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RE: Soviet AAR turn 16

 
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RE: Soviet AAR turn 16 - 12/19/2018 3:59:32 PM   
thedoctorking


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Total losses this turn were 141,984 Soviet to 46,184 Axis. Air losses were 651 to 194 (55 German fighters or FBs). Deployed strength is 4,991,182 Axis (3,389,299 Germans, down about 32K from last turn) to 4,562,007 Soviet (up about 53K from last turn). In the air, 6,198 Soviet aircraft (down about 100 from last turn) face 3,161 Axis (2,220 German, up about 270 from last time).

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Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:01:03 PM   
thedoctorking


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Connect 4 AAR, Turn 17
Turn 17 marks the end of the first clear season of the game. Our opponents appear to be taking a conservative approach to the impending bad weather, withdrawing their armor and motorized formations from the front and slowing the pace of their attacks. This is a good point to revisit the events of June 22nd – October 9th.
The first thing to note is the remarkable progress of Axis rail repair. I did this map with the turn 18 rail drawing over a screen shot I’d taken a couple of turns before, so the unit positions aren’t accurate. But the success the Axis had with logistics is clear. I have never seen so much rail repair beyond the Dnepr, nor, for that matter, such a robust rail net in the Velikie Luki/land bridge region. The trade-off is that there is almost no progress in the north – a few units are working in the vicinity of Pskov, probably coming out of 16th Army – and until the last couple of turns, nothing in the Steppe sector south of Smolensk. In the last few turns, an FBD started working down from Smolensk towards Bryansk, while another worked south from Vitebsk to Mogliev and a third came north from Cherkassy. The Axis are clearly hoping to connect their two nets north to south on the east side of the swamps. Their supply situation is exceptionally good for this point in the war, and this will make our winter offensive less impressive.





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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:13:58 PM   
thedoctorking


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The next remarkable thing about this game has been our success in keeping our units alive. As of the beginning of turn 18, the Red Army has lost a total of 109 divisions. Total manpower losses were 2,453,772. This is a little ahead of the historical toll: Red Army losses in the 3rd quarter of 1941 were 2,817,303 according to field reports (this somewhat understates actual losses because many men’s enlistments in the chaotic days of summer 1941 were never reported before they became casualties or records were lost when unit HQ’s were destroyed). Somewhere around 160 Red Army field divisions (Rifle, Motor Rifle, Armor, Cavalry, or Mountain) were destroyed in the actual Barbarossa. However, in games I’ve been involved in, the Axis is almost always able to inflict more casualties than this in their 1941 campaign. At a comparable point in the 2by3 game, Soviet losses were 3.7 million and about 275 divisions. In a two-player game I’m in, the numbers are 3.4 million and about 250 divisions. One consequence of this success has been a shortage of armaments. This is a historical problem: the Red Army has so many men that we are having trouble finding enough guns for everyone. “You, have a rifle, you, have some ammo. Follow him, when he dies, take his rifle.”




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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:14:55 PM   
thedoctorking


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The overall Axis plan appears to have foreseen an all-out offensive towards Moscow in the closing phases of the Barbarossa campaign with a secondary commitment of one and a half Panzer Groups to the southern theater. Prior to that, they made a serious commitment to the capture of Odessa on turns 2-4 and then tried for a two-pronged attack across the Dnepr on both sides of Kiev. There was a command change on turn six or so in the southern theater (from Joneleth to Belgavox) that may have come with a shift in emphasis from the south to the center, or perhaps it was always their intent to push us back across the Dnepr and then turn their attention to the center. The northern theater was never a priority for them – as our original northern commander, Dade, said after turn 1. Here is a rough track chart of the movements of the Axis armies during the summer campaign (this map has the correct unit positions for turn 17):




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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:16:10 PM   
thedoctorking


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They completed the opening-turn pockets, attempted a super-Lvov unsuccessfully, saw us open those pockets with immediate counter-offensives, and then appeared to effectively abandon the idea of pocketing our units. Their moves from turn 3 on focused on capturing strategic locations. The capture of Odessa proved crucial to their quite effective logistical campaign in the south. Aside from that, grinding progress in the north got them into Pskov. Their late-turn armored drive in the south fell short of the Donbass cities. And the main Panzerball took Vyazma but was unable to cross the Volga in force or drive beyond Vyazma towards the big prize of Moscow.
Some of their reluctance to drive their motorized units through our lines may have sprung from the many times we were able to isolate their spearheads. We were never able to destroy any German armor, of course, but we were able to rout them with significant losses on a couple of occasions and regularly hamper supply. With limited supply, their motorized forces were often short on movement factors and thus unable to attempt pocketing moves even had they wished to try.
A final important element of our successful defense this year was our effective air campaign. Starting by turn 3, we were regularly shooting down more German fighters than they were producing (about 25 fighters plus 5 fighter-bombers per turn). About turn 10, the Luftwaffe withdrew from front-line combat. Most fighter squadrons cycled back through National Reserve and spent a turn or more in rear area bases on rail lines refitting. For the last couple of turns, the German air force returned to the fray with rejuvenated squadrons, but we were once again able to begin to erode its fighter strength. Meanwhile, the biggest punch of the Luftwaffe, their Ju-87 squadrons, never really recovered from the thrashing of August. Looking around the German air bases on turn 17, the largest Ju-87 squadron has 25 aircraft (out of 40), while the others range from 4 to 12. Total deployed dive bombers might reach 100. Their level bomber fleet withdrew from front-line action earlier, replenished its losses, and spent several turns strategic bombing a variety of targets far in the rear, presumably in order to build experience and morale. They have at least some level bomber units on night missions.
With at least air parity over most of the front, we were able to have air support in most of our combats in the last few turns. It is unclear how effective our bombers were, but their presence must have contributed at least some of our successful defensive battles.
The Axis air has been ready throughout the campaign to interdict our forces in great strength. In the first few turns, this resulted in slowing our units and preventing some from escaping pockets. However, once the lines became stabilized, it is hard to see what advantage this has given them to make up for the increased fatigue. We have taken advantage of this tendency on their part by moving units that they have good detection on – from front-line positions – around behind our lines where we have plenty of AAA and defensive fighters in order to provoke a reaction. This is part of our general air strategy of seeking to fatigue German fighters and inflict casualties whenever possible.
Meanwhile, the Red Air Force is quite healthy despite sustained losses in the 500-800 a week range. Our best regiment has an experience of 90, we have 12 squadrons in the 80’s, and more than a page on the commander’s report in the 70’s. We even have a Guards air squadron, the 1GShAP. We have begun to experience some severe fatigue issues as our higher morale permits longer stays in front-line airbases. We still have respectable pools of first-line aircraft, although we have burned through our stockpile of older models (except for the 313 DB-3B’s).
Of note on the list of our best air squadrons is the presence of units still flying older equipment. The 69 IAP-PVO is flying I-16’s and has an experience of 88. 287 IAP is flying I-153’s – biplanes! – with an experience of 81. We made the decision not to spend AP on manual conversions of aircraft models. We set some of our good squadrons to “upgrade only” but mostly let the program decide when to upgrade. It appears to have worked out fairly well. Who knew that those I-153’s still had some usefulness left?





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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:17:18 PM   
thedoctorking


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Turn 17 was reasonably quiet. In the north, the German infantry made a couple of unsuccessful attacks, but mostly dug in. We responded by strengthening our own defenses and making a few spoiling attacks where their defenses seemed weak. We made a number of successful air attacks against Finnish targets, building experience in Leningrad Front air units and sharply weakening the Finnish Air Force (which doesn’t have much ability to bounce back).




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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:17:52 PM   
thedoctorking


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German motorized troops withdrew from front-line positions in the Moscow region, presumably headed for cities in the rear to avoid the first winter attrition. Kalinin Front and the STAVKA Armies to the North, the future Volkhov Front, took advantage of weak German opposition to press forward across the Volga and recapture a few hexes of the land bridge.




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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:18:39 PM   
thedoctorking


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In the Steppes sector in front of Orel and Kursk, Bryansk Front had no hope of re-opening the five-division pocket created last turn by German 6th Army. We resisted the temptation to commit resources to this region and instead sent 26th Army from Southwest Front to seize the right (south) bank of the Dnepr upriver from Dnepropetrovsk to serve as a jumping-off position for our winter offensive.




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< Message edited by thedoctorking -- 12/19/2018 5:20:13 PM >

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:19:15 PM   
thedoctorking


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In the south, First Panzer Group remained in its forward positions southwest of the Donbass cities, and was even reinforced. The Axis apparently are hoping for a good weather turn during mud, or extended snow, in the South Russia zone that will permit them to advance and take the region. We have encouraged them in this delusion by leaving the armaments factories in Stalino. Meanwhile, cavalry divisions withdrawn from the front over the last few turns are refitting in difficult terrain – swamp, rough, forest, city – hoping to avoid notice by German recon planes and expecting to turn into cavalry corps and be thrown against the flanks of the Axis position in central Ukraine. Similarly, airborne and motorized units have been withdrawn from the front to rear area positions more than ten hexes back where they can regain morale and receive replacements most efficiently. Both sides of the extensive Axis salient in this region are held by minor allied forces, mostly Romanians in the Dnepropetrovsk region and the Crimean entry and Italians and Hungarians along the Azov shore. With luck, a mobile force winter offensive supplemented by airborne operations will be able to cut off and destroy a significant part of the German armored force. At a minimum, the possibility will oblige the Axis to withdraw behind the Dnepr, limiting the damage they can do in 1942.




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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:19:44 PM   
thedoctorking


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Casualties this turn were 107,750 for us and 37,299 for the Axis. Aircraft casualties were 497 for us and 192 for them, including 29 German fighters and a ton of Finns. Deployed forces were 4,641,072 for us to 5,009,057 Axis (3,394,779 German). We were up about 80k and they up about 18k. Deployed aircraft were 6,464 for us (up 270 from last turn) to 3,291 for them (up 120 from last time – some planes came back from National Reserve).

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/19/2018 4:40:12 PM   
thedoctorking


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At this point, the game came to an end. It's unfortunate that we won't be able to show the outcome of our anticipated winter counteroffensives. Given that the Axis AGC commander demonstrated an intention to withdraw his armor, it is conceivable that the next thirty turns would have been quite quiet. The best strategy for the Axis in this situation would be to withdraw to good defensive terrain eight or ten hexes to the rear of their current positions - about the line Riga - Smolensk - Gomel - Kiev - Nikolaev - and then prepare for a 1942 offensive. If we had pushed forward and pressed our attack, our poor supply situation would lead to high combat and attrition casualties (we had built some railroad repair support units, but have no FBD's for rapid advance of supply). If we just took the proffered territory, the Axis would be no worse off in terms of combat power, and remaining in their current positions with only infantry at the front would probably have resulted in many units cut off and destroyed. Committing armor during the blizzard courts high attrition losses in tanks that can make the Axis 1942 offensive much less effective.

Nevertheless, despite the premature end to this AAR, we hope that it has given new players a better sense of the strategies and mechanics of the game. We have illustrated many poorly documented but critical elements of a successful campaign:
- Soviet air operations were characterized by aggressive attempts to engage Axis air forces every turn. Air squadrons with low morale (<40) were withdrawn at the start of each turn to national reserve, and then re-inserted into the line next turn or placed in rear area bases if they needed further morale and experience gain. Air loss ratios on the order of 5 or 6 to 1 were acceptable as long as total Axis air losses remained above 100 and fighter losses above 30 or 40.
- We did not spend AP on manual conversion of plane types, permitting the engine to change planes automatically. This worked out reasonably well and saved us dozens of AP over the course of the campaign.
- After some experimentation with leaving HQ support levels at 0 and allowing SU to migrate up the chain of command (the Telemecus approach with the Axis), we went with locked support levels. Most of our SU purchases were for artillery units, meaning that we had an enormous artillery park by the end. This may have contributed to our growing armaments shortage in the short term, but we still felt this was a good move given our units' ability to hold against Axis attacks (often attacks made without their own artillery support).
- Our strategy was largely reactive. We took every opportunity to isolate German armored spearheads. We deployed our defensive forces to encourage lateral movement by Axis mobile forces. We decided not to evacuate factories from some cities (Kharkov and Stalino in particular, but also Moscow) to encourage Axis lunges towards those goals.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/20/2018 1:16:11 PM   
Crackaces


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It is very sad the game had to end. Great Advice in your summary.

"...was a good move given our units' ability to hold against Axis attacks (often attacks made without their own artillery support). "

With all the other advice given .. in my opinion this is extremely important. I am not a very good player, but on a tactical and operational level I can achieve some success mainly by selecting the right SU for the right job and my opponent not doing so in kind. I believe this is critical for the German. Despite the controversy of "German Supermen" this AAR shows that if the Soviet skill set out matches the German skill set .. the "Superman" or more like puppies ..



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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/20/2018 3:07:10 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Crackaces

Despite the controversy of "German Supermen" this AAR shows that if the Soviet skill set out matches the German skill set .. the "Superman" or more like puppies ..




Good thing you don't read my posts, but I read yours and this was a poke at me. There is no "controversy". The Germans are Supermen. I have played enough games and seen enough data I don't have to debate the case any longer or with anyone. One day the rest of the forum will wake up or get good enough to see what the Germans really can do.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/20/2018 9:08:36 PM   
thedoctorking


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Crackaces

It is very sad the game had to end. Great Advice in your summary.

"...was a good move given our units' ability to hold against Axis attacks (often attacks made without their own artillery support). "

With all the other advice given .. in my opinion this is extremely important. I am not a very good player, but on a tactical and operational level I can achieve some success mainly by selecting the right SU for the right job and my opponent not doing so in kind. I believe this is critical for the German. Despite the controversy of "German Supermen" this AAR shows that if the Soviet skill set out matches the German skill set .. the "Superman" or more like puppies ..




I don't know that we outmatched them in skills. Our CoS was SparkleyTits, who has only been playing for about a year and a half though he plays an enormous amount. The Axis CoS was Telemecus, who is one of the most highly experienced players in the community. As far as ground commanders are concerned, none of the Soviet players had more than three completed CG's against human players, and for two of us - Dade and LittleBrother - this was the first full CG against live opponents (Dade left the game fairly early, to be replaced by Elloboloco, who had two games under his belt). I don't know the full background of all the Axis players, but they seemed pretty good. I know the Axis commander right across from me in the Center, Hobotango, has played all the way through the 2by3+ multiplayer, which I am also involved in. I'd say he is comparable to me in experience level. Certainly Erzac, the Axis air commander from turn 6 or so, was very cagey and did a good job reviving the German air force. And Joneleth, the Axis south commander during the first six turns or so, came up with a brilliant and innovative technique for advancing Axis supply lines in his sector that deserves everybody's attention.

I think this was a game between pretty well-matched opponents. As the USSR, we got some good luck. The random weather system gifted us with two mud turns (one in the Central sector and one in the North & South) right when the Axis offensives were really getting rolling. I think the Axis decision to commit everything to an all-out drive for Moscow was, in retrospect, an error. They should have concentrated on killing Soviet units wherever they found them. Aside from that, they did a fine job and should be complimented.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/20/2018 9:59:08 PM   
SparkleyTits

 

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Yeah I have to say Littlebrother took to brawling and the thinking it needs like a duck to water for this being his second game with only about 20 turns experience before playing in connect4

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/20/2018 10:04:21 PM   
thedoctorking


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Yeah actually Littlebrother and I played an abortive full CG that started about the same time as this one.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 12:09:17 AM   
thedoctorking


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Another key thing in this game that really helped was good communication on our team. We had a separate Discord channel with sub-channels for CoS communication with each player. At the beginning of the turn, Sparkley would do air recon. I would do the intelligence briefing maps, spreadsheet, and a quick written briefing describing what I could see of Axis deployment, supply status, etc. Then, we would all get together on the Discord voice channel and talk out what we were planning to do. Sparkley would go to each player in turn and, with the assistance of maps, lay out his ideas about where we should resist, fall back, attack, etc. We'd collectively decide on resource allocation and realignment of our fronts, if necessary. We'd say when we could go so the order of play was fixed. Sometimes, Sparkley would take a separate time on voice with an individual player if that person was having trouble figuring out some issue or needed extra tutoring on mechanics, etc.

I've never had this experience with another multi player game. Socially, it was great. I was already friends in RL with Littlebrother, but I feel like I forged a real friendship with Sparkley and Elloboloco. I know our team worked better as a result. And we were better at getting our turn in on time. I highly recommend this to any team in a multi.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 6:11:52 PM   
mrhuggles


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Your latest turn thoughts are very interesting. I made some plans based on my own thoughts combined with Bela's suggestions and plans. Unfortunately the forums won't let me post an image due to my account post number.


In the north, our main effort for the next few turns was going to be a Sumy snow offensive. This would be tasked with encircling and destroying units in the Sumy area, employing the units currently pocketing Soviet units, as well as railed Jaegers and a Paradropped Fallschimjaeger unit to seal them in. If successful, we thought we could cause some serious casualties, cause a Soviet response, and temporarily capture Sumy before most likely retreating come blizzard.

As for more South, it seems we correctly predicted your plan of action in a broad offensive from the north, however, we decided to gamble with the panzer units in the east. Following a plan that Bela had, and with some support from the Ezrac in the air to bomb Odessa's port, the panzers would attempt to trap the units along the Azov in the few turns of snow. The hope was to be able to destroy these units before the blizzard, and then conduct an orderly retreat, withdrawing the panzers from the oncoming Soviet offensive. The big question mark was whether this could get done before the blizzard offensive started to make the situation hairy.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 6:29:16 PM   
Zug


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thedoctorking

a brilliant and innovative technique for advancing Axis supply lines in his sector that deserves everybody's attention.




I enjoy the insight and analysis, the behind the scenes sort of stuff, thanks.

Can you describe this technique? I had a look back and I see the double FBDs headed for Odessa early on, but otherwise I must be missing it.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 6:31:52 PM   
SparkleyTits

 

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Funnily enough that was what Littlebrother wanted AGS to do, "I want to tempt to him keep his panzers east!" wheels within wheels when it comes to this game haha
Witnessing the execution of both of your plans as they collided would of been a joy to experience!

Littlebrother had also been saving/training a lot of paratroopers and airframes ready for drops behind your Rumanians in the Crimea then they would of hit with CAV corps, hopefully routing everything out in one turn and opening a floodgate/Axis panic
If that had happened and your panzers were east it would of hopefully caused a hasty retreat damaging your panzers, trucks and hopefully catching us a couple of units if well executed, with us being somewhere near the Dnepr come the end of the blizzard

These things never quite go to plan so I am sure things would of gone wrong especially if you planned on keeping your panzers out all winter as they bring anything to a halt with time given they don't have to defend too many hexes by themselves but it's always good to dream the glorious "Cavalry charge to break open the way" once you get past the trenches

The north is interesting as I feel that was the area where we could of been surprised and least able to repulse a commited offensive throughout most of the game so I think that well could of suceeded and payed divedends for you guys aslong as you got your plans off quickly and in good order without it descending into a brawl, so good eyes there guys!

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 6:40:34 PM   
SparkleyTits

 

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The AGS, FBD strat is a fairly complicated mistress brought to life as the brain child of a player called Joneleth

You need knowledge on the mechanics of the FBD's and how they work (Would be very hard to for me to describe in one sentence over the forum unfortunately as I am not very eloquent) and then it takes a few tries to get down properly but yes you need two German FBD's in AGS and some auto RR on Odessa and you will be 8 hexes ahead of the normal path by turn 8 I think it is off the top of my head?

A whole two turns ahead of what most players do currently

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 7:34:38 PM   
mrhuggles


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Ooooh that definitely would have been interesting to see!


quote:

ORIGINAL: SparkleyTits

...A whole two turns ahead of what most players do currently


Is it possible to learn this power

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 8:30:54 PM   
SparkleyTits

 

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It's difficult to articulate well over forum post but I will try

1: First you start your FBD going from Rumania to Kishnev to Odessa route
2: Then you take Odessa and Ochakov ASAP, move your Germans FBD's ahead so you can repair from Odessas port once it repairs and move along the Kishnev/Odessa route before until then
(You can repair rails up to 6 hexes away from a railhead or a port that's why you need ochakov as this means with the 2 FBD you can repair more than than the usual 4 hexes per turn in AGS)
3: Get an auto RR to and Rumanian FBD to link up the Kishnev/Odessa line that the German FBD's did not finish while the German FBD's push past Nikolaev
4: You need to time this so that your railheads link at Odessa on the same turn your FBD's get past Nikolaev so they can continue on without pause

It's abit finicky and takes a bit of practice but once you have the timings down you'll be golden!

< Message edited by SparkleyTits -- 12/21/2018 8:32:01 PM >

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 11:04:31 PM   
thedoctorking


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Here's the map Mrhuggles wanted to post




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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/21/2018 11:05:23 PM   
thedoctorking


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Interesting that you were planning to use your paratroopers. We were thinking the same thing and for the same purpose, to close the last hex of a pocket.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/22/2018 6:23:00 PM   
thedoctorking


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mrhuggles

...and with some support from the Ezrac in the air to bomb Odessa's port,


Do you mean Sevastopol? Because I tried that one time and it was a complete failure. The port needs to get to like 96% damage to be closed for supply deliveries.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 12/26/2018 8:31:41 PM   
mrhuggles


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Actually he idea was to bomb Odessa's port so that the units hopefully trapped by the push by the panzers would be unable to rout away.

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RE: Soviet AAR turn 17 - 9/16/2019 3:16:27 AM   
thedoctorking


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Reading back through this AAR and finding it really interesting. I'm glad I had this chance to play the game with such an interesting team. I think we all learned a lot. I think this was the first public appearance of the southern rail repair gambit that made capture of the Donbass and Rostov a real possibility. Kudos to Joneleth for figuring it out. Great that this game can maintain such a high level of engagement. It's only a shame that we couldn't continue the game past the coming of mud.

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