There are surely many things to improve, but I'd rather see this as a positive test of the game engine.
It should not work better (unless the Axis player ignored hindsight and made worse mistakes), correct.
But keep in mind that the Russians did even counterattack furiously at many locations, and at various unit scales, not only at regimental level or below. And they suffered terribly with that, but they inflicted attrition with turned out to be important to slow Axis, and probably also set it up for the winter counteroffensives. More so than the lack of winter equipment, I believe. But this did not set Axis up for huge pockets and quick advances, either.
Tarhunnas also counterattacked, and quite impressively so. It cost Michael something like 1 turn across the board altogether, but that's it. Tarhunnas did not even counterattack at the rate the Russians did, else he'd ended up a lot worse because he'd have had even more troops forward. He already had to little depth behind his MBTL, as the pocketing showed. I am more assured now that the Russian side simply does not have the means to repeat the Russian feat in this game, even if the Axis would act more conservatively as if he wouldn't know about the Red Armies numbers, units, reinforcement/rebuild rules etc.
By end of August, the Axis side had loss in excess of 400,000 men, and some units were significantly depleted, especially in Panzergruppe 1. Most AARs also show this number to be roughly half, just as the Soviet losses won't amount to 6Mio, but more like 3-4M. Part of that probably is due to the uncertainty in numbers and differences in categorizing "truly permanent casualties", Glantz being at the upper limit of studies, while others using different sources or different criteria are significantly lower. I don't think this per se is telling anything.
But I am sure that getting so far in barely 7 weeks shows that the supply model is really in favor of offensives. And that reducing pockets is not a rate limiting factor either. It also shows that if Axis can use hindsight to make such gains, it also necessitates that the Soviet player accepts lessons, and one is that already just a forward defense is a very big "va banque" game. It may work against the right opponent, but it is a lot riskier and playing the "ground versus time" game.
Unfortunately there won't be a blizzard counteroffensive, nor would Tarhunnas probably be in any shape for it. The house rules Michael suggested seem like a "double-chance" for mutilation. First the Soviets, and during blizzard perhaps the Wehrmacht, assuming that Soviets survive in first place. It is the opposite of allowing both sides hindsight and withdrawals during the respective periods, which would be force conservation. Since this war was all about destroying the Red Army, and keeping the Wehrmacht intact, it guess hindsight points toward the withdrawals.
< Message edited by janh -- 6/8/2012 10:32:26 AM >