Turns 17 to 21, August 18 to October 25, 1940: Strategic Command WW2 AAR

The War in France is winding down so I’m posting the results of five turns at one time. Oddly, Germany never attacked Luxemburg. If you take it there is minimal production and only 15 one-time resource points for looting the country. Luxemburg remains free to be a home for spies, intrigue, and under-the-table deal making.

Turn 17: August 18, 1940 : Germany obtained anti-tank level 1 research. New Zealand and Australian troops arrive in Egypt. Germany destroyed two armies, one corps and a group of tactical bombers were caught by advancing ground forces. Strasberg, Nancy, Epinal, Belfort, Orleans, Tours and Poitiers were captured.

Start of August 18, 1940 Turn

French morale is again declining reaching 87% but morale in the United Kingdom is surprisingly high after being run out of continental Europe at 98%. Below are the lines at the end of the turn:

End of August 18 turn

Italian Forces never invaded France. I need the Italians to hold onto Libya and Germany can easily crush Southern France.

On the weird news front, Italy invested in “Human Torpedoes” to strike allied shipping in the Med. I had never heard of these before playing this game. You can even build scale models of this oddity from toy companies.

Turn 18: Sept 1, 1940 – Germany finished research on Infantry Weapons 2. This is a crucial piece of technology and the last ground combat advancement available to Infantry. Most forces in the game are infantry, so getting this before your enemies can help. A Battleship and an HQ unit arrived. The HQ will be sent to supervise the Air Force units attacking the Royal Air Force in the UK.

Germany purchased research in Long-Range Aircraft and Naval Weaponry. Italy purchased Armored Warfare Research. Italy started behind Germany, the UK, and France in most military technology.

Germany mediated a territorial dispute between Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania to the displeasure of Romanians. This should prod Hungary and Bulgaria to join the Axis sooner.

England had been launching Strategic and Tactical bomber attacks on French cities. This turn German counter-attacks destroyed one group of Fighters and one group of Tactical Bombers based in England. The air force units were spotted because they kept attacking without changing locations.

French Morale dropped to 82% after 9 French cities were captured. The situation at the end of Turn 18 is below.

Turn 19: Sept 15, 1940 – Japan attacked French holdings in IndoChina running into little resistance. Much of the German Army has been upgraded with Infantry Weapons 2.

Only 1 unit survives on the Maginot Line. French morale has fallen to 70%. Not much is left in Europe under French control as can be seen below:

France Close to Fully Occupied by Germany

Turn 20: October 3, 1940 – The campaign in France is over. Only one interior city is unoccupied. French Morale has fallen to 57%.

In Research, Germany discovered Spying and Intelligence 1 and started researching Amphibious Warfare. Italy started research in Advanced Tanks. Germany also purchased one point in diplomatic bribes targeting the Soviet Union.

French forces in Tunesia are pressuring the Italians on the Western Border of Libya. British Commonwealth forces are pressuring the Italians on the Eastern Border of Libya. Italy has an HQ unit on both fronts to provide adequate supply. However, Italian troops are technologically inferior (and thus vulnerable) to both the French and the British. The situation in North Africa is below:

Libya October 3, 1940

Turn 21: October 25, 1940 : Hungary joined the Axis! The last city in mainland France was occupied. In the air war, Germany destroyed a British Strategic Bomber unit and a Fighter Unit in Southern England. This should at least pause the pinprick air raids in France.

In research, Germany obtained Advanced Tanks level 2 and Advanced Submarines level 1. Germany started additional research in Advanced Tanks.

Germany purchased a Mechanized Infantry unit with the Infantry Weapons level 2 and Mobility technologies. Mechanized Infantry has two attacks per turn like armor, but their attacks are more like an army than a tank unit.

Italian forces in Libya were attacked on both fronts, but so far they have been able to hold their ground.

Libya October 25, 1940

Kneecapping France – Turns 15-16 Strategic Command WW2 AAR

Turn 15: July 21, 1940

Starting French morale is 40%. Starting position screenshot follows:

Starting Positions July 21, 1940

The army guarding Paris was hit by 2 medium bomber and 3 ground attack bombers.  Then the army was in sequence by German armies then taken by attacks from 2 German armored units. Paris Falls!

Le Harve and Dijon were also captured. Two French armies and 2 corps were destroyed. French morale at the end of the turn was 36%. End positions were:

In other news, Germany buys 1 Industrial Tech and 1 Production tech. Italy put a HQ and an Army on transports for Libya. I’m expecting Italy to enter the war next turn and it will become quite hazardous to cross the Med once Italy joins the axis.

Turn 16: August 4, 1940 – France offered a conditional surrender – the Vichy deal. The offer was turned down. France then transferred her government to Algeria along with a HQ unit and an unknown number of troops. French morale then magically returned to 100%!

Italy joins the axis. My plan has been for Italy to concentrate on Africa and let Germany rampage in Europe. The starting positions for August 4, 1940 are:

Starting Positions August 4, 1940

The most dangerous unit in the French Armed Forces is the upgraded Heavy Armor unit South of Paris. The heavy tanks were first hit with 3 Ground Attack and 2 Medium Bombers. Only then did German armor move to destroy the French armor. Additional French units were destroyed and several cities taken including Verdun. French troops on the Maginot Line were cut off from the rest of France to prevent their redeployment.

By the end of the turn French Morale had dropped from 100% to 92%. Final positions are below:

Let us recap where German Research stands. Germany has maxed out research in: Command & Control; Infantry Warfare; Aerial Warfare; Armored Warfare; Mobility and Artillery.  Germany purchased research in Ground Effect weapons and Naval Warfare.

Italy successfully reinforced and moved most of her ground combat power to Africa. Below is a screenshot of Italian forces in Libya.

Italian Forces in Libya

Paris Threatened: Turn 14 July 7, 1940 Strategic Command AAR

Turn 14: July 7, 1940

This was a great turn for research advances. Germany obtained production technology 2 and industrial technology 1. Germany can now invest 500 more production points in research. Italy obtained industrial technology 1, logistics 1, and long range aircraft 1. Italy can now invest up to 750 points in research. Italy purchased one point in Industrial Technology research.

The advances in Industrial Technology are the most important. The better your industrial technology, the more resource points your economy produces. Industrial technology generates the “cash” to fund everything else in the game.

Below is the start of the turn. The allies withdrew out of spotting range before Paris, except for the bizarre decision to leave a French Fighter unit exposed. Wow! German ground troops will destroy those planes on the ground.

Turn Start

German aircraft have taken losses from allied aircraft. Several ground units, especially one armor unit reduced to 50% strength desperately need reinforcement. Germany spent their resource points on reinforcements this turn and made no research expenditures.

Although Germany ends up capturing a lot of ground this turn and destroying more of the French Army, the most important thing that happened was reinforcing aircraft, troops, and moving forces into position to capture Paris.

This is the situation on the ground after the German attacks:

End of Turn 14

The French Fighter Unit was easily destroyed on the ground. One French Army and one French Corps were also destroyed. Reims, Calais, Chalons, Rouen and Sedan were captured. Four units including three units of armor are all one hex away from Paris.

Belgium Falls – Turn 13 June 19, 1940 Strategic Command WW2 AAR

Turn 13: June 19, 1940

Much happened during the Allies turn preceding my actions. Allied forces made multiple attacks on the German Corps holding Brussels. The Corps held after sustaining minimal damage and Belgium surrendered.

Then a British Expeditionary Force Army bravely got on transports on the Belgian coast and sailed to England! Although this is probably a good strategy for the AI, I’m sure the French and Belgians were impressed with British courage since this happened before Germany managed to break the Allies line.

In even stranger news, a French Battleship blundered into a German submarine along the German coast sustaining heavy damage. French Destroyers unsuccessfully tried to sink the sub. The heavily damaged French Battleship is now spotted and should be easy pickings for German U-Boats. Losing a big ship causes a big drop in national morale.

The USSR seized control of all of the Baltic States. Their citizens “gratefully welcomed” the Commie Armies and cheered when their elected leaders, parsons, school teachers and other “enemies of the state” were put up against the nearest wall and shot.

French and British morale dropped after Belgium surrendered. The starting position before German actions is below:

Start of German June 19, 1940 Turn

The German Fleet is in good shape after sinking the French Battleship Dunkerque.

German Fleet at end of Turn

German military might destroyed two Armies including one from the British Expeditionary Force. Two French Corps were also destroyed. German troops captured Lille, Ypres, Amiens and a valuable set of coal and iron mines. My only concern for the Allies Turn is the exposed armor unit in Amiens.

German West Front Forces at the end of the turn

The plunder from Belgium was used to purchase an excellent, motorized German HQ unit. Italy purchased Infantry Warfare research.

Holland and Belgium Crushed – Turns 11 & 12: Strategic Command WW2 AAR

Turn 11, May 6, 1940

Germany Declares War on the Netherlands! – In a lightning stroke Germany crushed the Netherlands in a matter of days. Germany infantry armies first destroyed the main Dutch Army. Then Armor destroyed the Dutch air force on the ground and the Dutch Headquarters in their capital of The Hague. Last, German Armor sank a Dutch light cruiser on the docks. All Dutch military forces in Europe excepting one destroyer which got away were eliminated.

Netherlands Conquered

Only after Dutch forces were crushed did Germany declare war on Belgium. Sequencing these declarations of war allowed armor forces to occupy the Hague. Otherwise, the zones of control by Belgian forces would have prevented knocking the Netherlands out of the war in one move. Belgium moved 90% towards the allies and would have joined them the following turn.

German forces then moved into Belgium occupying Maastricht and Liege.

Belgium Invaded

The United States (28%) and the USSR (7%) moved toward the allies in response.

Elsewhere, a previously purchased sub was launched by Germany and the British took control of Iceland. Allied naval forces continued their disruption of Norwegian imports.

Turn 12, May 28, 1940

Germany destroyed several units and captured Brussels. I’m unsure if they can hold it against allied counter-attacks since it is only occupied by a corps. During these attacks the Belgian airforce was destroyed by a combination of infantry attacks and straifing.

Turn 12 Start

British Strategic Bombers hit two Dutch cities mere days after they fell to the Germans. Those Brits are nice chaps to their former allies!

May 28, 1940 – Brussels Captured

Germany completed research in Command & Control.

Pre-War Preparation: Spring 1940 Strategic Command WW2 War In Europe

Turn 8: Feb 10, 1940 – Germany turns down the opportunity to construct an aircraft carrier that would launch in 1942. Germany upgrades all current armor to armor technology 1. Italy purchased research in Industrial Technology. Troops continue to move through the snow to their war positions.

Turn 9: March 23, 1940 – Germany authorizes and spend the resources to invade Denmark and Norway in April, 1940.

A scheduled deployment of a tactical bomber and an armored unit occurred. In this scenario there are units which are scheduled to appear as part of the scenario that were on the planning books when the war breaks out in 1939. Most of these deployments are naval units, but a few are ground or air units. This is in contrast to units I spend current resources to purchase.

The UK and France sent aid to Finland. This highly annoyed Stalin and drove the USSR closer to the Axis.

Turn 10, April 14, 1940 – Germany occupies Denmark and Norway. The Norway occupation is scripted because in reality it was pretty amazing that Germany managed to take Norway given the strength of the Royal Navy. In game terms, this is a “Pearl Harbor event.” In almost every game I’ve played, Pearl Harbor is handled by special rules. Achieving that degree of surprise is impossible from a game standpoint because it was so improbable that such good results would happen. Similarly, Germany taking Norway especially the successful landings further North are so unlikely to happen that the game designers abstracted this event.

Germany purchased an additional advanced fighter unit for the Western Front. Medium bombers arrived but could not be upgraded for better ground attack.

Italy purchased research in Infantry Weapons.

German troops on the border reinforced to 10 with upgrades to air and land units for Infantry Warfare, Advanced Tanks, and Advanced Aircraft. Everything is as ready as I can make it for an invasion of the Low Countries in May. My troop deployment is below.

Troop Deployment For Invading the Low Countries

October to December 1939 – Repositioning Forces and the Phony War

This post covers turns 3 to 7 (October 3, 1939 to December 30, 1939). Poland fell a turn earlier than anticipated after Warsaw was captured on turn 2. Germany captured Warsaw just before the USSR crossed the Polish border. Germany followed her treaty obligations (Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact) and gave the Commies half of Poland. Germany accepted an amended treaty which gives Germany 25 resource points per turn in exchange for a small land swap.

German losses in the Poland Campaign were minor. Total land losses were 14 steps (where each unit has ten steps of health). The most heavily damaged land unit took 30% losses. Total air losses were 6 steps with the most damaged unit at 80% strength.

Pillaging Poland provided a lot of resources. Germany spent almost all on research. Research was purchased in Industrial Technology; Infantry Weapons; and Advanced Tanks.

Germany continues to move their land and air forces West. The Army units (the largest ground force units in the game) were operated to their new positions. Operating units move long distances very quickly at the cost of resource points and a decrease in readiness. This is a necessary expenditure. They were moved to the border with the Netherlands or Belgium.

Western Front October 3, 1939

I think the rest of the ground units can march or drive to their 1940 jump-off positions without having to pay for operational movement. Another bonus for quickly ending the Polish campaign. My screenshots of German troop movements are this turn and troop locations at the end of 1939.

All naval units returned to Germany undamaged.

Italian Forces will be essential in North Africa. They start out severely understrength. An Italian HQ, an Army, and an Armored Unit are reinforced and will be transported by ship to Tobruk, Libya before Italy enters the war.

Turn 4: October 25, 1939. Germany buys one research point in Production Technology. One Infantry Corps (without upgrades) garrisons Warsaw. The almost worthless Silesian Corps is placed close to the Russian border to keep Stalin honest. Another Infantry Corps without upgrades will stay in Berlin to prevent a disastrous marine landing sneak attack by the British.

Italy brings the armor and HQ scheduled for African deployment up to full strength.

Turn 5: Nov 16, 1939. Germany buys research in Advanced Aircraft for 175 points.  Germany can only spend an additional 175 points in research before they are at maximum research. The last purchase will be Production Tech next turn.

The resource convoys from Norway to Germany took their first losses this month. Maximum imports are only 40 resource points per turn and convoy losses almost never reach 50%. The slight loss coupled with the tiny German Navy leads me to ignore the attacks. These minor convoy losses continue to the end of 1939.

Italy uses sea transport for an Army and HQ unit. The Italian Armor moves to port to start sea transport next turn.

Turn 6: December 8, 1939. Germany buys a 2nd research chit in Production Technology to max it out at 2. Germany is at maximum research funding. Italy transports armor.

In addition to moving troops, Germany upgraded all Fighter Units to tech level 1. All damaged units are being reinforced to full strength.

The USSR invades Finland. The world is horrified but does nothing beyond kicking the Soviets out of the League of Nations and giving them a severe scolding.

Turn 7: December 30, 1939

Below is a screenshot of German Forces on the Western Front at the end of 1939. All air force units have been upgraded and brought up to full strength. German HQ and Infantry units are continuing to march West.

Western Front at the end of 1939

Italy has significant forces in Eastern Libya. It is far, far better to reinforce and transport these forces before war breaks out.

Eastern Libya at the end of 1939

Before the start of the next phase of the war Germany needs command of the air and an armored strike force. My goal is to first purchase another fighter unit. I will purchase additional armored units if time and funding permit.

All armor, infantry and aircraft will be upgraded to the highest technology. The only exception is purchasing anti-ship upgrades for my aircraft.

The Allies failed to attack Germany when she was weak in the West. They will pay for their folly in Spring, 1940.

Turn 2: Warsaw Captured!

September 15, 1939. The repositioning of Polish forces gives Germany an opportunity. Warsaw is only garrisoned by a Garrison Unit. Garrisons are quite weak. The Northern approach to Warsaw is covered by a 1 strength point infantry army. The 7 strength point infantry army guarding Warsaw’s west can be easily flanked by the armor unit.

Warsaw Might Fall this Turn if a Good Strategy is Followed

To capture Warsaw this turn the attack sequence is vital. The north units start the offensive. The Army destroys the remnants of the Polish Army. Then the two Infantry Corps take position adjacent to Warsaw. Then all of the ground attack and medium fighters bomb the Warsaw garrison.

Next the 7 point army is damaged and retreats due to a combination of Infantry and Armor attacks. Last, the German Armor moves directly adjacent to the Warsaw Garrison and destroys it. This attack sequence is successful and Warsaw falls on turn 2!

Direct Route to Attacking Warsaw is Open to German Armor

After Warsaw falls German units move West towards France. If projected attacks forecast little to no casualties, then attacks are made to increase combat experience. Other Polish forces are surrounded.

End of Poland Campaign With German Forces Moving Towards France

In the West front line units are reinforced or moved into the line. The Fighters are upgraded.

The Cruiser and Submarine units use speedy Naval Cruise and reach the seas due North of Denmark without damage.

Germany and Italy both buy one reach chit for Industrial Technology. Industrial Technology is the most important research goal because it determines the overall economic productivity of a nation. That productivity can be used to build military forces, engage in other research, apply diplomatic pressure, and reinforce damaged units. In a long war, economic productivity is a key aspect of Victory.

I’m surprised that I had the opportunity to take Warsaw on turn 2. The AI usually guards Warsaw better. But a narrow path to a quick victory was open and Germany was able to snatch it!

Turn 1: Poland Invaded

Before crossing the Polish border, Germany makes several moves. First, all forces on the Western Front guarding an attack by France are upgraded to Infantry Weapons 1. Upgrading this turn is critical because you cannot upgrade when you are at war and adjacent to enemy units.

The German Navy is recalled to port. One sub has easy sailing from the West coast of Denmark. A cruiser and a submarine are far out in the North Atlantic. They both use fast naval travel (Naval Cruise) to quickly move them towards Germany.

I lack the points to purchase any new research. My one point in Rocket Weapons research is cancelled returning 75 points. Researching rockets is very expensive and multiple levels must be completed to have the range to hit British resources and cities. Long Range Bombers are less expensive and a lot more flexible.

Poland September 1, 1939 – If you take Warsaw Poland will surrender. My objective is to punch through on three weak spots in the Polish lines to open up an attack on Warsaw on Turn 3. First, a corps takes Danzig since it is an important victory objective. The battles progress very well with minimum casualties.

Poland Before Invasion
Poland Attack Phase 1
End of Initial Attacks in Poland

By the end of the initial battles several units including one Armored unit are in range of Warsaw. One Calvary detachment in the North is isolated. It will be very difficult for the Poles to defend Warsaw for long.

The Polish Airforce was destroyed. When my medium bombers attacked at the beginning of the invasion, the Polish Fighter Planes scrambled – pinpointing their location. The Poles were understrength and were mauled by my Fighter Escort. German tactical bombers destroyed the remainder of the Polish Airforce on the ground.

Strategic Command World War 2: War In Europe AAR

Strategic Command WW2: War In Europe is a grand strategy PC Wargame. I’ve played the two earlier versions of this game. This is a hard core wargame, not a point-and-click shooter. Without careful thought the artificial intelligence will clobber you.

I’m playing the 1939 Storm Over Europe grand campaign as the Axis Powers (Germany & Italy). A decisive victory requires holding Berlin, Rome, Warsaw, Paris, London and Moscow. Not an easy task! This is a long war which can run from 1939 to 1947.

In addition to all of the default rules, advanced rules, and scripts, I’m using the following options. Fog of War is on. If you know the locations of all enemy units, the game plays completely differently. I’m using soft build restrictions when buying units so I’m not straight-jacketed by historic choices made by Germany and Italy.

I’ve played the game through 1941 several times. There are two programming decisions which bug me. If the Axis declares war on Spain there is a big movement by the USA and the USSSR towards the allies. This is a much bigger movement than taking the Low Countries, Destroying France, and many other actions. I consider this unrealistic. The USSR hated Franco. The USA was not a fan.

Second, the USA is force-moved towards the Allies regardless of any decisions made by the Axis in 1941 and 1942. Germany will not declare war on the USA nor will Germany engage in commerce raiding in the Atlantic. Given these policy decisions, the USA should not be able to stir up an isolationist population against Germany and Italy as easily as was the case historically.

Strategic Command makes it easy to change the game parameters if you dig into the game scripts. To alter the (unjustifiable to me) degree of reaction to a declaration of war on Spain I unchecked the following programming scripts. Under Mobilization #1: Axis DoW Spain USA > allies. Under Mobilization #2: Axis Advances Spain USA > allies. To alter the drift towards the allies unrelated to German actions (such as taking Poland, the Low Countries, Crushing France, etc….) I’ve unchecked the scripts under Mobilization #3 of 1941 USA > Allies (there are two of these) and 1942 USA > allies.

The USA will eventually enter the war against Germany. But Germany will not take actions directly harming the USA such as commerce raiding or stupidly declaring war on the USA.

Strategic Overview:

Germany starts the war with a powerful army, a powerful air force, and a weak navy and a two- front war: Poland in the East and France/UK in the West.  They have a potential major land opponent in the USSR.

Germany cannot beat the UK in a straight up Naval battle for a long time if ever.  Even using all out submarine warfare they will not catch up.  Germany starts as a major land/air power and that is where their strength will remain.

IMHO the way Germany can win (or at least get a draw) is to focus on her strengths and not attempt the impossible – a big Naval battle against the UK in 1940-1942.  This will be a long war.  Production will be a key factor. 

All available tools: existing forces, research, and force additions must focus on the strategic goal of winning a land war in Europe while far behind on the Naval front.

My Strategy:

1] Knock Poland out of the war quickly.

2] Keep the USSR friendly as long as possible.

3] Annihilate France totally.

4] Take Spain to capture Gibraltar and close off easy access to the Mediterranean Sea by the UK and the USA.

5] Take Egypt and the Middle East oilfields.

Naval Strategy:

1] Lay low in 1939-1940.  Based on testing in previous games, at absolute best subs and commerce raiders deprive the UK of 200 resource points with all out commerce raiding.  Furthermore, Germany will take significant naval losses for this meager gain and it makes the USA angry. The benefits are not worth the cost.

2] Instead, keep the subs in port until France (and eventually Spain) falls.  Only then start using air and naval power to hurt the British fleet in the Med and around the British Isles. 

3] Only practice commerce raiding on the UK once combined Naval & Air power can choke the UK close to the British Isles themselves.  Far flung sub forces in 1942-43 may be helpful as commerce raiders then.

Research Strategy:

Focus in rank order on: 1] Production; 2] Ground Warfare and 3} Air Warfare.