From: Bedfordshire UK
Italian Campaign, Turn 59, 3rd June 1944.
Here is the situation a few turns before ROME is captured, the way North along the East coast is open with only the SS - Waffen Grenadier Brigade (Italia) in the way, but so many Allied units were out of 'combat supply', after holding against the encircled Axis break-out attempts and then finishing off the encircled units, that I could not exploit the situation and now the Germans are closing the gap, all the realistic frustrations of the Italian Campaign.
Look a the next post to see how the AI moves in new units to seal the front, whilst the 'combat supply' situation has stopped the Allied exploitation. What appears to be a firm defence of ROME in this image melted away, after the loss of the city depicted in the next post/image, they will form Axis defences further North.
It's not over as there is still a long way to go, but Allied units have reached the last mountain barrier, with hills and rough terrain beyond.
This is half way through a second playing of this scenario, as I had some queries over the game supply system, posted in the Tech Forum, but with no response. The second game was to explore the extent of the supply anomalies, without the delay of writing-up a posted AAR.
The first anomaly was the extent of supply from NAPLES and TARANTO, when they are fully opened as Allied ports, spreading 100% supply coverage to all hexes, irrespective of terrain effects and excluding the supply from all other ports, which seems excessive.
However, the PFE manual notes that - '….......... focus on capturing another port closer to the front line, such as Naples which can supply operations over a great swath of central Italy.', so this may be working as designed, but it doesn't look right.
I played on, to confirm this effect, which is present in both games and decided to modify the effect, never allowing the big ports (NAPLES/TARANTO) to achieve more than 50% capacity, by controlling the number of workers allocated to each port. Increasing and reducing the number of workers to keep near the 50% port capacity limit, which produced a more realistic supply coverage on the supply map overlay.
This is a personal preference, which does not make a huge difference in the game, as the most important supply feature is 'combat supply', which is a different issue and much more significant to playability. However, I am using a series of house rules to create more challenging game in playing against the AI and the above port restriction has been added to these house rules.
The next issue is in applying 'combat supply' to units, whilst they are still in the 'Arrivals' section of the Reinforcement List. This is a feature which was added in the v1.03 update and would have been useful in getting units ready for action, before they actually arrive. However, when playing in 'Windows 10', using this feature sends the supply system haywire, with the available supply points jumping into the 1000s.
Strangely, when 'combat supply' is added to units still in the 'Arrivals' list, they appear on the map with an action penalty and are unable to move, so there is no advantage in using this feature, no time is saved. You might as well wait until the unit appears on the map, to either apply 'combat supply', or decide to move it instead. The answer to this supply anomaly is to ignore this 'Arrivals' list feature.
I thought I had another port supply bug, which just turned out to be me miss-reading the map, so after playing through the test game my confidence in the game is restored. These supply issues are minor irritations and not game-breakers.
The next question is the performance of the AI, which turned out to be quite good. During the early turns the AI was able to exploit the powerful effect of ZoCs in this game and set up an effective defence right across the peninsular, with only four units carefully placed with interlocking ZoCs, which initially closed down the Allied advance.
Design Notes extract - 'Also, I prefer that a unit has the ability to perform only one action at a time. So no leave a ZoC, move, enter a different ZoC and attack in this game.'
The effect of ZoCs is an essential part of this game and understanding the limitations they impose is key to making progress.
The AI seemed to have more 'combat supply' than me, or was better at deploying it, as in the early battles the Axis units always had a higher level of 'combat supply'. In the latest turns the AI Axis seems to have suffered some sort of collapse, with units low on 'combat supply'. FOW hides the enemy unit state, but the battle information panel shows the stats (supply, efficiency, disruption, etc.) of the forces involved, so there has to be combat to get this information. The battle info screen shows during the turn resolution and is cleared with a mouse click, to enable the turn resolution to continue, if you take a screen-shot you can refer back to the battle details, otherwise there is no record.
The defence of ROME turned out to be a sham with the defending Axis units, including HG Motorised Div., out of 'combat supply' and effectively helpless. I was at first reluctant to attack again, as there was not enough 'combat supply' on the Allied side for a sustained attack. There was only enough supply for one attack, which would then leave the attacking units low on 'combat supply' and vulnerable, but the US 1st Arm. Div. and the Canadian 5th Arm. Div. will attack across the river TIBER and blow HG Motorised away (see next post/image). I was emboldened by the fact that HG Motorised withdraws across the river in the face of an attack in a later turn. The WEGO system and powerful FOW introduces enough doubt and uncertainty to make this a challenging game.
Here is another extract from the Design Notes :
Using the PFE system, the attacker and defender will enjoy moments of uncertainty., For example an attacker moving his forces up to a weak point in the line, then the defender will be able to order his forces to react although since everything is simultaneous the attacks will be going in while the defender is reacting. Nothing being certain, neither side will know for sure what the situation will be on the ensuing turn. Will the attacks succeed or fail? Will the defender’s reserves be able to create a new line in time? Does the attacker have fresh forces following up?
Frank has certainly succeeded in building a realistic uncertainty into the game system.
It has been a game of two halves, as on the West coast, historically represented by German 14 PzK, the AI has conducted a delaying campaign, holding the line forcing the me to concentrate units, commit 'combat supply' to units for a breakthrough, but withdrawing in good time to avoid serious loss, or encirclement. Whilst on the East coast, historically represented by 76 PzK, it has been a different strategy, as the AI has held on and not retreated.
Initially, it was a justifiable strategy for the AI to hold Eastern coastal towns and ports to stop me gaining supply and it worked, causing significant delay. The actual strategy used by the Germans in France 1944, to hold the Channel ports after D-Day, to impose supply problems on the Allies.
In the game, Allied units were on the limits of supply from BARI and couldn't amass enough 'combat supply' to make a meaningful attack, wasting many turns without progress. However, when NAPLES was taken the Allied supply situation improved dramatically and the German units holding the East coast strip were encircled and eventually destroyed. The ZoC restrictions finally worked in my favour, holding German units ensnared and eight Axis divisions were destroyed in two encircling operations, with the AI allowing itself to be trapped too easily. Which is strange, as the AI was performing much better in the Western coastal area, except that the possession of further ports was not so critical on that front and maybe not worth fighting for.
< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 6/7/2017 7:47:58 AM >
"We have to go from where we are, not from where we would like to be" - me