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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/6/2019 8:17:15 PM   
TankBushido


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In the south of France, Nancy is surrounded and I create another small breakthrough, but donít have enough armor close enough to fully take advantage of it.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/6/2019 8:21:29 PM   
TankBushido


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The advance is on in northern Italy. I take Milan and let my armored division race east to try to cut off the head of the snake. Further south on the Italian mainland, I advance most of my troops up to Rome and clear out some ports on both coasts.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/6/2019 8:40:34 PM   
TankBushido


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Turn 61:
Iím impressed by how well the game has simulated the feeling of the war in the west. The euphoria of the rapid advance and pursuit after breakout has disappeared in the last several turns. During the pursuit phase you really do feel like youíre going to be in Berlin by Christmas. It now feels like a slow grind. German resistance seems to be increasing turn over turn. As August comes to a close, the promise of continued good weather goes with it. Despite my early breakout, my position has regressed to closely resemble history with my forces close to the German frontier at the beginning of September. Market Garden was in late September so Iím perhaps of couple of weeks ahead of history now. I still have hopes of crossing the Rhine by the end of October, but itís probably wishful thinking.

I decide to breakout in the north, crossing the Albert Canal, marching into Antwerp and cutting the rail line which threatens the ten or so German divisions west of the Schelde.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/6/2019 8:44:24 PM   
TankBushido


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In the south, Iím able to take Nancy, but canít fully reduce the surround units who are protected on five sides by a river line. More ground is gained next to Metz and Iím tantalizingly close to breaking into the Saar.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/6/2019 8:49:19 PM   
TankBushido


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In Italy, the Germans are in full retreat and pull all the way back and form a line in Veneto near Venice. I push as far as Verona and cut the rail lines to the south, advancing to Ravenna on the Adriatic coast. My forces in the south advance north as fast as possible, dealing with a couple port sitters as they work their way up.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/11/2019 7:50:50 PM   
Commanderski


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Very interesting AAR. For just starting you are doing very well. Using the Normal settings is good to get the hang of the game. Next time you may want to bump up the AI to 110% next time. It should give you a more aggressive defense.

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/11/2019 10:38:21 PM   
Joel Billings


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Great AAR. What are the OB screen totals looking like?

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 5:27:41 PM   
TankBushido


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Vacation and summer has me slowed down a bit on the AAR, but it's still going.

Thank you for the replies. Normal setting is a good warm up; my next game will be on Challenging with the AI at 110%.

My game is several turns ahead of the AAR, but here's the OB from the beginning of turn 65. Someone more knowledgeable can tell me if it's looking good or bad for the Allies. Seems like the Germans still have a lot of tanks and men.









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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 8:17:38 PM   
TankBushido


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Turn 62:
In the North the Germans pull back from the pocket around Brussels. I advance forward and surround a couple of divisions near Antwerp. The clearing of the Schelde estuary begins.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 8:23:34 PM   
TankBushido


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In the southern sector, I create two small breakthroughs; one west of Metz and another on the east of it. For the first time, I occupy territory in Germany as a US Armored Division takes the hex west of Saarbruecken. I finally clear out the pocket next the Nancy.






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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 8:28:34 PM   
TankBushido


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In Italy, the mop-up operations in the south continue while I simultaneously tentatively advance up the the main German line in the north. Genoa, the last major port on the west coast, falls.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 8:48:54 PM   
TankBushido


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Turn 63:
I continue to push in the north, but Iím feeling woefully thin and stretched, especially lacking infantry. Luckily, reinforcements are on the way. I have three corps on route. One corps has finished its port busting on the western coast of France, having cleared out Bordeaux last turn. Iím shipping them over, but it will take a few weeks until they are on the line. Another corps has been building up near Le Harve and finally forced the city to surrender. It will be pushing north and capturing the three remaining German controlled ports in the Pas de Calais before taking its position on the main front. The final corps is being formed around Dunkirk from new divisions coming in from the United States. Also, the home guard static divisions have been coming out of frozen state, so Iíve been mobilizing them and shipping them to the continent to fill holes and provide some rearward reserves. All told, fifteen or so divisions will reinforce my advance over the next several weeks.

In combat action, I make good progress in the Schelde estuary which is surprisingly lightly defended. The single hex pocket near Antwerp is cleared. And the main armored assault clears a thin breakthrough three hexes toward the east.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 9:23:43 PM   
TankBushido


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I consolidate my position near the Saar. I try to force the West Wall against light resistance with an armored spearhead but the defenders held. Itís clear that I need my infantry to force the West Wall. Iím a little short on infantry in this sector. I need to reassess my strategy here and how best to proceed.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 9:25:35 PM   
TankBushido


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My forces in the south of Italy are now linking up with my forces in the north. There are still a few ports to clear.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 9:28:16 PM   
TankBushido


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Turn 64:
Based on last turnís experience, I decided to shift my strategy. I need to bring a mass of infantry forward to force the West Wall, but as I mentioned a few posts back I have a couple of turns until my mass of infantry is totally committed to the main push. But I want to continue to use my mobile armored formations. So my new plan is to eliminate the bulge in the German line centered around the Ardennes over the next few weeks. My armor pincers will attack parallel to the West Wall from the north and the south with a linkup planned east of Bastogne. Given the historical German operations in the Ardennes, itís only fitting that I conduct a major operation here. My initial attacks have moderate progress.

I also fully clear the Schelde so supplies should start flowing into Antwerp next turn.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/13/2019 9:31:49 PM   
TankBushido


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The mop-up operation in Italy is nearing a close. My forces on the Adriatic coast have fully cleared the path to the front. Only one more port on the West coast remains to be cleared. All of my forces should be on the main front within a couple of turns. Iím contemplating railing some of these forces to participate in my operations against the West Wall, but I havenít decided yet. Assuming they stay in Italy, I have two main objectives in Italy after the mop-up. First, seize the airfields around Udine to provide bases for bombing German cities. Second, they could attempt to push through the Alps towards Bavaria and Austria, attritioning the significantly strong German forces here.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/15/2019 7:53:48 PM   
Commanderski


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I don't think that you have enough forces to do an encirclement of the bulge as you might run out of movement points. What may happen is that the Germans will fall back to the West Wall and that will make it more difficult for you.

If they don't fall back and you do encircle that bulge the war may be over by Christmas...

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/16/2019 2:14:36 AM   
TankBushido


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Turn 65:
My northern pincer made good progress advancing 50 miles south and is nearing Bastogne. The southern pincer is going much slower. A counter attack pushed my lead armor division back, so I needed to retake that ground again this turn. Plus, the Moselle River is slowing my advance because I didnít have enough movement points to push across the river.

An encirclement seems unlikely, but if I cut the rail line at Luxembourg then the Germans will likely pull out which will net me a good 1000 square miles of territory. It will also allow me to shorten my line and concentrated more forces at my point of attack. It looks impressive if I could bag the bulge, but it actually has pretty weak German forces in it. I count about 15 odd divisions of weak strength. Still would be nice if I could pull it off. I can dream.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/16/2019 5:32:07 AM   
Tom 1

 

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A very interesting AAR. Thanks for that. I like the idea of invading France early.

I'm curios how your attempt to encircle the bulk of german forces in the center will turn out. A drop by paratroopers near Arlon could be enough to close the gap.

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/16/2019 6:00:46 AM   
TankBushido


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Turn 66:
Itís the last week of September so Iím trying to make every turn count before I'm beset by bad weather. Letís start with Italy. The last port is cleared on the western coast, so now everything is focused on breaking the line in the north. I punch a hole and the line and my limited mobile forces exploit into the hole. The Germans fiercely counter attack my armored spearhead, but it holds.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/16/2019 6:12:35 AM   
TankBushido


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The Germans are fiercely fighting for the Bulge. In hindsight, I could have better planned and executed this operation. I definitely misplayed it. First of all, I would have waited until Iíd crossed or was adjacent to the Moselle river before Iíd kicked it off. My forces take another turn to clear out forces on the south and east side of the river. The positive outcome is that I cut the rail line, so now getting supplies into the Bulge for the Germans will be problematic. Secondly, a little more forethought would have allowed me to close the gap in the middle. One or two armor divisions coming from the center of the bulge from the west or, as Tom 1 suggested, an airborne drop would have been able to seal the gap and trap them in the bulge. Forces in the north make another strong push south, but there is still a 50 mile gap where the Germans can escape. One more turn should finish the job.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/16/2019 6:30:41 AM   
TankBushido


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But alas, I donít get the chance to finish the job. The Germans counterattack fiercely in many places both in the bulge and on my flanks, but my forces hold against all attacks. Then they pull out to a defensive line to the east. I can only hope that heavy interdiction shreds them as they retreat. Around four straggler divisions are left behind that I can destroy as a consolation prize. Luckily, I think Iím very well positioned for my next push and wonít miss a beat. My plan is to breach the West Wall near Aachen and in the Saar, doing a mini double envelopment. Then I will force my way across the Rhine where the Moselle meets the Rhine. Push east north of Frankfurt and then wheel north and south from there, threatening to encircle each half of the German armies.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/16/2019 11:00:09 AM   
Commanderski


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That's a good plan but you will have bad weather coming so that may change things.

You don't want to break through and get caught in the mud or snow behind the lines without the ability of getting supplies or reinforcements to them.

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/16/2019 9:26:18 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TankBushido

The mop-up operation in Italy is nearing a close. My forces on the Adriatic coast have fully cleared the path to the front. Only one more port on the West coast remains to be cleared. All of my forces should be on the main front within a couple of turns. Iím contemplating railing some of these forces to participate in my operations against the West Wall, but I havenít decided yet. Assuming they stay in Italy, I have two main objectives in Italy after the mop-up. First, seize the airfields around Udine to provide bases for bombing German cities. Second, they could attempt to push through the Alps towards Bavaria and Austria, attritioning the significantly strong German forces here.



If you are playing for victory points, I don't think there is any alternative to sending as much force as possible to NW Europe in order to capture Berlin early. The point system is very heavily weighted toward this. Judging from your VP situation, the AI made a hash of the strategic bombing campaign. I've always managed the air directives myself, so I'm not familiar with how to set up the air doctrines in a way that enables the AI to handle the air war effectively.

Given your situation on the ground, a decent strategic bombing campaign could have had you in positive VP territory at this point, with a reasonable chance of achieving a decisive victory, assuming you capture Berlin by the beginning of February.

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/17/2019 7:56:49 PM   
TankBushido


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The intent of this playthrough was to learn, not optimize victory points. But yes, the AI didn't do well in the strategic bombing campaign; heavy losses and sub-optimal bombing. For whatever reason, it would never target V-weapon launch sites (despite explicit directions to attack them). Luckily, I have now overrun the launch sites so V-weapon VPs are now mostly 0. In my next AAR, I will be taking full control of air forces.

I am going to start shipping forces from Italy to NW Europe. But I do want to try to capture Venice and the airfields, so not everyone is going to go all at once. I'll roll it out over several turns.

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/18/2019 8:44:12 PM   
bomccarthy


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I reached a similar situation on the ground in my past two games - controlling all of Italy up to the Alps, then going on the defensive in the Med and moving the bulk of the Commonwealth forces and Br armored units to NW Europe (I'm always leery of the Br manpower shortage, so I leave the defense of N Italy to Br infantry).

The question: How to transport the units to the north - rail, ship, or road? Rail is probably fastest, but uses up precious rail capacity in France. Ship is next in speed, but uses up the ships you need to move supply from England to Europe. Road is slow. I've always chosen the slowest method, afraid of the effects on supply presented by the other two. However, I'll be interested to see if you have a different experience.

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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/19/2019 6:14:24 AM   
TankBushido


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Turn 67:
Iíve decided to use rail to send them to NW Europe. Iím doing only a few units at a time to reduce the load on the rail network; weíll see how that goes. But operations in Italy continue with high concentration attacks. I have some strong forces here, so Iím trying to punish the Germans for defending the open ground and am trying to chew up some pretty beefy units here. Hopefully, this will drain resources from the main front.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/19/2019 6:21:16 AM   
TankBushido


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My attempt to roll into the next operation to cross the Rhine has started off well. The West Wall was breached easily both near Aachen and in the Saar. Iím still bringing forces forward and I claimed the open space in the vacated bulge. Iíve started to pull all airborne units off the line and forming them into the airborne army with targets being set behind the Rhine between Cologne and Frankfurt. This will be my one big airborne operation of the war. Previously, I only airdropped to support the initial Sledgehammer landings.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/19/2019 6:36:05 AM   
TankBushido


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Turn 68:
Things continue to go well for both of my main thrusts with breakthroughs in both resulting in armor units bounding to the shores of the Rhine river. Iím getting better concentrations of strength with more forces now fully up to the line. I will be able to opportunistically cause the Germans trouble in other areas if they thin out too much trying to stop my main spearheads. The weather seems to be holding up with just rain and light mud, but Iím expecting a pause here pretty soon when the heavy mud hits.

The grind continues in Italy, but not much change in the front; just pushing a couple hexes a week. Victory points are rolling good now with double digit increases every week.





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RE: Operation Sledgehammer í43 - 7/20/2019 5:17:41 PM   
TankBushido


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Turn 69:
Major breakout in the north which allows me to secure more territory next to the Rhine in preparation for crossing it. Things are slower in the south as the Germans deployed stronger forces to block me. Iím able to almost bag a pocket of about eight divisions west of the Moselle river. Heavy rain expected next turn which could throw a wrench in the works.





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