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Subject: Opening possibilities final analysis. ( 3-39 mostly Axis point of view ) rss

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juerg haeberli
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This analysis assumes a flexible central set up for the key Axis units. ( Tanks, Guderian, Me109 and 4d2's )
Furthermore it assumes that Chamagne has max. defense.

Axis cards:
You always should open with a 2 CP card.
If you dont have one use the 1 CP card.

Reasoning:
Nothing can stop the Axis Western attack better than loosing the initiative in 4-40.

Allied cards:
Always open with the lowest CP card.

Axis possibilities:
If the Allies open with the 1 CP card you should always go all out West.
You can either go Holland Belgium or Belgium Champagne if you like to gamble.
The advantage is that you can use the Graf Spee in Belgium without the risk of loosing it since the Allies can only intervene in Belgium or attack the sub in the North Sea to cut Graf Spees retreat route.

If the Allies show a 2 CP card it depends on your cards.
If you have one of the 2 Blitzkrieg cards you probabely should go all out West.

a) Holland Belgium
The attack against Belgium gives an avarage chance uf around 3.16 hits during the first combat round which makes Allied intervention dicey but there is still the possibility that you dont take Belgium if the Allies intervene with 4d2,2d1 and spitfires even if it is a gamblers move which in around 50% of the cases should lead to an early fall of France.

b) Belgium Champagne
Defenitely cuts down the probability of Allied intervention in Belgium but the battle in strongly defended Champagne can be costly and with average luck Champagne can hold.

If you dont have a Blitzkrieg card you should probabely go Warsaw Holland since the odds for the all out West attack are now against you.

Should you have the 3 CP card as your second card you could think about going Warsaw Denmark ( attacking Denmark with 4d2, Paras and Guderian ). This wozld open the possibility of an invasion of Norway for 4-40.
Dont forget to put the sub in the Skagerak.
This possibility has not been tested and since German units in Norway seem to need sea supply and you would later need 2 SR's to get the Paras and Guderian back the possibility seems rather esoteric.

Should the Allies show the 3 CP card they just made a mistake. Make the best of it.
Since they have the initiative an attack against Belgium can be done without interference so you could maybe take Belgium and Waesaw.

These simple opening guide lines should give the Axis the best possible chance for a good start into the war.
You will probabely need it.
May the godess of the dice always smile on you.
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Mark Kwasny
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I have found Scandinavia to be of highest importance to Germany. It is relatively easy for the Allies to get Norway diplomatically while Germany is busy rolling for its Balkan Allies. Finland is critical as well. If Germany starts without the 1CP card, an opening into Warsaw and Denmark (using infantry, AB, and an air but I would leave the leader in Poland), with the entire German navy in (or protecting the zones approaching) the Skaggerrak, can lead to useful possibilities for an invasion of Norway in 4-39. That also means only the AB will have to SR back to Germany. Germany should be able to maintain a sea LOS to Norway.
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juerg haeberli
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Maintain a sea LOS for how long ?
The problem with Norway is twofold.

1)
You need to keep the Skagerak free of Allied naval units for the LOS. (assuming the North Sea is covered.)
You should be able to do that during the years 39 to maybe 41 but beginning with 42 this becomes very questionable.

2)
One unit is not enough to defend Norway against Allied invasion. So you need more units and so supply becomes even more important.......

All in all the necessity of sea supply makes it questionable if the Axis invasion of Norway is cost effective.

An alternative would be a house rule that would allow supply to Norway through Sweden but no SR.
I assume that would be pretty close to reality and similar to the deal the Axis had with Switzerland.

In the end I think France should be the top priority from the beginning. Nothing else comes close in importance during the opening.
 
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Matthew Taylor
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I don't generally think Norway is worth the commands required to take it as the Axis, but it is worth trying for Diplomatically early on. As the Axis I pretty much write off the Swedish ore.
 
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Mark Kwasny
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We came to a different conclusion from our games. We decided that Scandinavia is of prime importance, more important than an early fall of France, and more important than Italy too. The 2 resources (and later 3 with the one from Finland), are critical. Losing 4 resources a year from the start is a severe blow to Axis chances. Just as important, if those resources go to Britain or the USSR, it can be devastating. I have seen Great Britain with almost as much production as Germany in 1941. When that happens, Germany is in deep trouble. Securing those resources and the blocks from Finland are very important.
 
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Matthew Taylor
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Scandanavia is important, Norway and the Swedish ore not so much. I just don't think the Axis can spare the commands to fight over Norway if the Allies get it via diplomacy. The Allies are unlikely to invade Sweden, if they have the free commands to do so the Axis are doing something wrong.
 
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Mark Kwasny
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If the Allies get Norway by diplomacy, it will cost no commands to get the Swedish ore for the British. One Home Guard and the Norwegian piece (one in northern Norway and one in Oslo) declare war on Sweden. The Swedish unit has to stay in Stockholm, so the unit in northern Norway walks into the ore area unopposed.

Stopping the British in Norway pretty much requires an effort in 3-39 and 4-39. The Germans are not doing much else anyway. One command will deal with Poland, and France is not going anywhere, and it is not getting much stronger anyway. Yes the British can send more into France, but that is often good too,more Brits to eliminate. Barring a quick strike in 3-39 (which is not usually helpful for the Germans in my opinion), it is best to wait for Spring 1940 with stronger armor and the 3F infantry. And the campaign in France usually only requires 1, maybe 2 Commands in a turn. So what else is Germany doing with all of its commands? Fight in Norway, secure the ore, try hard to get Finland.
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juerg haeberli
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Very interesting point of view.

I myself think France should have top priority and attack it from beginning in 3-39 if the cards allow.
The main problem with attacking it later are the probable heavy losses to the Axis air force from the spitfires and its not that pleasant to attack 10d2 inf steps in Champagne with spitfire air cover.

Following your train of thought I assume you take Warsaw and Denmark during 3-39 and then attack Norway exclusively during 4-39. ( If the naval unit in the Skagerak survives )

During 1-40 you probabely take Holland and prepare the attack on France and Belgium.

2-40 you start your attack on France and Belgium and will take Paris hopefully during 3-40 or 4-40 at the latest.

Looks like a) you are late for Barbarossa ( which in our games almost never takes place in 41 anyway ) and b) you take probabely pretty high losses in France.
As compensation you have secured the Swedish ore for the winters 40/41 and maybe 42.

Now I am coming back to the problem of holding Norway against the Allies.
a) You need to protect the sea supply to Norway.
Not an easy task.

b) You have to keep the Allies out of Trondheim and Narvik.
A difficult task in 40/41, very difficult in 42 and almost impossible later on.

I personally think about a house rule that Axis units in Norway can be supplied through Sweden.
Seems pretty logical if the ore can pass on the way down and could make the Axis attack on Norway an interesting option which would be good for the game.
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Mark Kwasny
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I am not as worried about France, I guess. Its force pool is limited and cannot grow much stronger. Yes, Britain can send in infantry and Air cover. But if they send more than 1 of each, the Germans need to use their navy and especially subs to threaten England itself. England is at its most vulnerable on land when they are fighting for France. Meanwhile, Germany has a lot of units that will be of no use in France with its narrow front. Those units can hover on the North Sea Coast, keeping Britain on edge. But yes, the German will take losses, nothing you can do about that. And if the British have gone into Champagne, then Picardy and Metz become tempting targets. A 1-40 attack on Metz and the Maginot line can rattle the Allies nicely since that fortress is only 1F in the winter.

Norway has to be done skillfully. Yes, if I have the luxury of a couple 2CP cards, or even better a 2CP and 3CP, then Warsaw and Denmark are my preferred opening (contingent of course on what the Allies are doing). I would open with the 2CP hoping beyond hope that the Allies open with a 3CP (but they will only do so if they are careless in my opinion). The German navy is the key to Norway, as it is in some ways the key to the entire early German war effort. If the Allies go first in 3-39 they can occupy the Skaggerak, but then the entire strategy changes – attack the RN, use air cover, surround it with subs, go for broke. The British won’t make that mistake twice. At that point, perhaps go straight for England. But if Germany goes first, you can shield the Skaggerak if you want with naval units in the eastern areas of the North Sea. If possible in 4-39, as the Germans invade Norway, subs take their place in the eastern North Sea and Norwegian Seas to prevent the Allies from using SR to send units into Northern Norway. If Norway falls, then it will take an Allied invasion of German-controlled Norway to interfere, and that cannot happen in 1-40, so with probably no loss of steps, you will have at least saved 4 builds in that first winter, all for 2 commands which were not of any real use elsewhere anyway! (The 3rd command needed to take Denmark would happen at some time anyway so I do not consider that an expenditure related solely to taking Norway).

Holding Norway is not that difficult. Take Sweden if you have to. Again, you have more units and more commands in 1940-1941 than you need for France. Put them to use in Scandinavia. Yes, sooner or later, the Allies can threaten Norway. Let them – by 1941 you are hopefully eyeing the southern Russian resources anyway!

The campaign for France in 1940 can be a slugfest, but in general, the French fold like a house of cards without strong British help, and again that is where careful placement of AB, leaders, and naval units helps keep the British pinned at least a little in England. If Britain has kept most of her and the French ships to protect England, then you have prevented any nonsense in Italy and have given Italy a chance to enter and get set up before any Allied attack. But meanwhile, you have Norway, a +1 on rolls for Finland, and a flow of ore. That allows a slightly faster build program to prepare for the USSR.

We used to see the attack on the USSR in 3-41 or 4-41 on average. That means even if France takes into early 1941 (which it can if the German decides to go slowly and cautiously to avoid unnecessary losses), the USSR timetable should be unaffected.

Now, whether the Axis can crack the USSR is another whole discussion! But I know they can punish the Soviets and push them back 2-3 areas at least. Meanwhile, subs and bombers try to keep Britain scrambling to keep a flow of resources.
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Matthew Taylor
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If I understand your strategy you are explicitly playing for an Axis survival victory - hoping to hold out through 1945 rather than trying for a knock out. That is fine, but I think you underestimate the damage the Allies can do to the Axis so long as both France and the UK are in the fight. For example, if France is allowed to max out its force pool, or close to it, there is every incentive to burn French steps at every opportunity if they can take German steps with them. I have seen a France ignored for too long survive well into 1941 and the Soviets attacking in the East rather than waiting for the Axis to initiate war.
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Mark Kwasny
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Not exactly. My goal as the Axis player is to remain flexible and look for the opportunity that almost always arises to overrun England or break through the Soviet lines. I actually think the Axis has a better chance of achieving automatic victory against the Soviets than England. I have seen England overrun, and Paris taken, but it is tough to hold England for long, especially once the US is in, so securing London, Paris, and Cairo at the same time is very difficult. There are powerful weapons the Axis has and they must be used to maximum effect. But barring the opening of a game winning opportunity (which again, in my opinion, is there every game), the Germans pursue total victory until late in the game. Once it becomes clear they can no longer risk trying to invade England or break through Soviet lines, then yes, I will hunker down and fight to hold the borders.

I actually think achieving a survival victory for the Axis is almost impossible. The Soviets and British/US forces are too powerful. They can and will crush almost any defensive stand by the Axis. So the Axis has to pursue automatic victory every turn, and in the process, cripple the British and Soviets as much as possible. Then if the automatic victory eludes them, they maybe can still squeak out a survival victory.

The French have to be removed in the early war. But not in 1939. Conquering France in 1940 is the goal. But success against France in early 1941 is not the end of the world. So I would not advocate ignoring France except for perhaps the first two turns of the game, and then only because there probably will not be any excess commands to attack. But as of 1-40, France has to have full attention until it is gone.

None of this is a script. Every turn, the Axis player (in the early years especially, but throughout the game) has to be ready to take advantage of any opening. The Allies cannot protect everything. I guess opportunism would be the word – look for that chance to do serious damage every turn. The opportunities will be there, but if the Axis player is too set in his strategy, or the units are not set up for maximum flexibility, then such an opportunity may be impossible to grasp!
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juerg haeberli
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You screen the skagerak with the sub and ?
The sub is cheap but the other unit.....
 
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Willem Boersma
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mvkwasny wrote:
But yes, the German will take losses, nothing you can do about that. And if the British have gone into Champagne, then Picardy and Metz become tempting targets. A 1-40 attack on Metz and the Maginot line can rattle the Allies nicely since that fortress is only 1F in the winter.



Hadn't even realized the fortresses were also reduced to 1F in winter. Does feel odd though, that a successful attack against the Maginot line is more likely in winter, doesn't it??
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Mark Kwasny
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boersma8 wrote:

Hadn't even realized the fortresses were also reduced to 1F in winter. Does feel odd though, that a successful attack against the Maginot line is more likely in winter, doesn't it??


We have always assumed it is since the rules clearly say all firepower is 1F. I agree it is a little weird feeling.
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Mark Kwasny
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haeberich wrote:

You screen the skagerak with the sub and ?
The sub is cheap but the other unit.....


I personally do not bother shielding the Skaggerak. I think the 3 German naval units and an air unit in the Skag is enough to deter an attack by the RN without air cover. But if you want to shield and ensure the ability to invade Norway (assuming the Germans have gone first in 3-39), then a sub and the Cruiser can shield. The cruiser is the same cost as the sub, but since it cannot retreat before combat, it might take losses. The BC holds the Skag. Now this means the BC cannot offer shore bombardment to support an invasion of Norway, but a 4D2 infantry, 2C1 Airborne, and a 3A2 ME-109 should be more than enough to take out the 2-step Norwegian unit.
 
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juerg haeberli
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After reading your post again I have 2 annotations.

a)
The Allies cant SR to Norway during the turn you invade because the areas were not friendly at the begining of the turn. This is good.

b)
To get the Swedish ore you have to hold all areas of Norway including Trondheim amd Narvik.
If the Allies invade an empty Narvik or Trondheim they will be very difficult dislodge and the Ore cannot reach Germany anymore.
This is bad.

So over all it seems to me that Germany will be busy attacking France during 1940 and will be hard pressed to defend Norway at the same time.
Oh and yes you still have to keep sea supply to Norway open at the same time.

Quite a daunting task.
 
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juerg haeberli
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The sub cant retreat before combat because it takes a step loss.
The cruiser can retreat before combat because it has 3 steps and retreating it is probabely cheaper.

Hmm...
Thats quite an interesting fight in the Skagerak.

Germany: 1B1, 3A1, 3C1 and 3 C2 estimateing 2 hits on the Brit cruiser.

Allies: 3C3, 3C2, 4C1 becoming 2C1 estimateing 2.86 hits 1 on 3C2 and 1 on 3C1.

Second round:
1B1, 3A1, 2C2 and 2C1 estimating 1.66 hits going to the hood.

3C3, 2C2 and 2C1 estimateing 2 hits going to cruiser and Graf Spee.

With these conservative loss estimates we get.

Losses. Germany 6 Allies 4 PP Skagerak holds.

Probabely not a good idea for the Allies because if the Germans get lucky the BB takes a hit.

So you are probabely right you dont need to shield the Skagerak.


 
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Mark Kwasny
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haeberich wrote:
After reading your post again I have 2 annotations.

a)
The Allies cant SR to Norway during the turn you invade because the areas were not friendly at the begining of the turn. This is good.

b)
To get the Swedish ore you have to hold all areas of Norway including Trondheim amd Narvik.
If the Allies invade an empty Narvik or Trondheim they will be very difficult dislodge and the Ore cannot reach Germany anymore.
This is bad.

So over all it seems to me that Germany will be busy attacking France during 1940 and will be hard pressed to defend Norway at the same time.
Oh and yes you still have to keep sea supply to Norway open at the same time.

Quite a daunting task.


You're right! So the threat of Allied easy intervention during the invasion is gone. This makes Germany's job so much easier! We overlooked that rule for invasions such as this.

Keeping Norway open is not as hard as it sounds. Britain has to be willing to launch a sea invasion of Norway to get a unit there. German naval units, especially subs, can make that very difficult. But if Britain gets a unit there, I will send an extra German to fight. Again, until late 1941, Germany has more units that it can use against France. So fighting Britain anywhere is good. And the more interventionist the British get, the more they open themselves to a mistake, the less they are doing in Africa, and the slower their build up. So as the Axis player, I am not all that displeased by a fight in Norway. And what does Germany lose? A few infantry steps and commands they cannot use in France anyway? Better in my opinion to try and keep open the ore route for minimal risk, than just surrender it without a fight. And just on personality issues, some Allied players may not even try to fight. Allied units in Norway also need a supply line. German subs can cause troubles for that!

I see it as a no-lose situation. Worst case result, perhaps an infantry unit is eliminated, and that is it. And if the ore route is kept open just 2 turns more than it would have been, that pays for the lost infantry unit! And it is fun! So good strategy, good fun!
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juerg haeberli
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I might agree with your assessment of the situation in Norway if I didnt disagree with your assessment of the situation in France.

Lets look at the force levels on the ground

3-39 France

4 1D1 max. strength 3
2 2D1 max. strength 3
2 1D2 max. strength 2 in Africa
1 4D2

Britan

1 2D2 max. strength 4

If you attack France in 2-40 you will have:

France

1 1D1
1 2D1
4 3D1
2 2D2
1 4D2

Britain

4D2

This is quite a difference of firepower and will lead to a defence of 2 4D2 and 2D2 plus spitfires in Champagne and 2 3D1, 1D2, 2C2 french BB and 2B2 or spitfires in Picardie.

Compare this to 4D2 and 2 2D1 in Champagne and 2D2, 1D2, 1d1 and 2C2 in Picardie during 3-39.

Quite a differnce isnt it ?

Exactly this difference is the reason for the all out West opening.
Assuming 2 2 CP cards during 39 as the Axis you will use all of them and still not be able to do everything you want even without attacking Norway.

So we probabely have to agree to disagree on our assessments on when to attack France.

This is what makes these games so interesting.
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Mark Kwasny
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I am comfortable with agreeing to disagree. I will add just one other thought to the early French strategy. The Germans are much weaker in 1939 as compared to what they will have 3-4 builds later. That means their staying power, the elite units, and the ability to attack more than one area and follow up with strong blitz attacks are all limited. Those kinds of limits increase German losses. Attacking with, for example, a full 4D3 and as of 3-40 a full 4C2 tank, not to mention more subs to stop British reinforcements or prevent them from retreating out of France and perhaps distract the French BB, all mean a better chance at less losses, faster conquest, and heavier losses to the British. So I guess I have found that the increase in possible Allied strength is more than offset by the increase in German strength.

But as you say, these different approaches to playing the game are what make gaming so fun!
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juerg haeberli
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Yes they are weaker but they have just enough for a blitz campaign in the West 3-39.

4-39 the elite inf is on 3D3 and usable, the paras are at full strength and losses hopefully compensated.

Of course you are right with the strength of the German troops during 3-40 but if you start then you fight against more and better quality troops so that losses should be a little higher compared to 39 and when you finish France in 4-40 ( hopefully ) its already quite late.
If you suceed with taking Norway and Warsaw during 39 this should be probaebely enough compensation just hope the Allies dont roll an 8 to get Norway as an ally during 3-39.
 
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Mark Kwasny
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That Allied roll for Norway is what partially drives my preference for a Scandinavian strategy early in the game. An opening drive on France surrenders Scandinavia to the Allies almost always. But if the Germans are set up to invade Norway (and have the commands!), then a 3-39 Allied roll for Norway is actually good for the Germans. Germany is going to open with an attack on Norway in 4-39 anyway! An Allied Norway is identical to a neutral Norway for purposes of the German invasion in the second turn of the game (it will require the use of subs to prevent an Allied SR into northern Norway but we have always done that anyway). Yet still, the Allies almost have to roll for Norway in case the Germans opt not to invade and instead roll for it in 4-39. So the Axis player can maneuver the Allied player into rolling for a country, yet render that roll useless!

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juerg haeberli
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Ahem....with the little difference they can SR a unit to Trondheim or Narvik as response to your invasion. This will take away the Swedish ore from the Axis for at least 2 turns.
There will be a naval unit in the Norwegian Sea anyway (for the diplo. roll) and I am sure the Allies will find a unit to put into the North Atlantic Ocean in 3-39.
Which leads me to the following question.
An invasion from Glasgow through North Atlantic Ocean and Norwegian Sea into Norway seems legal ?
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Mark Kwasny
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As I mentioned, using two subs to block the sea areas next to Norway has always been a part of our invasions (even, it seems, when it was not necessary). Subs will block the SR to Norway. Now, if the RN has scattered to cover 3-4 sea areas, the entire strategy may change, if the RN can be targeted with some hope of inflicting severe enough losses. But there are a few different ways to use subs to blocks an SR to Norway.

I would say an invasion from Scotland through the North Atlantic is illegal (Ron may have already ruled on this, I am not sure). But there is no port in Scotland touching the North Atlantic Sea Zone. The only ports depicted on the map in Scotland are Edinburgh and Aberdeen, both of which only touch the northwest zone of the North Sea, so all movement by sea out of Scotland has to go through that zone, no?
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Matthew Taylor
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Mark, the closest I have seen to an answer was in this thread.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1398435/blockading-scotland...

Go down to Tom's answer near the bottom.
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