This is the second part of my series of articles looking at early turns in Matrix Games’ Strategic Command WW2: War in Europe wargame. This part finishes off my “Two Weeks to Warsaw” look at taking Poland’s capital by the end of turn 2 as the Axis.
Just to reiterate the abbreviations key I have been using so far:
Ar = Armee (or Army)Ak (or Co) = Armeekorps (or Corps)Pz (or ACo) = Panzerkorps (or Armoured Corps)Br = BrigadeCav = CavalryGar = GarrisonMech = MechanisedR. = RiverN = NorthS = SouthE = EastW = West
Thus, 4. Ar is 4. Armee (or 4th Army); if 4. Ar moves to 187,69 S Königsberg, then 4. Armee redeploys to hex 187,69, South of Königsberg. I trust that’s simple enough, and that others will be self-explanatory. I have to additionally assume that readers are familiar with SC:WiE concepts such as Blitz Attack, Sleep, Cruise, Set Mode, and so on. Finally, note that battle outcomes can vary significantly, depending on the Difficulty setting as well, so don’t take the following as ‘gospel’ in any way.
I choose “No” re: the 7th Fliegerkorps, as it’s not useful yet, and will be later. Note that the UK and France, and maybe Canada, will declare war on you don’t be too shocked! You’ll also see that the Poles scramble units to surround Warsaw, but it will serve them naught! Moreover, stray cavalry might threaten your rear, and the enemy might even try a probe attack here and there, but you’ll take Warsaw before they can do any real damage, even if it takes three turns.
First, I move my subs and take care of other naval deployment; you may want to move Deutschland and/or U-30 if Canada did not DoW; the South American/Caribbean route is within range (use War Maps tab>Convoy Map>click on UK flag top-left). It’s also good tactics to move your subs every turn they raid, otherwise they’ll soon be hunted down (again, see my Wargamer article on naval strategy for tips). Then check HQ attachments and make any necessary adjustments; give preference to air units and forces closest to Warsaw, although you probably won’t have to change anything. Then, starting in the north again, my exact sequence of moves depends on what has happened. Remember that your focus is Warsaw; enemy units with a ZoC surrounding the capital need to be destroyed, then the garrison itself. You should be able to avoid taking on the Modlin Fortress at all.
In any event, you should see a situation quite similar to the above screenshot. To start, bomb the #?*!& out of Warsaw, using all your bombers; it’s unlikely you’ll be intercepted, as the enemy’s Strength is probably too low. Use one or both of your fighters to soften up Warsaw as well, or you can use one to strafe Siedlce airfield to further reduce the enemy aircraft that may be still there. Don’t be concerned if you take some damage. If 3 Ar can reach 189,75, attack Warsaw from there (if bombing managed to reduce the Warsaw Garrison). Otherwise, Wodrig Corps should be able to get there; attack the garrison. With a modicum of luck, Warsaw Gar is gone, or at least should be around 30-40% Morale and Readiness, and 2-3 Strength, though likely still deeply entrenched. If 3 Ar still has AP, move it away (doesn’t really matter where, but you probably only have a couple of choices just don’t block the road to Warsaw!). Twenty-One Armeekorps should be able to either occupy Warsaw or attack the garrison if it still exists.
Now you need to plan carefully in order to remove all remaining ‘roadblocks’ if Warsaw still hasn’t been captured. Using your western forces I call it Armeegruppe Zentrum, under Gerd von Rundstedt start with those farthest away that can still strike at the enemy south of Warsaw; it should be IV and X Ak, plus possibly 8 Ar. The latter would be preferable, but it may not be able to reach the front yet. If not, it may be advisable to detach it in favour of IV Ak. Move IV Pz to 187,77; attack the strongest unit in range, probably Prusy Army. If your first Strike reduces its ZoC or forces a retreat, bonus (unless it runs to Warsaw, which I’ve had happen)! Attack the other unit (Wyskow Corps) with your remaining Strike. Move up IV or X Ak, 8 Ar; attack! The way should be clear for one nearby force to occupy the capital Warsaw falls!
Keep in mind that there is no ‘perfect’ solution that works 100% of the time; it would be a poor AI if players could find such an exploit, and SC:WiE’s AI is far above the average I’ve encountered in similar games. Indeed, at Expert Difficulty, I only take Warsaw in two turns about half the time. For example, out of eight attempts to demonstrate tactics for this article, I was successful in only four.
Now that you’ve taken the capital, Poland will fall immediately; the AI will not even attempt to retake Warsaw. Mop up if you like, but remember it’s a trade-off: a little experience will cost MPPs to reinforce those few extra casualties. Even so, I like to, especially for National Morale bonuses and perhaps to acquire a couple more resources or towns an extra turn early; recall they slowly come back to less-than-full capacity, and every little bit helps later on. Otherwise, begin to reinforce and upgrade; start to Operate HQs to 160,74 S Wilhelmshaven; Dusseldorf (160,78); 161,81 S Koblenz (von Kuchler may have no path from Ostpreussen yet; wait till next turn). At least until your MPP are gone, of course! I move air units normally, but Operate most others; keep in mind as well that forced marches lower Morale and Readiness quite substantially; units might have little ‘fight’ remaining in them once they arrive, although they will have a few turns to recover during winter before your big spring offensive against the Low Countries oops! That was supposed to be a surprise! 😡
Once more, I stress that there are many ways for the first two turns to play out, but in general, seek to reduce ZoC, Morale, Readiness, Entrenchment of units in key locations; follow up breaches (ZoC loss); don’t get ambushed (scout ahead).
That’s it! I hope this article was helpful. The next part (which will again be split into two) will look at early moves on the western front, and seeing how best to take Paris in Five turns as the Axis. Feel free to leave questions or comments below!
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