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Panzergruppe Guderian» Forums » Strategy

Subject: My pointers on how to play PGG rss

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Steve Fitt
Thailand
Chang Mai
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Thoughts for the Soviet Player

1] Stratagy
. a] The Soviets decide where the battle will be fought. Where they send Div. is where it will be fought.
. b] Don't make many attacks. Really none in the early going. Think of "pinning" as attacking.
. c] If you are going to die, die as far forward as possible. And be doubled too.
. d] Control the main road as long as possible. The "Egg" is very good for this. A 2-stack will not hold but it can delay, that is it "can't" b overrun. So, he can't get at the 4-stack in the woods on the road for at least 1 more turn. Every turn of delay matters.
. e] You don't have enough RR lift to move all your reinf. Div. foward 2 lifts to the Smolemsk area. Some will have to walk to where they will fight. One way to do this is to march units that are forming the MLR along the Dnipier R. forward from stack location to stack location. You replace them from units that just RR'd into Vyazma area. Repeat this until he pins them in place. -- This means you RR 5/turn to Vyazma area and 3/turn from Vyazma to Smolensk area. It goes without saying that you don't have the RR lift to RR units 3 lifts to the west map edge area.
. f] The Ger. will place his plane markers to maximize the delay moving over them. If you walk some and then RR you can minimize the delay.
. g] The plan I always used was Egg 1st, then a Main Line of Resistance that ran from at or near the north edge down to the Dnipier R., then it turned and ran along the river to the woods near Vyazma. A separate force is dug-in in the woods around Roslaval. Smolenisk is on this MLR. If/when he penetrates the MLR, divert all reinf. to hold Vyazma.
. h] I am seeing here a different plan. In it the Rus. form a weak Egg still, but defend further back to hold Viazama. This means they have less RR lift problems. The claim is made that this makes it almost impossible for the Ger. to win. Partly because it leaves most of the Ger. Inf. out of the Battle. Also, your RR lift should be enough to move every Div. 1 lift to the Vyazma area. In this case you still want to use your plane to block the road for 3 turns in a row to focus his attack straight in along the road. BTW -- putting a strong force into Vitebsk and hoping that he by-passes it will cut that 2nd road, this makes the plane more effective when used east of the road junction.
. i] Your plane marker is critical. Place it on the road for 3 turns in a row to keep the Ger. from driving into the gap between your 2 forces, ie. the MLR and the fortress at Roslaval. 1 turn too late and all is lost. 3 turns is 25% of the time that he has.
. j] A leader & 3 Div. is 4 steps. Use this stack at very critical locations. A woods hex on the road in the Egg, the point of your MLR (out in the open, but on the Dnipier), Roslaval, Smolensk, Vyazma, etc. It will often take him 1 turn longer to elim this stack.

2]Tactics
. a] The key thing is doubled Div. with a DF of 5 or more. He can't overrun these positions without a 16.7% chance of losing 5 VP and a Pz Div. With 5 VP you can bring in 3 more Div of SWF reinf. or make him take 1 more city.
. b] 5 pt leaders can be alone in woods in 2nd line and stop all exploitation.
. c] Note that an unknown Inf. has a 40% chance of being 5 or more. If it is doubled the Ger. really shouldn't overrun it in the MMP.
. d] Will the Ger. risk this 16.7% chance of disaster to push such units aside? Know your opponent. Some players will do this every time.
. e] Arm. Div are your weakest Div. Mech Div. (if you have them, ie. using the SPI rules) are your best and are placed at critical locations.
. f] A MLR is 3-stacks (doubled whenever possible) backed by 2-stacks or 1-stacks doubled. These are your defense in depth and your reserve. Out in the open, 3-stacks shoulder to shoulder if at all possible.
. g] A 3-stack doubled in the MLR should hold to be reinforced in your next turn. A doubled 2-stack is an invitation to a penetration.
. h] Having units in reserve is critical. If at the end of his turn all your units are in his ZOC, you can't move any of your units to plug a gap.
. i] It is almost always better to die to hold a doubled hex of the MLR. If the hex is not doubling then you might be better to retreat 1. It is almost never good to retreat 2. Exception, in an overrun take the retreat 2, a retreat 1 means he can overrun you again. In this case if there are not other units that will be surrounded take the loss retreat and let him advance just 1 (in overruns there can never be an advance of 2).
. j] You can also use the pinning rule to good effect. Be careful not to use too many units for this, you'll easily get yourself out of proper position. Pinning from a doubled hex is always best.
.
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Toughts for the German Player
1] Stratagy
. a] 1st off start marching the early groups of Inf. toward a victory city that they can reach by the end of the game.
. b] Inf. is not good for mopping up. Mech units are 6 times faster moving to get back in the battle and get 3+ combat oppertunities in each turn instead of 1 or 2. And by taking the retreat you can usually avoid loses to the Pz Div. when doing this. Another reason is that the 1st hit to an Inf. costs you 5 CF, while 2 hits to a Pz Div. only costs you 4 CF.
. c] Clear the road ASAP. You need to project supply deep into the map.
. d] The later Inf. groups are almost useless. They can't march fast enough to reach Roslaval or Vyazma, or deeper. Use them to cover the road to keep the Rus. plane marker off it, at least to the junction.
. e] Pin down every Rus. Div. that you can except the ones in the far north. You don't really have enough units to do this. So, you will need to split up 1 or even 2 Pz Div. to get more small Reg. for this.
. f] If faced with the Egg on the road, send a Pz Reg. [4-10] around the south side of the Egg. It always seems that the pincers from the north and the south are just a little short of closing the ring around the Egg in the 1st MP of turn 3, to make them all 1/2, ie. out of supply. 1st turn, keep it on the map edge, 2nd turn send it out in the open, best 7 hexes from nearest enemy Div. Then 3rd turn, when all the rest of your Pz Divs. finally come on, close up on the Egg and plug that last gap.
. g] The 2 Pz. Gren. Reg. from the Div. are used on the north side of the Egg &/or pin the MLR forces in the north woods.
. h] A 2nd Pz Div. may need to be split up too. See Recon Overrun in the reply after this post. It is even best if this Panzer Div. has taken some loses, a 1-10 is just as good for Recon Overrunning as a 2-10, but is not big enough for pinning. Pz Div. give you 2 units more than the concentrated Div., but a Mot. Inf. Div. gives you just 1 more unit. Also, 3-10s become 1-10s when out of supply, no better than 1/2 of a 2-10.
. i] In a sense there are really several different games here depending on which of those 2 Soviet Armies can be moved in the 1st turn. If neither of them can move, then Ger. should have it easier, esp. to clear the Egg/road.

.
2] Tactics
. a] Do a lot of Overrunning. Esp., when mopping-up. Then do every Overrun where the Defender is surrounded and the odds can't be 1-2 or worse.
. b] Decide if you are willing to risk the game on a single die roll. That is, making an Overrun that is or might be at 1-2 odds gives you a 16.7% chance of rolling a 6 and that dreaded "Attacker Elim". This will cost you a full Pz Div. and 5 VPs. This can cost you the game right there. Of course there are times when you have to risk it, esp. with a Mot. Inf. Div. which is less valuable.
. c] Your best Overrun stack is that 3-stack of Inf. that arrives turn 3. It is a 12 for Overrun, and still a 10 after it takes 1 hit. [The 9+9+9 becomes 4+4+4 or the 9+9+4 becomes 4+4+2, then becomes 4+4+1.] However it never seems to accomplish much by overrunning. The 2 Inf. that arrive turn 2 might be stacked with a 4-10 and sent straight ahead to help penetrate the MLR. It is 22 CF = 9+9+4. Those 6 CF more than a Pz Div. may give you better odds. But, it may get in the way to.
. d] Conserve your quality units. Take additional hits in already weak Div.
. e] A full strength Pz Div. can be moved to sit on his RR to block it. Even surrounded it should still be alive when you rescue it. Don't worry about losing 4 steps from it. To kill it that well the Rus. will have to send a lot of Div. to attack it; Div. that should be holding the new MLR elsewhere. In other words, he will now be out of position.
. f] Always keep a reserve. If at the end of your Combat Phase, all your nearby units are in enemy ZOC, you have made a serious mistake. Packing right behind attacking units may allow you to take the retreat and he will not be able to scatter your Div/Reg.
. g] After an attack you may be able to Overrun what is left in the hex to get a breakthru. If you do, then the reserve Divs. are worth their wieght in gold as they pour thru the gap, grab ground, block his RR, and pin all of his reserve units. There is no way he can save his MLR if this happens. All he can do is try to form a new MLR while you are mopping-up the 1st one.
. h] Don't just push Rus. Div. out of your way, kill them. Large Div. are too much of a threat to let them live and small ones are easy to kill. To do this move a small unit behind it/them to cut off retreat and supply and then attack them. This is another reason why you need more maneuver elements. This goes for leaders too.
. i] Put the Rus. out of supply whenever possible, this doubles your odds. A 2-1 odds battle becomes 4-1 or even 5-1.
. j] The 3 Ger. planes are placed on the RR and left there. After you have taken Smolensk you move them to "near" the board edge or to just a little beyond that limiting line. Now you can be more creative. Can 1 or 2 be placed on road/RR hexes to also slow Mech? Can they be placed to slow those walking also?

Enough for now. I'll add more if I think of them. Here and in a reply below.
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Steve Fitt
Thailand
Chang Mai
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My one really good idea that I thought of all on my own in the early '80s.

It is -- the Recon Overrun.

The Ger. is often at a loss for where to attack a MLR. Obviously, he wants to attack a weak point, but where is one? A zero is almost always a weak point, unless there are 2x 7-6s with it. But, where are the zeros? [Edit to add -- Or, a 3-stack that is very weak, = a 1+2+3, ie. no 5.]

The Ger. can find them by making an Overrun in the 1st Movement Phase with an Independent Mech Reg. or a 2-10 from a scattered Pz Div. The odds will be 1-3 or so, but it might live. And you now know what is there.

If it is strong, pin it with something (like a 4-10) and attack somewhere else. That is, do another Recon Overrun to see if you can find weakness. If you run out of small Reg., I suggest that you pick a spot or 2 and hope. He can't be strong everywhere, can he?

If the 1st spot is weak, mass your Pz Div. and attack it. Have a reserve. Think about putting it where it will force him to retreat you in such a way that you are not scattered.

Recon Overruns can also be used in the MMP to see if his 2nd line of defense in depth is weak enough to be Overrun. If so, do so.
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G. Harding Warren
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Arnold
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Great stuff here, Steve. I really appreciate these kind of posts and the time and thought it takes to do them.
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Steve Fitt
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Additional pointers --

For the Soviets --
. . 1] Bring in 4 Div. of SW Front reinf. as soon as possible. This gives the Ger. 4 victory points, but 4 VP never takes them to a higher victory level.
. . 2] I have never seen the Soviets get 2 VP for retaking a Ger. held city.
. . 3] Never (well, almost never) advance after combat to follow a Ger. unit that takes the retreat to avoid the loss. Hopefully you were in the best hex to start with and splitting your stack to pin him scattered will pull you out of position. When might you do it? When the defending stack is very strong [totals 18 CF= 5+6+7] or if the defending stack totals 11 CF and the hex you move into is doubled.


For the Germans --
. . 1] If you have RR cut rules, cut the 2 RRs South of the Dnieper R. If you don't have them, move the Cav. Div. forward along the RR to the junction and stop it there to block the RR from entrance area #6 to Orsha.
. . 2] Because of the untried units there is no need for you to be (usually) counting CF to try to get better odds. Just move up as many Div. as you can and hope. You still want to make a few strong attacks rather than more numerous but weaker attacks.
. . 3] When you are exploiting a breakthrough with reserves, scatter a Div., if necessary, to pin all nearby enemy units.
. . 4] In the OP I said to march your Inf. toward VP cities that they can reach by turn 11 or 12. As an experiment try this experiment. On an empty map with no Russian units to slow you down, march your Inf. Div. across the map to see how far they can get by turn 12. March the 1st 2 groups (that arrive on 2nd and 3rd turns) toward Vyazyma, the next group (arrives turn 5) toward Yelnia, the next group (arrives turn 6) toward Roslaval. and the rest toward Smolensk/Vyazma.
. . . . After turn 12 look where your Inf. are. I don't know if this is a "problem" but most of them don't get much beyond Smolensk. I also don't know if this is historically accurate. It does mean that if the Ger. need 80 VP to win, their Inf. is not going to be much help. Their Panzer and Motorized Inf. will have to push on, on their own.

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