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Germany’s One Hundred Division Gamble

Introduction:

This is my first actual AAR and I do not know yet which style to use.

The goal I have set myself shall be to conquer as much as possible, using no more than one hundred mobile divisions. Based on the feedback I got from a discussion thread in the HoI2 Doomsday general discussions forum over there I have made Germany my country of choice.

The country I am playing as will be Germany on Normal/Weakling starting in 1936.
Using Doomsday version 1.2, with the following modifications: SMEP (Small Enhancements Project) version 5.1c with DAIM (Determined Artificial Intelligence Mod) of 24-Aug-2006.

The following house rules have been set and expanded upon based on commentary of others.

1. I shall use only one hundred mobile divisions build by myself, this includes the total number of infantry/motorised/mechanised/armoured divisions. The exception to this category are garrison divisions and any expeditionary forces.

2. Should I happen to build more than one hundred divisions, I shall have to disband units of my own to bring the total back again to one hundred.

3. Expeditionary forces shall only be used in a limited theatre of operations depending on their origin, i.e. Italian expeditionary forces can only be used in Africa and the Balkans, Nationalist Spain’s are limited to the Mediterranean, North Africa and their colonies plus surroundings and so on, Eastern European and Balkan nations are limited to the Eastern Front, up till the Urals. Other countries that may join the Axis will be subject to the same rule depending on their location.

4. Should an expeditionary force switch fully to my ownership (a known bug since HoI2) they will count towards my total of 100 divisions. I either have to give that unit back or disband it if my total becomes more than 100 divisions.

5. No military control of my allies shall be taken; the exception will be Nationalist Spain, to ensure Gibraltar falls quickly and to prevent them from messing around in France. However after the fall of France I will have to give up MC.

6. My Luftwaffe will face the following restrictions. No more than 16 tactical bomber wings with escorts attached, additionally they cannot all operate in the same area simultaneously with more than 4 wings. No close air support and naval bombers will be built or used. Fighters and interceptors will face no limits to operating numbers in a specific area and their combined total.

The initial plan I have with Germany is going to be the construction of factories. I shall not follow a perfect IC-whoring strategy. For starters I prefer to finish all my parallel IC builds at the same time so I can start a nice combination of builds when the last round is finished.

Starting on January 1st. 1936, first I make a domestic policy move towards central planning. Franz Gürtner (Silent Lawyer) replaces Wilhelm Frick (Prince of Terror) as minister of security to reduce consumer goods demand. Halmar Schacht (Administrative Genius) becomes the minister of industry and finally I install Ulrich Grauert (Fighter Proponent) as head of the air force.
The research teams are assigned next, with my usual focus first on manufacturing, agriculture and cryptography. The remaining 1936 techs are also assigned and beyond that the 1937 techs follow.
Following that I disband all my existing brigades, all the level 1 and 2 ships plus all the submarines in the Kriegsmarine. The divisions in Westfalen are order to move into the Rhineland.
Finally I set up the production queue, cancelling all builds save for the KMS Graf Spee. 20 Factory builds are started.

After the re-occupation of the Rhineland I have enough ICs to produce a surplus of supplies to trade for essential resources. I also begin a serial build of three transports that I may need when the Spanish Civil War arrives.

With the game running I sent out some spies to France, UK and USA, improve relations with the USSR for better terms of trade. Trade deals are set up as more IC becomes available from advances in manufacturing. The AI nations make some decent proposals for my surplus energy, offering supplies, metal, rare materials and oil.

The Spanish Civil War erupts as historically with Italy, the USSR and me sending support, while France and the UK abstain. My goal is to get the Nationalists into the Axis and hopefully incur the wartime consumer goods bonus without suffering from too much belligerence. For that reason I also built 3 transport flotillas to send extra troops. I quickly improve my relations with Nationalist Spain, however they steamroll the Republicans and I only get them into the Axis in November 1936 a few days after the fall of the Republicans.

The first 20 factories are finished in December and I start another batch of consisting of 27 units. The year 1937 sees not much activity, a further move towards central planning is made, and I manage to steal a few blueprints from France and the UK.
 
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Now I have some questions on what kind of strategy to pursue. Usually I build a third batch of factories finishing in 1938 after the Sudeten Crisis after when I start a mass build of infantry plus armour. However I am uncertain on what mix of units I shall start with, dealing the 100 division limit. I could still use the three factory builds and go for massed infantry, but I would have to disband a lot of those later on to get more powerful units.

My goal is to control the most of Europe either by conquest or diplomacy at the end of 1940. Barbarossa would be launched in the late spring of 1941. Whether this includes a Sea lion is also still open.

What are the recommendations in this case?
 

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Would you count to your 100 division limit any infantry divisions stationed on coastal watch (as you'll need a 2-4 garrison per beach that will not be effective if faltering as they don't seem to retreat). Because i'm not sure if by garrisons you mean garrisoning troops or actual garrison divisions.
On top of that, if by some miracle they break through and you're using mobile units to defend beaches, would it be considered cheating to use them to push the bastards back into the sea? :p

Also, will you use your fighters/interceptors on ground based attacks if the situation calls? They don't have much effect, but having fighters doing interdiction can sometimes work :p.
 

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Tribolute said:
Would you count to your 100 division limit any infantry divisions stationed on coastal watch (as you'll need a 2-4 garrison per beach that will not be effective if faltering as they don't seem to retreat). Because i'm not sure if by garrisons you mean garrisoning troops or actual garrison divisions.
On top of that, if by some miracle they break through and you're using mobile units to defend beaches, would it be considered cheating to use them to push the bastards back into the sea? :p

Also, will you use your fighters/interceptors on ground based attacks if the situation calls? They don't have much effect, but having fighters doing interdiction can sometimes work :p.

Nope only garrison divisions, I might assign some infantry as a reserve, but only garrison divisions will be doing coastal defense duty.

I shall use fighters/interceptors to carry out ground attacks and interdictions if the situation calls for it and they don't count towards the limits I have set, due to their relatively weak stats in that area. Also if I have the resources I may even try to build a strategic bomber force, but that depends entirely on my fuel and IC situation.
 

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An interesting limitation. I would imagine that you should be able to pull this off however.
 

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ooo good luck...
 

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How did you get 5.1c for SMEP. I thought it was still at 4.5?
 

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With just one hundred divisions, I would think a Barbarossa style attack would be difficult. Now, I suggest you quickly seize Giblator. Then, I recommend seizing Malta. Then I recommends invading North Africa and seizing the Suez. The med is now yours. Now, push into the middle east. Once you conquer this, The entire caucus region for the Soviets is wide open. The Oil Fields, Stalingrad, and Rostov, and as well as Moscow, are right in your path. No frontal fighting! Of course it would be hard to hold your own border as well as attack from here.
 

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Build up to war (November 1937 - August 1939)

With the factories completed in November 1937, I decide to start building my army as usual after the Treaty of Munich in late ’38. 37 factories are commissioned scheduled for completion in October of the next year. Come January another move towards central planning is made and I leave my ministers as they are. When the sacking of Werner von Blomberg and Werner von Fritsch events happen I go with yes in both cases. Normally I keep these guys around, especially Blomberg, since I lack Field Marshalls during the first year of the war. However I shall not need many Field Marshalls with my constraints.

The Anschluss of Austria happens as scheduled and I inherit their entire combined armed forces. I disband all the brigades and the old cavalry unit. Of their build queue I get a factory under construction in Vienna, an old tactical bomber and a series of two infantry divisions. I decide to let them all finish since they already are well under way, though I cancel the infantry series as soon as the first division is completed.

The summer of ’38 is quiet and passes without anything of importance happening. Once the Austrian builds have finished, I spend the IC on a series of 3 level II medium armour divisions. At September 30th the treaty of Munich takes place and Czechoslovakia secedes the Sudetenland to Germany.
By the end of October the last major IC build finishes and I begin a serious expansion of the Wehrmacht. Six parallel builds of level II medium armour and six series of motorised divisions are started. All of these finished just before the invasion of Poland. For brigades I am going to use heavy armour for my panzers and self-propelled artillery for the rest.
The Luftwaffe will be ignored for now except for the order of a series of interceptors.
The Kriegsmarine is expanded with the commissioning of the level IV carriers Graf Zeppelin, Peter Strasser and the super heavy Battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz. Two series of light cruisers are included as escorts. They will be completed in midsummer 1940 right on time to support operation Sea lion. Finally I add a series of transports and 3 marine divisions to have enough capacity to transport my entire invasion force in one go.

1939 rolls along and I make the final central planning move. Hans Oster replaces Canaris as the head of intelligence. By March I finish of Czechoslovakia by portioning it with Hungary, who out of gratitude promptly joins the Axis. Memel is taken from Lithuania and the preparations for Poland progress smoothly.

On August 30th the Poles refuse to hand over Danzig and the first panzers start rolling over the border.

The Wehrmacht consists of 50 infantry, 18 garrisons, 1 mountaineer, 2 marine, 2 HQ, 24 motorised, 3 light and 15 medium armoured divisions. All the garrison divisions plus 2 corps of 3 infantry divisions each are put on guard duty on the Siegfried line along the French-German border. All other units are deployed along the Polish front.
 

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KaiserGermany said:
With just one hundred divisions, I would think a Barbarossa style attack would be difficult. Now, I suggest you quickly seize Giblator. Then, I recommend seizing Malta. Then I recommends invading North Africa and seizing the Suez. The med is now yours. Now, push into the middle east. Once you conquer this, The entire caucus region for the Soviets is wide open. The Oil Fields, Stalingrad, and Rostov, and as well as Moscow, are right in your path. No frontal fighting! Of course it would be hard to hold your own border as well as attack from here.

Gibraltar will be a top priority target; however I shall not pursue a Mediterranean first strategy. Experience has taught me that the loss of the Med does not hurt the UK that much, though it helps the Italians a lot. For me the Mediterranean takes up a disproportionate amount of resources. Therefore Britain itself comes first as an invasion target. Thus far I have neglected the Luftwaffe and as long as the Allies possess airbases within striking distance of the Reich I remain vulnerable.

The approach to Operation Barbarossa remains a problem. My usual strategy is a major offensive into the Ukraine, across the steppes my panzers can quickly advance. Once I get past Kiev I tend to split my force, the main part heads north towards Moscow, while the rest continues onward towards the Caucasus and the Central Asian steppes.
I have tried a successful Middle Eastern based invasion of the Soviet Union in the past, but never with so few troops. At the moment I am still undecided on whether I shall use a lot of garrison divisions or build fortifications instead.
 

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Alkar said:
Gibraltar will be a top priority target; however I shall not pursue a Mediterranean first strategy. Experience has taught me that the loss of the Med does not hurt the UK that much, though it helps the Italians a lot. For me the Mediterranean takes up a disproportionate amount of resources. Therefore Britain itself comes first as an invasion target. Thus far I have neglected the Luftwaffe and as long as the Allies possess airbases within striking distance of the Reich I remain vulnerable.

The approach to Operation Barbarossa remains a problem. My usual strategy is a major offensive into the Ukraine, across the steppes my panzers can quickly advance. Once I get past Kiev I tend to split my force, the main part heads north towards Moscow, while the rest continues onward towards the Caucasus and the Central Asian steppes.
I have tried a successful Middle Eastern based invasion of the Soviet Union in the past, but never with so few troops. At the moment I am still undecided on whether I shall use a lot of garrison divisions or build fortifications instead.


I agree that a successful Sealion would be more effective than shutting of the med. However I still think a Frontal assault with so few troops is diffucult. However, I beleieve you should build fortifications as they will be much more successful than garrison troops.
 

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KaiserGermany said:
I agree that a successful Sealion would be more effective than shutting of the med. However I still think a Frontal assault with so few troops is diffucult. However, I beleieve you should build fortifications as they will be much more successful than garrison troops.

My experience with amphibious assault launched by the AI is that they are rather limited in scope, they usually involve only some transports and a few destroyers or cruisers for escorts. The Kriegsmarine will be relied on to beat off any would-be invaders.
 

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Part One, Fall Weiss:
On August 30th at 04:00 hours German formations start to cross the Polish border. The attack takes place along several axes. In the north based in Konigsberg an armoured corps, supported by motorised units, heads for Grodno. From Stettin and Küstrin, supported from Elbing, the axis runs through Bydgoszcz, Lodz, and Radom to Lublin. The third and final axis of attack goes from Oppeln through Czestochowa, Radom to Lublin. The assault from the west if going right creates a pocket at Poznan trapping it defenders. However the ultimate goal of my main thrust is to convert my motorised formations on Lublin to southeast of Warsaw before the Polish have the time to put up a decent defence of their capital.

The first day goes by successfully and by the evening a full breakthrough is made in the west. The northern assault towards Grodno is stalled during the night by the defenders of Suwalki and the Luftwaffe bombers based from Konigsberg keep pounding them. The next day the defences finally collapse and the drive towards Grodno continues unopposed.

By September 2nd Poznan is surrounded and my remaining infantry divisions in Germany assault the pocket destroying 7 Polish divisions inside. The attack from my armoured/motorised formations progresses quite well and Lublin is taken in the morning of September 4th. Polish counterattacks on my spearhead fail and during the next few days my motorised corpses begin to arrive. On September the 8th my headquarters arrive and the final assault on Warsaw begins. Warsaw’s defences are quickly breached and the Capital falls on September 11th. The surrender and annexation of Poland take place on the same day, making this my fastest conquest of Poland ever. I conclude that a heavy focus on armour has definitely paid off thus far.

The remainder of September sees the redeployment of my forces towards the Western Front at Aachen and Cologne in preparation for Fall Gelb, the invasion of Belgium and France. Additionally at the outbreak of hostilities I take over control of the Spanish forces and quickly attack Gibraltar, which is weakly defended by a single garrison. As a result the British colony is quickly overrun.

Part Two, Fall Gelb:

By early October the weather is still fair and there appears to be enough time left to take on the French before the first snows start to fall. My experiences with previous German campaigns and from what I read in the history books have taught me that an assault through the Ardennes is the optimal invasion route.

For starters let’s compare the intentions of the original Schlieffen Plan from World War one with Von Manstein’s adaptations in 1940.

The Schlieffen Plan envisions a strong assault along the rightmost flank towards Antwerp, Ghent and then south along the Channel Coast towards Le Havre. There a left hook is made by the advancing force, taking Paris. The idea behind it was to avoid the bulk of the French forces defending Alsace-Lorraine, taking those by surprise by advancing around them across excellent terrain. The problem with the strategy was that it falls apart when the attacking forces are delayed and get behind the tight schedule. Due to the wide turn being made, the enemy has to transfer over a shorter distance than the attackers and if the initial defenders manage to stall the advance long enough, the offensive will grind to a halt.
In game terms the commander can usually observe this when attacking Ghent. The province is located behind rivers, giving a penalty to the attackers. Additionally most of the time the allied navy is present in the English Channel providing a substantial shore bombardment modifier further penalising the attackers. Generally the result is that the first attack on Ghent will end in a failure, unless naval superiority has already been achieved. However, that is usually not the case in the autumn of 1939 and neither in the spring of 1940.

Therefore we now take a look on Von Manstein’s adaptation of the Schlieffen Plan. Here the main thrust will take place through the Ardennes, instead of focussing most of the German strength on the right flank.
The terrain is more difficult to manage compared to the coastal plains and to boot there are fortifications in the province of Liège. However the route through the Ardennes involves a much shorter distance towards the main objective of Paris. In order to successfully exploit the element of surprise, sufficient forces need to be sent through the gap, to achieve a full breakthrough.

The game’s configuration of provinces is especially favourable, seeing as the commander only needs to cross with his armoured spearhead through Liège and then immediately advance into Rheims. When carried out quickly enough, Rheims can be secured by the armoured and motorised formations, before the French are able to react. To ensure success, enough armoured/motorised formations need to be committed and immediately followed up by the slower infantry divisions. Also it is important to set the unit’s destination at Rheims or even further to prevent delays, from being unable to issue new orders to units for 24 hours after their last combat ended. A rather narrow corridor is established this way, creating a salient vulnerable to enemy counterattacks if not defended well enough. The infantry can try to widen the gaps while the spearhead further advances.
From Rheims onwards the spearhead can be split of into several directions. Several army corpses are sent en route towards Compiegne. Then depending on the number of defenders in Paris, an immediate assault can be made resulting in its capture. The commander may need to secure more neighbouring provinces first for the final assault depending on the number of defenders. The securing of extra provinces can be achieved by taking Troyes and Auxerre. The latter has the advantage of providing a staging point to attack Paris without having to cross any rivers in the final push. Additionally more provinces can be secured to the west of Compiegne, which coincides nicely with the next objective. Beyond Compiegne at least one corps will have to quickly advance westwards towards the Channel Coast. With this the allied forces, stationed in Belgium and northern France, are effectively trapped creating a large pocket, which can be mopped up by the infantry.

Besides the capture of Paris and trapping the allied forces in the north, the Maginot line will have to be taken care off. Capturing the Maginot line itself is not essential to achieve victory and should even be avoided at all times possible. Not only do the provinces’ heavy fortifications result in heavy losses among the attackers even when having the advantage of having completely surrounded and out of supply defenders. If captured then all the provinces’ factories and resource gathering operations are set to zero. Given that Germany has claims on these provinces and since it takes months to bring everything fully back online it is best to contain the allied forces in their forts in Alsace-Lorraine to get the most gains out of the area.
Therefore the commander is advised to advance into Chaumont and after the enemy counterattack has been beaten off, continue towards Dijon. Once Dijon is captured the Maginot line itself is almost sealed off from its supply lines, only Besançon stands in between as an obstacle.

Depending on the strength of the forces at the commander’s disposal in relation to the enemy’s several choices are open, which will be discussed below:

The first choice is to halt the advance. This one is arguably the safest. With the securing of Dijon the enemy already has to make a long detour in an attempt to relieve the west. It also is the safest, since it leaves the commander’s forces not overly extended in a well defensible position.

The second choice consists of attacking Besançon. Crossing a river attacking a hilly province that most likely is already reasonably well defended with reinforcements en route would be nearly as hazardous as attacking the Maginot line itself. In most cases the assault on Besançon usually is carried out by an extended motorised/armoured force from a single damaged province causing logistical problems (ESE). It is possible to wait for the infantry, especially mountaineers, to arrive to finish the job, but so has the enemy time to reinforce. Even when the first defenders are driven off successfully, more enemy reinforcements will arrive, while the commander’s own forces are still busy crossing the Rhône River. If they are already available paratroopers can be parachuted in, but those can also be used to secure other important objectives quickly, especially Paris. However if Besançon is secured quickly enough, the commander should have trapped a substantial number of allied troops, that only pose a minor threat from then on.

The third and final option is to simply advance southwards across the Rhône valley towards the Mediterranean. The offensive goes through Chalon-sur-Saône, Saint Etienne towards Nîmes. From there on it heads eastwards towards the Italian border sealing off the eastern part of France. An alternative route is to try to hit Lyon, but it poses the same challenges as Besançon. Either way, France’s east will be neutralised.

The plan described above was successfully carried out by me, where I advanced no further than Dijon and instead cleared out the west of France. The timetable I managed to achieve was as following.
October 3rd 939: Declaration of war on Belgium, armoured and motorised formations begin their attack on Liège and quickly break through the defences.
October 6th: The first units arrive in Rheims and successfully hold off French counter attacks.
October 10th: Paris is taken.
October 22nd: France surrenders and a French puppet government is set up in Vichy.

So far this been my fastest conquest of France I have ever made. The use of lots of motorised (24 with SP-Art) and armoured (18 wit heavy armour) divisions allowed for a much quicker advance. Usually I have only about half this number and far more infantry divisions when attacking France.

The rest of 1939 and the following winter saw little action for the Wehrmacht. The Netherlands and Luxembourg were overrun. Yugoslavia surprisingly declared war upon Italy, two days after the latter had declared war upon Greece. I did join into the fray until January, a week after Bulgaria joined the Axis. By that time Mussolini was well underway with the conquest of the Balkans and my forces only hastened the Italian victory. After Greece fell Yugoslavia got partitioned with the spoils divided amongst the Axis members. Italy ends up with a small slice of Yugoslavia and got Montenegro as a puppet. Germany got Croatia as a puppet and ownership of Serbia. Bulgaria and Hungary got their respective cores in Greece and Yugoslavia, whit the rest of Greece going to Italy.
 

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So far all looks very successful - hardly could be more successful. Going to do Russia in 1940?
 

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stnylan said:
So far all looks very successful - hardly could be more successful. Going to do Russia in 1940?

I possibly could have tried that, but I believe I have far to few armoured and motorised formations for that, though it could have been a good moment. I shall elaborate on it in another update, hopefully tomorrow.
 

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Iv'e started my own game playing Germany. Im not playing by your rules but you are an expert and I'm seeking advice. I conquered France, and it is now Sep 1940. I looked towards Russia, but they, with DAIM, have 314 infantry, compared to my lowly 150. SO I turned to Africa. Italy secure Africa themselves. Nat Spain took Gib, and i'm helping the Italins with 3 armored and 6 motorized in the Middle East. I want to conquer Britain first. I easily have enoug troops to take them, but how do I get across and defeat the Royal Navy? I have two lvl 3 carriers without CAG's that will be done in a few days, and I think 3 super battleships. I have alot more on the assembly line.


Nice updates on your AAR btw :rolleyes:
 

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woo an excellent victory!