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TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/5/2019 2:36:38 AM   
thedoctorking


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TTG Multi-player Game
Axis turn 1 AAR

For those who did not follow the conversation about starting this game, this we intended this to be a teaching game. The Axis side has four ground commanders, one each for the three German Army Groups and one for the Axis Minors, and a Chief of Staff. The Chief, Hobotango, and one of the ground commanders, ST in Army Group Center, are experienced players, and the others have little or no experience playing against live opponents. The principal idea of the game is to teach those inexperienced players the critical but often poorly documented game techniques that make your electronic armies effective. We also hope that, with a good AAR, we can teach forum readers the skills necessary for success in this game. We love War in the East, but we are aware that there is an enormous learning curve before you can truly enjoy the game.

One important feature of the first Axis turn is the initial air offensive. In days of yore, Axis players always started their turn by bombing every Soviet airbase within range. Enormous numbers of airframes went up in flames. Unfortunately for the Axis, the planes destroyed were typically the 1930’s-era aircraft – the I series fighters and SB-2 bombers – based on the frontline airfields in western Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania. The modern aircraft of the Red Air Force, and the precious (and hard to replace) long-range bombers and recon planes, were based farther to the rear and often didn’t suffer very much. Lately, Axis players have taken to setting many of their aircraft ranges to one hex (so they won’t fly in ground support of their attacks and use up miles) and launching their ground offensive. Then, they can then send airbases forward into newly-captured territory and then rebase airplanes to them. This allows strikes against those more remote airbases. Typically, the lack of air support on turn 1 is a minor handicap to the opening-turn ground offensive, because the game nerfs Soviet combat factors on turn one to reflect the surprise Axis assault. And this tactic pays big dividends in terms of useful Soviet aircraft losses.

A game mechanic note: to transfer aircraft forward, it is best to use the “air kabuki” method. Move a higher-numbered air base onto the base you want to transfer from (higher numbered because units are stacked in order of their number, and when you transfer aircraft into a hex they automatically are put on the airbase on top of the stack. The unit number is found on the upper right hand corner of the unit detail window that comes up if you right-click on the unit tile in the right-hand pane of the main window.). Hit f10, click on the hex, select all squadrons, and right-click on the same hex as the destination. The planes will be transferred to the empty base you moved in, but since they haven’t changed hexes they will still have zero miles traveled and can still rebase (only air units with zero miles flown are eligible for rebasing). Move the original base (now empty) to its new location, and transfer the planes normally. The reason this is important is that, in the logistics phase at the beginning of your turn (run automatically when the other side clicked end turn), the original base drew enough fuel and ammo to fly the planes effectively. If you just transferred them to a base that started the turn empty, there won’t be enough fuel and ammo for the planes to fight effectively for the following two player turns. I know, it’s silly, but it’s the best way to do it. On turn 1, you don't have an empty air base that has a high number, so look for a base with long-range bombers on it, transfer them off to another base, and then move it forward to become the home of a fighter squadron and as many Ju87 squadrons as appropriate.

In this game, the Axis don’t appear to have used the newer air strike strategy. All Axis airbases are still located in Poland. Air assets have been rebased closer to the front than their starting positions, but not forward into newly-occupied territory. Indeed, there aren’t even any empty “staging bases” located forward. Nonetheless, the Axis managed a respectable haul of the more important airframes destroyed in their initial attack – almost 1200 modern aircraft. The IL-4 is the most effective Soviet long-range bomber, and they only get 15 of them a turn. The SB-2 Recon is their long-range reconnaissance plane, and they have few and get few new ones. The Soviet air arm will be significantly weaker in the coming turns.





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/5/2019 2:38:16 AM   
thedoctorking


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On the ground, the Axis offensives went almost according to plan. Army Group North, commanded by Philly, a newcomer to the game, did not achieve the objective normally set for that region, the capture of Riga. However, AGN did achieve a goal that has become central to the strategy of advanced players in recent games, the rapid advance of rail repair units. In the initial deployment, AGN gets one rail repair HQ (called FBD’s) and Army Group Center gets two. In this game, as in many others played recently, the Axis moved the two AGC FBD units to AGN’s sector, with the goal of advancing them through Lithuania and Latvia. Historically, the Baltic states’ rail lines were on western European narrow gauge, while the USSR’s rail lines were on the wider gauge.

Nonetheless, the failure to capture Riga means that eight divisions or so that begin in western Lithuania will escape to trouble the Axis later. Additionally, the fine 22nd NKVD Rifle Division that starts in Riga will get away without a scratch. AGN did manage to pocket about nine divisions in the Kaunas area. Also, since most AGN units did not move far from their railheads, they will have plenty of movement next turn.





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/5/2019 2:39:09 AM   
thedoctorking


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Army Group Center, led by the Axis experienced “advisor”, ST, did a conservative opening move. Elements of 2nd Panzer Group – the infantry of XII Corps and XXXXVI Panzer Corps – were detached to Army Group South. The remainder of 2nd Pz Gp remained in western Belarus west of Minsk, while 3rd Panzer Group spread out to close the Kaunas and Bialystok pockets, enclosing around 40 divisions. Both pockets appear to be solidly closed. One interesting feature of AGC’s moves in the Bialystok region is the decision to close the western side of the pocket with security regiments. The pocketed units could make some attacks and perhaps break a couple of rail lines in Poland and East Prussia, but in the long run it will not make much difference. The Germans have plenty of construction units that can do automatic repairs. They have distributed them around their headquarters, but there are plenty within range of any hexes the Russians could cut.

The use of automatic rail repair is another important game mechanic. A ground headquarters will deploy rail repair units out to its command range to repair railroad hexes that connect to the grid. The command range of Axis corps and Soviet armies is five. Axis armies (and Soviet fronts) are ten. So if you want to control where your automatic rail repair takes place, assign the construction units to your corps and army HQ’s and put them near the railheads that you want to repair. If you leave the construction units at the Army Group or OKH/STAVKA level, they will automatically repair the broken hexes farthest to the rear. This might not be a problem for the Soviets, but for the Germans in the summer 1941 campaign, it is worse than useless to have your construction units repairing every rail line in the USSR starting from the western border. They will ultimately catch up with the fighting front, but not before the beginning of the 1942 campaign. Reassigning the construction units down the chain of command doesn’t cost any AP, though moving them laterally (from one corps to another) does. Unlike other types of support units, engineer units do not move automatically up the chain of command if their HQ’s are set on support level 0, so you will end up spending AP to move them around like it or not. It’s worth it, though.





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/5/2019 2:40:24 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the Army Group South area of operations, the players had made an agreement before game start that the Axis would not attempt a “super Lvov” pocket. No Axis units were to move east of the X=62 hexrow. Super Lvov is an ahistorical move to capture almost all of Soviet Southwest Front, including a bunch of armor, in a vast pocket east of Rovno. It takes advantage of weaknesses in the Soviet deployment in game terms that were not apparent to the Germans in 1941. Even without the super-Lvov, the normal Lvov pocket captures most of Southwest Front. This is a higher level of success than the historical Axis achieved in the first week of fighting. Of course any Soviet player, seeing his Lvov-area units free to escape on turn 1, would not do as Stalin ordered historically and throw his guys into heroic doomed counterattacks, but instead run them as far east as he could get them. So the normal Lvov pocket produces the ultimate historical outcome, the destruction of most of the front-line Soviet forces in Ukraine.

Army Group South’s commander, Mrhuggles, did a workmanlike job of the Lvov pocket, supported by an armored corps from Army Group Center. There’s a faint possibility of a breakthrough in the Tarnopol region, but most likely a counterattack against the panzer regiment holding the line there will simply cause it to retreat, and the Soviets are likely unable to come up with enough firepower for two successful attacks. Panzer units’ combat values are higher in open country, so even an apparent 2:1 superiority in CV might not be enough to displace them. The Lvov pocket and associated Kovel pocket contain some 45 Soviet divisions, all of whom will shortly become casualties.





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/5/2019 2:41:31 AM   
thedoctorking


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Overall, this was a reasonably successful Axis turn 1. Total losses were 152,966 Soviet to 8269 Axis. About 80 Soviet divisions, over a million men, are almost certain to become casualties in the next turn or two.

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/5/2019 10:05:15 AM   
bigbaba1111

 

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nice AAR. the pockets in the center and south look rock solid. but AGN got no Riga and not a river crossing over Daugava.

i guess the AGN CIC awaits this fate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwio208q3jY


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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/5/2019 8:51:37 PM   
Fetterkrolle

 

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Amazing to finale be able to watch the other side! I look forward to reading the AAR. Will you be posting Soviet moves in the same AAR?

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/7/2019 4:22:17 PM   
thedoctorking


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Yes, I'm going to put the Soviet turn up here as soon as the Axis send you their turn 5. So we are more than four turns behind.

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/8/2019 9:20:00 PM   
thedoctorking


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Axis players, do you have any comments on your first turn? I'd love to see some of the material you have put up on Discord shared here if you think it useful.

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/9/2019 3:04:04 PM   
mrhuggles


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Oh yeah, one mistake I made that may be pertinent for other new players. I moved up an airbase (to pochaev under that 10=6 panzer) and then filled it with stukas in order to bomb the hell out of soviet airbases. However, I made the mistake of using a fighter airbase, which carries less ammunitions than a bomber (or I think a transport) airbase. This mean my stukas ran out of ammo despite airdrops while still having about 40% left to fly.

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:27:33 PM   
thedoctorking


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I'm going to post the comments that I got from the Axis players on their turn 1 as they appeared on Discord.

Here's AGC commander ST's maps of his opening-turn plan. He pointed out that he brought a division around the north side of the Kaunas pocket to help AGN's Philly accomplish his goal of pocketing the troops in central Lithuania and clearing the rail lines.






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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:28:17 PM   
thedoctorking


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And here's the 2nd Panzer Group's movements from ST.





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:31:35 PM   
thedoctorking


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And from AGS's MrHuggles:
My goal was to make a tight seal on the lvov pocket, as well as using the forces
AGC allowed me in order to complete the seal to the north
I'm planning on adapting my next turns to the actions of the Soviets, when my frozen mot and panzer divisions come into play. Also note the 2nd southernmost panzer division's bridgehead





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:33:09 PM   
thedoctorking


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And from AGN's Philly:

My goal was to push and then break the Russian defensive line which at first was unsuccessful, but with assistance from AGC I was able to clear the rail lines. My plan is to push to Riga, take Pskov, and then take Leningrad

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:36:23 PM   
thedoctorking


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TTG Neutral AAR, Soviet turn 1

Similar to the Axis player lineup, the Soviet side has an experienced COS, Marauder, one intermediate front-line player, LittleBrother, playing the Central theater, and three reasonably new front players, Fetterkrolle in the North, Tonyhnz in the South, and Grant as Air Commander.

The way I’m going to do this is to show what each side could see at the beginning of their turn, discuss the enemy moves that were apparent to them, and then show what their reactions were. I’ll point out any critical issues related to game mechanics that each turn presents. The turn start images that I’ll show will include any initial air or recon phase save game, so that the reader will get the same information that the players did.

Normally, you would start a turn by first doing all the air administration that you need to do. This includes moving air squadrons to National Reserve if they are low on morale (below about 40 for the Soviets, 50 for the Axis), high on fatigue (above 25 or so for the Soviets, 40 for the Axis), or low on ready planes (below about 33% of maximum). You also do the “air kabuki” at this point (as described in the German turn AAR) to move air bases as needed. If you want to reserve squadrons for air base bombing later in the turn, this is the time to set them to range 10 (one hex). Often, with the Soviets, I will take the most experienced fighter and bomber squadrons and set them to range 10 at this time to conserve them, if not for air base bombing, at least for more critical ground attack/support missions later. Finally, you run air recon missions to look for enemy units. The Soviets have very few recon planes, so be economical. Also, if you want to find out the identity of German units that you can see but don’t have high enough det levels on to get a unit ID (det levels 1-4), you can do “recon by fire” ground bombing missions at this time with the information level set on 7. After sitting through any air-to-air combat (can take several minutes) you will be rewarded with a message that your bombers are attacking a named enemy ground unit. Ground bombing missions will also often give you an increased det level anyway.

The Soviets began turn 1 facing a relatively modest German initial breakout. In the north, German forces had driven straight east without any attempt to push into Latvia. The Lithuanian capital was isolated, but recon showed no German infantry north of the pocket.





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:37:20 PM   
thedoctorking


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In the center, 3rd Panzer Group did a sweep north to seal the Lithuania pocket while 2nd Panzer Group moved a short distance into Belarus, to the southwest of Minsk. The main Belarus pocket was tightly sealed.




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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:38:20 PM   
thedoctorking


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In the south, a thin screen of 1st Panzer Group’s troops, split into regiments, cut off the Lvov pocket. The Kovel pocket was closed with security regiments – something I didn’t notice when doing the Axis 1st turn AAR but that the Soviet southern front commander noticed right off.




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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:39:17 PM   
thedoctorking


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In the words of the Soviet northern commander, Fetterkrolle, “The Axis focus on the north was very weak, which allowed me to escape with a lot of units. This along with reinforcements from the South has made it possible to make good defensive positions in the north. In the area the 22nd rifle corps and 8th army contain most of the strongest formations and have decent commanders.” The Soviet northern sector received reinforcements from central and southern sectors, despite the likelihood that it the Germans will not make a significant thrust towards Leningrad in this game. The most likely German route of advance for Army Group North is due east towards Velikie Luki and Rzhev; interestingly, there are very few Soviet units in this sector right now. A mech corps (still assigned directly to STAVKA, though presumably it will shortly be transferred to NW Front) stands west of Polotsk, and a few divisions are around Vitebsk.
Some of the Latvian forces broke into the Lithuania pocket. No units were able to escape from that pocket, but giving them an extra turn’s lease on life will slow the movement of German infantry towards the front. Opening pockets is important even if you can’t rescue the units within. The Germans will either have to attack the units when not in isolated status, leading to them routing out rather than surrendering, or leave them alive for another turn as roadblocks while surrounding them once again.





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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:40:36 PM   
thedoctorking


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In the central sector, two thin screens of Western Front units stand in front of the onrushing 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups. It was clearly impossible to break the Belarus pockets, and the Soviets did not try, instead setting up a classic “checkerboard” defense of thin screens intended to bog down advancing armor and possibly offer opportunities to isolate armored spearheads that get too far out in front of their supporting infantry. In this case, the infantry will be involved in clearing up the Belarus pockets for at least one and probably two turns.




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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/10/2019 10:41:31 PM   
thedoctorking


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To the south, the Soviets took the opportunity to open the Kovel pocket, while withdrawing rapidly in the rest of the sector. They made no effort to break through the screen of 1st Panzer Group regiments holding the Lvov pocket – success was possible but unlikely – and instead forwarded at least ten divisions to the north to help hold the center. A brawl in Ukraine doesn’t really favor the Soviets in the early going. But normally it is a good idea to leave at least a screen of light units – cavalry works well – to prevent the German armor, with its 50 movement points, from rolling forward and capturing industrial cities before they can be evacuated. Also, it is probably a good idea to sacrifice a couple of units to choke supplies to the armored screen even if you aren’t planning to attack it. The Germans on turn 2 still have a full load of fuel and will get full movement points – they start with a 200% or more overload – but turn three will be significantly less if they have supply ranges of 50 or more in the logistics phase of turn 2.




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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/11/2019 9:14:46 AM   
SparkleyTits

 

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Great stuff!

It's nice to see a fresh take with a middle party doing an AAR for both sides

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/11/2019 9:53:34 AM   
timmyab

 

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The Soviet forces "defending against a Kiev lunge" look vulnerable to encirclement.

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/11/2019 11:37:27 PM   
thedoctorking


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quote:

ORIGINAL: timmyab

The Soviet forces "defending against a Kiev lunge" look vulnerable to encirclement.

Funny how that works...

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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game - 2/12/2019 1:52:34 AM   
Fanstar1

 

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AGN is behind pace but Ukraine is ripe for encirclement. Will be interesting to see how this will go.

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TTG multi-player teaching game: Axis turn 2 - 2/19/2019 5:12:53 AM   
thedoctorking


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TTG Turn 2 Axis Neutral AAR

Turn two saw the Axis taking advantage of the good fuel status of their panzers to advance rapidly and attempt to pocket large numbers of Soviet units.

In the north, the turn began with German infantry still trying to cross the Nieman in places, while 4th Panzer Group’s tanks were well out in front and seemingly aiming at the Velikie Luki axis. Soviet forces withdrew almost completely from Latvia, apparently leaving a garrison around Riga for a last-ditch defense effort. The Soviet defense appears stronger in the Pskov region, while a line of divisions appears to screen the Velikie Luki – Polotsk axis. A mass of German air, consisting of most of the fighting power of the Luftwaffe, is based in central Lithuania, where three of the four German FBD’s are working.






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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game: Axis turn 2 - 2/19/2019 5:14:08 AM   
thedoctorking


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AGN continued a cautious advance. German 16th Army pressed due east, re-closing the Lithuania pocket, routing out a few units in order to clear the path for the advancing FBD’s. Fourth Panzer Group attempted a wide sweep into central Latvia rather than turning westward to capture Riga. Instead, 18th Army appears headed for Riga, but will not arrive until next turn. The failure to take Riga this turn could prove serious. Three good Soviet divisions in the city could hold against even two German corps next turn, delaying 18th Army’s arrival on the Pskov front until at least turn six.






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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game: Axis turn 2 - 2/19/2019 5:14:57 AM   
thedoctorking


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To the south, the advancing Army Group Center was faced with a classic “checkerboard defense” back from the Berezina to the land bridge region. The Soviets made no attempt to hold Minsk. The first turn pockets remained unbroken in this area.






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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game: Axis turn 2 - 2/19/2019 5:15:50 AM   
thedoctorking


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The Soviet forces along the Berezina proved vulnerable to a quick lunge by 2nd Panzer Group, leading to the isolation of 7-9 divisions. 3rd Panzer Group advanced to the land bridge, finding it defended by a screen of airborne brigades with little combat power.

Farther to the rear, the German infantry continued their quick advance to the east, not troubling to stop to wipe out the first turn pockets. Refraining from wiping out early pockets for several turns is a technique that some Axis players have used. Destroyed Soviet units reappear (as almost-empty cadres) ten or so turns later. By leaving isolated units alive, the Axis player delays their return. However, they will be coming back at some point, and most likely during the mud turns, so the gain is minimal. The risk is that the units left behind will be able to do some damage while wandering around – overrun and displace HQ’s or airbases, cut rail lines, or lengthen supply paths. The Axis has retained some regular infantry back in the rear around the Bialystok pocket, along with many security regiments, and did destroy several of the pocketed units this turn.






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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game: Axis turn 2 - 2/19/2019 5:17:10 AM   
thedoctorking


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Army Group South found itself facing a vast empty space. Soviet defenders in this sector apparently moved eastward as rapidly as they could. Fortunately for the Axis, this is not very fast as Soviet movement is nerfed by the system in June, 1941. Therefore, a dozen or more armor and motorized divisions – much of the pre-war mobile forces of the Red Army – stood tantalizingly close to 1st Panzer Group without any infantry to protect their flanks. Meanwhile, the Kovel pocket, re-opened last turn by Soviet counterattacks, still contained some very high quality units and could be easily re-established.

Of note is the dramatically weak German air force south of the swamps. There’s a total of about 300 bombers and 150 fighters down here, none of them based anywhere close to the armored spearheads. Of course, there doesn’t seem to be any Soviet air power either. The Germans made several ground attacks without any fighter cover whatsoever after running a bunch of recon missions that provoked no fighter interception.






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RE: TTG multi-player teaching game: Axis turn 2 - 2/19/2019 5:18:32 AM   
thedoctorking


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AGS took advantage of the big gap in the Soviet defenses to nearly pocket a half-dozen divisions along the Dnestr to the south while sweeping wide to the east of the main Soviet armored force east of Rovno while failing to pocket it. Both groups of units are probably doomed, though. Meanwhile, the Axis forces in Romania pushed forward into Moldova.

The German FBD in Army Group South has crossed the Prut near Chernovtsy and is apparently heading towards Vinnitsa, while the Romanian FBD is going down the Kishniev line towards Odessa. This is a fairly conventional rail repair strategy rather than the newly-discovered Odessa gambit. That would have required a significant commitment of armor to AGS to permit a turn 3 or 4 capture of Odessa. In this game, AGC has held on to almost all of its starting mobile forces and appears intent on a direct advance on Moscow.






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