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Offline Con

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War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« on: April 22, 2017, 09:51:05 PM »
Road To Smolensk - An AAR/Tutorial/Tips
Or in other words how to play War in the East for Noobs
Disclaimer - I won't be going too much into the details on the mechanics of the games and the functionality of the buttons etc.  I am going to assume that those can be learned from the manual instead I want to focus on what are the tricks and tips in order to successfully complete in my opinion one of the harder scenarios.

First things first
War in the East requires some careful planning and discipline to sticking to the plan.  Of course this all needs to get thrown out the window when the bullets start flying but at least you will feel more like a General because you have a plan to pin the blame on.

I am playing under Normal Difficulty with no Fog of War as the Axis (Germans)

There are 4 main components that work together in WitE. 
Air power (bombers and escorts)
Logistics (Railheads and HQs)
Armor
Infantry

lets look at the Big Picture
This scenario is 10 turns long and depicts the opening phases of Operation Barbarossa.  It is focusing on just the center portion of the Eastern Front Campaign which is the destruction of the Red Army and the capture of Smolensk and Moscow if possible.
Looking at the objectives you get certain victory points for cities held at the end of the game and a multiplier for number of Soviet men/guns/armor/aircraft lost.  You need to kill significantly greater numbers of Soviets to get a victory point compared to what the soviets need to gain a victory point for the number of Germans killed.  For these scenarios captured counts as killed.
So basically you need to attack and hold cities inflict maximum casualties on the Russians and keep yours to a minimum.
The area where the action takes place is the colored section.  Any hexes in grey cannot be entered by the German player.  They can however be used by the Soviets to pull troops away and reinforce.  - I understand why but this makes it much harder to try and get encirclement etc for the German player of the Soviets.



Before we get into the tactical stuff we need to decide on the big picture.  Taking Moscow in 10 turns is a pipe dream.  Thus we want a plan that captures the most valuable cities.  First decision.  Concentrate our forces and go straight down the middle or split up into multiple fronts.  I am choosing to go with the multiple fronts it gives more flexibility to changing situations puts pressure on the Soviets on a broader front  and  historically was more accurate as well.
I have decided on two main thrusts and will split my forces accordingly between the Northern Front and the Southern Front.  As I push along those axis I will split off parts off from each army to capture as many objective cities as possible.

Objectives


Rough axis of attacks


Now that the grand strategy has been assigned its time to look at the railroad logistics.  Its safe to say in WitE railroads are more important than the tanks and infantry.  You have to keep your units supplied and that is done by calculating the combat units distance from their HQ and the HQs distance from the railhead.  Those crafty Russians had changed the rail width so the Germans were forced to convert hundreds of Km of rail line in order to be able to supply their armies.  In this scenario you have two FBD (Feldeisenbahndirektionen) -Railway Administration units.  These are the railway repair units that you as the player can control to replace the Soviet with a suitable German width railway. 

FBD Units


 In the North is the Baltic zone where due to a closer similarity in rail stock the repair costs are roughly half to 1/3 for the Germans compared to the Soviet.
We want our railways to supply our two main thrusts.  I like to use the Baltic zone as much as possible to push my railway network out further as well.  That means our railway supply network is going to look roughly like this

Rail Network plan


Your FBD units have manual control and are essentially a simulation of a coordinated repair and administrative unit.   You can move them along the rail network and repair it as you move.  This takes  movement points.  Right now since they are already on a German rail network the RRC check is blank.  When you move them onto the Soviet rail network this RRC button become active and shows a number which corresponds to the number of movement points used to repair that hexes rail network.  As you push forward your rail network becomes vulnerable to attack.  The soviets only have to move a combat unit into a repaired hex and they will destroy the network meaning that all the track past that point is no longer active.  Partisans can also appear and destroy a rail hex.  These things mean you need to plan on how to protect your rail networks in your plan as well.  Keeping partisans activity low is also important and will be covered later.

FBD Unit Detail


Prior to Turn 1 - Withdrawals dont get surprised
The Germans stockpiled men and supplies for the attack on Russia.  But not all the units and divisions were slated for the entire Smolensk operation.  For instance the 8th armored Panzer division was part of Army Group North and tasked to capture Leningrad.  To simulate that it has a commitment to the Baltic theater this division will be taken away from the German player after turn 1.  Other divisions and units will likewise be withdrawn (and a few will be provided) over the course of the scenario.  You will need to carefully check which units leave and when so you don't suddenly lose an entire corps that was guarding  a vulnerable flank or railway supply network.
The Reinforcement and Withdrawal tab will provide a better overview of which ones leave and when.  There are also warnings on the units as well but it is important to note who is leaving.  For this campaign the key withdrawals take place early predominantly in the North.  To plan for this I will send reinforcements to the Northern thrust when they become available.

The Turn order that I usually use based on the WitE turn Guide.  Basically it is
1. Check Logistics Event Log (especially focus on status of trucks lost)  Trucks are key in maintaining supply.
2 Look at battle outcomes
3. Look at losses screen
4. Planning = Recon/Bombing/Ground Moves/Hasty or Deliberate attacks/Rail repair
5. Logistics = Check distance of units from HQ/HQ from railhead (Commanders report is very useful for these checks)

Withdrawal Symptoms


For the start of this scenario I focus on Air/Ground/Logistics in that order.

Turn 1 is Special
The Germans get a lot of advantages on turn 1 to simulate the surprise attack on Russia.  In order to get the full benefit of these advantages there needs to be a lot of micromanaging on the first turn.  The first benefit is the surprise attack on Russian airfields that can damage many soviet aircraft on the ground.  The AI does a competent job but to really maximize the damage the player will need to run this manually.

Turn 1 Air
The Air doctrines set how many planes fly and for what missions.  All you really want to do is fly your bombers to kill as many soviet planes on the ground as possible.  Basically the game calculates planes ability to fly based on fatigue and the number of miles flown.  Turn 1 you want those aircrews pounding the airfields.  The Soviets cannot send a significant number of fighter intercepts up so what you want to do on the first turn is pick a soviet base that is close by send a small bomber force against it but one that has a good escort and then pick off the Soviet CAP on that phase.  Later air phases in turn 1 you can risk sending bomber unescorted due to the lack of Soviet intercept power.  Be careful this will only work on turn 1.  You need to make sure that you turn the Air Doctrine settings back to normal levels after turn 1 or your aircraft will get swatted out of the sky.
You want to set your percent to fly at 30% this will maximize the number of sorties.
You wont need any ground support for attacks or air recon this turn keep the aircraft focused on destroying soviet airframes.

Air Doctrine settings


Lets look at the German Aircraft
Right clicking on a German  airfield brings up the airfield details screen.  Right clicking on the light blue attached units brings up the unit details

Airbase units details etc

+ Attachments and other options
shortcuts: hit alt+s to submit/post or alt+p to preview

You can have fighters, bombers, level bombers, fighter bombers and transports.  A key attribute to watch out for is the distance in hexes that the plane can fly from its base.  Many level bombers can significantly out fly their fighter escorts.

Tactical Bomber Range (Ju 87B)


Level Bomber example


Attributes which make your planes more effective


Getting ready to bomb a soviet airfield
First select the bomb airfield button.  All Soviet airfield potential targets hexes are shaded in red.  Since we are playing without Fog of War enabled we have perfect intelligence on what number of planes and types are on the airfield.  For Turn 1 the Germans have perfect intelligence but on later turns if you had FoW on you would need to do recon missions to be able to find the airbases.  Those recon missions would need to be escorted as well.

Before you start bombing you want to start consolidating your airbases with their HQs and thinking about making sure that your shorter range bombers (the Stukas) are in range of the closest soviet airbases.  Check the airbase details to see which airbases have the Ju87B.  These airbases can be no further than 11 hexes away from their targets.  As you push soviet combat units out of the way you will continue to move these airbases up into soviet territory later in the turn.

In the image below the colors indicate critical relationships and supply states. 
I have selected the HQ unit in Purple.  Its higher HQ (that it reports to and from which supplies roll down) is in gold.  Subordinate units (combat or in this case airbases) are in blue if in supply and red if not in supply.  Being out of supply is always a bad thing.  Yellow means that the unit is a peer of the selected unit (ie that unit is also attached to the higher HQ)
Basically any combat unit that is more than 5 hexes away from its HQ is out of supply.  Its way more complicated than that but this is a good enough rule to follow.  So now we want to find spots for our airbases where they can move so the Stukas are within 11 hexes of the Soviet airbases we want to bomb as well as grouping all the German airbases within 5 hexes of their reporting HQ.

Supply/Distance and HQ relationships


To do this I move the II FliegerCorps HQ  to Siedice and the 9th LW airbase that was immediately to the west of it now two hexes to the east of the II FliegerCorps HQ.  I bring the 7th LW airbase across the Bug river to just east of Wyszkow.  With these moves completed all my airbases that report to II FliegerCorps are now within 5 hexes of the HQ and are in supply.
I make similar arrangements for the Northern Airbases consolidating them within 5 hexes of their superior HQ VII FliegerCorps. 
Another tip for airbases they need to be in woods or open hexes in order to allow their units to fly.





On Turn 1 you want to find as many juicy target fields packed with plenty of planes as possible.  The soviets mostly used pre war generation planes and their better more modern planes were further back from the front.

Bombing an airfield


For turn 1 the best choice is the soviet airbase SW of Bialystock.  Its packed with fighter planes (over 300 of them) which will put a sever dent in the Soviets ability to put CAP in the air.  It is also close to our current airbases (remember our Stukas only have an 11 hex range from their airbase).  You can and will move airbases but doing so will add miles and fatigue to the air units reducing their number of air miles that they can fly.  So moving them has to be done strategically.
Hold the shift key and click on the soviet air base and the manual allocation of available units (in range with enough airframes etc) comes up.
The AI has already selected units but you can change these.  In this case I want to send a small crew of Stukas with limited range and a small but decent number of fighter escorts.  This will hopefully draw what Soviet CAP is available up and let me destroy it.

Micro Managing air


In my selection I have deselected all the longer range bombers and fighter bombers but taken a good number of fighters and tactical (Stuka Bombers).  This has a total of 69 fighters and 55 bombers.



Now there is a lot that occurs under the hood of the game engine dealing with hundreds of different factors the manual is pages thick going into explanations of how odds and results are calculated.  However I am not going to go into all the factors.  Suffice to say because of the doctrines we had set earlier and many other factors (leadership moral fatigue etc) the attack consisted of 66 fighters with 22 bombers.  When you look at the results of the battle you can see that the Germans lost no planes but the Russians lost 58 fighters and 34 bombers.  A nice result and hopefully will allow our longer range bombers to penetrate unmolested deeper into soviet airspace.

Attack Results


Continue bombing close airfields with the closer range JU87 Stukas and good fighter escorts.  Once the plane density on the soviet airbase has fallen below 30 total planes it is no longer a good target.  This simulates the planes no longer being parked next to each other in neat organized rows ripe for the picking.  Move on to airfields further on.  As you continue to bomb you will see your Used Percentage tick up.  For the first couple of turns you want to ride your airplanes hard.  Eventually you will have destroyed all the planes on airbases within reach of the JU87 Stukas.
Dont feel like you have to bomb everything nonstop.  Its OK to leave movement points available at your airbases to allow them to move deep into occupied territory on Turn 1.  But a couple of things to remember when you so this.
Any soviet combat unit that moves adjacent to an airbase will cause it to displace destroying a certain number of planes and all the planes that are damaged.  I have read in forums that airbases do not work when in urban and swamp hexes (I cant find this in the manual so just to be safe I always put my airbases in clear/tree hexes).

Here is a good point to stop and next we will start looking at the ground phase of turn 1
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 08:16:10 PM by Con »

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2017, 11:08:53 AM »
Subscribing hard!  :smitten:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

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Offline besilarius

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2017, 02:25:37 PM »
Con, this is really great.  I have to re-read it to take all of it in.
Very generous of you to take all the effort, and put in all the time for us.
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Offline bbmike

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2017, 02:31:13 PM »
And whatever you picked to draw the arrows and such looks good.  O0
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Offline Con

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2017, 06:08:21 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion on Snagit.  I am trying it on the free trial and probably will go with it.  I like the ability to edit images on the fly without having to open other programs.  I am checking out MilSketch it appears to have all the symbology I would like to use for fronts and attacks etc but its user friendliness is much less than Snagit.  Now if there was only a way to merge them together!

As for the AAR I started thinking it would be a straight forward explanation but I am finding myself drawn into the rabbit hole of trying to explain too much on the mechanics of the game.  I hope that I can resist and focus on the tactics soon once I start moving through the turns.

Con

Offline -budd-

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 08:03:01 PM »
Subscribed, thanks for doing this :bd:

this helped me with milsketch

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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 09:31:12 PM »
Ohhh. This is better than bacon. I'm all in.
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Offline bbmike

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 06:05:39 AM »
Thanks for the suggestion on Snagit.  I am trying it on the free trial and probably will go with it.  I like the ability to edit images on the fly without having to open other programs.  I am checking out MilSketch it appears to have all the symbology I would like to use for fronts and attacks etc but its user friendliness is much less than Snagit.  Now if there was only a way to merge them together!

As for the AAR I started thinking it would be a straight forward explanation but I am finding myself drawn into the rabbit hole of trying to explain too much on the mechanics of the game.  I hope that I can resist and focus on the tactics soon once I start moving through the turns.

Con

You can create/import your own symbols in Snagit so maybe you can. If I get a chance I'll try to import one of the Milsketch symbols to see if it works.
"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
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"You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets."
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“Before Man goes to the stars he should learn how to live on Earth.”
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Offline Con

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2017, 12:46:33 PM »
Ground Movement Understanding Encirclement, Zones of Control and how to use your infantry to open gaps for the Panzers.

Turn 1 is probably the most important turn in the entire scenario/campaign for the German player.  This is the one where you need to micromanage and plan the most.  The overall goal for ground infantry units in turn 1 is to blow holes in the Soviet front to allow our panzers to pour through and encircle the Russian defending units.  If you can cut off enemy units from supply they are incredibly weakened on the next turn and will probably surrender if attacked.  This allows the German player to destroy (captured men are counted as casualties) huge numbers of men and material.

In turn 1 we have good intelligence of all the Soviet Units on the front lines.  This is shown by the detection level being 7 or higher for units that are in contact with our frontline units.   Units further away from the front lint this detection level drops.  Detection level is important to know what you are really going up against the higher the better.  Recon flights will increase the detection level.  For turn 1 we dont need recon since our units have been in contact with the Soviet front line units for a while raising the detection level.



The main goal for the center and the southern portions of the German front are to try and setup a massive encirclement of Soviet forces.  The Soviets have almost unlimited manpower.   You need to put a serious smack down and destroy as many units as early as possible otherwise the remnants of the ones you let escape will dig in and oppose you later in the scenario.  Coupled with the massive reinforcements the Soviets get you cannot allow Russian units to retreat but must try and force them to surrender.  As said earlier this is done be encircling the Soviet units and then attacking them in the subsequent turn.

The German player wants to keep as many of the movement points of the Panzer groups available for actual movement and not combat.  So it is important to use your infantry divisions to blow open gaps in the soviet front line allowing the panzers to pour through.  To be most efficient at using your movement points you need to understand what impact Zones of Control have.

Zones of Control
Each division exerts a ZOC on the 6 hexes that surround its location (see red outlined hexes in image below).  The larger the division or the more divisions stacked in the hexes the bigger the impact on the ZOC.  For the German player this has several important considerations.  In order to move your panzers with the least amount of resistance from soviet influence in ZOC you want to blow a gap three hexes wide.  You can do 1 or two hexes but the ZOC influence will eat up more of your movement points moving through this contested territory.

ZOC


The second important consideration is converting hostile territory to friendly (ok not really friendly but at least not outright rebellious yet territory).  As your divisions move through soviet territory they convert the hex they are in plus the 6 surrounding hexes to friendly territory.  This is important since HQs Rail Repair and airbases can only move through and stay in friendly (ie previously converted from Soviet control) territory.  The other important factor in converting territory is that this is how encirclements are made.  To be encircled a unit cannot trace supply back to its own friendly territory.  So to encircle the Soviet units we need to create a swath of unbroken converted hexes between the soviet units and their own territory.  Just one unconverted hex is enough for the encirclement to fail.  You can tell which hexes have been converted since Soviet controlled hexes are colored red   

Hex Ownership


Admin points and Soft Factor


Attaching and detaching divisions to different HQs needs Admin points.  These points are used for a lot of other activities as well such as assigning new leaders to division HQs, special sub units and HQ supply build up (stock piling fuel and supplies).  You gain more admin points per turn and you will need a lot of them later on for HQ buildups.  It's easy to spend them all so they have to be used wisely.

Soft factors are a quick way to see certain key attributes impacting your units
I set my soft factor to typically show Supplies and or Morale.  Your choices are suppliers/fuel/experience/nos of units attached and morale.   I like supplies because it shows me if the unit is well supplied (very important for moving and combat) and Morale has a lot of positive and negative modifiers on the outcome of a combat roll.  The soft factors show up as a colored triangle in the upper left corner of the unit counter.

Soft Factor display - Morale

 
Admin Points and Leaders
I like to use my admin points to upgrade a leader.  Leaders can influence supply (thus movement) and combat.  They have ratings that are non-combat (administrative and political) and combat (Mech Infantry Air and Naval) related.  The higher the number the better.  Each leader has a political cost which is the cost of dismissing that leader.  I like to get a new leader at the start with better administrative stats for one of my panzer corps.  This will help me with supply and thus pushing them out further.  It makes sense to do this on turn 1 when you need to maximize the potential movement points.  As leaders fight and win battles they can improve their combat stats.

To reassign leaders click on the HQ they command and then click on their name highlighted in blue. Click on Dismissal Cost to move to a screen of potential replacements.
One of the worst armor leaders is General Adolf Kuntzen (even his name is horrible) commander of LVII Panzer Corps.  I like to look at initiative and admin since these influence greatly supply and movement.  If you click on dismissal cost you will get a screen of potential replacements.  Be careful some of these leaders are already commanding different Corps and using them will force the AI to replace or promote someone else to fill the empty post with someone who probably has worse stats.

Adolf Kuntzen - Poor Leader


In this case I have replaced General Kuntzen with his poor admin (5 Initiative - 5 Administrative)and so so combat (6 Mechanized - 6 Infantry) stats with General Walter Model.  Gen Model is a genius at infantry combat but I really want him for his sterling Initiative and Admin skills plus his mech combat skills are still a significant upgrade over general Kuntzen.  General Leutnant Model has 8 Initiative - 7 Administrative for non combat stats (plus 9 Morale and 9 Political) while his combat Stats are 7 Mechanized and 9 Infantry.  If this were a campaign I would assign Model to an Infantry Corps but for this scenario he will be more useful to the Panzers.



The commanders report has many different filters that allow you to sort and look at units supply etc.  One of the tabs is leaders and you can sort your leaders by their different stats.  The commanders report is very useful but it takes a little work to understand all the different tabs and filters.  Its got a lot of information on it so I recommend playing around with it to understand what is happening with your units

Commanders Report - Invaluable but clunky

 
Phew that's a lot of explanation and we have not even laid out our opening plan.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 07:47:39 PM by Con »

Offline Con

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 04:03:01 PM »
The Plan (or how I learned to implement Fuhrer Directive 21)

Encirclement Plan for the Salient
In the image below you can see roughly where I want to use the 3rd Panzer group in Green in the northern part of the salient and the 2nd Panzer group in light blue in the southern part as my forces to achieve the encirclement.  Easier said than done and I need to be aware of ZOC and that I need to convert all the hexes along the encirclement boundary.

Salient


Turn 1 Northern Strategy
Beware when units Withdraw


In the North the 18th army group (in Purple) will attack across their assigned front and knock out the Soviet front line.  They will then proceed north and then east trying to convert as much occupied territory as they go. The 4th Panzer group Infantry units will attack along their assigned front to allow the 4th Panzer Group armor units to sweep east and try and clear territory to the Divna river.  If at all possible these armor units will try and get units across the river to establish a bridgehead across the Divna.  The 4th Panzer group will be withdrawing after turn 1 so I want to push them as far as they can go.

The 16th army group is tasked with taking Kanus and Vilnius.  These are railway hubs and crucial that they fall on turn 1. This will prevent Russian units from using the railways here for transport.  To help support them infantry from XXII Corps reporting to the 9th Army group will help with attacks on the cities.

Northern Strategy Map


Turn 1 Center Strategy
For the center the plan is to use the infantry divisions from V and VI corps to smash the soviet front line and then advance towards Vilnius.  With the Soviet front open the armor from 3rd panzer group is now able to enter Russian territory with little impediment.  The panzer corps will be split with LVII panzer corps driving towards the east and attempting to either take Daugavapils or establish a bridghead across the Dvina river.

Panzer Corps XXIX will attack towards the village of Molodechno just north of Minsk.  The corps will then head south with the different divisions forming an encirclement of the Soviet front and linking up with 2nd Panzer group who are attacking from the south.

9th Army group will consolidate in place apart from VII Corps which will move to seal the northern part of the encircled soviets.  I am saving the 9th army to force isolated and cut off Soviet units to surrender.

Center Strategy Map


A note on stacking buildup and breakdown

A mechanic of the game is that only three units regardless of size can be in a hex at any one time.  This forces the player to plan to not create any artificial chokeholds by overstacking hexes preventing units to move through them.  Divisions can also be broken down into three separate units (think of them as essentially Brigades).  These brigades only exert a ZOC of only the current hex that they are in compared to a divisions exerting a ZOC on the surrounding hexes as well.  Why would you breakdown units?  This is a critical tactic to prevent the Soviet AI from slipping a unit past your divisions and breaking your encirclement.

The 9th  army group has two divisions that start the scenario broken down into three additional units.  In the image below they are identified by the red or white circles.  You can identify them by their lower combat values, the sister units are outlined in blue and that their name has a number/division name.  The number shows which brigade it is.  In the example below we have 2/87th Infantry Division (the other sister units would be 1/87th Infantry Division and 3/87th Infantry Division) .  I like to rebuild them back to a whole divisions which means moving all three units to the same hex and then using the shift key with the buildup/breakdown button.

Breakdown/Buildup

 
Turn 1 Southern Strategy
In the South I need to do a little reorganization.  I want all my panzer units to be only mechanized but each one of the panzer army groups has an infantry division attached to them.  These non mechanized units will only be a drag on my supplies and ability to move far and  fast.  I want to detach these infantry divisions and reattach then to infantry only HQs.
I detach the 167th Inf Div from XXXVII Panzer Corps and reattach it to XII corps.  I do the same with the 267 Inf Div under XXIV Panzer Corps. 

Reorg Army South


In the south the key is to take Brest Litovsk as fast as possible with the XII Corp infantry.  Since the Soviets are fortified in an urban city hex winkling them out wont be pretty.  I will need to supply the XII Corps Infantry divisions with many additional support units.  I need to avoid the Pripyat marshes in the SouthEast at all costs.  Its movement costs are unreal and infantry divisions get all sorts of defensive bonuses in them.

Once Brest Litovsk has fallen I can push Panzer Group 2 through the gap and NE along the railway until they reach town of Baranovichi.  There or just slightly north of this town the 2nd panzer army should link up with XXIX Panzer Corps.

Southern Strategy Map


4th Army infantry divisions consolidate and grind against the soviet front in their assigned sector. However little combat and movement  apart from XXXIII corps which moves forward to seal the southern portion of the Soviet salient and prevent any Russian units from marching towards Brest Litovsk and threatening my railhead.  The reason is I want to isolate the Soviet units and then when they are cut off and surrounded use the 4th Army to annihilate them on the next turn.
 
Turn 1 support and reserve units (Security Divisions and Partisans)


Certain units are support and reserve units.  The 2nd Army Group is frozen (ie not able to move for 2 turns).  I will send them to the provide security and protect the flank of the northern railway spur.

The orange units are security units.  These are used to help suppress partisan activity.  Partisan are sort of like playing whack a mole.  They pop up at the worst time and cut railway lines and generally throw a giant monkey wrench in your plans.  One of the ways to help reduce partisans is to put troops in cities (essentially as garrison troops).  This only works for units with Combat Values (so HQ and support units dont count).

Partisans are generated from cities with populations and certain soviet units if they get shattered during combat.  Partisans stay inactive until they reach combat readiness (based on the number of partisans they have recruited their supply state and morale).  Once active they can cut rail lines etc.  To prevent urban recruitment the German player has to garrison troops in the cities.  The higher the population the more partisan squads it generates unless it is garrisoned.  Everything is scaled so once you meet the minimum garrison requirements all partisan recruitment is halted otherwise its all based on the ratio manpower to the un-met garrison requirement. 

Partisan/Garrisons


The requirements are 4K men for city/towns, 8K for light urban and 12K for heavy urban like Minsk.

Security division troops count as double to the garrison total.  A trick is to breakdown you security divisions into three units so you can spread them around (but be careful of stacking limitations each unit regardless of size counts as a unit for stacking)  The cities you really need to garrison are Minsk/Smolensk/Vilnius in that order.
 
High level Strategy Summary for Turn 1


Next we finally get to see some combat!  (it will probably take some time for me to write it up since this is taking a lot longer than I anticipated)  ;)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 07:57:16 PM by Con »

Offline -budd-

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2017, 04:31:33 PM »
Ground Movement Understanding Encirclement, Zones of Control and how to use your infantry to open gaps for the Panzers.

Turn 1 is probably the most important turn in the entire scenario/campaign for the German player.  This is the one where you need to micromanage and plan the most.  The overall goal for ground infantry units in turn 1 is to blow holes in the Soviet front to allow our panzers to pour through and encircle the Russian defending units.  If you can cut off enemy units from supply they are incredibly weakened on the next turn and will probably surrender if attacked.  This allows the German player to destroy (captured men are counted as casualties) huge numbers of men and material.

In turn 1 we have good intelligence of all the Soviet Units on the front lines.  This is shown by the detection level being 7 or higher for units that are in contact with our frontline units.   Units further away from the front lint this detection level drops.  Detection level is important to know what you are really going up against the higher the better.  Recon flights will increase the detection level.  For turn 1 we dont need recon since our units have been in contact with the Soviet front line units for a while raising the detection level.



The main goal for the center and the southern portions of the German front are to try and setup a massive encirclement of Soviet forces.  The Soviets have almost unlimited manpower.   You need to put a serious smack down and destroy as many units as early as possible otherwise the remnants of the ones you let escape will dig in and oppose you later in the scenario.  Coupled with the massive reinforcements the Soviets get you cannot allow Russian units to retreat but must try and force them to surrender.  As said earlier this is done be encircling the Soviet units and then attacking them in the subsequent turn.

The German player wants to keep as many of the movement points of the Panzer groups available for actual movement and not combat.  So it is important to use your infantry divisions to blow open gaps in the soviet front line allowing the panzers to pour through.  To be most efficient at using your movement points you need to understand what impact Zones of Control have.

Zones of Control
Each division exerts a ZOC on the 6 hexes that surround its location (see red outlined hexes in image below).  The larger the division or the more divisions stacked in the hexes the bigger the impact on the ZOC.  For the German player this has several important considerations.  In order to move your panzers with the least amount of resistance from soviet influence in ZOC you want to blow a gap three hexes wide.  You can do 1 or two hexes but the ZOC influence will eat up more of your movement points moving through this contested territory.
 


The second important consideration is converting hostile territory to friendly (ok not really friendly but at least not outright rebellious yet territory).  As your divisions move through soviet territory they convert the hex they are in plus the 6 surrounding hexes to friendly territory.  This is important since HQs Rail Repair and airbases can only move through and stay in friendly (ie previously converted from Soviet control) territory.  The other important factor in converting territory is that this is how encirclements are made.  To be encircled a unit cannot trace supply back to its own friendly territory.  So to encircle the Soviet units we need to create a swath of unbroken converted hexes between the soviet units and their own territory.  Just one unconverted hex is enough for the encirclement to fail.  You can tell which hexes have been converted since Soviet controlled hexes are colored red   



Admin points and Soft Factor



Attaching and detaching divisions to different HQs needs Admin points.  These points are used for a lot of other activities as well such as assigning new leaders to division HQs, special sub units and HQ supply build up (stock piling fuel and supplies).  You gain more admin points per turn and you will need a lot of them later on for HQ buildups.  It's easy to spend them all so they have to be used wisely.

Soft factors are a quick way to see certain key attributes impacting your units
I set my soft factor to typically show Supplies and or Morale.  Your choices are suppliers/fuel/experience/nos of units attached and morale.   I like supplies because it shows me if the unit is well supplied (very important for moving and combat) and Morale has a lot of positive and negative modifiers on the outcome of a combat roll.  The soft factors show up as a colored triangle in the upper left corner of the unit counter.


 
Admin Points and Leaders
I like to use my admin points to upgrade a leader.  Leaders can influence supply (thus movement) and combat.  They have ratings that are non-combat (administrative and political) and combat (Mech Infantry Air and Naval) related.  The higher the number the better.  Each leader has a political cost which is the cost of dismissing that leader.  I like to get a new leader at the start with better administrative stats for one of my panzer corps.  This will help me with supply and thus pushing them out further.  It makes sense to do this on turn 1 when you need to maximize the potential movement points.  As leaders fight and win battles they can improve their combat stats.

To reassign leaders click on the HQ they command and then click on their name highlighted in blue. Click on Dismissal Cost to move to a screen of potential replacements.
One of the worst armor leaders is General Adolf Kuntzen (even his name is horrible) commander of LVII Panzer Corps.  I like to look at initiative and admin since these influence greatly supply and movement.  If you click on dismissal cost you will get a screen of potential replacements.  Be careful some of these leaders are already commanding different Corps and using them will force the AI to replace or promote someone else to fill the empty post with someone who probably has worse stats.



In this case I have replaced General Kuntzen with his poor admin (5 Initiative - 5 Administrative)and so so combat (6 Mechanized - 6 Infantry) stats with General Walter Model.  Gen Model is a genius at infantry combat but I really want him for his sterling Initiative and Admin skills plus his mech combat skills are still a significant upgrade over general Kuntzen.  General Leutnant Model has 8 Initiative - 7 Administrative for non combat stats (plus 9 Morale and 9 Political) while his combat Stats are 7 Mechanized and 9 Infantry.  If this were a campaign I would assign Model to an Infantry Corps but for this scenario he will be more useful to the Panzers.



The commanders report has many different filters that allow you to sort and look at units supply etc.  One of the tabs is leaders and you can sort your leaders by their different stats.  The commanders report is very useful but it takes a little work to understand all the different tabs and filters.  Its got a lot of information on it so I recommend playing around with it to understand what is happening with your units


 
Phew that's a lot of explanation and we have not even laid out our opening plan.

Photos aren't showing in this post, at least for me.
Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Offline Con

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2017, 05:13:42 PM »
Hmm I opened and closed the program and I see all the images?  Anyone else having problems?

Thanks
Con

Offline bbmike

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2017, 05:17:13 PM »
For me, the only post that is missing images is the one that starts with the line "Ground Movement Understanding Encirclement, Zones of Control and how to use your infantry to open gaps for the Panzers."

Maybe it's a link typo?
"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
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Offline Con

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Re: War in the East - Road to Smolensk -
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2017, 05:35:52 PM »
I am using Photobucket as the hosting site.  I still see all the images but to be honest I am completely lost regarding any technicalities on how to display images.  Maybe someone with more knowledge can chime in why I can see all the images but some or all are missing for others?

Thanks
Con

Offline bbmike

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"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
-Sherlock Holmes

"You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets."
-Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

"There's a horror movie called Alien? That's really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you!"
-The Doctor

“Before Man goes to the stars he should learn how to live on Earth.”
-Clifford D. Simak