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.

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