Gallop/Star BV (no prestige use)

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Second Lieutenant
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Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:13 am

Gallop/Star BV (no prestige use)

Unread postby easyBreeze » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:38 am

I am currently in the process of completing a BV Soviet campaign without spending prestige. The Gallop/Star scenario jumped out at me as exceptionally difficult even though it wasn’t one of the “hard” scenarios. In fact, I believe that the only reason I won this scenario was because the AI made a few critical mistakes late in the game (more on this later). Nevertheless I would certainly appreciate any feedback on how I handled this scenario.

Map Layout

Thoughts going into the scenario…
This scenario seemed impossible to complete without the use of Stavka reserve forces. Although this wasn’t one of the scenarios with an unusually high attempt count (*cough* Terek BV *cough*) it had a flavor of masochistic futility about it.

For starters the player does not have access to the logistics asset. This means that reaching Zaporozhye and to some extent Kharkov and Pavlograd will be done with units that will be out-of-supply or nearly so (first and second out-of-supply states). Consequently the player is more or less forced to end the scenario by capturing these objectives on the same turn, otherwise the AI will destroy the weak units holding the objectives and you will lose control of them the following turn.

Second, the AI is given multiple units with veteran and elite status. The double vet w/ recon infantry division holding Belgorod and the two single vet units in the center of the map are deceptively dangerous. To make matters worse, in the last few turns of the game, the AI receives two double vet panzer grenadier divisions which could probably clear the entire map all by themselves.

Finally, the strength and specialist step distribution in this scenario is woefully inadequate for a no-prestige run-through. I ended up completely restructuring my tank divisions and fielding them at full strength (6 steps) with the T-34 specialist step attached. The four step tank set-up simply doesn’t cut it. You will see that the way I disbanded my units was sub-optimal (I totally forgot about the 5 step per turn limit) but I think it turned out well in the end.

I am stilling learning how to best use partisans in my games so they did not have that big an impact this time around.

Turn 1 (Soviet)

At the beginning of the turn I disbanded the tank unit just south of the bridge in the centre and the one further south nearest my cavalry unit. Since I would ultimately want to field full strength tank units with T-34s, I removed the specialist steps from the infantry in the north.

Aside: There really should be a separate queue for specialist steps waiting to be deployed to the front. I don’t like the 5 unit limit applying to both specialist steps and regular steps.

In the north, I focused my efforts on getting my units to a good jump off position for an eventual surround of Belgorod on turn 2. At the same time I needed to contain (destroying was out of the question) the panzer grenadier and infantry division in the bulge to the south. I quickly dispatched the Hungarians, stabilized the front and did some prep work for a future envelopment.

In the center, my cavalry spent this turn (and most of the game) distracting the AI into sending units to stop its “advance”.

Most of the action took place in the south where I focused on destroying as many units as I could. I knew that I would eventually take Slaviansk through attrition. My end goal in this sector was to create a ZOC free path for my tanks to rush and take Zaporozhye and Pavlograd later in the game.

Turn 1 (Axis)
The AI did not do much this turn. It moved a few units around to adjust to the new front line.

Turn 2 (Soviet)

In the north I successfully surrounded Belgorod and could count on the fact that it would be in out-of-supply state 1 when I attack it the following turn. I ran a tight line of infantry on my flank in order to prevent any shenanigans from the infantry division and rapidly weakening panzer grenadiers. My defense of the flank was unusually dense (I usually exploit ZOC to prevent the AI from outflanking me) but I wanted to be sure and avoid potential lost-time catching marauding units in my rear.

In the south I destroyed axis units where I could but focused mostly on setting my units up for leapfrogging maneuvers next turn. I reinforced my two tank units with steps that I had requisitioned last game.

Turn 2 (Axis)
The AI received two double vet panzer grenadier divisions and stationed them around Kharkov (great!). Other than that the AI moved some more units around and stayed mostly quiet.

Turn 3 (Soviet)

I squeezed Belgorod and destroyed the Axis forces there. Unfortunately the double vet 2-step recon infantry division was still strong enough to inflict a heavy toll on my tank and infantry units. I moved them behind the front line and earmarked them to be recycled next turn. I stationed a beefy unit in Belgorod and prepared for my drive south to Kharkov. The panzer grenadiers east of Belgorod were now fully out of supply and at this point I was hoping that I would get an opportunity to take them out at some point in the game ;) .

In the south I added T-34 steps to my two tank units (who are now at 5 step strength) and chipped away at the panzer divisions where I could. As always I focused on getting ready for the next turn and moved my tanks to their jump off points for the future drive towards Pavlograd.

Turn 3 (Axis)

The AI made its first major mistake in the game. It moved the now fully suppressed 5-step panzer grenadier division to the hex north-east of Kharkov. If I could figure out a way to take it out I would not only eliminate a major enemy formation, but give the unit which destroyed it 5 experience which I would then use to do a “safe reinforce” (reinforcement without vet demotion).

In the same turn it made another fatal flaw. For some reason the AI thought it could recapture Belgorod so it sent one of the double vet panzer grenadiers to attack it. After the attack the AI simply disbanded the unit completely! This is the first time I saw the AI disband a unit. Not only that but it disbanded a perfectly useful and healthy unit. I assume it wanted to take the defenseless Belgorod objective but it had no nearby units to do so. Overall this was very weird!

In the center my cavalry which still hadn’t done anything yet, acted like a magnet and made the AI move two infantry divisions to oppose it. This was a huge load off my back (for now) in my drive towards Kharkov. As you can see the AI completely abandoned the flank and moved its units all the way back. My units stationed there were now free to assume new positions.

In the south the AI repositioned as best it could in order to prevent envelopment.

Turn 4 (Soviet)

In the north my tank division smelled blood and had its sights on the fully suppressed panzer grenadiers. What stood in my way were two ZOC hexes which I needed to fill with other units. I quickly moved my cavalry and a spare infantry unit to these spots. I was hit with a wave of immense satisfaction as I moved my tank corps down towards Kharkov and delivered the fatal blow to the hapless panzer grenadiers.

Great success!!!


In the south I moved my tanks up close to Pavlograd and was now ready to capture it next turn. I made sure to keep a strong flank along my southern side. Getting my tanks surrounded and in out-of-supply state 1 at this point in the game would be devastating and would most likely result in a loss.

Turn 4 (Axis)
The AI was paralyzed and barely did anything.

Turn 5 (Soviet)

Kharkov fell to a standard no-frills attack. I could already see that the AI would cut my tank unit off at Kharkov, but it didn’t matter – the game would be over next turn!

Pavlograd fell just as easily. I sent one tank corps south towards Zaporozhye and used the other to mop up the southern sector.

Turn 5 (Axis)

The AI predictably cut Kharkov off from my forces.

Turn 6 (Soviet)

I moved my tank unit one hex and into Zaporozhye. Victory!


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Tomislav Uzelac
2x2 Games
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Re: Gallop/Star BV (no prestige use)

Unread postby Tomislav Uzelac » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:56 am

Very nice AAR, thx! AI behavior seems problematic, we'll take a look.

We found that there are two basic ways in which you can use partisans effectively:

1. Encirclement, i.e. cutting supply (you can even cut railorads by "sweeping" the front line, but you need 4 hits in the general case)
2. ZOCs: when you have an advancing spearhead, capture an extra hex to put the ZOC in there.

Also, note that other players can take a look at the replay of your campaign scenarios only if you post the entire campaign (all scenarios). This is an unintentional, er... feature that we'll look to remove in the future.

Second Lieutenant
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:13 am

Re: Gallop/Star BV (no prestige use)

Unread postby easyBreeze » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:55 am

Thanks for the input :)

Yeah it would be nice to be able to watch replays of scenarios from the campaign. I hope you guys can implement that in the future 8-)