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pnzrldr

CM Black Sea - Beta Battle Report - US/UKR Side

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Well, I am glad the majority seem to favor this approach. For what it is worth, I DO intend to "beat Bil" in this engagement. He and I have a fairly strong friendship, and are frequent PBEM opponents. We live close by and he came over and helped me learn some Photoshop stuff to work this piece. My running record against him is something like 2/3/1, of the games we've taken close to completion. I whomped him in our first match, and he works extra hard since to ensure he doesn't underestimate me. The first CM:BS alpha match we started, he took UKR and I took RUS. It did not go well for him, and he discovered just how evil BMP-3s are in that match, so I know he is looking for some payback against Borys' boys in Company A. I am also quite concerned at his skill at picking positions, and suspect that I will get hit throughout by ATGMs from unexpected locations. I have good initial intel though, which is a blessing.

Now that he is coming to meet us, ol' Borys will have to figure out how to tenaciously hold on until the Cavalry (or Combined Arms Battalion, in this case) shows up. Much of the Alpha and Beta testing has centered around the Abrams tank and its amazing durability and lethality. I think our current version has balanced this a bit, probably realistically. My experience with the M1 is fairly extensive, and I think I can fight them well - if I can get them onto the map alive that is. Should also get some other nice toys, like US 120mm and 155mm support with precision munitions, some attack helos and CAS, etc... We took a unique approach to designing this scenario; it is a one off from a fairly good scenario crafter down under 'The Teacher,' whom you may have seen on the boards before. Bil and I expressed our mutual desires to him, and all the beta testers weighed in a bit on the overall design, but Bil and I were unsure exactly what the final force mix would be. I am assuming the TAC MAP that Chris provided accurately reflects my reinforcements, but 0815 will tell.

I do hope that the characterizations help bring the scenario to life a bit. Bil has a fairly standard way of doing his AARs, which I love, but which still seems a bit gamey to me at times. I am an immersion guy, and like to attach to the characters and leaders some. Cannot stand the whole 3PS kill/die/respawn churn games. Losing my best guy on X-Com used to send me round the bend. Also, I do equate combat games a tad with the real thing, and cannot send even pixeltruppen to their doom lightly. Hopefully this novella will not read like "Game of Thrones," but I am sure we will see new characters crop up as the game goes on. I am a bit worried especially about LT Upham - but we will see how he does. I will continue to run 'narrator voice' or my own over arching thoughts in plain text, and our heroes (or zeros) in italics, just to keep things straight.

For a little teaser, our boys from Ukraine did draw first blood, and Bil is down one runner. At the end of our current turn though, there is a round in the air headed for one of Borys' BMPs, so it may be evens soon. Will show some more overview shots in the next post to give you all a flavor for the PLT level fight and to seek ideas on how I hold on to - or at least contest - hill 347. More soon.

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I like the idea of including hese personal stories in the AAR. Reads likethe late Tom Clancy or Larry Bond at their best. Will these guys survive he coming battle?

One question out of curiosity. The gridded map. Is ths a ew game feaure we are going to be seeing or is it sometihing you prduced? I look forward to seeing how this battle goes.

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Looks great pnzrldr. I enjoy the immersion narration. Delightful and fun.

"I do equate combat games a tad with the real thing, and cannot send even pixeltruppen to their doom lightly." ... especially when they are in play to demonstrate other nice toys coming our way :D

If pixeltruppen are headed for doom... as Ken S. Patton used to say..... "Order them to advance and, when they get hit, to make sure they fall with their arms stretched out towards the enemy so the rest of us will know where to aim!" ;)

"My experience with the M1 is fairly extensive, and I think I can fight them well .... "

I am really looking forward to these lessons from an authentic modern 'pro'.

Thanks,

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For me I prefer Bil's style of AAR's and I realise I am out of step with others here. Each to their own (you can never please everyone...) and we are lucky that you are prepared to spend the time doing this so Thank You.

Map looks good and it will be good to see how the game plays and how you tackle Bil

Cheers

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One question out of curiosity. The gridded map. Is this a new game feature we are going to be seeing or is it something you produced?
Sorry to say it is just a one off - can't remember if Bil or The Teacher built it. Bil I think. Nice to see here for illustrative purposes, but not something that will be included in game scenarios. Did Bil include it in his thread? I am not reading it so don't know. It was available to him, and I know he does extensive terrain analysis.

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pnzrldr, just a quick post to express my gratitude and appreciation for you taking the time to do this. So far both you and Bil have been fantastic. Thanks!

+1, great effort on the immersive backstory writing!

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As a non native English speaker and with zero experience with the army terminology I have a bit of a hard time understanding everything but it for sure is interesting to follow this AAR.

This game tought me how WW2 engagements looked like. I'm sure this one will show me how contemporary fights will look like.

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While I really like this more immersive style of narration I think it will make following the AAR harder.

Which means that I will have to read the AAR more than once.

Which equals more entertainment.

Genius idea!

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Count me on the story-telling side.

One of the reasons why I like CM (and SL before it) was the personal nature of the missions. I grimace when one of my squads gets lit up by an MG42, I feel for the poor crew of the M4A3 that just got Ronson'd, and I cheer when a well-timed arty strike stops an attack in its tracks.

So naturally, that makes for good storytelling. Heck, if Clancy and Bond can write "Red Storm Rising" based off a "Harpoon!" battle, why can't stories be written off of a Combat Mission campaign?

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pnzrldr

Please forget Saving Private Ryan. Captain Charles Hazlett UPHAM, VC and Bar, NZ Infantry, is the only non-medical British and Commonwealth soldier ever to win the Victoria cross twice.

Cheers,

Andy Brown

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pnzrldr

Please forget Saving Private Ryan. Captain Charles Hazlett UPHAM, VC and Bar, NZ Infantry, is the only non-medical British and Commonwealth soldier ever to win the Victoria cross twice.

Cheers,

Andy Brown

That would probably be quite heartening to Lt Glenn Upham, were he better-versed in the Africa campaign, or were he a student of New Zealand's military history.

Sadly, we shall have to wait for a future module before any Commonwealth soldiers can be around to tell him. ;):D

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Harris turned, to take another scoop with his E-tool, and suddenly found himself flat at the bottom of the hole. It took a moment for the shock of the sudden explosion to register – up close explosions don’t go “Ka-boom!” they go “Tchunk!” - all of the sound in one instant, with little time for the recipient to register the reverberations afterwards. An instant later Harris was slammed even further down into the hole, as PFC Beach arrived on his back. “Yours is deeper Sir, make room!” Harris wasn’t sure what size the incoming rounds were, but they seemed to be smashing in all over Krichek. He prayed that the few men Tymo had placed on the roof with one of their precious ATGMs would be alright, and that everyone else would seek cover in a ground floor. Over the thudding of the barrage, he also made out the distinctive crack of AK-fire coming from the direction of the river. They would be busy once the barrage lifted, Harris thought. He elbowed Beach in the side, pulled his knee further down into the hole, and pressed his hand over his earpiece to monitor the radio. Once SFC Doty had an idea of the situation he would call.

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Borys was surprised at the sudden fall of incoming rounds – the muffled thundering from Krichek was loud, even at this distance, with rolling “Booms!” echoing from the nearby hills. At nearly the same instant, Borys noticed dust trails rising up from beyond the tree farm to his front. “Sir!” KPT Antonyuk called him over excitedly, waving his radio handset, “ It is Yuri! I mean, Leytenant Lysenko! I know him from school. He is up in the power plant and can see Russian mechanized forces pushing towards us! He says they are heading for our hill!” Good to have a friend, Borys thought, and quickly looked back to the dust with his binoculars. “How many, and how fast are they....” The KPT quickly replied, “He says it is at least a company, and..” “Kshunk!” Another explosion, this one closer, announced the end of one of the advancing Russian vehicles. KPT Antonyuk continued, “and, that they have just lost one BMP-3. The rest are still racing forward!” PdPK spun around from the view of the approaching dust. “Quickly Vasyl! Get your lead PLT up and moving. Onto the hill and get their Soldaty out of the vehicles and into anti-armor teams quickly! They won’t dare flatten the hill with artillery now! But our men must get to good positions before they get there! We want to be waiting for them. Move! And try to protect those Ami’s up there as while they are at it. We cannot afford to let too many of them die for our homeland today.”

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Starshiy Bondarenko gasped in shock as the shells rained down on Krichek. He simply could not believe that he was here and that this was happening. Six months prior, all he had cared about was playing handball with his friends, and now he was crouched in the open for all the world to see on top of a building, while Hell itself slammed down from the sky. The noise was mind boggling. “Ahov!” his friend Sasha called, as he pointed southwest over the parapet. Bondarenko cautiously raised his head, and the shells were suddenly forgotten as he saw the dust trail and then the Russian Infantry Carrier itself speeding away from the town... and towards his home in Kiev. Not today. Bondarenko picked up his Corsar missile system, the sight already switched on and ready. The Corsar was a relatively new weapon, an internal Ukrainian development. A laser beam guided semi-active command line of sight (SACLOS) weapon, all the young Starshiy need do was launch the thing and keep the crosshairs in the sight glued to the target. The tandem warhead was easily powerful enough for a BMP-3, especially from this angle. As hefted the heavy launcher, Sasha called out the range from their range card – Pidpulkovnyk Tymoshenko and the American Major had coached them through drawing yesterday. The American scout’s laser range finder said it was 1350m to the corner of the tree farm, easily within the Corsar’s range. With a whooshing roar, the missile leapt from its tube and sped away, trailing a little smoke, with the heat from its exhaust distorting one’s view like a mirage. A little hop up into the air as it acquired its guidance laser, and then it tracked straight and true until scant seconds later it slammed into the Russian vehicle and detonated. The infantry carrier rocked with the impact, and rolled on a few meters further, before its hatches flew open and panicked men bailed out on both sides. Bondarenko could not hear them – he was half deaf from the shelling and the launch, but their agitation was clear, as smoke began to boil from the stricken vehicle. He gazed in amazement, first at the distant burning vehicle and then at the smoking launcher in his hands. Then he automatically began disconnecting the spent missile casing and replacing it. As Sasha moved forward with a reload, PkPK Tymoshenko’s grizzled head popped out of the roof access hatch. “We heard it launch – did you hit? Good! But one will have to do for now. Get down here before they switch to airburst rounds and you are both turned into ground sausage!” The two Starshiy crouched low and fumbled with their cumbersome weapons as they sprinted for the ladderway and the scant safety of the stories below.

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As he finished recalling the ATGM team, PdPK Leonid Tymoshenko nearly ran into KPT Viktor Kovtun the Infantry commander of the Home Guard element. Tymo’s command was technically the Air Defense and Missile unit here in the Krichek, and in the entire sector, but as senior officer he was also in overall charge of the town defense. If Viktor resented this, he was quite good at keeping it to himself. Now he told his commander that the artillery observers at the north end of town had spotted enemy infantry quite close on the far bank of the river. They claimed to be in radio contact with the relief force’s mortars, and wanted permission to call fire on the enemy. Tymo gave a small shrug. “You recommend this?” The young KPT nodded quickly, “These infantry are taking two of our other missile teams under fire, and the mortars will do little to the armored vehicles. What use is unfired ammunition if we aren’t around to count it afterwards, Sir? I say let them shoot.”

“Very well, approved.” The KPT turned immediately to his radioman, as the salt and pepper scrub brush of his bare headed PdPK disappeared down the steps. He wanted to find the Amerikanskiy Major and see what his intelligence said now... preferably after the shelling stopped of course.

A few kilometers to the west, KPT Antonyuk crouching just below the lip of the bank, shouted hasty orders into his mike, and gestured to his platoon leaders who were looking at him from their vehicle hatches. “The Russians are attacking US, not the other way around! We must prepare to meet them.”

“2d Platoon dismount your men and get them moving towards the hill. Then send a track up here to see about this far treeline. The Pulkovnyk says there is a Russian BMP over there, break.”

“1st PLT, you need to spread out to the right and try to get eyes on the far treeline – I think that village is too low to see from.”

“3d PLT will bound 300m north to the far slope of the hill and establish a dismounted position oriented on the crest and eastern slope. All elements, be alert for Russian armor moving up from the east, and please try not to kill the Americans – their sniper team and forward observers are over there, on the south slope.”

“Execute your orders and keep your men focused on our homeland and our mission. Are there any questions, over?”

There were none, and Vasyl saw his lieutenants all speaking into their microphones in turn, alerting their men to the change in plans. He turned back to watch the dust rising from the advancing Russian force, barely a kilometer distant, thankful for the reverse slope that hid them – at least temporarily – from the Russian fire. As he watched, a single pyre of black smoke rose from the center of the dust, and the KPT cheered silently and sent a brief prayer for victory, followed immediately by a second quick prayer for his wife and young son. Then he rechecked his AK and slipped back down the slope – he saw no need to provide any further target for the advancing Russians to acquire and had seen all he needed to for now.

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To the North, LT Upham also saw the dust rising. It took him almost thirty seconds longer to figure out exactly what it was, but he reached the same conclusion as his allies if a moment later. He hunkered down another few seconds and tapped a few lines of text into his Netwarrior tablet, instantly generating a spot report for the moving Russian company on all US platforms in theater, and then raised his head again. He was frustrated at his inability to fix any actual Russian positions, and knew he would have to risk their fire to try and spot them from closer in. The earlier UAS pass had yielded some tentative locations to his front, but he knew his platoon had to pin down hard locations and confirm earlier positions weren’t merely deception locations before committing artillery fires to neutralize them or sending in the tanks and Bradleys. Even the Abrams didn’t like getting hit with the new Russian ATGMs, and the Brads – including his – were terribly vulnerable. They had to get effective suppression going – of course, the mortars were still on the move, and the Paladin’s sliced to support 3-69 hadn’t come on line yet either. He didn’t know why, he just knew that the Fire Direction Center (FDC) said no fires yet. Which was totally jacked up – the S-3 had told him they would have priority of fires by the time they got up on the enemy, but right now they would have to settle for harsh language and maybe a TOW missile if things got really rough. Glenn might not be an Iraq or Afghanistan vet, but he knew better than to go looking for a gunfight with just his Brad, no wingman and no artillery. He swept the fields once more with his binos in frustration, casting about for any glint or angle out of place, but found nothing. He sighed, and slipped back down the slope towards his idling armored vehicle.

Borys had listened as Antonyuk gave his orders. He and the KPT had only needed to speak a few terse sentences to generate the movement. He was frustrated – this was not good ground for a defense, even if the range would play into their favor, but the Russians had the initiative and Borys hated that. But, if he could keep them occupied until the Amerikansky showed up, they might find they had their hands quite full. He looked towards SGT Lerner and raised an eyebrow. Lerner immediately turned to his interpreter, who instantly repeated “15 minutes.” The American and Borys looked at one another and nodded together, both knowing that could be a very long time indeed.

Sorry about the quantity of pics. I just forgot to take one of ol' LT Upham, but will show him bravely jumping back on his Brad next turn. Will also continue to work to improve the pix themselves. I hope to have some form of reference graphics worked out by the time this is over, with a north seeking arrow, and perhaps some CPs to help orient photos to their location on the map/battlefield. Will see how it goes. Still learning the ins and outs of Photoshop. More soon.

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Please don't make the entire AAR a novel.

Don't get me wrong, I like the "grunts POV" story snippets here and there and I expected they were meant as additional flavour (which I appreciate very much) -- but this time it replaced everything else I hoped to see more of: analysis, expectations and ideas from your POV and what you think your opponent is doing, thinking, etc. I think I noticed some 'hints' throughout the story but a short, brief and structured summary of the Intel would be more helpful to really follow the battle in my opinion.

I know it's very hard during the first few minutes but a few speculations what Bil is going for and generally what is in your mind in normal text would be welcomed by me.

Thank you and good luck :)

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I do enjoy reading the narrative, but agree that more context would help both the story and the larger point of showing us what the game will be like for us when we get our grubby little paws on it ;) .

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Please don't make the entire AAR a novel.

Don't get me wrong, I like the "grunts POV" story snippets here and there and I expected they were meant as additional flavour (which I appreciate very much) -- but this time it replaced everything else I hoped to see more of: analysis, expectations and ideas from your POV and what you think your opponent is doing, thinking, etc. I think I noticed some 'hints' throughout the story but a short, brief and structured summary of the Intel would be more helpful to really follow the battle in my opinion.

I know it's very hard during the first few minutes but a few speculations what Bil is going for and generally what is in your mind in normal text would be welcomed by me.

Thank you and good luck :)

Double that.

100% soldiers POV has the drawback of lacking oversight. I don't mind if you mainly use narratoin, but every x turns a short summary from a commanders perspective would be appreciated.

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