Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

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

Post by RVallant » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:04 pm

Budapest ’45:

An offensive scenario back in Hungary, to relieve the surrounded Budapest. If my history is correct, this relief was a failed effort? But, in any case it is a beeline to the city to secure the auxiliary units. I do wish these missions didn’t have auxiliary tanks in city hexes though, it really lowers my expectations as to their survival when I see that!

This is a difficult mission to accomplish conventionally. Soviets vs 1939 infantry is just… well a massacre. Budapest was wiped out, but I did stand until turn 13 with the aux units there. Two survived. However, I cheesed it a bit, by retreating the southern Hungarian garrison west over the mountains to ensure I had enough units to survive for the decisive conditions.

This in mind, most of my units slowly progressed through the map conventionally, securing all hexes and then liberating Budapest and claiming the decisive. Fun times. This was a very long map; I think I was at it for over three and a half hours. Took things too slowly perhaps.

A slew of new planes become available here:

Ar234B “Blitz” – A tactical bomber and the successor to the Stukas arrives far too late. It does have magnificent air defence attributes, up there with like a Tiger tank. I may upgrade my remaining Stuka into this model and bring him along for fun.

Ta152H – The latest FW plane is a fighter with better defence than the Schwalbe, but it has weaker initiative and air attack. It is, however, a straight upgrade on the FW190 but unfortunately doesn’t count as a family upgrade, so the full price must be paid here.

Do335A “Pfiel” – A fighter-bomber, the Dornier trades lower air attack in exchange for more ammo, tons of fuel, higher initiative and air defence. It is equal in soft and hard attack to the FW G variant, so for me, I think the better initiative offsets the weaker air attack, and the extra ammo and fuel makes it a better option over the FW G.


He162A “Volskjager”
– This looks like the ideal upgrade for the bf line of planes, sporting higher initiative than the FW planes. However, the Schwalbe is superior to it in every single possible way. I could only see getting this plane as viable if prestige were an issue, since it is cheap.

Just two more to finish the GC it seems.

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

Post by goose_2 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:00 pm

RVallant wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:04 pm
Budapest ’45:


Just two more to finish the GC it seems.
4 more if you get Decisive in Berlin.

Go all out in Berlin, because you can't take it with you and Berlin is merciless
goose_2
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RVallant
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by RVallant » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:30 pm

I shall, and I did. :D

Seelow Heights:

A defensive fight, rescue and fighting retreat all in one. This was an interesting scenario.

I deployed the vast majority of my forces alongside the majority of my new air force, hoping that bombing would make a difference. It didn’t, but only due to sheer numbers on the ground. (All my FW went to the Ta model, Rudel and Lendt went into the Dornier and my old Stuka was bumped to the Blitz.)

My initial defence went well. I held the north of the defensive line rather easily. The centre wobbled a bit, but was backed by the Maus, and with some juggling stabilised itself.

The south line however was completely outflanked. Despite my attempts to cut off the bypass, I had to fold the line in on itself to create a pocket in order to protect the artillery pieces. In the end, we did smash that line back, but we lost all the victory hexes behind that area.

Fortunately, the victory hexes meant nothing in this scenario, eventually we managed to get our ‘package’ to appear and after one turn wasted refuelling, we sent him to the evac zone. This also gave us an opportunity to create a new defensive pocket. Part of Seelow was garrisoned, but we mainly retreated across the hills in a spaced-out defensive line and left the remaining forts and the bad terrain do the work for us. This closed off opposition movement routes, and gave us the two turns necessary to win the decisive victory.

We gain an SE Maus with experience for doing this mission properly. On that note, is the ‘package’ in this mission a real person or just made up for the game?

Berlin:

The finale, a city defence and it is a huge map.

As the briefing said, there’s no escape from the legions of Soviet forces. I upgraded as well as I could and ate into my prestige strengthening my infantry and artillery for the inevitable hammering they would be getting.

I didn’t have enough forces to hold any solid defensive line, so I elected to shorten the lines and defend behind the rivers running through the centre of Berlin. Two key defensive positions were made though;
In the west, I set up to form an infantry defensive perimeter around the airfield. This set up was hampered by auxiliary units (crap AT PaK’s) being in the way. But we got around it. I sent the north PaK to suicide on the city hexes against some tanks, but the other AT in the airfield survived well into turn 15+, way beyond my expectations.

This single airfield would be the haven for all my air force, and they would be busy bombing mostly in this area until we could secure other options.

In the east, I set up around the river crossing. This area saw fierce fighting and we ended up sacrificing one city hex inland, but were still strong enough to hold the area until the 25th turn when long range artillery bombardment crippled my defensive line long enough that we had to pull back and shorten the line by using tanks in the clear terrain to aid the defence. This shortening was combined with a counter-attack, plus late aid from the bomber fleet to repel the enemy.

In the central areas a mixture of what tanks and infantry I had left had to operate as mobile firemen, moving to take out anyone crossing the rivers. My Maus and SE Maus saw heavy action defending the clear river crossings and we suffered enough damage over the course that I think I spent near 10k prestige keeping things healed up. Tigers in city hexes get utterly demolished it seems, but there was no other option.

I managed to rescue two Volkstrumm units, one via train (transport is a glorious thing, I used the trains heavily in the Budapest scenario), and I upgraded them to Grenadiers as always. With no experience they were little more than cannon fodder at times, but they patched up my defensive holes and backed with artillery were strong enough to hold out for my proper infantry to do the job.

My investment into AA units was a godsend here, they were busy working overtime cleaning out the enemy, as were my Schwalbe fighters.

This was a long (30+ turns) battle that was draining mentally. We repelled and destroyed the first west and central waves handily by turn 10/11, but a second wave came flying out of the black shortly after. We had to juggle forces in the west defence and sacrifice some victory objectives in order to shorten the lines there and keep the airfield. Eventually, this second west attack was repelled thanks to our King Tiger’s finding an opening in the north that allowed us to swing around to pincer them and hit their artillery pieces in the rear.

By turn 20-21 I had started to launch my own counter-offensive after taking a turn to resupply. The north crumbled and we swept away most remnants there. We were so quick here that we reached the north-eastern airfields and were able to pick away the defenders there.

The south area was slower going due to being undermanned. I had deployed a lot of tanks here, with the infantry mostly in the west, this meant we had to wait for the infantry to swing down to help out in the urban areas. The tanks did secure the airfields here and did enough to relieve pressure on the eastern garrison.

By turn 30 we had achieved a decisive victory and the prestige reward covered all my losses and then some (thank goodness).

A new SE plane joined us for this battle as well.

The reward for this decisive is a win or die mission Berlin Redux, but also some fancy new tech:

Maus – We have two already and they’re awesome defensive walls. No movement at all however, but they’re very useful on the defence.

Go229A “Flying Wing” – A new jet fighter, this blows the Schwalbe out of the water in terms of offensive power and all for -1 defence. Amazing. The price tag at 1k though is insane.

E555I “Amerika Bomber” – A strategic bomber at last. Jet bomber if I’m guessing right, this far outmatches any strategic bomber we have and I may buy them since the next scenario allows a whopping 50 units and I only have 51 including recon rudel and a bridge unit! Oops! :lol:

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

Post by RVallant » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:56 pm

Berlin Redux:

An a-historical scenario. So, the objective is to assassinate/capture three prominent Russian Generals. This scenario is filled with 4/5 exp heavy troops and to try and defend is suicidal, the only victory condition is to kill the HVTs.

I set up an infantry garrison around the high command bunker and made my engineers lead a force of tanks to secure the generals.

Initially, with aid from the air force, we held well. By turn 3 I had taken the first general and we were making rapid progress, but not fast enough really. By fluke, one of my infantries surrendered (how dare he), and that caused a huge wobble in the defensive area that meant I literally had to throw everything forward or be exterminated.

We took the second general easily but the third was a pain in the butt. We managed to take him out on turn 11, just as my defensive line was crumbling from artillery fire. In the process we lost our first units:

1 x Infantry (surrendered, will be disbanded for being a coward…)
1 x Bridging unit (meh didn’t matter, was a decoy.
1 x Recon (MY FIRST RECON LOSS IS IN 1945!!! This was because we got trapped and he ended up facing an IS-2 on the river…)
1 x SE Panther and 1 x Jadgpanther – These were lost in the assault on the final general, but if they didn’t die, we would have lost the entire garrison so they are worthy sacrifices.
11 turns in all to get a decisive victory, huzzah! We have won the war! (How?)

On we go…

Epilogue:

Haha, this was the easiest mission ever, but I must give credit to the developers. This is a brilliant and creative method of showing the credits and thanking the player for playing.
Using the trains, this was done easily enough, decisive victory, GC won. My journey is ended and I still had 20k prestige in the bank! Huzzah!


GC Review:

By the by, as a closing note to the devs, 1945 was a great year for scenario design. I would identify 1944 as the weakest, with Budapest 44 being particularly rubbish for me.

My favourite scenarios are most likely Vilna, which I thought was an interesting ebb and flow battle, though there were lots of strong scenarios in the game imo, I enjoyed Piatek's defensive battle for example, a great time to utilise AT units.

I would like more diversity in unit choice, especially from the enemy, there was in the East, far too many tanks at times, that it became a bit of a boring slugfest. Otherwise, this was a great GC!

Force review:

It’s been fun using a mixed force, but there were ‘gaps’ in the technology that didn’t really help maintain balance. Anti-tank units in particular suffered badly here, there was a lengthy gap between the StuG and Jadg units, where the Soviet tanks could easily handle the StuG and that was troublesome.

I think it is difficult to get experience for towed AT units. Much easier to level them when they become SPAT guns and I think they’re a valid part of the force. I would think, removing the initiative penalty vs tanks might help them more?

Regarding tanks; I was still using the PZIV in 1945, the last action was seen in Ostreode when it was finally upgraded to a heavier version, so it is doable to have ‘lower’ tier tanks in your core. Indeed, I ran the PZIII for a while too, I think.
One concern I do have is that I had a bloated tank force thanks to the SE unit rules. If this changes in PzCII, then I wonder if I will bloat my core to a 2:1 Tank-infantry ratio, because that was what the SE units were doing for me, giving me free tanks.

Back to old equipment; you can see old equipment in my core even in 1945. I was still using the BF109 for example, as an opportunistic striker and escort plane alongside the FW. Believe it or not, only one elefant on the ground!

Whilst we’re on the topic of air. I think late war, fighters are more or less escort planes more than anything, or opportunistic attackers. I say that, because they are very expensive units and each loss eats into your prestige, especially in SPAA heavy areas. This wasn’t an issue in Berlin for example, because the Soviets left most of their AA at home, so things were smooth.

I seriously favour AA units over a heavy air force now. In fact, they are ridiculously strong. AA was capable of decimating the enemy air in one or two hits and a 9-point damage on a plane is so expensive to replace. Indeed, if enemy bombers are weak, and I think the IL-2 was for me, then 1-2 damage on the tanks that didn’t fall under the AA net is cheaper to repair in the long term than a fighter getting pelted for 2-3 damage per SPAA unit, or worse still 5-10 from a dedicated towed AA.
And finally, recon. I kept TWO recon units alive until the very final scenario, which shows it can be done! They both got to 3-star experience, and I think I would have got them to five if they had an earlier upgrade, because like the AT guns there was a gap where they become more or less impotent for a period of time.

Regardless. Don’t leave home without your recon or your AA guns. And consider, you don’t need that shiny new model of equipment straight off the bat. Upgrade your main line for sure, but you can always save money by utilising old equipment as reserve tanks, escort planes or rear garrisons. Play around with the force composition once in a while, it’s all good.

And if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading, I hope it was entertaining or educating or even just passed some time for you. Good luck with your own campaigns! This will be the final entry of my AAR. Cheers. :mrgreen:

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:20 pm

Congratulations. Well done. I feel very encouraged about seeing my own campaign through to the end.

Yes, there is something of an issue in that there is at any given point, one unit which is clearly better than anything else in that category. Most of the German units (and indeed many of those of other nations) are either such that you would never choose them for your core or flavour for the scenario designers. Unavoidable given that you can buy any available unit in whatever numbers you require, a rather different situation than that the Germans actually faced. I agree that it is possible, sometimes essential, to stretch the lifespan of older unit types beyond the point where, ideally, they would have been replaced.

I find recon generally essential and of use for a number of tasks. As they are cheap I am actually not that bothered if I lose one. The loss of experience is of less consequence for a recon unit than anything else. (I do hate losing units though!). AA varies in usefulness. I like the 88 in the early years because it has an AT capability, where a SP AD cannot attack enemy ground units.

Upgrading ASAP is not always the best choice. Often you can save significant prestige on non-family upgrades by upgrading half your units at one step then the other half when the upgrade to that becomes available. There is also some satisfaction to be had from succeeding by something other than throwing prestige at the problem.

There is always GC West. :wink:

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