Saper is quite surely not cheating in any way, at least not within my definitions of cheating. He's merely acting really smart. If German production were open like the Japanese in AE, I am sure he would optimize/rationalize it as well and cut away all the expensive toys and focus on bang-for-the-buck like late Pz IV. Maybe he'd even cut the Pz V series. It is hindsight he is using.
A WW2 PzIII or IV eats some 300 liters of fuel per 100 km, i.e. if I remember correctly, and a Pz II not much less. Take 100-200 of those plus all the trucks, motorbikes, prime mowers etc. and you have a real fuel hog. Ok, a fuel hog with a punch on the offensive and disadvantages as defensive element, but with the Soviet unit quality as stands now, for most of the purposes you don't need that extra bang, or you'll usually wait for the infantry to catch up and do the fighting anyway.
As a pure exploit element, to penetrate deep, feel out and occupy like recon units usually do -- exactly as Saper appears to be using them -- the Mot. Infantry seems to be just good enough. The still pack a good punch to brush aside single, unintrenched Russians. A WW2 truck still eats >30 liters for 100 km range, but overall you get many more miles out of them per ton fuel delivered by the Luftwaffe than directing that fuel to Panzers. Sounds merely smart to me, surely not like cheating.
You could now ask why the Germans didn't realize so themselves, and do so? Perhaps they had better services for the Luftwaffe than to act as supply train for 4 months? Was that just a prestige thing, aka pilots objecting to that and rather wanting to fight? Or does it mean Luftwaffe ground attack effects are underestimated in this game (play a 43 scenario, there LW support becomes much more important...)? Or does it mean that Wehrmacht units per se are so much stronger, or Russian units so weak in 41 (== i.e. combat engine interpreting experiences to calculate losses), that unlike in the real conflict Luftwaffe is not really required for the Axis player to bomb except in cases of heavy Russian opposition or river crossings like LG? Is it because supply of airfields in this game is easier than was in real life, partly because of the logistics engine, partly because of the generic nature of fuel and supplies in games?
Can, in this game, Mot. Infantry used with less risk-less than in real life? Wasn't it just infantry on trucks, escorted by recon elements with trikes and motorbikes, some amored scout cars, perhaps a battalion of assault guns and plenty of towed AT and artillery, that generally was a little vulnerable on advancing through unsecured enemy terrain, so often was preceded by tanks, or moved not exactly a maximum speed to allow its forward deployed elements to clear the route? Might it be that the lack of the defender to be able to generate meeting engagements (i.e. simulating attacking a moving Mot. Inf. column, like move simultaneously with the attacker into an adjacent hex) or even truly ambush units (attacker moving into "apparently empty" hex with severe combat penalties) might eliminate some of the real life dangers Mot. infantry faced and therefore can be used much better in this game to exploit depths? Maybe the Germans generally moved about more cautiously as they believed the Russians to falter before Christmas anyway, so why taking risks? Maybe they didn't move as "almost reckless" as most Axis players as they didn't have the benefit of hindsight and wouldn't know what to expect or face -- maybe it is players habits coupled with our knowledge on this conflict, that brings things like this about?
Answer yourselves. The Germans exploited much with small columns, often recon elements, and as this game doesn't account for ad-hoc combat groups or small units like recon platoon etc., Saper's use of the Mot Inf seems to mimic that as good as this game allows. Whether he can do so with less risk than should be because of I-Go-U-Go limits, or force disbalance, or whether it be so -- answer yourself...
< Message edited by janh -- 12/8/2012 10:06:01 AM >