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Cracking tough nuts!

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Cracking tough nuts! - 5/26/2020 11:23:21 PM   


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In all sense of the title, the German divisions held up in Reggio Calabria, Salerno, and Tortoli cannot be displaced. I have task forces outside the port firing, major ground support from my air force, and 5-6 divisions full of combat engineers and artillery support. I barely reduce their forts. I understand at Tortoli because the divisions don't have a lot of combat engineers or artillery, but my combat divisions in Salerno are stacked!

Its October 1943, and my invasions near Anzio are just waiting for the successes of these operations, but its been holding me up for weeks and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

(P.S. They are all Fallschrimjager divisions holding these areas)

Is there something i am missing? Do i need to bomb the ports to oblivion? Should i be ground attacking the units and not just supporting the infantry attacks? I've had naval interdiction control outside the port areas and surrounded sea hexes for weeks, but their supply seems to be still getting through.
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RE: Cracking tough nuts! - 5/27/2020 4:39:16 AM   


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A few ideas, though there are certainly people who know better -

1. Where possible, ensure that the ports are Isolated, and not just under interdiction. I’m guessing you can do that for Regio and Ajaccio, maybe not Salerno.

2. In the air phase, you probably only have the assets to crack one real tough spot a turn right now:

2a. Use ground attack missions with the level bombers, and maybe some of the bomb carrying US FBs. A temporary FB assignment if you have air superiority can help. Wherever you packed the Wellingtons, redirect them to unit attacks with 4,000 lb bombs for this even if you normally have them working operational or strategic targets. Besides killing some FJs, it will disrupt a lot of them before you go in. Don’t be stingy on the air. It might even be worth flying some of the 4 engines over - they don’t kill much, but do cause a lot of disruption.

2b. Place interdiction directly on the target. Whenever you attack, it will automatically take additional losses and disruptions before combat even begins. The British FBs with their rockets handle this quite well. A nice 6+ will help tremendously.

2c. After all that, have a decent package of GS in the form of bomb laden FBs. They seem to do well in the GS role.

Between all of those, you can pound away a lot the elements in the division before the first attack ever goes in. Plus, if the port is isolated, the AA fire to shoot at a minimum of 28 separate attack missions is going to really hurt their supply status.

3. Bring ALL the usable TFs to the party. They can range everywhere and get back to where you need them in most cases...and those guns will make a difference. And for that matter, check that the two corps HQs you’re using each have plenty of attached artillery. US Corps in particular can employ up to 6x BNs in one battle.

4. Re-supply your divisions by air and attack again. Chances are between the air phase disruption, the GS and naval gunfire, and then fighting off your first attack, and the effects of isolation on supply, even the vaunted FJs are looking pretty trashed - if you have an airfield in place, you can rebuild your attack force to perhaps 3/4 of its initial value, while the FJs will be much lower relatively speaking.

5. Consider echeloned attacks.

6. If you haven’t got them assigned somewhere else, the British Assault Engineer support units are invaluable for this.

(in reply to HermanGraf)
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RE: Cracking tough nuts! - 5/27/2020 5:03:33 PM   


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And as community service since loads of people jumped in to help me when I started's an example of how to do that.

A German stay behind defense is a bet, plain and simple, that the allies will either through lack of will or lack of judgement fail to bring a big enough hammer. The ball is firmly in the WA court, who's goal is to murder the Germans cheaply and quickly. And that all comes down to how much you throw at the problem - generally speaking, this is a step function, not a linear one. A "pretty good" allocation of the forces will take thousands of casualties and possibly weeks. A sledgehammer will get it done with only a small inconvenience.

Our example target is Toulon, a port we need to fall right now, and in one assault so that we can be in position to assault Marseilles next turn. And, of course, we don't want to have to use any of the armored assets from our real thrust heading north...

As we can see, it is a formidable looking foe - a full division and a natural garrison, entrenched to fortification level 5. Fortunately, naval patrols launched last turn held up, and it is in full Isolated status - it will still draw from the depot, but it suffers when it comes to re-supply in turn.

Here's what it looks like from the German side, with nearly 380 squads (they do the majority of holding and some of the killing), lots of heavy weapons and guns including more than 50 dedicated artillery pieces (this stuff does a good bit of killing/disrupting, but contributes little to holding) and 9 AFVs (they do both):

Compared to your likely FJ problem, they have a lot of elements, though each element is individually less valuable.

So - how do you handle them?

First, bring in the tactical air level bombers, with a healthy dose of FBs with 1,000 lb bombs as well.

Then, interdiction gets an AD all it's own. Fighter bombers carrying rockets and 500 lb bombs. This may seem wasteful, but generally you'd rather have two ADs that actually do something in one place than two that fail in two places. And to consider you'd usually work quite hard to pocket an FJ division, when one is offered for sense in being a miser. As a note here, the default settings send 24 planes per hex, which is actually quite optimal for wide area interdiction, but I've set the strikes to 90 per attack to ensure there is a cloud of jabos over this one hex.

15th AAF gets in on the party. Those Wellingtons will carry 4,000 lb bombs (kill small numbers of things), and the B-17s will carry whatever the AI decides (disrupt quite a few things). The liberators need to go blow up some things in south Germany, but you could conceivably add them to the package.

A chunk of FBs get left in GS (of those 600, far less can actually range the target), and more importantly, make sure that there are some fighters in there as well - if the LW comes up, we want to kill them and stop any of the dreaded TACBs from getting through.

Not shown here, the same naval patrol that isolated the port last turn keeps running.

And what do we get for all this?

Looks like the port is still Isolated (naval patrol) and has a very nice "9" interdiction on top of it that will be extremely helpful when we attack.

The bombing runs look somewhat underwhelming for all that effort, less than 2,000 killed...

But even the least substantial looking strike has potentially disrupted 5% of the rifle squads. The same element can be disrupted multiple times, so don't add them all up between strikes and think you've disrupted 1000% of the enemy, but when you consider 28 of these missions went in, it has a cumulative effect. On top of which, any Damaged element won't show up as a kill, but is out of the fight and unlikely to come back while that unit is on the line. Which in an isolated port means never.

Now, we sail the two TFs in theater into bombardment positions. If I had six in theater, all six would be outside the port before the attack. Then we bring as many divisions as we can spare into position - the limit will be no using armor (we need the MPs), no using forces tagged for the north (if the sacrifice is meant to delay this turn, we want to make sure it achieves nothing), and anything used has to be in position to march to Marseilles after this attack (in case this is part of a larger plan, we want to break our enemy's OODA loop by crushing his timeline.)

Ensure that all of the attacking units are in the same Army, preferably the same Corps if command will allow it, and that they are in command range. And that the Corps are stacked full of artillery. Six battalions is a middling example, but there is an old Loki AAR that shows a fortress assault corps stacked with super heavy and heavy artillery.

Still, with all that, the odds don't look great - barely better than 1:1.

The odds are lying. They don't account for all the disruption you've inflicted, or the massive disruption the cloud of Jabos is going to cause when this kicks off. See below.

Hooray! We've no doubt caused German High Command a headache.

But, how did that happen?

If we look at what actually got into the fight, we can see that before the battle ever began, nearly 100 squads - a quarter of the infantry - were out of the fight, as were scads of support weapons, and even about 20% of the enemy artillery.

Then when we attacked, nearly half of the remaining enemy force was pinned in place (Disrupted) or Damaged by aerial interdiction and ground support, even if it outright killed comparatively little. Crucially, the enemy artillery and AFVs were basically out of the fight before it began.

Then the naval gunfire, tanks, and artillery did their part, causing most of those "Ground" kills.

When the WA infantry finally closed, there was only a brigade of German infantry left to fight them. Even with excellent defenses, those few thousand men were outnumbered vastly.

And best of all, we still have the MP to march to our next objective, relieve the armor there, and release our main maneuver forces to keep up the pressure on the Germans and make sure they don't get what they want out of this sacrifice.

If you want, now is a good time to dedicate some aerial resupply to ensure that these formations will be in fighting trim next week...

< Message edited by GloriousRuse -- 5/27/2020 5:46:27 PM >

(in reply to GloriousRuse)
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