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First Clash - Impressions *** SPOILERS ***

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So I just finished playing the scenario First Clash as the Americans vs the AI and I'd like to share some thoughts. The mission is to lead a tank heavy force a Russian spearhead. The map quite big and open with subtle undulations. I begin by slowly and cautiously moving the force forward and things go quite by the books at first. My dismounted infantry spots one or two enemy units, UAV + precision artillery or Javelin kills it off.

 

Things get pretty crazy fast though, suddenly it seems the whole Russian armoured forces have been amassed against advance. So I decide to sit tight and wait for reinforcements, while at the same time trying to kill off as many tanks as I can using air and artillery support.

 

Normally I expect, given the numbers of both friendly and enemy tanks on the map, this scenario to be one big tank duel-fest. However, the Apaches and precision artillery are so good that I never really got to use my huge tank force. The Apaches both expended their 16(?) hell-fire missiles, my UAV fired 2 more and I expended all precision artillery rounds on static targets. This means that most of the action happened on the other way of the map, about 3km from my position without my main force taking active part in the fight. Most of the scenario consisted of waiting for air or artillery support to arrive.

 

Things only got hairy twice when two platoons of enemy tanks rushed down my right flank. I finished the scenario with a very "passive" feel. I wonder what your experiences were on this?

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That reflects my experience with the scenario.  Started with defining the battlefield and fixing the enemy.  Worked what contacts I had over with precision rounds and Apaches. Defeated several minor armor thrusts.

 

Noted more armor building up further back in the map.  Snaked my forces into positions to observe.  Apaches worked over area where possible tank contacts were noted.  Engaged in long range battle (2000 to 3000 metres) with Russian armor. 

 

Blunted attack.  My reinforcements came in.  Slowly moved forward and engaged enemy as they appeared, taking the major middle objective.  Game ends with Total Victory for me.  Map at ends showed 90% of Russian armored vehicles were destroyed.

 

Okay, it wasn't the Battle of Kursk with both sides madly rushing at each other but the battle unfolded as I wanted it to.  At no time did I feel that I didn't have a grip on the situation and I controlled the tempo of the battle the entire game.  

 

Yeah, it was slow unfolding battle but I have seen longer ones watching US forces in Iraq in real life (like the one in which an US mech infantry company took 3 hours to move and secure three buildings that were 1200 metres distance.  Most of that time was waiting for air support and artillery to be allocated and work the area over.

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Well, I suppose it could have played more like what was expected if Blue forces stepped off right away and turned it into a quasi -meeting engagement type battle. 

 

Problem is, the air assets given allowed for a 'hold in place and find out what we are going up against' approach.

 

Plus, I am not the 'push into the unknown' type of commander.  I always try to define and fix the enemy and try to know what I am getting myself into.  Which meant I was quite content to allow the Russians to stumble into my kill zones.

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Maybe this is something for the scenario designers to consider in the future...

 

I have had simular experience with other missions...maybe not to such a degree bit still...

 

- Waiting for precision arty to hit...HIT !, waiting for precision arty to hit...HIT !

 

 

As scenario designers we might have to think about how many STATIC targets we have in a scenario and what weapons the player has at his disposal.

 

When the player has precision arty avaliable maybe fewer veichles should be completally STATIC (AI-Groups allowing)...They only need to move a short distance every now and again to ruin some of the precision strikes.

 

One would think that in RL if one side suspects that the enemy might have this kind of ammunition avaliable....They would not stay STATIC for very long....

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Hhmm. Bugger me! You boyz are canny. In playtests I had to beef this up as testers were having real challenges with it. Now you guys just walk all over it...

 

Well, for those interested, if you rely less on your precision stuff you'll find it a different challenge. Although I think how you guys played it is closer to the actual reality of how a US force would deal with this type of situation.

 

Spoilers

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There are several AI Plans - for both sides - but it was found in playtesting Russian stuff moving about was prone to blowing up! Hence keeping some stuff static. Also the static stuff has reasonable air cover to protect it but that's no use against precision fire or that Grey Eagle. Just goes to show. I'm interested to see how you two get on with Bridgehead at Kharalyk. If you play it be sure to post how you found it please?

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Hhmm. Bugger me! You boyz are canny. In playtests I had to beef this up as testers were having real challenges with it. Now you guys just walk all over it...

 

Well, for those interested, if you rely less on your precision stuff you'll find it a different challenge. Although I think how you guys played it is closer to the actual reality of how a US force would deal with this type of situation.

 

Spoilers

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#

#

#

#

 

There are several AI Plans - for both sides - but it was found in playtesting Russian stuff moving about was prone to blowing up! Hence keeping some stuff static. Also the static stuff has reasonable air cover to protect it but that's no use against precision fire or that Grey Eagle. Just goes to show. I'm interested to see how you two get on with Bridgehead at Kharalyk. If you play it be sure to post how you found it please?

 

Even if I wanted to, I could not take a more pro-active approach. Every time I manage to get an M1 in a position where they LOS to the enemy tanks, they retreat almost immediately due to laser warnings.

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I must admit when I was testing it myself I'd the same issue. I found moving up several M1s meant that maybe one would be lased but the others then got eyes on and took out the offending 'lasing' unit. So I attacked more aggressively, sometimes moving M1s with BIFVs just behind at speed (I found 'fast' meant they tend to pop smoke but keep trucking - given most US AFVs in this have APS even if stuff comes at you the APS deals with it, you just got to watch for multiple strikes from different angles). But as I said playing it as you guys did is the safe and most likely realistic way. My gung ho way did tend to create the occasional burning AFV wreckage when a M1 of BIFv was slammed from multiple directions..

 

Just goes to show different strokes... 

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SPOILERS***************************

 

 

Just finished this one, and even on elite is was way too easy. And that was my first major tank battle in a modern era CM-game so I expected to fall flat on my face. Maybe I got lucky. The first UAV spot was an SPAA that was taken out by precision arty. That let my UAVs and Apaches roam free. And it was really simple to pick off target after target with precision arty (too much of it?). And they remained stationary all the same. The tanks that made it to face me, quickly got shot to pieces or their "lasing" made my tanks retreat to safety. The few shots on target were repelled by APS. All in all I lost two Bradleys and two Abrams to immobilization (despite dry ground conditions). That's about it. Then I started getting large reinforcements so I expected a major counter attack, but then all of a sudden I got a total victory with 33 minutes left.

 

So, in all, the scenario was a bit of a disappointment for lack of challenge. The only really troublesome event was (something I really liked) when the AI tried to flank me already after 10 minutes. The map is great, and with some alterations to the difficulty, it would warrant a replay.

Edited by rocketman

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Thanks for the feedback guys. Interesting during playtesting players found it challenging. I wonder if later game engine improvements might have just swung the balance too much one way. There are three Russian AI plans - again might depend on the AI plan you get.

 

However I think I'll revisit this and tweak it so the US has a harder time. IIRC the US had a lot of APS equipped stuff. I'll tone that down and nerf the supporting arty somewhat (whilst it might be doctrinally correct it does give the US a huge advantage). 

 

So I'll go and tweak some of the 'soft' factors and tone down the supporting arms. I'll then upload it to the repository.

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Cheers for the reminder Vanir. I've reduced the APS equipped US units and reduced the amount of arty rounds. Also beefed up the Russians with some extra AA support (after playing with AA stuff more I've realised you need lot's of it!). I'll upload this to the repository. The original version will still ship with the game, so players have a choice.

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@GeorgeMC: sounds like good adjustments. Maybe also reducing the amount of Abrams tanks, not only the APS system. Maybe also only one UAV to reduce the possibility to spot large parts of the battlefield and use precision arty. IIRC there are atleast two Khryzantema tank destroyers, in pretty much good hull down positions. In another thread there is a discussion about their spotting ability in this position. I remember one that just sat there doing nothing, despite me advancing over open terrain, until spotted it/destroyed it. Maybe this will be adjusted in the upcoming patch as well?

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Hhmm. I did think about reducing the M1s Rocketman but on reflection I've kept the OOBs as is. I'll wait till the patch comes out before radically changing anything.

 

FWIW APS being reduced does make the M1s far more vulnerable to ATGMs. The UAVs might now not be as effective as the Russians have a counter to them.  

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Aye it does push the envelop with maps - I think 4x4 is as large as I'd go for a practical scenario (I've played about with larger test maps but even on my PC they chug or slow down). I've got the bits and pieces of my 'older' pc (Mobo, memory, processor etc). If anyone is interested (and assuming they are 'better' than what you have happy to give me away. No value to me and just collecting dust in my office). PM me.

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Anyone having trouble with large maps should try turning down their graphics settings.  On my old machine one of the bigger CMBN games went from unplayable to quite nice by dropping the graphics quality settings (models and textures) down.  I am sure most of you have already tried just making sure any new comers can consider trying it.

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