Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

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RVallant
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Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:06 am

I was recommended to write this here, I've not really done an AAR before, so excuse the lack of pictures and whatnot. This is mostly going to be rambling nonsense, but there is a point to it, sort of.

I'll copy over my post from elsewhere in the forums first:

On a whim, I started up the GC again. I lost my save when I moved on to a new computer way back when.

I just finished 1939, I was taking in some tips from the tips topic and elsewhere on the forums. Normally I disband the initial A/T unit, but this campaign I've decided to try and utilise it. I'm also trying to not get so hung up on decisive victories in later scenarios, because the Grand Campaign is really good in allowing 'marginals' to count as victories anyway, with the decisives only really influencing certain battles (thankfully).

So, at Poznan I checked the initial starting group and it was:

2x Infantry,
1x Mountaineers,
2x awful tanks
1x Fighter,
1x Tactical Bomber
1x Arty
1x Anti-tank
1x Recon

I think my initial three purchases were, an extra artillery, an extra recon and a Strategic bomber. I added an 8.8 AA to the core pretty quickly, I think at Lodz perhaps.

I must admit, having *two* recon units has pretty much changed things completely. I organised my units into battle groups: An infantry, Arty, Tank, Anti-Tank (or 88) and the group that goes without the 88 has the fighter for air cover. The campaign throws a lot of free units at you, so there's seldom a need to add to the core imo.

Anyway, two recons are a god-send, because suddenly I'm not charging into things blindly or taking risks. I tended to use just the one in the past, but now I can get very good coverage. More if I can use Recon Rudel, though I'm trying to babysit him for obvious reasons. (Had a heart attack when in one scenario he got ganked by an AA and two fighters and had to limp home at 2hp...)

My opinion might change when I get to Russia. I distinctly remember recon getting wiped out easily at that period of time, but I hope to champion their cause. We shall see.

Anti-tanks, the initial 3.7cm PAK is at full experience, I am actually surprised (or lucky) at how often I've manoeuvred it into a position so that enemy tanks end up 1 hex away the following turn, or even blindly charge into the space next to them when already deployed. It has already proven it's value in the many battles in 39, which has turned my opinion on the class so far. I'm hoping I get him some heroes and switch him to a mobile A/T in the future scenarios. I probably need to get another one of these in 1940... They were benched in Norway since the terrain and enemy forces didn't really warrant an A/T unit imo. (You can farm easy exp with them in Kampinoska Forest if you wheel them out against the trains there, or the Polish tanks in bad terrain, whatever.)

The 8.8 is amazing as an anti-tank, but I haven't had much success with it as an AA in terms of kills. It seems to get about 2-3 kills, and the Messser Bf109E is miles better, capable of hitting 7-8 in one attack. I'm thinking of adding either another 8.8 in the future or a mobile A/A, I'm just trying to remember when air becomes an issues in the GC.

Still, I think a massive reason why I'm exploiting the AT units strengths now is the fact that I have good eyes in the recon squads, which allows me to plan better.

I guess, TL:DR my point is, if you've had bad experiences with certain unpopular units like the A/T or recon, stick with them but change your tactical play up a bit to take advantage of their use. It helps if you can identify the 'why' you can't exploit them successfully. In my case, a lack of visibility and ergo a lack of planning (and luck).

Hopefully my opinion will remain this positive come GC 1944 East though! :)

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:36 am

So, I touched upon it slightly in the opening post and my title, but this GC has three purposes. Firstly, I'd like to win the GC East all the way to 45, my computer lost the file when I hit 44 last time but I wasn't doing that well in that save.

Secondly, I want to learn to love the unloved units in PzCorps; Namely, the Recon and the Anti-Tank gun, both are units I see criticised as useless or difficult to use on the forums. I partially agree with the criticism but I do wonder if that's just because I use them wrong or I don't build my force in the right way to exploit their strengths?

Thirdly; To have fun. Why game if we don't have fun eh?


Early 1940 Composition:

My core imported into the 1940 campaign (going off memory) was:

4 Infantry split as follows:

1 x Infantry,
1 x Grenadier - this was the default one from 1939, he got a Move hero and so I upgraded.
1 x Mountain
1 x Pionere - Oleh Dir, who is insane and quite frankly an exceptional unit for dislodging forces from cities.

3 x Tanks - All were initially the 38(t)A model.

2 Recons, both were the 231, both were immediately "upgraded" to the 232 for the all-terrain movement.

1x 3.7cm Anti Tank,

2 x Artillery, one captured in Poland.
1 x Self-propelled Artillery in the Sturmpanzer.
1 x 8.8 Flak
1 Fighter,
3 Tact Bombers (Rudel, the starter one and the hero fighter/bomber in the Bf110C)
1 Strat bomber, I like the He 111 myself.

My first two SE units came quite early on in the 1940 campaign (Norway I think) and were Panzer IIIF. Because of that, I upgraded two of my core tanks to Panzer IVD's at the start of the 1940 campaign to complement them. I left one as the 38(t)A just to see what hero he will get.

Further early additions were a free fighter unit at Sedan to add to the air force.

Finally, my initial land expansion included a second Anti-Tank 3.7cm PaK, since as noted, I want to take advantage of these units and building them up now before we get those Soviet nonsense tanks is probably a smart idea.

The second unit I added was another Anti-Air. This time I went for a self-propelled version, to keep up with my blitz offensive group, mostly it would hang behind the Sturmpanzer and defend that, because frankly planes eat that unit up for breakfast. I settled on the 7/1 variant.

All said, I have enough diverse units to run two and a half assault groups I think. Personally, I feel in need of more infantry units, as whilst Oleh Dir can take out entire cities by himself, I find most sieges require a combination of two infantry plus artillery to take down. At the same time, I kind of want another strategic bomber.

I've no interest in adding to the tank forces though. I think I'll make the SE units tanks and just go from there.


From Eben-Emael all the way to Arras I found this force composition pretty decent, I was finishing Decisive with plenty of turns to spare (I'm on normal difficulty, sorry!). I am a bit concerned that the Anti-Tank units are more or less equal in terms of losses/wins when matched up against French and British tanks however. For the SOMUA and I think Matilda's(?) I had to rely on the Stukas to get anything done. That's not ideal, especially combined with their lack of manoeuvrability...

In Arras I was rather annoyed because the A/T units got plenty of use, only, the AI led their tanks into the Auxiliary A/T units rather than my core units. :( There goes that sweet exp. The 8.8 is insane as an Anti-Tank unit though, and the 7/1 earned a lot of prestige and experience already - I think it's almost at the GC max exp already. It's proven a handy tool on the attack as well compared to the 8.8 which does need to hope an enemy fighter/bomber falls into its range.

As for the recons? They have been exceptional in clearing out the fog of war and they are just about holding their own against the British and French forces. But, I do feel the tide is turning, they can't just storm off like in Poland. Indeed, I had one moment where one of them was reduced to 1hp left after three attacks on the bounce, a lucky escape. They're not the only unit facing difficulty though, I found the PZ4 and 38(t)A were more or less getting hammered against the heavy tanks, it wasn't unusual to see hits of 3-5, which is a frightening prospect, especially in Arras where the AI had the numbers but perhaps not the co-ordination to take advantage of that weakness...

Well, that's all I've got so far. I've a core slot free but I don't know what to add. I have Calais next and I should probably pick up another infantry unit given the terrain there, but we'll see. :)

Thanks for reading if you stuck with it this far. ^_^

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by guille1434 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:55 am

Hello RVallant!

Thanks for posting your After Action Report... I like to know about players commanding their armies through the long Great Campaign! Besides, I like your writing style.
Have fun with those AT and recon units! 8)

In my case, in order to make recon units more useful and survivable, I made them "switchable", with two states:

-Recon Mode: Only passive attack values (will fire only if attacked by enemy units), +1 ground defense (the unit is making use of whatever cover it finds and just observes the enemy, not exposing or getting itself too close to enemy units) and of course, reconmove trait and the normal 3 hexes spotting range for recon units.

-Attack Mode: Can attack units, no ground defense advantage, no reconmove, just 2 hexes spotting range. I put this unit in the tank class, they can be used just like fast, lightly armored tanks. Need to be very cautious when using those units in this way, just to finish off enemy weakened units or used in conjunction with artillery close support).

Greetings!

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by Cerberus51 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:59 pm

I am currently working my way through GC 43 East. I'm quite a bit further on, Orel in 43 actually. Your questions are very interesting as I find towed AT to be almost entirely a wasted unit slot. I do use recon in most scenarios (1 unit for each of my main groups).

As for the AT, I disbanded the 3.7 in favour of an 8.8, which is far better as an AT unit than anything you will get as towed AT until well into the depths of Russia. I tend to use primarily fighters for air defence up to 42 although the 88's (I have 3) are worth trying to get 1 or 2 stars early on. I really only started with AT units when the StugIII/F became available in 42 as it is the first SP AT that has survivability. Rather than AT, I am more interested in acquiring panzers before then.

As for recon, I went to 6 Sdkfz 232 8 wheelers early on. They can be used fairly safely in Poland and France and can quickly get experience finishing off damaged enemy units. Russia is a different story. Show the Russians a recon unit and they will swarm it with whatever tanks they have. I stopped doing that after I lost a second recon. I replaced them with a couple of PzIIF (thinking of an eventual upgrade to Luchs) but may end up disbanding those two. Recon still has a place and is useful for spotting and for finishing off damaged enemy units but needs to be protected my moving combat units ahead of it, or retreating it, by the end of your turn.

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences!

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by goose_2 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:47 pm

Welcome to posting here...it is a great forum with a steady stream of contributors, especially when presented with questions, which I am now pondering myself now that I am going for the long haul winning side on my Double Rommel. ;)
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:22 pm

guille1434 wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:55 am
Hello RVallant!

Thanks for posting your After Action Report... I like to know about players commanding their armies through the long Great Campaign! Besides, I like your writing style.
Have fun with those AT and recon units! 8)

In my case, in order to make recon units more useful and survivable, I made them "switchable", with two states:
Thanks. A switchable version of recon sounds pretty good, I think the British have one with the Infantry truck recon in Allied Corps?


Cerberus51 wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:59 pm
I am currently working my way through GC 43 East. I'm quite a bit further on, Orel in 43 actually. Your questions are very interesting as I find towed AT to be almost entirely a wasted unit slot. I do use recon in most scenarios (1 unit for each of my main groups).

As for the AT, I disbanded the 3.7 in favour of an 8.8, which is far better as an AT unit than anything you will get as towed AT until well into the depths of Russia. I tend to use primarily fighters for air defence up to 42 although the 88's (I have 3) are worth trying to get 1 or 2 stars early on. I really only started with AT units when the StugIII/F became available in 42 as it is the first SP AT that has survivability. Rather than AT, I am more interested in acquiring panzers before then.

As for recon, I went to 6 Sdkfz 232 8 wheelers early on. They can be used fairly safely in Poland and France and can quickly get experience finishing off damaged enemy units. Russia is a different story. Show the Russians a recon unit and they will swarm it with whatever tanks they have. I stopped doing that after I lost a second recon. I replaced them with a couple of PzIIF (thinking of an eventual upgrade to Luchs) but may end up disbanding those two. Recon still has a place and is useful for spotting and for finishing off damaged enemy units but needs to be protected my moving combat units ahead of it, or retreating it, by the end of your turn.

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences!
I used to follow the same path as you in my old campaign. My idea is that using the 3.7 early on allows for an experience upgrade into the STUGS. I think a 3 star exp STUG straight out of the gate will be nothing to sniff at. :)

The 8.8's are amazing, I do admit. I'm just struggling to find a space to allocate one at the moment. Regarding Panzers, I try to keep that to a manageable number. One eye on the soft cap, but also I dislike just rolling out 400 Tiger tanks for giggles. I used to try and do a historical force play through, but didn't have much success with the Infantry. :(

Agreed about the Russians with recon.
goose_2 wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:47 pm
Welcome to posting here...it is a great forum with a steady stream of contributors, especially when presented with questions, which I am now pondering myself now that I am going for the long haul winning side on my Double Rommel. ;)
Cheers.

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by goose_2 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:20 pm

RVallant wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:22 pm



Thanks. A switchable version of recon sounds pretty good, I think the British have one with the Infantry truck recon in Allied Corps?
There is 2 switchable recons. One for the British, and the one for Italians. Sahariana which is super nice to have in your pocket.


By the by the use of recons is under utilized in many playthroughs, even I am learning to master them better in my playthroughs.

I only have 1 in my Manstein playthrough and that single units is awesome, but I wish I would have built up 2 or 3, but it is so hard to do at the difficulty levels I am playing.

If you want an example of how to utilize the recon watch my Breslau playthrough as I was able to utilize it fully to seize all of the remaining areas in the backfield and then used him to finish of suppressed units for nice force surrenders. That is the way to utilize them.

I have 2 in my Double Rommel Afrika Korps playthrough, 1 German and 1 Italian. They are doing quite nicely and you really want them to get a +1 Spotting so that even when there is inclement weather you can still see 2 spots ahead.

In fact I have a Kradschutzen that has +2 Spotting in my Manstein playthrough that is a beast at spotting units, really hoping for a last +1 Spotting hero that will max out his spotting.

Change all inf with +1 Spotting to Kradschutzen so they get that 2 spotting in inclement weather.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:31 pm

Sadly, the only hero my recon has gained is an +1ATK hero. Not ideal, but I think it'll be okay.

Conclusion of 1940:

So, I'm on the Maginot Line scenario now, which will conclude the 1940 GC. Last I updated was at Arras, I went into the next few fights and have been committing a lot of rookie mistakes. At Calais, I neglected the tanks due to the terrain and ended up having to do a late manoeuvre to focus them in the thick of the fighting in the north of the map. Why I under-estimated this I have no idea. I honestly have been playing poorly since Arras, like forgetting to escort my bombers, with lots of severe damage causing me to dip into my prestige for elite replacements, if only because I noticed I was dipping my tanks back too far experience wise at critical junctures.

Live and learn I guess. I should take a break before finishing the finale as I really cannot afford to be wasting prestige.

Additions to the core: A second mobile A/A to shadow my second Sturmpanzer, though I think the value of getting it this late is questionable, it has proved to be a deterrence for enemies. In Reims it pretty much made the French stop air operations without firing a shot (not ideal for experience). So far, I have been getting decisive wins very early, except for Reims which I got on the final turn. This suggests I am perhaps advancing too rapidly, if there is such a thing, which may explain my higher damage count. I should learn some patience.

At the Maginot line I looked at the statistics for my A/T and A/A units:

1st 3.7 PaK from Poland - 195 kills for the loss of 63, has taken out 18 tank units and has a +1 ATK hero.
2nd 3.7PaK started at Eben-Emael I believe - 62 kills for 22 losses, taking out 7 tanks.

1st 8.8 from Poland - 351 kills to 35 - Has a +1 ATK hero, has taken out 17 tanks and 4 plane units.

For sheer kill points, the 8.8 is phenomenal, but I think a lot of the kills have been padded from the AA duty. Still, when I put the 8.8 up against any conventional French or British tank, I can easily get a 0-10 or 1-9 combat score, compared to the 2-5 or 1-3 from the 3.7 PaK. The original 3.7 has a very healthy kill count all the same though, damage is usually when I take risks and leave them open to attack in their trucks. :oops:

My Anti-Air units:

1st A/A - 79 kills, 0 losses - Taken out 5 planes.
2nd A/A - 5/0 - No kills

As I said, the 2nd A/A coming so late didn't really have a chance to do much. The first AA is doing okay, I picked it up at the same time as the A/T unit in Eben, and the kill counts are comparable. I see it as a positive because you can never know where the planes will land. If they're in the firing zone, that's great, but sometimes they're just out of range. :(

My recons are still alive and kicking, I did have more close calls however, including one where the recon dropped to 1hp. Luck is on my side in that case. I still find them invaluable for scouting but I'm reining it in combat-wise. Unusually, I see the enemy likes to attack my t(38)A more than the recon units, not sure why. I hope to add another STR bomber in the next scenario, and I have to decide whether to use the captured Char B1 or dispense of it in favour of German Panzers? Hopefully, will get to see the benefits of the A/T, Recon and A/A in 1941 where things should in theory get more dangerous. :)

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by goose_2 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:32 pm

RVallant wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:31 pm
Sadly, the only hero my recon has gained is an +1ATK hero. Not ideal, but I think it'll be okay.

Conclusion of 1940:



At the Maginot line I looked at the statistics for my A/T and A/A units:

1st 3.7 PaK from Poland - 195 kills for the loss of 63, has taken out 18 tank units and has a +1 ATK hero.
2nd 3.7PaK started at Eben-Emael I believe - 62 kills for 22 losses, taking out 7 tanks.

1st 8.8 from Poland - 351 kills to 35 - Has a +1 ATK hero, has taken out 17 tanks and 4 plane units.
You will not need mobil aa on Maginot line, or even Fighters, but recommend using Strat Bombers.

That is an amazing amount of kills for your 3.7cm pak, good job setting up and utilizing. I only have 1 PaK on my Ultimate playthrough and I have him at 2 stars but not even close to 100 kills, I am only able to utilize minimally, but effectively when set up correctly.

I work with Panzerjaeger's now as I have 1 star with 1 and will be purchasing a new one to get up to 1 star in Sedan probably.

So my question is what kind of experience do these units have, because it sounds like 3 stars, which would also be incredible?

How much experience and how many recons do you utilize?

Thanks for being so active
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:00 pm

goose_2 wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:32 pm


You will not need mobil aa on Maginot line, or even Fighters, but recommend using Strat Bombers.

That is an amazing amount of kills for your 3.7cm pak, good job setting up and utilizing. I only have 1 PaK on my Ultimate playthrough and I have him at 2 stars but not even close to 100 kills, I am only able to utilize minimally, but effectively when set up correctly.

I work with Panzerjaeger's now as I have 1 star with 1 and will be purchasing a new one to get up to 1 star in Sedan probably.

So my question is what kind of experience do these units have, because it sounds like 3 stars, which would also be incredible?

How much experience and how many recons do you utilize?

Thanks for being so active
Indeed, I suffered some losses at Maginot thanks to those fort guns. They have superb range, always tricky to get into the core of the enemy when they have Artillery backed by Anti-Air!

I just looked at the file now, not quite three stars sadly, and the exp values are:

1st 3.7 with the +1 ATK hero = 218 exp (2 and a bit stars)
2nd 3.7 is on 232 exp

I do try to use free replacements on the deploy phase though, but with the exp cap I think it's just about acceptable at the moment. Trying my best to make a large stockpile. :)

The 8.8 is capped at 325exp, partly because of the Maginot forts being easy targets, but also it is often in the mid/back line and seems to avoid getting hit.

The Self-Propelled Anti-Air is on 301 exp btw.

Recons, I have two at the moment. One with a +1Def hero and one with a +1 ATK hero. They have 219 and 286 exp respectively.

I place each with the battle-groups and I use the hero Tank from Modlin (Kerscher) as an advance tank if I do three battle groups because he has +2 spotting (or Recon plane Rudel early on with an escort.)

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by TSPC37730 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:42 am

I think recon units can have some use throughout the campaign, yet, it will diminish after the Stalingrad scenarios. In the early years, they're still weaker than most tanks, but the difference can usually be managed. There's some creative uses for them in large urban scenarios like Warsaw, Moscow & Stalingrad. You have to move in, take the flag hex or shoot, and then move back out. Still, you have to be very careful with them once you get to Russia. Because they are so weak, the AI will quickly target them - both by air and ground. Mistakes will almost always be fatal.

AT units can have a prominent role all the way until '45 IMO. The StuG III's can help a lot with the soft cap. They're good for holding choke points and for mop up duty. I like having at least a few on hand. Pairing them with an artillery unit like a StuG IIIb can help to ward off infantry attacks. Good luck!

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by Cerberus51 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:49 am

It is generally a good idea during the early years of the GC East to take units that have reached the exp cap out for the rest of that campaign and blood new units. You can do this until early 42. Introducing green units from Stalingrad onwards will usually lead to them being targeted and damaged or destroyed. I currently have 75 units plus SE, a majority of them 3* or better. Probably more than I will need and more than the 38 plus SE I deployed in my current scenario but it means if I lose a unit (I rarely do), I can bring in a 3* replacement rather than buy a green unit.

Building some experienced AA early is important as you will need them from late 43 on. Get a second 88 soon. Also fighter traps can really pay. Show the enemy a juicy artillery unit that they can see but put an AA immediately behind it that they can't see with a fighter above the AA. Result - enemy air unit attacks artillery, takes fire from fighter and AA and is sitting duck on your turn. Works most of the time and is great for exp.

Panzers - you should be on PzIII and PzIV exclusively now. Upgrade or replace anything else. I disband all captured equipment at the next deployment phase and use the prestige gained to buy German stuff. Captured is full cost to upgrade to German. Disband for full value, buy German asap and get experience on that instead and you save prestige overall.

41 is the last "easy" campaign going East so make the most of it to expand your unit list. 42 starts OK but ends with tough scenarios (Stalingrad Docks was a brute and getting out of Stalingrad intact is not anything like easy). Hals und Beinbruch!

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:40 pm

TSPC37730 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:42 am
Still, you have to be very careful with them once you get to Russia. Because they are so weak, the AI will quickly target them - both by air and ground. Mistakes will almost always be fatal.

AT units can have a prominent role all the way until '45 IMO. The StuG III's can help a lot with the soft cap. They're good for holding choke points and for mop up duty. I like having at least a few on hand. Pairing them with an artillery unit like a StuG IIIb can help to ward off infantry attacks. Good luck!
Yes, that was my past experience with recon in the late war in Russia sadly.

Still waiting for my STUGS, the first to unlock was the StuG IIIB, but as a defensive arty I've not got a use for it just yet. Not this early on in the campaign anyway. Actually, rather disappointed that I've not reached a +1 range hero on my Arty yet, I'm still using 10/15 and Sturms at the moment.
Cerberus51 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:49 am
It is generally a good idea during the early years of the GC East to take units that have reached the exp cap out for the rest of that campaign and blood new units. You can do this until early 42. Introducing green units from Stalingrad onwards will usually lead to them being targeted and damaged or destroyed. I currently have 75 units plus SE, a majority of them 3* or better. Probably more than I will need and more than the 38 plus SE I deployed in my current scenario but it means if I lose a unit (I rarely do), I can bring in a 3* replacement rather than buy a green unit.

Building some experienced AA early is important as you will need them from late 43 on. Get a second 88 soon. Also fighter traps can really pay. Show the enemy a juicy artillery unit that they can see but put an AA immediately behind it that they can't see with a fighter above the AA. Result - enemy air unit attacks artillery, takes fire from fighter and AA and is sitting duck on your turn. Works most of the time and is great for exp.

Panzers - you should be on PzIII and PzIV exclusively now. Upgrade or replace anything else. I disband all captured equipment at the next deployment phase and use the prestige gained to buy German stuff. Captured is full cost to upgrade to German. Disband for full value, buy German asap and get experience on that instead and you save prestige overall.

41 is the last "easy" campaign going East so make the most of it to expand your unit list. 42 starts OK but ends with tough scenarios (Stalingrad Docks was a brute and getting out of Stalingrad intact is not anything like easy). Hals und Beinbruch!
That's an idea. I don't rotate my units that much, I have a small core at the moment though very few are at the experience cap. Stockpiling all that prestige though. :mrgreen:

Am certainly leaning towards grabbing a second AA, probably need to grab one for 1941 when I get the slot free to do so.

Didn't think about using the fighter on top of the AA, I'll have to do that next time. At the moment, they're mostly on escort duty for the bombers. I am probably very aggressive with them, I should probably start getting more defensive by keeping them back initially. I'm trying to get the balance right with these at the moment as they're expensive but fantastic units.

I am on PZ3 and 4's now. I left the one unit on the old tank as I had uneven numbers and wanted to see where I would go with him and the forces. As it were, he is now in a PzIV, so it's all good. :)

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:59 pm

Pre-Russia 1941 Campaign

1941 starts at Belgrade and there are a ton of new units to use, which is great, I love upgrades.

I gained another SE tank, a PzIII, so the 38(t)A got upgraded to a PzIV. I kept the Char and have been using it as a defensive tank, will wait and see how we go with this one.

I added another Strat bomber to the core at the end of 1940.

Upgrades:

All PzIII became 3H models, so the 3G saw no action at all. :(
PzIV went to the 4E model.

AT guns got an upgrade to the 5cm model. :D

Fighters went to the 109F model.

I decided against using the Rocket Artillery, although I love the unit, I need range at the moment as everything is lightning quick attacks. I also decided against the StugIIIb artillery, I've no idea how to use it just yet and I need mobile offensive artillery at this point, not defensive types. I also ignored the Dornier as I'm using the Heikinel bombers.

Belgrade and the Metaxes line were very easy fights. The 5cm PaK was lethal, it was a very late upgrade. I think I would have liked the 5cm back in 1940. But regardless, in 1941 it is good enough to do 7-1 combat vs T26, Valentines and even a Matilda at one point. Superb numbers compared to the 3.7. But I just wonder how it will cope against the better Russian tanks...

I was having tricky trouble with recon in France 1940, but I found them durable enough in the early stages here. I'm considering switching one to a Panzer IIF model, my only concern is the smaller movement range, which might not be ideal in Russia. I will have to experiment.

I beat Crete in 9 turns. I could have won it at turn 4, but I delayed on the East side of the island due to heavy damage and a well dug in British HW team. I only beat it this fast because the enemy, for whatever reason, were fantastically aggressive. They were vacating victory points and towns in order to try and attack my units, oft leaving themselves in the open plains for my tanks to utterly crush. Infantry vs Infantry combat was very bloody though. Also, the RAF were wiped out by the second turn. I got lucky with the deployment and landed my 8.8 right within range of enemy bomber craft. Fluke!

Some things for me to think about:

1. Do I upgrade a recon to the tank variant?
2. Do I switch any Artillery to the rocket variants? The mobile rocket is available now, perhaps I should switch one of my Sturmpanzers over to the Wuhfrahmen and have it follow my 5 Move Pionere as a super mobile city demolishing nightmare?
3. Do I need to think about using the new mechanised transport over trucks, especially for the AT units as we can't always be relying on infrastructure for these units?
4. How many kills will Rudel get starting in Minsk when he becomes insane? :P

I'll probably start the Russian campaign tomorrow. Hopefully it'll be smooth sailing until Moscow (hahaha....) :?

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:15 pm

Great to see that you came here to continue this!

1. I usually don't upgrade recon to the tank variant as I need the mobility/reach and the recon tanks are not that good anyhow. I usually move forward, move back a bit and then get my real tanks in front of the recon… A bit later on (in the East) you may want to rely more on air recon (only?) as the normal recons become easy prey and can die very quickly…
2. Wurfrahmen are great but you need to always protect them... always... I like them and they are probably most effective...
3. Personally, I would always switch from trucks to halftracks but you need to keep in mind what it means for replacement costs and soft cap... I don't like trucks... trucks get troops killed...
4. With Rudel you can do between 60 to 120 kills per map easily... so you will get him above the 3,500 mark on normal difficulty which should get you the highest medal... (more kills possible, especially on higher difficulties)

Some of the above answers are linked to playstyle of course, so you may have people say the complete opposite…

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by Cerberus51 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:30 am

You asked some more questions. My thoughts are -

1. I have not found the PzIIF to be particularly good. It has a bit more survivability than the Sdkfz 232 but shorter movement. I did it to conserve my remaining 232's (which were 3*) until I could upgrade them to 233's. I have the PzIIF's still in my unit list but will probably simply disband them to get the prestige back eventually. I would not upgrade an existing unit but if you want to keep an experienced unit in reserve then buying a new PzIIF is worth considering.

2. I worked up to 4 towed 15cm and 6 Sturmpanzer for my core artillery. I eventually purchased 2 Wuhrframen, which are particularly useful for suppressing infantry in close terrain. Buy them if you have enough Sturmpanzers already.

3. I really only use trucks for infantry (usually Gebirgs which have good cross country movement on foot and the trucks allow them to move rapidly by road but only in safe areas). Everything else has halftracks (except Oleh Dir who doesn't need transport). I would expect the Pak guns to need halftracks to keep up with the advance. Probably 251's should be enough. The extra movement of 250's is nice but for units you will almost certainly be looking at upgrading to SP later the saving of 100 prestige is significant.

4. Rudel will kill pretty much anything if you keep him at max overstrength. Normally I don't overstrength but Rudel, Lent and the 3 fighter aces I have at max overstrength. It is expensive but when it gives you a fighter than can one shot a Russian 11 or 12 strong fighter or, in the case of Rudel, one shot a T34/43 it is worthwhile.

A couple of thoughts about tac bombers. In the initial campaigns I found that Stukas were perfectly useable provided they were escorted. I used a mix of Stukas and Bf110's. I have upgraded Rudel to a Me410 and am currently using only 410's. They are fairly safe to operate without escort at this stage and, most usefully, are able to finish off damaged Russian air units after my AA and fighters have done their work. The 410 is arguably better than the FW190F, only the 190G is superior, and I can see myself using them through to the end. They are a cheap upgrade at the end of the Bf110 line.

The soft cap is an issue. I am now at 100% after upgrading 5 panzers to 5 Tiger 1's. I have just upgraded 5 more panzers to Panther D. I will just have to live with it I guess.

The question I am wrestling with is whether to upgrade my StugIIIG's to Elefants. At 600 prestige it is nearly as costly as the Tiger 1 and Panther D upgrades. As the Stugs are holding up well (I have 4, currently all closing in on their third star) I am inclines to continue with them for now.

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:37 am

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:15 pm
Great to see that you came here to continue this!

1. I usually don't upgrade recon to the tank variant as I need the mobility/reach and the recon tanks are not that good anyhow. I usually move forward, move back a bit and then get my real tanks in front of the recon… A bit later on (in the East) you may want to rely more on air recon (only?) as the normal recons become easy prey and can die very quickly…
2. Wurfrahmen are great but you need to always protect them... always... I like them and they are probably most effective...
3. Personally, I would always switch from trucks to halftracks but you need to keep in mind what it means for replacement costs and soft cap... I don't like trucks... trucks get troops killed...
4. With Rudel you can do between 60 to 120 kills per map easily... so you will get him above the 3,500 mark on normal difficulty which should get you the highest medal... (more kills possible, especially on higher difficulties)

Some of the above answers are linked to playstyle of course, so you may have people say the complete opposite…
Thank you. :)

I agree with you on point 1. I have decided not to upgrade to the recon tank, the limited movement range is undesireable especially now we're in Russia where we need movement. Air recon though? Outside of recon Rudel don't the air units have poor spotting?

Indeed, I just double checked the Wuhfrahmen's defence and it is dire. It would be escorted with an SPAA. So far, Arty losses have been limited to taking hits from fort guns and other long range arty, so I think I've done well securing my flanks.

Re: Trucks, I agree, I am starting to think 3 movement simply isn't enough on the attack in Russia. I could always disband the transports in future when mobility isn't an issue.
Cerberus51 wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:30 am
You asked some more questions. My thoughts are -

1. I have not found the PzIIF to be particularly good. It has a bit more survivability than the Sdkfz 232 but shorter movement. I did it to conserve my remaining 232's (which were 3*) until I could upgrade them to 233's. I have the PzIIF's still in my unit list but will probably simply disband them to get the prestige back eventually. I would not upgrade an existing unit but if you want to keep an experienced unit in reserve then buying a new PzIIF is worth considering.

2. I worked up to 4 towed 15cm and 6 Sturmpanzer for my core artillery. I eventually purchased 2 Wuhrframen, which are particularly useful for suppressing infantry in close terrain. Buy them if you have enough Sturmpanzers already.

3. I really only use trucks for infantry (usually Gebirgs which have good cross country movement on foot and the trucks allow them to move rapidly by road but only in safe areas). Everything else has halftracks (except Oleh Dir who doesn't need transport). I would expect the Pak guns to need halftracks to keep up with the advance. Probably 251's should be enough. The extra movement of 250's is nice but for units you will almost certainly be looking at upgrading to SP later the saving of 100 prestige is significant.

4. Rudel will kill pretty much anything if you keep him at max overstrength. Normally I don't overstrength but Rudel, Lent and the 3 fighter aces I have at max overstrength. It is expensive but when it gives you a fighter than can one shot a Russian 11 or 12 strong fighter or, in the case of Rudel, one shot a T34/43 it is worthwhile.

A couple of thoughts about tac bombers. In the initial campaigns I found that Stukas were perfectly useable provided they were escorted. I used a mix of Stukas and Bf110's. I have upgraded Rudel to a Me410 and am currently using only 410's. They are fairly safe to operate without escort at this stage and, most usefully, are able to finish off damaged Russian air units after my AA and fighters have done their work. The 410 is arguably better than the FW190F, only the 190G is superior, and I can see myself using them through to the end. They are a cheap upgrade at the end of the Bf110 line.

The soft cap is an issue. I am now at 100% after upgrading 5 panzers to 5 Tiger 1's. I have just upgraded 5 more panzers to Panther D. I will just have to live with it I guess.

The question I am wrestling with is whether to upgrade my StugIIIG's to Elefants. At 600 prestige it is nearly as costly as the Tiger 1 and Panther D upgrades. As the Stugs are holding up well (I have 4, currently all closing in on their third star) I am inclines to continue with them for now.
1. I think I agree, I will stick to the 232's for now.

2. That is a lot of Arty! I think my Arty is very small at the moment, I have 3 towed and 2 Sturms. They are very busy bees! I do have 2 strat bombers acting as extra mobile arty as well. :)

3. I am thinking you are correct, Pak needs halftracks or they just get left behind cross-country. Trucks might be a safer option for the Infantry units as they will only be using them to catch up with an advance rather than leading the line. I will have to consider how to guard them with AA if necessary.

4. I tend to go up to +2 overstrength on planes, AA and Arty. It's been working good so far. :)

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Quick thoughts...

Post by goose_2 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:00 pm

Ok a lot has been said here and I am not savvy enough to link to it all so...

Artillery: Need a lot of it, in fact when your thinking what additional unit should I bring, most often bring more artillery.

Best artillery.

Nebelwerfers: These soft boy shredders are devastating to enemy units, great at suppression and rack up kills quickly. Manstein playthrough I have 3 and I bring them all almost every battle.

Best towed artillery 17cm artillery: Same rof as the 15cm and about the only thing that can suppress the heavies.

Best defensive artillery: StuG3B. ROF 1.1 SUPER Cheap and great defensive units that early on you can put right up against most units to suppress than surrender. I would have at least 3 for my Manstein I have 5.

I personally recommend no more than 2 Wurfrahmen to be utilized as soon as you get an artillery with a +1 Range hero. Protect them and do not overstrengthen as just not worth it.


Recon's: Upgrade only once as it costs full prestige every time you upgrade, so Buy them early build them up and upgrade them only once as needed. Never upgrade to tanks as not enough movement to make them effective.


Infantry: All infantry that move 3 or more do not get transport. They never need it. Let me repeat that. Your infantry do not need transport, they can walk wherever they are going just fine. The 2 movement guys get trucks and the only ones with halftracks are the super hero units the game gives you. But the transport makes replacements expensive and whatever they are traveling in they will be vulnerable when you have them in a transport, best to just learn patience and walk where you need to go.

Bombers

These are used less and less as the years go on, as they get more and more difficult to protect and softcap will have you questioning there worth.

Exceptions: 1 15 Strength Strat Bomber. Having a Strat that can reduce all enemy units, all enemy units, all enemy units to just a single ammo with a whole lot of suppression is so awesome that you will wonder how you played without these on every single scenario. (I just bring them out later in my Manstein playthroughs as I need to worry about the enemy airforce and softcap.) So bring them out later in a scenario and utilize to the utmost.

Other exceptions: Rudel and 1 other Bomber. Having these around to blast vulnerable units are helpful, but my point is I have way more bombers than I will ever use at this late stage of the game. Rudel and Helmut Lent will be enough for most playthroughs.

That is enough for now.

The important thing is Storm Eagle and I are set to liveplay Saturday. SUPER EXCITED
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:13 pm

I love it... here we have the opposite opinions as expected... such a wonderful game allowing people to develop different styles.. :)

e.g. Wurfrahmens behind tanks are a lot of fun... and troops with transports on big maps can make life a lot easier and fun as well... :mrgreen:

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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:53 pm

Indeed.

1941 Minsk to Zhitomer

Taking on board some of the advice on here, I went with half-tracks for the Pak A/T guns as I think they need some cross-country capabilities, and I went with some trucks for the infantry in a compromise because I foresee only using those trucks in the event of over-reach by the tanks. So, in theory, the trucks should not be getting under fire at all.

My arty remains unchanged, I am getting annoyed that I'm landing +Def heroes on them instead of something more useful. I think I will consider these units for the 1 range artillery in the future.

My memory of my last campaign is that I pushed the turn limits to the very end on every occasion. This save, whether it is experience or because of the trucks upgrade, I smashed through Minsk so quickly that I had all but one airfield by the time the Russian air 'arrived'. Indeed, the one infantry unit I neglected to give trucks arrived so late at the battle site that everything was done! A combination of air-recon and my ground recon units meant that I could afford to be extremely ambitious with my tank movement. It was magnificent.

Sadly, Minsk was such a rush that my A/T's didn't get much use. However, they did see a lot of use in Smolensk and Zhitomer. Backed with artillery they were capable of hitting 4/5-1 fights against Russian tanks (except the KV series), though, I did prefer to use the Stukas, who were capable of 9/10-0 hits. Insane numbers. A common tactic was therefore to the minor bombers (Recon Rudel or Lendt) to soften the tanks up for the A/T to take out, freeing up my tanks to do something more useful, like roll over the Russian cavalry. :P

Also, pulled off an unintentional trap on my advance in Smolensk, resulting in an enemy plane (I think, a YAK?) trying to bomb my Sturmpanzer and he got shot 10-0 by my SPAA behind it. I was really excited to see that happen! In the old days I would have taken a loss here as I never used A/A units beyond the sporadic 8.8.

Two more free units joined in the campaign, a hero Mountain unit and a hero Tank. The tank was upgraded to a PzIII, as I swapped the Char for a PzIV, and I want an even number of both tanks for my battle groups. I intend to put that PzIII into the Tiger series as he has a movement bonus, so I'm just imagining a mobile Tiger tank... :D I removed the transport from the Mountain unit, I'll actually keep him as the Alpine force though. I added two basic Infantry for Minsk I think it was. I have so many tanks and I wanted to start doubling up Infantry to take on objective hexes alongside the Arty, but also, Russia is so big that I couldn't really afford to go with just the four infantry...

I stopped for the day at Zhurivka, which looks to be an interesting scenario and I'll no doubt forget to defend my flanks at some point. So far though, 41 is going smoothly and I'm glad I went for the compromise on transports as it has really made the turn timer fairly comfortable and as an added bonus, because I'm advancing so quickly I actually have time to 'waste' a turn setting up my A/T's at the front lines! :)

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