Here are some strategies for Panzer General II. I will add to the list whenever I get time or inspired to add more. If you have any strategies or tips that you would like to add, then please e-mail them to me. Any scenario specific notes address mostly the stock SSI Campaigns. The strategies should apply to all campaigns.
June 23, 2001 - January 26, 2002
Playing as the Russians is very different from playing as the Germans, British or Americans. For starters, this one is actually kind of hard. Here are some things to do to make it easier. Keep in mind I haven't played the Russians in several months, and so I'm going off of the top of my head.
Your bombers are the only way to take out his heavy tanks, at least at the beginning. However, you're not going to get his bombers unless you take out his fighters. Don't always bring your units to maximum strength between scenarios. Just do it sometimes. Conserve your high experience/high strength units for use after the enemy units have been softened up by your other units, if at all possible.
As soon as you can get Yak-9s, upgrade them. I don't remember if it's the stock equipment file or not, but the Waffenkammer one has Yak-9Us (I think) with a HA=9!
I consider all of the above force multipliers. If you read between the lines, you'll see that I don't advocate buying infantry, tank destroyers or tanks. Stick with the ones you have and upgrade them.
Always advance within range of artillery support.
I always buy lots of artillery. I buy about twice as many units as I would buy for the other countries if I were playing them. Use one set to support your advancing line while using the other to move forward behind the advancing line.
I usually end up with about the following force composition at the end of the game:
I know that I'm forgetting some classes, but that's all that I can think of off hand.
Ambushing Air Units
One trick that I like to use, especially when playing the AI when it has superior air forces in quantity or units, is the following.
Leave one of your bomber air units within sight of an enemy unit. Cover that bomber with a fighter that is out of sight of any enemy units. Place AA so that it can cover the bomber and one hex around it, but still remain out of sight of any enemy units. When the enemy attacks with his air unit, your fighter will bounce his fighter. And then when it's your turn, you can attack further with your AA. And then if his fighter is weak enough, then you can attack him again with your fighter.
You can use a similar methodology with artillery. Enemy bombers love to go for artillery. Cover it with a hidden fighter and AA.
Note that this is, of course, also helpful even when you have the upper hand.
However, and this is a big caveat, just because you think that your units are hidden doesn't mean that they necessarily are so. He might have a reconnaisance unit or other unit that spots your setup, and he can then turn the tables. Still, this works more often than not.
Use bad weather to surround enemy units that are stronger than yours, and then bring up your own AA as rapidly as possible so that you can hit his fighter(s) with everything you have when the weather gets better again.
Fighter air units build experience generally much faster when they're attacking ground units. The best targets are those in trucks or in rivers!
NOTE: I got very frustrated that the Soviet campaign was only six scenarios long, which is why I made the "Russian Revenge" scenario. That way I get to use IS-3s for two or three scenarios.
GEOGRAPHY AND MOVEMENT
Always stop on the middle of a bridge first before crossing it. There's usually an AT on the other side, especially if hex on the other side is a town. Stick to the roads, but avoid plotting a path that takes you through ravines or any place where you will be hemmed in by terrain on either side. This isn't always possible, so choose the path that appears to give you the most open country even if it may be a little longer. Whenever possible, leave tanks out in the open; make sure that infantry are not.
Always leave room for non-tracked vehicles on the road. In other words, move tanks and other tracked vehicles such that they end their movements off of the road. That way you will have room for your other units on the road. This is especially important for the Soviets early in the campaigns, who start off with few tracked vehicles except for tanks.
Having tanks is what this game is all about, isn't it? In many ways, they are the most versatile of units in PGIII as they have been in other games of the series. They are very well balanced, and can take on most ground units of other classes except for better tanks. But that's not always the case. Enemy AT and AA units can be incredibly difficult for armor to destroy as well as any well placed infantry, AA or AT unit that has been entrenched in a city or other such terrain. So use your tanks out in the open, by pass combat in cities, and let your other units do that instead.
What I like are those turns when I can kill multiple units using the Overrun. I think that my record, for one turn, is either 6 or 8(!). It must have been an IS-3 unit adjacent to a bunch of other already weakened units.
I almost never, ever use my fighters to attack full strength fighters unless I have plenty of prestige to spare. They certainly never go looking for trouble unless it is to finish off an enemy fighter that has already been decisively weakened by my AD. One of the main reasons is that I like to play the Soviets, and their aircraft are inherently weaker than the German ones. The other reason is that the repair an aircraft sometimes means being out of commission for two or more turns as the aircraft has to end up on a friendly airbase before being repaired. Plus repairing them is just darn expensive. Use fighters to get experience rapidly by shooting up land units!
The only way to kill German heavy armor without taking too much collateral damage is to use bombers. For that reason, I tend to purchase bombers with high hard-attack values instead of those with high soft-attack values, all else being equal. Bombers are the best of the American units!
Towed artillery is usually better than self-propelled for sheer fire-power, but then doesn't have the mobility to provide fire support after moving. It is probably best to have at least one self-propelled (SP) gun when they are available. SP guns are also good for scenarios that require very high mobility. For that reason, I tend to purchase SP guns over towed artillery, all else being equal. In good weather, the best artillery comes in the form of bombers. See BOMBERS, above.
These units are hard to kill. They get suppressed easily, but I never seem to have enough infantry on hand to kill them since I usually leave my infantry behind to defend captured cities. This means that the forts have to be destroyed from the air using bombers with the bunker killer feature turned on. Just make sure that there isn't any enemy flak hiding two or three hexes behind ready to rip your bombers to shreds.
Recons are great. They are cheap, usually can be used to finish off a wounded unit and then retreat out of the way of counter-attacks, and will save your more expensive units from getting suprised or running into something they would rather not run into.
On the other hand, killing enemy recons is a great objective. Notice that the AI will also typically focus on destroying your recons. If you kill his recons, then you can blind him and let the AI's units blunder into yours.
One pet peeve is that I have noticed that the AI's recon units move really far when they move (upto 20 or so?)? I have no idea what allows this movement.
SCENARIO SPECIFIC TIPS
Trap his air units during the bad weather. Use your Finn fighter to weaken his fighters before you weaken your own by attacking with your core fighters first.
Get in there with some hardened artillery or long-range artillery. Soften up his flak that is guarding the airfield with your ships, and then use your bombers to destroy what resistance is left. You should be able to mop up with a good Panzer, some STUIIIs and maybe a recon. You'll lose most of your Italian fleet, but who cares? They're not core forces, and PG2 doesn't appear to even keep track of those kills. BTW, you can use your fighters to shoot at his ships, though it's generally costly. So get some bombers that have high naval attack ratings.
I liked Malta so much that I used it as the inspiration for one of my own scenarios, which is the U.S. invasion of Malta to free it from the Axis (which would have captured it in this scenario!). If you're interested, it's in the Screaming Eagles campaign.
Played Zitadelle again last night. Great scenario. But the dynamics get changed completely with the Waffenkammer e-file (and I suppose other e-files as well).
Prokorovka, the Russian counterpart, is less intense, but harder, I think, since maintaining air supremacy is difficult and then influences the rest of the scenario decisively.
But one thing does bother me about the Zitadelle map is that its main axis is the railway. And guess what, there is no railway movement!
Force compositions are all wrong since the Germans have much more armor than historically possible, but that's a problem with most of the Panzer General 2 scenarios (other than a few like Salerno).
From the Soviet side, you must have a bridge infantry, some good artillery, and some good tanks. Buy as many tactical bombers as you can. And have at least three fighters to supplement the two auxiliaries. Use the better of the two auxiliary aircraft to get his fighters, or at least to weaken them. Use your core fighters just to protect your bombers, to attack his bombers, and, only as a last ditch, to go after his already weakened fighters. But the main thing is to get his fighters with your auxiliary, and to bait him into attacking your artillery with his aircraft. So keep AA units behind your bait units at all times.
Use your bombers to go after his better tanks, especially the Tiger and Panther units to the South West of Prokorovka.
Use your bridge units to cross the river in the east and get the airfield.
And make sure that you have enough recons at all times.
This is another of my favorites. I wish there was a Soviet counterpart. Maybe I'll write one! In any case, the key to winning this one, I have found, is as follows. Set up a decent AT unit in the main citie's hex (I haven't played this one in over a year - is it Novgorod?). Surround it from behind (the West) with artillery and flak. Beyond that, have your tanks ready for a second turn counter-strike. On the first turn, use your artillery to fire at his artillery that can shell your AT or your own artillery. Kill whatever you can with your artillery. Then send in your bombers (usually Ju-87Ds in my case) to blast whatever artillery is left. Use your fighters to provide CAP for your bombers. When he attacks on the first turn, his air unit will go to Novgorod. Your flak will be hidden, two hexes behind your AT and will wreak havoc on his air units.
Keep this up for another one or two turns before pressing forward. Then, with his artillery completely annihilated, start moving East and South to capture all of your objectives.
Use the bridges effectively. Halt your units on the Western approaches of bridges and let him charge blindly into your units during the enemy's turn.
Savannah is a great one! I land some AA and a good "Marksman" artillery on the island (Hilton Head) for covering file. I haven't played Savannah in about a year or so, but, as far as I remember, the key was the following:
Place at least one heavy artillery with a leader special on Hilton Head (the island just off shore in South Carolina). That will then provide fire support. I think that I used to also land a AD unit there as well that could fire three or more hexes. The drawback is that both of those units will be stuck on the island for the rest of the scenario. The good news is that they will provide invaluable defense from air and land attack and make landing on the beaches a hell of a lot safer.
I like Oak Ridge. In addition to Savannah, this is one of two battlefields that actually is near where I live. Both are approximately four hours away from my home in Atlanta. And like Savannah, I have actually visited Oak Ridge. It's where the atomic bombs were developed in great part.
Oak Ridge is my favorite because of the culmination of all of the equipment and because of the proximity to home. It's an excellent culmination of the German campaign!
Please read the PGIII Strategy Guide as well. Many of the concepts apply to PG2 as well as PGIII.