Chapter 3 Production
In this post I want to give some insight into the decisions I made to produce the Germany army and air forces that fought in 1940 and 1941 in Europe. Getting this right was crucial for the Axis success in both western Europe and later against the Soviet Union.
German Production Choices (by S)
The top of Figure 3-1 shows the armor, mechanized, and motorized units available for Germany to build in 1939 and 1940. The hexagon in the bottom of the figure shows the time required and build point cost for each type of land and air unit.
When considering which units to build, I visualize this hexagon. The winter turns are at the top: Nov/Dec and Jan/Feb. The summer turns are at the bottom: May/June and July/Aug. The spring turn is on the right and the autumn turn on the left. In the picture, the list of units to arrive as reinforcements for each turn are positioned based on the current turn being Sept/Oct. If Germany builds a Militia unit at the end of the Sept/Oct 1939 turn, then it arrives as a reinforcement at the beginning of Nov/Dec 1939. Militia cost 2 build points and take 1 turn. Regular infantry corps cost 3 build points and take 2 turns. Thus, they arrive in Jan/Feb when built in Sept/Oct. The long list of unit types shown for Mar/Apr take 3 turns to arrive.
For building units other than in Sept/Oct. you only have to rotate the list of units. Units that take 3 turns (e.g., mountain) always come in on the opposite side of the hexagon. So, building a mechanized unit in Jan/Feb means it will arrive at the start of July/Aug. Besides worrying about the cost of each unit, and how long before it will arrive on the map, production also has gearing limit restrictions. You can only build one more unit of a gearing ‘class’ than you built in the previous turn. Armor and mechanized units are in the armored class. If you build one armor unit in Sept/Oct, you will be permitted to build no more than 2 in Nov/Dec. This all gets rather complicated, especially when the enemy is bombing your factories and thereby reducing the number of build points that you have available at the end of the turn. Plan ahead, then expect to have those plans thrown out the window (e.g., from wind gusts caused by falling bombs).
Getting back to the top of the picture, choosing whether to build armor, mechanized, and motorized units is important for Germany. Armor is best, but costs more and takes longer. Motorized is cheapest, but doesn’t have the same benefits as the other two unit types. Operationally, having armor in an attack often lets the owner choose whether the attack is resolved on the Assault combat results table (CRT) or on the Blitz CRT. Usually the Blitz table favors the attacker. To be specific, the Blitz table gives the attacker a die roll modifier (DRM) of +1 for each armor of mechanized corps/divison in the attack. Put together a group of those unit types and good attack odds are almost certain.
Motorized units do not contribute to the DRM. But of great importance, that unit type can take any required first loss in lieu of an armor or mechanized unit being the casualty. Like armor and mechanized, motorized can also advance two hexes if the combat result is a B (Blitz!). In combination, these three unit types work very well blitzing across clear terrain in fine weather.
Some of the listed units are corps (three or four x’s across the top of the unit symbol), while others are divisions (two x’s). Divisions cost less to build (the hexagon only shows the cost for corps sized units). Divisions are useful because only two corps can be placed in a hex. A division can be added as a third unit - beefing up the total attack factors in the hex. It can also take a loss in place of a corps unit. Alongside each of the listed units is the unit’s current location. Some are on the map. Some are already in production. And some are in the Force Pool, available to be built in Jan/Feb 1940.
German Reinforcements 1940 and early 1941
Figure 3-2 shows all the reinforcements Germany received in our game for 1940 and the first half of 1941. Counting backwards based on how long it takes to build each unit type, you can figure out what Germany built when.
In Jan/Feb 1940, most of the units are minor country reserve units which were placed into production at zero cost. Likewise the Rumanian tactical air unit is arriving because Rumania entered the war the previous turn. The only units in this upper left list that Germany spent build points producing are the Stettin Militia and the pilot.
The big turn for German reinforcements is May/June 1940. Two mechanized corps, an armor HQ, and three good air units come in. Best of all, they can be placed directly in west German cities where they can help with the attack on France. In July/August 1940, two more mechanized units arrive. I had planned on them helping out in the conquest of France, but by then France had fallen. Instead I brought them in in southeastern Germany and to help conquer Yugoslavia.
In the middle rows of this picture, the count of reserve pilots and offensive chits are shown for each turn. You can see that Germany had two offensive chits but spent one in May/June 1940. Thereafter they only had one - being saved for the Barbarossa campaign against the USSR in 1941. Pilots in the reserve pool fluctuated from turn to turn, dropping to zero starting in July/Aug 1940. However, you can see that more pilots kept arriving. Most of those were built, some were the result of air combat losses (the plane was shot down but the pilot survived), and a few came in because I voluntarily removed an air unit from the map. Removing an air unit gains the owner a pilot in reserve while simultaneously the air unit goes into the Reserve Pool. The list of units in the bottom of the picture show which air units Germany had in reserve each turn.
For each air unit that arrives as a reinforcement, the owner decides whether to give it a pilot so it can be placed on the map, or whether it should simply go into reserve. All three fighters in reserve in Jan/Feb 1940 got pilots and were placed on the map. The JU 52 was left in reserve for the first turn of 1940, but got a pilot assigned in Mar/Apr. That was so it could join the paratroop unit that arrived that turn. Together they threatened to perform a paradrop on the French. That never happened, but I considered doing it every Axis impulse. I’ll leave it to you to examine the due-to-arrive forces Germany will have on the map come May/June 1941, for the invasion of the USSR.
Allied Production Choices (by G)
In some ways the Allies have more difficulty planning their production for Europe, mainly because the Commonwealth (and the USA) need to build up their navies. That includes naval transports, amphibious units, and a stockpile of convoys to keep resources flowing into the United Kingdom from around the world.
France is the easiest for which to plan production simply because they don’t have a lot a build points, not a very wide range of choices in their force pool, and they are just trying to protect Paris for as long as possible. That means building land units to arrive before May/June 1940, and perhaps another fighter.
In the short term, the Commonwealth has to worry about building convoys, carrier planes, and accompanying pilots. While Germany is all about making sure it has the maximum offensive units for May/June 1940 and then again May/June 1941, the Commonwealth’s production plan is for the long term. That’s also true for the USA. Building a ship takes 2 years.