In Allied General, as in any wargame, you have to study the
terrain, the victory requirements, and the units at your
disposal before starting. When you start a new battle in
Allied General, take time to look at the strategic map.
There are several important things to make note of: First,
white hexes are your high-value hexes, and must be
adequately defended in order to win.
More importantly, green hexes are the objectives.
Not every city is an objective, so you have to see where
the green hexes are and figure out the best way to get to
them. Roads are essential to moving troops fast, and seizing
control of important crossroads will gain you vital mobility.
Some cities must be seized because they lay astride important
crossroads, because their proximity threatens your lines, or
because they are near important objectives and will be useful
in producing and repairing units. Airfields are also important
targets to capture where possible, because controlling the
enemy's airports will limit their ability to use air power
against you and give you increased air-strike abilities.
Finally, you have to study the units you're given at the start
of a game, the units you can buy, based on the historical period,
and the possible upgrades. There are several important numbers
associated with units, the most useful being experience, strength,
and hard and soft attack. Defense ratings, initiative and - for
units pushing deep into enemy territory - spotting ability are
also important factors to consider.
The composition of your forces is crucial, especially in campaign
games. When you start a new battle, upgrade units wherever possible
to the best currently available, and always use elite replacements.
You'll want to build elite, over-strength units through replacement
and successful battles. A tight selection of strong armor and
advanced infantry (such as bridging or paratrooper infantry)
should be the core of your group. A few 15-strength units can cut
a swath through most opposition.
OK, that's enough of the grade-school primer; it's time
to get down in the mud. Let's take a look at the
Russo-Finnish battle on the Karelian Isthmus, which can
be tough to win as the Russians. The victory requirements
are to take two southern cities (Summa and Taipale),
the northwestern city of Tali and its port at Viipuri, and
finally the northernmost city of Sortevala. The problem is
the Mannerheim line: a rigid defensive line of pillboxes
and World War One-era forts bisecting the Isthmus.
First, you'll need to understand your forces, which are a
mishmash of good and bad units. The conscripts and auxiliary
units are awful, and the best (and most historical) use for
them is to charge pillboxes and divert Finnish fire - in
effect, these troops are cannon fodder. Also useless are the
BT-5 and BT-7 tanks, which seem to be made of papier-machˇ.
If you use them, you'll lose. Upgrade as many as you can to
KV 1/39s; they're slower, but have much better defense and
attack ratings. You'll want to start with five or six of them.
You'll also want to get another engineer unit or two, which
you can do by upgrading a Regular unit.
Lay some artillery fire on Terijok, near Leningrad.
You have two cruisers and plenty of artillery, so you can
weaken it enough for the adjacent conscript unit to take it
easily. This clears the road to Summa. You'll need to organize
two battle groups (Eastern and Western) based around the KVs.
Divvy up the infantry, cavalry, and artillery between the two.
The Western group will push towards Summa, then up to Viipuri,
while the Eastern will hit Taipale and then make a dash for
Sortevala. Any extra units should go with the Western force.
Mount the bridging engineer and send him north with the
cruisers, and mount the paratroopers and send them as scouts.
Move out horse cavalry first to get a feel for the area,
then send up conscripts, other infantry, armor, and artillery.
There will be a major bottleneck if you don't juggle your units
just right to keep the roads clear. This can paralyze you long
enough to cost you the battle. Speed is crucial.
Once you've pushed north a bit on both flanks, both battle
groups will instantly run smack into the solid wall of the
Mannerheim line. You're only going to pierce this at the two
cities, avoiding the center. Use conscripts to draw fire from
the pill boxes, then pour artillery on them and start to break
down the cities' defenses with stronger infantry and armor.
Each city has a 37mm anti-tank piece, which you'll need to
clear with artillery and infantry, so your tanks can maneuver
in peace. Take out enemy artillery as quickly as possible,
and keep your own artillery fire up. It should only take a
few turns to liberate both cities. You can use your
paratroopers to either harry units from behind the Mannerheim
line, or save them for the attack on Sortevala.
Keep moving up the coast with your cruisers, laying fire on
the forts while staying out of range as much as possible.
Watch out for the two subs patrolling this area: they're
not much, but they can take a bite out of you before they
go down. You're going to want to bring these ships into
the channel (which will draw shore fire), so you can begin
to pound Viipuri.
Finnish Them Off:
Once both cities are liberated, secure the area by using
armor to track down the few artillery pieces, then push
both battle groups north toward their objectives
(Viipuri/Tali and Sortevala), leaving only a small
garrison behind. You might want to take the opportunity
to pick up some new KVs. Some Finnish infantry will slow
you down - and they are, pound for pound, much better
than the Russians. They'll put up a tough fight, but
don't get bogged down: keep moving. Get your engineers
in on the northern side of Viipuri, and lay in for the
siege. It will take heavy barrages to loosen these hexes
up, so don't commit your infantry and armor too soon.
Chip at them for a couple turns, then go in for the kill.
As with any good battle plan, the key is to stick to your
objectives. Don't try to crash the whole line, and don't
get bogged down in the forests or swamps. Properly
weakened with artillery fire and polished off with a tough
armored punch, the Finns can be beaten with a major victory
in less than ten turns.