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AARs / Tips Inquiry for D-Day Historical Start Date and Invasion

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AARs / Tips Inquiry for D-Day Historical Start Date and... - 2/24/2019 4:50:25 PM   


Posts: 12
Joined: 9/27/2005
Status: offline

I have now played the 1944-45 Campaign with the D-Day start 11 times. With a few exceptions, I have done better each time in terms of victory points, but I have never won an Alied victory or even drawn the game. Games Two through 11 were all Axis minor victories. I'm interested both in tips and in just hearing about what your own experiences with this scenario have been. Thanks in advance!

The D-Day landings themselves have always been successful. There is then a period of months when the Allies capture Cherbourg (usually around the beginning of July) and slog through the bocage. The Germans seem, programmed to execute a dramatic retreat behind the Seine as soon as the Allies have cleared the Axis from the bocage. After a couple of weeks necessary merely to re-contact the Germans, and a few weeks of re-building and repairing rail lines, the Allies threaten that new line and, without much of a fight, the Germans retreat roughly to the southern Netherlands and to the eastern-most portions of France and Belgium. In my play-throughs, the Germans execute that first retreat between late August and and late October, dependent entirely upon Allied progress; they execute that second retreat in November or December. They seem adept at retreating before I can pull off any significant encirclements, and they jump back in a major way when they do retreat. By the time that Allies re-engage with the southern Netherlands / eastern France line, the weather is generally quite poor, which greatly slows any advance during the early part of 1945. Additionally, the Maas / Wall / Nederrjin lines in the Netherlands, and the Maas / Moselle / Rhine, greatly inhibit an advance into the northern Netherlands and into Germany, respectively.

When the game ends in May (not August, although the scenario says that it will run until August), I am at best just across the Rhine and east of the Ruhr cities. I am generally threatening Rotterdam and Amsterdam but only sometimes actually occupy them, even with a supporting amphibious invasion against the Dutch coast. The Germans are generally falling apart at this point, with lots of units with 1 and 2 defense strengths. That is scant comfort in light of my failure to occupy more of German more quickly, however. An Axis marginal victory results.

Italy is part of this scenario, of course. I find the advance there to be steady but slow. On one occasion, I kept everything in the Mediterranean theater that was there initially in Italy throughout the game. I broke the German line in Italy in the early spring of 1945, but they simply retreated to a line in northeastern Italy anchored by the Alps. The cities that I captured in the meantime were not worth much, apparently.

I have conducted an invasion of southern France at various times ranging from September to Jnauary. That invasion is successful, especially since the Germans don't contest it very strongly, but it doesn't produce much, either. You can liberate all of southern France with a handful of units, but the pay-off does not appear to be very high.

Throughout all of my plays of the game, I have left the game's AI settings, in terms of general difficulty level and the sub-levels (Morale, Fort Build, etc.) at their defaults.

In terms of the Air game, I have gradually taken over more and more of the decision-making from the AI. When I first played, I let the AI handle the air war almost entirely. I always selected "AI Manage Air." For a couple of months of game time, I would leave all of the air directives as they were created and simply chose "Execute." In August or so, I would change "Amphib Support North" from "On" to "Off." Eventually, after the Allies had broken out of the Cotentin Peninsula, I would change "Ground Attack North" for Strategic Air Day and Strategic Air Night to "N." After that, I would still let the game set and execute the air directives in all other aspects.

After a half-dozen or so play-throughs, however, I began to take more control of the air war. Now, I still choose "AI Manage Air" throughout the game, but I always examine the air directives that result from allowing the computer to execute them, and I often change them. I was taking a lot of attrition in moving troops from England to France in the first weeks, so I often devote air resources (usually the 2nd RAF Tactical AF) to Naval Air Patrols for a month or two. Sometimes, the AI will place its targeting boxes in non-sensical places or in very small boxes. In those situations, I move or expand the box. I also frequently change the fly-able weather from "All" to "Fair." I have deleted any Ground Support directives.

I have never modified air doctrines, however. As I said, I always leave "AI Manage Air" to "On." So I don't build air bases, or move planes from one base to another, or assign aircraft from one command to another.

In terms of logistics, I make sure that units on the continent have a high supply priority compared to units cooling their heels in England. Otherwise, I let the game take care of logistics entirely until my most recent play-through or two. In those play-throughs, I have set up depots near the advancing front line, and I have reduced the supply priority of depots in the heartland of England (non-port hexes) to 2 and done the same with some depots in southern Italy (wehther these are ports or not).

I have never done anything with Leaders. I just let the game handle that.

As mentioned, my results have improved over time, but only incrementally. My first play-through or two was an Axis marginal victory on the spectrum favorable to the Axis, while my latest games have been an Axis marginal victory vwery close to a draw.

So, I'm trying to figure out if I'm doing something wrong, since I do worse than the Allies did historically, and I have not been improving very significantly even as I have devoted more time to running the game myself rather than leaving the air war to the AI.

If you recount your own experience or offer me tips, please let me know whether these stem from actual play of the D-Day campaign with the D-Day start date. I saw one AAR with the late-May start date, for example, and the German player had set up many more units near Calais than the scenario with the June start date provides, and so the Allied player, who landed in Normandy, had a much easier time of it than you have if you play the D-Day start date scenario with the historical set-ups.

I do have one self-imposed limitation, which is that I will not place any of the follow-up waves in England on boats until the turn after the invasion itself. I'll put them in ports, but I won't put them in ships. Even with that limitation, I feel that the rate at which the Allies can reinforce the actual amphibious invasion is much more rapid than the historical rate.

Thanks! I look forward to hearing from folks.

Post #: 1
RE: AARs / Tips Inquiry for D-Day Historical Start Date... - 2/24/2019 7:04:56 PM   

Posts: 7149
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
few musings - mainly off the 1943 GC rather than this scenario

a) I now think Normandy is the worst option - I prefer either the east base of the Cotentin (gives a quick breakout), to straddle the mouth of the Seine (invalidates the Seine as a defensive line) or gamble on the Pas de Calais (grim but you optimise your airpower which will protect you).

All these give you a better breakout

b) dump a second landing on the Netherlands - you should be able to do this in the 1944 scenario too. It'll get blocked but pull off a lot of German units ... and extend your fighters deep into the Reich

c) think carefully about your air strategy. Taking out railyards really undermines axis resupply, hitting trucks and medium tank production slows the recovery of the Pzr division - I do find that for the May-Oct 1944 I really need to optimise air. This is probably the difference between a marginal defeat (ie air to AI) and a draw or better (there is of course a huge trade off in terms of effort etc)

d) the way that the S France invasion pays off is to get Marseilles and the Rhone valley hooked into your rail net. I find Marseilles to be 2nd to Antwerp to really changing the supply dynamics - it opens up the S Rhine as a valid offensive

I'm not sure you're doing 'worse', my personal reading of the victory conditions is it resulted in an Allied marginal defeat

e) odd one, but sticking everything on high supply priority is #not# a good idea. In part you lose mobility as units send their organic trucks to find supply but all you also do is to lose any discrimination. I'd put most corps in france on #2, then bump up where you have good supply or a real need. FWIW, I'd suggest the politically driven broad front strategy probably was the big Allied error in the period post-Normandy.

In this respect, don't be afraid to send low supply units back closer to your main ports. It'll make the difference to the end game being a tussle of 1-1 ants (on both sides) and having some powerful units that can overwhelm a stretched German defense.


(in reply to jsetear)
Post #: 2
RE: AARs / Tips Inquiry for D-Day Historical Start Date... - 2/26/2019 12:01:12 AM   


Posts: 12
Joined: 9/27/2005
Status: offline

Thanks so much for your many thoughtful comments! I will ponder them. Although you said that they come from playing the 1943 scenario, I found them all helpful. I will let you know what happens after I have tried them.

Part of the problem, for me, I should say, is that I am interested in the historical accuracy of the game. So I am trying to stick with the Normandy landings even though there may be better sites. I am leery of the Dutch invasion, even though I have tried it several times, because it is ahistorical. In other words, I am trying to see if I can do myself what the Allies did historically, using the historical strategies. But your suggestions in c and d, and probably e, don't present a problem even from that perspective. (I should say that I have tried to use the invasion of southern France as you suggest, although I have trouble launching it as early as the Allies actually did. Probably I should be willing to suffer more attrition in the landings, since there's not much opposition to face once ashore.)

Again, thanks!

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 3
RE: AARs / Tips Inquiry for D-Day Historical Start Date... - 2/26/2019 9:36:16 AM   


Posts: 16
Joined: 2/15/2017
Status: offline

When the game ends in May (not August, although the scenario says that it will run until August)

The game ends when Berlin is captured. I presume you play with EF box off for the Axis? This means that the game will always end in May because that's when the Soviets capture Berlin. If you want the game to end later you need to put EF box on. Of course this also means that the game could end earlier in April or that your invasion in France is meet with a few more panzers.

(in reply to jsetear)
Post #: 4
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