Matrix Games Forums

Forums  Register  Login  Photo Gallery  Member List  Search  Calendars  FAQ 

My Profile  Inbox  Address Book  My Subscription  My Forums  Log Out

1943 GC: Loki (Allies) GloriousRuse (Axis)

 
View related threads: (in this forum | in all forums)

Logged in as: Guest
Users viewing this topic: none
  Printable Version
All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> Gary Grigsby's War in the West >> After Action Reports >> 1943 GC: Loki (Allies) GloriousRuse (Axis) Page: [1] 2 3 4 5   next >   >>
Login
Message << Older Topic   Newer Topic >>
1943 GC: Loki (Allies) GloriousRuse (Axis) - 1/4/2020 3:05:19 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
Given the request for an AAR (or two) ....

First post reveals not much, as its basically my current interpretation of the usual assumptions. For the action, any posts will be a few turns behind the actual game.

We've agreed to swap sides once this game is over.

Planning

Air OOB

As ever in WiTW, first task is to sort out the allied air OOB. Especially in the Med this is a guddle where the 2 and 4 engined level bombers are mixed up across the air commands. My logic is that if I set up an AD I like to be fairly sure what is in it (without too much secondary checking), so at the least that means separating out the British 2 engined bombers (Baltimores, Bostons, Mitchells, Blenheims and Wellingtons) from the 4 engined stuff. The 2 engined bombers are very useful but at range only carry a few 250lb bombs.

Allied recon planes.

Again, my intent is simplicity, I really don't want to remember to change loadouts and altitudes. Second is these need to be conserved, you don't get many replacements and you need a lot in 1944.

So, in the UK I put the low level Mustangs into Fighter Command and the US F6 in 9 AAF. I'll use these sparingly over N France and the Benelux. In the Med they go into Malta Air Command, but again they are a tactical asset.

The Spitfires go into Tactical Air but will mostly fly over the Ruhr in support of Bomber Command. The F5, F9 and Mosquitos go into the various strategic airforces.

Level Bombers.

In the UK, leave the Halifaxes, Lancasters and Stirling IIIs [1] in Bomber Command. Apart from the Stirlings these are interchangeable. The Stirlings are (I think) worth keeping as you have a fair few of them, use them on separate lower level raids on less well defended targets – towns with #4 pop pts are a good usage.

As above, the 2 engined British bombers (& the Stirling Is) go to 2 Tactical Air.

The US level bombers are all 4 engined and in 8 AAF. Even so its worth noting that the B24s are longer ranged (if more vulnerable) and the B26s can carry a very heavy payload (if they operate without drop tanks). So I seperate these out but use the B-17s as a single block. In the Med, its a mess so I swap around to get the B25s into Tactical Air (along with the British 2 Engined stuff) which leaves Strategic Air relatively small at the start.

The Spitfire mess

Sorting out this is a game in itself not helped by the rather idiosyncratic approach to numbering variants. Having said that, they are good. So what I do is to convert some (the Norwegian, Belgian and Dutch formations are good choices as you need to conserve that pilot stock) to FB (mix of Typhoons and Mosquitos) at the start. The rest of the UK based Vb/Vc I convert as they hit low morale or to shift the planes to other formations. Basically I'll drive FC into the ground by the autumn if I can by AS missions over Belgium and just up to the Ruhr. By then something like 60% of the at-start units are retrained as FB.

Of the alternatitive FB-F, I like the Kittyhawks, they have range and seem to be effective. Mosquitos are invaluable as they can protect the type of raids I like to do with the British 2 engined LB (so get moved over into tactical air).

Tactical Bombers/FB

I tend to move a lot of the Typhoons from the UK to the Med at the start. You have decent production and in any case the Hurricane IIC is a very good ground attack aircraft for 1944. The longer ranged Mosquito FB also go to the Med where they can be invaluable (I tend to keep them resting unless a suitable mission comes up).

So after several hours of moving air units, this is what I had.

UK:










Med







Strategy

Land

For 1943 all (land) roads lead to Rome. Being pragmatic, that is the focus of the Italian Campaign and pushing for more needs to be carefully justified. But if you gain the city in 1943, the accumulated VP will offset any losses in Italy.

The other reason to fight in Italy is to weaken the Germans. My basic attitude is the German military has 2 weak spots – trucks and medium tanks (and, to a lesser extent, Stugs). So the Italian campaign is all about destroying them as that slows the recovery of any Pzr formations that you damage.

I have a variety of favoured spots for the N France invasion, so leave that issue for now.

Air

So the air war?

The Luftwaffe has its own bottle neck – trained pilots. At some stage in 1944, most Axis fighter formations will need to swap over to untrained pilots, and at that point the air war is over. But if that cross-over comes at the end of 1944 its pretty irrelevant as poor weather and the volume of allied planes makes the Luftwaffe unimportant in any case. If it comes say August/September 1944 then the Allies can really cut loose.

So at one level, the Allied air war is an exercise in removing trained German pilots, but you want them out of the way so you can blow up the real threat ... here's reminder (in case you haven't been paying attention):






The good thing is the Germans can't just hide in 1943 as that is also the last time they can actually use their airforce to real value. If the air battles happen on their terms, I won't get the attrition I need, just weakened formations.

This is also one reason not to neglect AA assignment to Allied ground formations, you can get very badly caught out.

As a side note, Allied bomber losses are relatively unimportant, what hampers the Allied bombing campaign is low morale and low morale is often caused by damaged and disrupted planes not outright losses.

So German fighters can badly delay the overall bombing campaign by simply damaging my bombers.

So in NW Europe, I have 3 broad goals:

1 – Get VP. Bomber Command is well suited to hitting manpower and HI, so it can do that. I take a more relaxed view of the U-Boats but there is no point shedding all my bombing VP if I let that issue get out of control.
2 – Disrupt the transport network. At this stage I don't hit the ports, but will try to reduce the railyards. This is more of a 1944 job but it does no harm to get started early.
3 – Hit the weak spots. A mix of the British 2 engined bombers and 8 AAF basically goes after the truck and medium tank production. There is quite a lot of this, plus useful railyards in N France, Belgium and the Netherlands, that can keep the British busy. The B-17s of 8 AAF get the harder stuff in Germany.

#3 is probably the instance where your air and ground strategies mesh.

Historically the Allies were too worried (hindsight is wonderful) about the potential threat of the Luftwaffe in 1944 so went for fighter production sites (the Pointblank directive). Later on fuel and rail capacity were identified as the key bottlenecks. I've nothing against bombing fuel (you even get VP for this outside of Germany)

In the Med, there are 2 main goals for the airwar:

1 – attrition
2 – attrition

One type comes off ground attacks of various types, designed to undermine the ToE of the front line Axis formations. The other comes out of bombing the Italian rail net (and ports). This will rarely choke resupply efforts but it shifts it to using trucks. And those trucks break down or get bombed, they are also not available to move German front line troops.

Later on what becomes 15 AAF can bomb S Germany, but comes after Rome.

[1] At one stage the common approach was to convert these as fast as possible, I actually now think they have a residual value and it eases the demand on your Lancaster production.

_____________________________

Post #: 1
RE: 1943 GC: Loki (Allies) GloriousRuse (Axis) - 1/6/2020 7:49:24 AM   
HermanGraf

 

Posts: 64
Joined: 6/17/2009
Status: offline
Yes!!!! A updated witw AAR! Can’t wait!

Love the allies but I haven’t mastered the art of amphibious warfare yet, so I’ve been sticking to Germans..

Question.. how does the German player keep trained pilots? Is it strictly from maneuvering the luftwaffe around just enough to not get caught in battles it doesn’t want to fight??

Once trained pilots are gone or get low. Do you have to keep certain gruppes on “train” as other groups take the brunt of the allies? The whole production and distribution of units is really a mystery to me... I see the stuff in the pool, but don’t understand how to quickly get those panther ds to the division I need them to be filling... same with pilots..

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 2
RE: 1943 GC: Loki (Allies) GloriousRuse (Axis) - 1/6/2020 8:53:55 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
There are a few options for the German player.

Now this is very much how I see it and others will no doubt have better/different mindsets.

At some stage you run out of trained pilots, low experience is a guarentee of a quick death, especially up against the Allied airforces.
1943 is the last time you can go toe to toe with the Allies (on some sectors) and you can use your bombers effectively to keep the Allies cautious
Day fighters are more important than night fighters.

So what I do, is to look for chances in Italy - or moments of desperation. With the Reich fighters, as pilot gaps occur I tend to disband a few NF formations (as the pilots are 'fighter' they can be used in the day formations). You could set up a small training park behind Germany, just put the fighter units onto training. I've never really been convinced the training function works and in any case they are doing nothing useful.

Once you start to swap over to untrained, its probably too late to get much use out of a training sector - by the time those units will be ready odds on the Allies have run out of viable bombing targets (also remember that in 1945 the bombing multiplier is very low - you really get your 'bombing' VP out of taking cities).

So yes, at its core its fighting where you want, which is why T1 is usually bad news for the German player as an Allied player can make full advantage out of your spread out deployment.

Suggest have a read of Xhoel's excellent AAR, he makes the point that the Germans want to fight very concentrated so as to overwhelm the Allies not dispersed. Of course the consequence is that their bombers might get lucky and hit unprotected targets so you rely on your flak. Not a massive problem, flak tends to damage bombers, damaged bombers = low morale, low morale = bomber formations not in operation.

Getting your tanks to units is really a case of using the refit/supply priority routines. A Pzr division on a major depot and refit will get the kit, one in reserve mode just behind the front won't.

_____________________________


(in reply to HermanGraf)
Post #: 3
T1 ... lets bomb - 1/6/2020 9:38:22 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T1: 3 July 1943

So lets see what happened when I moved from theory to practice.

Air war – Med

So lets start in the sunshine. Not shown are the raids by the Strategic Airforce over the Italian mainland, starting (actually very ineptly), the process of hitting rail yards and ports.

Over Sicily, the fighters from Malta Air Command are flying AS in two boxes to protect some of the other bombing raids.

Tactical Air is split into three main mission types.

1 – the one hex raids are with 2 engined bombers to hit particularly nasty German units (HG Pzr and the Pzr brigade) or the Fw 190G tactical bombers. These can give exposed allied units a really bad day – in testing WiTE2 I've really come to appreciate them as a serious upgrade to the Ju-87 as they are able to deal with fighter cover and trash an unwary Soviet armoured spearhead;

2 – the larger box over what will be the US landing zone is with what is left (FB, tactical bombers, converted FB-F) doing interdiction. The same group of planes are also on GS.

As a reminder if you don't actually assign planes to an AD, they are auto picked and if they then have spare air miles can go into another directive. This is why I linked the level bombers to particular AD, thus keeping the lighter stuff to do interdiction and GS. In general level bombers are excellent for 'unit' attacks but rubbish at interdiction and not very useful mixed up in a GS mission.

3 – a couple of naval patrols. Coastal Air will protect the main landings, the Tactical Air box uses the Wellingtons. With a mine laying loadout these are effective – in general the Wellington is a good all round bomber.



Air War – N Europe

Again this applies the earlier discussion. I'll cut out the detail in future posts but thought it might be useful to set out the logic.

Its actually less confusing than it looks, so lets break down:

1 – lets upset the Luftwaffe. There are 3 AS boxes, 2 from fighter command (using the Spitfires), one from 8 AAF (using the P47s not running escort missions). These provide some protection for the bombers but are designed to get into fights with the Luftwaffe.

2 – lets upset the Wehrmacht. The 2 bomb city missions for 2 Tactical Air use 2 engined bombers and are going after truck production and rail yards.

3 – lets get some VP. Both Bomber Command missions are night raids going for manpower, HI and whatever they hit by accident. The one hex raid (Kleeves) is the lower level Stirlings, the main raid is Lancasters and Halifaxes. I like to draw this fairly wide as that seems to net you more VP in the end. Both are set for 3 days of the week.



In the meantime 8 AAF is going deeper. The Danzig raid is hitting U-Boats with the B24s, the one at Hamburg uses the B26s (as noted shed the drop tanks and they carry a huge bomb load). The B17s are over Hannover going for medium tanks (there is a big Stug factory here) and trucks.



First thing I was interested in was whether I'd done much damage to those German Pzr formations in Sicily. On this evidence no, but the vehicle destruction is good (so that may well hit their mobility) and hopefully there is a lot of disruption/damage that I can't see at this level (but can from the detailed battle reports).



To test this, as an example there are 14 air battles over the HG. Here's one bombing report which supports a belief that I have disrupted a lot. Those will be recovered but can't fight on T2 (so that reduces the risk of a counter-attack) and will convert to fatigue – which is good if the HG suddenly finds it needs to move. Finally, such disruptions might become damaged in a later raid ... think of it as a Tiger tank that is now immobile and in a known location.



My other wider goal was to reduce the number of trained German pilots. Now some of these losses are Italian but I know from a study of the FC/8 AAF AS results the bulk were German. I'll trade 1.5:1 pilot losses and 1.2:1 plane losses all the way to Berlin – not that I expect my opponent will contribute to this goal.

To put this into context, the Germans train around 25-30 pilots a turn (depends a bit on how they set things up).

I also destroyed 26 planes on the ground, add on damaged planes and that should be the Fw-190s out of the way for a short while (they will replace any losses in a few weeks). Again remember, that damaged planes really undermine morale.



So lets look at what I destroyed. The good thing (for me) is most of the losses were German not Italian. Also 23 of the Fw-190G which matches up to the lost on the ground number.

Beyond that most German losses were fighters. I don't care about the lost planes as such (the Germans will have plenty of replacements), its more the manpower and also that those formations may well need a few weeks rest to recover their morale.



On my side, I lost a lot of Spitfires with my aggressive AS. The Stirling Is performed exactly as expected but otherwise British heavy bombers had light losses (= low loss of morale = they fly next week).

I'd guess the B26s are low morale as those losses will be linked to a lot of damaged planes, same with the B24s. But then both have (hopefully) done something useful. The B-17s have taken relatively low losses so hopefully the core of 8AAF is available next turn.




So, results of the strategic bombing. BC did ok over the Ruhr, I can roughly trust these numbers due to decent recon. The Stirlings less so over Kleeve, but anything they hit is a bonus.



Tactical air delivered with good hits on both vehicle production and railyards. Remember the damaged fuel production yields VP where-ever it is located.



The Danzig raid looks good but I had no recon so can't fully trust the results. The Hannover raid a bit so-so, would have liked to have done more damage to the Stugs (which are the backbone of the PzrGr formations). The Hamburg raid looks to have been effective (and this one I can trust a bit more due to recon).



Oh yes, there is a ground war too. Shows the revised Sicilian landings and interdiction. Note that some of 8A is missing.

The naval interdiction for the Americans protected my landings quite well, the British were a bit more exposed. On land, those numbers should help deter any urge to strike back.



And here's a picture of a Lancaster bomber





_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 4
T2 ... sailng around - 1/7/2020 8:07:27 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T2: 10 July 1943 (Fŕilte don Eadailt)

So the Germans are no longer exactly where I want them ...

Even worse they are active. Clearly ran naval missions off Sicily but didn't really undermine my control over the sealanes.

Bit of advice, when you move TF counters you leave a line of positive interdiction behind you. So just moving them along your main sea lanes can be very effective. Also a TF generates a lot of AA (more on this below) so a few bobbing around can be very useful defensively. Of course you don't have enough just to leave them bobbing around.

There was also a lot of German bombing of the fish stocks off Cagliari. I can only presume they were hungry?

And it does look like my opponent has read Xhoel's AAR (something I would recommend). Now if I was planning a landing around there, I'd either have to put a lot of effort into my own interdiction creation – or wait a turn.



Anyway we'll come back to that issue later on.

I try to sustain a steady pace of air operations in 1943 to maximise the VP returns. So I tend to only bomb a few days a week and to use a relatively low cut off point for morale (53) - when the game first came out I was picking 60 for this. This goes back to the point made earlier, its low morale that slows the allied bombing campaign, not outright losses.

Using my criteria, this grounded 50 groups, almost all LB. For the most part that won't really weaken my efforts but a few bits to note.

The Stirling Is are truely useless, well they have done something (actually they probably all crashed on take-off) so I'll now flip over to Lancasters. I tend to do the early conversions by upgrading already resting formations. As feared the US B-24 and B-26s are grounded, but I have enough B-17s left to make some use of.



VP score. Not too bad as a start for the bombing, bit high for non-US losses but that is related to pushing a British division into Siracusa.



So I'll cut down on bombing detail. Basically, BC went for the Ruhr again (the Stirling IIIs did their own thing over a smaller town).

My view is I can escort these pretty well, so will happily fight the German NF. You get a targetting bonus over the Ruhr and its full of targets.

Not shown but tactical air hit the vehicle plants at Paris with a side tour over the railyards.



8 AAF was just the B-17s. Single hex raid on Magdeburg, enough recon to make those results credible. If so thats a hole in the German Pzr IV production for a while (and VP off the fuel).



Air losses. Few concerns for me – that is more lost recon planes than I can easily afford, my naval air has been degraded (why we'll see below) and is hard to replace and much higher LB losses. Basically 8 AAF paid a price for the Magdeburg operation.

For the axis something like 75 out of their 188 losses were Italian.



Switching to Sicily, situation after my ground moves. Looks like the Germans are falling back to Messina (I doubt my interdiction will worry them too much), only land action was at Agrigento where an Italian division was flattened by all 4 naval groups and routed with no Allied losses.

I was content just for the interdiction mission here, a lot of my LB needed to rest (they had hit flak heavy locations last week) and no obvious targets.

Note I only have 1 TF left in position. This is why I kept the Siracusa landing for the British, but for the moment I will be dependent on 1 level 1 port and a level 2 beachhead for supply. Should be ok given the German retreat.

Once Siracusa repairs that will ease the situation.



Oh and here's the British. Not clear but 2 of the spare TF are deployed in that group – AA protection and help generate interdiction. US paras (as a division) are ordered to drop in support, which'll generate a nice tranch of interdiction to protect my landing forces.



Random picture of the week – 51 (Highland) Division scaring the locals ...



As an aside despite its title the bulk of the manpower for the Highland Division came from Lowland Scotland and a fair bit from northern England. The Highland regiments had relatively few locals from the early 19 Century onwards due to low population and the ongoing impact of voluntary migration and the forced clearances.

The Scottish historian, Tom Devine, is very good on the origins and consequences of Victorian era 'Highlandism' that meant these regiments were kept up to strength even if they lost most connection with their notional recruitment areas. Usually one battalion in a regiment would be the local unit and the rest much more nationally recruited – but were expected to wear the kilt, use bagpipes etc.

Having said that, some battalions were largely recruited from the still Gaelic speaking regions of the NW and the Islands. Something that caused occasional command problems (most of the men could understand English – even if they choose not to at certain points). I've read that French Canadian troops used similar linguistic tricks when they didn't want to do something.

_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 5
RE: T2 ... sailng around - 1/7/2020 9:24:14 PM   
bomccarthy


Posts: 388
Joined: 9/6/2013
From: L.A.
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

As an aside despite its title the bulk of the manpower for the Highland Division came from Lowland Scotland and a fair bit from northern England. The Highland regiments had relatively few locals from the early 19 Century onwards due to low population and the ongoing impact of voluntary migration and the forced clearances.



In other words, there were few Wildlings left to fight the Night King.




Attachment (1)

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 6
RE: T2 ... sailng around - 1/8/2020 6:02:38 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
aye, especially given that Martin based his books on the Wars of the Roses? If I recall my late medieval Scottish history I think we were having our own civil war at the time .



_____________________________


(in reply to bomccarthy)
Post #: 7
T3 - a fight over the sea? - 1/8/2020 6:08:10 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T3: 17 July 1943

Well my opponent clearly didn't like my landings in Italy.



Thats a lot of interdiction but I can offset most of it in my air turn. Main issue is it really ups the attrition losses for my TF. But then German bomber losses will have been high so we are both facing problems in sustaining this intensity.



The other cost is it increases the losses of non-US manpower which is bad for VP. Well the gamble is being aggressive gets me Rome in 1943 so we'll see if this pays off.

As a test, I'll reverse this and see what happens with a British landing in Sicily and keep 7A back for other operations.



Usual criteria for air unit selection. Only 47 groups not available, main gap is the B24 and B26 formations, everything else can be used to some effect.

Start converting some formations, including the P47s assigned to 8 AAF.

So air orders for Italy. Basically the bit that matters is the campaign over the landings. So Taranto gets bombed again, deploy fighters to my new bases (hopefully gives me some auto-interceptions), 2 engined bombers go after particular targets.

One consequence of the axis focus on my landings is its given me control of almost all the waters around Sicily. The naval patrol off Palermo will basically seal off the island – though I suspect most of what is in the west is going to be just Italian units.



Northern Europe more predictable. 2 Tac Air carries on visiting rail yards and truck factories, BC sticks to the Ruhr (note I've pushed the main FC AS into the Ruhr to see if I can get the Luftwaffe to fight on my terms). 8 AAF carries on hitting trucks and tanks.



Main issue in consequence was a lot of A2A action – where I traded fighters at roughly 1-1.




BC did as usual – in other words perfectly ok. 2 Tactical Air's commanders were sent to sit on the naughty step outside de Gaulle's office [1]



If I can trust the report, then 8 AAF is doing fairly well. Would have been nice to do more damage to the Tiger factory.



This is the ground losses for the air phase. Seems as if my unit attacks were far better this time (but then I had better recon on the target units as they were next to my invasion site.

I suspect given the vehicle losses I must have hit a HQ with one of the interdiction boxes.



And air losses, a lot of axis fighters (about 70% German). Also they took heavy flak losses (my spare TF) in attacking my landing zones and supply lines.



Situation in Sicily. No real surprises, I'm running this on a shoe-string as my suspicion is the Germans are heading north.



And for 8A. In addition to landing the second wave I air transported in another Paratroop division – I actually find they are often far better use for this mode of delivery than actually being dropped. As here, it can really reinforce a sector without the risk of naval transport.

You can see my spare TF off-shore, that gives me a bonus for interdiction. One is already back in N Africa waiting for its next mission. I will need to pull the others back fairly soon to refit at the very least.



[1] Overy in his excellent Bombing War has a very good chapter on the issues of allied bombing over the occupied countries and the mixed response this had. Clearly the goal was not to hit the civilian population but given the accuracy of bombing this happened – sometimes causing very heavy losses – as in this instance.

_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 8
T4 - Bombing the fish - 1/9/2020 7:33:28 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T4: 24 July 1943

So some slackening of the axis air assault over the sea-lanes. No land attacks so I think either they are still collecting their strength or I have enough deployed in the perimeter to deter them. For now I'm not going to reinforce as this is now a bit of a dead-end.



This gambit really is costing me in terms of VP for non-US losses.



Air unit review grounds 52 groups. Most actually from Tactical Air in consequence to last turn's higher activity. The 8 AAF B26s are still not available but the long range B24s are. Bomber Command is taking very few losses over the Ruhr.


So plan for Italy – not shown is interdiction in Sicily around Catania.

Starting to go for the second tier of railyards (and hence depots) and knock out more port capacity.

Obviously a lot of naval commitment, some attempts to bomb specific German units (hard as they are mostly in hilly/mtn hexes), some interdiction and AS (plus fighters in the landing area kept back for auto-intercept).



N Europe – B24s go for the U-Boats around Emden – note I can now escort. The rest of 8 AAF goes for the truck plants at Mainz. Bomber Command as usual, 2 Tactical Air back over Belgium and Holland (trucks, rail and fuel).



All the British raids were ok, not remarkable, not awful in their results. 8 AAF had a really bad time over the U-Boat sites but if I can trust those results I won't need to revisit for some time.



Even forcing the axis fighters up very high, they managed to do a lot of damage.

As an aside, the Liberator IIIs were converted from the Stirling Is. You have a decent stock of these for the British and they have the advantage of range/load as the US B-24s so its one way to increase the deep hitting power. Here of course they went to a fairly close target as I wanted to remove some U-Boat VP.



Again with all the caveats about recon accuracy, 8 AAF has just knocked out the core of the German truck production. That plus the stuff I've hit in France and the Low Countries will account for around 35% of their potential output.



In Italy for the moment I'm using some of the P38s on AS not escort. That triggered some actions like this – again the Axis have to fight at my chosen altitude and up against decent fighters that can become one-sided.

Again a personal view, this can work as AS missions go looking for a fight while escorts primarily are defensive. So come 1944, use the P-51s on AS not escort over Germany.




Overview. My main worry is the steady attrition of my naval air assets, I can compensate with the Wellingtons but I'd rather not have to.

This gives some idea of my level bomber losses. Most in that turn were the 2 engined types (mostly in Italy) but the B24s also had a bruising – I suspect they will be back to resting for another few turns.



Sicily – again no real surprises. I'd like to take Catania as it becomes a port for me but also removes one source of axis naval interdiction. Palermo et al should fall in the next couple of weeks.



Italy. Filled out my lodgement, still keeping some TF to preserve my supply lines (and for the artillery they deploy) but in effect I only have 2 TF locked into place (protecting temp ports) which means I can start planning the next operation.

Now that 8A HQ is in the landing zone, I can feed in more artillery and AA, which will help in case of a major attack.

But for the moment, this is a defensive operation, its done its basic task of pulling the Germans northwards – of course that is something they may well have done by choice.



Random picture of the week – all those bombs being dropped off Taranto are making fishing very easy – thus my brave British soldiers are getting regular deliveries of fresh Tuna:



_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 9
RE: T4 - Bombing the fish - 1/9/2020 9:33:00 PM   
bomccarthy


Posts: 388
Joined: 9/6/2013
From: L.A.
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

Overview. My main worry is the steady attrition of my naval air assets, I can compensate with the Wellingtons but I'd rather not have to.



I've always found myself having to maintain a relatively low operating tempo for naval interdiction in order not to run out of aircraft. I almost get the feeling that the game has set their operational attrition rate too high (or their production rate too low).

I don't know if the latest version has corrected this, but all of the earlier versions of the campaign scenarios lacked the HMS Roberts and HMS Abercrombie - RN monitors that each sported two 15-inch guns. Both were used extensively for gunfire support during the Sicily and Salerno invasions (see S.E. Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol 9 Sicily-Salerno-Anzio). All of the game scenario TFs available in 1943 have only 5-,6-, and 8-inch guns; again, I haven't seen the latest version.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 10
RE: T4 - Bombing the fish - 1/9/2020 10:43:34 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
The saving grace with the Coastal Air is you only really need them up to Rome, the 1944 landings have so much airpower that you can cover the naval aspect in a relatively relaxed manner. But here my opponent (sensibly) is clearly decided to really commit the Luftwaffe so I feel I have no choice (well I don't to be honest) but to match that. I'm hoping that as I get more short ranged fighters into position his efforts will have to slacken.

now the payback is I have good naval interdiction off N Sicily for minor effort.

I've always (lazily) assumed that the Coastal assets you get are only a portion of what the Allies had? I really should double check as it may be the low replacements reflects other demands - or that these were complicated aircraft and probably diverted a lot of scarce resources.

I'm pretty sure the range of naval guns is as before. I do think I have one (or two?) more TF, but I've not kept any old saves to check against. But in an AI test, I ended up with 7 in the UK and still had 5 in the Med. Its a while since I played WiTW but I recall having 10 before (this was for Feb 44 or so).

This may reflect adding extra allied naval assets, what it does do is make me a bit less cautious once attrition goes over 30% and it seems to make it easier to both prep for further landings and have a lot of artillery just floating around.

_____________________________


(in reply to bomccarthy)
Post #: 11
T5 - keeping our planes nice and clean - 1/10/2020 10:22:43 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T5: 31 July 1943

Quick plot spoiler – this was the worst turn of the game so far for me in the air.

But lets take things in some sort of order. The 'Tuna War' continues off Tarento. Neither side being prepared to cede fishing rights to the other.

Last turn clearly was simply a rest for the Germans as they are back in force.



To help, I've slotted a lot coastal airforce fighters into the landing zone, which should increase German losses.


VP situation – clearly I am now winning. Lower non-US losses reflect that I am not pushing CW divisions through heavily contested sea-zones. Happy enough about the generic bombing VP, I'l cope with -2 for the U-Boats.



Had to rest a lot more air formations this turn (121). As expected from last turn, the B-24s are back on their holidays but also Bomber Command had to rest a lot (slow accumulation of damage etc). Equally the Italian tactical air had been weakened by last week's heavy commitment.

So lets start to unfold the disaster in the air.

2 Tactical Air was sensible – rail yards and trucks with a side order of fuel.

Half of Bomber Command was sensible, the Stirlings got twinned with Cologne. Now I know full well that BC outside the OBOE range is a waste of time ... and yet the lure to do something but bomb the Ruhr comes up. So lets do Berlin.

The B-26s of 8 AAF have recovered, so sent them to the U-Boats at Flensburg – given the hammering I got last turn this might not be a good idea (plot warning). My hope was that the German fighters might not be on the Danish border and equally they did take losses last time. The B-17s decided it was time to hit the Pzr V production.



Italy remains predictable. I wanted Catania (hence the bombing there), everything else is linked to the 8A landing, including bombing out ports and railyards.



So ...

well BC did well over Cologne, nothing but minimal damage at Berlin. Going on the recon, the Nuremberg raid went well – was surprised at the lack of German fighters.




I guess the best that can be said for that is that Flensburg is out of action. So are the B-24s.Looks like I found where the German fighters are.



End of turn air losses. It doesn't look too bad but most of the Axis losses were Italian. As you can see my level bombers took a real hammering.



Land action. Fairly minimal. In Italy destroyed a cut off Italian division and elements 6 armoured cut the rail link south. I doubt there are any German units below this line now.

I now regard this as a defensive set up. I've no great desire to fight the Italians, now I have control over part of the mainland they will surrender – most likely in August (I've seen this happen very early).

My overall feeling is that the Germans can't really weaken their commitment as I have enough armour (1 division and 3 brigades) to make a break out quite dangerous.

So the focus shifts to round #2 of the invasions.

There are a few options, one that is tempting is to try for another encirclement.



Sicily – took Catania, as last week, this cuts out one source of Axis naval interdiction. For the same reason I will try to capture Palermo next week. I may just screen the two western towns till they surrender. Though Trapani is tempting for the airbase.



Random image of the week – why you should always sweep your B-25:



_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 12
RE: T5 - keeping our planes nice and clean - 1/10/2020 4:40:22 PM   
Zovs


Posts: 4795
Joined: 2/23/2009
From: United States
Status: offline
Thanks Loki excellent AAR so far!

_____________________________


War in the East/War in the East II - Alpha Test Teams
WarPlan Beta Tester
DG CWIE2 tester/SPWW2 and SPMBT playtester/scenario & campaign creator

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 13
RE: T5 - keeping our planes nice and clean - 1/10/2020 4:53:00 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
thank you - I'd actually forgotten just how much fun WiTW is. its great vs the AI but PBEM it really shines, lots of thinking and trying to get advantages (& falling flat on your face wearing clown shoes), but also relatively quick. I guess each turn takes under 2 hours and thats with screenshots and notes.

I'll start to reduce the detail as it becomes a bit more repetitive but next turn was good, I get my own back on Hermann G for all those shot down bombers.

_____________________________


(in reply to Zovs)
Post #: 14
RE: T5 - keeping our planes nice and clean - 1/10/2020 9:13:33 PM   
HermanGraf

 

Posts: 64
Joined: 6/17/2009
Status: offline
quote:

and trying to get advantages (& falling flat on your face wearing clown shoes), but also relatively quick. I guess each turn takes under 2 hours and thats with screenshots and notes.


Maybe for you pros! But us newbs (or me) takes about 3 hours just looking at stats of units and trying to figure out why the hell my railroad is yellow instead of green!

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 15
RE: T5 - keeping our planes nice and clean - 1/10/2020 9:56:22 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: HermanGraf

quote:

and trying to get advantages (& falling flat on your face wearing clown shoes), but also relatively quick. I guess each turn takes under 2 hours and thats with screenshots and notes.


Maybe for you pros! But us newbs (or me) takes about 3 hours just looking at stats of units and trying to figure out why the hell my railroad is yellow instead of green!


aye, fair point. I have copious notes from various tests that I refer to as well as half-baked ideas that I am always working on but it does speed game play.

my current problem is remembering to forget all the WiTE2 rules that I've been documenting, at the very fundamentals the 2 games have much in common but the tools to make the logistics system work as you want are very different. So every now and then I do something and expect it to make a difference and nothing happens.

_____________________________


(in reply to HermanGraf)
Post #: 16
T6 - Fiscia il vento - 1/10/2020 10:00:45 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T6: August 7 1943

Well main news is the Italian surrender. A quick glance suggests the Germans had already mostly abandoned Sardinia but there may be substantial garrisons still on Corsica. Key to this is having so much in Italy that the German garrison ratio is overwhelmed - so all those lost VP have some value.

Other good news is the onslaught on my naval supply lines has ceased – at least for now.

Germans had counterattacked to clear that armoured brigade off the rail line going South, fairly heavy tank losses on both sides.

So to the air. 98 Air Groups rested. About 60% of these were level bombers, balance from the Med Tactical Air. Given what has happened on the ground that can have a rest this turn.

VP situation, not much to say.



Bombing plans. In Italy am resting a lot and reorganising. Some naval interdiction to protect my landing zone and to open a sea route to Corsica. Railyards and ports (starting to use the LB from Tactical Air to help) and since I have a good detection level on 2 Pzr formations in clear terrain, they get their very own bombing directive.

The Mosquito FB shift to actually generating interdiction on rail transport, these gave me interdiction #9 on the rail junction near Salerno.

In Europe. BC pulls back to the Ruhr (at least they can find it), the bulk of 8 AAF goes for Frankfurt-Mainz, the B24s (& the British Liberators) hit the large vehicle plant at Zwickau. Tactical Air carries on over Belgium and Holland for now (trucks, rail and fuel).



In outcome, BC was back to 'ok', the Zwickau raid did some damage but the plant is still operating, the Mainz-Frankfurt raids were more effective.

The Italian raids did reasonable damage to their chosen targets.

Best bit is those Pzr formations paid quite a price for being out in the open, especially as there is damage+disruption to add to those losses.

Not shown but axis truck losses since the start of the game are now 4,500. Even without damaged factories the maximum they can have produced would be 3,000, with missing production I'm starting to make a small dent in their mobility.

Overall the air losses were light as fitted my reduced commitment.



Slightly botched the land attacks. My goal was to see if I could cut off the HG Pzr. In any case I wouldn't be able to generate a pocket (and certainly it wouldn't have held). And even without the reserve reaction it would have been marginal. But I could have stopped the reserve reaction.

If I had placed another TF west of the Axis HQ stack, then any reaction is stopped for land units next to a TF. Had forgotten this and only remembered when the result popped up. Anyway thats not bad, not least the German stack are sitting in interdiction #8 so any retreat is going to cause even more problems.



Despite that, the urge to hit HG remained. Not least I know from the air attacks they have a lot of disrupted elements and this is a good chance to convert them to damaged or even destroyed.

Also having retreated up the mountain they are going to struggle to recover and their exit hex is full of allied tactical bombers.

So could have been better but on balance I'll take that as a useful reminder to the Pzrs not to risk playing on open terrain. I may lack 1944 levels of airpower but I can really hit one or two hexes.



Anyway, ground losses at the end of the turn. One of those times when quality more than compensates for quantity as its clear the HG has had quite a battering (again a lot of that is converting disruptions to destroyed)



So here's the end of turn. Pushing down towards Reggio-Calabria to see if anything nasty lurks down there. Depending on how the HG situation develops, I'll happily sit back (in fact will pull stuff out) till the next landings are ready.

But I have a lot of tactical air now in the landing area, so they can indulge in interdiction till I have something more serious for them to do.



Sicily. The Italian surrender gave me Palermo, something lurks in Messina. I have the capacity to close off the port and I'm not really going to be able to do much with 7A for a while.



Sardinia and Corsica. Looks like the Germans left before the surrender. They still have 2 ports so I'll allocate elements of 5A to help the Italians. Put some fighters and short range naval planes into Corsica and Sardinia for defensive work. 2 of my TF are repairing the level 1/2 ports so should have reasonable supply even without Ajaccio and Cagliari – which won't be ready for 4 or so turns.

Using up my admin points on priority repairs and airbase expansion.



Given where we are, have been retasking the airforce. This means a lot of FB-F are being re-equipped and retrained as FB. Here I'm working both for effective plane and availability. So the US P-40 is a good ground attack plane (certainly better than the P47-5) if its at short range, equally the UK Hurricane IIC is a gem if you can get it deployed close enough.

About half of the original fighter command are off being retrained as are a lot of the FB-F from the Med Tactical Air.

Since I think it'll be 3-4 weeks before the next landings are ready, this should give me a large force available at the right moment.

LB are really upgraded usually as they fall into low morale. So I'm slowly bringing in the new B17s and Lancasters with no hit to my operational tempo.

I'm shifting the 2 engined bombers to the longer ranged, slightly heavier payloads (at least in NW Europe). Happy with the multiple 250lb loads in the Med as my LB are mostly running 'unit' bombing missions. In the UK I'll review the spread of types as we approach the main landings.

Other than that, simply managing shortages (this is an issue especially for the coastal air types) by swapping around.

Also now I have Sicily started a major redeployment – this will place all of central and southern Italy in range for the 2 engined bombers and the north can be reached by Strategic Air. I'll start deploying onto Corsica and Sardinia once I have enough port capacity repaired.

And for our random picture of the week ... the wonderful Modena City Ramblers performing Fiscia il Vento [1]



[1] probably the best known of the songs from the Italian partisan movement. The tune is the same as the Russian folk song Katyusha. In turn Soviet troops nick-named the rocket launchers Katyushas as they were so secret when they were first deployed the only designation they had was a 'k'.

_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 17
RE: T4 - Bombing the fish - 1/10/2020 10:15:47 PM   
bomccarthy


Posts: 388
Joined: 9/6/2013
From: L.A.
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I've always (lazily) assumed that the Coastal assets you get are only a portion of what the Allies had? I really should double check as it may be the low replacements reflects other demands - or that these were complicated aircraft and probably diverted a lot of scarce resources.



I'm certain the multi-engine squadrons in the game represent most everything employed by Coastal Command/Coastal Air Force/USN in Western Europe; however, the game doesn't have the FAA squadrons based in the north (Wildcats, Hellcats, and even some Corsairs), although these were relatively few compared to the RAF fighter forces.

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I'm pretty sure the range of naval guns is as before. I do think I have one (or two?) more TF, but I've not kept any old saves to check against. But in an AI test, I ended up with 7 in the UK and still had 5 in the Med. Its a while since I played WiTW but I recall having 10 before (this was for Feb 44 or so).

This may reflect adding extra allied naval assets, what it does do is make me a bit less cautious once attrition goes over 30% and it seems to make it easier to both prep for further landings and have a lot of artillery just floating around.


I always checked the composition of the fire support task groups attached to the task forces prior to committing them to an invasion - you can see the number and size of the guns in the task group. In the earlier versions of the scenarios, task groups with guns larger than 8" didn't arrive until early 1944 (representing the battleships Texas, Arkansas, and Nevada, as well as the RN monitors, I assume).

In a northern France invasion, I typically used those TFs with smaller guns as the "assault group", with TFs possessing 14" and greater guns as "invasion fire support"; I also used the big gun TFs to support land attacks against the Channel ports.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 18
RE: T4 - Bombing the fish - 1/10/2020 10:47:57 PM   
John B.


Posts: 3575
Joined: 9/25/2011
From: Virginia
Status: offline
Thanks for the AAR!

(in reply to bomccarthy)
Post #: 19
RE: T4 - Bombing the fish - 1/10/2020 11:58:17 PM   
GloriousRuse

 

Posts: 248
Joined: 10/26/2013
Status: online
A German Interlude: As Italy Betrays Me (End of T6)

Talking with Loki, he graciously agreed to allow me to post a few thoughts form the German side in his AAR. I caveat this up front with the warning that I am the raw-est of new players, whereas he has pretty much single handedly written half the AARs and advice on this forum. So…when in doubt, trust what he says, and assume my clever plan isn’t all that clever. That said, as it’s all over in Sicily except for the crying and my so called allies have abandoned me, this seems like a good time to interject.

Grand Strategy (or lack thereof).
I view the first round of invasions as a sort of opening prelude the war proper. As such, I went in with the deeply intellectual approach of “lets suss out how he likes to fight. Then lets pick a few of his tools and try to put some hurt on them before the big show. Oh, and not get slaughtered.” As I said, deeply intellectual. OKW should be calling me any moment now to offer me an honorary position on their general staff. Still, my reasoning was essentially that If I could narrow down his playbook early, it would pay dividends later.

The Northern Air War


THE PLAN

The first reports I saw where that great swathes of the LW had been butchered over France and the Low countries. Obviously that had to be rectified, as it directly contrasted my goal of “not getting slaughtered.” More importantly, they told me that generally the early air war was going to consist of:

1) The B-17 Stomp, wherein 500+ B17s attack en masse.
2) Bomber Command doing its thing in the Ruhr.
3) Smaller special purpose raids with B-24s, B-26s, and Stirlings.

I figured I could try to kill B-17s all day and the bombing campaign would continue mostly unabated – and that I could afford to watch a few plants get hammered. It has become apparent to me playing Germans that even with strat recon, the WA picture of factory damage is often well off mark. Between that and the somewhat incredible resiliency and repair rates, I mostly passed on deliberately trying to kill the B-17 stomp.

Bomber command proves infuriatingly hard to inflict meaningful losses on unless they obligingly run into flak belts. Also, a foolish courier carried orders to my night fighters one week, telling them to fly by day. Given the British pushed a massive fighter sweep over the Ruhr the same week, I can only assume the courier was an Allied spy (also, be very careful when using the commander’s report tools to alter air groups -you can change a lot of squadrons round very quickly, but you might have a WHOOPS moment – Loki saw this ahead of time and generously offered to let me redo the turn as he sent the file with the killing in it, but I did not think I warranted such mercy for a technical error). Either way, Harris and the boys weren’t a good target.

But the special raids with B-24s and B-26s…well…they met all the criteria. A limited asset, with unique capabilities in terms of range, used on mission sets that weren’t being covered elsewhere. I figured special missions meant at some point they were coming through the Hamburg corridor to hit the U-boats. So I Jagdcorps got the mission to kill the B-24s and B-26s and piled the majority of their assets into the Hamburg/Denmark area.

THE OUTCOME

So, we achieved what we set out to do. I Jagdcorps hurt the B-24 and B-26 squadrons heavily. They killed a lot of bombers, and hopefully will force Loki to either abandon some special missions or distribute out more of the 8th AF into killable packets. As for the technique, I used auto-intercepts set to 150%, feeling safe in knowing that they were operating in areas where the allies rarely sent large forces over. That will have to change very soon as I look to the next objectives in the air war, but I think it was the right tool for the job of killing smaller forces.

The question of course is whether it was worth giving the B-17 core of the 8th AF a relatively free hand. While they didn’t really do that much damage that couldn’t be brought under control, getting the vehicle and AFV plants back to functionality required precious AP and some are still above 30%. I’m sure when my trucks run out, I’ll look back at this and wonder if it was all worth it.

The Med


THE PLAN

I set out in the med with the following goals:

1) Buy 7 Weeks in Sicily on a shoestring. I am of the opinion that there are a lot of ways Sicily can go wrong for the Germans, and not many ways it can go right. Seeing Loki had reserved two invasion forces, I decided to play it safe and use only token forces in Sicily so I could have a more favorable fight wherever those two forces were going.

Also because I was terrified of having my Germans units cut off with a landing, and then watching the Italians surrender on top of that. If you haven’t ever played the Axis, opening up the first week will cause you to hold your head in despair when you realize that you might spend the first month fighting with one real corps on hand. The urge to run away north is strong.

2) Hurt his naval air and the Strategic AF. As with the air war above, these two forces represented WA assets that are very useful, perform a distinct mission for invasion prep, but are limited in quantity. You might actually get something from putting the hurt on, whereas you sure won’t put a dent in the tactical air forces. I figured damaging these early would slow down his ability to break my rail network and sustain long range water movements. Like invasions.

3) Hurt his TFs and his supply ships. Because the real fight for Italy comes in invasion series two or three, anything that could cut some of the potency out ahead of time could only be a good thing.

THE OUTCOME

How did that work out? A qualified “OK.”
The defining move in the Med was clearly the British invasion in the toe. On one side, it turned me out of Sicily and guaranteed an early Italian surrender. On the other hand, I was already running like a little girl to the Italian mainland, so I’m not sure it changed much in the grand scheme of things. Then again, Loki has far more experience with this than I do, and I am very likely blind to some knock on effects.

More importantly, it opened up a chance for a clean shot at the WA Strategic and Coastal air assets, as well as several TFs and British troops floating on boats.

The entire Regio Aeronautica and nearly 100 German fighters were brought into the area to capitalize while the Heer got to stabilize the line. The ground fighting was limited – he had a strong beachhead and the panzers were still arriving in dribbles, putting a stop my dreams of counterattack – and pretty much only consisted of a local attack on an exposed armor brigade, and the Allied response. Outside a couple thousand losses for both sides, there was no real effect.

The air was a different story. And the heroes of that story were the Regia Aeronautica (I guess the Allies will write a different version, but so it goes). It was Italian bombers that hit the sea lanes, Italian transports that supplied the ground forces as they moved into position, and even Italian fighters managed to get a few swings in. I mean, so did a bunch of German 109s, but any time an open cockpit monoplane kills a spitfire, call it a win.

While the invasion wasn’t cut off, that was never on the cards. The eminently heroic/expendable Italian bomber pilots put thousands of brits into the drink, and did reasonable amounts of damage to the allied stock of cargo ships. I’d like to think they also helped attrit the amphibious TFs and force them to spend time fighting for sea control rather than preparing invasions, but other than two weeks where I know the TFs stayed around, that is probably wishful thinking.

Air to air was less pleasing. I’m not sure if the Strategic air force was all that affected in terms of casualties, but I saw several naval patrol sorties by aircraft that would have otherwise been blowing the crap out of ports and railyards, so that has to count for something. Hardly a major triumph, but I guess it is better than nothing.

Coastal air effects were a bit better, but hardly decisive. I saw a lot of Wellingtons and other long range patrol aircraft go down, and now they won’t get a rest before the inevitable move to Sardinia and Corsica in support of the local Italian traitors. Maybe that will help lessen the sting of the next invasion series, or at least force more strategic air diversions.

VPs
Somewhat more worryingly, Loki is moving aggressively to get into position for a lunge at Rome, and despite his losses the VPs are creeping in the wrong direction. With the initial invasion taxes paid and three months till the weather starts really slowing down VP gain, he may very well finish out the year in a strong VP position. While I expect the killing will go up in the future, the prizes are getting much larger and the bombers are doing their part…

(in reply to John B.)
Post #: 20
RE: T4 - Bombing the fish - 1/11/2020 10:34:27 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I've always (lazily) assumed that the Coastal assets you get are only a portion of what the Allies had? I really should double check as it may be the low replacements reflects other demands - or that these were complicated aircraft and probably diverted a lot of scarce resources.



I'm certain the multi-engine squadrons in the game represent most everything employed by Coastal Command/Coastal Air Force/USN in Western Europe; however, the game doesn't have the FAA squadrons based in the north (Wildcats, Hellcats, and even some Corsairs), although these were relatively few compared to the RAF fighter forces.

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

I'm pretty sure the range of naval guns is as before. I do think I have one (or two?) more TF, but I've not kept any old saves to check against. But in an AI test, I ended up with 7 in the UK and still had 5 in the Med. Its a while since I played WiTW but I recall having 10 before (this was for Feb 44 or so).

This may reflect adding extra allied naval assets, what it does do is make me a bit less cautious once attrition goes over 30% and it seems to make it easier to both prep for further landings and have a lot of artillery just floating around.


I always checked the composition of the fire support task groups attached to the task forces prior to committing them to an invasion - you can see the number and size of the guns in the task group. In the earlier versions of the scenarios, task groups with guns larger than 8" didn't arrive until early 1944 (representing the battleships Texas, Arkansas, and Nevada, as well as the RN monitors, I assume).

In a northern France invasion, I typically used those TFs with smaller guns as the "assault group", with TFs possessing 14" and greater guns as "invasion fire support"; I also used the big gun TFs to support land attacks against the Channel ports.


Heres a terrible confession, I've been playing this game since release, I guess I sort of know what I'm doing (ahem) and I never realised the different TFs were configured to different specifications. I just assumed they were interchangeable. Well now I have more, the really big ones will indeed have a very special role in reducing all the likely fortresses in N France.

re Coastal Command - I think that reinforces a long held view that the game is better for a house rule not to move them out of the UK in that case. They should have as much a role in U-Boat VP gain/loss as the strategic efforts?
quote:

ORIGINAL: John B.

Thanks for the AAR!


glad you are enjoying it, as above had forgotten (too much WiTE2 testing) just how good WiTW is (esp PBEM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: GloriousRuse

A German Interlude: As Italy Betrays Me (End of T6)
....


Hope that readers find this useful. I always find AARs from both sides more informative - even if the posts aren't turn and turn about (as I did with Narwhal for the AGEOD classics).

I'm constantly trying out new ideas (& have a bad habit of changing my mind half way through). So whether my choices are good is debateable (and whether in the longer term they pay off is another question).

I agree that allied recon is dire, especially over the Reich. I could do better in France/Belgium but I'm saving the tactical recon for 1944 when I really want to make sure that certain German formations get their due attention. So you have to treat any bombing result with due caution.

So to the bombing war - with BC I don't think you have any choice but to reduce the Ruhr to rubble (unless you ahistorically switch to day raids), the main thing that slows this is damage (flak and fighter caused) and the axis player doesn't really see that. Other than that, I think I maybe trying to be too clever with 8 AAF and I certainly (see next post) need to pay more attention to the U-Boats. I've now got better fighter cover which helps.

Italy, going in on the Basilicata-Calabria border was an experiment, I tried it in an vs AI game and it worked out ok (you get blocked at the narrow exit point but the AI will block any initial landing). Not sure about it, its not really got me far strategically (though I will be well placed to move north when the front shifts) and it didn't get me any of the German mobile stuff from Sicily (which an invasion lower down might have). It also cost me a lot of effort to keep open the sealanes. So at the moment file it with that classic Scots legal judgement 'not proven' - certainly not sure it would be my gambit of choice.

_____________________________


(in reply to GloriousRuse)
Post #: 21
T7: Sightseeing in Rome - 1/11/2020 10:45:55 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
Turn 7: 14 August 1943

Airforces mostly available, only 68 groups being rested. The Stirling group amongst these so all re-equipped to Lancaster Is – I've had pretty decent usage out of the Stirlings but no point sticking to them.

VP situation a bit frustrating – looks like I need to pay attention to the U-Boats again.



So a few small changes but have sent elements of 8AAF and BC towards the Bremen-Hamburg U-Boats.

In Italy, its a mix of transport nets and direct attacks on a couple of clear hexes with German armoured formations in them (HG managed to pull back).

BC's raids on the Ruhr yielded decent results as did 2 tactical air back at Paris (vehicles and railyards).

The B-24s/Liberators shifted to the Pzr IV factories at Plauen and significant damage was reported. The main 8 AAF raid in the Hannover region reported a lot of useful damage and the Bremen raid (B-26 with their short range pay load) went well enough (not sure if it was Bremen being repaired that cost me all that VP)



In Italy Strat Air hit the railyards around Rome and the rail usage to the south. Both reported a lot of damage. Tactical Air knocked out some more Pzrs but nothing like the damage of last turn.

The good thing is several key hexes for the Germans are significantly interdicted – will cost them to resupply at the very least.



First bit of ground recon around Rome suggests that the Germans are fully committed to the south.



Anyway, as mentioned Hermann's finest got out but 2 German brigades remained in clear terrain. So after bombing them, I attacked – felt it would have been rude not to. Judging by the cv collapse they were very short of ammo (which they should have been due to my interdiction).



Edit: this is a good eg of the oddity of how interdiction air damage is shown if a land battle later takes place in the hex. At first sight I have no air commitment (no GS to hand) but a lot of the damage is coded to 'air' - that was the unit bombing carried out in the airphase. It took me a while to work out where these air losses were coming from in this type of instance.

Even better, they had the brilliant idea of retreating up a mountain (their northern route being blocked). 6 Armoured is not going to hold that pocket – not least there is a fresh Pzr division beneath the HG counter. But this is a battle I'm happy to fight.



Around Messina, looks like a PzrGr division. Something for 7 Army to deal with while its waiting to move on.



Random image of the week: An Italian family take ownership of their very own Sherman Tank:




< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/11/2020 10:49:16 AM >


_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 22
RE: T7: Sightseeing in Rome - 1/11/2020 2:11:26 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


Posts: 1917
Joined: 4/14/2016
From: Berlin, Germany
Status: offline
quote:

Random picture of the week – all those bombs being dropped off Taranto are making fishing very easy – thus my brave British soldiers are getting regular deliveries of fresh Tuna:
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/3517/EltNgQ.jpg


On a lucky day, you may even find an iron whale stranded on the beach:


Fine AAR!

_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 23
RE: T7: Sightseeing in Rome - 1/11/2020 3:47:19 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
wish I'd found that image ..

presume it was hit in the Wadden Zee or somewhere similar? Hence on a sand bank at low water.

_____________________________


(in reply to EwaldvonKleist)
Post #: 24
T8 - I don't like U-Boats - 1/11/2020 3:50:29 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T8 – 21 August 1943

Back to negative VP, mainly due to non-US losses.



Seems that Canadian tanks don't fight well on a mountain top, but 6 Arm almost held. Could have done without those losses, even if it is no real surprise.



Good news is lots of planes available – only 53 squardrons being rested.

Also the converted FB-F/FB formations start to return which will give a nice boost to my airpower.

Anyway, had a rethink about my approach.

Northern Europe, BC is now in 3 blocks. The majority (60%) stick to the Ruhr but have reinforced the night raids over Bremen and gone back to picking on isolated cities (Bielefeld this turn).

8 AAF I've turned around my usual approach. A well escorted 500+ raid with the B-17s is going for the U-Boats (and no doubt a big fight), the B24s over Berlin and the B26s join in the destruction of the Ruhr (but targetted just at Hagen).

2 Tactical Air hits the Reich for the first time – the isolated (in terms of fighters – I hope) town of Saarbruecken.

Mostly this is more VP focussed than I have been recently but still contains AFV and truck production.



Italy is also swapped around. Strategic Air is now doing its locust act on the Italian communications net (and the Mosquito FB carry on running up rail interdiction). Letting most of Tactical Air rest but its doing interdiction attack on one key transport hex and unit attacks on the Pzrs that are in clear terrain. Naval patrol is designed to cut off Messina and Reggio-Calabria. Malta air is running an AS over the suspected German bomber concentrations around Foggia.



Outcomes.

BC at the Ruhr was decent, elsewhere probably a waste of time. The Saarbrucken raid reported heavy damage.

The B-24s reported some damage in Berlin (certainly better than BC managed). The B-26s left Hagen in ruins (at least that is what they claim).

The main B-17 raid reported good results and relatively low losses to the German fighters.



Malta Air's intervention triggered some fighter battles with fairly even losses. Strategic air reported a lot of damage to the railyards around Rome and Naples.

Tactical Air's ground attacks paid off with a lot more knocked out German tanks.



On the ground, the 2 exposed German brigades were routed, and this time I occupied the hex in force – though I doubt that the Germans will attack again.

Messina was stormed with no messing about – half the US army plus plenty of naval guns. Also allocated all the British heavy artillery to II Corps – concentrated this represents a lot of useful firepower.



Less successful at Tortoli. French moving up to attack Bastia, possibly next turn – though that is not isolated. And I'm in no particular hurry here.



Situation in Italy. Paras are now pulled off the line and preparing for the next phase. Rail repair unit going south towards Reggio-Calabria, then I can release the TF keeping the temp ports in use. All the others are doing useful things now.

At a guess it will be 3-4 weeks before the next phase, so any action will be clearing up the islands and perhaps persecuting that stack of Pzrs out in the clear terrain.

But it may be more efficient to let most of my tactical air rest – they are going to be busy soon enough.



Truck situation by end of the turn, the Germans have lost 9,000. Sticking to my guess they produce at most 600 per turn then that is most of their spare stock gone (again its a guess but they start with about 3000 over need – but need alters depending on how well their logistics are functioning).

On my side I've lost 7,000 trucks (fairly meaningless as while I can have local shortages its not really a sensible indicator), 37 troop ships (ok, if a wee bit high) and 218 cargo ships

Its impossible to work out how much truck production I've removed. In part as my recon is not exactly reliable and in part as a factory under 50% damage can function fully (or not at all). Heres what I see (only for factories of #5 or more), so lets say for the sake of a rough number I've knocked out about 30% of their production (so they are generating around 400-450 per turn).



And here's the claimed end of term U-Boat position.




_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 25
RE: T7: Sightseeing in Rome - 1/11/2020 3:55:47 PM   
EwaldvonKleist


Posts: 1917
Joined: 4/14/2016
From: Berlin, Germany
Status: offline
I admit the idea came before the image.
In fact its a WW1 sub stranded near Boulogne: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_UC-61

_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 26
RE: T7: Sightseeing in Rome - 1/11/2020 10:48:53 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
right, so it grounded and then split up?

The urge to hit parts of the mainland with your submarine clearly persists to the current day:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-11605365





_____________________________


(in reply to EwaldvonKleist)
Post #: 27
T9 - not always hitting the target - 1/11/2020 10:51:58 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T9: 28 August 1943

So lets start with the VP screen (as it much happier reading for me this turn).

Swapping my bombing plans around paid off, clearly I guessed right about where the U-boats were being produced.



Again most of the airforce available with only 65 formations being rested, but 35 of those from Tactical Air. Good thing is those tempting Pzrs have moved off the front line – I know where they are but want to save my bombers for missions over the next few turns.

Nice steady stream of convered FB coming back to the map. These are mostly going to get some late summer Italian sun.

So the Italian missions are mostly about the transition to the next phase – ports and railyards, the Mosquito FB carry on with rail interdiction but switch to the lines north of Rome.

In N Europe, bit more choice.

8 AAF is in two groups, the B24s are going for the trucks at Brandenburg but the bulk are going to try and wreck the U-Boats so I don't have to pay more attention. To help this BC is going to bomb Luebeck but I've swapped the payload to 14 1,000lb bombs (and added the squadron with the 4,000 lb bombs). I'm also going in relatively low. The locals are advised to wear ear plugs (locals given BC's accuracy being anyone living between Munich and Copenhagn).

The bulk of BC is doing the Ruhr (yawn) with the usual standard loadout (yawn). Main change is a change of payload as I've abandoned the fuel tanks for the Lancasters in favour of more incendiaries.

Another group is going for Cologne, since I want to take out these trucks this raid too includes a few formations just with the large bombs.

Tactical air is off to destroy the Dutch car industry (apologies to my in-laws).



Outcomes. For Bomber Command the main raid was reasonably effective, the Luebeck raid seemed to attract a lot of German fighters but did no noticeable damage (equally my losses were light), the big raid on the Cologne vehicle plant was really very impressive.



8 AAF claims that the Brandenburg factory is in ruins – but also encountered quite a few German fighters. The Hamburg raid was more successful, not least they actually managed to find Luebeck – unlike Bomber Command. Note the fuel all generates VP.

In Italy, despite a fair bit of provocation by my fighters the Luftwaffe skulked on the ground. I suspect they may not just be hiding ...?


The Italians (with some British help) took Tortoli, no attacks on Corsica yet (not least I want to isolate Bastia first). Moving fresh units over to the mainland before any attack on Reggio-Calabria.

However, as noted above the German Pzr/PzrGr formations are all heading north leaving just infantry on the line facing 8 Army. A relatively weak unit securing the western edge attracted my attention.



Any dreams of exploiting to Naples were ended by finding a fresh infantry and a PzrGr division in the hex behind.

So heres an overview of S Italy.




Random image of the week:



Bomber Command has clearly missed the target (by at least 3 seperate countries this time) again.



_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 28
T10 - I own the Islands - 1/12/2020 3:01:01 PM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T10: 4 September 1943

Rather nice to see this. Shift of the bombers to VP related targets has paid off but its time to go back for the things that actually matter. In effect, a summer of steady bombing briefly overwhelms axis repair capacity. All those +6/+8 bombing results start to accumulate to putting a lot of stuff out of action even if total damage is still < 50. Won't last but ...



Only 63 air units resting but frustrating that 18 were from the Med tactical air.

After last turn I've lost interest in VP raiding (as such), so BC is doing 2 things. The Ruhr and Bremen (the raid on Luetzen left me having to rest that group).

One thing worth mentioning here. I've kept the Ruhr mission to 2 days a week, the result is I am keeping the intensity going, so even if a given week is not too impressive the onslaught doesn't slow. Swtich to 3 days and you will start to get low morale formations.

8 AAF has 3 missions. The bulk go for Hannover with HI, trucks and tanks. The B-24s again go long range for Pilzen (trucks) the B-26s for Cologne (see if they can actually hit the vehicle production.

Tactical Air goes for Aachen (HI).

Increasingly 8 AAF is well escorted even if my stock pf P-38s is running out.



So in Italy, struck by indecision. I could launch the second invasion next turn but I've slightly botched my deployment of secondary formations. Also Tactical Air is not really recovering fast enough and I suspect this is going to be another brutal air battle.

So scrapped all my carefully designed orders and went with a basic set of transport attacks. Also altered the Wellington X to 4,000lb bombs to maximise port damage (these really are a slightly underated very flexible plane, good for unit bombing, naval missions and can carry heavy bombs if that is what you want).

Next turn is good weather so not losing out in that respect.

Logic to delay is the assumption I don't lose (& that is unlikely), not least 8 Army is well placed to take full advantage of any weakening of the line holding it in place, then this next phase will end inevitably with the Germans back into southern Abruzzo mountains and around Naples.

In effect, it moves the stalemate north and it doesn't really matter if that bogs down at the end of September or the end of October. What does matter is how many losses I can inflict and for that I need my airpower. I'd also like to take Reggio Calabria first as that frees up 7 Army.

So in the end its a fair bit of recon and some AS. I'd like to know where the German bombers are – they clearly are not at Foggia.



Outcomes. Nothing impressive by Bomber Command, Tactical Air has wrecked Aachen. 8 AAF reports that the raid on Pilsen was effective, the main raid around Hannover worked (even up against a lot of German fighters) while the Cologne vehicle plant should now be shut down.



Italy is all very odd. Seems like the German bombers have gone north and I am very much in the dark as to where the Panzers are. Have detected a few units but they could be anything.

My limited recon doesn't suggest either Pzrs or bombers are around Rome either.



On the ground, my infantry didn't have enough MP to actually attack Reggio Calabria. Last German unit on Sardinia surrendered and captured Bastia (final use of the defecting Italian formations).

Sets off a small reallocation of some planes to Corsica and Sardinia. Gives much more opportunity to bomb into N Italy and around Rome.

Anyway, after a lot of thinking I was eyeing up an unstacked German infantry division on the west edge of their defensive line at Lauria. I've already damaged one of these last turn and the lure of weakening of another was strong (even if I didn't win).

So it got hit by 3 infantry divisions all well supported (51 Infantry has the British Assault Engineer brigade attached – possibly the most potent support unit in the game). As you can see that gives me a massive Engineering value and flattened the fortifications. 6 Armoured exploited to take the hex.



Just a nice starting point for any break out.

I've also boosted my mobile assets here by converting the tank brigades held back at the Corps level into on map counters.



As an end note, we had a discussion about that attack and why it occured to me as a good idea.

So here's my logic.

1) German infantry are vulnerable and you can't trust the shown CV ratio (in this case it was about 1.5:1).
2) if that had been a PzGr of FJ formation my instinct would be that the CV would shift against me, as its infantry (lower morale, less robust ToE) I assume some slippage my way.
3) the current CV is very dependent on the fortification value any drop in that (and if it happens early in the attack it can be decisive) and the CV follows, so my rough 1.5-1 starts to go over 2-1.
4) numbers matter. So by using 3 full strength divisions (all with attachments) & I got a brigade reserve reaction, I quite simply overwhelm the defenders. This is how you deal with elite brigades even in poor terrain – in effect you will often win essentially by having overwhelming numbers.
5) Going back to the fortifications, I had the British assault engineer brigade present. I like to assign this to one infantry division as a fortress buster, I think this pays off better than spreading it around.
6) I took 2 gambles. First there was no air interdiction, though I knew I was going to get GS – as you can see this very usefully disrupted most of the artillery present (and disrupted elements don't fight and air disruption happens before any ground combat) So by the time I closed almost all their artillery and AA/AT was out of action.
7) The other was out of my control. There was a PzGr division lurking behind the lines – if this had reacted I would have lost. But I didn't really care, even in a defeat, I would removed most of the fortifications (due to the engineers) and the PzrGr formation might have got battered.

The moral of this story? – don't trust CV completely. If your defensive CV is heavily reliant on fortifications then there is a risk these can be removed, leaving you very exposed. Also if you outnumber your target (say 3 divisions vs 1 brigade), you have a much better chance than it appears as early disruptions due to air and artillery can start to shift the odds in your favour.

_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 29
T11 - A Bari beach holiday? - 1/13/2020 7:45:32 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6610
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
T11 – 11 September 1943

VP screen. Not going to last but the sustained hits on VP targets (esp by BC) start to overwhelm any capacity to repair. The Germans simply don't have the admin points for this.



Only 52 formations being rested. Usefully almost all the Med Tactical Air are ready. Running into a few shortages but the second generation stuff comes on line in October so can often just about limp along.

Anyway, after last turns panic, I have as much tactical air as I am going to have in Italy so no excuses – just the enduring panic that large parts of the Axis armed forces have disappeared.

So up around Rome am going for the railyards and ports, sticking some Spitfires in to see if I can get the Germans to fight. Below that the Mosquitos carry on doing rail interdiction. I've noticed the Italian partisans are doing a very good job cutting the German rails so there is very little flowing to their forces facing 8 Army. Naples is port + railyards (Wellingtons).

Over the landing zone, still going for rail yards (remember this also undermines the associated depot), some defensive interdiction (which will be increased by the paratroop drops) and a fair bit of defensive naval patrols.



NW Europe, BC doing the Ruhr and Bonn. The formations that attacked Leutzen are still out of action due to low morale.

8 AAF, main raid shifts East to Magdeburg, B26s hit the fuel in the northern Ruhr, B24s trucks around Frankfurt. 2 Tactical Air goes for Paris rail and truck production.



Outcomes. Most of the bombing in NW Europe was ok, nothing great but none that I can regard as a waste of time. If true, the raid on Buer was the most successful single operation.

There is an small issue here, Fuel recovers relatively slowly from damage (2 percentage points per turn) compared to most other targets. Also larger (over 6) targets repair more slowly.



In Italy, my fighters found some Germans around Rome, this was confirmed by the various bombing raids but no German fighter cover reported in the South.

Since the core of that set of AD was to generate interdiction, here's the results. Around Frosinome is the rail missions by the Mosquitos (that will cause a few more bottlenecks) while Tactical air does a good job screening the landings. Have reasonable control of the sea lanes.

Still no idea what those German units are.



So a bit more action than recently. Start with Reggio Calabria. Lots of naval guns and the British heavy artillery. They surrendered on a follow up attack. II US now moves up to join 8 Army.




XXX Corps tried a repeat of last turn's trick. This time it was held, but again note the impact on the German fortifications.



And thus starts phase 2 of the Italian campaign. I never feel confident about any naval invasion in this game.



Not paid much attention to overall losses so this maybe a good point for a recap.

Ground losses look good but of course most of the Axis lost are from the Italian surrender.

Not shown but they have lost 14.000 trucks (1,500 this turn). A secret source in OKH has confessed they have built 16,000 since the start of the game but have send 60% (10,000) to equip the Red Army.



Air losses, again the totals are distorted by the Italian numbers.

Looking at the details, the German bomber force is still intact (I've shot down about 70) which does worry me. They've lost around 1,200 day fighters and 200 night fighters.



Gives some idea of my bomber losses. Note the relatively low outright losses for Bomber Command (Lancasters and Halifaxes) compared to the US B17, 24 and 26s. Equally I've lost a lot of P38s but they have done an excellent job protecting my bomber raids.

Of course the other way to look at it is that 8 AAF has generally done a lot of damage and BC much less so.




_____________________________


(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 30
Page:   [1] 2 3 4 5   next >   >>
All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> Gary Grigsby's War in the West >> After Action Reports >> 1943 GC: Loki (Allies) GloriousRuse (Axis) Page: [1] 2 3 4 5   next >   >>
Jump to:





New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI

0.250