After Action Report: Decisive Campaigns - The Blitzkrieg: Warsaw to Paris
This AAR sees Poland defending against Germany in Case White. This is Part 1, Part 2 will be published soon.
- world war ii, turn-based, western front, strategic, online or multi-player, single-player, europe, eastern front
Author: Frank Kontowicz
I decided to write this AAR playing as Poland against Germany in the Case White scenario.
First letís take a look at the scenario options. For the purpose of this game I will only use the Fog of War setting although there are a number of settings and variants to the scenario to choose from.
The scenario begins September 1st 1939 and ends on the 1st of October 1939. The scenario themselves are dynamic in that local events can occur as the next picture indicates.
I am now informed of my current victory status. Losses and victory points play a part in determining if I am winning or losing depending on which side I play, in this case I need to hang on to victory point locations to win as Poland.
One other thing I did not note is that you are also presented with a number of information screens indicating any political developments and what the current turn weather status is.
Now I begin my turn and am advised one of my commanders has decided to issue orders on his own initiative.
The Germans began the invasion and it is now up to me to try and defend Poland. In this picture you can see that the Germans have affected a local breakthrough north of Wielun headed to Lodz. This is going to be an important consideration for me in respect to my defenses because this axis of the German invasion is threatening Warsaw. The other factor I need to consider is one of the local army groups is locked down now as well which happens to be in this area of German advance. If we recall the incident regarding the orders issued by General Juliusz Rommel in command of Lodz Operational Group...
My strategy will largely be one of a fighting withdrawal although I cannot afford to fall back everywhere because I will need to hold a number of victory point locations to have any chance of winning. Another important consideration in this strategy is not moving units unless it is absolutely critical I do so. The reason for this is not to give up prepared positions, another dynamic aspect of the game. Over time a unit will improve a defensive position and generally at the start of a scenario some units are in very good prepared or fortified positions.
One of the really interesting features in The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris is the Card system. It in effect allows a player to make strategic and local decisions. These two tiers represent national and headquarter cards you can play. In this picture you can see the national level card called Do Broni I am about to play, and if you look at the bottom right you can see the headquarter level cards available to that selected headquarters unit. I will touch on that a bit more later, but for now I will play the Do Broni card to raise militia units in a city of my choice. In this case I will deploy them in Warsaw and was informed I had received five militia units in that location.
As I mentioned before I will attempt a fighting withdrawal. The Lodz Operational Group presents a big problem to me right off the bat however. The Germans are on the merits of their initial breakthrough poised to envelop units on the flanks of the penetration. However I have a number of divisions northeast of Lodz I can move forward which I will do to strengthen the defenses of Lodz.
I also am going to take a risk here and employ my Air force to bomb the German spearhead threatening Lodz. The following picture is one of my Air units.
The result was the attack did not go as well as expected however the enemy unit had not been identified prior to the attack and that could have contributed to the lackluster results. I do however now know this is a German armored regiment.
One other item worth mentioning before I continue is that all units assigned to respective commands are color coded so you can tell which is assigned to which headquarters. Another method for finding details about respective commands is using the OOB tab at the top of the screen as this picture indicates. It is also possible to shift units from one headquarters to another however the headquarters effective command ability is governed by a number of variables.
Having made my opening moves with the intent of screening the German advance and reinforcing in the area around Lodz I move on to the next turn.
Here we see the second turn summary in relation to my victory standing. So far so good.
As I feared the German advance towards Lodz continues to make headway enveloping a number of my units. However I can now freely move the divisions attached to the Lodz Operational Group headquarters and will move them forward to act as a screen so I can buy time to dig units into and around Lodz. In the rest of the area of operations the Germans have pressed up to and in some cases penetrated the frontier. If you note the strategic map in the upper right of this picture it will give you a general idea of my situation.
As a result of the German advance towards Lodz I have decided to blow all the bridges in the area that may aid me in holding up the German supply lines once they take those crossings.
Supply plays a very important part in the game. To aid a player, the game has visuals that display supply pathing. A very nice feature if I say so myself. Below is pathing for the headquarters to the unit recently isolated by the German spearhead.
Even though it looks like I will lose part of a division in that pocket I was able to bring reinforcements up into the Lodz area including some armored assets. One aspect of the game I failed to mention so far is information. If you look closely at the following picture you can see the word defense. I was checking the defense value of this type of tank. Anything in the game that presents information can be right clicked to give details.
Having made my second turn moves and established the best defensive line I can at the moment I proceed to the next turn. This picture again gives you an idea of my most dire threat at the moment, and the strategic overview.
And the victory status screen summary.
I thought for a moment I had caught the AI in this picture with the proverbial panties down. If you look at the left lower part of the picture you can see the stack assets. I had assumed the Germans moved a single artillery regiment forward but sadly there is the better part of a Panzer division there. So much for my desire to counterattack.
The German advance just about slammed the door shut on the region leading to Danzig. However I was able to move the 27th division out of the trap in time. I also was successful in destroying most of the bridges in this area as well. The Germans will need to bring engineer units up to repair the bridges for the sake of their supply lines or their advance will suffer.
The German Advance towards Lodz continues however I have brought up about four divisions of reinforcements and hope I can dig these in sufficiently to blunt the German Panzer spearhead advancing towards this city. My biggest fear at this point is a German advance in strength to the north of Lodz and then a thrust east. I have nothing there to blunt it except for a screen. In fact there are commands to the west and northwest that could be pocketed by such a maneuver.
So far the Germans have maintained the initiative and have prevented me from considering counterattacking locally at any of the advances they have made. It is my hope that the Germans will outrun their supply line around Lodz however and I can employ the four or so fresh divisions I now have massing in the area.
On to turn three and the victory summary. I was also advised another militia unit was raised.
Well... what I was worried about happened. The Germans exploited my weakness to the northwest of Lodz and it appears a Panzer corp is spearheading a attack into this direction. I am loath to withdraw from Poznan as I have well dug in forces defending the city which is also a victory point location. If I do not withdraw soon however it is possible the Germans will envelop this command in its entirety. I did however issue orders for the bridges to be blown in Poznan.
My fresh divisions around Lodz are almost in position and ideally the Germans will attempt an over extension of their spearhead I can then break in this area.
I have not really touched on the rest of the campaign map because my focus has been the main threats presented by the German advance towards Lodz however in a number of the pictures included I have displayed the strategic map so you can follow the German advances in other areas. Bear in mind this map is dynamic and updates according to whom controls the territory as does the zone of control border. It will advance or retreat depending on whom controls the area in question.