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GreenAsJade

ALLIED : Gustav Line BETA AAR Round Two - Eye of the Elefant

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While I'm sure a more skilled person would have done better than me in this defence...

I'm not. Not against what Bil had available. The terrain as-is pretty much precludes the defender being much more than sitting ducks for a deliberate assault, since there doesn't seem to be any way of preventing Elefant and FOs getting sight lines on your forces at ranges where your forces' return fire is ineffective. Your basic concept was fine, but doomed, I feel, by the terrain.

You might have been able to find better concealment for your ATGs and bunkers, but whether that would have had any effect is arguable. That ATG you bugged out not redeploying was a harsh glitch to hit.

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Interesting point on M10 and being "open". It never occurred to me that an open-topped vehicle could be anything but open as it has no hatch to open or close. I suppose I made the assumption the TC would behave as infantry and automatically duck down when things got nasty and pop-up othewise. A major error on my part.

By default AFAIK everything is loaded as "closed" even if in RL it would be the reverse ... unless it were raining : ).

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On vegetation in the REAL terrain: The ridges in the hill triangle are extensively cultivated by use of terraces. At the time of the attack, vegetation was sparse and what there was stood less than ankle-high. Some of the hills, notably the forward slope of The Spur, are almost bare. Even where there are scattered trees, by 11 May most of them had been sheared off at half length by artillery fire. Sunken roads that are little more than farm trails wind their way across the ridges; the most important was the sunken road which branches off from the Santa Maria highway, then winds across the forward slope of The Spur and northeast to Pulcherini.

Perry

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GAJ

Before this battle ever started, I felt you were at a disadvantage.

which I posted on the peanut gallery

So dont feel too bad with what the results are showing.

Purchased forces is too one sided and I would suggest using probe setting instead of attack to get a little better balence in the future.

For the size of the map and what was expected, either the amount of forces should be much higher to be able to cover the amount of terrain reguired or if left at present size. Much quicker time restraints to force the attacker to commit to one plan attack and not be given too much time to be able to

disect the defence.

I know I sure would not be happy if I was given your side if I had to play it as is. (but when I find myself in such a match I look for ways to make goals that I can adcheive, even if it will not reflect much in the scoring. (I try for my victories on the battlefield that seem possible.) Thus a way to enjoy it when losing.

Bil is a player at another never of ability from you and that fact alone would make it hard for you to have success. And this battle he is showing a level of play that few will ever reach. I have been amazed at his mission planning and execution on this battle. (again I would not want to be the poor sap against him in this battle.)

For you, I would only suggest that you have plenty still to learn about trying to combine as much firepower as possible when you want to engage the enemy. You need more combined arms, ready to work together in single attacks. You have a tendancy to piecemeal your forces and not combining them well. Not only in this battle but also in the last when you were trying to attack. I wish there was a easy way to teach all the things one should know, but there isnt. Thus we are all students using these games as a method to try and learn.

But in the future, if you play Bil, at least take the side that has the advantage.

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Yeah, but what about a completely different defence plan? How about "no infantry, just Stuarts and Sherms ... stick together in one fist-group and find attackers to pick on"?

I think they'd be Panzer meat. Maybe (and that's a pretty tenuous conditional) boiling out from behind the Tits, they'd be able to kill the IVs and get on the flanks of the 'Phant before being eradicated, but then they'd be Shreck/Faust meat to dismounted infantry.

And I expect if you tried that, Bil would just execute a reverse slope defense of his setup zone. Don't know if you'd be able to buy a few TRPs and a couple of big arty to disrupt such an induced reaction, and still have enough for enough armour to cause Mr H to back off (and an AA halfie).

It's a tricky call; what-ifs always are.

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It has been interesting only seeing one side of the story. That way I do not reveal too much when posting or feel too smug.

Lessons learned seem to me:

1. If you are not familiar with game effects you suffer

2. Weapon efficiency also

3. Make sure the scenario gives adequate forces/time for balance.

When I played seriously in CMx1 if I were unfamiliar with a weapons effectiveness I would dummy up a battlefield and test it out. CMx2 I am finding is very very much more complex and therefore difficult to feel comfortable with results.

And to be boring if I had access to the map I would actually time units to various places and work out artillery plans. However this would be a rare event and was a load of work on a simple game system.

Having seen the way the battle developed and the use Bill has made of the flanks given the time available there is no doubt in my mind this a bad deal for any defender.

I am not sure a force change helps at all given the time. If one were to keep the time would a change in visibility such as fog have any effect - : ) now there is a interesting idea!

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womble,

The POS-style tank fist might set Bil back briefly, but the Panzer hammer, coupled with his mortars, would probably smash that up pretty quickly. That sort of slashing attack is all well and good, but needs to be executed while catching the foe on the hop. Unfortunately, Bil likes to use this thing called overwatch and would probably be thrilled to have such a firing opportunity, let alone gain enormous insight as to the remaining size of the defense.

dieseltaylor,

For longer range cannon gunnery, Bil would've had an even greater advantage, in that the German gunsights performed better than ours did in low visibility and fog and are so modeled in the game. Now, the infantry fight might've worked a lot better for GreenAsJade in reduced visibility. For sure, the infantry casualties on both sides would've been much higher, given considerably reduced open fire ranges.

Your Point 3 gives me yet another reason to be grateful for the Nabla System, since it didn't matter how imbalanced the situation was, only how good you were relative to everyone else playing the same side in the same scenario.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Something that I've learned is that every now and then during the AAR process you're going get a post that really dampens the experience for a while. It's quite an interesting challenge to conduct a battle in public with someone clearly more skilled than you are: a genuine test of mettle, because the show must go on...

GaJ

I think you have done a good job keeping your chin up GaJ. It shows much confidence on your part to put yourself under such scrutiny by all the backseat quarterbacks, letting it run like water down a duck’s back. Your attitude is great in maintaining your sense of humor to keep it fun win, or lose showing you are a good sport. After all it is just a game. You will come out of these games a better player. One never stops learning the subtlties of CM no matter how good a player one is. Feel good you have put on an entertaining show that we have all enjoyed following.

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I think you have done a good job keeping your chin up GaJ. It shows much confidence on your part to put yourself under such scrutiny by all the backseat quarterbacks, letting it run like water down a duck’s back. Your attitude is great in maintaining your sense of humor to keep it fun win, or lose showing you are a good sport. After all it is just a game. You will come out of these games a better player. One never stops learning the subtlties of CM no matter how good a player one is. Feel good you have put on an entertaining show that we have all enjoyed following.

+1

................

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I think you have done a good job keeping your chin up GaJ. It shows much confidence on your part to put yourself under such scrutiny by all the backseat quarterbacks, letting it run like water down a duck’s back. Your attitude is great in maintaining your sense of humor to keep it fun win, or lose showing you are a good sport. After all it is just a game. You will come out of these games a better player. One never stops learning the subtlties of CM no matter how good a player one is. Feel good you have put on an entertaining show that we have all enjoyed following.

Hear, hear from me to Vinnart's comments. I've enjoyed and learnt from the AAR - so far, hope there's more to come! - and very much appreciate the efforts made by both players, to play the battle and to do the analysis and posts. Especially echo the comment on your attitude and sense of humour, GaJ.

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After all it is just a game.

Unless you are the kind of Type A personality whose self esteem is on the line every second of the day in everything they undertake.

;)

And just in case anybody is wondering, I too think that GaJ has held up really well and done himself credit under difficult circumstances. Personally, I would not for anything on earth submit myself to a pummeling by Bil, public or otherwise.

:D

Michael

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I think Bil. as the attacker, had the greater pressure, he was expected to win. GaJ though has obviously read Kipling's 'If' especially treating 'Triumph and Disaster' like imposters.

Michael, surely a type A personality would shy away from a game like C2? Too much unpredictability, too little manipulation, no opportunity to cheat etc.

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Movie 46, 0:25-0:24

Sorry for the brief intermission, I was away for the weekend.

If you recall, the scene was set for a bazooka ambush of a PzIVh in the centre.

8889017694_032e4f7954_b.jpg

Everything went to plan:

- The tank unbuttoned, I guess to get a look around

- My HQ unit fired on it, buttoning it up again

- Bil's infantry screen raced towards my hiding bazookas, and came under fire from my HQ unit;

- the bazookas popped their heads up from hiding:

Soooo exciting...

8921212044_64ddd43507_b.jpg

But the bazookas did not spot the tank.

Instead....

8920615045_1c172101d1_b.jpg

Kablam... ex baooka bearer.

Ah well.

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On the left, Bil appears to still be going very slow. I'm finding this hard to believe, and have to think that he's sneaking around somewhere, but the avenues of approach are so wide, I can't cover it all with eyes.

My Hill 153 outpost is hearing armour way out to the left, but not giving me any real clue where the push will come from

8921277570_43540f9596_b.jpg

I'm continuing to pull back my centre left field, without getting them all exhausted. If Bil pushes into here soon, they will have to make a stand. If not, I will look to set up a fresh ambush on the way to SMI.

8921296346_c90f26185d_b.jpg

GaJ

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Man, I may be biased, but this bazooka team not engaging the tank is absurd. Even a totally blind and deaf person at 63 meters would know that there was a tank, because of the vibrations.

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No, all Ranger weapons crews must be heavily myopic and pass the, lose your coke-bottle lensed glasses at the most inopportune time test. Not shown in GaJ's AAR is the tragi-comic scene of the Bazooka man miming that he just stepped on his glasses, to the increasingly frustrated commander. Where is tube-guy when you need him most?

Seriously, there seems to be bug about spotting stationary vehicles, wonder why?

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My Hill 153 outpost is hearing armour way out to the left, but not giving me any real clue where the push will come from

The FoW icons really do make the game so much better now especially with hearing. One gets a much more logical intell report in what type of suspected unit is being heard by your units instead “?”.

“We heard enemy sir”

“Well, what did you hear?”

“It sounded like a tank”

Not “?”, which is SO much more logical now. All weapons have different firing sounds, and moving vehicles, tanks, and infantry do have different sound signatures. Having the unit report it as is now one really gets the feeling of gathering a more realistic intelligence picture like if a human was reporting in. Not to mention how FoW icons makes RT play much better.

Tough break with the bazooka dude stepping on his glasses. Sometimes when things like that happen it really is hard to understand making sense of it. I think It just comes down to AI reaction programming with the unit quality. I had something similar happen in a game where my bazooka would not fire on his own at a bunker, but when I manually ordered a target briefly he did. With the new target brief command I find I get quicker fire on targets doing it manually lots of times rather than rely on the AI. This works much easier when playing RT. "Target Brief" is another great addition to the game.

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Movie 47, 0:24-0:23

So ... all the signs are that Bil is sneaking far around the left.

8946018457_4454192762_b.jpg

As you can see, I have a sound contact behind Hill 153 - someone has snuck all the way around there without being spotted. Having achieved that, there's nothing that stops them going all the way to SMI along that side of the ridge! I'm going to have to hasten my centre fall back to counter this possibility.

Bil also popped a unit from the centre right over the road. Thankfully, I think that this guy got nailed before he can have seen too much, and thankfully it is coming safely after I've started falling back, so the chance of the middle there becoming a horrid kill zone has been averted. My silly M10 in the middle buttoned up on his way over to the centre ... maybe in response to this firefight. These guys can be a bit of a trap: without a hatch, it's not so obvious if they are open or not!

Bil continues to push up through Tame, emptying crates of ammo into each house as he comes. I smoked his overwatcing PzIVhs this turn, and will see if I can shoot and scoot the AAHT to some effect while they are blocked.

GaJ

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Lets face it there are insufficient defending troops/points and Bill is edge hugging on both sides of the map. Sucks.

It is a problem but when faced with map-making in CMx1 , and I am a fan of large maps, I would make the terrain difficult or impossible to negate the benefit of edge hugging. This would be a time and cost to travel sort of equation.

Unfortunately if you go for a historical map then edge hugging may become very attractive - particularly having a safe flank means looking straight ahead and one flank and observation seems key.

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My silly M10 in the middle buttoned up on his way over to the centre.

They do tend to be a bit skiddish, and eager to duck down at the slightest feeling of threat. When they do it on their own there is nothing one can do untill the next turn but to order him to open again. The important thing is that you are now remembering to making sure they are open when you can. When they do it on their own it is no fault of your own, and are at the mercy of the AI.

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Lets face it there are insufficient defending troops/points and Bill is edge hugging on both sides of the map. Sucks.

It is a problem but when faced with map-making in CMx1 , and I am a fan of large maps, I would make the terrain difficult or impossible to negate the benefit of edge hugging. This would be a time and cost to travel sort of equation.

Unfortunately if you go for a historical map then edge hugging may become very attractive - particularly having a safe flank means looking straight ahead and one flank and observation seems key.

Edge hugging per se isn't an issue of balance between attacker and defender; the same benefits apply to the defender. Unfortunately on this map the defender hasn't got any safe spots at the edge to hug, since there seem to be sight lines right down the edges for the TDs to make the most of their high velocity HE-chucking abilities. The terrain doesn't have to be impassable to even out the edge-hugging opportunities, just a bit more congested than it is on this map.

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They do tend to be a bit skiddish, and eager to duck down at the slightest feeling of threat. When they do it on their own there is nothing one can do untill the next turn but to order him to open again. The important thing is that you are now remembering to making sure they are open when you can. When they do it on their own it is no fault of your own, and are at the mercy of the AI.

And... we may thank the AI for it! Who knows whether the TC would have been decapitated if he hadn't ducked.

A strange thing happened the same turn: the M10 over by Tame was in close proximity to an HE burst, but didn't button. Just goes to show there must be a bunch of factors that affect this.

I think that the routes that Bil is taking are pretty logical. In fact, I'm surprised that he pulled a tank off Hill 130 while coming up the left ... that kind of lulled me into thinking he _wasn't_ going to go the far left path, because it was that incredible overwatch that made me worry about there before. Not much use to me now though: I did leave that path open kind of negligently, so now I have to scramble....

GaJ

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