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Bulletpoint

So, I made it to Monteburg!

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I am proud to report that the objective of Monteburg has finally been taken, after many difficult days in Normandy.

However, I am less proud to report that the losses in the final battle were high, and that it must formally be called a draw, despite the objectives being met.

Resistance was unexpectedly tenacious, despite our quite well executed combined arms techniques. Preliminary bombardments seemed not succesful in softening the defensive positions, and in the case of the village might actually have robbed our assault troops of the cover that would have been provided by the many walls.

Enfilade fire from a battery of 88mm cannons made progress by armour difficult, and this is probably my major gripe with this mission, and the game in general: it's at times almost impossible to anticipate where the sight lines run through the landscape. What appears as a solid wall of treetops from eye level will at times afford a clear shot anyway. I suspect it might be due to small "keyholes" that are hard to get an overview over and protect against.

Well, at times this mission played out like a (good) war movie, at times it was nail-bitingly frustrating - sometimes both at once. Towards the end, despite my very best efforts, most of my troops were broken, low on ammunition, leaderless and completely unfit for further battle. Enemy mortars took a steady toll.

The most frustrating part was having an enemy STUG lord over the village, backed into a walled corner and completely blocking the way. The only way to approach it was straight from the front, which is basically suicide. Tried to flank it with a bazooka team in the tallest building, they had a great view of the beast but were unable to fire.. I eventually remembered that in this game, bazookas cannot fire from buildings. But at that point I had spent a lot of turns navigating for that, and time was running out.

Eventually I solved the problem by having a squad running around the wall to it, I was hoping the STUG would not react fast enough and that they would be able to grenade it. But no, it mowed half of them down. Their distraction bought time for one of my tanks to race past it and take it out, though, so I assume there will be a posthumous medal of honour in the mail for someone. In hindsight, it might have been an idea to smoke out the monster instead.

Time was running out and I decided to try my luck and have two tanks running for the exit as fast as they could. They did make it, but I don't think I got any points for this? In the briefing it states I should evacuate my forces, but either I evacuated too little, or it didn't count. In any event, I finished with 510 points versus the enemy's 500.

Well, I shall now retire to the officer's quarters to toast our victory with a cache of Calvados that was liberated in Monteburg.

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+++Spoilers+++

Are you playing the revised version? I just finished the revision and thought it was well done. I got a total victory by deciding early on to not go for the exit but to pound the enemy with the artillery and air support I had available. This forced the Germans to withdraw with about 15 mins left. I took the objective village as ordered which left me with quite a few casualties but after that I largely stopped and focused on lots of indirect fire support on concentrations of enemy rather than expose my forces further.

As for my platoon of tanks I split them up with two around the centre of the map where you encounter the first AT Gun which gives them good LOS on the advancing Stugs. The others went to the objective village with a company of infantry in support and then mop up remaining enemy armour with flanking shots. Not having a turret it the biggest weakness of the Stugs and Jadgpanzers so hitting them from two directions is the key.

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I am just playing the campaign as it came with the game. It seems not the revised version, as I had no air support in my game.

Not saying I could not have done something differently and won, but I'm saying that I did my best with what info I had at the time.

If I went back, I could do it better, but I feel it would be cheating now that I know how it plays out.

For example, I counted on my 60mm mortars to knock out the 88s, but when I checked after the battle, I found that they were hardly scratched - some even had several fire missions ordered on them, but they escaped almost unscathed.. while playing, I was unsure if they were still in action or not, and this made me not commit my tanks to the centre, where they be exposed.

Also, you decided not to go for the exit - I should have you court marshalled for not following direct orders! :)

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Also, you decided not to go for the exit - I should have you court marshalled for not following direct orders! :)

Court Martialed for a total victory? Interesting. :D My troops did exit the map, just after all the Germans retreated off of it.

++++Spoilers

The revised versions has a battery of 6 x Priests with lots of ammo, 107mm mortars and a single fighter for air support. I possibly had these due to good victories leading up to this final battle, can't say for certain. Yeah 60mm on map mortars aren't going to cut it trying to take out 88's in good cover and concealment on the other side of the map. Worth giving the revised version a shot down the track when if you want a replay.

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Well, congratulations to you on your success. This particular campaign wasn't intended to be a bitter slog to reach the end but it does require a lot of time to get there. Yes, LOS can be unpredictable on large (ish) maps especially as you can often draw LOS through the small breaks/gaps in tall bocage. But I also spent a lot of time siting those 88s so that they were a pain so I'm glad to hear they gave you a hard time. :D

What you get in the final mission depends on the path you took to get there. You can get intel on enemy starting positions as well as a battery of 105mm artillery if you get wins in the previous two missions.

There is a revised version of the campaign on the Repository which makes the 2/8 INF Green for the most part and adds a new, small mission to the campaign. To make up for this reduction in experience, I added air support to a couple of missions. Personally, I think the revised version feels more realistic when playing. Good news is that most of the campaign missions have two or more AI plans so it might not play out the same way again ;) I love playing campaigns and so I design miine for maximum replayability. And Montebourg is my personal favourite. Not too difficult, not too easy. I've played it through several times myself. I can promise you that it will get one final revision after the Market Garden module gets finished. Mainly to take advantage of having 16 AI groups now. I'd also like to put in captured French tanks (NOT in the MG module) as well.

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What appears as a solid wall of treetops from eye level will at times afford a clear shot anyway. I suspect it might be due to small "keyholes" that are hard to get an overview over and protect against.

Treetops canopies don't really exist in the LOS system.

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I can promise you that it will get one final revision after the Market Garden module gets finished. Mainly to take advantage of having 16 AI groups now. I'd also like to put in captured French tanks (NOT in the MG module) as well.

Looking forward to it!!

I'm also a Campaign player, and I loved this one.

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Well, maybe I should have stated it more clearly, but I enjoyed the campaign and also the final mission. It's nice with a challenge, and I felt the difficulty balance was good throughout for the most part.

Also, I enjoyed the very believable missions and briefings, it seemed realistic to me.

Since the US is mostly attacking, many of the missions are similar (capture X), but there was always variation and different challenges in each mission to make it unique.

When I checked the map after the final battle, I was astounded by just how many enemy HMG's there were left here and there. I remembered something about Paper Tiger saying that the missions were designed when the HMG was less fearsome.

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Horse apples. They're not 100% concealment 100% of the time, but they do, inarguably, affect LOS.

The problem for the me is that on my screen, tree canopies block my LOS completely. So it's difficult to know where the real dangers might come from.

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The problem for the me is that on my screen, tree canopies block my LOS completely. So it's difficult to know where the real dangers might come from.

Yeah, the "inconsistency" of tree canopies as cover is a bit of a pain. It cuts both ways though; your TacAI is as capable of noticing a "windblown" (I'll call it that cos it's the only way I can rationalise LOS between two points changing from moment to moment when neither of the observers is moving) gap suddenly revealing the enemy as the enemy's is.

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Horse apples. They're not 100% concealment 100% of the time, but they do, inarguably, affect LOS.

Trees block LOS and can even 100% block LOS, but the leaves at the top don't block LOS any more than the trunks at the bottom. Hence the "canopies" of (graphically) 100% obstruction do not exist.

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Trees block LOS and can even 100% block LOS, but the leaves at the top don't block LOS any more than the trunks at the bottom. Hence the "canopies" of (graphically) 100% obstruction do not exist.

How do you verify that? Curious as my impression is they do block LOS. Can you give a sample test to show this? I am not sure what you mean by the above.

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Yeah, the "inconsistency" of tree canopies as cover is a bit of a pain. It cuts both ways though; your TacAI is as capable of noticing a "windblown" (I'll call it that cos it's the only way I can rationalise LOS between two points changing from moment to moment when neither of the observers is moving) gap suddenly revealing the enemy as the enemy's is.

While I understand you're just trying to make the best of the limitations of the game, I don't really like the "windblown" explanation. Right now looking at a lot of trees outside, and even though it's windy, the branches don't sway very muh at all, and LOS doesn't change through them. Might be possible to trace a mathematical line through the leaves of some trees, but that doesn't mean line of sight for a human being, let alone line of fire. Especially not at 1000 metres distance.

Problem being, since this is a game, the computer assumes LOS if there can be drawn any line from shooter to target, even though a soldier standing in that spot would never know that single grey pixel in the far distance is actually part of the turret of a Sherman tank..

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While I understand you're just trying to make the best of the limitations of the game, I don't really like the "windblown" explanation. Right now looking at a lot of trees outside, and even though it's windy, the branches don't sway very muh at all, and LOS doesn't change through them. Might be possible to trace a mathematical line through the leaves of some trees, but that doesn't mean line of sight for a human being, let alone line of fire. Especially not at 1000 metres distance.

Problem being, since this is a game, the computer assumes LOS if there can be drawn any line from shooter to target, even though a soldier standing in that spot would never know that single grey pixel in the far distance is actually part of the turret of a Sherman tank..

I don't like it either... I'm trying to do some actual controlled testing of how the canopy interferes with LoS, but it's having to take second spot to earning a crust, today. I'm hoping to set up a "just can't see" situation, then clarify it by having some DFHE remove the leaves...

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So, I've been futzing around with trees and spotting... I think I've shown that the foliage of trees does interfere with LOS and provide concealment for targets the other side of them. However, I think I'm also convinced that the visual CSA of the tree is not entirely coincident with its actual depiction.

Using BN 1.11 I put some US infantry in a 4 storey house (one breach team per level) on one side of a belt of trees, with some German Tank Hunter teams on the other side of the trees. Moving the TH closer until they got spotted, pretty much at the point the dogfaces Target line turned purple, which made sense.

What didn't make sense was that the upper storey guys spotted the targets soonest. This even though looking "through the eyes" of the ground floor troops, the germans were running around in plain sight, on flat, red dirt, well below the canopy of the trees (I tried several versions). It makes sense if the targets are getting some ground level concealment, because the upper storey troops will be less affected by that. It looks like the LOS/concealment of the trees goes all the way to the ground.

It's also fairly clear that one layer of trees doesn't do very much for concealment/LOS, whereas 2 layers is pretty much 100% (call it 99) visual block.

So, is it the foliage or the trunks? I got some Sherman 105s and tried to carefully blast the tree barrier such that the outer layer of trees had its leaves stripped. This was more difficult to control than I'd thought, but at least I've actually now seen "indestructible" tree trunks get wiped off the map. Eventually I managed to tone the damage down so that just a tree in the outer layer had its leaves removed. This resulted in the targets becoming visible, when they lined up with one intact layer and the defoliated one between them and the OP building as if there were only one layer of foliage between them and the observers.

This suggests to me that it is the foliage that confers broad LOS blocking and concealment. The remnant trunks did stop LOS, as you'd expect.

I am a bit disappointed to find that tree concealment seems to go all the way to the ground even when the canopy cuts off 10 feet short of the ground level. It's not how I thought things worked. I'm also sure that I've seen single layers of trees prevent LOS, but that doesn't seem to be the case in my test environment.

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So, I've been futzing around with trees and spotting... I am a bit disappointed to find that tree concealment seems to go all the way to the ground even when the canopy cuts off 10 feet short of the ground level. It's not how I thought things worked. I'm also sure that I've seen single layers of trees prevent LOS, but that doesn't seem to be the case in my test environment.

Good work, thanks for testing it out. I'm a bit disappointed with the results though. I thought the game used the "what you see is what you get" approach.

Maybe what we see as "a tree" is actually "a piece of forest" in the game engine? The logic being that forest is usually more than trees, it's also bushes, shrubbery, etc.. But then I think it should be depicted in the game as such, it's not as if the game engine can't handle a couple of bushes...

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Good work, thanks for testing it out. I'm a bit disappointed with the results though. I thought the game used the "what you see is what you get" approach.

Maybe what we see as "a tree" is actually "a piece of forest" in the game engine? The logic being that forest is usually more than trees, it's also bushes, shrubbery, etc.. But then I think it should be depicted in the game as such, it's not as if the game engine can't handle a couple of bushes...

Agreed. It's a bit of a let-down, frankly. Further musing has made me wonder about how it treats AFVs though; there were some shermans (waiting to execute defoliation duties) that were visible to the german infantry; hope remains it was because they could be seen under the canopy. Some further tests may follow.

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