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SOVIET UNION 1941 EARLY VARIANT AAR - 2/13/2015 1:32:23 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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This is an AAR for analysis of my test of my “Soviet Union 1941 Early Variant” scenario. As I did with the “Soviet Union 1941” AAR, I’ll play both sides in hot seat (“changing hats” each player turn).

Also, my description of the original scenario in the “Soviet Union 1941”AAR deserves repeating with a few exceptions, so you may wish to review that, first. That AAR is located here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1893814

To recap, that scenario was played to a draw and reproduced the historical campaign quite accurately. I’m sure that I’m starting from a good base.

You may also wish to review the earlier AAR I made on my test of my new “Soviet Union 1941 Mobile Variant” scenario. That AAR is located here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3694676

Before we start, let’s review the modified scenario’s changes. Historically, Barbarossa was delayed due to the Balkans Campaign and the late thaw. But what if they had launched it on schedule despite those issues? This hypothetical scenario considers just that choice. Barbarossa starts five weeks earlier than historically, and lasts five weeks longer.

1. German Force Changes: My research on the Balkans Campaign was surprising. Most of the forces involved in it that were also at the start of Barbarossa seemed to be ready to go by the May start date. I only identified two divisions (16th Motorized and the Das Reich) that probably wouldn’t have been ready. Those two divisions have been removed from the starting forces and arrive on turn 3. Otherwise, Axis reinforcements all have had their arrival dates delayed five turns – so they all arrive on their historical arrival dates. Furthermore, production of PzKpfw IIIH and PzKpfw IVE has been delayed five weeks. Quantities of each that were in starting units have been replaced by PzKpfw IIIG and PzKpfw IVD respectively.

2. Soviet Force Changes: In contrast, Soviet reinforcements arrive on the same game turns as before – five weeks earlier. The exceptions are the Shock Armies. They arrive from Siberia on their historical arrival dates. On the other hand, Soviet arms production starts out with five weeks worth of peacetime production needing to be deleted. However there are now five more weeks of Manpower Levies, Lend-Lease, and wartime arms production. Furthermore, the Soviets are somewhat closer to the purges and a lot closer to the reorganization of the mech corps. To reflect this, their frontline forces have each had their readiness and proficiency reduced by 10% (a drop of 2 to 3 points on average). Cumulatively, the Soviets may be in worse initial shape due to the early start than the Axis.

3. Weather Changes: The top weather zone is snow covered. The middle one is mud covered. And the bottom one has a spot of mud here and there. The initial temperatures are Frozen 3 in zone 1, Cold in zone 2, and Cool in zone 3. There is a new warm front on turn 2 and again on turn 6. So, the snow will only last one turn. The mud will even start drying out on turn 1. Since TOAW has that issue with mud, I’ve also added dual shock penalties to further model the mud problems. The Axis supply radius is now 3 hexes at the start due to the mud. It increases to 4 on turn 4, and finally increases to 5 on turn 6.

4. Shock Changes: The Axis start with a 25% shock penalty on turn 1 due to the mud, reduced to 15% on turn 2, 10% on turn 3, 5% on turn 4, and ends on turn 6. Soviet shock penalties are increased by these values accordingly. That means that Soviet shock has been increased to 44% on turn 1, 33% on turn 2, 19% on turn 3, 10% on turn 4, 5% on turn 6, and ends on turn 9. Similarly, the Axis start with a 50% air shock penalty (due to mud grounding planes at grass airfields) on turn 1, 40% on turn 2, 30% on turn 3, 20% on turn 4, 10% on turn 5, and ends on turn 6. Again, Soviet air shock penalties are increased by these values accordingly. That means that Soviet air shock has been increased to 92% on turn 1, 55% on turn 2, 37% on turn 3, 28% on turn 4, 14% on turn 5, 5% on turn 6, and ends on turn 9.

5. Overextended Threshold Level: This scenario was made with TOAW III version 3.6 (and played with version 3.6.0.xxx), and therefore can apply one of the new supply features. The Overextended Supply Threshold Level is 4, meaning that all locations with location supply levels of 3 or less are “overextended”. That will tend to limit the ability of the Axis to advance into such locations without first recovering a lot of unit supply.

Note that the starting shock penalties due to mud are not as severe as the fall mud shock penalties (25% vs. 67%). My conclusion was that, since the ground was fully dry by the historical start date the mud was probably not nearly as bad as the fall mud by the May start date. The fall mud ended due to the freeze – that can be a very quick event. But the spring mud has to dry out – that takes time. So the mud had to get progressively less and less pervasive. Since it was already muddy in April, by mid-May the mud would have been drying out for some time. The circumstances were quite different as well.

Others may disagree, but it is entirely a matter of opinion. As the designer, I had to make a design decision, and that was the one I made.

Note that this scenario is not yet publicly available as of post time – awaiting the release of TOAW III version 3.6.

Let’s get started.
Post #: 1
Turn 1 - 2/13/2015 1:34:45 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 1. Less progress was made than in the original scenario test. The shock penalty made some formations reorganize and the attacks toward Leningrad actually failed – those lines of advance will probably have to be postponed indefinitely. The Arctic section will not be shown, since little happens there.




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RE: Turn 1 - 2/13/2015 1:35:32 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the main front at the end of turn 1. The shock penalty has put a few formations into reorganization, thereby reducing the force that can be brought to bear on the Soviets. The results are not as good as in the original, as far as territory gained, but pretty good as far as killing went. That shows that the Germans had an excess of force at the start, so they don’t really miss a few laggards.

In their turn, the Soviets are trying the same defensive strategy that served in the original test. That means they will try to hold on to Kiev as long as possible, while setting up a delaying action in most other areas.





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Turn 2 - 2/13/2015 1:36:36 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 2. Progress continues in some areas. The direct offensive towards Leningrad has been abandoned.




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RE: Turn 2 - 2/13/2015 1:37:15 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 2. This is about on a par with the original. Fewer formations were affected by the (smaller) mud penalty this turn.




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RE: Turn 2 - 2/13/2015 1:38:12 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 2. Again, this is comparable to the original. Most of the mud has dried up and gone. In conclusion, the Germans have not been measurably delayed by the mud effects on the main front.

The Soviets are setting up a decent defense line for Kiev.




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Post #: 6
Turn 3 - 2/13/2015 1:39:18 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 3. Progress continues, except towards Leningrad. Most formations are finally free to move on this front. Clearly, there has been some delay in this area, relative to the original. But it’s a side-show.




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RE: Turn 3 - 2/13/2015 1:39:58 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 3. Progress is continuing at about the same pace as in the original.




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RE: Turn 3 - 2/13/2015 1:40:41 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 3. Progress is also continuing at about the same pace as in the original.




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Turn 4 - 2/13/2015 1:41:33 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 4. Progress continues.




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RE: Turn 4 - 2/13/2015 1:42:09 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 4. The Soviets are setting up a decent defense in front of Moscow as their delaying forces hold off the Germans for a bit.




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RE: Turn 4 - 2/13/2015 1:42:51 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 4. Progress is at least as good as in the original.




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Turn 5 - 2/13/2015 1:43:50 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 5. The Finns continue to advance east of Lake Lagoda.




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RE: Turn 5 - 2/13/2015 1:44:50 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 5. In the original, the Germans were just breaching the defenses in front of Smolensk and a strong defense line had formed behind that position, well in front of Moscow. Here, no real defense of Smolensk ever materialized. That may have been an unconscious choice I made with the Soviets. Instead, the defenses of Moscow continue to strengthen. However, there may now be no need for a detour to the south by AGC.




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RE: Turn 5 - 2/13/2015 1:45:32 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 5. The Axis are almost in position to start the assault on the Kiev flanks. That’s a little ahead of the original schedule.




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Turn 6 - 2/13/2015 1:46:31 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 6. Progress continues north of Lake Lagoda. An attack also succeeded toward Leningrad. That will cause the Soviets to have to shift their forces backwards in that area.




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RE: Turn 6 - 2/13/2015 1:47:17 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 6. AGN forces have broken through the defenses in front of Leningrad and will soon be at its gates. Meanwhile, the Novgorod defender has blown all the bridges to the hex needed to isolate Leningrad, and the Lagoda supply hex is well defended. The defenses of Moscow are becoming formidable, but AGC may still give them a testing since there is no real need for a detour.




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RE: Turn 6 - 2/13/2015 1:48:01 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 6. A weak point in the line south of Kiev was exploited. Coupled with the breakthrough north of Kiev, this has placed Kiev out of supply already. Clearly I didn’t arrange the defense of Kiev as well as I should have. The rest of its defense line, however, will be hard to deal with.




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Turn 7 - 2/13/2015 1:49:00 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 7. The Soviet defenders protecting Leningrad from the Finns were cutoff temporarily. But it then overran the blocking unit and escaped. Nevertheless, the front-lines have been advanced in that area. Elsewhere, progress continues.




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RE: Turn 7 - 2/13/2015 1:49:54 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 7. Leningrad has been reached and AGN is attempting to flank the Novgorod position via Borovichi. The Soviets are on to this and rushing forces to the area. Note that this is the only path to the Lagoda supply hex that armor can take, once the Novgorod path has had its bridges blown. So, that will determine whether Leningrad falls or stands. Meanwhile, the defenses of Moscow continue to strengthen.

Note that this is the turn that the 2nd Army finally arrived. In the original, it arrives on turn 2. So, this is the real penalty of the early start. The Germans have had to soldier on without reinforcements for a long time. As a result, the starting forces are a bit more run down than in the original – especially the armored units. They need that army to get to the front. I’ve got it heading toward Moscow.




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RE: Turn 7 - 2/13/2015 1:51:16 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 7. Kiev is completely enveloped and doomed. Elsewhere, the Soviet line has been breached just above Odessa, pocketing a Soviet army.




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Turn 8 - 2/13/2015 1:52:08 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 8. The advance towards Leningrad has halted – probably for good until Leningrad falls from the south. The German Brandenburg division has arrived and the Lagoda supply hex has been reached.




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RE: Turn 8 - 2/13/2015 1:52:52 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 8. AGN forces are concentrating for a drive up the road through Borovichi toward the Lagoda supply point. Meanwhile, AGC forces are approaching the formidable defenses of Moscow.




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RE: Turn 8 - 2/13/2015 1:53:37 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 8. The Kiev defenses are withering away due to lack of supply. Meanwhile the defense line is disintegrating. Odessa is now fully invested by the Romanians. By house rule, only they can assault it. That won’t be possible until its supply point is removed by the capture of Sevastopol – and that may be several turns from now.




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Turn 9 - 2/13/2015 1:54:33 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 9. This front has stabilized, but note that the Brandenburg division arrived at the Lagoda supply hex border.




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RE: Turn 9 - 2/13/2015 1:55:20 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 9. The Novgorod path has been cleared, but the bridges will take weeks to repair. So, the path up the road through Borovichi is being pursued. Meanwhile, AGC forces are being concentrated on a Soviet army on the path to Moscow.




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RE: Turn 9 - 2/13/2015 1:56:22 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 9. Kiev has fallen and its defense line has been enveloped.




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Turn 10 - 2/13/2015 1:57:41 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the northern front at the end of turn 10. Here, the Brandenburg division has RBCd into the hex NE of the Lagoda supply hex (it had remained constrained by house rule from actually attacking beyond the Finnish stop line, but was allowed to RBC). Meanwhile, AGN forces have driven closer to that hex as well, using the path mentioned before. The combination of those two advances has put most of the defenders of that hex out of supply. It also has made it very hard for the Soviets to reinforce them.

Note the tactical trick I’m using here. The group composition of the spearhead hex shows five HQs (there is one more in the hex behind. That concentrated a lot of high-power artillery to the attack and made progress very cheap. I think once the Lagoda hex has been secured, I may try to make a similar concentration for the try for Moscow.





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RE: Turn 10 - 2/13/2015 1:58:31 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the central front at the end of turn 10. One hex has been gained toward Moscow. The army defending it was destroyed at significant cost. More force is being focused here from the Kiev battle and elsewhere.




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RE: Turn 10 - 2/13/2015 1:59:10 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the southern front at the end of turn 10. The original Kiev defense line has almost entirely been destroyed or pocketed. The three pocketed armies are rapidly withering due to lack of supply. I decided to let them “stew” a bit longer before attempting to destroy them.




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