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#3183226 - 01/19/11 10:37 AM WitE: Grand Campaign: VICTORY! ****
Para_Bellum Online   biggrin
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I'll post an AAR of the Grand Campaign in Gary Grigsby's War in the East here, decided to post it in a new thread to keep things tidy. Because of the scope of the campaign I'll post updates as I play through the campaign.

"The world will hold its breath."

On June 22nd 1941 Germany, together with its allies, invaded the Soviet Union in what was to become the larget military confrontation in human history.

I'll play the Grand Campaign as the Axis vs (normal) AI, hopefully securing a quick and easy victory against the Red Army who has shown its incompetency recently in the Winter War against Finland. The plan is we'll all be home by Christmas, ready for some R&R in Paris! And while plans rarely survive contact with the enemy, the Führer himself said that if you just kick in the door the whole rotten structure will come crashing down. So, after the victories of the previous Blitzkrieg campaigns everybody expects a short and intense campaign which will culminate in nothing but an inevitable and total victory in the East.

It is imperative that the Wehrmacht inflicts crippling losses on the Red Army and the soviet industrial and manpower base during the summer, hopefully knocking out the USSR in the first round. Neither the German economy nor its army are prepared for a drawn-out war. Logistics will be the Achilles heel of the German war effort, and while the Red Army will fight with severe penalties the 1st couple of months, given enough time it has the potential to grow into an unstoppable juggernaut. Especially when the winter blizzards arrive, the situation for the Axis can quickly turn into a major catastrophe.

For this endeavour, three German Army Groups, supported by Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, and Slovakian forces with more than 4.5 million men are at my command, from Königsberg in the North to Constanta at the Black Sea coast. The tip of the spear of the invasion will be the four Panzergruppen, basically Panzer Armies in all but the name, with Panzergruppe 4 (Hoeppner) with Army Group North, Panzergruppen 2 (Guderian) and 3 (Hoth) with Army Group Center and Panzergruppe 1 (v. Kleist) with Army Group South.

Against these forces stands the Red Army with more than 4.2 million men organized in a dozen military districts, from 'Western' to 'Transcaucasus'.

The scene is set:



Turn 1:

The war starts with the axis air forces exacting a terrible toll on the Red Army Air Force. Everything that flies attacks soviet airfields, with no regard to pilot fatigue. The aircrews may rest later, but during the first week they don't get a break. After seven days the red air force has lost more than 4700 aircraft while we only lost ~120 planes. We shouldn't need to worry about the Red Air Force any more for the coming weeks.

In the Army Group North sector the initial attack is met with only light and uncoordinated resistance. The infantry divisions of 16th and 18th army breach the soviet defenses east of Königsberg and the Panzerdivisions of XXXXIst and LVIst Panzerkorps(reinforced by Totenkopf SS division) race through the torn frontline north, reaching Riga after a 180 mile advance. The few unfortunate soviet armoured and mechanized formations in the way of the Panzers are literally swept away in the onslaught. Besides making sure the Feldeisenbahndirektion attached to AG North immediately starts converting the rail lines in the captured territory I transfer the infantry divisions from the Panzerkorps to infantry corps for supply reasons. XXXXIth PzKps now includes 2 Panzer and 1 Motorized Infantry divisions and LVIth PzKps 1 Panzer and 2 MotInf divisions.



My plans for AG Centre involve creating a large pocket west of Minsk, hopefully trapping the bulk of the Soviet armies deployed on its western border. To achieve this I will use a pincer attack by Panzergruppe 3 from east of Königsberg and Panzergruppe 2 from the Brest-Litowsk area. In the north the infantry of Vth, VIth and XXTh corps shatter soviet defenses and again the armoured spearheads dash forward. 7th Panzer and 18th Motorized Division are the 1st formations reaching the outskirts of Minsk.

In the south Soviet soldiers fanatically defend the fortress of Brest-Litowsk against the German assault. The heaviest fighting so far causes considerable losses among my attacking forces, but finally the attacks by 31st, 34st and 45st infantry divisions, well supported by corps artillery and the Luftwaffe break the defenders. With the road clear, Guderian orders the Panzers forward and 3rd PzDiv at last makes contact with 12th PzDiv south-west of Minsk! The 1st great Kessel on the Eastern Front has been sealed, all rail lines are cut. 20 soviet division plus several brigade- and regimental size formations have been surrounded. With their supply cut off the infantry of 4th and 9th armies will get the orders to destroy these forces in the next turn.





Edited by Para_Bellum (04/04/12 02:09 PM)
_________________________
"...late afternoon the Air Tasking Order came in [and] we found the A-10 part and we said, "We are going where!? We are doing what!?"

Capt. Todd Sheehy, Hog pilot, on receiving orders during Operation Desert Storm



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#3184120 - 01/20/11 11:12 AM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
Sluggish Controls Offline
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Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 1182
Loc: Hong Kong
This is going to be brutal, I'll watch from the sideline.
How many turns per day you planning Para?

Cheers,
Slug
_________________________
"Major Burns isn't saying much of anything, Sir. I think he's formulating the answer..." - Radar - M*A*S*H

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#3184128 - 01/20/11 11:21 AM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
enigma6584 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 4261
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
That map is so cool to look at. They've really done a great job with the game artwork. I've noticed that they show railroad lines but not roadways. Any idea why or am I missing something?

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#3184133 - 01/20/11 11:27 AM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
Para_Bellum Online   biggrin
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 7157
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Originally Posted By: Sluggish Controls
How many turns per day you planning Para?


Depends on how much time I can dedicate to playing and writing. After the 1st few turns where the workload is rather heavy until you get everything organized I hope to get several turns done every 1-2 evenings. Still, finishing the campaign will probably take quite some time.

@enigma: While rail lines play an important part due to the supply rules the road network is abstracted.


In the Army Group South sector I decide to go for a massive pocket around Lvov by sending Panzergruppe 1 south towards the Romanian armies. The latter will not attack in the 1st week and XXIVth Panzerkorps will only be available from next turn on, so a calculated risk is involved. But other than the situation in the north and centre the soviet forces in the south are deployed in depth and in considerable strength, so I want to destroy these formations ASAP. Especially the powerful tank and mechanized units can become quite dangerous, even during this (for the Red Army) chaotic time.

Again the infantry (LVth, XVIIth, XXIXth corps) breach the soviet line, then the Panzer and Motorized division pour through the gaps. But here in the south the Red Army doesn't crumble the moment its frontlines are pierced. Near Brody 13th and 16th Panzerdivisions run into 34th Tank division. With heavy Luftwaffe support the Soviets get mauled, losing more than 120 tanks. 16th Panzer pushes east to widen the corridor towards Tarnopol and routs the 20th Tank division in the process. 11th Panzerdivision catches up and in concert with 13th PzDiv forces the 12th Tank division, another powerful formation to retreat with more than 100 destroyed tanks. The situation is critical but if my infantry catch up next turn I should be able to close the pocket by linking up with the Romanian forces in the south.





Turn 2:

In Army Group North sector Panzergruppe 4 pushes on and 6th Panzerdivision manages to capture Pskov! Unfortunately, the relentless advance over the last 14 days have depleted the fuel supplies of my armoured formations, 6th and 1st PzDiv are at 20-25%, while 8th PzDiv and 3rd and 36th MotInf divisions are basically out of gas. I moved the airfields north this round, so air supply won't change much this turn, but I need to wait on the infantry divisions to catch up anyway. A week's rest will hopefully get my spearheads back into fighting shape, thankfully casualties so far have been light.

Behind the armoured spearheads the infantry divisions of XXVIth corps start slowly closing in on the surrounded Red Army divisions west/ south-west of Riga. Riga itself is defended by a NKVD Rifle division, I'll assault the town next turn.



In the centre 4th and 8th armies start destroying the trapped Red Army forces in the Kessel west of Minsk. It's brutal defeat for the Soviets, I estimated this battle alone will cost the Red Army at least a quarter of a million men and thousands of lost guns and tanks. While the Red Army is in still in obvious shock Panzergruppe 3 continues its drive east. Rolling past and often right through retreating Soviet units XXXIXth PzKorps, with 14th MotInf division in the lead, captures Vitebsk! LXIIth PzKorps pushes on overrunning several Soviet airfields in the process, the prize of Smolensk almost in sight of its 12th PzDivision. Unfortunately, 300 miles of rapid advance in just two weeks are beginning to take its toll on the supplies and readiness of the mobile formations. I'll have to decide next turn whether I'll keep pushing on for one more week or wait for the infantry to catch up and rest my spearheads.

Guderian's divisions aren't lazy, either. After annihilating several Red Army division threatening their flanks Das Reich leads another leap forward, crossing the Berezina east of Bobruisk and XXXXVIIth Panzerkorps with its 14th PzDivision reaching the Dnepr!

I wonder if I can manage to create another large pocket east of the Dnepr, by linking up Panzergruppe 2 and 3 behind Smolensk. If just my infantry would come up faster!



In Army Group South sector XXXXVIIIth Panzerkorps links up with the Romanians (who are not activated yet) and completes the encirclement of more than 30 Soviet divisions in a giant pocket. Tarnopol is taken by 75th infantry division. I wonder if I have bitten off more than I can stomach, especially since in the south the pocket is anything but closed tightly. I just hope the Luftwaffe does some effective interdiction...
IIIrd Panzerkorps has pocketed another concentration of Soviet forces around Rovno, but here I really doubt I can keep the pocket closed. Would've needed one more mobile division to really close the door here.




Edited by Para_Bellum (01/20/11 03:17 PM)
_________________________
"...late afternoon the Air Tasking Order came in [and] we found the A-10 part and we said, "We are going where!? We are doing what!?"

Capt. Todd Sheehy, Hog pilot, on receiving orders during Operation Desert Storm


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#3184369 - 01/20/11 03:50 PM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
Para_Bellum Online   biggrin
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 7157
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Turn 3:

In the North this is a rather uneventful week. As announced except for some minor front line cosmetics Panzergruppe 1 is resting and resupplying around Pskov.
Riga finally falls to IIIVIIIth corps assault, although the defending NKVD division manages to put up a tough fight. The (reinforced) XXVIth corps keeps on clearing out the pocket to the west. And I'm busy converting the rail network. The railhead in the north is almost up to Riga thanks to the compatibility of the rail gauge within the baltic rail zone.



Army Group centre manages some astounding achievements this turn. While the infantry corps destroy the remaining units in the pocket west of Minsk LVIth Panzerkorps in a bold advance captures Smolensk! The Red Army hasn't managed to form anything resembling a defensive line between the Dnepr and the Dvina and 7th Panzerdivision rolls into the door to Moscow! And almost unbelievable: the road the Vyazma seems wide open, too!
The Motorized Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland takes Mogilew while south of the city the leading elements of XXXXVIIth and XXIVth Panzerkorps force a crossing across the Dnepr. If Soviet resistance remains so weak I'll soon swing Guderian's force north-east towards Tula. Or maybe push them south towards Kiev...
Problem is that of course my mobile units here need some rest, too. We'll see how fast the Red Army can rebuild its destroyed divisions.



In the South the pockets hold and I manage to trap another two tank and one motorized division around Proskurov. Furthermore the Romanians and Hungarians have entered the battle. While their formations have nowhere near the combat power of German divisions they'll still be very helpful in holding the line and finish off cut off Red Army divisions. The main objective for the Romanians (supported by a few German divisions) will be the capture of Odessa on the Black Sea coast.

If I can reduce the pocket around Proskurov quickly enough I'll send XXXXVIIth Panzerkorps south to link up with the Romanians and create another pocket.




BTW at the end of turn 3 axis casualties are 62.000 men, 500 guns, 400 tanks and 233 aircraft. Soviet losses are 670.000 men, 8790 guns, 5600 tanks and 5900 aircraft.


Edited by Para_Bellum (01/20/11 05:42 PM)
_________________________
"...late afternoon the Air Tasking Order came in [and] we found the A-10 part and we said, "We are going where!? We are doing what!?"

Capt. Todd Sheehy, Hog pilot, on receiving orders during Operation Desert Storm


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#3184451 - 01/20/11 05:15 PM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
enigma6584 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 4261
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
Quote:
@enigma: While rail lines play an important part due to the supply rules the road network is abstracted.


Ah...that is what I was wondering. Makes sense though. Very enjoyable AAR. The game looks superb!

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#3184470 - 01/20/11 05:30 PM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
2Lt_Joch Offline
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Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 419
Loc: Montreal, Canada.
It looks very interesting. I have both WITP and WITPAE, but never get past more than a few days because of all the micro management. How does WIE compare? I presume you still have to plot a separate order for each unit?
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Intel Q9550, Gyga P35-DS3R, XFX 6950 XXX, 27" widescreen, 8 g. DDR2 @800, 2xWDRaptor 36g HD @ RAID 0, 1tb WD Caviar black HD, X-Fi Fatal1ty, win 7 64bit ultimate, Cougar/FSSB/HS1, Tir4.
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#3184493 - 01/20/11 05:53 PM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
Para_Bellum Online   biggrin
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 7157
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I've never played WitP but from what I hear on the forums WitE is quite a bit easier to play with less micro-management. And yes, you still have to plot every move for every unit, no formation orders here.
_________________________
"...late afternoon the Air Tasking Order came in [and] we found the A-10 part and we said, "We are going where!? We are doing what!?"

Capt. Todd Sheehy, Hog pilot, on receiving orders during Operation Desert Storm


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#3184509 - 01/20/11 06:10 PM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
2Lt_Joch Offline
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Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 419
Loc: Montreal, Canada.
Originally Posted By: Para_Bellum
I've never played WitP but from what I hear on the forums WitE is quite a bit easier to play with less micro-management. And yes, you still have to plot every move for every unit, no formation orders here.


thanks. I don't know how much longer I will hold out.. banghead

another question. Are the Soviets reacting to the encirclements?
_________________________
Intel Q9550, Gyga P35-DS3R, XFX 6950 XXX, 27" widescreen, 8 g. DDR2 @800, 2xWDRaptor 36g HD @ RAID 0, 1tb WD Caviar black HD, X-Fi Fatal1ty, win 7 64bit ultimate, Cougar/FSSB/HS1, Tir4.
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#3184547 - 01/20/11 07:02 PM Re: WitE: Grand Campaign [Re: Para_Bellum]
Para_Bellum Online   biggrin
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Registered: 01/18/01
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Yes, they do. WitE features one of the best AIs I've ever seen in an operational wargame. The AI will fall back on defensible positions once its lines are breached and ruthlessly tries to cut off your spearheads if you're not careful.


In the north I keep slowly pushing past Pskov, but I still need to wait for the infantry corps to arrive and fuel supplies are still low among the mobile formations. The pocket west of Riga has been cleared and the freed corps will now push north towards Tallin. Leningrad is going to be a tough nut to crack. There's heap of Red Army divisions and they're digging defensive positions. Some of those positions are already real fortresses, a frontal assault would be very costly. Instead I will use my infantry corps to attack from the west and south, while Panzergruppe 4 swings around west of the Ilmen lake in a wide arc towards the coast east of Leningrad. With the city and its defenders cut off from supply things should get easier. Problem is there are already Red Army divisions digging in along the Pola river, south of the Ilmen lake. Breaking through that position and then wheeling 180 miles to the north isn't going to get easy.



In the centre Panzergruppe 3 has to counterattack several Soviet penetrations and, low on fuel and supplies, finally manages to restore the front line north of Smolensk. There's a tempting opportunity to strike north towards Velikie Luki to link up with Panzergruppe 4 and cut off all Soviet units west of that. Problem is I need a couple of infantry divisions to shore up my front first. And I don't want to delay the thrust towards Vyazma too long.

Panzergruppe 2 crosses the Dnepr with the bulk of its divisions, against heavy resistance. Supply situation is meh, and the infantry is still way behind. Casualties have been light though. Will probably need to wait another week before I can start the next big move.



Edited by Para_Bellum (01/20/11 07:31 PM)
_________________________
"...late afternoon the Air Tasking Order came in [and] we found the A-10 part and we said, "We are going where!? We are doing what!?"

Capt. Todd Sheehy, Hog pilot, on receiving orders during Operation Desert Storm


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