Questions on aerial isolation... (Full Version)

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GloriousRuse -> Questions on aerial isolation... (11/27/2019 2:02:38 AM)

I am trying to figure out how to use air to significantly weaken front line formations, mechanically. So far this is how I think supply gets to them, and how to interrupt it. Am I right?:

Step 1 A Factory makes it.

Answer 1: Bomb factories. This seems...unlikely to work outside key AFVs and trucks. Too much HI to stop it. But maybe I'm wrong?

Step 2 It ships by rail (mostly) to a depot.

Answer 2A: Bomb out the railyards. So, besides "bomb them all red and bomb them again" how does this actually work? How far back does it matter? If one railyard depot is close to the front and only partially damaged, does it matter if the next three railyards back in the chain are wrecked? If the nearest railyard is wrecked, does supply offload at the nearest viable railyard back, or does less supply come forward? Does each wrecked point along the chain have a cumulative effect?

Answer 2B: Railway Interdiction. I gather this adds "effective tonnage" to a rail hex, thereby leading to early congestion and hopefully preventing supplies form moving forward. It may also cause minor damage to freight and truck movement through the area? Is it bet to hit key "choke" hexes which then stop ALL movement, or is it necessary to interdict along the entire line for a cumulative reducing effect? How much is enough to really stop forward movement to depots?

It drives (or is horse drawn) from a depot.

Answer 3: Ground interdiction. What rating do you actually need to choke units, and for how long do you need to keep it up? Can you even viably choke a unit, or just slightly degrade it logistically at this point?

loki100 -> RE: Questions on aerial isolation... (11/27/2019 10:35:55 AM)

I think its a weakness but in practice its a waste to bomb HI/Resources/fuel if your goal is to disrupt the German economy. HI is a good target for the RAF as its large (so less chance they miss and gives you VP). I think this models the effect that what brought the German economy to its knees wasn't lost of productive capacity as such but the loss of the means to match up elements of production (especially as the Germans had done a lot of dispersal earlier in the war).

I may be mixing WiTW with WiTE2 here so treat what follows this with some caution. Railyards do a number of things. They hold rail capacity, they determine how an accompanying depot works and make loading/unloading easier.

So lets say the Germans have 100 railyard pts that gives them 100 trains (I'm making up the numbers). If only 90% of their railyards function (remember the formula is die(100)-2*current damage for each railyard - if this is 0 or less it doesn't work), then they only get 90 trains. Now in the game, rail capacity is roughly geographical, so when you take out the railyards in Italy there is some substitution of trains say from Germany but its still stressing their total capacity (so use 8AAF to hit some of the really big German ones as well)

Now the second effect is on a depot, that loses capacity as you damage the associate rail yard so it can take/pass out less supply - that means any units near it may need to use their trucks to go and get supply from further back

Rail interdiction effectively raises the movement cost of the hex - you can't block it (even if the rail hex is already at 30k usage). So you have less trains (you've bombed the railyards) and those trains pay more to move (interdiction) so overall less freight (& units) can move. I look for hexes that are near one of the movement cost thresholds (from the manual) or are >20k usage to maximise this effect. Its a matter of taste/resources how you set this up but even the Allies in mid-44 lack the aircraft to really sustain this, so on balance rail yards give you better returns, but there are a few Italian rail hexes where almost everything passes along.

Ground interdiction, I'd say you want 3-4 as a good base for serious interdiction. That creates higher movement costs and truck attrition, it won't really harm moving units (go for 6+ when you want to do this). Its all about adding to the stresses, none of this works quickly but the ideal is by 1944, the German mobile units are weaker and slower simply as you forced the axis to use up their truck stocks.

Its quite good to test this using the breakout scenario, play it solitaire, don't do many attacks, just set up what you think is a good interdiction box and track the supply of the axis units within it. Just do a few attacks to simulate them having to burn off to hand supplies. Then just so you can see what interdiction can do, set up a cluster of #8-9 and move a Pzr division through it (useful as its hard to see interdiction losses in the combat results).

GloriousRuse -> RE: Questions on aerial isolation... (11/27/2019 2:52:51 PM)

Thanks, thatís useful advice Loki.

bomccarthy -> RE: Questions on aerial isolation... (11/27/2019 9:05:56 PM)

You are bringing up a dilemma which afflicted the real life Allied commanders. The 8th and 9th Air Forces launched the transportation bombing campaign in the Fall of 1944 with the primary objective of inhibiting the ability of the Germans to concentrate their ground forces against Allied offensives. Although attacks on the oil/fuel targets enjoyed most of postwar publicity, German railyards felt the brunt of the bombing. In less than six weeks, German rail traffic faded dramatically and coal shipments (which underpinned all German industrial activity) almost stopped.

Yet, Allied ground commanders complained that German resistance on the ground did not slacken; indeed, the transportation campaign failed to prevent the buildup for the Ardennes offensive. The remaining rail traffic was simply refocused on keeping German ground forces supplied and reinforced.

The true effects of the transportation campaign did not become apparent to Allied intelligence until after Allied ground forces had crossed the Rhine in late March 1945: the German industrial economy essentially collapsed by the end of January 1945. German production had reached it peak just as the transportation campaign started in September; just twelve weeks later it was almost nonexistent, even though the Western Allies were stalled on the German border and the Soviets were still fighting in Poland/Rumania, etc.

For some good analysis on the effects of bombing on German industry, see Phillips Payson O'Brien, How the War was Won: Air-Sea Power and Allied Victory in World War II (Cambridge University Press, 2015); in-depth numbers/stats can be found in the US Strategic Bombing Survey and the official USAAF/USAF histories, which are now in public domain and can be downloaded in PDF format for free.

GloriousRuse -> RE: Questions on aerial isolation... (11/28/2019 5:33:39 AM)

Interesting. I wonder how the economy would react in WITW if you started dismantling German railyards early?

rysgame -> RE: Questions on aerial isolation... (1/19/2020 4:32:57 PM)

I found specific targeting of lines of communication and airfields did wonders for the ITA campaign, easily allowing me to push almost to Bologne by mid 44. As for in northern Europe, it's been a month since my landings and I just managed to capture Caen and St Lo but with massive casualties. (French campaign casualties are easily 30k+ dead) due to bear endless SS panzer divisions appearing. So still needs some finagling

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