TAO5 AAR Abwehr vs JSS

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TAO5 AAR Abwehr vs JSS

Postby Abwehr » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:14 am

This will hopefully be an interesting game.

I will initially fall back, only delaying the Axis in sectors where it matters. I'd rather give him a few extra points than sacrifice units or place units in objectives that, over time, don't really matter much. I'm not worried about Axis alert units.

There are some good alert units, but he will get a fair amount of alert points more or less by default, so the difference between a strategy where I try to hold as many objectives as possible initially compared to a strategy where I allow him to capture a couple of extra objectives initially shouldn't be all that significant in the long term.

Force preservation of regular and elite regiments is the main strategy. I'm willing to sacrifice substandard regiments and some independent units if necessary, but preferably not too many.
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Postby Abwehr » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:18 am

Some unconventional moves during turn 1. I could've tried to rescue another artillery unit near St Vith, but had already used the artillery interdiction before realizing it might've been able to escape with extended movement. Most of the artillery in the area is toast anyway unless you want to risk infantry regiments.

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In the south, I've fallen back a bit, protecting the roads.

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Postby Abwehr » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:06 am

The roadblock near St Vith was surprisingly effective.

JSS e-mailed that removing the strongpoints at the edge of the map usually works less well than hoped for, but I plan to pull back in the north and south anyway, so I don't think it will have a major impact initially. It widens his front and mine, but in the end that favours me.

The situation in the north.

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The situation in the south.

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The situation at the map edge in the south. I'll pull back next turn.

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Postby Abwehr » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:39 pm

I'll update the AAR soon. JSS is going to win by a very broad margin because counterattacking turned out to be more or less impossible, as getting retreat odds isn't really on the menu due to the small amount of good Allied artillery.

So, contrary to what I expected, the CRT's are hurting me a lot more than they hurt JSS.
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Postby Noakesy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:16 pm

Abwehr wrote:I'll update the AAR soon. JSS is going to win by a very broad margin because counterattacking turned out to be more or less impossible, as getting retreat odds isn't really on the menu due to the small amount of good Allied artillery.

So, contrary to what I expected, the CRT's are hurting me a lot more than they hurt JSS.


I think he's also quite a good player Abwehr :wink: :D
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Postby Abwehr » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:08 pm

Certainly, his defense is very solid as well. We've had a number of discussions over e-mail about what the possible causes for the stalemate could be, and we'll discuss it further in our AAR's, but it being simply impossible to get 10:1 odds on the vast majority of the frontline is just as much due tot he weakness the Allies have in shifts than his defense.

If I attack with about 3 divisions, from three hexsides, and even with artillery the best odds I can get are about 8:1, I'm not really going to get anywhere. Not to mention that a single 1 or 2 roll will shut down the offensive in an entire area.

Grinding is working well thus far, but the scenario/the Allied offensive phase is too short for it to be truly effective.

I just have a natural dislike for scenarios where the CRT's for even a common terrain type are so difficult that you can't even get 2:1 odds when you attack a regiment+battalion with about three divisions.

It's one of the main things that sometimes annoys me about the DB series: you can add an artillery battalion or possible a regiment of 12 to 48 guns and you suddenly get better odds, even though the division you're using to attack with has about 48 artillery guns of its own that are not represented.
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Postby YappyRaccoon » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:14 pm

So you stopped playing this game?
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Postby Abwehr » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:44 am

More or less, yes, the small number of Allied artillery units relative to the difficult CRT's meant the game ended up being somewhat of a stalemate after the German advance was halted. JSS was scheduled to win big time, as my force preservation strategy didn't yield much of a benefit as counterattacks got stuck on the retreat chance being unlikely to impossible.

Scenarios with difficult CRT's can quickly turn into stalemates after the defender gets reinforcements. The tournament "St Vith" games earlier this year were also pretty much a stalemate after the opening turns. The problem can also appear in operation Konrad.
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Postby YappyRaccoon » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:31 am

Konrad? You mean with the new Kharkov engine? That is surprising considering the high casualty rate with that game. I've only played it once but it was a massacre for both sides and quite fun.

I think the ultimate stalemate is Cassino (I think it's called Operation Shingle) with BII.
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Postby Abwehr » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:04 pm

Yes, casualty rates in Kharkov/ATD2 are high, but mostly on clear terrain and when the attacker/defender are not dug in. The difficult terrain CRT's are just as bad for the attacker as in other games, if not worse.

In the game of Konrad that I played against Pete AU, I nearly wiped the Axis off the map, but in the tournament game against mario vallee, I quickly got stuck on difficult terrain hexes as the Soviets.
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Postby Abwehr » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:35 pm

As a more detailed reply:

Casualties for unentrenched defenders in clear terrain are often high, in any SSG game, and very high in Battlefront or Kharkov. The reasons for that are pretty simple: artillery and air strikes are likely to hit, units get direct fire rolls and casualties in the clear CRT are high to begin with.

Then we move to dug in defenders in difficult terrain CRT's, and we are suddenly faced with very low casualties and a minimal chance of forcing a retreat. That problem is actually worse in Kharkov than in earlier games because combat is, to a significant extent, about shifts.

Even though you can theoretically cause casualties with artillery and air strikes and thus sort of work around the limitations imposed on you as the attacker when attacking difficult terrain hexes, the chances of doing so against entrenched defenders with an AA unit around are low.

In Kharkov/ATD2, there are far fewer ways to get a shift bonus than in earlier games. Artillery units have their own dice rolls now, and are thus by default far less effective against entrenched units than their counterparts in the Decisive Battles series games. Air strikes also have their own dice rolls, the barrage power is gone and the artillery bonus has sort of been replaced by an initial dice roll bonus for artillery in some scenarios, like the stock Kharkov scenario.

That means you mostly get shifts from attacking from numerous hexsides, using a general or special power and using elite units. However, you still won't get good odds using just combat units because the defenders often get a (very) significant increase in defensive strength when entrenched and you often can't attack units from more than 2 or 3 hexsides to begin with.

I still don't really understand why scenario designers sometimes give a large bonus to defensive strength AND a 1 or 2 shift bonus when entrenching, especially in scenarios where the artillery of the attacker isn't all that good (like in TAO for the Allies). That can lead to situations where, because they give a guaranteed shift, an artillery battalion of some 12 to 16 guns has a greater effect on combat than most or all of a division, divisional artillery being "abstracted" in the DB series/it isn't really represented. A couple of extra offensive strength points don't compensate 1-3 artillery shifts that you could otherwise get.

So, in Kharkov like in the DB series, odds quickly become 1.5:1 to 4:1 or so at most when just attacking with regular units, which means removing a defender from a difficult terrain hex is often very difficult. The special ability that some scenarios offer is nice, but you usually only get 1 of those per turn, if that.
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