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Broadsword56

Tunisia?

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Update on this map and mod:

I'm busy making the OOB and deploying the forces on the El Guettar map.

I've cut an 800m strip off the S edge of the map to make it 4000m x 3200m, to save strain on the CM 2.0 engine and our computers -- that sector wasn't really needed for this battle area, and I can simply have the German spearhead that straddled the highway enter as a reinforcement a bit farther W along the highway after the battle opens.

The belt of hasty wire and mixed mines (which stretched all the way from an area E and S of Hill 336 across the highway and off to the SW) is in place. Unfortunately it will add greatly to the system strain for this scenario.

US starting forces (3 x TD companies, 1 x Recon platoon, 1 x Inf Bn) are all in place. But the infantry all need to be in foxholes, which I'm going to plant next. That's another big load of fortification units and another strain on the system.

There's another US Inf battalion that arrives later in the battle on foot, as reinforcements.

And then there will be the German armor-infantry spearheads -- with many, many Pz III and Pz IV tanks.

You can see where I'm going with all this...I may be making a scenario that turns out to be a computer-killer or has such an awful framerate that no one would want to play it. But I want to try making it, just to see where the playable limits of CMFI might be. We need to see more of what happens with big armored engagements on wide-open (and authentic) maps, because we're going to need to be able to do this once CM gets to the Eastern Front.

The more armored/mechanized the battles get, the bigger the maps need to be, to have realistic engagement ranges. And the bigger the maps are, the larger the unit scales tend to get (unless we just want avoid real battles and to play only patrol actions, meeting engagements, or other situations where small forces meet on a big map).

Also, it's just plain fun to see something this big and awesome. El Guettar won't be everyone's cup of Tunisian mint tea -- but the map will offer plenty to let would-be scenario makers cut out chunks to make their own, smaller Spring 1943 scenarios in Tunisia.

Interestingly, the full-scale El Guettar Hill 336 scenario I'm making shouldn't be too much strain on the human player, from a management standpoint. The US infantry is largely static and comes already deployed in the historic positions. The 33 or so TDs are most of the action for the US player, and it will be fun to play pop-up, shoot-and-scoot tactics among the foothills with them as the panzers approach. The German player has the bigger management task -- but since so many are vehicles and they're rolling over such open terrain, it shouldn't be anywhere near as fiddly as the bocage battles in Normandy or even the battles in Sicily. (It might make you wish we had a "find hull-down" command, though...)

Bottom line: It's an amusing experiment. If I end up breaking CMFI with the historic El Guettar scenario, then I'll probably just release the full 4 x 4 km map with no units and let the community adapt it anyway they want.

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The enormous El Guettar scenario is finished but needs play testing.

Please PM me if interested.

Length: 150 minutes

Time of day: Begins slightly predawn

Map size: 4000m x 3200m, rough, open

Force scale: Regimental-plus

Some things to note:

1. This battle is at a scale beyond anything ever attempted in CMFI yet, so it could crash or simply become uplayable at some point. It loads and runs fine in setup and first turns on my machine, but no one knows what will happen where there's zillions of waypoints and smoke clouds and rounds in the air, and the turn file sizes become bigger and bigger. Having said that, CMFI and the 2.0 engine are amazingly smooth and fast and stable compared to CMBN, so it just might work.

2. To preserve your sanity, if you play as Axis, you will want to use group orders (double click on a HQ and issue one command). You can then refine specific unit orders by clicking on the unit and moving some waypoints -- for example, to keep tanks on separate paths so they don't keep stopping and starting and running afoul of each other. Also, I'd recommend not splitting squads until they get near enemy contact.

3. Find a reliable HTH opponent who is also interested in huge scale battles and willing to see it through.

4. Please post comments, suggestions, etc., in this thread. Screenshots, DARs, or AARs of your playtest on the BFC forum would also be entertaining and build general interest in the scenario/theatre.

5. Because the forces are so imbalanced, the Americans could simply be slaughtered in a playtest. I have no idea. But this is the historical setup. If I find the battle doesn't give both sides a decent winning chance, I'd tweak things like arrival times, battle length, objectives and point values, etc., to see if it can be turned into a good game experience.

If you read about El Guettar you'll know that the heroes of the morning battle were elements of the 899th TD battalion, which had the brand-new M10s that the Germans had never even seen before.

If I designed this battle correctly, the Americans should be just about ready to collapse by the time their offmap artillery becomes fully available and the time clock runs out. That's when the M10s should come in to save the day or even turn the tide.

But we won't have them in CMFI until the next module. So in future versions of this scenario, I may either shorten the battle to end before the M10s would have arrived, or insert a different AFV in their place temporarily.

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Yes I would like to give this a stab. PM sent.

I am curious how my newish workstation will handle this puppy.

Spec's:

AMD FX-8150 Eight-Core Processor 3.60 GHz.

16GB RAM

GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Dedicated)

Win7 64-Bit OS

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I've taken it for a brief test drive. Holy crap LOL The Panzer sweep looks pretty incredible. I have not tried in PBEM mode yet. I did notice a game save takes a bit so I think I'll give that a run and make sure it doesn't create any issues.

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Yes, it's worth playing just to see what almost an entire Panzer Division looks like in CM/

I can already see it's going to be fun for the US player, having only those plucky little M3GMCs to stand up to them.

Those who have PMed me -- please stand by. I'm making a tweak or two and then I'll PM you a download link. You'll install the Tunisia mod folder in your Z or mods folder, and the El Guuettar scenario in your scenarios folder. When you want to play in Italy again, just move the Tunisia mods folder out of your z or mods folder and put it away somewhere for safekeeping.

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OK, I'm only in Turn 1 of a solo hotseat so far but I'll try and post a few.

Some observations:

*The new ALT+B brightness toggle for night/predawn hours in 2.0 really makes these types of scenarios playable and fun now. The purple desert sky and suspenseful gloom as this battle opens are quite fun. The Americans initially benefit from the darkness to be able to fast-retreat two very exposed companies of 601st TD Bn from the valley floor. But then it will benefit the Germans and allow them to approach the American positions quickly without getting suppressed at a distance. The dismounts would be sitting ducks in broad daylight (as they were in the afternoon follow-up attack)

*I like the dust cloud effects in CMFI. It seems to vary depending on terrain type and dryness of ground conditions. Given that this is a very sandy map, vehicles moving fast leave quite a roostertail of dust. I wonder if this will affect how easily they are spotted? It should. I'm wondering what kind of dust the 10th Panzer will make when the tanks all start to roll. The dust vanishes quickly though and doesn't linger or rise in the sky very high, as it would have IRL.

*Even on my rather old PC I'm getting 14-15 FPS so far. Which is not optimal but very playable, and amazingly good considering the size of this battle. This never would have been possible in CMBN -- although with the 2.0 upgrade, who knows.

*The "show all move paths" toggle is important for planning but should be switched off the rest of the time because it slows things down a lot.

So far, Baneman and Blazing88s have stepped up to playtest. We can look forward to seeing what they find. Sburke is also having a look at the scenario and has already spotted a deployment error that I've fixed.

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Just a few, to appease LLF:

A panzergenadier scouts ahead of the armor (artificial brightness setting):

Guettarpredawnlandseradvancescout_zps1de0cda1.jpg

US tank destroyer in retreat, predawn (artificial brightness setting):

GuettarTDretreatingartificiallybright_zpsb44c5cbf.jpg

Jeep in retreat (normal light setting):

Guettar_jeep_retreating_zpsf66afaca.jpg

Dust trails of retreating TDs:

Guettar_predawn_dust_trails_zps738d34d1.jpg

Aerial view of the dust trails:

Guettar_predawn_dust_trails_aerial_zpsc534c1f5.jpg

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Just some quick notes...

Bare with me here as I have never done this testing / input thingy before...

I have not had much time lately to test this out. I am plugging away when I can (WEGO against the AI) right now at turn 5 (Germans). I cannot commit to a H2H game for now.

So far, The load time to start this scenario the first time took approx. 3.30 min.

turn processing times at this time are usually around 1 to 1.45 min. Interested to see if this time will increase as this thing goes on.

Here are some pics:

63137069.jpg

96654098.jpg

98380750.jpg

31592392.jpg

Those halftracks are sure pesky... I must crush them. :D

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Thanks, Blazing88's.

Just a reminder -- this scenario has no AI at all in it. So if you don't play it HTH, you'd need to play it as "2 player hotseat" in WEGO and play both sides.

Yes, those load and processing times sound similar to what I've seen. It amazes me that

a battle this huge loads and processes at all. So one of the things being tested is whether the battle will keep playing, or whether it will hang/crash at some point.

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Thanks, Blazing88's.

Just a reminder -- this scenario has no AI at all in it. So if you don't play it HTH, you'd need to play it as "2 player hotseat" in WEGO and play both sides.

Yes, those load and processing times sound similar to what I've seen. It amazes me that

a battle this huge loads and processes at all. So one of the things being tested is whether the battle will keep playing, or whether it will hang/crash at some point.

Yeah I did know that going in, I was more curious to see how my workstation would handle this scenario. I am not to worried about what or how the AI will do against me at the moment.

Actually the AI, as is, is doing pretty good job to be honest. It's not very organized, but it has taken out several of my Panzers.

I think I will keep going as is for now.

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Yeah I have just been running to check performance and the first casualty was a Pz to one of the TDs.... The AI will fight, it just won't move LOL

Except backwards if it survives a duel!!!... :D

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Actually (for those who know how to do AI) this would be a very easy scenario to code AI for on the Allied side, making it a German single-player scenario.

Because the onmap US infantry battalion is basically dug in and static, just trying to hold Hill 336 against all comers. All the US side really has to do, at minimum, is:

a.) Retreat the two exposed TD companies in the valley safely into the hills,

b.) Play shoot-and-scoot with all the TDs in reverse slope positions to pick off German armor as it races by,

c.) Get offmap artillery called in to hit the dismounted panzergrenadiers at some of the anticipated times/places they'll be as they attack,

d.) Maneuver the reinforcing infantry battalion to do something useful (probably with two or more alternate plans).

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March 23, 1943

0637 hrs (7 minutes into the battle)

Aerial overview:

Guettar0223situationaerial.jpg

Just before dawn, the 10th Panzer Division has broken through the 1st Infantry Divison lines and overrun American forces to the E (offmap). Now the attack has split into 3 spearheads:

One (offmap, S) is attacking along the Gafsa-Gabes road and will emerge eventually as German reinforcement about halfway along the S mapedge.

The second spearhead is angling NW to try and flank the du-in US forces on Hill 336.

The third spearhead, in the N, is sweeping the foothills to clear out enemy positions and secure the right flank of the advance.

A closer look at the action in the foothills. The panzergrenadiers, supported by dozens of tanks, climb the slope...

GuettarGrenadiersupslope.jpg

Scout teams probe toward the crest of the hill, when...

GuettarGMCloomsovercreast.jpg

A U.S. tank destroyer (M3 GMC 75mm) pops out of defilade.

"Kontakt! Panzerjaeger!"

Guettarsquadleaderadvanceslope-1.jpg

As German small-arms round plink off its armor, the M3's gun adjusts, and...

GuettarGMCgets1shotoffandmisses.jpg

(more in next post...)

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But the shot misses -- the German infantry at such close range must have suppressed the GIs just enough to spoil their aim. The Yanks quickly raise their armored windshield as the M3 starts reversing into cover...

GuettarGMCloomsovercreast.jpg

But then...

"Feuer!"

Guettarfeuertankcmdr.jpg

GuettarhitdrivesGMCback.jpg

GuettarhitonM3GMC.jpg

The hit destroys the M3's gun, but the vehicle and crew survive unscathed and retreat to safety. (A second M3, also on the crest, wasn't so lucky -- the same German tank killed it with one shot, and only two crewmembers survived to bail out).

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Ha! Thanks LLF.

I fear I've been a tad too aggressive with those US antitank half tracks -- a couple of turns later, 3 of the 36 in the battalion have been destroyed and they've only got one German tank kill to show for it. That attrition rate is going to result in a crushing German victory with so much of 10th Panzer on the battlefield.

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Broadsword, hi,

Congratulations... have just seen this.

Great idea :).

Off to dig out my copy of Army at Dawn.... ;).

North Africa here I come.....!

All the best,

Kip.

Hey Kip -- thanks. If you'd like to test the scenario (and have the inclination and stamina for something that massive in scale and length) I'd be happy to share the files, even to play it HTH against you if you want. Just PM me if you want to try it.

[The only thing that prevents me from posting it to the Repository now is a lack of test results -- I don't want to inflict the scenario on the public unless I know it basically works, either side can have a decent chance to win, etc.]

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The presence of the 10th Motorcycle Battalion (Kradschuetzenbatallion-10, nicknamed K-10) at El Guettar has made me more curious about this early-war German formation.

It's not in the TO&E for CMFI, and I don't know whether any motorcycle battalions fought in Italy, but what I've found so far suggests some of them remained in the war into 1944. Most were absorbed into recon regiments, but some survived here and there in the panzer divisions.

I'm working on a special OOB file for a motorcycle battalion -- similar to what JonS did for British artillery -- and save it as a .btt file so that it can be imported into the editor using the "import campaign units" function. Not sure yet how close I can get it to the actual formation (since obviously we don't have motorcycles) but this is a distinctive formation in various ways that would be interesting to have, even dismounted. Each squad in the rifle platoons had 2 LMG 34 teams, and the battalion had a company mounted on halftracks and another company of armored cars.

Their MG firepower made them hellish as infantry, especially when the US 9th Infantry Division had to defend against and then counterattack them on Djebel Berda (just S of this map) immediately after the big March 23 battle.

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The presence of the 10th Motorcycle Battalion (Kradschuetzenbatallion-10, nicknamed K-10) at El Guettar has made me more curious about this early-war German formation.

It's not in the TO&E for CMFI, and I don't know whether any motorcycle battalions fought in Italy, but what I've found so far suggests some of them remained in the war into 1944. Most were absorbed into recon regiments, but some survived here and there in the panzer divisions.

I'm working on a special OOB file for a motorcycle battalion -- similar to what JonS did for British artillery -- and save it as a .btt file so that it can be imported into the editor using the "import campaign units" function. Not sure yet how close I can get it to the actual formation (since obviously we don't have motorcycles) but this is a distinctive formation in various ways that would be interesting to have, even dismounted. Each squad in the rifle platoons had 2 LMG 34 teams, and the battalion had a company mounted on halftracks and another company of armored cars.

Their MG firepower made them hellish as infantry, especially when the US 9th Infantry Division had to defend against and then counterattack them on Djebel Berda (just S of this map) immediately after the big March 23 battle.

CMFI's Panzer Aufklärung Battalion [motorized] has all your needed elements. The Aufklärung Company [motorized] has the same organization as a Kradschützen company, just mounted in Kubelwägens.

In fact on March 24th, Kradschützen-Bataillon 10 was renamed to Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 10.

http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/KradschBat/KradschBtl10-R.htm

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