The last couple of months I have been learning the how to play this stimulating game as an Axis player. After out figuring not so intuitive concepts of blockading ports, interrupting my AI opponents supply, etc. I have completed my fist successful campaign against the Allied AI. I have been playing v1.09.01. The AI has been tough, but not unbeatable. There were many times when I thought I had the Russians on the ropes and the next turn wondered if my lines were collapsing around me and if I should retreat. This after-action report will cover these tribulations.
War starts very typically with the first major decision taking place after the fall of France and the creation of Vichy on 21-Jul-40. I chose to postpone Sealion and get my troops back east on the Russian border as soon as possible. Italy with the help of German bombers and a paratroop unit, set out to capture Malta. Meanwhile Hungary and Bulgaria soon activated. While waiting for Rumania to activate with diplomacy a German attack was launched on 8-Dec-40 and overran Yugoslavia, from Hungary and Northeastern Italy, in one turn. The next turn DAK was activated and Malta fell. Then Italians, German paratroops and bombers, and Bulgarians invaded Greece. I was trying to give the plunder to the Italians but, an Bulgarian unit was able to march in on the defeated Athens hex. I was thinking that the country that declared war would get the plunder. No, it is the first unit to occupy Athens that gets the plunder.
Barbarossa began on 29-May-41 while stragglers worked their way to the eastern font from Greece. German troops were at research level 2 which I hoped would allow troops to quickly surround and destroy the Russian defenders across the entire front. To the north I made it to the outskirts of Leningrad, liberated the Baltic states. To the south Ukraine fell along with part of the Crimean. Eastern Libya was also retaken. Finland also activated and approached Leningrad and to the north a garrison unit blocked the railroad supply line from Murmansk. The German Navy destroyed the Baltic fleet. Then the Russian winter set in.
Early Spring 1942, after the first cold winter the Russians counterattacked and probed through my lines. Meanwhile the USA and British invaded Britany and Normandy. There the Germans were relatively prepared and destroyed their HQ unit. Unsupplied units were slowly reduced near the beaches. Later, even some freed up Italian units helped shore up the Atlantic wall. Back the east the Russian probing were stopped. It then became a city by city slugfest. The Finnish and Germans captured Leningrad and pushed a little eastward before winter. The Oslo Garrison also operated to Finland and helped take Murmansk. By winter a continuous line stretched from southern Lake Ladoga to just west of Rostov, to the south. The Submarines pressured the supplies from England in hopes of slowing the growth of the Russian war machine. In the Mediterranean, the DAK and Italians took Egypt and drove into Iraq in June of 1943. The Italians received the plunder for Egypt. (This later became a problem when British Strategic bombers started to attack the DAK supply root and the Italians had not researched anti-aircraft.) The Italian Navy also moved in on and isolated Gibraltar and probed into the Atlantic. The beaches were clear, but my supplies were being reduced by strategic bombing. Luckily, they did not do this before the failed invasion.
In June of 1944 the Russians counter attacked down the German line. They are at an infantry research level of three! There is also a strong force moving down from north of Lake Ladoga. The casualties are alarming and I considered falling back to consolidate. The British are also causing DAK to pull back from Iraq due to weakened supply and weaken units. I needed to do the same to the British. The strategic bombing is forcing me to spend my money on reinforcements and not new units. Then I thought that the Russians must be near bankrupt with their upgrades and newly appearing full strength units. At this time, my sole unused strategic bomber unit was finishing its upgrades in the west. Could I slow the hoard coming from the north? Yes! Off to Northern Finland. Now the Fins and Army Group North can slowly make progress. Elsewhere it is a slugfest and I inch my way to the outskirts of Moscow in June of 1944. At this time, the Russians counter attack and destroy 3 tank units and damage my heavy tanks. On the bright side DAK breaks out and liberated Bagdad.
Only 2-3 hexes from Moscow and my forces are weak. The allies have breached my Atlantic wall again and my air force there is in tatters. I had a chance to Activate Spain, but would only hurt now and it would be too expensive. Push on! The large force to the north cannot operate back to help Moscow. Moscow must fall. Pressure is put on the entire eastern front tiring to tie down any unit needed in Moscow. Moscow falls and is secured from counter attack. Now strengthen my Rumanians and Germans near Stalingrad for a one-two. A month late Stalingrad falls! Iraq’s ports and oil wells are captured and the Persian supply route will be cut soon. My western beaches are also cleared. And Gibraltar is under siege, along with the bypassed Sevastopol.
I expected capitulation, but no… There are a few amphibious assault craft off well off shore, do I need to sink them too? France has an early snow. No landings this turn. Need to rebuild my decimated air units and then pull them back from Russia. Research must renew. Then the Luftwaffe can do to England what they were doing to me, hopefully. After all, the USA and British have been hurt bad. Next turn. The Allies ask for terms and the war ends with a Major Victory! It is 9 Dec 1944.
It is interesting to see the remaining Allied unit placement. The armada and forces on the other side of the channel is disturbing. Could I have defeated that? Russians are very weak, and they don’t look to be a problem. They have a lot of HQ units in pairs of two. In my probes in to the lines I bumped into these HQ pairs and either badly damaged them both or killed one. I think the AI is not using the HQ units efficiently. They are also expensive and should be built when needed, after regular troops. No HQs down south, no wonder the Rumanians were so good. Maybe the HQ placement was of desperation. They do not last on their own. I also wondered where the aircraft in Iraq flew off to. The answer was Crete and Cyprus. I was thinking India or back to England eventually. I didn’t bother with the rockets, yet.
Now I have to play the Allies. How many strategic bombers can they make? I Like those jets, I didn’t research those yet. A successful invasion would be fun to set up. A real person when I can get the time.