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Starving Soviets?

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Starving Soviets? - 10/3/2021 8:40:44 PM   


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Joined: 2/27/2019
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WiTE 1.12.06. 41-45 campaign, no mods. Playing as SOV, against AI Axis. Difficulty HARD (80-125 manpower, logistics, etc.), except SOV has 90 morale.

After the late '41 flood of recruits and new units, the Soviet army had almost 7 million men in the field and, as might be expected, had some major logistical difficulties. Specifically, there's not enough rail capacity even to get resources to the supply factories, let alone get supplies (and fuel, and ammo) to the troops.

This post talks about my failure, so far, to resolve those difficulties, and what this might mean for the SOV side throughout the war.

Turn 28 (1941-12-25). 6.85m men in the field. The Event Log tells me that I have:
effectively infinite RESOURCES, same for OIL, same for FUEL, same for VEHICLES. 95% SUPPLY, 27% RAIL.
That's right. If I had four time the amount of free rail, that would be just adequate for present industry and fielded forces. More than 40% of Soviet supply factories aren't getting RES to make SUP, and this has now hit home.

It is literally the case that, had the Axis advanced through the line LEN-MOS-VORON-KAR-ROST, and had I had not evacuated a single Heavy Industry beforehand, that my supply production would be the same.

From game start through April '42, I took the following actions to ease the load on the rails:
1. Disband every Supporting Unit (SU) fielding guns with a calibre over 155mm.
2. Build not a single SU fielding guns with a calibre over ~85mm, with the important exception of massed 120mm heavy mortars.
3. For every tank or motorized formation on the map, either a) keep it at <= 20% of TOE and don't move it, b) move it back to the eastern edge of the map and then don't move it again, or c) never move it in the first place. Basically, nothing MECH gets to chew up fuel that has to be transported.
4. Field only 13 CAV corps; move all other CAV to the eastern border.
5. Withdraw every level bomber unit to the national reserve (NR), except for a few IL-4s performing partisan resupply missions.
6. Withdraw the equivalent of ~4 soviet armies-worth of infantry divisions and brigades east of Saratov (mostly X>170).
7. Limit the TOE of all infantry formations on the map to either 100% (Guards, mountain, a few others, ~1/6th of the total), 75% (~3/6ths the total), or 60% (~4/6ths of the total).
8. Kill off homeland tank production, and reduce homeland plane production. T-34s? Don't want 'em. KVs? Definitely don't want 'em. And we don't have much use for T-70s either! Oh yeah, and kill off those level bombers too.

As of turn 46 (1942-04-30), Soviet TOE is down to 6.45m men, 94k guns, and 3.5k tanks. Roughly 160 on-map planes performed missions that required FUEL or AMMO; everything else with wings is either in the NR, or doing nothing in static bases far to the rear. No Soviet tank or motorized brigades have moved in the last three turns. There's nothing near the front line except INF, the 122mm and 155mm ART regiments we had at game start, a bunch of 120mm mortars, and those 13 CAV corps ... and the whole force has spent ammo in ~35 ground combats in the last two turns.

In sum: Short of going Beria and mass-disbanding or Gulag-ing to the east entire Fronts-worth of infantry (and the remaining CAV), I've done everything I can think of to ease the load on the rails.

Turn 46 (1942-04-30), logistics phase event log:
71% SUPPLY, 58% RAIL.

What it's like at the front:
Units having ideal supply conditions (100% on all logistics conditions, all tests passed, no recent combat) have risen, since January, from holding ~45-50% of required supply up to ~70-75%. While in January, the Soviets lost ~16-20k killed and ~65k disabled every logistics phase, in April we're down to ~16-20k dead and ~23k disabled, a savings of perhaps 40k men per turn.

We are, in short, no longer suffering mass casualties from starvation.

But it's just going to get worse from now on. If I fly planes, the soldiers go hungry. Create and attempt to use anything that uses lots of fuel? The soldiers will go hungry. Can we talk about at least having a mobile reserve of cav? "The soldiers ... won't somebody think of the soldiers?"

Basically, the Soviet Union has infinite oil/fuel, infinite vehicles, infinite resources, and infinite production capacity. We'll never tap out of anything except:
manpower (of which we have almost enough), and
rail transport (of which we would need twice as much just to take up the slack on all other resources).

Every decision I make about force composition is made with both eyes on the nearly catastrophic rail situation. At the rate we're headed, we just don't see how Zhukov's gonna be fielding tank armies ... ever!

< Message edited by AMSwift -- 10/3/2021 8:58:30 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Starving Soviets? - 10/7/2021 2:44:19 PM   


Posts: 2037
Joined: 12/14/2010
From: Bristol, UK
Status: offline
Turn 46 my supply was down to 39%, rail 59%. I haven't disbanded anything and OOB was 7.2 million men with about 8000 aircraft. Attrition was slightly higher than yours, but similar. About 18,000 a week.

(in reply to AMSwift)
Post #: 2
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