I'd like to present the results of a human vs AI GC 43-45 where oil & fuel were the prime, almost exclusive, targets of allied strat bombing. Game was started under "normal", FOW. VE-day in t91, around -70 VPs in t90 but 600+ VPs in t91- due to bonuses from an earlier (than May 1945) ending.
Will I be able to freeze axis troop movement ? Note that this was vs. the AI and it's my belief that no "Axis Human" will allow this sort of strategy or any attempt at a decent cost. And btw, should the Axis bother of such an attempt?
1) Sicily invaded on t1, but Brits only
2) US Forces land near Brindisi in September: main objective were airfields at/near Foggia, target Ploesti/Vienna
3) Naples and Rome captured after Axis AI retreated (will never know why, no major pressure from my side)
4) From then on Italy front remains frozen.
5) All valuable units (exp) back to GB, France invaded in t47
6) Paris t52 (June 24, 44)
7) Brussels t64 (Sept 16, 44)
8) Ruhr pocket in t77 (Dec 16, 44)
9) Berlin pocket closed in t90 (March 17, 44)
Strat bombing: I threw in all I had, and - with the exception of Blechhammer raids - all raids heavily escorted. Raids: 3 days a week, 1 raid per choosen day, and settings for req. bombers/escorts. Usually recon at 36k from day 1-5, raids starting from day 3 onwards. No flights in poor or vpoor weather.
1)Ploesti/Vienna regions (oil & fuel) from Sicily than Foggia
2)Blechhammer N+S (synt fuel) from Foggia
3)Hamburg Region by 8AF.
4)Smaller oil (fuel, synt fuel) targets in western (RAF-B)/central (8AF) Germany
Pictures show oil and fuel.
To make a long story short:
Yes, in an AI-game you can cripple Axis oil and fuel stocks. Recon, recon, recon, and damage per escorted raid may will be up to 30-50% per raid. By mid 44, damage in almost all larger oil (later on fuel) centers is in the high 80s/90s. Oil stocks went down first and to well below (30-70K) what the Axis needs per turn (approx 250k), although with little impact (units fuel counters) because I totally forgot about about synt fuel until late 44. As expected, both oil and fuel/synt fuel then drop very fast as long as strat bombing keeps damage high and additional centers are captured when moving in into Germany. However, Axis Pz/PzGren fuel counters will turn red only very, very late (by spring 1945). And from my understanding possibly because of additional factors such as a compromised rail network . In other words, in my experience an air campaign against a seemingly crucial target has shown some effects, but too late to be of any real help.