The orders were to defend, and so we defended.
The decisive victory objectives seemed to require going on the attack. Personally, I felt I didn’t have the forces or manpower to do this, as we had to fight in five directions. The defensive objectives were North-East, North-West, South-East, South-West, West and South. Then, the attacking objectives were South-East, South-West and South.
When defending I prefer to set up with at least two infantries in defensive terrain with artillery and SPAA behind them. Tanks would go along the flanks to prevent the enemy going around to take out the artillery units.
I set up with a small tank force ready to shoot west to aid the Italians. Upon initial contact, the heavy number of Russian tanks in that area convinced me to send the majority of my air force there to assist. We mopped that are up pretty smoothly all things considered.
In the south-west airfield, I re-arranged the Italian forces to have the infantry hold the southern city-scape, whilst the anti-tanks held the northern plains. One of my tanks from the relief force would break off and help out here as well.
In the north-west, we got hit by two heavy waves of armour led formations, but my infantry and artillery line made the best use of the close terrain to win quite handily. The tank relief force that attacked west swung north to take the airfield to the north of this area and to pincer the Russian armour. I lost a few Italian tanks in the process, but that wasn’t too bad.
In the north-east and south-east my defensive line had fun playing the phoney war and saw zero combat at all. Only my SPAA got involved once or twice swatting passing air units.
Late in the day, I was almost overwhelmed by a Russian attack from the south-west. The Italian line crumbled and my lone tank had to hold the line long enough for my airforce to save the day.
Throughout this mission I used recon as a thief, going around picking off victory hexes and scouting the terrain for my minor incursions. Could I have launched an attack south? Possibly, but I had no way of knowing that my Eastern front would be left alone and that I would only have to deal defensively on the western flank.
Discretion was the better part of valour here. My prestige was unharmed, in fact, we made gains here playing the defensive game, even if we sacrificed a ‘decisive’ defensive win.
Whatever the case, we move on to Kotelinkovo.
Time for us to ‘breakout’ of Stalingrad! Oh, look at all that favourable terrain! Two new bits of equipment available to us; The PzIIIM variant, which I’ll leave at home in favour of the N. Finally, a recon upgrade! The 233 Recon car is available and beefs up the recon’s paltry defence and more importantly, bumps up that horrific attack power that has been lagging for years.
A milestone for me, having managed to get through 1942 with both of my recon cars intact. Hopefully the 233 gives them more bite.
Although sporting the shiny new Tiger tanks, the relief force was pathetic, being composed of green troops that would fare badly against the veterans holding a defensive perimeter against us.
This mission was also horrible because of the frozen ground. This completely eliminated mobility and rendered the Recon and SPAA units pretty much useless. Fortunately, despite warning us of experienced troops, the main force that we had to smash through were relatively inexperienced and thus fell in due time.
(On a side note, I once again broke the AI, by diverting a tank and STUG to the north-west airfield, I was able to intercept a huge stock of M4 Lee tanks, but because they hadn’t been ‘triggered’ I was able to take them out without retaliation. Bit of an oversight I think.)
Can’t really comment on the Tigers or the new recons after this scenario as I didn’t have a chance to upgrade the tanks, but also the terrain didn’t really play to the strengths of the recon units.
Hopefully, 1943 will be more useful in gaining information on these new units.
End of Year Force Composition:
Infantry: 8 (+1)
9th Infantry, (+1 atk/def)
30th Infantry, (+1 atk)
28th Infantry, (+2 atk)
4th Grenaider, (+1 move, 2 attack)
20th Mountain, (Wirnsberger, 2 attack, 3 initiative)
12th Mountain, (+5 attack!!!)
2nd Pionere (Oleh Dir, 4 move and initiative)
25th Pionere (Pein – NEW, 3 initiative, 2 moves.)
All are going well. In 1943 I am considering removing the mountain troops as the 1943 versions lack armour piercing equipment and also for some reason has lower defence. I may convert them to standard Infantry troops. Oleh Dir and Pein are my mobile city assaulters, with the rest playing more defensive roles or acting on minor objectives.
Tanks: 10 (no changes)
11th PzIV, (+1 def, 2 atk)
3rd PzIV, (Kerscher, +4atk, 2 def, 2 spot)
20th PzIV (Rondorf, 1 atk/def/move/spot, 2 ini)
Captured unit, PzIV (+2 def),
8th PzIV (+5atk)
21st PzIII (+3atk),
29th PzIII (+1 move, defence)
16th PzIII (2 atk)
32nd PzIII (1 atk/def)
48th PzIV (3def)
The PzIV is wonderful but the PzIII was useless until the N variant specialised it towards anti-infantry duty.
I’m not sure what criteria to use for upgrading to Tigers, but I think Rondorf will be an idea candidate due to his +1 move. I was thinking of putting +Atk heroes in the Tiger and save the defensive ones for the Panther, if and when it becomes available.
Recon: 2 (no change).
They’re doing the job of scouting, but the upgrades came very late for these guys so they only averaged around 90-100 kills over the entire year. Still, their kill count doesn’t really matter that much, the key is I’ve managed to get through the year without even losing them.
Anti-Tank: 3 (+1)
27th (+1 Def, NEW)
All three are STUGS and will easily upgrade to the G variant in ’43. 5th and 19th started out as PaK guns. Both have hit over 500 kills, so they’ve hit around 2-300 kills in this year along thanks to mobility. The new STUG, 27th has 207 kills already.
Artillery: 7 (+2)
Polish captured, 21cm Nebelwerfer,
More artillery for the city-scenarios. The rockets are phenomenal at taking out soft targets. I also, really like the SU-122 even though it’s not a German unit…
Anti-Air: 4 (+1)
50th 8.8 (New)
I love SPAA for the fact it puts off bombers, and they’re really ‘free’ units. I’ve had a combined 6 losses from my SPAA all the way through to ’43. They have killed +97 and +106 respectively this year. By contrast, the 8.8 has pulled off +144, but was still finding some use in an AT role. The new 8.8 managed +66 kills over the year, which just goes to show it really does depend on positioning to get the most of these units.
Still, the low loss count really saves of prestige. Don’t leave home without them.
Fighters: 3 (+1)
17th FW (Bar)
25th FW (Nowotny, NEW)
Two fighters were fine for air superiority combined with the AA units. Three is flexible. Nowotny does get hit more due to his low defence though. Just to note, Bar has only lost 14 hits in his entire service since Sedan and has taken home 771 confirmed kills. My original plane (7th) is on 960 kills for the loss of 39.
Tactical Bombers: 4 (no change)
10th JU (+3 atk/def)
RUDEL (+1atk, 3 def.)
22nd Bf (Lendt, +1DEF)
Rudel is overkill and he got an extra attack hero AND a 3 def hero. He’s on 1335 kills for the loss of 17. The 10th JU is on 1773 kills at the moment. I don’t think I’ll be adding to this force. I don't use Recon Rudel anymore, the last I used him was Sevastopol where one fighter just blinked in his direction and he went down to 1 health left. Just no point even as a recon unit at this point.
Strategic Bombers: 2 (no change)
Nothing to say about these, they’re floating artillery and are great for taking down tanks if the Junkers aren’t in range, especially due to ammo suppression.
1942 wasn't a great year on the strategic level I suppose, but there were some handy new toys, STUGS and Nebels! The year was a good mix of defensive and attacking scenarios, but I really do think the urban warfare is exhausting to fight through.
Looking forward to '43, hopefully there will be an interesting mix of missions. We start at Kharkov (again), with a slew of new '43 upgrades for the infantry, a new STUG variant, a new fighter/bomber in the Me410A and the infamous Tiger tanks. I need to figure out who to upgrade to Tigers and I need to figure it out quickly. '43 should also be a good test of the new 233 recon units, they were useless in the finale of 42, but hopefully with less ice on the ground they'll be able to actually scout stuff.