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Subject: AAR: Part II--From Barbarossa to Winter Collapse rss

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Ed Richardson
United States
Texas
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As the reader will remember, we left off of AAR: Part I it was mid-May, 1941 and the Wehrmacht was fully gassed, almost at full strength (a few new blocks were only at 3) and ready to push into East Poland.

The campaign began well enough with the Germans claiming solid gains, inflicting acceptable casualties and forcing the Russians to retreat to a more suitable defensive line by the end of May. As can be seen, the Greeks continued to hold out stubbornly, forcing the Germans to make slow progress down the Greek peninsula.



By the end of June, 1941, the Wehrmacht had pushed into Mother Russia, but Soviet lines remained intact as poor shooting continually robbed the Germans of a breakthrough, as pockets of Soviet troops were able to hold on. The Russians shifted the bulk of their forces northward to meet the main thrust of the German surge, using distance and the small Axis southern force to their advantage in the South.


July was critical to both sides as the Soviets had maneuvered into open plains on either side of Minsk where a breakthrough might be possible. The Soviet blocks were ripe targets for the Luftwaffe, but the Stukas failed to find any targets, shooting substantially below average. The Russians then rolled substantially higher than average, decimating the German infantry and ensuring that no breakthrough would occur. It was bad luck for the Axis, but that's war. As a result, the Russians were able to abandon Minsk and, at the end of July settle into solid defensive terrain with rivers to their front. German attempts to cross the river resulted in no hits from the ineffective Luftwaffe and 100% repulses. The pattern held through August as the Germans continued to be thwarted in their attempts to cross rivers or roll effectively enough to drive the Soviets out of their defensive lines in the forest.


September, 1941, saw more of the same on the East Front as two Soviet blocks with a total strength of 5 pips, though bombed by the Luftwaffe in the normal and blitz phases, managed to suffer no hits and repulse six Axis blocks, holding the line as bad weather approached and preventing the Axis' one last surge to break through the thinning Soviet lines. In the South, Odessa was surrounded and fell and the Winter lines began to solidify waiting for the incoming Axis Paralysis. In Greece, the Wehrmacht managed to get multiple blocks into Athens only to see the reinforced Greek mountain brigade hit 3 of 4 shots, effectively eliminating the offensive strength of the German units. And for the fourth month in a row, the Greek static guarding the back door managed to survive ineffective Luftwaffe strikes and repulse the the German unit attempting to cross the straits (I assume the reader has picked up on the pattern here--the Soviets/Allies did not miss a single repulse chance). It appeared that the best strategy for the Axis was to move the fully fueled Afrika Corps across Libya to engage the English.


In November the Afrika Corps moved into position and then engaged the English in December. In the blitz phase, the Germans moved DAK into the battle along with the Italian infantry and the second German armored division against 12 steps of English, including 8 mechanized steps and 4 infantry steps.


Disaster struck as the Luftwaffe whiffed (0-5 in the turn combining the normal and blitz phases) and then the British mechs scored 7 hits out of 8 dice. In one roll, the strength of the Afrika Corps was reduced to 4 steps. The Allies then counterattacked, destroying every German and Italian block they could reach, reducing the Afrika Corps to a HQ and German mech unit.


Meanwhile, on the East Front, the Soviets attacked southward from the area between Minsk and Riga with their armor and new shock units, battering the defensive lines of the Germans and forcing a slow retreat. However, the German lines were holding as February ended and the prospect of mud loomed, which was the small break the Wehrmacht needed to replenish the line and begin preparing for the Summer offensive.


But the German run of bad luck held and the Russians were blessed with two more fortnights of snow in March. In vicious fighting all along the northern lines, German units buckled and as the month closed, the thin line remaining was guarded by depleted HQ's and cadres. With a relatively unharmed Soviet attack force in front of it, Germany capitulated as with Axis Paralysis in effect, they could not even maneuver sufficiently to defend in the mud. The War was over.



This was a fun game. We have since swapped sides and begun a new game that already has some interesting twists. Germany was on solid footing until two very bad sessions that brought the war to a close. The breaks continually went to the Soviets as they were able to avoid breakthroughs by as little as a single step on multiple occasions; never missed a single repulse opportunity; and rolled big in some critical situations. We kept records on dice results to see how big a factor luck really was. The Germans rolled below average with triple fire and double fire dice, and above average with single fire. The Soviets/Allies rolled above average on triple fire and double fire dice and average on single fire. We're going to keep more in depth records in our next game, tracking results against double defense hexes and by phase. I hope everyone enjoyed the AARs as I had a great deal of fun playing the game and then writing the reports.
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Paul Lags
Australia
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nice AAR, awful luck with the Germans getting that many repulse. Lots of good defensive terrain in north so if the soviets commit heavily in the north in the 41 invasion, its going to be always going to be dicey.

Either way you need to take the Ukraine or Moscow in 41 to prevent a losing the war, so if they form a line up there switch to a Ukraining offensive which is much more favourable to the attacker, unless you are taking out Moscow or Leningrad (which you will know relatively quickly) then you are just capturing terrain (no PP).

Out of curiosity, how often was the German player blitzing in Russia? The opening first few turns are a big opportunity to prevent the Russians from forming a decent line. Being really aggressive in the first turn with the Germans pays off in the long run (even if this means Panzers are by themselves). If you are going north it is especially important to have the blitzing HQ up there in the opening fortnight of the war.
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Marty M
Ireland
Fermoy
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Great stuff, thanks for this AAR. Would love to see one of your current game, if you have photos.

You have inspired me to try to have another go at this fabulous game some time in 2012.

Thanks!
 
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Ed Richardson
United States
Texas
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Thanks for all the positive feedback. I'm faithfully taking pictures of the latest game. There's been an interesting twist and Italy joined the Axis in October '39. Should be fun to see how this plays out.
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B Schneider
Canada
Stittsville
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Super AAR!
This is a game that I would dearly LOVE to find opponents to play face to face.
Sadly, finding someone willing to find time to invest has proven a bridge too far for me. cry
 
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United States
Fort Lauderdale
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Thanks for a great AAR.

I might be in the minority, but I think it's better to commit too much to Greece instead too little. Once the EF opens, it is very tough to grind down Greece with only a couple of units and WF production. Better to hit it hard in March/April/May with several HQs, armor, and maybe an amphibious invasion from Italy. There is no way the Greeks can withstand that (even with British help), and that pretty much shuts the Allies out of Europe until 1943. At worst the Germans will be out of position for a May Barbarossa, but the weather could easily be mud anyway.

Looks like the dice hurt the Germans in Russia as much as anything else. I do think if the Russians overcommitted to the north, however, the Germans should have tried going south. The Germans are a lot more mobile with their armor and 3 CV HQs than the Soviets, and it's better to stretch the Soviet line out than slugging it out over a few key hexes (especially forest hexes).

Anyway, just some random thoughts. Thanks for posting this, and look forward to the next AAR.
 
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Juan de Marco
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Great story.
 
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Alberto Natta
Italy
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Greece must be fixed in '40 possibly. If mud catches you, you need Yugo down for sure by end of '40.

Greece needs to be sorted then in early '41 as soon as good weather allows. In May you need to be already deployed for Barbarossa.
 
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