Last Victory in Russia

Discussion relating to Battles in Italy

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Postby Abwehr » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:10 am

Noakesy informed me that he has some trouble with opening the file, is anyone else having problems?

The file could possibly be corrupted in some way. If so, I'll upload it again either later today or tomorrow.
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Postby enric » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:35 am

My copy seems to work ok.
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Postby Abwehr » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:39 am

You learn something new every day: I thought the "set counter" option in the editor only changed the counter. I had read a while ago that the counter is basically the unit type, however, I didn't conclude the obvious. Now I know that I can change unit types using the set counter mode, which will be really helpful for editing.

In any case, there'll be a new version soon. OP's will be increased, primarily for the Soviets, and artillery range will be decreased.

I'm still considering whether the decreased artillery range and the increased Soviet OP's warrant the reintroduction of the 2 OP penalty for artillery interdiction. On the other hand: the Germans get 17 units that can interdict, although many won't appear until the second half of the scenario.
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Postby Abwehr » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:20 am

I'm so happy currently.

OK, now that I know that I can select a counter/unit type (really a silly discovery after all those years...), I can truly edit the scenario and the OOB. In a way, I feel so stupid that I completely missed what the select counter option does in all those years, both in the manual and in the game.

I'm going to do a "Kharkov" on the game and change/expand the OOB considerably.

Every German division will get a motorized Panzerjaeger battalion. The engine can comfortably support 5 or 6 units in a division. I'm not sure what the limit is, but I'll try to keep it at a maximum of 6, otherwise it will mess up the OOB screen.

I'll also try to reorganize the German artillery so it makes more sense.

The Soviet artillery seems to be more or less OK. I'll try to find an OOB for the units involved, at least for the independent artillery units. Until then, every Guards unit will get Guards rockets and every Rifle division a light artillery regiment.

I'll probably allow the Guards tank brigades to be split up, but to recombine all the regular tank brigades. It will decrease the Soviet unit total, but will more accurately represent the tactical cluelessness that the majority of the Soviet tank force operated with at this point.

One thing that's tricky about this battle is that both sides didn't have a lot of operational tanks compared to the paper strength of their tank units. I will probably stick to my reasoning that, as basically every single unit was under strength, I can still create 3 step tank units as the infantry "regiments" involved were mostly at most 2 battalions.

I hope that, over time, I can verify the OOB and make the scenario more or less entirely historically accurate, but for now some things will remain not entirely historically accurate but accurate as far as balance is concerned.

Mobile Group Popov will also be changed, as it only had a total of around 250 tanks and only one of its Tank Corps was remotely close to being up to strength at 177 tanks. As a result, many of Popov's tank battalions will get axed. I'll convert the individual tank brigades to tank corps, which they were in real life.

I'll probably release the completely revised edition of the scenario somewhere in the weekend.
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Postby Carl Myers » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:18 am

The Soviet artillery seems to be more or less OK. I'll try to find an OOB for the units involved, at least for the independent artillery units. Until then, every Guards unit will get Guards rockets and every Rifle division a light artillery regiment.


Being in close proximaty to divisional assets such as the division's artillery was the reason for an integrity bonus.
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Postby Abwehr » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:38 am

Being in close proximaty to divisional assets such as the division's artillery was the reason for an integrity bonus.


The artillery will still appear in the "artillery" section of the OOB screen and won't be tied to the division. As in all other BiI scenarios, the divisional integrity will only affect the combat units.

It would be nice to attach artillery to the actual divisions, but the editor and the limited OOB size don't seem to support that. I have seen some scenarios, including Kharkov 1943, where support units are attached to a division, but I'm not sure how that's possible.
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Postby Abwehr » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:51 am

OK, after spending Saturday afternoon browsing through every Infanterie Division's description and war record on Lexikon der Wehrmacht and Feldgrau, I can say that there are a number of errors in the Axis OOB for all kinds of forces which means that editing the scenario will take a lot more time. I don't have accurate sources on the Soviet OOB aside from Mobile Group Popov, so I'm not going to change it.

Initially, my goal was to iron out the problems with the scenario in terms of playability only, as I didn't know how to create/change units. Now I can edit everything and create new units.

Soviet tank brigades now consist of a motorized rifle battalion and a tank brigade. They get a 40% divisional integrity bonus, Guards brigades get a 50% bonus.

Mobile Group Popov is no longer one big Guards formation. Currently, it has only 2 Guards formations with tanks: a Mechanized Corps and 4th Guards Tank Corps. The 4th had only 40 tanks initially, so it only has 1 tank brigade, the other tank brigades are now mechanized infantry. As the sole tank brigade has so few tanks, it isn't split in two like the other Guards tank formations but remains one brigade. it will be reinforced by the 9th Guards Tank Brigade on turn 10. The 4th gets a 95% integrity bonus.

The 3 other Tank Corps in Mobile Group Popov are the 3rd, 10th and 18th. The 3rd and 18th also have only one tank brigade. The 10th has 4 (3 organic to the Corps and the 11th). Those Corps are regular formations, not elite. These get a 75% integrity bonus.

Mobile Group Popov has 11 tank units currently.

As the scenario seems to use the same counters as Kursk for BiN, I'll probably make every German Panzer division elite. At this point, they would still be more than a match for regular Soviet formations. The majority of the Panzer divisions will end up with two 3 step Panzer battalions. Even if they had 3 battalions on paper, they would still be understrength. The 6th and 7th Panzer (fresh) and GD will have two 4 step Panzer battalions. In the case of GD this models quality and the increased Panzer strength compared to regular Panzer units. LSSAH and Totenkopf will also have two 4 step Panzer battalions. Das Reich will get an extra PzG regiment, as will Wiking. Das Reich and Wiking will have one 4 step Panzer regiment.

The strength of SS PzG units will be increased to model the fact that they generally had 3 battalions and more heavy weapons. Only one SS PzG regiment will be mechanized, the rest will be motorized.

The Soviets have about 53 tank units, excluding SU regiments. I'm not sure what the Wehrmacht will end up with yet.

German formations that have been removed from the scenario thus far: 15 Luftwaffe Feld (was at Taganrog), 111th Infanterie (was at Taganrog), 384 Infanterie (destroyed at Stalingrad), 5th Panzer (at Orel). The 27th loses a PzG regiment (only had one) and the 8th Luftwaffe Feld alert unit is gone too (the formation took heavy losses during Wintergewitter and would be at the southern tip of the front in any case). 4th Panzer is currently the only alert unit, it doesn't arrive on turn 30-ish as before, but is theoretically available as soon as the Soviets capture an alert hex. The remnant units of the Hungarian 2nd Army now appear at Kharkov at the end of the week (time spend refitting) and are regulars, these units are essentially supposed to be a mix of Hungarians and the Germans that fought alongside the 2nd Hungarian Army.

The Axis get 2 Kampfgruppes at the edge of the map in March. These represent the many remnant units that found their way to the area, as well as the infantry divisions moving to Kharkov from France.

More changes will follow.
Last edited by Abwehr on Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Noakesy » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:34 am

Wow, lots of work Abwehr, seems like it will be a while before we test this one again. :D :wink: Good luck, I think it's turning into a great scenario.
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Postby flick » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:28 am

So if I wanted to download this, I should wait for the update?

Do I have to download the fixes in order?

Are the fixes spread around this board? Or in one place?
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Postby Abwehr » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:47 am

Sorry for the delay in replying flick, only just noticed that there was a new post.

If you want to play an updated version of the scenario, I suggest you wait until I finish the next update, which is finally almost done and will be finished later today or tomorrow.

If you download the latest update, you don't need to download any other version.
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Postby Abwehr » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:51 am

After yet another evening spend in the company of the BiI editor, the new version's ready. After a month or so I finally found the time to spend the hours needed to complete this new version.

As I've added quite a few units and changed a number of other units, there might still be some errors. Please notify me if you find any.

Link: http://rapidshare.com/files/358283635/Kharkov.7z.html

IMPORTANT HOUSERULE: Units belonging to divisions with more than 4 units should always be in the divisional radius, even though the game will still give units outside the radius the divisional integrity bonus as long as 4 units are in it. This is to prevent gamey behaviour where part of a division could theoretically be on the other side of the map and still get the bonus.

Changes:

-Very significant overhaul of OP's, almost every unit can move a lot further now. Extended movement is the same as the regular movement capability, to model that extended movement basically indicates a day spend moving rather than fighting or doing something else. Now you can truly appreciate the difference between slow Rifle/Infanterie units and the motorized/mechanized/armoured forces. For motorized forces, the increased OP's mostly mean that they can go a lot further on roads, the steppe CRT's will make sure they don't zip across the steppes as easily as tracked units.

-Some terrain tile changes, I noticed some hills and wooded hexes on the map were not actually hill or wooded hexes as a terrain tile.

-Hidden bonuses added.

-German divisions now get a Pionier battalion. The 1st PzG regiment of divisions already composed of 6 units can repair bridges as an abstraction of the pioneer battalion, as well as receiving a slightly higher combat value.

-German divisional artillery added for all divisions. The Hungarians get a +2 shift artillery unit with an army designation to indicate that the single unit is all that's left of the Hungarian Second Army's artillery.

-Panzer regiments now split up into two battalions, mostly 3 step. They're less deadly than a 4 step regiment alone, but a lot deadlier when attacking together.

-Some variety added to unit strengths, generally the second German battalion will be weaker than the first to model the variety of tanks in a tank regiment. Soviet Tank brigades strengths are also more varied. LSSAH and GD have a stronger first Panzer battalion to model the presence of a company of Tigers in those units.

-Bridging capabilities removed from most Soviet brigades, but Soviet engineers are motorized and the greater movement ranges should counter the decrease in bridging capabilities.

-Spotting ranges tuned down. I forgot to set the German recon back to 3 hexes after increasing the hex visibility distance in the last update, so they were still at 5 and had a very impressive spotting distance. Now the spotting distance is less impressive, but it's still good. Soviet recon units get a +2 spotting bonus.

-I've decided to abstract the reinforcements coming in by train for the Germans in March into replacements.

-Pickets along the front near a Panzer division are not manned, they represent a screening force rather than actual fortifications. That means all Panzer divisions can move and act on turn 1, which should in turn stop the Soviet player from getting a too early start with the Guards in the center. The Guards can take care of themselves, but the Soviets will need to pick a location along the line to advance on rather than trying to advance everywhere at once. As soon as Mobile Group Popov arrives, the Germans will need to get out of the area.

-Pickets near infantry formations are generally near locations that have recently been fought over and are all manned. They represent actual light fieldworks.

-The Soviet player should keep in mind that Mobile Group Popov is woefully understrength in terms of tanks compared to how many Tank Corps it consists of on paper. Many "Tank brigades" don't have any tanks and are thus represented by a motorized Rifle battalion rather than tanks.

-I've transformed every Guard Motorized unit belonging to a Guards Tank Brigade or Guards Tank Corps into a Guards Mechanized unit for balance reasons. Many didn't have halftracks, but most are only battalion size so the "mechanized" also represents them riding on tanks. Even with improved OP's, they wouldn't be getting anywhere fast with wheeled movement across the steppes and German minefields, tracked movement at least gives them a chance. The Guards Motorized Division still uses trucks.

-I've switched the majority of the Guards icons to the winter camo variant because it suits the time period better and looks better in general.

-I've added some support units for Mobile Group Popov.

-The Soviet player should be aware that 4th Guards Tank Corps receives reinforcements (two battalions/a tank brigade) in Lisichansk on turn 10. I've put the reinforcement hex there because otherwise the units would have to spend a turn or two moving to the front from the map edge.

-The Germans get replacements instead of alert units when certain locations are captured, there are no alert units. What you get is all there is.

-The two step Axis AT units are gone.

Edit: Addendum.

-Artillery ranges have been reconfigured/reduced to match the map's scale. In case anyone's fearing that the dozens of new German artillery units will seriously unbalance the game: they're all 1 shift with a range of 5, they can't cover 10 or 12 hexes.

-Timed step delay has been reduced to 2 turns for most German units, 2 turns for Soviet motorized units and 3 turns for Soviet Tank/SU/mechanized units. This should make it easier for the Soviets and the Germans to keep up the pace, and will also mean out they theoretically run out of timed steps sooner, which is historical.

-I've tried to give most German units their historical name in German. Unless it didn't fit, names are generally spelled out in full, I was getting a bit tired of all those abbreviations. In case there was an Umlaut in the unit name (which the engine probably doesn't support), I've added an e after the letter with the Umlaut, as per standard German grammar.

I'd say the increase in German combat units has been compensated for by the removal of a number of divisions, as well as splitting Soviet Tank brigades up and giving them a divisional integrity bonus.

Mobile Group Popov might seem weak, but it's still packing a punch, albeit mostly in the concentration of units and the many motorized Rifle units. The previous Mobile Group Popov as one big Guards formation was pure fantasy. The current Soviet OOB is of course also not entirely correct probably, I have little means to check it, but the designer of the scenario seems to have focussed mostly on the Soviets so I'm guessing most of it is fairly accurate.

Aside from arrival dates possibly being wrong (I can't get a much more specific arrival than the month they got there) and their location being wrong, the German OOB should be almost entirely accurate. Even if the units were not where they start on the map, they were in the battle.
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Postby Abwehr » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:22 pm

New link/hotfix added, OP's for half the German artillery was incorrect and some other minor issues were fixed.

Another suggested houserule: don't rush GD into the Soviet assembly area. It's likely to kill GD and is pretty suicidal, but it might be tempting now that GD can move/attack on turn 1.

A change I forgot to mention previously: Wiking's artillery now arrives with Wiking, instead of a month after the rest of Wiking arrives...
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Postby flick » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:50 am

I've downloaded the rapidshare file, what files get extracted to which folder in my BII folder?

Is that the complete game or do I need to download the main game from the site and then add the rapishare files?

*edit*

I already have the kharkov scenario, and I extracted the rapidshare file into the kharkov folder, is that right?
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Postby flick » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:07 am

Cool, the updates worked.

Are germans tactics for this scenario along the lines of 'fight for a couple of turns, retreat a bit, then fight for a couple more?'
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Postby Abwehr » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:02 am

The main challenge for the Germans is that their quality forces arrive at the opposite ends of the map of the Soviet quality forces.

Initially, Panzer formations will come in from the at the time quiet part of the line between the Sea of Azov and Voroshilovgrad. Those reinforcements stop as soon as the Soviet offensive in that area kicks in.

Saying the German line is thin at the start of the scenario would still be optimistic. There are huge holes and you can't possibly hold out east of the first major river. Luckily for the Germans, the Soviet forces north of Voroshilovgrad are lacking firepower and are basically a collection of Rifle divisions with some armoured and cavalry support. It's unlikely that the Soviets will take Stalino or any of the other objectives, they might take Voroshilovgrad if they put the focus there and keep using carpetbombing strikes.

You start with 2 Panzer divisions facing Mobile Group Popov. The preferable tactic would be stalling Popov's group. There are too many units to stop. Plan for your first counteroffensive around turn 15-20, the Luftwaffe will make its first reappearance in force around that time.

The main threat is Voronezh Front, which has tons of quality tank formations and generally outnumbers you about 10-1. I'd suggest moving Grossdeutschland to Valiuki to hold it until you get replacements when the Soviets take it. The infantry formations in the area should move to Zakharovka. You can either evacuate West across the regular bridge and over the minor road south of Zakharovka or have some engineers bridge the major river along the railroad line so you end up on the major road to Kupyanks. I'd also suggest sending a single unit, say, a FlaK battalion to the minor road north of Pankov to blow up (from the western bank) the 4 or 5 bridges (depending on where you want to hold out) between Pankov and Nikhailovka. That should make it more or less impossible for the Soviets to quickly advance to Belgorod.

Generally speaking, holding a diagonal line from Kupyansk to Shebekino will force Voronezh front to fight in difficult terrain along minor roads with resulting supply difficulties. Also keep in mind that units are more important than VP's from the towns and villages east of the first major river. Try to hold the VH's that give the Soviets reinforcements until they don't, but don't sacrifice units to do so.

If you leave your infantry formations out in the open, they will die. The Germans get trucks to move a division around each turn (5 trucks, so the divisional artillery or one of the other units will have to wait) for the first 10 turns and in the good weather days of the next 10 turns. After that, truck movement becomes a rarity until the SS shows up with various other formations and the historical counteroffensive starts.

Theoretically, Grossdeutschland is a motorized infantry division, but in practice it packs more punch than the average Panzer division, just like the SS PzG divisions pack more punch than regular Panzer divisions.

The Luftwaffe is still reorganizing after the withdrawal from the Caucasus/the road to Stalingrad, but will be back in strength at the end of February (turns 20-30). The Germans get a number of hard hitting carpetbombing attacks, mostly at the end of the scenario. They autohit twice. Air support in the last dozen or so turns is very generous in any case, but by that point the battle has probably been decided.

Keep your infantry formations behind a screen of tank units or in good defensive terrain and use motorized units for breakthroughs and/or plugging gaps.

The odds are against the Germans at the start, but as long as you don't lose whole units, you should be fine in the end, most of the quality Panzer formations on the Eastern Front are coming and several good SS divisions are inbound from France (Wiking starts on the southern tip of the Eastern Front, where it has been a fire brigade for weeks and will arrive after 4/5 days).
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