A mixed bag of a week; I’m very happy to see the Moscow axis has stalled out for a moment, far less happy to see everywhere else the PGs continue to make big bold advances. As mentioned elsewhere, Bobo is very good at those, and it is of course wildly depressing to see lines dissolve in a pile of hasty attacks, but I hold out hope that this pace is trashing the Wehrmacht. Trash is a relative term because it takes a while for any army to fall apart, but one can hope that the constant drain will pay off later.
Of course, for that to matter I have to survive until later, and you already saw the interesting tactical bits in his post (ok, I cut off part of PG2 again), so what does that look like?
Well in ’41 we have three key VP marks to care about:
1. The first is the German sudden loss point – it probably won’t be an issue this game, but it is certainly a factor to consider in many. If by the start of the new year, the German High Water Mark is not at least 525 points, they lose the game. Another check is made at 575 in late ’42. Now, the HWM is not the current score. It is, as the name implies, the highest score the Germans have achieved. (The historical HWM for ’41 is 591 I believe). But you do need to get there.
This gap represents 155 VPs from where the Germans start, or roughly 12 target cities taken on historical schedule – or maybe 13-14 a bit slower. There are 17 target cities with 1941 dates, plus several “never taken” targets, so that doesn’t sound unachievable (it’s not), but it does have a few effects.
First is that the Germans can’t just hunker down on a nice line in ’41 and start digging in come the mud season. There is a real incentive to keep pushing through November and December, even if it means being over-exposed when the winter comes. It also means there is an incentive to hold on to gains through the winter – give away cities and you might give away the game in ’42.
Second is that there is a reasonable incentive to keep pushing on multiple axes. You simply need the VP – you can barely afford to be stopped on one axis, and if you’re stopped on two things will start looking very ugly for the Germans. Now, this can be paid off if you get a big win like Leningrad or Moscow, but you need to win that gamble if you took the forces off another axis.
And finally, there is an incentive to push hard and fast like Bobo is doing. The harder and faster you push, the more you move from burning the candle at both ends to putting it in front of a bonfire, but the more likely you are to immediately cross the line into safety. This is not cost free – running ahead of your supplies is murderous on trucks, tanks, and even infantry squads, but what option is ever free?
2. The auto-win condition at the start of the mud season (sort of-the weather model makes this much more variable) requires 700 VPs. That is a LOT of VPs – every single ’41 historical city on time or faster, and a few big bonus pick ups as well. It can be done, it can even be done without Moscow, but if it didn’t involve Moscow it would involve kicking the almighty crap out of the soviets everywhere else.
Unlike the “don’t” lose mark, the check requires the Axis to actively be holding those points when the time comes, not a once had HWM, so the soviets have their last chance to handle that.
For the obvious reasons I would like this not to happen to me.
The chief effect of this is to prevent the Russians from conducting a “run away” defense. Simply put you need to fight, at least some times in some places, or the Germans can win the game with less raw territory than they might require later. As you’ll see in coming weeks, we will soon be at the point where the soviets need to fight.
3. That 750 VP mark sticks with the Axis through most of ’42. This is a pretty big deal and by far the most potentially possible of the checks. The historical German HWM was around 694 in Oct ‘42, so in essence recreating the German campaign through their peak with most of Stalingrad fallen at blazing speed OR with a few bonus objectives can win them the game (or Moscow). Suffice to say this is also one I do not want to happen to me. Also suffice to say it prevents any concerns about me setting my defensive lines at Saratov and Gorky.