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Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/1/2021 6:09:34 PM   
golden delicious


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At Larry's suggestion I'm going to write a (probably quite high level) AAR of my ongoing vs. PO match of Directive 21 v4.2. Yes, I know there are more recent versions but I was only taking this half seriously to start and I didn't have the energy to go find a newer version. The PO is set to Strong and +2, I'm trying to follow the house rules and otherwise having at it.

I didn't take notes as I went along and going has been slow so I'll go quickly through the opening turns where things are somewhat predictable and my memory is pretty vague anyway.

The basis of my plan here is that I don't expect to defeat the USSR in the 1941 campaign, but rather over the course of a long war with a flexible attitude between attack and defence depending on conditions. As such, my objectives will be as follows:
1) Destroy Soviet forces wherever they are encountered by encircling them and then reducing with heavy artillery support
2) While respecting the first criteria, keep the losses to the Wehrmacht to a minimum
3) While respecting the second criteria, drive as deep as possible into the Soviet Union to provide strategic depth for a future defensive phase
4) While respecting the second criteria, seize whatever industrial centres are exposed

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RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/1/2021 6:12:55 PM   
golden delicious


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By now, you know how this goes. German forces pour over the frontier and blah blah blah.

I think the below screenshot gives a fair impression of my approach. This is mid-way through turn 2; panzer forces are already well advanced of the infantry, which is following up by degrees to screen trapped Soviet units so that the mechanised pieces can move on. Only the rearmost echelon of infantry is actually engaged in reducing trapped units, supported by large stacks of artillery or, if this is not available locally, the Luftwaffe.




Attachment (1)

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"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

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RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/1/2021 6:17:27 PM   
golden delicious


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Turn 4 and the panzers continue to race ahead. For Army Group North, this is becoming a problem as my units are spread pretty thin, this is compounded by my mistake in keeping too much of the infantry south of the Dvina river (just off the screenshot here). It'll take me several turns to rectify this, during which the panzers will be forced to bear an excess of the effort of containing Soviet forces encountered on the advance.

You'll also notice that these guys are already on red and orange health. I don't have any self-imposed house rules in this scenario so as per points 1 and 3 of my above outline, they keep on going.




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< Message edited by golden delicious -- 10/1/2021 6:19:49 PM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

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RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/1/2021 6:27:01 PM   
golden delicious


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Turn 6 and I'm pretty happy with the way things are looking for Army Group South. I'm painfully aware that the big challenge for me here is getting over the Dnepr, and I've determined that this will be the sole responsibility of Army Group South (albeit I seem to have borrowed a couple of infantry divisions from AGC here). I've spotted that the bridges east of Chernobyl are not really guarded and so, having just completed a significant encirclement at Zhitomir, one half of Panzer Group 1 is diverted north to seize this opportunity and get me into the rear of Kiev. To the south, the rest of the Panzer Group will push downstream and look for another opportunity.

Even with this, I'm also aware the Kiev contains a Soviet supply point, so simply cutting the city off isn't enough- although it will help a lot.




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"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 4
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/1/2021 6:35:12 PM   
golden delicious


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Turn 7: AGS was stymied east of Chernobyl as the Luftwaffe reported a Rifle Division moved into position over the Dnepr, but this denuded the crossing at Chernigov and SS Das Reich was able to cross the river there this turn.

The rapidly advancing panzers of AGC are starting to get stuck amongst the Soviet second line armies around Smolensk. I really need to get the infantry up so I can bypass these troops. For the first time, enemy action is starting to interfere with my advance more than by simply getting in the way- note the "unsupplied" 7. Panzer in the top right where the Soviets manoeuvred to cut it off on their turn.

You can also see in this screenshot some of that AGN infantry which ought to be 20 or 30 hexes further north by now- Panzer Group 4 is in a similar mess just past Pskov as only four infantry divisions are in that area to support it, and only two are moving into Estonia.






Attachment (1)

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 10/3/2021 5:31:21 PM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 5
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/1/2021 10:46:35 PM   
larryfulkerson


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Wow. Way cool beans. I just HAD to stop what I was doing and read this thing from beginning to end twice. I LOVE the detail you include. It's like we're watching over your sholder. Good job. You are pushing your units WAY harder than I usually do. But then I'm playing using the red-green-yellow rules because I think it makes the game more realistic IMHO. Not that I wouldn't love to do it your way. Consider me subscribed. I'm curious about your supply conditions at the front lines....please give me a report from time to time, if you would. OH, and thanks for the AAR. It's all that I hoped it would be.




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< Message edited by larryfulkerson -- 10/1/2021 11:06:59 PM >


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RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/3/2021 5:38:55 PM   
golden delicious


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Turn 8 and I'm still struggling to get infantry forward to support Panzer Group 4, but nevertheless some of the mechanised divisions have been able to keep pushing. As requested by Larry I've included the supply levels; here I'm totally dependent on the forward supply point at Pskov, which gives 75% supply. The map is loaded with forward supply for the Germans and it means that in places it can be irrelevant how far forward the rail is.

Elsewhere on the map 19. Panzer has reached the outskirts of Smolensk and more importantly SS Reich plus 16. and 25. Motorised have broken through the Soviet screen on the east bank of the Dnepr at Chernigov. However here too I'm badly short of units at the critical point and it will be difficult for me to swing south as far as Kiev without taking a serious risk on my eastern flank.

Losses at the moment don't look too bad. The Germans start the scenario with a pool of only 1,300 HRS, but almost every division starts the scenario about 20% overstrength- this amounts to an extra 5,000 squads which rapidly get dumped in the pool as these units move and fight and cannot return until the units go below their notional maximum. As of turn 8 I've lost 5,000 HRS, or about 650 a turn. With an income of 431 that gives me a net loss of 220 a turn, so I will not exhaust my existing stockpile until about turn 28 at this rate. Armour losses are fairly low at just over 200 tanks (excluding non-German types), but replacements for these are much more limited.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 10/3/2021 5:47:42 PM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to larryfulkerson)
Post #: 7
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/3/2021 7:08:17 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: larryfulkerson

Wow. Way cool beans. I just HAD to stop what I was doing and read this thing from beginning to end twice. I LOVE the detail you include. It's like we're watching over your sholder. Good job. You are pushing your units WAY harder than I usually do. But then I'm playing using the red-green-yellow rules because I think it makes the game more realistic IMHO. Not that I wouldn't love to do it your way. Consider me subscribed. I'm curious about your supply conditions at the front lines....please give me a report from time to time, if you would. OH, and thanks for the AAR. It's all that I hoped it would be.



High praise from the AAR master- thanks for prompting me.

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to larryfulkerson)
Post #: 8
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/8/2021 11:24:22 AM   
golden delicious


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Turn 9 and Panzer Group 1 is making fair progress into the rear of Kiev, having broken through the Soviet screen in this area. I'm still struggling to reinforce due in large part to the very difficult terrain on the west side of the Dnepr here. To the west, I'm working on reducing the outer defences of Kiev so that I can get that supply point, but taking this slowly until I can bring up the artillery which is currently working on the last hex of the Zhitomir pocket.

Elsewhere AGC has succeeded in putting Smolensk into a small pocket and the city itself will fall by the end of the turn. Various forces are trapped in small pockets west and southwest of here, but most are in good condition and will take some time to reduce. In the north SS Totenkopf reach Novgorod but is almost totally unsupported- I need to get some infantry up here to screen the Volkhov so I can push on to Novaya Ladoga.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 9
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/16/2021 5:34:50 PM   
golden delicious


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Around turn 10 was the first point where I got the strong sense that we're no longer following the history book. Smolensk has fallen without much of a fight and I didn't find the strong forces opposite AGC that I was expecting. You can see Yelnia in this screenshot, which historically was the location of the first really serious Soviet counterattack in this sector, drawing in much of AGC's reserves and ultimately forcing the Germans to abandon the town temporarily.

Instead, this area is deserted, and the two panzer groups are tasked with identifying a gap in the expected Soviet line running Rzhev-Vyazma-Kirov. 10. Motorised has just reached the latter (off the screenshot to the south) and found it held in strength, while 7. and 12. Panzer have moved up to Belyy with the intent to strike southeast to seize the apparently empty area north of Vyazma.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 10
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/16/2021 8:44:40 PM   
larryfulkerson


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Hey Golden dude: You're making good progress but on the other hand I see that a LOT of your units are cherry red so you must be pushing them hard. Do you have a supply level target for when to rest them? Maybe a better question would be: do you ever rest them at all? Are you concentrating your aircraft around the highest priority areas, those areas where your advance has the higher priority? Do you even have areas of highest priority....like in the push for Moscow? I'd like to see a zoomed out view of the front lines from time to time to get a gauge of the general progress overall, if you would be so kind. What is the general overall condition of your aircraft? What would you characterize your losses so far? I like the way you play and I appreciate the map graphics you're using. I'm using the "boardgame pastels" and my map looks appreciably different but your graphics seems to emphasize the terrain to a higher degree and that adds to the immersion. I like that. Keep up the good work.




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One of the biggest problems the string theory has is that it has nothing at all to do with reality.

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RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/17/2021 5:37:25 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: larryfulkerson

Hey Golden dude: You're making good progress but on the other hand I see that a LOT of your units are cherry red so you must be pushing them hard. Do you have a supply level target for when to rest them? Maybe a better question would be: do you ever rest them at all?


Essentially the answer is no. So far I'm not overextended- it's at that point that I start to slow down and become more cautious. My view is while it's not ideal to be on low supply, it's even worse to be out of supply- so if I can push my units harder and cut off more Soviet pieces then I will.

Because I more or less only fight when the enemy is cut off and I have a flank bonus and buckets of artillery, my losses are actually pretty low- those red health units are low on supply but largely full in terms of equipment.

quote:

Are you concentrating your aircraft around the highest priority areas, those areas where your advance has the higher priority?


Up to this point it hasn't really been necessary to concentrate air, but that's changing and as Soviet air resistance concentrates around my drive to Moscow I start to draw fighters off from other fronts to there. Because most Luftwaffe bomber units have good range, it's not really necessary to redeploy them, but new units that come in mostly go towards AGC.

quote:

I'd like to see a zoomed out view of the front lines from time to time to get a gauge of the general progress overall, if you would be so kind. What is the general overall condition of your aircraft? What would you characterize your losses so far?


I'll try to add some more screenshots to cover these generalities. In general losses are manageable, see the detail given at turn 8. I normally rest my air units when they get to orange throughout the turn, but at this stage it's not necessary to rest more than about half of my bombers on any given turn.

quote:

I like the way you play and I appreciate the map graphics you're using. I'm using the "boardgame pastels" and my map looks appreciably different but your graphics seems to emphasize the terrain to a higher degree and that adds to the immersion. I like that. Keep up the good work.


Thanks. I'm pretty sure these are the TOAW IV defaults, haven't yet figured out if I can restore the classic TOAW graphics as I prefer those.

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 10/17/2021 6:03:55 PM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to larryfulkerson)
Post #: 12
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/17/2021 5:56:36 PM   
golden delicious


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Breaking my normal front rotation because AGN is still pretty much bogged down. Back to them later.

Turn 11 and my breach over the Dnepr is paying off, with elements of Panzer Group 1 fully in the rear of Kiev, while the infantry has fought its way into the city centre from the west. The Soviet supply point is in the river hex which is still in enemy hands here, but I should be able to attack from both sides and put the whole garrison out of supply on turn 12. To the south, the other half of PG1 is still looking for an unguarded place to cross again but hasn't found it yet (and is now overextended); if it can do so then cutting off the Soviet armies between Kiev and Kremenchuk will be straightforward.

Well to the north, Panzer Group 2 has found a gap in the Soviet fortress line mentioned last turn, pushing through Spas-Demensk. However the poor condition of my units is starting to tell as a local counterattack wrecked 10. Motorised which is now down to about 1/4 strength. I'm relying on PG3 making a second breach north of Vyazma so that I can create a large pocket here; at the moment PG2 doesn't have the strength to progress unsupported.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 13
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/17/2021 5:59:56 PM   
golden delicious


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Turn 11 OKH view. This screenshot really brings home the sheer number of individual pockets. I prefer single hex pockets as you only need to fight the defenders once and can really concentrate a lot of strength against them without much special effort. I count over 50 individual groupings of Soviet units out of supply at this moment in time.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 14
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/17/2021 6:10:42 PM   
golden delicious


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Per Larry's request, top loss items on turn 11 (thanks Larry for teaching me that you can sort this view!).

I already crunched the numbers of the top line on turn 8 and the loss rate is only a little higher than it was so there's no change to the picture there. Some of the other squad types have had a rougher time of it, in particular the Rumanians have bled a lot and this isn't about to change with the assault on Odessa due to begin.

Vehicles are scarcely represented here: I'm losing more trucks than I make but I have a huge pool of them thanks to overassignment for a lot of units on turn 1; at this rate it will take almost two years to wipe out that stockpile. Ju-88 are fairly representative of my air losses, being a bit higher than production but not severe.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 10/17/2021 6:11:00 PM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 15
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/18/2021 5:56:49 PM   
golden delicious


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Turn 12 and AGC is close to completing the planned double-envelopment of substantial Soviet forces near Vyazma. A lot of pieces are already out of supply and many more will be by the following turn. I would never attempt this against a human opponent as I have really stuck my neck into the jaws here, but I have confidence the PO will not make a meaningful counterattack here, and will instead allow his troops to be destroyed in place.

Unlike the previous pockets established further west, however, the Soviet units here are mostly in excellent condition, and reducing them will be a costly and time consuming process in itself. I'm not content with this so I need to close down pockets and bring infantry forward so the Panzertruppen are free to move east and tackle the remaining fortress positions between Vyazma and Moscow.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 16
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/19/2021 8:43:35 PM   
golden delicious


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Turn 13 and I've finally been able to get things organised enough in Army Group North to start my planned final drive on Novaya Ladoga with 8. Panzer. If I can cover the 16 hexes to this point then the supply connection between Leningrad and the rest of the USSR is cut. Unlike a lot of other Soviet cities on the map, there is no supply point close to Leningrad itself, and 1. Panzer and 36. Motorised are planned to cut off the only remaining supply point west of the city at Oranienbaum in the next turn or two. I still desperately need to get more infantry forward here, to relieve one or two more mechanised divisions to support 8. Panzer.

Way to the south, my encirclements around Vyazma are complete, and I was even able to push 12. and 19. Panzer halfway to the final fortress line at Mozhaysk. Hope to reach it next turn.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 10/20/2021 5:46:15 PM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 17
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/21/2021 6:21:30 PM   
golden delicious


Posts: 5345
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From: London, Surrey, United Kingdom
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Turn 14 and Army Group South is running riot across the Ukraine. Kiev is now well in the rear, and Panzer Group 1 has made multiple additional crossings of the Dnepr, putting large numbers of first-rate Soviet troops into a trap against the river. To the south, SSLAH has also seized the crossings at Kherson, and the assault on Odessa is in full swing.

Elsewhere, 12. Panzer is east of Mozhaysk, and 8. Panzer pushing rapidly up the west bank of the Volkhov river. Is Russia beaten?




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 18
RE: Another Barbarossa AAR - 10/21/2021 8:00:33 PM   
larryfulkerson


Posts: 39691
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From: Tucson, AZ
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Your progress is really impressive. Good for you. Keep up the good work.
good hunting,
larry

_____________________________

One of the biggest problems the string theory has is that it has nothing at all to do with reality.

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 19
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