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landser

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landser last won the day on October 10

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  1. I managed to complete this campaign, with the AI surrendering with 36 minutes left in the final battle. I lost 76 men and 7 tanks (four Panthers, three Mark IV), plus a number of soft vehicles like trucks and a kubelwagen to air attack and artillery. On the other side of the ledger though, the Russian lost 509 men plus 17 captured and 20 tanks, plus 59 of armored vehicles and other. The artillery once again did the job. In all for the campaign I lost 208 men and 14 tanks (five Panthers, nine Mark IV), while the enemy lost over 1300 men killed or wounded, 48 captured, and 94 tanks, plus 120+ assorted other vehicles. I played it on Veteran mostly for the quick artillery. Longest wait was nine minutes and three minutes on a TRP, but those are only available in the first half of the campaign. These are dense missions, compressing a lot of action in to an hour and twenty minutes, and I'm glad I went for the shorter on-call times as I got to use the full power of the strong artillery the German is given. If I had to wait 13+ minutes for it then this campaign would have played very differently for me. I wish I had been on engine 4 to see the artillery kills. I'd guess that it accounted for about half of those 1300 kills. The player starts the campaign with a total of 56 tanks, evenly split between the two types. Of course it's only in the final battle that all are on the same map. So over the course I lost a quarter of my armor. I had a great time playing this campaign. The maps are fantastic and offer up a nice blend of long range gunnery duels and close-in combat in the towns and forests of the region. My longest tank kill was 2269 meters in the second battle I think. But there is a lot of combat that takes place at 1500-2000 meters, which I find a lot of fun. I focused on force preservation, playing each battle cautiously in order to have the strongest force I could at the end. So I ignored certain objectives. For example the two flank touch objectives in the fourth battle, Stary Jankow, were clearly traps, served no tactical purpose, and I judged it a fool's errand to go for them. So they were ignored. I wasn't too concerned with the scoring, just trying to play sensibly, concentrating my forces and trying to keep them alive. I scored in order, Draw, Minor, Total, Total, Minor and Total, for a Total victory overall in the campaign. I was way too cautious in the first battle crossing the Rzadza river and let too many T-34s escape. But after that I got the pace. Historically, the action this campaign portrays is not well-known, but this was the largest armor clash that occurred in Poland. I imagine that the grogs that hang on this board know about it. But it's worth recounting. In July of '44 the Russians were closing the Vistula and the eastern approaches to Warsaw. Operationally, it was XXXIX Panzer Corps defending against Rokossovsky's 1st Belorussian Front, and in this region 2nd Tank Army, of which the campaign's enemy, the 3rd Tank Corps, was part. Model ordered a counterattack with four Panzer Divisions. The Hermann Goring and 19th Panzer Divisions attacked first and managed to cut off 3rd Tank Corps from 2nd Tank Army. 5th SS and 4th Panzer then arrived and the pocketed 3rd Tank Corps was destroyed. In the campaign we command elements of 4th Panzer, and the player is attacking/pursuing 3rd Tank Corps as they fall back in to the pocket to ultimately deliver the crushing blow. Historically, this action was a sharp success for the German. For the moment anyway, the Vistula crossings were safe, and the direct threat to Warsaw removed. It was a good example of how vulnerable armored spearheads can become after a long advance, and here, at the end of Bagration, 2nd Tank army was exploitable, Model recognized this and struck when the time was right. This action is also interesting for the role it played in the Warsaw Uprising which sparked as these forces approached the river. The Soviet defeat left Warsaw on it's own as they needed to cross the river elsewhere. Of course it's questionable whether Stalin wanted to enter Warsaw in the first place, as one might reason capturing Warsaw with no home army intact was preferable from a political point of view. I started this thread because I thought one of my squads had thirty panzerfaust. I was quickly shown my error and then just turned it in to a sort of AAR and review of the campaign. I apologize for the spoilers, but as the campaign is nearly six years old now perhaps it's not such a sin. I think it goes without saying by now that this is an awesome campaign, with great battles and proper resources to conduct them. Ammunition and force preservation are important, as is killing as much Russian armor as possible to make the end manageable. I felt like there was always plenty of time, except maybe the second battle, but even there I took all of the objectives, even if I needed extra-time to do it. If you enjoy long range battles, and feeling like a battalion commander, with all of the attention to detail this demands, you should play Blunting the Spear. It's one of the best campaigns I have played in Combat Mission. Well done and thanks to everyone who had a hand in making it.
  2. Fifty minutes remain, and the final battle is going well. I've been playing this campaign since September 26th. What a beast. In this sixth and final battle my infantry has suffered. As Warts noted, the enemy is seemingly everywhere. My troops need to plunge in to the forests to comb them out. A single Russian soldier with a PPSh is very dangerous at such close quarters. At 20 feet range they cut loose and take out 4 or 5 of my troops before they've burned through a single magazine. There is too much forested terrain, and not enough time to march fire through all of it and often my first clue the enemy is there is the ubiquitous chatter of those SMGs. So all of the enemy squads cut up by the attack or by artillery, if they have any survivors that melt away, will be encountered again deep in the forests. I took the right-most objective with a company of infantry. Two of those platoons were then wheeled to the left (east) astride the road to sweep the forests along the route to the next objective and clear for the armor. One platoon was left to occupy the objective. The two platoons sweeping have been whittled down by the close encounters in the woods and no sooner had they cleared the objective than a enemy barrage hit it and caused casualties in the platoon left behind to 'rest'. All infantry reserves have now been committed. I still have most of my armor, and the two infantry companies on the left are in better shape as the terrain isn't so close and they aren't just walking in to the kill zones like the assaulting company on the right. As the sweeping platoons on the right wheeled left, the reserve company was fed along beyond them, creating an extended vertical right flank and essentially a big 'L' with these troops the shorter leg and the main body the longer one. The intention was to compress the final objectives from two sides, but on the right only three platoons are still near full strength. They're well behind the enemy MLR though and might be able to make progress. Some armor sound contacts along the back edge of the map give me pause though. If I can push these reserves forward we can essentially create a kessel with a large portion of the enemy infantry caught inside. That's the new plan, to use the depleted platoons as a base or hinge, and use the two legs of the 'L' to converge and create the pocket. What little remains of my artillery can be brought in on them, and then the armor can be brought up to reduce the pocket while simultaneously taking the center objective and closing the ring. Best laid plans and all that....
  3. I thought Paris, Texas was in the northeast, like around Leipzig
  4. Oh yeah, one more thing that just occurred to me.... reserves. In many scenarios and campaigns I play I want to position reserves. But often I find I commit these reserves on the attack frontage, and they aren't really reserves at all in the proper sense, more like late-arriving advanced elements, if such a paradox can exist. But in this campaign I have proper reserves. In other ones, when I have them, maybe it's a single squad, or a platoon held back. But in this final battle I am almost an hour in and have about eight platoons! still in reserve. That's cool. So I have the flexibility to install flank screens, or reinforce success or replace losses, to widen breaches in the line, or to regain or maintain initiative if the attacking infantry becomes bogged down through a number of causes. I mentioned before that i tend to avoid large campaigns and battles, but this one has shifted my view somewhat, as I've found it very fun and interesting. There's a lot of micro, but it's a hell of a good time when in the right mindset. The act of conducting a proper combined arms attack, and with the forces to really do so, is very appealing for me.
  5. Quite right, Road to Montebourg is like that. You have a number of different battle groups, related but essentially separate. I prefer a core force, like this one, or Kampfgruppe Engel is another. When persistent repair and ammo states are included it's really the sweet spot, as those must be managed as well. I recall in KGE getting to the Dives river crossing mission and my armor was alive but in tatters, with shot-out optics, radios and barrels. One Panther's tracks were in such a poor state that it was really little more than a barely mobile pillbox, and I had used up most of the rounds in the ammo racks and it forced me to find another way, instead of relying on heavy armor firepower applied from range. Good stuff.
  6. Ain't that the truth! It's crawling with Ivan, he has infested every little patch of cover or concealment on the map it seems. You are quite right. But the German has a very powerful force with which to attempt to eject them, I suppose depending on how well forces were conserved in the previous battles. I have two main axes of advance, each with a company of tanks and two companies of infantry, with plenty of support from crew-served weapons, artillery and tracks. That's a heavy hammer. We took the right-most objective with only two infantry casualties, but the remnants have withdrawn in to the forests and will have to be rooted out as we make our way to the next objective. It was glorious really, with artillery crashing in, a smoke 'corridor' created, through which the assaulting infantry arrived in halftracks before dismounting and getting down to business. HMGs were laying fire in on the flanks, tanks enveloped the target on both sides. It was a very strong enemy force installed at the objective, but as the assault started, they mostly got up and ran and were cut down though a number managed to escape as my liberal use of smoke works both ways doesn't it? The fact we got a resupply for this mission means we have lots of smoke and I'm not shy about using it. So with a little more than an hour to go we have secured one objective and are closing in on two more, though there's plenty to do to get there. And there are aircraft buzzing around and I'm waiting to see what fate deals me. Which part of my plan comes apart due to air attack?
  7. Based on those criteria Erwin, Blunting the Spear is right in your wheelhouse. Maps are around 3k x 3k and most missions are around battalion in size. The final one is even larger. I mentioned it before, but these battles have an operational feel to them, the way they flow, the coordination required. I don't know if you've played games like Grigsby's War in the East, and especially as the Russians. The way you are playing two games in one. There's the front, where the combat is, but there's also the whole matter of getting the arriving units forward where you need them. The missions in this campaign impart that same sort of feeling for me. All of them feature starting units representing the advance elements, and through the course reinforcements arrive and must be fed in to the battle. I feel like this campaign emphasizes planning more than most, and really appeals to me for that reason. Give it a go. I'd be interested in how you get on if you do.
  8. I suppose it could, though I can't say I notice losing the spot until or unless the crew go to ground, dust or no dust. That could simply be due to not looking for it. Of course the two things are linked because if a round arrives at the position large enough to produce a dust cloud and close enough to obscure the gun, then it's probably also large and close enough to make the crew get their melons down. More careful scrutiny is required
  9. I think AT guns should be difficult to spot, especially out of a tank. But the odd thing for me in Combat Mission is the game seems to treat it as though it's the crew spotted, not the gun. As a result, if the crew becomes suppressed, the spot is lost. As though it's the top of the pointer's helmet that's spotted, not the gun, and if the crew simply lie down we can no longer see the gun. I think once spotted, an AT gun should remain so unless it's moved, the spotting unit moves, or it's obscured by smoke. The crew could run away or dig a tunnel but the gun should still be seen. Not how it works in CM.
  10. I am forty minutes in to the final mission. I've lost as many tanks in this battle as I had during the campaign to this point. Five Panthers and two Mark IVs have been knocked out. But I have a massive force and have taken out a lot of enemy armor though I am sure more lies hidden. At this point I am just committing my infantry, until now we've been probing forward to find the form. The thing that worries me is the enemy have yet to send over any artillery, which I am sure they have plenty of. Once my units get spotted by a F/O I expect a lot of it all at once. Gotta keep 'em moving. It's as if the enemy has gotten better ammunition, all those failed penetrations from earlier battles have been replaced with dismay and despair, with the Panthers committed on the left suffering in particular to T-34/85s well concealed in the tree lines. One T-34 was so well cloaked in fact that I had to withdraw, reposition, and then attack from the flank. He got off a lot of shots, and despite having four or five Panthers with LOS to his position, none could spot him. He destroyed two Panthers, and the gun on a third before I wised up, withdrew and then took him out with flanking fire. This is one more great battle in a campaign full of great battles. Honestly I am sorry it's nearly over. I could go for another six missions of this.
  11. Great work Bozowans, that's 40 more casualties, one tank and one plane! more than I managed. Man, I would have liked to have knocked down a plane, as they've been quite the nuisance. More than a nuisance, a scourge actually that have dealt a significant portion of my losses so far. And they've knocked out most of my AA assets just to rub it in. Sorry to spoil your next mission so close to you starting it. Hopefully that won't affect your enjoyment too much, and if there are AI plans I suppose the AT gun for example might be in a different spot. I finished the fifth mission, and scored a minor victory. I won't spoil this one too much. I'd rate this one as the most difficult so far. The enemy has a proper defense, well supported by infantry, and well everything really. The designers made good use of the terrain when placing the defenses. Spotting is tricky I think due to low light? The map is almost 'crowned' so that LOS is limited, and you need to find those good spots with sufficient fields of fire to take advantage of your long range superiority. I did not play it in the spirit it was designed, ignoring most of the objectives in order to maintain my force integrity and once again keep losses low. I lost zero tanks, which is unbelievable really considering the strength of the defense. But time and again my Panthers shrugged off the hits while not missing much themselves. 14 enemy tanks/assault guns were knocked out in one 5 minute period. However, my armor still took damage, and optics, radios and tracks have seen better times. Had a look at the final mission and it is a big one. All remaining units from both flank forces are involved. I haven't lost many tanks, so I go in to it in very good shape. And since it's the last mission I feel less compelled to proceed cautiously and can be aggressive when the situation calls for it. We've also received a much-needed ammunition resupply. We'll see how it goes. Good luck in mission four Bozowans.
  12. A repeat of some of what I already wrote, but this is an excerpt from a campaign thread I have going on SimHQ. It's written for a more general audience, not the hardened veterans of Combat Mission who frequent this board. Includes a shot revealing enemy positions, which is a major spoiler, but after all the other spoilers I reckon that horse has bolted. After reaching Cimene South and triggering the T-34 counterattack.... The T-34s found themselves suddenly surrounded by my troops and pushed on through at high speed, causing a few casualties. As they reached the end of the road and emerged from the smoke my hidden Mark IVs opened fire from point-blank range of 80 meters and three of the four T-34s were knocked out, while my startled infantry cut down the baling crews from very close range.. The fourth veered off the road in to a field I had no LOS on. That broke the Russian and he surrendered at the end of the turn. With additional time allotted in this one I expected it to be a harder nut to crack, but it proved the easiest so far, but of course in a game like this anything can happen and disaster and victory are often separated by fine margins. Maybe your APBC shot penetrates a turret, or maybe it fails and that tank goes on to gun down your whole platoon. Here's a good shot of the leading elements on the left side of the map during the battle. This shot is fourteen minutes before the surrender. In this shot you can see the three Mark IVs sent to Cimene in the upper left. Just out of frame are the halftracks carrying the infantry. I wanted to send the tanks ahead to be sure the tracks weren't ambushed. You can see my tank strength, along with the faded icon of the sneaky bastage AT gun center-right. A mortar spotting round has just hit to the left. On the left side you can see the Mark IV hit by the the AT gun. The icon appears as normal (because it's abandoned at this point, not destroyed), but has the crew icon right behind it. The halted armor is just a bit further left. At the bottom of the shot is the Rzyska Folwark objective and an infantry platoon can be seen moving on to it emerging from the smokescreen. They would eject a HQ unit, a Maxim, and a F/O team, all of whom had nowhere to run. It doesn't hurt to be supported by nine Mark IV tanks either. At the top of the map is Cimene, and the tanks that counterattacked at the end came from Cimene N (the sound contact is visible). The smoke in Cimene shows some of the positions of the assault guns encountered earlier in the battle. The frantic action at the end occurred on the Cimene S objective. This shot shows only a portion of the huge map, but this is where the battle was decided. I said this thread was full of spoilers, and this goes beyond my normal level of spoilerification. But a picture's worth a thousand words. I usually only include map shots of the setup phase to prevent revealing too much, but I thought this might be interesting. If you play this campaign try to forget what you saw here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's not a big deal and probably has been brought up before, but the briefings and debrief identify the town as Cimne, and on the map it's Cimene. Not asking it to be changed, just something I noted.
  13. Thanks Warts, appreciate it. These battles often hinge on the outcome of the armor duels and maybe I've been a bit fortunate in that respect. If a few ricochets had been penetrations instead, then maybe it's all turning out differently. Ah, such is war
  14. Thanks mate, appreciate it. This is a great campaign, and Combat Mission really shines at this level. I like to say that company-sized campaigns are the sweet spot, but Blunting the Spear is shifting my view. I've really enjoyed it so far. The maps are fantastic as we've said, and the battles have been great. Solving tactical puzzles is always fun, and these scenarios allow a lot of leeway, many possibilities on how the player might approach it. It's true I played this one a few years ago, but enough time passed for me to forget the details, even if I recall the maps. So it feels like I am playing for the first time, and certainly approach it that way. And that's significant. It makes me grin to think of how much time and effort I have expended moving through terrain and towns, deployed in battle formation, using bounding overwatch, laying smoke, speculative and recon-by-fire and all the standard tactics only to find there wasn't an enemy anywhere nearby. I learned long ago that a good commander develops his plans based on enemy capabilities, not intentions. And since the enemy could be anywhere I approach it like he is. These maps are huge and there is a lot of good defensive terrain that is devoid of enemy units. But you can't know that until you've combed it out and this theme has played out in each battle. If I were to play it again now I'd do much better, and way faster, and not spend time clearing empty terrain. But I really like this facet, and hats off to the designers.
  15. Battle four, the attack on Cimne, is in the books. The AI surrendered with a little more than an hour on the clock. When I saw there were 2 hours allotted I reasoned the scenario might be more difficult that the previous ones, but whilst the enemy had some serious AT assets, and artillery, they were lacking infantry. The scenario is designed to convey an opponent caught in a disordered withdrawal, and perhaps that explains it. Or maybe the enemy also has a core force and the losses he took in earlier missions stripped him of some of the forces that would otherwise be here. We uncovered a number of unoccupied foxholes, and maybe it suggests sometimes there could be more infantry units in this one? I made my main push up the right, toward the Brickworks. It was defended by a single sapper platoon. Against four infantry platoons, a tank platoon and an assortment of halftracks and artillery committed to this action, the AI had no chance of holding it. My infantry attacked from two sides, and I was in no hurry, and took the complex without loss. On the left the armor had a rougher go of it. In the open they were vulnerable to air attack and anti-tank assets and I lost three Mark IVs destroyed. A support halftrack was also knocked out by a direct hit from large caliber artillery. Two tanks fell to enemy armor and one to a pair of devlishly sited 57mm Zis guns. These guns caused one Mark IV crew to abandon their tank, and later I remounted them only to have the guns come back to life and knock the Mark IV out. The gun position was eventually neutralized with a combination of mortars, artillery and direct howitzer and tank fire. A hell of a lot of ordnance was expended on this, and it was only in the map review that I could finally breathe easy and saw they had been knocked out. An interesting action took place near the end. There are fifteen terrain objectives in this one, but most are worth 10 or 15 points. The town of Cimne though has four objectives each worth 100 points, plus the road at 125 points. So in order to get better than a draw I knew I'd need to capture some of these. To accomplish this I sent a platoon of Mark IVs (minus their immobilized HQ) up the left, with a platoon of landsers mounted in halftracks following in their wake. Once level with the town, they were to turn on to it, with the infantry to dismount and help clear the way so the tanks could navigate through the town. As I moved on to the Cimne South objective it triggered a platoon of previously hidden T-34/85s positioned at the far end of town, Cimne North. These tanks immediately rolled out and barrelled down the road toward my dismounting infantry. Sensing disaster I threw some smoke and positioned a coupe of tanks behind some trees at the near end of this road. If the T-34s rolled all the way to the end they would pop out on the end of my guns. First they had to pass my scrambling infantry, who threw a couple of grenades but had no panzerfaust since one squad had all thirty The T-34s found themselves suddenly surrounded by my troops and pushed on through at high speed, causing a few casualties. As they reached the end of the road and emerged from the smoke my hidden Mark IVs opened fire at a range of 80 meters and three of the four T-34s were knocked out. The fourth veered off the road in to a field I had no LOS on. That broke them and they surrendered at the end of the turn. With the 2 hours on the clock I expected this battle to be the toughest yet, but it proved to be the easiest one. I either didn't remember, or just learned, that tanks could get bogged/immobilized on dry and clear ground? I guess there's always that chance. In the last post I used the term battalion for my armor, but really it's just a company or so, but part of the battalion. And I may have, through these posts, confused the campaign's left flank and right flank forces. Right flank is Mark IVs and left flank is the Panthers. Right flank has fought three of the four battles so far, and are very low on ammo. I need a resupply. Next battle is the left flank.
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