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Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/4/2019 10:47:52 AM   
EwaldvonKleist


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As an illustration for the AAR-guide posted in the War room, two games as Axis will be shown here with a few comments. First screenshot for each turn generally is after recon, but before operations, second screenshot is immediately before I hit "end turn". Comments welcome from the beginning here as in most AARs.

Both games are vs. veteran Soviet players, I have a few Axis games under my belt too but way less than others so I consider myself to be intermediately experienced, although I think I have a good grasp on game mechanics. I spend a long time planning moves which has to compensate for relative lack of exp&my proneness to misclicks/forgetting things etc.


Game 1:
1.11.01, no +1, hard blizzard, I think paradrops allowed later, no use of fuel stocks in army HQs, no air lift for offensive purposes. Probably a few more secondary house rules I do not remember.


T1 before Axis operations
Situation at the beginning of the game. Got a bit lucky with Soviet CV in the South but Soviet CV in the North appear a bit above average.



T1 after Axis operations
The opening is executed according to my T1 script with a few small variations. I get a hold resolt on my strong Brest-Litovsk attack, but after a few soaking-off hasty attacks and a second deliberate attack, the situation is saved. Brest Litovsk must fall in order to open the cheapest path MP wise for the Panzers. Due to the failed attack, some infantry is behind schedule.
Two more mistakes can be seen, I forget to move the Panzer regiment North of Proskurov so the tip of the spear can be cut off, and near Minsk, an air base with precious Dive bombers is unprotected. It could be protected by a Panzer regiment but I click on the wrong hexagon, costing me many aircraft in the Soviet turn due to emergency air base displacement.
On the up-side, the rest of the opening went well and aircraft kills are very good with 6500, although below the record of beender with some 6700ish.






< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/4/2019 11:54:32 AM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/4/2019 11:11:04 AM   
EwaldvonKleist


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T2 before Axis operations
Exposed air base is displaced as expected, costing me 50 dive bombers, and the three regiments cut off in the South. Apart from this, no displacmenents of HQs/air bases or opening of pockets as one knows quite precisely how far the Soviets can move on T1.
Opponent's defence looks good, although I think the Mogilev area is a bit overdefended.
Amusingly, the commander of the AGS Luftflotte (do not recall the number) Loehr was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall. It looks like Pixelhitler liked the T1 bombing results.



T2 after Axis operations
The opening played on T1 places motorised forces in the Center (between Minsk-Mogilev) a bit more forward than usual, which sometimes allows to catch a few stragglers in T2. I generally go for unit encirclement over land grab, although it as always depends on the circumstances. Even a security regiment is worth being pocketed, if placed behind a major river you must cross it can cost you a lot of MPs! A strategy focused on unit kills becomes the more effective the more units have been caught already, so if the opening is optimised for unit kills, it makes sense to continue that way.

During the first turns, the infantry divisions have plenty of supplies, therefore one does not need to place the HQs according to supply considerations. I therefore like to throw infantry HQs forward so they are more likely to be close to the spots for future hasty attacks and can send their support units (HQs that have already moved during the turn do not send support units to hasty attacks). Not sure anymore why I did not do this as much in this game, probably forgot it or to have better supply for supply units or to reduce movement attrition, whatever.
Note that I prefer to surround HQs over routing them. This means the HQ with its assigned support unit becomes encircled and the Soviet player has to relocate it. Manual relocating for some reason has the higher probability to kill a leader and causes higher attrition losses, so the Soviet player has to decide if he leaves the HQ to rot or risk manual relocation, which can kill the leader. The AI then likes to assign good leaders which are now in a random HQ not far from the frontline with the possability to become encircled again.
The air force supports the ground troops. I understand why some people advocate for strikes against the Soviet air force or strategic bombing, but it is not my primary doctrine, only the leftovers are allocated for this tasks.
Note that several units move North from AGS. I have no default unit distribution, but most players including my opponent evacuate the South and run while giving a fight in the North. Therefore, one has a higher need for CV in the North than in the South and has to rebalance the forces accordingly.



< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/4/2019 11:45:30 AM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/4/2019 11:39:05 AM   
EwaldvonKleist


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T3 before Axis operations
Pockets remained closed as hoped for. The extra units encircled/locked on T1 and again on T2 hopefully make it difficult for the Soviet player to fill all gaps in the defence.
Since T1 Soviets are very active with the Air Force, bombing everything in reach with Tacs and LBs. Fighters can only provide partial protection, Flak is handed out to armoured corps.



T3 after Axis operations
I clear the newly formed pockets while the western T1 pockets are reduced slowly. I like to have infantry to follow the Panzers quickly so the pockets are reduced by second rate infantry. Some players advocate quick pocket destruction as it means heaving all infantry free quickly, but I prefer having most infantry free immediately and the rest tied up for a little longer. In addition, waiting with pocket crushing delays the rebirth of the Soviet units and the zombie divisions in the pockets constantly poison Soviet C&C by taking space in corps/armies/fronts.
I only move my units up to the Soviets to conduct some recon and hinder fort construction. My forces have to few MPs, too much fatigue and a lack of infantry support so I do not push further in T3. Knocking on the Soviet lines would be possible but without chance to kill Soviet units.
Pre-1.11.01 I probably would have done 2-4 HQ BUs in the Center, but with the raised cost for them in 1.11.01 the AP use equilibrium has changed from "get as many supplies as possible with HQ BUs" to "use the supplies as efficiently as possible with army optimisation".
I also make use of my Transports concentrated in the North to supply motorised (not Panzer!) divisions, for they need way less fuel. IIRC there was a transport aircraft reserve bug in 1.11.01 but due to constant rotation in and out of reserve and a kind of high commitment/low commitment whip for the transport air bases is was possible to reduce the effect, so capacity loss was more 1/3rd than 1/2 or worse.
In the South, I convert ground for quicker advance during the following turns. I use motorised infantry instead of Panzer divisions, because AFVs suffer tend to suffer significant movement attrition. At cherkassy, I already recon the Soviet Dnepr defences and try to delay fort construction.





< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/4/2019 11:58:20 AM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/4/2019 12:18:10 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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T4 before Axis operations
The reds have constructed a good defence line in depth in the Center-North, using the terrain to their advantage. On the other hand, the Axis have concentrated a significant number of motorised units and some infantry divisions have already closed up to the front. All is geared towards a possibly decisive and compelex battle.



T4 after Axis operations
After much planning I plan a two pinzer attack to encircle a significant part of the Soviet units. I spent allot of time on this as the terrain makes movement difficult and retreat path planning important so I do not push a Soviet unit in a swamp behind a river.
Combat proves frustrating as the Soviets have good leaders everywhere and I get numerous Sov CV*3 WTF results, but in the end the operation succeeds.
After the game my opponent said he underestimated the number of armoured units moved out of the South, causing the pocket. To achieve operational surprise, it is useful to hide the motorised forces in non-clear terrain like lite woods so the Soviet, at least in this case it helped to cloud intentions despite intense Soviet recon.

In the South, I convert more terrain. As I have nothing better to do due to Soviet runaway defence, I make an effort to encircle the brittle tank division. Better than nothing.
Note the still-alive Lvov pocket.

After some consideration my opponent resigned after T4, I can understand the decision due to the unit losses, although I personally was not so confident as logistics felt considerably tighter than under 1.10.00. But I found operational planning in this game very challenging and interesting.





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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/4/2019 2:25:26 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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Some more comments on the game: Careful readers maybe have noted the unusual rail path I took in the North in T3. The reason is another mistake, I by mistake blocked the rail line with 3 infantry divisions so I had to take another route. Fortunately the alternative route is equally quick, but from this point I always remembered to repair the rail FIRST.

The northern pocket in T4 appears to be vulnerable at some places, but to reach those weakspots, Soviet divisions have to cross rivers into a ZOC or move through swamps, so the pocket has a good chance to hold, and I do not think (although I do not know exactly) that it was possible to open it in the Soviet T4.

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/6/2019 11:26:03 PM   
Saulust

 

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Gee, 6500+ Soviet planes T1 Wow!

On T1, how many Divisions did you fail to deliberate assault Breat-Litovsk with on your first failed attempt? How many are river crossing/across the river? Why did you do a couple of hasty attacks before deliberate attacking it finally once again?

I pretty much always find six ID enough without fail, only 2 of which are attacking across a river, however I find if I drop down to 5 IDs then it is about a 50/50 chance.

Also, I make sure I've down shifted any 4th Army SUs to Corps HQs involved, esp the 41st Pioneer Btln and that 2/833 Karl Siege Mortar, (it really doesn't feel right not to use it assaulting B-L) not that I've failed with 6 x IDs without it, but I assume you know what you are doing SU wise on T1 EvK.

I like how the B-L garrison triple stack has been pushed into the swamp and ultimately into a T1 pocket SE of B-L, I usually can sometimes only get one routed down there behind the 75th RD in Malorita, I never get all 3 of them. If I am lucky I get one to route there (the 2nd TD if I am really lucky!) and perhaps a shattered RD also along the way but otherwise all 3 route towards Pinsk and out of my bags, however I need those divisions routed clear from the path along that RR line from B-L for my manoeuvres to pocket the 30th TD in Pruzhany & 205 MD behind it. While 167 ID marches all the way to Drogachin I only use GD here and 47PzK at Baronovichi for AGC to hook up with Pz Grp 3 near Minsk. For me 29th MD goes to Ivatsevichi near that slow Pz Div west of the Shara River, and only 17+18PzDs go to Baranovichi sort of like EvK. Still I am not sure if I can do all that and brush the B-L garrison into the swamp and pocket all 3 divs like EvK...

(Actually play testing, yes I sort of can, if only the B-L 3 Div stack doesn't all route after one deliberate attack and two divisional hasty attacks, bah!)

While I am asking about this area, I am wondering if the six STAVKA AA in Kobrin three hexes east of Breat-Litovsk are actually supposted to be in the B-L hex and when they were code written in originally, the typo mixed up (X51, Y68) with (X 54, Y68), since all other Soviet static AA is in the big cities, none in tiny (1 level size) towns?

Ooooh, how did EvK get a single PzD to the town hex of Kopyl (X 65, Y 61) four hexes east of Baronovichi showing stats of 15=16, I know a PzD can be got there about on T1, I used to get 18PzD to zero MP out by finally hasty attacking the 55th RD beyond Kopyl, in Slutsk, but is that 15=16 still with 16 MP left or am I confused?

< Message edited by Saulust -- 3/7/2019 1:09:22 AM >

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/7/2019 12:32:13 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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Hi Saulust,
quote:

On T1, how many Divisions did you fail to deliberate assault Breat-Litovsk with on your first failed attempt?

I believe it were 5 divisions, none attacking over river. I first clear the path Northwest of Brest Litovsk and assault it from the North.

quote:

Why did you do a couple of hasty attacks before deliberate attacking it finally once again?

It is a technique called soaking off attack, which both Axis and Soviet player use. The idea is to weaken the enemy with multiple low odds attack so the high odds attack following in the end has a hihger probability to succeed.
In this case I really needed the second all out attack to succeed, and had a few divisions with not enough MPs for a deliberate attack, but enough for a hasty attack, so I used it for a hasty soaking off attack to wear down the defenders. I also use this technique in the South, for example with the Großdeutschland regiment.

Of course no one of my Pixeltruppen is forced to participate in a suicide attack, they all volunteer to die for the Fatherland.

Re SUs, make sure to move the corps close first and then assign the support units, so they are not fatigued from movement.


One can reliably bag all units in Brest Litovks, but one has to occupy the potential rout spots outside of the planned pockets first. I do not work down North to South, but repeatedly jump along the line. The idea is to make a small opening in the Soviet line, occupy the rout spots, and only then do the heavy lifting like the Brest Litovsk assault.

I will see if I can find a coherent set of practice run saves.

quote:

Ooooh, how did EvK get a single PzD to the town hex of Kopyl (X 65, Y 61) four hexes east of Baronovichi showing stats of 15=16, I know a PzD can be got there about on T1, I used to get 18PzD to zero MP out by finally hasty attacking the 55th RD beyond Kopyl, in Slutsk, but is that 15=16 still with 16 MP left or am I confused?

The 15=16 means 15 offensive and 16 offensive CV. 15-16 would be 15 offensive CV and 16MP. It can be changed in the settings. I think the division there has only 0 or 1 MP left in the end.

You could be right about the AA gun placement, never noticed this before. Maybe it could be useful to post it in some thread where the scenario data mistakes are reported.

The path the division (I do not remember its name) takes is shown on the detailed panzer movement plan in the guide, linked in my signature. It is important to first clear the ZOCs along its path so it does not has to pay ZOC costs.

Regards
EvK



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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/7/2019 12:49:25 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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The following link should give you access to three folders with practice runs for the opening under different game versions I have played. Note that I am not done with moving HQs/airfield bombing/assigning SUs/admin and paid less attention to details as it is only a practice: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UZzqUHQAkVL-lyvoIQkq8VHjIZ5FQiUq



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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/7/2019 12:51:39 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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As a little bonus, here is a video which shows shows the movement of the frontline, done with Windows 10 default software. I love following moving frontlines and it essentially is this what caused my first interest in wargaming.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Efehkoa1nH2A0dO5UAl0gIDusoRU-lyY

Just imagine such a video for a 200 turn game!

< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/7/2019 12:53:23 PM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/7/2019 8:59:11 PM   
Saulust

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: EwaldvonKleist

Hi Saulust,
quote:

On T1, how many Divisions did you fail to deliberate assault Breat-Litovsk with on your first failed attempt?

I believe it were 5 divisions, none attacking over river. I first clear the path Northwest of Brest Litovsk and assault it from the North.

quote:

Why did you do a couple of hasty attacks before deliberate attacking it finally once again?

It is a technique called soaking off attack, which both Axis and Soviet player use. The idea is to weaken the enemy with multiple low odds attack so the high odds attack following in the end has a higher probability to succeed.
In this case I really needed the second all out attack to succeed, and had a few divisions with not enough MPs for a deliberate attack, but enough for a hasty attack, so I used it for a hasty soaking off attack to wear down the defenders.

Re SUs, make sure to move the corps close first and then assign the support units, so they are not fatigued from movement.

One can reliably bag all units in Brest Litovks, but one has to occupy the potential rout spots outside of the planned pockets first. I do not work down North to South, but repeatedly jump along the line. The idea is to make a small opening in the Soviet line, occupy the rout spots, and only then do the heavy lifting like the Brest Litovsk assault.
...
Regards
EvK


Yeah, for me the 1st deliberate assault on fortress triple stack Breat-Litovsk is a one shot or bust option, and I am only playing SP against the AI - so I can really just cheat by re-doing it I guess if I feel like it, but I am trying to do things now as if it is a server game (iron mode). As I said I find five IDs can fail, quite often actually, so if you are usually getting 5 to succeed then you are obviously doing many things right here enough of course... although I actually can do a second deliberate assault with 6 divs if my 1st attempt fails with what is in the area & by utilising in situ XII across the Bug River, but that completely stuffs ups my use of that Korps against the 15th Rifle Corps. So I am trying to burst B-L 1st time every time... so 6 IDs minimum and I am also considering employing 7 IDs even, still only 2 attacking across the bug, ATM the weakest 1 each from XII Korps (to get some of all its SU Artillery & Pioneers involved) and from IX Korps its 137 ID at 3+4PzDs position from where it can then move east into the swamp hex SE of B-L to protect it from 75 RD.

Committing soaking attacks would further ruin me here, but now I understand why you do them, (TBH it is something I avoid doing pathologically) however I can always get 6 ID into a second deliberate assault, but it will ruin my whole T1 down south against the 15th Rifle Corps... Though for me, in my approach I think the real key to B-L is actually the use of the VII Korps to prise away not only all of the 3 RDs of 5th Rifle Corps, but especially also the 49th RD as well.

I just finished reading your "Do you want total war?" AAR guide for Axis thread, so I know that you know what you are doing with SUs etc - it is all good advice, thanks but I have been doing both main tips already, but I didn't realise these should be axiomatic, just dumb habit!

I looked at your video map, very cool, although I initially misread it as being 200 turns, ha! I am downloading your tests and will have a look, but I will say for now that in regards to bagging B-L, the garrison of which I am now going to try to work on how to herd & bag. I actually do attack north to south with the VII Korps knocking back the four border RDs, along with the 2 SECs assisting with this and they also take out the two NKVD Rmgts & 64th FRBgd. This opens up the north flank approach to B-L to which I brush away the 2 small units outside again in a north to south happen stance, so may be not like you EvK, but I am looking forwards to checking out your tests... thanks.

< Message edited by Saulust -- 3/7/2019 10:52:48 PM >

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/8/2019 5:51:36 PM   
MattFL

 

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You are clearly underestimating yourself in terms of your play as a German. Your opening is just about as good as it gets in terms of planes killed, the extended pocket in the south cutting the rail lines by Sheptovka, zoc locking Minsk, taking riga, etc. etc. etc. Doesn't really get much better. I have no idea if you'd do as well in the German mid game or late game, but certainly your opening is expert level for sure.

But given that you had such an effective turn 1, I think the Soviet player compounded your success with mistakes, particularly trying to hold the PSKOV line in his turn 3. That was pretty much suicide as your tanks didn't move much on turn 3 and your infantry was up in support by the start of your T4. He should have seen that disaster coming a mile away and pulled back to the line of swamps north of VL and perhaps held Pskov and the swamps near it while he started fortifying the Luga. The net result would be about the same in terms of position but he'd have about 25 divisions not encircled. When the Germans have a great turn 1 like this, the Russians can't afford another major encirclement with the troops they have left and really have to count on the lack of German supply to slow things down and fall back away from the German infantry until they have the troops and forts in place to actually fight. So the line he built in that area in his turn 2 was in the correct place I think, but he should have boogied out of there in his turn 3. I also question the way he built the line. Too many stacks, second line too close to the first, etc... These types of things make the breakthroughs and encirclements easier for the Germans.....


So while you definitely had a great opening, have to question the play of the Soviets on this one...


Question - were you playing with movement FOW? Just wondering....


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/8/2019 10:05:28 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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Hi Matt, thanks for expressing your observations.
I think the opening is the best I know of according to my take on what is necessary to win the game quickly, obviously, as I would copy someone's else opening otherwise. That excludes openings which use the air lift technique, which I think are over the top. Of course there can always be ideas not yet thought about/published.
I am most afraid of runner Soviet players, who have a plan when to make a stand, know the Axis side very well and have good technical and operational skill. Because they will not allow pockets during the first turns and the Red Army grows quickly. Therefore one must kill what one can get in T1.

But having a good T1 is not everything, it only keeps you in the game. The decision must be enforced later when you can't use a script anymore. I think this "operational skill" is the most important one both for Soviet and Axis.

Regarding this particular game, my opponent was a very experienced player and the play was good IMO. He did not expect the extra mobile Axis divisions sent North and played accordingly. These are gambles one has to take, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Your points are valid of course, though with hindsight.

The defence played is valid IMO under most conditions, but the opening kills some more units than others, then there is some optimisation in supply management (strictly according to the rules as stated in the manual/changelog I must stress!) and railway construction (HLYAs plan with some minor changes). So probably a well proven and valid strategy which did not account for some difference in this particular game.

Your too many stacks/second line too close is true, but it is tempting to use it, because it can stop the Germans completely cold if the situation is right, compared to a defence in depth where you likely lose the first row to a pacman (bite of little chunks) tactic and will lose at least some ground.

We played with fow+movement fow. One can argue either way, but I think it is a slight + for Soviet and should be used.

Regards
EvK



< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/8/2019 10:06:19 PM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/9/2019 12:04:36 AM   
MattFL

 

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Hi, EvK,

I agree with most of what you say, particularly that having a good T1 isn't everything. As the German, you can certainly lose the game on T1, but you can't win it regardless of the opening. Most openings by average German players don't net Minsk or Sheptova units. Those are huge added losses to the Russians. If you don't encircle LVOV though, it's a huge uphill battle and the German will most likely lose. But.... when the German has a GREAT turn 1 (as the one you had is, we both agree, the best it can be for the most part) then the Soviets have to adjust accordingly and can't fight as early as they might otherwise like to. Normally those extra units from the South get railed north to help defend the Center or North (depending on what the Russian wants to do). They lack the strength I think to fight too early when they lose Minsk units and Sheptovka units. He was able to hold PSKOV through your turn 3, not much more you can ask for than that as the Soviets as when I play Germans I usually try to break the PSKOV Line on Turn 2 ala Pelton, 100% by German turn 3. Once he held it through your turn 3, there is too much German strength up to continue to try to hold it, particularly in your game where your infantry was up close towards Pskov area but nowhere near Mogilev/Land Bridge. So Smolensk area wasn't under any threat at all, Pskov was a goner already at the start of his Turn 3 and he should have pulled back out of range of your infantry and into Terrain (swamps) which don't favor breakthroughs/encirclements. I guess what i'm saying is there is absolutely nothing to be gained by holding PSKOV through your turn 4 and much to be lost. Far better terrain to be defended a few hexes further E/NE and further from your rail heads.


In terms of committing the extra mot units North, I'm not really sure it should make that big a difference on Turn 4 and I think you could have achieved that pocket without them given his deployment. The fact is that you don't even need to hold the encirclement, if you can prevent them from escaping they're dead and often times by committing troops to break a pocket this early in the game, the Russian just makes it worse on himself as the relief units end up pocketed as well. As you point out, knowing the German side and challenges as the Russians is pretty key and you can achieve the same result in terms of geography just by understanding the supply limitations on the Germans, when they can push, when they can't etc... This is most true I think around turns 1-6 as there is least variability of these factors then. Later in the game is dependent on early in the game and it's much more variable. So he should have known, as it seems he did, that you couldn't push on your Turn 3. But after his recon on his T3 he should also have known that he couldn't hold Pskov through your T4 and that he had way too many units at risk much too close to your front line.

All of this being said, I'm not sure I 100% agree with surrendering after this pocket as the Russian. Sure, it's a devastating loss, but the Russian army is resilient and can suffer many disasters and still win the game in the end. Of course, i haven't played much since 1.07'ish so maybe that's different now.


FYI - i had asked about the FOW movement as i was curious about the RUssians breaking pockets. The game is quite a bit more challenging on both sides with FOW movement.


You mentioned in your opening post that you were going to show 2 games from the German side. When will you show the second one?


Best,

Matt



< Message edited by MattFL -- 3/9/2019 12:18:40 AM >

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/9/2019 12:21:19 AM   
Saulust

 

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Is anyone else having trouble seeing "Q"s with login security code, I've only had real trouble distinguishing between zero and "O"s before, now there are "q"s to delineate as well!

quote:

ORIGINAL: MattFL
You (EvK) are clearly underestimating yourself in terms of your play as a German. Your opening is just about as good as it gets in terms of planes killed, the extended pocket in the south cutting the rail lines by Shepetovka, zoc locking Minsk, taking Riga, etc. Doesn't really get much better. I have no idea if you'd do as well in the German mid game or late game, but certainly your opening is expert level for sure.


I agree (I don't think I've ever got 6500+) and also I think we have some idea how well EvK can probably do in the German mid-game phase MattFL!

Some of his positioning are impressively expert, note how the SE corner of the greater Bialystok-Minsk pocket seals in all that clump of Soviet Divs around Baranovichi, including the retreated 161st RD in Stolbtsy. I first looked at that and tried to figure out if it could join in by moving east or SE a hex and have the 55th RD in Slutsk advance NW to break German ZOC to reconnect their supply lines to the whole great pocket here on Soviet T1, but no I don't think it is possible at all - bloody expert result.

@ EvK, I am looking at your test saves and say only in relation to my deliberate assaulting of Breat-Litovsk I do something very similar, but however as I indicated above I employ VII Korps to free up the frontier bordering IX Korps & partly the XXXXIII Korps, to get different German IDs 'side shifting' to that B-L NW flank stacking positions. For instance I swap in the XIII Korps here while the LIII Korps is sent to help 2nd PzGrp & 6th Army prise the 15th Rifle Korps from along the border. Along with my 4-5 IDs here I use one XII ID and use one IX Korps ID placed SW of B-L, so it can finally move to the swamp hex next SE to protect it from 75 RD and help seal it in and whatever routes into this little Malorita Pocket, which I use the weak 213 SD instead to cut off the east side of like you use 167 ID. I use the punch of 167 ID for an assault against 62nd RD further south, it ends up on the RR town of Vladimir-Volynski.

In regards to B-L I think even if you fail first time EvK, you can still afford to just hard assault B-L again, but if you want to soak, soak I guess. One thing though, but don't take this as a certainty, I think usually the most likely reason too fail on these early assaults on T1 apart from a re-reinforcing Div showing up (which often happens in a couple of locations such as with the 45th RD and 143rd RD off the top of my head) is if there is a massive commitment of the Soviet Airforce, like in the range of 150-300 planes supporting their defence, may be make sure you've written down their near by airbases 1st to ensure 1st time successes T1 if you can.

In my scheme I try to use only all the further back IDs of 4th Army minus the LIII Korps here at B-L, also not too much of XII Korps but especially not the 3 IDs with the greatest movement range from their starting positions NW of B-L, namely the 167, and 131 & 134 IDs of XXXXIII Korps. I want one of these to go to or next to Drogachin, which seals both south with 213 SD the little Malorita Pocket and north-east with GD and in the wake of 29th Mot the little Pruzhany Pocket. The other two of these 3 near B-L IDs advance to around Volkovsky with may be one hasty attack each along the way. May be others use XII Korps IDs here abouts, but I like to get a couple of these IDs instead into this most advance position here (if connecting with a 4th Army ID south a hex of Mosty if creating a smaller Bialystok pocket, I don't do this any more against the AI) hopefully these most advanced IDs can follow up closely enough in the wake of the XLVII Pz Korps at Baranovichi and use them with 4th Army to completely wipe out cut off Soviets towards Minsk in lieu of XII Korps on T2.

Actually I don't know what is best or what other people do with XII Korps, but I use it to assault the 45th RD and free up the 255th ID for its sweep around the northern backside of the Kovel Pocket and seal it from the westside with one of its IDs on the RR hex (X52, Y75) & another NE of there ZOC linking up to the 213 SD & with the 255 ID. I don't use any 6th Army IDs against the 45th RD at all and only two against 62 RD, where LIII Korps is brought down to assist with assaulting. I immediately notice that it is the 1st thing EvK does, using purple IDs against the 45th RD, I need as many 6th Army IDs both to successfully assault that tough nut to crack 124th RD in the rough while also advancing a thin line of them all the way to hastily attack 131 Mot Div in Lutsk across the small river, with which I totally cut off the Kovel-Lutsk Pocket from the greater one too.

Oh I should point out I have the aim of pushing all Soviet units not only off all RR border hexes, but at least another hex back from being able to even ZOC all my RR and newly claimed border RR hexes, so that as many of them get repair Btlns hopefully auto-deploying on them at the start of German T2. So that is why I am hitting the bordering Soviet units right across the line. I know this approach is slightly more expensive in terms of German manpower losses by launching these extra attacks on T1 as opposed to not doing so, but with the T1 advantages I feel it is worth it in opportunity cost terms because OTOH it avoids some attrition loses before T2 and also my IDs can gain the extra experience and I pretty much wipe out the whole greater Bialystok-Minsk Pocket forces on T2, plus everything trapped west of the Dvina River in the Baltics so I hope it is faster in terms of follow up ID movements in the long term.

In the south, I do the greater Rovno-Shepetovska Pocket thing, but not just only with a tenuous ZOC behind it but by an actual complete pocketing, which for some reason the AI doesn't usually break open, although a human would easily always undo on Russian T1. I get the XXIV Pz Korps to seal the little Kovel-Kivertsy pocket up to the 255th ID but most importantly to blast all the way to Rovno so that the 14th PzD just moves all the way to Novgorod-Volynsky, hastily attacks the 7th FR Bgd and moves across the S. Slutch River connecting with the 11th PzD after it attacks the 213th Mot Div in Polonoe.

I don't create the greater Lvov Pocket, since I actually capture Lvov ATM so I only create the greater Stanislav Pocket by taking the 13th PzD down to the Romanian border and I also create a mini Proskurov Pocket by trapping within both the 49th & 45th TDs. I also go a different way to just about everybody else it seems. I don't create my pathway through north of Tarnopol, I take 16th PzD and use as much of the IDs at the juncture of 17th & 6th Armies and blast my way down along the Westside bank of the Bug River, turning East through Busk while knocking over the whole of both the 15th Mech and 37th Rifle Corps and just the 7th Mot Div of 8th Mech, so I have 16th PzD finishing north of Tarnopol, a few hexes south of both the untouched TDs of the 8th Corps that everybody else smashes through. I figure it is either take those two out or the two TDs of the 15th to get where we all want to go.

Also on my extreme south wing of AGS I smash the 72nd Mtn Div right off the rough hex town of Lisko, usually I also go so far as to bump the 173 RD out of Sambor too for the hell of it. Its a special 17th Army LII & XXXXIX Korps right hook undertaking aimed against the 32nd TD which I don't attack on T1. These moves allow a SEC Div to occupy and protect Yablonka for early RR repairs too. Yeah, I admit I might be a bit too overly RR repair focused.

< Message edited by Saulust -- 3/9/2019 2:46:50 AM >

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/9/2019 7:05:51 PM   
MattFL

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: EwaldvonKleist
Regarding this particular game, my opponent was a very experienced player and the play was good IMO. He did not expect the extra mobile Axis divisions sent North and played accordingly. These are gambles one has to take, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Your points are valid of course, though with hindsight.

The defence played is valid IMO under most conditions, but the opening kills some more units than others, then there is some optimisation in supply management (strictly according to the rules as stated in the manual/changelog I must stress!) and railway construction (HLYAs plan with some minor changes). So probably a well proven and valid strategy which did not account for some difference in this particular game.



Funny, I was just reading your AAR vs ST and you have a really interesting post in it about force ratios and when to fight.


In it you say: "The idea now is to only accept a fight under the force ratio marked green, while denying it under the force ratio marked red. In other words, either put up a very strong resistance or none, everything between will cause high losses while delaying the Axis insignificantly. "


I think this sums up perfectly what I was saying.

Best,


Matt

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/10/2019 6:05:57 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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@Saulust&MattFL:
The techniques for T1 are mostly the same as for T2+, the difference is you have less information about the enemy for later turns and can't wargame the turn first. (sort of wargameception). So experience/guesswork plays a greater role.

@Saulust: The hasty soaking off attacks I did only because they are cheap on T1 with 1MP, and because I had no other job for the infantry divisions. Taking a few losses for a greater cause. But soaking off attacks are useful later as well, be it for recon or to make sure a hex falls. For example, you want to assault a hex from two sides, and have 5 divs with MP for a deliberate attack, and one with enough MP for a hasty attack. The last division can not join the main attack, but wear down the defenders with a hasty attack first.

It is interesting you can name all the unit's names in your text, I struggle to even remember the numbers of Axis armies.

@MattFL: I was on vacation with little time en bloc and mediocre internet, so I only responded to comments. But will upload the second AAR today/tomorrow.
Indeed, the line you quoted is a good summation of what we talked about!

quote:

All of this being said, I'm not sure I 100% agree with surrendering after this pocket as the Russian. Sure, it's a devastating loss, but the Russian army is resilient and can suffer many disasters and still win the game in the end. Of course, i haven't played much since 1.07'ish so maybe that's different now.

I am not familiar with the old versions to comment on that unfortunately. I think compared to early 1.08.xx, some reinforcement units appear later for the Soviets (e.g. tank brigades), on the other hand, Axis logistics has been turned down (logistics according to rule set, probably there were also many exploits).

Regards
EvK




< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/10/2019 6:50:34 PM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/10/2019 7:00:25 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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Game 2:
1.11.03, no +1, hard blizzard, standard CV. I think paradrops and sea landings allowed later, no use of fuel stocks in army HQs, no air lift of units for offensive purposes. There were also house rules about the maximum penetration depth, I think the gaps between units making a penentration must not be more than 8 hexagons. So no 25 hexagon industry rush allowed.

T1 before Axis operations
Situation at the beginning of the game. Some units in the South turned out to have nasty CV, but overall situation is ok.



T1 after Axis operations
Opening went well overall. I realized that splitting up the mot. inf. at the Dvina is not necessary, it recommended to do not split up divisions unless necessary. In the South, a mot. div. refused to rout, so the southern super Lvov spear is vulnerably to isolation. The Sovs proved quite tough this time in the South. Center went well, except for a mistake where I confused two divisions, so one is not in range of the HQ and will have a few MPs less on T2.
Aircraft kills lower than last time, not sure why, it is too much to be just RNG. I think I used the air force more for ground bombing this time. Could also be the effect of increased Soviet AA capability in 1.11.03 In the far South, a misclick means that the PG1 is without protection. Poor Ewald von Kleist will have to run.
The new +1 cost for consecutive attacks on the same hex make optimised T1s more difficult. Before, a 4MP division had 4 chances to win a hasty attack, now just 2. One can debate which side is favoured by the new rule overall, but for T1, it is the Soviets.
Note that I also clear the Northwestern edge of the Lvov pocket. The goal here is to free inf units which need all MPs from ZOCs, and to bring the mountain divisions to 81+ morale quickly while attack costs are halved.


Looking over the screenshot, I wonder if air bases in ZOC can send fighters to inteception missions. I think I tested it but have forgotten the result. Does someone else know? For some air bases here can be ZOC locked and the Soviet may be able to get a few kills, although many are stacked with HQs with AA guns.

More from this game later, as I have no time now.

< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/10/2019 7:06:37 PM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/11/2019 6:28:11 AM   
Saulust

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: EwaldvonKleist
@Saulust: The hasty soaking off attacks I did only because they are cheap on T1 with 1MP, and because I had no other job for the infantry divisions. Taking a few losses for a greater cause. But soaking off attacks are useful later as well, be it for recon or to make sure a hex falls. For example, you want to assault a hex from two sides, and have 5 divs with MP for a deliberate attack, and one with enough MP for a hasty attack. The last division can not join the main attack, but wear down the defenders with a hasty attack first.

It is interesting you can name all the unit's names in your text, I struggle to even remember the numbers of Axis armies.


Not really anything special, I often have which ever the game it is open when I am typing about it on forums... but I do know like the back of my hand quite a few Divisions etc, (since I was a boy I was fascinated with the 4 Pz Groups, so I know the 10 Pz Korps off by heart, their starting Pz & Mot Divs and details like which had Czech T-38s instead of Pz IIIs... ) and now I know more for both sides here too, some of the Soviet Divs though I admit I mostly really only know through playing this game and add to all that I also do look at quite a few good maps of Barbarossa and such too, plus I love gorking at OOBs.

Some of the Soviet Divisions now stick in my mind because of game play... 125th RD sometimes has routed from Lithuania into the Pinsk Marshes, 5th TD is in the way of Pz Grp 3, both armed forces had their 62nd Divs in a face off down South, 67 RD gave 291 ID a hard time in Libau, 22 NKVD RD can stop Pz Korps XXXXI taking Riga on T1... even though it is not on a very good div map of mine because it was too anti-bolshie to depict the NKVD!

Yes I understand soaking but I just didn't like the idea of it on T1, especially at B_L which I plan to just double assault if I fail 1st time.

One, question EvK I didn't know that the different stats of Soviet Divs you see on T1 represent anything more than changes in intelligence assessments. I realise there are Soviet first turn 'training' losses, but I thought that these happen between the German and Soviet turn, after the German player has clicked F12. Not beforehand or any other kinds of changes either. Why do you make something of these changes in what you see of the reported defensive strengths of the Soviets on the border? I thought that they were only ever just what they were in strength the same time every time but that the Germans just had gotten different 'reports' you were seeing.

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/11/2019 3:45:58 PM   
thedoctorking


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It was also my understanding that the variable Soviet exp and morale settings took effect on initial setup, that is, that they affect how powerful Soviet units are on the first Axis turn. The manual states (22.3.4.3) that the initial damage results are applied in the "automatic game start process" and I assumed that applied to the exp/morale settings referred to in 22.3.4.2. Maybe not.

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 1:18:08 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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@Saulust: There is RNG variation for unit exp, morale, damaged elements etc. before the Axis T1. So it is a bit different every time. There are special rules for units South of the Pripyat, so they have better morale etc. then North.

quote:

Yes I understand soaking but I just didn't like the idea of it on T1

Why? Due to pre-battle disruption before every battle (special T1 rule) soaking off attacks are even more effective on T1 than later, because you get some disruption/fatigue after conversion for free before the battle even starts. You not even gift guard units to the Sovs because you will kill most soaked units eventually.
B-L soaking off attack really was only a way to make absolutely sure the second all out attack succeeds. It had to and a few lives were 100% worth it for me to raise the chance for the second all out assault.

Glad you find the saves useful for your T1 experiments :-)

@tdk: That is it, thank you for posting the correct reference!

Regards
EvK

< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/12/2019 1:20:02 PM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 1:47:10 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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T2 before Axis operations
No real negative suprises. Three regiments cut off in the South and a counterattack pushes one aside, but the remaining ZOC lock and the MPs expended in the attack mean that the Soviets can not escape by foot/rail and can not run far enough to meet the conditions for disbanding. The Soviets fight forward in the South. As the opening demands quite much from the Panzers on T1 and has many splitted up in the process as compared to other openings, I can understand the temptation to do so. And my opponent is a very aggressive player type.



T2 after Axis operations
I ponder several options in the South before committing to this one. First had a more ambitions operation in mind with the pockets extending further East, but after some planning it proved to be impossible.
I pocket the units from the T1 ZOC lock and a few extra units west of Zhitomir. In addition, the SS division runs South to cut rails/convert the hexagons so the Soviets can not run east in their T2. Isolating the units was not planned at first but when I saw the Soviet CV I decided to gamble on an across-the-river HA and it worked. In retroperspective I tried to optimise too much and should have invested more in T2 to seal the pockets for good, I had one Panzer division in the South with good MP not committed and moved it North instead and did not use all MPs of the 10-30 division west of Vitebsk (the MP are from the HQ, the unit had less but enough to form a better wall between the two pockets).



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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 2:18:50 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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T3 before Axis operations
New T2 pockets in the North opened and even a T1 pocket reconnected. Especially the latter is annoying, less because it would delay the operation (I am not in a hurry to liquidate the pockets as explained in an earlier post), but because it is a result of avoidable T2 carelessness.
In the South, the Soviets open the pocket from the outside. I am surprised that a rifle division had the MP to make a ZOC to ZOC move from the outside South of the Cav division after closing in to the Germans. But so is war. The situation is a bit complicated, there are good options, but the best movement path is ZOC locked by strong Soviet stacks.



T3 after Axis operations
After much thinking, I attempt and ambitious offensive in the South. Some mot. inf. divisions have the MP to go around Pskov to form a pocket at the start of T1. Even if the operation only temporarily cuts off the Soviet units, it would trap them so they can be pocketed for good in T4. The operation has a very narrow safety margin, but on the other hand is a potential game winner if coupled with even a mediocre pocket in the South.


Unfortunately for me, the tank division proves to be very powerful with 9CV and the infantry divisions have 4-5 CV instead of the expected 2-3 commanded by Zhukov. I was surprised by this due to the heavy Soviet commitment in the South. Althoug the breakthrough succeeds without many hold battles, it requires to use the exploitation force for the breakthrough, and I can only form a weak ZOC lock for some divisons, likely to be broken during the Soviet T3. The only consolation is that an important North-Sout rail line is cut early, but that will not convince a high command which follows the Vernichtungsgedanke as opposed to positional warfare.
The breakthrough will likely alarm the STAVKA, so the possibility for a major T4 pocket as in the game before is lost. But

In the South, the first goal is to close the T2 pocket again, this time more tightly. After the primary operation is nearly finished, the there is a chance to use the remaining resources to close a major pocket further South.

The T2 retreat path cutting meant that the Soviet units had problems to secure their rear due to lack of MP and fortification construction limitations on pending hexagons. On the other hand, the T2 pocket opening and experience of a similar operation were a warning that the escaping Soviets could convert this in a chaotic situation and a major delay if the pocket wall is not of high quality. After several iterations (which often failed due to lacking 1MP somewhere) that was the solution.


The game ended after the turn as return rate was low and we were both burned out with WitE, but he said opening the Southern pockets was not possible and a resign would be likely if continuing the game, placing the Germans in a good position.

< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/12/2019 2:45:43 PM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 2:19:08 PM   
MattFL

 

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Soviets unnecessarily flush another 20-30 divisions down the toilet playing right into the hands of the Germans..... I understand the temptation is great to break encirclements and build a line in existing forts, but on T2 the Germans have high movement and defending like this is just throwing good units after bad....The Soviets can open all pockets in the south except the Lvov one, but what difference does it make? They're all dead regardless and any unit that helps to open the pockets is itself dead as well. In the center/north, losing the units south of Pskov and especially the pocket on the Dvina is just unnecessary. German units are going to be in that area anyway, why give the Germans another 10 divisions to destroy... Run Russian, Run. Smolensk and the Dnepr are lost, retreat east. The south is in tatters, retreat east. Hold Pskov and the swamps and run everywhere else, far enough away to be out of striking distance for several turns.


I feel another T4 capitulation coming on....

*Note these are post T2 Comments*

< Message edited by MattFL -- 3/12/2019 2:20:03 PM >

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Post #: 23
RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 2:30:30 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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Hi Matt,
the opponent had good success in prior games with an agressive fight forward strategy. As we already discussed, a strong one line defence can work if placed sufficiently far in the rear, even better than an in depth defence as it can stop entirely, not just delay. But in this case it seems it has been too far forward. Brawling can also work if the Axis player does not plan carefully. The strategy makes the game challenging for the Axis in the early turns as you need to plan careful and have to balance several options against each other, but the reward is high as well.
Regards and thanks for expressing your observations.
Please note that T3 has been added just before your comment.
EvK

< Message edited by EwaldvonKleist -- 3/12/2019 2:31:07 PM >


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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 2:33:41 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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That basically is all I had on my list to post for the Guide/AAR unless there are specific questions. Thank you all for reading and discussing the ideas. :-)

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 2:40:06 PM   
MattFL

 

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I agree 100% that the fight forward strategy can work very well for the Russians and I tend to favor it myself against average German players. It can cause fits. But against an expert German open, which I tend to judge as the super extended Lvov pocket and the zoc locking of Minsk along with Riga etc., you just don't have the strength for it and any forward defense is doomed. We've just seen it two games in a row against experienced soviets with losses so substantial that the games end before T4. How much more evidence is needed that the Russians have to run against this opening and just accept the fact that the t1 units are lost and not lost good units saving dead ones... In each game some 30 or so divisions are lost on T2 that could be put to much better use alive than trying to defend territory that the Germans can reach anyway.... It's not on German T1 that these games are being lost, it's on Russian T1 that they're being lost.





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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 2:41:03 PM   
MattFL

 

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Thanks for sharing the AAR's EvK. It's a great opening and follow up and there is much to be learned from these for both sides.

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RE: Do you want total war?-The AAR - 3/12/2019 2:46:22 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


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Had posted wrong T3 after Axis operations, it is fixed now.

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