Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gary Grigsby's War in the East - Shaping Operations Against the AI, Intentional and Not

I was playing as the Germans in the "Road to Leningrad" scenario of Gary Grigsby's War in the East and after enjoying the breakthrough cakewalk (should we call it "breakthrough"?) things start to get interesting once I sink the threads of my panzers in the hugeness of the theater of operations.

Under my command, Army Group North, the least powerful of all German army groups at the onset of the Russo-German War. Our objective is to capture Leningrad. Army Group North is composed of two Armies (16th and 18th, infantry), and the 4th Panzer Group (4th PzGrp, armored). The schwerpunkt for the first part of this operation is the 4th PzGrp, which will conduct a deep penetration to capture the intermediate objective Pskov, some 230+ miles beyond the start line. Because Army Group North as a whole has very limited operational mobility (too much infantry), the 4th PzGrp will capture and pause at Pskov and this city will be the springboard for the final Army Group North's attack on Leningrad.

4th PzGrp cut through the Soviets like a knife, crossed the Daugava river and now is preparing to capture Pskov.

Click the image for a better view. With the infantry hundreds of miles behind, the 4th PzGrp approaches Pskov through the east (LVI Pz. Corps) and the south (XXXXI Pz. Corps).  I wanted to approach Pskov with XXXXI Pz. Corps moving west of the Velikaya river, but as seen here, but the 6thPzDiv (outlined fucsia) has bumped into two Soviet infantry divisions. 
Click the image for a better view. Annoyed at the perspective of conducting an corps-sized attack across a river, I instead move the XXXXI PzCorp (counters outlined fucsia and yellow) towards Pskov but east of the Velikaya river (black arrow was added with an image editing software).

Click the image for a better view. Following my XXXXI Pz Corps move north, the two Soviet infantry divisions moved out. Their move was not east because the Totenkopf Motorized Division (counter highlighted fucsia) has moved through that terrain (black arrow) and didn't find them. It is likely that at least one of the Soviet infantry divisions has moved to reinforce Pskov.

Pskov fell during the week of July 10, 1941 amid substantial loss of lives and equipment. It was not wise to attack the city from a single direction and across a river. But the war gamer here is happy to see the AI in this game reacting in this way to his moves. In other opportunities I've noticed also that the AI tends to retreat when there is a threat of encirclement. Besides of an interesting opponent, the AI in War in the East offers the solo player the possibility to conduct the so-called "decisive" and "shaping" operations.



an ass said...

But does it use roads to move 2 hexes instead of one?!
Are you gonna continue with Battles from the Bulge any day soon?

JC said...

LOL. :)

BftB on hold. Using CotA for the next installment of the maneuver warfare series.


Anonymous said...

I have to play with hexes on or I get lost :(

JC said...

You hard-core, old-school wargamer! :) Cheers, man. I added your site to my blogroll today.

Anonymous said...

"the AI tends to retreat when there is a threat of encirclement"???!!!!!

Well, that's not very Eastern Front...for either side.

JC said...

Hi anonymous,

I meant "the AI will try to avoid being encircled".

Singleton Mosby said...

How is the AI in WitE? The game looks really nice but without a good AI it will be nothing more then a better looking and expanded TOAW-FITE.

Still, it looks like a game I could play for the comming months....

JC said...

Ey SM! :)

AI is more or less adequate. I'm writing an AAR/Review and hopefully I can show you how it is.