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Broadsword56

Tunisia?

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Here's an AAR map in Army archives, showing the basic action of the historical battle:

Donovan_map.jpg

And here's the Google Earth 4km x 4km area, with the topo lines, focusing on the Hill 336 area (lowest point is approx 250m, highest approx 396m):

el_guettar_overlay_topo.jpg

The CMSF desert horizons looked great in this map in CMFI, by the way.

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You read his book, dammit! :D You may actually persuade me to pick up CMFI just to see your work.

You were able to pull the palm trees out of my PTO terrain mod, right? The .mdr and .bmp files are all pointed at CMBN Tree 2 (Tree B -- the poplar) now; just renumber the file names to replace the files for a CMFI tree you don't need). It should work fine without any mucking around with the code in a hex editor, unless they've done something to the build 2 engine that prevents this (which would seem silly, given the "new markets/theatres" development work we're doing for them gratis)

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Looking forward to playing this when complete.

I bet when more early war modules are complete, a return to NA might be possible. I mean CMFI wasn't in the plan a year ago and look what happened.

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Thanks for the votes of support, LLF -- and yes, I have your tree and prickly pear and intend to use them!

Good news: I did get the full sized map to load in 3D preview again -- I just had to wait for the extremely long load time (i.e., walk away and come back in a while). So what I thought was a crash was actually just a really really long loading time. Seeing that this map strains my PC so much already, I'll most likely save it and then cut it down a bit from the south edge (where there wouldn't be any action in my scenario anyway).

Re: El Guettar -- This battle has always fascinated me on a number of levels. First, it was the Patton's first big victory, and he was on the battlefield to see it all happen. Also on this battlefield, on the German side, was Von Stauffenberg, Hitler's would-be assassin in 1944. The long, rolling, open valley with lots of undulations makes it a great terrain for a classic Panzer attack, with tac air support -- and here the 10th Panzer really did it with an "iron fortress" of Mark III and IV tanks and infantry, in what all the US AARs say was an extremely well-executed armor attack. On the US side, it's David vs. Goliath because of no US tanks -- you get to play shoot-and-scoot with a company of M3 GMCs armed with their 75mm guns, popping up from flanking positions in the foothills. Then on Hill 336 there's a battalion of dug-in GIs from the Big Red One, holding on for dear life as the battle swirls around them and nearly cuts them off. At the very last minute the US reinforcements arrive (M10 tank destroyers en masse) and at huge cost to themselves they finally defeat the Panzers, helped by a massive offmap US artillery bombardment.

Simulating this in a good CM scenario makes an interesting challenge. I don't do AI, so it will be HTH only in my version (although anyone who wants to code AI into it later is welcome to take a stab at it). My map's SE corner is right about where the historical German attack column split into three. I'll be replicating the two northern spearheads, and leaving the southernmost one off map.

If I get the timing and force balance right, the initial US force should be just about overwhelmed as the artillery and M10s become available. And if the US player is too rash with exposing the AT Halftracks and loses them all too early, the Germans can overrun the US before help ever arrives. The map is going to be big enough to allow ample chances for the Germans to send a spearhead into the hills to try and flank Hill 336 from the N, as they attempted in the actual battle, too. So, for the Germans there will be an "occupy" objective for Hill 336, but also major bonus points for exiting units off the NW part of the map (which was the division's entire objective here).

Although the Wadi El Keddab was said to be impassable except at the highway bridge, I'm going to vary the mud tiles with enough sand and rock that a daring German player might at least have an incentive to get through the wire and mine belt to try it -- as they did in real life.

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Yay! Consider yourself volunteered.

It will be a while yet. But I'll post progress screenshots as the map comes along.

The ultimate result will be "Broadsword's Tunisia ModPack," because it will contain not just the El Guettar scenario file, but separate folders containing the modded vegetation, desert horizons, etc. The idea will be to have one folder that's easy to move in and out of your game so it doesn't complicate matters when you want to go back to Italy.

And folks, even if you don't want to play this scenario, you will want to have it because it will use my patented Tunisia Spring '43 terrain texturing -- because it's a huge map, you will be able to clip out and save a chunk of it, re-do the elevations, and then make any of your own battles for March-April '43.

The only thing missing from CMFI -- as it is now -- that would hinder Tunisia scenarios is the lack of the M-10 tank destroyer. The Hermann Goering Pz Div should make a fine stand-in for the DAK, since their uniforms are lighter and at least not like NW Europe feldgrau. The lighter cammo on the vehicles in CMFI should look good in Tunisia, too.

And perhaps one day, if enough people get into this theatre, someone may want to mod the uniforms and things to make it totally authentic.

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And behold...

The semi-arid landscape of Central Tunisia, after the heavy spring rains of March 1943:

ElGuettarWIPshotaerialofterrain.jpg

Just the terrain tiles and elevations are done so far on this huge (4km square) map. I'll post more screenshots -- including ground-level ones -- after more of the details are completed.

A few things to note about the key terrain:

*The darkest areas are the mud in the Wadi El Keddab. It's full of mud, sand, rocks, and scrub.

*The empty grayish patches are going to be irrigated olive groves and farm plots (the dirt there is just a placeholder so I don't waste time painting it yet)

*You can just barely make out the Gafsa-Gabes road, running L-R across the valley. At the far left where it hits the mapedge is a sort of causeway/culvert labeled "The Bridge." There's a lot of mud and sand along the road shoulders, so vehicles could be at some risk of bogging.

*The valley is, as eyewitnesses described, a semi-arid rolling steppe covered by short grass, with scrub and sandy patches. It is a huge open battlefield with almost no cover -- but it's not a "billiard table." Far from it! If you look at the topo map I posted earlier, you'll see the valley is loaded with gentle undulations and defiles that could easily hide a tank or infantry if they're careful how they move.

*The hill complex dominating the map from SW to NE is part of the Eastern Dorsal, which climbs way up to higher elevations toward the NE, off-map. The critical action on this part of the battlefield on March 23 centered around Hill 336 (labeled, top center). From this view, the hills look a lot higher and more rugged than they really are. Actually they rise quite subtly from the valley.

*Historical deployments: I'll post more about that in the future. This was a rear area of the US 1st Division. The 10th Pz Division had blown through the front lines and was coming this way from the SE corner. Patton designated the Wadi El Keddab as the stop line, and engineers had hastily sown a mine belt and wire the previous night, running SW-NE from the Wadi S of the road to just E of Hill 336. A battalion of US 1st Division infantry was dug in on the reverse slope of Hill 336, and some companies of the 601st TD Battalion (equipped with M3 GMCs) were up in the hills to the right of that.

A desperate last stand was about to begin...

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The Hermann Goering Pz Div should make a fine stand-in for the DAK, since their uniforms are lighter and at least not like NW Europe feldgrau. The lighter cammo on the vehicles in CMFI should look good in Tunisia, too.

And perhaps one day, if enough people get into this theatre, someone may want to mod the uniforms and things to make it totally authentic.

German troops in CMFI Sicily are already dressed in tropical/desert uniforms. They used the same uniforms used in Africa in fact.

Luftwaffe uniforms had a sand shade while Heer ones were olive green. After a lot of time under the sund they could decolorate a lot to almost white but the original colors were sand/light brown for the LW and olive green (in a lot of shades) for the Heer. The later ones never wore uniforms in a sand shade.

OTOH US troops in Sicily were dressed in woolen shirt and pants but they were usually dressed in HBT shirt and pants in Africa

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That's good to know, Fernando! So, the only mod we'd want might be a groggy one -- like "Big Red One" division patches (which would be good for Italy too).

Did the Heer tropical/desert uniforms/kit in Tunisia include that Afrika Korps pith helmet? Or was the standard coal-scuttle helmet (painted in desert colors) in widespread use in the late stages of the campaign? Or would there have been a mix of both?

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Excellent, BS56! Unless sburke or someone else is lined to help you test it, I hereby volunteer.

No such luck. I am at least out of the dustbowl that is Beijing, but am still in the People's Republic of Censorship. Hmm wonder if this will actually go through..... I can't see half the pics on threads anymore. Damned subversive AAR of Bil and Normal Dude's!

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That's good to know, Fernando! So, the only mod we'd want might be a groggy one -- like "Big Red One" division patches (which would be good for Italy too).

It's already done. I'm just finishing the other Sicily-Italy divisions. But I want to tweak them a bit. While i'm at it, my thanks to Mord for his critique of them.

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No such luck. I am at least out of the dustbowl that is Beijing, but am still in the People's Republic of Censorship. Hmm wonder if this will actually go through..... I can't see half the pics on threads anymore. Damned subversive AAR of Bil and Normal Dude's!

Even jpegs? Just refrain from googling 'freedom' and you should be okay.

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No such luck. I am at least out of the dustbowl that is Beijing, but am still in the People's Republic of Censorship. Hmm wonder if this will actually go through..... I can't see half the pics on threads anymore. Damned subversive AAR of Bil and Normal Dude's!

Steve I'd be happy to upload the images from my AAR to a Dropbox folder if you can't see them.

Bil

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Steve I'd be happy to upload the images from my AAR to a Dropbox folder if you can't see them.

Bil

I really really appreciate the offer Bil, but I'll be back on the ground in Calif Tuesday so no need. Just frustrating. I am used to being able to check the aar updates during the work day which makes it so much more acceptable to be wasting my life away at work, and the damn censorship here is ruining my fun.

Big brother is such a godawful spoil sport. Don't they have something better to do - find that missing Chinese VP or start a war with Japan over some uninhabited islands?

Hold the presses!!!!! Far out I found a work around, very cool - catching up now on the AAR. Take that oh censor man!!! I fart in your general direction!

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Do you get headaches at all, SB? Any strange memories of sitting in rooms with old ladies discussing flower arranging?

Now that you mention it......

No not really I am just constantly amazed by the complete lack of consideration here and the stupidity that results- really- this is the world economic power we are all depending on? man are we screwed.

Ex - Taking cab from airport. Hwy is apparently closed probably due to economic summit. The average schmuck can't be on the hwy when the officials are in town. So my driver is taking me on the scenic back road tour that turns what is normally a 30-40 minute drive into 2 hours. At one point we are on this one road with a huge back up as everyone is waiting for the train crossing to clear. Not my driver though. He proceeds to drive all the way down the oncoming traffic lane to the train crossing - followed immediately by dozens of other like minded individuals.

Of course the folks on the opposite side of the tracks are doing the same thing. So the track clears, bar lifts and everybody goes...nowhere. Friggin idiots. Thank god for my kindle.

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Did the Heer tropical/desert uniforms/kit in Tunisia include that Afrika Korps pith helmet? Or was the standard coal-scuttle helmet (painted in desert colors) in widespread use in the late stages of the campaign? Or would there have been a mix of both?

Helmet was worn in combat.

Germans were very strict about how soldiers had to be dressed in combat after the first months in the desert. That meant, steel helmet, no rolled up sleeves and no shorts at all. Shorts, pith helmets etc. were reserved for the rearguard.

CMFI helmets are also already cammoed in desert color. IIRC no German helmet was painted in desert colors at the factory.

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Making a few adjustments to this project now...

I'm probably going to slice off a strip along the S edge of the map, to eliminate a good portion of the highway and focus the map more on the action around Hill 336.

A few reasons for this:

1. It would eliminate areas of the map closer to the wadi and the oasis where there were a fair number of palm trees. That's a work-around because the current palm tree mod doesn't completely work in CMFI (it shows up all black).

2. It's not really possible in even a 4 x 4 km map to do justice to both the German spearhead that went W along the highway, and the other one that went NW to make a run around the right flank of Hill 336. The highway action would only be interesting if there were room to show more of the wadi and the area W of it, where the M10s arrived in the nick of time and sacrificed themselves to stop that advance. But we don't have M10s in CMFI yet, so cutting that part of the map also solves that problem.

But that still leaves plenty of interesting mechanized and infantry action on a large and open map. People who are Eastern Front fans would also probably enjoy this.

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