I think you guys are right about the TacAI logic used here. I finished up the battle and...the team survived! Only the leader bought it when they first displaced. I managed to get enough bodies on the line to prevent the GIs from concentrating their fire on the gully team. One of my reinforcement teams was an HMG and over a few turns fire superiority went my way on that flank and I held it. I had to work it though! The 3-man rifle team ended up being vital, as they were properly falling back to the foxholes when things got too hot. I kept sending them up the the low bocage line to draw fire to take the heat off the other units. That appeared to be just enough to let the HMG team get set up.There was a movie moment when a US command team out of LOS suddenly crested the hill while the rifleman trio was back in their foxholes. They traded fire and the trio lobbed a grenade at the HQ team before German medium range LMG fire finished off the rest of the charging Amis.
Which reminds me, the gully team did fall back to the foxholes at least once earlier. I can definitely see the TacAI logic here in terms of the elevations. However, from a realism standpoint, I can't see a team charging out in the open like that, unless they were being flanked and their rear was compromised. I think in real life they would almost certainly go for the foxholes. That's actually precisely why I put them there in setup.
So, it seems like we have a situation where the TacAI is performing nearly perfectly most of the time, but then suddenly brainfarts and falls on its sword over a technicality. In this situation, falling back to the foxholes was the "perfect" behavior, which the 3-man rifle team did at least 3 times and the gully team did at least once early on. Then, the gully team brainfarted on best choice of cover -- choosing the depression for "relief" from the most pressing enemy team, and in so doing, losing the much better general protection of the foxholes.
For my part, I'd really like to see if BF can somehow cut that brainfarting. As we see, the TacAI is getting it right most of the time, which means the code is getting it right most of the time. However, when it gets it wrong, it blows the immersion because it seems so out of place in terms of realism. Is there not a way to tweak the code so that the TacAI will put more weight on things like friendly side and foxhole/cover locations? As people have pointed out, this seems to have been a case of the TacAI overvaluing the gully at the expense of better cover. Is there any way to tweak it so it doesn't?
Other than the saga of the gully team, TacAI movement seemed very good for both infantry and vehicles. There were a number of epic moments (I wish I had time to do a viddy!). The battle ended with the last Ami tank charging in on the other flank just at the moment when my Stug freaked out over approaching infantry and suddenly backed away from its overwatch position. The Sherman was pointed right at my remaining LMG teams on that side and was about to shoot them up when...one of my alamo PF teams hiding behind a building saved the day. It was beautiful.🙂
It was an excellent little battle. In hindsight, I may have overdone it with the mines, TRPs and 105mm. They wreaked havoc. However, I certainly had the chance of being overrun and wiped out and really had to work it with my micro-play at a number of points. The US started with a company of infantry, plus the battalion pioneer platoon. Dispersed among the platoons, they had 5 Shermans, 2 Stuarts, and 2 gun carriages. They also had a beefy amount of arty. I had one grenadier platoon with an attached Pak40, one regular Stug, the company HMG squad, an FO and one battery of medium howitzers.
The US had two approaches, (my) far left and far right. On the left, I put most of my AP mines (4, IIRC) at the river crossing, along with my single AT mine. To cover that side, I had the ATG, my best infantry squad, and the platoon HQ team. On the right flank, I had two infantry squads, my single PS, and the Stug. The 2 HMGs and their HQ team were in the center with keyhole fire positions to keep them safe from enemy AFV overwatch. Their initial job was to deal with any infiltrators and serve as the infantry fire brigade. The FO was forward center in a building with the best view.
The battle started out with the US pioneers and gun carriages pushing on my left flank. My FO and the ATG dealt with that handily. The AI then backed it up with the Stuarts and more infantry. The Pak40 knocked out the Stuarts, but then the US landed a howitzer round right in the pickle-barrel and knocked out the ATG. US arty kept my boys heads down there and some US infantry infiltrated along the riverside woods and fed into my center (good job, AI Plan!). My center HMGs then relocated to deal with them, but things devolved into a close range standoff with remaining US strength there unknown and any movement looking risky. The US units that made it to the center appeared to be the weapons teams (light mortars were off map). The right flank was quiet.
Shermans then showed up in the center and finished locking down my HMGs and the FO (more kudos to the AI Plan!). I didn't know if they would go left or right. My left was down to PFs AT-wise , so I decided to relocate the Stug to center to make it better available to deal with the enemy's advance when it decided to make a move. My PS was in the building on the right, serving as a ranged AT screen for any tanks attempting to cross there.
During the mid-battle period, the Stug stayed out of LOS in the center while new Shermans showed up on the left and moved to overwatch positions there. The center Shermans stayed put and some US infantry started filtering towards my right. For awhile, it went like this:
On the left flank, US infantry filtered in with Sherman overwatch. My two LMG teams there (one was the ATG ammo team) played cat and mouse to disrupt the advancing GIs while avoiding Sherman response. Meanwhile, the squad command team and platoon HQ stayed in ambush positions using buildings and foxholes. Both sides exchanged arty fire on that flank. A Sherman got one shot in that took out two men in the infantry LMG team, but the US arty was largely ineffective due to my proactive micro-work.
On the right flank, my two squads exchanged fire with the Amis and US arty occasionally forced everyone to take cover.
The Stug stayed out of sight at center while I called in arty on the overwatching center Shermans. I was tempted to try to take them out with the Stug, but judged that the risk was too high of a Sherman landing the first shot from the available angles (nearly frontal). I decided to peel off a PF anti-tank team from a squad on the right flank and send it center. Initially, it would team with the Stug for better eyes and then move left, if needed, for AT coverage on that flank.
After the first couple of harrassing rounds landed near the center Shermans, one started to shift to my right flank, as if to support a crossing effort there. That gave me the chance I was looking for. I was able to move the Stug at center unbuttoned into a keyhole overwatch position, along with the adjacent PF team for extra eyes. I had just enough time to get the Stug into position before the Sherman entered the keyhole. Spotting was a bit iffier than I hoped, but the Stug eventually got LOS and smoked him. Then, the next Sherman followed and met the same fate.
Meanwhile, on the left flank, a Sherman pushed forward across the river and ate a mine. I judged that it was safe to relocate the Stug to the left flank now, so I sent him there via the safest back route, with the PF team following along later.
It was around this point that the right flank infantry battle heated up, leading to the gully team incident.
On the left, the Stug got into position.
The end-game period went like this:
On the right, I moved one of the now unlocked HMG teams to provide support. The other HMG team and its HQ stayed center, but I eventually moved the center HMG a bit left to provide fire support against US infantry infiltrating on that flank. The HQ stayed to monitor unknown infiltration center.
The right flank battle was touch and go for awhile after the gully team did its thing. But, by carefully micro-managing a depleted LMG team in an overwatch building (no LOS to the Amis that shot the gully team leader), the PS team, and the newly arrived HMG team, I was able to hold the flank.
On the left, things got dicey with two Shermans making it across past the mines and US infantry putting pressure on my infantry there. Oh, and I forgot... Earlier, an amazing long range rifle shot from the US infantry at center took out my platoon leader as his team was displacing across the road. Grrr!
Anyway, my guys were in alamo keyhole positions there with the Stug obliquely covering the road up from the river from semi-hull down, offering a good chance of first shot. Eventually, a Sherman charged forward and the Stug took it out, right before it was about to slaughter my LMG teams.
Then, just as the final Sherman was making its push, US infantry spooked the Stug and it backed out of LOS. The Sherman charged right into my alamo and one round would have been enough to wreak havoc, as all the available PFs were just out of range. All, but one that is. the last two men of the platoon HQ had one PF and they were hiding behind a building beside the Sherman. They made the shot. My LMG teams, now safe, joined the HQ men in taking out the bailing tank crew.
The Americans then surrendered.
I know the story is a bit off-topic, but hearing AARs from battles played on a designer's map is chicken soup for the designing soul, so I thought I'd post it.
It was a fun battle and though I got a TV, it could have gone very differently. Oh, and the center threat turned out to be a ghost threat. The Amis there were all dead!