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Decisively Beating the AI

 
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Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:32:05 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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I have a current 43 Campaign game going on against the AI on the Challenging setting. It is turn 45 and things are going well so I have decided to do an AAR to try and show Newbie players how to achieve a Decisive Victory against the AI. So I intend this to be a combination of an AAR showing what I did, but also a teaching device to show what you should do (since often I didn't do what I should have done).

I do not claim to be an expert player and indeed so far haven't even played the Campaign Game aginst a human opponent. So keep in mind that this is advice on how to beat the AI only. If you try some of things I intend to show you here against a human opponent you will probably regret it. I welcome any questions new players might have and would appreciate any suggestions or comments made by experienced players.

Few of my suggestions are original as almost all of them I have picked up (ie plagarized) from reading posts made by others. So if you read something here that you yourself wrote somewhere else do not be shy to take the credit.

My overall strategy was pretty simple. Reduce my invasion of Sicily from 6 to 4 TFs and use the other 2 to do an early invasion of the mainland. On Seminole's advice I decided to make this invasion in the heel. As this is outside the range of fighter cover I'm not sure I would recommend this against a human opponent, but, as you will see, it worked out well against the AI. I see someone even invaded Northern Italy against the AI with good result, so if anything perhaps I was not aggressive enough. I planned a follow up invasion for the area around Foggia and a final invasion between Piombino and Livorno. My plan was to reach the Alps by Late April 44 or before. I would then put up a screening force, while some of my forces returned to England for Overlord, while the rest made a sharp turn to the left into France and then took a right up the Rhone Valley. I plan to invade the Pas de Calais in late May 44.
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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:34:38 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Turn 1 took the longest to play as there are a lot of things you should do to reorganize the WA, especially the air force. Here are steps I take on the 1st turn:
1. Using the Commander's Report on the Air Groups Tab:
a) Change the HQ of the Stirling bombers from RAF Bomber Command, some to Tactical and some to 2nd Tactical. This is because the Stirling has a maximum altitude of only 19,000 feet and I plan on flying Bomber Command at 21,000 feet to reduce flak losses. Another alternative is to change the aircraft type for some of the Stirling squadrons to the Lancaster I. For the same reason you should change the HQ of the B26 B/Cs in 8th US AF to TAC. The maximum altitude of these aircraft is only 23,500 feet, which may be a dangerous altitude for daylight bombing.
b) Change the HQ of 6 or so nightfighters from RAF Fighter to RAF Bomber. Against the AI those NFs have little or no use in RAF Fighter and RAF Bomber has a severe shortage of NFs .
c) Change the HQ of all the FBs in RAF Fighter (Hurricanes and Typhoons) to Tactical.
d) Change the HQ of 8 or so Spitfire VBs from RAF Fighter to 2nd Tactical and then change their training from fighter to bomber. You will need more FBs than you will need Fs. This will remove these Air Groups for training for 8 turns. When they return do not forget to change their aircraft type from Spitfire VB to something more useful as an FB such as a Hurricane, Typhoon or Mosquito.
e) Change the HQ of the 2 Mosquito FB VI's that are trained as bombers but flying as fighters from RAF Bomber to Tactical and change them from FB-Fs into FBs. Not only are these air groups improperly trained but they don't even have radar; so I assume they would make very poor NFs. Besides you will have a need for long range FBs.
f) Change the HQ of several airgroups from 2nd TAC and RAF Fighter to Tactical especially the FBs (as opposed to the FB-Fs). To be honest I don't even remember how many I changed. 2nd TAC has almost nothing to do until you invade France so you might as well move many if not most of its airgroups to TAC. Also TAC has very few FBs and 2 of them are FB* (fighter trained flying as bombers). I take these 2 FB*s and immediately retrain them as bombers as well. However, there is a limitation here in that you only have so many airbases in the Mediterranean Theatre that are close enough to the Front at any one time to be useful, so there is no point in over doing it.
g) Change the HQ of all 3 Airgroups in Transport Command to XII Troop Carrier. Again you won't need them in England until Overlord.
h) Change the HQ for the Transport Group in 8th AF to XII Troop Carrier.
i) Change the HQ for the 2 Patrol Aircraft in RAF Fighter to either RAF Coastal or Coastal.
j) Change the training of two of the five P-47Ds in 8th to bomber and when they return after 8 turns transfer them to 9th. P47s are useless in 8th as they have inadequate range.
k) Change the aircraft type of the 3 remaining P-47Ds in 8th to P-38 G/Hs. This will leave you low on P-38s in your pool, but they are building 30 a turn which should be enough. Next turn you should transfer these P38s to airbases in East Anglia so they are closer to the bombing targets.
l) Change the HQ of half or more of the Air Groups in RAF Coastal to Coastal. Perhaps historically they were off chasing subs in the North Atlantic or keeping the Kriegsmarine honest, but in this game they have no use until Overlord.
m) I like to have 6 Airgroups that do all my reconnaissance. So I change the HQ of all of my high level recon Airgroups (those that include high level cameras in their load out) into either: RAF Transport Command, XII Troop Carrier Command, RAF Coastal Command or Coastal Command. I will then use the two Transport/Troop Carrier Commands to do all my high level strategic recon and the Coastal Commands to do all my high level tactical recon. Since you do not need too many aircraft to do strategic recon I only put 3 Airgroups into RAF Transport and 1 into XII Troop Carrier. Since I won't be doing too much Tactical recon in the North until Overlord I transfer most of these into Coastal and put just a couple in RAF Coastal for now. I then change the HQ of all my low level recon airgroups (mostly but not entirely the Mustang I (PR)) to 2nd TAC and TAC.
n) Filter so only your NFs are displayed and then set their replacements so that they will only accept trained pilots. You will find that you have an excess of almost all aircraft types except NFs. Setting them so they only accept trained pilots should help reduce their losses.
o) Set all Airgroups to manual upgrade change of aircraft. This will allow you full control of when air groups will upgrade aircraft.
p) Set your aircraft load outs. I am definitely no expert on this so hesitate to give any advice. For all Airgroups I generally select the load out that gives them their longest range. But I do this because I am lazy more than any other reason. For example, when flying a strategic bombing mission to a nearby target it is best to load out your bombers with several of the largest bombs without auxiliary tanks and to not use auxiliary tanks on your escort fighters. But then next turn when you fly a mission to a distant target you will have to reset all of your load outs to include the auxiliary tanks. Against the AI am not sure if it is worth all this effort. But if you want to do this go ahead. You should however load out your eligible FBs with rockets as soon as they become available. In the beginning of the game I think only the Hurricane IVs can carry rockets, but I am not sure. Also for Bomber Command use incendiaries for all capable airgroups.

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:42:04 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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[Turn 1 continued]

2. From Air Transfer Mode (F10):
a) Since you have changed the HQ of many of your Air Groups you will now need to transfer these Airgroups on to airbases controlled by their new HQ. For example you will now want to transfer the aircraft you assigned to TAC from other Air HQs to airbases in the Mediterranean. You want to get as close to Sicily as you can without overstacking your bases. Pay attention to the range of your aircraft; it is not as necessary to base a B17 close to the action as it is an aircraft with limited range. Only put 4 engine aircraft on level 3 airbases and 2 engine aircraft on level 2 and 3 airbases. Don't be afraid to change the HQ of airbases if this helps you.
b) There are several Air Groups in the Mediterranean Theatre (especially Coastal Command Groups) that are some distance from the action. Move them closer to Sicily, again without over stacking.
c) There are several Airgroups in the UK (including Northern Ireland and Scotland) that are also out of the action, move them to better locations as well. In particular I move the RAF Fighter groups (other than NFs) to SE England, the better to harass the Germans.

3. From Air Doctrine Screen (d):
a) Change Ground Support altitude for all HQs to 14,000 feet.
b) Change RAF Bomber so it Bombs City from 21,000 feet. This is above all low level flak. I leave it on night bombing.
c) Although I didn't do it at the time I think it may also be a good idea to change 8th so it Bombs City from 24,000 feet. Bigger casualties but also more damage and 8th has an unlimited number of bombers.
d) Some players change it so that Strategic bombing is performed 3 days per week instead of just 2, but I leave it at just the 2 days (2nd and 5th). I found that with 3 days more airgroups needed resting, but perhaps I am doing something wrong. In any event, 2 days per week is enough to beat the AI.
e) On the Recon Tab set the 4 HQs with high level recon airgroups (the transport/troop carriers and the 2 Coastal Commands) to fly at 36,000 feet. Set the HQs with the low level recon airgroups to fly at 12000 feet. Set the transport/troop carrier HQs to fly on days 1,5,6 and 7. The reason for this is that you want the strategic recons to be done after you have bombed. Not sure why I recon on day 1 then, but I do it anyway in the hope it helps the bombing; does it? Set the mission % for these airgroups to just 10%. The reason for this is that it is my understanding that strategic recon does not require very many aircraft to be effective. So I send in low numbers of unescorted aircraft. Does it work? I don't know, I would have to play both sides to compare reported damage to actual damage and I am too lazy for that. So long as I can beat the AI I am happy for now. Set the Tactical recon HQs (both low and high) to recon on days 1,2 and 3, but set their intensity on high. The reason for this is that you want your tactical recon done before you ground attack; so I do high intensity recon on the first few days of the week. Again I don't know if this works, but it seems to make sense so I do it.
f) On the Ground Attack Tab change all HQs to Ground Attack on days 4, 5, 6 and 7, but change their intensity to High. Again, the reason for this is so that your GAs do not occur until after all of your recon has been completed. Like I say I'm not sure if this helps, but it makes sense to me.
g) Now while still on the Air Doctrine Screen click on RAF Bomber Command and reset the Bomb City Target priorities. I suggest you set all to "ignore" except set Manpower "high", Fuel and Oil "low" and HI "normal". Do the same for 8th US AF and Strategic AF, except for them I suggest you set HI "high" and Manpower "normal".

4. Start Building/expanding airbases where needed, especially SE England. You will need lots of level 3 airbases in England for Overlord. But don't use all your admin points on turn 1 as you might need more later in the turn.


< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/5/2015 1:05:36 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:49:04 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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[Turn 1 continued]

5. You are now finally able to set Air Directives for your Air HQs. The game starts with pre-set Air Directives, but my advice is as follows:

a) For Bomber Command and 8th US AF the first priority is to reduce negative VPs (u-boats in 43 and V-weapons in 44 and 45) to -1 or 0 per turn and the second priority is to get as many positive bombing VPs per turn as possible. Do not bother bombing ports and railroads in France until just before Overlord. Since you will only score VPs for bombing the strategic targets of German Manpower and HI plus oil and fuel (synthetic or otherwise) these are what you should bomb. As well, since Night Bombing does not perform well outside a certain area (shaded darker on the map when you have factories toggled on) I almost always confine Bomber Command to missions in this area. Since all the u-boat factories are outside this area, I set Bomber Command to bomb Dusseldorf (isn't that near Stalag 13?) and a 3 hex radius around it. This covers almost the entire Ruhr area. If you want to get fancy you can use the advanced options to set the number of strikes and aircraft participating in each strike. I find that 100 to 200 bombers per strike is pretty good. So if I have 700 bombers available and 125 escorts I might set the strike number to 5, the requested bombers to 140 and the requested fighters to 25. Be sure to set the bombing route to avoid as much flak as possible. By pressing O you can see where the low level and high level flak is located.

Below is an example of how to setup Bomber Command to bomb the Ruhr showing the Advanced Options I have chosen. Although not displayed my bombing priorities are as stated above. I also have the flak displayed so you can see how I have navigated around it.






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< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/4/2015 5:02:14 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:56:57 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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b) For 8th AF I set it to bomb in a 9 hex radius around Hamburg. This will cover most of the u-boat factories. Don't forget to change the bombing priorities from the default settings to u-boats "high" and everything else "ignore". Since even one point of damage is enough to stop a u-boat factory from giving you negative VPs I suggest you set as many strikes as you can using only 100 aircraft per strike. Note that you won't have any escorts flying this turn so expect heavy losses. Again set your route to avoid Flak
c) You will probably get better results for many of your missions (especially strategic bombing) if you set up several ADs for each Air HQ aimed at a particular 1 hex target/city. For example in a) above I suggested that you set Bomber Command to fly 1 AD with 5 strikes within a 3 hex radius. With this you lose some control as you don't know exactly which targets/cities within that radius your bombers will strike. The alternative is that you could set up 5 separate ADs of roughly 140 bombers each (be sure not to select the same airgroup for more than 1 AD). This way you have more control. But this is a lot of work (did I mention I was lazy) and I assure you it will not be necessary to do this to beat the AI.
d) You will also want to set up your Strategic recon missions with RAF Transport Command.You obviously want to recon the same locations where you are performing your strategic bombing. Again, you want to use your high level camera equipped recon airgroups flying at 36,000 feet flying on days 1, 5,6 and 7. Several small unescorted flights of 2 or 3 aircraft seem to work best. So if, for example, I have 24 aircraft in a particular Recon AD I will setup 8 strikes per day of 3 aircraft. Be sure to set these mission to do strategic recon (rather than the default non-strategic) and set the priorities to match whatever it is you are bombing.
e) You also may want to setup some non-strategic recon ADs by RAF Coastal and even perhaps 2nd TAC. But in my experience the low level recon airgroups seem to take a lot of losses so I generally preserve then until needed (ie until just before Overlord). If you do fly recon missions with Airgroups in these HQs I suggest you prioritize airbases. If you find any occupied enemy airbases then on following turns you can use 2nd TAC (and 9th US when it becomes active) to bomb them.
f) For RAF Fighter Command I suggest setting up an AS mission just off the coast of the Netherlands with a 3 or 4 hex radius. The German AI generally bases fighters in the Arnhem area so the purpose here is to draw those fighters out. You will probably take more losses than the Germans but that is okay, you have more pilots.
g) I did nothing with 2nd TAC or RAF Coastal on the first turn as I didn't really see any worthwhile targets. Indeed other than bombing the occasional enemy airbase and V-Weapon launch sites (starting in late 43) I don't see any use for them at all until just before Overlord. Does anyone have any suggestions?
h) Turning to the Mediterranean Theatre, I personally didn't use Strategic Airforce (later 15th AF) for strategic bombing at all until well into the game. Instead I used it to support my ground war by generally bombing railyards, ports, airbases, and even units. On the first turn I set it to bomb ports and airbases within a 6 hex radius of Catania (153,290). But in hindsight I think this was a mistake. I think it could have been better used to bomb ports, railyards and airbases within a 2 hex radius of Messina. Or perhaps even just used it to bomb the airbase at Reggio Calabria. Another good use would be to have it perform Naval Patrol of the sea hexes around your landing zones in Sicily. As you can see lots of options and I don't think any of them are necessarily wrong.
i) Coastal Command should obviously be given a Naval Patrol AD near your landing beaches. Since I was only planning on landing one of my three British/Canadian TFs I was more concerned with keeping the sea lanes to my American beaches open; so I gave Coastal Command a NP AD based on hex 147,395 with a 3 hex radius. The purpose of Naval Patrols is not to shoot down enemy aircraft, but rather to help project your own naval control of sea hexes. In other words they increase your Naval Interdiction of a particular hex without affecting the enemy's Naval Interdiction of that hex. This is important because if the enemy gains control of the sea hexes around your beachhead ports (which happens if its Sea Interdiction value is 2 greater than yours) no supply will reach your units and they will be considered isolated.
j) Malta Air Command was given an AS AD for the same sea hexes as Coastal Command. Unlike NP ADs, the purpose of AS ADs are to shoot down enemy aircraft thus reducing the enemy's Naval Interdiction. It is vital that you fly both NP and AS ADs in the sea hexes surrounding all of the ports you wish to use for supply; at least so long as those sea hexes are threatened by enemy NPs.
k) I assigned TAC AF a GA AD covering the SE portion of Sicily with priority given to interdiction and railway. I hope everyone is following my abbreviations here; what my last sentence said is that I assigned Tactical Air Force a Ground Attack Air Directive covering the South East portion of Sicily... If anyone is having difficulty following these abbreviations let me know, otherwise I will keep on using them. In retrospect I'm not sure as this AD actually did any good. In hindsight I should have had TAC bombing the unit in Siracusa. But my biggest mistake was that I forgot to assign TAC a GS mission in support of 15th (AAI) Br Army Group. Indeed, I didn't even rectify this mistake for several turns. The good news is that even with this bonehead error I am still doing okay.
l) XII Troop Carrier was given a recon AD for the area covered by Strategic AF and Coastal was given a recon AD for the TAC area.

If anyone would find it helpful for me to show a screenshot for any of these ADs (Like I did for bomber command above) let me know and I will be happy to do so.


< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/4/2015 5:11:02 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 8:33:13 AM   
Devonport


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Harrybanana

Thanks for doing this - very interesting and helpful. One point re your question about abbreviations, the one that has most potential to cause confusion for a beginner is AD as it could be Directive or Doctrine.

one observation I would make is about the use of RAF Coastal Command before Overlord. I set it periodically for Naval Patrols in an area of the Channel that has Fighter Command AS cover. This seems to help flush out the Luftaffe and cause it losses that would not otherwise occur.

Look forward to seeing how you get on with this.

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 9:59:07 AM   
carlkay58

 

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What setting is the AI on?

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:21:18 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Devonport

Harrybanana

Thanks for doing this - very interesting and helpful. One point re your question about abbreviations, the one that has most potential to cause confusion for a beginner is AD as it could be Directive or Doctrine.

one observation I would make is about the use of RAF Coastal Command before Overlord. I set it periodically for Naval Patrols in an area of the Channel that has Fighter Command AS cover. This seems to help flush out the Luftaffe and cause it losses that would not otherwise occur.

Look forward to seeing how you get on with this.


I was not aware of this Devonport, thank you.

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:24:13 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58

What setting is the AI on?


I am playing this game with the AI set to Challenging; but for newbies I would suggest you play on Normal or even Easy.

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:47:48 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Here is my Game Options Screen, perhaps should have posted this earlier.





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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:50:24 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Here is a Screenshot showing the range of my air transports on T2. In practice I think they may not even have quite this range.





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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:51:55 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Unfortunately here is where I wanted my Airborne units to drop. This screenshot also shows my new invasion sites in the Heel.






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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:54:18 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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[Oops, I meant to post this before those last two screenshots, now I will have confused everyone]

The Turn 1 Ground Turn was a lot quicker to plan than the the Air Turn (thank God). As I recall I took these steps:
1. I ordered all TFs other than TF 545 (A) and TF 545 (C) to invade.

2. I changed the Invasion target of TF 545 (A) to hex 164,265 (2 hexes ESE of Taranto) and TF 545 (C) to hex 167,264 (1 hex SE of Brindisi).

3. I cancelled all my preplanned airdrops (air drops in Sicily are unneeded) and reset all 6 of them to hexes in around Taranto and Brindisi. All of which was completely useless as only 1 small transport Airgroup (with not even enough lift capacity to transport my fat mother-in-law) was in range. More on this disaster later.


< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/4/2015 5:01:24 PM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 3:56:05 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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[Ground Moves continued]

4. I assigned support units to my divisions. Each division can have 3 support units and you want to make sure that each unit (at least all those in Africa or on their way to Africa) has its maximum. Unfortunately at the start of the game very few units have their full quota so you will want to rectify this as soon as possible. However, you do not start with enough support units at the beginning of the game to provide the full 3 support units to all your divisions. So just do the best you can. The exceptions are your amphibious assault divisions (ie the ones stacked with a TF ready to invade). You do not want to give these divisions support units until after they have landed as doing so beforehand will reduce their amhib preparation. So, of course, a good tip is to make sure that in the future all units you stack with a TF for invasion already have their full assignment of support units. Also, you do not want to assign more than 1 AA unit to each division (and maybe even that is too many).

5. I transported 5 follow up divisions (including 2nd US Armored), II US Corps HQ, XIII Br Corps HQ and 7th Army HQ to just off the beaches to be landed next turn. It is important to transport the HQs in order that your units are all within command range. My plan was to use 7th Army, with help from 8th Army, to capture Sicily. Meanwhile 8th Army was to invade the Heel. The plan was for 5th Army to invade later or support 8th Army as matters developed. Accordingly I railed most of 5th Army East towards ports in Tunisia or Eastern Algeria.

6. I began transporting units from England to the Mediterranean. I think I only transported 2 this turn (including 1 armour) but over the next few turns I transported several more including 1 Canadian armour and all 3 Canadian Infantry. This proved to be a bit of a mistake as I would later start running low on Canadian manpower. Before transporting any divisions from England be sure to make sure they have all 3 support slots filled. You may even want to transfer some multi-role brigades and regiments from England to the Med. If stacked with its HQ Corps you can "convert" these to support units and then assign them to divisions. Everyone has their own view on how to best use these Multi-purpose units, but for me the first priority is to make sure all my engaged divisions have support units attached (and preferably not AA).

7. Although I did not do much of it on my first turn, it is also important to make sure that all of your engaged Army and Corps HQs also have a full complement of support units, especially artillery. I like to have 5 or 6 artillery in each Corps HQ and at least 2 or 3 in each Army HQ. If you can get more than this so much the better. Note there are 2 ways of getting Support units into an HQ, "pulling" and "pushing". "Pulling" is simpler and I assume everyone knows how to do this, ask me if you do not. As an aside, this "pulling" process is often still a mystery even to me. For example, if you right click on Br XXX Corps (hex 113, 296 East of Bone) and then left click on "Assign Support Units" you will see that you can "pull" several support units from AFHQ. But if you do the same with VI US Corps (which is closer to AFHQ than XXX Corps) you only get to choose support units from 5th Army. But I digress; learning how to "push" a support units is just as important. For example, 21st BR Army Group (in South London) has a lot of support units wasting away in England, so how to get these to the Mediterranean? As far as I am aware none of the HQs in Africa can "pull" support units from 21st HQ. One solution would be to have a Corps HQ in England "pull" these support units from 21st HQ and then sea transport the Corp HQ to Africa. Another is to left click on one of the support units in 21st HQ and then change its HHQ by left clicking on same on the left hand panel. This is called "pushing". You won't be able to attach a support unit directly to a Corp HQ in Africa this way, but you can attach it any Army HQ and then attach it to the Corps HQ next turn. If anyone doesn't understand my explanation of this procedure please advise and I will post some screen shots.


< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/4/2015 5:01:00 PM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 10:25:47 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Harrybanana

g) I did nothing with 2nd TAC or RAF Coastal on the first turn as I didn't really see any worthwhile targets. Indeed other than bombing the occasional enemy airbase and V-Weapon launch sites (starting in late 43) I don't see any use for them at all until just before Overlord. Does anyone have any suggestions?




great idea and fantastic resource.

I use the 2 engined bombers from 2 Tac (as you do with some juggling between 2 Tac and BC) right from the start to hit ports and railyards.

My logic is against the AI you can make the Luftwaffe fight on your terms (ie within range of the Spitfires etc), most human players will pull back. The reason for this is it does no harm to start reducing rail cap, also it slowly runs down the supply delivery to their units on the coast. Its not decisive, but it builds up over time and it means when you come to the pre-invasion bombing you can shift from railyards (which should be knocked out) to the railways and start to seriously hamper their supply delivery?

_____________________________


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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/4/2015 11:49:47 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I use the 2 engined bombers from 2 Tac (as you do with some juggling between 2 Tac and BC) right from the start to hit ports and railyards.

My logic is against the AI you can make the Luftwaffe fight on your terms (ie within range of the Spitfires etc), most human players will pull back. The reason for this is it does no harm to start reducing rail cap, also it slowly runs down the supply delivery to their units on the coast. Its not decisive, but it builds up over time and it means when you come to the pre-invasion bombing you can shift from railyards (which should be knocked out) to the railways and start to seriously hamper their supply delivery?


Okay, good idea I'll probably start doing this myself. I do, as you will see shortly, use 2nd TAC to bomb enemy airbases from time to time, but your use of them is probably better. I will have to overcome my general laziness though. I mean this is going to mean setting up 2 to 4 additional Air Directives per turn (1 or 2 for the bombing and 1 or 2 for the recon to make sure it is effective). Just to show how lazy I am, I often look forward to the Very Poor weather conditions just so I have an excuse to not plan any Air Directives for that area. I love an in depth game and personally think the way they have designed the air war is genius. But lets face it, it is far more fun to break an enemy line and encircle an army than it is plan and execute the air war.

< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/5/2015 12:53:04 AM >

(in reply to loki100)
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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/5/2015 2:38:58 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Before continuing on with Turn 2 I would first like to assure everyone that not all Turns will be as voluminous as these first few turns. I know some of this information is pretty basic for some of you. The other thing I want Newbies to know is that in order to defeat the AI it is not necessary to learn all the nuances of the game nor is it necessary to delve into the details of every battle fought. I personally play with both the Message Detail level and the Air Execution Phase Detail level set at 1 (the lowest). This will considerably speed up the game, albeit at the loss of some information. I just don't think this information is vital to beating the AI. If I want information about a particular battle I will click on the "Show Battle Sites" button (F11) and then on the battle I want to know about.

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/5/2015 2:41:22 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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I began Turn 2 as I began all my turns (with some exceptions), by setting all my Air Groups with 69 or less morale to Rest and all groups with 70 or more Morale (except Night Fighters) to Day & Night operations and my NFs (with 70+ Morale) to Night Only. I say with some exceptions because if the weather report indicates very poor weather in a particular area next turn I know all my air groups in that area will be Resting next turn anyway. In this case I might push then harder this turn and only rest air groups with morale of 59 or less. In any event, if you already know how to accomplish this task quickly then move on to the next post. otherwise here is what I do:
1. Open up the Air groups Tab of the Commander's Report.
2. Click on "Pct Morale" at the bottom center of the screen and input the range from 1 to 69.
3.Click on the "Mission Setting" Function and input "4" (Rest).
4. Again click on "Pct Morale" and input the range from 70 to 99.
5. Again click "Mission Setting" and select "0" (Day & Night).
6. On the Aircraft Type Filters click "NONE" and then "NF"
7. Again click on "Mission Settings" and select "1" (night only).
8. Click on "Clear all Filters".

That is it you are done.



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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/5/2015 2:43:35 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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While still looking at the Air Groups Tab of the Commander's Report the next thing I do is review the Air groups assigned to each Air HQ to see if any are designated as "RESERVE". It seems a few people don't know that reinforcement Air groups and Air groups you have sent to be retrained will appear in your RESERVE. They will not be placed on an airbase on the map until you select an airbase for them.This is unlike Ground unit reinforcements that will appear on the map. Air group reinforcements do not appear every turn but it just so happens that a few of them do appear on T2, including several in Fighter Command. As an aside, you can always check to see what Reinforcements have arrived this turn (or will be arriving on future turns) by clicking the appropriate button on the INFO screen; you can toggle between ground and air units. In any event, you can place RESERVE air groups at any airbase. So if you have room on available airbases you may want to place some of the Air Reinforcements for Fighter Command on bases in Africa. What I did was wait until I captured some more bases on Sicily (in my ground phase) and then placed them there. RESERVE Air Groups can not be used the turn they arrive. Don't forget to change the HQ of the units. Oh yeah, I assume everyone knows how to assign an air group from RESERVE to an airbase, but if not ask away.


< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/5/2015 3:45:46 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/5/2015 2:49:18 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Next you will want to examine the Map to see what happened during the German turn. Here is what I saw in the area around Sicily.





Not good, the invasion of Siracusa by the 5th Br Inf Div was repulsed. How did this happen? This attack had never failed in any previous games I had played. I put it down to the fact that this was my first game on the Challenging level. In fact the reason was probably because of my failure to give the GS mission to TAC AF.


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< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/5/2015 4:03:37 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/5/2015 2:51:46 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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But do not be satisfied just looking at this map as is. You will want to toggle on and off some of the other controls. For example here is the same area of the map with the battles button pushed to show both air and land battles.





This tells me that the Luftwaffe is contesting my control of the sea hexes off the beaches. Both intercepting my Naval Patrol missions and launching some of his own. If I want to know how I did in these air battles I can click on the individual battle icons (I usually don't bother). I can't let the Germans win here or my invasion force will suffer. Note that no battle icon is displayed in Siracusa. This is because this attack was resolved in the German Player's logistics phase prior to his actual turn.


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< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/5/2015 3:52:21 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/5/2015 2:53:51 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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So now that I know the Enemy is contesting me over this area I am curious as to our respective Interdiction levels. I can check this by pushing the "Show Interdiction Levels" button which shows me this:





Good my interdiction levels are at least 2 greater than the Germans in every sea hex, this means I control those hexes. If the hexes were neutral or controlled by the German I would suffer more losses transporting units through them.

In your games you should try toggling on and off some of the other information buttons. In particular you may want to toggle through some of the soft factors such as supply (which by default I always have on) and Units Attached to find out which of your units still need support units assigned to them.


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< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/5/2015 3:54:45 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/6/2015 4:15:58 PM   
RichMunn

 

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Thank you Harry.

Rich

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/7/2015 9:09:26 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Another thing you may want to checkout is the Victory Point Screen. I don't do this every turn, but I did on this turn as I wanted to see how the Strategic Air War was going. As you can see from the screenshot below I was still losing 3 VPs a turn to the u-boats. I would have to do something about this.





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< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/7/2015 10:10:44 PM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/7/2015 9:12:42 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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So obviously the next thing to do is plan what I am going to do this turn. Do not rush this. Study the map carefully to see what, if any opportunities present themselves. Where am I going to move and attack this turn and what Air Directives should I be giving to support these moves/attacks? In the case of this particular turn my options are limited. Expand the American Bridgehead while unloading on the American beaches not only the followup forces intended for those beaches, but also the poor 5th British and the 2 followup divisions that were supposed to land at Siracusa. I could have also invaded the heel on this turn, but my plan was to build up a few more prep points and then launch the invasion on T4, so that the actual invasion will occur at the beginning of T5.

So having given it careful thought I began planning my Air Directives. First off I don't think it is worthwhile for me to tell you what I did with RAF Fighter, 2nd TAC, 9th AF and RAF Coastal each turn. Suffice to say that from now until late 43 they were used to draw out the German fighters by flying AS or else performing Airbase GAs against occupied German airbases. There was also very little variation in the Air Directive assigned to Bomber Command which was to bomb the Ruhr. So really the only Northern air HQ that received a different Air Directive every turn was 8th AF. As noted above I was still getting -3 negative points a turn for u-boats. To find out where these negative points were coming from I selected the Strategic Bombing Air Directive (F4), then selected 8th AF, then filtered so that only the u-boat factories were showing to call up the screen below:





From this screen you can see that there are 5 major u-boat factories (ie factories with 15 or more production). Of these my reconnaissance says 4 have already been damaged and are therefore not producing any negative VPs. Note that in all of these cases the reconnaissance photos were just taken last turn. The only undamaged major factory is Danzig; so obviously that was 8th's target this turn.


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< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/7/2015 10:14:22 PM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/7/2015 9:15:56 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Turning to the Mediterranean I did the following:
1. I transferred several TAC air groups onto the airbases I now owned on Sicily, giving priority to the ones with the least range.
2. I left Coastal Command and Malta Command with the same ADs as last turn, namely NP and AS over the sea hexes near the beachheads.
3. TAC was assigned an Interdiction GA mission for the East half of Sicily. In retrospect rather useless as the AI was already pretty much withdrawing from Sicily.
4. Strategic AF was ordered to bomb the German Airbase at Reggio Calabria.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier is that if you are manually selecting air groups for an Air Directive you should always have the "NO FLY INFO" box checked at the bottom of your screen. This will tell you why a particular air group is unavailable to fly a particular mission. So if, for example, the reason is that the air group is "Out of Range" you will know to rebase the air group or perhaps change the "S-Base" if either of those will help.

The other thing to remember to do is to continue expanding those airbases in England and perhaps even one or more of the ones in Sicily.


< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/7/2015 10:17:00 PM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/7/2015 10:08:30 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Very little to report for the Turn 2 Ground Phase. I expanded the American bridgehead on Sicily and as I did so found very few Axis units. It would appear the AI was not going to fight too hard for Sicily.

You start the game with 6 TFs. They are very valuable assets and you should endeavor to be doing something useful with them every turn. This should include moving them adjacent to any coastal hex you intend to ground attack as they act much like artillery to disrupt defending units. On this turn 2 of my TFs were still prepping in port for the invasion of the Heel. Another 2 were required to maintain the amphibious ports for 7th Army in Sicily. The last 2 I returned to port (Algiers and Tunis) where I stacked them with 2 divisions of 5th Army and began prepping for the invasion around Foggia. I can give you no better guidance for preparing for an Invasion then refer you to the Player's Handbook written by Red Lancer. In fact I assume all of you have all already read this Handbook. If you have not then you are an idiot! Go and read it now! Another good resource is the Invasion Planning Table which is floating around here in the Forum somewhere. It shows you how many prep points you gain per turn in a particular size port based on the number and size of units you have prepping in that port. Get it and use it. Below is a screenshot showing the invasion sites of the 5th Army.






EDIT: Forgot to mention I also moved several more divisions from England to Africa.

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< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/8/2015 12:23:35 AM >

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/7/2015 10:45:39 PM   
rickier65

 

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Thanks for doing this. This game can be a bit intimidating.

Thanks
Rick

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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/7/2015 11:27:29 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Turn 3 Air Phase
Below is the Screenshot of Sicily at the beginning of my T3. I have turned on both "Battle Sites" and "Interdiction Levels" so it looks a little busy.





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RE: Decisively Beating the AI - 6/7/2015 11:31:35 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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Below is the VP Screen. As you can see I have reduced u-boat losses to -1 (thanks to 8th AF)while increasing my Strategic Bombing Points to +5 (thanks to Bomber Command). This turn 8th AF will also start bombing for Strategic VPs. But where to send it?





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