Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Battle Reports & After Action Reports (AAR's)

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

Post by RVallant » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:04 pm

Cerberus51 wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:34 am
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.


It isn't explained properly in the patch-notes, but if the tooltip says "100%" doesn't that mean you're still getting 100% of prestige?

I think that has to be the case because if you go back into Poland for example, the very first mission is "100%" and it would be hilarious if we were over the soft cap at that point. I've only had it drop below 100% once in the entire campaign, so if I understand it right, if you're at 100% on the tooltip you're perfectly fine and not near the cap yet. :D

Cerberus51
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by Cerberus51 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:13 pm

RVallant wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:04 pm
Cerberus51 wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:34 am
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.


It isn't explained properly in the patch-notes, but if the tooltip says "100%" doesn't that mean you're still getting 100% of prestige?

I think that has to be the case because if you go back into Poland for example, the very first mission is "100%" and it would be hilarious if we were over the soft cap at that point. I've only had it drop below 100% once in the entire campaign, so if I understand it right, if you're at 100% on the tooltip you're perfectly fine and not near the cap yet. :D
My understanding of the soft cap is not perfect but I believe that it reflects how much above a preset figure the average prestige cost of the units you have deployed is. SE do not count but overstrength does. The higher the % figure shown, the less prestige you receive during the scenario.

The tooltip figures need to be read carefully. To the right of your prestige total it actually tells you two things. One is how many prestige points. if any, the scenario gives you each turn, usually around 100 or 200. The other is the soft cap %. I am uncertain of how much effect the soft cap has but it may reduce how much prestige you actually get by a substantial amount (75%).

I may be wrong on this, but that is my understanding.

In the case of the KV-85's, I assume they have a lower prestige cost than a Tiger or Panther so if I had kept them and deployed them in place of German units they would have reduced the average prestige value of my forces. This is another reason for a balanced force. Expensive panzers and air units can be offset by much cheaper infantry to bring the average value down and lower the prestige reduction of the soft cap.

Edit: I looked at some older threads that ask and try and answer questions about the soft cap in the main forum. The more I read about it the less I understand.

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

Post by RVallant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:13 pm

I'm back. :)

Kursk (South):

Bit of a fun one, but admittedly I got very lazy in this scenario and didn’t play optimally. I think fatigue played a part in this, but regardless it was a straightforward mission.

I gained a marginal victory because I overlooked that there was a victory hex in the north-east and had no units in that area. As I said, wasn’t playing properly!

I could probably restart this one but I decided against it, there’s no real difference either way and I think I did alright. We got a captured tank unit but it isn’t as good as what we already have, so I’ll spend that away for prestige.

Prokhorovka

The much spoken about Prokhorovka, the ‘final’ German offensive in the East and the last turning point of the war?

I set up in three battle groups as typical. In the north I stationed my main Pionere unit with a sizeable escort of other infantry and artillery units. The central forces would host the majority of my tanks, stugs and other armoured units. They would be flanked to the north by mountain troops that would aim to exploit the hills and the objective hidden in the middle.

To the south-east, I left two infantry and a pionere, two artillery and an 8.8, I didn’t expect much there, but thought I could opportunity strike across the river for a pincer in the late-game.

My air assets were split evenly across all groups, but all Strat bombers went north to act as mobile artillery.

The opening moves of this battle started with steady progress in the north, steady and consistent progress in the plains of the middle and panic in the south-east. I was absolutely not expecting to be flanked behind the river by masses of conscripts and some heavy tanks, all whilst being assaulted from beyond the river. I managed to eject this flanking attack via tactical movement of my infantry to restrict opposition movement. My Tactical bomber dealt with the main tank but in the end both air assets in that area had to withdraw due to SPAA attacks. My 8.8 was a blessing, I used it in a very risky assault over the river in a city hex to hold the line and then just prayed no one killed him before he retreated to be aided by infantry and switched to AA move to deal with Soviet air assaults.

In the end, that south-east line never moved. We held it to the very last turn and never did cross that river. My pioneer was thus wasted there to be quite honest.

In the north, we took Kartashyoka very easily and cleared the entire northern line. We then ended up sitting on the river banks waiting for an opportunity to cross.

In the centre, I got good use of combined arms, utilising SPAA in the middle of heavy armour in order to deter Soviet air attacks. We demolished everything rather easily, even enemy air. Our mountain troops scored easy victories in dangerous terrain, but a side effect of my deployment choices meant I could only spare a single infantry to take Maloyablonovo after we took Belenikino.

Once this happened though it was simply a matter of rolling up the pocket and launching our assaults on the main objective of Prokhorovka, which fell handily on the final turn.

I bought two new units for this battle, a new SPAA (7/2) to try and build experience. This was a solid investment as it saw plenty of action but its lack of experience meant it didn’t score too many hits. The other purchase was a new Bf109G to stay on escort duty for my bombers. A huge risk to take inexperienced air assets at this point, and to be honest, I’m not sure I made a good decision here. Sure, he did escort well, however, he was hit on a regular basis by Soviet Air and I’m amazed I didn’t lose him.

All in all, a fun scenario, with that surprise on the south-east causing me to do some fire-control. Next up is the defensive battle of Dnipropetrovsk.

Cerberus51
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by Cerberus51 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:36 pm

RVallant wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:13 pm
I'm back. :)

I bought two new units for this battle, a new SPAA (7/2) to try and build experience. This was a solid investment as it saw plenty of action but its lack of experience meant it didn’t score too many hits. The other purchase was a new Bf109G to stay on escort duty for my bombers. A huge risk to take inexperienced air assets at this point, and to be honest, I’m not sure I made a good decision here. Sure, he did escort well, however, he was hit on a regular basis by Soviet Air and I’m amazed I didn’t lose him.

All in all, a fun scenario, with that surprise on the south-east causing me to do some fire-control. Next up is the defensive battle of Dnipropetrovsk.
I found the SE sector at Prokorhovka to be straightforward (and also the NE) purely because I deployed an Elefant and a Tiger or Panther with each group. In the SE that made the flank attack coming down the river quite easy to deal with and I was eventually able to break out and join up with my main force.

I lost a SPAA recently, leaving me with two 7/2's and three 8.8's although of the 8.8's I usually only deploy the one that has a +1 range hero. That unit makes a huge difference with the reach and coverage it has. I had not really appreciated the difference that range heroes make for artillery and AA. If you get one it is well worth upgrading if necessary as that extra range is just incredibly useful. Once the later SPAA becomes available in 44 I am considering selling off the 7/2's and just buying better equipment. They don't have enough experience to be worth upgrading.

I have serious doubts about your decision to buy a 109G. If I were to buy a new air unit in your position I would have bought a FW190A. Yes, it costs rather more but is simply far superior to the 109G and I would expect to recover the extra cost simply on it taking less damage. Not far ahead of you is the scenario where I ran into trouble in the air and was forced to upgrade three 109's to 190's mid scenario just to keep my air contingent alive (the uber heroes were OK but the ordinary units were being swarmed). This was the first real justification for my decision to buy a lot of units early on and get them up to 3*. If I had needed to replace an air unit or have another one I could simply pull one out of my reserves and it would already be 3* (probably with a rather useless +1 spotting hero but still better than a green unit).

Dniperpetrovsk is quite a nice scenario so enjoy it.

Welcome back (hope you enjoyed your holiday).

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

Post by RVallant » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:02 am

Thank you. :D

Full steam ahead for me trying to finish 1943. Two more finished last night:

Dnipropetrovsk:

The first of many defensive battles, this one was relatively easy, given that we were tasked with defending a wide river. That simply meant sitting in objective towns and bleeding the enemy dry. That is exactly what I did all along the river, except in the south, where the Soviets had already broken through the garrisons.

The bulk of my forces went south to counter-attack, and I deployed mostly air assets alongside armoured units. A lot of infantry stayed home for this one, they simply had no role to play.

My tanks smashed through the enemy attack and with a small bit of combined air assault we had re-taken the south-east objective. Much to my surprise, this ended the scenario on turn 7. Probably the quickest defensive scenario I will ever witness. I saw lots of Soviet units in the background when I viewed the battlefield, but I guess I was too quick on the objectives and didn’t allow them time to deploy?

Regardless, a rapid decisive victory here and I’m relatively comfortable again.

Kremenchug:

Another defensive battle, this time with amphibious elements, advice to strike out at artillery units and some very annoying objectives to defend; Towns that sit just out of the river bank, or that sit ahead of swamp terrain thus negating the point of defensive artillery.

My strategic bombers had a field day bombing the naval elements, it was great fun. On land I chose to upgrade all my Panthers to the A variant, which has more fuel and some air attack.

The initial strike against the artillery went well, however, I deliberately hamstrung myself here. I think I am correct in observing that the soft cap statistic on the tooltip states how much prestige you will get; ergo 100% = 100% prestige. I tested this by deploying units to see whether it would tilt the cap down in % or not.

For this scenario I went without 4 units in order to maintain 100% prestige reward. This was a risk I was happy to take because the units I was leaving behind were predominantly infantry troops that were unsuited to the task at hand.
With a skeletal infantry force and a heavy armour core, I managed to strike out at the artillery and then collapse back into the defensive line. We were doing well, with Wehr Reserve units even contributing to the fight, until the very last turn. In the final turn a mis-step caused me to position units incorrectly, which then resulted in a need to retreat temporarily at an inopportune time. The result was the surrender of a victory hex just across the river. That resulted in a normal victory rather than the decisive I was on course for. That said, in hindsight, I think I did well to do this with 4 unused core slots and the reality is, nothing of value was really lost here, or at least I tell myself that!

Before we head to the finale, some more units became available:

280mm K5 – An artillery train unit. I wonder if this might be useful for some long-range bombing? The restricted mobility is an issue though, but perhaps I shall grab one to use in certain scenarios.

PzII Luchs (Recon) – I read that this was a successful recon unit, however I think for this game it is obsolete the day after it is rolled out by the 234/2…

234/2 8 Rad (Recon) – Looks superior to the 233 variants, with better defence and trading soft attack for hard attack. Personally, I’m not a fan of the trade for hard attack as recon doesn’t really want to be going up against tanks at this point in the war. Still, this car has phenomenal amounts of fuel and is more mobile than the Luchs, with equal defence. So, I will upgrade to this model, I think.

8.8 PaK – I do wonder why the Germans didn’t roll this model out ASAP when the FlaK 8.8 was so good, and I do wonder why the Elefant comes out before the static 8.8 gun does. At this stage, I don’t see a need to invest in static AT, but this gun is pretty sweet all the same.


Gepard
– A fully tracked anti-air gun, but the single 2cm AA armament is practically obsolete at this point in the war and I think the 7/1 is loaded with 4 of them, so this model would be a massive downgrade, I think. I also note, according to Wikipedia only 141 were ever made, but I don’t think I’ll use them at all. I’m gutted too as I was looking forward to a shiny new AA toy.

Oh, in the last scenario we caught sight of an IS tank and quite a few large SU variants with the very long gun but low ammo. I've been dealing with them via air bombing, but I'm keeping an eye out for when they're rolled out in sizeable numbers as some of these units were able to go toe-to-toe with infantry even though they sat unsupported on river hexes... That's a frightening prospect, I'm not sure Infantry should ever be equalled by tanks in close terrain but we'll see how it goes. Their arrival also suggests I will need to think about how long I can maintain the PzIV's, which so far have been serving very well as a reserve/mop up tank to free up my main assault units. (Also for variety).

In the air-war we're finally getting to see air units that can start chipping away at my FW planes. So, I think 1944 will be an interesting year. Before that however, the finale at Kiev. :)

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:49 am

RVallant wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:02 am

280mm K5 – An artillery train unit. I wonder if this might be useful for some long-range bombing? The restricted mobility is an issue though, but perhaps I shall grab one to use in certain scenarios.

PzII Luchs (Recon) – I read that this was a successful recon unit, however I think for this game it is obsolete the day after it is rolled out by the 234/2…

234/2 8 Rad (Recon) – Looks superior to the 233 variants, with better defence and trading soft attack for hard attack. Personally, I’m not a fan of the trade for hard attack as recon doesn’t really want to be going up against tanks at this point in the war. Still, this car has phenomenal amounts of fuel and is more mobile than the Luchs, with equal defence. So, I will upgrade to this model, I think.

8.8 PaK – I do wonder why the Germans didn’t roll this model out ASAP when the FlaK 8.8 was so good, and I do wonder why the Elefant comes out before the static 8.8 gun does. At this stage, I don’t see a need to invest in static AT, but this gun is pretty sweet all the same.


Gepard
– A fully tracked anti-air gun, but the single 2cm AA armament is practically obsolete at this point in the war and I think the 7/1 is loaded with 4 of them, so this model would be a massive downgrade, I think. I also note, according to Wikipedia only 141 were ever made, but I don’t think I’ll use them at all. I’m gutted too as I was looking forward to a shiny new AA toy.

Oh, in the last scenario we caught sight of an IS tank and quite a few large SU variants with the very long gun but low ammo. I've been dealing with them via air bombing, but I'm keeping an eye out for when they're rolled out in sizeable numbers as some of these units were able to go toe-to-toe with infantry even though they sat unsupported on river hexes... That's a frightening prospect, I'm not sure Infantry should ever be equalled by tanks in close terrain but we'll see how it goes. Their arrival also suggests I will need to think about how long I can maintain the PzIV's, which so far have been serving very well as a reserve/mop up tank to free up my main assault units. (Also for variety).

In the air-war we're finally getting to see air units that can start chipping away at my FW planes. So, I think 1944 will be an interesting year. Before that however, the finale at Kiev. :)
The 234/2 is the only recon type I am now using. It is quite useful for finishing off damaged Russian armoured units and recon.

The Pak 8.8 is actually the same gun as used in the Elefant and almost the same as the Kwk 43 used in the King Tiger. It was a development of the Flak 41 8.8cm AA gun, which itself was developed to replace the Flak 36/37. The Flak36/37 is the AA gun available early in WW2 and was also the basis for the 8.8cm gun used in the Tiger I. If you look at the stats for the various AA, Pak, SP AT and tanks it becomes clear that there are actually two families of 8.8cm weapons. The Flak 41 turned out to be rather problematic and did not completely replace the 36/37 as had been intended.

I agree that the Gepard is not worthwhile. The SPAA does not get any better until mid 44 when three new models come in. They have good AA performance and much better defence than the 7/2.

Kiev is interesting. The tactical plan is fairly straightforward but this is the one where I found the Me109G simply could not cut it any longer. You will also see SU-85's and plenty of IS-1's. I found they were seriously damaging even Panthers with multiple attacks so, if your experience is anything like mine, the PzIV (and any Stug type) has had its day. You may find it easier if you are playing at Colonel difficulty, compared to my run at Field Marshal as AI behaviour is different for those levels. At one point in my game the Russians bought something like 10 IS-1's in three turns. At lower difficulty the AI has less prestige and tends to be more defensive. Still not a walk in the park though.

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

Post by RVallant » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:57 pm

Kiev 1943:

The grand finale, Kiev. To think we were conquering this only recently and now we are in full retreat.

A direct assault favoured me as I found Kiev itself to be easily defensible. I formed a defensive line within the city perimeter along the river. Three infantry, one grenadier would be backed by 3 x 17cm artillery and one Nebelwerfer. Behind them would sit two 8.8 AA guns and one 7/2 SPAA for mobility. Two of my PZIV’s would sit on the sides in the rear in case a breakthrough ever did happen.

The rest of my forces would sweep south and push the Soviets back over the river. I took the time to upgrade auxiliary units from the reserves to ’43 Infantry, which was a cheap way to pad out my numbers and ensure that I could field more supporting infantry in the southern areas. This was necessary for me because again, I led with a heavy armoured force, but also, if the south fell rapidly it would cause us to face more pressure on the front line.

As it turned out, most of the reserves died within the initial turns. The three that survived got their upgrades and were used to aid my main attack by hitting the enemy in the flanks or ambushing their towed units on the way to join the fray.

My forces would fight through to Cherkasy, which was lightly defended. By turn 10 we had taken the town and had begun to encircle the enemy behind the river. Each time we attacked, we freed up another crossing for troops to pour through.

Only the mighty IS tanks gave us any trouble here, able to go toe-to-toe with Tigers and destroy pretty much anything else, they’re a tricky proposition to deal with.

We won this decisively and will go onto 1944 now.

On a side-note; The StuGs are starting to lose their power and are starting to be prioritised by enemy tanks now. On the very final turn the StuGIV became available, but sporting weaker anti-tank capabilities and lower defence I am not entirely convinced it is a viable upgrade to the IIIG.

In core force news; One of my static artillery gained a +1-move hero and was thus upgraded into the SIG, with my original SIG swapping over to a static artillery instead. My SU gained a +1-range hero but I am loathing to change the model since this unit is turning out to be one of my favourites.

1944 Force review:

For those interested, this is my brief force composition:

Infantry (10):

5 Infantry, 1 Grenadier, 2 mountain troops, 2 Pionere.

Tanks (5) / SE Tanks (6):

3 Panzer IV, 4 Panthers, 4 Tigers.

Recon (2):

Just two standard recons as I don’t like the limited movement of recon tanks.

Anti-Tanks (4):

Three StuGs and one Elefant.

Artillery (4) with Self-propelled Artillery (4):

Three 17cm and one Nebelwerfer. The rest are SPART guns, one Wuhfrahmen which has been brilliant, one SIG (former Sturmpanzer) and two SU-122 captured from the Soviets.

Anti-Air (2) with Self-propelled Anti-Air (3):

Two Flak “ack ack’s” and they’re supported by one 7/2 and two 7/1 mobile anti air guns.

Air Force:
Fighters (4)


Three Focke-wulfe and one Bf109.

Tactical Bombers: (2)

Two Junkers.

Fighter-Bomber (1)

The Me410.

Strategic Bombers (2):

Two of the super He. Bombers, which makes artillery number 9 and 10 for me.

I think it is a balanced force, I’ve really enjoyed the mix of units, anti-tank guns are great when they’re in their ‘viable’ time period and SPAA is a god-send. If I could, I'd have an extra Anti Tank unit and possibly an extra Fighter-Bomber, but the force is pretty big as it is I think.

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

Post by RVallant » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:35 pm

On to 1944:

1944: Korsun Pocket.

A rude awakening to 1944, stolen away from my ‘rest’ and refit. The 12.8 Flak became available and both 8.8’s was upgraded as I had come to the opinion that the switching to AT mode was no longer a priority and combat even in AT mode was now not in our favour, but AA strength would be more useful instead.

This was a challenging battle, where the Soviets just swarmed me with units. I took note that the decisive victory did not actually need any objectives defended, just the safe-delivery of aircraft. The briefing suggested attacks from the south-east and west. Followed by rotated air attacks.

I made three defensive lines: In the south-east I set up a line between the towns of Zvenigorodka to Vyazovok, which had a forest hex slap bang in the middle of the line allowing me to do three infantry units alongside some heavy tanks and the Elefant. These would be backed by artillery, static AA and one SPAA.

In the west I set up a short line at Meovin that would come just short of the river south of Bogaslav. This would be held by medium and light tanks, with a grenadier in the town. In Korsun itself I placed the mobile engineer units alongside the rest of the infantry. The engineers would move into the forests and take advantage of the close terrain there, with the anticipation of intercepting, if not, ambushing any incursions in that area.

I deployed all fighters but no bombers.

The first turn saw heavy action for my AA units, which allowed my air force to sweep in an eliminate the first wave of air units in a counter-offensive. This gave me initial control of the skies, which was vital for maintaining the line. Our defensive lines held fairly well considering, our west line did have to do some rapid incursions north once or twice to head off attacks there.

Our south-east line fell apart, not by combat results but because the Soviets decided to try and bypass it by jumping north across the line. The result was not pretty for those that like neat defensive lines, as we had to ‘jump’ north ourselves.

The difficulty was in jumping north without exposing artillery or anti-air assets. But it was manageable.

Confident that the further south of the tip of the defensive line would be untroubled I transported most units north to regroup and reform a new defensive line just east and south-east of the supply A airfields.

By 10 turns (halfway) we had wiped out most Soviet units and were in the process of resupplying and re-organising the lines. That was when we got a north-western attack and an eastern attack. Both of these were repelled though we did come close to losing units due to the weather draining our fuel at inopportune moments.

In the skies, our air units were fairly easily winning that battle thanks to forward recon scouting and the fact that Soviet units couldn’t realistically bombard our forces en-masse due to ground AA. Indeed, they had to target lone units sporadically, which left them isolated themselves for take down. The BF did rather well in this battle, I employed it primarily as an escort plane and used it to take out stragglers that my AA had softened up, freeing my FW planes to go an assault the more difficult targets.

In the end, we lost one supply plane but managed to escort four for the decisive with two turns to spare. Hell of a fight doing it though!

Two new units; An infantry and tank hero joined, though heaven knows who I'll bench to make way for them now that our force deployment limit is shrinking.

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:35 pm

RVallant wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:35 pm
On to 1944:

1944: Korsun Pocket.

A rude awakening to 1944, stolen away from my ‘rest’ and refit. The 12.8 Flak became available and both 8.8’s was upgraded as I had come to the opinion that the switching to AT mode was no longer a priority and combat even in AT mode was now not in our favour, but AA strength would be more useful instead.

Two new units; An infantry and tank hero joined, though heaven knows who I'll bench to make way for them now that our force deployment limit is shrinking.
Well done! This was a challenging scenario.

Interesting conclusion about the relative merits of the 8.8 and 12.8 Flak. I will have to think about that.

The new units are quite nice, with decent heroes, but do not have the experience of most of my others. So the question of who to bench is made even more complicated as it is also a trade off between carrying on with a (probably stronger) established unit or trying to blood the new ones.

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

Post by goose_2 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:15 pm

Cerberus51 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:35 pm
RVallant wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:35 pm
On to 1944:

1944: Korsun Pocket.

A rude awakening to 1944, stolen away from my ‘rest’ and refit. The 12.8 Flak became available and both 8.8’s was upgraded as I had come to the opinion that the switching to AT mode was no longer a priority and combat even in AT mode was now not in our favour, but AA strength would be more useful instead.

Two new units; An infantry and tank hero joined, though heaven knows who I'll bench to make way for them now that our force deployment limit is shrinking.
Well done! This was a challenging scenario.

Interesting conclusion about the relative merits of the 8.8 and 12.8 Flak. I will have to think about that.

The new units are quite nice, with decent heroes, but do not have the experience of most of my others. So the question of who to bench is made even more complicated as it is also a trade off between carrying on with a (probably stronger) established unit or trying to blood the new ones.
I find the option to either go AA or AT is a nice feature, I just cannot give up, so I keep most of my AA as the 88's.

But I am operating with way more AA units than I will ever use.
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:35 pm

Large update today:


Korsun Breakout:

This battle was torture for all the wrong reasons: The weather.

The actual fight was pretty fun, an initial breakthrough via use of infantry to take out anti-tank forces in the mountain, followed by heavy armour screening as we beelined to the escape area. The issue was, from turn 3 we had snow and rain mixed in which meant the ground was mud for most of turns 3-13 and then again in-between turns 15-end.

This constant rain and mud nullified most of my air force and AA units, but also ground the escape to a halt. The Russians were also hit with these issues, which led to the huge encounter in the centre of the map to be a fight between my well-oiled panzers vs out of supply Russian tanks! It also killed their opportunities to rapidly encircle and flank us, and completely eliminated their air support on top.

Once again, the StuGs stayed home, as did a lot of my towed artillery and AA. I went with a very mobile core, self-propelled only in order to go for speed, but in the end, it probably didn’t matter due to the mud. We escaped handily with two ish turns to spare.

Oh yes, we got a new tank hero in the last scenario in a Tiger. We also got an infantry hero, that I switched to a Grenadier due to the movement bonus. We also gained a fighter hero here, which was handy, though weather ruined his chances of doing much.

With the campaign choice presented to us, I elected to go north to Narva.

Two new unit types became available there: The JagzPzIV/48, which is not even worth deploying over a StuG and the Bf109K, which sports reasonable air attack and higher initiative than the FW. I’ve upgraded both my Bf planes to this model and we shall see how they handle Narva, which looks to be an interesting scenario in its own right.

Narva:

Interesting scenario, a race to relieve and evacuate a garrison and to close off river crossings.

This was fairly straightforward. I went Infantry heavy up the top in the north and they quickly replaced the Reserve forces in Narva proper. The rest of the battle was tanks securing the crossings and then easily eliminating enemies on the river. My new SE Tiger Tank farmed experience here because of the river crossing, which was handy as a zero-experience unit does shockingly poor damage…

In the air war, most of the war was done with the AA units. I brought the full air force out, but the bombers saw limited action as we took up a defensive posture and didn’t see the need to go out on bombing runs once the city defensive line was secure. In hindsight I would have left some more units behind to get under the prestige cap. I fielded enough to limit myself to 70% prestige… On that note, my prestige is still rather healthy fortunately.

Panther G became available in this mission. All my panthers were updated to the G variant after the battle. More defence is always nice.


Strachwitz Offensive:

This battle was no fun at all. The RNG gods had it out for me from the outset.

Looking at the terrain it was very heavy forest and swamps. I took the vast majority of my infantry assets, along with tanks and artillery. AA stayed at home due to the briefing suggesting minor bombing elements. I took some fighters and what bombers I could, but the amount of units permitted to be deployed was low enough that I was spread pretty thin.

First turn was rain, so with zero visibility there was absolutely no point advancing in that terrain as we would just get ambushed, even with recon units available. Once the rain cleared, I was glad I chose not to advance as they were positioned in very annoying chokepoints in close terrain, but with enough room for armoured counter-attacks.

What made this mission all kinds of suck, was nearly every other attack being hit by rugged defence mechanics, despite heavy suppression. It was a frustrating fight. I went with three groups, a northern pincer that advanced rapidly. A central incursion that was blunted and had to regroup twice due to flanking attacks. And a southern incursion that was blunted due to heavy armour assets shielded behind close terrain that was difficult to advance my infantry into for support without getting bombed via ranged artillery. (Also, they spawned a heavy tank right in the hex after I cleared it, which was utterly infuriating.)

Our northern pincer was the reason for our success, out-flanking everyone and clearing the entire northern map of enemies on the way south. In the final turn our central and southern groups took the very final objectives allowing for a decisive victory, but we still had to defend on a river hex and so took considerable damage doing so.

In the post-battle review, I noticed I did okay prestige-wise, but perhaps I just felt frustrated with the mechanics playing against me in this fight. Rugged bloody defence, 6-1 combat odds going 3-2 and things like that, it was soul-destroying.
Anyway, I elected to go for the special mission in Poltava, should be a fun one, I hope!


A slew of units became available post-battle:

Panzer IVJ – A nice little boost for my PZIVH. I will upgrade my PzIV’s to this variant. I’d like to point out, I’ve been using the PzIV’s all the way here without any major problems. The key (for me) is to utilise them as an Infantry tank at this point, hold them back on the flanks of the Panthers and Tigers and use them to eject the pockets so the heavyweights can move on. Having said that, I have noticed that the T34/85 is on the field now, but the Soviets have been drip-feeding them in the reserve. If they get deployed in numbers, I may have to consider switching the PZIV to another model.

King Tiger 2 – Yay! The King Tiger has arrived! Phenomenal attributes but low movement. I think I will buy a few but will give them to my movement hero tank commanders.

Recon 234/1 -Erm, absolutely not using this right now. Though it sports nice defence, it has limited offensive capabilities and wouldn’t do much for me.

Hetzer – A new anti-tank and it is rubbish.

Jagdpanther – A new anti-tank and it is glorious! A straight upgrade performance wise compared to the StuG’s, with a mighty 24HA and some good defensive attributes, I can easily see myself upgrading my StuG’s to this model so we can finally deploy more AT guns.

Mobelwagon – The ‘furniture van’ looks like a 7/1 SPAA gun in a tracked platform. (Edit: I had erronously read that this had zero defence, when it is actually better than the 7/1 in defence. Fatigue is causing me to misread the stats! :P)

FW190D – Two more air attack points in exchange for less fuel and ammo. I’m unsure on this one.

FW190G – Looks better than the Me410, and I’m seriously considering moving Rudel into this as the JU-G, as great as it is has been hampered by limited movement (11) and fuel.

Me162 ‘Komet’ – Absolutely no fuel, reasonable air attack but ooh, look at that initiative. I’m unsure if they’re worth investing into at the moment, perhaps a bit too flash in the pan for the missions right now.


Quick progress at the moment, I'm looking forward to getting my hand on the 1944 achievement! :)

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

Post by RVallant » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:37 pm

More progress:


Poltava:

No air allowed!

Poltava is a lesson in combined arms, recon and use of bridge units, I feel. What made this difficult was no real indication on where to deploy such bridging units, both of the locations I liked were behind swamps which slowed things down. Once I could find a suitable location and pour units through then the battle was trivial.

I did however, get blinded by the northern objectives and neglected an objective in the south. I did get to it in time though, we got a decisive victory with around 9 turns or so to spare. I brought my own AA units, so the AA objectives were even easier.

As a result of this win, we got two free 12.8cm flaks and one Wirbelwind. We didn’t get the second Wirbelwind as the battle victory conditions triggered before I could assault the last armoury. I’m okay with that though, I have far too many units and not enough deployment slots anyway. These units have taken me up to 50 units and deployment isn’t anywhere near those numbers anymore.

Mogilev:

I switched Rudel to the FW tac-bomber for this mission, and upgraded one Tiger to a King Tiger.

A defensive scenario with counter-attacking objectives across the river to achieve a decisive victory.

I didn’t feel I had enough forces to press the attack, so I took up defensive posture first and foremost, since a victory simply needed me to hold a number of objectives. I set up some infantry, artillery and anti-air units in the area of Mogilev itself. They would rush forward/retreat back into the city alongside the river border for a defensible bottle-neck.

In the north and south crossings, I placed my King Tiger tanks alongside other armour and the pionere’s in the event that we get a breakthrough.

Initially things went well, we set up defensive formation and held our lines easily. This was great for eliminating enemy units. I was happy to stay passive here given the insane number of Soviet troops on the ground in front of me… Air was easily dealt with by AA again – I genuinely think AA pays for itself a million times over from my experiences in this campaign.

Turn 6, we got our breakthrough in the north. We swept through the northern areas and took all northern objectives. We were in the process of pincering the northern salient of Soviet troops when it became apparent we would be best off halting the attack and conserving strength.

The reason? In the south our breakthrough occurred late, at turn 11 to be exact. The south was also undermanned, which meant when we did breakthrough, we did so too slowly. We were only just securing the first southern objective when the scenario time limit was coming to an end, we didn’t even get to start the pincer attack.

In hindsight, I would have sacrificed three infantry troops in favour of armour for the southern breakthrough. I deployed three infantry in Mogilev and held three infantry in reserve just in case I needed to rotate any damaged troops out of the firing line. As it turned out, the Soviets were too chicken to attack through my artillery barrage, so these three units basically sat on the map doing nothing. Still, if I hadn’t deployed them and we had issues with damage here I would have been annoyed at myself.

Still, we won the victory, though on another day I’m positive I could have taken the decisive, but for now, it wasn’t to be. We move on to Babruysk!


Babruysk:

My SE PzIV was upgraded to the Tiger II, I am positively swimming in prestige at the moment, but I'm trying my best not to go all super-expensive units... One StuG was upped to a JPanther. I belatedly upgraded my FW to the D model.

Another defensive scenario. For this one I had a hard time deciding on deployment areas as I wasn’t entirely sure where the attacks would be aimed at.

I knew I wanted a defensive line in the city of Babruysk itself, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to form defensive lines across the river next to the strongpoints, especially with the superior air being a supposed issue.

In the end, I split into three groups. A strong infantry cohort would line up in Babruysk, with one infantry dropping into the swamp to ensure we had a straighter line, but also because this area was a narrow river and I know the Soviets will risk trying to cross. Behind them, my SU-122 guns (and others artillery pieces), and behind them, my 12.8 Flack guns. One Tiger II would sit in the clear hex by the river crossing in the north to guard that approach.

In the far north, I decided I simply didn’t have enough units to form a line here. I took the briefing’s suggestion of ‘retreating’ into the forest, and deployed there instead. Three infantries backed by two artillery pieces and flanked by an Elefant. They would deploy in the town of Cyva and the forest, whilst the Elefant would aim to hit the northern clearing in case any tanks came that way.

In the south, the line was far too long to bother with and had multiple crossings. I settled an infantry unit in the town of Brozha, my SE Tiger II would guard the river crossing, behind these two would be an artillery and AA unit. Along the ‘line’ would be my heaviest tanks, Tigers, Panthers etc. No PZIV’s for this one. I also deployed one JagdPanther (upgraded from the best StuG unit I had) in order to offer some more hard punching power.

This line would meet the enemy southern incursion and/or if necessary, collapse back into the rear of Babruysk to prevent encirclement. All fighter assets were deployed, alongside Rudel in a fighter-bomber for versatility. No other bombers made the cut. I even sacrificed a recon unit (yikes) for more defensive power.

The battle itself was a nice back and forth;

There were huge amounts of Russian air units, but they were trivial for my AA to deal with. I overstrength my AA more than usual and they were easily capable of knocking out overstrength Russian bombers or fighters in one hit. If anything, I was disappointed there were only two major air attacks, a lot of the battle my fighters were sitting pretty as the AA dealt with things easily enough. More pressure might have had me wobbling a bit.

In the south we had to collapse back into a defensive formation to shield the rear of Babruysk, but eventually, with the aid of Rudel and the J-Panther we eliminated all enemy tanks in this sector. This freed up a tank to help with the north river crossing defences, and eventually freed up a tank to help flank the enemy units at Cyva.

In Cyva the poor terrain did help us eliminate the enemy with ease, however, I under-deployed here and we did get bypassed by one or two sneaky tanks. Rudel was diverted to deal with these units.

In Babyrusk, our defensive line was strong enough that we were eliminating units one by one. Grenadiers ruin tanks in city hexes it seems.

In the end, our southern units managed a breakthrough at the town of Svetloyovsk and we smashed through that area into the back of the Soviet main assault. The units from Cyva helped with a northern encirclement and within a few turns of the limit we had completed a decisive victory, only to be told that we were all for nought as the rest of the army was defeated, thus we had to retreat anyway!


Other thoughts:

The sheer number of Russian units is downright frightening at times. What sucks for me is they're always overstrengthed. Mogilev became the first scenario where I actively overstrengthed my Infantry units. So far I've only gone +2 for AA, fighters, bombers and artillery. Only Rudel gets +5. I think I will start spending some prestige on overstrengthing the rest of the AA/Arty to +5 where possible, because 13-14 strength AA was disgustingly effective in terms of point to point damage (and prestige damage.)

I'm beginning to miss my He Strat bombers... I'm also beginning to find the core slots restrictive. Babruysk was the first time I've left a recon on the bench. Fortunately, I do have spotting heroes on some of my tanks to make up for it, but it isn't quite the same.

Four more scenarios to finish off 1944 though. :D

Cerberus51
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by Cerberus51 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:07 pm

RVallant wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:37 pm

As a result of this win, we got two free 12.8cm flaks and one Wirbelwind. We didn’t get the second Wirbelwind as the battle victory conditions triggered before I could assault the last armoury. I’m okay with that though, I have far too many units and not enough deployment slots anyway. These units have taken me up to 50 units and deployment isn’t anywhere near those numbers anymore.

Other thoughts:

The sheer number of Russian units is downright frightening at times. What sucks for me is they're always overstrengthed. Mogilev became the first scenario where I actively overstrengthed my Infantry units. So far I've only gone +2 for AA, fighters, bombers and artillery. Only Rudel gets +5. I think I will start spending some prestige on overstrengthing the rest of the AA/Arty to +5 where possible, because 13-14 strength AA was disgustingly effective in terms of point to point damage (and prestige damage.)

I'm beginning to miss my He Strat bombers... I'm also beginning to find the core slots restrictive. Babruysk was the first time I've left a recon on the bench. Fortunately, I do have spotting heroes on some of my tanks to make up for it, but it isn't quite the same.

Four more scenarios to finish off 1944 though. :D
After Korsun Breakout I have 77 core units plus 7 SE. Crazy but I keep thinking I might just need them. Then again, part of the reason for having more units than I can use is to give choices on how many artillery or fighters or whatever to deploy and what equipment. For example I have 13 artillery - 3 Sig38, 3 Hummel, 3 Panzerwerfer and 3 17cm plus a Nebelwerfer 30. So far I have deployed from 6 to 9 and used the Hummels and Panzerwerfers if mobility is needed and the 17cm and Sig38's if defending.

Yes, I have started to find O/S fairly essential. All my SE units run at 11, my uber hero fighters, a Ju188 strat bomber and Lent at 12 and Rudel at 14 (that last point is insanely expensive - each point costs progressively more - so I don't generally take it). O/S Flak is a particularly good idea as it tends not to get hit very often.

I am finding it interesting to read your adventures as our paths have temporarily diverged.

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

Post by captainjack » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:34 pm

An interesting write up, as I have been playing through43 recently. The Prokhorovka South East corner can be trouble. I once forgot to deploy any units there. Success elsewhere meant trouble when I had to divert troops to clear the south east later on.
The gepard is a bit rubbish but because it is fully tracked it copes with snow. However when you expect snow on the ground and clear skies, you can convert the 7/1 and 2 to the 10/4 for free to get reasonable movement and maintain the 3 and 4*attack benefit and then get an in-series upgrade back to the 7/X when you don't expect snow. While on AA, the 128 is a useful improvement over the 88 for AA, at a time when the 88's AT capacity is no longer that good. The large number of 3*85s reduces the effectiveness of air power which likely means a smaller air deployment. Picking off overstrength is more important than before but if you can also take them below 10, tha AI will use green replacements so 13 str 3* becomes 10 str 2*, which your more limited air forces can deal with more easily. While 4range 128 is nice, a 3 range 7/1 combines enough speed (except in snow) to keep in contact to provide defence with enough range for sniping at enemy air and 120%ROF.At 3 or 4* it will rip apart older fighters and weaken other aircraft.

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

Post by RVallant » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:42 pm

captainjack wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:34 pm
An interesting write up, as I have been playing through43 recently. The Prokhorovka South East corner can be trouble. I once forgot to deploy any units there. Success elsewhere meant trouble when I had to divert troops to clear the south east later on.
The gepard is a bit rubbish but because it is fully tracked it copes with snow. However when you expect snow on the ground and clear skies, you can convert the 7/1 and 2 to the 10/4 for free to get reasonable movement and maintain the 3 and 4*attack benefit and then get an in-series upgrade back to the 7/X when you don't expect snow. While on AA, the 128 is a useful improvement over the 88 for AA, at a time when the 88's AT capacity is no longer that good. The large number of 3*85s reduces the effectiveness of air power which likely means a smaller air deployment. Picking off overstrength is more important than before but if you can also take them below 10, tha AI will use green replacements so 13 str 3* becomes 10 str 2*, which your more limited air forces can deal with more easily. While 4range 128 is nice, a 3 range 7/1 combines enough speed (except in snow) to keep in contact to provide defence with enough range for sniping at enemy air and 120%ROF.At 3 or 4* it will rip apart older fighters and weaken other aircraft.
I'm lucky enough to have a + range 7/1 :D It is great. I'm considering upgrading them to the Wirbelwind though.

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

Post by RVallant » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:49 pm

Minsk ’44:

Interesting to note that as we ‘won’ in Babruysk the briefing said the Mogilev fell, which was disappointing to hear, since our efforts in both scenarios came to nothing.

Minsk would obviously fall, but in the meantime, we are to bleed the inexhaustible supply of Russians down in the process;

My set up for this battle would be to place the majority of my infantry forces, artillery and AA. Infantry would hold a line across the east of Minsk, backed by artillery and anti-air as usual. The clear gaps would hold my heavy tanks.
In the south the line broke to curve south-west, there, were two city hexes in the open with lots of clear spaces around it. I placed my two engineers here and deployed the majority of my tanks west of this section.

To the furthest south of the deployment zone I set up two anti-tank units alongside a mobile tank and some air cover.

My battle plan was as so; Minsk would form a wall that the Soviets would fall upon and be slaughtered. The tanks and the southern battle group would surge south and try to secure the river crossings. As it turned out, the forward aux. units held ground reasonably well, which meant we were able to secure the first river crossing rather quickly. We also ejected two bridge engineer units along the south-westerly river, closing off that avenue of attack.

From there it was a matter of sending my tank forces alongside the river ejecting bridge engineers and leaving behind a unit or two to secure the crossings. In the city itself, we bled them dry due to the artillery wall, and once they were eliminated, we surged forward to secure the objectives. Just north of the city I actually deployed mountain troops alongside a panther, but they saw no enemy offensive and so went on the offensive themselves. We went all the way to the north airfield and flanked the Soviets without much resistance.

In the end, an easy battle though I now see that we are not gaining much prestige and are starting to suffer financially until the 'win' bonus tops us up again. A major reason for this is our air force, I must start considering if they’re worth bringing around in such numbers in the future, they are painful to replace.

On a related note, I won an achievement here for forcing a unit worth 200 prestige to surrender. Happy days!

(I'm a bit disappointed that I've not been able to utilise AT units as much as I would have liked in 1944 so far. StuGs are too fragile, but at this point I think the value of a flat tank outweighs the value of a rustic AT as versatility is vital when the Soviets are throwing 9,000 tanks and infantry at you. I noticed the Soviets are taking on my Elefant to whittle it down with 1-1 combat results because it has no soft attack. I am getting great use out of my Jagdpanther though. I wonder if I didn't have to use so much AA if I would be able to deploy more AT?)

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:38 am

Interesting. I am also finding that I am losing prestige during battles and then clawing it back with that awarded for a win. I guess there just isn't much prestige (ie, resources) left in Germany by this stage of the war.

I am still finding my Elefants will go through just about any tank the Russians can field. The penalty for attacking compared to a tank doesn't seem to have much effect as the ground defence of an Elefant is so high. Yes, they can be worn down by guards infantry but as long as they are covered by flanking units and backed up by a wuhrframen or panzerwerfer then infantry are no problem (I learned that one playing US Corps where German infantry target your TD's unless they have supporting artillery (hint: Calliope, even works in the Normandy bocage)).

Air losses are irritating and I am having to be more careful with my air units. I am making increasing use of my 3 88's to weaken Russian fighters. Then my 3 aces can usually finish them without loss, after which other FW190's can eliminate the Russian bombers. I am also trying to make maximum use of fighter traps. The only bombers I am using at this point are Rudel and Lent in 410's (soon to be 190G's) and one O/S strat bomber. I discovered a couple of days ago that Lent was actually a night fighter ace (with 110 kills) rather than a bomber pilot - which explains his stats.

So I am finding things much the same as you are. There are partial answers but I really assume you are simply meant to be worn down by the endless numbers of Russians and no amount of tactical superiority or unit quality can stop that.

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

Post by RVallant » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:05 pm

I agree with you, especially on the wearing out part...

Vilna:

What. A. Battle.


Thirty turns, this was an insane fight. The map is huge, the number of enemy forces was ridiculous, this was just an epic that bled prestige!

I formed three groups for this scenario;

Army North would settle around Sirvinos, it would be composed mainly of armour elements and one mountain troop just in case. The priority is to secure the north river crossing, as I anticipate that area being where the Soviets could flank Vilna.
Army Centre would focus on Vilna itself and would be composed of the bulk of my grenadiers and infantry forces, backed by two artillery pieces and plenty of AA. A tiny group would be in the village to the west as I wasn’t sure where enemies would arrive.

Army South was my engineers, the other mountain troops and some tanks. I left most of the air at home, only Rudel and one FW made the cut.

This meant we ended up under the prestige cap, which wasn’t what I expected.

Initially, I suffered unfortunate losses for my artillery thanks to partisans, particularly in the north and centre groups. The initial turns were spent eliminating these threats, which were rapid. Vilna itself held strong against the initial brace of Soviets as well.

Once the partisans were eliminated, my north group moved on the offensive, with a minor detour north to catch out some sneaky Soviet Regulars hiding on the borders. This group would eventually take Klemieolski (these Russian places are difficult to spell…) and would eventually sweep past the northern objectives only to get surprised by a timed Soviet northern offensive. This offensive cut through the middle of my northern forces, which were only small. Still, with a combination of exploiting terrain, particularly hills and rivers, we managed to actually eliminate this force entirely alone, with late help from Rudel, who I diverted from the south group.

In the south, combat was fierce. I eliminated partisans and then set up in the forests around Varerva. That was tank killing country, and we had fun doing so. Rudel was busy here for most of the early battle, it was only when I was convinced that heavy tank elements were destroyed that I allowed him to divert north. He had re-armed *twice* in the process of the battle in the south, god knows how many kills he racked up.

When the south was eliminated, which was very late into the battle due to endless supplies of Russian forces, I had to rush the engineers and recon out to seize objectives throwing caution to the wind.

Part of the reason for this was my tanks needed to be diverted to support Army Centre.

The battle in Vilna was easy as the defence is superior to the Soviet decision to lead city assaults with tanks. Vilna was a bloodbath, my infantry wiped out so many units here with considerable ease. The small group to the west were folded into the Vilna battlelines because apart from partisans there seemed to be no activity in that area. That made Vilna even stronger.

Once we wiped out Vilna’s attackers, we set forth with the infantry units to take out Cudziniski, but we had to rapidly retreat into a defensive line in the forests as a very late Soviet central offensive began. Fortunately, this attack happened around the same time our South forces had won their battle. So, tanks from the south army zoomed north to flank the Soviets, as did tanks from the north army. We utterly crushed the enemy advance here and then had to rapidly beeline to the final far eastern objective, which we took on the final turn.

A decisive victory, all for naught as we retreat once again. This was great fun though, but very draining.

If I could re-do it, I would forgo deploying anti-air in the south, I put three AA units there and none of them saw any action at all. Three extra tanks here would have made things quicker. In the north on the other hand, I needed those AA units, one Wirbelwind was not enough for escort duty and my fighter had to stay in that area to help out.

I would say, perhaps with some controversy, that only one fighter being deployed was the correct decision. The south and central soviet attacks had SPAA units anyway, negating the point of having fighter cover there. In the north, my fighter could mop up but still had to be wary of eventual AA attacks. In fact, ground AA does so much damage I really think that fighters are prohibitive unless the area they operate in is AA free. But that is wishful thinking. Rudel of course, was capable in both roles as a fighter-bomber.

All in all, a great, if daunting scenario, credit for making this an enjoyable gaming experience too!

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

Post by RVallant » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:14 pm

Trouble sleeping last night, so I'm going to post the whole progress I've made so far:


Warsaw Uprising:

An opportunity to do a city attack and it is the Polish rather than the Soviets this time. I didn’t really enjoy this scenario; Overstrength and experienced units were annoying. I think it would have maybe made more sense to have more weakened, no experience units but I guess they were trying to avoid a roll over?

Whatever the case, this was a standard city sweep, though I had to fight off the Soviets twice as they moved in for opportunity attacks, one which almost cost me a recon unit inside Warsaw itself… Additionally, I felt slightly misled by the briefing suggesting limited air attacks. There was enough going around early on that I needed more than a few fighters to deal with them. In the end, we got a decisive with some ease.

The Ostwind was available here, and the Jadgtiger came out mid-mission. I’m not keen on either unit. The Jtiger has great defence but is lacking in punching power compared to the Panther and I think the Elefant might be the better defensive option?

When the scenario ended, we got a slew of new units:

Volksstrum – I’m guessing the kids drafted in due to manpower shortages? Basically, like the Russian conscripts?

JagdPzIV/70 – Actually quite like this unit, it looks like a cheaper upgrade for the StuG, with better initiative. Ideal if prestige is an issue I would think, but at this point I favour the Panther for the better defensive bonuses.

Wirbelwind – I half want to upgrade all my 7/1 AA to this model for the defence bonus, I think this is the best SPAA?

Me262A “Schwalbe” – Whew, this looks lethal in the air, but at 700+ points per unit it is one hell of an expensive one. The first jet fighter, I am sorely tempted to get some of these but the thought of replacing the damage to these makes me cry. ;_; (I upgraded my two best offensive heroes into the Schwalbe, with Nowotny remaining in the FW and relegated to escort bomber duty. The remaining bf model plane will probably be benched for the rest of the war unless I need them.)

Budapest ’44:


Finally, a scenario I can confidently proclaim that I dislike entirely. I did not find this fun from a gaming perspective at all. Overstrength and over-experienced units? An inexhaustible supply of them? Defending a position that is not likely to be defended well considering frozen ground removes all chokepoints?

Worse still, when the weather passed (no frozen ground) and we managed to get the enemy on river hexes, it appears they were not vulnerable to being assaulted there. In particular, IS-1 and IS-2 tanks were practically invulnerable even on rivers to infantry.

If the scenario was to show how insane the Russians were, it was a good example of it. The Hungarians in their 1939 infantry units were easily wiped out by tanks in city hexes, doubly so thanks to the overstrength. Worse still, these tanks were confident enough to attack my mountain troops and infantry in city and mountain hexes backed by artillery. I feel, this scenario makes me relate to those who forgo balance and go all King Tigers at times, it is just all kinds of rough, perhaps overbearingly so.

Regardless, this was an odd scenario in any case. We were to defend Budapest but the city itself wasn’t an objective. I actually fielded my armies in the reserve lines, due to the weather forecast in the briefing I was not confident we would have normal ground to form a defensive perimeter. So, I defended in three areas in the back of the map.

There, in particular around the central reserve objectives was mountains and forests, which would allow me to deploy my infantry alongside tanks. The terrain would slow the Soviets and offer some protection as it would prevent me from being flanked. This set up was repeated in the north objective and south rear objective.

It wasn’t until the final third of the scenario that the ground finally switched to normal ground. At this point I must have eliminated a thousand and five Russian tanks and infantry; they just would not stop coming.

In the north, after weathering the initial assault, I sent my team to secure the northern river crossing and storm to the victory objectives in that area. We were halted by a fresh wave of a million Soviet tanks. Three infantries held that area along with one artillery thanks to forest hexes. We ended up securing that victory objective on the final turn. The river crossing ended up being held (hilariously) by a recon unit. He got a surprise ambush kill in one round which was brilliant to see.

In the south, once the assault was eliminated, we went on the offence to take the southern central objective south of Budapest. This too, fell on the final turn.

In the centre, we did not go on the offensive at all. From my scouting, I could see the Russians had five hexes in width and more in length filled with units. We didn’t have enough artillery to force surrenders, such was the sheer number of troops here. Additionally, tanks were now at a level where our artillery was no longer reliably suppressing them.

We ended 1944 with a marginal victory, the post-briefing complimented me, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I should or could have done to push for decisive here, I simply did not have the manpower or units to pull this off. Perhaps if I didn’t deploy any infantry whatsoever maybe, but I’m not sure. My panthers and tiger I tanks were now getting even battles, only the King Tiger was confidently sweeping the opposition aside, but even that cannot handle such huge numbers without additional support. I can’t shake the feeling that after Vilna, this and Warsaw were both pretty poor scenarios.

If any 1945 scenarios are like this, I think I’m in for a tiresome and rough ride.

But, to end on a bright note, 1944 is complete and I have the shiny achievement, only one more year and we are finished with the Grand Campaign!


1945: The finale:

Goldap:

One PzIV upped to a Tiger II, I had apparently completely missed that he had +2 move and hadn’t been using him all of 1944… Urgh! How stupid!

A fun scenario to open with (thank you devs), Goldap is an offensive scenario (yay) where you commit to a pincer from clear terrain into rugged terrain. The decisive objective is to eliminate all Russian units west of a river boundary.
My first order of business was spending some prestige on upgrading the Aux. Volksstrum reserves into Grenadiers for survivability. This move paid off handsomely as they survived until the end and inflicted superb damage against the Soviets. It was nice to see that the Soviets weren’t crazy in terms of strength etc this time around, though, a lot of the initial opponents are Soviet Auxiliary troops, so that may explain a lot. I like the surprise in this mission, I admit I was caught out and had to backtrack, but the situation was dealt with relatively easily. My PzIV actually got to see action because of this surprise, so I’m glad it was included.

Another fighter hero is given for free here, and he counts as a SE unit! Unfortunately, he’s unable to be upgraded and looks to be stuck in his bf109K…

In any case, this was a relatively straightforward destroy mission. I moved to close off the river crossings, limiting the number of enemies that could cross. Perhaps this ran contrary to the spirit of the mission? I’m not sure, but whatever the case, this meant fewer enemies to eliminate, and ergo a rapid decisive. I didn’t see the need to farm prestige or experience here.

At the end of this mission we’re given a choice to go on the offensive or defend. I think I’m sick of defensive scenarios at the moment, and we’ll be doing that again soonish anyway, so let’s go on the attack and have our finale charge as it were.

Pelleninkin (Offensive choice);

Technically a rescue mission with a fighting retreat rather than a genuine offensive mission, still it is better than getting stuck defending in the snow.

Yet again, credit to the devs for an interesting scenario, so far 1945 is looking a lot more enjoyable than 1944.

In this mission a squad of troops are stuck in a fortified position and need extraction across a river. Conveniently, the winter is ‘delayed’, so we actually need to buy our first ever bridging unit!

I set up in typical fashion, with heavy tanks directed to cut off the river crossings in the south. Grenadiers take the city of Insterburg, and my engineers lead the main advance of tanks to assault the river bank.

I also re-arranged the garrison to move the anti-tank units out of close terrain and into the open, whilst moving Infantry into the right hexes.

Our forces overwhelmed the defensive garrison on the river bank and our bridge-engineer arrived on the river hex just in time to extract 11-12 units (I lost count but I lost 2 AT and 1 mountain troops I believe). Extraction was aided by one of my tiger tanks crossing over to swat back one or two units to clear the way for extraction.

In the end this was fairly straightforward as I had been busy securing chokepoints in the north whilst doing the extraction, meaning when the inevitable counter-attack came, it fell upon my tanks and AT units. By turn 7 I had achieved the decisive victory of extracting 8 AUX units. Happy days!

Highlights of the mission include a bit of rain causing the Soviets to launch a heavy tank across the river into my grenadier unit who one-shot it 10-0. Joyous! A bit of luck helped here, the north strongpoint (in a city hex) survived a second round of attacks with 1hp left, which meant the Soviets had to waste another turn dealing with that before they could bring their forces to bear against the garrison I needed to extract.

Parck:

Winter has arrived, and off we go on an offensive mission to wipe out bridge engineers! This is another fun scenario as Soviet air is almost non-existent and allows for old-school tactics of utilising air bombing to help your forces. I could actually deploy strategic bombers!!!

Really, you just zoom along to the zones to take out the rather durable bridge engineers. It’s a nice trip, and allowed me to upgrade and deploy my StuGs as Jagdpanthers. They did take some damage though, a problem of benching them for about 3/4ths of an entire year meant they were falling behind experience wise. Still, deploying them in such numbers I can see that infantry don't mind attacking them (and they're durable to survive these) but tanks are avoiding them like the plague.

This battle became the first one in probably ever, that I got a net prestige lost after winning a decisive victory, in part due to my determination to use elite replacements as experience is such a game changer at this stage of the war. I still have in excess of 55k prestige however, whether that is enough to see me home to Berlin we’ll have to wait and see.

A potential nine missions left to finish 1945 and the GC, so far I am enjoying 1945 a lot more than I anticipated following the negative conclusion of 1944.

RVallant
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:12 am

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

Post by RVallant » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:17 pm

Laptau:

A third offensive mission, and a third mission with different victory objectives. This time we’re on a search and destroy mission, to recon sectors and destroy artillery units. It is highly advised to bring infantry and to avoid sectors that have no artillery in the briefing, so this sounds fun on paper.

In reality, the poor terrain combined with frozen ground made things fairly difficult for ground recon. As such, I went for air-recon, sending out fighters to have a look at the target sectors. This worked reasonably well, though there were some light AA guns that made things hairy. This mission is good for teaching people not to go all out on enemy forces, because a lot of them are passive and can be avoided without repercussion, which saves on prestige.

I got a net prestige gain here, bumped up to 59k prestige after collecting a decisive victory, but part of the reason was I deployed probably half strength. I went almost exclusively infantry. Mountain troops are king here, combined with the majority of my air force, some AT units and some of my SE tank units this was more than enough to take out the objectives. Under-deploying is unusual in my experience, but it is nice when a scenario gives the opportunity to do so. It's also nice to leave the tanks at home at times, tank slugfests are okay but can be tiring when every other scenario is one thanks to Russian tank numbers!

In this scenario I have become convinced that I am on the right track in utilising the Schwalbe as the offensive fighter and relegating the FW to escort/mop up duty. The Schwalbe is capable of blowing away all types of Russian planes, but the FW faces combat odds that are pretty even in the grand scheme of things. I always like it when we have the technological upper hand… :P

The scenario concludes with a rather nice historical fact about the situation we’ve just been battling in, which is a nice touch. I hope they use this in Panzer Corps 2.

Osterode:

So, whilst we’ve been battling away, we’ve actually been sat in a pocket. Time to breakout back into Germany! Osterode is a large map and it brings mud. Still, we are told to expect ‘token’ resistance, so that is what we shall expect.

Unusually, or perhaps I misread the briefing, there was no mud. Unfortunately, my tactical plan unfolded due to uncertainty and indecisiveness. I basically swung around the north river to ‘punch’ through the lines and then free up the south river crossing. This worked fine at first, and then I caught the first Soviet counter-attack, which delayed me enough that I was well short of a decisive victory. Knowing this, I halted all offensive operations besides the last minor victory hex just to conserve strength.

Yet again, I under deployed for this mission and it paid off as a prestige net gain. For me, more units wouldn’t have helped as the terrain we had to attack through was like a funnel. If I were to replay it, I would attack quicker in the south, perhaps use Rudel to eliminate the tanks/artillery and just go hell for leather.

Still, it doesn’t affect the progress as a relief force came to help us on our way and we’re back in the main lines now. Onto Poznan.

Poznan ’45:

Another rescue style scenario, similar to Pelleninkin, except the units are hidden until a victory objective is taken. This is relatively straightforward, I organised battle groups and focused entirely on taking the objectives.

The resultant counter-attack from the Soviets is a thing of beauty, sheer numbers and almost every single hex in the battle zone was flooded with Soviet planes! Just happened to be in an area I only had one AA unit deployed! Typical! But it didn’t matter as we achieved the decisive objectives of rescuing the officers.

As a reward, we are given a Prototype tank Maus, though it has zero experience, so how much use we’ll get out of it will depend on how quickly I can gain experience with it.

Just so happens, the next mission of Breslau is a city defence, so that might not be a good scenario to test it in.

Breslau:

An urban defence scenario. I figured with so few missions left I could afford to splash the cash and overstrength my Infantry and Artillery to the max.

Breslau has a major river running through it, and two minor rivers splitting off, so there’s plenty of dangerous crossings. My initial aim was to secure the minor victory objectives – in other words, wait. I set up my infantry behind the major river and waited to weather the first hail of Soviet attacks.

In the process, I managed to extract three Volkstrumm auxiliary units, which I upgraded to Grenadiers and cycled them back into the front lines as more durable troops. They served three purposes in the long term: 1. They could kill experienced Soviets anyway due to suppression. 2. They were prioritised by the Soviet troops, which meant I saved damage elsewhere and I didn't mind using non-elite replacements for them. 3. Their low movement meant I could leave them at strategically important chokepoints when it was time to advance with my main forces.

Once the first soviet wave died on the river – the rain helped here for ambushes, then we moved on to securing the southern islet of the city, before pushing a line advance across the entire city as we crossed the river. This strategy was simple but wise, because a second wave of Soviet attacks came through as we just about got organised across the river. This attack was easily defeated because it was made up of a lot of tanks. I was disappointed to see this, I had hoped we would have some challenging urban combat coming about because of SMG infantry or any infantry, but instead it was the usual tank rush.

In any case, the only factor stopping us from progressing quicker was bad weather, which grounded our air force (I took nearly everyone) and finally, supply issues. AA units were busy in this scenario as well, which was always fun. Regarding the air force, Rudel could operate without an escort, but I did guard everyone else. I noticed my bf109k's are still doing alright here, alongside the FW and Schwalbe planes, but we do have to keep an eye out for the super experienced Yak-U model I think it is. I gained decisive with a turn to spare on this one.

The conclusion comes with another historical fact, which is pretty cool to learn.

I'm not looking forward to the next one though, it's Budapest again and I still have a massive dislike of the 44 scenario. :P

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