From: Near Paris
I'm an eternal newbie. Ever since we all traded in our little cardboard squares for electrons, I've been kind of lost. After decades of playing just about every classic wargame (everything by AH, most from SP, etc) I moved joyfully to electronic games, and am an extraordinary fan of GG. I think WITP AE is perhaps the best of the detailed WW II games ever, and he's also designed the best Civil War game. WITE somehow didn't appeal to me quite as much, but WITW is pretty much everything I hoped for. Yet, as an eternal newbie, after a number of introductory games and two failed '43 campaigns I think I'm only just getting a handle on it.
As an eternal electronic newbie, though, I made so many mistakes getting to even this feeble level of understanding that I thought it may be useful for those of you out there who perhaps resemble me to profit from my mistakes. So, for what it's worth, here are a few newbie-to-newbie tips and remarks, primarily from the allied perspective. I'm sure many who read this will be proud, capable, non-newbies, and I strongly encourage them to point out my errors!
Air war (once you get beyond auto-generation - which I suggest):
- TIP: get your P-38s into the 8th AF. You get some in the med, and they're always nice, but their legs are less useful there. Using P-47s in the 8th limits your range substantially and you want to bomb in Germany and pick up those bombing points. P-47s should either go to the med or to the 9th, once it's up, and get all the P-38s into the 8th (until you start using them in the 15th too, once it moves from bombing Romanian oil).
- TIP: I like setting my BC heavies to bomb at 21K to avoid light flack. This means your Stirlings won't fly, so you'll either have to switch them to the 2nd RAF tactical or create special low-altitude missions for them.
- STUPID MISTAKE: all new planes, including those from the national reserve start out with manual upgrade. That's fine, but remember to micro-manage them. If you forget then once the older models aren't being produced and the pools run out, you'll find that your squadrons are mysteriously shrinking, sometimes to 0 planes, and you won't know why. Honestly, for the most part, I just put everything on auto-upgrade. Note, though, that if you do that, some of your squadrons will suddenly switch to P-38s as time goes by, at which point they should be moved to a bomber AF that needs the legs (see above).
- TIP: don't forget to plan ahead with respect to FB training. As the Luftwaffe becomes less of a problem you'll want to convert a lot of them to bomber training, which takes eight turns (by the way, I greatly prefer the WITP system, in which every squadron can have different capabilities and you don't have to switch back and forth. More realistic as well, but hey, you take what you get). For my part, I've always been partial to converting P-39s: that mid-fuselage engine is protected and you get that nice big cannon. P-40s and hurries as well, primarily for historical reasons and, of course, they just aren't as good in A2A as time goes by.
- STUPID MISTAKE: When you move planes to a new forward airbase you've just captured, don't forget to check the supply priority. Often, those newly-captured ABs have a supply priority of 0. If you don't change it, the planes won't fly for lack of fuel and you'll wonder why no fuel is getting there.
- TIP: Don't forget to check out constantly the "No Fly" info!
- TIP: I like to start each turn by resting every air unit under 70 moral, and waking up those from the last turn that are now happy. I find they are more effective and ops losses go down.... which begs the question of why there isn't a simple parameter set that tells the game to do it automatically (as there is with training).
- TIP: I like to set up city bombing missions each on separate days, to make sure the planes aren't otherwise occupied. Typically, for example, with the 8th I'll bomb one city on Day 2, another on day 4 and another on day 6, with recon in between. If you find that a lot of your missions aren't being flown, you may be having scheduling problems. If you just take the default from your doctrine then they'll all try to fly every day you've indicated.
- TIP: It seems that if you keep RAF BC on night bombing (see the myriad threads arguing this topic in terms of historicity: your call) they seem to like NF escorts. I can't figure out why; if I remember correctly I don't think there was ever any significant escort vs. interceptor action at night in WWII, but it does seem to cut losses in the game.
- TIP: Pay attention to who's leading what. Leaders do make a difference.
- TIP: Get used to messing around with your support units. If you've played WITE this will be easier for you, but either way remember that unlike our dear old cardboard counters, the combat values are far from written in stone: support units (and things like reserves) will greatly change the results. Particularly when setting up an offensive, prepare for it and attribute support units appropriately.
- TIP: as the allies, you don't want to fight a war of attrition. Those loss points, particularly with US units, add up quickly. In Italy you need to keep pressure, sure, but constant small attacks will cost you in VP. When you hit a hard line you need a nice invasion to flank it and get the line to crumble. Remember that a primary objective is to move up, get some fat juicy cities (Rome is key) and build forward ABs to let the 15th hit the southern reaches of the Reich once it's obliterated Romanian oil.
- TIP: The exception to the above is once you get to Rome. The Western half of the peninsula between Rome and Florence is relatively flat and the Axis line won't be as strong, you may not need an invasion to break it. If you muster your forces, use your support units and your air effectively, you can set up a major offensive to break any line they set up there, then push hard all the way to the Arno. At least against the AI!
- TIP: Speaking of invasions, don't go in halfway and don't wait too long. Remember that your amphib units aren't really needed to provide temporary ports once you've captured a few real ones, including on the invasion turn. Get them back into a L6 port and plan for the next invasion.
- STUPID MISTAKE: Speaking of ports... don't forget that the bigger the port your amphib is preparing in, the faster it goes! In the med, this means Tunis, Oran, Algiers until you capture Naples. In the UK don't make the ultra-stupid mistake of setting up for invasion in anything less than a L6 port!
- TIP: I like getting new US units into Italy to complete their training at the hands of the Germans. You can move the more experienced ones, along with the Brits / CW to the UK to prepare for Overlord when it's time (Feb). Remember that some new units, especially CW and the Poles, already show up with serious experience.
- TIP: You don't need to set up an invasion for Corsica / Sardinia. When Italy surrenders, the Italian units there will flip. They aren't strong enough to throw out the Germans, but they will capture ports and AFs that allow you to move in real units (which is historical, by the way... my wife is Corsican and her family remembers).
I've made many, many more mistakes and am undoubtedly making more as we speak, but these are some of the bigger, dumber ones as well as some tips I can offer on the basis of my ineptitude. Many of them were corrected by the kind forum members here who actually know what they're doing. I hope this is useful.