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Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/25/2015 10:50:41 PM   
Balou


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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.

Rationale:
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?

Overview:
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.






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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/25/2015 11:22:29 PM   
HMSWarspite

 

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Interesting. Do you think you could do better, second time? Synth earlier for instance?

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/25/2015 11:30:06 PM   
Balou


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Probably yes. But doing a whole campaign to verify this one doesn't sound too fascinating atm. However, I'd really like to know - some day - wheather an all out anti-gasoline GC will do any harm.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/25/2015 11:36:29 PM   
HMSWarspite

 

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Thanks ... I was t suggesting you should but you is the expert now!

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 12:01:18 AM   
Balou


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Going for fuel/synt fuel only instead of oil first could even be a better strategy. Even if oil piles up, it's of little use if not refined.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 12:44:29 AM   
Fallschirmjager


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Looks like it had little effect until you took those factories by land and denied their use.
Playing the AI, it is hard to know if it had to limits its action based on lack of fuel. You can't exactly ask the AI :)

I wonder if the AI has built in advantages where it can ignore supply? I know in WitP on higher difficulties the AI can ignore supply as a helping hand at higher difficulties.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 1:17:50 AM   
NotOneStepBack


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Fallschirmjager

Looks like it had little effect until you took those factories by land and denied their use.
Playing the AI, it is hard to know if it had to limits its action based on lack of fuel. You can't exactly ask the AI :)

I wonder if the AI has built in advantages where it can ignore supply? I know in WitP on higher difficulties the AI can ignore supply as a helping hand at higher difficulties.


I was about to come in and say the same thing. The chart may be misleading as it plummets when Ruhr is taken and other major fuel producing areas -- Hamburg?

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:11:50 AM   
Smirfy

 

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Looks like it is like WITE you took Roumania in that and it did not harm the Axis. Looks like it is a redundant feature just keep bombing them there UBoats (even though the Battle of the Atlantic is won a couple of turns in)

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 8:29:01 AM   
Red Lancer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Smirfy


Looks like it is like WITE you took Roumania in that and it did not harm the Axis. Looks like it is a redundant feature just keep bombing them there UBoats (even though the Battle of the Atlantic is won a couple of turns in)


Completely wrong ! Damaging factories in WitW has an effect. You need to do some maths though: an oil refinery produces 250T of fuel from 500T of oil for every factory point with a multiplier of 1.0 in each year. A Synthetic Fuel Factory produces 500T per factory point but there is a 1.35 multiplier - i.e. 675T produced per factory point. So in terms of reducing fuel production hitting a synthetic fuel factory compared to a refinery is 2.7X more effective and most are in the Ruhr.

An oilfield produces 1000T of oil per factory point so the loss through damage of one oil 'factory' is equivalent to two refinery points as a fuel refinery consumes 500T per point (but only produces 250T). Look at the table below which is from a spreadsheet I created and note the number of factory points together with my explanation of the relative effectiveness of each factory point. If you want to cripple fuel production you target the oilfields and the synthetic fuel factories. Targetting oil won't be immediate as there is an operating surplus of 94,000 T / Turn - you need to damage 94 factory points before you start reducing the oil pool and restricting fuel production.




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< Message edited by Red Lancer -- 2/26/2015 9:38:27 AM >


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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 10:47:00 AM   
Denniss

 

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Synth fuel consumes a lot of ressources (and associated freight) to generate fuel so disabling them early may help germany to keep production active in 45 despite lack of ressource production.
Has anyone though about disabling the rail hubs next to major production facilities? For example disabling rail around the Ruhr ?

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 10:56:16 AM   
Red Lancer


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Good points - but remember 50% of oil and fuel moves free under the pipeline rule.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 12:37:06 PM   
Q-Ball


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Has anyone concentrated on Resources? I notice that Resources have no pool at all for me as Germany right now, so there isn't much slack. Resources repair very slowly. Just no VPs for them.

Thoughts?

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 1:43:33 PM   
Balou


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

If you want to cripple fuel production you target the oilfields and the synthetic fuel factories.



Not so sure about this. Next time I'll take a different approach:
a) True, there is a surplus in oil production, hence it will take some time to first deplete the oil reserves and to finally damage fuel (not synt fuel) production. So why not going for fuel in the first place ?
b) There's more to watch than damage: factories do repair, and fuel factories repair 2x faster than oil factories. Whats more, small factories have a basic repair rate x2/x3.
c) I learned from the manual that damage levels reflect only a probability that the whole factory is not producing, eg 80% damage doesn't mean 80% less production, but rather that the chance of not producing is 80% (=20% chance of full production)

What I'm trying to say is there would be a lot of things to watch. So I'd rather focus on 2 targets (fuel and synt fuel) instead of 3 (+oil).

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 1:51:24 PM   
Balou


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quote:

Q-Ball

I notice that Resources have no pool at all


Production Screen has a figure for Resource Stores + Pool

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 2:04:20 PM   
Balou


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Fallschirmjager

I wonder if the AI has built in advantages where it can ignore supply?


Any comment from the devs ?

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 4:31:27 PM   
Smirfy

 

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One of the aspects I was looking forward to most when I bought into WiTW was attempting to dislocate German industry and see the results on the ground and I suspect there are quite a few other posters welcomed this possibility. I am sure there is maths in the game but I dont believe Im completely wrong in saying, when the maths all works out you will see little physical effect on the Ground or the Air for substantial effort in managing your Strategic air campaign.

As an aside pipeline rule I find interesting. Germany did not really do pipelines (the one planned for the Caucaus was going to use captured French equipment) for numerous reasons including the Danube, the surplus of rail cars that could carry finished fuel products, U-Boats took up practically all pump production and most of all it made no economic military sense until "I did not think the Allies could wreck our rail network" occured. 50% for Germany sounds too high, I think dislocating the transport network should be an option, messing with orginization Todt's sounds like fun.

I believe the Allied airforce managed to knockout 2 of the three fuel depots servicing Normandy the third had to be hidden in the Paris Metro. The Germans believed there was not a problem railing fuel to France from the reserves in Germany. The game really goes easy on German logistics this 50% rule is a good case in point.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 5:02:28 PM   
Joel Billings


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I can't think of any advantage the AI has, other than that if it has access to rail lines it will use some cheat movment to move around in friendly areas. It will however suffer in MPs and in combat for having a lack of fuel. The MPs will impact some moves, and counter attacks, while the lack of fuel in combat is a very important factor in CV calculations for motorized units.
Very interesting discussion.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 5:04:32 PM   
Joel Billings


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If anyone has some info on pipelines use for Germany, we could consider making and adjustment to the pipeline percentage. Of course, it would take quite a while to figure out the impact of any change.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 5:51:35 PM   
decourcy2

 

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These numbers are problematic. Romania produced 13 million barrels of crude in '43 and had the refinery capacity for 10 million barrels of oil products.
Germany proper had an excess refining capacity from the pre-war years as a great deal of the Mexican oil was brought in inefficiently as crude.

So, the Axis should not have excess oil production they should have excess refinery capacity.

Also, i am unsure about the resource shortage. Coke and nickel were the only real shortages by '43, they had plenty of Chromium and Manganese by this point, more iron stockpiled then they were going to use before '47, and aluminum was not a huge problem until the summer of '44. Coke is more of a production bottle neck as it comes from coal and Germany had plenty of coal.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 5:58:18 PM   
Smirfy

 

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Oil as a factor in the German War effort. Official Report

Transport


24.
The carriage of oil from Roumania and Hungary was the most difficult
transport problem, so far as oil was concerned, which the Germans had to meet, other sources of supply and production being much nearer the main areas of consumption. Up to the time of the Allied attacks in 1944 there is no evidence that shipments of oil from Roumania were at any time unduly delayed or that the rail and river systems were ever unable to keep pace with the quantities of oil awaiting transport.

Pipelines

26.
The manifold advantages obtained by the Allies by the use of pipelines for oil transport draw attention to the comparative neglect by the Germans of this form of transport.

27.
The Germans themselves have given no unanimous nor particularly cogent reason for this. One source( 10) has stated that pipelines were not used
because of shortages. There was a critical bottleneck in welding fabrication and this was one of the major limiting factors. There was also a critical shortage of pumps in as much as the submarine programme was taking the bulk

28.
Another source, (v)(u) who was in charge of construction of the few pipelines which were built, attributed the failure to adopt this form of transport to the opposition of the German oil companies, who looked askance at such a threat to their monopoly of distribution, especially as it would be in the hands of the WIFO organisation, which was already trespassing upon their preserves.This opposition was continued by the Zentralbuero fuer Mineraloel which had the same commercial viewpoint. In the later stages of the War, when commercial opposition could have been more easily over-ruled, lack of materials prevented pipeline construction except for some small tactical pipelines laid across the Rhine.

35.
The only pipelines constructed for the direct supply of military operations comprised five pairs of lines (one for motor gasoline and the other for diesel oil) that were laid by the WIFO organisation under the Rhine in the winter of 1944-45. These were located near Wesel, Remagen, Mainz, Speyer and Breisach. Each pair had a total capacity of about 7,000 tons a month. The lines at three sites were ready to operate by March, but no fuel was available to put through them.

37.
There was a good reason why so little use was made of pipeline transportation. Until air attacks began to hamper seriously railand water communications, these systems met requirements admirably. Oil represented less than 2 percent,of the total railfreight traffic and, as oil trains were given appropriate priority, distribution was maintained until deliveries no longer became possible.Movements were facilitated by an abundance of tank cars, resulting from German conquests, and even after considerable losses of rolling-stock in Russia there were more than enough tank, cars to meet overall requirements.

38.
The production of oil was not seriously affected by the dislocation of communications, a fact which was no doubt largely due to the raw materials being mostly insitu at the source of production. (13)

39.
Although the delivery of the finished products became impeded when rail transport approached total dislocation, deliveries to combat areas were well maintained until that time. The oil trains were efficiently moved to the railheads except when movements were interrupted by air attacks. One effect of these attacks was to cause diversions over circuitous routes causing delays in delivery, these delays being serious during periods of intense fighting. Another effect, and of no less importance, was the added inconvenience to front line units caused by railheads being located increasingly far back as the air operations of the Allies became intensified. This resulted in the need to substitute road transport for rail, thus increasing the demand for liquid fuel. The amount of liquid fuel that was lost in rail transit by fire or leakage on account of air attacks was very small.(")

40. One consequence of the efficiency of the transport system in so far as oil was concerned was that it obviated the need for establishing large stocks in forward areas. This permitted the policy of maintaining strategic reserves in the underground storage depots of Central Germany and deliveries into consumption were well maintained as long as transport was possible.

< Message edited by Smirfy -- 2/26/2015 7:00:26 PM >

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:09:14 PM   
Balou


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Smirfy

One of the aspects I was looking forward to most when I bought into WiTW was attempting to dislocate German industry and see the results on the ground and I suspect there are quite a few other posters welcomed this possibility. I am sure there is maths in the game but I dont believe Im completely wrong in saying, when the maths all works out you will see little physical effect on the Ground or the Air for substantial effort in managing your Strategic air campaign.



In retrospect, when I switched all saved turns from my test game (vs AI oil & fuel) to HvH, it became obvious that fuel in units began to run out, however very, very late, but by then rather fast. Maybe due to errors on my side (too late in bombing synt fuel). Picture is from CR, last turn (t91), box shows %fuel in units. Figures were quite different only a couple of turns earlier.




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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:18:17 PM   
Smirfy

 

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How much of the map had you conquered? If you have conquered the Ruhr I would like to think the Germans are running out of fuel

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:22:44 PM   
Balou


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VE-day




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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:30:10 PM   
Smirfy

 

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I think your land forces and the Eastern Front box might have more to do with the German oil crisis


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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:36:14 PM   
Red Lancer


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There are many things in the game that I still don't understand - only yesterday I learned something that was at fundamental odds to what I thought was the case.

The pipeline rule prompts a good example - 50% of oil and fuel but not freight are moved free - but the thing is, whilst they can be stored at a location, the pools against which freight is cashed in are virtual. I've never understood the link between stores and the pool.



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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:41:01 PM   
Balou


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Smirfy,

That's very well a possibility. The main objective of my test-GC was to see if an anti-oil/fuel air campaign can somehow facilitate victory. Due to errors on my side and the uncertain impact of land Forces I don't have a valid answer yet. OTOH, you can't win WitW only by bombing.

< Message edited by Balou -- 2/26/2015 7:42:51 PM >

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 6:55:28 PM   
Balou


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

There are many things in the game that I still don't understand - only yesterday I learned something that was at fundamental odds to what I thought was the case.

The pipeline rule prompts a good example - 50% of oil and fuel but not freight are moved free - but the thing is, whilst they can be stored at a location, the pools against which freight is cashed in are virtual. I've never understood the link between stores and the pool.




Same here. I can't understand (see picture below) why fuel stores - although critically low - seem to retain fuel that is needed in units. Transportation problems ? Pipelines ruptured ?




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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 7:02:20 PM   
Smirfy

 

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I understand that but I think it would be fun to see above average in game effect or at least *some* dislocation affecting whats going on in the ground. I think also if an Axis player is faced with only 1 consumption unit of fuel for his Panzer divisions and his rail heads are getting bombed back to Germany with his motor transport getting interdicted he has got some thinking to serious thinking to do. When I play the Germans thats the problems I want to face.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 7:02:30 PM   
Red Lancer


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Balou,

If fuel factories repair faster - all the more reason to target oil. As only fuel uses oil the effect is the same in the long run and there are less targets and not as thinly spread.

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RE: Strat bombing of Axis oil & fuel - 2/26/2015 7:31:20 PM   
Smirfy

 

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Do we differentiate between aviation fuel and motor fuel?

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