From: Houston, TX
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:
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:
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 Quantities of each that were in starting units have been replaced by PzKpfw IIIG and PzKpfw IVD respectively.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.