Gotterdammerung Scenario AAR - Axis vs AI

After action reports for Time of Fury

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gwgardner
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Gotterdammerung Scenario AAR - Axis vs AI

Post by gwgardner » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:30 pm

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Here's something enticing from a WWII game OF THE SCOPE of Time of Fury: an AI that can carry out a DDay type invasion. I'm sure there are other games with this capability, but I've played a couple of very popular operational level games about the European Theater that did not have adequate AI DDay invasions.

This is therefore a challenge of sorts - can the ToF AI pull off a cross-Channel invasion AND sustain it.

I'll be honest - I've played this scenario before, and I cheated. I basically ignored both the Italian and Eastern fronts, and made all assets European-wide available to the Western Front. Doing that, I did beat the Allied AI in France. Of course the AI had pushed all the way up the Italian penninsula and crossed into Austria and Bavaria, and the Soviet AI was nearing Berlin! Totally ahistorical, of course, since the West was always second fiddle to the East in real life in terms of reinforcements and assets.

So this time I'm not going to cheat like that. I will fight to keep, even retake Italy if possible. And I will try to hold back the Soviet hordes. Not sure what a fair percentage of Germany's ongoing production should be allocated to the West. I'll give myself a break, and make it generally 50%. I will also maintain a sub fight for the Atlantic.

Here's my lineup of allies. Note that Italy has already defected, and the rump Italian Socialist Republic is but a shadow of its predecessor.

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Last edited by gwgardner on Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Frido1207
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Post by Frido1207 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:16 pm

Love to read your AAR´s & eagerly awaiting this one too.

Just a notice about a minor issue, that has nothing to do with you or your AAR.
But the correct name of your chosen scenario has to be "Götterdämmerung" or "Goetterdaemmerung"
which also is a valid german spelling.

Anraz
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Post by Anraz » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:03 am

Will fix the name of the scenario :)

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Post by gwgardner » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:22 pm

Mid April, '44

The Axis is under siege on all fronts. In the East, the Soviet Juggernaut is gathering steam for the final push. In the South, North Africa is long lost, and so is southern Italy. In the West, British and American bombers hit Germany and her occupied territories day and night. At sea, German subs continue to pursue the Allies merchant fleet, but the Allies are always willing to provide watery graves for all the brave submariners.

Here's an overview of the Axis Empire.

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Post by gwgardner » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:44 pm

Field Marshall Rommel is in command along the West Wall, tasked with denying the Allies a foothold on the continent.

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To defend all this coastline, Rommel has positioned infantry forward, and armor in reserve. The Armor is under strict control of OKH [frozen at startup], pending a better understanding of where the Allies are landing.

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The pitiful Luftwaffe assets in the West are a stark reminder of defeats that have already been inflicted by the Allies.

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Post by gwgardner » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:37 pm

The Gustav Line of fortifications across Italy is heavily fortified, and takes advantage of natural defensive lines, effectively shutting down the Allied advance up the penninsula since before Christmas '43. Fighting has continued, but the expected Allied breakout has never been achieved.

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Hasn't been achieved YET, that is. With both US and British forces flanking the Gustav Line at Anzio, and with a buildup of forces ready to push on north, Rome is in definite danger.

[PLAYTESTER'S NOTE: This is a beta scenario, with minor changes still to be made. Among those is the Axis setup south of Rome. First thing I'm going to do in this game is correct the deficiency of forces up against Anzio - but all the dirty laundry is hung out here! It will be corrected, for sure. Why didn't I just wait for it to be corrected? Because this game is just too darned much fun to wait, that's why.]

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Post by gwgardner » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:08 pm

The period from Fall '43 to April '44 saw three major Soviet offensives. Now the Soviets are threatening the German hold over the Baltic States, and Romania's Ploesti oil fields. If I lose the latter, my armor is going to suffer.

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Post by gwgardner » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:16 pm

As a result of the Winter offensives, Romanian and German forces are cut off in the Crimea.

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It is necessary to supply the troops in Crimea by convoy.

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JagdFlanker
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Post by JagdFlanker » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:22 pm

can't wait to see if you can pull it off!

i really like how the naval units don't zoom out with the map so you can move them more easily in a more strategic view - is this counter specific to this set?

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:30 pm

JagdFlanker wrote:can't wait to see if you can pull it off!

i really like how the naval units don't zoom out with the map so you can move them more easily in a more strategic view - is this counter specific to this set?
There are 8 or 9 counter sets that come with the game, some contributed by playtesters and gamers. There are a variety of ship sillouhettes, and most are easily visible by type when zoomed out, as you refer to.

Plus, if you hover over a fleet, there's a popup to show the composition of the fleet, and any known enemy fleets. Examples a bit later today.

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:25 pm

I have my submarines at sea in raider mode, attempting to shut down merchant shipping.

Hovering over the target circle for a sea zone or over the fleet icons, shows the current estimate of friendly and enemy ships present. This estimate for the enemy will of course not always be accurate or even available.

In the Northern North Sea zone my subs may have a target of opportunity against not only shipping, but enemy carrier groups. Of course, that means that this sea zone is pretty much suicidal for submariners. Those carriers will be searching.

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It is critical for naval management to monitor 'time at sea' and 'distance from port' for all ships. Both factors affect a fleet's capabilities. Keep a ship at sea continuously, and its effectiveness drops dramatically.

Here, off Iceland, one of my wolfpacks has been at sea for only two weeks (including this startup turn) and it is seven sea zones away from port.

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:44 pm

The goal of positioning my sub fleets is of course to find and destroy convoys and other shipping. My wolfpacks will be looking for troop transports, merchant shipping carrying both supplies and PPs (production points), and capitol ships.

The map below shows one of the prime targets for my subs: the vital resources flowing into Great Britain from her colonies. The Commonwealth is represented in the game symbolically as an island at the end of a chain of sea zones stretching around the Cape of Good Hope. As long as the Commonwealth and the UK can keep ships at sea, the flow will continue. My job is to make sure there are no Allied ships at sea!

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:53 pm

Handling the German surface fleet has never been one of my strengths. Here is what I have, by mid '44.

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What's the Tirpitz doing in Narvik! Should I run the gauntlet, skirting the coast of Norway, and get the Tirpitz into the Baltic? Leave it as a threat to shipping? Or as a target for Allied carrier strikes? I think I'll probably make the run south.

Here's where the Tirpitz ought to be - guarding the Baltic coastline, to make sure the Soviets don't do an 'end around.'

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On the other hand! If I lose Narvik, it's going to hurt my war economy. The rail line from the ice-free port of Narvik into the iron mining areas of Sweden is crucial.

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By the way, here's the historical record for the Tirpitz.
from http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=2215 The Tirpitz, second and last battleship of the Bismarck class, was the largest warship built in Germany. She was commissioned on February 1941, and afterwards went to the Baltic to conduct sea trials. At the beginning of 1942, she was sent to Norway in order to repel a possible allied invasion, and to attack the Russia-bound Arctic convoys. As part of the "Fleet in being", her mere presence forced the Allies to maintain a considerable force in Scapa Flow that could be otherwise employed in other theatres of operations. In July 1942, she was indirectly responsible for the destruction of convoy PQ-17 without firing a single shot. In September 1943, while anchored in Altenfiord, she was attacked by British midget submarines and put out of action for the first time. Later submitted to continuous aerial bombings, the Tirpitz was finally sunk on 12 november 1944 after being hit by 5.4-ton "Tallboy" bombs.
There she was, with the Admiral Hipper in the far background on the left, at her Narvik anchorage. Looks like a sitting duck for the Allied attacks.

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photo from http://www.bismarck-class.dk/tirpitz/mi ... d_now.html
Last edited by gwgardner on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:07 pm

And all of the above before I have even hit 'end turn' for turn one. This is such a rich game.

By the way, I had 50 PPs at the beginning of the turn. I used half to shore up the defences along the Gustav Line, and the other half on the Eastern Front. In the west I repositioned some ancillary forces, but intend to remain with the historical 'defend the beaches' setup that Rommel was forced to adopt.

Research? Forget it. We have ongoing advances being made in technology, but the writing is on the wall, and any long-term research goals are doomed.

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:47 pm

First reports coming in from around the Reich. In strategic bombing against civilian targets, the Allies destroyed 45 points of production capacity. The Russians hit COP, in Poland. The British and Americans hit Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels. In all, seven major raids.

Here's an example of such a report:

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On the map, the city stats for COP now show that half of the city's production potential has been damaged. It will be able to repair 1 point of production capability every turn.

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Incidentally, note that there is a high probability that Polish partisans have taken to the field east of COP. Note the change in control of territory there. I will have to send security units to determine the extent of the uprising, if any.

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:01 pm

Reports come by sea, also, where my wolfpacks in the Bay of Biscay report three different attacks on Allied shipping, with 24 total shipping points (STPs) going to the bottom of the Bay.

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Such a victory does not come without a price, however:

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Post by gwgardner » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:14 pm

In the end, the story of this time of fury will be one of numbers.

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Post by gwgardner » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:31 am

late April '44

On the Eastern Front the weather is still poorly, so probing attacks by the Soviets have accomplished little. I took advantage of the lull to reposition some forces for better defense, and did some recon myself with strong armored columns in northern Romania.

The real fighting took place along the Gustav Line, where both the British and US forces struck hard north of Monte Casino, attempting - and successfuly - to make that mountain irrelavant in the battle for Rome. I had seriously considered pulling my forces back from the monastery fortress, and my failure to do so is going to cost me an entire mechanized corps. Maybe. Fortunately I had brought in the 2nd SS Panzer Division and positioned it north of the Gustav Line. I'll use it to spearhead a counterattack against that lone US Mechanized division that is blocking my lines to Monte Casino.

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On the Atlantic Wall I repositioned some fighter squadrons from Central Germany to the area around Brussels and Paris, hoping to intercept the strategic bombers out of England.

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Post by gwgardner » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:20 pm

May 1

The second week of the '44 campaigning season completed, and it's a mixed bag of results for actions theater-wide.

1) My subs destroyed 112 Allied STPs, but again three subs were sunk in the Allied ASW efforts. I've ordered production of 3 subs so far, so that's a deficit.

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2) Land-based air strikes from the UK have so far concentrated on my fighter assets and tank-busting.

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3) Everywhere my casualties are higher than the enemy, except on the Eastern Front where the Soviets are throwing their armor against my entrenched positions. They're taking greater losses in the tank battles.

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4) In Italy I was able to reestablish contact with my corps around Monte Casino, but the British have broken through the Gustav Line farther east, in a push that they sustained from the first week of fighting. I may have to pull back completely from the Western part of the Gustav.

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There actually looks like an opportunity to hit the US forces hard in Anzio, perhaps even destroying their position there. However, I'd have to allocate everything I have in the region to the attack, leaving that British advanced wide open. I need reinforcements, but OKH absolutely refuses to send anymore units from France. I've already taken 2 corps from southern France, and the commanders in the region are screaming bloody murder. Forget about asking for anything from the Eastern Front. The only other assets that I have available - possibly - are garrison units in the Balkans. There are four level 3 infantry corps in Greece, where partisans have been active. I may be able to detach a weak holding force from that, and then send the main body of the corps on to Italy.

[player's note: there are also several corps in Norway and even more in Finland, but I'm not going to remove those. I want to play this with a semblance of historical realism - there were political, strategic, and no doubt logistical reasons why those unts were kept there in real life. I guess the same could be said for the units in Greece, but ... cut me some slack.]

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Post by Tomokatu » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:08 pm

I know that in some countries the display of the Hakenkreuz is prohibited under law but I'm finding that the use of the WWI cross patee (Iron Cross) as the German national symbol is quite jarring.
I know it's only eye-candy, but can WI at least please switch to the straight-sided Balkenkreuz? The Germans themselves did that in 1917.

Perhaps it could be configurable by the end-user at installation. "Is the display of the swastika legally prohibited in your country Y/N?"

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