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How many units do you use to attack a dead zone territory? Is there a formula or computation that can be used to discover the optimal number of units to attack with?

Consider the Eastern European front with Russia holding Karelia and Germany holding Eastern Europe, with the Ukraine as a dead zone (3 IPC). Presume Karelia has sufficient infantry support to resist a German invasion and vice versa, and that the only sort of attacking that's going on at this stage in the game on this front is the tit for tat taking and retaking of Ukraine.

Now, say it is Russia's turn and that they have, say, 25 infantry in Karelia and 2 fighters and Germany has one infantry in Ukraine. How many troops does Russia attack with given two fighters? What if Germany has two infantry in Ukraine? What if Russia has only one fighter?

I'm curious if there is a general formula for ascertaining the optimal attack ratio. Using a calculator like this one seems a necessity, but what sort of likelihood of winning the attack do you aim for? 60%? 80%? Higher?

Thanks

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2 Answers

If I'm attacking a dead zone I won't use tanks. So I determine the attacking force structure by determining the number of aircraft available for the attack and then adding infantry until my gut (or a battle calculator) tells me I'll have enough to occupy the territory.

Often, I'll find that absent these dead zone attacks my planes wouldn't have anything else to do anyway, so more often than you might expect dead zone attacks utilize overwhelming airpower.

Against 1 infantry with 2 fighters: I'd probably send two infantry because this almost guarantees I can capture the territory (with one fighter I'd still only send 2 inf--stranding 3 inf in a dead zone is too many and the odds of winning are still decent). If I'm stretched thin I might only send one, but I'd prefer occupying the territory with two infantry than not taking it at all. If you take it you get 3 IPCs that turn and you make the other side answer the more difficult question of how many inf they send to re-take the territory.

Against 2 infantry: the problem is more difficult. Typically in this scenario I'm almost resigned to not capturing it with high probability and only want to make sure I take enough infantry that there's no chance of taking fighter damage. So if I can afford it I'll attack with 3 inf, knowing that I'm going to retreat before any combat round when I don't have at least as many infantry has he does.

As for specific probabilities I target in my attack structure, that's all game dependent and balanced against the opportunity cost of those units elsewhere on the board. My key metric in planning dead zone attacks is minimizing downside (i.e. the risk of losing fighters and/or stranding more than 2 inf in the dead zone).

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Using the combat simulator, http://www.dskelly.com/misc/aa/aasim.html and running various calculations, I come up with the following: if there are x defending infantry and you attack with x fighters and x+1 infantry, your chances of winning "round" to 100%. With one fighter and one infantry against one infantry, your chances of winning are about 94%, and with one fighter and three infantry against two infantry, your chances of winning are also 94%. With two fighters and two infantry against two infantry, it's 98%. Basically, with the heavy firepower, you don't need much extra infantry, just enough to guard against "accidents."

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Tom, I think you are overlooking that a "win" is just not overpowering all of the opposing force's units, but also having at least one infantry to take the territory and gain its IPCs. –  Scott Mitchell Jun 23 '11 at 1:52
    
@scott: If x infantry gives me a 94% chance of winning, and x+1 infantry gives me a "100%" chance of winning, that's good enough for me. Maybe you want to use x+2 infantry to eliminate the chance that you'll have to sacrifice a fighter to save an infantry for occupation. But any more than that risk putting YOUR infantry into the dead zone. –  Tom Au Jun 23 '11 at 13:19
    
Remember, it is vital that the attacker take the territory back to gain the IPC, yet to leave it as underdefended as possible. Ideally there'd just be 1 inf in the territory afterwards. But if you attack with 1 fighter and 1 inf, you can still "win" the combat, but not reach your goal - namely, if the defending inf gets a hit. –  Scott Mitchell Jun 23 '11 at 21:53
    
@scott: That's why you might want to add "+1" inf; i.e. 2, in this case. If you put an extra inf in a "dead zone," you're basically risking the 3 IPCs at stake in the territory. –  Tom Au Jun 23 '11 at 22:13
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