Turn 1 End, Ground
Although air operations should be interlocked with ground operations, and on turn 1 more than any other, I will deal with the air war in a subsequent post.
These forums popularised the term "Panzer ball." So by analogy I am going to make the term "Infantry Ball." These are groups of infantry which do not take place in any combat. Usually they are the best infantry (it will include at least all the 90+ morale ones), led by the best commanders (Model, Lindemann, Heinrici, von Obstfelder etc) whose only job is to walk. And walk right behind the panzer spearheads. Walking on hexes which are under friendly controlled at the start of each turn and with 16 MPs or close to that that their commanders give them will mean they are able to remain 1 turn behind the panzer spearheads. Knowing that there is a group of infantry dedicated to following them and being able to rescue them the next turn if anything goes wrong actually means the Panzer spearheads can take more risks and be more daring in their exploits. From these forums AARs and interacting with others in team games I always felt too little attention was paid to the follow through. The Panzer units are of course the sexy units we think about a lot. But a little thought to what comes immediately behind them actually makes them more effective. Instead infantry follow up tends to be dissipated with frequent diversions to side battles instead of ruthlessly trying to get the maximum numbers as far east as fast as possible. The end result is actually that the motorised units have to themselves slow down.
In the opening of this game all of the infantry of I, II, X, V, VI, VIII, XXXXIII and XII and many others never encountered one battle but used all their movement points to advance as far as possible. The most northerly infantry ball marked on the map for example I would expect to be north of the Dvina next turn, north of Pskow on turn 3 and only entering battle on the Luga on turn 4. Although many of them start the game on the border, troops further to the rear are systematically brought up to take their place in the first battles. In particular this means using rail - if you have a lot of rail capacity left on turn 1 you are almost certainly losing out on opportunities. On turn 1 for example you should at least be railing up 86th infantry and SS Polizei of L corps and 106 and 110 infantry of XXXXII corps to be doing some of the first battles on the border, allowing units already there to use their movement points to attack units further to the rear and so on in echelon. Movements by rail have been marked by dotted lines on the map.
(Edit: Map edited to make corps of 9th army XX and not X as incorrectly stated before)
To further this "working from the back" tactic in the 4th army sector, IX in the rear is brought up to the front to do the first battles, which releases XIII corps to take Brest-Litovsk which releases XXXXIII and XII from the task and allows them to walk as far east as possible. The normal axis of advance of the 4th army is to skirt the northern edge of the Pripyat marshes - but this route has a starting position further west than others. So it makes sense to rail VII corps north to replace units in 9th army from their border battles so that they can then march further east from their more easterly starting point. Similarly 17th army tries to take over border battles from the 6th army and so on. The point is do not assume that the troops who start on the border are the ones you should choose for attacking their immediate neighbours.
I know some have preferences to surround rather than take Brest-Litovsk on turn 1, for 4th Panzer group to trap airborne units near the Dvina, or for 2nd Panzer Group to surround Kovel. But at least here those have been sacrificed to provide the greatest mass eastwards possible. 4th Panzer group ends the turn with six motorised divisions north of the Dvina (two transferred from 3rd Panzer Group), 1 just on the south bank of the Dvina and just Totenkopf further away having dealt with the ports of Courland. And the Brest-Litovsk defenders were not surrounded (they retreated into the marshes and will be captured later). This allowed 2 Panzer Groups units to get closer to Minsk and Kiev.
Also I still follow an old tradition of sending a motorised division into the centre of the marshes to take the rail junction at Luninets. I can see this has fallen out of fashion as it is seen as marooning a motorised division in a swamp. But it only crossed one swamp hex this turn. And next turn it only needs to cross two swamp hexes to its south before it is on a stretch of clear hexes again. And denying that central rail exit for Soviet unis in the marshes (the more southerly and northerly ones are easier to block) I still see in games as increasing the number of units lost there.
One other thing that I will point out is different is my treatment of 7th infantry division. This is one of your very top infantry divisions with very high morale. This could be surging into enemy territory needing only two movement points for every enemy hex it crosses into. And yet again and again I see it marooned on picket duty guarding the western edge of the Bialystock pocket - the very last job in the world you would assign to it. Quite frankly this drives me nuts! In this case I have railed it to Army Group North and reassigned it to I corps which will lead the final assault across the Neva to capture Leningrad. But pretty much anything else you would want to use it for would be better than pocket guard duty.
The Timmeh southern opening will be dealt with in detail in subsequent posts - the only thing to point out here is that no Axis troops have crossed the line that will unfreeze the troops on the Rumanian border. So we expect to see them in exactly the same place, unmoved, next turn.
< Message edited by Telemecus -- 6/1/2019 4:05:14 PM >