ComradeP -> RE: 1:1 odds, counterattack casualties etc (1/30/2011 4:16:54 PM)
With preparation and planning, the Soviets can have numerous units with CV's of 3 and 4 in July/August. Both Flavio and myself have made more than enough attacks at 2:1 (uncorrected) or higher in our vs AI games to conclude that the odds modifier might not be necessary.
notenome has made a number of those attacks himself, including against multiple divisions. The Soviets also get more variability with their CV's. I'm still waiting for an explanation on the tester forum on exactly how that's possible if the modifiers are multipliers/dividers (and what that variability amounts to as a percentage of the starting CV).
The +1 odds modifier also ignores the massive C&C screwups that made sure the vast majority of Soviet counterattacks in 1941 were failures even if they had a good chance of succeeding with more capable leadership. For example, even though the counterattacks in the AGN area were often made by units of the same army, they still faced significant C&C problems according to Glantz. In the game, units of the same army always attack at 100% command modifier, with no penalties if you attack with, say, 10 divisions instead of a more manageable 4 or 5. This is one of the reasons why I feel even the worst Soviet leaders in terms of skill ratings are too competent in 1941.
As such, I'd say that the +1 odds modifier is unnecessary.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the Axis have no such hard coded bonus, of any kind. The things that make Axis divisions good (morale, experience, good leaders) are all things the Soviets can achieve or approximate currently, although with upcoming changes to Soviet experience gains, their experience might be lower.
However, as examples like notenome's counterattack against two of my best mobile divisions have shown, even ~40-50 morale/experience units can successfully attack ~80-90 experience/99 morale German units and inflict a, by German standards, large amount of losses.
I am not convinced that the goal should be to allow the Soviets to attack a stack without trained units. I can't currently think of any example where the Soviets successfully attacked 2 German divisions located in a 10 mile area pre-autumn 1941. There might be an example or two, but I doubt the attacks were as plentiful as they can be in the game. The majority of the successful Soviet counterattacks pre-autumn were conducted against overstretched divisions.
Single German divisions have a defensive CV of 8 to 15 or so, and it's perfectly possible to attack the weaker ones as the Soviets with a more limited amount of forces than an entire army.
A part of the problem is that there's no flanking, or a direct benefit for having protected flanks aside from the enemy not being able to attack from the flank. There is, as such, no difference in losses between an attack from 1,2,3,4 or 5 hexsides as far as I know. As such, retreat losses from a situation where a retreat would've been easy (an attack from one or two hexsides next to eachother) are identical to a situation where a retreat would've been more costly (an attack from 5 hexsides, with only 1 open hexside).
I find it highly doubtful that any head-on attacks against mobile divisions caused 3000 losses pre-autumn 1941.
As such, I am of the opinion that Axis retreat losses are too high. The units are highly experienced, yet take fairly high losses. Keep in mind that when the Soviets would make, say, 5 attacks like notenome made each turn, which is certainly a possibility later on and is actually a conservative estimate, the Axis would essentially lose a mobile division each turn in terms of casualties, something they can't deal with no matter how good the strategic situation is.
As notenome mentioned, another problem is the fairly low Soviet losses for retreats or routs. Divisions seem to take at most 2500-3000 losses as single divisions and around 2000-2500 losses as part of a stack. A clever Soviet player can put the units he expects to rout on refit, which will mean that their combat effectiveness is completely restored in the Soviet part of the turn. As such, there's little benefit for routing a division aside from it moving out of the way.
My best divisions also cause less losses than they take when they're attacked, as 40-50 experience/morale units, when massed, can fairly easily cause similar losses to my 80-90 experience/99 morale units.
The "ceiling" for losses for routing units seems much too low. If an individual Soviet division routs, it takes around 2500-3000 losses, when a stack of three divisions routs it takes about 5000-5500 losses. As such, one division essentially takes no casualties compared to how many casualties the divisions would take if they're individually routed.
Historically, there were initially a substantial number of cases where Soviet forces lost cohesion after an attack and were overran before recovering it. That is not possible in the game, as divisions rarely shatter, suffer fairly low losses when routing, always rout to their HQ, and often can't be targeted again in the same turn.
The way routing works currently also means that it's in some ways better for a unit to rout than to retreat. As Axis divisions tend to retreat, they can in some cases be attacked twice on the same turn. When a unit routs, it often can't be touched again on the same turn. As such, the Axis face the weird situation that their higher morale is a liability on the defence in some cases as it allows the Soviets to hit them harder.
As there's no "chase phase" after combat for mobile unit, or any direct advantage for engaging non-mobile units with mobile units, mobile units are underpowered in my opinion. They might have impressive CV's on their counter, but those get reduced to very little with hasty attacks and deliberate attacks are too costly in terms of MP's.
Mobile units also face the problems that fatique and fuel consumption are linked to MP's, so even if you move only 20 miles a week due to enemy units/ZOC hindering movement, your divisions will be out of fuel and quite fatiqued, even though they've advanced less than 3 miles a day, in some cases without actually attacking. As such, ZOC is a really powerful way to stop mobile units currently.
The odds of a battle also mostly have no effect aside from determining whether the defenders are scouted, hold, retreat or rout. This is one of the few case where there's no real direct link between odds and casualties, as casualties are caused by interaction between attacker and defender ground and air elements.
Concluding, the problems I face (I'm speaking solely based on my own experience here) as the Axis are:
-even the weakest Soviet units can stop my mobile units in difficult terrain. A problem with the fort level calculations/defender CV multiplier was discovered this week, so there'll be less of a problem for games that start after they're patched when the patch becomes available.
-my mobile units cause fairly few losses when they're attacking, but take high losses when defending.
-it is more or less impossible to wreck a Soviet unit's combat effectiveness for more than your own turn phase. As a result, the pattern tends to be:
1)I rout units, they take fairly low losses.
2)They rally 9 out 10 times in the Soviet phase.
3)notenome can attack with them on his part of the turn or place them in a carpet/line again.
4)Repeat every turn, making my advance extremely slow in some areas.
This might be the primary thing slowing me down, that I can't really put the hurt on the Soviets for more than my own turn phase with even the best of attacks.