Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Battle Reports & After Action Reports (AAR's)

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PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:02 pm

On the halftracks... there is also an advantage during bad weather (e.g. mud)...

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

Post by goose_2 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:12 pm

RVallant wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:53 pm
Indeed.

1941 Minsk to Zhitomer

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

My arty remains unchanged, I am getting annoyed that I'm landing +Def heroes on them instead of something more useful. I think I will consider these units for the 1 range artillery in the future.
This is what I do. My StuG's all have + Def heroes.
RVallant wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:53 pm
Two more free units joined in the campaign, a hero Mountain unit and a hero Tank. The tank was upgraded to a PzIII, as I swapped the Char for a PzIV, and I want an even number of both tanks for my battle groups. I intend to put that PzIII into the Tiger series as he has a movement bonus, so I'm just imagining a mobile Tiger tank... :D I removed the transport from the Mountain unit, I'll actually keep him as the Alpine force though. I added two basic Infantry for Minsk I think it was. I have so many tanks and I wanted to start doubling up Infantry to take on objective hexes alongside the Arty, but also, Russia is so big that I couldn't really afford to go with just the four infantry...
That Pz2F Hero that you changed into a Pz3 is good ole' Heinz Rondorf, I personally love making him a Flamm...love, love, love using that soft boy shredder.

He just get's very, very vulnerable in 44-45, but I have him at 5 satrs with 3 heroes just waiting to pull him out in Berlin on my Manstein playthrough. ;)

I should have probably used him in this city fight:

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

Post by RVallant » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:17 am

Zhurivla to Vyazma

Just a short update:

Progress has been going well. The Kiev battles were simple affairs that resulted in serious decisive victories for me.

Then came Vyazma and the 'passing rain'. Hah, I admit I played this scenario twice because it was so interesting how the random effect of the weather can take hold.

The first time I played it, I got NINE successive turns of rain at the start, something I have never seen on this map yet. Needless to say, we did not even get beyond the initial pincer attack as mobility was non-existent.

On my second attempt, the weather was more stop-start, in this one I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth of fighting against the Russians. I was perhaps, not swift enough and spent too much time focusing on the pincer attack though. We were held up by a KV1 (I think or 2) which took forever to take down because my air units were either out of range or saddled by the weather. Once that unit died, along with the artillery variant, things were much more swift. I reached Moscow on turn 19, and had it flanked! I was poised to do some serious damage, however, turn 20 the rain returned and spawned units meant I finished the scenario literally one hex away from a Decisive victory. Figures!

Because I promised I wouldn't get hung up on DV's I decided to accept that these things happen. Ergo, I will miss the Streets of Moscow mission - though I supposed my prestige will thank me as that scenario was always bloody.

Some new upgrades are available:

The PzIIIJ and J/1 tank.
21cm Arty
Bf110F fighter/bomber
Marder 2A (ooh)
SPAA 7/2
JU87D
Also, the PZ2 FLAMM, which I didn't get notified about because of the mission skip.

So anyway we're in 1942 now, Demyansk Pocket, which I believe is an interesting scenario. I'll play that over the weekend and then we're onto GC 1942. :D

Before I do, I need to analyse my forces and start considering my upgrades. I'm tempted to jump in with the Marder, but I need to do some research on that. The main thing I need to check out is the ROF for the 7/2, I've heard in discussions in the past that it is weaker than the 7/1?

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:27 am

RVallant wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:17 am
Zhurivla to Vyazma

Then came Vyazma and the 'passing rain'. Hah, I admit I played this scenario twice because it was so interesting how the random effect of the weather can take hold.

So anyway we're in 1942 now, Demyansk Pocket, which I believe is an interesting scenario. I'll play that over the weekend and then we're onto GC 1942. :D

Before I do, I need to analyse my forces and start considering my upgrades. I'm tempted to jump in with the Marder, but I need to do some research on that. The main thing I need to check out is the ROF for the 7/2, I've heard in discussions in the past that it is weaker than the 7/1?
Just a few quick thoughts.

The weather was kinder to me at Vyazma and I got a DV (I play at Field Marshal with limited dice btw). Streets of Moscow was not too bad thanks to having built up a large contingent of experienced pioniere and artillery.

Upgrades. Keep the PzIII's as upgraded as possible (but not to N model, you need them as good as possible against tanks). 21cm, I would have one with a range hero but not otherwise (as per your thread on the subject).

The Marder series all have pretty low ground defence and soft attack which makes them vulnerable to infantry unless they have supporting artillery. I would wait for the StugIIIF which will be along in 42.

If I am interpreting the equipment file correctly the 7/1 has a RoF of 12 while the 7/2 is the normal 10. I've never felt there to be much difference between them.

Demyansk was indeed interesting. I will say no more.

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

Post by RVallant » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:27 pm

Cerberus51 wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:27 am


The Marder series all have pretty low ground defence and soft attack which makes them vulnerable to infantry unless they have supporting artillery. I would wait for the StugIIIF which will be along in 42.

If I am interpreting the equipment file correctly the 7/1 has a RoF of 12 while the 7/2 is the normal 10. I've never felt there to be much difference between them.
Agreed, that is the decision I've ultimately decided on. The Marder seems to come far too late for any good it is.

I read up on the SPAA and apparently 7/2 is better against planes with higher defence. I'm holding off upgrading so far as Russians are still using their weak outdated planes.


Anyhow...

1941 conclusion:

Demyansk was a fun mission. Nice to be on the defensive for once, but even better that they essentially walked into a bottleneck at the south-east and were shot like fish in a barrel. The vast majority of my forces sat this out in their forts, only a small number of units actually got busy with defending. I used Oleh Dir as a central fireman, moving only to plug any potential gaps. Had the Russians done a pincer attack I think I would have been more pressed for resources, but they came from the East in small, manageable waves. Still, a good introduction to Russian air, which faltered because they were outdated and because all their TACs aborted their attacks when they spotted my SPAA guns. The ones that didn't got wiped in one shot, which was brilliant.

I started 1942 and saved there as some new equipment became available: The Pz4F/1, the 7.5 PaK, the mighty StugIIIF and the 21cm Nebel. I haven't upgraded yet, but I did take a note of my force composition just in case anyone is interested:

Infantry:

9th Infantry (+1ATK, DEF) Poznan
30th Infantry: Minsk
28th Infantry: Minsk
4th Grenaiders (+1 MVE, +2 ATK) Poznan
20th MNT (+2ATK, 3 INI) Smolensk (Wirnsberger)
12th MNT (+5 ATK!!!) Poznan
2nd Pionere (+4 INI, 3MVE) Lodz (Oleh Dir, yep he got another INI Hero which makes him even more ridiculous.)

All the infantry from Poland have in excess of 850+ kills each, with Oleh Dir having 1,458 claimed kills to his name. The Russian recruited infantry are quite far behind in kills, but not experience thanks to the exp cap I've been able to juggle free replacements and such to keep experience at reasonable levels.


Armour

20th PzIII (+1 ATK, DEF, MVE, Spot / +2 INI) Smolensk (Rondorf)
3rd PzIV (+4 ATK, +2 DEF, MVE) Modlin (Kerscher)
Cpt Unit PzIV (+2 DEF) Reims
11th PzIV (+2ATK, 1DEF) Poznan
8th PzIV (+2ATK) Poznan

Special Forces Armour

16th PzIII (+1ATK) Lillehammer
29th PzIII (+1 MVE) Narvik
31st PzIII Zhurivka
32nd PzIII Metaxas Line
48th PzIV Vitebsk

I've been getting good use out of both the PzIII and IV tanks, though neither of them stand up well to heavy USSR armour models... The Polish tanks are getting similar kills to the Polish based Infantry, suggesting that I'm utilising both Infantry and Tanks in an equal manner. This is good, I don't want to be over-reliant on the tanks at the expense of the Infantry. Losses are higher than the Infantry though, but then, they do lead the line so I do expect that.

Recon

14th Recon (+1DEF) Poznan
1st Recon (+1ATK) Poznan

It might be surprising, but both of these have similar losses as the original tanks from Poznan. Their kill count is at half, with 400 and 360 kills respectively. In Poland I used them as mini-tanks since they were so capable, but in 1941 as the campaign progressed they were very much relegated to opportunity strikes and mop up duty. Still, I think they have a healthy kill count. I do wish I had a spotting hero though.

Anti-Tanks

5th PaK (+1ATK) Poznan
19th PaK The Hague. (I mistakenly thought I got this at Eben, sorry!)

I have been thoroughly enjoying their use, they were particularly useful in Demyansk where their lack of mobility didn't hinder them. I am definitely going to be using A/T's more in future campaigns, but I fully recognise that their lack of mobility is a serious issue at times.

At the end of 1941 they had 264 and 209 kills respectively. That is a gain of +69 and +147 from 1940's statistics. As you can see, that shows the numbers will really depend on whether you get them in the right position for the right moment. So luck, or foreknowledge of where enemy tanks will attack from I guess. 1941 wasn't ideal for them, short and fast missions or distance in Russia were massive issues that didn't play to their strengths. They do require suppression support though, especially for the tougher tanks, and unfortunately they seem to be high on the priority for being targeted. Infantry also eats them for breakfast. :(

With 1942 I am intending to switch both up to the STUGIIIF, which seems to be superior in every way and finally offers some mobility.

Artillery

6th Arty: (+1DEF) Poznan
Polish: (+1ATK) Warsaw
46th Arty: Demyansk
13th Sturm (+2DEF) Poznan
21st Sturm: Calais.

One 15cm and two 17cm. The Polish stayed at 10cm all the way until Demyansk. I made the decision to go to 17cm as I anticipated more suppression required against Soviet Armour.

I'm still undecided on upgrades to other classes at the moment, the few heroes I have got don't really seem to fit into any particularly niche. So far though, I haven't lost out too much with the use of these units, they do the job, especially the Sturms, though the lack of ammo is a major issue at times.

Anti-Air:

8.8 (+1ATK) - Danzig
21st 7/1 - Reims
23rd 7/1 - Eben-Emael

I have grown to appreciate these guys, they are an effective means of halting air attacks, however aside from the 8.8 they do not get much in terms of kills. The 8.8 is on 556 kills, but has the benefit of range and switchability. The 7/1's have 73 and 182 kills respectively, but are so much cheaper than Air units and have made the enemy abort a bombing run quite often. When they don't abort though, the results can be devastating for them. They have also been able to whittle down enemy numbers allowing my air units to prioritise other targets. Also, neither of them have suffered a loss yet. :O

Fighters:

17th Bf (+2 ATK, INI, +1DEF) (Bar) - Sedan
7th Bf (+1 MVE, INI) - Poznan

I don't know how to judge these guys yet, because the Bf is so superior to enemy air that they haven't been challenged at all. More-so because both have Initiative heroes. The Polish one has +1MVE, which has been handy in some situations. That one has racked up a mighty 660 kills, whilst Bar who joined in Sedan is catching up on 401. Two of these have been more than enough when accounting for the SPAA support, but also Lendt who is over in the bomber section.

Fighter/Bomber:

22nd Bf (+1ATK, 6 INI) Lendt - Spoils of War

This guy is worth getting the DV for, six initiative makes him rather good, especially on the latest upgraded plane. I use him in a fighter/bomber role, but early on he was a mop-up fighter. Now with the latest bf variant I can utilise him as an outright first strike fighter if the other two planes are in the wrong area. That's rare though. I do like his versatility.

Tactical Bombers:

Recon Rudel - Poznan
10th JU - Poznan (+3 ATK / 1DEF)
26th JU - Minsk (Rudel +9 ATK, DEF +1 MVE)

Recon Rudel is usually benched, or thrown in for recon duty.

The other two JU are my main bombers. The Polish JU is on 1313 kills, whilst Rudel is on 433 at the moment, which isn't bad after only 7 missions? I love the Stukas, they are just insane. I am preparing myself for the inevitable counselling I require when they become obsolete in the later Russian campaigns. :(

Strategic Bombers

16th He: Poznan
34th He: Maginot Line.

No point discussing kills with these guys as they're flying artillery. They are so valuable that I am surprised people forgo them at times. Being able to take out an enemy's ammo and supplies on top of suppression is almost overkill. It has also allowed me to do forward strikes on cities with tanks because the enemy cannot retaliate and so close defence doesn't matter. Handy when my Infantry lags behind and I really need to press the offensive.


Finale:

If I need to add to the force I'm thinking further A/T, Arty or AA will be my initial aims, I think I have way more than enough Infantry and Tanks right now. The prospect of training a new A/T at this point is a bit scary though, I'll have to revise the numbers depending on how many battle groups I use. At the moment, I've usually been organising them into three groups but we'll see what 1942 brings. :)

Thanks for reading. :D

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

Post by RVallant » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:03 pm

I progressed with two more missions this evening:

Vitebsk

First order of business was updating my Anti Tanks into the STUGIIIF gun. This mission was pretty fun, but ultimately was very easy. I lined up a mixed defensive force on both sides but never really had any sustained pressure from the enemy and even made some gains myself. It was a good warning mission about air power though as the Russians were fairly capable nuisances this time round. A concern is that my Panzers are not matching up very well against Russian armour anymore. The BT model is being phased out and whilst I can handle the T34/40, I seem to be struggling with the /41 model and the less said about the giant KV1's the better. The PzIVF/2's lower defensive rating isn't helping here either.

I got a T34 captured here, but I'm probably going to disband it at some point.

Kharkov

You know things are tasty when it's two defensive missions on the bounce! I upgraded all fighters and the fighter/bomber to the Bf109 and 110G variants. Both He bombers were updated to the more mobile He177A variant. I bought a second 8.8 for this mission on realising that I needed four battle groups and only had three AA to cover them.

I lined up a small task force in the north that would be divided into two. One would strike East across the river and the rest would go south and wait for a pincer opportunity.

In the south, Oleh Dir lead a force of tanks to encircle and wipe out the southern thrust of the Russian advance.

In the centre, I lined up along the river to hold position there. I left the auxiliary units to delay and die. My plan was to simply exploit the river choke points around Balakuya with Mountain and Infantry troops in the hills and forests, and the STUG guarding the one river crossing into the plains, backed with Sturms and 17/21cm Arty and AA cover. I forward deployed two fighters, including one over the STUG but kept the Stukas and He177A's back in the rear airfield out of range.

The 2nd 88 was an astute buy, on the second turn the Russians sent a plane over it and aborted an attack!

Initially the Russians swept over the auxiliary units as if they weren't there. Their southern attack swung up centrally to pincer my centre forces, which pretty much meant that I could pincer them in the process with my own southern forces that they completely failed to spot. They were wiped out rather rapidly without any support from my air units, which was unusual.

In the north, I took the risk of sending one He177A the long way around to avoid being spotted, so it could bombard the city of Valuyki. A combination of fire from that plus the artillery I deployed resulted in the defenders fleeing when attacked, so I immediately took advantage and sent through tanks and the recon. This resulted in a second airfield being taken, depriving the Russians of the northern airbases.

In the centre, my defensive line held whilst I sent the majority of the deployed tanks to go south to meet the Russian pincer attempt.

In the following few turns, I made a systematic attempt to wipe out the Russian air force, usually by waiting for them to try and launch bombing raids on my forward tanks in the centre line. The SPAA and 8.8 would pepper them and my fighters would eliminate them. We took out the bombers first, followed by the fighters. It was surprisingly easy.

In the north, after taking Valuyki we swung around unopposed, I think perhaps too early as I ended up facing a spawn of Russian tanks that just about missed me thanks to the recon spotting. Still, we marched and took Svatove, which meant a full encirclement was on the cards. It wasn't until we actually took the city that the Russian central forces started turning back to help out, but by then it was far too late. I did lose the captured unit I picked up at Svatove though, a T34 tank as well, which was a shame.

In the centre, the STUGIIIF was busy wiping out tanks all day, rather easily thanks to the river crossing penalties. We were scoring lots of ambushes thanks to the lack of Russian recon. Our centre counter-offensive only happened towards the end of the battle, with our centre-north joining with the 2nd group from the north flank to squeeze the central battle lines further.

In the south, initially I was planning to push in to support the central forces. However, I took a gamble in throwing the SE tanks on offer to make a landing across the river. So successful was this assault that it diverted reinforcements for the centre/north Russian army and resulted in my stealing their airfield. Admittedly, it got very hairy there, TWO tank units got reduced to 1 and 3 respectively and we had to gamble to extract them. Still, the assault was so successful that I managed to pour 90% of the southern battle group into the gap to fully encircle the Russians. That left Oleh Dir to take out the city of Severodonetsk, and effectively meant the russians were corralled into the central area bordered by rivers. As a bonus, my early taking of the southern area caused me to find early Russian air reinforcements and we were able to lightning strike them down before they could do any damage at all.

A fun battle, thoroughly enjoyable and probably one of my best victories, I don't think I'd be able to pull it off this well in future replays for sure. Again though, the biggest challenge was the might KV1-C, an utter pain to get rid of!

My next mission is Simferopol and I will be taking advantage of the shiny new PzIVG variant that released mid-mission at Kharkov. I see it is a better defensive tank, so perhaps that will swing the tank battles in my favour? I ended up finishing this mission with 5 turns to spare, happy days. :)

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:21 am

RVallant wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:03 pm
A concern is that my Panzers are not matching up very well against Russian armour anymore. The BT model is being phased out and whilst I can handle the T34/40, I seem to be struggling with the /41 model and the less said about the giant KV1's the better.

My next mission is Simferopol and I will be taking advantage of the shiny new PzIVG variant that released mid-mission at Kharkov. I see it is a better defensive tank, so perhaps that will swing the tank battles in my favour? I ended up finishing this mission with 5 turns to spare, happy days. :)
Good that it is going well. I find that success breeds success and if you can get on a roll and keep it going that is a lot easier than trying to get moving again if you scrape a couple of marginal victories.

I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but you are going to run into T34/43's fairly soon. Airpower is the only solution to the better Russian tanks at this point, either strat bomb to suppress and force surrenders or Rudel (O/S Rudel is usually the answer, now what was the question?).

PzIVG is pretty decent and the best you will get until the end of this campaign. The critical scenarios in 42 are the street battles in Stalingrad. Are you sure you will have enough infantry and artillery?

I have tried all the German infantry types and now pretty much only bother with Pioniere (the "no rugged defence" makes them far better than Grenadiers) and Gebirgs (for the movement. They actually have sufficient mobility to do without transport - making them cheap, which helps with the soft cap in due course).

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

Post by captainjack » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:03 am

It's good to see more love for a mixed force, and you can do surprisingly well with what most people consider as second choice units.

You seem to be getting good advice - the Panzer IVG remains a good tank for quite a while, and the IVH is a useful upgrade later on if you are short of funds or just don't want an all-cat force.

The Sdkfz 7/1 or 7/2 SPAA question is a good one. The 7/2 is better for taking pot shots at enemy aircraft and is OK on defence, but for me the 120% RoF in combination with the -5low altitude penalty for Tac bombers and Fighters makes the 7/1 better defensively because lots of suppression blunts an attack better than a few kills.

Stalingrad is a good scenario for buying a few extra Stugs - plenty of ammo, 110% RoF, and mobile enough to reach units stopped in awkward places on contact with an unspotted enemy unit. Keep them resupplied when at 4 ammo or less (5 or 6 attacks from SMG infantry will finish off almost any unsupported unit, but 1 or 2 should be OK). Don't worry about the lack of long range attack as you can buy towed 105s for attacking - they have enough ammo to be useful defensively as well. You should end up with a few casualties and a lot of 2* units very quickly. Sell the spares if prestige is tight otherwise hold for upgrades and emergency use later. They will struggle a bit suppressing the T34 and KV but your tanks and AT can handle these in the open and your 3* hero pios and grenadiers wil sort them out in the city hexes.

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

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:28 am

captainjack wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:03 am
It's good to see more love for a mixed force, and you can do surprisingly well with what most people consider as second choice units.
Exactly... :)

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

Post by RVallant » Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:15 am

Cerberus51 wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:21 am


I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but you are going to run into T34/43's fairly soon. Airpower is the only solution to the better Russian tanks at this point, either strat bomb to suppress and force surrenders or Rudel (O/S Rudel is usually the answer, now what was the question?).

PzIVG is pretty decent and the best you will get until the end of this campaign. The critical scenarios in 42 are the street battles in Stalingrad. Are you sure you will have enough infantry and artillery?

I have tried all the German infantry types and now pretty much only bother with Pioniere (the "no rugged defence" makes them far better than Grenadiers) and Gebirgs (for the movement. They actually have sufficient mobility to do without transport - making them cheap, which helps with the soft cap in due course).
43's in 1942... :(

Re: Stalingrad, I have no idea. I remember stocking up on a ton of infantry back in the day due to Streets of Moscow, but having missed it in this campaign I suppose I've not really considered it. I'm just trying to find extra core slots at the moment to fit them in.

I'd switch most infantry to pionere if I had the movement, but perhaps this will matter less as the campaign becomes more defensive.
captainjack wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:03 am
It's good to see more love for a mixed force, and you can do surprisingly well with what most people consider as second choice units.

You seem to be getting good advice - the Panzer IVG remains a good tank for quite a while, and the IVH is a useful upgrade later on if you are short of funds or just don't want an all-cat force.

The Sdkfz 7/1 or 7/2 SPAA question is a good one. The 7/2 is better for taking pot shots at enemy aircraft and is OK on defence, but for me the 120% RoF in combination with the -5low altitude penalty for Tac bombers and Fighters makes the 7/1 better defensively because lots of suppression blunts an attack better than a few kills.

Stalingrad is a good scenario for buying a few extra Stugs - plenty of ammo, 110% RoF, and mobile enough to reach units stopped in awkward places on contact with an unspotted enemy unit. Keep them resupplied when at 4 ammo or less (5 or 6 attacks from SMG infantry will finish off almost any unsupported unit, but 1 or 2 should be OK). Don't worry about the lack of long range attack as you can buy towed 105s for attacking - they have enough ammo to be useful defensively as well. You should end up with a few casualties and a lot of 2* units very quickly. Sell the spares if prestige is tight otherwise hold for upgrades and emergency use later. They will struggle a bit suppressing the T34 and KV but your tanks and AT can handle these in the open and your 3* hero pios and grenadiers wil sort them out in the city hexes.
Huh, I hadn't realised the AA did suppression. Learn something new every day. I'm guessing the 7/2's benefit is hitting Strat bombers? In which case, I think I'll stay with the 7/1's as TAC's are the more immediate concern.

STUG Arty? I think when I get to Stalingrad I'll probably shift some of my defensive hero Artillery over to that model for sure. Mobility and defensive fire will be more important in that situation I think. I forgot how nasty the SMG infantry can be, I remember the first time I encountered them back in the day and that was one nasty surprise.

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

Post by RVallant » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:00 am

Simferopol:

Back on the offensive, but this was by no means an enjoyable mission. I had several close calls, including one T34/41 hitting a mighty 8-5 on one of my SE PzIII’s… This isn’t like the earlier campaigns where we blitz through, it was more a battle of attrition line by line and although the PzIV is doing okay, the PzIII is seriously underperforming in my opinion.

I’m also at the stage where the Russians are deploying switchable AT/Art guns, and for whatever reason, my Infantry units seem to have serious difficulty taking them on in AT mode. Bizarrely, the tanks get similar combat results against them, so I’m sending in tanks against AT guns rather than Infantry odd as that seems.
The sheer amount of Soviet AA cover has proved expensive for my air forces, so I zoom in to take them out in order to get the Stukas in to eliminate Soviet armour. At the moment I think the fact we’re eliminating tanks with ease using the Stukas is justifying the occasional AA surprise.

Russian conscripts are proving tiring units to eliminate, the sheer numbers of them whittle down my ammo count and basically stop me from zooming around the map like days of old. Russian regulars and guards are more than a match for my Infantry without suppression.

Oh, one of my SPAA got its first casualties in this battle, a bit of haphazard positioning caused Soviet Mountain troops to try and take it on – it didn’t end well for them, but it was a gentle reminder to be better with my positioning.

The battle was such slow going that I didn’t even realised I only had three turns left to secure the final objective. At that point I beelined everyone to the final city and comfortably took it out on the final turn. I thought it was fun watching the Soviet cities spawn troops, how do they even have any prestige left with the damage I’ve been doing to them? Ugh!

The Marder IID became available in this mission, I didn’t check it out though as I’m content with the STUGS at the moment.

Next up is Sevastopol – I have the choice of the assault or encirclement, fun times.


Sevastopol Assault:

The PzIIIN variant became available, what happened to the L and M variants? :P Sevastopol was a bloody fight, but a reasonable one. The puzzle here was getting to the stacked artillery units, so I could attack the main line. They were covered by strong AA which didn’t really help matters.

I was a bit misled by the briefing regarding ‘strong’ naval assets, I think there were handful of ships and they were easily demolished by my bombers. I was expecting more targets on the water.

The forts were the most troublesome things here, the track bomber was useless compared to the rail gun and I made a small tactical error in sending the rail gun down the Eastern rail out of range of the inner forts. I only realised this far too late to swing it back round again, whoops.

As an aside, I relegated one of my PzIII’s to a PzIIFlamm for this mission to act as a mobile engineer. Whilst he was very effective, I noticed that he was a magnet for enemy attacks. I may convert him to a PzIV or III for the next mission, which should be Voronezh.

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:09 pm

RVallant wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:00 am
Simferopol:

Back on the offensive, but this was by no means an enjoyable mission. I had several close calls, including one T34/41 hitting a mighty 8-5 on one of my SE PzIII’s… This isn’t like the earlier campaigns where we blitz through, it was more a battle of attrition line by line and although the PzIV is doing okay, the PzIII is seriously underperforming in my opinion.

Sevastopol Assault:

The PzIIIN variant became available, what happened to the L and M variants? :P

As an aside, I relegated one of my PzIII’s to a PzIIFlamm for this mission to act as a mobile engineer. Whilst he was very effective, I noticed that he was a magnet for enemy attacks. I may convert him to a PzIV or III for the next mission, which should be Voronezh.
It is a bit odd but the PzIII L and M will be along shortly. Don't get excited though as they are not significantly better than the J you have been using. By the end of 42 the PzIII is basically obsolete. I still have 3 in my core but am no longer using them. They are there either for the disaster of losing a Tiger or Panther, in which case I can upgrade one as a 3* replacement rather than buying a green unit, or if prestige gets tight towards the end I can disband them to claw back a few points. It is not a problem as you will get a wonderful Christmas present in the last scenario of 42 (it takes place in December 8) ). For 43 you will have your new toys and also the PzIVH.

At this rate you are going to catch up with me soon. I just completed Ponyri (the first scenario of the northern pincer at Kursk). I have 3 SE Tiger 1's and Rondorf and Kercher are also riding around in Tigers. I normally deploy 9 panzers for a scenario so I also have 4 Panther D's and just got awarded another one as my 6th SE unit. It did remarkably well on its first outing. It was a very pleasant experience to have a green unit that the Russians were avoiding rather than targeting. T34/43's (yes, they turn up in increasing numbers as 42 goes by) and even KV1-C 's are no longer of concern. Only the eventual arrival of the Russian 85mm gun tanks will be a problem.

I rarely use the Flamm. It is a powerful unit but whoever the enemy they will target it relentlessly. By contrast, when I have played Allied Corps and used a Churchill Crocodile (admittedly a rather tougher proposition) it is not targeted in anything like the same way. If you are taking it back to a normal panzer, make it a IV, there is no point in buying III's at this stage.

At Sevastopol Assault I too was initially misled by the reference to strong naval assets. I also started to move the Gustav railway gun down the Eastern part of the map. However I made such rapid progress that I was able to see that it would not be needed in the Southwest and was able to send it back North in time to be useful. The Karl heavy mortar is very useful. I found the key to be eliminating Russian AA so that I could make use of my air units. Strat and tac bombing eventually broke down the defences in good time.

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

Post by RVallant » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:21 am

Cerberus51 wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:09 pm

At this rate you are going to catch up with me soon. I just completed Ponyri (the first scenario of the northern pincer at Kursk). I have 3 SE Tiger 1's and Rondorf and Kercher are also riding around in Tigers. I normally deploy 9 panzers for a scenario so I also have 4 Panther D's and just got awarded another one as my 6th SE unit. It did remarkably well on its first outing. It was a very pleasant experience to have a green unit that the Russians were avoiding rather than targeting. T34/43's (yes, they turn up in increasing numbers as 42 goes by) and even KV1-C 's are no longer of concern. Only the eventual arrival of the Russian 85mm gun tanks will be a problem.

I rarely use the Flamm. It is a powerful unit but whoever the enemy they will target it relentlessly. By contrast, when I have played Allied Corps and used a Churchill Crocodile (admittedly a rather tougher proposition) it is not targeted in anything like the same way. If you are taking it back to a normal panzer, make it a IV, there is no point in buying III's at this stage.

At Sevastopol Assault I too was initially misled by the reference to strong naval assets. I also started to move the Gustav railway gun down the Eastern part of the map. However I made such rapid progress that I was able to see that it would not be needed in the Southwest and was able to send it back North in time to be useful. The Karl heavy mortar is very useful. I found the key to be eliminating Russian AA so that I could make use of my air units. Strat and tac bombing eventually broke down the defences in good time.
I think I'm going to do the same as you and bump Rondorf and Kercher to Tigers when they come along.

My trouble was getting to the AA without making too many sacrifices. In order to get to them I was facing double or triple Artillery units around the front line, which was making things less than ideal. I'm starting to pay more attention to my Infantry experience levels now, I've got stuck in a cycle where minimal damage has actually been stopping them from gaining experience as quickly as they should. The exp cap is at 425 I think and my Infantry are lagging on 250/270 exp.

In the last battle or so I've been trying to feed them easy kills to help the situation. :)

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

Post by RVallant » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:04 pm

Voronezh:

PzIIIL and the StugIIIF/8 become available. Back to blitzkrieg tactics supposedly.

I updated my PzIII to the N variant, but decided against going for the L on the basis of the N having better defensive attributes. I decided I would use the PzIII as an infantry tank of sorts, due to the high ground defence, the better soft attack and because the PzIV was superior against Hard targets anyway.

With two free core slots, I vouched for another Artillery to cover another battle group. I also went for a third Stug. All StugIII’s were updated to the F/8 model.

Voronezh was an unusual fight because I was hesitant to advance rapidly because of the parity of Russian troops. This caused me to cut it close when it came to a decisive victory. I organised into several groups. Two infantry units were detached to close off the rear cities, which turned out to be undefended anyway.

In the north a very small holding force was sent to deal with the Russian town there, before it would hold at the river crossing in a defensive posture outside Zadonsk. I didn’t want to risk a costly river crossing, especially as it was guarded by good Russian troops and a heavy tank.

In the centre, Oleh Dir and the pioneer led towards Voronezh itself with a heavy southern tank screen since the terrain was favourable.

In the south, a small force would split towards Liski and hold there.

Initially we made small gains but mostly were dealing with the Russian air force. We took minor hits, with our SPAA doing some serious damage. The new free hero fighter unit (nowotny; +3ATK and INI -2DEF) helped out a bit here. The air war was won within two turns and didn’t trouble us at all for the rest of the battle.

Our northern holding force built up their defences and then diverted all extra units south to hit the northern outskirts of Voronezh, a move that proved very fruitful as they met with our central forces and surrounded the city with ease. When the conscripts were hit, the Russians made a grave tactical error in sending T34’s through to the front only to abort their attacks due to my artillery line. These were handily wiped out rapidly by the Stukas and Stugs.

In the south, forward recon spotted the southern tank unit withdrawing to support the central fight. Because of this, the river crossing was undefended, so I immediately diverted air bombing to that direction. We secured Liski quickly and sent all remnants of the tank screen south through this bottleneck to surround Voronezh and to split off to take the other objectives.

The rest of the battle was easy, Voronezh fell rapidly with a combination of infantry and artillery attacks. The PzIIIN proved very useful in its Infantry tank role, able to assault cities and close terrain infantry with very effective results, often 6 or 7-0, which is phenomenal considering how poorly it was performing earlier. PzIVs are doing good, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the capabilities of the Stug, which has proved fairly effective.
Still, I was anticipating a huge wave of Soviet counter-attacks and was almost gutted it didn’t transpire.

I’m unsure what to do with Nowotny, a fighter ace with -2Def is a bit iffy. Escort duty perhaps?

Novoannisky:

The Marder IIIH became available in the last mission but I still favour the Stug. I upgraded the free infantry hero (Pein) to a Pionere to offer us more flexibility on assaults.

This mission was fairly straightforward and easy to deal with. I made three battle groups; one would advance down the river capturing the outskirt towns there. The mountain troops would go by foot down the west to Nekhaevskiy and then ‘roll up’ the enemy forces from the south.

The main force was the central force led by my two pioneer units and my recon hero tank. The combination of that tank and the two other recon units resulted in favourable enough scouting that we weren’t surprised at all and could present battle lines how I wanted them to be. I have been mastering covering my units with SPAA cover and have been extra diligent in escorting my bombers, moves that resulted in plenty of free kill and ensured that I had zero issues with enemy air.

Only downside to this mission is the appearance of the Soviet SPAA guns; these should be fun to deal with!


Ilovlya:

An unusual mission, to strike at objectives but also divert forces to ‘recon in force’. This mission was plagued early on by the weather, we had some turns of mud and rain that actually played in my favour. Firstly, it stopped me zooming ahead and getting flanked by a very nasty tank force in the north. This force heralded the arrival of the T34/43, which absolutely decimated my PzIII’s and pretty much went toe to toe with the PzIV’s. Had the rain not slowed my advance I would have over-extended and been hammered there.

Fortunately, I managed to take that force on and eliminate them via combined arms, though not without some hefty casualties. I think my prestige cried at this mission…

The rest of my tank force (half) went south to recon B sector. We were eliminating things easily enough until a scary force started out-flanking me. I was really facing some serious issues until the rain came and with the lack of visibility, the Russians diverted that flanking force through the small town and over the bridge to support the Ilovlya victory objectives.

That played into my hands in two ways; Firstly, it shortened my lines and gave me breathing space, secondly, I had parked a PzIV on the bridgehead and it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Oh yes, I did a force shake up here. One Sturm got upgraded to the Wuhfrahmen and one Artillery was changed into a 21cm Nebelwerfer. The rationale behind the change is to see how the Wuhfrahmen compares to the Sturm. It will follow my pioneer unit, which almost exclusively fights for city objectives. That’s usually soft targets like infantry, so this should be very helpful. The 21cm Nebel was justified as a late arrival sort of artillery unit, my problem is that I have my SPAA on covering duty for both SPART guns, so I’m not sure if this was the right call or not, especially as it only has 2 range.

In this mission, the Soviet counter-offensives ensured that both rocket artillery units got good use. The 21cm seldom needed to use transport as it was under heavy defensive fire duties all day long.
I finished in 14 turns, so six turns ahead of the requirement. This lets me go into Burkinova Depot, an optional mission, but I will take it since I ‘earned’ it! So far, so good. I’m not liking that new T34 though, tough unit!

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

Post by goose_2 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:43 pm

I would definitely bring at least 2 Nebelwerfers into Stalingrad. SOFT BOY SHREDDERS!!!
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Re: Grand Campaign; Learning to use a diverse force.

Post by Cerberus51 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:05 pm

RVallant wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:04 pm
Voronezh:

PzIIIL and the StugIIIF/8 become available. Back to blitzkrieg tactics supposedly.

I updated my PzIII to the N variant, but decided against going for the L on the basis of the N having better defensive attributes. I decided I would use the PzIII as an infantry tank of sorts, due to the high ground defence, the better soft attack and because the PzIV was superior against Hard targets anyway.

I’m unsure what to do with Nowotny, a fighter ace with -2Def is a bit iffy. Escort duty perhaps?

Novoannisky:

Only downside to this mission is the appearance of the Soviet SPAA guns; these should be fun to deal with!


Ilovlya:

This force heralded the arrival of the T34/43, which absolutely decimated my PzIII’s and pretty much went toe to toe with the PzIV’s.

Oh yes, I did a force shake up here. One Sturm got upgraded to the Wuhfrahmen and one Artillery was changed into a 21cm Nebelwerfer. The rationale behind the change is to see how the Wuhfrahmen compares to the Sturm. It will follow my pioneer unit, which almost exclusively fights for city objectives. That’s usually soft targets like infantry, so this should be very helpful. The 21cm Nebel was justified as a late arrival sort of artillery unit, my problem is that I have my SPAA on covering duty for both SPART guns, so I’m not sure if this was the right call or not, especially as it only has 2 range.

In this mission, the Soviet counter-offensives ensured that both rocket artillery units got good use. The 21cm seldom needed to use transport as it was under heavy defensive fire duties all day long.
I finished in 14 turns, so six turns ahead of the requirement. This lets me go into Burkinova Depot, an optional mission, but I will take it since I ‘earned’ it! So far, so good. I’m not liking that new T34 though, tough unit!
Yes, the PzIIIN is essentially an infantry tank. I rely on my panzers to screen off Russian armour from the more vulnerable units so tend to prefer the models that are better against tanks.

Nowotny is fine. You should have 3 fighter aces now, backed up bu Lent in a Me110 or 410. The key to fighter combat is to win the initiative. Put the 3 fighter aces into Fw190A's as soon as those become available. That will give them superior initiative to the Russian fighters - so they fire first and the Russians reply with whatever survives. I O/S all 3 to the max and am getting 11-0 kills on the weaker Russian fighters and 9-0 even on the better ones (which can then be finished off by a 109G or a 110 or 410.

The SPAA is a bit of a nightmare. Like most Russian units it attacks regardless. So in 43 it will move next to a Tiger or Panther if that gets it a shot at one of your air units. The only answer is to spot them early and don't put your air units where the SPAA can reach them.

I still used Strms at this point (and throughout the Stalingrad scenarios). Nebelwerfers are excellent against soft targets but the shorter range is a nuisance. If you can upgrade a unit that has a range hero then that makes them much more useful. As goose_2 says, couple are very useful at Stalingrad.


The Wuhrframen is great but as it is an expensive unit the Russian will target it all day long so make sure it has SPAA cover and they cannot get at it with a ground unit. I actually had so much trouble with mine being hit that I downgraded to the lower attack/higher defence Panzerwerfer to try and avoid the crazy cost of in scenario replacements.

Final thought, be careful about finishing early. Many of the scenarios award prestige each turn so you need to balance holding off finishing so as to gain this against the cost of replacing any losses incurred during those turns.

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

Post by RVallant » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:25 pm

goose_2 wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:43 pm
I would definitely bring at least 2 Nebelwerfers into Stalingrad. SOFT BOY SHREDDERS!!!
:lol: I can tell you like Nebelwerfers! ;)
Cerberus51 wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:05 pm


Final thought, be careful about finishing early. Many of the scenarios award prestige each turn so you need to balance holding off finishing so as to gain this against the cost of replacing any losses incurred during those turns.
Hrm, that's for defensive scenarios is it? To be honest, I haven't paid much attention to when the prestige is gained! I shall start paying attention to it more. I think I'm at around 50-55k prestige, I would have higher if I wasn't babysitting the experience gains I think.

I did take the advice on overstrength, I went full O/S on Rudel and he's now completely nonsense. Still trying to be frugal though.

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

Post by RVallant » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:21 pm

Burkinova Depot:

A fairly fun, simple, straightforward mission where we get to take on American equipment. Aside from one wobbly moment when something like six SPAA guns turned out from the FOW to shoot my Stuka, the mission progressed very smoothly.

I made three battle groups, with the pioneres leading the central forces, but surprisingly, I found the central battlefield to be mostly dominated by tank war-fare. Still, we swept away all opposition for a nice, easy win.

Captured two M4 tanks and one Russian SU-122, a switchable artillery/anti-tank unit. I think I will disband the M4’s when I need prestige but the SU-122 looks interesting, although it is not as good as the STUGIII stats wise.

Storming Stalingrad:

Oof, I don’t know what to say about this map, it is a massive city sprawl. There were lots of alleys that were suitable for tank warfare, plus the approach to the city was fairly open as well.

Again, three groups created. I noticed the objectives were fairly central and north, so I decided to ignore the southern reaches.
Army north would take my mountain troops and some PzIII’s through the forest and take the northernmost objective. This actually worked out surprisingly well, though I think I found a bug. When I attacked the northern reaches, I sent one PzIII to take the airfield up there to secure bomber range. Naturally I thought he was dead when I revealed two bombers and fighters alongside an AA gun. Except, the air units there didn’t react or move at all.

As such, my PzIII could hammer home at the AA until the T34 reinforcements came along. Still, he defended the airfield long enough for my own units to join in the counter-attack and with that airfield secure, the Russian planes just sat until they ran out of fuel… Odd.

In the north-central area, both Pionere units led the way and pretty much eliminated all resistance. At the first major objective, we secured it only to have to retreat due to being outflanked. Once we shortened our lines again, I counter-attacked and re-took the objective with time to spare.

In the ‘south’, the majority of infantry there swung north to help the very useless Italians clear out the southern forest. Once that was done we beelined to the southern objectives and left the Italians to cope with the northern Russian forces alone.

The southern army group struggled the most, despite plenty of artillery and infantry, they failed to make good progress.
In the end, we were looking at only securing two of the four major areas. However, by sheer fluke, on the very last turn I was able to move my army about in such a way that we were capable of eliminating the objective’s defenders and block the resulting counter-offensive.

In the north, my SPAA had to play the blocker role and did so very successfully. And in the south, a PzIII had to sit on the last objective in range of about two or three SMG infantry units that I just about managed to block off with other units in favourable terrain.

The result was a last turn Decisive victory. Huzzah!

The FW190A became available mid-way through this mission but I had no chance to upgrade anyone to be honest. Oh, the SU-122 is great, a SPART with good defence that can shoot over three range? Beats even the StuH42 that just became available I think…

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

Post by RVallant » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:10 pm

Stalingrad Docks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(These two urban scenarios are really draining from a gameplay perspective, I am pretty tired now...)

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

Post by Cerberus51 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:49 pm

Yes, the first scenario I would describe as a beast. I chose the breakout option for the next scenario (I took a look at both options and really did not like the look of trying to defend the city). When you have room to manoeuvre you can make a difference through tactics. When it is a slugfest it (for me at least) comes down to throwing prestige at it.

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

Speaking of prestige. I just did what I should probably have done several scenarios ago and purchased 3 green Elefants. They are awesome against hard targets. I have kept my StugIIIG's for now but may sell off the green Elefants after the current scenario (Kursk Armory North) and upgrade 3 Stug's to Elefants for Prokorhovka.

I upgraded the 3 fighter heroes to FW190A's as soon as available. They are the best you will get for quite some time. I am intending to leave the rest as 109G's, which are adequate as escorts for now and also for finishing off damaged Russian air units. I plan to move the 3 aces to Me262's in late 1944. Rudel and Lent will get FW190G's when available.

I am currently at around 27,000 prestige and could get it over 30,000 by disbanding units I expect (hope not to need). Whether that will be enough remains to be seen.

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