From: Iowan in MD/DC
The thing that confuses most new players about land combat is that the raw Assault Value is not the essential part of comparing the balance of forces. Raw AV will let you know if you have enough squads to consider an attack but it is the firepower that you can muster against your opponent that has the biggest effect in deciding the outcome.
A machine gun will obviously give you more firepower than a rifle, but it will not affect an enemy tank, so you need to have anti-tank weapons to balance the firepower of his tanks.
You need artillery too, not just dinky 3" mortars - they help a little with defence against an enemy attack because they are in the open then, but they are almost useless in offence against a dug-in enemy. In a bombardment duel with enemy artillery you want to have heavy guns with long range. The 155 mm "Long Tom" is ideal for this. The Japanese have some really heavy guns up to about 350mm.
Don't neglect the leaders of you units - they can save the day with good moves or hand the enemy a victory with bad ones. Leadership, Land Skill and Aggression are the most important characteristics. Political Points are scarce so buy the best leaders for you biggest, most experienced units first.
Monitor the disruption, morale and fatigue levels of your units. If these are low do not seek battle. Many players arrange to rotate units out of a lengthy battle to recuperate and replace losses.
Supply is absolutely essential to conducting combat. A unit out of supply will fight (at best) at 25% of the raw AV. And don't be fooled by the standard supply needs of the unit on the unit screen. That reflects a unit doing routine stuff or training - not combat. Combat will accelerate the supply usage by many times. Plan on having at least 10X the daily needs supply for a tough battle.
Do not Shock Attack against a well-fortified enemy position where they have supply or lots of artillery. Shock attacks are very disruptive on your own troops and losses can be very high even if the SA is successful. Reserve your SA until the enemy units show signs of cracking - e.g. when your Deliberate Attack starts to cause more destroyed enemy squads than disabled ones.
Those are just a few of my personal rules of thumb. I am by no means an expert in the land war game so others may have different advice. Much will depend on the risk you are comfortable with and your loss tolerance. Masters of the game will sacrifice significant numbers of troops to gain strategic position but I rarely try things without overwhelming strength. Pick your own style. Good Luck!
There are actually two outcomes that you need to consider. The second of them, which BBfanboy mentions here, has to do with firepower. It's how much damage the forces will actually do to each other.
But the first outcome goes back to the raw assault value. This assault value is modified by lots of stuff, including but not limited to:
-leader attributes (land, inspiration, aggression)
-preparation (if defending)
-HQ bonus from prepared HQs within range
-shock attack is a *2
Just because you don't see a fatigue(-) doesn't mean fatigue isn't negatively affecting your assault value, when you see it that just means that at least one unit in the combat has reached the threshold for it to be displayed (or not).
Somewhere, there is a list of the multiplier that is applied to the defenders' AV from forts at certain levels, and terrain you can find in a table in the manual. I can't recall whether these are additive or multiplicative (e.g., if you have a *1.5 from forts and a *2 from terrain, if it is *3.5 [additive] or *2 [multiplicative]), and I honestly don't care much as with Japan, I rarely attack after 1942 and as the Allies, defeats can be much more forgiving due to the firepower component. Once you know what those multipliers are at a certain location, you can begin to figure out how much raw AV you will need, assuming optimal conditions (no/low penalties for morale, disruption, fatigue, leaders, and supplies). For example, if your opponent has a defensive multiplier of *3 and a raw AV in the hex of 1000, he is going to have an optimal adjusted AV of somewhere around 3000. That means you will need an adjusted AV of around 6000 if you want to achieve 2:1 odds and force him to retreat (from a non-base hex it seems a 2:1 results in retreat no matter what the "field forts" are at). If in a base hex, it becomes immediately obvious why it is so important to reduce forts.
As you might be able to tell, combat is inherently tilted towards the defender, which is as it should be.
EDIT: oh, yes. I meant to comment about his comment about "dinky" mortars. This is a way in which firepower can indirectly affect adjusted AV. There is a bombardment phase before the "attack" phase in an attack. Bigger (and more) guns will cause more damage to enemy units, which causes their morale, fatigue, and disruption to be negatively affected - which will negatively affect their adjusted AV in the attack.
< Message edited by Lokasenna -- 4/27/2016 1:41:48 AM >