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Panzers, air, artillery and all

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All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> Decisive Campaigns Series >> Decisive Campaigns: Case Blue >> The War Room >> Panzers, air, artillery and all Page: [1]
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Panzers, air, artillery and all - 7/21/2012 3:35:21 PM   


Posts: 34
Joined: 7/17/2012
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Ok, I'm going to step back and ask a few questions:

1. Tanks. I often see "Use your Panzers" "Hold the Panzers back" type comments. Most wargames I've played, tanks were used for 3 things, counter enemy tanks, punch through a line, or run wild through break in the line. I see the Soviet computer run guys through my line and go hex after hex after hex. Once they have an opening, it's like watching the Moscow Square parade march by. They sometimes cover half the map on the smaller scenarios with one breakthrough. The German Panzers seem VERY slow for what they are supposed to be used for. Even if I hold them back on the front lines in preperation for a breakthough after a successful punch, the tanks can only go one or two hexes past the line. I've never seen a chance for German armor to 'break through' in this game like the Russians do, they just hang up after a few hexes. What's the story with German Panzers?!?

2. Air power. This was touched on before, but in this game air power seems... almost an afterthought. Even if I bring ALL air power to bear on one hex, it seems to go... 'plink'. Entrenchment is lowered some, maybe one or 2 troops are dislodged or killed, but that is that. On the Russian front, until the Russians were able to gain some air power, the German air DEVASTATED the soviet tanks. In this game... 'plink'. What's the story with German Air?!? How do make it more effective?

3. Artillery. German stuff is not as good as Russian stuff, that I get. Russians had much more, and bigger to boot. When the Russian computer attacks, their artillery really ruffles my troops up. German artillery seems very hit or miss. Every once in a great while, a barrage will dislodge several troops, even killing one or two, but then again, I've had many barrages do nothing... not even one troop is bothered by it. German arty seems to be more effective, by far, then German air. Granted, neither seems to do much, but... I'm not really sure where to go with this one. German arty wasn't that super on the East Front, and it seems to fit with that in this game. You can fire it off by the ton, but you are just as likely to get no result as a good result. How do you get German arty to work as arty?

Post #: 1
RE: Panzers, air, artillery and all - 7/21/2012 4:15:12 PM   

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From: Kentucky
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What difficulty are you playing on? Anything higher than EASY and the AI gets several bonuses.

Try to punch a larger hole in the enemy front so that your armor doesn't have to advance through enemy zoc. As for stopping enemy advance try to keep a defence in depth with some armor and well entrenched Infantry to block the enemy penetration. Use terrain within your rear area defensive plan. You may be doing tis but that is all I can think of atm.

I use the Airpower first just to decrease the enemy Entrenchment and anything else is just a bonus. Then hit the same target with Artillery and the enemy should be fairly wekened. Then hit with Infantry and maybe a little Armor if target is in clear terrain and you should capture the ground and make a penetration possible with your Armor and Motorized Infantry. If that doesn't work then you have most likely chosen a battle that was best avoided in the first place. Choose your battles carefully. If you can catch enemy Armor in the clear and hit them with Dive Bombers they will usually get hurt and possibly badly. JU-87 and JU-88 are best against Armor. Using Air attacks against any terrain other than Steppe/Clear is diminished and sometimes by a lot. Check the Unit Details for what unit is best for each mission type. Be aware of any enemy Flak as well since that my hinder your Air ops.

Your Germans are most likely advancing and not well Entrenched so they will take higher casualties from Soviet Artillery. Plus the Soviets love their Artillery and are not shy about using it as you said. Also remember to check your Artillery unit Stockpiles before assigning an attack. If the Stockpile is not high then your Artillery will do very little damage and won't reduce entrenchments so it is best to just not use it at all until it is resupplied and effective again.

You may be doing all of what I suggested so ignore if so but thst is all I can think of off the top of my head.


"The fruit of too much liberty is slavery", Cicero

(in reply to dmixer)
Post #: 2
RE: Panzers, air, artillery and all - 7/21/2012 4:30:20 PM   


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Joined: 9/17/2009
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There is certainly a degree of variability that takes some getting used to compared to other wargames and casualties also take some getting used to considering the time scale. Even considering that the full scenario covers only part of the front, replacement rates of equipment are also (for some elements substantially) lower than in (for example) a game like WitE. That is countered by equipment losses also being less high from regular combat.

As to artillery: its effectiveness is something that I'm a bit puzzled by as well. Even considering the time scale, one truly good barrage per regiment a week is not great.

Not knowing precisely what the AI's bonuses are, I can't comment yet on Soviet artillery being more effective. One advantage the Germans have is that they have separate artillery regiments for most of their divisions. The Soviets have decentralized most of their support weapons.

As to the movement rates of tanks: maybe the AI gets a bonus, but thus far I don't think they're necessarily too limited. Without combat or after using a Speed card, moving numerous hexes is certainly possible.

Air power is somewhat underwhelming thus far, but I'm using it mostly against (partially) entrenched defenders at the moment.

It's nice to play a game where the Soviet units are not pushovers, in any case.


SSG tester
WitE Alpha tester
Panzer Corps Beta tester
Unity of Command scenario designer

(in reply to Volsung)
Post #: 3
RE: Panzers, air, artillery and all - 7/22/2012 3:41:24 AM   


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Joined: 7/20/2004
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I have noted some of the same problems that dmixer has, but, playing through the first several turns of the long Case Blue scenario more than a dozen times, trying various things, I have stumbled onto some things that seem to improve things (yes, I have RTFM, but I like "hands on" learning and tend to jump in at the deep end ) ...

* As noted, the Panzers shouldn't be used for breakthrough *attacks* ... the *infantry* needs to be used to smash a hole through the Russian lines, preferably three or more hexes wide, to allow the Panzers to break through unhindered by enemy ZOCs.

The problem is that, with the CB at start positioning, the Panzer and Motorised units are not well placed for this. Perhaps if you used the "Free Setup" option? I haven't tried that one yet.

I generally find that the northern edge of the map is where the initial breakthrough can be done first, and down towards the middle, there's another site that you can set up a decent breakthrough on the first turn ... both are areas where Infantry divisions are thick on the ground along, or behind, the front line.

Other spots have lesser infantry presence, perhaps a XX spread over two or hexes, rather than concentrated in one, or with Axis Allied units, which aren't much use for these sort of attacks ... there you need to maneuver things to set up breakthroughs on turns #2 or later ... mostly by bringing in Corps, Army or OKH reserves from behind the front or the rear.

You also need to husband the Command Points of your leaders. Things is, do you expend them on supporting the initial breakthrough attacks ... which I have, so far ... or do you husband them and use them to give the Panzers extra movement points? I haven't tried the latter, yet, as I have found the AI is *very* quick to cut off any penetration that isn't firmly linked by physical units to the rear ...

Yes, I know the Germans ignored this, IRL, to an extent, and others, on other threads (Vic, I think) have pointed out that the Soviet AI will bust a gut to hold the line, expending a huge chunk of assets to do so, but, possibly, to the point that, when you crack the initial line, their defence is so compromised that it's like the breakout phase from Normandy, or the initial 1941 Barbarossa advances ... I haven't gotten to that point, not yet, as I am still experimenting with the opening moves.

I would have 100% agreed with you after the first couple of tries, but, as I have tried to explain above, repeated experimentation has led me to see the alternative strategies and tactics that I didn't initially.

* Airpower. Yes, again, it seems way underpowerered. Yes, I've seen attacks go in, quite massive ones, where not a single point of damage has been done and, whatever effect it's had on entrenchment has not been enough for maximum strength ground attacks that follow to push the Russians back.

I have begun to note some things, however.

Firstly, level bombers are, relatively, less effective in this sort of tactical ground attack role. Which, AIUI, is pretty accurate.

Secondly, where you can mass Stukas ... they *do* have an effect. Occasionally even wiping out armour units (I've seen it happen twice, to understrength ones, but that is, indeed, quite rare ... I dunno how common it was, historically, as, of course, exceptional results are often overemphasised even in historical works to the detriment of understanding what the more common results actually were).

Thirdly, AFAICT, the overstrength Italian air unit is completely useless.

Fourthly, Zerstorer units are useless ... they don't do any good as ground attack, and are poor at fighter protection.

Fifthly, combined Fighter/Ground attack units (the ones with, IIRC, the HS-129) also seem to be less useful than you might expect.

Sixthly, the combat value that Fighter units add to an air attack seem to have no real effect. Their only use is on the few occasions when the Red AF actually manages to do some CAP or Intercepts ... then they protect the bombers or stukas, and, AFAICT, nothing much more.

Tentatively, it seems, you can really only rely on the AF giving you maybe two or three hexes that you can do significant damage to on any given turn ... those hexes where you can mass the relatively few Stukas you have. And this is, I suspect, historical. You'll just have to be systematic in choosing those hexes for maximum effect.

That and, I guess, maybe you'll want to spend some points and ask for more Stukas over and above the base replacement rate, and, possibly, create more Stuka air units to boost your attack capabilities ... perhaps slighting reinforcements for level bombers?

* Artillery. Again, yes, it initially seemed as if the German units are way underpowered ... but, after several go arounds testing various things, it's not as bad as it seems.

You have to *mass* it ... as some famous Panzer general (?) said (IIRC) "Boot, don't spatter!" ... on the two really good initial breakthrough sites I mentioned above you can usually, even not using Corps level Heavy Artillery, manage two decent artillery attacks using only divisional artillery. Using these in conjunction with air attacks, even those by level bombers, usually does the trick.

But you're not going to get massive across the front barrages.

You have to pick and choose, and do so very carefully.

And using Command Points to boost the value of non-divisional artillery can be worthwhile. Probably not so much on the main front, but at Sevastopol ... there, I have found, combined Stuka and CP boosted artillery attacks can, regularly, either crack the frontline for immediate advance or, more often, force the Russians to withdraw severely depleted units to *leave* an exploitable hole in the frontline at the end of the first turn.

(And don't forget to use the Romanian DDs! They should be available for Turn #3).

So, I guess what I am saying is ... things are not necessarily as bleak as you see them to be, you just have to work out the right tactics and deployments to maximise the combined arms effects of your forces.

I hope that the above helps, anyway.

Phil McGregor


Author, Space Opera (FGU); RBB #1 (FASA); Road to Armageddon; Farm, Forge and Steam; Orbis Mundi; Displaced (PGD)

(in reply to dmixer)
Post #: 4
RE: Panzers, air, artillery and all - 7/22/2012 7:34:41 AM   

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The armor can do several hex deep penetrations. to open a gap i use infantry attacks. once it is open the armor moves out. best in combination with a forced march card. just try to avoid to use the units meant for exploiting in combat. they will lose action points.

artillery and airpower are most valuable in reducing readiness and entrenchment. lower readiness and entrenchment will make sure your losses stay low while the ennemy will take a lot more. artillery can be davastating on non entrenched infantry units in the open. and divebombers kill tanks. but the most important role of artillery and airstrikes is to reduce the defenders capability to fight.

(in reply to aspqrz02)
Post #: 5
RE: Panzers, air, artillery and all - 7/22/2012 7:57:03 AM   


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Gudenian said it, according to Wikipedia ...

"Nicht Kleckern sondern Klotzen! (Boot'em, don't spatter'em!)"

Excellent advice from a master



Author, Space Opera (FGU); RBB #1 (FASA); Road to Armageddon; Farm, Forge and Steam; Orbis Mundi; Displaced (PGD)

(in reply to aspqrz02)
Post #: 6
RE: Panzers, air, artillery and all - 7/22/2012 7:59:20 AM   


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Joined: 5/9/2000
From: Leeuwarden, Netherlands
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@ aspqrz; that German general would be Guderian; "Nicht Kleckern sondern Klotzen"! (Boot'em, don't spatter'em!) (sounds great in German by the way)

same as in; "Man schlägt jemanden mit der Faust und nicht mit gespreizten Fingern". (You hit somebody with your fist and not with your fingers spread.)

(in reply to Keunert)
Post #: 7
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