The Husky scenario is enormously enjoyable to play as the German panzer general. The variety of units is great, and at this stage of the war (1943) there are excellent new armored units at your disposal, such as Panthers and Tigers, as well as the new competitive Focke-Wolfe fighter aircraft. If you keep the Allied General from gaining momentum on Sicily, and prevent his other landings on the mainland, then you will almost certainly win the scenario.
The way I like to play this is to immediately take to the offensive on Sicily, striking hard into the Allied landing in the region of Syracuse and Pachwo. The objective here is to push hard with your panzer armor to at least occupy the airfield next to Pachwo, thereby forcing the Allied general to refuel his aircraft out of Tunis.
There will be an Allied amphibious assault coming early in the game in the region of Napoli and Salerno. What I’ve found that works well here is to purchase three to four Italian M-42 anti-tank squadrons and place them in key locations around Napoli to resist the landing. Then you can wear down the rest of the landing with your dive bombers.
Forget about battling for air superiority over Sicily in the early stage of the scenario. Concentrate all your fighters in the North and don’t move them south until after the Allied landing attempt in the region of Messina. Once you have snuffed this out, it becomes safer to move your aircraft south.
Also at this time move all your ground units south and renew your offensive into the region of Syracuse and Pachwo. If you can secure the airfield here next to Pachwo, you will almost certainly (eventually) gain air superiority over Sicily. Doing this will help slow the annoying losses to your ground forces from the persistent shelling from Allied battle ships.
Also to keep the Allied offensive on the island from gathering strength, I like to place numerous Italian M-42 anti-tank squadrons at key defensive locations. These work well until the ‘cavalry’ can arrive in the form of German panzer armor to bring some offensive punch.
Once you have secured the eastern side of the island, you can move forces west, using your mobile artillery to slowly grind down the Allied defenses to ultimately win the scenario.
If things are going well, a neat thing I like to try for is to use the paratrooper units in the region of Taranto for an airborne assault on Tunis. If I’ve crushed the Allied forces on Sicily with around seven to eight turns still remaining, I will dispatch all air forces to soften up the Allied ground units around Tunis. With a little bit of luck you can land your paratroops and seize Tunis turning the scenario from a defensive victory into an offensive victory!
Berlin (East) has to be my all-time favorite scenario to play as the German panzer general against the computer AI (artificial intelligence). At first you have a very challenging defensive scenario – and if you play your cards right it can then develop into a fast moving offensive scenario.
What I like to do is put a heavy armor presence around Stettin, moving some of my units in from the Frankfurt area. Then I wear down the Soviet attack with vicious counter attacks, to the point where by turn 6 or 7 I can go on the offensive and cross the Oder River. If you can get some momentum going you can break through, wreak havoc in the rear area Soviet artillery and possibly even reach Danzig by the end of the game.
Of course you have to keep a close eye on your key defensive positions around Breslau and Wien. Refrain from moving infantry around too much. Use them only as an impediment to Soviet movement.
You must also gain air superiority. Concentrate on taking out Soviet fighters – leave the bombers alone until you have eliminated the fighters. Spend a good portion of your prestige points on supporting your own fighter forces by purchasing a couple of Me163 Komet squadrons. I like to place two of these units at Wien, then when they achieve local superiority I shift them north. Make sure you use elite replacements for your air forces whenever possible.
With a little bit of luck and some concentration of force, you can win this scenario.
It’s kind of laughable now but when I first started playing Panzer General, I was overwhelmed by the number of different units and their different characteristics. There was a time when I thought I’d never get a handle on it. But as I played more and more I grew to understand how the AI (artificial intelligence) of the computer worked, and how a few little tricks could tip the scale of the battle in favor of the human player.
The computer AI is actually quite poor and simply relies on crushing you with mass amounts of prestige to buy units with superior experience to your own. This is especially true with respect to the air superiority enjoyed by the Allied General in scenarios starting in 1943.
In my experience, air superiority is virtually key in winning or at least staving off defeat, and this becomes especially true as you play later in the war. In order to win air superiority you must concentrate all available fighters on eliminating the opposition fighters. If possible it makes sense to fight over your own airfields so that you can replenish units as they suffer battle damage. For replacements go for quality over quantity – in other words try to use elite replacements if you can afford it. Your ground forces can also support the air superiority effort by holding or taking key airfields to prevent nearby refuelling by the enemy. Also the Panzer General has access to some excellent ground to air units, such as the famous 88mm anti-aircraft guns, which when in the hands of experienced troops can punch holes in enemy fighter numbers.
In the campaign you can steadily craft your air forces to be heavy in fighters, and always add elite replacements so that it truly becomes an elite fighter group. However, in the scenarios you have to play the hand you are dealt – so in this respect air superiority is much more challenging to achieve. But it is still possible!