Historical AAR - Axis versus Allied AI (The AI Concedes)

After action reports for Commander Europe at War.

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zechi
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Post by zechi » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:59 am

As you play a historical game, how will you handle the invasion of Greece? Historically Greece was invaded only by Italian forces at the beginning and the Germans came to their help as the Greek nearly turned the tide. Would be interesting to see how an historical Italian invasion from Albania would play out.

Greco-Italian war: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Ital ... f_campaign

Furthermore, it would also be historically correct, if you would attack at least with some of the Italian units in Libya into Egypt without any support by the Germans. If the AI beats you (which it should), only then you should sent the Africa Corps and more reinforcements towards Libya. At least you should move some of the Italian units 1-2 hexes into Egypt simulating the advance of the Italian towards Sidi Barani. Would be interesting to see if and how the AI reacts.

Italian Invasion of Egypt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_invasion_of_Egypt

This invasion should start in September 1940.

Will you also try to replay the "Battle for Britain"?

rkr1958
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Post by rkr1958 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:17 pm

@zechi, Great ideas!
zechi wrote:As you play a historical game, how will you handle the invasion of Greece? Historically Greece was invaded only by Italian forces at the beginning and the Germans came to their help as the Greek nearly turned the tide. Would be interesting to see how an historical Italian invasion from Albania would play out.
I like it! The Italians will invade from Albania on the October 25, 1940 turn and will receive no German help until the April 3, 1941 turn. I will allow myself to use the Italians 1 invasion point in the Greek operation.

Also, in general, another guideline I'll add is that the Germans and Italians can never exceed their invasion or transport capacity.
zechi wrote:Furthermore, it would also be historically correct, if you would attack at least with some of the Italian units in Libya into Egypt without any support by the Germans. If the AI beats you (which it should), only then you should sent the Africa Corps and more reinforcements towards Libya. At least you should move some of the Italian units 1-2 hexes into Egypt simulating the advance of the Italian towards Sidi Barani. Would be interesting to see if and how the AI reacts.

Italian Invasion of Egypt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_invasion_of_Egypt

This invasion should start in September 1940.
Another great idea! Talk about being stretched using the Italians only to attack Greece and into Egypt will be very interesting. In terms of the Africa Corps and German commitment to North Africa, what size force? One tank corps with Rommel? One mechanized corps with Rommel? One tank (or mechanized) with Rommel and one infantry corps? What about airforces? The entire Italian airforce and one German fighter? Or other?
zechi wrote:Will you also try to replay the "Battle for Britain"?
Yes. I need to build a second German strategic bomber, which will be my next build.

Also, by going down this route I need to include the Luftwaffe efforts against Malta.

Reference: Siege of Malta
From Siege of Malta wrote:The Italian Air Force was not in the end as powerful as it had seemed at first, and the Italian Navy was not able on its own to prevent the movement of Allied shipping in the central Mediterranean. Consequently, a small number of British fighters, first of all a handful of Sea Gladiators taken over by the RAF, and then a larger number of Hurricanes, were able to limit the extent of the air attacks both on Malta itself and on Allied shipping.

Malta thus held out, and became a base from which Axis supply lines to North Africa could be interdicted by Allied air, submarine and surface forces. In early 1941 Germany again tried to bomb the island into submission, and almost succeeded, but in the summer the Luftwaffe was called away to more pressing business in Russia.
@zechi,

Thanks again for these suggestions. Once finalized, I'll incorporate all this into my introduction / guidelines capture in the first post of this thread. This AAR and game have turned to be quite fun. Also, if you (or anyone else) have the time, I would like to get YOUR historical perspective on these and other events as the play out and are captured in this AAR. Jim and I will capture all this in a document we're putting together.

Do you are anybody else have any other "historical" suggestions that you'd like to see play out in this AAR?

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Post by AC67 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:44 pm

Well, first of all my compliments for this historical AAR. With zechi's suggestions, it will be even more historical. As we are talking about the Mediterranean theater of war, you should also avoid building new submarines as the Italians, a strategy I have often seen in PBEMs. Historically, IIRC, the Italian submarines have never been a great problem for the Royal Navy, and the Regia Marina did not invest in this weapon during the war (although the Italians, at the beginning of WWII, had more than twice the number of submarines than the Germans).

AC

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Post by _Augustus_ » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:20 pm

Stauffenberg wrote:Point is that we already have the lowest values set from CeaW. That is red, orange, yellow and white. The three first are the first colors of the rainbow.
Yes, I understand they are the original colours used in the game. But why whould this particular feature be a holy cow not to be touched? Ton of features that players have gotten used to have been altered if there has been a better way to do it.
We might keep as is for efficiency since it focuses only on showing the degree of inefficiency. Above 60 means the unit is healthy.
But there is a point of view worth contemplating on. I confess I don't remember the EFF limits for particular colours off top of my head.. Germans get 90+ units from early on in great numbers. As far as I remember the EFF*Steps=number of attacks the unit does. By that logic the expected damage done by 90 EFF unit is half more than 60 EFF unit. A great diffence in my view that would warrant a indication on the screen if possible.

From that perspective it would be very useful to have indication for top EFF units, say 80+ or 85+. The extra colour for 100+ units is unnecessary IMO and wastes a colour. Number of 100+ EFF unit is relatively low and the difference to a 90 or 80 EFF unit is not that great.

As for the colours. Both test examples in this thread in my view make the map look too... uuh... too circuslike. If you would only add one new ( 85+ or whatever) step for high EFF troops I think you might even able squeeze it in using the current red->white range. With little testing 5 good colours could be found in that range and all those blues/greens/purples/andwhatnot could be avoided.

Just my humbble view,

_augustus_

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Post by ferokapo » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:06 pm

On the issue of selecting color schemes:

http://colorbrewer2.org/

It's a handy online tool for mapmakers. Although you need it the other way round (colored text on solid background, as opposed to colorbrewer's colored choropleth maps), it might provide help in choosing the color "distance" between colors in a your scheme. Considering that most of CEAW map is green/brown, a reddish color scheme works probably best. You could choose one class more than you actually want, and toss out the darkest one.

zechi
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Post by zechi » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:14 pm

rkr1958 wrote: In terms of the Africa Corps and German commitment to North Africa, what size force? One tank corps with Rommel? One mechanized corps with Rommel? One tank (or mechanized) with Rommel and one infantry corps? What about airforces? The entire Italian airforce and one German fighter? Or other?
I think you should not use the Italian air units in Egypt until 1941. The original Italian invasion was weak (not in numbers, but in strenght) and not supported by effective air attacks. Use both Italian air units in 1940 only in Greece.

The German reinforcements for North Africa should only arrive if the Italian get into trouble, which will most likely be the case if you only use Italian units to invade Egypt and Greece at the same time. If the Allies get the upper hand in North Africa you should initiate Operation Sonnenblume: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Sonnenblume

The first units of the Afrika Corps arrived in March 1941. I think either a German MECH or ARM with Rommel as commander would be the most historical solution considering the CEAW units. More German units should only be transported to Libya if the Allies push on and the Axis get into trouble. You will find the different stages of reinforcement with order of battle here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_Army_Africa

With the air units it is more difficult to simulate in CEAW unit terms. I do not think that more then 1 FTR unit should be brought to North Africa, because as far as I know the Axis air commitment was not very strong in North Africa.
Do you are anybody else have any other "historical" suggestions that you'd like to see play out in this AAR?
You could also use the minor Axis powers more historically. This would mean that thes Hungarian, Romanian and Bulgarian units are not used for Anti-Partisan operations in France or guarding French cities, which are far away from their home countries and spheres of interest.

Bulgarian units should not be used in Operation Barbarossa and only be move in Bulgaria and to garrison cities in Yugoslavia/Greece: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_h ... rld_War_II

Hungarian units should be used in support of the invasion of Yugoslavia and later they should be used in southern Russia only (and of course in Hungary itself): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungary_du ... rld_War_II

Romanian units should also only be used in southern Russia and in Romania:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romania_du ... rld_War_II

zechi
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Post by zechi » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:52 am

Another suggestion to inlcude in your historical AAR. The Germans and Italian invaded Vichy France on the 10th November 1942.

Case Anton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_Anton

This was the Axis reaction to Operation Torch. As most likely the AI will not launch Operation Torch, it could be argued that Case Anton should not happen in your game. It would also not be a smart move for the Axis player in a game against the AI. However, I think it would be interesting to see how the AI reacts if you actually launch Case Anton, especially how the AI will use the Free French Forces (if it uses them at all).

PS. I also edited my post above a little bit.

rkr1958
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Post by rkr1958 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:47 am

@ zechi,

I'm not sure about the Germans invading Vichy France. I can see what you're trying to accomplish but an invasion of Vichy France by the Germans without provocation by the US & UK (i.e., Torch) seems a historical. So for now, I'm going to pass on that suggestion.

By the way thanks for your great suggestions. Hopefully, I've captured the spirit of them below.

@ zechi, All,

Please comment on the following revisions to my groundrules. Any suggested changes or additions?

1. I will only invaded those countries in GS that were historically invaded by the axis and on the date that they were invaded. For historical dates that don’t fall on a game turn, which most of them won’t, then the invasion will be on the last game turn before that date. Also, for countries initially invaded by Italy (i.e., Greece and Egypt) Germany will not intervene no sooner than they did historically. It’ll be interesting to compare my conquest results against the historical conquest dates. In fact I will grade myself using the color scheme below.

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2. Greece. The invasion of Greece will be carried out by the Italians on the October 25, 1940 game turn. The Italian fighter, tactical bomber and armor corps will be commitment in Greece until its conquest. The German cannot intervene in Greece by land or air until the April 3, 1941 game turn.
3. North Africa. The Italians will invade Egypt on August 26, 1940 or one turn after Egypt activates if later. The DAK (i.e., Africa Corps) will consist of a German armor unit led by Rommel will arrive no earlier than the February 2, 1941 game turn. Historically, the DAK began arriving in North Africa starting on February 10, 1941 with Rommel arriving on February 14, 1941 and taking command at that time. The Germans will also commit one fighter unit to North Africa. The total axis air strength in North Africa will not exceed two air units.
4. (German) Axis Minors. Hungarian, Romania, Bulgarian and Finnish units will not be used for anti-partisan (i.e., counter resistance) operations in France or garrison of French cities. Axis minors, which can always be used within the own country as necessary; will be used outside their home country as follows. Bulgarian units can be used in Yugoslavia and Greece after these countries are conquered. Hungarian units can be used in Yugoslavia, including support of the invasion, and later can be used in southern Russia only. Romanian units will only be used in southern Russia (i.e., outside of Romanian). Finnish units can attack Russian units but cannot move beyond the limits of their initial starting positions. That is, they can’t be used to push deeper into Russia.
5. German u-boats can only be used offensively to attack allied convoys. They CANNOT be used to attack the RN or allied transport. The only “attacks” of this sort allowed is when allied units of these types run into hidden subs.
6. German u-boats CANNOT take up position in or block access to the English Channel.
7. I will have 6 German u-boat flotillas (i.e., 3 more built ones) by the time Russia is invaded.
8. Axis air units can be used to attack the RN. However; axis fighters cannot attack allied air units at their airbases.
9. The Italians cannot build additional air or naval units, including sub groups, but can repair as necessary the ones they start with.
10. Italian units can only be deployed to and fight in Italy, North Africa, Greece, Yugoslavia, southern Russia and southern France (hex row 35 or greater). Italian air and land units cannot more into or attack any units located inside of France until Paris is captured.
11. German and Italian transport and invasion capacities will never be exceeded.
Last edited by rkr1958 on Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rkr1958
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Post by rkr1958 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:16 am

Turn 15. June 7, 1940 Axis. Germany pushes deep into southern France. Italy enters the war.

After Germany's lighting conquest of France, Mussolini feared that he was going to miss out on the spoils of war. He viewed Britain as too spread out and weak to defend all of their possessions and figured that Egypt and the Middle Eastern oil fields would be easy conquests. He told the Italian people that the price of entry to sit at the same table as Germany would be a few thousand dead Italian soldiers. A price that HE was more than willing to pay. Was he wrong. The Italians would have over 400,000 military and civilian war dead and Mussolini along with his mistress were executed on April 28, 1945. The bodies of Mussolini, his mistress and four others also executed that day were put on display, hung upside down and then thrown in the gutter at the Piazzale Loreto in Milan the next day (April 29). It was this treatment of Mussolini's body that prompted Hitler to put measures in place to ensure that his body would not be treated as such. Hitler killed himself the next day (April 30th) at around 3:30 pm. Too bad for the over 30 million war dead in Europe that the death of these two men didn't happen 5 1/2 years earlier. For more on Hitler's last two days check out, the death of Hitler.

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rkr1958
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Post by rkr1958 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:28 am

Turn 16. June 27, 1940 Axis. Holland Surrenders. France and Norway on the Verge of Collapse.

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Post by rkr1958 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:04 pm

Turn 17. July 17, 1940 Axis. France and Norway Surrenders! Britain Stands Alone!

Hitler gave the order to initiative Operation Eagle in August of 1940 as a prelude to Sea Lion. Operation Eagle was designed to strike at British fighter bases and air defenses (e.g., radar installations) in order for the Luftwaffe to gain control of the skies over the English Channel and Britain. Radar in 1940 was in it's early days and though the Luftwaffe initial did significant damage to key radar installations they switched targets allowing Britain to repair and keep their network of radars functioning. This was key for the RAF fighter pilots in defending against Operation Eagle, or as we now know it as the Battle of Britain. Because of radar, the RAF didn't have to distributed their fighter aircraft across airfields in Britain and keep them on high alert. They can be concentrated in a few key locations and on the ground giving the RAF fighter pilots much needed and critical rest. Then when the massive Luftwaffe raids were detected by radar RAF fighter command could scramble and target their planes precisely and quickly against these raids. Again, minimizing the time in the air for their pilots. And as we all know these few and brave men are credited was saving Britain from invasion.

Some historians believe that Hitler no intention of crossing the English Channel but that his aim was "acquiring" living room to spread out in the vasts expanses of Russia. In a speech to the German people Hitler makes what he believes is a generous offer to Britain and Winston Churchill. An offer that he probably believes that England, who is now standing alone against the full might of the German military, would jump out. Basically, Hitler says that Germany will allow Britain to keep all of their empire and in exchange he wants a free hand in Europe with no interference by Britain. This offer is rejected outright by Winston Churchill which now doesn't seem that bold but in 1940, standing alone and only separated by a few miles of water from a mighty and overwhelming enemy I think this was an extremely bold decision. Add to that Britain had just suffered Dunkirk, which saved them most of the men of the BEF, but which lost them most of their heavy equipment and guns.

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Last edited by rkr1958 on Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:15 pm

If you look at the latest screenshots from Ronnie you will see the strength colors used. We got rid of the annoying strong colors and instead did the following for showing efficiency:

0-19: Red (as before)
20-39: Orange (as before)
40-59: Yellow (as before)
60-79: Light green (new color)
80+: White (changed from 60+)

The only exception is that paratrooper units eligible for paradrops will use light blue to indicate that status. These units need 70+ efficiency and must be adjacent to a city or friendly air unit.

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Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:22 pm

I also wanted to inform that GS v2.0 has a very nice feature you can't see from screenshots. When you build a new unit and place it on the map you will have the unit automatically named according to the lowest available number following the existing naming convention for that country. So if you e. g. place a German armor unit then unit will be e. g. called IX Panzer Korps instead of just Armour. If you place a Russian corps if can be called 18th Army and so on.

Land, air and naval units follow the same convention as seen in the scenarios. E. g. British BB's will be called nth Battle Sqn while US BB's will be called Battleship Division n. And so on.

The code will reuse numbers of destroyed units so if you e. g. destroy the German VIII Korps it will reappear later when Germany builds a new land unit. Some countries share numbers within units of the same type and some don't. That's also added. E. g. the German corps unit numbers are shared for infantry, mech and armor.

So now you can have unique unit names following the existing naming convention without having to bother to rename units. :)

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Post by zechi » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:56 pm

Just one comment conerning your ground rules. Why are Italian units not allowed in France? In fact Italy attacked France through the Alps as soon as the Fall of France was obvious. Just as indicated in your post Mussolini only needed a few thousand dead soldiers against France and he hoped he would earn the spoils of war. I think it would have been more historical if an attack by Italian units at the French-Italian border would be allowed, but now its too late.

Italian Invasion of France: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_invasion_of_France

After the Fall of France Italy occupied some territories in southern France and after Case Anton (see above) it occupied the French Riveria and Corsica.

Italian occupation of France:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_oc ... rld_War_II

If the Allies launch Torch (which is unlikely, but could happen), then the Italians should at least be used in southern France.

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Post by leridano » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:34 pm

rkr1958 wrote:
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Because of different sea levels colours it looks like ships in ports have a low visibility strength number. I wonder if there´s a real need of changing strength number colours from vanilla game ones which everybody is used to. :?:



    Last edited by leridano on Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

    rkr1958
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    Post by rkr1958 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:36 pm

    zechi wrote:Just one comment conerning your ground rules. Why are Italian units not allowed in France? In fact Italy attacked France through the Alps as soon as the Fall of France was obvious. Just as indicated in your post Mussolini only needed a few thousand dead soldiers against France and he hoped he would earn the spoils of war. I think it would have been more historical if an attack by Italian units at the French-Italian border would be allowed, but now its too late.

    Italian Invasion of France: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_invasion_of_France

    After the Fall of France Italy occupied some territories in southern France and after Case Anton (see above) it occupied the French Riveria and Corsica.

    Italian occupation of France:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_oc ... rld_War_II

    If the Allies launch Torch (which is unlikely, but could happen), then the Italians should at least be used in southern France.
    O.K. How about the following ground rule? Italian air and land units cannot more into or attack any units located inside of France until Paris is captured. Also, no Italian units allowed north of Vichy France (or something to that effect).

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    Post by rkr1958 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:01 am


    zechi
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    Post by zechi » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:14 am

    rkr1958 wrote: O.K. How about the following ground rule? Italian air and land units cannot more into or attack any units located inside of France until Paris is captured. Also, no Italian units allowed north of Vichy France (or something to that effect).
    This seems like a good rule. Just one question. What would actually happen with Italian units, if the Italians activate before the Fall of France and would attack southern France as they historically did through the Alps and would take Nice or another city in southern France. If France falls and Vichy France is created would the Italian units in Nice or the territory of Vichy France be destroyed?

    Will be really interesting to see how the "historical" invasion of Egypt and Greece plays out against the AI.

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    Post by Plaid » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:26 am

    After fall of France axis units from Vichy lands will go straight to axis force pool and will be ready for deploy like new-build ones (but they still have same strength as they had before, not full) next turn.
    Allied ones are destroyed.

    rkr1958
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    Post by rkr1958 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:16 pm

    Plaid wrote:After fall of France axis units from Vichy lands will go straight to axis force pool and will be ready for deploy like new-build ones (but they still have same strength as they had before, not full) next turn.
    Allied ones are destroyed.
    So for Italian infantry units caught in Vichy France at the fall then this would be like a free rail. They would appear in the Italian force pool on the next turn and could be deployed; for example, in or next to Naples. Of course only one corps could be deployed in or next to a city. I believe it takes as many turns to be able to be deployed from the force pool as it took to be built. For example, it would take three turns for the Italian armor corps. Also, as Plaid pointed out British units in Vichy territory, and that includes Syria, are destroyed. So if as the allied player you're able to delay the fall of France until after Egyptian & Iraqi activation DO NOT send UK units into Syria.

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