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GreenAsJade

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

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I guess this is about it for "thinking out loud". Now I have to go and chose and plot. I'll try to get done over the weekend, maybe see you all on Monday.

GaJ

Might be a tad late, but here's my own thoughts.

Don't shy away from AT guns. It's hard to tell from the screens, but you do have some hills to position them on. If each gun takes out 1 tank before going down, you're winning. The key to the Elephant is to strip out its supporting cast of tanks. THEN your mobile elements can maneuver for some flank shots on it. Don't expect bazookas to get it done for you.

On map mortars are your friend. With that much open you can attrit the opposing infantry, possibly without giving up your position. In addition, the 81s might have a chance at blowing out an Elephant track, which might just be a small victory.

Finally, use the Rangers! I love em. The best part is their officer to man ratio with fewer teams per platoon. The satchels and other accoutrements are just gravy. Don't rely on them for tank busting. On the offense I prefer the BARs, but the other machine gun may be better in fixed positions.

Speaking of the screen shots, would it be possible to take some shots at level 1 from the key spots. Its so hard to tell when the trees and ridges will get in the way of things.

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Air assets!!!!

They're the best 'area denial' against infantry and light vehicles in the game.

For the time being they can't be countered and are perfect for an open map in rolling hills like this.

The US owns the skies.

Swap out any 'off map' 80mm mortar sections you might have been considering for three, or even four, of the cheapest aircraft.

Add the forward observer team and a few well placed TRPs and you can basically deny the enemies infantry access to a flank or a couple of critical areas for the entire game.

His infantry will be sweating, ducking for cover and disrupted in areas that are out of line of sight, in gullies and over the horizon for your ground troops, denying him his much needed staging points for attacks.

Without the infantry screen, moving armour on an air covered flank becomes a hazardous affair.

You need to be careful about moving your own infantry close to aircraft attack templates though, as the fly boys will strafe anything that moves.

What pre-game agreements do you have?

Any maximum or minimum percentages for points spent on armour, infantry etc????

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Well, aircraft are undeniably awesome and extremely effective.

Maybe TOO EFFECTIVE and therefore gamey?

Their ability to pin, deny movement and make accurate attacks on areas out of LOS for your ground troops makes them a major asset.

I suppose it's up to you to decide what constitutes gamey or boring.

I'm going from memory here, but you can set an attack template up to about 400m diameter, that's a good chunk of ground to overwatch from above.

They patrol for about six to eight minutes and it takes about nine or ten minutes to call one in.

If you time things right you can just about have one clock on as the last clocks off.

This could be considered 'boring', I suppose, as they're so effective at bogging the enemy down that the action can grind to a halt.

If it's no holds barred, Death From Above is ALL GRAVY.

The other thing air assets do that artillery doesn't in the area denial role is give you positive feedback on enemy movements in areas out of LOS.

If the plane strafes, then you definitely know somethings there.

If there's nothing under the attack footprint during their patrol, they don't waste ammo, so the asset can be recycled without any loss in capability.

Although they will strafe wrecks and KIA from time to time.

If you opt against aircraft, get plenty of 'off map' mortars, a skilled FO and TRPs.

Make sure you examine the map carefully.

Try to figure out where staging points for enemy attacks will be.

Obvious areas close to the point of assault but out of LOS.

TRP the staging areas and drop 80mm mortars on 'harass' ROF at the appropriate time.

This will force him to use less advantageous routes on the attack and/or restrict his ability to concentrate troops to gain a personnel and firepower advantage at favourable points of attack.

Also place TRPs on any areas that look like providing significant fire base opportunities to your opponent.

Dropping arty in quick time with no spotting rounds can eliminate cover fire for enemy advances.

Dropping smoke onto these areas can also be an effective way of reducing covering fire.

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...

Their ability to pin, deny movement and make accurate attacks on areas out of LOS for your ground troops makes them a major asset.

I suppose it's up to you to decide what constitutes gamey or boring.

I'm going from memory here, but you can set an attack template up to about 400m diameter, that's a good chunk of ground to overwatch from above.

They patrol for about six to eight minutes and it takes about nine or ten minutes to call one in.

If you time things right you can just about have one clock on as the last clocks off.

This could be considered 'boring', I suppose, as they're so effective at bogging the enemy down that the action can grind to a halt.

If it's no holds barred, Death From Above is ALL GRAVY.

...

If nothing else, using some aircraft may demonstrate why ( IMO ) it would be good to have ground AA at least have the ability to "put them off" even if not actually shoot them down.

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If nothing else, using some aircraft may demonstrate why ( IMO ) it would be good to have ground AA at least have the ability to "put them off" even if not actually shoot them down.

I completely agree, I'd love to see on map AA fire back at air assets and have the ability to either drive off the attack, or place a shot down, or lost contact, marker over the aircraft and render it unavailable for the remainder of the game.

I'm sure BF would ideally like to see something similar, but time and higher priorities etc.......

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Don't look for ground to air assets functioning until we get to CM:MW. In CM pre 45 ground to air effectiveness was marginal. However any conflict between 2 modern 21st century combatants should certainly include units operating in that capacity. Modern day air power is such a force multiplier that not having units to counter it would be a glaring omission.

Didn't mean to get off on a tangent, that's fodder for another thread ... for now I'm ready for another great AAR. Many thanks to Bill and GAJ for taking the time to do this ...

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(OT: modern airpower consists primarily of standoff weaponry. Modern anti-air assets are primarily deep in the backfield, projecting an umbrella forward. Exceptions for helo support. Modern air would be more abstracted than the strafing runs of WWII/Korea.)

Back on-topic: GaJ, the taunting and baiting over in Bil's thread is getting pretty heated! But don't let that bother you. Ignore it. ;) Gotta turn out yet?

We're all eager to see what you've come up with...

Ken

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I am unconstrained, except to not be too gamey or boring I guess.

He is brining one Elefant and no Tigers or Panthers. No other constraints.

GaJ

Make it rain!!! Top deck hits can be effective, or at least rout units away from where you dont want them.

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Rain? I like the way you think! Which of you has control over the initial conditions? Setting the environmentals to rain with wet ground conditions would certainly...wait for it...BOG his attack!

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Rain? I like the way you think! Which of you has control over the initial conditions? Setting the environmentals to rain with wet ground conditions would certainly...wait for it...BOG his attack!

You want an attack to BOG ?!!!

..

I don't know you ! ;)

What have you done with c3k ?

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LOL...

Mud-splattered troops belly-slithering forward through the slime with a knife in their teeth and a gleam in their eye!!! That'll get you style points m'lad. Who cares who wins with troops like that? ;)

Is that better? :)

Ken

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LOL...

Mud-splattered troops belly-slithering forward through the slime with a knife in their teeth and a gleam in their eye!!! That'll get you style points m'lad. Who cares who wins with troops like that? ;)

Is that better? :)

Ken

Too late ! :)

spottedn.jpg

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I'm sure BF would ideally like to see something similar, but time and higher priorities etc.......

Maybe for CMBN, but I'm not buying it anymore...hate to sound like a broken record but this was something present in CMx1 and I completely fail to understand why it was not in CMx2 long ago.

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GaJ, if it's not too much hassle, would it be possible to include, for each turn you post, a view of the map from directly overhead (and squared in the view as much as possible)? I will ask Bil if he can do the same and then overlay these for posting in the peanut gallery so people can more easily see the disposition of each side's forces relative to each another. There might be some issues with turn synchronization if you both focus on different turns, but I would just use the closest in time for the comparison.

EDIT: for clarification, I am not asking for a view of the map for every turn of the game, just for those turns that you decide to post on.

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Could you use the historical tactic for such a major armoured push, just TRP and shell it into extinction, or is that gamey? From what I've heard, regarding aircraft, they seem far too powerful, pity, the very threat of them constrains an attacker.

Don't also forget, you don't have to kill the Sturmpanzers and Elephant, just immobilise them, they are then just bunkers.

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I think that TRP and shell is gamey. Who wants to watch that?

:)

What we want here is a battle of forces on the ground, locked in mortal combat, looking each other in the eye ... the Eye of the Elefant!

GaJ

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OK - so I have about 2-3 hours remaining of my weekend, and I have a force selection! ... after doing a lot of looking at the map, trial setups, that I'll have to tell you all about later (time being so short, and a final setup still to be done).

The thing that I was astonished by is how far 3000 points dont go :)

You look at this map and come up with all sorts of excellent plans for defense - a platoon of M10's here, another one there, some obstacles and mines, and interlocking HMGs of course, with ATGs looking out from keyholes ...

... then you go and see how much that's gonna cost and ... whoa... sticker shock!!!

So here is the high level breakdown that I've chosen, which is basically "a minumum of things that you need":

- 1 platoon M10s (4 tanks).

- 1 company 76mm ATG (4 guns)

(note - this is 8 76mm guns vs his potential company of armour - 15-20 tanks!)

- 1 company (+) of Rangers. 3 platoons, each with 2 MMGs and a bazooka

- 3 HMG bunkers

- depleted "platoons" of foxholes & wire (depleted to enable final purchases of HMG & mortars)

That's the main makeup. I supplemented with 4x81mm mortar (on board), 3x HMG, and some snipers and scouts.

That's what you can afford for 3200 points.

At a high level:

- scouts/snipers to figure where he's coming from

- wire and watching MMGs to slow the initial take of the Tits (surely he must take them first )

- ATGs (keyholed through the trees) and HMG bunkers to face off the initial onslaught after the Tits are taken

- M10s as mobile force to respond to where his tanks are breaking through ATG firing lanes

- Rangers & mortars, and floating HMGs to try to keep infantry in check

Off to convert the initial setup experiments into a final setup...

GaJ

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Ha - after force selection it dropped me out to save a file and send to Bil.

So ... I have selected forces and the game is in Bil's hands right now.

That gives me a chance to chat more about what I saw... (coming up).

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OK - so when you see something that works, you use it, right? So last game Bil showed us how he does something he was trained to do: a sequence of analysis. It's the sort of thing that perhaps we all do bits and pieces of informally, but we could all maybe benefit from a bit of discipline.

So here we go: here are the Observation Points and Firing Lines that I pored over during force selection:

A3Observation.png

First, in brightest green, you can see the initial observation posts that I considered.

Obviously, the Tits are key observation points - forwards scouting positions.

From these, I can easily see into Bil's back left and right corners. However, sitting on top of Left Tit, there are some obscured zones, shown by black lines. These are due to the shape of the land:

A3LeftTit.png

... this is looking towards Bils back right corner from my point of view... you can see, in the right foreround of the picture that the ground slopes away so quickly that someone standing on top can't see the approach below.

Right Tit is not quite so badly shaped, but I've indicated the viewpoints that I will likely choose: sitting towards the back, so that I can see into the deep valley on Bil's left flank, and over towards Hills 130 and 132, but shielded from forces that might be assaulting from the centre south

A3RightTit.png

There is one more point that the scenario designer kindly gave me as forward observation, over on my right flank:

A3RightFlank.png

If forces approaching the Tits carelessly stray too far west, they will be spotted from here. I don't actually think they will do that (more on this later) but good to have eyes on it. As you can see, these guys can see if someone is trying to sneak up the blind spot of the Left Tit, anyhow, which is good. And they can also see (not shown) somewhat into Bil's back right corner, though the thicker trees there mean that this lookout doesn't see there as well as the Left Tit guy will.

For orientation, just to confirm, the above three screenies are looking along the bright green lines in the overview.

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Next, I will talk about the his approaches that I considered:

A3Approaches.png

First, in the middle, it seems indisputable that he has to try to take the Titss off me, either before, or along with, any other initial manoeuvres. I think he'd rather have me off there before showing me much more.

From there, he can actually proceed down the road quite safely for quite some distance. Although you might think that this central ridge is exposed to 'everywhere on the map', it's not actually true. The combination of trees along the edge, and quick fall away of the slope, means that especially on the east side of the road (Right Tit side) it will be difficult for me to hamper an armoured push there. (If he strays onto the west side of the road, I can see him from my right flank forward observation post, and I may even consider an ATG up front with this as part of it's mission, though I don't exactly have ATGs to spare!).

On the top of the picture, to the East, he will clearly come and take a look from Hill 130. There is an impressive view from there right up the guys on Hill 153...

A3Hill130.png

It means I have to be careful with what I put over on Hill 153, both in terms of defending the VL, and looking back to the centre.

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If he's interested in attacking me on the East Side, then it seems that his main force will come down through the valley there, then either try to take the Spur/SunkenRoad VL, or go around the flank and press up behind.

On the opposite side, the terrain appears a lot less attractive for a careful attack: a far right flank (from my point of view) press could come, as an assault on the west ridge VLs and on to the town.

If we return to Observation and Lines of Fire, we will see that this looks like the tough one.

As you can see, I can keyhole ATGs and/or HMGs (dark green observation lines) that cover this approach reasonably well.

Similarly, I have a reasonable chance of defending the main thrust as it reaches the road/spur junction, from the 172/153 ridge (the other dark green lines). These ATG/HMGs can actually achieve a keyhole (using trees) that appears to shield them from Bil's likely Hill 130 shelling station.

When you look at it this way, the assault on the Spur (Hill 146/Sunken Road) looks the most appealing for Bil.

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