I’ve managed to edit together the full map screenshots saved at each turn of the battle, one for the Polish side and one for the German side . I’ve cobbled them together into a video to show you the progression through the conflict.
Trying to dissect what went wrong for the Germans, I’ve come up with these possible theories.
I pushed too hard, too late.
I basically over-stacked the attacks. You can get away with a certain amount of losses, but if you over-stack you also weaken your force. A helpful poster over at Wargamer.com, Barthheart said:
When attacking, and especially into Urban terrain, you need to make sure that you don’t over do the stacking. That penalty is there and it’s harsh. If you over-stack up but not more than twice the stack limit, you won’t have very bad effects. But once you get more than 2x the stack points involved the penalty grows very quickly. And it carries over from one attack to the next, kind of a “every attack is happening at once” thing.
So your first attack was 250/70 almost 4x the limit, your troops were too busy getting in each others way to fight properly. Then you attacked again raising the stack ratio to 378/70, more than 5x the limit, and those troops got tangled up in the first ones.
You really need to get that third adjacent hex to raise the stack limit, each additional hex side increases this limit. Even if you’d been able to get a troop across the river to attack across the blown bridge it would have helped.
Over loading on artillery and planes will also have less effect the more you’re over the 100 point limit.
It can take a lot of planning to get the final assault right…. I’ve lost a few games exactly the way you did – not enough troops with enough AP’s on enough sides to make the assault successful.
I think if I’d have got my troops in deeper earlier on, when the Poles were on the back-footing, I could have opened the area around the Victory Point hex a bit more. Having more troops around the place you’re trying to overrun helps with the stack values.
I was overly concerned with Supply early on.
My mistake was to flinch when I saw the first of my units go out of supply in the South. I started to shift my troops up in the northwest, splitting them over the river Vistula and generally panicking about a break in the supply from Rundstedt in the South to the forces in the North. I think rather than trying to secure these supply lines early on, I should have focused more on getting them forward/eastwards.
I was distracted by the Bloodbath in the Bulge.
I spent a lot of time and effort moving troops in place to secure an almost perfect ring around the troops in the waistline bulge. This was wasteful of time and ground gained. It was an uplifting boost to my confidence to have a killing pot where I could see the destructive power of my army. But, I paid the price in terms of sheer yardage on the way to Warsaw. It left me with an overstretched front, without the power to punch a deep enough hole in the Polish defensive lines. I could have raced my troops along the roadways and into the front quicker, ignoring the Poles in the center, by the time I’d have made it to the doorstep of Warsaw and the Modlin Fortress, most of them would have been cut off and out of supply as it was. Perhaps then I could have attacked Warsaw from two angles suffocating the defenders where they stood. At least it would have given me more options on the offensive. At the end, I had one course of action, and I didn’t have the minerals at the front to execute it with conviction.
I was overly concerned with the defense of Lodz.
Early on I was panicking about protecting Lodz. I saw it as the main weakness in my offensive – because the Poles could have swooped Southwards and I had little in the way of defensive measures there. Again, I held troops back. I should have noticed that the Polish army wasn’t making a play for Lodz earlier and I could have moved more of my troops out eastwards.
Ultimately, time ran out. Give me a few more turns and I would have hammered my way into Warsaw. But I think Chip made a very good defensive stand at the gates of Warsaw, and he held out for the draw. It was a very tense and enjoyable game, that came down to the wire at the end.