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RE: Turn 54: 25 June – 1 July 1942

 
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RE: Turn 54: 25 June – 1 July 1942 - 8/19/2015 3:06:55 PM   
Matnjord

 

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Fascinating back and forth in this campaign. I have to agree with Sorta, I too can't help but root for the Germans in this summer, if only because it will make your come-back in the winter all the more glorious (you are going to make a comeback and encircle a massive amount of German divisions, right?). Of course long term I'm cheerleading for our brave Soviet comrades, but right now we need a successful German offensive for the sake of the story!

(in reply to Sorta)
Post #: 211
RE: Turn 54: 25 June – 1 July 1942 - 8/19/2015 3:47:27 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sorta

Really enjoying the AAR and learning some interesting facts. I admit I'm rooting for the Axis as want to see Loki under some serious pressure. I think he may need a case of fortified wine from my local Abbey sent to him before the next turn to reflect more realistic Soviet generalship.
(Apologies in advance for stereotyping but saw the Glasgow location).

PS after that insult I'm almost embarrassed to ask for more more photos.

Keep up the good work chaps!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Fascinating back and forth in this campaign. I have to agree with Sorta, I too can't help but root for the Germans in this summer, if only because it will make your come-back in the winter all the more glorious (you are going to make a comeback and encircle a massive amount of German divisions, right?). Of course long term I'm cheerleading for our brave Soviet comrades, but right now we need a successful German offensive for the sake of the story!



cheers chums

but yes I know what you mean, a good game needs a powerful German 1942 offensive. Play has slowed a wee bit (holidays and things), but now that vigabrand has a Panzer Ball set up, I'm starting to feel the pressure. Just been partially rescued by a major rain storm in the Ukraine ....

aye the linkage between Buckfast Wine and social disorder is well known in Glasgow .. personally I can't stand the stuff but then I also refuse to drink Irn Bru

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Post #: 212
Turns 56-57: 9-22 July 1942 - 8/21/2015 1:12:52 PM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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Turns 56-57: 9-22 July 1942

The first week saw a sequence of thunderstorms hit the Ukraine and western Russia and effectively end almost all military movements apart from small scale clashes around the Sea of Azov [1].

During the lull, Stavka kept itself busy sending out promotion letters and sacking perfectly competent commanders [2]



By the 15th the ground had hardened and the German's renewed their offensive. The main attack was towards the Oskol. To the south, the Germans broke through the weak Soviet rearguard at Kharkov.


(combat positions before any Soviet moves)

In the Crimea, the Germans carried on bombing Sevastopol but for the moment Stavka refused to evacuate the city and also reinforced the defences at Kerch. If both ports could be held, then the task of retaking the region would be much easier.




(Soviet PVO Flak Unit at Sevastopol)

Smolensk

Taking advantage of the lack of German offensive capacity to the north of Smolensk, Stavka ordered a major re-organisation of the Front and Army boundaries on this sector.



In turn, this freed additional formations that were redeployed to the escalating Smolensk battles.

Vasilevsky's elite 22 Army made steady progress along the southern bank of the Dvina first disrupting the main defensive line of 59 Corps and then overrunning the Corps HQ.




(mortar team supporting 22 Army)

At Smolensk itself, elements of Kalinin Front launched a massive attack but were held by the well dug in 50 corps.



However, 54 Army then took advantage of the gaps torn in the German defensive line and outflanked the German troops to the north of Smolensk.



Ukraine

Given the ongoing German offensive in the north, the bulk of the Soviet forces in the Ukraine fell back to new defensive positions. For the moment, Stavka was prepared to trade space for time and hope that the Germans became over-extended. Sooner or later, the Panzers would either push too far east, leaving their flanks vulnerable or have to swing north or south.

For the moment, the Oskol river was effectively the front line as Soviet forces re-organised after the defeat at Kharkov.

Stalingrad Front was falling apart under the pressure and was having to replace its losses with formations drawn from the strategic reserve. However, to the south Southern Front remained a powerful grouping and Crimean Front possessed substantial mobile and armoured formations. To the north, elements of Bryansk, Western and Voronezh Fronts presented a major obstacle to the Germans, with increasing numbers of armoured formations being added to their strength.




OOB



Over the two weeks, the Germans lost 47,000 men (12,000 killed), 145 tanks and 90 planes. Soviet losses were 400,000 men (40,000 killed, 300,000 prisoners), 190 tanks and 400 planes (incl 100 lost U2s).

[1] Since we have already had mud in the south, that is the end of any help from the weather apart from in the north zone. … another 10 weeks of slowly dropping morale to cope with
[2] This means that the two fronts defending the Voronezh sector are now led by absolute idiots.



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RE: Turns 56-57: 9-22 July 1942 - 8/22/2015 12:39:15 PM   
Matnjord

 

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Those casualties sure don't look pretty, but at least you're getting a metric ton of guards. And it's gonna be a long a painful slog to go through those 10 weeks of good weather in Ukraine, it's gonna be interesting to see how far back you get pushed back there. At least it looks like you're pretty safe in the north and on the verge of putting the hurt on those Germans around Smolensk.

How deeply can you draw on you strategic reserve before your frontline strength will start to erode?

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 214
RE: Turns 56-57: 9-22 July 1942 - 8/22/2015 2:33:33 PM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Those casualties sure don't look pretty, but at least you're getting a metric ton of guards. And it's gonna be a long a painful slog to go through those 10 weeks of good weather in Ukraine, it's gonna be interesting to see how far back you get pushed back there. At least it looks like you're pretty safe in the north and on the verge of putting the hurt on those Germans around Smolensk.

How deeply can you draw on you strategic reserve before your frontline strength will start to erode?


good questions and that is what I've been thinking about for the last couple of turns.

I am down (end of T58) to 76 rifle brigades. Say about 6 of these are naval infantry, so that is the core of 35 more rifle divisions to feed into the slaughter. But I am also using these (and the 41 tank brigades) to hold down reserve defensive lines. I've cannabilised the reserve in a few sectors as I no longer fear a decisive break through (or, as around Stalino, I've fallen back to those lines) ... unless the Germans send armour north the worst that can happen is I get pushed back a few hexes while fighting in poor terrain. But I'm not far off the end of that source of replacements.

My constraint is admin pts, have a decent manpower reserve (132,000), am producing >100,000 manpower per turn and am awash in arms pts. So if I did nothing else with my admin pts I can generate the equivalent of 6 rifle divisions per turn (next set of bonus admin pts is not till late October), I don't need many for new support units but realistically I'm spending 10 or so a turn on re-organisations (and that is before e-Stalin inflicts Kulik on a key command). I also want to stock up some admin pts for when I can start to raise artillery divisions, these are critical for dealing with well dug in defences.

The other bit is I wouldn't be too worried if the army shrunk to nearer 7.7/7.8 million, depends on what I lost to trigger that decline.

I'm swapping strategies, so June-early July I stood and fought (perhaps one turn too many), I'm now trading off space. How I handle August really depends on what Vigabrand does, he'll reach the Don by T59 so that gives him three options:

a) try to cross, well its a major river around Voronezh, I've been digging in since November and even battered, the Stalingrad Front can generate defensive stacks of 18-20 cv, with the bonus for the major river, that is formidable. So my guess is he'll try to screen and swing north or south. Not least even if he does cross, he'll run into the problem of very long flanks, and I'm already beating his Italians et al for sport and Gds ;
b) he then needs to either radically pick one direction or split his army. If he keeps the 3 Pzr Armies plus say 2 of the infantry armies together that can munch its way towards Tula (north) or Stalino (south). I can't stop it, merely delay and frustrate. So which ever he wants he'll take. Stalino is a good gain (for the manpower) but runs into the relative dead end of the lower Donets/Don which I think I can cover well enough to delay him into the autumn. Tula-Orel is probably easier (less rivers etc), in theory threatens the south of Moscow, in reality he'd have to cross the Oka which would be a worse prospect than the Don/Donets.

The 'but' here is I now have powerful mobile/armoured forces both to the north and south. Neither can stand toe to toe with the Pzrs but both can damage isolated Pzrs or cut up his infantry. So if he picks one, he'll still have to leave a strong screen or face a repeat of the problems he has around Smolensk.

c) the alternative is to split up his armoured fist, use say 1 Pzr army as a screen and the other 2 to carry on attacking (again its his choice if he goes north or south). This might be strong enough to keep me on the defensive on one side and falling back on the other, but the equivalent of say 6 Pzr Corps as his main threat is going to have problems making and sealing really dangerous pockets.

The worst case for him in this case is his offensive arm becomes snagged up in a cats cradle of sacrificial rifle divisions with Corps and mobile units stabbing at his flanks.

I think early August becomes critical. If he can manage the sort of pocket that eats up more of my few corps (and I really don't want to use too many admin pts on raising more now before 1943, not least I have a number of 5-6 cv gds rifle divisions in any case), then that may allow him to push me back on one direction and succesfully screen the other. If he carries on creating army sized pockets and most of what I lose is replaceable, well that will help him prepare for the winter of 1942-3 but is not a mortal threat.

All this is one reason for my actions around Smolensk. At the moment, I don't really need those units to shore up say a defense of Tula. If I can force him to draw off another Pzr Corps to pin me, thats a weakening to his main attack. Equally if I can force him to deploy a couple of infantry corps to face Kalinin and Voronezh Fronts that is again a weakening of his main attack (at the moment he is using hedgehogs but they only work if backed by a mobile reserve).

its all rather interesting at the moment



< Message edited by loki100 -- 8/22/2015 3:34:36 PM >


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Post #: 215
Turn 58: 23-29 July 1943 - 8/23/2015 10:31:51 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 58: 23-29 July 1943

The pattern of fighting in recent weeks continued. Around Smolensk, the Soviets tried to take advantage of the lack of a German operational reserve. In the northern Ukraine, the German offensive continued, inflicting heavy losses on Stalingrad Front and pushing over the Oskol.

Smolensk

Here, the Germans took the bait that had been laid the previous week. They committed their only mobile reserve (37 Panzer) to drive back 54 Army. With all their reserves now engaged, 24 Army launched a massive attack, led by waves of Sturmoviks, and drove the Germans back at Smolensk.



At the same time 22 Army carried on its offensive along the Dvina, inflicting heavy losses on 59 Corps.



In a follow up attack, the second wave almost reached the rail junction at Rudnya.

With the Germans fully committed north of the Dnepr, Stavka authorised the second phase of the offensive. Soviet armour drove south along the line of the Sozh almost reaching the rail junction at Krichev. In turn, elements of Kalinin and Volkhov Fronts took advantage of the German hedgehog defences to all but surround 2 infantry divisions at Tytschinino.



Ukraine

The main German attack was aimed at forcing the upper Oskol and saw further heavy losses inflicted on the battered Stalingrad Front.



To the south, the Germans were still caught up on the Soviet rearguards but elements of 3 and 14 Panzer pushed ahead in an attempt to stop the Soviet defensive positions solidifying.

As a result, the mobile formations of the Crimean Front took advantage. Rokossovsky's armour hit the Italians holding 11 Pzr Division's southern flank. Poorly equipped and ill prepared for the ferocity of a Soviet offensive the Italians fell back leaving 11 Panzer exposed.


(Soviet armour preparing for the Slavyansk counter-attack)

In turn elements of 37 Army cut across their line of retreat and then 38 Army hit the now surrounded German armour.



With the Germans thrown back in chaos, the Soviet formations were then able to retreat back behind the main defensive screen.

To the north, 19 Army went over to the offensive and regained the rail junction of Kupyansk, inflicting heavy losses on the LAH SS Motorised division [1].




(La-5 in action near Kupyansk)



OOB



To place these numbers into context, the proportion of Gds rifle divisions by Front is:

Bryansk – 20%
Crimean - 0%
Leningrad – 0%
Kalinin – 50%
North Western – 23%
Southern – 24%
Stalingrad – 11%
Trans-Caucasus – 7%
Volkhov – 10%
Voronezh – 0%
Western – 30%

Losses followed the usual pattern, the Axis lost 31,000 men(9,000 killed), 170 tanks and 122 planes. Soviet losses were 150,000 men (18,000 killed, 90,000 prisoners), 80 tanks and 574 planes.

In the sky, the VVS was increasingly outmatched [2] but managed to ensure that the Red Army was not abandoned to the full power of the Luftwaffe.

Tanks [3]


[1] Not sure why but I am finding the German motorised divisions a relatively easy target. May be that Vigabrand is relying on their relatively high MP and low fuel cost so they are being used as advanced guards?

[2] Problem is this seems to be the worst point for the Soviet fighters. The LaGG-3 and Yak-1 are now badly outclassed (and Mig-3 worse than useless) but you cannot avoid using them. Situation improves with first the La-5 (a decent improvement over the LaGG) and more critically the Yak-9 and the late 1942 lend lease models.

[3] Short comment on my armour numbers. I have masses of tanks in the pools, but at this stage am happy to leave most of armoured units as brigades and keep them weak. I agree with other commentators who see the Cavalry Corps as your best mobile unit at this stage. To me, the value of the mid-42 Tank Corps is its mobility, I'm quite prepared to lose some if I can pull off a deep raid and disrupt German HQ and Airbase units.

Oddly by mid-43 the Soviet tanks are badly outclassed but the Tank Corps has a much better ToE (and hopefully has built up experience), so it becomes a much more valuable formation. I suspect I'll end up scrapping a number of the tank brigades I still have but for the moment they are good for creating reserve lines.


< Message edited by loki100 -- 8/23/2015 11:32:43 AM >


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Post #: 216
Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/25/2015 5:56:29 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942

After two months of sustained fighting, the tide of war finally shifted in favour of the Germans. Under severe pressure both Stalingrad and Southern Fronts started to fall apart as their main offensive swung south, presumably aiming to capture the Donets region.




(Southern Front retreating in the Northern Ukraine)

In a way, more welcome, the Soviet gains around Smolensk forced the Germans to respond in force. While this ended the scope for further gains it also drew off the forces they were massing for an offensive at Kursk.



Equally the campaign of small gains and minor offensives north of Lake Ladoga shifted into a major Finnish offensive designed to destroy 7 Army.



Under pressure, Stavka opted for only limited counter blows and to adopt delaying tactics. North of the Sosna, Soviet intelligence indicated that critical German supply lines were only weakly defended. 34 Army swept aside a Hungarian armoured division and opened the way to a massive Soviet tank attack.

The baptism of the new tank armies was a success as an SS Motorised division was overwhelmed and two German Hqs were displaced [1]




(Elements of 2 Tank Army moving up to the front)

Around Kursk, elements of Western Front tried to take advantage of the removal of the German reserves, but these probing attacks had mixed success.


[2]

In the north, 7 Army failed to overrun the Finnish tank division but inflicted heavy losses in any case, as Soviet units also managed to slip out of the weakly held pocket.


[3]

At Smolensk, the Soviets went over to the defensive. Stavka was content that the recent attacks had forced the redeployment of another Panzer and at least 2 infantry corps in an attempt to prevent any further gains.

OOB and Losses



From the start of the German summer offensive both sides had suffered heavy losses. The axis had lost 82,000 men dead (and 160,000 wounded), 1,900 tanks and 900 planes. Soviet losses were 160,000 dead, 700,000 prisoners (and 350,000 wounded), 1,400 tanks and 3,300 planes.

Among these overall numbers the Germans had lost 500 Pzr III and 200 Pzr IV, 5,000 rifle squads 1650 mot squads. The Finns have lost 110 infantry squads.

From their airforce they have lost 220 Bf-109, 90 Ju-87 and 125 Ju-88.

The Soviets have lost 300 T-34s, 900 T-60/70s and 40,000 rifle squads. In addition, have lost 680 Yak-1/7B, 700 LaGG-3, 700 Il-2, 200 Pe-2, 150 Hurricanes and 200 P-40s.



[1] Yep, used 3 tank armies and 9 tank corps. Hope that by displacing some Pzr Corps Hqs and sacrificing a rifle division to impede resupply I should slow at least some of the Panzers on this sector.
[2] Second attack shows a regular problem – poor information as to the real defensive cv, that stack ended up having double the strength that was being shown on map

[3] This was a gamble but the target was an armoured formation deployed in a swamp. Most of the destroyed tanks were stolen Soviet T-26s etc. More importantly, I'd suspect those losses are the equivalent of 2-3 weeks worth of Finnish replacement manpower.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 8/25/2015 10:06:27 AM >


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Post #: 217
RE: Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/25/2015 8:42:31 AM   
Matnjord

 

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Some scary losses for sure, but nothing critical in terms of terrain seems to be really threatened. Hold on tight ye Ivan, eStalin has it under control!

And thanks for the detailed answers, they've made this game a lot less scary than it used to be and are slowly pushing me towards shelling out the steep 60£ required for it.

quote:

The baptism of the new tank armies was a success


Gotta love how a success means losing 10% of your AFV against an enemy possessing less than 20 times the amount that you have How many of those AFV would actually be tanks (and T34 in particular) though?

< Message edited by Matnjord -- 8/25/2015 9:49:25 AM >

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 218
RE: Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/25/2015 9:03:31 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Some scary losses for sure, but nothing critical in terms of terrain seems to be really threatened. Hold on tight ye Ivan, eStalin has it under control!

And thanks for the detailed answers, they've made this game a lot less scary than it used to be and are slowly pushing me towards shelling out the steep 60£ required for it.



I think Vigabrand needs one more big pocket, if he can repeat what he managed west of Kharkov then I have a serious problem - not so much in outright loss but it'll cripple my riposte in late 42/43. So its that what is really driving my strategy, if I can feed him the equivalent of an army a turn (say 60-80,000 lost) then I should be ok.

Smolensk becomes vital, as we move into the next phase. Taking Pelton's "x hexes to Berlin - y turns of mud" mindset, that is a critical jumping off point.

The game is worth it. I stood on the edge for some time not sure as it is expensive and there is a steep learning curve. To the latter I was lucky to be able to do the various 1941 'road to' scenarios a few times PBEM, including with someone who was learning at the same time. That really helped.

But in terms of £s spent/hours played, this has been ridiculously cheap.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord
quote:

The baptism of the new tank armies was a success


Gotta love how a success means losing 10% of your AFV against an enemy possessing less than 20 times the amount that you have How many of those AFV would actually be tanks (and T34 in particular) though?


Most of the losses are T60/T70s, they are little but mobile death traps, so it does look worse than it is really is. Because I make limited use of armour in 1942, I have stuff rusting in the Urals, so up to a point losses are the least of my problems if I gain experience and morale and can pull back afterwards. Its not till you gain the later 1943 OOBs do you start to shed the light tanks from most combat formations.

That particular operation displaced 2 HQs, one of which was a Pzr Corps so at least one group of the Pzrs on the Sosna-Oskol is not going far next turn.

Fits with my basic mindset that due to the Soviet morale problems at this stage, you are really at war with the German movement points rather than combat values. My logic is they will win almost any attack, so the art is to make sure they can't attack too often or exploit too readily.


< Message edited by loki100 -- 8/25/2015 10:04:04 AM >


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Post #: 219
RE: Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/25/2015 12:57:58 PM   
Matnjord

 

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Losing 60 000-80 000 men a turn is okay?!? Adding to the "send them into battle and let them force the Germans to waste a few shells" approach to retiring old military hardware life really is cheap in Soviet Russia

< Message edited by Matnjord -- 8/25/2015 1:58:45 PM >

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Post #: 220
RE: Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/25/2015 1:52:23 PM   
chaos45

 

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Yes as the Soviets just accept the game is designed/baked to make you lose alot of men period as long the German player has any skill at making pockets.

It really is almost impossible to prevent the Germans from pocketing Soviet units if they concentrate 15+ motorized/panzer divisions in one sector in 1942. You can make them pay some casualties and maybe keep breaking into the pocket to keep it kicking an extra turn or two but end result is they will get the pocket and crush it eventually.

The key thing Im seeing from playing the Soviets in 1942 is keep making the Germans pay in losses/delay pockets collapsing as long as possible. While all this is going on just build/keep enough infantry to keep feeding into the meat grinding while building/training your offensive forces.

In general an average loss of 50k men per turn is fine as your still gaining about 50k+ per turn then.

As to AP just try not to lose more than your gaining per turn. Some turns you will lose more than you make but as long as the Average is about right. Also I lean towards using the new AP points to build more offensive strength as come 1943 the Soviets will need to attack.

With Loki having 8M men right now he is fine, IDK what he is building right now but I wouldnt be building any more infantry if I was him till he takes more losses. Then again I according to Pelton have built a totally different Soviet Army than he is used to facing.

(in reply to Matnjord)
Post #: 221
RE: Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/25/2015 6:30:22 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Losing 60 000-80 000 men a turn is okay?!? Adding to the "send them into battle and let them force the Germans to waste a few shells" approach to retiring old military hardware life really is cheap in Soviet Russia


You can't do it indefinitely, but a well set up sacrificial line will take 2 turns for the Germans to absorb, slow them down and maybe allow you to make a mess of their supply lines. Also, with the later 1942 ToEs, the numbers that your rifle divisions can absorb drops, so that makes your manpower reserve, as such, less critical.

Despite Stalin's notorious quote, in reality the Red Army evolved into 2 distinct blocks. A small 'quality' army (the armour, Gds etc) and a large 'quantity' army. Its the latter you can afford to run down, the former you have to preserve as much as possible. Its the 'quality' army that will take you to Berlin, while the 'quantity' army holds the Germans in place and simply allows you to overwhelm them.

quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

Yes as the Soviets just accept the game is designed/baked to make you lose alot of men period as long the German player has any skill at making pockets.

It really is almost impossible to prevent the Germans from pocketing Soviet units if they concentrate 15+ motorized/panzer divisions in one sector in 1942. You can make them pay some casualties and maybe keep breaking into the pocket to keep it kicking an extra turn or two but end result is they will get the pocket and crush it eventually.

The key thing Im seeing from playing the Soviets in 1942 is keep making the Germans pay in losses/delay pockets collapsing as long as possible. While all this is going on just build/keep enough infantry to keep feeding into the meat grinding while building/training your offensive forces.

In general an average loss of 50k men per turn is fine as your still gaining about 50k+ per turn then.

As to AP just try not to lose more than your gaining per turn. Some turns you will lose more than you make but as long as the Average is about right. Also I lean towards using the new AP points to build more offensive strength as come 1943 the Soviets will need to attack.

With Loki having 8M men right now he is fine, IDK what he is building right now but I wouldnt be building any more infantry if I was him till he takes more losses. Then again I according to Pelton have built a totally different Soviet Army than he is used to facing.



I agree with chaos (a strange thing to write as I've just been reading Paradise Lost), the impact of the 40 NM means the Germans will win a lot of victories, especially from July onwards. I now have a lot of rifle divisions in the 40-43 range which tends to produce a cv of 2, so stacks are 4-7 depending on what is in them.

This is why I think one way to see the summer of 1942 is you have to decrease the German MP since there is not much you can do about combat values (the reward for losses inflicted now comes in 1943).

Its a good bit of game design, and you see it even more in WiTW, is that the three main Armies (Soviet, German, UK/USA) all make very different demands and fight differently. I'm afraid with the Soviets, to a large extent manpower is a tool to an end, whereas with the Western Allies if you play that way you'll lose. Rather appreciate that sort of subtle modelling.

I'd also agree that at some stage in mid/late 1942 you have to switch focus from what you need to survive ... now ... to the longer term army. There are so few AARs into post-43 that started with 1.08.02/3 that its a bit unclear what works and in any case I think its very situational. If you are short of trucks, there is no point building a lot of motorised units as all you'll do is worsen the performance of your unmotorised formations. But if you have too few mobile units, then a competent German player can retreat with a lot of control. As so often, Cavalry corps are of course the means to bridge these constraints - at least to a point.

I'm an artillery fan for 1943. I think the extra losses and the extra disruptions over time really build up.


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Post #: 222
RE: Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/25/2015 8:21:41 PM   
chaos45

 

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It seems we think alike on what to build. Until the western allies start sending trucks there is just no way for the Soviet player to maintain a decent pool of trucks period.

Also even with the western allies sending trucks you will only be able to maintain so many mech/tank corps. In fact im slowly starting to lean towards disbanding my remaining tank BDEs instead of forming more tank corps.

Cav corps/artillery divisions take very few trucks yet one hits very hard and the other is a good mix between mobility and hitting power without draining a ton of trucks.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 223
RE: Turn 59: 30 July – 6 August 1942 - 8/26/2015 2:07:15 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

It seems we think alike on what to build. Until the western allies start sending trucks there is just no way for the Soviet player to maintain a decent pool of trucks period.

Also even with the western allies sending trucks you will only be able to maintain so many mech/tank corps. In fact im slowly starting to lean towards disbanding my remaining tank BDEs instead of forming more tank corps.

Cav corps/artillery divisions take very few trucks yet one hits very hard and the other is a good mix between mobility and hitting power without draining a ton of trucks.


aye, my feeling is that there is no point building an army that simply puts more pressure on your key shortage of trucks, so anything that offers firepower or mobility at minimal truck cost is a good build. Artillery divisions become awesome, you can often bring 3 (sometimes more) to support an attack and German disruptions escalate. Those flip to fatigue, its hard enough for the Germans to rest units in any case, so it all builds up the pressure on them ... of course you have to survive 1942 in a decent state first though

be interesting to see what 1943 army you've put together, I don't think there has been a lot of analysis and evaluation of the options, especially in the light of the recent patches

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Post #: 224
Turn 60: 6-13 August 1942 - 8/26/2015 2:12:25 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 60: 6-13 August 1942

By early August, it was clear that the focus of the German offensive was towards Stalino and Rostov.




(Soviet prisoner taken in the Oskol-Sosna battles)

In the Crimea, the relentless bombing of Sevastopol continued.



To add to Stavka's concerns, Soviet reconnaissance flights also detected a major build up to the west of Kursk, including at least one Panzer Corps



This seemed to imply that the Germans were now confident they could both attack towards Rostov and Tula at the same time. In response, across most of the southern section of the front, Soviet formations fell back seeking to avoid encirclement, for the moment, the preservation of the army was seen as more important than holding any city.

The bulk of the armies in southern Russia fell back on the Don but rearguards were left at key locations to delay any renewal of the German offensive. The threat of a German offensive northwards towards Moscow meant that only limited reinforcements could be sent even as casualties escalated.



The exception was at Smolensk where the Germans had pulled back their reserves (presumably to reinforce their forces at Kursk).

In vicious fighting, 22 Army again drove towards Rudnya and the rail link to the German units at Smolensk




(22 Army units in action)

With the German front broken, 3 Tank Army drove through the gaps cutting the lines of communication of 50 and 59 corps.







Losses remained heavy. The Germans lost 30,000 men (8,000 killed), 90 tanks and 90 planes. Soviet losses were 200,000 men (16,000 killed, 150,000 prisoners), 400 tanks and 330 planes.

Despite the battering, the Soviet manpower reserve was 350,000 [1] and they had almost 600,000 armament points.

[1] Main reason this has gone up is due to the mid-1942 rifle division OOB, that removes quite a lot of manpower from the front line units.

As with the German loss of combat power due to an OOB change in 1944, this happened in reality in response to losses but happens in game regardless. It does mean that manpower centres, as such, become increasingly unimportant for the Soviets, which in turn makes it easier to give up cities under pressure.

However, combined with the 40NM it means you have most rifle divisions at 2 cv and if they have morale <40 (or low experience) they can be back at 1.

Oh well, only another 6-7 weeks to cope with this, at least this game my morale will recover as the supply situation is fine.


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Post #: 225
Turn 61: 13-19 August 1942 - 8/28/2015 10:58:46 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 61: 13-19 August 1942

Mid-August saw almost the entire front from the Dvina to the lower Don engulfed in flames. In the searing summer heat, the two armies traded blows at Smolensk, German armour swept eastwards into the Don bend and the Kursk-Voronezh sector exploded. Only in the north did the two armies sit on the defensive and even here the German night fighters and the U2s carried on their deadly game of cat and mouse.

The South

It was clear that the Germans were seeking a decisive victory over the Soviet forces in the south as almost all their mobile formations struck south and east. The result was to leave the Soviet state with almost no control over Ukrainian territory giving the emerging disaster both a political and military aspect [1].




(38 Army preparing for the Voroshilovgrad offensive)

However, they had overextended their spearheads. The result was a series of bruising Soviet counterattacks. Coastal and 38 Armies inflicted heavy losses on 6 and 20 Panzer, opening a narrow corridor along the Donets to the units cut off around Voroshilovgrad.



To the north, 38 Army cut their supply lines as 2 Panzer was forced back. However, the scope for an even deeper encirclement failed when 11 Panzer just managed to fend off an attack by 42 Army.




(Soviet infantry using a destroyed Pzr III for cover)

The consequence of the Soviet attacks was not just to re-open communications to the formations in the Voroshilovgrad area, it also meant almost the entire German armoured force on this sector was now out of supply.



Kursk

Mid-August also saw the start of the German offensive at Kursk. This consisted of a very powerful infantry attack to the west of the city backed up by a single Panzer Corps. To the east, the Germans launched a broad front attack. While they made some gains they also became entangled in Soviet strongpoints allowing the bulk of the Soviet formations to pull back to defensive positions on the Sosna.



Smolensk

At Smolensk, yet again the Germans counterattacked driving the Soviets back but again, after recapturing some ground, they fell back.



Here Stavka demanded a renewal of the offensive. Recapturing even a small corner of Bielorussia would go some way to offset the loss of Soviet control in the Ukraine.

The Germans had left gaps in their positions to the south of the Dnepr. Volkhov Front commenced a limited offensive making significant gains around Kletja. In turn elements of 3 Tank Army cut deep into their rear overrunning HQ and airbases. To complete the chaos, a Soviet paratroop drop cut off 50 and 59 Corps at Smolensk.



Soviet estimates was that the Germans had no fresh reserves with all their available formations now committed at Kursk. If this offensive forced 39 Pzr Corps to redeploy to the south of the Dneipr, potentially the way was open to Vitebsk. A wider goal was the ability to turn the southern flank of Army Group North, setting up the scope for an offensive aimed at liberating Leningrad in the winter.

OOB



Both sides suffered heavy losses. The Germans lost 36,000 men (11,000 killed), 175 tanks and 220 planes (many over-run on their airfields). Soviet losses were 180,000 men (19,000 killed and 120,000 prisoners), 225 tanks and 420 planes.


[1] One reason that Soviet morale fell apart after the June 1942 battles was the loss of the Ukraine. This mattered for various reasons. One, as a consequence of the 1930s famines (and events after the revolution) was the fear that the Ukraine would politically detach itself. Second many senior figures in the Soviet leadership were Ukrainian (Kruschev et al). Third it meant that in effect the USSR was (at least in terms of European geography) only really Russia with this undermining a critical part of the regime's claims to legitimacy.

Re-entering the Ukraine, post Stalingrad, became a major political prize, a competition that drove the military actions of various corps and army commanders. One of the many reasons why the Germans were able to extract most of their formations from the Don region.

[2] On the subject of good support unit builds, I've been experimenting with the light gun regiment. In its favour, 76mm artillery is cheap and you have a lot in the pool, it also is not too ammunition intensive. From observation, they don't inflict many direct losses but they fire a lot and cause disruptions. So I now have 1-2 attached to each army.

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(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 226
RE: Turn 61: 13-19 August 1942 - 8/28/2015 11:22:23 AM   
Matnjord

 

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Tank columns fighting it out in Ukraine, desperate defense at Kursk, paradrops at Smolensk... This is some gripping stuff you have going on here Loki.

Keep this coming!

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 227
RE: Turn 61: 13-19 August 1942 - 8/29/2015 1:10:42 AM   
Peltonx


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Not only does loki have some mad AAR skills, but he has got some gaming skills also.

GJ



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Post #: 228
RE: Turn 61: 13-19 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 10:25:55 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

Tank columns fighting it out in Ukraine, desperate defense at Kursk, paradrops at Smolensk... This is some gripping stuff you have going on here Loki.

Keep this coming!


the best of this phase of the war is that it can be dynamic with at least some scope for counterattacks and trying to outhink your opponent, the worst is the hard coded collapse of Soviet capacity with the impact of the 40 morale rule and the shift to the late 1942 OOBs

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pelton

Not only does loki have some mad AAR skills, but he has got some gaming skills also.

GJ



less sure about the latter, but lets see how all this works out when I finally am able to put together a viable defense again


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Post #: 229
Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 10:30:46 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online
Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942

Despite the setbacks of the previous week, the Germans managed to recover their balance and reseal the main pockets.

South

However, in the south they were still at the limits of their supply lines. Soviet units struck their exposed defences around Boguchar. As a result two German divisions were trapped behind Soviet lines and forced to desperately fight their way out of encirclement.



In the south, the elite Gross Deutschland division was unable to fend off a major counter attack.


[1]


(Soviet armour pulling back after the Donetsk offensive)



North

At Kursk, a sequence of counterattacks again re-opened supply lines to the Soviet strong points effectively delaying the German advance by another week.






(lend-lease A-20 in action near Kursk)

Equally the fighting at Smolensk saw a series of counterblows that opened up communications to units trapped behind the German lines. North of Bryansk, the Volkhov Front continued to probe the German defences.



OOB



Main issue is that the off-map reserve is now going up by 90,000 a turn as the OOB changes shed manpower. No practical way to bring that into the game due to lack of admin points, so increasingly manpower is meaningless.

German losses remain around 33,000 men (14,000 killed), 174 tanks and 140 planes. Soviet losses were 80,000 men (21,000 killed and 34,000 prisoners), 140 tanks and 350 planes.



Shows the armies with the highest number of wins. None will make it to Guards status soon, possibly not until very late in 1943.


[1] There is something so pleasing about beating up GD. It becomes an incredibly powerful unit on which so many Soviet attacks will founder.

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Post #: 230
RE: Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 11:51:06 AM   
timmyab

 

Posts: 1993
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From: Bristol, UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

(lend-lease A-20 in action near Kursk)

Wow that A-20 is really off course. "The Baltic is that way guys" :)
Sorry to be silly :( Great AAR as always.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 231
RE: Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 12:37:11 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: timmyab


..
(lend-lease A-20 in action near Kursk)

Wow that A-20 is really off course. "The Baltic is that way guys" :)
Sorry to be silly :( Great AAR as always.



was wondering if anyone would spot that

but to be fair there are a lot of rivers around Kursk and it is important to maintain Soviet control over vital transport links ... err ... this isn't quite working as an explanation is it?

< Message edited by loki100 -- 8/31/2015 1:37:30 PM >


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Post #: 232
RE: Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 1:01:41 PM   
morvael


Posts: 11753
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From: Poland
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I'm sure a tank hit by a torpedo on its top armor is out of action for good, so this makes sense :-)
Maybe they should attach some tiny wings to the torpedoes, so they would glide to target.

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Post #: 233
RE: Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 2:41:42 PM   
Matnjord

 

Posts: 24
Joined: 2/3/2015
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quote:

Maybe they should attach some tiny wings to the torpedoes, so they would glide to target.

Might as well attach an engine to it and call it rocket then

You missed a good explanation for it Loki: the Germans brought the Landerkreuzer P.1000 into battle at Kursk and Stavka reading reports of "landships" decided on the obvious solution of sending torpedoes to sink that "ship".

Only 80 000 losses and more AFV destroyed than lost? A good turn I say! Nice to see you're stalling der Fritz so much and making them pay for every pocket.

< Message edited by Matnjord -- 8/31/2015 3:43:32 PM >

(in reply to morvael)
Post #: 234
RE: Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 5:06:21 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael

I'm sure a tank hit by a torpedo on its top armor is out of action for good, so this makes sense :-)
Maybe they should attach some tiny wings to the torpedoes, so they would glide to target.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Matnjord

quote:

Maybe they should attach some tiny wings to the torpedoes, so they would glide to target.

Might as well attach an engine to it and call it rocket then

You missed a good explanation for it Loki: the Germans brought the Landerkreuzer P.1000 into battle at Kursk and Stavka reading reports of "landships" decided on the obvious solution of sending torpedoes to sink that "ship".

Only 80 000 losses and more AFV destroyed than lost? A good turn I say! Nice to see you're stalling der Fritz so much and making them pay for every pocket.


I think you are both underestimating the wisdom of Comrade Stalin. That is a special 'ground torpedo' that will enter the ground, burrow along and emerge underneath German tanks ...

as to losses, they will go up again soon when vigabrand finally stops me being annoying and opening the pockets he's formed

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Post #: 235
RE: Turn 62: 20-26 August 1942 - 8/31/2015 7:37:10 PM   
STEF78


Posts: 2066
Joined: 2/19/2012
From: Versailles, France
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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I think you are both underestimating the wisdom of Comrade Stalin. That is a special 'ground torpedo' that will enter the ground, burrow along and emerge underneath German tanks ...

I don't know what you're smoking but it looks great!



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Post #: 236
loss of morale - 9/1/2015 4:07:32 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
Status: online
Well just got a turn back that summarises everything that is wrong with the 1.08 version of 1942. 7 Panzer Corps that have been fighting constantly since June in the Ukraine, have been battered by constant counter-attacks, and have been collectively cut off from supply for 2 of the last 5 turns.

Then spend a turn driving from up across central Russia from the Donets to Kursk.

Apparently this means that creating stacks of 25-35, with 40-50 MP is perfectly feasible. In the meantime I struggle to manage a stack of 4 cv due to the 40NM since April and the 1942b OOB. So the Panzers storm through 4 defensive lines and manage to cut off 3 fronts with the bulk of my Gds and mobile corps, reach the Oka etc.

Now some of this was my fault, I really should know that the only solution is to run away, not just to fall back to defensive lines or look for arease of weaknesses where I might maintain some pressure.

Have I lost? Probably not. Could I still win? Maybe, but I'll face pacman tactics till well into 1943 and then solid defensive walls etc. Is this good play by vigabrand, fully exploiting the 1.08 rule book, yep, beyond any doubt.

Is the game in its current form fun? No. The hardwired collapse of Soviet morale goes on for far too long and means you get a very similar result in 1942 regardless of how well or badly 1941-2 happens. I ceased to enjoy playing this in late July/start of August when it was clear I couldn't defend anywhere and that counterattacks were simply a means to increase my losses. When there is no reward to doing anything but run the game has become too tram-lined.

Could I have avoided this particular problem? Yep, just fall back, don't contest anywhere, don't look for any possible advantages etc.

Fed up? yep. Another game down the drain. Think unless 08.05 brings some serious improvements, this is me finished for WiTE PBEM. And by serious improvements, I mean removal of the bits that doom both sides regardless of what happens.

One suggest, at the very least import the WiTW fractional ammo/cv ratio. There if you have <51% ammo you have 50% of your cv. If you have between 51-99% you lose that proportion of your cv. At the very least that won't solve all the problems that come from frictionless supply lines (I know that is beyond any patch) but if your opponent can induce a short term break you will have to spend time recovering, not be perfectly ok the turn immediately after.



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Post #: 237
RE: loss of morale - 9/1/2015 4:35:10 AM   
MattFL

 

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Wow. Buck up, you have a few million men to spare I think. Curious to see the screenshots from what sounds like a real fiasco before making too many comments. But 3 entire fronts? Goodness, surely there's more going on here than just the 40 NM......Were these lines of your fortified or were they blobs of 1-5 CV? Further, are you surprised by a stack of 25-35CV with 40+ MP? And how is this exploiting the 1.08 rule book (or are you just referring to weak soviets)? I'm just curious what he cut through that he was able to encircle 3 entire fronts and how much of it is problems with the game vs problems with your deployment.

Quite a dramatic turnaround in this game. But don't worry, now that it's not so one sided it will surely make the AAR that much more tense (silver linings and all....)! So from the sidelines this is a really interesting development. You just need to raise your personal morale and soldier on....



< Message edited by mattp -- 9/1/2015 5:40:06 AM >

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Post #: 238
RE: loss of morale - 9/1/2015 5:35:01 AM   
morvael


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Morale 45 is back in .05 though at the cost of morale 45 rifle brigades. So no micromanagement needed to have stronger red army (on average). Perhaps this will raise them above the crucial breaking point. On the other hand I bought a lot of rifle corps in 1942, even at the cost of doubled price, exactly to have more CV per hex.
Air supply and HQBU get nerfed too, so logistics should be harder on the Germans (too good rail and too large stocks remain a problem).

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Post #: 239
RE: loss of morale - 9/1/2015 9:12:17 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
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This is pretty much over, so I'd like to thank everyone who has left comments and so on. As always when writing, feedback is very much welcomed.

So why give up?

Well in part I am genuinely fed up with the way 1.08 is working out. It might be balanced across the entire game – I really have no view. But its far too mechanistic at this stage and the 40 NM leads to a horrible game to play, for at least 10 turns it becomes an endurance exercise. If the balance is that is inflicted on the German player later on then that is not really much to look forward to.

In part, I've tried to play with half an eye on what works under the game engine and half on what is realistic/plausible. I'm not interesting in min/max and if that really is the price of PBEM then its not for me.

Vigabrand's last offensive was brilliantly conducted but only makes sense where there is frankly nothing the Soviets can do in terms of inflicting losses or stressing supply lines to undermine the Panzer ball. Except, fall back constantly. Could the game carry on. Yep. Can I be bothered to carry on. No. In part its all too deterministic, the only way now that I will recover is due to equally hard wired damage to his morale.

In part PBEM is meant to be about fun and your opponent. There is a parallel German language version of this that till now I have stayed away from. I've been happy for vigabrand to read this as I've written it with that in mind (one reason for using symbols rather than simply show on map counters etc). Having had a look, I'm not happy to find PM messages repeated or comments like this:

quote:

Was er im englischen Forum schreibt ist ja schon lustig, nachdem er quasi die ganze Zeit sagte wie toll es ihm geht und wie wenig Chance der Gegner doch hat.


Now I can't read German but I am pretty competent in Dutch. So I can usually work out what written German means. And I don't like that one little bit. Anyone who has followed this AAR will struggle to find anywhere that I said I am a brilliant player (I'm not, can't be bothered to be honest, instead I play for fun) or made fun of vigabrand's chances. Everytime anyone has made a comment about this being over or one-sided I've tried to stop it asap.

Which really is another reason for giving up to be honest.

And please, to stress, I make no comment about what situation at the end of 1942 is needed for the rest of the game to work ... I simply do not have a clue.

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