Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

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freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by freud » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:53 pm

Dear community!

I have recently finished the AK campaign on Manstein difficulty level as well meeting the prerequisities for the Italian challange achievment. In practice this means that all AI units received a +5 boost to unit strength while I was only allowed to purchase new Italian equipment throughout the entire campaign (while happily clinging on to any German units originally in my core, captured equipment and awarded SE-units). Furthermore, I resolved to settle for nothing less than decisive victories (DVs) as well as to never save and load the game once a scenario commenced. Most scenarios, however, I had to replay a good few times in order to develop relevant strategies to master them. Especially the early scenarios can be quite complex and I doubt that it is humanly possible to play them 'blind' on Manstein difficulty and score nothing but DVs. All things considered the strategies employed here should be reproducible on any difficulty level (as they don't rely on lucky/limited dice rolls at every critical battle or a cadre of super units with perfectly groomed heroes) and so will be useful for anyone struggling with the AK campaign. :)

I did record each scenario played in their entirety using video recording software as well but as I entirely lack video editing skills I have no idea how to render them presentable online. :oops:

Stay tuned for the first scenario!
Last edited by freud on Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Scenario 1: Reconnaissance in Force

Post by freud » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:21 pm

Reconnaissance in Force

Overall pretty straightforward scenario where the objectives change a few times over the course of the game. In order to score a DV a couple of towns to the very east must be captured and so I had to peel off quite a few units of my main force advancing north in order to rush them. I could not spare any artillery for the eastward push so a few battles fighting entrenched infantry turned rather ugly.

Purchased an additional artillery and upgraded a PzII to PzIV as well as two Italian infantries to Bersaglieri.

Strategic plan with circles drawn around initial forces and final objectives.
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Forcing surrenders is absolutely essential to effectively clear the path of advancement quickly rather than bludgeon enemy units to death through succesive assaults. Surrendered units also add a given sum of prestige to the players coffers depending on the base value and remaining strength of the surrendering unit. (I also believe unit class is factored in as surrendering Churchill tanks always yield a disproportionately high amount of prestige).
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Enemy air units are best honey-trapped into ambushes and then taken out by superior firepower.
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More surrenders, more cash.
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Up close and personal with the defenders of Bir Hacheim, taking excessive losses as no artillery could be spared for the assault.
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With proper artillery support even Italian units can be relied on to make steady progress.
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(21.06.2018) Reconnaissance in Force, Turn 16.zip
(56.45 KiB) Downloaded 59 times
Last edited by freud on Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:59 pm, edited 12 times in total.

freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Scenario 2: Ras el Mdauuar

Post by freud » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:25 am

Ras el Mdauuar

Bunkers galore. Added an Italian heavy flak and two artilleries to my core. Disbanded a few German units including 2 ATs which I will come to regret later in the campaign. Also upgraded two German infantries to Pioniere to help deal with the bunkers. Overall a rather uncomplicated albeit gritty scenario where the bulk of my forces where concentrated in the west to strike eastward and then divert south. Also chipped in two core units to assist taking the southernmost objective.

Overall strategic plan.
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British bunkers blown sky-high. :mrgreen:
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Inferno! :twisted: Flame tanks do wonders attacking soft targets, given their high rate of fire and capacity to ignore entrenchments. Here an auxiliary Pz II Flamm is seen subjecting a large calibre artillery unit to hellfire. Given their fragile nature, however, I chose not to invest in any such units throughout the campaign.
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Unwelcome guests. The heavy British tanks are quite an obstacle to deal with in the early scenarios, easily able to one-shot knock out a precious panzer unless backed up by massed artillery support.
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(21.06.2018) Ras el Mdauuar, Turn 15.zip
(55.46 KiB) Downloaded 62 times
Last edited by freud on Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Scenario 3: Brevity

Post by freud » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:57 pm

Brevity

First scary scenario where the British is assaulting in force. Their forces include two 17-strength behemoth Matilda IIs which is a rather terrifying thing to deal with this early in the campaign. Key to success is to play it conservatively first 8 or so turns as the AI relentlessly hurls his units towards the northernmost objective. This way AI units, often in transport mode, can be surrounded and destroyed while not compromising the integrity of ones own lines. Once the bulk of AI units have been destroyed it is quite safe to blitz the remaining objectives. Bought 3 additional Italian fighters which sufficed well enough to establish air superiority throughout the game. Also added another heavy flak and an Italian recon unit, the German one was deleted in the previous scenario.

General scheme of strategy.
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Through superior numbers and firepower air supremacy is quickly established.
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So many targets, so little time.
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Lucky dice rolls. The Matilda encounters could have just as well had ended in complete disaster and, as such, tank units should never stray to far from supporting artillery. The Matildas themselves are best dealt with by a painstaking succesion of strafing aircraft, massed artillery for supression, and finally picked off by a heavy flak, preferably while surrounded to ensure their surrender.
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Poor scouting. Charging forward headlessly to secure a couple of airfields a hapless Bersaglieri is caught while in transport by an unseen British tankette.
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(22.06.2018) Brevity, Turn 16.zip
(58.72 KiB) Downloaded 59 times
Last edited by freud on Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by freud » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:23 am

The images in post #2 will not display no matter what I do it seems. Are they awaiting confirmation by an administrator? Otherwise I would much appreciate if someone could review the post and point out any coding errors on my behalf. The image links are valid and can be accessed by right clinking the image icons.

PeteMitchell
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
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Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by PeteMitchell » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:31 pm

Have you tried the direct image links, i.e. the ones ending with jpg: https://i.imgur.com/MFnZOAG.jpg

Image
Comprehensive Battlefield Europe AAR:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=86481

PeteMitchell
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Posts: 1485
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:18 pm

Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by PeteMitchell » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:34 pm

Comprehensive Battlefield Europe AAR:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=86481

PeteMitchell
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Posts: 1485
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:18 pm

Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by PeteMitchell » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:38 pm

Just right click on the picture in imgur and open the image in a new tab, then copy this source link with the *.jpg ending into the php "insert image" *[img]http://image_url[/img]* function.
Comprehensive Battlefield Europe AAR:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=86481

PeteMitchell
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Posts: 1485
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:18 pm

Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by PeteMitchell » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:50 pm

FYI, one more thing, when posting animated gif files/photos, phpbb doesn't seem to recognize the compressed "gifs" format (i.e. the one with the *s* at the end) that imgur offers as a standard given a certain file size, so you may need to use the original gif link only (i.e. the non-compressed old style version), took me days to figure this out... :lol:
Comprehensive Battlefield Europe AAR:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=86481

PeteMitchell
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Colonel - Fallschirmjäger
Posts: 1485
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:18 pm

Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by PeteMitchell » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:54 pm

By the way, nice posts and an ambitious AAR! You could also post strategic maps (e.g. at the beginning or at the end of a scenario) visualizing your approach/tactics... nice program for this is (besides others of course) Greenshot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenshot
Comprehensive Battlefield Europe AAR:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=86481

hugh2711
Sergeant Major - Armoured Train
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Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by hugh2711 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:50 am

I also could not make the no. 2 replay work

captainjack
Sr. Colonel - Battleship
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Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by captainjack » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:08 am

The surrender prestige from Churchill's is a quirk of units with low base strength. If you can force an overstrength unit to surrender (which means it is overstrength after your attack) the prestige value is related to X/base, where base is the base strength. Normally this is difficult to arrange, but in AK (more than in most other campaigns) there are a few expensive units with strength 4 (and I think a few strength 1). If you can force surrender of a base 4 matilda it is valued at something like double the full price, which is then halved for surrender value. You can see that an overstrength base 1 Churchy at +5 strength could provide a huge boost to prestige - I recall getting over 1000 prestige one time when playing at general.

freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by freud » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:01 pm

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:54 pm
By the way, nice posts and an ambitious AAR! You could also post strategic maps (e.g. at the beginning or at the end of a scenario) visualizing your approach/tactics... nice program for this is (besides others of course) Greenshot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenshot
Thank you very much, it all seems to work fine now! :)

freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by freud » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:05 pm

hugh2711 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:50 am
I also could not make the no. 2 replay work
I downloaded the replay and loaded it in-game and it works fine for me. I archived it using WinRAR into a ZIP-file, perhaps this is what causes the problem. If so I'm happy to upload it using another format.

freud
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:37 pm

Scenario 4: Battleaxe

Post by freud » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:43 am

Battleaxe

Perhaps the most difficult scenario of the entire campaign whose character resembles the previous one, Brevity, albeit with much steroided-up Allied strength as well as another layer difficulty being added by scripted counterattacks and shifting objectives :shock:. In order to triumph a defensive line must be established in order to kill off Allied units fast and efficient. Thus enabling the player to release units in a timely manner to pursue and destroy a far-off diversion assault. Finally all units must converge to kill off a final counterattack and then, at last, roll on to secure all the objectives.

Bought another heavy Italian artillery while also upgrading the remainder to 149 mm. Also added two additional Italian tanks. Did not deploy any infantry units of my own. A new Italian fighter - Folgore - with much improved fighting qualities is also available, and with my entire fighter force upgraded the air war was rendered rather trivial.

Strategic overview.
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A solid defensive line bristling with heavy guns capable of killing off any approaching unit in an efficient manner.
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The sheer number of Matildas to deal with in this scenario is a chilling prospect.
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A brave auxiliary Bersaglieri blocking several allied units at a bottle-neck and thus preventing them from taking part in the main battle.
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Unwanted surprise. As soon as a the initial Allied assault begins to peter out, a large Diversion force bursts forth out of nowhere near Sidi Azeiz. This force must be annihilated in its entirety in order score a DV.
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A final surprise. Near Sidi Suleiman a final allied counterattack catches and nearly destroys an Italian tank unit. Luckily I had heavy firepower nearby to deal with the threat quickly and was rewarded a captured Matilda II upon capturing the town.
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As the battle nears completion, the brave defenders of Sollum - who singlehandedly contained a Matilda for the duration of the game - are finally relieved.
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(24.06.2018) Battleaxe, Turn 17.zip
(63.57 KiB) Downloaded 49 times

alvinhsing
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
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Re: Afrika Korps campaign - Manstein difficulty/Italian Challenge

Post by alvinhsing » Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:51 am

freud wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:23 am
The images in post #2 will not display no matter what I do it seems. Are they awaiting confirmation by an administrator? Otherwise, I would much appreciate if someone could review the post and point out any coding errors on my behalf. The image links are valid and can be accessed by right-clicking the image icons.
A masterpiece of AAR!!

Great Walkthrough, I have never seen mass surrenders after the uploader Deducter SC.

I will follow your campaign.

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