Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:35 pm

Have I been sleeping on paratroopers with leaders? Maps in the Soviet campaign have included a surprising number of multi tile cities and forests, and paratroopers do really well in that terrain. The Soviet paras by 44 are 17-20 vs infantry which is pretty great seeing as the best in class infantry clear from engineers is 18 (albeit at the 43 instead of the 44 for the paras) and they have terrible defense (albeit with much lower cost in CP and points). Bump it up with a couple stars of vet and a leader with infantry attack + shock and they tear through even entrenched infantry in close terrain.

I guess the question is are they enough better than engineers to justify their cost? And are they needed when I have a big artillery park? Fun to try tho.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by GabeKnight » Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:49 pm

Yeah, with paras in your core you'll need deep pockets. But if you can afford them, they're worth it much like heavy infantry.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:05 pm

So I've tried repeatedly to make the BM-13/BM-31 work in my comps and I just can't justify bringing them. 2 range is just way too short (and also not justified by the historic range of the vehicle). The impact when it actually hits is very good, but the problem is you're often forced to put it into extremely dangerous situations to get a shot off. Or you're stuck behind a forest. Contrast with the SU-76M which is less impactful per hit but much much much more likely to have a target in range on any given turn. It also has mech movement rather than wheeled which means fewer terrain obstacles. Finally it can also role swap to AT which allows it to support armor on the move.

As a result I've basically gone full SU-76M for my armor formations and am considering swapping out the ZiS-3 for it everywhere too. Only reason I haven't is the ZiS-3 is soo much cheaper.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by bebro » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:48 pm

IMO you're looking way too much for one-size-fits-all, jack-of-all-trade-units

Esp. with plenty of RP after some time it's much better to specialize and have a core that allows for variation. High infra maps, offensive - may bring 1-2 Katyusha; low infra or winter maps - may use rather tracked SPGs. Defensive or siege - more towed big caliber arty. Or 152er SPGs if you want.

And so on. While you don't know what AI units you are facing in the first playthrough you can see how map and terrain look, and what you can bring in air cover and CP for tanks and inf, so this helps the decision.

Well, there are a few scns which are so large you can have combis of most of it :D

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:39 am

I mean yes it's a strategy game, I look for units that are good in all scenarios not units that are occasionally situationally useful. The SU-76M can always be earning me kills, the BM-13/31 cannot. If it were a range 3 unit it'd be much more viable as the range would at least go some small way toward mitigating the utter immobility of the unit. Also, CP efficiency needs to be assessed at the formation level, not the individual unit level. For 8CP I can either have 2x SU-76M or 1x BM-13/31 and 1x SU-85. IMO it is pretty clear which set gives better ROI.

On the flip side heavy armor is much less viable than expected and I've downgraded to one IS-2. Because the Germans have access to so many heavy mech attack units the armor value against mech attack is worthless outside of close terrain where I can reduce the incoming fire anyway. And against most targets artillery is going to prep first anyway, so on the attack I can rely on pretty much anything with whatever armor value. IS-2 elite repair bill can easily hit almost 200 points if it has a bad turn! That's not a sustainable rate of loss!

My standard armor formation is now 2x T-34/85, 1x IS-2, 2x SU-76M, 1x motorized engineer, 1x M17, 1x heavy infantry, 1x recon. I am also considering permanently adding 1x motorized airborne unit to provide additional infantry firepower and am trying that out in the Hungary mission. My standard infantry formation is still 2x GR, 1x footmobile engineer, 1x ZiS-3, 1x B4, 1x footmobile 37mm AA, 1x ISU-152.

The Estonia mission was interesting. I sent two of my standard infantry formations along with some attached support from some heavy and medium armor and elite infantry to clear all the top objectives which they did without issue barring an unfortunate moment where one of my IS-2 was mobbed by a bunch of infantry and a rocket artillery after crossing over a bridge and took heavy losses. I also sent my standard armor formation backed by some elite infantry and aux arty/light armor to clear out everything down south and to accomplish the Siege Riga objectives. I made sure to bring a recon plane with them to keep an eye out for armor because I've found fighting against enemy armor usually works best if I can receive enemy attacks on my infantry in close terrain (or ideally cities) with AT reaction fire available. The AI obliged on both occasions where it had a heavy armor blob so things went well. Nothing really noteworthy about the mission other than you should probably focus on grabbing the airfields and can leave a good chunk of the map entirely ignored.

As usual this is all on difficulty 4. I will probably replay at some point on difficulty 5.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by bebro » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:15 pm

Well, in the end everyone is using what he likes, and what works for him :) It's just that I'm surprised about the Su-76 choice. It's versatile, yes, but excels in no task really.

However, there we are back again at "everyone is using what works for him". IMO it's a good thing when different core combis can do the job. :)

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by terminator » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:27 pm

Prokhorovka (mission 1)

Difficulty IV (Colonel), no core imported.

RED STEEL!

Primary Objective "Tanks must cause 100 damage" completed in turn 5/18

sov3_01_Prokhorovka(8.6.0)(9).jpg
sov3_01_Prokhorovka(8.6.0)(9).jpg (588.95 KiB) Viewed 744 times

TANK KILLS!

Secondary Objective "Destroy 10 armored vehicles" completed in turn 9/18

sov3_01_Prokhorovka(8.6.0)(10).jpg
sov3_01_Prokhorovka(8.6.0)(10).jpg (703.72 KiB) Viewed 744 times

MAJOR VICTORY

Early Victory in turn 13/18

sov3_01_Prokhorovka(8.6.0)(11).jpg
sov3_01_Prokhorovka(8.6.0)(11).jpg (544.04 KiB) Viewed 744 times

Conclusion:

Good scenario but a little short, I stay hungry every time I finish this scenario :twisted:
Last edited by terminator on Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:38 pm

Image

This was funny

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by bebro » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:54 pm

Hehe time travel...gets fixed indeed.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:55 pm

Debrecen mission was alright, AI armor blobs set to counter attack are definitely a major part of the mission and I ran into 3 or 4 of them. Air recon and recon cars (which can absorb several hits while evading most of the damage) are essential imo. I sent a standard armor formation up the left on the intact bridges and wrongfooted the AI a few times with it by attacking behind their defensive lines. I also sent 2x infantry formations up the main road and basically hammered everything to death with the combined artillery park of 6 guns, most of them 152mm+. Obviously this worked pretty well even against the King Tiger that came raring out.

SU-76M continuing to show its stuff against armor counter attacks. The leftmost raid from the bridge gold objective failed to achieve tactical surprise so hit me after I had set up a force of heavy inf in the forest + IS-2 and T-34 in the open (IS-2 in the middle for the defensive bonus) with SU-76M behind in AT mode and the second one in ART mode. ART mode SU-76M disrupted the AA enough for strikes to knock it out of commission, Panther went after a recon car but was too spooked to commit to anything else. On the second turn of that engagement I smacked the Panther to bits with air strikes and surrounded it, then cleaned up the rest on the following turn. A couple planes came out with the armored attack but the La-7s and the M-17 tore them up. The other armor battles against the Germans weren't particularly noteworthy and went pretty much the same way.

A combined arms Hungarian counterattack was noteworthy and caught me out as I hadn't expected attacks from the direction they showed up from! If they had waited one more turn their initial attack would probably have hit my artillery and I would have been very upset. But unfortunately for them I still had plenty of infantry in the woods they tried to hit me through to wipe out some runners. So instead of the devastating blow they were hoping for they ended up getting bogged down trying to clear those guys out. When my turn came around I sent in more infantry and unleashed the artillery which, well, there wasn't much left to deal with after that.

The initial bridge crossing into the first objective could have been handled better, I didn't sufficiently prioritize getting the intact bridge demined and I probably delayed swapping the ISU-152s into direct fire mode for one turn too many which let a couple AI units run off and meant my infantry took more damage than was strictly speaking essential.

The improvement in infantry AT in the 44 upgrade is very noticeable and the end result has been a steady decrease in the amount of armor I use in any mission and an increase in the amount of infantry as they are cheap, effective against all targets when properly employed and on most maps the terrain is pretty rough which of course benefits them further. Armor definitely still has a role in my comp, but much less of one than in the earlier missions.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by bebro » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:08 pm

terminator wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:27 pm
Early Victory in turn 13/18
Kudos for using a Valentine at this stage :shock:

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by kondi754 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:28 pm

bebro wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:08 pm
terminator wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:27 pm
Early Victory in turn 13/18
Kudos for using a Valentine at this stage :shock:
Historically it's ok
There were a lot of Valentines in the cavalry corps which attacked through Ukraine and Balkans, I have photos showing Valentine tanks driving on the road next to Don Cossacks constituting cavalry units of the Red Army and the Su-76M self-propelled guns during the Vienna operation at the very end of the war 8)
Valentine tank, like Sherman with diesel engine was highly appreciated by Soviet tankers

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by terminator » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:49 pm

bebro wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:08 pm
terminator wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:27 pm
Early Victory in turn 13/18
Kudos for using a Valentine at this stage :shock:
Playing with no core imported, this Valentine MK.III is a brand new Free Valentine tank delivered thanks to the Artic Convoy Specialisation and placed in reserve to be used.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:45 pm

Since the missions are getting bigger and longer I thought it'd be interesting to do a more formal AAR post with pictures of my unit comps and operational plan.

Image

One change since posting this picture was swapping out the 5th Mekh engineer for a Morskaya Pekhota as I felt I needed a mobile infantry unit that could ignore terrain disruption given the state of the map. I also moved the 5th Mekh elements to the south of Warsaw to support the Polish 1st Army's hook around Warsaw's rear.

Image
Image

I typically name all units in line with their formation and maintain them as a coherent operating unit throughout the mission and campaign. I find this A) reduces the cognitive load of mission setup and force management and B) allows me to establish "doctrinal" methods of handling different enemy attack types for these formations. The chief distinction between mech and rifle units is motorization vs heavy artillery.

In my armor formations everything has to be motorized or mechanized and I typically target vet 4+ for the infantry along with using more elite types. No foot mobile assets. The goal is a force that can rapidly achieve operational objectives and can push enemies off of target hexes with minimal prep. I almost always assign them ground and air recon as well as priority for air assets.

In the rifle units motorization is non-existent and I rarely if ever bother to include elite infantry (vet 3 is the target) BUT they have much better access to heavy artillery. The mission for these formations is usually much closer to the LOD and generally involves breaking through heavily fortified areas and fighting through large cities.

As is probably obvious I tend not to bring a lot of armor. It is extremely expensive and has limited utility.

I do pretty similar stuff with air where I'll have a standard air package that coordinates with a particular formation (usually fighter bomber + tac with a recon plane for fast moving armor units) while also having floating air assets (usually fighters, strats) that can be allocated on an as needed basis. Obviously with air the fluidity of the operating environment means things are different

Here is the overall operational picture as I see it. I expect there to be a good bit of artillery clustered around the airfield. The well equipped Polish infantry will be routed along the south of Warsaw along with elements of 5th Mekh once the enemy has committed their forces against my main attack to allow me to hit them in the rear. Similarly I will probably have the 78th Guards attack from the south of their second major objective rather than crossing through the marshlands for an attack from the east as those marshes are a serious PITA and provide no value to me while the forests give me an edge. I am also hoping to have the 78th link up with the 9th for a join attack on the location where I expect the enemy armor to be at. I suspect I will be able to execute a fixing attack with the infantry through the small town just over the river and between the woods allowing the armor to charge into the enemy rear. All of this is speculative but like Eisenhower said "plans are worthless, planning is essential".
Image
Last edited by prestidigitation on Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:47 pm

TBH I'm confused why I don't have the option for a Valentine IX which served with the Soviets until the end of war in cavalry formations. Similarly I'm still pretty ticked that I don't have the ability to build a cavalry mechanized group. Cavalry would have been very helpful in the 42-43 period in particular when I didn't have much in the way of halftracks or mobile infantry.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by kondi754 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:08 pm

prestidigitation wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:47 pm
TBH I'm confused why I don't have the option for a Valentine IX which served with the Soviets until the end of war in cavalry formations. Similarly I'm still pretty ticked that I don't have the ability to build a cavalry mechanized group. Cavalry would have been very helpful in the 42-43 period in particular when I didn't have much in the way of halftracks or mobile infantry.
+1
Have to admit that your rifle and mech corps made a huge impression on me. 8)
This way of grouping units is very close to reality. Congratulations on the idea, I will try to use it.

I really like the economy of the resources used and diversity of units on the map, but not the gigantomania straight from PzC1, where all players strives to have 10 King Tiger, 10 21cm Moerser heavy arty, all inf are Panzergrenadier and (of course) several dozer Me 262 :wink:

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by terminator » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:01 pm

Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket


German reconnaissance units have no camouflage, is that intentional or an oversight?

sov3_05_Korsun_Pocket(12).jpg
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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by prestidigitation » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:18 pm

kondi754 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:08 pm
prestidigitation wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:47 pm
TBH I'm confused why I don't have the option for a Valentine IX which served with the Soviets until the end of war in cavalry formations. Similarly I'm still pretty ticked that I don't have the ability to build a cavalry mechanized group. Cavalry would have been very helpful in the 42-43 period in particular when I didn't have much in the way of halftracks or mobile infantry.
+1
Have to admit that your rifle and mech corps made a huge impression on me. 8)
This way of grouping units is very close to reality. Congratulations on the idea, I will try to use it.

I really like the economy of the resources used and diversity of units on the map, but not the gigantomania straight from PzC1, where all players strives to have 10 King Tiger, 10 21cm Moerser heavy arty, all inf are Panzergrenadier and (of course) several dozer Me 262 :wink:
Yeah it's always struck me as a good way to handle the sheer number of units. Agree 100% on the resource system and the incentive to use a diverse group of units which I think OOBWW2 has handled best of the PG-alikes.

In Panzer Corps US Corps I landed on this model of play because unlike the German campaign you can't just load up on megatonks and megaguns and roll over everything with your superior stats. Also the scenario design is far better than in the grand campaign and resources aren't as absurd so you don't just face carpets of enemy super tanks to fight your carpets of super tanks.

So I ended up with heavy artillery for breaking down fortifications, light artillery with high ammo load for reaction fire (because without it your infantry just get shredded and the high end US artillery is both slow and low on ammo and expensive to reinforce which it'll need to because close range reaction fire makes it easy for counterbat to slam), AA with every group because of course all the US planes are terrible :roll:, front liners for absorbing hits in front of the artillery, engineers to clear mines and handle close combat etc etc. And you had to do pretty much the same thing for the armor or the Pz4 would mulch all the M4s so.... it just made sense to create "corps" within my army, name things accordingly and keep them fighting together as a unit rather than trying to allocate units piecemeal to each objective and cheap out on supporting assets. I also figured out that with a tight economy I just wasn't gonna be able to afford to keep everything at 5 star, so I decided that the armor corps would always be elite since they usually had worse access to artillery and needed to move faster while the rifle guys could be cheaper since, well, they're really just there to sit around, absorb incoming fire and wait for the artillery to smash things for them.

OOB:WW2 thankfully hews much closer to the US Corps model than the Panzer Corps model, and I agree that as much bellyaching as I can do about the unit stats and design I appreciate the overall effort made to keep things reasonable and to make sure the economy is always tight enough that you can't get goofy unless you're playing on too low of a difficulty.

BTW, I'm constantly trying new unit comps out for the various corps so it's not like they're static. They evolve based on kit available. Earlier in the game I had a T-26 in each rifle unit and a light ATG that stayed nut to butt with the infantry so they wouldn't be completely defenseless even in cover against enemy armor. Midgame I had a KV-1. I've also tried attaching rocket arty and SU-76M to them at times and keep going back and forth on whether ZiS-3 or SU-76M is right for them.

Hilariously I also have three marines (morskaya pekhota) and a dedicated ZiS-3 for them that I've used a few times. I was sad I wasn't allowed to do the Jassy-Kishinev landing with those guys as they'd have kicked some serious booty. I

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by kondi754 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:02 pm

I'm also big fan of US Corps DLC (BTW, I participated in beta tests of this game and there were many US Army enthusiasts as testers, many interesting ideas used in the game, I have very good memories of that project)
I also hope we will get a lot of interesting scenarios from the eastern front in the future as additional content (Erik, do you hear me? :) )

EDIT. The CPs system of OoB also suits me very well, because it allows you to do such combinations of units almost like in reality in different periods and places
However, there is still a few missing units like mentioned Valentines IX or Cossacks cavalry or more balanced Sherman which finally would be profitable for players to use until the end of the war, so on your screenshots there will be at least 1 operational unit of Shermans, I mean for example 8th Guards Mech Corps equipped with Shermans (185 M4A2 in January 1945 :!: :!: :!: ), which was quite often as a spearhead of different soviet's Fronts

EDIT2. In addition to 185 M4A2, there were also 21 IS-2, 21 SU-85, 21 SU-76M, over 100 armored and reconnaissance vehicles, and 19 M17 MGMCs, so your mechanized corps represent reality quite accurately 8)
Last edited by kondi754 on Fri Sep 25, 2020 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stormy Battles: Red Storm Review and Discuss

Post by GabeKnight » Fri Sep 25, 2020 1:44 am

All that talk about the SU-76 made me curious. With the changes to the SU-122 and no new additions to the mechanized AT units, the Soviets really have to depend on the captured Marder-III or the SU-100 for AT-support? Nothing stronger against the German heavy tanks? The Germans have the StuG and Jagdpanther/-tiger et al. as dedicated AT-class units.

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