From: Oslo, Norway
So with upcoming weekend I found the time to run the rubber band defence experiment until 5.2.42.
Right now I think I will stop here, as march is only 4 turns and will probably contain several snow turns.
So running until end march won't probably change much.
My experiences in jan '42 from using the rubber band defence is that in this month I've seen the strenght return somewhat compared to december.
In the first game using "hold and only retreat if forced to", at this stage I was just a punching ball for the AI.
Using the rubber band strategy I'm still a player in the game.
I've also seen a high number of holds, especially against the second line.
There have been some disappointments though. In the end of the period I've seen several units go unready and some tendency that the second line has failed as well. This has mostly been in the south Axis Allies frontline. No breakthroughs were achieved though.
The most interesting part is the number crunching & analysis.
Will get to that soon, but first I would like to say the big drawback of this strategy is the considerable loss of territory. I did loose more territory than when I applied the hold strategy.
Before I represent the numbers, a quick legend summary from the first post:
The first column shows the loss numbers as they were on the first turn. Note all loss numbers are in 100k chunks.
The 4 following columns shows the result as of 5.2.42 for the following four test scenarios:
- No attacks & No enemy units adjacent, so both those casualties elements are removed. Only blizzard casualties (that I know of).
- Static frontline, no attacks. Casualties are from blizzard and frontline attrition.
- Normal gameplay using the rubber band strategy.
- Normal gameplay from the original game.
The green numbers are the total losses in each scenario for the period (4.12 - 5.2).
The red numbers are the casualties losses in the three last scenarios minus the 'only blizzard attrition'. I.e. the red numbers show what additional casualties were added in those scenarios apart from the blizzard effect (from scenario one).
An lastly the % of losses in the period that can be atttributed to combat or frontline attrition, with the remaining percentage being the blizzard attrition.
ALSO, let me specify the game was played on CHALLENGING against Soviet AI, using version 1.01
Looking at the numbers above I would like to highlight the following:
1. Using rubber band strategy compared to hold & only forced retreat, german losses are down by almost 300.000 men. With the hold strategy netting 518k casualties, that is a 60% drop in casualties.
If you compare that to the russian casualties, they are down by almost 400.000 men. But with the hold strategy netting 1 173k russian casualties, a 400k drop only represents a 30% drop.
In other words, the ratio of casualties have changed from ca 2,2:1 (soviet:german) to 2,9:1. - or a 25% improvement.
2. Running the game with no attack & no enemy units adjacent, the Germans lost a total of 544.000 men. I am not sure what this number is supposed to represent, but except the blizzard attrition I know of no other attrition factors in this particular scenario. In the same period the russians did suffer 34.000 losses, so there is probably some other attrition factor involved, but it seems minor and not significant. For the sake of it lets assume 500k is the pure blizzard attrition number.
If this really is the real blizzard attrition number, and if I remember it correctly that the germans suffered around 250k frostbite casualties the first winter (can anybody please confirm the real number?) ... I'm hoping I have any wrong assumptions here, cause if not a doubling of blizzard casualties in the game compared to historical numbers does seem a bit extreme.
So, I hope some of the testers see the 2. number and maybe can shed some light on this issue.
I'm not going to try to conclude anything about the state of the blizzard mechanics, but I would like to make a conclusion of my impression of the rubber band strategy.
- Successfull application of this strategy is probably gonna favourably change the ratio of casualties in the german direction. I think this can be summed up to a more resilient German force in '42 as well as the bulk of the forces being outside 'determined assault' range of the infantry. In order to assault the second line it seems the soviets has to use hasty attacks which have a much wider variety in outcome, or if not use his cavalry which burns up this valuable asset. (same goes for tank brigades).
- As the German you will have a stronger infantry force, come spring '42. In my particular case I improved it by 300k men, which is a sizeable number. You will also find it easier to maintain cohesion in jan '42, and can consider trying to hold in some places. I did try to hold in some selected places with a generally good success rate, but I was very careful as to not take any chances to skew the results of the test.
- The loss of territory is considerable, and is the biggest disadvantage. You have to choose wisely when to apply this strategy, as a whole winter of going back & back & back might hurt you too much. Most probably the best is to apply this strategy to survive the toughest blizzard turns in '41 and then in jan '42 try to stabilize the frontline. For that you probably have to plan way upfront and have prepared one or two lvl2+ fort lines which you can - including lost territory when retreating whole dec '41 - move into come beginning of '42.
- I am really unsure how much success this strategy will have against a human player. Hopefully someone will try this strategy in a PBEM game and report back their findings.