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Soft White Underbelly - 1/22/2015 9:24:51 PM   
Smirfy

 

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Since I seem to be the bete noire of WitW or the forums at any rate. I'll run through a Campaign I have been doing to see where I, or the game is going wrong. I don't pretend to be an accomplished player and prefer the the immersion and role play escapism to hex carpets, counter shoves and pointless mechanics. I am sure you will be aware in advance not to expect any fancy graphics :D All input cordial or otherwise welcome. So without further ado a nice AAR. Soft White Underbelly.

“If we lose the war in the Air we lose the war and we lose it very quickly”

B.L.Montgomery

Opening move here trying to get any utility out of my Beaufighters and Nightfighters, you dont know if they have a point until you try. So a couple of custom boxes on the first turn.

The plan is, I think Sicily will be pretty much a first round so I don't really want to expose my Strategic airforce to losses before I attempt to land in Italy so much to Doolittle's chagrin he is largely going to be supporting the army. I'm not worried about destroying the Luftwaffe on the ground plus Flak is overpowered and airfields = Flak. Husky believe it or not planned for the loss of 300 vessels of all descriptions. So I'm going to use Ultra here and interpret the Luftwaffe threat for what it was and destroy it in the air.





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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/22/2015 9:46:36 PM   
Smirfy

 

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“Find the enemy shoot him down, anything else is nonsense”

Baron Manfred Von Ricthofen

Okay I have numbers, high Green numbers are good, high Blue numbers are bad got to be careful not to let the fighter pilots turn this into a wild DFC and CMoH hunt. One Hundred and Eighty Axis planes destroyed at little loss. Pretty happy apart from Nightfighters dont do Naval Patrol. What do they actually do? Going to put them on daylight Air Superiority.

Kinda wonder how air detection works after that first turn.





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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/22/2015 10:18:19 PM   
LiquidSky


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I read somewhere that planes don't do the naval thing at night. If the night fighters are set for night only, they wont fly a naval patrol. The AI also stopped trying to interdict the water the moment it faced the hurricanes I brought over from Africa/Malta into Sicily. I didn't bother putting them on Air Superiority....just parked them on the airfields for interception.

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“My logisticians are a humorless lot … they know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay.” – Alexander the Great

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/22/2015 10:23:05 PM   
Smirfy

 

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“Must these Englishmen live that I might die
Must they live that I might die”

Blue Oyster Cult ME262

Turn two and the Luftwaffe intends to go down swinging. We have got high Blue numbers which I assume arnt good, not only that we have Red Hexs! I am assuming without reading the manual that is bad. But to me the number that matters is five hundred Axis planes have been downed, again at an excellent exchange rate. I believe in preserving my pilots for Italy and unfortunately have played this game long enough to know there is not much the Allies can actually do on the ground in Sicily that is worth the “Bones of one British Grenadier” or pilot

Now Im going to play this fairly sensible. Alexander and his Staff prepare Operation Trent Bridge the Invasion of Italy at Salerno. Mark Clark's Fifth Army will storm ashore here in force in a prepared operation to be supported by the Eighth Army at a later date on the Southern Italian Coast just west of Taranto (Operation Chester le Street)when landing taskforces become available. Arthur Coningham's 5th Tactical Airforce will redeploy to Sicily as soon as the situation allows to support both operations. Coninghams staff begin facilitating the upgrading of Spitfire units to the latest model (at a reasonably believable rate). The Coastal Airforce Blenhiem's convert to Mosquitos and the first Tyhpoon squadron appears. Unfortunately as aircraft they are too cool not to. Now if only Beaufighters had some utility after all a couple of Squadrons ran Biscay perhaps specialist coastal aircraft get bonuses, just a thought, anyway on we go.

One thing I did not do which someone probably has, is actually deployed allied Flak in numbers to Sicily, does this harvest more Axis planes?




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/22/2015 10:27:23 PM   
Smirfy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: LiquidSky



I read somewhere that planes don't do the naval thing at night. If the night fighters are set for night only, they wont fly a naval patrol. The AI also stopped trying to interdict the water the moment it faced the hurricanes I brought over from Africa/Malta into Sicily. I didn't bother putting them on Air Superiority....just parked them on the airfields for interception.


I ended up just using them by day as the Luftwaffe did not seem to threaten me by night. Im still not sure they did much. I actually forgot to bring planes over first turn but got them coming over after that.

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/22/2015 11:02:04 PM   
Smirfy

 

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“Between Scylla and Charybdis”

Unknown Greek, I'll go with Homer


Turn three, Dolittle claims its Messina and Reggio Calabria and not so much the Luftwaffe casting their malign influence down the East Coast of Sicily and seeks permission to take them out with his heavies. Alexander refuses, too much flak. Flak=losses. Alexander plays the long game here, priority repairs in Siracusa and Catania should help nulify the threat and presently all the supply is coming over the Southern beaches and ports and he is fighting a low intensity campaign which all being well is not taxing on supply. Manuever should bring Messina.

Seven hundred and twenty one axis air losses suggests the Axis cannot maintain this intensity.





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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/22/2015 11:21:53 PM   
Smirfy

 

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“What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?” “…My health, I came to Casablanca for the waters.” “The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.” “...I was misinformed.”

Captain Renault and Rick, Casablanca

Every picture tells a story and this one could write an espionage novel. The Axis bomb the embarcation ports for Operation Trent Bridge. French North Africa was alive with spies even in late 1944, the Germans knew the ships were preparing to invade Southern France they had a lot more forewarning than DDAY they did not know where but with Anvil they knew when. Intel sadly is not really part of the game. Anyway in my AAR the Gendarmes are rounding up the usual suspects after that air raid. Alexander holds his nerve he has thousands of miles of coastline, Sicily is in the bag and the Axis air weapon has been broken

Nine Hundred and Thirty Four Axis aircraft destroyed




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 5:54:06 PM   
Seminole


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quote:

Turn three, Dolittle claims its Messina and Reggio Calabria and not so much the Luftwaffe casting their malign influence down the East Coast of Sicily and seeks permission to take them out with his heavies. Alexander refuses, too much flak. Flak=losses. Alexander plays the long game here, priority repairs in Siracusa and Catania should help nulify the threat and presently all the supply is coming over the Southern beaches and ports and he is fighting a low intensity campaign which all being well is not taxing on supply. Manuever should bring Messina.

I would side with General Doolittle here.
Reducing ports reduces the flow of supplies, and reduces the ability to stockpile supplies, this has the effect of increases enemy losses and reduces your own. Lost freight also equals lost equipment in a reduction from production pools to simulate the destruction of replacement stocks amongst the freight. IF supplies can't flow, then replacements cannot be received. Supplies are the lifeblood, and draining your opponents blood from the start is a good strategy. Refusing to do so in order to save your airplanes for WWIII is a mistake. Just watch your production and adjust your mission rate to keep losses below that. Time is not on your side.

In short: Doolittle wants to kill Krauts and break their war machine, and it will have the added bonus of reducing the naval interdiction on the ports you intend to count on for supply that are currently blockaded by naval interdiction.

A week's bombing by 4-6 bomber groups in an air directive covering both ports should shut them down for as long as you'll need to capture Sicily. Use the Recon Fortresses to observe your damage. With P-38 escorts everyone should get through and flying over the target at 21,000ft I haven't seen bad flak loss. Have you changed the settings in any of the air doctrines from default?

At the start of turn 5 I'm showing:



That is flak losses that are <15% of my total losses, and I'm flying my bombers out to destroy ports and rail all the way up to Salerno and Bari. But this is against the AI

Not sure what the lost Axis air frames are. Be careful of putting too much stock in numbers that might be largely Italian at this point. You'll see high operational Axis losses due to automatic naval patrol by the Italians.
In my same game, at the start of turn 5, 36% of 1028 Axis air losses are Italian.

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 6:24:00 PM   
Smirfy

 

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I would agree with you except for one caveat, the Axis tend to withdraw from Sicily very quickly so I'm unconvinced any Allied loss in Sicily is worthwhile. In Italy you tend to burn through your Wellingtons pretty quickly and you cant change them all to Halifax's for some reason. You could go Mitchell but I always think there more sort of tac ops in RAF service (not that I would swap them all out because they flew operations in theatre right up to the end for immersion purposes and I do like the Wellington) So Alexander has to keep Dolittle on a tight leash until the main event begins.

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 6:34:31 PM   
Smirfy

 

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“I did not bother about that, it would have meant enormous casualties. It wasn't necessary.”

B.L. Montgomery

The butchers bill for Sicily, a small price to pay to rebase the Tactical Airforce in Europe! Alexander is now Marquess of Messina as well as being the 1st Earl of Tunis, Coningham receives a peerage. Dolittle wants of the leash! No Glory for Patton or Monty in this campaign nor the next phase both relegated to support for the main Operation, Trent Bridge in a intricate deception campaign, Operation Blaine.





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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 6:59:46 PM   
Smirfy

 

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“In practicing low-altitude flight, the pilot should make certain the propeller tips touch the water”

Written order, Hans Jeschonnek

If I thought the Allied operational losses are bad the Axis ones are catastrophic, Coningham can feel hard done by only getting a Peerage! A two for one loss ratio in my favour. The vulnerability of the Wellington even on tactical operations is graphically demonstrated. After the Sicilian campaign Curtiss sent a team of specialists to the theatre to demonstrate to fighter groups how to get the best out of the machine as pilots began to express disquiet about their mount. The RAF Kittyhawk pilots seemed content enough with their machines even though rumours began to circulate that they would be switching to ground attack missions.

The Defence of Sicily cost the Luftwaffe dear




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 8:33:32 PM   
JeffroK


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Not visiting Sardinia??

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Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 8:50:59 PM   
Smirfy

 

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Ike being privy to the negoiations between the Allies and the Italians is waiting until the Armistice until he commits troops there. At the minute he is bluffing De Gaulle that Sardinia and Corsica will be invaded and then the South of France, all part of Operation Blaine. De Gaulle believes the Free French Corps are being prepared as part of Pattons 7th Army for the invasion and we know how leaking French headquarters are. In reality Patton will cross the straits into Italy in support of Clarks Landing at Salerno and the French Corps will take Corsica and Sardinia once the Italian armistice occurs.



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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 8:58:22 PM   
marion61

 

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Not sure if you know this but you can use the wellingtons effectively for naval. Load them with mines. You should use coastal af, tac af, and strategic af for naval interdiction. Axis should never get naval interdiction on you. Also Id bomb the crap out of every port nearby so no one escapes by sea. You can have 9,s in those sea hexes.

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 9:04:38 PM   
Q-Ball


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quote:

ORIGINAL: meklore61

Not sure if you know this but you can use the wellingtons effectively for naval. Load them with mines. You should use coastal af, tac af, and strategic af for naval interdiction. Axis should never get naval interdiction on you. Also Id bomb the crap out of every port nearby so no one escapes by sea. You can have 9,s in those sea hexes.


I noticed the MINES loadout on the Wellington, now know what it's for....Naval Interdiction missions. Good to know.

What other loadouts work best for Naval Interdiction? Torpedos I know, but should you use more, smaller bombs? Rockets or no rockets?

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 9:09:39 PM   
marion61

 

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Mines are best, then torpedoes, then rockets, then small bombs. That's how I do them. You really want ac that can linger in the box. The longer they can fly, the more interdiction you'll have. The CR has all the weapon systems and they explain their uses.

< Message edited by meklore61 -- 1/23/2015 10:11:44 PM >

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/23/2015 9:43:14 PM   
Smirfy

 

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Yeah good to know and I will bear it in mind for the future but like all Bomber Barons in my AAR Jimmy Dolittle would see such a diversion as heresy. I'm trying to get some Mitchells to jon a Naval Patrol mssion and they just would do it whats up with them? (or me)

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/24/2015 12:48:15 AM   
marion61

 

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Check the options for that directive, under the groups option you can check the no fly box at the bottom and see why they aren't flying.

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 11:14:24 AM   
Smirfy

 

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Thanks Meklore that is one helpful button. Okay so I was up to turn 48 ish (and it was a very interesting campaign but further to the dabate on the sea transport thread Im going to test keeping aircraft round my shores so I will continue from turn 5. Which is the best method for doing this just leave the aircraft on airfields or have big patrol boxes?


"Nothing Should be denied which will nourish the decisive battle for Naples"

Winston Spencer Churchill to Harold Alexander


The Task ahead, not going to change my landing zones no matter what is encoutered. Dolittle is let off the leash to start wrecking ports and Railyards with Strategic Air.




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 12:21:11 PM   
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"A good Plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week"

George Smith Patton

Patton not content to be part of an elaborate deception campaign see's his chance and takes it, without orders catching his own superiors and the Germans by surprise crossing to the Italian mainland with 2nd armoured division. Alexander orders Mongomery to support who then throws the only available units from XIII across the straits in support.Allied units start rushing to Messina.




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 12:53:58 PM   
Smirfy

 

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"About mid-day, Kesselring telephones me and tells me that we shall probably have to wait three or four days before our large-scale counter-measures begin to get under way. Until then there can be no major shift of developments in our favour."

Joseph Geobbels

A heroic stand by the 4th Br Armoured Brigade prevents any direct assault on the bridgehead, TG 545 suffers massive damage from shore batteries and is forced to withdraw. Patton's attempts to breakout of the Bridgehead are thwarted by German reserves. Ike orders Alexander to bring forward Operation Trent Bridge by a week despite protestations from Dolittle and Coningham that the air plan has not fully been carried out.






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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 12:54:46 PM   
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You can avoid that mess with the ferry and Reggio by just going around it. You lose a lot of vp's just trying to take those hexes when all you need to do is re-target your TF's on turn one to invade the marked beaches. That's pretty high CV axis unit next to your armored division. I hope you flew them some supply at the end of the turn. Those units in Reggio can cut off that British armored brigade by hitting your armored division that looks pretty weak. If you aren't flying your lead units supply, I'd suggest that you do. You can re-supply them at the end of the turn so they will be ready for axis counter attacks during the axis phase. Just my opinion, I tend to play aggressively.




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 1:24:15 PM   
Smirfy

 

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Against a human there would have been no way I would have attempted it. Its just an opportunity that I thought someone like Patton would have exploited and it has the the possibility of demonstrating whether the AI moves excessively or not when the proper invasion goes in

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 1:29:29 PM   
Smirfy

 

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"The question is - Just how long can you hang this operation on the end of a limb and let it hang there"

Dwight David Eisenhower


Foul weather or not, Ike decides its a go, the consequences of Patton getting destroyed are too serious to contemplate. A week earlier than planned the Trent Bridge is lauched. Two transports are sunk on the way to the beacheads. They probably decided to go through the only few hexes I dont have numbers in




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 1:48:48 PM   
Seminole


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quote:

Ike orders Alexander to bring forward Operation Trent Bridge by a week despite protestations from Dolittle and Coningham that the air plan has not fully been carried out.


Told you waiting was a bad idea. ;)
Ports can be wrecked in a single turn, and take a long time to bring back online. The cumulative effect of making the Axis use Italian rail to move supplies is worth the losses. Each turn that Naples, Crotone, etc. aren't receiving over 25,000+ tons of freight by sea is a good thing for the Allies. Certainly worth a few bombers.

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 1:56:37 PM   
Smirfy

 

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"A withdrawal is a type of military operation, generally meaning retreating forces back while maintaining contact with the enemy. A withdrawal may be undertaken as part of a general retreat, to consolidate forces, to occupy ground that is more easily defended, or to lead the enemy into an ambush."

Wikipedia

Patton is instantly relieved by the twin events of the Italian Armistice and the greatest single feat of staff work, logistics and route marching in Military history.

You guys can decide for yourselves but I think the last move is *excessive* it might be in the rules it might be WAD but to my mind it remains excessive. Even my lively imagination is hard pushed to add a plausible narritive to the move. I hope some compromise can be found between protecting the AI and slightly more immersion. I am throroughly enjoying the game none the less and will continue.




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 1:59:36 PM   
Smirfy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Seminole

quote:

Ike orders Alexander to bring forward Operation Trent Bridge by a week despite protestations from Dolittle and Coningham that the air plan has not fully been carried out.


Told you waiting was a bad idea. ;)
Ports can be wrecked in a single turn, and take a long time to bring back online. The cumulative effect of making the Axis use Italian rail to move supplies is worth the losses. Each turn that Naples, Crotone, etc. aren't receiving over 25,000+ tons of freight by sea is a good thing for the Allies. Certainly worth a few bombers.


Yes I think you are correct now Dollittle is off the leash he is not going back on it. His directive wreck every railyard in Italy!

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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 2:31:25 PM   
Smirfy

 

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"Above all it was shown individual skill and gallantry without thorough orginization would not prevail"

Wisnton Spencer Churchill


The bloodbath off the coast at Salerno, Naples destroyed Salerno damaged the Luftwaffe emaciated. 9,000 Allied troops perish at sea.




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 2:53:00 PM   
Smirfy

 

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Annoying thing that happens in every game. The Garrison here escapes without fail




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RE: Soft White Underbelly - 1/25/2015 3:36:37 PM   
Seminole


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quote:

Annoying thing that happens in every game. The Garrison here escapes without fail


Was the port destroyed?
Did they get a path out by sea north of the ferries where the control is neutral?

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