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T13 - running north ... - 3/24/2020 7:07:44 PM   
loki100


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T13 – 25 September 1943

Southern Italy, much as expected, the marked hexes seem to be the limit of the Allied rail net, but it'll take them a while to generate much rail capacity.

Elsewhere the allies hit my air bases.



Over the Reich, 8 AAF did a small raid at Kiel, bulk of its effort aimed at Hannover and Magdeburg.

BF carries on day bombing in the Ruhr.

VP screen remains depressing viewing.



Beyond that, not much happened, trying to make sure the next round of withdrawals won't leave me too badly exposed and that units in S Italy are able to pull back in some sort of order when needed.


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T14 - Jogging on the spot - 3/25/2020 9:00:31 AM   
loki100


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T14 – 2 October 1943

Guess its time to start checking the weather. At best/worst next week is rain over northern Europe (and yes, I know I can't start expecting worse/better weather than I got away with).

In Italy, allied units move up to the defensive line, till I start to have to cope with withdrawals, I doubt that much will happen.

Looks like rail interdiction and airbase bombing, plus a lot of recon around Rome.

In the Reich, 8AAF carries on bombing U-boats around Hamburg-Bremen and fuel production near Hannover. BC hit Kassel (Tigers?). Limited commitment to the Ruhr.

Since I placed all the day fighters in the Ruhr, the results were rather pointless. There are times when I really feel I do not understand how the air war operates and defensive AS missions seems to be one of them.

VP chart, remains depressing reading.



Hit one over-inquisitive British armoured division. Again its useful to see what the GS commitment is like.



Some culling out of spare units from the garrison commands as I've just lost one Pzr division.



Air losses so far.



Ground losses so far.



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Post #: 32
T15 - its not raining yet - 3/25/2020 9:01:10 PM   
loki100


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T15 – 9 October 1943

That is the Adriatic section of my front line broken – not a surprise with that much bombing and naval support.



Reich – 8 AAF carries on making sure the U-boats never repair. Massive raid around Hannover but not too successful. BC back to night bombing in the Ruhr

Start of turn air losses



And VP situation



Gambled on bombing one of the allied airbases on Corsica, knocked out 43 planes, as far as I can tell a mix of Mosquitos, P-39s and a few recon types.



Other than that, one failed attempt to hit what looked to be an isolated British brigade and a lot of unit shuffling.

Ground losses at the end of the turn.



Next turn may bring heavy rain over NW Europe.


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RE: T13 - running north ... - 3/26/2020 3:34:01 AM   
GloriousRuse

 

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An Allied Interlude: Well, @#%, They Still Have More Mountains.

As we approach the Gustav/Napoli line, the heady days of sweeping gains are likely coming to a close.
And with it comes a close the last part of Italy that works on a defined timeline. The phase we just played has a pretty defined tempo. The Italians will surrender. The outer islands will play out. The allies will land and force a withdrawal to the Gustav. And all of this will probably happen before the end of September.

There’s a weird paradox: there isn’t a lot of time pressure on the WA yet, which gives you a lot of operational freedom in your decisions, but the reason there isn’t time pressure is because all of your big decisions are only going to be different in the particulars. There are ways to change the tempo – land near Rome without the islands, leave a desperate rear guard in foothills as the Germans – but they are rarely truly feasible.

As such, I figured it would be better to concentrate on opening up my future options than focus too hard on obtaining what I knew would probably be given to me. This came in the form of trying to destroy or degrade elite German units and the LW. Better to fight them over empty seas and clear plains than in front of a landing or in the mountains when the clock starts to tick.

The Enemy

Having got a look at what Loki brought down and some recon flights, I composed the following German OOB for Italy:

4x PzG Div & Schmalz (5x when including the anticipated rebuild of the 15th, who would presumably be deployed near Rome to release other units)
3x Pz Div
1x FJ Div
1x Sturm BDE
An unknown number of infantry. Possibly another 1-2x FJs.
A strategic reserve worth at least 2 garrison VPs; call it 20 CV.

~1100x Bombers/Torpedo/Patrol Aircraft between LF 2 & 3, with ~200 replacements anticipated
~250x Fighters
~100 TAC-Bs

I figured he would commit the FJs, 2x PZ Div, 4 x PzG Div (over-estimated) to a well ordered delaying action and acting as a threat-in-being, with 1x PZ Div and the rebuilt 15th securing Rome and acting as an operational reserve. Presumably all the other stuff he wasn’t showing me was digging in the Gustav/Napoli. I strongly suspected he would launch a defense of Corsica with 90th PzG and the Sturm Bde, (right) with all 4 ports occupied. (Wrong)

I didn’t know where or how he would commit his bombers, but figured he would need some for the Corsican defense and that the Gulf of Taranto would be less contested due to range.

The Plan


I wanted to remove the equivalent of two elite divisions from operation, and reduce his effective bomber fleet to 700. While the Germans can refit or rebuild divisions, they have difficulty doing it near the front and they never quite come back to their glory. The bombers can also be rebuilt, but never quite as strong, never quite as good, and not all that fast. My port and rail campaign has been lackluster, so Loki can probably do it all a bit easier. Which is worrying cause he’s quite good at that.

So operation SlamDancer was born in my head. It got a name because that seemed very Allied.

Dancer was the projected island fight where the Free French, 82nd AB, and a couple others would be responsible for securing Corsica. The ground side was meant to be a formality after an initial entry, with airpower from Sardinia bombing the ports into inoperability and cutting the sea lanes. Malta air command, reinforced heavily with fighters, was to set to the work of killing German bombers when they came out to save the island and it’s units.

Slam was the Italian breakout. The plan was to go heavy in the east rather than waste troops fighting for hills in the west; turning the line there would force an abandonment of the hills, and more importantly, offer opportunities to weaken German mobile formations in the open. To ensure link up in a timely manner, the 29th PzG needed to be removed. The plan was simple – leave a British division out to attract a concentrated attack from the 29th and friends, and then use the entire allied arsenal to smash the pre-disrupted division flat. Couldn’t possibly shove it out of the way if it stayed in placed, and removing a division in the opening would make sure Loki stretched thin along the front.

Encircling it seemed unlikely, but stripping it of most of it’s combat power seemed entirely possible. After landing, look for opportunities to work over exposed mobile regiments and draw German tanks into waiting airpower. The landings themselves got sufficient air cover to survive, but it would have been a bad day had Loki gone all in with the LW.

The air war would continue to be a VP hunt, but with an increasing focus on body blows now that combat with the elites was going to be under way. I don’t think even intensely focused bombing can fully break the panzer replacements, but it wouldn’t hurt to take the shine off. Since the enemy had stopped defending the western portions of Germany, I decided on a policy of sending the occasional fighter sweep out further in lieu of escorts when I was hitting near targets.

The Outcome

Dancer was a qualified success. The islands fell in short order with minimal losses, but the opportunity to destroy the 90th entire slipped through my fingers when I balked at sending another TF to sit on the evacuation routes. I also could not repair Calvi with a TF (well, I could, but lesson learned on TFs hanging out in interdiction zones) until degrading LF 3’s attempts to suppress it – for weeks, the only troops on the island were French mountaineers and Italian allies because the English speakers were trapped on boats in port. This is what caused the frontal assault on Ajaccio and later Porto, which had the happy effect of cashiering two regiments of elite units. In the air, the fighters did their good work, but mostly on LF 3. LF 2 remains in Italy with ~600 bombers to hand, or it did before they all shipped out to avoid the airfield raids. LF3 has - something, but lost several hundred. The air war was very back and forth; I’m glad the fight happened here and not over the southern landings.

Slam worked rather well, but only time will tell if it was worth the losses. 29th committed to its attack, sending a British infantry division reeling into refit, and then the counter-attacks literally destroyed every AFV heavier than an armored car in the unit (or so my commanders tell me). However, even the heavily depleted division managed to stop exploitation by the Polish armor who were supposed to finish the job. So rather than having it trapped in between the on-rushing forces and the landing, Loki managed to withdraw it. Still, that’s another full issue of the heavy PzG kit; between that, the 15th, the Corsican losses, I hope a dent is being made. Chasing those hopes, armor elements took the opportunity to work 3rd PzG over on the pursuit. One of their regiments was routed in the push off the beaches, and another battered rather heavily both on landing and near the Ofanto. Each time the HG and/or schmaltz raced through air attacks as reserves and paid for it accordingly. The question hanging in the air is “did that matter, or will a couple turns on refit fix everything?”

Also, it wasn’t all roses. I attempted to cleverly only interdict the hexes I wanted by laying “railway” interdiction while coming off the beaches – but it turns out the blown axis rails didn’t trigger interdiction attacks, allowing a reasonably pain free withdrawal in that regard. Likewise, the combined cost of the three weeks of real action in S. Italy was about 7,000 CW troops. Not prohibitive operationally, but not doing the VP chart any favors – and it’s only worth it if those PzGs were actually affected.

The strategic air war confirmed that Loki had largely abandoned West Germany, prompting a transition to daylight bombing by BC. I had a few weeks where the night fighters tore them to pieces; by contrast, daylight losses were light. I figured I would either reap the benefits of increased bomb effects, or Loki would send his fighters back out to be shot at. The latter is a real consideration as the effect of him ceding the west and increasing parts of the Hamburg corridor is that the LW isn’t dying in nearly the numbers I would like; some day I’m going to look up and see a sky full of Germans when it is least helpful at this rate.



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T16 - never really liked Rome anyway ... - 3/26/2020 7:47:31 AM   
loki100


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T16 – 16 October 1943

Oh well.

At least nothing happened in N Europe (poor weather) – next turn looks like it will return to light rain and stay clear over Italy.

Redeployed the German day fighters into a single large AS zone from Hannover to Hamburg.



No real choice. No real effect on the interdiction levels



Heavy German air losses. Few bright spots, the FW FB did a lot of damage to one US division.



Not many allied troop losses.



Again, not much choice, the VP consequences are going to be disastrous in any case, no point losing too many units at the same time.



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RE: T12 - running up the hills - 3/27/2020 3:44:05 AM   
Seminole


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

he's more prepared to rely on movement than combat to shift the German lines.




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T17 - Advancing, backwards, together - 3/28/2020 7:43:53 AM   
loki100


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T17 – 23 October 1943

Ok, quite a lot happened, so lets try and put it into some order. My final move of last turn was to deploy 1 SS Pzr to hold Naples (this happened after the last image in the previous post). At least that delayed its fall by one turn.

Allies pushed up the east coast taking fairly heavy losses. All things being equal, they have not made much of a breakout from the landing but I suspect/fear a paratroop operation to threaten a wider encirclement.

One good thing is they haven't really taken control of the seas.



In the circumstances, I didn't lose too many planes so can commit again next turn. At one level I'll run the LB into the ground over this mission, till that landing is linked up its a near final chance to hammer the TF as much as anything else.

In the Reich, BC went for the Ruhr and Bremen at night. For once my NF defense seemed to work – I'm convinced this is more or less random luck.

8 AAF mostly tried a raid on Berlin. Took relatively heavy losses from the local flak but more importantly went into the middle of the AS box I set up.

End result was a rare good week for the Luftwaffe.



Not that it makes any difference.



This time managed to isolate the landings.



Followed up by some attacks on the more exposed allied units, they were already having ammunition shortages (the soft factor) so this should limit them for next turn (I hope).

Having hit most of the non-armoured formations, I doubt their tanks will be able to risk any attempt to break out (unless there is a lot more off-shore – and it didn't show up during the naval bombing).

To the south, suspect I am going to lose on FJ regiment but everything else should be able to retreat.



Losses might even put a small (and meaningless) dent into their VP score.





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RE: T17 - Advancing, backwards, together - 3/28/2020 3:40:37 PM   
John B.


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Looks like the Allies have a little bit of an Anzio problem on their hands. :)

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RE: T17 - Advancing, backwards, together - 3/28/2020 4:07:03 PM   
GloriousRuse

 

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Beaches contested. British retreating, Americans routing, Italians shattered. Situation is excellent; I am attacking.

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T18 - heading north - 3/29/2020 10:03:21 AM   
loki100


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T18 – 30 October 1943

Italy. Allies only managed a partial sea connection to their landings. Carry on attacking up the Adriatic coast. Weather has changed to rain so that might help me quite a lot.

Reich, 8 AAF on fuel and U-Boats around Hamburg. Bomber Command back to day over the Ruhr.

VP chart is the usual grim reading.

Looks like light rain almost everywhere next turn.



Managed to isolate the landings again. So decide its worth attacking the advanced units, even if simply for the losses.



Other than that, trying to pull back under some control, see what happens in terms of heavy rains in November.



Have a few infantry units being removed next turn which will need some care in balancing the garrison requirements.

Actually I'd forgotten about the infantry withdrawals so rather frustratingly spent admin pts on mobilising them.


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RE: T17 - Advancing, backwards, together - 3/29/2020 2:53:47 PM   
John B.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GloriousRuse

Beaches contested. British retreating, Americans routing, Italians shattered. Situation is excellent; I am attacking.

You are the blood brother of Ferdinand Foch!

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RE: T17 - Advancing, backwards, together - 3/29/2020 3:40:32 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John B.


quote:

ORIGINAL: GloriousRuse

Beaches contested. British retreating, Americans routing, Italians shattered. Situation is excellent; I am attacking.

You are the blood brother of Ferdinand Foch!


next turn we carry on re-enacting the battle of the Marne, but the version where the Americans were pushed into the sea ...

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RE: T17 - Advancing, backwards, together - 3/30/2020 1:42:40 AM   
John B.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: John B.


quote:

ORIGINAL: GloriousRuse

Beaches contested. British retreating, Americans routing, Italians shattered. Situation is excellent; I am attacking.

You are the blood brother of Ferdinand Foch!


next turn we carry on re-enacting the battle of the Marne, but the version where the Americans were pushed into the sea ...

Be careful, airpower made a difference in that battle as well.

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RE: T17 - Advancing, backwards, together - 3/30/2020 2:22:02 AM   
GloriousRuse

 

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As a slight spoiler, certain American elements were not saved by air power...but fortunately, the US factories are well in stride.

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T19 - a brief change of fortunes - 3/30/2020 6:29:47 AM   
loki100


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T19 – 6 November 1943

In Italy the allies take Civitavecchia but otherwise retreat to their bridgeheads. Briefly stabilise the Adriatic front and the retreat to Rome carries on without too much drama.

Over the Reich, BC carries on with its daylight raids on the Ruhr and a daylight raid on Wilhelmshaven. Tactical Air's 2 engined bombers attack the U-Boats at Hannover. 8 AAF bombs around Hamburg.

Weather for next turn suggests heavy rain over Germany and light rain in Italy.

VP situation.



Change of focus in Italy, stop the naval air and throw my entire bomber force at Civitavecchia followed up by a major ground attack. With a bit of luck, those 2 divisions won't be a problem for a few weeks.

That leaves Civitavecchis in complete ruins. Its just been heavily bombed by both sides, endured a massive naval bombardment and seen three major battles.




Other than that, disengage a bit, seeking to balance a steady retreat northwards with the chance of being able to lash back at any over-exposed allied units.

Did a massive juggling of units in occupied Europe to meet the garrison requirements after last turn's withdrawals.



Ground losses for the turn.



Air losses.




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T20 - back to normal - 3/31/2020 8:00:29 AM   
loki100


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T20 – 13 November 1943

Heavy rain over the Reich, not too much happened in Italy as the Allies tried to bomb my retreat routes.

Weather forecast for next turn is more heavy rain in NW Europe, light rain in Italy (this is still only producing light mud on the ground).

VP Chart:



Start to pull back, if I have any chance for more counter-attacks its a case of pulling the allies beyond their supply lines.

Abandoned Rome, no point losing a division just to hold it for a couple of turns. I'll probably lose the equivalent of a division in terms of regimental units as I fall back in any case.




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RE: T20 - back to normal - 3/31/2020 2:50:43 PM   
Chama

 

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Bah i wanted to the some american swim back to the corsica. As someone with just a vauge understanding of VPs in this game. Will the casualties the allies sustained be worth it concidering his early capture of Rome? Seems like the allies got a bloodied nose from that forward landing.

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RE: T20 - back to normal - 3/31/2020 3:30:51 PM   
loki100


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by all the VP metrics he's doing more than fine, only thing he's not really done is to inflict many outright losses on me. That turn was unusual in that he made a mistake in advancing. Should (I think) have just sat in the beachhead hexes given that I was in full retreat.

As in the classic AGEOD games, doing nothing is often the best approach but there is always a temptation to try and push things a bit faster.

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RE: T20 - back to normal - 3/31/2020 11:03:43 PM   
GloriousRuse

 

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An Allied Interlude: “Strategy without Tactics…” OR “When the Tigers Broke Free”

This was intended as the culminating move of the ’43 Italy campaign since the beginning. The fights to weaken the bomber force were needed because the unexpanded airfields on the islands have trouble supporting naval patrols in force. Three TFs were pulled back even before Sicily was fully seized to create a sufficient bridgehead. 80 admin points were banked to allow the sustained motorization of an entire army for the rush up the west coast over a planned month. And the CW committed to battering their way up the east coast towards Pescara to draw off forces towards a serious third front and cut the eastern rails to Rome on time.
And even with all that it was, as the narrator for Conan would say, “Times of High Adventure!”

So let’s begin with the obvious – an early move on Rome is, even when properly planned, very risky. The Germans will hit a local peak in strength in October, fresh divisions piling in before the first serious rounds of east front withdrawals (in an EF off box – with the EF on, I presume there is similar pressure) which come in November. No matter how much good work you’ve done, there’s simply no way the bomber force is gone yet. And in Italy at least the Germans can still achieve local air parity for key efforts.

On your side, the fresh corps that arrive for the allies in November and December are, well, not there yet. The forces that have to drive north have probably been fighting since Sicily. The allied air force in turn has not yet blotted out the sun, as it begins really building into it’s strength in November and the need for sea control means you cannot convert too many FBs. Oh and the weather is going to be somewhere between bad and terrible from late October until December. (I got very lucky with this – perhaps weather karma from last game).

The fact that Loki literally crushed two armor divisions sitting on a beach with naval support and a ground support air allocation of multiple squadrons should point out just how dangerous things can be.

On the up side, you can pretty much count on having the entire navy to hand, and no time pressure screaming that you need to get a lot of this stuff back to England to get ready for the big show. And, of course, if it works then you should both have lots of points and fair chunk of attacking momentum on your side.
The Enemy
I looked at what the Germans had in the field down south and the layout of their Rome area defenses (they were set up for a Citavecchia – Lido landing zone), and figured on the strategic scale, if I did this then Loki could choose to defend all three fronts evenly – the west coast, east coast, and landings -somewhat evenly, or he could weight one at the expense of the tertiary front. Any plan needed to be able to deal with either option.

I also figured that this would be a phase where he would leave units out to die if it meant buying time (wrong), and that he would commit the LW en-masse (right), but that in a serious fight that meant maybe two weeks of effectiveness before it went to lick it’s wounds. (wrong)

Finally, in terms of what I wanted the Germans doing, above all else I wanted them to face a dilemma of either fighting for Rome while risking the bulk of the Heer, or for all intents and purposes abandoning Rome to preserve the force. Which is a bit like saying the secret to making money is buy low and sell high, but that was the overriding principle: don’t give a fight where they can achieve both with one commitment. The point of taking this huge risk was to avoid getting into a grinding multi-month fight for the city; no sense in paying the blood price just to have a minor link up near the south side of the city.

The Plan

Having decided that above all other things I did not want the landing fight to covered by the same Germans committed to defending Rome, I chose the northern landing sites. There’s less local ports, the terrain is more open to counterattack in many way, but they had two big advantages: the lake forces the Germans to split to cover against a northern or eastern drive along separate rail lines, and there are multiple potential points of penetration where even one brigade breaking free could cut off all the rail lines to west Italy. Loki would have no choice but to commit hard against that chance (well, so I hoped).

Several hundred fighters were shipped up to Corsica and large portions of the level bomber force placed in Sardinia or NW Sicily to provide support, as was the entirety of the coastal air force. And since this operation either meant lots of mobility or lots of casualties, the Americans got tapped for the job. Which I’m sure relieved the brits, since they’ve been called “bait” at least twice already. The idea was to land in October and then fight locally until the November arrival of the Free French to break out for real unless Loki obligingly left a route to Florence and Perugia open. Initially another landing was planned at Piombino, but the dire need for naval gunfire and rotating damaged TFs in for repairs scrapped that idea.

Meanwhile, the two coastal drives were weighted with different resources. I wanted the east to be a serious threat, so they got solid assault infantry and plenty of CW armor which could scream north if left unchecked, with the intent of either being able to bull through two elite divisions to Pescara, or if it was just dross, drive to a position threatening the entire German army – not because they would actually manage to pocket it, but because there would be no way Loki could ignore that and stay near Rome. A turning movement if you will.

The west I did not think would have heavy enemy forces, who would hopefully be racing north to prevent either the landings or the brits from cutting the rails, but several delaying strong points. So I earmarked about 50 AP for motorizing two full corps of infantry and attached brigades, leaving 30 in the bank to pay off the weekly cost – AP to be employed either when there was a chance to cut off and destroy an elite division, or it became clear Loki was going to drop a net of hedgehogs. The ideal time for arrival would be early November, just as the Free French arrived in the landing zones. Sheer task overload should allow the city to be encircled and captured by early December.

The Outcome

Well, that was vicious. I expected to bleed up north. I expected to spend a week or so isolated by air. I even expected to possibly lose an outlying regiment or division. I did not expect to have three divisions effectively cease to exist. A lesson in both the risks of the move, and some poor tactics on my part. Then first division went away because I overloaded the beaches; I really didn’t need the ranger regiment there anymore, but they took up space and that mean a division routed. Yet I somehow made the same mistake again, because I was confident that two armor divisions backed by a TF could hold on when I occupied Citavecchia – even though Loki had very clearly shown the LW was up and running and that he had pulled two full panzer corps into position. But the landing held, and it opened up Rome. It did what it needed to do, but I will admit the manner in which I did it was appallingly ugly.

That said, the landing fights landed some body blows. German pilot losses have now crossed the entire amount they will get back as trained pilots in the course of the war. The bomber force is still real, but it will never again be at the high water mark seen so far. And while the panzers killed a lot – A LOT – of troops, they burnt a lot of armor doing it for what fell short of a strategic success. And the allies can take tactical losses if it means strategic success.

The west went better than planned. I had no idea that I’d have Rome in hand by mid-November. Didn’t catch and destroy much it has to be said, but a few regiments and a quick campaign isn’t a bad pay off.

The east did what it needed to. It pinned down the last of the elite units not being sent to the landings, and in doing so allowed the west to achieve it’s goal. Plus 3rd PzG and Schmalz got worked over. They’re already refitting, but regaining power at the end of a long rail line is hard business for the Germans.

Was It Worth It?

No doubt in a history book somewhere this would be debated heavily. Fortunately for us, we have the VP system. Taking aside the usual attrition losses, the landings cost a phenomenal 36 VP in losses. The eastern drive cost about another 9 VP. 45 VP. That’s a lot of VP. Had I not been routed out, those losses would have been about half of that. Ouch.

That said, Rome alone is worth 6 VP a turn in ’43, and 4 VP a turn in early ’44. Naples and the mountain cities are worth another 2 VP or so a turn, with the likely fall of a few more as we drive north evening the balance for ‘44. So 8 VP a turn for the next 6 turns (48 VP – hurrah for a net +3) and then a long pay out in early ’44.

Aside from which, there was no way Rome was going to be free – no matter if we landed in December, or pulled off a Diadem in May of ’44. Maybe it wasn’t going to cost 45 VP, but it would have cost something

So generally, despite the hideous losses, it was worth it. A strategic success that cost a lot more than it needed to due to tactical blunders.

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T21 - still retreating in the same direction - 4/1/2020 4:36:34 PM   
loki100


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T21 – 20 November 1943

Not much happened in Italy, some bombing of my communications routes, a few isolated attacks on units retreating.

Unfortunately weather had cleared over the Reich to light rain (Luftwaffe was having a rest). Usual day bombing by Bomber Command (do find this ahistoric but its a good way to add extra VP – an earlier patch undermined it as an approach but it seems to work again).

[1]

Looks like cold over NW Europe and light rain in Italy next week.

VP:



So not doing much other than trying not to lose too much as I fall back



Not sure this will make all that much difference.



[1] In this respect the system emerging for WiTE2 is interesting as it limts the type of air directives for certain commands to mirror operational doctrine.

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Post #: 50
RE: T21 - still retreating in the same direction - 4/1/2020 8:29:09 PM   
bomccarthy


Posts: 388
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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

Usual day bombing by Bomber Command (do find this ahistoric but its a good way to add extra VP – an earlier patch undermined it as an approach but it seems to work again).

[1] In this respect the system emerging for WiTE2 is interesting as it limts the type of air directives for certain commands to mirror operational doctrine.


How would this work in WitW? Bomber Command did perform daylight raids once they had fighter escort, primarily from the 8th AF and the few Mustang III and IV units that Fighter Command kept in England (most went to the Mediterranean and were used in a close support role, for some reason). Harris kept up night raids in late '44 and '45 out of sheer obstinacy, even when post-raid recon showed that BC's smaller daylight raids were inflicting more direct damage on industrial targets than the huge night raids.

BC heavy bombers also carried out pinpoint daylight raids on U-boat pens and other naval targets throughout the war; BC Mosquitos, of course, carried out various pinpoint daylight raids, with much attendant publicity.

BC's operational doctrine was Harris' doctrine, and there were calls within the Air Ministry for Harris' dismissal by late '44, especially after his insubordination in refusing to fully carry out the transportation targeting orders in France.

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Post #: 51
RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/1/2020 8:32:52 PM   
Chama

 

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quote:

“When the Tigers Broke Free”


Given the casualties might there be a lot more songs like "When the Tigers Broke Free" in this universe. In all seriousness, thank you both for the great write up and well played to the Allies for capturing Rome in 43'.

I am, however, guilty of wanting to see a repulsed naval invasion. Maybe because it's such an incredible feat by the Axis player in a pbem game. My crystal ball tells me that Loki might get another try in France.

< Message edited by Chama -- 4/1/2020 8:37:37 PM >

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Post #: 52
RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/1/2020 9:15:40 PM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

Usual day bombing by Bomber Command (do find this ahistoric but its a good way to add extra VP – an earlier patch undermined it as an approach but it seems to work again).

[1] In this respect the system emerging for WiTE2 is interesting as it limts the type of air directives for certain commands to mirror operational doctrine.


How would this work in WitW? Bomber Command did perform daylight raids once they had fighter escort, primarily from the 8th AF and the few Mustang III and IV units that Fighter Command kept in England (most went to the Mediterranean and were used in a close support role, for some reason). Harris kept up night raids in late '44 and '45 out of sheer obstinacy, even when post-raid recon showed that BC's smaller daylight raids were inflicting more direct damage on industrial targets than the huge night raids.

BC heavy bombers also carried out pinpoint daylight raids on U-boat pens and other naval targets throughout the war; BC Mosquitos, of course, carried out various pinpoint daylight raids, with much attendant publicity.

BC's operational doctrine was Harris' doctrine, and there were calls within the Air Ministry for Harris' dismissal by late '44, especially after his insubordination in refusing to fully carry out the transportation targeting orders in France.


Thats the problem in that BC did swap over to day bombing in 1944 in part as the Mustangs gave them direct support and they could, as you say, benefit from 8AAF's more general cover. And yes, it was Harris' rather intransigent approach that kept any night bombing beyond that.

The system in WiTE2 is being refined but it can be used to disallow certain missions for certain formations. Since there is also an events system in the game its feasible to see how this could be time limited. Its also got the capacity to limit some of the more esoteric load-outs.

Now one reason for developing this is the air war in WiTE2 is secondary, so that the automation approach is more of a mix between a more refined order system rather than the hands off automation in WiTW.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Chama

quote:

“When the Tigers Broke Free”


Given the casualties might there be a lot more songs like "When the Tigers Broke Free" in this universe. In all seriousness, thank you both for the great write up and well played to the Allies for capturing Rome in 43'.

I am, however, guilty of wanting to see a repulsed naval invasion. Maybe because it's such an incredible feat by the Axis player in a pbem game. My crystal ball tells me that Loki might get another try in France.


I don't think in PBEM that you can destroy a landing. The Allied player would have to reach a long way up Italy (say Sicily-Adriatic or Sicily-Rome) so that they run out of fighters. Even then the landing would have to be isolated for 3+ turns as you'd need not just to run down the supply but get the TFs to move away.

There is a rule that if the allies lose a beachhead battle their CV is inflated so you really need overwhelming odds. If this happens their loses escalate too.

In effect, the goal is to extract a cost in VP/losses for a landing not really to destroy it.

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RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/1/2020 10:04:21 PM   
John B.


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I confess I don't understand the AP dynamics but perhaps it could cost the Allied player AP to use British bombers in the day or Americans at night to represent the political work and effort that would have to go into having the airforces change doctrine, much like the fight Ike had to engage into get the heavy bomber boys to help him out before D-Day.

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Post #: 54
RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/2/2020 1:48:47 AM   
GloriousRuse

 

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I’m of mixed views. On one side, players should have the ability to make a-historic decisions based on circumstance. In this case, Loki had abandoned west Germany to save the LW - though he is back to setting occasional air ambushes - which prompted daylight bombing for the same reasons it looked like a good idea in ‘44. On the other, it does represent a major doctrinal shift which would not be as instantly effective. So there should probably be a mechanic delaying implementation and effectiveness of major doctrinal changes to reflect taking a very large organization and telling it to do something new...

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Post #: 55
RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/2/2020 6:26:34 AM   
loki100


Posts: 6636
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quote:

ORIGINAL: GloriousRuse

I’m of mixed views. On one side, players should have the ability to make a-historic decisions based on circumstance. In this case, Loki had abandoned west Germany to save the LW - though he is back to setting occasional air ambushes - which prompted daylight bombing for the same reasons it looked like a good idea in ‘44. On the other, it does represent a major doctrinal shift which would not be as instantly effective. So there should probably be a mechanic delaying implementation and effectiveness of major doctrinal changes to reflect taking a very large organization and telling it to do something new...


which hits the basic problem. its long been a core mindset to the design of the WiTx series that players shouldn't have to repeat historical mistakes - so no stand fast rules in WiTE etc.

to some extent, reflecting its age, WiTE1 is a sort of sandbox with some attempts to link ahistorical decisions to consequences but that is weak. I recall when the supposedly top players of that game collectively decided the way to win was to withdraw the Germans at the end of the 1941 to Poland and start again in 1942. I remember what became a tedious PBEM when my German opponent just ran away at 2 hexes per turn all of the harsh winter period from 41-42.

WiTW retains a lot more freewill but some of it feeds into the VP system so at least there are consequences. Some of the unrealistic stuff that goes on is probably unavoidable - no German player is going to leave the LW over France after T1. But some is cause/response, across 1943 a lot of Fighter Command was essentially a defensive formation and it only slowly allocated formations to BC for offensive actions. In WiTW its standard to run an aggressive AS over the Rhineland/Ruhr, so if that is allowed, it makes sense for the LW to ahistorically adjust to an ahistoric strategy.

edit: in turn what is missing is any logic for German air raids on the UK. The last of these was historically in April 1945 and they were still a notable feature of the war in mid-1943. Now realistically who is going to do that in WiTW?

Now BC is an odd case. We all know why it stuck to night bombing (primarily Harris was a nut case as well as a bit of a psycho) but there was also a huge sunk cost. OBOE, in-plane radar, training and so on that added to inertia (as an aside its worth noting that 8AAF adopted some of BC's night time tactics for bombing in the autumn/winter when cloud and poor light was an issue). The problem is going ahistorical is actually rewarded by the VP. You get more and you sidestep the German night fighters, and even in 1943 the allies have enough day fighters to dominate around the Ruhr (and their NF are not that bad at day, especially the Mosquitos). So its not really a trade off.

edit #2: there are other odd cases, we know that the NZ and Australian govts were very unwilling to give the British full control of their formations due to bad memories from the Great War. Now its not clear what the NZ govt would have done if the war in the med was clearly over, it might have allowed its units to be transferred to France. S Africa was more independent and had been utterly clear its units should only be used in Africa, it relaxed this to allow the armour to go to Italy, but there is no way would those units have been released for action in France.

WiTE2 is developing an approach that allows freewill apart from where it was in direct contrast to doctrine and a neat, rather subtle, means of capturing the high level political imperatives.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 4/2/2020 8:20:35 AM >


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Post #: 56
T22 - Still moving in the same direction - 4/2/2020 8:21:58 AM   
loki100


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T22 – 27 November 1943

On the ground no action.

More action in the air. 8 AAF attacked Stettin (this missed whatever target they were aiming for) and Luebeck (U-boats), Schweinfurt and Nuremberg.

Bomber Command by day over Hannover where it encountered my fighters. Also A2A combat over the Ruhr. Have no idea how or why as all my figthers are in an AS but some seem to have wandered a long way from the boundaries of the box.

Also seemed to be a lot of recon over France – maybe a winter invasion is being planned?

Makes no real difference in terms of VP score.



Carry on with my retreat in Italy – may as well get as many VP for over doing the N Italy garrison region.



Ground losses.



Air losses, all connected with my recon operations in Italy.

Split up the Reich fighters to see what difference that might make.



Weather for next turn might be heavy rains everywhere.


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Post #: 57
RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/2/2020 9:27:11 PM   
bomccarthy


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

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

quote:

ORIGINAL: GloriousRuse

I’m of mixed views. On one side, players should have the ability to make a-historic decisions based on circumstance. In this case, Loki had abandoned west Germany to save the LW - though he is back to setting occasional air ambushes - which prompted daylight bombing for the same reasons it looked like a good idea in ‘44. On the other, it does represent a major doctrinal shift which would not be as instantly effective. So there should probably be a mechanic delaying implementation and effectiveness of major doctrinal changes to reflect taking a very large organization and telling it to do something new...


which hits the basic problem. its long been a core mindset to the design of the WiTx series that players shouldn't have to repeat historical mistakes - so no stand fast rules in WiTE etc.

to some extent, reflecting its age, WiTE1 is a sort of sandbox with some attempts to link ahistorical decisions to consequences but that is weak. I recall when the supposedly top players of that game collectively decided the way to win was to withdraw the Germans at the end of the 1941 to Poland and start again in 1942. I remember what became a tedious PBEM when my German opponent just ran away at 2 hexes per turn all of the harsh winter period from 41-42.

WiTW retains a lot more freewill but some of it feeds into the VP system so at least there are consequences. Some of the unrealistic stuff that goes on is probably unavoidable - no German player is going to leave the LW over France after T1. But some is cause/response, across 1943 a lot of Fighter Command was essentially a defensive formation and it only slowly allocated formations to BC for offensive actions. In WiTW its standard to run an aggressive AS over the Rhineland/Ruhr, so if that is allowed, it makes sense for the LW to ahistorically adjust to an ahistoric strategy.

edit: in turn what is missing is any logic for German air raids on the UK. The last of these was historically in April 1945 and they were still a notable feature of the war in mid-1943. Now realistically who is going to do that in WiTW?

Now BC is an odd case. We all know why it stuck to night bombing (primarily Harris was a nut case as well as a bit of a psycho) but there was also a huge sunk cost. OBOE, in-plane radar, training and so on that added to inertia (as an aside its worth noting that 8AAF adopted some of BC's night time tactics for bombing in the autumn/winter when cloud and poor light was an issue). The problem is going ahistorical is actually rewarded by the VP. You get more and you sidestep the German night fighters, and even in 1943 the allies have enough day fighters to dominate around the Ruhr (and their NF are not that bad at day, especially the Mosquitos). So its not really a trade off.

edit #2: there are other odd cases, we know that the NZ and Australian govts were very unwilling to give the British full control of their formations due to bad memories from the Great War. Now its not clear what the NZ govt would have done if the war in the med was clearly over, it might have allowed its units to be transferred to France. S Africa was more independent and had been utterly clear its units should only be used in Africa, it relaxed this to allow the armour to go to Italy, but there is no way would those units have been released for action in France.

WiTE2 is developing an approach that allows freewill apart from where it was in direct contrast to doctrine and a neat, rather subtle, means of capturing the high level political imperatives.


I think the VP structure should undergo a major revision whenever WitW 2.0 launches. Right now, the Allied player is encouraged to fling strategic bombers into an 18-month meat grinder, suffering losses that would have caused a complete morale collapse in the 8th AF (in particular).

The danger is the Allied players will shift their strategic bombers to ground unit bombing only, first in Italy and then in NW Europe. Maybe admin points should be charged for changes in doctrine, such as assigning heavy and medium bombers to ground unit bombing; better yet, introduce a separate pool of political points, which would be expended for such missions, leaving admin points for building airfields, etc.

The developers would need to be careful about defining such “doctrinal” shifts - it was not necessarily a doctrinal shift to switch from night to daylight bombing, or vice-versa. As noted, BC carried out very successful daylight raids when its leadership thought it appropriate (new bomber crews were first trained in daylight missions, then night missions), and the USAAF carried out very successful low-level night raids with heavy bombers in the Southwest Pacific during 1943 and 1944, targeting airfields in Papua New Guinea that were a lot harder to locate than German cities.

A doctrinal shift for the USAAF would be area raids using incendiaries, as opposed to precision bombing of specific industrial targets (this was strongly resisted by the 21st Bomber Command leadership until LeMay assumed command). However, the 8th AF did mix incendiaries in their payloads by 1945, so some doctrines were “more like guidelines” (like the Pirate’s Code).

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Post #: 58
RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/3/2020 6:45:08 AM   
Saturn V

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100Now BC is an odd case. We all know why it stuck to night bombing (primarily Harris was a nut case as well as a bit of a psycho) but there was also a huge sunk cost. OBOE, in-plane radar, training and so on that added to inertia (as an aside its worth noting that 8AAF adopted some of BC's night time tactics for bombing in the autumn/winter when cloud and poor light was an issue).


The main reason Bomber Command never shifted fully to daylight bombing is the same reason the USAAF never shifted to nighttime bombing even after the grim days of 1943: the degree of retraining that would have been necessary for existing pilots and crews, as well as changes required in the training organization for new crews. Such retraining and organizational changes would have been enormous and taken much time. USAAF bombers flew in tight formations which made for more concentrated bombing patterns (if the lead crews were accurate) as well as making it easier for fighter escorts to cover. Bomber Command crews had no such training, and no experience in such tight formation flying. As it was, it took some experimentation to develop a suitable formation for daytime RAF heavy bomber operations, which in practice ended up resembling a short version of the bomber 'stream' used in night missions — which was a far looser thing than that flown by the USAAF. Lower altitudes were typically flown for daytime missions — under 18,000 feet when required to visually identify aiming points, which put the bombers at greater risk from flak. Another complication found in the daytime attacks over France was that the pyrotechnics used in marking did not show up well by daylight through the smoke and dust caused by exploding bombs, which negatively impacted accuracy.

Lastly, I would point out it is a myth to say that most of what Bomber Command did was incendiary raids on German cities.

In actuality, 46% of the total tonnage dropped by Bomber Command during the war was against urban areas; the other 54% was against a variety of specific military target types. In terms of incendiary bomb usage, the peak year was 1943. The tonnage of incendiary bombs dropped from 1942-45 by individual year: 1942, 20,534 tons of incendiaries out of 51,028 total tons of bombs dropped (40%); 1943, 82,956 out of 176,352 (47%); 1944, 73,438 out of 571,057 (13%); 1945, 28,215 out of 198,835 (14%). From the ORBs of RAF squadrons I have looked at, there is a noticeable change in typical bomb loads after 1943, with high explosive bombs being carried considerably more often, even in attacks against urban areas.

In terms of incendiary bombs usage, these are the 8th Air Force numbers: 1942, 76 tons of incendiaries out of 2,727 total tons of bombs dropped (3%); 1943, 11,262 out of 47,340 (24%); 1944, 71,386 out of 445,603 (16%); 1945, 26,114 out of 207,257 (13%).

I do agree that Harris should have been replaced as head of Bomber Command by the fall of 1944. His stubborn insistence on prewar theories of air power, even when presented with evidence demonstrating such theories incorrect, never wavered, and as a result it meant the formidable nighttime striking power of Bomber Command was never used to its most effective extent in the latter eight months of the war. By mid-1944, even bombing by night Bomber Command could be quite accurate indeed (provided the Pathfinders were accurate in their marking).

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Post #: 59
RE: T20 - back to normal - 4/3/2020 7:25:48 AM   
Saturn V

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy

The danger is the Allied players will shift their strategic bombers to ground unit bombing only, first in Italy and then in NW Europe.


Well, in real life using the heavy bombers in tactical attacks frequently didn't turn out well, with damage sometimes being done to their own side's units. In attacks against an enemy front line unit, perhaps there ought to be a chance of 'friendly fire' hitting any adjacent friendly unit.


quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy

and the USAAF carried out very successful low-level night raids with heavy bombers in the Southwest Pacific during 1943 and 1944, targeting airfields in Papua New Guinea that were a lot harder to locate than German cities.


Yes, but the Japanese did not possess the numbers of effective light flak the Germans did, which made low-level attacks in the Pacific much more feasible. When such low-level attacks were tried over Europe, the attacking bombers typically got chewed up.

Personally, I find the bomb loads for the heavy bombers in the game — especially the British ones — to be rather odd, and sometimes ahistorical. There are bomb types not included, for example, which were typically used in real life: the AM-M47 100-lb incendiary, AN-M1 120-lb frag cluster (containing six 20-lb fragmentation bombs), and M17 incendiary aimable cluster (containing 110 4-lb incendiaries), all of which were dropped over Germany by the USAAF in considerable numbers. The British are missing the 8,000-lb HC, and there is no differentiation between the quick-opening incendiary clusters and the later aimable incendiary clusters, which were about 3-4 times more accurate. There is no dud rate for bombs either, despite there being one in real life, which in some cases ran as high as 30%.

Another ordnance consideration is that I'm not sure how well the game recreates is certain bomb types being more effective against certain types of targets, or at least being more commonly used against certain types of targets. 100-lb GP and 20-lb fragmentation bombs, for example, were frequently used against enemy airfields, with the former potholing runways and the latter damaging aircraft in the open.

The game also does not distinguish between the B-17Fs with 'Tokyo Tanks' and those without as separate models, and instead lumps them together as one aircraft, using bomb loadouts to differentiate them — I do not find that to be an optimal choice.

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