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Thread: Objective: Warsaw (Quick and dirty demo AAR)

  1. #1
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Objective: Warsaw - Germany blitzes Poland (Completed)

    Hi to you all!


    The demo's here, and it's full of novelties, surprises... and frustrations and headaches!

    This will be a purely gameplay AAR, playing Germany, and not one exactly exempt of gameyness - we have only four months of gameplay, so we'll try and make the best of them. The objectives are plain and simple: get to Warsaw ASAP, and at the same time see how the AI fares on its own on the West Front with little interference. I'm writing this "as I play", so there won't be brillant displays of foresight, I'm afraid

    Hopefully the headaches I'm about to get will save other people some of their own


    **



    I. Starting position





    This is our main front. The situation looks promising, but don't get me wrong, I won't try to be in Warsaw by Sept. 15.





    What we really want to achieve here is the surrender of Poland (whether they choose to keep up the fight or let themselves annexed is irrelevant).

    Poland have a National Unity of 70%. This means we have to capture 70% or more of their Victory Points (VPs) to trigger the surrender event. As you can see Poland have a total of 14 VPs, meaning we must get to at least 9.8 of their VPs. That's capturing all their VPs but Warsaw, or capturing Warsaw and any three other major cities.

    The easiest for us to reach would be Danzig (obviously!), Lódz and Kraków, but there are bound to be few forces defending the border with Hungary, so Lwów may not be out of reach.

    Grodno isn't going to be reached for a long time: we hardly have the troops needed to secure the easternmost border of Eastern Prussia, and bringing them over there would take a pretty long amount of time - not exactly something we wish for: the French Army lie on our western border, and if we give them some room to try and push beyond the Rhine... Well, they might just do that.





    This is the West Front. Obviously we have a lot less troops here than we have on the Polish border, and their quality isn't great either.

    We're not going to bother with the minute details of defence, and in fact it might be interesting to see just how well (or how badly) AI Kesselring fares when tasked to defend the Westwall with the troops he has. We're asking him to maintain a defensive stance - not that he really has the troops to do anything else...

    Note how the outlines of all units under Kesselring's command are glowing blue - the same feature might come in pretty handy on lower levels of command later when we need to know just how badly our troops are spread across Poland.





    While we're busy with Kesselring, let's give him a few objectives inside our borders. Not exactly attack objectives, but if the French manage to push us back or the British attempt something funny in the North Sea, I want him to remember to keep them bottled, as we'll be taking those provinces back as soon as the Polish campaign is over.


    And now we're done with this, let's take a look at the various tabs - the more we can set up the better.
    Last edited by Lordban; 09-08-2009 at 22:24.
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  2. #2
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Thanks for doing the actual work prying apart the demo, so that I can lazily wait until I can download the game myself.

    Looking forward to seeing this demonstration in action.

  3. #3
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Good luck! I'll be following this, it'll be interesting to see how far you can get as Germany in the four months open to you.
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  4. #4
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Looking good Lordban. Great to see you around again. Good luck getting to Warsaw.
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  5. #5
    #NotYourWerewolfSidekick EUROO7's Avatar
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    Being new to the HoI series, I'm subscribed.

    My first attempt at the demo ended up with me as Germany occupied by the Soviet Union in the Baltic, France in Bavaria and Britain in the North.
    And one day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
    But for now we are young let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see......

  6. #6
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
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    Watch out, the French will try to come over the Rhein with force.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Watch out, the French will try to come over the Rhein with force.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zikcHnimsxk

  8. #8
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Stuyvesant, Euro007: Someone HAD to take that demo apart ^^ Hope this will be useful.

    Myth: I won't be racing you to Paris!

    coz1: It's good to be back! And someone told me to get to Warsaw- or else, I have plenty of motivation.

    Enewald: We'll see how this plays out. If the need arises I will probably detach some forces from the Polish front and rush them westwards before the AI makes too much progress.

    Tom Campbell: Die Wacht Am Rhein will stand fast!


    II. Diplomacy, Espionage, Tech, Production





    Diplomacy first, since it'll be real fast: our only bother here is to keep the USA away from the war. Not because they're dangerous, just because they might want to send the Allies a few more planes they don't really need. And because we aren't going to do anything else for now: our options to get new allies are pretty limited in the four months to come, so we won't even bother trying.





    Espionage, now. We thought about keeping Poland's National Unity as low as possible - it probably isn't a bad idea: here the value shown is 72.3% - enough to force us to capture another VP province (10,1 VP required). The figure probably isn't accurate, though: seconds later the same screen showed 71.2%. So much for accurate intelligence...

    Poland gets the priority. We'll also work a little on French and British NU - just for the sake of fun. There won't be specific missions in other allied countries, they aren't important enough right now for us to bother.





    Now for the technology screen; here we're going to make a number of important choices.

    First things first, let's get a look at actual research speed. The fastest techs we can research (in those areas where we have the highest theoretical and practical values) won't be ready before Dec. 7th, that is, less than a month before the end of the demo. Considering you have to upgrade your forces after you have completed research for new components, I'm not even sure there is time to actually finish upgrading a division. I'm going to give it a try, though (assigning exactly 1 leadership point there later).

    We assign just a few points to diplomacy - we'll need a small but steady influx of those to keep the USA happy, and who knows, we might change our minds later and do something diplomatic!

    Officers get a fair share of the leadership pool - we're actually going to build a couple of units, and we want them to be well led.

    The remainder - and the lion's share - goes to espionage. Obviously it would get much less in a longer game





    Now for Politics. The standard setup for Germany in 1939 is historical enough - and that's actually our concern. Many changes made here, the result is the screenshot below.





    First let's talk about ministers. Fiddling around with them is a lot less annoying than it used to be in HoI2 - you won't be getting a dissent hit each time you change a minister. With this in mind, we made quite a few changes :

    - Hjalmar Schacht is obvious enough - he brings a little more IC, we're not going to complain.

    - Himmler is phased out because of his +10% partisan effect. NSDAP enjoys quite enough support at the moment, and I doubt it's going to change significantly before the end of the demo, so he's basically worthless. Besides, I'd probably switch to Buch anyway - odds are you won't ever have too much leadership in HoI3.

    - Franz Halder replaces Alfred Jodl. Faster ORG regain is indeed an asset, but what makes Halder look good to us is his bonus to reinforcement. We're interested in it because with 140 hour delays before a new attack order is carried out by a division, we'll be giving a lot of queued-up orders to our units, meaning they'll make staged arrivals at several battles. Unfortunately, when units join an attack in small packets, every unit who didn't attack at the same time as the first attacker will be placed in reserve, and given how low reinforcement chances are, it can take several days for them to actually get into a fight...

    - We aren't going to bother about research, so a Guns-and-Butter chief of Army will suit our purposes well. It might have to be taken into consideration in an actual grand campaign: less supplies consumed means less supplies shipped, which in turn means more divisions supplied through the same provinces.


    As for laws, there are a few important changes there as well:

    - Service by requirement gives the highest possible manpower yield; it also gives an officer recruitment bonus of 50% - we had a penalty of -25% earlier, so this law effectively doubles the efficiency of the Leadership points put into Officers.

    - Total Economic Mobilisation gives another 25% IC bonus on top of the one which was given by War Economy. It comes at a cost - namely, -15% money production - but money won't be a bother for us in this demo: its chief use is the acquisition of other countries' resources, and we won't be starved of resources in the next four months even if we don't trade for surplus.

    - Big Education Investment also gives a penalty to money generation but - you'll have guessed it - it yields additionnal Leadership points.

    - Heavy Industry Emphasis means higher Supply throughput and 5% increased IC efficiency for production. It comes at the cost of more consumer goods required in peace-time - something we aren't likely to see anytime soon!

    - Finally, we chose to give our units Minimal Training. The reason for this choice? Advanced Training gives +20 Experience to newly produced units, but increases production time by 10%. Minimal Training gives no experience, but decreases production time by 10%. If we're actually going to use units we build in this demo, production times had better be kept as short as possible!




    Talking about production, this is what the production screen looks like at the moment. It's going to change a lot.

    First things first, KMS Bismarck and Tirpitz look appealing, but not in this demo's timeframe, and I'm not going to mod the demo just to get them built! Out with them!





    Let's take a look at the division designer and sort out - more or less - brigades by production time. Since we want to actually use what we're going to build, and since divisions need some time to gain ORG before they can be effectively employed, we won't be adding anything longer to train than divisions including artillery brigades to the build queue.

    First come some garrisons for the Siegfried line.
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  9. #9
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Very nice. This is definitely going to be a brilliant tutorial AAR for new players. You explain everything you do and why you're doing it clearly.
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  10. #10
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
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    It is not about the amount of divisions in the west, but how you decide to use them.

  11. #11
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Myth: That's one of the reasons which made me go ahead and post And if some actions turn up to be ill-inspired, people can learn from my mistakes.

    Enewald: Actually, part of the fun will be to see how the AI manages them I'm talking about rushing reinforcements in case things really get out of hand before I'm done with Poland, which is the only case in which I'll get more involved in the Western Theatre before the fall of Warsaw.

    **


    2b. Production, con't





    We're also going to build a few militias: they're the cheapest and fastest units to produce, and they'll be used to phase some forces out for a possible western offensive once their (small) defensive role there is done. They'll also be used to take a look at how much there is to gain by raising Practical values - the second run should be shorter to build than the first, and we'll look how much more time is gained after that one is completed too.





    Five Infantry divisions reinforced with Artillery will be the strongest divisions we deploy in this demo. Another ten Infantry divisions have also been added to the queue; they have three Infantry brigades, they'll be completed four days earlier than the ones with artillery.

    In all, we intend to add 29 divisions to the OOB - of which 22 will hopefully be completed soon enough to see some use (3 Militias and 4 Garrisons will arrive late).

    Now let's talk about the real action.
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  12. #12
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    I'm hoping that following this for the next few days will save me the frustration of playing - quitting - opening Manual.pdf - closing - starting game - etc. etc. Well, it might limit that somewhat, at least.

    So far, all sound like very sensible decisions. Did you also can the Graf Zeppelin carrier?

    Thanks for putting this together!

  13. #13
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    You've really got the procurement side of your defense policy and national strategy down pretty pat. I don't usually delve too far into that. Just take what I have and make do/miracles.
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  14. #14
    Resident, Fawlty Towers Chaplain's Avatar
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    This is an excellent piece of work. Thanks for taking the time. Looking forward to Friday, when my UK shall shield the world from Fascism.
    Wise Men Still Seek Him

  15. #15
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
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    Militias?
    Hmm... Germany?
    Militias?

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  17. #17
    General truth is life's Avatar
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    I'll be following this--hopefully, it'll help me understand the interfaces I haven't messed around with yet, and help me to understand how to work the levers of this magnificent machine.

    Good luck!

  18. #18
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Stuyvesant: Also cancelled Graf Zeppelin, yes - it wasn't going to see any use.

    Myth: I'm bad at miracles and usually overly cautions - guess that's the reason for all the planning

    Chaplain: Thanks to you! And welcome on board!

    Enewald: Yes, Militia for Germany! And this for several reasons:

    a) As mentioned above, they're going to be used for a bit of testing of the Practical values.

    b) Militia build fast. Considering the limited time frame for the demo, this counts rather more than it usually would. And it does make a small force available for deployment at the end of October rather than the end of November, meaning redeployment of other forces can also take place at that point.

    c) Even in regular games in HoI2 it usually wasn't possible for Germany to transform all of its manpower into divisions before late 1940 - early 1941. You could use Militias as a cheap way of getting those men on the field faster, where they could man the Westwall and take some hits for the real attackers, and you could always disband them later to recover their manpower for the training of actual combat divisions. It gave some of your manpower more use than just sitting in the pool offmap doing nothing.


    truth is life: I won't be going through every bit of interface, but I'll try and show a couple of things. Thanks!

    **


    III. Battle plans





    The smallest attack we'll launch aims to roll over the Polish forces lying between Slovakia and Kraków, and to seize that city. This operation should be the shortest of all those launched on Sept. 1, meaning it should be the first to free up troops, either for a push towards Lwów or (for the mobile forces) join up with the forces heading for Warsaw.





    Of course, we aren't just going to try and steamroll over the Poles. We want to destroy as big a portion of their forces as we can in the first phase of the offensive, and we want it to stay destroyed. Odds are the attack on Warsaw will begin with a small force and be gradually reinforced by additionnal divisions; if there are fifteen shattered units recovering in Warsaw at that point, it might be a bit gruesome for the first attackers, and contribute in delaying the actual taking of the city.

    This translates into three pushes in the direction of Lódz - one from East Prussia, one from Pommerania and one from Silesia. All three attack forces will have some Infantry divisions accompanying Motorized and Panzer divisions; the Infantry will be used to achieve the breakthroughs and will then drop in rear-guard positions along the line of advance, securing the supply lines for the faster divisions.





    Of course, just because spearheads are advancing does not mean the rest of the army will be idle. While one division seizes Danzig and turns south-east, the rest of the line will start advancing. We want them to break the Poles' organization and start moving forwards to become available again for the final push round Sept. 20th, not sitting miles away from Warsaw and getting under constant attack.

    For let us make no mistakes - the Poles we won't attack will launch offensives of their own. If those include flanking attacks against our own spearheads, we're might very well get bogged down in Poland faster than you can say "Positional Warfare".

    Only the easternmost of Eastern Prussia's forces won't afford much in the way of attacks - here we only need the forces deployed to guard our weak left flank to hold out for a few days. Successful breakthroughs are bound to catch the attention of the Polish command, and if there start being empty areas between German units and Warsaw, the closest forces available to fill the gaps will be those deployed on Eastern Prussia's borders.
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  19. #19
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Hmm, interesting strategy you have for taking Poland down. Very different from my own. I sent my forces in Silesia and Slovakia swinging at Warsaw from the south in a kind of Schlieffen Plan-ish maneuver, except there's no Belgium and the sickle cut doesn't go east-west and bulging northward but rather south-north and bulging eastward. In the north I held myself to limited attacks to broadly keep the Poles pinned down there. Most of my spearheads broke through and got into the clear during my wheel and only met real resistance again at Warsaw itself. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how your operations work out. The differing strategies is one of the best parts of this game.
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  20. #20
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    I just want to say: i'm learning tons from this AAR.
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