This is the end (and below is the reason why).
I set out in this game, hoping to be able to push on and take Leningrad, while believing it to be unlikely that I would be able to threaten much in either the center or the south, due to the longer supply lines and the longer distances to be covered by the rail advance units.
The main offensive units of the Axis are, of course, the German mobile divisions (Panzers and Motorized Divisions). In this game, the Logistics modifier of 80 means that the fuel received by Panzers is a lot less than in “regular” games. When starting the game, I assumed it would be a percentage modifier with the Panzers receiving 80% of what they would normally do. Looking over the manual, I can see this has chanced during my hibernation.
Now, the modifier is added up along with another series of modifiers to a total modifier of 70% less fuel for a unit in hexrow 80 (west of Smolensk). This is made up by adding together a base of 20 for the Logistics modifier, 30 for the hexrow number and another 20 for being before Nov 1941. In short, an empty Panzer (0% fuel left) in this location will receive 30% (before other reductions) of it’s requirements for a total of 15MP or so each turn. In short, the effect of the logistics modifier is to subtract 10MP from every Panzer every turn. Of course, going eastwards will only serve to confound the problem, as the hexrow modifier gets larger for every hexrow to the east.
This can be seen on units such as the LVI Panzer Corps in the Baltics (under von Manstein). These units have an HQ being in hexrow 74 this turn being 7MP and 6 hexes from the nearest railhead. The component divisions start the turn having a total of 40% of required fuel and 20MP to start. Another Panzer Corps, in the center, is at 78, 50 and 13MP and 6 hexes from the nearest railhead. The attached Panzers start with 35% fuel plus leftovers from previous turns, which nets a total of 17MP or so gathered every turn.
This can be somewhat offset by an HQBU (but only somewhat). In the center, an HQ in 73, 43 being 4MP and 2 hexes from a railhead, has done an HQBU last turn. As a result, the attached Panzers have received extra fuel and are now at 119 to 130% of their fuel requirements. In short, an HQBU gives one turn of full movement against the Soviets. After this, the situation is pretty much back to normal.
The overall result is that the Panzers by now have limited possibilities for attacking, as they simply do not have the fuel required to do so unless an HQBU has been performed. Moving one or two hexes into position and attacking is a costly affair. The thought of making any wide sweeps around the Soviet forces concentrated along my FBD axis of advance is simply unrealistic, as the fuel requirements would eat up all available fuel, leaving the Panzers to face the coming turns without anything to keep them alive during the Soviet counter attacks on the coming turns.
Attacking east of Smolensk look to be all but impossible. Moscow sits on 105, 45 giving any German Panzer HQ five hexes back a total modifier of -90% to fuel requirements. Using Panzers for an attack on Moscow thus seems pointless with the current logistics modifiers. Even without those modifiers, the Panzers would receive only 30% of requirements, incidentally making the situation much like the one I am now facing west of Smolensk.
I set out in this game assuming that the logistics modifier was a percentile, meaning I would basically get 80% of what I was used to. I have now learned it is not so. Instead, the modifier is far, far worse. Around Smolensk (hexrow 80) I will now receive only 60% of the fuel I would receive without the modifier. Should I somehow manage to advance on Moscow, the reduction would be far worse still: I would receive only 10% of my needs every turn, instead of the 30% I would receive without the logistics modifier.
The Soviet supply modifier seems to have much less impact. During the game, I chat frequently with Sparkley over the return of turns etc. In one recent comment, he told me that he was a little unlucky that one of his Cavalry units this turn had only received 17MP (I got the impression he was used to getting the full 18MP). Of course, the soviet rail modifier is only subject to the logistics modifier and neither the rail nor the date modifier.
Should the game proceed into the blizzard period, I would be even worse off. By then, the modifiers for a units at Smolensk would be 60% leaving 40% for me. However, this would then be multiplied by a factor of 0.5 meaning that my units would only get 20% of their needs every turn. Advancing further east towards Moscow would be all but suicidal. A German unit in Moscow would receive only 10% of it’s needs every turn. A Soviet winter offensive would quickly wipe out any German resistance.
The conclusion for me is clear. In both the center and the south, I need to stop the advances, as I will be able to achieve nothing of substance and only place myself further at risk, the deeper into Russia I go. At Leningrad, the chance of me actually taking the city is minute, as the Panzers will receive far to little fuel to make any real threat. By now, only 40% pf requirements reach the Panzers and this number will decrease by another five points or so, as I approach the city. In short, I need to plan with the Panzers starting each turn with about 33% of their fuel requirements met. With so little fuel, I will get no more than one battle or so out of every Panzer each turn (if that much). With the soviet resistance ever stiffening, that will be far to little to ever reach the city.
All in all, I would say the logistics modifier has two major impacts on the game:
1) Restricting the capabilities of the German Panzers. If you limit the fuel reaching the Panzers, you effectively limit their capacity for breakthroughs and thus their worth to the Axis war machine. A 20 point modifier is enough to virtually render the Panzers useless as you move east across the board. At Smolensk, the value of the Panzers is severely restricted due to lack of fuel, while further east it will be entirely negligible.
2) Setting the logistics modifier effectively changes the possible extent of the Axis advance. If it is assumes that an Axis unit at Moscow is at the very far end of its capability for advance at Moscow (with standard 100 logistics modifier) for each point you change the logistics modifier, you will move this imaginary line either west or east.
I would recommend those who feel the game is unbalanced to try to alter the logistics modifier. I would not recommend such a change to be more then five points (or at most 10), as the effect of this change will be rather drastic.
In any case, my feeling is that I am no longer able to advance in the current game. I have conveyed this to Sparkley, and he has agreed to let me end the game. I sincerely hope he is not to disappointed, as I would love to get another go at him with the Germans at some point.
But for now, I have started a game playing as the Soviets against Huw Jones.
Reports are forthcoming.
To be is to do -- Socrates
To do is to be -- Jean-Paul Sartre
Do be do be do -- Frank Sinatra