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RE: Are you serious???

 
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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 7:33:11 AM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: notenome

So you attribute the highest losses of any month until Stalingrad to German successes? And the red army was most definitively not in general retreat all across the map. They had managed to stall the Germans at Kiev and stalled the southern pincer at Smolensk. Before the panzers had even begun to set off for Minsk the Soviets had begun strong counterattacks that stopped the German advance east of Smolensk and created several local crises for von Bock's AGC.


+1 And the Soviets didn't need "victories" to "succeed". At this stage of the war, I would call a "loss" which resulted in slowing the Germans down for a month and inflicting heavy casualties a very real "success" (and one which is difficult to replicate in the game).

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 8:09:34 AM   
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Um, the July battles mostly occurred out in the open. They were certainly not Stalingrad type affairs with a lots of urban combat in a narrow space.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 8:17:58 AM   
kg_1007

 

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I can agree with that, especially on tactical level...where this game would seem to fit on a grand operational level, or even strategic perhaps.. in the real world, a Soviet armored brigade that can hold off a German unit for a few hours(happened a lot) was a success in 1941.
However, in this game, where a turn is a week, and where a cavalry division withstands a unit twice its ability, morale, and size, for a turn...that means a week, and THAT, happened very rarely at this stage of the war.
I also do think that to this issue, there is not an easy fix..you cannot make it happen less, really, without stopping it from ever happening, which would be just as unrealistic.
By the beginning of August 41, the Germans had already cut off Leningrad, taken Minsk, taken Smolensk,taken Orel, etc...in the game, this is also difficult as the Germans to pull off by its historical time of basically turn 7 or turn 8...so the difficulties go both ways, against the Sovs for not being able to withstand in some areas they historically did, and against the Germans for not being able to succeed in other areas as well as they historically did

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 8:42:29 AM   
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These dates are wildly off, Kg. Leningrad was cut off in September. And, of course, didn't fall.

Orel didn't fall until October. AGC was stalled just east of Smolensk and stayed put there until Typhoon. This of course never happens in the game.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 9:11:59 AM   
kg_1007

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

These dates are wildly off, Kg. Leningrad was cut off in September. And, of course, didn't fall.

Orel didn't fall until October. AGC was stalled just east of Smolensk and stayed put there until Typhoon. This of course never happens in the game.

You are correct, I thought this even as I wrote it.. Lesson of the day..wikipedia is horrible
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_%281941%29
gives the date of Orel as Aug 5, and looking at a map it seemed quite unlikely as well. Also gives July 8 as the date Germans isolate Leningrad from the rest of USSR.

< Message edited by kg_1007 -- 6/22/2012 9:16:22 AM >

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 12:55:37 PM   
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Good lord, even for Wikipedia, that's horrible. They can do better than that, geeze.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 2:12:46 PM   
notenome

 

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For this point of the war there are two distinct 'professional' historiographies. The traditional school states that after lightning quick advances and a bitter but successful battle of encirclement at Smolensk, the Germans ran into supply trouble, paused and then shifted direction because Hitler is crazy. This is the narrative of most German generals, for example, and it has been widely accepted in the West.

On the other hand, there is a new school of historiography, whose main exponents are Stahel and Glantz, which takes the Soviet accounts of the war more seriously. This narrative states that after quick advances against surprising (but wildly uneven) Soviet resistance, suffering massive losses it could not sustain, the German advance stalled, failing to encircle the majority of Soviet forces at Smolensk or Kiev. In other words the pockets at Uman and Smolensk become 'consolation pockets', i.e. they were not the pockets the Germans wanted to form, but they were the pockets the Germans *could* form with the situation being as it was. The Germans, exhausted and with their striking power seriously reduced, now poorly supplied, began to suffer strong counterattacks by Western, SW and Reserve Fronts, ground to a halt, and the only viable alternative was to shift direction, which itself was a concession that two months into the war the Wehrmacht could no longer go where it pleased, an admittance that most German generals were not willing to make. That doesn't mean Hitler wasn't crazy, as a broken clock is still right twice a day.

The WitE playerbase has many players who subscribe to both theories, which means there is always bound to be controversy. To a large degree the question becomes whether you think the historical Germans over performed or not. Many players regard it as the base standard, the floor per say, and so think it perfectly plausible that the Germans could advance to even greater lengths than they historically did 'if they don't make the same mistakes'. Personally I disagree with this view, as do many others.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 2:29:12 PM   
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Stahel actually relies primarily on German sources. His books are told entirely from the German standpoint, the Soviet stuff is on background.

That's what makes him so interesting.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 2:30:10 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: notenome

For this poiThe WitE playerbase has many players who subscribe to both theories, which means there is always bound to be controversy. To a large degree the question becomes whether you think the historical Germans over performed or not. Many players regard it as the base standard, the floor per say, and so think it perfectly plausible that the Germans could advance to even greater lengths than they historically did 'if they don't make the same mistakes'. Personally I disagree with this view, as do many others.


Notenome, while I think this is a helpful summary, the problem is that everything goes out the window once you start asking "Gee, what would have happened if the Russians had just started pulling back as quickly as possible instead of allowing all of those massive pockets". I don't think that this was ever a realistic possibility for a variety of reasons, but given that the Sovs are free to do so in the game it makes it very difficult to determine what the Germans "should" be able to accomplish in the game.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 3:14:18 PM   
notenome

 

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True, but the other side of the question is that if the Soviets do what they historically did (aggressively defend and counterattack), the Germans still have a better than historical advance to the point where many players who once defended aggressively now advocate large scale pullbacks as the only viable option.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 3:23:42 PM   
kg_1007

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: notenome

True, but the other side of the question is that if the Soviets do what they historically did (aggressively defend and counterattack), the Germans still have a better than historical advance to the point where many players who once defended aggressively now advocate large scale pullbacks as the only viable option.

For myself, being much more cautious/deliberate in my advance as Axis side, gets me further behind them in general compared to historic, but also has made other things such as the first winter, be quite manageable, my last run, I only lost on average across the entire front 5 hexes from December-March..so..I think people who just wholeheartedly rush forward, are gambling on a fast win, (as roughly historical) but if the Sov side resists, that gamble can easily become a faster than historic loss.
As someone mentioned on another thread..in this game we have the ability to play the war out many times, see what works, and what does not..I still think that very "game" idea, that makes it a fun game by the way, also in the end creates many unhistorical things, simply because each side has the chance to finely tune their war strategy, while the historic actors, of course, only had one round to try, not even knowing when or how hard the first winter would be, etc.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 4:56:17 PM   
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I do think that the historical Russian aggressive forward defense needs to be hard-coded into the game to some extent.The problem is that if it isn't then the Russians simply make a strategic withdrawal, as they should have done, and it's game over.The aggressive forward defense was such a big strategic error that the game becomes unbalanced as soon as you allow the Soviets the freedom to pull back and save themselves.
Once you get this right, you can hobble the Germans logistically to give the game a roughly historical feel throughout the summer of 41.

The other problem of course is that no Axis player in their right mind is going to keep pushing right up til the eve of the blizzard which kind of spoils the game for both sides.This is a problem of too much hard-coding in my opinion.Possibly less predictable weather is the key, including that sacred cow of Eastern front war games, "the first winter".Obviously the Soviet side would have to be compensated in some way for mild winter turns, possibly in VPs .Also there would have to be a weather condition between snow and blizzard which would limit offensive actions and would be the normal winter weather.The upside is that the Axis would have to take advantage of good winter weather or lose out, all the while running the risk of overextending themselves just as a blizzard hits.Ideally you'd have a first winter which could be anything from historical to relatively mild with no first winter penalties.

This sounds like bad news for the Soviet player but it's actually not.The unpredictability of the weather will give opportunities for both sides.An uncautious German player could soon become toast in a way that is very unlikely with predictable weather and overly cautious Germans will miss the opportunity to gain ground whilst at the same time losing VPs.Also first winter penalties could be extended to subsequent winters until the Germans 'get it', say until they've experienced a certain number of blizzard turns for example.




< Message edited by timmyab -- 6/22/2012 5:02:02 PM >

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 6:08:09 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: timmyab

I do think that the historical Russian aggressive forward defense needs to be hard-coded into the game to some extent.The problem is that if it isn't then the Russians simply make a strategic withdrawal, as they should have done, and it's game over.The aggressive forward defense was such a big strategic error that the game becomes unbalanced as soon as you allow the Soviets the freedom to pull back and save themselves.
Once you get this right, you can hobble the Germans logistically to give the game a roughly historical feel throughout the summer of 41.

The other problem of course is that no Axis player in their right mind is going to keep pushing right up til the eve of the blizzard which kind of spoils the game for both sides.This is a problem of too much hard-coding in my opinion.Possibly less predictable weather is the key, including that sacred cow of Eastern front war games, "the first winter".Obviously the Soviet side would have to be compensated in some way for mild winter turns, possibly in VPs .Also there would have to be a weather condition between snow and blizzard which would limit offensive actions and would be the normal winter weather.The upside is that the Axis would have to take advantage of good winter weather or lose out, all the while running the risk of overextending themselves just as a blizzard hits.Ideally you'd have a first winter which could be anything from historical to relatively mild with no first winter penalties.

This sounds like bad news for the Soviet player but it's actually not.The unpredictability of the weather will give opportunities for both sides.An uncautious German player could soon become toast in a way that is very unlikely with predictable weather and overly cautious Germans will miss the opportunity to gain ground whilst at the same time losing VPs.Also first winter penalties could be extended to subsequent winters until the Germans 'get it', say until they've experienced a certain number of blizzard turns for example.




quote:

course is that no Axis player in their right mind is going to keep pushing right up til the eve of the blizzard which kind of spoils the game for both sides.This is a problem of too much hard-coding in my opinion.Possibly less predictable weather is the key, including that sacred cow of Eastern front war games, "the first winter".Obviously the Soviet side would have to be compensated in some way for mild winter turns, possibly in VPs .Also there would have to be a weather condition between snow and blizzard which would limit offensive actions and would be the normal winter weather.The upside is that the Axis would have to take advantage of good winter weather or lose out, all the while running the risk of overextending themselves just as a blizzard hits.Ideally you'd have a first winter which could be anything from historical to relatively mild with no first winter penalties.


If you want to see an example of an Axis player pushing right up until the Blizzard look no further than my AAR. Also an aggressive forward defense is by no means a consensus strategic mistake (historically speaking). It is absolutely consistent with what the Russians did throughout the entire war (including Operation Fall Blau) and Zukhov's doctrine of winning the battle before the battle by wearing down the enemy before the decisive moment had reached. By August the Wehrmacht was already in much worse shape then expected. Where the Soviets get criticized (rightly) is by failing to pull back from impending pockets (the textbook example being Kiev) in 41 and wastefully squandering their armored strength, but even this had positive effects in reducing German armored strength.

As for the first Winter rules, they are a necessary counter to a wildly unbalanced 41 campaign. If logistics gets reduced and Barbarossa toned down a few notches every Soviet player in existence will gladly accept a toning down First winter. Hopefully this will be patched in (no offense but wait for WitE2 8 years from now is kind of a slap in the face).

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 6:50:16 PM   
timmyab

 

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Yes I've seen it.He made a huge mistake if you ask me, possibly he's never encountered the blizzard before.This is just the sort of Axis winter offensive that would be commonplace though with unpredictable weather.
I agree that the Russian aggressive defense served them well in many ways, it just lacked strategic subtlety.Aggressive defense combined with prudent strategic withdrawals would have been the ideal, which is actually the best strategy in the game as well I think.I basically just think that major Soviet pockets should be semi hard-coded into the game otherwise the war becomes unbalanced right from the start which leads to the need to rebalance it by overpowering the Axis logistically.



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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 6:53:17 PM   
notenome

 

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Well the first turn basically hard codes two historical pockets and one completely unhistorical one at Lvov. Axis create many pockets in 41 in all AARs I have seen, some of which are wildly unreasonable (like glvaca's pocketing of Moscow vs Tarhaunnas).

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 7:02:08 PM   
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That Moscow pocket is result of the Red Army simply being too weak, Notenome. Logistics aside (and yes, they are crazy) nothing good happens when the Red Army goes into late autumn with 3 million men or less. You can't hold a front with that sort of swiss cheese. My alarm bells ring when I drop below 4 million. He was screwed even before that pocket was made.


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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 7:14:14 PM   
timmyab

 

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I'm not sure about Lvov.Personally I'd keep it more or less in the game as I'm not convinced it couldn't have been done historically.It could just be toned down a bit maybe.
The pockets you see are mainly down to far too generous logistics.Take that away and the pockets disappear.That's why they need to be made virtually unavoidable early on in the game so that we can have a realistic logistics system.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 7:19:33 PM   
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The Lvov pocket is totally ahistorical, Timmyab, and exists purely as an artifact of game (mis)design. This isn't even a close call. When you consider that said pocket is being made at the exact same time that the other historical pockets are made as well, it's even more egregious.



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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 8:00:35 PM   
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Why?Is it a question of logistics or what?Are there any authoritative sources on the subject?
It looks like such an obvious maneuver, in fact the most obvious maneuver of the lot and I believe that the original German plan involved 12th army attacking Northwards from Northern Romania to form an envelopment with part of 1st pz group to achieve exactly this.When 12th army went off to fight in the Balkans the plan was changed and a more passive stance adopted in Romania.If the Lvov pocket was part of the original plan then I think it must have been possible even if a bit risky.This is the sort of option I'd like to have in the game.Possible if 46th pz corps goes South, but not guaranteed.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/22/2012 8:47:05 PM   
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Precisely because it was obvious it was impossible. Blitzkrieg requires surprise, and the Germans ran into prepared defenses and very large mechanized reserves. The South became a series of meeting engagements on the right flank that wrecked SW Fronts mech corps whilst also causing the Germans very heavy losses, combined with very strong defenses on the right flank (the Soviets used the swamps to great effect) to a very strong defense in the center by Vasily (iirc) that the Germans were unable to crack. It was only after the Soviet mech corps were wrecked that the Germans achieved operational mobility, but that took two weeks and the largest tank battle in history at Dubno. German doctrine for envelopment required a double envelopment by two pincers, but terrain in the south dictated there could only be one pincer, which is much easier to counter. If you want to play a wargame that depicts these challenges I suggest you fire up the "Lost Victories" megacampaign for Steel Panthers (one of my favorite gaming experiences of all time).

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/23/2012 6:35:51 PM   
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To return to the OP, I run some tests a week or so ago because I had also noticed that overuns were harder to do as the Axis in 1941. With the last formal release (1.06.06?) I set up an overrun test in AGC on turn 2. 93.8% of the first hasty attack attempts for the entire AGC front were successful for the Axis - note I did only a single hasty attack for each Axis unit against a Soviet unit that it started the turn adjacent to. Upgraded to the latest BETA release, loaded the same save file, and did the exact same series of hasty attacks - 78.3% were successful. I did not repeat the test multiple times, but a drop of roughly 15% is fairly significant for the random distribution in my book.

Something has definitely changed in the hasty attack calculations. Note that since everyone started the turn adjacent to each other, there should not have been any effect from FOW, so there is something else triggering the difference.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/23/2012 8:32:12 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58

To return to the OP, I run some tests a week or so ago because I had also noticed that overuns were harder to do as the Axis in 1941. With the last formal release (1.06.06?) I set up an overrun test in AGC on turn 2. 93.8% of the first hasty attack attempts for the entire AGC front were successful for the Axis - note I did only a single hasty attack for each Axis unit against a Soviet unit that it started the turn adjacent to. Upgraded to the latest BETA release, loaded the same save file, and did the exact same series of hasty attacks - 78.3% were successful. I did not repeat the test multiple times, but a drop of roughly 15% is fairly significant for the random distribution in my book.

Something has definitely changed in the hasty attack calculations. Note that since everyone started the turn adjacent to each other, there should not have been any effect from FOW, so there is something else triggering the difference.



Very, very interesting. Thanks!

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 8:54:49 AM   
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That really is interesting..still have to do it another shot to see a mean number, because it is also always possible with as many die rolls involved, to just have a fluke result in either direction as well..
Does this mean you have both engines installed separately?

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 11:47:19 AM   
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Your summary is what happened historically and I agree that the Lvov pocket should be impossible using only 1st pz group.The question is what would have happened if 1st pz group had been reinforced by an extra pz corps with instructions to cut off the Soviet armies around Lvov combined with a push out of Northern Rumania.I'm still not convinced that this would have been impossible if the German plan had decreed it from the start.
I think that German problems in the South stemmed from over confidence.They thought that they could bust open the border defenses and then 1st pz group could drive for the dnieper virtually unmolested.Hindsight is a powerful weapon and this is probably the best argument for disallowing the Lvov pocket.Maybe it should be disallowed to send extra armor South on turn one.
If they'd known how tough it was going to be I'm certain they'd have sent another pz corps South.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 3:07:36 PM   
Flaviusx


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Timmyab, here's the thing: would AGC be able to do what it did in that instance?

The Lvov pocket is a no brainer in game terms because nothing is sacrificed. It's a total freebie move. The Minsk pocket can be done at the same time as the Lvov pocket.

This is a bit too good to be true. It is very plainly a product of game design that allows the Axis to do pretty much whatever it wants to do on the surprise turn. End result: all 3 border Fronts get destroyed.

If you don't find this self evidently ridiculous, well, not much left to say.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 3:24:44 PM   
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Timmyab, though I respect your view, and I agree that German overconfidence was a problem, it was also a problem everywhere. More than that, I prefer to not think in terms of what the Germans did wrong asmuch as what the Soviets did right. A lot Eastern Front historiography explains much of the war with the Germans as the active agent and the Soviets as a passive object. So we explain AGS's hard going as a failure of the German plan or the change of direction at Kiev as a Hitler induced mistake, without considering what the Soviets were doing that caused these situations to arise in the first place.

In the Center and North, the Soivets experienced a total breakdown in C & C, which allowed them to be encircled by German spearheads. In the South, mainly do to Vassily and Kirponos, the Soviets (disobeying direct STAVKA ordes, mind) were much more prepared. Now the game tries to model this by giving them relatively smaller penalties, but due to IGOUGO rules this becomes largely irrelevent when the real reason for AGS stalling were due to maneuver, not fighting prowess (Soviet Mech corps were mobilized and thrown at the Germans). This meant that instead of advancing through roads and terrain, the Germans had to stop and fight a much larger armored force in a series of desperate battles which they won. If AGS was reinforced they would have won these battles more handsomely, but they would still have had to fight them. Ultimately this seals the fate of any large enveloping maneuver, because instead of racing through the country side and cutting off SW Front, AGS armor was tied down for the first critical week establishing armor superiority over its Soviet equivalent. Here's a picture (wikipedia, beware), of the kind of fighting 11rh Panzer had from 23-30 June as it was attacked on all sides. Here's Halder's diary:

"In the Army Group South sector, heavy fighting continues on the right flank of Panzer Group 1. The Russian 8th Tank Corps has effected a deep penetration of our front and is now in the rear of the 11th Panzer Division. This penetration has seriously disrupted our rear areas between Brody and Dubno. The enemy is threatening Dubno from the southwest… the enemy also has several separate tank groups acting in the rear of Panzer Group 1, which are managing to cover considerable distances."

That's the problem with the south in the early game, as the Soviets were attacking German armor almost immediately after they crossed the border. This can't be modeled in an IGOUGO system unless a new option (Strategic/Operational Reserve) is added which actually moves reserve units towards the area of combat. (TOAW had this option, IIRC)




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by notenome -- 6/24/2012 5:13:48 PM >

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 3:39:16 PM   
kg_1007

 

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Actually v Rundstedt(the German commander in the south) was not overconfident, he expected, due to terrain issues, intelligence reports of enemy strength, etc, to have a tough first few weeks, at minimum.

< Message edited by kg_1007 -- 6/24/2012 3:43:57 PM >

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 4:26:56 PM   
notenome

 

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True, but I suppose by overconfidence we are talking about OKH, with their timetable, supply, force allocation etc. von Runstedt could complain about it, but there wasn't much he could do about that.

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RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 8:46:09 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

Timmyab, here's the thing: would AGC be able to do what it did in that instance?

The Lvov pocket is a no brainer in game terms because nothing is sacrificed. It's a total freebie move. The Minsk pocket can be done at the same time as the Lvov pocket.

This is a bit too good to be true. It is very plainly a product of game design that allows the Axis to do pretty much whatever it wants to do on the surprise turn. End result: all 3 border Fronts get destroyed.

If you don't find this self evidently ridiculous, well, not much left to say.


Various responses:
1) You alpha-tested it (though I don't know for how long), beta tested it (for obviously not long enough) and didn't have any problem with it until the changes that overwhelmed the German force by Summer 42 were dealt with.
Conclusion: You're a sovie-o-phile who only criticizes things that Germany can do

2) Soviet Command and Control in this game dwarfs the repercussions of the Lvov opening. I would say 'eclipses' but really, the advantages that the engine give to the Soviet in the C&C arena alone are such that your criticism of Lvov is patently hypocritical. This is a theme in every critique you make of the game - Germans can do stuff they shouldn't be allowed to, with no compunction whatever of the Soviet side of that coin.

3) Even with Lvov, there is no clear advantage beyond the first 17 turns to Germany, whereas Soviet advantages such as the ability to refit up above National Morale, the perfect awareness that Heavy Industry doesn't need to be moved (enabling the Soviets to field Railroad Reserve Armies - plural - that can stop all meaningful progress in 1942/1943. German 'wins' are now credited to the fact that the engine doesn't charge regiments the proper MP to enter enemy hexes, the arcade-mode supply model, and of course, muling.

4) Many argue that the true problem with 1941 is that Soviet units are hopelessly unable to generate any meaningful CV with which to fight in the first 10 turns, creating a completely a-historic flow to 1941's summer. In this matter, Lvov is actually a symptom of this problem, not the origin. Unfortunately for the Sovie-o-philes, Matrix is done giving meaningful support to War in the East, so you just have to live with the game you alpha and beta-tested.

(in reply to Flaviusx)
Post #: 59
RE: Are you serious??? - 6/24/2012 9:38:32 PM   
notenome

 

Posts: 598
Joined: 12/28/2009
Status: offline
What is this great Soviet C&C advantage that I am not aware of?

Also, is it wrong that I'm starting to develop an affection for ol' man 'Get off mah porch ye young uns' helio?

(in reply to heliodorus04)
Post #: 60
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