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RE: Turns 38-41: 5 March – 25 March 1942

 
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RE: Turns 38-41: 5 March – 25 March 1942 - 7/23/2015 2:11:47 PM   
chaos45

 

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Think hes in for a tough summer trying to assault into that many Soviets and trying to get that much ground back.

I predict a summer offensive that gets some pockets then sputters out before even the end of summer. To many areas the Germans need to re-take for the long game and to many Soviets to left to defend it all. If the Soviet OOB wasnt over 7M I would give him a chance at recovery- but short of some massive mistakes by Loki which cost the Soviets mulitple 100k+ pockets in succession I dont see success in the germans future.

(in reply to Matnjord)
Post #: 151
RE: Turns 38-41: 5 March – 25 March 1942 - 7/23/2015 2:50:23 PM   
gingerbread


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How is your rail conversion progressing? I'd be interested in the number of vehicles damaged in supply op compared to the same turn, say T40, in your game vs. Sigup.

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Post #: 152
RE: Turns 38-41: 5 March – 25 March 1942 - 7/23/2015 2:57:52 PM   
MattFL

 

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This is one of my favorite AAR's so I'm glad you guys are playing on despite the SHC advantage. Will be curious to see how Vigabrand does over the coming months with all of those panzers he has....

(in reply to gingerbread)
Post #: 153
RE: Turns 38-41: 5 March – 25 March 1942 - 7/23/2015 3:31:18 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Time to hunker down and wait for the hammerfall then. It was a wild ride and you certainly seem in a good position to my untrained eye. Moscow is all but impregnable, especially considering the battering the German rifle divisions have taken in this sector, and Stalingrad is so far from the frontlines that I doubt it's at risk. With all that breathing space you've gained for yourself it seems unlikely the Heer will be able to seriously damage you since you can just retreat at will. This is gonna be an interesting summer for sure, what with the intact Panzerwaffe and Luftwaffe and your 60 guard divisions. Good luck with guessing where he will strike and on your counteroffensive. For the Rodina!


I'm obsessively running recon to spot his Pzrs, I've just sent back T47 (so mid-May) and they are mostly in arc stretching from around Vitebsk to east of Kremenchug. Basically seem to be in 3 clusters, one facing the landbridge, one around Gomel and the final batch north of the Dneipr bend. I think there is a another block in the n Ukraine.

I'm trying to juggle the front lines so they will take some puncturing but to minimise losses of my better units.

My main hope is that his infantry are now battered - there was some evidence for this in some fierce April battles. If so, once I know where he is committed, I think I can attack with some power elsewhere and start to stretch him.

On the landbridge my average defensive stack is about 30cv, so yes, he can break the front line but I can't see him doing more than take out a single army. In the Ukraine, its a lot weaker, but I've already set up a deep and elastic defense.

Its a bit like playing 'chicken', especially with random weather, pull back too early and he gets to redeploy for free, stay too long and I risk a pocket. Easier to guess once the German summer offensive is started.


quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

Think hes in for a tough summer trying to assault into that many Soviets and trying to get that much ground back.

I predict a summer offensive that gets some pockets then sputters out before even the end of summer. To many areas the Germans need to re-take for the long game and to many Soviets to left to defend it all. If the Soviet OOB wasnt over 7M I would give him a chance at recovery- but short of some massive mistakes by Loki which cost the Soviets mulitple 100k+ pockets in succession I dont see success in the germans future.


As above T47 has just gone back, I have 8.2m men (compared to 7.5m facing SigUp), there he destroyed 30 divisions at the start and I replaced them instantly, so somehow vigabrand has to cull over 2m (200 divisions?), so I suspect that once Vigabrand commits I can both defend and attack, or he needs to weaken his attack by holding quite a lot of armour back as a mobile fire brigade.

Must admit in a way I hate the april-may 1942 mud turns, as the Soviet player you have had to make some big choices and its a caase of having to live with the consequences, at this stage the initiative is (however briefly) back with the German player

quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

How is your rail conversion progressing? I'd be interested in the number of vehicles damaged in supply op compared to the same turn, say T40, in your game vs. Sigup.


for the line I'm holding I'm back in my rail net, it was one reason to abandon some of my gains later in the winter.

Comparisons are interesting (these are all for T47) - compares 3 games (V - vigabrand; S - SigUp and A - 1.08.3 AI)

Size: V -8.2m; S - 7.5m; A - 8.2m;
Trucks: V - 96k; S - 135k; A - 121k (so I think that shows the price I paid for the winter battles);
Manpower: V: 116k; S - 61k; A - 550k;
Arms pts: V: 200k; S - 342k; A - 0 (as the AI doesn't really destroy many units)

My weakness here is the truck situation, will certainly limit my generation of tank corps and I'll leave more understrength tank brigades.

quote:

ORIGINAL: mattp

This is one of my favorite AAR's so I'm glad you guys are playing on despite the SHC advantage. Will be curious to see how Vigabrand does over the coming months with all of those panzers he has....


glad its interesting to follow.

There was a lot of fighting in April (weather was not that wet .. one of the consequences of random weather) and that was informative. His Pzrs are strong, but he obviously only used them for limited gains, so not a full test of capability. I think, picking up the discussion in Callistrid's AAR, he can breach my lines but he's going to struggle to open up 2 gaps of 3 hexes wide (ie the conditions for a full devastating encirclement), so my instinct is at first, he has to kick down the wall (perhaps go for army sized pockets) and force me to start pulling back and hope to make proper pockets once the battlefield is more mobile.

The problem is I have a lot of space to run to


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Post #: 154
RE: Turns 38-41: 5 March – 25 March 1942 - 7/23/2015 5:29:07 PM   
MattFL

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

Its a bit like playing 'chicken', especially with random weather, pull back too early and he gets to redeploy for free, stay too long and I risk a pocket.



I think this one statement sums up much of the overall dilemma for SHC throughout the first 2 years...

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 155
RE: Turns 38-41: 5 March – 25 March 1942 - 7/23/2015 9:37:54 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mattp


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

Its a bit like playing 'chicken', especially with random weather, pull back too early and he gets to redeploy for free, stay too long and I risk a pocket.



I think this one statement sums up much of the overall dilemma for SHC throughout the first 2 years...


aye, I think the basic mindset is right, you are always juggling delay against loss.

Its just at the start of the summer 1942 you have usually chosen your positions and defensive layout - as opposed to it being the best you can put together under pressure - so I sort of feel more responsible if it all goes very wrong

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Post #: 156
Turns 42-44: 26 March – 22 April 1942 - 7/23/2015 9:43:11 PM   
loki100


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Turns 42-44: 26 March – 22 April 1942

The weather in this period had a major impact on the combat operations of both armies. As opposed to the normal period of rain and thaw, the weather switched between a return to winter, rain and periods when the ground dried out [1].

The result was ongoing, if limited, operations and both sides having to adjust their plans to cope with the changes in fortune.

Fighting carried on in the north. The Germans tried to crush the Soviet bridgehead using 57 Panzer Corps but despite pressing 33 Army back, Leningrad Front retained a substantial hold on the west bank of the Volkhov.

In early April the Germans commenced a limited offensive designed to eliminate the Soviet bridgehead in the Dneipr bend. Their opening attack disrupted the Soviet defensive lines but they did not try immediately to exploit their gains.



By 16 April this process of blow and counter-blow had developed into a major German operation.



All of 3 and 14 Panzer Corps were involved and the results were studied carefully by Stavka.

Clearly the Germans were capable of breaking the defensive line but they paid a heavy cost.




(Soviet AT rifle team in combat near Dnepropetrovsk)

In turn, Stavka ordered a localised offensive. To the north, 18 and 19 Armies overran some Romanian formations.



With their northern flank secured, 56 Army restored Soviet control of the north bank of the Dneipr and threw back the German spearheads.



[2]

Elsewhere, isolated battles broke out as the Soviets struck back at over-extended German units.



[3]

Early April also brought evidence that the Germans had redeployed the Luftwaffe to support their summer offensive.



However, the Luftwaffe could offer almost no defence against one of the most effective weapons available to the Stavka. The U-2 biplane may have been a throwback to a previous era of combat aviation but used as a night harassment weapon they inflicted steady losses on the German and Finnish formations on the northern sector of the front.




U2 returning after a successful raid

Overall losses reflected the relatively intense fighting. The Axis forces lost 30,000 men (9,000 killed) and 67 tanks, Soviet losses were 80,000 men (28,000 killed) and 20 tanks.

[1] – This is another area where WiTW is a real improvement – it combines the impact of weather in previous turns with the current turn (so the ground has a 'wetness' rating). The reason why the Spring mud was worse than autumn is due to the thawing process not the amount of rain. In effect, the surface unfreezes but about 2-4m down the ground initially stays frozen. Thus any melt water stays on the surface and creates a layer of mud 2m deep that rests on deep frozen ground. Rain as such is not that important. So really the non-random mud for April is a much better representation of reality.

Still does make this period a lot more interesting to play.

By May that deep frozen layer has melted, so it is then dependent on the amount of rain falling in a week.

[2] – So on balance losses were in my favour, I've lost a defensive in front of Dnepropetrovsk (but still hold the city as a bridgehead for now), which I was never going to hold. If the summer battles produce a similar loss ratio the Panzers will be ground down fairly quickly.

[3] – I lost about the same number of these too, mainly where fog of war obscured the true strength of the Germans. Main thing is, at least prior to the summer morale collapse, my infantry is the match of the Germans, so should mean that I have little to fear in terms of offensive operations across most of the front.

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Post #: 157
Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/27/2015 11:28:10 AM   
loki100


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Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942

With almost all major combat operations stalled by the spring muds, both sides re-organised and set in place their plans for the summer battles.

As a prelude, the Germans clearly decided to destroy the Soviet outpost at Odessa. Over several weeks, the port was bombed till it was scarcely functioning.



Finally, Stavka authorised the evacuation of the city, the garrison would be of more value redeployed to the main front.


(aftermath of German bombing raid at Odessa)

Promotions continued to be given to commanders and formations that had distinguished themselves in the winter battles.



While the Red Army rested and re-organised, the VVS was fully committed to a major air reconnaissance campaign in an attempt to detect the location of the German armour.

By mid May three main clusters had been detected. 57 Panzer Corps was known to be on the Leningrad front, helping the Finns hold the line of the Volkhov. This appeared to be the only reserve formation in the Army Group North sector indicating the Germans had gone over to the defence north of Velikie-Luki.

For the rest, it was assumed that the equivalent of 2 Panzer Armies were deployed to the east of Kremenchug. This grouping could attack east towards the Dombas or north towards Kharkov. Another Panzer Army had been detected around Gomel. This could either support an attempt at a major encirclement of SW Front, or operate with the final Panzer Army detected west of Smolensk.

In theory this gave the Germans the capacity to renew their Moscow offensive, in reality it would lead them directly into strong and multiple Soviet defence lines.

On balance, Stavka's analysis was that the Germans would prioritise a campaign in the Kharkov sector as once they had crossed the Vorskla there were no more major rivers till they reached the Donets. Equally success here, meant they could then drive south-east and take the Dombas region or north-east towards Orel and Tula.

This analysis meant the Panzers at Smolensk were an essentially defensive force designed to prevent a Soviet counterattack on that sector.





(Soviet troops resting after the winter battles)

OOB




(Pe-2 squadron re-equipping for the expected German offensive)

Industrial report



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Post #: 158
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/27/2015 5:42:28 PM   
M60A3TTS


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It's really too bad the U2-VS does not have an upgrade path to the U-2R or U-2 trans. Then it would be a very versatile aircraft in the inventory. I'm no expert but it seems to be the same aircraft performing different functions.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 159
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/27/2015 6:40:24 PM   
gingerbread


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8.3M! How did you manage to do that?

4.1M Germans is also high, but I thought you lost quite a lot before blizzard and still 8+.

Edit: Your supply stockpile is decreasing by how much each turn?

I think you have overbuilt just a little...

< Message edited by gingerbread -- 7/27/2015 7:43:19 PM >

(in reply to M60A3TTS)
Post #: 160
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/27/2015 7:28:52 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: M60A3TTS

It's really too bad the U2-VS does not have an upgrade path to the U-2R or U-2 trans. Then it would be a very versatile aircraft in the inventory. I'm no expert but it seems to be the same aircraft performing different functions.


yes I think it was, esp the VS/R versions. It was just a very useful, low maintenance aircraft that typically the Soviets made into an effective weapon.

I think the transport version was slightly different as it lost some weaponry for more load carrying, but it was mostly used to move commanders and NKVD sabotage squads into and out of the partisan war. There are some reports of it being used to transport fuel drums, such as in the early stage of the Stalingrad offensive, but I can't imagine it was of much value.

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Post #: 161
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/27/2015 7:32:17 PM   
M60A3TTS


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Maybe Denniss could look into that for us.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 162
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/27/2015 7:36:42 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

8.3M! How did you manage to do that?

4.1M Germans is also high, but I thought you lost quite a lot before blizzard and still 8+.

Edit: Your supply stockpile is decreasing by how much each turn?

I think you have overbuilt just a little...


By accident to be honest, I think I've built about 70 brigades and had few combat losses since November, so a lot of my rifle divisions are over 90% TOE.

Supply is ok. Little chart below shows weekly production and usage since the start of 1942. This is one of the things I tested in my AI game. If you depress expenditure on aircraft, less to element production then you can manage 1942. What will happen if this follows that game is that over the summer it will all get rather tight as I burn off supply as ammunition and digging. So I'll run a deficit of 10-15,000 per turn. Usually the natural end of the German offensive and the 1943 multipliers just about save you.

As M60A3TTS has noted, you also need to reduce the engineering value, it limits your ability to dig in but otherwise all your supply literally goes into holes in the ground. Not too bad a problem as 1942 is all about movement in any case.




Attachment (1)

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Post #: 163
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/31/2015 9:41:20 AM   
Matnjord

 

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Here come the Panzers! That's gonna be an exciting summer I think. Giant Red Army vs super Panzerwaffe! Make your bets gentlemen!

And damn, that's a scary Guard Tank Corps, looking forward to see more of them on the field.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 164
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/31/2015 11:46:38 AM   
chaos45

 

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Guard Tank corps scary- now thats a serious Laugh.....I have numerous guard tank corps in my game vs Pelton they arent impressive even with extra sappers and tank BNs....Typically 6 CV each.

A full strength Guard Cav corps at max morale is the scariest mobile unit the Soviets can field pretty much in 1942- Can hit 9 CV

Im hoping Guard Mech Corps are abit more impressive when I finally get them, then again the Soviets make jack crap for trucks and the mech corps take like 3k+ trucks each......

(in reply to Matnjord)
Post #: 165
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/31/2015 8:28:52 PM   
Matnjord

 

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I've never played WitE, so I was probably reading the stats wrong. On the unit counter it says 1-50. What do those numbers stand for then?

< Message edited by Matnjord -- 7/31/2015 9:32:06 PM >

(in reply to chaos45)
Post #: 166
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/31/2015 8:39:21 PM   
chaos45

 

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1-50 means it has 1 combat value and 50 movements most likely this is taken during a mud turn. That unit probably has a Combat value of 6 in non-mud. Which makes it about equal in combat strength to a weak German infantry division.

(in reply to Matnjord)
Post #: 167
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/31/2015 9:14:51 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Here come the Panzers! That's gonna be an exciting summer I think. Giant Red Army vs super Panzerwaffe! Make your bets gentlemen!

And damn, that's a scary Guard Tank Corps, looking forward to see more of them on the field.


quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

Guard Tank corps scary- now thats a serious Laugh.....I have numerous guard tank corps in my game vs Pelton they arent impressive even with extra sappers and tank BNs....Typically 6 CV each.

A full strength Guard Cav corps at max morale is the scariest mobile unit the Soviets can field pretty much in 1942- Can hit 9 CV

Im hoping Guard Mech Corps are abit more impressive when I finally get them, then again the Soviets make jack crap for trucks and the mech corps take like 3k+ trucks each......


I think it was about 7 attack cv on a clear turn. Don't underestimate the tank corps, even in 1942. They are not the massive beasts they will be in 1943/4 but you have no other tool that has 40-50 mp. I agree about the relative mobility and hitting power of cav corps but they lack the mobility. Also you need to nurse your armoured force over 1942 to gain the full advantages later ... its a pretty realistic rendering of how the Soviet armoured formations learnt their trade in the war.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

I've never played WitE, so I was probably reading the stats wrong. On the unit counter it says 1-50. What do those numbers stand for then?



quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

1-50 means it has 1 combat value and 50 movements most likely this is taken during a mud turn. That unit probably has a Combat value of 6 in non-mud. Which makes it about equal in combat strength to a weak German infantry division.


the problem is when displayed the two numbers can mean different things either attack value - movement points or attack value - defensive value (depends on how you set up the display and I switch according to which is really of interest to me at any time). But attack values are squashed in the mud turns, its rare to see a unit >1 so in this phase of the war it can be misleading as everything from a powerful rifle corps to a weak rifle brigade appears to have an attack value of 1.

as above, to me at this stage of the game, the only real bonus for the armoured formations is those movement points.

but by 1944 I have seem Gds Mech Corps well into the 28-34 range and Gds Tank Corps around 25. Always worth remembering the Soviets never really got the TOE of the tank corps right, but the Mech Corps had a superb balance of infantry-armour-support formations


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Post #: 168
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 7/31/2015 9:59:28 PM   
chaos45

 

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ya so far in 1942 Ive been completely unimpressed with tank corps performance. They look mighty having 150+ tanks but in they very quickly fall apart after a couple combats and all that movement often just gets them into trouble as they have absolutely no staying power against German mech formations in 1942.

I think I still have 17-18 tank corps left after losing 3 to an encirclement and dont have alot of plans to build more. Will probably concentrate on mech/cav corps for my 1943 forces and just use up remaining tank bdes as I get AP to form tank corps, doubt I will build anymore tank BDEs period. I have 5-6 guard tank corps already and they basically have 1 more CV than a normal tank corps. Yes 50MP is nice but CV is so much more important when your looking at walls of 20+CV german defenses.

5 of my cav corps easily have the same hitting power it seems as 9+ tank Corps. The cav have better morale and with the tank battalions a much better balance of forces for CV. I anticipate that even latewar the cav corps will be as good as if not better than the tank corps just not quite as much movement. Which I will still prolly have 20+ tank corps around anyway plus however many mech corps I can built.

Also cav corps take so many fewer trucks...which in 1942 is a huge constraint on the soviet army.

< Message edited by chaos45 -- 7/31/2015 11:00:55 PM >

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 169
RE: Turns 45-48: 23 April – 20 May 1942 - 8/1/2015 11:56:29 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

ya so far in 1942 Ive been completely unimpressed with tank corps performance. They look mighty having 150+ tanks but in they very quickly fall apart after a couple combats and all that movement often just gets them into trouble as they have absolutely no staying power against German mech formations in 1942.

I think I still have 17-18 tank corps left after losing 3 to an encirclement and dont have alot of plans to build more. Will probably concentrate on mech/cav corps for my 1943 forces and just use up remaining tank bdes as I get AP to form tank corps, doubt I will build anymore tank BDEs period. I have 5-6 guard tank corps already and they basically have 1 more CV than a normal tank corps. Yes 50MP is nice but CV is so much more important when your looking at walls of 20+CV german defenses.

5 of my cav corps easily have the same hitting power it seems as 9+ tank Corps. The cav have better morale and with the tank battalions a much better balance of forces for CV. I anticipate that even latewar the cav corps will be as good as if not better than the tank corps just not quite as much movement. Which I will still prolly have 20+ tank corps around anyway plus however many mech corps I can built.

Also cav corps take so many fewer trucks...which in 1942 is a huge constraint on the soviet army.


one of the delights of WiTE is that different players evolve very different play styles and appreciation of what works. As maybe clear, I have something of a U2 (not the awful tax evading rock band) obsession. They won't win me the war but I can inflict 500-1000 losses per week on the axis (esp the Finns) and that attrition may become very important over time.

I think the game models the evolution of the Soviet armoured force very well. The at start tank divisions are powerful but fragile .. they were ill-led and had a terrible OOB. The Soviets often tended to think that if a given weapon was good, more of it was better. For artillery, drawing on the long Russian military tradition, they were right, for tanks they got the balance very wrong and that carried on into 1944. The brigades solved the command problem, but proved to be of marginal value for exploitation and really only of use as a support weapon.

The corps started out with a poor OOB and poor tactical control. Also till the Tank Army concept became properly developed, operational control was poor too. After the disaster at Voronezh, they came close to being scrapped ... Kulik was back on his fantasy that the future was an 18,000 man cavalry division (after all this did work in the civil war ... of course it was Trotsky's idea [1] which limited Stalin's enthusiasm). Even in the Stalingrad offensive the corps had problems dealing German Pzr divisions on anything like even terms and the disaster at second Kharkov showed they couldn't fight the Pzrs directly.

The Soviets learnt in doctrinal and equipment terms, but it wasn't till the 1944 variant that they really got the balance of the Tank Corps right (oddly they got even the first iteration of the Mech Corps pretty much correct). So in game you're suffering from all that learning by fighting.

I agree that in 1942 the cavalry corps is of more immediate use, but you need to use the tank corps to build experience, the tricky bit is to find safe learning grounds for them.








[1] his pronouncement in late 1918 - 'Proletarians to horse'

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Post #: 170
Turns 49-51: 21 May – 10 June 1942 - 8/1/2015 12:07:51 PM   
loki100


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Turns 49-51: 21 May – 10 June 1942

The end of May left both armies locked into the spring muds. However, the Soviet high command continued to argue about the appropriate Soviet response once combat operations were possible again.

Many, including Zhukov, argued that the Germans were still very powerful and that the Red Army had to stand on the defensive in order to exhaust their last reserves. Others, looking at the winter battles suggested this was defeatist, over-estimating the Germans, and that the Red Army should look to drive the invaders out of Russia in the coming months.

Briefly, Stalin dismissed Zhukov and sent trusted confidants to various fronts in an attempt to arrange localised attacks.



VVS reports suggested that the German reconnaissance efforts were concentrated on the Crimea and at Smolensk. In turn the Soviets detected major build ups at Smolensk and in the Poltava-Dnepropetrovsk sectors. It did not appear as if the Germans had altered their operational plans in recent weeks.

Early June brought a change in the weather and the ground hardened. Reports came into Front commands of vehicle movements on two sectors, south of Poltava and at Smolensk. Southern and Kalinin Fronts hastily prepared for a major offensive and elsewhere final adjustments were made to the Soviet defensive lines

Vorskla-Orel battles

The larger German attack fell on Southern Front deployed to the south of Poltava with its reserves resting on the river Orel to protect the northern flank of the Dnepropetrovsk defences.

The opening attack was a massive infantry attack that struck Boldin's 19 Army. Despite committing his local reserves, the sheer number of German troops broke open the Soviet defensive position.



With the front broken, the Germans then committed their tanks and elements of 14 Panzer Corps swept aside the units falling back from the opening battle. By the 6 June, 19 Army had been driven back 30 miles and most of its rifle divisions were exhausted from the sustained and brutal fighting.

However, they had fought hard and inflicted losses in both men and tanks and time on the Panzers. The Germans then committed their 3 Panzer Corps and although this made some gains it quickly became caught up in the Soviet secondary defensive lines.

49 Army's 213 Rifle Division played a pivotal role as over several days it held off 3rd Panzer Corps only falling back on the 7 June and allowing the Soviets time to bring up their reserves.




(Soviet machine gun crew from 213 Rifle Division)


(positions at the end of the German offensive)

The Soviet counterattack was brutally effective. Stavka released Crimean Front's 37 Army to help eliminate the southern wing of the German attack. Their attack was led by a massive sequence of sturmovik raids and 14 Panzer was quickly driven back from its recent hard won gains.



To the north, Kreizer's 9 Army led the counterattack. This time 3 Panzer was forced to abandon recent gains.



By the 10 June the German's were left with a narrow corridor on the north bank of the Orel and 2 complete Panzer Corps had been driven back by the Soviet counter offensive.



Smolensk

A similar pattern of attach and counterblow occurred at Smolensk. However, here the Germans faced the far more formidable defences of the Kalinin Front which limited their breakthrough.


(again shows the position at the end of the German offensive)

Their initial attack at Kaspla Moschina was a massive blow supported by over 100 Ju-87s and involving infantry from 50 Corps and armour from 39 and 47 Panzer Corps. In fierce air battles the VVS took heavy losses but also managed to disrupt the German air attacks and in turn Sturmoviks were able to hit some of the German columns.


(Il-2s in action near Smolensk)

However, the impact of almost 150,000 men, 1600 guns and nearly 1,000 tanks was too much for the Soviet defenders.



With the Soviet front broken, the Germans tried to exploit but faced fierce resistance as they ground their way through multiple defensive lines. Failure to capture Yartsevo meant they were unable to exploit any deeper into the Soviet defenses.

Koniev's counterstroke was delivered with power. 32 Army struck 3 Panzer and SS Divisions from 47 and 39 Corps. Again, the war in the air was as fierce as the ground fighting as the VVS took heavy losses but managed to protect the Soviet bombers that disrupted the already over-extended Germans.



By the 8 June, the Germans were falling back to their start lines, leaving 129 tanks burning on the battlefield.


(German armour destroyed in the Soviet counterattack)

Having driven the main attack back, 32 Army then struck at the German flanks. In another round of fierce fighting and heavy losses for both sides, the German 14 Motorised Division was driven back from the outskirts of Smolensk.





The victories of the opening week blinded some in the Stavka to the threat the Germans still posed. Soviet intelligence had detected a major build up in the northern Ukraine and to the south of Zaporozhye.



It was assumed that this fitted with the overall assessment that the German target was Stalino-Kharkov.

For an sequence of attack and counterattack on such a limited portion of the front, losses were horrendous for both sides.

The Germans lost 19,000 men (7,000 killed), 440 afvs and 55 planes, Soviet losses were 38,000 men (20,000 killed), 62 tanks and 183 planes [1].


OOB




[1] – I think the problem is that this is one of those stages where the VVS is briefly behind in technology (the LaGG-3 just can't cope with the Bf109) and in numbers. All you can do is to contest the skies, take losses and gradually modernise.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why?

The problem was they had sent Mekhlis as the Stavka representative. The defences around the sea of Azov were complicated. The front line in the Crimea was held by Crimean Front's Coastal Army, but the reserve had been weakened over the winter and now reported to the Southern Urals Military District. To make it more complex, the formations defending the Molochina line on the Ukrainian shore were freshly raised and reported to the Volga MD.

In theory Mekhlis was meant to ensure that messages were passed between the various commanders, the reality is all he did was to meddle and weaken both the defensive posture of Coastal Army and ensure the reserve formations were in no position to respond if the Germans attacked.



(apols that is rather long, but a lot happened, and we both made some mistakes that will have longer term consequences)



_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 171
Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/4/2015 8:14:23 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7467
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From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942

The weather in mid-June dictated the dynamics on the battlefield. Torrential rains in the Smolensk-Moscow region brought to an abrupt end any attempt by the Germans to renew their offensive at Smolensk.

However, it was clear that 39 and 47 Pzr Corps remained on this sector. A further, unidentified Pzr Corps sat to the rear at Vitebsk. Leningrad Front indicated that the 40 Pzr Corps remained on its sector.

Equally, even as fighting slowly spread to cover the entire Ukraine, Stavka continued to reward formations and commanders for their battlefield successes.



The Crimean disaster

Early on 11 June, the Germans commenced a major offensive in the Ukraine. Led by 3 infantry corps (1, 43 and 50) they managed to break the Soviet defensive lines at Budanova. By the 13th, the Soviets had lost Ishun as their forces had been forced to retreat under massive air bombardment.

With that, the Germans were able to commit 48 Pzr which left the Coastal Army cut off on the Crimean-Ukrainian border.



Stavka hastily gathered together a reserve army and deployed it to hold the Kerch crossings. For the moment, it was decided to try and hold Sevastopol, even if the Germans tried to eliminate the port by bombing.

The Kursk offensive

As expected the Germans launched a massive offensive along the gap between the Psel and Seym rivers, striking at the junction between Bryansk and SW Fronts.

The initial blow was led by 3 infantry corps (12, 29 and 38) and outflanked the Soviet defenses at Sumy.


(AT rifle team near a knocked out Pzr III at Sumy)

In turn 26 and 60 Armies fell back to a secondary defensive line and 6 and 16 Armies formed up on defensive positions that covered the Lgow-Sudzha rail line.

As such, the threat of what were presumed to be 2 infantry armies was of little concern. The worry was that Soviet reconnaissance flights had detected what appeared to be at least 3, and possibly 4, Panzer Corps in reserve.




Poltava defensive operations

In addition they renewed their offensive south of Poltava. This time the German attack was more concentrated and they were cautious about over-extension. Here their offensive saw a mixture of infantry and armour with 3 and 14 Pzr and 34 and 52 infantry corps detected.


(9 Army Artillery in action)

This time, Stavka gave Southern and Crimean Fronts the scope to fall back to the secondary defensive line. The intention was to draw the Germans forward in the hope that they would expose their flanks to counterstrokes. For the moment, Stavka was committed to a defence of this key sector as it protected both Kharkov and Stalino.




OOB and interpretations


Stavka urgently sifted all available intelligence on the location of the German Panzers. It seemed as 40 Pzr remained near Leningrad. 39, 47 and an unknown Pzr Corps were on the Vyazma-Smolensk sector.

3, 14, and 48 were committed in the southern Ukraine/Crimea.

It was suspected that 3-4 were in the northern Ukraine. Lacking any more detailed information, Stavka was trying to pinpoint 24, 41, 46, 56, and 57 Pzr Corps. Depending on the accuracy of the reports from the northern Ukraine, at least one of these might be completely unaccounted for.

On the other hand, this indicated that the long front from Leningrad to Kursk was mostly lacking any mobile reserves. While committed to defensive operations for the early part of the Summer, the scope to disrupt the German offensive existed if Stavka was prepared to gamble on a localised offensive where the Germans were weak.



Losses for both sides remained heavy, but the main difference was that this week was not marked by bruising Soviet counterattacks once the Germans had managed their initial breakthroughs.

The Germans lost 20,000 men (7,000 killed), 100 tanks and 20 planes and the Soviets 39,000 men (12,000 killed), 2 tanks and 200 planes.

_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 172
RE: Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/4/2015 8:25:48 PM   
M60A3TTS


Posts: 3109
Joined: 5/13/2011
Status: online
For WitE II: Partisans have a certain amount of Intel Points in a pool. Those points can be spent to try and increase the Detection Level on a targeted hex provided it is within 3-5 hexes of a partisan unit.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 173
RE: Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/4/2015 9:12:30 PM   
chaos45

 

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Joined: 1/22/2001
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Nice and probably more realistic Partisans than the current pop up and be attacked all the time.

(in reply to M60A3TTS)
Post #: 174
RE: Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/4/2015 10:04:37 PM   
Matnjord

 

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Shame about loosing two guard corps in Crimea, but overall you seem to be handling this summer offensive decently enough (for now). And you named the main German offensive Kursk? You're not doing some foreshadowing here by any chance ? I mean, there is what looks to me a nice plucky Italian army holding a flank north of the Kharkov and Stalino sector, if only they could be made to cross the river...

< Message edited by Matnjord -- 8/4/2015 11:06:54 PM >

(in reply to chaos45)
Post #: 175
RE: Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/5/2015 1:28:28 AM   
chaos45

 

Posts: 1859
Joined: 1/22/2001
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He has 8M men and tons of space to give up. He really has no worries.

(in reply to Matnjord)
Post #: 176
RE: Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/5/2015 6:56:13 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7467
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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: M60A3TTS

For WitE II: Partisans have a certain amount of Intel Points in a pool. Those points can be spent to try and increase the Detection Level on a targeted hex provided it is within 3-5 hexes of a partisan unit.


quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

Nice and probably more realistic Partisans than the current pop up and be attacked all the time.


I like this idea, it would provide a reason to at least balance the supply cost of the partisan war against the gains ... assuming a normal 1942/3 where the German rail net is pretty much complete. Also realistic, the partisan movement was closely linked to the NKVD by 1942 and a major goal was to pass intelligence on axis troop movements ... the other was to remind the local population that the Soviet state was still a reality in their lives.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Shame about loosing two guard corps in Crimea, but overall you seem to be handling this summer offensive decently enough (for now). And you named the main German offensive Kursk? You're not doing some foreshadowing here by any chance ? I mean, there is what looks to me a nice plucky Italian army holding a flank north of the Kharkov and Stalino sector, if only they could be made to cross the river...


that was carelessness by me, I keep on forgetting that western hex in the Crimea is clear and not protected by a river.

well it does look like he is headng for Kursk and his tactics seem more 1943 than 1942. By that I mean he is using entire infantry corps to clear a hex and is moving forward in a very compact mass. Neither this turn nor next could I find a weak spot to hit back at on that sector. Having said that, using what I presume are 2 infantry armies and at least 1, probably 2 Panzer armies in a block of hexes 4 wide and 4 deep means he is weak somewhere else.

I need to balance feeding formations in as an essentially defensive operation to thinking about how to take advantage of the inevitable weak spots and the large sectors of the front held by the axis allies are very tempting, not least its coming up to the July date for a new round of Gds rifle divisions to be created

quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

He has 8M men and tons of space to give up. He really has no worries.


Yes, yes and no ... would be my answers. Can I afford to lose 2 Gds rifle corps for a good reason, yes, especially as the July promotion round is coming up. Can I afford to lose them due to a mistake, yep .. etc. But each cost me 25 admin pts (20 for the corps, 5 for the brigade I added to the Gds rifle divisions), plus 6 admin pts for the support units that went into them, so that was 60 admin pts lost ... more than I get in a turn.

At the moment I'm trying for a controlled retreat and to see if I can split off the infantry from the Pzrs. Where I feel safe, - strong front line, decent reserves - I'm contesting the offensive (esp up at Smolensk), if I fear I lack a powerful reserve I'm trying to just keep out of reach.

I think vigabrand has made a mistake with 3 attack points but we'll see, at the moment the Kursk block is the only one that seriously worries me, and oddly its the one that is not aimed at anything too critical. While all the factories have gone, places like Stalino of course are pumping out manpower which I'd like to try and keep for as long as possible. Also in theory he could break up his concentrated fist either north (behind Bryansk) or south (Kharkov), but once it breaks up it becomes vulnerable ... which is why I have a current obsession both with mine and his reserves.

In this sense by reserves I don't mean a fortified line, I mean complete formations that have a real punch if they are used in a counterattack

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(in reply to chaos45)
Post #: 177
RE: Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/5/2015 11:59:14 AM   
chaos45

 

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Joined: 1/22/2001
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At 8M men in your OOB you really have no worries. You could lose 2 entire fronts and still be completely good in this game. Not saying you should or it would be enjoyable.

Look at the other AARs with 7-7.5M men the Soviets do fine in 1942, you have a massive cushion of troops to absorb anything the Germans can throw out. Even if they did say wipe out a million men of your army you can easily give up a couple turns of space with screening forces while you build a new frontline.

At this point the only thing the German player is playing the game for is to see how much ground/losses he can get to slow your offensive towards Berlin.

Yes Corps suck to lose but you have so many troops they dont really matter in the grand scheme at the moment. Also since you can afford to lose men and not replace them due to having a massive reserve most your Admin points should be going into building offensive formations to counterattack and slowly gain the initiative to take the fight to the Germans. I would guess you have manpower and armaments in your pool so Artillery BDEs should quickly fill out once you start building them and all your tank BDEs should quickly convert to tank corps.

Ive found once you have about 20+ trained tank/CAV corps concentrated you can stop even the concentrated Panzer ball tactic. So him being spread over 3 attack zones should be easy for you to halt wit the forces at your disposal. In my game vs Pelton I have 38 tank/cav corps and where he isnt concentrated im conterattacking with the other Corps. Guard infantry corps are great to help out with this to as they are actually the strongest Corps the Soviets have in 1942. An so far Ive lost 5 Corps with attachments against Pelton and Im doing fine with only a 7M man army. So.....figure 35+ AP per corps= 175+ AP lost just in corps over 1942 not to mention the 30+ divisions of losses.

You have more than enough to take whatever he has to throw at you and hit back.

< Message edited by chaos45 -- 8/5/2015 1:14:57 PM >

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 178
RE: Turn 52: 11 – 17 June 1942 - 8/7/2015 5:15:43 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7467
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From: Utlima Thule
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aye, I agree. I lose regular rifle divisions all summer with no long term harm, would rather keep the Gds if I can. Don't plan to raise any more new formations (rifle or tank) this year, I'll review the OOB once we reach 1943 but I'd rather keep the admin pts for Tank Army HQs, artillery, maybe a few more rifle corps (no real hurry there) and maybe some extra cav divisions

its the admin pts that are now becoming my problem, manpower in reserve and arms pts are going up, supply down a bit with the intense battles but nothing to worry about at this stage. I'd like to hold him west of the Don if I can, but its, as ever, a judgement about when to pull back and when to try and delay any advances

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(in reply to chaos45)
Post #: 179
Turn 53: 18-24 June 1942 - 8/7/2015 5:24:00 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7467
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From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 53: 18-24 June 1942

The second half of June brought clear skies and dry ground to the entire front. As a result the Germans renewed their offensive at Smolensk as well as continued to attack in the Ukraine. In turn, Stavka authorised a limited counter offensive by the Volkhov Front designed to force the Germans to deploy their reserves by reacting to the Soviets.

Smolensk

Here the Germans attacked again, forcing a narrow gap in the Soviet defensive lines and briefly encircling elements of 24 and 32 Armies holding Smolensk.

Again, Kalinin Front struck back powerfully. Zakharov's 32 Army sealed the gap in the Soviet front line and encircled 17 and 18 Panzer Divisions.

To the south, 20 and 24 Armies co-operated to restore communications to Smolensk, overrunning the exposed 14 Motorised Division.



To increase the pressure on the Germans, elements of 32 Army, attacked out of Smolensk almost capturing the weakly defended HQ of 50 Infantry Corps.

With the situation at Smolensk under control, Stavka authorised a limited offensive by the Volkhov Front. 2 Shock Army operated with Kalinin Front's 20 Army to restore the Soviet lines south of the Dneipr



In turn, 29 Army drove back the weak German screen covering the rail junction at Roslavl.



Northern Ukraine

The offensive towards Kursk was clearly the main German attack. A massive force of infantry and armour steadily ground their way through the Soviet defences till their advanced guard was only 20 miles west of Kursk.



Here, even drawing on reserve formations from Bryansk and Western Fronts, the Soviets were unable to do anything but reinforce the defensive lines in front of Kursk.




(Soviet AT guns in action to the west of Kursk)

Southern Ukraine

On this sector, as expected, Coastal Army was destroyed in the Crimea but Soviet intelligence reports indicated the Germans were pulling out of the peninsular rather than trying to take Sevastopol or Kerch.

Around Poltava, the Germans attacked again, encircling the Soviet rearguard on the Vorskla. However, the Soviets had ample reserves including the entire Southern Front and the mobile elements of the Crimean Front.

The freshly raised 61 Army, assisted by SW Front's 12 Army, overran Hungarian positions around Murafa and re-established communications with the formations holding the Vorskla. 9 Army then launched a powerful attack to drive the Germans back from the southern approaches to Kharkov.

In turn, the cavalry and tank forces of Crimean Front struck the southern edge of the German salient.




(elements of 38 Army in action)



OOB



Casualties for both sides escalated as the sequence of attack and counter-attack continued. This week, German losses were 35,000 men (14,000 killed), 400 tanks and 160 planes, Soviet losses were 165,000 men (20,000 killed, 110,000 prisoners), 140 tanks and 370 planes.

From 3 to 24 June, the Germans and their allies had lost 74,000 men (29,000 killed), 940 tanks and 230 planes. Soviet losses were 240,000 men (45,000 killed and 120,000 captured), 200 tanks and 750 planes.





(the very slow race to be the first combined arms army to reach Guards status)

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(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 180
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