MastahCheef117

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If they can take more than half of France by themself (a truly dangerous battle... the heavily-armored French vs. the Invincible Italians!), they can take Half the US. Well, really, I was just exaggerating. Italy would get it's ass kicked by the US in 2 days :D
 

Uncron

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Good AAR.

However judging from the screenshots in my opinion your territorial army group should all have divisions in or close to all your ports. The AI is much more aggressive on amphibious invasions and in my game as Italy, Germany launched Sea Lion about four months after the fall of France and the low lands. UK got overrun rather quickly, but the Royal Navy was occupied in the mediterranean. You should always keep your main fleets close to home, if Germany gets the ball rolling you might not be able to stop them. :)

(Hell, in my game the US has done two huge amphibious invasions of Bretagne, landing at Brest already, between May 1939 and March 1940. Both thwarted)

Actually I also find it odd that the german AI does not consider attacking Benelux for easy access to France. If they don't they usually amass huge armies near the maginot line and do a sitzkrieg while waiting for the italians to drive into paris.

I also ponder about the use of support brigades, especially if it's worth building AT and AA ones. Germans tend to amass alot of panzer divisions so...
 

ComTrav

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@ Mercader--Germany has started to put troops along the Benelux border. This might just be the standard AI behavior ("here's a border, guard it"). Both of them are very closely align to allies; if a major operation in or around Europe happens, I'm going to "call them in" to give me a boost.

@ Unicron--I'm beginning to wonder about support brigades, too. Without the proper tech, they're not that effective. The ones I've really been thinking about are tank destroyer brigades, for two main reasons:
1. They are effected by all the Medium Tank techs, except they have their own Gun tech. I'm researching all the Medium tank techs anyway, so it's just an extra tech.
2. They seem to give a lot of Artillery practical.

I'm going to experiment with different builds in the Div builder.

On the subject of div composition:
Most of my Infantry Divs have been flat up 3 Inf/1 Artillery, with the sometimes 3 inf/1 engineer. (Because I hate river crossings.) My handful of armor divs are 3 inf/1 SP arty.

Incidentally, I don't seem to be able to buy many licenses from people. Can I only license brigade types I can't build at all? It occurred to me if I shopped around I could maybe get decent AT guns from America or somewhere. (I can't believe that I've out-teched every non-axis in every field except Paratroops, which I can get from America. Paratroops are on my would-be-nice-to-have list...shelling out for those transport aircraft is murder, though. It would've been so nice to build a few heavy aircraft in the interbellum to keep my good heavy aircraft practical from turning to poo.)

You are, of course, completely right about ports. Not only will the AI always have to grab a port, any time I want to move troops out, they need to be at a port. (Loading large numbers of troops onto a transport is a real clickfest. Is there ANY WAY, short of assigning AI control and hoping for the best, to load a multiple divs onto a large transport fleet quickly and easily?) Incidentally, re: Ai control, I would be very happy a simple move order was implemented. ("Move all units under your command to the vicinity of blah-blah-blah.") Defend/prepare don't always seem to work; India Army has not moved an inch in response to the orders I gave it three yours ago.
 

ComTrav

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The Royal Navy, once again, is the savior of the nation.

Cornering ships in port and pummeling them with port strikes from carriers is as effective as ever. (Assuming, of course, that you have a fearsome battle-line they don't want to fight.) My Med fleet continues to prowl, corner cruisers, and strike. This is not nearly as effective against Italy's German allies, who have much more effective air cover. I did manage to damage heavily Bismarck, Tirpitz, and Friedrich de Grosse--they had brazenly anchored them in a French port across the channel. With no ORG and half strength, I decided to call off the attack. Incidentally, there goes me wondering if Germany's bothered to build surface ships.

Interestingly enough, I've only seen one U-boat, and it managed to sink four convoys before I caught it. It was very frustrating because I saw it on the strategic map the whole time, but it evaded all my fleets on the channel, several destroyer groups. Eventually Home Fleet caught it. I'm really wondering why this happened; (if I see it on the strat map, shouldn't my units engage?) My ASW tech is really good--the next tech in the chain is the 1944 tech, and presumably even my old destroyers are upgraded with it and my radar. Maybe the random number generator just favored him, or I had a bit of a U-boat ace to chase down.

BattleofBritain-1.jpg


MUSSOLINI launches the battle of Britain before France has even fallen. Note the very high penalties for stacking limit (which are apparently quite harsh for air combat), and also the weather penalty. The channel seems almost always stormy.

I put a fleet in the channel (almost obligatory as British), and use I use some CAGs to augment my airforce while I build more interceptors. (I really, really jumped the gun on building CAS...well, at least I have Light Aircraft practical now...)

Air combat is the pivot of the whole contest between the Allies and the Italian-Ethiopian (and German) Axis. If I lose the air, I will eventually be forced off the sea, and then it's all over. If I win the air, I will (hopefully) have a ground advantage.

I really, really didn't build enough fighters. I build a bunch of interceptors, and start a few multi-role fighters once my practical is high enough to make them cheaper.

My fleets seem to be magnets for aircraft. However, I have yet to LOSE a ship to a an air attack. I'm beginning to think air attacks are mostly about rapidity and volume; if I was caught by a bunch of Navs very far from port,

BattleofBritainradarbonusCAG.jpg



Also, everyone seems to bomb around-the-clock, with no regard for night, so I'm working on getting Radar on my aircraft. I haven't seen a single Axis radar station--this is quite possibly the only area I have thorough out-teched Germany. (From my radar station in Britain, I can see all the way into Northern Germany, so if anyone is wondering if the intel benefits of radar are worth it, I'm giving a definitive yes.)

Since my Med fleet has four CAGs, it's somewhat safe for now. I have had to put it to port a couple times, though, and the MUSSOLINI is getting bolder.

He's even realized the potential strategic significance of the island of Malta.

Untitled.jpg


Failed AI amphibious invasions are going to be a theme for the rest of this part of the AAR.

This freaked me out a little bit, since I only had a garrison brigade there. My subs doing doing patrols to ferret out remnants of the Regia Marina caught it in time for me to move my med fleet over and put a stop to this nonsense.

East Africa, incidentally, turns out to be about as big a pain in the butt as I thought it would be. I puppet Ethiopia just so they'll do the dirty work of clearing out the Italians. Incidentally, Ethiopia/Italy were all out of supply when I attacked them. (Being locked out of Gibraltar and Suez is a pain, eh?) As soon as I puppet Ethiopia, and they are locked into my superior British supply network, they get back into supply. (Some of us are quite good at this imperialism business--why, the infrastructure in India rivals that of Europe!)

There's an embarrassing moment when the Italians seize Khartoum, the only airbase in the area, and start to bomb me. I'm leaving 1-2 good divisions behind to add to the random forces already in-place, and hopeful that the Ethiopians can mop up, at least if I stick some solid Brits in their ONLY VP to keep from switching sides again. (South Africa, why don't you just march north and handle this nonsense, like I always made you do back when Military Control was an option?) I'm looking forward to getting myself out of this wreteched 1-infrastructure chunk of land.

But now the two big events: AUSTRALIA goes into action!

AUSTRALIASTRIKES.jpg


This Baltic Gallipolli was not my idea. At least, not yet. Sweden/Norway (and Finland, but I want to avoid war with the Comintern) are close to the allies, and I was thinking I would "call them in" in the run-up to this sort of thing. And I would certainly wait until I can project air superiority beyond the British Isles. They actually make a pretty good push before the AI kicks them out. I had seen this Australian transport move around a bit and was wondering what the AI was planning. It was too much to hope that they would place this solid, full corps (some 20 bdes, according to the difference in the Statistics page before and after the operation) as an expeditionary force.

Allied cooperation is not very good overall. Greece won't even join the allies, despite have max alignment with the allies, "aligning towards Allies" event, and being at war with Italy and Germany. (Which is a shame, because I think I might be able to hold it if they have that line of fortifications in the mountains.) I'm a little surprised to notice Yugoslavia joined (I didn't see a pop-up for it), and I send some bombers to try to stall them, but they get trashed by Axis fighters after just one bombing and I rebase them to North Africa.

MUSSOLINI haughtily contests control of the channel:
ChannelBattle.jpg



Followed by that one German operation everyone is talking about. Operation Manatee or Portuguese Water Dog or something. I manage to catch in port, so I know its there.

InvasionFleet.jpg


That many transports, anchored in the channel, could have but one purpose.

bignavalbattle.jpg


Later, the Germans commit to this fully by reinforcing with several warships mostly cruisers, smattering of BCs--for all you people thinking that they didn't escort it very much. If you don't believe me...

SinkingofFleet.jpg


My favorite part of that? "We lost none."

The transports were almost certainly loaded--there were lots of divs in northern France that aren't there anymore. And most of the time when I've engaged transports, the AI ran right away; this battle lasted a long time, and the only reason for it to do so is if the AI was committed to a serious landing. (Interestingly, Germany has several Marine divs in northern Europe. Marine divs aren't all that useful in Europe--there's SO MANY beaches to choose from. I don't even know of a thematically appropriate or historical NAME for German marines.)

So, about 10-15 transports altogether, with about a division each, comes to about 30 brigades, give or take, at the bottom of the Channel.

So the most serious losses of the Axis land forces to date have been courtesy of the Royal Navy :rofl:
 

Lordban

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Better to catch' em while at sea than to fight' em on the ground. You've got the right idea! :D

Yep, the AI makes very good attempts at Sealion now. In AI vs AI, they pull them off, too.
 

Myth

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The Germans certainly seem to be the weaker power in its relationship with Italy this game. Quite interesting. Get the Italians!
 

stnylan

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The Navy Stays! :)

Rather good to see how vital the RN is being to your defence.
 

ComTrav

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@ Lordban--as soon as i saw them in port, I knew I could catch them at sea. I really expected to have to chase them around a lot, and not actually sink anything; early in the war, that's what happened most of the time. Crew experience, and maybe luck, have played a role.

@ Myth--the Italians have clearly been reading your AAR. They have projected increasing amounts of airpower; their invasion of Yugoslavia is moving faster then Germany's. I thought their victory in France was a bit of a fluke, but now it's clear that MUSSOLINI's 8 million bayonets are nothing to be sneezed at.

@ Stynlyn--The RN has been a bright spot in an otherwise difficult situation. I can imagine my Admirals grumbling that if they were running the army, we'd have already won the war.


I recounted the above, and I "only" sunk 7 transports. So closer to 20 brigades. And a glance at Ships Sunk shows I've trashed plenty of transports--who knows how many of them were carrying divs? This big naval battle, which ended decisively in my favor (like...all the naval battle so far), should make me feel better, but the fact is I'm a little more nervous because now I know that the AI will TRY. A human--even a power-hungry demagogue--would probably give up after this, but AIs are darn persistent.

Also, I played a few games with a friend; a Soviet '36 game went nowhere, because even with Guns and Butter Chief of Staff and Supply bonus production armaments minister (Uncle Joe himself!), there seemed to be no way to build enough supplies for the existing army. (I thought about completely disbanding the Far East Army, because I know Japan is going nowhere fast...) I want people's thoughts if it would violate the integrity of this AAR to reload my save as the USSR. I'm totally fine playing with an ahistorically weak USSR (I want to beat them to Berlin after all :rofl:), but if they're in a CG deathspiral and sitting on 0 IC, I probably will at least want to wait until a CG hotfix is out. They did win the Winter War in the Summer of '39--Viipuri is now a Soviet Province--so I'm inclined to think they're better off then Japan.

As promised, thoughts on my Grand Battleplan Doctrine.


NAVAL
As seen above, sea power is a matter of life or death for me.
First and foremost, it keeps Britain safe from invasion. As long as I command the waves, there is NOTHING THE AXIS CAN DO to keep me from building up as long as I want.

Secondly, it allows me freedom of action. I can land in the Med, France, the Baltic, and quickly outflank lines along the coast. I can concentrate my still relatively small army quickly; in effect, I have "interior lines" anywhere there's water.

Third, there's the threat of convoy raiding. I haven't been hit by it hard enough to know if it will matter if they sink a ton, but I'm not going to find out. That one sub proved depressingly hard to track down, though I've hunted Italian subs effectively and I'm inclined to think it was just a random number generator. (Or I need bigger DD stacks. I was 3-4, and I sorta thought, this being Hoi3 and all, that a smaller stack might be more effective.)

I feel like I have been extremely effective so far at naval combat. I have sunk lots of Axis ships with a grand total of 4 losses. The "ships sunk" page doesn't even have one full page of non-UK sinkings. I have a few purely tactical decisions to make. I have a number of new BBs coming off the line in 1940. Do I stick them with Home Fleet, which does most of the heavy lifting? I was thinking earlier I would put them in a SAG with my new DDs, for a fleet that's uniformly fast. However, I'm not sure about operating them without a carrier escort. (And my carrier tech is poo, though my CAGs are ok.) I'm also wondering if I should research now so when two come off the line in summer I can use that high practical to immediately build two more (and get them going so they can be ready by '42), or use it to boost my BB research and build newer BBs later. (I have plenty of Vanguard-type BBs coming online in late 40 early 41, so my practical will be plenty high, and with capital ships, the sooner you start building, the better.)

LAND
After our USSR game tanked, I decided we were going to play Germany '36 like everyone else. By '39 there were mechanized divisions, lots of U-boots, jet/rocketry research (with a rocketry site as near Penemunde as I could figure out), and lots of fighters. And getting more territory only made it easier.

Depending on what occupation policies the AI has set, I have almost certainly been massively outproduced by Germany, and probably largely out-teched in everything except Radar and maybe ships. I know the AI won't do as well as a human player in its tech strategy, but I used to think I was competitive in light aircraft, infantry weapons, and artillery, but now I'm not so sure.

I PROBABLY am in the process of opening up a lead in air doctrine--I'm grabbing it a lot, and I doubt the AI realizes how attractive these are with the great ease of acquiring combat experience. I also am probably ahead in Grand Battleplan Doctrine, if for no other reason then the German AI probably gives it a lower priority.

I will NEVER out-tank them. It occurred to me when my first armored divs rolled off the line that Armor Practical was easy to get, and I could just spam tanks to win. But that's what Germany does to win (and, probably the USSR; as the US it seems more like you spam everything.) And I think if I try to fight the war "their way", it will go badly; it might've been doable if I was working on it back in '36, but now it's not happening. I will of course, build and use tanks (because it'd be dumb not to), but it's all about the Poor, Bloody Infantrymen for me at the end of the day.

I can pick theaters that favor this sort of fighting for a while--if Greece wasn't so stubborn and would actually join me, I would try there. Italy is the obvious place. (I have built all those Mountain Divs, after all...)

AIR
As I said above, air is the "pivot". If the Axis win the air war, my ships will eventually be forced spend all their time hiding in Scapa Flow. If I gain enough air superiority, I will hopefully have the edge in ground combat.

images.jpg


Fairey Battle Bomber, you're the only hope. I'd rather have Mosquitoes, and at the start I really wanted Lancasters, but the fact is you share Practical and almost all your techs with Fighters.

My Italian invasion was scrapped because I didn't think I could protect it very well; all my fighters are tied up in Britain. I also thought that without airpower I would move up Italy fine, and then Germany would counterattack and wipe me out. After finishing Italy up, it's always hard to drive into Germany, because you're vulnerable on almost all sides.

DIPLOMACY
Originally I was against an ahistorically entry of the US into the war, but it's now 1940, and the war started six months or so early--it's not THAT ahistorically early :rofl:.

I did get this:
Destroyers-for-base.jpg


And, for those who are curious, the Destroyers are of historically appropriate quality, ie, rubbish. I can upgrade their ASW and Anti-Aircraft, though, which is what I need DDs for more then anything.
More importantly, since I've now seen the AI attempt to launch two decent-size Amphibious invasions, I know the American AI will actually do stuff.

I have in decisions the option to bombard the French fleet, and I'm wondering if I should do it. Vichy France is close enough to the allies I could easily get them to join, but that's WAY too ahistorical, and besides, MUSSOLINI would just stomp them again anyway. I will use my influence to keep them (and Nationalist Spain) out of the war, because that seems fine.

It occurs to me no one's actually mentioned rather or not the German AI will ever invade Russia. I'm sorta gambling that they will (they're fast running out of invasion targets on the Continent, at any rate), and I need to be able to launch a major ground combat operation when they do, because it's a moment of opportunity and I need to relieve pressure on them right at the outset. (Once they're at war, they PROBABLY don't have excessive CG problems. France's stiffening resistance towards the end of MUSSOLINI's invasion gives hope for that.)
 

ComTrav

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EuropeSpring40.jpg


Picture of Europe in the spring of '40, as requested. I checked the world to see if anything interesting is happening, and not really. Japan has managed to take Taiwan back from Guangxi Clique, but it is sitll complete kicked out of Asia. South Africa seems to be moving a bunch of guys towards a transport.

In Europe, you probably can't see it at this level of zoom, but some French partisans popped up right on top of the old Maginot Line. This isn't the first French partisan uprising that's happened, but it is the first one that Germany has had trouble suppressing. If they keep to the Maginot/Sigfried Lines, it may be hard for Germany to root them out.

You can see that the Axis are weaving their web over the Balkans. Yugoslavia has recently decided to continue the fight as a government-in-exile, which adds a smattering of small ships (and, more importantly, some planes) to the Med. Greece is under attack by Italy and Germany, but stubbornly continue to refuse to join the allies.

The lighter spots on the map are somewhat indicative of how useful radar is for intelligence gathering. I can see that they have lots of forces on the Benelux border, but most of France is undefended.
 

stnylan

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Very interesting indeed.

There is apparently a CG hotfix available in techsupport in case you haven't already realised it, though I would load up as the USSR six months or so after applying it to check on how they are doing.
 

Myth

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Very nice overview. It seems like you're feeling the sting of overstretched resources. This is good, as it is historically accurate. :D
 

ComTrav

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I've seen that there's a CG hotfix--is it backwards compatible with my save? It's not going to impact me directly very much because I'm already at war, but I think I'll wait and see if there's an unintended consequence of it.

Incidentally, I blinked and loaded as the Soviets anyway--it's a learning AAR after all--and although they might be weaker then they are "supposed" to be, they had plenty of IC and 0 dissent. Low-ish National unity (65-70), but for all I know that's intended. A lower number of armor brigades then I would expect, and for some reason they're building a 1918-tech battleship. But they have lots and lots and lots of light aircraft practical, and tons of interceptors in their production queue; they quite possibly have the largest airforce in the world, or will soon.
 

ComTrav

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Yes, feeling the sting of overstretched resources is historically accurate. Making production decisions at the start of the war was hard, because I needed more of everything. I jumped the gun a bit on CAS, and I really should've built more fighters.

Here's a shot of the diplomacy screen:

Diplo40.jpg


There's page after page of influences going on, most of it due to "align with Allies" events. Incidentally, you can see no one loves the Comintern.
Axis is Italy, Croatia, Slovakia, and Germany. Ethiopia has switched sides.

Allies are Britain, France, Yugoslavia, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Poland, Ethiopia, and of course, New Zealand. (They were the first to get on board, so New Zealand gets to be on the Security Council after the war.) You can see I have a number of countries very close to me, however a lot of them won't take an "invite to faction".

Allied Armies:
AlliedArmies40.jpg


Australia suffered heavily in its Baltic incursion; at one point they had over 80 brigades. I need to make sure I'm watching their diplomatic deals more closely; I know I've given Canada credit, but I'm not sure what else. It's frustrating that I can't offer credit, and just give it to them all and be done with it. It's also frustrating I can't offer to sell production license.

AlliedAirForces40.jpg


Yugoslavia's fighters are quite a welcome addition. I'm building a few FTR, now, for the longer range and greater flexibility. I'm considering building a few extra CAGs, so I can rotate them on my carriers--in extended fleet operations my CAG will be battered but the ships will be fine (which is a sign that the CAGs are at least partly doing their job). I'll also be able to use them as a "poor man's NAV" especially if I pick up air-launched torpedo, one easy tech away.

Speaking of techs, I cannot parse this tooltip:
ASWWTFtech.jpg


Why does my "Small Warship ASW 5" require "Small Warship ASW lower then 3"? I'm hoping someone here can help me figure this out. I teched up my Radar to get it, and now I dunno what to do. You can also see I've started researching Snooperscope, which is the 1944 night fighting tech. After watching air and land battles, I've realized how much of the time combat is taking place at night, and both sides have severe penalties and aren't really doing anything. Night Fighting Equipment actually had a quite reasonable research time--I was expecting over two years, but I'll have it in the summer of '41. I'm thinking it will give my infantry a considerable edge, especially defensively.
 

CowboyRonin

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I think the tooltip refers to your Radar level; it has to be at least 3 to get to the higher levels of small craft ASW (i.e. Radar level 1 lets you get to asw level 3; you have to have level 3 radar to get any higher). At least, that's what I think it means.
 

Lordban

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It means this tech can be researched only three times. PI probably intended for it to be possible to reach higher levels only after reaching a higher level in Radars, and later scrapped it.
 

ComTrav

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CowboyRonin--that's how I read it. That's part of why I researched level 3 radar; you'll see there's a green asterik next to the "radar at least 3" part of the requirements.

Lordban--I suspect you may be correct. It's strange, though, because I would expect it to be locked out, rather then have another tech showing with weird requirements.