Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

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goose_2
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by goose_2 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:51 pm

RVallant wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:10 pm
Stalingrad Docks:

This mission took a huge toll on my prestige despite the ‘free’ 50 per turn. What an utterly pointless endeavour of bloodshed. It was interesting to read up on this historically and see that Adolf Hitler himself was a major reason in some of these operational errors, even as far back as 1941’s drive on Moscow. Interesting how history may have been different had he left the domain of the army operations in the hand of the army.

This was a pointless mission, urban warfare that just bled everyone dry. Although I bombed the river religiously initially, I thought it was a pointless waste of resources as High Command hadn’t even assigned the correct bombers for the task.

For this mission I ignored the southern area entirely, leaving it to the piecemeal (and still useless) Italian forces. My main attack was centred directly at the objectives, which we took within reasonable time. By the mid-late stage of the scenario we had held all objectives except the railway, and were mostly weathering the counter-attacks. Once we had done that, taking the railway was a matter of formality.

Still, I lost a lot of good men and equipment in this fight, so my prestige basically went down the drain.

And the outcome was neglect on the other fronts resulted in this being utterly pointless anyway because now we have to defend the city or break with orders. I think, I will play the role of the competent soldier following orders, it seemed complaining only really cost everyone else their jobs, however temporary, anyway.

Oh, as for my army, I took the moment to upgrade to the FW190 on the basis that it is the superior aircraft right now. I was tempted to hold with the BF109, however my crystal ball said that the final upgrade doesn’t even come for another year and half. Far too long to wait I reckon.

(These two urban scenarios are really draining from a gameplay perspective, I am pretty tired now...)
Wait until you do Stalingrad Ruins...I still have not been able to do that one successfully, but I was playing on Manstein and my other time was a super hard playthrough that pretty much broke me.
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RVallant
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:24 pm

Cerberus51 wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:49 pm
As for Hitler's orders, I remembered the Sven Hassel novel "SS General". A SS general takes command of a mixed group of cut off soldiers and initially holds them to Hitler's orders, then realises the futility of that and they try and rejoin the German forces. Better, and more honourable, to save your men than obey a doomed madman. The book has a negative ending though. Only seven out of several hundred make it back to German lines and the surviving ordinary soldiers are formed into a firing squad to execute the SS General. They all fire wide the first time then, not wanting to be shot themselves, kill him the second time.
I will have to check that book out.

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

Post by RVallant » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:34 pm

Stalingrad Ruins:

The orders were to defend, and so we defended.

The decisive victory objectives seemed to require going on the attack. Personally, I felt I didn’t have the forces or manpower to do this, as we had to fight in five directions. The defensive objectives were North-East, North-West, South-East, South-West, West and South. Then, the attacking objectives were South-East, South-West and South.

When defending I prefer to set up with at least two infantries in defensive terrain with artillery and SPAA behind them. Tanks would go along the flanks to prevent the enemy going around to take out the artillery units.
I set up with a small tank force ready to shoot west to aid the Italians. Upon initial contact, the heavy number of Russian tanks in that area convinced me to send the majority of my air force there to assist. We mopped that are up pretty smoothly all things considered.

In the south-west airfield, I re-arranged the Italian forces to have the infantry hold the southern city-scape, whilst the anti-tanks held the northern plains. One of my tanks from the relief force would break off and help out here as well.
In the north-west, we got hit by two heavy waves of armour led formations, but my infantry and artillery line made the best use of the close terrain to win quite handily. The tank relief force that attacked west swung north to take the airfield to the north of this area and to pincer the Russian armour. I lost a few Italian tanks in the process, but that wasn’t too bad.

In the north-east and south-east my defensive line had fun playing the phoney war and saw zero combat at all. Only my SPAA got involved once or twice swatting passing air units.

Late in the day, I was almost overwhelmed by a Russian attack from the south-west. The Italian line crumbled and my lone tank had to hold the line long enough for my airforce to save the day.
Throughout this mission I used recon as a thief, going around picking off victory hexes and scouting the terrain for my minor incursions. Could I have launched an attack south? Possibly, but I had no way of knowing that my Eastern front would be left alone and that I would only have to deal defensively on the western flank.

Discretion was the better part of valour here. My prestige was unharmed, in fact, we made gains here playing the defensive game, even if we sacrificed a ‘decisive’ defensive win.

Whatever the case, we move on to Kotelinkovo.

Kotelinkovo:

Time for us to ‘breakout’ of Stalingrad! Oh, look at all that favourable terrain! Two new bits of equipment available to us; The PzIIIM variant, which I’ll leave at home in favour of the N. Finally, a recon upgrade! The 233 Recon car is available and beefs up the recon’s paltry defence and more importantly, bumps up that horrific attack power that has been lagging for years.

A milestone for me, having managed to get through 1942 with both of my recon cars intact. Hopefully the 233 gives them more bite.


Although sporting the shiny new Tiger tanks, the relief force was pathetic, being composed of green troops that would fare badly against the veterans holding a defensive perimeter against us.

This mission was also horrible because of the frozen ground. This completely eliminated mobility and rendered the Recon and SPAA units pretty much useless. Fortunately, despite warning us of experienced troops, the main force that we had to smash through were relatively inexperienced and thus fell in due time.

(On a side note, I once again broke the AI, by diverting a tank and STUG to the north-west airfield, I was able to intercept a huge stock of M4 Lee tanks, but because they hadn’t been ‘triggered’ I was able to take them out without retaliation. Bit of an oversight I think.)

Can’t really comment on the Tigers or the new recons after this scenario as I didn’t have a chance to upgrade the tanks, but also the terrain didn’t really play to the strengths of the recon units.

Hopefully, 1943 will be more useful in gaining information on these new units.

End of Year Force Composition:
Infantry: 8 (+1)


9th Infantry, (+1 atk/def)
30th Infantry, (+1 atk)
28th Infantry, (+2 atk)
4th Grenaider, (+1 move, 2 attack)
20th Mountain, (Wirnsberger, 2 attack, 3 initiative)
12th Mountain, (+5 attack!!!)
2nd Pionere (Oleh Dir, 4 move and initiative)
25th Pionere (Pein – NEW, 3 initiative, 2 moves.)

All are going well. In 1943 I am considering removing the mountain troops as the 1943 versions lack armour piercing equipment and also for some reason has lower defence. I may convert them to standard Infantry troops. Oleh Dir and Pein are my mobile city assaulters, with the rest playing more defensive roles or acting on minor objectives.

Tanks: 10 (no changes)

11th PzIV, (+1 def, 2 atk)
3rd PzIV, (Kerscher, +4atk, 2 def, 2 spot)
20th PzIV (Rondorf, 1 atk/def/move/spot, 2 ini)
Captured unit, PzIV (+2 def),
8th PzIV (+5atk)
Special forces:
21st PzIII (+3atk),
29th PzIII (+1 move, defence)
16th PzIII (2 atk)
32nd PzIII (1 atk/def)
48th PzIV (3def)

The PzIV is wonderful but the PzIII was useless until the N variant specialised it towards anti-infantry duty.
I’m not sure what criteria to use for upgrading to Tigers, but I think Rondorf will be an idea candidate due to his +1 move. I was thinking of putting +Atk heroes in the Tiger and save the defensive ones for the Panther, if and when it becomes available.

Recon: 2 (no change).
14th (+1def)
1st (+1atk)

They’re doing the job of scouting, but the upgrades came very late for these guys so they only averaged around 90-100 kills over the entire year. Still, their kill count doesn’t really matter that much, the key is I’ve managed to get through the year without even losing them.

Anti-Tank: 3 (+1)
5th (+1atk)
19th (+1atk)
27th (+1 Def, NEW)

All three are STUGS and will easily upgrade to the G variant in ’43. 5th and 19th started out as PaK guns. Both have hit over 500 kills, so they’ve hit around 2-300 kills in this year along thanks to mobility. The new STUG, 27th has 207 kills already.

Artillery: 7 (+2)

6th 15cm,
25th 17cm
46th 17cm
Polish captured, 21cm Nebelwerfer,
21st Sturmpanzer,
13th Wufrahmen,
15th SU-122

More artillery for the city-scenarios. The rockets are phenomenal at taking out soft targets. I also, really like the SU-122 even though it’s not a German unit…

Anti-Air: 4 (+1)

50th 8.8 (New)
18th 8.8,
23rd 7/1
21st 7/1

I love SPAA for the fact it puts off bombers, and they’re really ‘free’ units. I’ve had a combined 6 losses from my SPAA all the way through to ’43. They have killed +97 and +106 respectively this year. By contrast, the 8.8 has pulled off +144, but was still finding some use in an AT role. The new 8.8 managed +66 kills over the year, which just goes to show it really does depend on positioning to get the most of these units.
Still, the low loss count really saves of prestige. Don’t leave home without them.

Airforce:
Fighters: 3 (+1)


17th FW (Bar)
7th FW
25th FW (Nowotny, NEW)

Two fighters were fine for air superiority combined with the AA units. Three is flexible. Nowotny does get hit more due to his low defence though. Just to note, Bar has only lost 14 hits in his entire service since Sedan and has taken home 771 confirmed kills. My original plane (7th) is on 960 kills for the loss of 39.

Tactical Bombers: 4 (no change)

Recon Rudel,
10th JU (+3 atk/def)
RUDEL (+1atk, 3 def.)
22nd Bf (Lendt, +1DEF)

Rudel is overkill and he got an extra attack hero AND a 3 def hero. He’s on 1335 kills for the loss of 17. The 10th JU is on 1773 kills at the moment. I don’t think I’ll be adding to this force. I don't use Recon Rudel anymore, the last I used him was Sevastopol where one fighter just blinked in his direction and he went down to 1 health left. Just no point even as a recon unit at this point.

Strategic Bombers: 2 (no change)

34th HE
16th HE

Nothing to say about these, they’re floating artillery and are great for taking down tanks if the Junkers aren’t in range, especially due to ammo suppression.

Summing Up:

1942 wasn't a great year on the strategic level I suppose, but there were some handy new toys, STUGS and Nebels! The year was a good mix of defensive and attacking scenarios, but I really do think the urban warfare is exhausting to fight through.

Looking forward to '43, hopefully there will be an interesting mix of missions. We start at Kharkov (again), with a slew of new '43 upgrades for the infantry, a new STUG variant, a new fighter/bomber in the Me410A and the infamous Tiger tanks. I need to figure out who to upgrade to Tigers and I need to figure it out quickly. '43 should also be a good test of the new 233 recon units, they were useless in the finale of 42, but hopefully with less ice on the ground they'll be able to actually scout stuff. :)

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

Post by TSPC37730 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:45 am

Your upgrade ideas for your tanks are good. Tanks with attack & initiative heroes should be upgraded to Tiger I's, while tanks with defense heroes should become Panthers. I try to keep any tanks with a rare movement hero set aside for an eventual upgrade to a Tiger II.

When you start the first '43 scenario, be sure to upgrade all of your infantry to their corresponding '43 versions. This makes a huge difference, especially in close terrain against armor. Also definitely upgrade your AT units to the StuG III's.

Don't discount the basic 105 mm artillery unit. When used against infantry units, it can be helpful in defensive situations. Good ammo count of 8 too. Good luck!
Last edited by TSPC37730 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:21 am

Upgrading for 43 is fairly straightforward. Infantry units should all get upgraded to the 43 version. I find gebirgs to be very useful. The trick is to move them from one close terrain hex to another. As they only use one movement to move on to a hills hex they are pretty tank proof as any tank attacking is putting their hard attack against its close defence rather than its ground defence.

For panzers SE units do not count towards the soft cap so give them the most expensive upgrades. I gave both Kercher and Rondorf Tiger 1's. The Panther D will be along shortly. PzIII's are pretty much useless now so best to upgrade them before the IV's - which are still useable if upgraded to H.

AT - StugIIIG. Then you get the Elefant in the room issue. To take that expensive upgrade or not? I did and they are awesome.

Artillery - consider upgrading the 15cm to a 17cm. If you add any further artillery, I am finding the panzerwerfer to be good - tougher than the Wuhrframen and a bit cheaper.

Fighters. I have Kittel, Bar and Nowotny. You are missing one? Tac bombers - any bf110, particularly Lent, should take the cheap upgrade to 410 - which is arguably a better unit than the FW190F. I have upgraded my Ju87's to G which makes them serious tank killers but I would be concerned you do not have enough fighters to escort them. It might be worth upgrading Rudel to a 410 so he can look after himself. Recon Rudel I would simply disband to get the prestige back.

I am at Prokorhovka. I just watched the replay of goose_2's Manstein playthrough and have scared myself. It looks really tricky.

Looking at units you can deploy you have 38 units plus 5 SE panzers. You will get another SE in 43. Deduct Recon Rudel and you have 37 total to deploy. The 43 scenarios quickly go to allowing 40 units plus SE, so you can look at adding at least 3 units. Inexperienced units tend to be magnets for Russian attacks. I am not sure what I would go for. A panzerwerfer would be one possibility. I'm not sure when the Stug IV turns up but it is switchable between a range 2 artillery unit and an AT (essentially a more AT focused Su-122). The Elefant is so strong in 43, except against infantry in close terrain, that even a unit with no experience takes little damage. It is quite possible to drive up to an early T34 and hit it for 7 or 8 damage without taking any loss. Horrendously expensive though.

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

Post by RVallant » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:03 am

TSPC37730 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:45 am
Your upgrade ideas for your tanks are good. Tanks with attack & initiative heroes should be upgraded to Tiger I's, while tanks with defense heroes should become Panthers. I try to keep any tanks with a rare movement hero set aside for an eventual upgrade to a Tiger II.

When you start the first '43 scenario, be sure to upgrade all of your infantry to their corresponding '43 versions. This makes a huge difference, especially in close terrain against armor. Also definitely upgrade your AT units to the StuG III's.

Don't discount the basic 105 mm artillery unit. When used against infantry units, it can be helpful in defensive situations. Good ammo count of 8 too. Good luck!
Cheers. I've really been enjoying the StuGs they're very nice units. The 105 I'm still unsure on, it is indeed good vs infantry but I do have the Nebel for that, and we are facing more armour so I kind of want to upshift it to the 17/21.
Cerberus51 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:21 am
Upgrading for 43 is fairly straightforward. Infantry units should all get upgraded to the 43 version. I find gebirgs to be very useful. The trick is to move them from one close terrain hex to another. As they only use one movement to move on to a hills hex they are pretty tank proof as any tank attacking is putting their hard attack against its close defence rather than its ground defence.

For panzers SE units do not count towards the soft cap so give them the most expensive upgrades. I gave both Kercher and Rondorf Tiger 1's. The Panther D will be along shortly. PzIII's are pretty much useless now so best to upgrade them before the IV's - which are still useable if upgraded to H.

AT - StugIIIG. Then you get the Elefant in the room issue. To take that expensive upgrade or not? I did and they are awesome.

Artillery - consider upgrading the 15cm to a 17cm. If you add any further artillery, I am finding the panzerwerfer to be good - tougher than the Wuhrframen and a bit cheaper.

Fighters. I have Kittel, Bar and Nowotny. You are missing one? Tac bombers - any bf110, particularly Lent, should take the cheap upgrade to 410 - which is arguably a better unit than the FW190F. I have upgraded my Ju87's to G which makes them serious tank killers but I would be concerned you do not have enough fighters to escort them. It might be worth upgrading Rudel to a 410 so he can look after himself. Recon Rudel I would simply disband to get the prestige back.

I am at Prokorhovka. I just watched the replay of goose_2's Manstein playthrough and have scared myself. It looks really tricky.

Looking at units you can deploy you have 38 units plus 5 SE panzers. You will get another SE in 43. Deduct Recon Rudel and you have 37 total to deploy. The 43 scenarios quickly go to allowing 40 units plus SE, so you can look at adding at least 3 units. Inexperienced units tend to be magnets for Russian attacks. I am not sure what I would go for. A panzerwerfer would be one possibility. I'm not sure when the Stug IV turns up but it is switchable between a range 2 artillery unit and an AT (essentially a more AT focused Su-122). The Elefant is so strong in 43, except against infantry in close terrain, that even a unit with no experience takes little damage. It is quite possible to drive up to an early T34 and hit it for 7 or 8 damage without taking any loss. Horrendously expensive though.
Hrm... I shall have to think about the Gebirgs, the mobility is useful but I'm still iffy on the weak hard attack and lower defence.

I agree on PzIII. Having a look at the equipment it seems that all the new model tanks are superior to it, with the Tiger being equal in anti-infantry capabilities (9 soft attack). I shall prioritise the PzIII's to get upgraded to the models I prefer asap.

Kittel is from Streets of Moscow is he not? I did not get into that scenario as I got a minor victory at Vyazama thanks to the mud and last turn unit spawning that the AI did in the final objective. :)

I have four non-used tanks, all captured equipments (KV1/2 and two Sherman's I think), I'm just leaving them in the pool for disbanding potential alongside Recon Rudel. :)

Further artillery and A/T units might make sense to add now. I'll keep an eye out for the Elefant, if it is weak against air perhaps I'll recruit another SPAA to guard it.

Good luck at Prokorhovka! I won't catch up as I'll be off on holiday later this weekend. :)

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

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:04 am

I agree... from 43 onwards, new/inexperienced units are sometimes only good for mob up action behind the main line... maybe that's the only way to add new ground units to the core from this point in time... you could also consider to prepare for the more defensive requirements coming up soon...

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:12 pm

RVallant wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:03 am
Hrm... I shall have to think about the Gebirgs, the mobility is useful but I'm still iffy on the weak hard attack and lower defence.

Further artillery and A/T units might make sense to add now. I'll keep an eye out for the Elefant, if it is weak against air perhaps I'll recruit another SPAA to guard it.

Good luck at Prokorhovka! I won't catch up as I'll be off on holiday later this weekend. :)
I checked the stats. Gebirgs 43 are the same as the initial Gebirgs for defence and no worse for anything else.. Their defence is as good as any other 43 German infantry. Their hard attack is the same as Fallschirm but rather less than all the other 43 types. That is with the standard equipment file. Where they gain is their ability to dive into a woods or hills hex that any other type of infantry would not reach. There, despite the lower hard attack, they are difficult for enemy tanks compared to an infantry unit with higher hard attack caught in the open because it did not have the necessary movement to reach cover. It takes a bit of adapting playstyle but I use a 50:50 mix of gebirgs and pioniere. The pioniere are for assaulting enemy fortifications and heavily entrenched units. The gebirgs are for moving alongside my panzers and units in transport and fending off enemy infantry units in close terrain then following in after the pioniere to occupy and hold captured ground. As you receive several gebirgs free during the GC, making use of them as they are saves prestige.

The Elefant is not weak against anything. It has the same attack stats as a Jagdpanther and higher ground and air defence. It does cost almost the same and is less mobile - but that is not a major consideration from 44 onwards. The big plus is that it is available a year before the Jagdpanther and, if you are buying new, that gives precious time in which to build experience.

Enjoy your holiday. Hopefully Prokorhovka will go the way of many scenarios so far and towards the end the Russians will run out of units and I can just mop up.
:D 8)

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

Post by RVallant » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:34 pm

Thank you. :) Anyhow, a few missions for 1943 completed:

Kharkov ’43:

A return to Kharkov…

Upgrades galore, but I only upgraded three of the ten tanks to Tiger tanks. 8th PzIV with +5 attack heroes became the first shiny new Tiger tank. 31st and 16th SE PzIIIN got upgraded to Tiger's as well, but everyone else remained the typical (5x) PzIV and (2x) PzIII's.

A simple mission really, take the city and defend the river crossings when the ice thaws. I stationed a small defensive force at the bottom of the river and sent two battlegroups with recon towards the objectives.

West recon spotted what I can only presume were forces waiting to ambush me at a later point, so I diverted some units to eliminate them handily. The rest of the battle was easy, the StuGIIIG was useful and I gained some easy kills with the 8.8 on Russian tanks in the river. I upgraded some units to a Tiger tank, three actually, but didn’t upgrade the full force just yet.

I was still using a PzIII and IV to hold the first bridgehead, both were more than capable due to the defensive penalty the enemy suffered due to the river crossing.

One misstep though, I almost lost a strategic bomber in the end as I overreached and sent him on with no escort. Whoops. He did survive though, and we score a simple decisive victory.

Belgorod:

Apparently more of the same, follow the river and shoot stuff. And that’s exactly what we did, there was no great strategy, we seemed to be shooting off inexperienced Russian troops, so it was ridiculously simple and we outmatched them all day long. Decisive was earned rather rapidly.

I’ve had some time with the new units on hand. The Tiger is very nice, especially for taking out the KV’s but I dread the day the anti-Tiger comes out.

The Recon 233 is superb, this belated upgrade can actually go toe to toe with suppressed infantry and can take five or six hits off a conscript now. They are also now capable of going up against weakened light tanks and T34/41’s. This has allowed me to be a bit more ambitious with my scouting now, though care needs to be taken to keep them out of the way of heavy tanks.

Due to the scenarios having poor enemies, I think it is justifiable to keep PzIII’s up to this point, they’re still more or less capable of holding their own for now and make a decent reserve tank, zooming in to take out isolated Infantry whilst your main tanks bypass them.

The SU-122 gained much respect from me in this scenario as I had it paired with a StuG to hold one river crossing and when I got overwhelmed by a double-whammy of heavy tanks it was able to abandon artillery duty to switch into A/T mode and help out on the frontline. That flexibility was awesome, but even with the river-penalty it was not quite superior in combat vs the Heavies. Still, needs musts and all that.

This was the first mission where I held my Stukas back for long periods of time. Anti-air assets were commonplace and even though Russian Air units didn't trouble me, I had no safe area to launch attacks with the bombers. A troublesome issue is ground AA guns are prioritising my fighter planes and they're doing very decent damage. Very annoying. On the other hand, the sheer amount of auxiliary SPAA given in this mission made it fun to swarm enemy air assets in this mission. :D

New upgrades became available mid-way through this battle: The Nashorn and the Wespe.

Nashorn initial analysis:

This looks like a glass cannon anti-tank unit; I would say it needs to be an ambush specialist because I don’t think having all that power is of any use if you’re going to lose half your unit per battle… The StuG is still superior attribute-wise for me, so I don't think I'll be electing to get one of these.

Wespe initial analysis:

A downgrade on the Sturmpanzer unless I'm missing something? Less defence, less artillery firepower in exchange for tracked movement? Not worth the trade off when we already have the mighty Wuhfrahmen and right now, I don't need the extra mobility as it is generally tracking behind slower armoured advances anyway. The SU and Wuhfrahmen have been more ahead of it recently in spearheads. Annoyingly, the Sturmpanzer has been removed from the purchase list. Bah!


Next up is the defence of Orel and the return of our paper Italian allies. I vaguely remember this mission from my last playthrough and I don't think it went very well, but maybe experience will be a game changer? :D

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

Post by TSPC37730 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:40 am

RVallant wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:34 pm
Next up is the defence of Orel and the return of our paper Italian allies. I vaguely remember this mission from my last playthrough and I don't think it went very well, but maybe experience will be a game changer? :D
The Italians (and other allied units) can be quite useful at times. Plug them into good defensive positions and back them up with your artillery. They will often survive. The benefit of this is indirect. The bombs, artillery shells and attacks by T-34/43's are falling on them, and not your core units. The longer they can hold on and soak up attacks, the less it will cost you.

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:00 am

RVallant wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:34 pm
I’ve had some time with the new units on hand. The Tiger is very nice, especially for taking out the KV’s but I dread the day the anti-Tiger comes out.

New upgrades became available mid-way through this battle: The Nashorn and the Wespe.
The Tiger and Panther are fine for now. It will be a while before the Russians have 85mm gunned units.

The Nashorn is indeed glass - which is why I keep banging on about the Elefant. :D It is worth remembering the unit list is based on what Germany deployed historically - which is often whatever they could put into action. Many units are not the best choice and their only real purpose in the game is to give scenario designers a variety of stuff to play with, not for using in your core army.

The Hummel is the obvious upgrade for the Sturm, one more move and one more ammo for a cheap family upgrade cost. If it is not among the possible upgrades it should be there in the next scenario. The alternative is the Sig38(t) but that is no faster and is a full cost item, although it has much higher GD.

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

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:19 am

Cerberus51 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:00 am
The Nashorn is indeed glass - which is why I keep banging on about the Elefant. It is worth remembering the unit list is based on what Germany deployed historically - which is often whatever they could put into action. Many units are not the best choice and their only real purpose in the game is to give scenario designers a variety of stuff to play with, not for using in your core army.
Exactly, in addition some units were not really that common, e.g. there were only less than 100 Elefants and less than 500 Nashorns built in total...

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

Post by captainjack » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:10 am

The StuH looks good but can be a false friend in city fights due to the lower ammo. The Stug's 3Bs extra ammo count will protect you from SMG infantry for longer, and the 110% ROF will partly compensate for the lower SA. The AT switch is occasionally useful, but you'd probably be better off luring the enemy armour into close terrain, suppressing them and the hitting them with infantry.

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

Post by TSPC37730 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:39 pm

captainjack wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:10 am
The StuH looks good but can be a false friend in city fights due to the lower ammo. The Stug's 3Bs extra ammo count will protect you from SMG infantry for longer, and the 110% ROF will partly compensate for the lower SA. The AT switch is occasionally useful, but you'd probably be better off luring the enemy armour into close terrain, suppressing them and the hitting them with infantry.
The big advantage to the StuH 42 is that in the switchable mode you will rack up more kills. Kills in turn lead to heroes. Dropping the gun and going into direct fire mode against unentrenched infantry is great fun. It took me forever to get my first heroes (defense) on my StuG IIIB's in my last campaign. The StuG IIIB's do a great job of slowing down attackers, but, you'll have to turn to other units to finish them off.

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

Post by RVallant » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:35 pm

TSPC37730 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:40 am

The Italians (and other allied units) can be quite useful at times. Plug them into good defensive positions and back them up with your artillery. They will often survive. The benefit of this is indirect. The bombs, artillery shells and attacks by T-34/43's are falling on them, and not your core units. The longer they can hold on and soak up attacks, the less it will cost you.
Indeed, well... I like the Italian Bersollina (or whatever they're called), but I honestly think the Italian basic Infantry is useless. They are so bad.

I would get more use from their light tanks in other theatres probably, but in Russia it's basically putting a target up saying "free kills"!

I do use them for more risky movement though, I'd rather they get shot than my units. :D
Cerberus51 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:00 am

The Nashorn is indeed glass - which is why I keep banging on about the Elefant. :D It is worth remembering the unit list is based on what Germany deployed historically - which is often whatever they could put into action. Many units are not the best choice and their only real purpose in the game is to give scenario designers a variety of stuff to play with, not for using in your core army.

The Hummel is the obvious upgrade for the Sturm, one more move and one more ammo for a cheap family upgrade cost. If it is not among the possible upgrades it should be there in the next scenario. The alternative is the Sig38(t) but that is no faster and is a full cost item, although it has much higher GD.
Indeed. The Sig is indeed part of the Sturmpanzer's upgrade family, so it costs a mere 48 prestige to upgrade. Just reached that part of the game now. :)
PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:19 am
Exactly, in addition some units were not really that common, e.g. there were only less than 100 Elefants and less than 500 Nashorns built in total...
I think it is pretty illuminating how poor some of the German advancements were. I shall take all 100 Elefants though. :P

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

Post by RVallant » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:06 pm

Bit of a long one...

Orel:


A defensive battle, and one with counter-attacking objectives like the Ruins of Stalingrad. In this one, I thought we had enough forces to actually pull the objectives off. All attacking objectives were south across the river, so that wrote up half my attack plan.

Four lines would be organised:

North ‘Orel defensive line’, would have my grenadier and two infantry units alongside one Nebel, one 17cm Artillery and a static 8.8. On the flanks in the forest would sit one of my PzIIIN’s to head off any northern river crossing, and on the southern plains would sit the 8th Tiger unit.

The defensive line would be held just behind the river that the city sat on. I would thus sacrifice half the city and one airfield in order to create a bottle-neck that would funnel Russian forces into a two-infantry width defensive line. Anyone trying to overlap on the river would face the Tiger tank, or the spare infantry and PzIII if they go north.

All airforce units were kept back in the reserve airfield in the west. I saw lots of SPAA and a hideous amount of Russian air assets and so I didn’t want to waste my units in an early battle for the skies. I would rely on my ground AA to win the early war.


Two lines would be established in the central towns of Shakhovo and Khomuty. I beelined two infantry plus two artilleries, one Tiger and one PzIII plus SPAA and an 8.8. We would sit in the towns and use the river to blunt the enemy advance.
In the south the only units I had left were Mountain units (7 defence compared to 8 for everyone else), so I wasn’t keen on using them in defensive battles, but furthermore, even if they were in close terrain the objectives in the south were in front of a river, meaning my artillery would be impotent.

This was irrelevant anyway as I had no plans to hold that defensive line. I used the trains to get the MNT troops down here, held the area for one turn and then retreated across the river once first contact was made. The Italian A/T troops would die heroically defending my managed retreat.

In the meantime, the bulk of my forces would manually trek down the rail line and split off where possible to form defensive river bridgeheads. As it turned out, this move was ideal, our Pionere led forces eliminated partisans and then the rather clever Russian paradrops along the way to blocking the river crossings, aided by two free heroic MNT units. I have considered that I should convert defensive hero infantry to MNT and attack hero infantry to basic infantry on the basis of experience with this battle but I don't want to waste prestige on the conversion if I can avoid it.

Anyway;

This defensive posture was quite successful. In Orel I had to rotate the main infantry defensive unit in order to maintain strength. The Russians went in tank-first, which made things easier, but towards the end of the mission they were very close to overcoming us thanks to a barrage of artillery forces. Fortunately, we held strong.

In the central areas we bled them dry on the riverbanks with ease. It was here that we clashed in air to air battles. I had purposely withheld my air force behind the river anyway due to Soviet SPAA, so we basically waited for air units to cross over and attempt bombing runs. What the ground AA didn’t eliminate in one shot, my FW nipped in to finish them off. This was also replicated in the north in Orel.

In the south, the Soviets seemed happy to take the objectives and then bee-line north. Only a small token force tried to attack over the river. We dealt with them and then by turn 8, took a risky river crossing ourselves to eliminate the garrison there. That done, all our available units poured through the river bottleneck to strike out into the Soviet flank.

At this point, I sent all available air, bar one fighter unit south to aid the assault. The initial southern attack flanked the Soviet invaders at the twin river towns and eliminated the forces there before surging south to take with some ease, Barnovskiy. This attacking phase took from turn 8-12.

The very next turn, an ungodly number of Soviet tanks came out of the east to launch their own counter-attack. Now, as I mentioned before, I hadn’t lost any Recon units in this campaign and I think I've become decent at using them. Leading with my recon I was actually able to spot these tank units in turn 12, this is what led to my decision to take Barnovskiy and then immediately abandon it using my recon, whilst advancing a tank line either side of that town. It also allowed me to forward-strike on the strong T34/43 units using the JU bombers.

The result was the Soviet tanks that advanced were mostly T34/41 units and they halted when meeting my front line, with only minor skirmishes occurring, mostly with my PzIV units. We did, annoyingly, lose an Italian cavalry unit in this manoeuvre, which increased the pressure on my already-thin infantry forces. I had left behind a defensive garrison as I wasn’t sure if there would be another Soviet Para-drop. That included two PzIV’s, which would have been very useful in this assault. (There were no further paradrops, so… ☹ )

In any case, the Soviets reclaimed Barnovskiy with a tank unit, which fell easily to infantry counter-attacks, and freed up my entire tank line to retaliate with impunity. As we were decimating that tank line, we uncovered another ungodly number of SU-122 and tanks. Unfortunately, I had mostly moved my forces at this point, so minor-air bombing was all I could do before they joined the battle.

In the end though, we dealt with them rather comfortably due to the JU taking out the more dangerous threats and my Strat bombers eliminating the SU’s ammo count. By turn 17, we were within range of the final objective, and by the time limit, we secured it with considerable ease. The only serious pressure came in Orel, where bombardment and no air support meant my infantry took some hefty hits. But it was a calculated risk and one that paid off handily.

Decisive Victory! On to Kursk. (I have now hit the soft cap, 95% on the icon for this battle, which is a massive worry as I didn’t think I had many super-units…)


New Unit Analysis:
(Available midway through Orel):


Brumbar: Meh, is all I can say right now. At the moment, towed artillery is still suitably being ignored by Soviet air and artillery. I still prefer range on my artillery right now and I'm not getting in a position where my artillery is getting flanked.

Panzerwerfer 43: I had been looking forward to this, but 1 extra move, less shooting power in exchange for more defence does not exactly impress me. My Wuhfrahmen rarely gets hit and is always under SPAA cover, so I’m not seeing the benefit to this upgrade beside movement?

Hummel: Yay, more fuel and ammo for the Sturmpanzer, however it becomes obsolete almost immediately…

MarderIIIM: Okay, a bad series of anti-tank gets a bad upgrade. Why would I use this instead of the mighty StuG?

(Available for next scenario):

Elefant: Oh boy, this looks like an amazing defensive anti-tank unit, 22GD and 24HA? Yes, please. 4 movement is a killer though, but on the defence, who cares?

PzIVH: A nice upgrade on the G, 16GD and 14HA. I can see myself using this as a reserve/mop up tank.

Panther: Fast, with 6 move and with 19HA and 18GD looks to be a very decent tank, superior to the PzIV. I’ll definitely get some, but I won’t go all-cat just yet.

30cm Nebelwerfer: Ooh looks nasty, but that 4 ammo count is not high enough for me to use defensively.

SiG 38(t)M: Basically, a Sturmpanzer with better defence. I’ll be upgrading my last Sturm to this model over the Hummel, I think. It really is a question of defence here or less defence but extra ammo and movement for the Hummel. The Sturm doesn't quite need to be as rapid as my other two SPART guns, so I'm leaning in favour of the extra defence really.

JU87G: More anti-tank capability, however, that lower fuel count is a concern as I’ve been getting used to having my JU out in the air for long periods. In fact, we usually run out of ammo before we get near fuel exhaustion. I’m unsure on this one, but perhaps fuel won’t matter so much if we’re defending all the time.

Hs 129: Equal to the JU defensively (I think), but more well rounded in attack with 10 SA/HA. More importantly, high fuel and 12 movement as opposed to 11 from the JU. I’m very much considering moving Rudel into this one, since his +10 attack is so insane, I think it would be better for him to be on a more mobile, fuel-efficient and well-rounded plane.


FW190:
The tactical bomber FW is available and whilst it has better air defence it is weaker in fuel and bombing strength in my eyes compared to the Me410 at the moment. I don’t see the need to upgrade here.


Note, I haven't actually upgraded anything yet. I plan to when I start the next scenario though. I think I will pick the tank scenario over the infantry scenario as I'm too mentally scarred to be dealing with infantry warfare right now after Stalingrad...

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:54 am

RVallant wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:06 pm

Decisive Victory! On to Kursk. (I have now hit the soft cap, 95% on the icon for this battle, which is a massive worry as I didn’t think I had many super-units…)


New Unit Analysis:
(Available midway through Orel):


Panzerwerfer 43: I had been looking forward to this, but 1 extra move, less shooting power in exchange for more defence does not exactly impress me. My Wuhfrahmen rarely gets hit and is always under SPAA cover, so I’m not seeing the benefit to this upgrade beside movement?

Hummel: Yay, more fuel and ammo for the Sturmpanzer, however it becomes obsolete almost immediately…

Elefant: Oh boy, this looks like an amazing defensive anti-tank unit, 22GD and 24HA? Yes, please. 4 movement is a killer though, but on the defence, who cares?

PzIVH: A nice upgrade on the G, 16GD and 14HA. I can see myself using this as a reserve/mop up tank.

Panther: Fast, with 6 move and with 19HA and 18GD looks to be a very decent tank, superior to the PzIV. I’ll definitely get some, but I won’t go all-cat just yet.

30cm Nebelwerfer: Ooh looks nasty, but that 4 ammo count is not high enough for me to use defensively.

SiG 38(t)M: Basically, a Sturmpanzer with better defence. I’ll be upgrading my last Sturm to this model over the Hummel, I think. It really is a question of defence here or less defence but extra ammo and movement for the Hummel. The Sturm doesn't quite need to be as rapid as my other two SPART guns, so I'm leaning in favour of the extra defence really.

JU87G: More anti-tank capability, however, that lower fuel count is a concern as I’ve been getting used to having my JU out in the air for long periods. In fact, we usually run out of ammo before we get near fuel exhaustion. I’m unsure on this one, but perhaps fuel won’t matter so much if we’re defending all the time.

Hs 129: Equal to the JU defensively (I think), but more well rounded in attack with 10 SA/HA. More importantly, high fuel and 12 movement as opposed to 11 from the JU. I’m very much considering moving Rudel into this one, since his +10 attack is so insane, I think it would be better for him to be on a more mobile, fuel-efficient and well-rounded plane.


FW190:
The tactical bomber FW is available and whilst it has better air defence it is weaker in fuel and bombing strength in my eyes compared to the Me410 at the moment. I don’t see the need to upgrade here.


Note, I haven't actually upgraded anything yet. I plan to when I start the next scenario though. I think I will pick the tank scenario over the infantry scenario as I'm too mentally scarred to be dealing with infantry warfare right now after Stalingrad...
The Kursk battles are quite challenging. I went North and would not say it was that infantry biased. I have actually scored DV's in every scenario since the first attack in Poland but I thought I might come up short here. But no, I made it to Kursk Armory North. You will not like the look of the JS-1 and KV-85 tanks but they never moved and were easily dealt with.

I like the panzerwerfer because my wuhrframen were getting hammered from the air (I don't deploy enough SPAA).

The Elefant is not limited to defence. Mine are leading the attack at Prokorhovka (I have already restarted once :cry: ). Get these bad boys moving and they will go through anything armoured.

The PzIVH is nice but the Panther is the business. I have 5 Panthers and 5 Tiger 1's including SE and don't regret the investment.

The Nebelwerfer 30 is a specialist item. NIce to have one for entrenched soft targets but not an artillery mainstay. As for the Sig38 and the Hummel, you pay your money and you take your choice.

Ju87G - yes, a loss of fuel but experienced units will break the Russian tanks for your panzers to mop up. I have 3 but TBH am not using them much. I don't rate the Hs129 particularly. Rudel is better in a 410 where his insane attack means he can finish off Russian air units (you are going to be running into more and more of them soon. The FW190F is not a sufficient improvement over the 410 to be worthwhile. When the 190G comes along that will be a different matter.

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

Post by captainjack » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:28 am

Last time I tried Kursk South and didn't do so well. I'm about half way through Kotelnikovo, cursing the rain (more like Vyazma with the mud as well), and probably going to miss out on the KV1C, which is a shame. Assuming I get through to Kursk, I might give the northern branch a try.

As for Rudel, he is fun in a 129 as he can take out anything and everything, but he really needs to be in a 410 to get the air attack and defence as well. I agree that from a 410, the 190F is not worth it though the 190G is worthwhile.

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:34 am

I've not tried Kursk South. North was not too bad. It really comes down to the title of this thread, using a diverse force, ie a mix of tanks, infantry, artillery and other support units, including air assets, tailored to the terrain and objectives. I have just finished Prokorhovka and obtained a decisive. Everybody thinks of Prokorhovka as a tank battle but the forces you deploy in the NW and SE need to be built around infantry and artillery mainly. Even the force starting in the SW, although it is primarily heavy armour, needs an infantry and artillery component.

Prokorhovka allows deploying 45 units (I have 76 plus 6 SE available). I used 5 Tigers, 5 Panthers, 4 Elefants and a PzIVH. Yes, a very strong armoured element, but I also needed 4 Pioniere and 7 Gebirgs for my infantry, a total of 8 artillery, 4 recon and also 2 88's and a Sdkfz7/2 in addition to the 3 auxiliary SPAA provided. Only a third of the units I deployed were actually panzers or SP AT and the key to winning is the use of all your units. If I left it short anywhere it was in AA. 6 units was simply not enough to back up 5 fighters. The Soviet air force just kept coming. Every time I cleared a batch, 4 or 5 more aircraft would appear out of nowhere next turn and attack. They also now have Yak-9D fighters, which are pretty good.

I've not been paying complete attention to capturable units but Kursk Armory North netted 2 KV-85's. As I have more than enough heavy armour I disbanded them for the prestige. They could have been useful to try and keep my army under the soft cap but I am at 100% and resigned to it staying at that.

A final thought about SP AT. Of the light/medium units the StugIIIG is really the way to go. You can start building experience in 42 when the StugIIIF becomes available and the G is the best of the units armed with the 7.5cm L/48 gun. The StuH42 and the StugIV are tempting with their switchable capability but the StuH is not particularly powerful in the AT role and the StugIV comes rather late. The Nashorn is quite fragile in my experience and the JgdpzIV/70 a bit of a dead end. Of the heavy units, the Elefant comes along in 43, over a year before the Jagdpanther and is stronger defensively, as opposed to the Jagdpanther's greater mobility. The Jagdtiger is not really very useful due to being immobile and actually having a lower HA than the other two heavy units, as well as not being available until very late on. So, for me, the Elefant is the way to go. I upgraded my 4 StugIIIG's so I have experienced units. They did take damage from Russian towed AT and infantry due to their low SA so they need to be backed up with artillery (the Panzerwerfers worked well) but there was no problem with them keeping up with the panzers moving forward. As the High Command have just lost their nerve following the Allied invasion of Sicily the rest of the war will be largely defensive.

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

Post by RVallant » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:52 pm

Final update as I'm off on holiday. I will resume in about two or three weeks, so don't lock the thread. :D

Yakolevo:

Some upgrades: Sturmpazner became a Sig38M. I upgraded both JU bombers into the final G variant for the moment.

3rd Pz, Captured Char Pz, 38th and 32nd SE Panzers became Panthers. 29th SE became a Tiger. 28th SE was a new addition and was assigned a PzIVH. The final two tanks in my forces remained PzIV’s, as I said, I didn’t want an all-cat tank force as I think that’s overkill right now.

With my one free slot, I bought an Elefant.

After disbanding captured units, we were about 70k prestige in the black. After upgrades we were down to somewhere near 63k or thereabouts (expensive, these upgrades!).

Yakolevo was a tough scenario that chewed up a lot of expensive units. It is difficult to explain how I tackled it, but basically, I placed one Pionere to the east of the river and one on the west back. Mountain troops would take the furthest western areas as that was hilly terrain. Oh yes, all former mountain troops were switched over to Infantry as their heroes benefited that change for the moment.

The main tank thrust would be central, with a smaller force on the east-bank.

The initial progress was slow, the first defensive line was heavily mined and extremely tough to get around. Furthermore, Soviet counter-attacks with legions of tanks was rough due to the lack of air support. There were so many Soviet planes that my AA guns were doing overtime. It was difficult to counter-attack in the air due to Soviet AA cover. The few skirmishes we did do, fell in our favour, only for AA to whittle down our units. Fighters in particular suffered a lot from AA fire, which is becoming an expensive habit… I'm leaning more in favour of the ground AA cover as they can easily take 5-8 points off an enemy on the attack, or a full 10-12 on defence. The problem with ground AA is inevitably range, but again, with the war about to become defensive, this may not be such an issue in the future.

Once we got beyond the initial line of mines, we were mostly in open country and could move somewhat swiftly but cautiously north. The caution was warranted due to armoured counter-attacks, my StuG’s suffered heavy casualties in the progress and I note that we’re at the time where we have superior tanks and thus the enemy is now starting to engage the StuG’s for more favourable combat opportunities.

Still, once the counter-attacks were batted back we could push on with some ease and were at the final objective with four or so turns to spare. We achieved decisive victory, though we did pay for it in blood. This was the first scenario to cause me to come very close to losing multiple units. In hindsight, with how many extra turns we had I could perhaps have taken this more slowly. In good news, we're back under the cap it seems.

On the positive side of things, the Elefant is awesome. First hero was an Initiative hero though. Oh well!

Oboyan:

Another scenario that was expensive in terms of replacements and air power, though we did recoup our losses in terms of prestige. I have been trying to manage replacements so that I don’t end up gutting the troops of vital experience, the problem being that the higher the experience the quicker they seem to lose it. In regards to fighters, I noticed Nowotny is being targeted over other, more dangerous units, a byproduct of his -2 defence perhaps. I am considering relegating him to behind the lines clean up duty and leaving the forward striking to the other fighter planes.

Regardless, Oboyan was a fairly fierce battle that was heavy on injuries to infantry and air in particular. Our tanks are superior and were crushing the opposition with some ease, which led to them targeting our more fragile infantry, air and StuG units.

I set up with a massive tank force on my west flank to meet the Soviet tanks that were highlights in the briefing. The terrain there was very favourable, we were able to bottleneck them into two valleys thanks to a lake that split the terrain in half. North was a city garrison, south was the operational limits of the map. Ergo, they were funnelled into my Panthers and Tigers and were eliminated with ease. That they were lend-lease British and American tanks made it even easier, as we were hitting 8-0 regularly even though they were overstrengthed. Thanks to the bottleneck we forced a lot of surrenders.

We made use of the bridge units to get in behind the final northern objective, but we did cut it fine, finishing on the very final turn and having to place some tanks and A/T in city hexes (yikes). We captured another Sherman tank and another SU-122, though at this stage I’m unsure what the value of these units will be. If I can fit in the SU-122 I will but there’s no free cores at the moment and I’m still keeping one eye on prestige. The Sherman will probably be disbanded, it's obsolete at this point.

Still, two decisive victories give me the opportunity to assault Kursk. Unfortunately, that will be a solo endeavour, since the rest of the army appears to have stalled and failed the pincer.


No new unit types as far as I can tell, but this scenario did highlight an issue for me; The JU bombers were starved of fuel at times, and sometimes had to retreat to refuel at critical moments in the battle. Too late to change that now though, but it has given me food for thought on swapping to a different model of plane for future scenarios.

Since I got two decisive wins, I figured I will give the Kursk scenario a go. Maybe we'll get our hands on the laser-tanks the Soviets are supposedly testing. :lol:

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