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Thread: Five for Fighting - How Hockey Saved the Allies - An FtM AAR

  1. #101
    Private droy75's Avatar
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    As a Canadian and hockey fan definitely following. By the way I would assess both the Germans and Italians with penalties for too many men on the ice for their actions in Messina!

  2. #102
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    Jees, they can build bridges with the men they got.. Atleast once Barbarossa starts russia will have a cakewalk in the park.

  3. #103
    Ask how many Divisions I have! InnocentIII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dasfubar View Post
    Now take Catzanzaro and encircle them all!
    (or more realistically, put some ships into the strait to block off the attack if it becomes too much)
    I'm gonna try to hold on, and unfortunately blocking the straits after the battle starts has no effect on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by eqqman View Post
    Seriously, with 70+ divisions in a single province, land a few men behind the lines and wipe them out with a counterattack that should succeed since they are so over-stacked.
    Next time I'll call out, "Marines, we are leaving!"

    Quote Originally Posted by morningSIDEr View Post
    Impressively frightening odds. I look forward to seeing how this pans out.

    Just invoke the spirit of 300! Uhm...without the whole losing your army in defeat part that is.
    Never before in history have so many attacked so few with so much, or something like that. Canada didn't have the 300 to spare, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baltasar View Post
    It's a pity the AI does this over and over
    Well, it's a pity the AI does it to me, anyway. Doing it to someone else I'm fine with.

    Quote Originally Posted by croguy View Post
    "It's been more than twenty years since the war and the death. And now, as then, it is not fear that grips us, only restlessness. A heightened sense of things. The cold Febuary breeze coolly kissing the sweat at our chests and necks as an iron storm that is Wehrmacht wraps around Messina. Gulls cawing, complaining, even as they feast on the thousands of floating dead. The steady breathing of the forty thousand, ready to die for Canada without a moment's pause. Everyone of them ready, to die. "

    The Canadian military is now doing the bravest thing I've ever seen an Allied country do in Hearts of Iron 3. Good luck with the future of the AAR.
    Thank you sir, well said!

    EDIT - Sorry I missed these two:

    Quote Originally Posted by droy75 View Post
    As a Canadian and hockey fan definitely following. By the way I would assess both the Germans and Italians with penalties for too many men on the ice for their actions in Messina!
    Thanks! And yeah, they've got too many men everywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wallienator View Post
    Jees, they can build bridges with the men they got.. Atleast once Barbarossa starts russia will have a cakewalk in the park.
    I have to think that'll be true, the Germans will have far too many Divisions with low Org, and possibly a manpower deficit, surely less than they would have had.
    Last edited by InnocentIII; 30-12-2011 at 03:17.
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  4. #104
    Ask how many Divisions I have! InnocentIII's Avatar
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    Chapter Seventeen - The Longest Month

    Last we saw, 40,000 valiant Canadian mountain forces were being attacked by something like 750,000 Axis troops across the Straits of Messina (song in honor of croguy's reminiscence). The Italian navy, led by Julius Caesar himself, had forced us to abandon the straits and permitted the enemy forces to cross. After only two days, our troops had suffered noticeable Organization loss. We still remember prior crossing which were not that far from success, and prior battles we've lost with what appeared to be much better odds. Finally, we're under constant air assault, costing us around 1% of our troops in the first week.

    However, after that week, our men aren't doing too badly. We have a defensive general in place. We're using mountain troops in one of their natural environments, Hills, and they've been dug in, oh, forever. The defensive emplacements have embroidery from the local ladies and a pizza kitchen on every hill. These guys were comfortable when the Nazis hit. Plus, there is the revenge factor, the Axis sank our WWI Destroyers! After losing another 50 men, that's 500 total, and hoping that their AA defense would contribute during air attacks if they were in port, I move all my destroyers to Messina.



    Hey, nice repairs from 55 and 16 strength. In another month or two I can try to block the straits again! Yes, I know, the battle progress report says "0", but I've seen myself lose when it looked good for me both as attacker and as defender. It's 0 right up until it's 10 right up until it's 80 and I'm booted. Especially if they slide reserves in at will and I wait as long as I have. I need that tech, but it will be a long time still.

    I lose another 75 men to air attacks on the 23rd (total 575), but I do bounce out the 79th Infantry and the 2nd SS Panzer division. The two armored Divisions I have faced have been pointless, of course, given the -99% attacker adjustment. Plus, one was armored cars and the 2nd SS was only light tanks. However, in early 1941 light tanks were nothing to be sneezed at. My favorite tank in WW2 Online was always the "Renault of DOOM!" The R-35: imagine a mini-van with a decent gun and good armor.

    I also start losing Convoys again. I wonder if the UK suddenly found another use for its navy. The Italians are certainly friskier in the Mediteranean these days. On the good side, the last week of February sees the air attack stop. By the way, since the Italian air force was not attacking the port (I assume this is the reason), my DDs in port contributed nothing to the defense against air attacks on my ground troops. Darn, would have been nice, since the ships are otherwise just resting up. Here's the situation March 4, 1941.



    As you can see, I have cost the Axis ten of their 71 reserve divisions. We sent them packing, they're not destroyed of course. I have to believe that the casualies are mounting, and assuming I win this fight, I'll be dissappointed to learn that my messages still aren't getting through. I reserve the right to save the game, manually withdraw my troops, see what the casualties are, and then resume. Any save/restore will not affect the outcome. I do not believe it will give me any information I don't already have (i.e. how many enemy I am facing) or could use in an exploit sense. We'll see. I really want those totals. If I kill 25,000 troops I want to know!

    On March 12th, almost the one-month mark of this battle, important news comes across the Canadian newswire. We have not only achieved technological advances, we have achieved some of the best possible advances for this moment in time. Hmm, I wonder if they don't kick in until I upgrade?



    Soft attack and toughness both improved on the same day and mid-battle. Hurray for the good guys. Effectively I go from +1.80% to +2.40%. As mid-March rolls around the air attacks resume, a loss of 30 men brings our total losses to 600 from air attacks alone. I realize at this point something which I ought to have noticed much earlier. The problem with having 750,000 troops in one province is the stacking penalty. The Axis face a 98% or 99% stacking penalty on top of everything else. It then occurs to me that stacking divisions in Messina for fear of not having my reserves called in to fight was not my best move.



    So here I am making fun of the AI while I myself am inflicting a 41% penalty on my own troops. Granted, 41%<99%, but it's >0. So I remove one of the divisions. Not paying sufficient attention, I remove one which is currently in the fight (not a mountain division, of course, I'm not that stupid). Note that my commander is now Skill 3, he was Skill 2 when the battle started. I then removed one of my non-fighting infantry from Messina, and moved my Marines to a nearby province, just in case. If stacking is by divisions, I want to get the most bang for my buck. Then I make the third big advance of the battle, Infantry Defensiveness up 0.8% to +3.2%



    Notice also that the Axis are back up to 70 divisions in reserve. Yes, this keeps up their stupid 99% stacking penalty, but it confirms that when the Axis are fighting nobody but Canada, they can afford to attack forever. Can't Hitler invade someone else for a change? This has got to be getting old in Berlin. Somebody tell Hitler he's losing this battle and that, no, Steiner ... Steiner cannot do anything about it! As March winds to a close, another Italian ground attack kills 54 men, and another 26 men (680 total).



    March has proven to be the Longest Month of the war in many ways. Yes, it's very difficult for 750,000 men to draw supplies from one province, then cross a body of water and fight well dug-in mountain troops in hill terrain. However, they can keep this up forever if it's all they're doing. Also, the way the AI is, when it's concentrating on one thing, it tends to keep doing so and throwing stuff at that one thing for a long, long time.

    Right now that one thing is Canada. Isn't anybody else fighting these guys?
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  5. #105
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InnocentIII View Post
    Isn't anybody else fighting these guys?
    I keep wondering that myself. Very tense and engrossing stuff, even with the stupidity of the AI they are nonetheless causing you some casaulties which you can ill-afford in comparison to them, especially those air attacks. Still, your technological advances came at the right time, hopefully you can continue to hold on until the Axis shift their attention elsewhere.
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  6. #106
    If I were you I'd do diversion strikes for a while and wait until Germany invades the USSR or make the UK do something regarding Italy, Greece and France.

  7. #107
    Major GulMacet's Avatar
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    Soft Attack, Toughness and Defensiveness are not percentages, but actual values. Also, Toughness is applied only when attacking, so it is useless in this battle. And yes, the changes will only come into effect, when the troops are getting equipped with the new stuff.

  8. #108
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    But they do get upgrades even while fighting.... hard to imagine though ;-)

  9. #109
    Lt. General NapoleonComple's Avatar
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    The Canadians must be getting stupid amounts of experience here.

  10. #110
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    Great strategy attacking Sicily. I usually end up doing the same with an Allied country (Argentina in my latest game).

    May I suggest licensing some AA-support brigades from England and adding them to the regular infantry?
    Too bad you don't have a lot of building practical, I usually build a coastal fort in Messina. Even a level 1 fort helps tremendously.

    Keep it up with this wonderful AAR, I am following intently.

  11. #111
    Captain Wallienator's Avatar
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    I guess he can get the Coastal fort there before that fight's going to end, if he can just keep moving in fresh troops..

  12. #112
    Somebody tell Hitler he's losing this battle and that, no, Steiner ... Steiner cannot do anything about it!
    They already did:


  13. #113
    Ask how many Divisions I have! InnocentIII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by croguy View Post
    They already did:

    OMG that is hilarious!
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  14. #114
    Lt. General Jorlaan's Avatar
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    Ok, THAT was funny! Where did that come from? I don't recognise it.

  15. #115
    Ask how many Divisions I have! InnocentIII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morningSIDEr View Post
    I keep wondering that myself. Very tense and engrossing stuff, even with the stupidity of the AI they are nonetheless causing you some casualties which you can ill-afford in comparison to them, especially those air attacks. Still, your technological advances came at the right time, hopefully you can continue to hold on until the Axis shift their attention elsewhere.
    Thanks! That's what I want, keep them as busy as little Canada can until things open up.

    Quote Originally Posted by croguy View Post
    If I were you I'd do diversion strikes for a while and wait until Germany invades the USSR or make the UK do something regarding Italy, Greece and France.
    Yeah, I have to find something else to hit, but I might want to rest up after this battle is over.

    Quote Originally Posted by GulMacet View Post
    Soft Attack, Toughness and Defensiveness are not percentages, but actual values. Also, Toughness is applied only when attacking, so it is useless in this battle. And yes, the changes will only come into effect, when the troops are getting equipped with the new stuff.
    Thanks for the clarification!

    Quote Originally Posted by Baltasar View Post
    But they do get upgrades even while fighting.... hard to imagine though ;-)
    I picture the guys blasting away in black and white and then suddenly getting color mid battle.

    Quote Originally Posted by NapoleonComple View Post
    The Canadians must be getting stupid amounts of experience here.
    Very much so, as we'll see!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adams View Post
    Great strategy attacking Sicily. I usually end up doing the same with an Allied country (Argentina in my latest game).

    May I suggest licensing some AA-support brigades from England and adding them to the regular infantry?
    Too bad you don't have a lot of building practical, I usually build a coastal fort in Messina. Even a level 1 fort helps tremendously.

    Keep it up with this wonderful AAR, I am following intently.
    Thanks! Yeah, islands allow a power which cannot hold a real line to do something close to it. And on AA, I do eventually learn my lesson! Why did I order AT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wallienator View Post
    I guess he can get the Coastal fort there before that fight's going to end, if he can just keep moving in fresh troops..
    I probably should have pre-built some of those things, then I think it's only the repair time to have them in place.

    Quote Originally Posted by croguy View Post
    They already did:

    Very funny, though perhaps my initial response shows I've been on Facebook with my kids a bit too much.
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  16. #116
    Lt. General NapoleonComple's Avatar
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    Might want to watch the video; I think one of the generals has a swastika armband?

  17. #117
    Ask how many Divisions I have! InnocentIII's Avatar
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    Chapter Eighteen - The Longest Quarter

    Yes! Another Very Original Chapter Title! Hey, if the enemy keeps doing the same thing over and over, I have to write about it. It isn't my fault.

    For this entire battle, all I can picture is Hitler as a little kid in the backseat of a command vehicle/halftrack kicking the back of the driver's seat saying "are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?" month after month. How long will this battle last? Nobody knows!

    Well, that's all I could think of before I saw croguy's video, now all I can think of is Hitler saying "I hate hockey." Hockey hates you right back, Adolf.

    For those who skipped over all the other Chapters figuring that by now things would have to be interesting: WRONG! But thanks for playing. The Axis continue their attack on Messina across the straits, approximately 750,000 men attacking 50,000 ish Canadians. It's like fifteen straight 50k vs 50k battles where the defenders don't get to rest and the attackers get a 98/99% stacking penalty. The Canadians were terrified at first, then settled in when Axis units dropped out, exhausted, one after another for weeks on end, and now may be getting overconfident. Groups of men have been seen headed off to battle wearing rough-hewn fur togas and carrying sharpened sticks shouting "For the Horde!" Those men prove very effective at prisoner transport.



    You know, I can't help thinking back to how my unit's Org slowly reduced in the prior battles to think that this one is potential trouble for the good guys, especially with my 0.3% chance of reinforcements moving into battle. On the other hand, just like everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time, 0.3% is a sure thing if you get to try it often enough! However, there's nothing like a 98 or 99% stacking penalty to take the sting out of anyone's attack. So after a while, the primary Canadian concern came to be: who's winning the Euchre tournament, and what's with all this cross-boarding! Steal the deal, yeah, that's legit, it's hilarious, really, but cross-boarding is just cheating.

    On the other other hand, we are losing guys, mostly to air attacks, such that we have a severe manpower shortage.



    Canada needs nearly two months of manpower just to fill in reinforcements. Now, let me pause here to say that I don't really get this number. I assumed for a long time that it meant simply that until 7.51 manpower was gained and distributed through reinforcements that no builds would be possible. I suppose you could starve reinforcements to let manpower pile up (?). However, later on I notice it jumping up and then down and then manpower appearing to build up even when I have reinforcements largely funded and I still need quite a bit. So I don't fully get this number. The forum posts my searches come up with seem to reinforce my view - 7.51 means I have a deficit of 7.51 so as long as units are being reinforced, I'll use all that up before my pool goes to even 1 - but it's not 100% sure.

    Canada knocks out another four Axis divisions, the equivalent of a full strength attack, when we make another research breakthrough which out to help this battle. Granted, heavy attack isn't a big deal here. Every unit which the attack works against is already suffering from a 99% armor-doesn't-float penalty as well as the "participation trophies for everyone" stacking penalty.



    Still, it's nice to have. Now, we've only gone a week, and since as much fun as it is for me to hold off the bulk of the Axis forces, well nearly everything that's actually fighting, it does tend to be the same thing over and over. I had this crazy idea of a Logistics strike either at the mega-stack or in the two provinces behind it. When I played some as the USA, three units of B-17s took maybe two days to lay waste to any province's logistics throughput (and of course I stupidly attacked provinces which I needed a few days later). If I had cut off supplies, that's it for the attack. However, ground attack planes like the Hurricane aren't simply poor at logistic attacks, they are ineligible. Hey, I thought Wing Commander John E Johnson used to do ground attacks all the time. I mean, they were a waste considering the losses, but they were possible. Ah, well. I'll think of something. In any event, the next weeks of battle will largely be encapsulated for your enjoyment.

    On the 10th of April, the Italians launched two air attacks on Palermo's ports, doing virtually nothing: .14 total damage to the port, and .028 to the AA. They're stupider than I am. Air attacks on troops kill 33 more soldiers, and my Organization is down to between 27 and 31. No great danger at the moment. Further air attacks kill 190 more men, far more than I'm losing in combat, I bet. And my Hurricanes are in! By the 20th, I've lost another 380 men to air attacks, though my manpower is up to a negative 4.43. Very odd. After the UK declines, twice, my offer to license two Light Cruisers, I get one from the French for almost nothing.

    Over a few days, I lose another 250 men to air attacks (1100 total). I believe they now have two cave trolls. I bring my Hurricanes into Sicily, and consider having them do air superiority. Assuming that they'd be better at air attack and defense than the Stuka, I figure the Italian version of close air support can't be better, right? But before I try that, I let them build up some Org. Let's pause here to take a look at my build queue.



    By early June I'll have the third Armored Car brigade, not much help in the Messina battle. I'll get two more Artillery brigades, which will beef up divisions which are also not going to take part in that battle. Plus I'll get a destroyer and two more Transports. These will be very nice to have, but they're not going to be much help in this battle at all, either. So good stuff for the future, but irrelevant for the time being. Right now, I'd like to use my shiny new air force.



    I figure this: if the downside of Ground Attack air units is the need for micromanagement, then a game in which I don't get many units is the perfect place to work with them. If you're only dealing with twenty units tops, then giving orders is something interesting to do, not micromanagement. Let's hope this guy can make a difference. I assign him to ground combat in the attacking stacks area. He sits around a while "resting", and I'm not sure that the AA value of >50 units is what I want to throw these guys at first, so before his first attack I switch to test my theory that my Hurricanes are better at air combat than the Italian version of a Stuka. The Italian air attacks kill another 310 men while my Hurricanes are warming up on their "Intercept" mission. Now, the air base is in Catania, not Messina, but you think they'd reach the area before the enemy fled one of those half-dozen times.

    Here's a look I got at that point when I had an unusually accurate look into the reggio de Calabria.



    Hmm, 8 AA units. Perhaps I was right not to try ground attack there.

    "I say old boy, what did you get out of those Hurricanes HMG let you build?"
    "They were wiped out in their first action, next time we're gonna build Thunderbolts."
    "Billy Bishop you're not."



    So, um, well, Air Superiority isn't the natural environment for Hurricanes, and worse still, apparently the AI has heard of Air Superiority missions, too. Damn. Well, my Strength losses were only 15%, so my unit is 85% Str and ~0% Org. better luck next time. By the 9th of May, the Axis are down to 44 reserve units, and I've lost another 90 men to air attacks (1500 total). Then the unthinkable happens! Japan annexed Shanxi! Having never played in Asia, I have no idea what that means. Well, little enough anyway.

    Some of my unit's Org is down below 24, but none are in the kind of serious shape that much smaller battles had caused much more quickly. I lose another 290 men to air attacks by May 13th, the enemy is down to 34 reserve Divisions, and their stacking penalty is 96%! You know, the worst thing for me might be the last 10-15 divisions here. I'll be amazing against 70 and then retreat in the face of to 7 (a gambler would let the 7 across, close the straits, and kill them). On the 14th, with the 6th Canadian Mountain division at 22 Org, I move them to Cefalu to the west of Messina to rest up, just in case.

    By May 21, when this battle had been going on for more than three solid months, having lost yet another 175 men to air attacks (1950 total), my two new transports and one AC brigade are completed. Also, my Mountain troops are doing pretty well in the experience department. Euchre is a very potent form of military training, I guess.



    Very nearly five stars, which I have to think is pretty good.

    I get a few manpower finally, and assuming I'll have more IC than manpower for some time, I license a Light Cruiser from the UK. I don't even check France anymore. I figure the USA will be a great source once it's in the war, but until then I'll just offer low $ to the UK and figure rejection is fine so long as I take it with good grace. For $74 I get it first try. By the 23rd I've lost another 200 men to air attacks, and the enemy stacking penalty is down to 83% with only 14 reserve divisions.

    Then, on the 16th hour of the 24th day the fifth month of 1941 - after approximately 100 days of continuous battle - the attack on Messina comes to an end.



    Hah! Nearly 1.2 million enemy soldiers engaged! Our losses were never 445. They were six times that if you include air assaults (2150 total). However, we killed 103,000 Axis soldiers in the assault on Messina! Say what you want about the wisdom of the AI in this attack, what matters to me is that Canada kept roughly a million enemy busy for roughly three months, and destroyed very nearly the equivalent of the Canadian army. We have now killed or captured 205,000 enemy.

    Let's hope that before too long the enemy decides to do something different, or gives me the chance to do the same.

    [Reminder - next update the Tuesday after New Years]
    I follow Paradox on Twitter and have Johan's photo on my phone for Twitter messages. I also follow the Pope. When the Pontiff tweets, I see the picture and lately I wonder "yes, but is Johan speaking ex cathedra?"
    Check out my Vicky2 AAR: Last Tango in 1.3 - An Argentine AAR Favorite Gameplay AAR, Vicky1/2 2011 (Round 3) - Completed
    Five for Fighting - A Canadian HoI3 AAR WritAAR of the Week (December 11th - December 18th, 2011) AAR Showcase Week of 6/17/12 - Completed

  18. #118
    Lt. General NapoleonComple's Avatar
    Cities in Motion 2Crusader Kings IIDarkest HourHearts of Iron IIIMarch of the Eagles
    Supreme Ruler: Cold WarVictoria 2

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    Now do it with Cuba.

    Dear Lord above, the casualties! At this rate you won't need the Russians to defeat the Axis; the Brits'll do it themselves!

  19. #119
    It's over 9000!
    "Never has so much been surrendered by so many to so few"
    -British opinion of the Italian army in North Africa during WW2

  20. #120
    Oh wow, that's absolutely devastating. This might just be the first proper victory for the Allies.

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