Congratulations on your win and thanks again for the great AAR.
Very interesting game and it demonstrated to me that this game will have great replay-ability because every decision made affects the next one, thus changing the course of the war each time. Even a simple this turn decision to research this tech now or buy that unit instead affects the long term game path.
Your invasion of the Balkans was something I wanted to try but decided on Italy instead in my first game since it looked easier. In my second game, Spain went Axis as the US was heading for North Africa so they diverted to southern Spain instead. UK units from liberated Africa quickly followed on and in less than a year, Spain was defeated. The invasion of France occurred in early ’43 via land from Spain through the narrow gap in France between Vichy and the Atlantic. It should have been very east to defend, except the AI placed no troops between the border and Paris. All it took was for me to keep moving units north until I hit the troops on the German border. However by that time, there was no stopping the massive amount of UK/US units from the west and the USSR horde from the east (as you experienced in your game).
You also confirmed my finding about a need to balance the game more and teach the AI to not spend so much on Diplomacy and Research when the need for a proper army exists. In your game and the two full games I’ve played, the AI invaded the USSR without enough troops and did not execute any sensible plan beyond move towards the next “key” hex. To do this, units were “operated” around the front every turn as the needs changed, thus wasting even more precious MPP. I manually tracked units on paper for an entire summer and some units moved 3 times between north and south attacks without really making any impact due at either location. I think the main reason it was so easy to steamroll the Axis units was because 1) despite research, the AI did not have MPP to update units because 2) they were spending too much on diplomacy and moving units with the Operate command.
I made it a priority to re-purchase destroyed allied units at the discount cost. I did not see the AI do that very often. Once units were destroyed, they rarely came back again, even early in the game although there were exceptions. I don’t think they actually purchased “original” units before “rebuy” units but I can’t prove it because I did not track the units too deep.
I also have one piece of advice that burned me in my first play-through and I saw repeated in other AARs and threads. You need to spend on Logistics Research. The ability to buy and deploy more HQs will help every time. In your research screens, you did not spend any points for the USSR on Logistics and I think after the Infantry techs, this is the most important to advance quickly. Command and Control is also critical. The HQs really do give a big boast to other units.
I’m looking forward to future patches to see how the game evolves. I’m also looking forward to an Axis AAR from you.
Thanks for the comments Malor. One question: You mention you made re-purchase a priority. Is there a way of telling what was destroyed in the purchase screen? i.e. if you forget what was destroyed is there a reminder?
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805