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Subject: Dislocation II rss

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olivier R
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I am not sure whether it was better to start a new thread or continue the old discussion but anyway here it is.

I think I am finally getting the whole dislocation bit you guys mentionned. If you are really aggressive and push hard the first turn as the Germans then you can put the Soviets into a world of hurt.

It took me three games in which the Soviets won each time by a huge margin but now I am finally seeing that if you go for the HQs hard and then drive east at full speed, it gets very very dicey for the Soviets.

I didn't quite see how it could work at first, because with the Germans, I always found myself in a situation where they couldn't push east and get any operational freedom of maneuver because of the threat caused by Timoshenko and the Soviets around Mogilev. And usually, the yellow 3rd and 4th panzer armies south of Mogilev got badly hurt by the counter attack when they tried crossing the Dnepr because the Soviets just sent a unit to Staryy Bykhov and the Germans suffered step loss or got destroyed for a lack of possiblity to retreat across the river into an enemy zoc.

So I had to wait for the infantry reinforcements to plug the holes in the line and thus prevent the Soviets from heading for Minsk. And by the time I got enough infantry, the Soviets could form a mass of tank corps and infantry divisions across the Dnepr or move toward the woods east of Smolensk, between Yelnya and Yartsevo where there are in an ideal central position to react to the German movements. And in some games, Timoshenko could even do some massive sweeps north and south that completely overwhelmed and mauled the panzer spearheads.

But if initially you plan your moves well and go for the Soviet HQs, then of course they can't react as well but more importantly, they don't have the luxury of forming this huge concentration around Timoshenko, because you are threatening all these undefended cities. So instead of picking tank corps it forces them to get 3-4 infantry and set up their reinforcements piecemeal in the threatened victory locations. And of course if you do it right and move fast enough, you can threaten more cities than they are able to fortify.

And it is possible to force quite a lot of HQs to relocate. I gave it a little thought and I managed to bump the three HQs north of Smolensk, the 22, 19 and 20 armies HQ and to the south, the 13 and 21 armies, so that left the Soviets with just one HQ left, the 16 at Smolensk plus Timoshenko and so the Soviet player finds himself unable to do much at all.

Of course this is how you get so many units out of position and you can just ignore them because they are not in command radius and so become irrelevant.

Anyway I am sure some of you guys figured it a long time ago blush, I just felt like sharing and maybe start some interesting strategy discussion.



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olivier R
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I should maybe add that this doesn't guarantee a German victory, it just puts you in a very favourable position for the latter part of the game. But on the other hand, if you don't manage to achieve such a headstart and take full advantage of the first turn to put the Soviet on the defensive then the chances of victory for the Germans are slim.
 
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Jason Cawley
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I've never had a problem forcing the Dnepr as the Germans. The threat to Minsk can be dealt with just using released IDs from the pocket, taken in the reinforcement phase.

Here is a typical opener for the Germans using dislocation tactics.

In the opening attack, the northern PDs in Guderians group push the Russians back from the river line but do not cross it themselves. The idea is to break ZOC contact to gain speed. One stuka is used on the northernmost matchup, making for 4 column shifts all told. Another can be used on Mogilev to reduce it rapidly by combat. The only cross-river advance is made by 10 Motorized in the south.

Now draw chits. If Germans come out let them resolve, otherwise pre-empt with the Guderian chit to move next. The key is the hole already present in the Russian lines on the "dry route" to Smolensk, just north of Orsha.

Assuming you broke contact cleanly with the opening attacks, 18th Panzer and 29th Motorized can reach the locations of the Russian 19th and 20th Army HQs. The 17th Panzer can loop through the hole clear to 3324, or depending on the retreat chosen by the 1st MRD, to 3223 just east of Krasnoye (though the 5th mech corps' ZOC). This puts a ZOC wall behind the Russian front line in the center of the map and relocates 2 HQs out of command distance of all the forces pocketed in the process. Next 10th Panzer and SS Reich can "pull" through the same hole to set up single-unit surround attacks on the 5th and 7th Mech corps, using the ZOCs of the previously moved units plus those of 12 Panzer. Gross Deutschland pulls to the Orsha area and blocks the bridges, staying in command range of the rest of the corps. The remaining Panzer corps of Guderian's force finishes off anything left in Mogilev by the opening combat, and secures a bridgehead over the Dnepr there. The river line does not need to be covered except at the two bridge sites, nothing the Russians can do in response is fast enough to matter.

This should kill 5th and 7th Mech, turn the initial hole in the center into a huge gaping tear with 2 panzer corps already through it and 3rd Panzer able to hit it again from the north. It threatens to send a corps across the Dnepr east of Krasnoye, where it is only a minor river, with enough movement in a single impulse to overrun the 13th Army HQ on the now separated Russian southern wing. Smolensk is directly threatened with a double envelopment on the next 2nd Panzer impulse. Both bridge sites across the Dnepr where it is a major river are in German hands, the southern one held on both sides of the river by an entire Panzer corps, and the northern one deep in a salient the Russians cannot remotely afford to send troops into, held by Gross Deutschland which is ready to cross there with its entire corps following, or farther east.

The Russians have all of 2 units (plus an immobile defender) in the Smolensk area in command. They have 3 units in command in the far north, behind the Dvina and way too far to hold anywhere else, one of them stuck in a starting ZOC and none of them able to relocated by strategic movement. Their southern wing can move as a body, and the best thing that can happen to them is for the next HQ out of the cup to be a southern Russian HQ. But the most they can do if they do get that result next, is to backpeddle at maximum MPs all along the front, abandoning the Dnepr line, to tie in a thin ZOC wall with the Smolensk position. Even that leaves Smolensk open to a turning movement on its northern flank - or the Germans can crack the entire north end of the front wide open - or they can aim for weak points in the southern line and send 2 panzer corps into it, now that it is forced off the river position.

On turn 1, a single PD hits a single rifle corps in the open at 5 to 1, without using air power. Starting anywhere close, the PD can worm one spot through ZOCs to cut retreats. This means each panzer corps hitting a thin line of ZOCs can kill 2 corps per impulse and tear a new hole, while any unplugged hole exposes another army HQ or two to overrun.

When the reinforcement chit comes out, the Germans release one ID from the southern side of the Minsk pocket and use it to block the bridge at Bobruysk. They spend 3 more release points adding taking a center section HQ and adding its chit to the cup, and the remaining 3 adding IDs to the first turn central reinforcement group. That infantry all strategic-moves to the Orsha area on the reinforcement chit. It can activate again when the 9th Army chit comes out of the cup. The HQ stays at Orsha (to continue feeding units forward in command) and its command span covers the entire Dnepr line from Mogilev to Smolensk, with 6 infantry divisions at its immediate disposal. It can also command the mop up operation behind the hole on the dry-route to clear the road from Smolensk to Vitebsk and Vitebsk to Orsha, if 3rd Panzer Army has not already done so.

There is essentially no danger to Minsk or to the spearheads in this operational plan. The Russians cannot afford to send all of their active HQs and activations west of the Dnepr in a drive for Minsk, so the open Dnepr line south of Mogilev is of no consequence. If the Russians do surge west, just wheel in behind them from the north and destroy their HQs, on turn 2. Wherever they cross the river, strike for their bridges with Guderian and cut them off on the wrong side of the river, and then leave them for the 2nd Panzer Army infantry divisions to mop up once they are all released from the Minsk pocket fight.

Assuming the Russians instead backpeddle while trying to maintain a cohensive front-level chain of HQs south of Smolensk, your turn 2 options are to hit that line directly and crack it (south option), or just screen it with the arriving infantry and envelope Smolensk from the north (north option). In the second of those, 3nd Panzer Army goes clear around Smolensk and rides hell-for-leather toward Sychevka, to cut any reformed line as far back as the road between Rzhev and Vyazma. In the south option, 3rd Panzer Army has the task of taking Smolensk, while Guderian tries to rebreak the coherent part of the Russian front south of Smolensk. In either case, the main first-turn task of 3rd Panzer is to clear its road communications from Polotsk to Vitebsk, to allow its second wave of infantry to back it up - then it turns to the eastward drive as rapidly as possible.

I've never felt any pressure from early Russian counterattacks using this operational plan. The massive force concentrated right on the land bridge center-point, with the Russian line in that area blow to smithereens early on turn 1, never fails to create additional "fork" threats that keep them on their heels and reactive, until turn 4 at the earliest.


FWIW...
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olivier R
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JasonC wrote:

There is essentially no danger to Minsk or to the spearheads in this operational plan. The Russians cannot afford to send all of their active HQs and activations west of the Dnepr in a drive for Minsk, so the open Dnepr line south of Mogilev is of no consequence. If the Russians do surge west, just wheel in behind them from the north and destroy their HQs, on turn 2. Wherever they cross the river, strike for their bridges with Guderian and cut them off on the wrong side of the river, and then leave them for the 2nd Panzer Army infantry divisions to mop up once they are all released from the Minsk pocket fight.

Hmm yes but to cut them off you'd have to seal the Vitebsk - Orsha line. And to wheel in behind them, it gets hard if you have pushed your panzers too far east.

JasonC wrote:

I've never felt any pressure from early Russian counterattacks using this operational plan. The massive force concentrated right on the land bridge center-point, with the Russian line in that area blow to smithereens early on turn 1, never fails to create additional "fork" threats that keep them on their heels and reactive, until turn 4 at the earliest.


Well it is only a problem if you're not aggressive enough the first turn as the Germans because then, the Soviets can mass several tank corps around Timoshenko, east of the Dnepr in the area opposite Mogilev and Staryy Bhykov and become quite a powerful concentration. And that's when it gets dicey, because you can't just leave behind such a big concentration with two or three HQs. If they all activate together, can't they reach Minsk by rushing through the forests and swamps located between the two German reinforcement roads?

But in my last game, the Soviets only managed to form such a concentration of troops around Roslav much farther east and a lot later, during turn 4 when they receive 6 reinforcements points. After the initial German attack they were in no position whatsoever to launch any meaningful counter attack.

And that's because by pushing east hard, you force them to spend the bulk of their reinforcements to garrison threatened victory locations.
But that's only possible if you force the majority of Soviets HQs to relocate and manage to eliminate a bunch of units.

But so now my problem is that with this strategy, the balance has shifted toward the Germans. Before they Soviets always won by a huge margin, no matter what I did but now I am picking my brain to find the counter for this.
 
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Jason Cawley
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The Russians can't reach Minsk through all the forests and rivers. The Germans just bring out a few of the Minsk pocket units each turn to delay them - usually 1 is enough on the first turn, to block the road and make them spend full MPs off road. If they go heavy into the breech anyway, then on the turn 2 reinforcement chit, put several divisions along each road near the pocket, plus an HQ and an activation for it, and you can readily present a full ZOC line in the woods.

As for turning in behind them, you don't need an isolation result, it is quite sufficient to bounce their HQs.

Your experience with the Russians forming a line again around turn 4, after their 6 reinforcement points, fits my own. That is the earliest the Russian line can be stabilized against good German play.

What I try for in the first 4 turns as the Russians is (1) a cohesive Front of armies in range of each other, with a full ZOC wall and reserve units stacked with the army HQs, from the south edge of the map to the center. (2) concentrated army positions on several victory cities in the center and northeast. As reinforcements arrive and activations can be spared for these, they spread out a full ZOC line again.

The focus is on keeping the army alive by keeping the forces tied in with each other and in command - at the Front level for T. in the south, at the individual army "hedgehodge" level in the center and northeast. The Germans are delayed by holdouts along the needed roads, their own limited infantry activations, and out of supply markers dropped on leading Panzers.

At some point the south "Front" can counterpunch hard enough to scare the PDs into not exposing themselves so much, or worry them if they run too deep without adequate infantry backing. The reinforcements piled up in the center and north and reform a line. After the front is stabilized, the Russians look for out of position PDs that are vulnerable, especially on a turn when the Germans came out of the cup fast leaving the Russians knowing they will have more moves left.

The German problem in the second period tends to be their HQ activation allocation. They no longer get regular addition infantry HQ moves from the Minsk pocket released forces. The Germans get 3 HQs a turn, and their Panzer forces don't chain HQs. If they haven't integrated their infantry HQs, those don't manage to move a whole army group, just an army. The Russians, if they restore a line and can rechain their HQs, can end up moving their entire force 3 times a turn. That is their goal in the second half.
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