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Bil Hardenberger

AAR-AXIS - Clearing the Niscemi Highway

551 posts in this topic

I know this is something I should have started at the beginning of this scenario but I guess I wasn't taking this action as seriously as I should have. I was too interested in playing with and experimenting with the Italian force which was new to me.

Now I am appalled at how this has unfolded so far that I wanted to take a step back at this point and really analyze what I am up against, what I have to do it with, etc.

A mission analysis consists of the following elements: Mission analysis (what your task is), Enemy Analysis (capability and organization), Terrain Analysis (key terrain, avenues of approach, etc.), Troops (your force capability and organization), and Time (the time constraints you have to work within to accomplish your mission). This is known as METT-T analysis.

I have completed the first two of these components, here they are:

MISSION

  • What are the maneuver objectives?
    * The Orchard - Achieved, but abandoned - Must re-occupy
    * Secondary: The Hill - Heavily occupied - Somewhat attritted - Forward slope position
    * Main: The Villa - Strong defensive position - Will require strong attack by fire element to enable a force to capture

  • The mission briefing:
    “Capture the three terrain objectives. Inflict heavy losses on the enemy while sustaining little of your own.”

  • Analysis:
    * The initial Italian force has taken severe casualties, so the second half of the mission objective is off to a bad start.
    * I have occupied the Orchard objective, but was forced to pull off of it because it was becoming a tenuous position and every minute I stayed there cost me more of my combat power.
    * Capturing the other two terrain objectives will be a tough chore. I must wait for my final reinforcements to arrive before that is going to be even remotely possible, mainly due to the quality disparity between the forces, especially the armored components.

ENEMY

Current recovered enemy OB:

  • Battalion PIR HQ – overall command – Villa
    • Demolition Platoon (-)
      * Plt HQ – eliminated
      * Bazooka Team – eliminated
      • Demo Section
        - Team A – eliminated
        - Team B – eliminated
        - Team C – still kicking, one known casualty

  • Parachute Company (-)
    - Bazooka Team – Hill
    - Pack Howitzer A – right side – Hill
    - Pack Howitzer B – left side – Koed - Hill
    - HMG Team - Villa
    - Airborne Platoon

    • Platoon HQ – Hill – moved off the Hill
      • 1st Squad – Hill – moved to Villa
      • 2nd Squad – Hill – possibly moved off the Hill
      • (1st Team MMG) - ?
      • 2nd Team MMG – Hill – possibly moved off the Hill
      • 3rd Team – Light Mortar – Hill

  • Reinforcement #1
    o Sherman Platoon – (only one seen so far) – located on the ridge at the back end of the map. If only one came in then I can expect the rest of the platoon to arrive with the second batch of reinforcements
    o MMG Team – last seen heading towards the Villa
    o Assault Gun Platoon

    • (HQ Team) - (?)
      (1st Halftrack) – (?)
      2nd Halftrack T30 HMC – Hill/Villa
      3nd Halftrack T30 HMC – Hill/Villa

Analysis: the American force has proven to have overall superior firepower and lethality to my Italians. The T30s are deadly, though if I can get some mortar fire on them they can be knocked out. I have nothing on the map that can take on the Sherman right now. Until I get something that can engage it with a chance of taking it out I will avoid the sector that it oversees.

NEXT: Terrain Analysis

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TERRAIN

  • Elevations and Objectives

    Looking at the terrain it becomes clear where the high ground lies (blue contours) and the lowest ground (red contours). In this image the three objectives are also illustrated.

7627587924_86b0b9233b_b.jpg

  • Key Terrain.

    * Key Terrain 1 (KT1) dominates the entire southern part of the map and from it Normal Dude can deny my use of any southern approach.
    * KT2 is still advantageous ground.. the problem I had before is that I could not place enough firepower on it from which to dominate the US positions in the Villa and on the Hill objectives. It still looks down on both of these objectives and can be used as an attack by fire position.
    * KT3 is one of the few covered high points on the northern approaches that will allow me to lay firer on both objectives.
    * KT4 could provide a covered approach to the objectives, as well as numerous hull down positions for my armor support assets.

7627588318_33a59bce60_b.jpg

  • I have identified three main avenues of approach:
    * Avenue of Approach 1 (AA1) takes advantage of the low ground to try to close with the enemy.
    * AA2 is more exposed but could allow a fast moving force to close onto the objectives.
    * AA3 currently is closed by the enemy tank located on KT1. It is the most exposed route.
    * Using AA1 and AA2 exclusively provide the only routes that are not exposed to the tank that is on KT1. Any movement down these routes will need to be covered by anti-tank assets in order to deny him the chance to easily move his Sherman out of position. If he does maneuver against my movements on AA1 and AA2 with his Sherman, then that will open up AA3. I need to keep that threat as a possibility in his mind.

7627587520_08d70b13bb_b.jpg

NEXT: Own Troops analysis, and Time

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Bil,

Most interesting, and the maps, at this level of detail, look like some sort of bizarre sampler. Oddly, this analysis got me into thinking about Sun Tzu's classification of ground types. Wonder if that's applicable in any way?

Regards,

John Kettler

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On another trip for work, this time at Ft. Benning Georgia working with the M1A2 SEP Master Gunner course instructors. Fun stuff.

I hope to get my last installments in my analysis series up tomorrow.. umm.. that would be later today I guess.

Again, I do apologize for the delays.

Bil

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On another trip for work, this time at Ft. Benning Georgia working with the M1A2 SEP Master Gunner course instructors. Fun stuff.

I hope to get my last installments in my analysis series up tomorrow.. umm.. that would be later today I guess.

Again, I do apologize for the delays.

Bil

LOL I can relate, work sucks. Even if you like your job, it stil gets in the way of CM. :P

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METT-T Analysis Part 3

Not sure if there is much interest in this AAR now that the game has been released, but I am continuing until either I am told to stop, I have no troops left, or Abnormal Dude surrenders. :)

TROOPS

The next part of the METT-T analysis is analyzing your won troops. Mine have taken a beating as can be seen in this table. But my German forces are untouched and have yet to engage ND's forces.

I will explain how I going to maneuver in my next post.

7712646218_c8a035b8de_b.jpg

TIME

This battle is 1.5 hours in length. That is the time I have to complete my tasks. The battle is now 20 minutes old, so I have another hour (plus) to go. I should receive my final reinforcements in about 5 minutes (at the 25 minute mark) My first set of reinforcements came in 4 minutes ago and I have already lost a crucial part of that (the Semovente) so I will need to be careful when I maneuver the remainder of my force.

Normal Dude will be getting the remainder of his reinforcements in 5 minutes as well, so I need to be in position before those arrive and upset the apple cart.

NEXT: Next Moves

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Not sure if there is much interest in this AAR now that the game has been released,

Oh heck yes! I'm enjoying this! Keep it up!

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Hello Bil:

I am also looking forward to this. Question about the chart/spreadsheet - is that something you created manually or is they a way to import the data from CMFI?

Thanks,

Gerry

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Just to add to the chorus: everyone loves a good AAR, and you guys give good AAR.

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Bil Hardenberger,

I like what you've done, but I think there's a TO&E problem. Italian infantry platoons have two squads, not three. Am I correct that your highest HQ has been practically rendered extinct, or am I misreading the chart?

Regards,

John Kettler

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Spreadsheets? You're using spreadsheets? No one ever won a battle using spreadsheets! Now, get out of your office and get BACK IN THE FIGHT!!!

Spreadsheets. What's this man's army coming to?

;)

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Hello Bil:

I am also looking forward to this. Question about the chart/spreadsheet - is that something you created manually or is they a way to import the data from CMFI?

Gerry, no I created this one manually.

I like what you've done, but I think there's a TO&E problem. Italian infantry platoons have two squads, not three. Am I correct that your highest HQ has been practically rendered extinct, or am I misreading the chart?

Well the Bersaglieri must have three squads per Platoon, ;) and yep.. the Bersaglieri Company HQ has been decimated. Interestingly, the German Company reinforcement came in without a Company HQ.

Bil

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Bil,

Can you comment on what seems to me the higher turn count in CM2 versus CM1, and how it affects game play? In CM1, it seems to me that a battle like this would be about 45 minutes--you getting reinforcements in 5 minutes, and then having 20 turns to use them.

With the scenario being 90 "turns", playing WEGO, you could have gone very slow with your Italian force, held most of it back, and just scouted and expended little ammo for 20minutes.

I have struggled to adjust to the changed pace. Also, I struggle to get through some of these battles--after 40, 50, 60 turns, I find myself getting a bit bored and wanting something new. Even in this case, what is the probability that this AAR will get to turn 90?

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Bil,

Can you comment on what seems to me the higher turn count in CM2 versus CM1, and how it affects game play? In CM1, it seems to me that a battle like this would be about 45 minutes--you getting reinforcements in 5 minutes, and then having 20 turns to use them.

With the scenario being 90 "turns", playing WEGO, you could have gone very slow with your Italian force, held most of it back, and just scouted and expended little ammo for 20minutes.

I have struggled to adjust to the changed pace. Also, I struggle to get through some of these battles--after 40, 50, 60 turns, I find myself getting a bit bored and wanting something new. Even in this case, what is the probability that this AAR will get to turn 90?

CMBN has longer scenarios than CMx1 had as well. Yes, these games are best played at a slower pace: recon > decide > act should be the norm. In this game I should have reconned more, but I was anxious to catch whatever ND had on the Orchard objective before it could escape so I moved on it as fast as possible. I had hoped to attrit his force on the Hill and the Village more than I have prior to my German reinforcements arriving. That has not worked out as I had hoped... in fact I have learned to use the Italian units in a more defensive role. In another PBEM game I have going now I have decimated my opponent's US force with my Italians by doing just that: ambush, pull back, counter-attack.

I think the longer time frames allow for more realistic tactics... the longer game time is most useful on a map with close terrain or urban.. these open maps I suspect will see higher casualties and faster play, mainly because units are spotted quicker and thus the decision point is reached earlier.

As for this game reaching 90 minutes? I doubt it.. either I will have spent my combat power within the next 30 minutes or I will have broken NDs in that time... I do not expect a further 70 minutes of action on this relatively small map with this amount of combat power present. One or the other of us will have the other by the throat in a short time I think. After the second and final batch of reinforcements arrive things will speed up dramatically.

Bil

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Can you comment on what seems to me the higher turn count in CM2 versus CM1, and how it affects game play?

I think you should check out the QBs. I have been looking at the maps and it appears that they come with a time limit already set (Is this true? The player can no longer set his own time limit in a QB?). I've just examined the smaller ones so far and the time limit on most of them is 30 minutes.

Michael

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There's a tab that says length of battle in the QB area, gives you a bunch of choices, from 30 minutes up to 2 hours.

Mord.

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...Is this true? The player can no longer set his own time limit in a QB?...

It does seem to be a logical consequence of the dependence of AI plans on timings. Assuming it's only "vs AI" QBs that have the limitation. It might make QBs vs the AI a bit less humdrum.

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There's a tab that says length of battle...gives you a bunch of choices.

Thanks, I'll look for that next time I have the game open. Wow, you actually did something that might potentially be useful! I'm impressed, Mord, carry on.

;)

Michael

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About QBs; You can specify the time limit of your choice via this menu;

CM+Fortress+Italy+2012-08-05+17-18-59-28.jpg

(The 30mins is the default setting in the editor. If the QB designer do not set this to anything else, it will say 30 min. It does not affect what you can choose in a QB however.)

Likewise, a QB can be marked as "small" for instance. This refers to the map size, not the Battle Size, which you are free to choose;

CM+Fortress+Italy+2012-08-05+17-19-15-03.jpg

Thus, you can have a tiny foce on a huge map, or a huge force on a tiny map. The choices are numerous and not all combinations of map size and force size are optimal. But lots of combinations are possible ;-)

Now back to the AAR!

cheers/

sdp

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The Next Moves

Keep this image in mind when reading my post:

7627588318_33a59bce60_b.jpg

With my METT-T analysis completed I now decide to push my two reserve Pz-III Ms down to KT4. This will allow me to maneuver into a previously untouched piece of terrain and might allow me to catch ND unawares. At the very least this move will allow me to project some firepower onto the back side of the ridge where his T30 now sits.

I have plans for KT4 that I do not want to express at this point as I need to see how things develop before I firm anything up.

The remnants of my Italian infantry I will be placing a little further back on the line shown in the following image. This will allow them to recover some and will provide overwatch onto the Orchards objective which I would like to reoccupy at some point.

The support elements from the Italian Bersaglieri force will occupy KT3 in order to be in position to place fire onto the Hill objective and the slopes surrounding the Villa.

7720967926_48e4cc7177_b.jpg

On my right side I intend to use the German PzG squad and Pz-III that are already here as an early warning force. With their LMGs and the Pz-III they should be able to interdict any movements down the blue arrows indicated in the following image.

In this image you can see my OP on the left hand side and ND's Sherman on the left.

7720967534_41a6c70e6f_b.jpg

Fingers crossed. Here's hoping I can recover this debacle and at least earn some respect from my opponent.

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Ah yes,plan B I use that a lot followed by C,D,E,F and G .....

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KT1 through 4? "King Tiger"? Oh, that would tip the scales...

:)

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c3k, you are in rare form today. ;)

As in underdone.

:D

Michael

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