Across the Dnepr Second Edition AAR

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Across the Dnepr Second Edition AAR

Postby Chris Merchant » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:31 pm

Last edited by Chris Merchant on Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Doggie3 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:02 pm

Thanks for the AAR...I like that it's still in the balance at the half way point.

Is a 3:1 ratio unacceptably bloody for the Germans, or is that about what the German player can expect given the particular strategy adopted by General Keating (eg frontal assaults on Orsha and blasting through Mogilev) and no great envelopments of Soviet forces due to the withdrawl tactics of General Alston?

Cheers,
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Postby Gregor Whiley » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:47 pm

Doggie3 wrote:Thanks for the AAR...I like that it's still in the balance at the half way point.

Is a 3:1 ratio unacceptably bloody for the Germans, or is that about what the German player can expect given the particular strategy adopted by General Keating (eg frontal assaults on Orsha and blasting through Mogilev) and no great envelopments of Soviet forces due to the withdrawl tactics of General Alston?

Cheers,


The very best players, of which General Alston is assuredly one, are able to force you attack exactly where you don't wish to, because they have made all the alternatives even worse. It's a bit like arguing with your wife, you sort of know you shouldn't, but the alternative is abject surrender.

I still remember playing the Korsun Pocket boardgame, with a friend, as the Russians, against Ian Trout as the Germans. Everywhere a sensible man would wish to attack, Ian had placed these bloody Stugs, which were the best defensive unit in the game. In a way, a very costly way, it tended to validate your choice of attack locations.

General Keating complained constantly about General Alston's counter attacks, but felt that they were the price he had to pay to make acceptable progress.

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Postby Abwehr » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:07 pm

We will each develop our own style, I guess. I think Alston seems to have managed to make a capable defense until now, but I would've done some things differently, just like other people would've tried different German tactics.

For starters, I don't place any armoured or motorized units in a line unless I have to, they're usually at least 1 hex away from the front. If those units are placed at the front, enemy ZOC will reduce quite a bit of their mobile advantage, which is also why I'm not a big fan of creating a double layer defense with 1 unit behind the main frontline: that unit could probably do a lot more when it's at the frontline, and a detachment or two combined with the ZOC and the presumed increased maximum OP penalty total should mean that the Germans will have a hard time getting through in any case. Even if they get through, they will have elements of a single Panzer division facing Soviet motorized/armoured reserves and that can quickly end ugly for the Germans.

It's also a bit odd that the recon capabilities of the Germans seem to be fairly minimalistic, as units entrenched (I'm assuming that gives a -1 hex visibility penalty to the enemy) in the second line on clear terrain (I'm assuming that has no effect on visibility) are not visible.

I also guess a lot of the earlier turns will depend on how lucky the Soviet player gets with refit rolls (as in: how long the initial line will hold), but the sheer amount of Soviet forces and thus the numerous combat rolls should balance the refit rolls in the end due to the variable casualties.

All in all, I can't wait to play ATD2 or Husky 2.
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Postby Tempest » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:48 am

You have a good point in striving to keep Soviet mech forces out of the front line to preserve their movement for counterattacks, but I relegated it to an "all else being equal" consideration. Much more often than not, their steps/defense strength are needed in the front line to creat a viable defense, but using them for your second line units works for a counterattacking reserve..

I'm convinced the double defense line approach is the optimum general Soviet strategy from consistent examples dished out by Roger against only a single line. The Axis (particularly with its 2 a turn Panzer shock special attacks) would attack a stack and force a retreat, then hit the (now reduced) retreated units with arty/air (often killing them outright or stripping away their AT capability), and then advance and deliver the coup de grace.

The dug in unit(s) in the second line make arty hits on the no longer dug in retreated units considerably less likely and gives a -1 shift to a pending combat. If bucked up with retreated units, the following Axis attack will likely be at attrition odds due to lack of hex access and tactical shifts.

I learned to have at least 2 steps in a second line hex in clear terrain, as a 1 step unit would often be spotted and rubbed out with arty.
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Postby Abwehr » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:23 am

Hmm, yeah, for defensive purposes a second line with entrenched units could be useful. That's a good point. I usually create lines in the DB series, but not in Kharkov if I can help it. Usually, if a stack can get through the first rank, it can get through the second rank because they're exposed to direct fire and possibly artillery. Depending on how good German artillery is and how much of it is "heavy", the second row defense might quickly lose its benefits when faced with a concentrated armoured breakthrough. I prefer a forest of detachments over a 2 row line.

Does the Panzer shock also add casualties for the Germans, or does it only have advantages? Do the Soviets get a "human wave" like ability?

By the way, the AAR mentioned that Soviet artillery didn't have proper (motorized) transport at this stage, but the Germans were using lots of horsedrawn artillery too. Is there a difference in OP's between German and Soviet horsedrawn units, and what are their OP's like in any case?
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Postby Roger Keating » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:09 am

Dave's defensive tactics are just about optimal in my opinion. We had played a number of games before this one so understood each others strengths and weaknesses, although playing Dave the word weakness is not one I can really use.

Dave is correct that to allow the Axis any access to the rear area is an invitation to disaster. It is an extemely easy thing for the Axis forces to pocket large number of Soviet units and in test games I have had up to 50 units in a large pocket, although these have not been against Dave.

Keeping forces adjacent to the Soviet front line is a necessary evil, even if they are panzer forces as you can't let the Soviet refit these guys. I would often leave large parts of the line vacant, hoping that Dave would leave forces in place or perhaps even advance them, but in the areas I wanted to advance in the lines were always adjacent.

I felt that Dave pulled his forces back a little to far in several spots but that is something that the Soviet commander is going to be presented with. It is a hard task to retreat in good order just as it is a hard task to keep the Axis HQ's up with the attacking forces. There is so much to think about in ATD that was never needed in Kharkov which is the reason that parts of the game system have been rewritten. Having penalties in the front line as high as 40 or 50 means that if your HQ's are not active then moving them is just not on. You have to keep your command radius active at all times if you want movement, this is for the Soviet and Axis players.

I will certainly be looking for comments coming in after the game is released. I really don't think either side is easy to play and the destructive ability of both sides can be very lethal. The Soviet cavalry can penetrate behind Axis lines and eliminate support and HQ units if you have committed all your main forces to attacks. The Axis forces simply can not be everywhere whereas the Soviet forces have units to waste, although if you can eliminate 30 per turn as the Axis then the second half of the game can turn in your favor very quickly.
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Postby Chris Merchant » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:39 am

Part 2 has now been posted; via the same link as above.
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Postby jjdenver » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:26 am

"Keeping forces adjacent to the Soviet front line is a necessary evil, even if they are panzer forces as you can't let the Soviet refit these guys."

I don't understand this - can someone comment further?

Thanks
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Postby Roger Keating » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:34 pm

There are 2 reasons for this. Units that have no enemy units adjacent to them can refit and possibly gain a step without using a replacement. They also replenish supply etc. Even though the Soviet replacement percent is usually 10% it means that if you have a large number of units there can be a good number of steps produced that the Axis will have to reduce.

Any unit in the front line will also excercise penalties on the enemy line that makes retreating more difficult. If the Soviet units can form behind rivers and drop detachments in carefully thought out places it can make the Axis players life very difficult. Any lowering on enemy movement helps and can in some cases cause breakthroughs.

In the AAR there were no breakthroughs for the Axis player but this was down to very good play on Dave's behalf. In other games I have broken the Soviet line and caused havoc as the Soviet player attempts to re establish a line further back.

Hope this helps.
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