Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

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joerock22
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Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by joerock22 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:53 am

I’ve recently been reading comments about Axis players forgoing Greece and/or Yugoslavia. Some even say it’s a necessity. So at the request of one of my opponents, I’m making this post about my “Balkan Blitz” strategy.

What it is:
• Near-simultaneous “pacification” of both Yugoslavia and Greece by the end of October 1940
• Preparation for and execution of seaborne invasion of Greece immediately after fall of France
• Land invasion of Yugoslavia on first possible turn (September 15, 1940)
• Guaranteed 2-turn capture of Yugoslavia if weather in first October turn is fair
• Virtually guaranteed 3-turn capture even if weather turns bad for both October turns

What you need:
1. Early fall of France (by June)
2. Four German tactical bombers on the map

The invasion of Greece is nothing special, so I won’t bother to show screenshots. Just take the whole Italian fleet, 2 German Tacs, 2 German ground units, and whatever supporting units you choose. If you don’t conquer France until July or August, you may have to delay as your Yugoslavia rail moves will take up your rail cap. The nice thing about Greece is that it’s in the Med weather zone, but the sooner you go the better. It won’t mess up your Barbarossa and the chances of RN intervention are much lower.

Or you can just skip Greece altogether if that’s your preference. That decision shouldn’t impact the invasion of Yugoslavia. For that, you will need at least 3 tanks and 2 Tacs ready to roll on September 15, 1940, as shown in the following screenshot.

Image

The 2nd Vienna Award should have been signed at the end of the previous turn, so Hungary (and possibly Romania) are ready to join. Declare war on Yugoslavia. Hungary will join the Axis. Their units won’t be able to move yet, but your Germans certainly will! Use the Tacs and tanks to obliterate the two enemy units north and northwest of Belgrade. See the screenshot below:

Yellow square = starting positions of Yugoslavian units
Green circle = German corps railed in this turn

Image

The Allies will not be able to rail troops to Belgrade, giving you a free shot at the capital next turn. Even if the weather goes bad, you will still be able to mount a strong attack from 4 hexes, 2 on the south side of the river. That Yugoslavian corps will be beat up, and if you play your other cards right the Allies will have to replace it with a weak garrison.

So there you have it. Greece and Yugoslavia in Axis hands before November, and at least 5-6 months to prepare for Barbarossa without having to worry about the Balkans!

One caveat – this strategy leaves no room for Norway; you must either take care of it in 1939, do it later, or not at all. Though I suppose you could do it in fall 1940 instead of Greece. Decisions, decisions…

Peter Stauffenberg
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:03 pm

If you take Yugoslavia as the Axis you get German war effort for Hungarian and Romanian production, i. e. slightly more oil each turn. If you take Greece you get German war effort for Bulgarian production.

So long term you benefit having Nagykanitsa and Ploesti producting using German war effort instead of the minor power war effort. E. g. German war effort will be 2 tech levels above the local war effort so it can add up to about 20% extra war effort.

Let's say Germany has industry tech 2 and thus war effort 120%. The Romania and Hungary can max have war effort 100% (tech 0 in industry).

Romanian oil per turn without Yugoslavia Axis: 4 * 4 * 100% = 16.0
Hungarian oil per turn without Yugoslavia Axis: 1 * 4 * 100% = 4.0
Total: 20.0

Romanian oil per turn with Yugoslavia Axis: 4 * 4 * 120% = 19.2
Hungarian oil per turn with Yugoslavia Axis: 1 * 4 * 120% = 4.8
Total: 24.0

So Germany gets 4 oil extra per turn. That is quite signifcant reward for making an invasion of the Balkans, despite having to deal with a lot of partisans.

zechi
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by zechi » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:00 pm

It would be interesting to know, how you handle Greece in this scenario. Of course I'm aware of the standard seaborne invasion, but I find it difficult to capture Greece simultaneously. In fact from my point of view it is a lot harder to capture Greece then Yugoslavia. With good weather Yugoslavia will nearly always surrender after two turns. However, Greece is much more difficult to capture in two turns. Often it takes three turns.

If you do both invasions simulanteously I see the following problem. If the Allied player intervenes with the RN and RAF in the invasion of Greece, it will be much more difficult, to fend the RN and RAF off as some air units will be used for Yugoslavia instead. Furthermore it will more difficult to secure Crete. So, what is your suggestion on handling Greece?

joerock22
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by joerock22 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:02 pm

zechi wrote:It would be interesting to know, how you handle Greece in this scenario. Of course I'm aware of the standard seaborne invasion, but I find it difficult to capture Greece simultaneously. In fact from my point of view it is a lot harder to capture Greece then Yugoslavia. With good weather Yugoslavia will nearly always surrender after two turns. However, Greece is much more difficult to capture in two turns. Often it takes three turns.

If you do both invasions simulanteously I see the following problem. If the Allied player intervenes with the RN and RAF in the invasion of Greece, it will be much more difficult, to fend the RN and RAF off as some air units will be used for Yugoslavia instead. Furthermore it will more difficult to secure Crete. So, what is your suggestion on handling Greece?
Certainly that is a risk. Part of it is knowing your opponent. If he is the aggressive type, then you have to plan accordingly. This strategy was done against a player who, like me, is usually not interested in early Allied intervention in the Med. The nice thing about Yugoslavia is that it only requires 2 German bombers; the rest of the Luftwaffe can be deployed to protect the landings in Greece.

My biggest suggestion on Greece is go as early as possible. Make it priority #1 after the fall of France. If you have to invade later, then be prepared for Allied intervention. Even if you lose Crete, it's still a net win for the Axis, especially with the increased Bulgarian oil production. And if the British destroy some of the Italian fleet, who cares? They aren't much good after 1940 anyway. Your BB in the channel west of Athens should be able to provide supply long enough to get the job done on the ground.

amcdonel
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by amcdonel » Mon May 07, 2012 10:24 pm

Joe,

May I add this strategy to the GS 2.1 Manual?

alec

rkr1958
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by rkr1958 » Mon May 07, 2012 11:02 pm

amcdonel wrote:Joe,

May I add this strategy to the GS 2.1 Manual?

alec
Joe, if it's ok I've put your article in word and can send it to Alec.

By the way, I just executed the first turn (9/15/40 -- turn 20) of this strategy and really like it. The 2nd Vienna Award happens at the end of the axis turn 19, 8/26/40. Turn 20 (9/15/40) is guaranteed fair weather, so this strategy ensures that the Yugoslavian army is surprised and will not have rail on the first turn of the invasion. Nice job on the article.

It's nice not to be on the receiving end of one of your operations for once. It's much more fun to be on the "giving end". As they say, "to give is more blessed than to receive." :D

joerock22
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by joerock22 » Tue May 08, 2012 10:20 pm

amcdonel wrote:Joe,

May I add this strategy to the GS 2.1 Manual?

alec
Sure, no problem.

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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by Diplomaticus » Tue May 29, 2012 7:33 pm

Bulgarian oil production, you say? I don't see any. There are oil wells in Romania and Hungary, so if you want the higher oil production I think you just need to take Yugoslavia.

I'm not 100% convinced that Greece is worth the trouble. Yes, you do get the extra PP's (both from captured cities and the boost to Bulgarian production), and yes you get a couple of extra Bulgarian corps in 1940 instead of 1943, but on the down side Greece is likely to be costlier in oil and losses than Yugoslavia, it adds several more places to have to garrison against partisans, and it means that you probably can't take Norway too. Norway seems far more rewarding than Greece b/c of the ports that can help keep the Swedish ore flowing and that extra German korps for Finland.

Cybvep
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by Cybvep » Tue May 29, 2012 9:14 pm

The problem with Greece is that you are on tight schedule in 1940-1941 and taking both Yugoslavia and Greece may mean that you won't be able to perform a strong Barbarossa in May. Also, the Allies may decide to intervene with their navy, which may result in unnecessary naval losses for Italy and there is the problem of Crete, which is rather hard to defend, as the Axis will be busy elsewhere in 1941-43.

joerock22
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Re: Strategy Post - The Balkan Blitz

Post by joerock22 » Tue May 29, 2012 10:56 pm

All true. Greece probably isn't worth doing in every game, but if you have the time, I think the benefits outweigh the costs. I will say that I have never regretted conquering Greece. At least, not that I remember. :?

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