8MP Strat Bombing Review
aldiladeisogni1 was the first player I saw to use strategic bombing in the latest versions of the game. A fun example of this can be fund in the AAR of Stef78 versus Stelteck ( http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4280532 ). In 8MP we have turned the tables and it is the Axis using strategic bombing on the Soviets.
Strategic Bombing was not in the original plan for the Axis when we started this game. And to some extent it should never happen. Each side can and should redeploy forces and resources to deter it. The Soviet team never attempted to bomb Germany in this game - but while they could we kept three airbases with fighter groups to make sure they would pay for it. Given that fighters are a choke point for the Axis this is a real sacrifice to make in 1941. And there were 3 fewer Luftwaffe bases for the Kabuki dance and other logistical cycles.
Latest versions have made this easier by including extra fighter groups and bases at the west side of the map. But budding Soviet strat bombers may want to see how well covered is the Heinkel factory at Rostock - and there are a lot of villages in the East of Germany that can be attacked too. Germany always has a manpower problem - and village bombing can be very powerful ....
Telemecus, The early air war, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4371349&mpage=3
the Soviet air force should not all be deployed on the front lines to attack the Axis armed forces but should be distributed around the Soviet Union to defend the motherland. This was the case historically. If a significant part of the soviet air forces had to be committed in the rear, the game would naturally be rebalanced from what was described earlier in this thread as a pro-Soviet stance. And if they did not you would be punished with the over powerful Axis strategic bombing described in the other thread. It seems to be that putting these two together would say the game data balance is fine, but players need to adapt their game plans accordingly and then the results will be more like they historically were.
I still feel some of the nerfs in the latest versions to the Soviet air force were unnecessary - the threat of strategic bombing even if never used was the natural re-balancing mechanism all should have used. And indeed this was the expected outcome when we started strategic bombing of the Soviet Union in 8MP - and it is still much to my astonishment that the Soviet air force, by and large, was not distributed to defend the Soviet Union.
So given that this game was actually going to punish the Soviet Union by strat bombing in response to not defending itself - the question was what targets do we select?
i) Fighter-Bomber and Fighter factories: These become our number one target - and I think an unqualified success. There was indeed a feedback loop as they became less able to defend these factories as the factories got more damaged because they could not build the replacement fighters to defend themselves.
ii) Il-2 factories: Because of the fighter imbalance in this game Il-2s would not have been used much however many they had. But in other circumstances this would still be a great target. They can have their expansion slowed from a very low starting level and see that capacity level frozen for many turns afterwards by their evacuation. In 8MP over 1,000 Il-2s were never built due to strategic bombing, and these are Il-2s at the start of the game when they are in shortage.
iii) Recon factories: The Soviet side does not make many recon aircraft in a turn, so the recon factory in Moscow could be a great target if it is not evacuated. In 8MP it was.
iv) Light Tanks: There has been some disagreement on how effective this was - but I am still in the camp saying it was effective. The Soviet side does have a shortage of light tanks early on. Showing that there are pools of light tanks later is not a counterargument - that is just a measure of how few units you could create. The only true measure of light tank shortage or abundance is how many the Soviets have by adding the numbers they have in their units and pool together. The other argument that light tanks are not very good anyway would then mean the Tank units the Soviets have are not very good - but they do become important even when they are mostly light tanks.
iv) Medium Tanks: This is more difficult to judge. Our opponents say there never was a medium tank shortage - although I do wonder if that was true at a brief point in the end of 1941. But to say there is not a shortage misses the point - the Soviet side can create tank units, or not, to use up any surplus of medium tanks they have. Fewer medium tanks would mean fewer tank units. The heaviest use of medium tanks comes later in the war. So we cannot know if the reduction in tank production now does mean they will have too few tanks later because we have not reached that point yet. But we do know from other games Soviet players can and do run out of medium tanks.
ORIGINAL: Stelteck, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4280532
It is the famous turn where i lost more than 1000+ tanks.
Still i regret nothing !!!
v) Rocket artillery, SP flak and other AFVs: Some of these are also very vulnerable expanding factories. I still have no good measure of how useful Soviet rockets are and so how much they would be missed. But I do know that if there are fewer self propelled SUs, attaching non-motorised SUs to motorised units will hit the vehicle pool. And those armoured cars which appear in so many ToEs may not be the most important contributor to CV - but having a few percentage points of ToE missing in every unit permanently does make the struggle to keep units ready and not depleted harder. I suspect there are gems to be discovered here with more research. Certainly we have found it easy to make great losses in these categories with very little effort.
vi) Generic vehicles: For much of this game we have been targeting generic vehicle factories. In older versions of the game generic vehicles were a constraint. However seeing how much the lend lease vehicle deliveries have been increased in latest versions of the game I can understand why this might no longer be the case. Again what you have in the pools is not the issue here - it is how constrained you are from making all the motorised units you would like to have. I have seen some players say generic vehicles is always a problem for them, and others say it is not. So I still have no way of knowing if this is a a good target - or even a way of finding out in each game if it is.
vi) Heavy industry/supplies: This was our lowest priority target - we committed little to its bombing and destroyed only a little. In older versions of the game I was used to hearing that the constraint of the late Soviet war machine was supply. Our opponents say they have not been affected by supply shortages but that again misses the point. We have not yet got to the stage where the bombing of heavy industry now would mean they have fewer supplies later when they are constrained. However I think research by EwaldvonKleist has convincingly showed that supply in the latest versions of the game is no longer a constraint even in the late war. In particular industry can be re-evacuated as a means to stop supply going to industrial output which is by then in abundance.
vii) Arms factories were only targeted a couple of times and in the long war is not a constraint for the Soviet side. But there is a brief period at the end of 1941 when it is and the Soviets need them
viii) We did look a few times at resources - and in one AAR (TopEverest vs Admiral Kamikaze - the rematch) there was even an indication that resources could be a choke point. I did briefly wonder if there was an alternative Axis strategy for the ground war of instead going for the resource factories (mostly in the north) and bombing the ones you could not get to (resource factories only repair 1% per turn). However I have to thank EwaldvonKleist for putting me right on the updated manual multipliers and Crackaces for working out what could be had by a northern resource strategy. Resources in the latest versions would never be a good target for either a an alternative ground war or a bombing campaign. Occasionally it is worth questioning old orthodoxies to see if they are valid - but often old orthodoxies are and here they were.
ix) Manpower, Rail, etc. There are other targets we have not looked at until recently. With traditional choke points like heavy industry either not applicable or doubtful it does seem like manpower will be the only valid constraint for the Soviet Union after 1941. The problem with any strategic bombing of these non-moveable factories is to know where air power can genuinely add to what your ground forces will capture, and where will be redundant because they are areas your ground troops will capture.
Overall in this game target selection was an afterthought - partly because I never thought strategic bombing would be allowed to continue. My own inexperience with the Soviet side in later versions means I did not have a good sense of what were the most valuable targets to select - and those who did have better knowledge did not at first think hard on it as they did not see it as a serious prospect (yes I am thinking of you Stelteck!) And we have reviewed our targets for 1942 with new theories of what could pay handsome dividends. If I could play the game again I would not have gone for heavy industry but would have gone for arms factories in 1941 for example. Overall a more ruthless calculated systematic approach to strategic bombing target selection by the Axis side would have made the pain for the Soviet side many times worse. But that perhaps is for another game - and perhaps for someone like EwaldvonKleist to do the target selection
< Message edited by Telemecus -- 4/15/2019 3:13:08 PM >