7/20/2010

Take All Pskov Cities without Loss



Historical Note: WWII Soviet cavalry infiltrated German lines.

Pskov: SSI v. PGF AI and How To Take 6 of 6 German Cities/Airfields with No Losses

This post expands on The Curse of Pskov, where my best in AG-SSI so far was to take 5 of 6 German cities/airfields (4 cities, 2 airfields).

Uran21 recently took 6 of 6 in AG-PGF v.1.01 (the 1st to take 6/6 in Pskov?).

I recently took 6 of 6 in AG-PGF v.1.00 while losing no units.

I might be able to take 6 of 6 in SSI now.

A screenshot and links to PGF replays appear at end of this post.

German AI Differences: SSI, PGF v1.00, PGF v1.01 (based on AGW replays and a Uran21 replay, other replays might differ more or less)
  • PGF AI does not buy aircraft while SSI AI can (I do not remember if it did in SSI Pskov or not), which makes it possible in PGF to eliminate the Luftwaffe early (Turn 3-5) and then not worry about convoy AD or ground attacks after being spotted by air.
  • PGF v1.01 fighters attacked ground targets including deployed 76mm AD, while PGF v1.00 fighters more often flew escort to stukas, placing the fighters outside of AD range and therefore requiring more turns to destroy all German planes than otherwise would be the case.
  • 1-point (and sometimes other low-strength) planes would retreat back to their airfields in SSI and PGF v1.00 but not in PGF v1.01. Once a single plane returns to base for repair or refuel, taking 6 of 6 is much more difficult because of air spotting and the vulnerability of convoys. If Uran21's situation had occurred in SSI or PGF v1.00, a likely possibility is that the weakened planes would have returned to base on Turn 3, spotted the Soviet Riga convoy and crippled it with the northern PzIII and any surrounding half-tracked units, and possibly wounded the paratroopers in air transport.
  • Both PGF v1.00 and v1.01 AI will sidestep enemy units to get to a victory hex but Soviet attempts to take the central city of Dvinsk in mid-game in v1.00 meet a hail of German units including an 88mm ATG, tanks, and artillery while in v1.01 the AI does not send any tanks back to defend Dvinsk. If Uran21's situation had occurred in PGF v1.00 (and maybe SSI), a likely possibility is that the PzIII to the east would have knocked the T-34 at the airfield into the river where an 88 would have eliminated it.
  • PGF v1.01 had no 88mm ATG at Dvinsk by mid-game and instead that 88 marched toward Opochka and never fired a shot in the whole game. In SSI and PGF v1.00, two of the most difficult problems are the 4 88s with 1 at each German city and the 6 artillery units concentrated at Opochka (2 150mm, 2 105mm, 2 StuG). PGF v1.01 lessened both these problems by reversing roles, leaving a 150mm at Dvinsk (easier to defeat than an 88 and only have to fight 3 88s in the game instead of 4) and instead sending the 88 toward (but never reaching) Opochka (lessening the Soviet casualties at Opochka by only having 5 German artillery there instead of 6).
  • PGF v1.01 88s will wound themselves by attacking tanks despite the AT penalty against tanks while PGF v1.00 88s rarely take the bait and are nearly invincible when being attacked unless artillery can weaken them before an infantry assault.
  • Both PGF versions move the 88s out of the cities. I do not recall SSI moving its 88s but you can check entrenchment levels. Stationary 88s accrue higher entrenchment levels and make them more difficult.
It looks like SSI, PGF v1.00, and PGF v1.01 each requires its own analysis.
  • I took Polotsk first in SSI but Uran21 took Polotsk last in PGF v1.01.
  • Uran21 took Dvinsk first in PGF v1.01 but I took Dvinsk last in PGF v1.00.

Curse of Pskov in PGF (Soviet units mostly near full strength, 70-100%)
  • A KV tank attacked a 3-strength infantry mounted in trucks in open ground and failed to do a single point of damage, the KV's 76mm shells bouncing off the truck's canvas tarp.
  • The entire Soviet tank fleet spent 2 turns attacking 2 PSW231 armored cars and failed to destroy either of them.
  • 2 heavy artillery attacked a PzIII in a river and did 1 point of damage (0 for 122mm and 1 for 152mm).
  • 2 76mm AD attacked a Bf109 and did 1 point of damage (0 for the 1st and 1 for the 2nd).
  • A BT-5 attacked a 3-strength PzIII in a river did 0 damage, after which a T-34 reduced it by only 1 point, retreating it next to its own artillery, where even after it lost another point on its own turn the commitment of a Soviet tank fleet was necessary to prevent a 1-point PzIII from costing the game by blocking the Soviet artillery convoy from reaching the last German town in time.
Pskov: How To Take 6 of 6 German Cities/Airfields with No Losses

A single mistake can cost you the game, such as forgetting to resupply a unit. I made a few mistakes in the replay but had enough backups.

I almost took 6 of 6 by buying nothing except underappreciated $60 AD/AT/recon and it probably is possible to take 6 of 6 like that but not reliably in PGF v1.00 so I bought artillery in the replay.
  • Took 6 of 6 German cities/airfields.
  • Eliminated all German units except 3 (2 artillery, 1 AD).
  • Did not lose a single unit.
  • 923 Prestige Points after the end of the scenario (could have been more than 1,000 but I bought an unnecessary 152mm late in the game to help mop up).
  • Bought $60 AD/AT and some pricier artillery but no tanks, aircraft, or paratroopers.
  • The 88s can require multiple attacks after artillery bombardment and can inflict more casualties than seen in this replay so I positioned multiple infantry at each German town: Riga=5 (3 cavalry, 2 regulars), Dvinsk=3 cavalry (from Riga), Kaunas=2 regulars (from Riga), Polotsk=2 engineers.
AGW Replay (screenshot below)

Uran21 Replay

AGW AG-PGF v1.00 Pskov:

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