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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12

 
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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 12:24:48 PM   
Reconvet

 

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Wrong picture... Here come Bonners attacks:





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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 12:25:26 PM   
Reconvet

 

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Bad luck for Bonners, as he got bad dice with his Gamble card. Facing two bridgeheads made me swallow hard, three would have mad me pull back. My reserves near Kharkow are not strong enough for 3 counterattacks.





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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 12:26:15 PM   
Reconvet

 

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Soviet situation beginning turn 12

So Bonners has cut two bridgeheads at Kharkow, this will not do. Retreat is no option, I won't give up the best defensive terrain nearby without a fight as long as I see a chance to succeed with my counterattacks. I have some reserves in the vicinity, so I'll try to throw Bonners butchers back over the river.





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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 12:26:45 PM   
Reconvet

 

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Butchers bill for this turn:





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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 12:41:55 PM   
Bonners


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With this update the gamble card really is a gamble card. IIRC I lost three gambles in this game, two from Manstein and one from Raus. In future games I wont be taking the gamble. Both have the freedom card available which offers a nice enough mixture of attack points and APs. I was just being greedy and really paid for it.

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Post #: 95
RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 3:45:46 PM   
wallas

 

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I think of the gamble cards as a lead card for an offensive that I can delay if it fails otherwise I would not use it.

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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 4:13:00 PM   
James Ward

 

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I definately like the freedom card a lot more than the gamble card. It always works and it costs less so you can play it more often.

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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 11/30/2012 8:34:57 PM   
Reconvet

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: James Ward

I definately like the freedom card a lot more than the gamble card. It always works and it costs less so you can play it more often.


I fully agree. If gamble backfires as in the case above (belated condolations to Bonners, I didn't see the full impact of your inactivated mobile units back then) some of your best units are ineffective for one turn which might cost the Axis player a possible breakthrough/forced mass retreat or even a nice encirclement. And it takes damn long to collect the lost command points again for something useful.

In my book Gamble is carelessly shooting yourself in the foot when with Freedom you have a failsafe instrument which is just as good as a successful Gamble if you consider you can use it more often. I can't imagine to use Gamble once I switch sides after my current pbem.


< Message edited by Reconvet -- 11/30/2012 8:35:58 PM >


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Post #: 98
RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 12/1/2012 2:02:57 AM   
LiquidSky


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I only use gamble to attack a fixed position (like a city). If it fails, the enemy will probably not counterattack, as the loss of readiness/entrenchment level will make his position far worse then if the gamble had succeeded.

Whenever the enemy has 4 hexsides on you, he will attack. It may be better to attack and not take the hex, then give the enemy all those bonuses for attacking.

I do prefer Freedom over Gamble for most things..as the extra AP's will allow you to exploit by attacking the flanks of the penetration (since you gained an extra hexside). Especially if you use speed on the division advancing after combat. I find that when you attack three hexes in a row puts a damper on the enemies desire to counterattack.

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Post #: 99
RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 12/1/2012 12:00:30 PM   
Reconvet

 

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Kerch evacuated:

I almost forgot to mention I've evacuated the Kerch defenders on turn 12. I ran out of rested and supplied troops to ship in there (I had kept rotating as many units as I could for the last few turns, letting them rest and regain supplies on the mainland before shipping them back in). My garrison units at the start of turn 12 were worn out, had zero supplies left and would have used up any arriving supply to regain readiness. Stupid game mechanism which does not reserve ammo to fight with. No need for soaps when you have empty rifles… Seeing Bonners had plenty rested troops in the neighbourhood I dedided to leave town instead of throwing away 10'000 soldiers.





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RE: June 3 1942 / Turn 12 - 12/1/2012 12:01:10 PM   
Reconvet

 

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And to end this turn report a full map of the mainland front:





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Post #: 101
June 5 1942 / Turn 13 - 12/1/2012 12:06:21 PM   
Reconvet

 

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June 5 1942 / Turn 13 / Weather: Mud

In these weather conditions not a lot happens in the air and on the ground. Not worth producing and illustrating maps for this turn.

Instead let's ponder a bit on the overall situation:

Axis reinforcements incoming:
Axis will get quite a few fully equipped and rested mobile divisions in the coming turns and reach peak strength of german troops around june 19. Looking where I'd use those if I were playing the other side I'll have to try my best to build some roadblocks, or Bonners will be able to overrun my retreating peasant divisions out in the open. The better I handle my inevitable retreats (in a sense of force preservation) the sooner I'll be able to stall his Case Blue offensive and get the initiative back.

Soviet strategy --> force preservation and winning the attrition war:
I'll have to restrain my itching mousefingers which tend to overlook what lies ahead and would just love to strike back on seemingly weak axis positions. My best recipe for a major victory right now is patience and force preservation. We have a long game ahead of us, I have time till april '43 to bleed out Bonners boys and reach 500 victory points, and so far the attrition war is playing out in my favour.

My picking on targets of opportunity north of Kharkow has come to an end, now that Bonners has sent at least one panzer division to this region. My options there have thus been limited too.

Kharkow region:
Fighting it out along the Donetz river east/southeast of Kharkow may burn me pretty badly. But if I can wear out some german mobile divisions there it may be worth the investment as they will have a tougher time to achieve watertight encirclements once I have to retreat. Will be interesting to see what happens over the next few turns in this region.

Air war:
My sturmovik losses have shown me I'm still far away from being competitive in the air. I'll have to handpick any offensive moves and ambushes with my planes. If Axis players handle their air formations well (don't run them too hard readiness-wise which can increase their plane-losses quite fast) they can have lots of fun with them in the first months of Trappenjagd/CB, while the soviet player is pretty much restricted to tap with his fingers until he can really contest the skies. German planes really are a huge asset in their arsenal.



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Post #: 102
June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 8:48:10 AM   
Reconvet

 

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June 7 1942 / Turn 14 / Weather: Clear

My main purpose with this AAR is documenting problems Bonners and me run into, hoping that people with more experience can step in and point out what could be done to overcome said problems, thus helping all readers to refine their gameplay and get ahead on the learning curve.

So I'm cutting back on my time documenting successful attacks (there I'll skip artillery and airraids preparing such attacks from now on), while still trying to give the full picture on failed attacks. Some can be explained by bad dice, while I hardly have a clue why others go wrong. Of course general feedback on overall strategies is welcome too.

I am quite hooked with this game, think most basic mechanisms are so much better than WitE and really would welcome to see more people playing pbem and showing how they fare via their own AAR.

But back to this game, here's what Bonners was up to on turn 14:





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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 8:49:30 AM   
Reconvet

 

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I can't allow Bonners to keep his bridgehead right next to Balakleja.





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< Message edited by Reconvet -- 12/3/2012 9:22:00 AM >


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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 8:50:15 AM   
Reconvet

 

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My brainstorming over Bonners attack problems:

Isokron playing Axis in Case Blue scenario seems to have been able to grind away on soviet units on open ground in unprepared defenses, which in many cases were suffering from low readiness from railing/long distance marching and from low ammo stocks (recovering readiness seems to have priority ingame over restocking ammo, totally contrary to real life military wisdom --> who needs soaps while there are empty rifles…).

Each pbem turn teaches me never ever to underestimate readiness and ammo levels, entrenchment and the defensive value of rivers/hills/forest hexes. Soviets can't survive the early Axis onslaught without prepared fallback lines, which I'm trying to do in this game.

Axis CAN force river crossings with his high-experience and hard-hitting German formations by coordinating attacks of rested ground troops with powerful arty strikes and tactical air support. But crossing the river with attacking troops lets end up the newly arrived defenders with low readiness. That's probably the main reason why I could push Bonners boys back several times, and in this turn my 6th Army (which contributed the most important counterattack troops) even suffered from a cc penalty (minus 21 action points, reducing the number of combat turns these units could deliver).


< Message edited by Reconvet -- 12/3/2012 9:25:43 AM >


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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 10:59:39 AM   
Bonners


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As you well know this game has been another steep learning curve for me and although I think I'm learning stuff I still get frustrated from time to time.

In the attacks above the plan was to try and get three river hexsides all at once to make your counter attacks more difficult and this is what I really struggle with. As time counts down it is trying to make the right judgement in when to attack, leave it too long and the Russians are already dug in with fall back lines, try and get the Russians on the run and my own troops may be suffering readiness penalties. I have to say I still havent worked out the answer to this conundrum.

It may sound strange but in my game against Olivier playing the Germans during Uranus I have found the task a lot easier. Due to the nature of the defence I only attack with panzers at full readiness and cards available, there is no time pressure to do differently. Also, because I dont have to take the hex my panzers can generally stay in place with a high enough level of readiness to attack again the next turn. The only time this will present a problem is when Olivier starts to build his offensives over more than two turns...tune into the AAR to see what happens soon

Anyway, back to this AAR and this is what I kept trying (and failing to achieve) I cant remember the exact attack, but it is a fairly generic scenario. The Russian player is defending in depth so one hex over a river is not sufficient. Due to the nature of the terrain there is no three sided attacks available for the first attack. For the first attack I try and get lots of fresh artillery, infantry with an attack card and panzers with a speed card. Therefore if the attack is successful the panzers can cross the river and still have enough APs left to help with the second attack and make it a three sided attack and also on both sides of the river. The theory being that the line can then roll up and I can end up with three or four hexes for my river bridgehead. In all these attacks at this stage all units were looking at readiness in the high 90s. In an ideal world the bridgehead units would also have entrenchment cards available, but that is not always possible. What I have found surprising is that even when I manage to have entrenchment or defence cards available I generally still get thrown back.

This then leads to the next problem, that of time. If the first offensive fails the worse case scenario is that the German units get thrown back over the river with some regiments being destroyed. But, even in a best case scenario the units that get thrown back will not be of any use for offensive operations for at least 2-3 turns, leading to a vicious circle of the Soviets then improving their defences and making it more difficult on the next attack.

The other two options I have tried is to vary the point of attack or in final desperation trying a broad front attack. Varying the point of attack also doesnt work as the Soviet player always seems to have reserves in hand to meet the new threats. The broad front attack, well the least said the better although I'm sure Reconvert will be describing the carnage in full shortly

My theory is, that as a novice German player the most important thing you have to do is to get the first breakthrough 100% right - that is at the right time, the right place and with the right forces. If you do that then the nature of the game means that the Soviet player (especially with his early game C&C penalties) will always offer an opportunity to beat him in a battle of attrition. Also, if you do manage to breakthrough you wont necessarily need your level bombers on the frontlines and they can be used for bridge interdiction in the Soviet rear which can really make the Soviet retreat to the next fall back position more difficult.

If you dont get it right on the first vital offensive turns the trouble is that the timetable falls more and more behind and you'll never get any prestige and the game will be a dead duck for the Germans. In future games I think that I'd always like to play with the dismissal option on. By the sounds of it the Soviet player should be able to survive not taking Kharkov in this scenario with Vic's latest update.

Alternately, if an experienced German player does get the offensive spot on against a less experienced Soviet opponent, the Germans can gain unstoppable momentum, again I see this as a reason for the dismissal rule to be in place. I probably played on too long in my previous game against Isokron when the game had long reached its inevitable conclusion at the fall of Rostov.

A quick note on odds. Ideally in an attacking sense the Germans would like to get at least two to one. I found that this was not possible, certainly once the first attacks failed and the Soviets started to build up. So the German has to substitute high quality units, good readiness and air power to make up for these number deficiencies.

In conclusion I'm still none the wiser as to how to break through a Soviet line. The trouble is that without this knowledge any game I play in will stop being a contest from when the first German offensive fails as once the timetable goes the Germans do not stand a chance.

We'll get onto German defensive tactics once the AAR gets to that stage - I failed at them as well.


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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 11:41:45 AM   
Bonners


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bonners


My theory is, that as a novice German player the most important thing you have to do is to get the first breakthrough 100% right - that is at the right time, the right place and with the right forces. If you do that then the nature of the game means that the Soviet player (especially with his early game C&C penalties) will always offer an opportunity to beat him in a battle of attrition. Also, if you do manage to breakthrough you wont necessarily need your level bombers on the frontlines and they can be used for bridge interdiction in the Soviet rear which can really make the Soviet retreat to the next fall back position more difficult.





Just wanted to make the above point clearer. By the above I dont mean that the German player will win the game, just that the game will carry on into a hopefully longer game with both sides getting opportunities as the game goes on.

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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 12:17:04 PM   
Isokron

 

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In general I would say the key to succesful attacks are good artillery (and if possible air) prep attacks. I havent really gotten into a well entrenched river crossing with enemy reserves behind kind of situation in any of my games but I think what I would try to do would be something like.

1: Hit a hex with a full artillery stack and drive it back, if you have enough artillery to do several of these attacks then do it.
2: Do not advance into the taken hexes.
3: If the opponent moves back forces into the taken hex then good you now have a low entrenchment target with less than optimal readiness, hit it.
4: If not repeat on a neighbouring hex, you now have to consecutive hexes you can move into on his side of the river, if you dont feel that this will be enough repeat from step 2

This might take a few turns but you should be able to inflict 4:1 or so losses on him which he cant sustain in the long run. A soviet rifle division will only be able to take one or two defeats like this before starting to break unless it has a lot of turns to bring back its morale and get reinforcements in between the attacks.

Edit: Oh and dont attack into non open hexes, there is almost always a better alternative.

< Message edited by Isokron -- 12/3/2012 12:21:39 PM >

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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 12:24:07 PM   
Bonners


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Isokron

In general I would say the key to succesful attacks are good artillery (and if possible air) prep attacks. I havent really gotten into a well entrenched river crossing with enemy reserves behind kind of situation in any of my games but I think what I would try to do would be something like.

1: Hit a hex with a full artillery stack and drive it back, if you have enough artillery to do several of these attacks then do it.
2: Do not advance into the taken hexes.
3: If the opponent moves back forces into the taken hex then good you now have a low entrenchment target with less than optimal readiness, hit it.
4: If not repeat on a neighbouring hex, you now have to consecutive hexes you can move into on his side of the river, if you dont feel that this will be enough repeat from step 2

This might take a few turns but you should be able to inflict 4:1 or so losses on him which he cant sustain in the long run. A soviet rifle division will only be able to take one or two defeats like this before starting to break unless it has a lot of turns to bring back its morale and get reinforcements in between the attacks.


I think point 2 is probably the crucial one. That is something I did not try until it was too late. If you look at the attacks that Reconvert has shown above, I would've been in a really good position in two places, north and south to attack again the following turn. In my next game that is definitely something I will try.

It seems to me that experienced players get to know the right time to take the hex. I seem to recall in our game several occasions where I was just waiting for you to attack knowing I had counter-attack forces ready, but you waited until I had to retreat or you took several hexes.

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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/3/2012 5:44:56 PM   
wallas

 

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My observation is use your armour in tank terrain. You should neve be crossing large rivers with it or attacking hill forest or urban. If the soviets are on the offensive in a local area just backup. One thing about the soviets is they dont move well on the attack. If you backup just one hex from there units their ability to attack you diminshes greaty in the early game due to command failure, and out of depths. Find a nice spot in the front line where you can penetrate deep with clear hexes, and grind down any and all soviets in your way. Make sure the area you choose also has key soviet rail network. At some point your deep drive will not only bag you alot of casualties but your deep salient will unhinge his defensive position forcing him to give ground. Always have spare infantry division ready to fill the flanks of your tank drive. As ash said make use of arty on the inital assault to overcme entrenchment, but once he has started retreating suffering readiness and loss of entrenchment keep the steam train going. I hope that helps bonners

< Message edited by wallas -- 12/3/2012 5:48:38 PM >

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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/7/2012 4:27:43 PM   
Reconvet

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Isokron

In general I would say the key to succesful attacks are good artillery (and if possible air) prep attacks. I havent really gotten into a well entrenched river crossing with enemy reserves behind kind of situation in any of my games but I think what I would try to do would be something like.

1: Hit a hex with a full artillery stack and drive it back, if you have enough artillery to do several of these attacks then do it.
2: Do not advance into the taken hexes.
3: If the opponent moves back forces into the taken hex then good you now have a low entrenchment target with less than optimal readiness, hit it.
4: If not repeat on a neighbouring hex, you now have to consecutive hexes you can move into on his side of the river, if you dont feel that this will be enough repeat from step 2

This might take a few turns but you should be able to inflict 4:1 or so losses on him which he cant sustain in the long run. A soviet rifle division will only be able to take one or two defeats like this before starting to break unless it has a lot of turns to bring back its morale and get reinforcements in between the attacks.

Edit: Oh and dont attack into non open hexes, there is almost always a better alternative.


quote:

ORIGINAL: wallas
My observation is use your armour in tank terrain. You should neve be crossing large rivers with it or attacking hill forest or urban. If the soviets are on the offensive in a local area just backup. One thing about the soviets is they dont move well on the attack. If you backup just one hex from there units their ability to attack you diminshes greaty in the early game due to command failure, and out of depths. Find a nice spot in the front line where you can penetrate deep with clear hexes, and grind down any and all soviets in your way. Make sure the area you choose also has key soviet rail network. At some point your deep drive will not only bag you alot of casualties but your deep salient will unhinge his defensive position forcing him to give ground. Always have spare infantry division ready to fill the flanks of your tank drive. As ash said make use of arty on the inital assault to overcme entrenchment, but once he has started retreating suffering readiness and loss of entrenchment keep the steam train going.


Excellent advice.

< Message edited by Reconvet -- 12/7/2012 4:30:31 PM >


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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/7/2012 4:30:12 PM   
Reconvet

 

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Let me propose some additions to this list:

5) Always take a look at your units before you send them into battle, never attack if
a) your troops have a readiness lower than 80, as your losses will rise significantly, and
b) if the defenders have higher readiness than your attackers after arty and air bombardments.

6) Try to get combat odds of 2:1 or 3:1 if you attack a hex with entrenchments, as you can overwhelm the enemy faster to save combat rounds in which he can fire back and inflict losses on you. If reaching these odds mean you need to overstack your attack a bit (150 instead of 100, or 200 instead of 150), then do it, but prepare the attack with fully loaded arty and lots of levelbombers (150 for normal defending stacks, 200/250 for overstacked defenders). Pinned down defenders won't fire back...

7) Combat odds of 1:1 are acceptable if all enemy units were routed before (especially if they panicked out of the previous fight) and you can pursue them on clear terrain with tanks to overrun (=break) them. Each destroyed unit is an enemy you won't have to face again and it pushes the kill ratio in the right direction.




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RE: June 7 1942 / Turn 14 - 12/7/2012 4:37:28 PM   
Reconvet

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bonners
My theory is, that as a novice German player the most important thing you have to do is to get the first breakthrough 100% right - that is at the right time, the right place and with the right forces. If you do that then the nature of the game means that the Soviet player (especially with his early game C&C penalties) will always offer an opportunity to beat him in a battle of attrition. Also, if you do manage to breakthrough you wont necessarily need your level bombers on the frontlines and they can be used for bridge interdiction in the Soviet rear which can really make the Soviet retreat to the next fall back position more difficult.

If you dont get it right on the first vital offensive turns the trouble is that the timetable falls more and more behind and you'll never get any prestige and the game will be a dead duck for the Germans.



I fully agree. If the first Axis offensive after the Crimea does not succeed quite fast in unhinging large parts of the soviet defensive lines then the soviet player can delay long enough until his reinforcements allow him to significantly strenghten his defenses to a degree where Axis has to pay a high price for pushing towards his major objectives, instead of being able to use his mobility to avoid unnecessary bloody battles.



< Message edited by Reconvet -- 12/7/2012 4:39:48 PM >


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June 9 1942 / Turn 15 - 12/7/2012 4:38:25 PM   
Reconvet

 

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June 9 1942 / Turn 15 / Weather: Clear

Bonners wrote in his pm that Halder was relieved by Zeitzler this turn. Probably good news for me, as with Halder in OKH I'd use every single command point earned by him to create garrison infantry (Ersatztruppe?), they are nice for antipartisan duties and strengthening front parts threatened by stronger soviet forces if you don't have regular reserves around.

Bonners attacks on turn 15:




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RE: June 9 1942 / Turn 15 - 12/7/2012 4:45:37 PM   
Reconvet

 

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Soviet outlooks:
I have to prepare to protect my slow-retreating infantry armies from encirclements. Axis will reach peak strength with his german units soon, so I'll place new tank corps where I expect him to be able to break through. They will be tasked to weaken his spearhead units to a degree where Bonners can't use them anymore to exploit after breakthroughs. The coming game-weeks will test his offensive capabilities and my skills/deficits in conducting an orderly retreat.

Map end of turn southeast of Kharkow:





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RE: June 9 1942 / Turn 15 - 1/16/2013 10:09:55 AM   
heyhellowhatsnew


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This has been a really great AAR. I hope it continues.

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RE: June 9 1942 / Turn 15 - 1/18/2013 1:43:47 PM   
Reconvet

 

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I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I'm sorry I had to put my AARs on hold, but as long as I don't see other AARs pop up or get updated I'm not extremely motivated to be the only guy doing so. I'd love to be able to compare my gameplay with how others fare and think, as I certainly enjoy reading other AARs and learn from them. I'd like to encourage all who read this and play the game to share their insights and assessments on what is going on in their games. I don't care too much about hit numbers and the like, but I'd like to get a return on my time investment (for writing an AAR) in form of reading time in other AARs, there has to be some kind of balance.

_____________________________

The biggest threat for mankind is ignorance.


(in reply to heyhellowhatsnew)
Post #: 117
RE: June 9 1942 / Turn 15 - 1/27/2013 5:22:51 AM   
heyhellowhatsnew


Posts: 281
Joined: 4/19/2012
From: New York
Status: offline
I agree, which is why I started mine. I wish more players would do AARs for this game. I dunno. It's depressing.

I will update my AAR tomorrow. I decided to take Saturday easy.

(in reply to Reconvet)
Post #: 118
RE: June 9 1942 / Turn 15 - 1/27/2013 5:23:28 AM   
heyhellowhatsnew


Posts: 281
Joined: 4/19/2012
From: New York
Status: offline
Vic, you should really encourage people to do AARs for your games, thats how you attract players imho.

(in reply to heyhellowhatsnew)
Post #: 119
RE: June 9 1942 / Turn 15 - 4/9/2013 6:18:35 PM   
Hugolin

 

Posts: 75
Joined: 3/17/2013
Status: offline
Gentlemen, I don't know if this game is over or what happened (no updates for a while), but I did read (over the course of a few days!) the whole thing. Thanks a lot for posting all this, it's been both entertaining and informative. I certainly understand that given the labour of love you guys put into it (especially you Reconvet of course) you'd like to see more coming from other places. Well I also read Bonners long AAR, also very enjoyable. I'm still playing only solo (and only the 1st Pz scenario) but all this read gave me solid insights into the game for when I will tackle the bigger scenarios.

Thanks again Reconvet, many a smile thanks to your humour And congrats for a defence well done, the number of Russians is clearly scary but you managed to not be surrounded and indeed drew many of Bonners good units around Kharkov, like you had planned. I'm also not clear as to why several of Bonners' attacks failed. However he managed to hold Kharkov, which was the initial goal of Reconvet, and to push back the invader. Trappen looks like a tough one, lots of Armour for the Russians...

If I have one feedbacks, but I suppoe you guys are well familiar with this, is that one thing I think that matters is to do an Art bombardment when your art is at 100% ammo - since to shoot before that has serious penalties, or so I read in the manual. Art with 0 stock piling shoots at only 25% of its power. Not sure if you guys were waiting for 100%.

Again, thanks a bunch!

(in reply to heyhellowhatsnew)
Post #: 120
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