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Through a glass, darkly (vs Soviet AI 110/120)

 
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Through a glass, darkly (vs Soviet AI 110/120) - 8/16/2021 1:20:13 PM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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This covers a game vs the Soviet AI on challenging settings.

This covers everything up to the start of T11 (31 August).

It uses the current .exe for beta testing, so some things will be a bit different, not least the latest has reduced the ratio of killed pilots:operational losses.

I've decided there are plenty of turn by turn AARs so this will group turns together and pull out larger trends. I also used this game to test out some ideas that I am (partly) using in a MP game so it suits me to obscure a few choices (though I am convinced the AI reads AARs).

T1

T1 was mostly conventional, air set up to hit the airbases with fighters and then to use GS to wreck the VVS. At the end of this, the Soviets had lost 3,900 planes and the Axis 155.

On the ground, I originally set it up as solitaire to test out pocket formation etc. Then flipped it to an AI game once I was content. I permanently motorised 2 infantry divisions – there are a lot of claims flying around about this and wanted to see how much difference it really makes. I never attack the fortified zones on the west edge of the Bialystok pocket on T1 (better to destroy them when no elements return to the Soviet pools), as an experiment I bypassed a lot of Soviet border forces on the AGN/C sectors, again with a view to destroying when fully isolated.

T1 was predictable. AGN took Riga and Daugavipils, AGC reached Minsk and elements of PG3 pushed along the south of the Dvina. AGS took Lvov and 1PG mainly focussed on an attack towards Rovno (but diverted some units to ZoC constrain the Soviet divisions south of Przemysl.

VP or killed units?

I decided that the key was to destroy Soviet units, so as the game progressed, I looked for pockets even at the cost of gaining VP. The other big decision was to write off Smolensk for any time bonus, having decided to do this, gave me a lot more flexibility around AGC.

Playing the AI

The last bit was to play knowing how the AI reacts at 110. There is no point to partial pockets that will close the next turn, you need to at least ZoC lock a salient. Equally you need to use the motorised divisions to place the front line in ZoC or face endless reserve reactions.

Related to this is that you need 4 (ideally 5) angles of attack. Given how the AI responds, a single powerful thrust will be covered. Multiple threats, and letting some stay latent for a turn, will mean it will leave gaps that you can exploit.

Army Management

Tried out some ideas.

The AP cost of motorisation meant only a few depots could be built and had to make the best of the starting command chain. Main voluntary expenditure was to set 17A to assault (with hindsight this would have been better with 6A as that has better leadership).

Stripped the SU back to OKH. In particular all the Stug, tank destroyer and pioneer formations. Heavier artillery partly sent to 11A (with a lot of pioneers) or held in OKH. Corps left mostly with 2 artillery and 2 AA SU, each motorised division got at least one AA SU as a direct attachment.

For the infantry my goal is to split it 50/50. So half the corps can constantly move, never really gain CPP but essential for flank protection and/or small battles. The other half try to get over 70 CPP and keep there, for the main round of battles.

For the motorised formations, run the mot divisions into the ground if needed, try not to fight with the Pzrs. Between low production and poor replacement its too hard to repair these, ideally they should be fresh for say September when the decisive phase of 1941 occurs.

Air war

Mostly set up around GS. Naval assets to the Black Sea and reinforce with a KG from L4.

Recon, use the army commands just with biplanes for a lot of recon in support of each army. End up running out of these but it really helps with planning. Use the army group recon for longer range over what I think is the key sector (in a MP game I might opt to misdirect with this).

Operations

AGN

My main aim here was to give the AI another focus. My feeling is that vs the AI if you really commit here the outcome will be worse than in MP (not least there is the chance a human Soviet player doesn't spot what you are doing).

In terms of VP, my assumption was to write off the time bonus for Pskov and assume a +6 for Talinin. Instead 4 PG cut a direct route east of Pskov. My immediate goals were a defensive line on the Narva-Luga-Novgorod line. If I could gain any more that would be useful for depth. As it is, the AI was badly beaten in some fighting around Novgorod and a relatively fresh Pzr Corps managed to exploit. If I can cut the land connections to Leningrad I will.

Elsewhere, 16A was meant to take Velikie Luki and a few hexes east. Happy to hold that line (relatively easy to keep in supply over winter) unless the AI seriously collapses.

Elements of 3 PG and 9A have helped generate a sequence of small pockets in the Vitebsk-Velikie Luki sector.



AGC

Here, the basic operational design was 2 thrusts to spread out the AI. This has worked in part as every now and then one or the other Pzr Grp has been presented with an opportunity.

As is clear from the map, I've really struggled for secondary pockets. The one between Mogilev and Gomel is the first army (+) scale pocket since T2.

Overall I've put the VP chart out of mind here. My entire plan rests on the second half of the summer offensive. With some luck, the next few turns gets me out of the constricted terrain, 2 PG is relatively well supplied and once its free there is a cluster of targets in the NE Ukraine and the Orel-Tula sector. I doubt I'll get a massive pocked west of Kharkov but the scope is there.

9A has had a leisurely trip to the front lines but when it attacked it wrecked the Soviet lines (lots of routs) and just absorbed any reserve responses. The result was an easy encirclement of Smolensk. It will now move on towards Vyazma supported by PG3. Neither a Soviet player nor the AI can ignore a direct threat towards Moscow, but being pragmatic, this is not an attack designed for VP but more to absorb the Soviets and possibly open up options.

One unresolved idea is to pull a Pzr Corps from 4PG, if I can take the line of the Volkhov I can usefully scale back on the commitment to AGN.




AGS

My intention was to keep PG1 on the northern sector and look to cross the Dnepr east of Kiev (leaving that to 6A. Soviet deployments would have a bearing on whether I committed to the cities in the Dnepr bend or towards Kharkov.

The AI has set the pace here. Its tended to pull back at least 4 hexes meaning almost no secondary pockets. The one on the Rumanian border was large and mostly a product of pushing a Pzr Corps south. The exception was when it stood to fight in the Cherkassy sector. You can see from the map how poor my immediate recon is (this is before the airphase) and that for the infantry its mostly been marching.

Acquired full time bonus for Kiev and Odessa, doubt I will get much for Zaporezhye but should gain the bonus for Dnepropetrovsk.

In my favour, I've not had to send much down here and the infantry formations are near full strength. Stalino and Kharkov are feasible as is Rostov and Sevastopol.



Summary

I'll do a seperate post on logistics etc as that is (as ever) worth a discussion.

So the main loss charts:





The AI has run a few bombing raids on my depots. Not a bad idea but I have protected them with flak and fighters, so I suspect that has fed into the relatively high LB losses for the AI.



One thing in the current test .exe is that SU are destroyed if their HQ has to displace (choice or as a result of combat) out of encirclement. So there are maybe a few more lost artillery regiments on that list compared to normal.

No idea if that is enough, but for the first time am finding gaps in the Soviet lines.

Current OOB:



Worth noting that at 110, the Soviet AI gets a few (four if I recall) free rifle divisions each turn, so its a lot harder to keep the AI below 3m.

My twin goals were secondary pockets (I've happily taken out single divisions where I can) and to deliver the Wehrmacht relatively intact to what will be the critical 6-8 turns.

Not done that great for the first goal but the AI doesn't co-operate (neither will a Soviet player). The second has worked, the infantry in 9 and 17 Armies is around 60+ CPP, my Pzr divisions are mostly intact. If I can gain either open terrain or close contact (ideally both), then I might be able to do some serious damage as a result.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 9/28/2021 11:31:10 AM >


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Logistics are fun ... - 8/16/2021 2:06:00 PM   
loki100


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The interesting post

Yep, lets talk logistics.

Its easy to overlook that this all starts from the NSS. Now the issue is not freight storage (in the main the game is not that interested in the mechanics of production, its all about distribution), but one useful insight is just how much can the NSS send out each turn.

You can ignore Frankfurt as that is an NSS purely for the end game rules. Quite what is sent from which of the 3 NSS seems to vary a lot by turn, what is less variable is that they send out around 152-155k of freight a turn.

That number is fairly hard wired till the snows make a further mess of your logistics and is basically a constraint of the railyard capacity in the Reich. Turns where you move units by rail will be at the lower end of the scale.

So my first view, there is no point pretending that you can deliver much more than that to the front lines consistently. You can on a turn or two depending on storage in intermediate depots but more usually the issue is that not all the freight that leaves the NSS can reach the front.



So you may as well try to manage your depot capacity with that in mind and your unit demand. Its natural to set high priorities but in the end it doesn't help (its akin to letting the system run randomly).

I'm using super-depots, basically I set them to #4, in a couple of turns they will fill to capacity, move off the FBD and that freight then goes to the local depot system. You don't need them (remember that no extra freight is transported as a result) and can rely on your HQ for depot capacit increases. It does fit with a game where your admin pts are constrained (I'm paying the price of those 2 infantry divisions).

So I've been pretty hard nosed. Infantry corps in non-assault armies are at priority #1, those in assault armies are at #2 and the motorised corps at #3.

The result is interesting, only 4 and 16A are not getting their (admittedly low) needs as they are both the worst placed in their respective sectors. Even better, I am keeping a decent flow of replacement manpower and even refitting chewed up Pzr formations.



As a few have noted, key data on trucks is a bit of a guddle.

So respective losses so far. Mine are nearly 27,000, the Soviets just under 47,000. I think that is too low and relates to the issue of creating pockets. It may also reflect my more cautious offensive style, in past games I've hit mech and tank divisions early and often, simply to shake out the trucks.

My in-unit score is pretty decent (but I'd say normal for this stage).

I've captured just over 21,000 of the trucks the Soviets have lost. 54,000 of my unit trucks are off ferrying supply.

The Black Sea fleet is working hard, the Baltic Fleet could make some more efforts.



Some manpower charts. Numbers on map:



Per turn losses, you can easily see where I've managed a decent pocket.



In reserve. Now the Soviet situation is not as dire as that implies as they get some free formations. But that is re-assuring, what I currently face on map is as much as they can produce, if I can manage a few more decent pockets I may gain a lot of operational tempo into the autumn.



And since its been discussed, the VP chart.

We've basically traded off map VP.

Overall, I need another 44 to reach the HWM to avoid a sudden death loss. At a guess, the southern cities should yield at least 50 baseline VP and say 24 bonus.

Rostov and Sevastopol are feasible given that AGS is still relatively strong.

The northern half is harder to read. Orel should fall but I suspect for little bonus. No idea about Rzhev/Kalinin, not least as they are not a priority. Tula is feasible.

Lets say 20 city points and no time bonus.

Even if the current situation at Leningrad works out in my favour, I doubt the city will fall in 1941.

So lets say 94+481 = 575 as a low number. Possibly up another +62 if things work out very well, so 637. Nowhere near an auto win (even if Leningrad is added to the pile) but a good solid collection.





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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/16/2021 4:09:51 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The interesting post

Quite what is sent from which of the 3 NSS seems to vary a lot by turn, what is less variable is that they send out around 152-155k of freight a turn.




So you are saying that is the average every turn that will be sent out? For all games or just what you have noticed from this one game?

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/16/2021 4:37:03 PM   
loki100


Posts: 10139
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The interesting post

Quite what is sent from which of the 3 NSS seems to vary a lot by turn, what is less variable is that they send out around 152-155k of freight a turn.




So you are saying that is the average every turn that will be sent out? For all games or just what you have noticed from this one game?


I checked back in my saves vs SpeedySteve and its in that range, also for the MP game vs Glorious Ruse (which is up to T5), so I think its pretty hardwired for 1941 at least.

I'll keep an eye on it, and see if it changes any post April 42 - but I think its a number that you can assume stands up (as long as the logistics value is 100)

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/16/2021 4:48:46 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The interesting post

Quite what is sent from which of the 3 NSS seems to vary a lot by turn, what is less variable is that they send out around 152-155k of freight a turn.




So you are saying that is the average every turn that will be sent out? For all games or just what you have noticed from this one game?


I checked back in my saves vs SpeedySteve and its in that range, also for the MP game vs Glorious Ruse (which is up to T5), so I think its pretty hardwired for 1941 at least.

I'll keep an eye on it, and see if it changes any post April 42 - but I think its a number that you can assume stands up (as long as the logistics value is 100)


Ok, Thank you. I am seeing ~193K in my game sent out. Maybe mine is a one off.

Image is Turn 5 beginning of turn.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by HardLuckYetAgain -- 8/16/2021 4:56:46 PM >

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/16/2021 5:17:55 PM   
loki100


Posts: 10139
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The interesting post

Quite what is sent from which of the 3 NSS seems to vary a lot by turn, what is less variable is that they send out around 152-155k of freight a turn.




So you are saying that is the average every turn that will be sent out? For all games or just what you have noticed from this one game?


I checked back in my saves vs SpeedySteve and its in that range, also for the MP game vs Glorious Ruse (which is up to T5), so I think its pretty hardwired for 1941 at least.

I'll keep an eye on it, and see if it changes any post April 42 - but I think its a number that you can assume stands up (as long as the logistics value is 100)


Ok, Thank you. I am seeing ~193K in my game sent out. Maybe mine is a one off.

Image is Turn 5 beginning of turn.





trying to understand the logistics system is like nailing custard on a wall.

I've just checked some T5s and its all over the place.

this game, sent out 208k
current MP vs GR, sent out 173k
older MP vs SpeedySteve, sent out 220k (this was before the patch that spread the load so almost all out Berlin)

so that undermines my logic that its rail cap in Germany that sits at the core. But this game has been in that 150 +/- for a while which is why I decided it meant something.

My revised guess is ...

around T5 you have less distance to depot, so can overcome SMP costs for congestion a bit more easily. There may also be differences in the depot layout (my GR game is a bit different to my usual approach as that game is going off in a novel direction), so there are clusters based around time/distance.

You then pass to a new distance situation around T7 where the SMP costs for congestion start to bite? So more freight gets stuck in the NSS simply as it can't get anywhere.

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/16/2021 5:25:56 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The interesting post

Quite what is sent from which of the 3 NSS seems to vary a lot by turn, what is less variable is that they send out around 152-155k of freight a turn.




So you are saying that is the average every turn that will be sent out? For all games or just what you have noticed from this one game?


I checked back in my saves vs SpeedySteve and its in that range, also for the MP game vs Glorious Ruse (which is up to T5), so I think its pretty hardwired for 1941 at least.

I'll keep an eye on it, and see if it changes any post April 42 - but I think its a number that you can assume stands up (as long as the logistics value is 100)


Ok, Thank you. I am seeing ~193K in my game sent out. Maybe mine is a one off.

Image is Turn 5 beginning of turn.





trying to understand the logistics system is like nailing custard on a wall.

I've just checked some T5s and its all over the place.

this game, sent out 208k
current MP vs GR, sent out 173k
older MP vs SpeedySteve, sent out 220k (this was before the patch that spread the load so almost all out Berlin)

so that undermines my logic that its rail cap in Germany that sits at the core. But this game has been in that 150 +/- for a while which is why I decided it meant something.

My revised guess is ...

around T5 you have less distance to depot, so can overcome SMP costs for congestion a bit more easily. There may also be differences in the depot layout (my GR game is a bit different to my usual approach as that game is going off in a novel direction), so there are clusters based around time/distance.

You then pass to a new distance situation around T7 where the SMP costs for congestion start to bite? So more freight gets stuck in the NSS simply as it can't get anywhere.


You are still correct on the rail cap but you have to also incorporate other L2 railyards into the equation. So I believe the number is floating based on those captures and what those railyards damage factor is at.

I am thinking out loud with you :)

< Message edited by HardLuckYetAgain -- 8/16/2021 5:26:33 PM >

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/16/2021 6:47:03 PM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: HardLuckYetAgain

...

You are still correct on the rail cap but you have to also incorporate other L2 railyards into the equation. So I believe the number is floating based on those captures and what those railyards damage factor is at.

I am thinking out loud with you :)


it shouldn't be that, the rule is railyards within 30 hexes can be used so for the NSS at Berlin 30 hexes is just west of Warsaw. So that should exclude any captured railyards or any realistic Soviet damage at this stage of the game

in part that is why I thought this was a safe estimate as the railyard values should be fixed and the only call on them apart from freight would be moving reinforcements that arrive around Berlin.

I'm going to go over some recent saves, my instinct is the rail cap is fixed but its a case of distance and SMP. So as the distance to the main depots increases, the SMP cost of getting stuff there goes up and so the Reich rail stock can't move as much as before.

Thats logical and there may be some rough and ready estimate. But then I suspect an important variable is still going to be how individual players set up their depots, I've got an approach that works for me so tend to replicate it but there are plenty of viable alternatives.

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/17/2021 5:21:15 PM   
GibsonPete

 

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Thank you for doing this.

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 4:53:27 AM   
M60A3TTS


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I suspect the sent out numbers you are looking at are fairly meaningless to be honest. It was something that I had figured out a long time ago playing the Soviet StoB scenario.

These NSS depots are sending out freight to these other intermediate depots with large capacities and priorities >0 and these depots in turn that are out of range for unit requests send almost nothing out even when they are set to zero and close to full. The good news it has virtually no effect on units. The NSS's obviously have freight to spare. As an example, I had checked my turn 5 numbers from an Axis game I was doing against the AI and about 163k went out of those three depots. The army got most of what it needed. Then I set the depots in most German and Polish cities to Priority 0. What happened the next logistics phase was the NSS's sent out far less, this time about 70k and the army still got basically the same thing. So all the freight that wasn't having to whiz around the rail to cities that weren't going to do much with what they got simply stayed with the NSS's and the army was still content with what it got.

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 7:51:01 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: M60A3TTS

I suspect the sent out numbers you are looking at are fairly meaningless to be honest. It was something that I had figured out a long time ago playing the Soviet StoB scenario.

These NSS depots are sending out freight to these other intermediate depots with large capacities and priorities >0 and these depots in turn that are out of range for unit requests send almost nothing out even when they are set to zero and close to full. The good news it has virtually no effect on units. The NSS's obviously have freight to spare. As an example, I had checked my turn 5 numbers from an Axis game I was doing against the AI and about 163k went out of those three depots. The army got most of what it needed. Then I set the depots in most German and Polish cities to Priority 0. What happened the next logistics phase was the NSS's sent out far less, this time about 70k and the army still got basically the same thing. So all the freight that wasn't having to whiz around the rail to cities that weren't going to do much with what they got simply stayed with the NSS's and the army was still content with what it got.


well its good that you have all this figured out , not a claim I'd ever make



< Message edited by loki100 -- 8/18/2021 10:12:23 AM >


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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 7:57:26 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: GibsonPete

Thank you for doing this.


thanks, my view is there is a lot of claims flying around about game balance and the more reporting the more it becomes feasible to get a clear view.

But there are no shortage of turn by turn reports by players far more able than I am, so felt the best way was to basically generate a set of data points at likely key turns and use this to dig in more deeply to some issues.



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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 10:10:31 AM   
loki100


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So here's a table (its rough and ready) of what the NSS sent out each turn, what was received by depots in the Reich/Romania (I'm assuming most of this is NSS-depot) and how much crossed the borders (to depots). The latter will include some NSS-depot but also depot-depot moves.

I've given a rough indicator of where the eastmost (or most northerly) functioning depot was that was part of the rail net.

Pretty clearly there is a lot of variation, not least I think the turns when I sent out a lot where (a) not connected to major unit rail moves and (b) benefitted from the residual SMP penalties falling away:






Attachment (1)

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 1:36:57 PM   
Yogol

 

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Thanks a lot for this. It is a very nice target for new players such as myself to aim towards.

1. You mention Pskov as your most northern depot until turn 12 then Dno and then Novgorod. Is that correct?
I ask because that is the single line railroad, not the double one. I do it different, I take the double line and have a functioning depot in Krasnogvardeysk on turn 11. But it does hold up a FDB in the North, you seem to have used it elsewhere for while.


2. You captured Odessa. I can't take that darn place, even with a 9th army full of all the SUs they can get. This is probably because I use AI assist for the air and he never carries out my air directives: he seems to delete them before executing, except on the first turn where the system didn't delete them air orders.
Is there a trick to force the AI to carry out the Air Directives that the players creates after turn 1 too with AI assist on?


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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 2:02:29 PM   
loki100


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1 - best way to read that chart is if the most advanced depot doesn't move I was using it as a super-depot, so Pskov got set up that way on T8 and I moved the FBD off on T12. Its not always that way (Smolensk has never been one as an eg as I pulled the FBD back to improve my secondary networks.

Specific to Dno, its worth thinking about direction as well as size when you get that far from the Reich. Its unlikely you will have more than 5k of freight travelling beyond Pskov so the rail capacity is less important. Dno-Novgorod links in with some large airbases and brings more of the front close to the depots. The dual rail tends to be away from the likely front lines you are laying down.

Also the AI clung on just north of Pskov and let me bypass it to the east. So there is a bit of taking what is on offer but generally I'd say beyond say Pskov/Smolensk/Kiev you can relax the close focus on dual rails.

2 - I isolated it with a mix of the German and Rumanian naval air groups and KG27. This starts with HE-111 and you can assign a manual mine laying load. If you are using the AI assist give those 3 AOGs a naval order with Odessa as the focus, should work.

More generally, if you are using the AI-assist with the F12 key, it will always over-write anything you put in place. If you are using the AI-assist button then press that and it sets up what it thinks you want (keying off stance/priority/HQ), you can manually amend and then press F12 and it will carry out the hybrid you've just created.

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 2:33:11 PM   
GibsonPete

 

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Do you trust the logistics AI assist? I am not 100% sold on it. Your tactic of using it twice is something I will explore.

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 3:14:30 PM   
IanW

 

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quote:

you can assign a manual mine laying load


If you're looking to abuse the game system, the same "Axis naval mines dropped by air equal 1980s era anti shipping missiles" code is in WITE2 and is in WITW.

Basically, a small amount of Axis aircraft refitted to Penguins and Exocets with the click of a button (no retraining needed !) closes any port.

It's a gross mis-reading of what the Luftwaffe could do in history, but it works very very well in game.

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RE: Logistics are fun ... - 8/18/2021 3:49:56 PM   
loki100


Posts: 10139
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: IanW


quote:

you can assign a manual mine laying load


If you're looking to abuse the game system, the same "Axis naval mines dropped by air equal 1980s era anti shipping missiles" code is in WITE2 and is in WITW.

Basically, a small amount of Axis aircraft refitted to Penguins and Exocets with the click of a button (no retraining needed !) closes any port.

It's a gross mis-reading of what the Luftwaffe could do in history, but it works very very well in game.


well I'm not looking to 'abuse' the system. I have around 100 He-111s plus the specialist air groups and can get level 5 interdiction over a couple of hexes, the mines might make a small difference but its a lot of air commitment.

must confess, never noticed that in WiTW from either side, yes a good German player can generate high interdiction around the Italian landings (& should) but a competent allied player will always win such an engagement simply as they can sustain the effort longer (& gain from killed axis pilots due to losses over water). The point is there is a cat and mouse as to how far the Allies can reach up Italy (good for VP and the outcome of the campaign) while retaining air superiority.

think you are being a wee bit dogmatic in this presentation?

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Post #: 18
T18 - operational issues - 8/19/2021 9:29:13 AM   
loki100


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T18 – 19 October 1941

Same logic as before, just a summary, discussion and data for those interested.

This turn saw heavy rain north of Gomel. Light to the south.

Operational Reports

AGN

As in the last post, my main goal here is to give the AI another focus. At one level I could have sat on Novgorod (as that keeps Finland in the war) but I have a good depot network. It took me about 3 turns to bring the infantry to the front lines (11 MP really hurts in all the poor terrain) but from T15-17 managed a set of large attacks that split off Leningrad.

The AI has pulled back towards the city so using 18A to shorten the lines. My instinct is there are a lot of Soviet formations in the city area so supply will be a problem. If I can, intend to use November to see if I can take some/all the Ladoga ports and/or Tikhvin. If not, I'll try to clean up the front.

16A is static but also a regimental defensive line. Have a couple of depots up close to some sectors which helps.



AGC

I'll split AGC into two parts as basically 2 and 3 PG operated in completely different ways.

My opening goals were to use a fresh, well resourced 9A to breach the Soviet lines east of Smolensk with a goal of taking Vyazma. 2 PG in the meantime was to work around south of Bryansk and then towards Orel.

As is probably clear, something different happened. 9A breached the front on T12-13 and initially managed a couple of small pockets. When I committed 3 PG, the AI had no reserves (for one turn the road to Moscow was clear), so managed to take Rzhev too. I briefly held Borodino but pulled back to remove 3 PG from the front lines.



AGC/AGS

Best to combine the 2 army groups as they operated together. On T13, 6A was facing a slowly retreating line of Soviet units east of Sumy. To the north PG2 had the chance to generate an army (+) sized pocket on the Desna which it managed.

An important factor here was I committed XXXX Pzr to PG2, originally to give it the units for a drive to Orel.

On T14, the bullk of PG1 turned away from Kharkov and the Dombas and hit what seemed to be a weak spot just west of Sumy. This created the scope for a large pocket so PG2 went south and almost made a pocket at Korenevo. On T15, pocket was sealed and took 3 turns of hard fighting to eliminate (2 and 6 A are in a mess as a result).

T17, managed to release enough of PG1 to commence a direct attack on Kharkov.



AGS

Kept 1 Corps of PG1 on this sector and it managed to cut off a large Soviet force around Zaporazhye on T14, the actual pocket formed on T15 and was mostly reduced by Rumanian forces (the Soviet formations were relatively weak).

As is clear 11A has just arrived (took Sevastopol on T15). This released PG1 for a renewed attack on Kharkov.




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Post #: 19
T18 - the interesting logistics stuff - 8/19/2021 9:35:56 AM   
loki100


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Logistics

What else?

Ok, army supply position, generally not bad. The depot/rail system behind AGN and AGC is good, AGS is reliant on a single line across the Ukraine and the Black Sea ports. I need to release at one of the FBD in the north to the Ukraine to have any chance in the winter.



While we are on it, here is the spreadsheet updated. For T18 I managed to shake out a lot of depots in the Reich, so that reduced the NSS exports but did bring a lot more into the front lines.



And the truck search. Soviet truck losses are now up to 83,000 (so almost doubled in these turns) of which I've captured 37,000. Truck/unit and unit/supply ratios are ok.

Good to see my ships working so hard.



Losses and Manpower

For both sides increased a lot. I've lost 150,000 men and 700 tanks, the Soviets have lost 1m men and 750k of these are permanent.



Air losses reflect my view that at this stage its best to use the LW, it can rest and replenish over winter. So I lost almost 1,000 planes and the Soviets over 5,000.



So this time I did manage the secondary pockets. The Soviets have lost 92 divisions over those turns. I think this is partial vindication for a mindset of a slow steady advance in the early turns – not least the AI pulls back steadily in the opening phases.

Now in MP, there is no way are those chances going to occur, especially the big pocket around Sumy.



Not that its made any difference to the OOB. In a MP game, those losses would be catastrophic but the AI shrugs it off. The impact of the free 4 divisions per turn showing up here, even in those 7 turns that is an additional 280,000 men.



3 useful charts. On map, OOB, at least I have forced the Soviet numbers down.



Their losses have been consistently high over this phase.



And its cleared out their manpower reserve.



Still losing

Well I made a decision at the start to target the Red Army not VP locations and its worked out that way. I've just crawled over the sudden loss target and lots of time bonus have slipped away.



Given where the front is, my instinct is I have to attack in November, at least in the south. If I can, Orel, Kursk, Kharkov and Stalino are essential (even with no time pts). If I can get past them all the better as that then gives me ground I can readily yield in the winter.

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Post #: 20
T24 - next step winter - 8/21/2021 10:55:06 AM   
loki100


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T24 – 30 November 1941

So another natural break point.

Main features were appalling weather with 3 turns of heavy rain followed by a blizzard. Only the last 2 saw ground conditions that allowed for any combat.

The result was whatever fantasies I had about making some VP gains in November didn't happen.

Operational Issues

Finished off the last of the pockets, took Kharkov and 2 probably pointless offensives. AGN tried to clear more of the Ladoga ports but sheer numbers plus poor terrain meant this needed entire Pzr Corps to take a single hex. AGS tried to push towards Stalino but a lack of armoured support (1 PG mostly tied up in the Kharkov battles) and strong defensive lines reduced that to very little. Guess the best that can be said for both, is they gained some space I can easily give up.

AGN mostly set up as a regimental defense. On the good side is a decent depot structure and mostly I can readily cede ground.



AGC is stronger but strung out. Rzhev is vulnerable, as you can see VP locations like Kursk and Orel might as well be on the moon.

Have decided to use the mot divisions as a reserve here, most of the Pzrs pulled off the line, my intention is only to use 2 or 3 divisions in the worst weather in an attempt to preserve something for 1942.



AGS, as above its just taken Kharkov and PG1 is weak as a result. This could get ugly quickly given the terrain and a lack of reserves.

Not shown but the Rumanian 3A has a small bridgehead on the Taman peninsula.



Context

Lets start with the VP situation. Well I won't lose on 1 Jan 42, but I will pretty soon once the initiative changes. Whatever happens the Soviets will now sit on a net +6 time bonus (ie I won't get any and they will get the maximum) for Orel, Kursk, Stalino, Rostov and Kalinin- so that is -30 even before the values of the cities.



Managed to remove over 3 million Soviets and over 2.5 permanent. As we'll see, makes no difference.



Air losses high but not worried about LW losses in the second part of 1941. They will have the winter off and a lot of new planes become available.



I'd say my hunt for secondary pockets paid off. In total that is almost 150 Soviet divisions destroyed. I've been disbanding a few of the more exotic artillery battalions to concentrate the very heavy guns into a few remaining units.



OOB, so I've removed 3 million Soviets and they have 4.3 million on the map (and have just had the +500k). Any views on how to avoid this outcome greatfully received.

On my side, some care in tank management means the Pzr divisions are still mostly powerful.



And there we are, another 500,000 so that means inevitably a Red Army well over 5.5m come March 1942.




Logistics

I've substantially changed my approach to something closer to Carlkay's model of prioritise rail repair and depot creation. I've also set more depots to priority 4 than I have in the past.

Reasonably content with that situation.



Spreadsheet. Again, fairly content with the amount I am pushing into the USSR. Presume it will drop as the blizzard/deep snow malus hits.



Trucks. I have 90% of unit need (297k/322k) and 46k of these are off gaining supplies. I've lost 65k and Soviets 90k (39k of these have been captured).

Balance

What really worries me is I can't see anyway I could have reached the historical lines. AGN has actually come closest but the rest are out of reach. I know I opted to go for pockets not geography but there was never any sense that the AI was off balance (& this is not the line forming issue, its the sheer strength of the defensive stacks and having multiple lines).

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Post #: 21
RE: Through a glass, darkly (vs Soviet AI 110) - 8/21/2021 2:56:38 PM   
M60A3TTS


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100
Worth noting that at 110, the Soviet AI gets a few (four if I recall) free rifle divisions each turn, so its a lot harder to keep the AI below 3m.


Seems a little over the top along with everything else you are having to deal with, but ok.

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Post #: 22
RE: Through a glass, darkly (vs Soviet AI 110) - 8/21/2021 4:43:34 PM   
GibsonPete

 

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Thany you taking the time to do this. Q: Did motorization make any difference in the scenario? Perhaps a problem with lack of AP's, fewer(or delayed) depot creation, or MP loss in units. Do you consider temp motorization a game changer or just a gimmick?

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Post #: 23
RE: Through a glass, darkly (vs Soviet AI 110) - 8/21/2021 4:57:34 PM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: M60A3TTS


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100
Worth noting that at 110, the Soviet AI gets a few (four if I recall) free rifle divisions each turn, so its a lot harder to keep the AI below 3m.


Seems a little over the top along with everything else you are having to deal with, but ok.



problem/reality is it comes as a package, I'm starting to think it would be good to have an AI menu, so 110 morale =don't really care (few less routs); line forming (too me an essential bonus); free rifle divisions (a step too far at 110, add it to 120)?

And at 120, pick around auto pass leadership checks (a good one as it protects the AI from poor chain of command design), 'tactical nukes' (good for the axis, less sure for the Soviet AI)

quote:

ORIGINAL: GibsonPete

Thany you taking the time to do this. Q: Did motorization make any difference in the scenario? Perhaps a problem with lack of AP's, fewer(or delayed) depot creation, or MP loss in units. Do you consider temp motorization a game changer or just a gimmick?



My instinct is the 2 motorised divisions got AGN to Novgorod when I'd probably have been stalled in the heavy woods, so that is something, but its scarcely the end of the game done at the divisional level and set in place on T1.

The cost has been a delayed depot network and that I've had to mostly just put up with the at start leadership chain, a few changes in the most important ones but mostly had to put up with what was given.

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Post #: 24
RE: Through a glass, darkly (vs Soviet AI 110) - 8/22/2021 9:18:08 AM   
jlbhung

 

Posts: 201
Joined: 3/10/2021
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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

quote:

ORIGINAL: M60A3TTS

quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100
Worth noting that at 110, the Soviet AI gets a few (four if I recall) free rifle divisions each turn, so its a lot harder to keep the AI below 3m.


Seems a little over the top along with everything else you are having to deal with, but ok.



problem/reality is it comes as a package, I'm starting to think it would be good to have an AI menu, so 110 morale =don't really care (few less routs); line forming (too me an essential bonus); free rifle divisions (a step too far at 110, add it to 120)?

And at 120, pick around auto pass leadership checks (a good one as it protects the AI from poor chain of command design), 'tactical nukes' (good for the axis, less sure for the Soviet AI)



I strongly support your idea to have an AI menu. My experience of playing at morale = 120 was that I am happy with the auto pass leadership checks but felt uncomfortable with the "tactical nukes". The proposed AI menu could let the players finetune the help they want the AI to have in playing the game. I would further suggest to delink the various options in the menu from the morale level.

Separately, I note that with the limitations of the AI, sometimes the immediate HQs is far from the frontline combating units. This may prevent the HQs from sending support units to a battle and also affect the leadership rolls in the combat. It would be nice to have an option to let the AI ignore the distance from the immediate HQs in the various checks (this differs from the auto pass in that the leadership roll could still fail based on a leader's ratings).



< Message edited by jlbhung -- 8/22/2021 9:19:57 AM >

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Post #: 25
RE: Through a glass, darkly (vs Soviet AI 110) - 8/24/2021 9:06:53 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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I was partly wrong in the post above. the extra RD come onto the map as shells so the AI needs to find the manpower and ocmbat elements - so not quite as dramatic a result as I suggested

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Post #: 26
T32 - a lot of Snow - 8/24/2021 9:09:18 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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T32 – 25 January 1942

Another good break point, the worst of the winter behind me.

Had a solid block of blizzard turns from mid-December to mid-January, but equally had 4 turns with just snow (at least over most of the front).

Operational reports

18A/4PzrA were mostly left alone but 16A and 9A have been badly battered. Have had to commit most of the reinforcements here.

Really what has saved them is the poor terrain, that I had no reason not to fall back. To my surprise have clung to Rzhev – though it is still vulnerable.



2 and 4A to the south have been driven back a bit but no real crisis.

The bulk of the armour in PzrA 3 and 4 has been resting all winter.

For PzrA 2 and 6A lost a lot of ground (and Kharkov) but have mostly managed to control the situation.



11A and 17A (plus Ru 3A) has taken heavy losses and fallen back some distance. Fortunately it was a long way to anything that mattered so could just about manage without much of an armoured reserve.

Not shown, but lost the toehold on the Taman peninsula.



Context

Losses not too bad, worst was losing an Italian division that couldn't retreat fast enough.



Air losses, all I have on the map is German fighters, Stukas and transport planes.



OOB – well I'm pretty doomed. That will easily be 6m come May. Broadly have managed the Pzrs with enough care that they should recover once I start assigning the replacement battalions.



Manpower pools. Should be able to replace my losses (650,000 of the reserve is German). Again, by being fairly ruthless have managed the refit cycle. I've basically pulled the 6 weakest German divisions back to refit regardless of the tactical situation. May have lost ground but don't really have a massive backlog to refit.



Not a great tank situation, but it should be ok.



Logistics

Generally has worked ok. I have almost everything on priority #1 (apart from the Pzr Armies at #2). No point demanding what I can't supply.

One big point, I am now sure that the solution for the winter is not to fuss about having enough level 2 forts, install a robust rail and depot network. This keeps a flow of replacements, makes it easier to refit and generally builds in redundancy. A cluster of depots all receiving 2-2.5k tons of freight can supply a lot of your army.

I've not consistently used super depots except when that made particular sense and the FBD have mostly been setting up parallel rail lines and depots.



Wee analysis. Reasonable correlation between blizzard and what the NSS manage to send out.

Besides at the front, I have 3 clusters of level 4 depots. One is around Minsk (with a lot of transport planes), same at Kiev. Final group around Warsaw. Every now and then I set these to #2 and that does help to regulate the flow over the border.



Last post has an error re the AI, it gets shell divisions that it needs to fill out not at full strength.

AI started the winter quiet and didn't really attack till the first blizzard turn. Since then its attacked constantly. Last few turns I've risked local counter-attacks on weak or exposed formations.












< Message edited by loki100 -- 8/24/2021 9:13:22 AM >


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Post #: 27
RE: T32 - a lot of Snow - 8/24/2021 2:01:12 PM   
GibsonPete

 

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"One big point, I am now sure that the solution for the winter is not to fuss about having enough level 2 forts, install a robust rail and depot network. This keeps a flow of replacements, makes it easier to refit and generally builds in redundancy. A cluster of depots all receiving 2-2.5k tons of freight can supply a lot of your army."

Very useful. Something I will keep in mind.

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Post #: 28
RE: T32 - a lot of Snow - 8/24/2021 3:45:08 PM   
loki100


Posts: 10139
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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: GibsonPete

"One big point, I am now sure that the solution for the winter is not to fuss about having enough level 2 forts, install a robust rail and depot network. This keeps a flow of replacements, makes it easier to refit and generally builds in redundancy. A cluster of depots all receiving 2-2.5k tons of freight can supply a lot of your army."

Very useful. Something I will keep in mind.


one of the things I really wanted to test, especially after the discussion in the fortifications thread in the War Room

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Post #: 29
RE: T32 - a lot of Snow - 8/24/2021 8:03:46 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: GibsonPete

"One big point, I am now sure that the solution for the winter is not to fuss about having enough level 2 forts, install a robust rail and depot network. This keeps a flow of replacements, makes it easier to refit and generally builds in redundancy. A cluster of depots all receiving 2-2.5k tons of freight can supply a lot of your army."

Very useful. Something I will keep in mind.


one of the things I really wanted to test, especially after the discussion in the fortifications thread in the War Room


What GibsonPete said 1000% & what you are doing. I have a redundant supply line in the North & Center turn 7 feeding my drive on Moscow. You will find that my advance doesn't suffer as bad as you think but my supply network is VERY robust, especially in the Center to Moscow. Redundancy is the way to go for sure!




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< Message edited by HardLuckYetAgain -- 8/24/2021 8:11:52 PM >

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