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Noobs are Unlocked 4 vs 4 AAR (Soviets Beginner vs. Adv... - 1/25/2021 2:11:52 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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This is a 4 vs. 4 game we started two months ago and it was designed as a learning game for beginners. Unfortunately for us, it took us a long time to match up against an Axis beginner team, so we wound fighting a pretty advanced group instead. Which is about what happened in 1941!

I will try and post as many of the screenshots from each turn and keep the AAR on pace with the current game. We are on Turn 10 now and have lost Leningrad, Smolensk, and the enemy is knocking on Kharkov.

I will also post a few of the major lessons learned for each turn. Usually, we learned these lessons too late to help us!

< Message edited by JoeLewis -- 1/26/2021 5:17:28 PM >
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RE: Noobs are Unlocked 4 vs 4 AAR (Soviets Beginner vs.... - 1/25/2021 2:15:14 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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The game is on discord with a pretty hefty analysis of our playthrough. PM your discord user name if you want to get added as an observer.

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Turn 1 (Axis) - 1/25/2021 2:47:48 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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Turn 1 Axis Summary: Just go watch The Rise of Skywalker as a good metaphor for how disastrous our first turn was.

BLUF: over 370,000 casualties on the ground and 6,000 planes destroyed in the air. Good sealed pockets in the north and center. 6 mechanized divisions across the Daugava River meant that Leningrad was a top priority for this team.






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< Message edited by JoeLewis -- 1/25/2021 2:48:39 AM >

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Turn 1 (Soviets) - 1/25/2021 2:52:49 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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STAVKA's initial assessment: Not Good!

I set the entire air force on national reserve so that it can recover some morale and repair some forces. We lost over 6,000 planes which is a lot. Flying is for droids anyways.

We have 50 admin points for this turn. @fracas gets 15 @Bashar Al Assad (نیگا) gets 15 and @JonhGalt gets 20. I highly recommend you use those points to replace your worst commanders. Zhukov is reserved for the northern front as either an army commander or a front commander. Mistake #1: Soviets must put in a high Political leader at STAVKA right away to make future replacements cheaper. Front Commanders must also be slowly replaced starting on turn 1 before Army commanders, and you need good Political ratings again to save on crucial Admin Points. We didn't fix this issue until Turn 8 :|

Rail -- we only have 18,000 for the first turn -- is reserved for the northern front to set up the defense of Leningrad for the first turn. We will get more rail on Turn 3 when we also get the ability to evacuate our industry

Priorities for the north --> defend Leningrad. Do not let it fall. you have the Northern and Northwestern Fronts under your command.

Priorities for the center --> cut off German spearheads when you can. defend the landbridge between Vitebsk and Smolensk, as well as the Dnepr. Set up a checkerboard with available units. You have command of the Orel MD and the Western Front.

Priorities for the south --> slowly withdraw your forces and set up a checkerboard defense with the Southwest, Southern, and Kharkov Fronts. Defend Kiev and the Dnepr Basin. Cut off spearheads when you can even at the cost of a few infantry divisions.





< Message edited by JoeLewis -- 1/25/2021 3:03:14 AM >

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RE: Turn 1 (Soviets) - 1/25/2021 3:01:28 PM   
Seminole


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Lost Leningrad by turn 10? Ouch!
Frees up a panzer group with a lot of turns before Winter.

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RE: Noobs are Unlocked 4 vs 4 AAR (Soviets Beginner vs.... - 1/25/2021 6:45:26 PM   
righteousrob

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis

The game is on discord with a pretty hefty analysis of our playthrough. PM your discord user name if you want to get added as an observer.


your PM is full

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RE: Noobs are Unlocked 4 vs 4 AAR (Soviets Beginner vs.... - 1/26/2021 1:18:00 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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LOL, I just realized that you only get so much PM storage. It is clear now if you want to check out the game!

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Turn 1 (Soviet North) - 1/26/2021 2:07:39 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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The North focused a lot on defending Pskov and I built a fort (for 8 Admin Points on turns 1 or 2, ouch!) to cover the Lake Pskov gap for the commander.

Unfortunately, we left the southern flank too wide open. I noticed it and warned the commander, but did not intervene to fix it. Mistake #2 was leaving Pskov vulnerable to being outflanked by German panzers that crossed the Daugava on Turn 1. This was our biggest mistake of the game and virtually guaranteed the fall of Leningrad in 1941. Our forces in the north could never really recover or build supplementary defensive positions in front of Leningrad. RIP in peace.






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Turn 1 (Soviet Center) - 1/26/2021 2:11:24 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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The Center did the best it could to form up a front line, but it was too concentrated and looking at it now I am not sure what we could have done differently other than perhaps put more units along the roads instead of in the forests and swamps. The rearward units will prepare the defense of the Upper Dnepr since the landbrige defense (Smolensk north to Vitebsk) seems already busted here.






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Turn 1 (Soviet South) - 1/26/2021 2:15:48 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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Germans went for a normal Lvov opening instead of the Romania Freeze Line whatchamacallit. We were worried about a more linear frontal advance and encouraged our Southern Fronts to pull back a bit more and stabilize their defenses. One of the key parts of a leakier German encirclement in the south is that your surrounded units should always be moved to try and attack German supply lines and rear areas to cause some havoc. One turn of disrupted rail is huge in the early game, especially in the vast distances of the south. Axis rail will run directly from Lvov to Kiev in this game.




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Turn 1 (Southern Defensive Plan) - 1/26/2021 2:19:02 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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We had a lot of discussion over how to emplace Southern (purple) and Southwestern (green) Fronts' units and the best way to establish a strong checkerboard defense. The attached picture shows some of our thinking in terms of defendable areas to slowly pull back to. Red Army Lesson Learned #1: a normal front line will get you massacred. you are better off with gaps in your front line and putting stronger units on "Reserve" 1-2 hexes to the rear. Your main job of your defenses in the summer/fall of 1941 is to force the Germans to expend Movement Points. You won't stop the blitzkrieg.





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< Message edited by JoeLewis -- 1/26/2021 2:20:53 AM >

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Turn 1 TOE Settings - 1/26/2021 2:25:19 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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I borrowed heavily from Shalkai's excellent Role Reversal Soviet aar located here https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4754512&mpage=1&key=

I tried to provide my best possible explanation for Shalkai's TOE settings based on what I know of the game. I have since come around to the utility of Soviet airborne brigades, but unfortunately we only have 2 of them still left in the game at this point!

I really overestimated the number of SUs we would be able to build in this game. We have barely built any SUs 10 turns in because of how badly we have gotten hammered. AP has gone to leader replacements, eliminating CP penalties, and building forts.
---------------
1. Security Regiments at 55% --> these are nothing more than stop gaps that disappear over time anyways. No reason to waste much manpower reinforcements over them.

2. Fort regiments at 95% --> as the Soviets I build a lot of forts. Their price comes down to 4 AP after the first few turns. Soviet forts are much larger with more manpower and artillery than German forts. So they take a lot more investment in terms of ARMAMENTS and MANPOWER in the early game when you are losing hundreds of thousands of men every week and evacuating lots of armament factories to the Urals. Nevertheless, I am a big believer in using forts to plug gaps and slowly build up the power of your rear areas. Level 3 and 4 forts are serious game changers for weak 1941-1942 Soviet infantry on the defensive. Bringing the TOE down to 95 or even 90% spares you some of the pain in armament and manpower spending.

3. Airborne at 100% --> Soviet airborne units suck monkey balls. They have excellent morale, but they are just individual brigades so they lack the combat strength to do anything even when merged into one hex. Three weak Soviet divisions in one hex have much better strength than three high-morale Soviet airborne brigades in one hex. Also, Soviet airborne missions suck and you are better off using transport planes to resupply cavalry divisions during blizzard offensives. Finally, waiting until 1943 to turn airborne brigades into airborne divisions is stupid and you are better off just forming Guards Rifle Corps in the summer of 1942 with your airborne brigades as soon as you can. I have said my piece. I honestly don't care much about these units, think they are overhyped, and you can feel free to sacrifice them on the front lines.

4. Cavalry at 100% --> The best unit in the Soviet arsenal because they form the corps of your attacking power in the blizzard of 1941 since they can form cavalry corps in December. Save every cavalry division you can and never let one get wiped out for any reason. Use infantry to screen your cavalry forces, not the other way around. Cavalry divisions in this game are just stronger infantry divisions.

5. Anti-tank brigades --> a unit that is good to stack on the defensive with two infantry divisions in areas with lots of panzers. that's all.

6. Tank and motorized divisions (90 for > 45 morale; 75 for >35 morale; 60 for <35 morale). Why the scaling structure? Because you want your stronger units to be prioritized over your weaker units, and you don't want weaker units that get wiped out to get caught with a lot of strong reinforcements.

7. Rifle divisions (90 for > 45 morale; 75 for >35 morale; 65 for <35 morale). Same idea, except manpower is at a premium in the early game so we cap them at 90% early on.
-----------------------------------
SUPPORT UNITS - The Soviets can and will build LOTS of support units. I have set STAVKA's Support Unit level to 9 and everyone else to 0 for the first three turns. I will then manually reassign support units back down to give the front commanders an even distribution based on the idea that each front will command 4 armies and 1 air army. We are looking at building an army of 7 million men, 150,000 guns, 10,000 tanks, and 15,000 planes by 1944. Supports units lets us counter the superior quality of the Germans army.

1. Tank Battalions at 100% our initial tanks suck and we will lose tons of them in most of our battles. Fear not! We will attach a lot of tank battalions to our cavalry corps to give them more staying power.

2. Motorcycle regiments at 60% to save up on some of our truck usage early on, but I really like these support units in the late game because they are motorized and can keep up with mechanized corps in 1943 and beyond

3. Anti-tank/ Anti-air/and Artillery at 90% to save on Armaments in the early game

4. Engineers at 100% they help with urban combat from what I think I understand

5. Construction at 100% - we will be building a lot of construction SUs in the early game because they help with fortification build up of individual units, a key factor in our defensive values early on

6. Mortars/Rockets/Machine Guns at 100% - as we get more sophisticated Support Units it is good to have a variety of artillery in each unit. I like to mix each army with: a field gun, a howitzer, a mortar, a rocket, a machine gun, an engineer, and a ski unit. YES I BUILD A LOT OF SUs

7. Airbases / Army/ Front HQs at 100% - there seems to be some back and forth in the forums, but HQ units operate at their best when set to 100%

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END OF REVIEW - 1/26/2021 2:26:00 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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END OF TURN 1 STAVKA REVIEW

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RE: END OF REVIEW - 1/26/2021 6:25:14 AM   
Seminole


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quote:

Soviet airborne units suck monkey balls. They have excellent morale, but they are just individual brigades so they lack the combat strength to do anything even when merged into one hex. Three weak Soviet divisions in one hex have much better strength than three high-morale Soviet airborne brigades in one hex. Also, Soviet airborne missions suck and you are better off using transport planes to resupply cavalry divisions during blizzard offensives. Finally, waiting until 1943 to turn airborne brigades into airborne divisions is stupid and you are better off just forming Guards Rifle Corps in the summer of 1942 with your airborne brigades as soon as you can. I have said my piece. I honestly don't care much about these units, think they are overhyped, and you can feel free to sacrifice them on the front lines.


From your description you're using them wrong. You don't want to have them stacked on the front line. They're not rifle divisions.
Soviet airborne missions can be extremely useful, but the 'community' here frowns upon their usage because they are powerful when properly applied.
I keep them off the line so I can keep their experience above the 40 threshold required for airborne ops.
Examples of airborne used effectively: Link 1 Link 2 The second link actually features four separate airborne operations in '41 alone!

quote:

Anti-tank brigades --> a unit that is good to stack on the defensive with two infantry divisions in areas with lots of panzers. that's all.


Sometimes I use these units to maintain contact with armored formations for the extra fatigue it generates (especially when it is clear terrain I don't want to watch a rifle division get bounced out of), but most often I'm placing them 10 miles or more behind the main line of resistance to help generate ZOC costs for any spearheads. As you noted, the early game is about costing the Axis MPs, because you're not going to win many battles.

quote:

Tank and motorized divisions (90 for > 45 morale; 75 for >35 morale; 60 for <35 morale). Why the scaling structure? Because you want your stronger units to be prioritized over your weaker units, and you don't want weaker units that get wiped out to get caught with a lot of strong reinforcements.


Another consideration of this scaling is you're going to make it much more likely for your low morale units to rout when attacked.

quote:

Nevertheless, I am a big believer in using forts to plug gaps and slowly build up the power of your rear areas.


I prefer to build them in the rear area so I have time to take advantage of their digging enhancement (they bring up the fortification ceiling for adjacent hexes too, so you can pattern them to cover a lot of ground), but disband them before they can be attacked to avoid surrendering the men and equipment.

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RE: END OF REVIEW - 1/26/2021 3:31:46 PM   
redrum68

 

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STAVKA - Replacing STAVKA with high political and morale in the first few turns is pretty common and a good idea. Front commanders are a bit more difficult as you have very limited options and most of them suck anyways.

North - That T1 in the north is pretty painful to look at. Stacking all your units together in a ball at Pskov is pretty much the absolute worst thing you can do. Live and learn.

South - The name of the game in the south is usually to use checkerboard rather than solid lines until you fall back to the dnepr.

Airborne - Depends on what house rules you are playing as very few games don't have some limit on paradrops as they can be insanely strong. If paradrops are banned then these are good for squeezing panzer supply as they tend to have strong morale so won't as easily rout and have much lower manpower than divisions so avoid wasting lots of men.

Forts - Are over used by most players. These should really just be used to increase the max fort level in important areas like Leningrad and Moscow rear defense lines. You should also consider disbanding these if they are definitely going to fall to the enemy next turn to save manpower and arms as they have very little defense value.

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RE: Turn 1 TOE Settings - 1/26/2021 5:33:06 PM   
eskuche

 

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To add to the above from others:
quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis
1. Security Regiments at 55% --> these are nothing more than stop gaps that disappear over time anyways. No reason to waste much manpower reinforcements over them.

These can't get replacement anyway so it's moot.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis
4. Cavalry at 100% --> The best unit in the Soviet arsenal because they form the corps of your attacking power in the blizzard of 1941 since they can form cavalry corps in December. Save every cavalry division you can and never let one get wiped out for any reason. Use infantry to screen your cavalry forces, not the other way around. Cavalry divisions in this game are just stronger infantry divisions.

Only 200 squads of cavalry per replacement phase A and C (400 total) are available. Some early infantry have cavalry squads as well, so these need to be apportioned correctly to go where needed.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis
5. Anti-tank brigades --> a unit that is good to stack on the defensive with two infantry divisions in areas with lots of panzers. that's all.

If you run tests on these you will see that they don't actually hit panzers. Maybe one or two KIA, but you are more likely to get damaged and destroyed panzers from making them attack a separate hex with this unit on it.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis
6. Tank and motorized divisions (90 for > 45 morale; 75 for >35 morale; 60 for <35 morale). Why the scaling structure? Because you want your stronger units to be prioritized over your weaker units, and you don't want weaker units that get wiped out to get caught with a lot of strong reinforcements.

1941 Soviets have a huge vehicle deficit. Plus, you have a 50% CV penalty for being unready. It's probably better to merge sub-50% TOEs to more than double their efficiency. Provided you have enough counters to cover hexes.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis
4. Engineers at 100% they help with urban combat from what I think I understand

Urban combat can get up to 18-21 SUs per side. You're concerned about 1) getting urban forts reduced because that could lead to a retreat or surrender and 2) stacking CV. Engineer-sapper regiments but not engineers are middle of the line for #2 but I believe aren't available until later. #1 is out of your control during attacks for the most part.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis
5. Construction at 100% - we will be building a lot of construction SUs in the early game because they help with fortification build up of individual units, a key factor in our defensive values early on

This is okay but not very controllable. The sapper regiments and RR repair battalions have the highest construction values early on. Forts don't actually do terribly much < 2 because germans will almost always be able to bring enough guns and engineers to break down sub level-2 forts before CV is calculated. In '42 and on they are valuable because they will increase german casualties, but in '41 their morale is too high. It's much better to concentrate on level 3 forts in rear areas as soon as possible.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeLewis
7. Airbases / Army/ Front HQs at 100% - there seems to be some back and forth in the forums, but HQ units operate at their best when set to 100%

It was patched that HQ unit support squad commitment is directly proportional to TOE now, so it's probably always best to keep at 100%.

< Message edited by eskuche -- 1/26/2021 5:35:11 PM >


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Turn 2 - 1/27/2021 1:56:27 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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Turn 2 opened with the disastrous encirclement of our Pskov defense, which denied us a major river and city for establishing our front lines. You can see that Shapsonikov and his 5 POL rating in charge of STAVKA in our OOB, instead of Timoshenko who is much better in that role. I am also not sure if we are wasting Zhukov as a front commander instead of in an army role. Yes, his bonuses are spread out a bit more, but then they are also denuded because of the more limited impact front leaders have.

Ground casualties were ugly again at 380,000 men, but air losses go way down (for now) thanks to putting the entire Red Air Force on national reserve during Turn 1.




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Turn 2 Casualties - 1/27/2021 1:57:12 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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Casualties




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Turn 2 North Beginning - 1/27/2021 1:58:20 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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Initial Guidance: you got outflanked north and south, but I actually think we have a lot of opportunities here since the panzers are way out in front and you have a lot of combat power available. The Pskov defense is lost, but we need to feed in strong enough reinforcements that we might be able to do some damage. You are still the priority for reinforcements and rail right now since the defense of Leningrad is a high priority. Start thinking creatively on how to break out your garrison.




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Turn 2 North End - 1/27/2021 1:59:43 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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You get all remaining rail capacity and all 39 admin points we have left this turn for replacing army commanders. Get the best people you need in positions to organize a breakout of the Pskov pocket. Also, remember that you can Assign SUs to both Corps and Army commands to maximize your chances for attacks. I could not assign units directly to Northwest Front probably because it was partially isolated. Instead, I colored units on the map in yellow that are under your control even though they look as if they are under STAVKA's command. This includes some units around Moscow and under Moscow's direct command. You have nearly 17,000 rail, use it appropriately. Start building some fortifications as needed to prepare for the defense of Leningrad as well. The AP cost for forts will come down next turn.

-----
End of turn analysis: Disaster in the North. The Pskov Line has been penetrated both in the city, south of the Velikaya River, and north of Laka Pskov itself. Most of Northwest Front is surrounded in the Courland Pocket and most of Northern Front is still on the Finnish border. Novgorod will likely fall in 1-2 weeks, and there are barely any troops between Army Group North and Leningrad right now.




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Tip #2 - 1/27/2021 2:01:30 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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Red Army Lesson Lesson Learned #2 You can disband surrounded front HQs, army HQs, and airbase HQs for free and they reappear on the edge of the map this same turn. Not sure why or how this works, but we were able to disband and rebuild NW Front's command and control structure pretty quickly as a result.

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Turn 2 Center Beginning - 1/27/2021 2:02:56 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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We mistakenly thought that the Dnepr River was not breached, but that was not true and the lack of scouting planes prevented us from reconning that area!

Initial thoughts: We caught a nice break here as your center forces should be able to breakout to the east, AND the Germans did not cross the Dnepr so you can fortify some kind of front line. Focus on the main crossings and building a checkerboard around the landbridge.Vitebsk and Smolensk need to fortify as much as possible. Remember you have the Orel MD as well as the Western Front.
South




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Turn 2 Center End - 1/27/2021 2:03:44 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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End of turn analysis: the center looks a lot better with the stabilization of the Dnepr Line. However, the linear defense needs to transition to a more in-depth defense with secondary and tertiary positions set to reserve and anchored on rivers and towns as the German supply lines resolve. Moscow Aerial MD (dark blue) has also been assigned to this region.




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Turn 2 South Beginning - 1/27/2021 2:04:33 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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The south looks very good despite the destruction of most of Southwest Front.
Excellent defense-in depth should keep the Germans from making huge gains in any one area. We need to start preparing strong points in our rear areas, esp. at the Crimean Peninsula crossings and the major cities along the Dnepr.
get good infantry divisions along those locations with high construction and engineer values to quickly build fortifications there
don't forget you have units in the Caucasus! I moved some up for you closer to Rostov


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Map Turn 2 South Beginning - 1/27/2021 2:06:03 AM   
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South Beginning Map




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Turn 2 South End - 1/27/2021 2:07:12 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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the opening of the Romanian Front means the German panzers are now only 6 hexes away from a rail supply. That means they are now almost completely full on fuel on Turn 3 and just as dangerous to SW and Southern Front as they were on the last turn. You thus need to be able to checkerboard your way as far back as possible with 2-3 lines of defense that can minimize any type of envelopment.
You have plenty of opportunities to both cut off German spearheads and evacuate many of your best units. I consider the sacrifice of 1-2 Soviet divisions in exchange for cutting off 1-2 Germans panzers to be well worth it. Would you, comrade?






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Air Settings and Disaster - 1/27/2021 2:12:38 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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On Turn 2 you can start reassigning your good planes (morale above 40/45, not too many planes damaged) back to your airbases.

I attach the below settings for managing your airpower. Basically, you want level bombers and MIGs in a few long-range bombing bases; then tactical bombers and Yaks/Laggs in a few tactical bases; then good long-range fighters, transports, and fighters SET TO NIGHT for your VVS partisan resupply bases. Unfortunately, your planes suck early in the game and you have to wait eight (?) turns before you can build air squadrons. You can spend manual AP to replace each air squadron one at a time with more modern craft, but the air force is likely not worth the expenditure so early in the game when you need AP to replace poor leaders.

In addition, you have a limited supply of tactical bombers in the early game. We wound up sending to many TACs to the south when we should have concentrated them in the north with the early German emphasis (read: 3 x panzer corps) on Leningrad.

MISTAKE #3 - I left Ground Support on for the first eight turns of the game, which meant our planes participated in A LOT of German attacks and suffered horrendous casualties (upwards of 500-1000 per turn sometimes) in the coming turns. You can turn GS ON when you want to launch a series of coordinated attacks, but please TURN IT OFF in the early game.




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END OF REVIEW - 1/27/2021 2:13:29 AM   
JoeLewis

 

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End of STAVKA Turn 2 Review

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RE: END OF REVIEW - 1/27/2021 3:43:17 AM   
Seminole


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Why does Western Front have so many corps HQs on the frontline?
Seems like needless manpower losses to let them get displaced. I don't like to pay AP to disband them since it will happen automatically, but I do ship them into the rear and park them in cities so they don't needlessly attrit.

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RE: END OF REVIEW - 1/27/2021 2:04:57 PM   
JoeLewis

 

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@Seminole, don't you want your Corps HQ close to your units to ensure supplies and maximum leadership benefits? Every bit of generalship you can squeeze out could be decisive at some point in the early turns, no?

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