Author Topic: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942  (Read 3871 times)

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Offline Pzrjager

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War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« on: April 20, 2018, 08:08:58 AM »


This is my AAR for the Battle for Kharkov 1942 scenario in Gary Grigby's War in the East. Here is the historical overview:

"After a succesful winter counter-offensive that drove German troops back from Moscow, the Soviets launched an offensive in the south to seize the city of Kharkov. In reponse, the Axis launched a counter-offensive with the objective of eliminating the Barvenkovo bulge which was one of the Soviet offensive's staging areas."

And the scenario overview:

"The Soviets are the first player and must capture Kharkov if the opportunity present itself. The second player is the Axis who must defeat any Soviet offensive efforts by maintaining control of Kharkov and eliminating the Barvenkovo bulge."

I'll show you how I managed to get a major victory with the Axis forces.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2018, 08:09:43 AM »


One of the first things I do is look at the victory points and terrain. Red flags net the Soviets points, blue flags net the Axis points, and mixed color flags mean they give points to both factions. Mixed ones are especially great since they both get us points and deny the enemy of them. The Donets river separates most objectives for each faction. Attacking across a river can halve your units combat effectiveness, so it will be difficult for either side to take objectives.

In addition to destroying the Barenkovo bulge, I'll try to keep the Soviets on the other side of the river and try to take what victory locations I can.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 08:10:20 AM »


Let's look at the victory points screen. The scenario starts with the Soviet kicking Axis butt the first turn. That means I've already got some losses and retreated/routed units.

No big deal, I'll turn this around soon enough.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 08:10:55 AM »


Let's check out enemy strength at a glance. For the Soviets, the left number on the counter is their combat value (an estimate on how well they can attack) and the right is their defense value. They're in a good position. You can see the "Barvenkovo bulge" I'm going to destroy southwest of the Donets river. They already have 3 objectives.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2018, 08:11:29 AM »


Pressing ctrl+3 highlights all mechanized and motorized units on the map in red. Here I see I have some panzers near Kharkov and some near the Soviets in the south. I'll use these later to encircle the bulge.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2018, 08:12:12 AM »


Now I'll look at my forces in detail in the order of battle screen. On the right next to the flags, you can see what ready units each faction has in parentheses (the left number includes damaged/unready units). Soviets have an infantry advantage (as usual) and an advantage in guns too (typically any gun greater than 20mm, so AT or arty).

Now I'll browse through the left panel to see what units are under what headquarters. Things are a bit messy administrative-wise and will require some reorganization. For example, there are a bunch of units assigned to the 6th Army.

This is inefficient; generally you want combat units under corps HQ. Corps HQ are meant to support combat units while Army HQ are more of a logistical role.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2018, 08:12:46 AM »


I'll solve this problem by assigning the 23rd and 3rd panzer divisions to the VII corps HQ, which is part of the 6th Army.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2018, 08:13:28 AM »


Since I attached the panzer divisions to the VII corps, I want to make sure their leader is skilled in leading mechanized units. The current leader, General Walter Heitz, has a pretty crappy rating of 3 (out of 9).

Good leaders are critical. A good leader can double your combat value in combat while a poor one can reduce it by half.

Generally I consider 1 - 4 poor, 7 - 9 great, and everything in between mediocre.

Heitz needs to go.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2018, 08:14:00 AM »


In his place I'll have SS-Gruppenfuehrer Felix Steiner take command. He has excellent values in morale, initiative, and mechanized combat. These values are important for a panzer division leader.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2018, 08:14:57 AM »


You can get an overview of all your leaders in the commanders report. Above you can see the German corps commanders and their values.

I swap leaders in the III Panzer corps for Manstein and for Model in the XXXXIV Corps.

I'll do some similar work with the 1st Army that I did with the 6th Army, moving units from the army HQ to subordinate corps HQ.

A couple more things before I start discussing my strategy. Check out the top right where it says "Vehicle Pool." The first number is the number of "generic supply trucks" I have.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2018, 08:16:18 AM »


Basically these Opel Blitz trucks. They are the lifeblood of the Wehrmacht. They are what bring food and ammunition to your exhausted infantry and fuel to your overstretched panzers.

The number to the right in parentheses is how many trucks you need. So in the beginning of this scenario I have 10,000 supply trucks but I need 12,000. I expect a small reduction in supplies and fuel delivered to our units due to this shortage.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2018, 08:16:52 AM »


Now look at the weather forecast in the Logistics Phase Event Log. Mud... this is bad news.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2018, 08:17:26 AM »


"Rasputista" is Russian for the season where travel becomes difficult due to muddy roads. It happens biannually; in the spring due to thaw and in the autumn due to rain.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2018, 08:19:04 AM »




It was a problem for both the Werhmacht and the Red Army. I can expect my supply truck shortage to worsen as well. There's not much I can do about it.

Moreover, all units have a combat level of 1 and reduced movement during muddy weather. Air missions are more likely to be scrapped. Not much will happen under these conditions.

Offline Pzrjager

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Re: War in the East, Battle for Kharkov 1942
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2018, 08:20:25 AM »


I play with the historical weather setting on. You can see the game historically simulates the spring rasputista by having mud on even days and clear days on odd days from May 1st to June 19th.

My current turn is on May 19th. Since one turn = 1 week, I can predict this:

Turn 2, May 19th - Clear

Turn 3, May 26th - Mud

Turn 4, June 2nd - Mud

Turn 5, June 9th - Clear

Turn 6 - June 16th - Mud

I basically have two turns do anything significant. I always try to go for a decisive victory, but if I can manage a major victory in those two turns then I'll be happy.