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Subject: (Question) Strategy to cut Gibraltar OOS? rss

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Alberto Natta
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I am a noob at the game - and playing Matrix WiF.

In the first campaign being the Axis, I got lured by the chance to lock the Med (alas it's not going very well.).

Currently I am stuck at the lack of ability of taking Morocco reinforced by UK and Gibraltar (and Lisbon, surprise round failed badly and UK shipped in troops).

Currently playing with the Cruiser in Flames (so UK has plenty of CLs) and the requirement of the Convoys to pipeline for supply.
Surely both players have done mistakes - but conceptually the issue in my mind lingers there.

Suez is firmly in UK hands but the UK has no navy in the sector besides 1 sub and 1 cruiser of France (France has been conquered and has its homeland in Syria now).

Morocco was taken by Italy, but Italy lacked the shipping power to reinforce it and the UK forces in Tangier (yes I noobed there and DoWed Spain not being in position to seize Tangier on the move!) crushed the thin veil of Italian troops in Morocco, took back Morocco capitol and now Churchill is merrily shipping more forces in Morocco.

My mind was quite at ease there - thinking I could easily cut the supply by having air superiority over the seas. But that is not happening.
Even if on the paper Axis has more planes, the Brits simply have enough ships to take beatings, bleed a bit but endure. Turn, by turn.

With a HQ both in Morocco and Gibraltar (and Emergency Supply rule too), having in Gibraltar 1 field arty, Alexander and a 7-3 white print, ontop of possible defensive shore bombardment (not sure if that rule will be used in our next game) it looks pretty grim if we exclude total reliance on rolling good on a suicidal land attack (Playing with 2D10).

Any tips?
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BUILD out your long range fighters and NAVs, and clear out the two sea zones next to GIB. Keep attacking with GER inf, MAR and ART. If he strips England to protect GIB, then invade England, or pretend to. That will get his attention.

England can slow down the taking of GIB, but no way they should be able to stop the GER from taking it if GER controls Spain.
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Andrew
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Some suggestions:

You should target his supply by focusing your air in the 2 box of the sea zone west of Gibraltar. Use air missions to fly the fighters out, NAV will generally have the range to react there. You want as many Axis NAV as possible for this. With NAV + his CP, you will find 40% of the time. Any time he sends more ships in, you can attempt to activate combat, even on his turn.

You can also sail your submarines out (basing them from Brest, generally) either to hit him there, or to pound his CPs elsewhere if he has focused too heavily on defending that Sea Zone.

Target his HQ(s) in Morocco with ground strikes. If they're flipped, they can't provide emergency HQ supply. Also, Alexander cannot supply himself.

Ultimately your goal is going to be less about factors, and more about bonuses. If he is completely flipped, and you commit two PARA and a PARA div, that gives you a +7.5. HQ support from Rundstedt makes it a +9.5 (or +10 if you have Manstein) before odds are even considered. Ideally though you want to have it cut, because better odds gives better chances of not losing those expensive PARA.

Also, remember that part of the goal is to just bleed him dry. The CW doesn't have a lot to fight with at this point. Meanwhile, if he's fighting hard for Gibraltar, how defended is Egypt? You can consider launching an overland attack there.
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Bruce Jurin
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Welcome! Despite the difficulties you are facing, I'm hoping you are enjoying the game!

Every German player should know how to take Gibraltar. Don't worry every one of us made mistakes the first few times! But those first few times are so much FUN!

My recommended technique depends critically on which rules you are playing! Here we can focus on limited overseas supply, and 1 D 10 vs. 2 D 10.

If you are playing without limited overseas supply, and you are using light cruisers in flames, then it is very, very difficult to knock Gibraltar out of supply, the best you can do is keep pounding his surface navy - but this probably isn't worth the time and cost, you are better off hitting the USSR. The CW can keep getting ships there cheap and sooner or later you won’t find them. You will pound a lot of ships, but slowing down the German advance is worth it to the CW.
If however you are playing with limited overseas supply, taking Gibraltar is much easier.

LOS is probably the optional rule that changes the game strategy the most. The idea is to clear out the convoy point (or transport) in the 0 box. This is much easier; include them in the combat, abort the CP, and the CW units in Gibraltar are OOS. I probably wouldn’t try to take Gibraltar (relative to a 41 Barbarossa) if you are using regular supply and not LOS.

The main idea is that you aren't going to ‘permanently’ knock it out of supply – the trick is to get it out of supply at the end of the naval stage, and then ground strike them and attack quickly. For example, the Italians take a naval, flip a nav, and knock the convoy point out of the 0 box. Then Germany takes a land (or combined) and ground strikes Gibraltar and takes it. Consider using an o-chit, you may not get a lot of chances so make sure it works.

I agree with Andrew, the idea is usually to control the 2 box. Note that the ME 110’s, often maligned in real life, are useful here (and may have been more useful in RL if they had this kind of campaign).

Make sure Italy buys those Nav’s and even some of its LND 3’s, they really can be important here both for their power and for the impulse choice. For Germany, again I agree with Andrew, those NAV’s are important both for Gibraltar and then for the further operations, the Condors in particular can be nasty.

As you are learning (and you are learning FAST!) the Gibraltar campaign is also a North Africa campaign and while Germany concentrates on the war in Spain and Portugal you also have to try to clear North Africa and get to Algeria and Morocco. For all the powers, how much you commit to Africa relative to the front in France/Spain is a tough decision even for grognards. Lots of fun for all players! Don’t worry as much about taking Egypt and Suez, there will be time for that later – get Gibraltar.

If you play with 2 D 10, the key is to get the modifiers you need as Andrew said above. If you play with 1 D 10, it is more of a series of crap shots, the key is to attack even at 1:1, if you roll a 10 you take anything any time – in good weather you can get a series of attacks. Even if you don’t roll a 10, you use HQ to keep re-rolling. Make sure you have mil or div’s for the inevitable losses. With 1 D 10, because you take anything if your roll a 10, you can take Gibraltar with constant pressure even if you don’t knock it out of supply, but this can be very risky.

Just as the supply war is critical, in this space so can the reinforcement war, if the CW takes a loss, they are going to try to reinforce.

However, regardless of playing 1 D 10 or 2 D 10, the key is to knock the defenders out of supply and get lots of LBA or artillery to flip the defenders. As Andrew said, this is especially true if there is an HQ defending, it keeps it from providing emergency HQ support. If there is a supply unit, it is critical to flip it!


Lets also talk about CW strategy. Some CW players like to take Portugal early to help create a base if/when Germany goes into Spain. (Note that if the CW does this, they aren’t doing some other things, so this strategy is less useful if Germany does a 41 Barbarossa).

If fighting gets heavy at sea, the CW should consider using a transport for supply; they don’t give the +1 search bonus. Most people think transports are too valuable for this purpose, but keep it in mind (especially if you keep the crappy 3’s).

Clearly if Germany is heading for Gibraltar (and maybe England) it isn’t the time to build 4 engine bombers. Land units, LBA, transports are all important. Transports are especially important because they can be sunk reinforcing or reorganizing so having a few extra is great.

Also make sure that you have spare transports loaded. If you need to reinforce, try to send the transports in one at a time. If the first is intercepted, don’t fight through, just send a second also. If he has a 40% chance of intercepting one, he has only a 16% chance of intercepting both.

If say one defender is flipped but Germany doesn’t take Gibraltar, have a transport ready to reorganize the flipped unit (unfortunately won’t work on an HQ). (This is tricky though, you want your transport at sea and reorg on a land, etc.)

Your CW player has it right – defend Morocco, have Alexander and a 7-3 white print, and artillery is a good defense, and ready to use emergency HQ supply.

But at the end of the day, the key here is air/naval control over the Bay of Biscay. 

But a key point I want to make is that those optional rules impact strategy. All of the following can have some real importance:

Good for taking Gibraltar

HQ support
Fractional Odds
Planes in Flames
Limited overseas supply
Offensive chits or opoints
If you play with LOS, 2 D 10
Engineers (Especially with 2 D 10)
Bounce combat
SCS transport

Bad for taking Gibraltar
Amphibs
Defensive shore bombardment
Emergency HQ support
Variable reorg
Cruisers in Flames
Supply units
Fortifications
Twin engine fighters
Light Cruisers in Flames

Not sure

Divisions/artillery – clearly engineers help the attack, supply units can help the CW. General divisions though help both sides, the Axis for invasions, a third unit, but also an extra defender. Artillery is similar

SiF – I haven’t played without SiF for so long I can’t even fathom what would happen. I doubt you can really play without SiF and play with LoS

Alternate Vichy – I only play with the WiFFE Vichy, I’m sure this has an impact, oher people can tell better than I can.

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Alberto Natta
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I believe I am missing quite a few rules here ...

How come Paras gives such massive bonus? I've a Para with a Ju-52 in Melilla in Spanish Morocco ready in fact. I'd get a +2 per each "big" unit due to disruption, and a +1 due to the division present (artillery). I'd get an extra +2 out of Rundstedt or Von Bock for HQ support. So the Airborne invasion would neat me an extra bonus, or that derivates from the possibility to include the notional unit?
Sadly the Italian Marine Corp was destroyed in an attempt to land in Haifa, after having succesfully added to its records the landing in Barcellona and Cyprus.

I saw Engineer mentioned. UK has -not- built a fortification to protect Gibraltar; I thought the ENG units give a bonus only vs Factory Cities and eventually negates the river penalty. What am I missing here?

Does MNT units have any advantage attacking mountain hexes even?

Yes - we're playing with Limited Oversea Supply (UK needs Convoys there to keep Gibraltar supplied), and Convoy in Flames.
Sadly Matrix WiF has not all the optional rules coded yet, so for example the non oil requiring units in Gibraltar will automatically reorganize at the end of a turn no matter what.

Also - can Artillery attack across a Sea-Hexide or can only bombard?
Is it worth to take Tangiers to attack with non-Marine units across a strait? (Given there are 2 UK corps sitting there doubling up their defence and thus going for 24 total. Italians are readying waves of Territorials to try to whittle down the defenders in suicidal attacks after trying to flip them with bombers.)

And currently the artillery fire (There are a total of 3 guns in the N-E Hex of Gibraltar) has flipped all the defenders for this Turn.

The issue is that the UK has like 15 Convoys in the Sea and 50ish naval units total (which provide massive AA).
They've got cover from 2 RAF elements (which can be nailed down eventually as Luftwaffe has more fighters in the air) but the Me109 are all in the 1 box and the HE-1xx are in the 2 Box along an Italian fighter. The NAVS are in the 3 or 4 box (2 Condors, 1 HE 115, 1 Sparviero and 1 Gabbiano - alas the other Sparviero was gunned down by AA).

Navy wise, there is -everything- at avail there, which includes all the surface starting KM and Italo-German subs, all based in Cadis in Spain now. (I screwed up and opted to upgrade Scharnorst and Gnaisenau so ... they're sitting in the Construction Pool. Realized too late I lacked the PPs to upgrade them!).
That also serves as Shore Bombing - although the UK has far more defensive Shore Bombing capability.

So I'd need a sheer amount of luck to find the Brits properly, engage only the 0 Box, and keep pounding the convoys. And ontop of that, as there are RAF planes in air cover, unless I roll low enough to include my own fighters, the NAVs on their own will be butchered by the Spitfire and Hurricane and Chirri flying over the convoys. Thus if I find only with the NAVs I am forced to pick the big "AA" fleet there that is parked just in the hope to find KM and perform defensive Shore Bombing.

And on a note here - I'll ask as I believe I fail to understand, how exactly the rolls for the naval search work? I've tried to read the manual but it looks quite arab to me (and I tend to actually grasp well rules of most of the games I've done in tabletop terms).

In pratical example, the UK has a Blenheim - Land Bomber - in the 4 Section, a massive chunk of ships in the 3 Section, RAF fighters are flying air cover on the Convoys in the 0 box with a small escort of ships there (whittled it down already as all the "Allied" chosen hits in Naval-Air combat went to their CLs).
Axis has 3 NAVs and all the KM in the 4 Section (Both Condors and Gabbiano), 2 Navs (Sparviero and HE115) in 3 Section with some subs; some Italian subs in 2 section with 2 Stukas and the current Axis long range FTRs; 3 range FTRs are in 1 section and nothing in 0 section.

It looks much alike we're playing lottery there in the frothing waves of the seas.

The Allied player sort of screwed up in Morocco although, moving his Gort-HQ alone and in plains and even inland, east of Rabat. The Italians took a land action last impulse, and attacked with their mixed forces and 1 Mech that managed to Blitz to take Rabat back after the HQ got bombed, flipped and got only shattered (I favored to send it back in the Prod.Pool and seize the empty Rabat than have it retreat in Rabat and get reinforced by closeby UK land units from either Tangier or Casablanca, and pratically be unbeatable due to the shore bombing.

Control over Bay of Biscay, that is too north for Gibraltar, although I evaluated ot place some subs next turn there just for the luck of the intercept chances (which doubles as the UK would need 2 Sea Zones crossed without interception for his TPs to reach the relevant docks).

Currently we're in Sept / Oct '41, Impulse #9, Barbarossa is eventually planned for Summer '42 but the Soviets have pratically fielded any non special ground unit or almost (like no Paras, no Marines, but almost all the rest is on the map.) so Axis looks to be on tight ropes to take Gibraltar in time or they won't have forces for Barbarossa and even the less Luftwaffe for.
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Alberto Natta
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Ah, there is something I missed.
To have units in the 0 box gives a +1 to the Search.
The NAV gives another +1, therefore Axis has a total of +2, meaning with 6 I find with the 4 Box, and with 3 I'd find with the 1 Box too.

And just doublechecking the Surprise thing, if something is found in the example above, if Axis finds the opponent, the Axis adds 4 (because has units in the 4 box) + the Allied player roll.
Let us assume that the Axis picks only the 0 box as target, the Allies add to 0 the Axis dice roll. (though if the Axis wants to take on the Ships in the Box 3, the Allies add to Axis roll 3, to have their sum).

Then the Axis sum gets the Allied sum subtracted and that is the Surprise Bonus for the Axis?
Therefore the maximum surprise point achievable are 13 - or should I count a modified roll (as per the convoys in the 0 section and the NAV subtracts 2 from the roll and can push it in negative?)

The good thing of Matrix WiF is that most of the computing and rolls are automatic, done by the computer. For how it has bugs and some optionals are not coded yet.
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Bruce Jurin
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Sorry Alberto I don't have time now to answer all of your questions, but a few key points:

The engineers are important if the Allies build a fort, you probably shouldn't play with forts without engineers

If you plan on invading Gibralar don't lose your marine in the Middle East!

Note that you get a +1 to search for each 10 CP's or part, so if they have 5 in a sea zone, you get a +2; but this benefit doesn't help interception.

(11.5.5)

Subtract 1 from your search roll for every 10 enemy convoy points (or part) in the sea area. This modifier does not apply to interception attempts, port attacks or during storm or blizzard. This modifier does apply after the first round of an interception combat.


As far as surprise poitns work, the critical rule to remember is that you add your opponents UNMODIFIED search roll to your MODIFIED search number in the highest section used.

11.5.6

You get surprise points equal to:
ï the modified search number in the highest section of the sea-box that contains a unit you have included in the combat; and
ï your opponent’s unmodified search roll


The +1 for nav's in fine, rain, or snow modify the sea - box section, so it impacts surprise also:

8.2.4 Naval Search Numbers

The weather can affect the chances of finding and surprising naval forces at sea. It does this by altering the search numbers in each sea-box section during port attacks (see 11.2), naval searches (see 11.5.5) and interceptions (see 11.4.6).
Add 1 to the sea-box section’s search number if both:
ï the weather in the sea area is fine, rain or snow; and
ï the section contains one of your side’s NAVs or carrier planes (CVPiF/SiF option 56: the carrier plane must be on a CV ~ see 14.4.1 and, if playing with SiF option 27, subject to carrier plane ranges ~ see 11.5.5).


The benefit from enemy convoys impacts (modifies) your search roll so therefore does not impact surprise points.

Note that if you find the enemy and they don't find you, you can include the units ont he 0 box only and therefore their surprise points only include the search box value fromt he 0 box.

If you have a nav in the 4 box in good weather and roll a 0 and the enemy has units in the 0 box and roll a 10 you would have 15 surprise points. You add the 4 search number and the +1 modifier for the nav to the 10 rolled by the oppoennt for 15 surprise points. If the enemy has the 0 box only and your rolled a 0, he has 0 surprise points so you subtract his 0 from your 15.



So you can really pound those convoys. However, if the CW gets fighter superiority in the sea zone, it is very tough. But if you get fighter control, even with AA and a bunch of units, the idea is to get surprise and if he has that many targets you can really cause a lot of damage. If he has tremendous AA you may need the surprise to reduce the AA impact.

Don't forget to send your subs out far and wide! If he has his entire fleet defending Gibraltar he has to be vulnerable elsewhere.

Field artillery uses normal combat modifiers if it attacks in a normal way but uses full strength if bombarding, even across hexes which it can't attack normally:

An artillery unit bombards an adjacent hex as if its printed combat factor were an aircraft’s tactical factor. So, it can execute a ground strike or a ground support (offensive or defensive) mission into that hex.


and


ART units that bombard across all-sea, river, canal, fortification or straits hexsides do not halve or third their factors. They can’t bombard across alpine hexsides. If they take part in normal combat, they are halved or thirded as usual by such terrain.



MTN units can attack across alpine hexes at half strength.

Sorry got to go!

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Alberto Natta
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I just realized now that the NAV modifies the BOX only and not the roll - so to place a NAV in the 1 Box technically brings the Axis FTRs to "2" box wise ... meanwhile presence of Convoys lowers down the roll only for search.

I am getting there now (and have gone review the rules too. - And did not helped at all that the Matrix WiF were wrongly linked).

Not sure if we will restart the game due to massive "idiocies" having been done by both sides but surely it has been a good learning session.
Italy has a whole army sitting in Albania for a "planned" attack to Greece (2 mots, 1 inf and 1 inf div) that never happened. And Italy is now lacking the TPS to ship those troops off Albania! (Which instead could have led a successfull campaign in Egypt against Wavell and the starting territorials).
UK has produced strat bombers and only the turn before got the first NAVs - as the player did not realized how important they were in the sea (and he spent quite an amount of time complaining at how a single Italian Gabbiano was nailing down french ships when he had the whole French Armada out in the sea and getting through its AA).
Although, we have not experienced a Barbarossa and a Pacific War which could be things holding us in this game still to test out stuff.

The Airborne and AIR-TPs aspect is something we are still to learn well, and the how to. Germans seized Malta, but the AIR-TP needed to be at 2 hexes of distance (could be a bug?) to launch the airdrop of the PARA, and at times the computer asks for "Air-TP" actions which we do not understand (we know of the reorganization they can do, like transporting supplies).
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Don't sweat mistakes, even major ones. Just keep playing. This is an epic game, so there is a lot to learn. Trust me. I played for 10 years before I realized that there were some rules I got wrong!

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Alberto Natta
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Well actually we started over - spent today session in deploying again (and I think my bud is deploying Poland very poorly but still!).

The Naval Combat was interpretated wrongly up to today and both of us quite suffered from it.
And I was playing quite suicidal with Germany so that I felt it terribly weak and unable to even do Barbarossa (so have to play more ... safe in France and Spain).
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