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HOI3 SF patched to v2.04F. Scenerio: Germany; "1944, Gotterdammerung"; Difficulty: Hard. Autosaves are weekly. Run on 2.41Ghz AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core Processor 4800+964MHz 3.00GB RAM; XP Pro v2002 SP3.
This is a vanilla game with certain modifications including a programed coup in Germany.
Set-up modifications: Axis, Allied, and Comentern starting forces provided with leadership upgrades so officers are given their most logical postings (ie: "carpet bombers" in stratgic aircraft, "panzer leaders" in armored formations, no "tank busters" on CAGs, etc.).
United Kingdom: Re-ordered starting fleets and air forces to optimum mix. Reassigned top leadership to key posts across the entire armed forces.
United States: Ditto. Note: Loaded two (2) transport fleets with reserve armor and sent them to land at Caen (so tanks not just SR'd across N. America as the AI is inclined to do).
Soviet Union: Ditto. Note: Due to limitiations of officer pool all Corps HQ's were left unassigned while the best leaders possible were posted to Army Group and Army HQ's. Best "winter specialists" were posted in the artic. Soviet armored forces were also re-organized with mechanized infantry to give them the combined-arms bonus.
Japan: Ditto. Note: Also, a new Army Group (AG) was created in central China to coordinate supply.
Germany: Ditto. Note: Land units were entirely re-organized as defined by starting OOB (see future post). An AG in southern France was re-assigned to AG Italy, while upgrades were turned-off for all starting forces excepting air units. In order to reduce supply interruptions on the eastern front occupied Russia and Poland were changed to "Colaboration Governments," and to help offset loss of IC's; France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxemburgh were changed to "Total Exploitation."
Restrictions: To simulate conditions leading up to the coup, all Germany armored units on the Western front must remain in starting positions until such time as a second invasion begins around Calias, or there is a change in Government.
This AAR will demonstrate a top-down design approach to the construction and deployment of large scale air forces. This is a follow-on to previous AARs on naval and armor OOB planning (see foot notes).
Creating an effective air force is more than just building a few planes and hoping for the best. Building the wrong aircraft, or researching the wrong doctrines will invariably lead to defeat ( which is especially true for Germany in 1944). The difference here is to create short-term goals to meet the immediate needs of the country.
In HOI3 one must prepare a detailed air strategy and coordinate the effort with construction of substantial reserves and ground facilities. Air combat is essentially a zero-sum game, and so one must rely on technological advances to gain the upper hand. This AAR will include a primer on Air Intellegence as well as strategies for intercepting and bombing. Air engagements will be broken-down to identify what went right (or wrong), and as the famous German WW1 ace, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, once said,
"Fight on and fly on to the last drop of blood and the last drop of fuel, or to the last beat of the heart."
What's New? -- Air Wing Design Model
Strategically, the air game in HOI3 can be decisive, so air superiority often leads the path to victory. Simply pushing a large stack of airplanes around to meet the threat is not going to work, one must design effective air wings and position them properly so they provide overlapping fields of support.
This AAR will use a custom spreadsheet to design air wings around a task group design model. Emphisis is placed on various factors as speed, guns, RADAR, defenses, etc. Advance air planning will also drive relavent technologies and doctrines, and deployment of the latest "wonder weapons" will also be highlighted.
This AAR is directed at the single player game, although certain aspects of tactics and strategy may carry over to multiplayer. Here it was necessary to return to Semper Fi because the Air AI in For The Motherland is not nearly as effective (i.e. broken).
The Gotterdammerung scenerio was chosen because Germany's path to victory rests with their air forces. Here the Allied and Comentern AI begin the game with almost complete air superiority, while Germany has essentially no time to prepare for the onslaught of enemy strategic bombers.
By 1944, the Axis is nearly exhausted of materials and manpower, so a ground offensive is fairly out of the question. Germany's only the hope is that high tech weapons can turn the balance of power. WWI-style trench warfare and defence-in-depth now return to the land war in an effort to stave-off defeat as Germany races to develop and deploy the latest "wonder weapons."
There is NO HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE to this game--it will simply be played to win. This AAR uses modified victory conditions where the Allies, Axis, and Comentern all have equal opportunities.
No air transports, air drops, or air re-supply. The AI has problems with air drops (dropping paras at sea, or landing them in Leningrad, etc.) that cause the game to crash. So, the AI's air transports were all scrapped at start. Consequently, Germany will not be building air transports either.
For land units, the player uses the same build rules as the AI, which are--no reserve units. Exceptions are given to home guard units that are designed soley for defense of core provinces or anti-partisian duty. Reserve units may not be upgraded or used for any other purposes.
The board will be updated twice a week; Sundays, and again during the middle of the week. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the air war reports will occur monthly. The campaign should move along fairly quickly and will likely take about 8-10 weeks to complete. Postings will have a 1-month delay, for example, as the first report of June, 1944 appears the game will have already progressed to August.
Feel free to interrupt and ask questions at any time. The author appreciates your subscription and any comments you may make.
"The first time I ever saw a jet, I shot it down." — General Chuck Yeager, USAF, describing his first confrontation with a Me262.
NOTE: Prior AARs of the OOB series are: OOB planning for Germany, 1938-45, and Naval OOB planning for Italy, 1938-44.