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are the Allies too weak in the early years?

 
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are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/16/2017 1:13:02 PM   
Leadwieght

 

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I believe they are.

I have now played about a dozen PBEM games to the point of victory or defeat.

I have won all but one as the Axis. I have won about half as the Allies.
Not intended as a boast.
Assuming I am at least an average-level player, that record tells me that there's a play-balance problem.

In my experience of being defeated while playing the Allies, two key factors stand out:

1. Soviet Union mobilization is so low in 39-41, that Red Army often can't sustain even a delaying action.
in 41. Even if the Wehrmacht doesn't capture Leningrad, Moscow or Stalingrad in 41, they WILL take them all by 42 or 43.

2. Axis in North Africa seems to suffer NO supply penalties, despite the Malta effect. Even when the Afrikakorps has pressed to the gates of Alexandria, they are often in better supply than the British.

So, any thoughts? Am I wrong about the play-balance?

Wrong about the key factors?

Just wrong?
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/16/2017 2:20:15 PM   
vonik

 

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They generally are in the 39 Scenario . They are not in the 42 Fall Blau scenario .
When one looks at the difference between the 2 scenarii - 39 and 42 - everything becomes obvious .
Starting in 39, the German has 8 tanks level 3 in 42 .
Starting with Fall Blau, the German has 3 tanks (!!) level 2 and struggles as long a he had not built 5 new Pz and mech inf and researched better techs.
He can still win but this time in 43 and this one year delay is enough for the US to build a huge navy and air force with high techs .

In the Scenario 39, Leningrad falls in 41, Moscow and Stalingrad in 42 . Always .
I have won a few games as Allied but it was only because the Axis player was not fast enough in Russia and the US had the time to catch up in techs .
As the German has no way to beat the US navy full with destroyers and carriers with ASW 5 techs, he can no more win . The RN&RAF being here basically cannon fodder :)

From this observation the reason appears clearly - in the Scenario 39, Germany has (too) many MPPs (those of Russia are btw ridiculously low) so that his tanks&mech inf are maxxed by 41 and simply slice through all XP 0 units that the Russian can build and immediately loose .
So as the Russian looses more MMP/turn than what he gets, his MPP are a decreasing series which converges to 0 .
The German is opposite, his MPP are an increasing series which would go to infinity if the game didn't stop .

However while this explains why Russia is a push over and always looses in the 39 Campaign, it is not the whole game .
If one adds the US to the equation it appears that a good allied player has still a reasonable chance at victory after 43 provided that he managed his research and production well .

(in reply to Leadwieght)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/16/2017 6:39:35 PM   
tigercub


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interesting!

Vonnik have you looked at the turmoil mod? and it`s balance?

Tigercub

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 3:00:26 AM   
LiquidSky


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There are a few things the allies can do about Africa. You could help Malta out by damaging the ports with BB's. (and destroy the Italian fleet if it intervenes). You could move the BEF to Tunisia and take Tripoli. You could park the CV fleet in and around the Suez canal..pop out and destroy axis land units.

What you shouldn't do is sit back and defend.

The BEF can do a pretty good job moving from Marseille into Northern Italy, if the Italians think they want to seriously reinforce the desert.

Making the Germans spend build points for anything other then stuff that fights the Russians is a good thing.

Think outside the box. If you play predictably then you are letting the Germans 'do the math' and will probably win. Try and aggravate them. Invade Norway just after he gets it. Put an AA in London and surround it in Militia to prevent paratroopers from taking it. Park your subs in front of the ports so he cant move into them without using precious little DD's to bump them out.

The Russians can gain more build points by playing 'nice' and not taking all that territory. Let the Germans have Poland for example....you stop giving them 25 points and keep them for yourself.

Move into Greece..and spend build points to reinforce them. Better to fight the Axis in mountains. During Bad Weather.

I haven't looked to closely at why yet, but the Russians declared war on the Germans in April 1942, which has allowed me to save the air and most of the mech units. I suspect it has something to do with the lingering war in Greece.



_____________________________

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 7:24:38 AM   
vonik

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: tigercub

interesting!

Vonnik have you looked at the turmoil mod? and it`s balance?

Tigercub


Yes . But only against AI what gives a biased idea as the human always wins . However what I saw seemed better balanced than the standard 39 Campaign .

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 8:03:25 AM   
vonik

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: LiquidSky




Think outside the box. If you play predictably then you are letting the Germans 'do the math' and will probably win. Try and aggravate them. Invade Norway just after he gets it.

Move into Greece..and spend build points to reinforce them.



Well "thinking outside the box" is often synonymous doing stupid things because in games like SC there is generally an optimal way to achieve a result and people tend to rather use better solutions than worse ones .
Being unpredictable may be amusing but has never been a sure recipe to efficiency .

For instance invading Norway in 1940 is nonsense .
First you have no forces in UK as the BEF is in France and if it isn't then France will fold very fast .
Second the german subs are waiting for you
Third you have not yet researched amphibious so can send only 1 unit .
Let us also remind that UK is inf lvl 0 what means that without HQ it won't even scratch the german garrisons in Norway .
The result is that this unit will just rot with supply 0 and moral 0 in a norvegian mountain what will surely not aggravate the German in any way .

Going to Greece in 1940 is even worse because UK has no units to spare in Egypt and UK inf lvl 0 against German Pz and bombers just evaporate in 1 turn, achieve nothing and critically weaken Egypt .

Everything that weakens UK in 1940 and early 1941 just invites the German to do and succeed Sealion so my advice to any Allied is that the absolute priority is to avoid that .
Successful Sealion = game over for the Allied already in 1940 .

(in reply to LiquidSky)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 10:04:34 AM   
Iñaki Harrizabalagatar


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The difference with the 42 scenario is that instead of Pzs and planes that German player gets more information and HQs, that tells us that Pzs and planes are unhistorically effective

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 1:48:43 PM   
Iñaki Harrizabalagatar


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Rethinking about it, we have to consider two different things

1939 Scenario Balance (PBEM)
The problem here is that an Axis player can focus exclusively on building planes and Mech/Tank units to win by 1942 simply knocking the Soviets out of the war taking Leningrad, Stalingrad and Moscow. I have done that by mid 1942 against a competent player.
However that is not to say the Allied player is defenceless, he can counteract with several strategies and if the Axis player hasn won by the end of 1942 he has probably lost the game. No doubt, some of those Allied tactics are completely unhistorical, as much as the Axis one of focusing on strcitly building a few types of units.

Historical playgame
I don't mean repeating history, but using tactics/strategies that could be historical. Building only tanks and planes is not one, of course, but in order to do that game mechanics should change. IMO we could do with a partial change or go for the radical change

1)Partial
Make Tanks and planes even more expensive, or inf cheaper, or a mix of them, and of course, delete the option for Axis minors to build planes and tanks.

2) Radical
Reduce the killing powewr of Tanks and eliminate it completely for planes, while at the same time make retreat result for units a much more probable outcome, so that the game doesn't revolve about killing units, but about pushing them out of the strategic locations.


(in reply to Iñaki Harrizabalagatar)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 3:27:03 PM   
LiquidSky


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Sealion is easy to defend against.. you just need to prevent the paratroopers from taking a port. Paratroopers cannot land on a unit and you can easily build cheap militia to place adjacent to the ports to stop them from taking them in one turn.

And you can use the same gamey tactic against the Germans by using your subs to block your own ports from being invaded. The Germans only have a couple DD's and you can easily sink them if they come out.

More fun and hilarity: Instead of evacuating the BEF....use the French engineer to Fortify between Bordeaux and what will be Vichy. The Germans will have to waste time to send units down to deal with you....if they decide not to do Vichy then Mission Accomplished..time wasted and send the BEF to take out Libya. With no secondary supply source the Afrika Korp isn't going to be dangerous.

The point is the allies in the early game are not meant to 'win' the game. You are weak..and there is a lot of rock, paper, panzer going on. So you could over commit in one area while the Germans over commit in another....it is a game.

But there is never one overall strategy that always works. And you will have half way won the game if you are playing somebody predictable. Don't be the one that is predictable.

Lastly...you are fighting for time. Losing a few British units is short term pain that could win you the game down the road if the delay is good enough. My Greek expedition is probably going to win me my game since the Russians entered early. It might cost me Cairo...although I suspect the Luftwaffe has to leave the desert for Russia. But even if it did....it would be worth the trade.

The French are kind of fun as well....they have a nice fleet that can stop all economics from flowing from Norway. I fight a withdrawal battle and usually give up Paris in July by forming a nice line further back in the better terrain. Pulling back trades space for time and If he wants to conquer me, I then evacuate everything for Africa.




_____________________________

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 3:42:02 PM   
Sugar

 

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quote:

Paratroopers cannot land on a unit and you can easily build cheap militia to place adjacent to the ports to stop them from taking them in one turn.


Do you mean those garrisons who will be evaporated by 1 air attack, maybe 2 with luck?

quote:

And you can use the same gamey tactic against the Germans by using your subs to block your own ports from being invaded.


Afaik Britain has got 2 subs. And how many ports? With how many hexes around?

I really appreciate your playfull approach, but this strategy may work against the AI, but not in MPs.

(in reply to LiquidSky)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 7:11:35 PM   
tigercub


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i also think planes are to effective over all.

Tigercub

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/17/2017 11:23:52 PM   
Guderian1940

 

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First of all we need to qualify the experience vs the AI or MP. Completely different results and there is no comparison. It's like Apples VS Steak observations.

I have played many MP games as the Allies. Against Leadweight in an early game. He used every game technique against Me. I lost England, Egypt, Iraq NA and Russia. I have learned a lot since then but would still suffer a defeat. I agree with his observations. Of over a dozen games as an Allied player I have not been able to save Russia. In my experience the Germans do what they want if they focus, NA is overrun, Russian is overrun and England is in great peril. I have kept playing the Allies to figure what is wrong. Wrong strategy or what. I have tried several and with poor results.

The good news is the next version should help to reduce the naval hit and run tactics and it was mentioned some supply changes to North Africa and Russia. Perhaps that will be enough. Looking forward to trying it.

One issue I still have is the randomness of everything. it is too wide meaning too much difference from combat to combat and game to game. Mostly in the German favor I believe. I played Russian where the Winter war was not an option. Where the Irish ports were not an optione, where the Russian MPP were atrociously low that I had nothing to defend Russia. Combat where one turn I kill 4 and another with the same situation lose 4. Randomness is good but it should be narrowed to logical possibilities. So Scripts, MPP, combat randomness is too high. IMHO. Probably the next thing to tackle.


(in reply to Leadwieght)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 1:17:42 AM   
Leadwieght

 

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Just to clarify, I was talking about playing against a human, not the AI. I find the AI extremely easy to beat, even at the higher settings, and I suspect most of us do.

Yes, I've tried unconventional Allied strategies, like unexpected amphib landings, and they have worked sometimes, in the sense that they have de-ranged the Axis player's plans enough for me to survive into 43. But they are so easy for an Axis player to foil. Often by simply containing the threat with minimal force while he pursues his main objectives. That's OK; that means he is an astute strategists.

I think my original point still stands. If I, or any other player of at-least-average ability, can win virtually EVERY game as the Axis against a human and can only win HALF as the Allies, then that is either evidence of a structural imbalance or I am a crypto-fascist monster who is sorry Hitler lost...and I'm not.

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 1:51:49 AM   
Icier


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Don't agree...I am currently playing 3 Allied players & have found that if the Allied player uses their naval superiority especially their carriers early in the war, they can easily
beat the Axis.
I wont say exactly how he does it ( I am on my third game against him, trying to circumnavigate this ploy) but if you are a timid Allied player, you wont to do it.

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 2:32:11 AM   
Leadwieght

 

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Hi Ice,

Glad you have found a good Allied opponent, but I don't see that you have addressed my logic. I've tried aggressive moves as the Allied player. I've tried holding back ("timid" is such an ugly word--let's say "practicing the art of masterful inaction" ). Overall, I win about half the time when playing the Allies. And when I do, it's usually because my opponent doesn't understand the game mechanics fully, which is not the same as being a poor strategist.

But, playing aggressively, I, or anyone of average or above ability will almost ALWAYS win as the Axis. That's my experience so far at any rate. What's yours been?

(in reply to Icier)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 3:43:12 AM   
johanssb

 

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I tend to agree with Ice. As the Allied player in the early stages, it's more about striking when your opponent has left prime targets exposed.

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 3:56:00 AM   
Icier


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Leadwieght

Hi Ice,

Glad you have found a good Allied opponent, but I don't see that you have addressed my logic. I've tried aggressive moves as the Allied player. I've tried holding back ("timid" is such an ugly word--let's say "practicing the art of masterful inaction" ). Overall, I win about half the time when playing the Allies. And when I do, it's usually because my opponent doesn't understand the game mechanics fully, which is not the same as being a poor strategist.

But, playing aggressively, I, or anyone of average or above ability will almost ALWAYS win as the Axis. That's my experience so far at any rate. What's yours been?


Hi Leadweight
I am really reluctant to give away my opponent style, all I can say is that he has forced the Axis invasion of France
to drag on, untill the following year, whereas with all my other games, France falls within 4 turns.
All I am willing to say is that the Allies DO have superiority almost from the start & that he combines it well.
Besides, that is part of the fun of the game like this, playing different styles & as he has developed it, its not
up to me to reveal it.
But when I next play Allies, I will know what to do.


< Message edited by Ice -- 5/18/2017 3:57:22 AM >


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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 10:59:36 AM   
Leadwieght

 

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Maybe the learning curve is steeper for the allies?

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 11:31:13 AM   
Leadwieght

 

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Johan,
I think our game a few months ago is a good case in point. As the Allies, I did manage to delay the conquest of France until Sept 1940 and I was holding the El Alamein line in Egypt. But then you did a late-autumn Sealion, which I thought was nuts because of the poor weather. And the weather was REALLY bad. But nonetheless, you took London in late winter and were grinding your way into the Midlands. Russian mobilization was still pretty low and the Red Army was not very teched-up. Then of course we had to stop in April or May '41 because of update incompatibility, but I would have put your odds of winning the game at 3-1.
Don't get me wrong, you played very well in that game, better than I did for sure, but I think our game illustrates the existence of a structural advantage for the Axis in the earlier years as well

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 12:47:35 PM   
Capitaine

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Leadwieght

Hi Ice,

Glad you have found a good Allied opponent, but I don't see that you have addressed my logic. I've tried aggressive moves as the Allied player. I've tried holding back ("timid" is such an ugly word--let's say "practicing the art of masterful inaction" ). Overall, I win about half the time when playing the Allies. And when I do, it's usually because my opponent doesn't understand the game mechanics fully, which is not the same as being a poor strategist.

But, playing aggressively, I, or anyone of average or above ability will almost ALWAYS win as the Axis. That's my experience so far at any rate. What's yours been?

Winning "half the time" seems like perfect balance no matter which way you cut it. But you complain that Allies can't win?

(in reply to Leadwieght)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 1:09:39 PM   
johanssb

 

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I remember that game. You forced me to do Sealion by stretching the UK too thin with a French / British landing in Sicily in 1940. It was fun, but I would put that under the category of trying an alternate strategy. Unfortunately, it doomed the UK.

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 10:07:16 PM   
Icier


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Leadwieght

Maybe the learning curve is steeper for the allies?


I have just finished a game where Germans had to surrender in Dec 42. This was caused by the fact that the Germans
held off invading Russia in 41 & and as my opponent said " no invasion I was able to build and tech up stronger".
The Russian army was 3-4 times stronger than the German Army.
So the learning curve is exactly same on both sides.



_____________________________

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 10:47:16 PM   
Guderian1940

 

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All you are saying is that the German player was inexperienced. After more than 20 MP games as the Allies and 3 currently on going no one has not invaded Russia. Some earlier some later. The later ones have less success. I think there is only one where I may win.

As Leadweight has said to me and I always realized. Germans win or lose in Russia. No attack in Russia you lose period. Yes it is a learning situation

As I mentioned I look forward to the new update to see how it works out.

No matter what experience level you have you always learn. Against very experienced players the learning curve is steep. Against low experience players it is more linear. All I am saying.

I qualify all against Humans and experience in game systems and strategy.

(in reply to Icier)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/18/2017 11:13:05 PM   
noel60

 

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The Allies are to weak period.

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/19/2017 3:46:49 PM   
vonik

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: noel60

The Allies are to weak period.


I only partially agree .
French are super weak . UK are very weak . Russia is weak . US are strong .
With a German player who is strong from Day 1, he beats in that order - France, UK (in Africa and Middle East), Russia . Whether he can beat the US or not will decide about the win of the game .
I am now beyond 20 PBEM - I won also almost all Axis games while I won only those Allied games where obviously the Axis player doesn't take in account the time factor and simply forgets about US while focusing only on Russia .
In other words winning as Allied only works when the Axis player makes big strategical mistakes or doesn't know the game well (f.ex neglects his subs and/or researches useless techs and/or doesn't build his Pz&bomber force fast enough) .

Btw somebody talked about Allied using carriers what is supposed to magically make the difference .
Well carriers are totally useless against land units and their air gets slaughtered by land based fighters (odds are of the kind 0:3 or worse) .
In one game playing Allied I tried to experiment with transferring most RN to Africa to stop the Axis onslaught - sent all 4 carriers in Egypt .

I suspected that it was stupid and useless and indeed it was :
1) can't be reinforced to max . Only 8 .
2) can't Attack land based units (odds at best 0:2 without ennemy fighter support)
3) land based Italian and German fighters and AAA tech of the units kill 2 or 3 carrier planes per strike (using mix set up otherwise it's much worse) what means that after its 2 strikes the carrier has to go to port to reinforce .
4) the RM (especially their sub) are a constant threat . If a carrier gets caught, it's dead .
5) Reinforcing the carrier planes every 2 turns devours the few UK MPP so that nothing is left for research and unit purchases and little for reinforcement of ground units hammered by Rommel&Italian pz and bombers .
6) In the end Egypt is lost anyway and the huge amount of MPP spent on air reinforcments only caused falling behind Axis in research and/or diplomacy .
7) I was lucky that the Axis player didn't launch a Sealion because I had not much in England to stop it .

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/19/2017 7:34:20 PM   
johanssb

 

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Interesting. I've had instances when those 4 carriers in Egypt (combined with the a UK land-based force of 2 fighters, a tac bomber, and a strat bomber) were instrumental in killing off 2 German tac bombers and 2 German panzers.

(in reply to vonik)
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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/19/2017 9:35:39 PM   
vonik

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: johanssb

Interesting. I've had instances when those 4 carriers in Egypt (combined with the a UK land-based force of 2 fighters, a tac bomber, and a strat bomber) were instrumental in killing off 2 German tac bombers and 2 German panzers.


The carriers are only of (limited) use as fighter CAP or escort .
So , indeed, they may help in attacking German bombers IF and only if the German player is reckless and doesn't bring enough german fighters (plus the one Italian) to support his ground forces .
On the other hand carriers are completely useless in ground strikes - their odds against tanks are always 0 : something depending on the tank's AA tech .

When I play Axis, I have always the number of german fighters in N.Africa = Nb of UK ground based fighters + 1 . This is enough with the Italians to destroy most of the Allied things that can fly .
Actually when the German destroyed Malta with his 5 bombers in Sicily (what he should always do right after France surrenders) , he can fly those 5 bombers directly to Africa and you'll see how fast the UK forces both land and air evaporate .

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/19/2017 10:30:18 PM   
Sugar

 

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quote:

On the other hand carriers are completely useless in ground strikes - their odds against tanks are always 0 : something depending on the tank's AA tech .


The carriers are able to do some damage, even predicted, if: the enemy unit is on plain ground or marsh/swamp and if its experience is not to high (less than 1 star).

The AA-tech is not diminishing the damage of the defender, but increasing losses of the attacker. The key to prevent damage is experience.

But I agree with you, if the german player sets his focus, the alliied won`t be able to protect Britain nor NA.

< Message edited by Sugar -- 5/19/2017 10:31:20 PM >

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/20/2017 2:34:34 AM   
Capitaine

 

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One problem is that the game forces in Africa are much higher than in reality. This was a sideshow theater yet like many games it's given greater consequence than it had. Multiple Pz units and air armies, multiple carriers and armor from the Brits. Seems like the resources used for Africa could leave openings elsewhere were one to look and take advantage of it.

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RE: are the Allies too weak in the early years? - 5/20/2017 1:37:13 PM   
vonik

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

Seems like the resources used for Africa could leave openings elsewhere were one to look and take advantage of it.


Well they do . If the UK player makes the mistake to focus on Africa in 1940, he is immediately punished by a Sealion .

After destroying Malta in august 1940 the German can do 2 things :
1) Send his 5 bombers from Sicily to N.Africa and take Cairo . This is the no risk variant because the Allied can do nothing against it .
2) Send his 5 bombers to Normandy , gather subs in the Channel and launch Sealion . This is a no risk variant if the Allied sent RN&RAF to Egypt but a relatively risky variant if the RN &RAF are massed in England .

But I agree, for the RL Germany N.Africa was a total side show . They only sent 2.5 divisions there (to be compared to the 100 + on the East Front) to avoid the rout of Mussolini .
Hitler even refused to take Malta despite relatively low ressources that would have been enough to do it what shows how little he cared .

(in reply to Capitaine)
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