Retreats


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    I’m trying to find some logic in the retreat rules for this game. The rules say:

    “Move all attacking land and sea units in that combat
    that are on the battle strip to a single adjacent friendly
    space from which at least 1 of the attacking land or sea
    units moved. In the case of sea units, that space must
    have been friendly at the start of the turn. All such units
    must retreat together to the same territory or sea zone,
    regardless of where they came from.”

    Why would everything have to move together one space in a retreat? Wouldn’t it be more likely that everything would scatter different places? Does this represent some kind of a “penalty” on the attacker for calling a retreat?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Perhaps the rule is meant to reflect the fact that it’s referring to an orderly retreat, at least as far as land warfare goes.  An army that retreats in disorder or scatters would be highly vulnerable to the opposing forces: at minimum, the opposing forces could steamroller ahead, gaining territory without opposition; at worse, the opposing force could annihilate the fleeing army, or at least cut off and destroy parts of it.

    At sea, things are a bit different because naval forces don’t capture and hold territory at sea in quite the same way that armies do on land.  Naval forces can certainly retreat from an engagement (the Japanese did so after their loss at Midway), but they avoid scattering because naval forces are generally more effective when grouped together than when operating in isolation.  (One of Yamamoto’s planning errors at Midway was that he divided his huge fleet into several forces, each too far away from the other to provide mutual support.)  Scattering in WWII was mainly a tactic of last resort used by convoy commanders under heavy attack – and a dangerous one, because dispersed ships are vulnerable due to the fact that most of them will end up with no escort ships nearby to protect them.

    Incidentally, if anyone here has ever watched the DVD of the episodes of the US Army TV series “The Big Picture” which covered the Korean War (while it was still in progress), you may have noticed that the narrator uses the word “retreat” selectively.  As the front repeatedly moves back and forth (or rather up and down) the Korean Peninsula, it’s only the Communists who are ever described as “retreating” (or better yet, retreating in disorder) when they give up ground.  When the UN forces give up ground, they’re described as “withdrawing” or “fighting a delaying action”, never retreating.  I think the Marines in Korea even carried this concept a step further by saying that they were “attacking in a different direction.”


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    One could argue that forces from one territory attack to open a path for forces from a second territory to join the forces in the first territory. From that perspective, the retreat rule makes sense.

    EDIT: What doesn’t make sense is giving units extra movement as part of the retreat. For instance, a Russian tank from Novgorod could attack a German stack in Smolensk and, as long as one unit from Moscow had participated in the attack, then gain an extra point of movement and wind up in Moscow.

    Marsh


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    OK I don’t mind the rule myself but just wanted to be ready to explain the sense of it to others who may question it. To me it would represent some kind of imposed limit on what you could do with your men since you retreated. You probably shouldn’t get any reward for retreating. (although gaining movement is kind of a reward as Marsh mentioned.)


  • Customizer

    One thing I don’t like about this rule is that some players use it to certain advantage, like you mentioned getting kind of a “reward” for retreating.
    For example, a common move for some players is during G1 where the infantry and artillery in Greater Southern Germany attack Yugoslavia along with 1 tank from Romania.  They go 1 round of combat and if even 1 Yugoslav infantry survives, they retreat everything to Romania.  By doing this, they have all the infantry and artillery from Greater Southern Germany (minus any casualties inflicted by the Yugoslavs) ready to attack Russia if they decide on a Round 2 Barbarossa.
    I just think it’s a cheesy move, even if it is technically legal to do.  I just don’t like it and I have never used it myself nor have any of the guys in my play group. 
    Of course, just our playing style but we rarely retreat from attacks anyway.  Usually the only reason we do retreat is in the case of a disastrously bad dice result.  In most cases, this ends up in the attacking force getting obliterated on the enemy’s turn or at least in that enemy getting a lot better defensive position so the attacker’s chance is lost.


  • 2019 2017 2016

    I agree.

    IIRC in classic units had to retreat to where they came from except air of course.

    It also allows an assault from Persia to soften up Iraq to move the survivors of 3 inf two spaces towards Egypt.



  • @simon33:

    I agree.

    IIRC in classic units had to retreat to where they came from except air of course.

    It also allows an assault from Persia to soften up Iraq to move the survivors of 3 inf two spaces towards Egypt.

    the retreat rule is the same as it was in classic and yes it is a big weird and abbusable sometimes.
    But then again the attacker has so many small advantages that make no sense and really how many times can this be used anyway?

    I tend to retreat quite often but mostly back to where i came from, either because the attack went bad or it went really good.
    If i destroy 30 inf vs 5 where the expecte is 10 vs 10 when attacking im not exposing my stack to a counter but id rather retreat. I did the damage i needed to do.



  • Yea, it is a bit of a gamey move, but I wouldn’t forbid it unless there was an official change.

    As far as would it be possible to attack and advance in a retreat, I would say rare but very possible. One battle in a territory could represent just 1-2 days, or even weeks or months of fighting. You could move forward and gained ground, maybe the defender holds the high ground, and you can’t advance, so you attempt to flank him combining with a smaller group coming from the say the west. Now you have advanced many miles, but the secondary group only a few clicks, so if a retreat is called do you march back miles getting exposed to counter attack, or do you make the shorter trip from where that secondary unit came from?



  • Seems quite a few of you share a distaste for retreats, or at least consider them a minor mechanic. Is that common?

    We’ve often found Russia to be a far tougher nut to crack as Germany than many of you seem to. It’s a big part of my scepticism of any German naval builds (see G1 Carrier thread). My group, however, makes extensive use of attack and retreat as Russia to force the German’s to clump up and choose between Leningrad and Ukraine, or to inflict favourable casualties without exposing the Russians to counter attack. Is that abnormal?



  • @Amalec:

    Seems quite a few of you share a distaste for retreats, or at least consider them a minor mechanic. Is that common?

    We’ve often found Russia to be a far tougher nut to crack as Germany than many of you seem to. It’s a big part of my scepticism of any German naval builds (see G1 Carrier thread). My group, however, makes extensive use of attack and retreat as Russia to force the German’s to clump up and choose between Leningrad and Ukraine, or to inflict favourable casualties without exposing the Russians to counter attack. Is that abnormal?

    Germans have so many starting Inf that if they do it correctly they can target both considering there airforce can reach either and so gives great threat projection.



  • @Tirano:

    Germans have so many starting Inf that if they do it correctly they can target both considering there airforce can reach either and so gives great threat projection.

    My standard Russian start is to mass the majority of infantry and artillery in Bryansk. A German player attempting to split forces between Western Ukraine and Belarus, for example, will allow me to hit the Belarus stack and retreat to Smolensk - out of reach of German’s Western Ukraine infantry. The German’s start with plenty of infantry and such - but not enough to hold two provinces against the majority of the Russian stack - nor to counter attack with only mobile divisions.



  • If you are moving into Russia with multiple forces north and south of the marsh, then yea the Russians could hit and run you because your strength isn’t concentrated. If you are moving one super stack going south of the marsh to E Poland, then to W Ukraine etc…the Russians will be forced to collapse back ahead of you (LEAVING YOU A PATH SOUTH IF YOU WANT IT).  If the Russians have built a lot of art then they could potentially still attack, but could be disastrous for them. Make sure to bring 3 AA guns with you so if they try to strafe your stack you have a chance to kill planes. Another thing is once you super stack W Ukraine the Russians can’t stay on Bryansk, so have some Italian mech (maybe a tank) and It bmr to take Bryansk for you so that you can NCM your German stack in, and bring in some German ftrs for defense so there is no way for they to hit you.

    They may set-up counter attacks to trade their minor ICs to keep you from building for a round, but they can’t afford to lose to many units .

    Don’t worry to much about marching a force to Leningrad. I have found that if you pressure Leningrad by sea (build at least one maybe two more tpt) and through Scandinavia that they have to choose to defend it, or evacuate it. If they try to defend it those slow moving Russian units get caught out of position and can’t get to Moscow in time, or get killed when you do amphib it.


  • 2017 2016 Customizer

    I find this topic rather surprising. I’ve never really thought of some of the points made here. (Such as be able to actually move an extra space with some units.) The ROE for retreating has not changed since the original A&A and I can count on one hand the number of time I’ve retreated. I only retreat if the battle has gone horribly bad and it’s obvious I cannot win w/o losing my remaining forces. By the time that happens, it usually means I’m going to lose the rest of my force when my opponents counterattacks on their turn.

    But after reading this thread, I might have to see where a “tactical” retreat might indeed benefit my long term objectives. As far as that being “wrong” or not “fair”, I would argue that sure it is. I’m sure at some point in the history of war, some army engaged an opposing force to help clear a path for other friendly forces to escape into. Seems perfectly logical to me.



  • @WILD:

    If you are moving into Russia with multiple forces north and south of the marsh, then yea the Russians could hit and run you because your strength isn’t concentrated. If you are moving one super stack going south of the marsh to E Poland, then to W Ukraine etc…the Russians will probably collapse back ahead of you (LEAVING YOU A PATH SOUTH IF YOU WANT IT). �If the Russians have built a lot of art then they could potentially still attack, but could be disastrous for them. Make sure to bring 3 AA guns with you so if they try to strafe your stack you have a chance to kill planes. Another thing is once you super stack W Ukraine the Russians can’t stay on Bryansk, so have some Italian mech (maybe a tank) and It bmr to take Bryansk for you so that you can NCM your German stack in, and bring in some German ftrs for defense so there is no way for they to hit you.

    They may set-up counter attacks to trade their minor ICs to keep you from building for a round, but they can’t afford to lose to many units .

    Don’t worry to much about marching a force to Leningrad. I have found that if you pressure Leningrad by sea (build at least one more tpt) that they have to choose to defend it, or evacuate it. If they try to defend it those slow moving Russian units get caught out of position and can’t get to Moscow in time, or get killed when you do amphib it. �

    Absolutely. My point isn’t that you can beat the Germans - or even hold both locations indefinitely - just that you can slow them down. And that retreat rules are a very large component to slowing them down without getting obliterated in a counter attack.



  • Me too are bothered about the abuse of the word retreat, when it actually is a strafe attack or raid. It was very rare that an attacker had to retreat, usually when an attack was stopped, both sides dug in and got locked in combat, and the territory got contested, as they say in A&A D day and A&A 1914. Retreating during WWII were usually something the defender had to do. Funny enough, the defender is not allowed to retreat in our A&A game.

    In this A&A game an attacker can plan to retreat on purpose, he can plan to attack an enemy territory with just enough infantry fodder to save his hard hitting units, and then retreat after a few rounds of combat, when the enemy only have a few units left. This is a classic strafe, a tactic to bleed the enemy dry. And you dont retreat, you withdraw. Obviously the game designers have less military education.

    Another tactic from the days of cavalry is the Raid, you attack from different directions, and withdraw together. The object of this raid can be to surprise the enemy and get him out of balance, annihilate his forces, mess up his strategy, or position your units to a new staging area. Typically raids in A&A Global is slow moving inf and art from Southern Germany that double move via Yugoslavia to Romania as long as a unit from Romania come to meet them. This can make sense since the retreating German army can track supply from many places.

    Another, and more cheesy retreat, is to Raid Iraq from Persia and Trans Jordan, and then retreat to Trans Jordan. Lawrence of Arabia did something similar during WW I, but if Egypt and the Mediterranian Sea are hostile, cutting Trans Jordan off from supply, then this raid need to be carefully planed. And there are no longer talk about a retreat. We talk about a campaign, or operation. Not some random retreat because the men panicked.

    IMHO the words of the rule should be

    1. Attacker press continue attack or withdraw
    …and if the attacker withdraw he can split his units to any friendly territories, or seazones that is not hostile, or move them gathered, his choice.

    2. Defender press contest the area or retreat.
    …and if the defender retreats, his units are scattered and he suffers some penalty.



  • Amalec, now I understand why you would rather buy inf G1 instead of Art. I think that you splitting your force into two groups (north and south of the Marsh) is flawed, and it is putting you in a defensive posture. You have to choose north or south (south being better IMO), keep your force concentrated (including AAA guns) so they can’t strafe you (w/o much risk).

    Germany is the aggressor, don’t lose that edge buy trying to do too much. You can send a token force via the sea combined with the Finns and air power to pressure and take Leningrad rather easily.  You don’t need a carrier to do this, but you should buy another transport or two, and a dd is also useful at some point to kill the Russian sub(s).

    You need more Art for the end game to sack Moscow, not more inf to def multiple stacks on the way.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    The title of this thread reminded me of this famous 1944 TIME cover:

    The caption reads: “Retreat may be masterly, but victory is in the opposite direction”


  • 2019 2017 2016

    @ShadowHAwk:

    the retreat rule is the same as it was in classic and yes it is a big weird and abbusable sometimes

    Right. I never played it that way!



  • A strange situation came up in a battle: 
    Germans had 1 sub + stack of planes
    allies had 2 subs + surface ships.

    On the first round, the subs all missed and the German planes obliterated the Allied surface ships.  On round two I wanted to retreat the 1 sub since the odds were lousy without plane assistance.  Apparently the sub is only allowed to submerge and has no option to retreat (retreating allows it to be in a safer position).  Is that correct?


  • 2019 2017 2016

    If the subs can’t effectively fire then its the same as if a defender has only an AA gun but only if there are no other attackers. You cannot retreat. However, I would think that since the planes can hit other planes then you can retreat.



  • @Narvik:

    Me too are bothered about the abuse of the word retreat, when it actually is a strafe attack or raid. It was very rare that an attacker had to retreat, usually when an attack was stopped, both sides dug in and got locked in combat, and the territory got contested, as they say in A&A D day and A&A 1914. Retreating during WWII were usually something the defender had to do. Funny enough, the defender is not allowed to retreat in our A&A game.

    In this A&A game an attacker can plan to retreat on purpose, he can plan to attack an enemy territory with just enough infantry fodder to save his hard hitting units, and then retreat after a few rounds of combat, when the enemy only have a few units left. This is a classic strafe, a tactic to bleed the enemy dry. And you dont retreat, you withdraw. Obviously the game designers have less military education.

    Another tactic from the days of cavalry is the Raid, you attack from different directions, and withdraw together. The object of this raid can be to surprise the enemy and get him out of balance, annihilate his forces, mess up his strategy, or position your units to a new staging area. Typically raids in A&A Global is slow moving inf and art from Southern Germany that double move via Yugoslavia to Romania as long as a unit from Romania come to meet them. This can make sense since the retreating German army can track supply from many places.

    Another, and more cheesy retreat, is to Raid Iraq from Persia and Trans Jordan, and then retreat to Trans Jordan. Lawrence of Arabia did something similar during WW I, but if Egypt and the Mediterranian Sea are hostile, cutting Trans Jordan off from supply, then this raid need to be carefully planed. And there are no longer talk about a retreat. We talk about a campaign, or operation. Not some random retreat because the men panicked.

    IMHO the words of the rule should be

    1. Attacker press continue attack or withdraw
    …and if the attacker withdraw he can split his units to any friendly territories, or seazones that is not hostile, or move them gathered, his choice.

    2. Defender press contest the area or retreat.
    …and if the defender retreats, his units are scattered and he suffers some penalty.

    During naval combat it is the opposite though, normaly either the defender or the attacker retreated.

    But yes the strafe attack is something that happened in real life and also is used in the game sometimes. Attack with the intend of inflicting maximum damage and then retreat your assets to safety. yes sometimes this allows you to actualy retreat forwards in this game but the times that happens is rare. But it has some historical reason for it, at stalinggrad the germans attemted ( to late because of hitlers stupid orders ) to attack the russians around them from 2 sides in order to get out of the city. So they actualy attacked with the plan of retreating. So it isnt that far fetched.

    If the defender could retreat the game would end up verry different, a lot more agressive i think, not sure what side would have the advantage if you could retreat after 1 round of combat as defender. I forsee various battleships of the allies and the italian battleship surviving past round 1 and no more great naval battles in the pacific.

    could make a nice house rule to allow the defender to retreat, but maby only for naval battles as land battles would make the game a stalemate almost from the start. France would actualy be able to counter attack paris on its first round or even take northern Italy.



  • @simon33:

    If the subs can’t effectively fire then its the same as if a defender has only an AA gun but only if there are no other attackers. You cannot retreat. However, I would think that since the planes can hit other planes then you can retreat.

    There was still a sub vs sub battle going on; all surface and air battles were over.  Wouldn’t I be able to retreat my attacking sub in that case?


  • 2019 2017 2016

    I’m pretty sure you would.

    Sub submerge decisions are after retreat decisions iirc



  • You can retreat as long as the sub didn’t start in that sea zone that turn. If the sub came from another sea zone, then it can retreat from whence it came.


  • 2018 2017

    Retreating is more appropriate for a tactical type wargame, with factors like morale and suppression.  There are dozens of these and many of them are better than AxA in many ways.

    Like a lot of people allude to here, the attacker in AxA doesn’t really retreat, he stops “pressing the attack” as we like to say.  There are all sorts of variations where this withdraw rule allows (usually the Germans or Russians because of their land territory) to move units extra spaces, or consolidate units during combat.  Of course, whenever you use this rule this way, you will have left enemy pieces behind and that leaves an opening for planes to land and tanks to blitz through your line.

    We’ve been going over rules like this a lot lately, I think in the scope of AxA they give the attacker several subtle advantages.  The attacker already has the predominating advantage;  that of choosing where to attack, when, and with how much.  These other advantages don’t amount to nearly as much as the initiative does.  These advantages are important to ensuring that the momentum of the game is always in favor of the players who have the greatest weight of power and focus regionally (this simulates real life blitzkrieg, encirclement, and strategic war and in some ways, chess) and that the game doesn’t end up a stack slog like Risk can.

    When we talk about a Strategic retreat, that actually happens on the (to be) defending player’s turn.  You don’t retreat from combat; you withdraw to a reserve position before combat ever occurs.  Its the same with “bringing up reserves”, these units don’t join the battle during combat (say after multiple turns), they reinforce from the rear during the players noncom or appear from the factories.  There are plenty of examples (abandoning an untenable city like Ukraine, Leningrad, Moscow etc) where these happen every game.


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