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Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM)

 
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Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 10:53:58 AM   
loki100


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This AAR is going to be a beginners play through of one of the less complex (relatively few units) scenarios in War in the East. The ‘Road to Leningrad’ covers the tussle between AGN and their Finnish allies and the Soviet Northern and North Western Fronts. The primary goal of both sides is Leningrad. It ends in October so there are no poor weather periods or other problems.

Should say this is more an AAR by beginners, I doubt the gameplay is going to be optimal. What we’ll try to do is to explain what we are trying to achieve and why as well as out understanding of the tools to hand. We’ve played this scenario PBEM once and I lost (completely and utterly 18-1, no Soviet units left on the map). The mistakes I made on the road to that outcome will inform a lot of my planning.

Neither of us has that much experience but from reading comments here and elsewhere, there seems to be a demand for more 'how I did/tried to work out what was going on' style AARs. Equally the smaller set up allows a bit of focus in discussing events, options and understanding.

Anyway if you take the Soviet side in these ‘Road to ..’ scenarios, of which there are 4 (Minsk –only 3 turns; Leningrad, Smolensk and Kiev) modelling the historic split in the German invasion, then you never get to see the peaceful vista of 20 June 1941. If you play SP, you are treated to the sight of the AI trashing your border positions, if you play PBEM, your opponent does his thing and sends you the results. You just see the results.

Now this is not too bad as you have quite a few tools to help you understand just what happened. So lets start the AAR … with the results of the opening German offensive.



As a first note and question.

I'm more used to doing AARs on the Paradox/AGEOD forums where using an imagehosting site and linking to that is the usual way to place images in a post. I understand that I need 10 posts + 7 days to be allowed to embed links. Does anyone know if at that stage I can put up a post with 10 or so images (linked to), or if I need to keep to 1 post/1 image. Guess its just a case of adapting writing style.

For the moment, I'll spread the opening discussion over 10 or so posts.






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 10:54:53 AM   
loki100


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Now that is useful, my border force has been removed and it appears as if the Germans have 11 Army in a pocket. Note my units are brown (the yellow tells me they belong to NW Front) and the numbers are an approximate combat value (for the hex) and the Movement Points (MPs) of fastest unit.

Note the Germans come in 4 types/ If I can see both numbers (that is combat-move), so I know pretty well what they are, some 0/0 or ‘?’ but with a symbol (so I know why type they are) some are blank and ? (so all I know is something is there), finally there are hidden units that I cannot even see.

So lets find out more about that debacle.




< Message edited by loki100 -- 2/1/2013 10:58:38 AM >

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 10:59:46 AM   
loki100


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Now that is useful, my border force has been removed and it appears as if the Germans have 11 Army in a pocket. Note my units are brown (the yellow tells me they belong to NW Front) and the numbers are an approximate combat value (for the hex) and the Movement Points (MPs) of fastest unit.

Note the Germans come in 4 types/ If I can see both numbers (that is combat-move), so I know pretty well what they are, some 0/0 or ‘?’ but with a symbol (so I know why type they are) some are blank and ? (so all I know is something is there), finally there are hidden units that I cannot even see.

So lets find out more about that debacle.





This is the same but with the option to show hex ownership enabled. Brown is German, green is mine. Much the same as above but now I can see that 11 Army is completely surrounded and that the Germans are over the Dauga. Somewhere in those brown areas are additional German formations. For obvious reasons, I tend to play with the mapmode on most of the time, especially in these early turns.

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 11:02:49 AM   
loki100


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This shows were the combats were (the black tank thing is a German ground attack, the black air thing is an air attack). If you hover over one of these, you get a pop up that tells you more – this shows the battle at Riga. My 22nd NKVD routed losing almost 5,000 men and killing 68 (at least I destroyed 5 German AFVs).






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 11:06:38 AM   
loki100


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There is more information available from the 'losses' screen.

This comes in 3 types.

The first shows losses in a lot of detail (the lhs gives German losses too, I’ve just shown a portion of the Soviet ones here). As you can see, almost 50% of my losses were surrenders (this will get worse as most of 11 Army will surrender next turn).

Then Air losses. Most of mine were of course destroyed n the ground and culled a fair number of the useless I-153/I-16s.

And destroyed/surrenders.

This will be bad for the first few turns, then hopefully calm down






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 11:09:05 AM   
loki100


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Finally you can hover over a counter and find out a lot about it (I’m using 2 mods – one just adds more on map detail, the other creates this pop-up). So the doomed 23rd Tank Division has 373 tanks – fortunately all should have been sent to a museum some years ago.

I’ll come back to discuss some other bits such as HQs et al in another update. What I’ll do now is to discuss my plans





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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 11:12:54 AM   
loki100


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Leningrad is crucial

Key to this is the Finns can move past the line to the north but cannot attack over that line. So I need 4 combat units to hold that line (they can be weak). The Germans have no restrictions but I want to hold them on the dotted line to the south. The zones I’ve marked A+B are where I intend to stack the combat formations of 2 armies (the stacking limit is 3 counters per hex). In addition I want to deploy 2 airbases (& their command HQ), 2 armies and the Northern Front HQ, so I can have about 3 more combat units as an emergency reserve and have some room to move.

In between those lines – 25 combat formations (4 facing the Finns, if needs be I can skip 3 of these), 3 air bases/HQ and 3 land HQs.

Now my belief is I want this OOB as I can then add lots of support units to those 3 land HQs and in turn those support units will give me extra fire support, allow me to dig in and so on.

To get ready, I am going to start allocating support units to the Northern Front and 23 Army (notionally deployed up around Viipuuri).

To do this, you need to spend ‘admin points’ and I have 13 per turn. APs also pay for re-organising the OOB so I need to use them with care. Here is what is available and what I have initially allocated to the Northern Front and 23 Army (it started with quite a lot).

I’m still feeling my way as to what is good to create and what is of little value. Construction battalions (plus the citizens) are key to building a viable defense. Equally from somewhere I need another Army HQ and to build that up to.

Finally, Leningrad can cope with being isolated as long as I still hold one of the 3 ports on the other side of L Ladoga

If I lose them, the garrison gets a huge malus for being ‘isolated’ and will collapse (which is what happened in our first game). So in addition to creating a solid fortification in Leningrad, I need to make the Volkhov unbreachable (and keep the Finns away – note their stop line is just to the north of Svitsa).

Anyway, planning and review done, its time to move things





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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 11:13:57 AM   
loki100


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With 11A lost I actually do not have much this turn I can move. So I concentrate on creating a weak defence line from Pskov to the river Luga. This won’t hold but it costs MPs to enter Zones of Control so the goal is to make the Germans slow down and give me time to construct those lavish defences I am planning for Leningrad.

I have 3 defence lines – around Pskov making use of the rivers and lakes, between Pskov and the Luga – really just to extract MPs from the Germans and on the Luga, anchored by Novgorod. This, somehow, has to hold. In addition there are quite a few locked units, such as the formations at Velikie Luki that I cannot move.

Note at this stage, I have done no sorting out of the OOB, even with perfect supply those units will not hold. I’m using my few APs for the real battles yet to come (forts in and around Leningrad matter more). Thus I have yellow (NW Front), orange (N Front) and white (subordinated direct to Stavka) all intermingled. In my view, the combat malus from that is the least of my problems.





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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 12:08:34 PM   
Cannonfodder


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Note that with a rail line into Leningrad gone it will be very, VERY hard to get reinforcements into the city. You won't be out of supply but your units will atrit very fast into a state of unready..

I would focus on defending more forward. Use lines about 3 deep if possible to stall the german advance...

_____________________________


"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”
¯ Primo Levi, writer, holocaust survivor


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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 1:29:40 PM   
Seminole


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Get the Security units and Bdes forward, in terrain (preferably behind rivers) to screen his forces (places like Ostrov and Rezekne deserve a unit the first turn). The security units will be disbanded soon, and the Bdes are just speed bumps anyway.

Enemy Zone of Control (EZOC) costs are your friend. Learn them. Even a unit 10 miles (1 hex) away from a river line raises the cost of crossing that river. This is critical to exact the highest possible MP costs from his motor units as they range ahead of the Landsers. In the first two or three weeks, with so many units frozen or already overrun they key is to slow him down.

Also, especially in a scenario like this, you want to keep an eye on the reinforcement window. Knowing when and where your reinforcements are coming in can help you avoid wasting APs on re-assigning units to HQs

Also keep in mind the enemy can't discern the type of a unit that is under 'cover' (in trees, rough, swamp) from air recon alone. He'll have to move a unit next to it in order find out if that is a AT bde, security unit, or maybe multiple rifle divisions hiding in that swamp (if he notices it at all!).

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/1/2013 2:26:05 PM   
SigUp

 

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Your opponent has done a beginner's move (didn't we all do this?) by unnecessarily breaking down the motorized units and not push them past the Dvina. Therefore you get 1-2 extra turns to fortify the Pskov line. Retreat behind the Velikaya, give up everything west of it, as well as Estonia. As has been said, use security units (when you play the Germans you will get to hate them, they don't rout that easily) and brigades to create ZOC to burn up MP. And use the terrain, for the Soviets in 41 it is essential to use the double or triple bonus that woods and swamps provide.

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/2/2013 12:08:29 PM   
Qitbuqa

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: SigUp

Your opponent has done a beginner's move (didn't we all do this?) by unnecessarily breaking down the motorized units and not push them past the Dvina.

Hey, I've got one Pz. Div. over Dvina.

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/2/2013 1:58:31 PM   
SigUp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Qitbuqa

quote:

ORIGINAL: SigUp

Your opponent has done a beginner's move (didn't we all do this?) by unnecessarily breaking down the motorized units and not push them past the Dvina.

Hey, I've got one Pz. Div. over Dvina.

Oops, sorry, did not see that division on the edge of the screen. But in general, you want to get at least 2-3 divisions over, so that you can aggressively attack towards Pskov on turn 2. And in the North it is not necessary to break down your motorized units. It burns up MP to recombine them. On turn 1 it is important for the German to realize, due to the crappy Russian morale and restrictions during the first turn, Soviet units basically can't cross into a German ZOC after already having moved. It is enough to create a buffer of like 4 hexes and put a unit at a key hex to prevent conversions that break the pocket.

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/4/2013 11:26:22 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cannonfodder

Note that with a rail line into Leningrad gone it will be very, VERY hard to get reinforcements into the city. You won't be out of supply but your units will atrit very fast into a state of unready..

I would focus on defending more forward. Use lines about 3 deep if possible to stall the german advance...


I'm trying to get something together along the Luga with a disconnected set of speed bumps out in front as the main forward defense. In the time frame of this scenario, I'm not so sure that reinforcements, as such, really matter (could well be wrong on that), if so my fundamental goal is to avold the 'isolated' malus

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/4/2013 11:28:10 PM   
loki100


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The next three posts are my view of my second turn

There is, to me, a rather realistic feel to managing the Soviets at the start of these scenarios. Soviet histories, record, particularly on the NW and W Fronts the struggle of Front and Army commands to create even the semblance of a front line and the way these improvised structures fell apart as the speed of the campaign slipped beyond the Soviet’s commands ability to respond.

I’m going to split this update over three posts of: an overview of what happened in the German turn (ie the situation I faced when I restarted), a discussion of my plans for the airwar and a review of the emerging defence at Leningrad (there will be a small portion missing from this as it would be useful to Qitbuqa in the coming turns).

Outcome of the Axis moves

My losses were not that bad (at least in combat) but mainly as the shattered remnant of 11 Army kept the Germans busy it would seem and most of my losses are in units that surrendered.

This shows up more clearlyby looking at the battle overview screen

Oh and the VVS took another pounding

So lets look at the main map (remember brown is German, green is still mine). Main thing is their spearheads are in Pskov, but generally that isn’t too bad. I guess I am going to have 1-2 turns to try and develop some sort of defence on the Luga line.

The battle at Pskov, by the standards of June 1941 can almost be seen as a victory for me.

For a start I retreated in some sort of order, secondly the loss ratio is almost respectable. You can see quite a lot about the combat engine from the report.

The German 8 Pzr belongs to 56 Pzr Corps and was supported by 2 specialist formations (pioneers and flak). In combination that lot has a combat power (CV) of 92. My 183rd Rifle was supported by a lot of firepower from its controlling corps giving me a notional combat value of 127. Now these base numbers are varied by the quality of leadership and a nasty early game malus for me, so the German 92 becomes 194 and my 127 dips to 62.

Now I’m still feeling my way, but that does indicate that well supported, even my rifle divisions can hold or slow the Germans. The key is the force multiplier that comes from Army level assets (my corps will disappear soon). Equally, once I do have the semblance of a front I can use the ‘reserve’ mode (will come to this later) to mean I can engage more than just 3 divisions in a given defence.






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/4/2013 11:29:11 PM   
loki100


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Air Deployment

As mentioned in the first update, the game uses a rather realistic HQ-OOB system. This means for the Soviets, airbases are attached to a controlling HQ and that HQ in turn is associated with a given Front.

One thing I did last turn was to send the VVS squadrons on the advanced, surrounded or exposed airbases back to the Stavka ‘reserve’. I’ll start feeding these back once my airbases are in their new position and a bit more secure but this shows the range of squadrons I have in reserve

Some of those are bi-planes, the useless I-153s and the rather useful (and for which I have a soft spot) U2s. Key to the Soviet partisan war and inflicted terror on the Germans well out of proportion to their actual effect. Soviet pilots, flying at night and low, would turn off the engines and lob bombs or grenades over a German formation. The lack of warning and the fear of being attacked from the rear was pretty demoralising. I think in game they are less useful, except for building up the partisan formations.

I have 7 Air commands, each linked to a higher HQ. The number after the HQ name is the manpower and to the right of that is the available aircraft under that HQ’s control.

Once I have completed my movements (many elements are still in transit) I intend to arrange the HQs.

I’ll then assign the airpower to give some coverage everywhere but to prioritise the Leningrad sectors.





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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/4/2013 11:30:07 PM   
loki100


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My response

The units on the Baltic Islands go for a cruise back to Leningrad

Overall, I have two Fronts. I’m planning to use the Northern Front for Leningrad and to contest the Finnish advance between Lake Ladoga and Onega. Zhukov has taken over from the unfairly maligned Kuznetsov (Stalin didn’t like him as he resisted Stalin’s schemes for a Soviet blue water navy. Equally he defied orders on 20 June and put the Baltic Fleet’s submarines to sea to defend against a naval invasion of Estonia or Leningrad).

The HQ image is from the end of turn, but it shows m army or higher level commands. As with the airwings, it indicates how many men are under that HQ. The numbers are manpower, artillery pieces, tanks (a lot of the Mech Corps are at this stage linked to the Front commands or direct to Stavka).

Note that 8 and 11 Armies are shell commands, after the slaughter on the borders neither have units under their control (this will change as I feed in replacements and the front solidifies). 23 and 24 Armies will be the base of my Leningrad operation (at this stage 23A is mostly on the Finnish border).

This shows my deployment on the Pskov-Luga sector (before I made any moves). In this I have enabled another map mode that shows the level of fortifications in a given hex. If a hex is occupied by a unit it will try to dig in. Chances are enhanced by being static, the level of Engineering support in the related HQ and how close I am to a major city.

I’ll juggle those formations around to dig in along the Luga and create a small screen in front of what will have to pass for a front line.

To the south, things are even sketchier. What in theory is 3 armies is in reality 2 understrength formations (11 and 22) and a scattering of airborne troops and units reporting direct to the NW Front.

Finally, the last image is a quick look at the VP position.

Somewhat misleading at the moment but it gives you some idea of the objectives. We both gain VPs as the game goes on. The Germans from Soviet losses, me from their losses (I gain at a slightly higher rate) and per turn for the 3 hexes in and around Leningrad.

The bulk of the VPs are awarded on the basis of who controls what at the game end. Note they are asymmetric, but outside Leningrad, I plan to hold Rzhev, Vyshny Volocek and maybe Volkhov. That should mean a final award to the Axis of 1200-1500 and to me of 500-600. So to get a draw I need to be ahead by around 800. Holding the 3 Leningrad hexes for all 18 turns gives me 144 towards that. I need to do a lot of damage, and this is one reason for my planned aggressive deployment of the VVS. I’ve found in other games with this scenario, between the VVS and flak units (another thing I am attaching to my HQs) I can inflict decent losses on the Luftwaffe and their somewhat weaker Finnish allies.






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/6/2013 9:50:04 PM   
loki100


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Turn 3

This turn proved to be a bit of a false dawn. I’ll mostly concentrate on the Leningrad sector as in truth the Southern sector is very quiet and the Finns only get going next turn.

So when I opened it up I found the Panzers on the south bank of the Luga but not across it yet except for some sort of bridgehead at Oredezh. In consequence the amount of combat was limited. I’d put a few weak formations in contact with the German spearhead at Pskov which were swept away. The logic to this is twofold. First it will cost the Germans MP to clear them out the way, second units in contact take attrition losses. Not sure in the timescale of this scenario that is that important, but any loss for them may end up in my VP column.

One thing I’ve been doing is to assign AA formations to my HQs. This seems to pay off in that the main destroyer of German aircraft has been flak rather than my fighters. I presume ‘operational losses’ are accidents and stuff crashing – so we’ll draw a discrete veil over the VVS’ performance in this respect.

Anyway, I concentrate on building up and shifting my reinforcements to the critical sectors. The rough layout is as before, except that 31 Army has been fed into the line along the Volkhov. Its very unready divisions are mostly deployed in poor terrain so as to slow any German advance, it won’t as such win any battles.

The way to read the OOB is that to ignore the Northern Flt Air Cmnd (that historically controlled Soviet aviation up towards Murmansk). Basically the Northern and Baltic Air commands are supporting the northern forces except for Leningrad (so some 800 planes in combination). 7th IAK is in Leningrad.

Since everything in the end of the OOB chain reports to Stavka then I have close to 1 million men, 10,000 AT/Artillery pieces, 1800 AFVs (most rubbish) and 1,000 Aircraft. It doesn’t feel like enough.

So next turn my relative calm will be shattered. But I am still prioritising using my Admin Points to create Army support units and have just built my first fortified zone.






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/7/2013 7:35:58 AM   
cpt flam


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just a note about your score
you will gain 8 points for the 3 hexes each half turn
this will make (max) 8*17*2 for 272
better than you think
good to see you there from paradox forum

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/7/2013 11:00:20 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: cpt flam

just a note about your score
you will gain 8 points for the 3 hexes each half turn
this will make (max) 8*17*2 for 272
better than you think
good to see you there from paradox forum


thanks that does make a draw if I hold Leningrad that bit more plausible (& I guess the intended outcome if you pull it off).

still getting used to the different AAR production culture here, not least attaching single images rather than the text-image approach I've got used to ... have tried another experiment for the next post

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/7/2013 11:01:59 PM   
loki100


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Turn 4, playing around with different ways to work with the single attachment model, hope this is clear:




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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/8/2013 9:14:34 AM   
AFV


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That infantry division just west of Luga has 7 MP left and looks like it could cut the entire spearhead off by moving 2 or 3 hexes se.

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/10/2013 12:19:22 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AFV

That infantry division just west of Luga has 7 MP left and looks like it could cut the entire spearhead off by moving 2 or 3 hexes se.


I know, but that was as far as it could go, one more hex and I would have really cut up the supply lines but the impact of low morale on the ability to push into enemy held hexes ...

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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/10/2013 12:21:10 PM   
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Turn 5 - same layout as for Turn 4:






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/17/2013 9:30:28 PM   
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Turn 6:






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RE: Defending Leningrad (A Road to Leningrad PBEM) - 2/25/2013 8:52:19 PM   
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Turn 7

(now I can make links its a lot easier to set these up, if anyone is interested the same report is on the Paradox OT Forum)

Those of you with long memories will recall that I spent some of the last update discussing how effectively I have 6 hexes to defend and 8 turns to do it in. So I need a loss rate of less than 1 per turn.

Well –



Whoops. So I’ve just lost 3 in one turn but still (just) hold the mouth of the Volkhov.

To the north you can see 7 Independent Army falling back and a line forming up to stop the Finns. The latter may appear wasteful but now the fighting is intense those NKVD formations are no use and I can send damaged rifle divisions to refit and then bring them back to the front.

This shows all the battles:



The main stuff was around Tikhvin, where despite the losses I managed to hold the Axis to little gains and Volkhov which is both key and went badly. Worse (not clear in the screenshot) my last decent armoured unit is more or less encircled.

I decide its time to shake up the Soviet command structure. Berzarin (despite his win/loss record) is more than good enough to keep on.



Political is the cost of replacing him (so some of Stalin’s idiot cronies have very high political ratings), morale helps offset my poor unit morale, (it affects my combat values), initiative feeds into the number of MPs I have (again something I struggle for) as well as the chance to release support/reserve units to the battle and the chance that individual elements will actually fire.

Think of elements in this game as they are in the AGE system, in effect a building block to the counter that you actually see on the map.

Admin again helps with MPs, refit/repair and the costs of reorganising combat units between different commands.

The Mech and Infantry ratings sort of stack with the initiative rating but obviously some officers are better at Infantry command and others with Mech units.

Now Pronin is not long for this world. He’s off to supervise the digging of the White Sea Canal or some equally urgent task.



This gives me some idea how can replace him. These shifts cost admin points and the charge varies according to how you select.



I’ll allocate this key sector to Tolbukhin.



Now that is much more like it.

In addition I gamble on stripping part of the Leningrad garrison so some units are sent across the lake to Sviritsa to form a last line of defense.



That’s the OOB after the final allocations. Scarily (& out of my control in this scenario) Budyenny is now in charge of Stavka [1] - well at least the Red Army is being led by a man with an impressive moustache.



In general, it now looks as if the Germans are going straight up the edge of Lake Ladoga. I manage to shuffle some units from the south to the centre (& in turn to the north) to try and boost my defences on what is now going to be the key sector.



[1] – this is a bit of a bugbear for me. In Russian, Stavka (Ставка) is not an acronym (ie to be capitalised), it’s a proper word. Its not like OKH (ie an acronym). Best translated as Tent, in that in medieval Russian armies the tent of the supreme commander was marked out in camp and on the battle field so generals knew where to go. The Tsar in WW1 adopted the title to refer to the Russian supreme command to support the fiction that he was at the front with his men.

Stalin set it up as a new command concept just after the German invasion and it sat in an odd relationship between the GKO (which is an acronym) and the Military Soviets – the confusion allowed Stalin to play political games depending on his interests of the moment. Sorry, rant over.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 2/25/2013 8:59:34 PM >

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 26
turns 8-9 - 3/15/2013 9:43:10 AM   
loki100


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Turn 8

So this turn sees my defence at Sviritsa dismantled.



The only marginally good piece of news is that he obviously lacked the MP to actually occupy the port. So that does provide me with a small chance.

So I push some formations into Sviritsa and launch a counterattack with the still powerful 34 Army units along the Ladoga.

Which proves to be a rather spectacular failure.



Now they would have lost anyway but I’d forgotten to check if their HQ was in range (it had been displaced in the Axis turn) so to add to their woes there were out of command range which is one reason why their effective combat power dropped from 9 to 2. Not that it would have made much difference.

Anyway, I do manage to regain the port and thus re-establish a line of communications to Leningrad.



In the southern sector, having taken on fresh units and recovered from the earlier beatings, 29 Army probes into the axis flank.



Turn 9

However, as maybe expected turn 9 confirms what was probably pretty obvious.



I’ve lost the key Leningrad hex



And Sviritsa is now firmly in German hands (so what is left at Leningrad is now isolated)



My one, rather forlorn hope is a counterattack by 34Army, led by 1 Tank Division



(which looks good in theory).

But not, unfortunately in practice



Some comments

Well that was clearly a total disaster. We’ll play to the end, but I suspect in the remaining 8 turns Qitbuqa will take everything on the map. With no Leningrad distraction there is not much I can now do. So I’ll stop the AAR at this stage.

Errors.

Well certainly some of placement, I lost 3-5 rifle divisions by not really thinking about where I wanted them to go. Not decisive, but then in this scenario it does feel as if the Soviets are waging war on a shoestring.

I probably over-loaded Leningrad, but then I wanted that not to fall to the sort of attack that took the main city hex in any case. In scenario terms I can see no merit to holding the Ladoga ports and losing the city (different of course in a campaign game). Equally I now wonder if effectively abandoning the southern sector was such a good idea.

Defending against an axis thrust that prioritises reaching the Luga is clearly difficult, and its not something I have come up with a solution to.

I think that first putting the weight of the non-Leningrad forces along the Volkhov will help. At leas that would avoid the problem I had in turn 4 when 27A was isolated to the west and my Mech Corps encircled.

I still think that once that had happened, I was right to counterattack with the view of cutting into my opponents supply and communication lines. I know I lost a fair bit but I also got a lot out.

Now since then, I’ve played some more and have an idea that might have offset the fundamental problem I faced. One real problem for the Soviets is low MP (add to that the low morale means high costs to enter enemy territory and Zones of Control). Well you can allocate additional supplies to a given HQ which in turn gives you extra MP. It might have been the case that judicious use of that option would have given me the means to seriously cut supply lines and/or reposition my forces as needed.


< Message edited by loki100 -- 3/15/2013 9:45:53 AM >

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 27
RE: turns 8-9 - 3/15/2013 3:20:29 PM   
Seminole


Posts: 492
Joined: 7/28/2011
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quote:

Defending against an axis thrust that prioritises reaching the Luga is clearly difficult, and its not something I have come up with a solution to.


You didn't present full maps of the defensive arrangement on turns 1 and 2, but the rifle & AT brigades, as well as security units and the paras need to pushed forward to screen (remember to use the rail to get these units in position), and with a little help potentially cut off, his spearheads over the Daugava river if he is reckless.
The first week I try to get my strongest (best morale) forces around Pskov to hopefully avoid him crossing the river on week 2 (or force him to cross it south of Pskov). With the screen raising MP costs and the best morale units along the Velikaya river, forcing deliberate attacks to cross that river can hopefully give you time to force deliberate attacks across the Luga as well. By that time your unit density should be picking up.
As early as practicable (fixing command chains on the front line overrides) get a fort built on the port that feeds Leningrad, this will allow you to get to entrenchment level 3 on the backdoor of the Neva river line.
I noticed you had rifle divisions on the Finnish no attack line and brigades defending the Neva river. That is backwards.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 28
RE: turns 8-9 - 3/16/2013 3:26:53 PM   
rrbill

 

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I appreciate your effort to show the scenario campaign. Germans should win this one, always. All you could do was hold out with maximum points protected as long as possible. The fun is in the play.

The ports are essential to the Soviets' defense of L'grad. The thrust into the rough terrain that you feared should be easy to contain because of terrain and communication lines (I think.) I'd let the German go there and tie him up.

< Message edited by rrbill -- 3/16/2013 3:28:14 PM >

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Post #: 29
RE: turns 8-9 - 3/19/2013 6:51:47 PM   
Wuffer

 

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As allways, very well written and illustrated. I think, rrbill is right - any real success for the soviet side in this scenario would be mainly due German mistakes...
BTW, welcome to the post-Hoi-world, what is the most important aspect of this posting :-)

Greetings

(in reply to rrbill)
Post #: 30
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