From: Kinmel bay
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.