AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (Full Version)

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Rasputitsa -> AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/24/2017 8:32:38 AM)

I left off at the beginning of Turn 14, so here is the remainder of that turn.


This image shows the end of turn situation, with supply overlay selected, just before hitting the button to resolve the action.

Both ports at SALERNO and BARI are now at 100%, but supply diminishes as you move away from the supply sources, as the supply overlay shows, with each hex indicating where it is receiving supply from and what % level of supply it is getting. The level of supply is also indicated by colour and the overlay clearly shows the difficulty of getting supplies into the central hills, where supply levels have reduced into the 30s and when it falls below 25%, combat supply cannot be delivered. I may have to restrict combat operations to the coastal areas, where supplies can travel further and I need more supply sources further North quite soon.

The supply overlay shows that FOGGIA is not yet Allied territory, which probably explains why landings further North are not yet available, as there is no air cover. I changed my map airfield symbol to show the Allied control of the airfields, because I had better results the first time I played this turn, but now I have had to restart (Windows 10 problems) the situation is not so good and it will be next turn before the advantages of having FOGGIA will show.

To re-cap the readings in the lower panel, supply is minimal and using all I have, Fuel is OK but not plentiful, I have 5 Sea Transport points, this will move US 1st Armoured when it arrives in 3 turns (4 pnts) and enough for a Commando raid (1 Pnt), but no airdrops.

Overall, this is not a good position to launch a major offensive, I want to get on before the Germans consolidate, but I just can't do it.

Reality dictates that I should take the next few turns building up general supply, distributing combat supply to specific units and waiting for 1st Armoured.

US Western Sector

Whilst supply builds up, I am ordering units forward to close with the Axis units protecting NAPLES and consolidating Allied units around BENEVENTO.

I am looking at the supply overlay as I set the moves and US 34th Inf. Div. is probability set to advance too far, as I wanted to interdict the road between CAPUA and TERMOLI, but when the turn plays out I fear that it may be beyond combat supply, whilst already carrying low combat supply, not a good position.

UK Eastern Sector

In the East I will try to squeeze out the positions that Axis 3rd and 15th Mot. Divs. have over the river FORTORE and deal with 65th Inf. Div. on my side of the river in the hills.

Increased ground support priority to 5th Inf. Div. and provided combat supply to level 3 (green), as this unit is standing off the two Axis Mot. Divs.

Keeping 1st Airborne back in the centre, as a reserve, and was thinking of pushing on towards that crossroads at 15,38 on the CAPUA/TERMOLI road which is very tempting, but can I risk valuable paratroopers in these hills ?

Meanwhile to the rear, 231st Inf. Bde. is at PORTENZA waiting to be withdrawn from the theatre and the Commando Bde. is at BARI, still waiting for amphibious operations to become available further North. The selected beach for a raid is 19,35 between VASTO and TERMOLI, but I have no follow-up units if the raid is a success, as I don't have the resources to prepare more sea transport points for any further amphibious moves.

VASTO has no landing capacity, but TERMOLI is a possible port, which I hope to take by overland attack.

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/24/2017 9:08:00 AM)

Turn 15 – 21 October 1943

Weather Clear
Air Priority Superiority – 9 / Ground Support – 10 / Interdiction – 5

Leaving Fuel/Supply slider at 30% Fuel / 70% Combat Supply, as it is supply that I need right now.

Supply is a little better, but not great, Fuel remains OK, but will always need more.

Overall supply on the map has improved with hexes showing higher supply levels, which is a bonus and greatly improves the situation, I suppose this is the AI continuing to tidy up the rear areas, improving roads, etc., but indicates how it quietly handles the background tasks.

I notice that supply has started to flow through TARANTO, although I haven't specifically captured the port, or allocated workers. I had a bug earlier, where I sent a unit to capture TARANTO and allocated port workers, which caused all Allied hexes suddenly to go to 100% supply from TARANTO (had to restart the game). Now the AI has brought TARANTO into use and the supply coverage between the active ports is correctly distributed.

Now it is working properly, the AI is handling the house-keeping nicely, leaving me to the hard work of losing the game undisturbed.

Although FOGGIA is now Allied territory and the game has issued a report to confirm, there is still no amphibious invasion option showing for the Commandos waiting in BARI, or any other of the other units on port hexes. So continue to wait for a raid opportunity to materialise.

Added workers to SAPRI, not essential, but it might help supply.

US Western Sector

US 34th Inf. Div. did get forward towards the CAPUA/TERMOLI road and the supply situation has improved so that I could issue combat supply to improve the unit's effectiveness, because this is a position which I want to hold.

The unit at SALERNO did not advance to close with 16th Pz, so re-ordered the advance. US 3rd Inf. with tank support from UK 4th Armoured Bde. make a stack move along the road to confront 16th Pz. I really need the punch of the US 1st Arm. Div. on this front, but still 2 turns away from being released into theatre, but it should arrive ready to go straight into action, pre-loaded with combat supply to level 2, as house rule limit for sea transport.

UK Eastern Sector

8th Indian Div. made a non-ordered retreat from its position pinning 15th Mot., with no notification of combat, which is worrying, but ordered back into a flanking position.

Axis 3rd Mot. Div. suffered in the combat at FOGGIA so hitting it again, hoping to trap 15th Mot. in its dug-in position.

The plan to close in on three sides of Axis 65th Inf. Div. has failed, because the 1st FsJ Div, moved into a blocking position faster than the Allied units could, because they had further to travel. I was hoping for a simultaneous attack this turn on those German units on my side of the FORTORE, but now it will have to be a step-by-step approach.


This is the situation at the end of turn with the ordered moves shown, including the attack on 3rd Mot., but before these moves are resolved the results are uncertain. The advance of the 1st Canadian Inf. Div. over the river FORTORE (red arrow) is purely speculative, as I expect that the Axis ZOCs will block it, unless there is a mass retreat, in which case I will get a bridge-head over the river and TERMOLI beckons.

Only after units suffer substantial loss of strength will they lose their ZOC and it is way to soon for that.

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/24/2017 9:17:08 AM)

Turn 16 – 25 October 1943

Weather Clear
Air Priority Superiority – 5 / Ground Support – 17 / Interdiction – 5

334th Inf. Div. is added to Axis OOB (report), but not visible, although air recon. to the North has improved, with German units visible in ROME and FLORENCE.


Another failed attack, but the objective gained, Axis 3rd Mot. Div. destroyed and now only 15th Mot. Div. South of the river FORTORE and TERMOLI just a little bit closer. The failure of the Allied attack on 3rd Mot. to take the battle hex, has left that hex open for 15th Mot. to withdraw into to avoid encirclement.

The surprise was a vicious attack in the centre by 1st FsJ Div., with UK 46th Div. retreating before the attack, not sure how that works when they are not the target, as the force of the attack fell on UK 1st Airborne. Possible good news is that replacements now for the British airborne, but it has been hit hard and needs to keep out of trouble for a turn, or two, to absorb replacements and take on combat supply to restore effectiveness.

Still no eligible beaches for the Commandos in BARI ??

US Western Sector

HG Mot. has disappeared and the NAPLES defence handed over to Axis 94th Inf. Div., does the AI have a cunning plan, where will HG Mot. reappear. Axis 29th Mot. Div. is dug-in at CAPUA .

The US front is in a better state of supply from SALERNO with units in 80%, much worse in the East where the supply from BARI is fading to 40% at the front-line.

The intention on this front is to close in on NAPLES and CAPUA and try to take the port, I don't know why the AI pulled units back, but a lot of fortification has appeared back as far as CASSINO. Meanwhile 82nd Airborne will be ordered to move in to pin 1st FsJ Div., as they cannot be allowed to wander around in the rear area.

UK Eastern Sector

Axis 1st FsJ Div. is a powerful unit (stack size 5) and had no trouble pushing the smaller British units back in the centre, but now it is isolated and could be cut off, but that is a bit like saying that I have Mike Tyson trapped. Who is trapping who ??

46th Div. has been a problem, as it is a lower quality unit, though not the worst, but it just can't seem to hold its ground.

5th Inf. Div., which took part in the attack on 3rd Mot., is showing a level of disruption (red line appearing on the bottom of the unit counter) and may be in need of a rest. I am gaining ground, but at some cost and there is a long way to go.

8th Indian, which is a low quality unit, has done well continuing the end run along the coast, but there is always the possibility that one of these powerful German units might take a punch at it, so I need to keep the pressure on with the other units.

Intending to try and trap 1st FsJ in the centre and also cross the river FORTORE near the coast, to move on TERMOLI, as I need another port badly on this front. BARI was a good asset, but it now too far South.

Choice for the 1st Airborne is replacements, or combat supply, replacements will increase strength, but reduce effectiveness, combat supply will improve effectiveness.

I chose to add replacements back to full strength and intend to add combat supply next turn, 1st FsJ cannot attack immediately as they would have to advance first and I need the combat supply for 7th Armoured Div., which is going to be the striking power on the coast.

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/24/2017 9:33:00 AM)

Turn 17 – 29 October 1943

Weather Clear
Air Priority Superiority – 7/ Ground Support – 13 / Interdiction – 7
2 points of additional air power available

US 1st Armoured arrives MESSINA and immediately shipped to SALERNO, with not as much combat supply that I had hoped. When the scenario started all units had low combat supply (red), I had expected 1st Arm to be the same and had added one combat supply load whilst it was still in the reinforcement 'Arrivals' list, which I thought would take it up to level 2 (yellow), but it seems that these reinforcements come in with no combat supply at all (black).

Note : did some replays to check and units in the 'Arrivals' pool are at combat supply level 1 (red), there must have been a fault from the earlier supply bug problem, because the combat supply I had added to this unit did not stick. It should have arrived at combat level 2 (yellow). You get one opportunity to add combat supply to units whilst they are still in the 'Arrivals' list and before they appear on the map.

Note : 1st Arm. has arrived with red triangle top left, showing no ZOC, this will clear, seems to be an in-transit feature.

So I still have some supply to add before I can make use of this unit, but at least I had the sea transport capacity to get it landed quickly and I need this unit because.......


The AI may have earlier pulled back in the West, but now it is back in force, HG Mot. returns with a friend, an SS Pz Bde. I have the chance to take NAPLES, which has been abandoned, but is it just drawing me on, as in the centre 1st FsJ didn't wait to be pinned, but moved to meet the threat. This is the effect of WEGO, units don't just sit dumb while you have your turn, they move at the same time, so just who is encircling who.

What was going to be an out-flanking manoeuvre on the river FORTORE against Axis 65th Inf. Div. has been stopped by 26th Pz Div. appearing out of the FOW in the centre.

The plan looked good when I hit the button for the end of the previous turn, but now looking flat footed. I had my two fronts joined up, now they are split open again.

US Western Sector

Making the move on NAPLES, it won't help in the short term, as it doesn't extend supply much further, but it is a big port (nearly 3x SALERNO), which will make a difference later on.

I was hoping to pin 1st FsJ Div., but they seem to have pinned me.

The American front is ensnared in ZOCs and hoping that success in the East will free units to break the deadlock.

Set 36th Inf. Div. to 'reinforce adjacent' to the stack of UK 4th Arm. Bde. and the Rangers, as they are in a vulnerable position and both small units.

UK Eastern Sector

8th Indian is now pinned and cannot make any more progress over the river, until 15th Mot. is dealt with, so take the opportunity to add combat supply, this unit has been low on supply for too long.

On the river FORTORE I thought that I was preparing to attack Axis 65th Inf. Div., now my under-powered British infantry divisions are facing a Panzer division instead.

As expected the 1st Canadian Div. did not get over the river, as the axis 65th Inf. side-stepped to block it.

I have ordered attacks on the FORTORE against 15th Mot. and 65th Inf., expecting that if I can make a breakthrough here it will relieve pressure elsewhere. I have adjusted air missions for maximum ground support, subject to the house rule that no other missions should be set at less that 5 (it would be unrealistic to be able to turn ALL air power into one mission). Units attacking 65th Inf. have priority 3, those against 15th Mot. have priority 2, as defeating 65th might encircle 15th. We shall see.

I had not intended to attack this turn, expecting to provide supply instead, but I need the supply elsewhere and a feeling of desperation is creeping in, I need to break out of the net which is closing around both fronts.

UK 1st Airborne still recovering, just added combat supply to restore some effectiveness.

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/24/2017 9:51:24 AM)

Turn 18 – 02 November 1943

Weather Clear
Air Priority Superiority – x / Ground Support – x / Interdiction – x .... still to be decided.
1 point of additional airpower available

The attacks in the East worked, against 65th Inf. the attack rated a success and the German unit retreated to TERMOLI, the attack in 15th Mot. was rated a failure, but the German unit was forced to withdraw. However, the withdrawal was blocked by the successful attack on the 65th, which allowed Allied units to seize a bridge-head over the river FORTORE and 15th Mot. was forced to surrender.

I needed success on the FORTORE to try and relieve pressure on the NAPLES front, where Axis units are piling in.

I think the concentration of airpower into ground support was crucial. In the attack on the 65th the ground units got 8 out of 8 in air support and against the 15th Mot. it was 6 out of 6. I thought the attack on the 65th had to succeed to trap the 15th and so it seems to have been. However, I have had to give up air recon. and interdiction further North, to concentrate on ground attack missions.


This image shows the beginning of Turn 18, before any orders are selected and the overall situation looks much better. It was looking as though the front had fractured and becoming a mess, but it looks more organised now.

Meanwhile, in the West NAPLES has been taken and 9 workers drafted in to get the port operational, leaving 2 workers in the pool to service amphibious operations, but still no eligible beach hexes for the Commandos to attack.

Note : now introduced a house rule on using workers when enemy units are adjacent to a port and NAPLES workers withdrawn.

US Western Sector

British 4th Arm. Bde. and the Rangers were not attacked, so 36th Inf. did not move in the reinforcement move and now adding badly needed, but delayed, combat supply.

Which leaves just enough supply (5 pnts) to provide combat supply to US 1st Arm. Div. waiting at SALERNO. I have had the Fuel / Supply slider at 20% fuel and 80% supply, but there is still insufficient supply and not much fuel.

The US front has now stabilised from NAPLES and near CAPUA along the river to BENEVENTO, but the UK 4th Arm. Bde. and the Rangers stack is still vulnerable, facing two Axis Motorised Divisions and an SS Mot. Bde., but overall looking better than it was.

However, the AI knows where the weak spots are and has concentrated three powerful units against US 36th Inf. Div., which has low combat supply (red) and therefore low effectiveness. The stack next to 36th (4th Arm. and Rangers) does not exert ZOC as units are too small. Here is a weak point that needs to be supported, but combat takes place before movement, so even if I had spare units, they could not get there in time. The only support available is to use 'reinforce adjacent', which will act before combat, and/or pour in the air ground support to help if there is an attack, but then that valuable resource is wasted if the Germans don't attack. Planes circling overhead that could have been used elsewhere, hope the Germans enjoy the air show and I have lost effective interdiction for another turn................. Decisions, Decisions.

UK Eastern Sector

46th Inf. Div. retreated again for no apparent reason, even though not having been attacked. I have loaded 46th with full combat supply (level 3 - green) to try and improve effectiveness, but am I wasting supply putting it into a low quality unit, when a good quality unit could do more. Another of the balance issues that the game constantly presents, I have to 'beef up' these low strength units.

The units in the bridge-head over the FORTORE, after the successful attack, are all showing levels of disruption and have two Panzer divisions to face, but TERMOLI is almost in reach and I need that port to keep supply going on this front.

Many of the British units have no, or low, combat supply (see 78th Inf. Div. - combat supply level 0, black), so not much can happen for a while, but we are now over one more river. Looking at the map, only another 14 rivers to go till the PO valley – great !!!

Used up all the supply again.

I hope to prepare an airdrop as soon as the supply position allows, just to see how it will work and how far North it can be used, as part of a longer term plan.

It seems that airpower ground attack had a significant part in these attacks and happy with the effect of the house rule which stops all the player's airpower being directed into ground attack, which could then be focused on one battle, by setting high priority to one unit, or stack of units. Total direction of all airpower would not be realistic and limiting it gives the Axis AI more of a chance, with more of a challenge for the player.

The game definition of failure, or success, in combat, is whether the attacking units have been able to take over the target hex. In the attack on 65th Div. the Allied units gained the hex and the 65th retreated, but survived, attack successful. In the attack on the 15th Mot. the Allied units failed to gain the hex and the attack was rated as failed, but the 15th was so damaged that it was destroyed trying to withdraw with nowhere to retreat to. The game rating of success and failure is questionable, but success is often decided on more than the battle itself.

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/24/2017 10:03:22 AM)

The game has reached November and the clear weather cannot last, but when the rain comes, the effect of airpower will be lost.

I am way behind the historical timeline :

13th Corps of Montgomery's 8th Army crossed the Straits of MESSINA to mainland Italy - 3rd September 1943

Operation Avalanche at SALERNO - 9th September 1943

Clark's staff formulated various evacuation plans, expecting the worst - 13th September

British 7th Armoured Division began to land, along with the 23rd Armoured Brigade - 15th September

Eighth Army captured the large airfield complex near FOGGIA - 27th September

Armoured car regiment of X Corps, entered NAPLES - 1st October

Allied armies stood facing the VOLTURNO Line - 6th October 1943

Allies reach the Gustav Line - mid-January 1944

Allied amphibious landing at ANZIO, known as 'Operation Shingle' - January 22nd 1944

Four battles of MONTE CASSINO - January-May 1944

I am a month late getting to NAPLES, but historically the Allies ran into bigger delays later in the campaign, so maybe I can avoid that and catch up. I have destroyed two German Pz Grenadier divisions, which must pay dividends later, the Axis are short of troops - right?

I think a major mistake was in launching the amphibious landings too early (3rd September), a few turns delay might have built up a stockpile of supply, as I started with minimal supply and have been short ever since. I wanted to grab territory before the Germans got too many units further South, but who knows.

The Commandos in BARI have been waiting for eligible beach hexes to open up further North. I have run some test turns, changing settings, moving to different ports and sometimes the hexes are eligible, sometimes not, there doesn't seem to be a noticeable pattern.

It's not a game breaker, historically there were many reasons why operations did not go ahead, so I am just blaming the politicians and bean counters, waiting for the opening.

Frank has produced another great game, it feels right, reproduces the frustrations and problems of the Italian Campaign for the Allies. The AI has made some curious moves, but I constantly get the feeling that it knows more than me and mainly has been competent, having the space to fall back so doesn't need to fight to the death right now.

The WEGO system is priceless, look at the image in post #3, the 1st FsJ Div. has advanced too far, hasn't it ? In any other game it would be simple to drop units behind the 1st FsJ and cut-off supply, destroying the unit, whilst the opponent sits dumb waiting for its turn.

In PFE the 1st FsJ moves at the same time, blocking the encircling units in post #4, then slipping back into line in post #5. There has been comment that the game is impossible to play, but its just a different system, which is simple to play, but can demand considerable thought. Sometimes units seem to be moving on their own (46th division), I don't know why, but it certainly mixes things up and no chance of getting bored.

The chances of encircling 1st FsJ ended when the German airborne unit moved to block the encirclement from the American units and the 16th Pz Div. arrived to block the movement of the British divisions tasked with closing the gap from the East. WEGO rules !

The AI in games is often criticised, but house rules can introduce more challenge and historical accuracy. There are ways of getting a ball round a golf course more easily, but we deliberately make it difficult to be more challenging and so it is with games.

If a game isn't challenging enough - 'make it so' [:)]

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/26/2017 1:53:21 PM)

Here is the Victory screen for Turn 18 :


I am ahead in terms of loses with the destruction of two German Motorised divisions and NAPLES is a good gain in victory points, but the next victory objective is ROME, which is a long way to go.

3rd Panzer Grenadier (Motorised) Division was reconstituted after being lost with the 6th Armee at Stalingrad, now to be destroyed again by me, defending the line of the river FORTORE.

15th Panzer Grenadier (Motorised) Division was reformed from the remnants of 15th Pz Division (a key part of the DAK) and troops already in Sicily. Having escaped from Sicily, it has now been destroyed in the fighting North of FOGGIA.

Recently appeared in the Axis line is SS-Sturmbrigade 'Reichsfόhrer', formed from a nucleus of Heinrich Himmler's escort battalion, with other powerful Axis units arriving.

The troublesome British 46th Infantry Division, the "The Oak Tree Division", named because it contains battalions of the Sherwood Foresters, it is a Territorial Army unit and hasn't been as steady as an oak for me. Hopefully, with better combat supply, it will hold firm in later combats.

I am expecting the weather to change very soon and will lose the benefit of airpower, which has been very useful up to now, so objectives are limited to gaining TERMOLI as a port for the East coast and pushing the Axis units away from NAPLES (house rule - enemy units adjacent to a port), so that I can use workers to get the port working. When US 1st Arm. Div. is ready, it might be able to make a move along the coast to unhinge the defence line the Axis has formed in the West. Strange, how with most of the Italian Peninsular ahead, your focus reduces down to the next range of hills.

Bad weather will reduce the hex supply levels and, when these levels drop below 40%, the fuel used to deliver supply will increase significantly. When it rains, it will cost twice the movement points to cross rivers.

Longer term, I am thinking of holding in the West, forced by the strong defence the AI is building here and throwing a right hook through TERMOLI, VASTO and into the valley of the river SANGRO to CASSINO, helped by the Commando landing I have already planned for hex 19,35 (house rule - Invasion Planning), further supported by an airdrop. The delay in being able to launch an amphibious invasion seems to be due to insufficient air superiority, as I am now focused on ground support.

The historical timeline for reaching CASSINO is mid-January 1944, can I beat that ?

TERMOLI is defended by the Axis 65th Inf. Div., which retreated damaged from the river FORTORE, if I could attack immediately success would be very likely, but there isn't the supply and there are two Panzer divisions sitting on the flank of such an advance.

No plan survives...etc., so it could all fall apart, especially when the rains come and loss of air missions means no landings.

So far the game feels good, representing the realities of the Italian Campaign very well, see how good it feels when the winter starts. [:)]

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/26/2017 3:55:06 PM)

You can see why my troops are not keen to do another amphibious landing.


The crossing of the Garigliano River by the Fifth Army, Lauro, Italy, 19th January 1944.

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/28/2017 10:46:59 AM)

After the supply problems during later turns, I am stopping this AAR now.

It may be that this has been caused by moving the running game between different computers when travelling, I will try a restart, sticking to one system and see what happens.

This may not be a specific game fault and I will re-run the game in one system only to see how it performs and anyway I want to see what happens in the game.

I won't be posting a write-up on the replay just yet, I hope that the AAR so far has shown the depth in the game.

I have learnt a lot doing the AAR, which makes you pay more attention to how the game works and have introduced the house rules for a more realistic and challenging game.

PFE remains on the front burner for me. [8D]

zakblood -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (2/28/2017 11:14:59 AM)


ORIGINAL: Rasputitsa

You can see why my troops are not keen to do another amphibious landing.


The crossing of the Garigliano River by the Fifth Army, Lauro, Italy, 19th January 1944.

quite nice boating tbh, it's just a shame sometimes in war, it's not so enjoyable when others are firing at you, takes all the fun out of it[sm=00000030.gif]

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (11/28/2019 4:29:39 PM)

Bump !

Rasputitsa -> RE: AAR v1.04 Italian Campaign continued (12/30/2020 4:05:19 PM)

Bump !

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