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RE: 8MP Managing the Air

 
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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/3/2018 1:38:40 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: redrum68
German commanders weren't planning months in advance to minimize number/type of planes that fighter groups that would withdraw or pushing all planes into the field to minimize what's in the pool to be converted/exported.


Crackaces made this in another amusing way. He asked if, everytime Hitler signed off an order to send military equipment to an ally, was Speer already emptying the warehouses so they would be empty when the removal men arrived?

There is always the option of agreeing house rules to avoid these optimisations on both sides. But in terms of game design I think I would prefer more generalised rules for this. After all the same optimisation can and does occur with ground forces.

One favourite of mine would be simply to adjust victory points, the less you allow to go to the western front as Axis the fewer points you would get as Axis. I think some of this thinking is already going in to WitE2.0

I suppose you could say there is a fixed amount of planes (or ground equipment) that goes with every unit. If the withdrawing unit has more, it is given to the pool. If it is less then it is taken from the pool or groups (or some close substitute if neither are available). Setting the amount as simply zero, all equipment would go to the pool from withdrawing units would be a major re-balancing to the Axis side. After all it was not just the formations that went west but a lot of their equipment too.

Also if you base it on pool+units rather than just pool you can have some optimisation (even if more difficult and tempered). So best I think to remove it as even a possibility for both sides?

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/3/2018 1:39:29 PM >

(in reply to redrum68)
Post #: 601
RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/3/2018 4:05:32 PM   
xhoel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

quote:

ORIGINAL: redrum68
German commanders weren't planning months in advance to minimize number/type of planes that fighter groups that would withdraw or pushing all planes into the field to minimize what's in the pool to be converted/exported.


Crackaces made this in another amusing way. He asked if, everytime Hitler signed off an order to send military equipment to an ally, was Speer already emptying the warehouses so they would be empty when the removal men arrived?

There is always the option of agreeing house rules to avoid these optimisations on both sides. But in terms of game design I think I would prefer more generalised rules for this. After all the same optimisation can and does occur with ground forces.

One favourite of mine would be simply to adjust victory points, the less you allow to go to the western front as Axis the fewer points you would get as Axis. I think some of this thinking is already going in to WitE2.0

I suppose you could say there is a fixed amount of planes (or ground equipment) that goes with every unit. If the withdrawing unit has more, it is given to the pool. If it is less then it is taken from the pool or groups (or some close substitute if neither are available). Setting the amount as simply zero, all equipment would go to the pool from withdrawing units would be a major re-balancing to the Axis side. After all it was not just the formations that went west but a lot of their equipment too.

Also if you base it on pool+units rather than just pool you can have some optimisation (even if more difficult and tempered). So best I think to remove it as even a possibility for both sides?


I agree with redrum that that is gamey move. But it's the type of move that has no consequences that's why it is done by many players.

House rules would be good to have in this case, would allow for a more historical approach but the VP idea that Tele just gave is much better.

I think this should be implemented as a rule for withdrawing air groups in the future patches. You basically have the same rule as for withdrawing ground units. So just put say the nr. of airframes required to 50% of TOE, that's 20 airplanes for German groups. If there are more than that, they go in the pool, if less they get taken from the pool.

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(in reply to Telemecus)
Post #: 602
RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/3/2018 5:24:49 PM   
redrum68

 

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Yeah, VPs direction is an interesting one though seems so few games make it to the end that it might not matter much. Mostly I think there just needs to be something to either make there actually be pros/cons of doing this not just 'hey do I want to put in the micro-management effort with no real drawbacks' or make it fixed so doing it has no benefit. I tend to lean towards just having some fixed amount that comes with the unit (0 was really just an example as its the simplest but understand from a balance perspective that might not be ideal).

House rules I think are tough to really make/enforce for this type of thing as players will 'naturally' change TOE% and move air units in and out of the field/pool and whether they did it to 'minimize loses to withdraw/export/convert' is hard to prove.

(in reply to xhoel)
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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/4/2018 12:07:36 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: redrum68
House rules I think are tough to really make/enforce for this type of thing as players will 'naturally' change TOE% and move air units in and out of the field/pool and whether they did it to 'minimize loses to withdraw/export/convert' is hard to prove.


It is hard - but not nearly as hard as you might think

It is worth distinguishing what the rule should be and how you should verify it.

There are a lot of rules I see that are subjective. Very often you get the words "You should try to" or something like that. If you are trying to distinguish the same actions, for example changing ToEs, for different intentions then of course it will always be impossible to prove. But if you make the rule just based on actions it need not be. For example you could have a house rule that all air groups are always left by default with autoswap and replacements on.

The other side is how you verify it. A number of suggestions came up recently on a potentially exploit with HQ Buildup. And one solution was to provide screenshots for the other side. You could for example provide screenshots of your airgroups arrivals/wtihdrawals screen including the turn number in the screenshot. Of course if you are really good at photoshop, or have a friend in the FBI, you can fake that too. But at least in the normal bounds of what people will do for a game it will provide a level of comfort.

(in reply to redrum68)
Post #: 604
RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/4/2018 12:56:45 PM   
Telemecus


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Managing the Air: Swaps, Upgrades and Replacements Part II

This is part of an occasional series on the details of managing the air arm in response to a request by Zorch. More detail is being given than normal here, those wishing for a casual read of the AAR may want to skip over this post.

In addition to the 16 fighter air group swaps described there were 70 other air group swaps up to turn 37. We have also followed the same principles as we have for fighters to minimise the number of exports/conversions and withdrawals we do not want.

GERMAN FIGHTER BOMBERS AND DIVE BOMBERS

As we started this game in v.1.10 there was no separate category of dive bombers - but with the updates all tactical bombers have been categorised as dive bombers. Seven full airgroups and three stabs arrived with Stukas - although initially with the very short range Ju87B. There is a very small production of Stukas so this can potentially be a choke point. We soon received production of the slightly less short range Stukas upgrade Ju87D-1. However it was a while before there are enough in the pool for a Ju87B airgroup to upgrade to it. So we had an upgrade bridging gap where there were Ju87D-1s left in the pool, but not enough to swap an airgroup of them, while there were not enough Ju87Bs to fill the replacement need. As a result we only left all but the most experienced full Stukas groups and all of the Stukas stabs on manual upgrade only. Eventually though we have got four of our best full Stukas groups to upgrade for free automatically and the bridging gap between the two types has eased.

We also started the game with two other tac/dive bomber airgroups both of which withdraw on turn 40 and a third one which arrived and withdraws later




I assumed probably wrongly that the "Sch" was short for something like school and this was a group of of tac bomber trainers temporarily seconded to the front-lines for the immediate invasion. I have since been corrected that they were like a demonstration air group. Whatever the case they have for long been known to me as the "old men in the biplanes" airgroup. I have a special place for them in my solo games turn 1 airbase bombing campaigns and hold them back to the very end. Once the panzers have moved forward I move forward an airbase right up behind them - in this case typically 2LW on the north side of the Daugava - and air transfer this air group there. This airgroup is then usually able to make 100-200 more kills by bombing airbases on turn 1 using vitually no fuel or ammo from an airbase. And so on through the game when I want some ground support, but have no bases with ammo stocks or fuel in them, these are the guys to do the job. This airgroup as a result gets experience and morale in the 90s which means, so long as it is not left unescorted or undefended on its base, virtually none of them get lost after turn 20. So even with replacements off I am bound to see this airgroup leave with about six to ten planes - and about one or two in the pool that got left behind for repair and cannot be swapped for anybody else either . So in this game they have been left with replacements on and used just about everywhere possible, even through the blizzard, and now with three turns to go regardless of fatigue levels.



Again in other games this airgroup has for me a very special use on turn 1 - it is the only tac/dive bomber that can reach as far as the airbase north of Zhitomir (73,76). In this game it has been left without replacements and through the blizzard too. It has similarly reached high experience and morale levels to the point that it simply does not lose aircraft any more from operational use while there was no Soviet air force on the map. Indeed in one turn we swapped this out of Bf 109E-7/U1 and swapped two stabs of Stukas to Bf 109E-7/U1 before swapping this airgroup back to Bf 109E-7/U1 the next turn - spending four points just to save eight of these aircraft from withdrawing. Admittedly swapping the stabs of Stukas out of Stukas helped with the bridging problem they had from upgrading from one type to the next. But it is open to debate whether spending 2 or 4 points to keep 8 Bf 109E-7/U1 from withdrawing was a good spend. As it is it is likely to leave in three turns with close to 18 aircraft.



The final member of our German dive/tac bomber family only arrived on turn 16 - and having missed out on the big kill totals when the soviet airforce was on the map its inexperience shows. Originally it arrived as a Bf 109E-4B single seat fighter bomber - but as I prefer the Bf 109E-7/U1 tac/dive bomber the Bf109E-4B converts to it made more send to swap this fighter bomber group out of Bf 109E-4B and into being a dive bomber. This was the only point we spent on single seater fighter bomber swaps. The Bf109E-4Bs in the pool have since converted to Bf 109E-7/U1. However unlikes Stukas, Bf 109E-7/U1 or the biplanes we now have a small production run of the Hs 129B which will export to other allies. And so as we are likely to be short of tac and dive bombers, especially as we have kept all the Bf109E3 fighters from converting to them, we will want to keep German all the dive bombers and tac bombers we have. Hence this was swapped to the small pool of Hs 129B we had which was just enough for it at the time. Its sister squadron 15./JG 27 (Span) also arrived on turn 13 with Bf109E-4B but as it disbanded on turn 37 and all its aircraft went to the pool it was not even worth the point to swap it to anything else. Instead it was relegated to rear area fighter cover after being changed to fighter missions until it left.



When it comes to twin engine fighter bombers the Luftwaffe has the reverse problem to everywhere else. It produces far more Bf110s than it can ever use. The air groups that can use them are few in number and usually disband or withdraw after a few turns. Given that they are not constrained arguably you could even let withdrawing airgroups keep replacements on and upgrade to have a fuller OOB on the map until they do leave. A different treatment is in order for the Me210A-1 - we swapped IIZG26 to it as we know as a disbanding group we will get them back to the pool when it goes. This was the only point we spent on manual swaps of twin engine fighter bombers. Far fewer of these are produced and this is the only German aircraft that can provide fighters at a greater range than its single seat fighters. Interestingly some german fighter bombers can convert to Me210A-1 and then convert to single seat fighters - so having a pool of these is a way to get more single seat fighter air groups.

GERMAN LEVEL BOMBERS

The flip side to the lack of single seat fighter production has been the abundance of level bomber production. German air doctrine had overemphasised these - but luckily for the 8MP game we have successfully shifted the focus of the air war from our fighters to our level bombers anyway - principally by having the key battle point being when our bombers bomb their fighter airbases or fighter factories. Our German Bombers come in three families

Junkers:
-Ju86E-2: our worst bomber with a small payload and range less than our fighters and many of our tac bombers. More often than not it has been used alongside our tac and dive bombers rather then with other level bombers. We started with no airgroups using these and 220 in the pool but swapped them into all of our withdrawing bomber groups. We now have only 6 left in the pool, with all the level bomber groups that used them withdrawn.
-Ju88A: has been the workhorse level bomber with the largest production. But is has a slightly inferior range and effectiveness compared to the Heinkels. As it does not export we have been slowly building up the pool of Ju88As knowing they will always be there if we need them, and only as and when the pools of other types allows us to.
-Ju88A-4: has replaced the production of Ju88A in 1942 and any left in the pool will eventually export to Finland, Hungary and Rumania, but so far we only have four airgroups of them - and mostly because they were arrivals which had them already.

Heinkels:
-He111H-3/4: both these types have exactly the same stats and indeed the He111H-3 in the pool convert slowly to He111H-4 at no arms cost anyway. At the start of the game we had no He111H-3 airgroups but 220 of them in the pool. By contrast the He111H-4 airgroups we do start the game with are short of replacements and will need to catch up. So in the short run it may even make sense to manually downgrade them to He111H-3 - when there are enough He111H-4 in the pool they can be set to upgrade only and will eventually upgrade for free back to He111H-4 again. Instead in this game many were left on autoswap and eventually swapped for free to Ju88A in 1941 as we had so many of them in the pool. Now that production has caught up and given a surplus we face another problem in 1942 - He111H-4s left in the pool will convert to Hungarian recon. Yuck. As if we did not have enough recon already, we would be making more by losing some of our best level bombers. This is definitely worth spending points on stopping.
-He111H-6: has replaced production of He111H-4 - and at least any of these in the pool will not convert to those damned Hungarian recon planes, they will only convert to Rumanian bombers. While our preference would still be to keep these German, for reasons we will come to there is less reason to worry if some go Rumanian.

Doniers:
-Do 17Z-2: clearly an inferior bomber to the Ju88A and Heinkels in range and payload, but I feel deprecated by other players too much. At least I have found them effective enough, and even swapped some airgroups that had them and were withdrawing early to Ju86E-2. However with only 6 Ju86E-2 left in the pool this has become the bomber type we swap any newly arriving airgroup to if they are withdrawing soon. Any left in the pool will eventually export to Finland, but only if there are more than 10 or so in the pool. In this 8MP game in particular our Finnish bombers have a much narrower range of opportunities and have their own surplus of bombers. So we have found it worthwhile to keep enough of this aircraft in our airgroups to prevent any from being exported.
-Do 217E-2/4: the Do 217E-2 were never used in any of our airgroups, but the ones left in the pool are being converted to the Do 217E-4 which has also replaced its production. Its production is much smaller than that of the Heinkels and Junkers, but has a slightly longer range and significantly larger payload. It will also not convert or export so is being kept back for special purposes later.

In addition to any free swaps we could get we have spent 35 points on swapping German level bomber types. 16 of these points were spent on swapping withdrawing airgroups to older types of bombers, principally Ju86E-2 during the summer of 1941 but also some to Do 17Z-2 and for arriving airgroups later in the game. 18 points have been spent principally during the blizzard to accelerate the conversion of the bomber force to being almost exclusively Heinkels which also meant none were in the pools to convert to Hungarian recon planes.

GERMAN RECONNAISANCE

When I say I spend points on manually swapping German recon groups I usually either get a quizzical look or the words femto manager usually get said. However in this game we have successfully shifted the focus of the air war off air types which are constrained, such as fighters, and on to air types in abundance such as bombers and recon. So I think it is worth taking care of them.

As we started this game in v1.10.00 there was no separate strategic recon category - big heavy recon planes such as the Ju88D-1 could be freely swapped to light as a butterfly types such as the Storks. Our family of recon planes consisted of

Ju 88D-1: Our longest range and heaviest recon plane of which we have many in the pools and in airgroups. Eventually these will also export to Rumania and Hungary - but given the abundance of these there seems little need to spend actual points stopping this.
Do 17P-1: Our next longest range recon aircraft which is out of production from the beginning of the game, eventually if there are enough in the pool some might export to Rumania. But for now as numbers of these have been used up some airgroups have been set to upgrade only which swaps them to Ju 88D-1 for free. So it seems our numbers of Do 17P-1 are being gently run down along with the number of airgroups using them.
Bf 110C-5/Bf 110E-3: the Bf 110C-5 and the Bf 110E-3 it upgrades to are perhaps better called middle range German recon. They are few in number and can be left in the pool and never export. But at least when we have them available on the map and they are in range we have used them as they are more fuel economical than the longer range types.
Hs 126B-1: was our most numerous short range recon at the start of the game and effectively our workhorse however we have been upgrading a few automatically to Fw189 for free. Unusually later in the war any of these in the pool will convert to dive bombers - not very effective ones probably but given the abundance of recon we have anyway a few more dive bombers even if not very good would still be a welcome addition.
Fw189: is now our preferred short range reconnaissance aircraft and is preferred to the others above because of its fuel efficiency. After a certain point in the game and above a certain number in the pool this will be exported to Hungary and Slovakia. Given that Slovakia will for the rest of the game have no airgroups at all any that go to its pool are effectively lost for ever. To stop this it might alone be worth spending points to manually swap HS126B-1 airgroups to FW189 to keep them out of the pool as it will also potentially add more to the dive bomber pool from the HS126B-1s. However the heavy use of this aircraft so far has meant this has not usually never be a needed.
Fi156c: the "Stork" is perhaps better described as an ultra short range recon plane- and historically was as much a commanders taxi and medical evac plane as recon. If the Ju88D-1 is the heavy duty lorry of reconnaissance, the Fi156c is the light weight fold up bicycle. And it shows in fuel use- only about 1 tonne of fuel even when it has flown 100% of its air miles. Logisitically it is probably far more efficient on an airbase far from rails than any other recon plane on an airbase on repaired rail. It is also famous for its backward take offs in high winds. Its short range however means it is far more restricted in use than any other recon, and should always be used in preference to any other recon plane when it can be. We start of with 220 of these in the pools on turn 1 and no air groups with them. It is not an upgrade for any other airgroup, but we know any recon autoswaps early on in the game will be to this aircraft. Hence all the soon withdrawing groups of other types are set to autoswap and a great number of these have swapped automatically for free during the logistics phase. When there are more than ten or so of these in the pool now we know they will export to Slovakia (and so lost),Rumania or Finland; and some have done so already. But again heavy use of this aircraft as recon has meant for a long while there has not been enough in the pool and indeed now if it looked like they would we can always turn on replacements for one of the Fi156c airgroups that has a withdrawal date a long way in the future to stop it.

Overall almost all swaps of recon have been free but we have spent on seven manual swaps. Three were on swapping HS126B-1 airgroups to mid range type Bf 110C-5s when we had a lack of these, and four on creating more Fi156Cs and Fw189As when we wanted to prevent exports of these.



More than any other category of aircraft we have been successful in avoiding airgroups withdrawing with any aircraft in them. The abundance of recon air groups means we can keep replacements off not just for airgroups withdrawing sooner, but for long into the future. So not only are recon airgroups withdrawing with no aircraft in them, but also aircraft withdrawing in the distant future have no aircraft in them and we know they will not be needed before then.

GERMAN TRANPORTS

A final mention should be made of German transports. These have been much less used in this game. Partly this was a choice to leave them in the reserve and release more vehicles from airbases to prioritise having vehicles in the pool and minimising any vehicle deficit penalty. But it has also been the result of a lack of emergencies requiring them, and the few operations requiring them were either small (Dumbo Drop) or cancelled (Reindeer). Hence we have had a buildup of these in the pool. Frequently the only transport airgroups we have kept on the map are withdrawing ones, the others have been in reserve for many turns now. Although all this could change in 1942. As a consequence the large numbers of Ju52/3ms that could be exported to Rumania and Hungary have done so. We spent only one point manually swapping one airgroup from another type of transport to Ju52/3m. But apart from this there has been no other swaps, manual or automatic. And while the withdrawing airgroups have had replacements off and been operationally prioritised, little else could be done to prevent a number of them withdrawing as airgroups withdrew.

FINNISH

The Finns start off with too few G50 and Gladiator fighters for the airgroups that use them - but by setting some of these to autoswap we eventually got four swaps for free to other types of fighters of which we had ample numbers in the pool. Similarly a Blenheim bomber, of which we had too few at the start, was set to autoswap and eventually did to the only other possibility the SB-2(F). The same process also led to two auto swaps of recon groups. Overall we have been able to carry out seven autoswaps on the Finnish airforce filling out its OOB and not had to spend any points on manual swaps.

ITALIANS
The entire Italian air force consists of seven airgroups that withdraw on turn 46 soon to be replaced by others.



The Italian recon air groups have not only used up almost all of their aircraft, but all of the Libreccio pool as well. Loosing them instead of Germans will mean our pool of German recon is larger later



On the other hand the Italian fighter bombers have barely been used at all. Without a bomber airgroup in the Italian airforce it is not possible to do any manual missions with them such as fighter sweeps. So the only possibility has been auto missions such as interception, of which there have been few because of the absence of the Soviet air force. So in anticipation of a more active Italian air force in 1942 for the next group of Italian air groups to arrive, we have decided to swap out all the Italian fighter groups of their modern Seatta fighter bombers and swap them to older aircraft in the pool such as these biplanes before they leave on turn 46. However we will only find out if this spend of four points on manual swaps is worthwhile if the future Italian airforce groups get so heavily used that they need to use the pool of Saettas that has been left behind.

RUMANIANS

With no withdrawing groups there is no need to reduce the numbers withdrawing. But Rumania does have nine fighter groups and two dive bomber groups frozen in airbases within Rumania. So 4 points have been spent redistributing fighters between frozen home defence and the front line fighters.

The dive bombers frozen in Rumania however are an absolute waste. So at the very least we want to swap these to the very worst type (IAR 37) and only the minimum necessary to swap that air group for. Both the home dive bomber groups are IAR39 and we have one IAR 37 airgroup on the front lines and one other will be arriving later. The immediate problem was we had no other aircraft in the pool the front-line IAR37 group could be swapped for. So from turn 1 all Rumanian tac/dive IAR39 bomber groups have had replacements switched off so that the Rumanian production run of one a turn would build up a sufficient pool of IAR39 to swap into. When this happened we were finally able to swap the front-line IAR37 air group to the more up to date IAR39, but did this manually as we could not wait for the AI to do this with the upgrade only option switched on. The IAR37 in the pool will convert one a turn to IAR39 (at a cost of some arms points), so we left them in the pool until there were only just enough to swap one of the home command airgroups with. Later with the arrival of another IAR 37 airgroup to active duty we will do the same with the other home airgroup. Finally having started with two Rumanian tac/dive bomber groups equipped with the very long range Potez bomber for which there were no replacements, we had to build up a large enough pool for one of them to swap to IAR39 so that the remaining Potez could concentrate on one airgroup. Once this occurred we did leave one of the Potez on autoswap hoping to get this for free, knowing that IAR39 was the only aircraft it could convert to. But even with the pool in double figures it looked like this would still be a long wait, and so decided to do this with a manual swap during blizzard so that there was lots of time to train up again afterwards. The end consequence of all this manoeuvring is that we will end up with two half size home tac/dive bomber groups of IAR37, one front-line Potez group, and all the others with the most up to date IAR 39. But it also meant for many turns no front-line Rumanian group received any replacements whatsoever. Overall this has cost us three points in manual swaps so far and we would expect to spend another two when the other IAR37 air group arrives.

The Rumanian level bomber force has consisted of 6 different types of aircraft in 9 airgroups. A particular mention should be made of the Polish made PZL 37B(R) that they use. It is still the longest range Axis bomber of all in airgroups at the moment. It was able to bomb the Saratov Yak-1 factories and Stalingrad factories choking their expansion turns before the Luftwaffe had the range to do so. It many other ways they have provided, with their long range, invaluable service. But there are no replacements and we have done everything possible to extend their life span. At the end of every turn so far (and until we upgrade to v1.11.02) they were turned to night missions whenever they were not being used for our hand picked manual missions - so they were not used in ground support or interdiction say. Similarly when a Rumanian airgroup arrived equipped with this bomber but low experience one of our first acts was to swap it to a shorter range aircraft and swap one of our other highest experience airgroups to these aircraft left in the pool. So far we have spent only four points on manual swaps of the Rumanian air force - but for the service they have given they would have easily be worth spending many times more.

It is worth noting that in this 8MP game we have got many of our Rumanian tac/dive bombers and level bombers to exceptionally high levels of morale and experience. Some of this comes from being in the fight from turn one with a large mass of these aircraft unlike the Hungarians with their one or two later. Some of it of course also comes from riding the coat tails of the successful air war of the Luftwaffe. But a great deal of it also comes from the successful strategic bombing campaign of industry. As well as the first strike capability of the PZL 37B(R), Rumania has been the only ally able to also prosecute industry bombing. Given the rule of no more then two bombings per hex you want each one to be with as many bomber groups as possible and only Rumania has had a significant number of bombers of any type to do this with apart from the Germans. The corollary to this is they have also been in continuous bombardment of industry over many turns and in recent versions industry bombing also contributes to experience gain, especially as they for many turns have been unopposed by a Soviet air force. Our Rumanian bombers now would be the equivalent of very good Luftwaffe bombers in many other games. Whether we can sustain this given the use of national morale from v.1.11.02 we will have to see. But otherwise the export of He111H-6s to Rumania would not now be a bad thing.

HUNGARIANS

Having come late to the party the Hungarians never picked the kill totals of the Rumanians, and had too small a bomber force to effectively participate in industry bombing. Having only a couple of on map Hungarian ground units for most of 1941 meant the chance to provide ground support was rare. And once the Soviet air force left they were not even needed for fighter cover. So in an attempt to give them something to do many Hungarian fighters were downgraded to biplane fighter bombers and changed to a bomber role - and airgroups frozen in Hungary equipped with fighter bombers had to be swapped to fighters to allow the release of the fighter bombers to the pool. Overall this cost five points.



Having at least one bomber group meant the Hungarians, unlike the Italians, could at least do bombing missions with their fighter bombers also. This "spam ground bombing" probably only inflicted small damage on the Soviet side, but at least to those Hungarian airgroups it has further boosted their kill totals. At the end of each turn they have been switched back to fighter missions just in case they are needed for the Soviet action phase and eventually we would expect these air groups to be switched back to their fighter role with modern aeroplanes.

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< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/16/2018 9:42:13 AM >

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Post #: 605
RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/4/2018 4:44:58 PM   
Telemecus


Posts: 4689
Joined: 3/20/2016
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Managing the Air: Transports, Reserves and the Vehicle Pool

This is part of an occasional series on the details of managing the air arm in response to a request by Zorch. More detail is being given than normal here, those wishing for a casual read of the AAR may want to skip over this post.

One of the main discretionary ways of boosting the number of vehicles we have in the pool is by sending aircraft to the national reserve. With airgroups airbases suck in lots of extra vehicles for their organic use. Without them they shed vehicles back to the pool.

Whenever there is a deficit in vehicle numbers one of the effects is a penalty on the movement of on map ground units.

Transports can also be used to fly in supplies, and are the only ones now that transport fuel. However they are the type of airgroup, more than any other, that sucks vehicles out of the pool and in to airbases. And if the transports are merely causing stockpiles of fuel at an airbase, and especially if the airbase is far off rails, you may be worse off overall.

Given the triangle of transports, reserve and airbases we have decided to go with putting as many aircraft into the reserve as possible and maximising movement points by first avoiding and later minimising vehicle deficits.

The graph below depicts the vehicle surplus/deficit against the number of aircraft on map. Until turn 25 during the blizzard we managed each turn to reserve sufficent aircraft to avoid a deficit at all. Once in a deficit we only kept out a minimum skeleton fighter force, a minimal reconnaisance flight, and some transport and bomber groups that were withdrawing soon so we hoped to make full use of what was left before they went. The aircraft numbers total does not take into account the fact that the remaining numbers of aircraft left on the map were overall much lighter fighter and recon types. Also on the map were the aircraft in frozen airbases which could not be sent to reserve.




By turn 34 we even started to see the vehicle deficit reverse itself. And as there were then targets of opportunity for the air force and we were confident that we would no longer need as many movement points as possible for our ground forces, we started to deploy other aircraft from the reserve back to the map again.

Although transports can provide fuel and emergency supplies to certain spots, they do take large amounts of fuel to fly themselves. And added to this a large proportion is lost and never arrives to the intended destination. Overall transports are far less efficient than just not using them and releasing more vehicles to the pool to do overground supply. However they are ways to direct more supply to a specific locality. Given an emergency or urgent local need we might well have had to deploy more transports out of the reserve. But as this never happened we stuck to our strategy of concentrating on releasing vehicles from airbases to the pool.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/5/2018 1:31:58 PM >

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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/4/2018 6:30:31 PM   
redrum68

 

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Cool graph around vehicle usage. I'm guessing there isn't any easy way to show how much of your vehicle usage per turn is due to airbases/airgroups? As that would be pretty interesting to see alongside the number that you have on the map. Are there other things you are doing to try to deal with the growing vehicle deficit?

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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/4/2018 9:59:03 PM   
xhoel


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Stellar report Tele, I'm already taking notes

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AAR WITW: Gotterdammerung 43-45
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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/5/2018 12:07:21 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: redrum68

I'm guessing there isn't any easy way to show how much of your vehicle usage per turn is due to airbases/airgroups? As that would be pretty interesting to see alongside the number that you have on the map.


Well you could go a long way to finding out.

If you open a turn 1 of the campaign game in the latest version you can see how many vehicles there are for a base using lots of bombers, for example



If this base had been full of transport groups it would need even more vehicles

For comparison here is a base that has been empty of airgroups for several turns




So anything up to a thousand vehicles difference multiplied by the 24 Luftwaffe bases. To this you should add the allied airbases too. This will give you some idea of the order of magnitude.

For exact numbers you can see these figures in the details of each airbase, and they are also in the export of the commanders report for each airbase for each turn. So with time and spreadsheets exact numbers could be calculated. But these are just the organic vehicles in each airbase. In addition the more vehicles the base has, the more vehicles are needed to bring fuel for them from the rail head - which is not zero even if the airbase is on the same hex as a repaired rail. So some of the other extra effects of leaving airgroups on bases may be harder to measure.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/5/2018 1:23:51 PM >

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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/5/2018 3:22:39 PM   
Telemecus


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Managing the Air: Final Points

Two other points worth noting
i) Strategic home defence: in v1.10.00 there were no frozen fighter air groups in Germany to defend home industry. However for most of the game we have left three airbases in Germany anyway for fighters to provide cover. At no time have they actually had to intercept anything, and similarly with our allies based in their home countries.
ii) During the final advance on Leningrad Richtofen was reassigned to be head of Flieger Korps I. He was brought back to Flieger Korps VIII for the final advance on Moscow. And we got Korten as an auto promotion for Flieger Korps I. So with these two great Flieger Korps leaders we are consciously reassigning each the full 8 airbases we can to them. We expect Kesselring to be back in a Luftflotte command by summer and to have the full 16 airbases they can have assigned to them. So in the future these three commanders will be in the chain of command of all our airbases, and sometimes more than once. Some other air HQs however may then be redundant.

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/5/2018 4:03:54 PM >

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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/5/2018 7:21:19 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch
quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus
quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch
The only thing not mentioned is the handling of air assets.

That request got me interested. A lot of the blizzard relatively little use was made of the air force on map. But there was quite a lot of swaps and pools management, as well as changes of the structure. I was not planning to post on that as I thought that would have little interest. But is that what you were after or something else?

Yes, that is it. Also, did you have contingency plans to use the Luftwaffe if the Soviets broke through?
I suppose you have reallocated air assets in preparation for the summer offensive.


Does this answer your questions - or have we scared you from even asking anything more?

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8MP Managing Vehicles - 8/5/2018 7:24:30 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: redrum68
Are there other things you are doing to try to deal with the growing vehicle deficit?


Lots. Here are some examples of what others do
- do not use HQ Buildups: you destroy vehicles every time you do; see this AAR by Pych0 who set the challenge of never playing with one http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4326317
- set units in static parts of the war to "static": this will release all the vehicles from that unit to the pool - and is after all what the German historically did
- disband/manage your ToEs: choke ToEs of units that you will not use (or use less) where those units need lots of vehicles - or even disband them (Soviet players have the additional possibility of not creating them or prioritising their rescue or avoidance from loss in 1941)
- rail repair: concentrate your rail repair less on quanity of hexes repaired than on how quickly you can get East (as Axis) and close to your units. Even by blizzard when you have completed your main trunk network prioritise the little branches that get your rail network closer to your units everywhere.
- keep higher level HQs on rails and support units in your higher level HQs: Here are some examples from turn 10 of this game - you can see the transport cost of OKH (and what it would be with no support units) and for comparison the transport cost of an infantry division.






The support units in OKH are equivalent to about a full infantry field army! In this case they are all in OKH which happens to be in a working rail hex. Supplying the equivalent of a full field army there takes a lot less vehicles than the same many hexes away from rail. This is not to say do not use support units, just do not leave them locked in HQs away from front lines when you do not need them. Unlock your HQs and set their support levels to zero and then all the support units will rise one level a turn until they reach High Command. Only when you are about to use SUs, for a battle you are about to launch say, or at the end of your turn for your opponents action phase for where you think they are needed, should you then assign them down to your local HQs. And when you do they are instantaneously available.

We have used all apart from economising on HQBUs in 1941

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/6/2018 11:48:57 AM >

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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/5/2018 9:19:34 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch
quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus
quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch
The only thing not mentioned is the handling of air assets.

That request got me interested. A lot of the blizzard relatively little use was made of the air force on map. But there was quite a lot of swaps and pools management, as well as changes of the structure. I was not planning to post on that as I thought that would have little interest. But is that what you were after or something else?

Yes, that is it. Also, did you have contingency plans to use the Luftwaffe if the Soviets broke through?
I suppose you have reallocated air assets in preparation for the summer offensive.


Does this answer your questions - or have we scared you from even asking anything more?

Everything I always wanted to know but was afraid to ask!
Including how many vehicles were used by air units.

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Post #: 613
RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/12/2018 3:28:14 PM   
thedude357


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Turn 39 Army Group South

A lot of action this turn, 1st Panzer Army was tasked with crossing the Don River and establishing a bridgehead. In another plot twist, some of the terrain was still in blizzard across the Don. Operation National Garden kicks off this turn with rolling panzers and motorized infantry smashing through Soviet lines in the snow. 17th Army already softened up the forward defenses last turn, and this turn continues to move Soviet infantry out of the way.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting to get very far this turn. But somehow 1st Panzer Army was able to blow up a 30 mile...in some places 40+ mile wide hole through the Soviet defenses. This breakthrough was substantial and in some ways unexpected. It was like a knife through butter and motorized infantry was able to cross the Don. In this instance, too much success set up 1st Panzer Army for a Soviet counterattack and even more so with miscommunication with Army Group Center. How will the Soviets respond?




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RE: 8MP T39 - 8/13/2018 9:15:53 AM   
Telemecus


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Turn 39 19-March-1942 Air

The "mad bomber" soon stopped when he realised we were ready for him this time! Fighters are also being set up especially to shoot down recon as we batton down the hatches on what we will allow our opponents to uncover. Many of their recon missions find all or most of their recon planes shot down. The bombing of our recon bases continues.




There continues to be airgroups in the bases near Arzamas (which now has a tail east), East of Voronezh, a lone airbase near Voronezh and the biplane fighters in a group of airbases in the far North. It is a near repetition of last turn. The Luftwaffe concentrates on fighter sweeps and more bombing of the Arzamas bases. Our southern allies follow this up with similar attacks on the airbases in the south.

Our bombers continue to choke the expansion of the Gorky tank factory (we are still playing in v1.11.01) - and we also note how weak is the interception there ...

Meanwhile the Finns continue to bomb the non-flying biplanes of the north.



Air losses for the turn continue to show Soviet interceptor losses higher than their absolute expected production and higher than the Axis relative to our productions.



Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/13/2018 12:46:38 PM >

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8MP T39 - 8/13/2018 7:18:00 PM   
Telemecus


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Turn 39 Allocations
For information only - team allocations for turn 39.

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< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/16/2018 8:51:28 PM >

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8MP T40 - 8/14/2018 8:59:39 AM   
Telemecus


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Turn 40 25-March-1942 Centre



The Big Question for Centre this turn is whether to head south to help operation National Garden directly - or threaten an enirclement of forces in its own theatre of operations. When South signals they will need no more help and even relese some of the forces earmarked for them back to centre the former is chosen. The Panzers of Guderian, Hube and Nehring all penetrate and leave areas threatened with encirclement next turn if they do not withdraw. Guderian is supported by 6th Army and VIII Hungarian Corps that are under temporary command of centre.




However by the end of the turn Supreme command decides the situation at the Don Bridgehead in the south will need more forces. Many of the units held by centre in the rear, including Panzer corps full of fuel are instead redeployed to the base of the Don Bridgehead forces..

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< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/14/2018 9:00:28 AM >

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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/14/2018 9:25:59 AM   
timmyab

 

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Turn 40 Army group North

The Finns continue on the offensive North of Lake ladoga aided by 10th pz division which remains in the area mainly due to a lack of rail capacity.

Further South operation Snowdrop continues into it's third week, but inspite of an improvement in the weather the going is still tough due to a stiffening of the Soviet defense, notably the arrival of three guards divisions. However Weiss just about gets the better of Vatutin and X corps establishes a strong toehold South of the Msta.

The AGN/AGC boundary has moved South from Moscow since the beginning of March and is now demarcated by the river Oka




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< Message edited by timmyab -- 8/14/2018 9:37:44 AM >

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RE: 8MP Managing the Air - 8/14/2018 9:48:09 AM   
beender


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

Managing the Air: Swaps, Upgrades and Replacements Part II



So well-organized and informative guide!

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RE: 8MP T40 - 8/14/2018 12:24:20 PM   
Telemecus


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Turn 40 25-March-1942 Last photo with the winter camouflage uniforms

With snow becoming a memory some of our troops put on their winter camouflage uniforms on one last time for a photo before packing them away for summer.




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< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/14/2018 12:25:15 PM >

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RE: 8MP T40 - 8/14/2018 8:14:59 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

Turn 40 25-March-1942 Last photo with the winter camouflage uniforms

With snow becoming a memory some of our troops put on their winter camouflage uniforms on one last time for a photo before packing them away for summer.




Does the one in white do birthday parties?

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RE: 8MP T40 - 8/15/2018 9:38:09 AM   
Telemecus


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And for the doubters out there - see if you can get this awareness test right

https://youtu.be/vJG698U2Mvo

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/15/2018 9:40:58 AM >

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RE: 8MP T40 - 8/15/2018 5:44:24 PM   
thedude357


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Turn 40 Army Group South

This turn the Don bridgehead thrust is almost entirely isolated due to Soviet soaking attacks that were able to dislodge the base of the thrust and ZOC the hex. I know, it may be time to panic...but fear not...yet 1st Panzer Army and 17th Army follow up attacks are able to widen the thrust to 2 hexes at the base and reinforcements are starting to pour in from Army Group North and Center. This is a risky attack for sure, but all is not lost. The Soviet counterattack capability is still strong and it looks like they are throwing everything they have to blunt the attack. I think the Soviets railed in every single guards unit in the entire Red Army to blunt the panzers. Things are not entirely in my favor, but the bridgehead holds another turn.

In the far South around Kerch, the 81st Naval Rifle Brigade was trapped and forgotten about and forced to surrender. Now all of 11th Army can focus on Sevastopol. The Soviets have two hexes with fort levels of 5 for a total of six divisions. Its going to take some serious pioneers and artillery to break that open.


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RE: 8MP T40 - 8/15/2018 7:47:35 PM   
Telemecus


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Turn 40 25-March-1942 Air

A repeat of last turn. Soviets continue to bomb our storks and to ground bomb. The Luftwaffe and southern allies attack the main two clusters of airbases with airgroups. They have moved closer together now to mutually support one another - but this also means we can mutually support one another.




Our bombers continue to choke the expansion of the Gorky tank factory (we are still playing in v1.11.01) - and we continue to note how weak is the interception there ...

Our opponents find themselves again losing more interceptors relative to their production than we are.



And the Finns continue to bomb the non-flying biplanes in the north



Constantin Celareanu

A special mention is in order for Constantin Celareanu, General Inspector of Rumanian Combat Air Command. According to wikipedia ...

quote:

wikipedia
1925 - 1932 Commander of the Technical Aeronautics School
22 June 1941 - 1 August 1944 - Commander of the Air Force Command; June 22, 1941 - October 16, 1941, also commissioned the Battle of the Air Force
1 August 1944 - 1 November 1944 - Commander of the Passive Defense Command
August 15, 1944 - March 28, 1945 - Commander of the Aviation Command
March 28, 1945 - Reserved in the Royal Decree published in the Official Gazette no. 73 of 29 March 1945


But so far in this game we have also found that Celareanu was also head of the airgroups 1st Royal Hungarian Airforce Brigade and Fliegerkorps I. (see post 89 at http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4260347&mpage=3). In turn 40 we found out this giant of multi-tasking has also taken charge of Finland's reconnaissance airgroups!

This guy gets everywhere!

Which just goes to show you that Wikipedia is not a source you can rely on. Thankfully we have WitE to give us the real history ....

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< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/20/2018 4:25:04 PM >

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RE: 8MP T40 - 8/15/2018 8:17:18 PM   
Telemecus


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Turn 40 Allocations

This turn did not go well - and more importantly that spoiled some of the fun.

At the start of this AAR we wrote the key to a team game was making sure everything was compartmentalised to the maximum degree possible for each player so they could know what they had allocated to them and what was expected of them. Each player would then have their own game where they could make their own plans over many turns. In effect be the boss of their own domain.

Instead we went from not knowing who would have what in advance to not knowing who would have what at the start of the turn to not even being sure of it by the end of the turn. That is the key job for a Supreme Commander - so my big failure this turn.

The sequence that led to this was
- Unlike for other campaigns for this snow campaign we spent many turns with the map of options but did not decide on what we were going to do until literally the time had arrived. As a result we did not spend any of the turns getting ready for what was to come.
- During the snow period we have not disentangled forces for centre and its objective from forces for the south and its objective. As a result many units from one command were being temporarily assigned to another.
- And finally during this turn 40 the allocations were still in draft for North and Centre waiting for after South had gone - and then we did not go in that order and so allocations were not even finalised by the end of the turn.

In particular we ended up with 3rd Panzer army from centre being supported by 6th army and Hungarians from the south under temporary command of centre being used not for centre's theatre of operations but for the theatre of operations of the south. That is a recipe for chaos! End result was confusion over who got what and plans each commander made having to be dropped.

So urgent memo to Supreme Commander - sort the mess out before next turn! From next turn south will be back in charge of its armies, will have temporary control of 3rd Panzer army, and be solely in charge of its theatre of operations and all the units in it.

Attached for information only - team allocations for turn 40.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/22/2018 12:30:41 PM >

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8MP T41 - 8/16/2018 9:30:24 AM   
Telemecus


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Turn 41 01-April-1942 Centre




With 3rd Panzer army under the control of South this turn the tanks are largely given a rest for this last snow turn. A broad advance by the infantry meets a lot of light opposition from brigades. However Rendulic north of the Pronya river encounters particularly large battle losses as he encounters reserve activating tank brigades and guards divisions as well as large amounts of artillery committed. Jager units continue to show their value in winter conditions. The team consensus is now that flak are valid ground combat units and are now being used extensively for that role. But for a rare event, a Soviet ground interdiction, flak continues to show its traditional value as they shoot down all bar one of the bombers.

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< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/16/2018 9:56:31 AM >

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RE: 8MP T41 - 8/16/2018 11:39:17 AM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

Turn 41 01-April-1942 Centre

But for a rare event, a Soviet ground interdiction, flak continues to show its traditional value as they shoot down all bar one of the bombers.


What version of the game code are you currently running?

_____________________________


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RE: 8MP T41 - 8/16/2018 11:42:17 AM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain


quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

Turn 41 01-April-1942 Centre

But for a rare event, a Soviet ground interdiction, flak continues to show its traditional value as they shoot down all bar one of the bombers.


What version of the game code are you currently running?



In turn 41 we were on v1.11.01, the Axis team upgraded to v1.11.02 for turn 42. Currently we are using v1.11.03.

< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/16/2018 11:49:27 AM >

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Post #: 628
RE: 8MP T41 - 8/16/2018 5:21:13 PM   
Telemecus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch
Does the one in white do birthday parties?


Yes - but they have to be Nazi birthday parties




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< Message edited by Telemecus -- 8/16/2018 5:22:04 PM >

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RE: 8MP T40 - 8/16/2018 5:41:09 PM   
M60A3TTS


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus
Instead we went from not knowing who would have what in advance to not knowing who would have what at the start of the turn to not even being sure of it by the end of the turn. That is the key job for a Supreme Commander - so my big failure this turn.


Our Red Army faces no such difficulties. Orders are given and orders are executed.



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