Jump to content
Bud Backer

Bud's Russian Attack AAR: Красная молния

Recommended Posts

I've done two Comic AARs, and always dreaded the idea of work involved in doing a classic one. Until I discovered just how much work the CAARs were. Combined with all the AARs I've read here already trying to improve my tactical knowledge and skills, made me really want to give this standard format AAR a try.

The battle is a 45 minute duration attack by me on a German opponent in PBEM. My partner doesn't participate in the BF forums so this AAR will not be mirrored from the German perspective.

I am a graphics dilettante compared to Bil Hardenberger. I recommend you read his AARs, and visit his blog. His AARs were to me highly educational as well as inspirational. The concepts of planning, reconnaissance, and how to present it to readers in graphic format are all things I've learned from reading them. By no means can I approach his tactical or graphical skill but I hope you will still find this enjoyable to read and contribute to the thread. :)

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The battle is on this map:

IMG_0059.JPG

This map is not completely flat, but the elevation variations are very gradual and even and therefore not a significant source of cover, hull down positions, and reverse slopes.

When I came to purchase and deployment I made some assumptions about the German deployment areas that would affect what I bought and where I put it. You can see this below:

IMG_0064.JPG

The blue section is what the German player actually has for a deployment area. I didn't look at this in the editor until much much later when it became irrelevant, so I made decisions based on incorrect information. The green area is what I also assumed to be a valid German deployment area, but in fact it was not. Bear this assumption in mind as we go forward, because it plays a role in the early game and limitations I imposed in myself as a result.

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the things that has repeatedly been stressed by Lt.C. Spaulding from Armchair General's CM videos, Bil Hardenberger and other military professionals, has been an acronym I'm still learning to use fully in Combat mission.

OCOKA

Observation & Fields of Fire
Cover & Concealment
Obstacles
Key Terrain
Avenues of Approach

I'm still struggling to really examine each of these elements properly. I forget to do it, and it's annoying because it should be obvious to look for each of these things when planning a battle, and should not require an acronym as a mnemonic. I get excited in the impending battle and lose my focus. I didn't do it fully in this battle either, I realized, but let's cover what we can here. I realize that I do this stuff to some extent without conscious thought but not enough.

The Russian deploy zone is not one that is fronted with good cover. In fact most of the area that I might pass through is on a gentle forward slope that takes me right into concealed German positions.

IMG_0065.JPG

Looking toward my lines from the German positions shows that any advance in the open areas is suicidal without adequate countermeasures. I don't have confidence any countermeasures I employ would be sufficient.

IMG_0066.JPG

A look at the original map shows two areas that I would call Key Terrain, as a result. German units at those positions are highly likely, even if my enemy assumes some form of artillery barrage on them, he would be able to move units forward into them before I am able to cross the open field. They are key because whoever controls them controls access to the victory objective. 

Both the Western Woods and the Farmhouses offer good concealment, and some cover. And both are able to see to the end of the map, except for part of my deploy zone, with few exceptions. The extreme West and East edges of the map have woods that offer me some cover as I advance.

IMG_0060.JPG

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, yesterday I covered Key Terrain. Let's look at Cover & Concealment, Observation & Fields of Fire, as well as Obstacles.

Cover and concealment in this map is not due to elevation features but buildings and woods, which are evident and therefore not marked for OCOKA purposes. Naturally, I will be using them as best as I can, as will my opponent. One exception is the ridge line that is just ahead of deployment zone. In terms of Observation, my deploy area is the only place where my enemy cannot see anything I do.

IMG_0067.JPG

This ridge provides full cover from the German lines and gives me protected lines of communication between West and East halves of the map. As you will soon see, it will prove invaluable.

After some bogging incidents crossing fields in other battles I'm leery of going at full speed in vehicles over plowed fields, and can't afford to take a slow crossing, which makes them Obstacles to my advance. The field also provides an excellent field of fire for the Germans to stop any advance. I named it Field of Death, because to me it's pretty evident that crossing it is suicidal. This of course limited my options in terms of Avenues of Approach.

IMG_0062.JPG

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After some bogging incidents crossing fields in other battles I'm leery of going at full speed in vehicles over plowed fields, and can't afford to take a slow crossing, which makes them Obstacles to my advance. The field also provide an excellent field of fire for the Germans to stop any advance. I named it Field of Death, because to me it's pretty evident that crossing it is suicidal. This of course limited my options in terms of Avenues of Approach.

 

Bud,

 

LOL  :D . Field of Death is probably a good name for that field.  I don't remember Russians in CMRT having smoke either?  Just out of curiosity, since I don't think it matters for CMRT Russians, what is the wind direction and strength?    

 

I am having similar problems with bogging and immobilizations in a CMFI PBEM against Shorker in the snow.  (Training for the Bulge release)  I thought I had read somewhere here on the forum that speed had no effect on bogging /immobilization.    It seems to me like maybe speed should have an effect, kind of like putting machinery in low gear to cross a muddy field.  However if IIRC in terms of game mechanics speed has no effect???

 

Paging womble and/or IanL or anybody else that knows.  What say you about speed and bogging/immobilizations?

 

I bring this up since maybe you can Quick cross the Field of Death with vehicles after all.  (Good luck with that  ;) )  What are the ground conditions?

     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the last thing we need to look at is Avenues of Approach (AOA). Both my own and my opponent's. Thus far everything has been largely factual, determined by map topography and terrain features. AOA however must take into account topography and terrain features, as well as time limits (45min), objectives, forces available to each side, and that ineffable quality that each player will bring to the table.

The analysis of Key Terrain, Cover & Concealment, Observation & Fields of Fire, and Obstacles points to several issues:

-I cannot advance across the open field to my front

-the Germans will likely occupy the farm houses as a first line of defence, as well as the Western Woods

-the farmhouses are bordered by woods, and those woods are quite close to the actual map objective

-only the map edges East and West offer me some form of cover and concealment.

My only plausible options are to advance on the East or West map edges, or both simultaneously.

IMG_0061.JPG

AOA 2 seems the safest bet. It gives me a covered approach to the farmhouses, Key Terrain 1, that must be neutralized before I proceed into the town. AOA 1 seems intriguing as it would bypass the farmhouses, but it is fronted with a treeline, Key Terrain 2, that likely will have ambushes, and beyond that treeline there is no cover to approach the town objective.

I will be taking AOA 2, as it seems the safest course to follow. It will be a slog, but I should have sufficient firepower to overwhelm any defence in the farmhouses.

My enemy knows this. So what would I expect him to do?

Set ambushes in KT 1 and 2 and the surrounding woods, have tanks in the woods at the town sniping at my tanks using covered arcs and from surprise, and have a reserve that may attempt to surprise or flank either of my AOAs, labelled EAOA 1 and 2.

IMG_0063.JPG

I know my opponent for many many years. We've played countless different tactical and strategic games on the computer as well as board games. I know he loves to use many units broken down as far as possible to the single man or team. He is cagey, defensive, and has more patience than I do. So I expect him to have AT teams waiting to ambush me from trees and houses, and sections of infantry scattered to avoid concentration as they would be vulnerable to my artillery.

I do not expect him to have any artillery. It's too slow to react to a short ranged armoured attack. If he does have some, it will be used early while I am bogged in the woods outside the farmhouses.

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bud,

 

LOL  :D . Field of Death is probably a good name for that field.  I don't remember Russians in CMRT having smoke either?  Just out of curiosity, since I don't think it matters for CMRT Russians, what is the wind direction and strength?    

 

I am having similar problems with bogging and immobilizations in a CMFI PBEM against Shorker in the snow.  (Training for the Bulge release)  I thought I had read somewhere here on the forum that speed had no effect on bogging /immobilization.    It seems to me like maybe speed should have an effect, kind of like putting machinery in low gear to cross a muddy field.  However if IIRC in terms of game mechanics speed has no effect???

 

Paging womble and/or IanL or anybody else that knows.  What say you about speed and bogging/immobilizations?

 

I bring this up since maybe you can Quick cross the Field of Death with vehicles after all.  (Good luck with that  ;) )  What are the ground conditions?

     

Hey MOS!

I considered trying to get units that have smoke but that means waiting a turn or two to let it develop into a screen, hoping that it is dense enough to cover my units as they advance, and given that the initial ground I must cross (Field of Death) can be fired on from both the farmhouses and Western Woods, it would mean a lot of points on smoke. Wind conditions are mild, no wind.

See and I thought that speed crossing bad terrain did have an impact. In CMFI vs Kohlenklau a few months ago I had to cross several vehicles across plowed fields and the ones that moved slowly got through, the only immobilizations were the ones moving Fast. But that's a small sample size. The ground is dry in this battle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't be scared of the Field of Death. He's unlikely to put all his eggs into one basket by going strong on both Key Terrain 1&2, and since you're the attacker, even if he did, you'd still outgun him, because you should have more points than him.

 

Also, based on what you know about him personally, he's not going to make strongpoints there. He's going to place a couple of HMG and some keyholed AT-guns.

 

By setting up a strong base of fire along the southern side of the field, you can then scout through it, forcing him to either reveal his ambush positions or be detected anyway when the scouts get close enough.

 

You need the base of fire especially when going the route AOA2, you're coming from narrow front into broad front, that's bad for your fire superiority. That's when you'll need support fire from the starting line.

 

However, keep your tanks back below the ridge to begin with, or use it to go hull down if you can. If you rush up the tanks to cover the FoD immediately, you're likely to lose some to AT guns before you can spot them and take them out. By setting up Line of Fire with your infantry first, you're much more likely to spot the guns and then when you send them up over the ridgeline, you can give them area targets immediately to suppress and destroy the guns and any spotted HMGs before they can fire back too much.

Edited by Bulletpoint

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, the woods behind the farmhouses seem like the obvious place to set up the defense of the field. Because putting troops in those flimsy wooden shacks seems like suicide. But in the forest they will have cover, concealment and be keyholed by the buildings. I would pre-plan a speculative barrage on that wood, maybe with a 5 min delay so you can cancel it if you find out it's deserted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paging womble and/or IanL or anybody else that knows.  What say you about speed and bogging/immobilizations?     

 

LOL did I hear my name.  I always thought that speed mattered and I play that way but honestly it has been a long time since I tested that - I know I did once.  At the time it was after a particularly nasty immobilization incident I experienced in Huzzar (awesome scenario BTW).  Through the miracle of google I found the thread: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/100039-bogging-and-immobilized-is-it-right/

 

A table comparing the results of Sherman tanks travelling 7km of terrain can be found in this post: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/100039-bogging-and-immobilized-is-it-right/page-2#entry1312857 (Note: the numbers are for still operational tanks so higher is better).  The summary is that for Sherman tanks 8% more vehicles were still operational after driving on the course at slow than when driving the course on fast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL did I hear my name.  I always thought that speed mattered and I play that way but honestly it has been a long time since I tested that - I know I did once.  At the time it was after a particularly nasty immobilization incident I experienced in Huzzar (awesome scenario BTW).  Through the miracle of google I found the thread: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/100039-bogging-and-immobilized-is-it-right/

 

A table comparing the results of Sherman tanks travelling 7km of terrain can be found in this post: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/100039-bogging-and-immobilized-is-it-right/page-2#entry1312857 (Note: the numbers are for still operational tanks so higher is better).  The summary is that for Sherman tanks 8% more vehicles were still operational after driving on the course at slow than when driving the course on fast.

 

Thanks Ian!  These are some great links.  The links even have links.  (Still reading through all of it)  I really like your cross country 100 meter courses for testing vehicle mobility on different ground tiles.  I am going to add some of these to my training maps.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bud,

  Really looks good.  Very nice presentation. Remember...lots of screenshots!!!

 

  You've got c3k all fired up with your Field of Death now.  I can just imagine what he will suggest you do, haha.

 

  You did purchase the tanker truck full of Vodka, right?

 

  Looking forward to your battle.

 

Heinrich505

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bud,

  Really looks good.  Very nice presentation. Remember...lots of screenshots!!!

 

  You've got c3k all fired up with your Field of Death now.  I can just imagine what he will suggest you do, haha.

 

  You did purchase the tanker truck full of Vodka, right?

 

  Looking forward to your battle.

 

Heinrich505

 

 

I think Ken is jealous that I mentioned Bil and not him ;) 

 

He's going to suggest really unorthodox tactics like "attacking" 'n stuff. I think he wants all the glory! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL did I hear my name.  I always thought that speed mattered and I play that way but honestly it has been a long time since I tested that - I know I did once.  At the time it was after a particularly nasty immobilization incident I experienced in Huzzar (awesome scenario BTW).  Through the miracle of google I found the thread: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/100039-bogging-and-immobilized-is-it-right/

 

A table comparing the results of Sherman tanks travelling 7km of terrain can be found in this post: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/100039-bogging-and-immobilized-is-it-right/page-2#entry1312857 (Note: the numbers are for still operational tanks so higher is better).  The summary is that for Sherman tanks 8% more vehicles were still operational after driving on the course at slow than when driving the course on fast.

 

 

All right, so I wasn't totally wrong with the speed and immobilization concept. Though some of your testing results are a bit troubling, but let's ignore that! Yes, facts that don't fit our preconceived ideas can be ignored. :D

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't be scared of the Field of Death. He's unlikely to put all his eggs into one basket by going strong on both Key Terrain 1&2, and since you're the attacker, even if he did, you'd still outgun him, because you should have more points than him.

 

Also, based on what you know about him personally, he's not going to make strongpoints there. He's going to place a couple of HMG and some keyholed AT-guns.

 

By setting up a strong base of fire along the southern side of the field, you can then scout through it, forcing him to either reveal his ambush positions or be detected anyway when the scouts get close enough.

 

You need the base of fire especially when going the route AOA2, you're coming from narrow front into broad front, that's bad for your fire superiority. That's when you'll need support fire from the starting line.

 

However, keep your tanks back below the ridge to begin with, or use it to go hull down if you can. If you rush up the tanks to cover the FoD immediately, you're likely to lose some to AT guns before you can spot them and take them out. By setting up Line of Fire with your infantry first, you're much more likely to spot the guns and then when you send them up over the ridgeline, you can give them area targets immediately to suppress and destroy the guns and any spotted HMGs before they can fire back too much.

 

 

By the way, the woods behind the farmhouses seem like the obvious place to set up the defense of the field. Because putting troops in those flimsy wooden shacks seems like suicide. But in the forest they will have cover, concealment and be keyholed by the buildings. I would pre-plan a speculative barrage on that wood, maybe with a 5 min delay so you can cancel it if you find out it's deserted.

 

 

Interesting ideas, Bulletpoint. I guess I'd have to see what you describe in action to be a bit more sanguine about the idea of moving troops across an open field to try to expose the enemy. It seems a scary idea to me! The few times I tried to advance tanks to a ridge to obtain hull down positions it was a dismal failure, with the enemy ATGs or tanks getting the first shot as they're just sitting and observing. Except on one occasion where I had a massive smoke screen to mask the move. I'm concerned that I will have no fire support for my troops, and if I bring fire support, the tanks will be exposed the very ATGs I'm trying to detect. I need more experience to pull this off. 

 

Your barrage suggestion matches with one of my own, though as you will see what I plan on doing isn't exactly what you propose. ;)

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting ideas, Bulletpoint. I guess I'd have to see what you describe in action to be a bit more sanguine about the idea of moving troops across an open field to try to expose the enemy. It seems a scary idea to me! 

 

Well, I hope you didn't mind me hollering suggestions from the sidelines :)

 

My main point was that you should be able to achieve fire superiority over that field. Then you could advance into the field with some scouts. Not proposing an all-out charge :)

 

It's your game, I'll just break out the popcorn and see what you come up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I hope you didn't mind me hollering suggestions from the sidelines :)

 

My main point was that you should be able to achieve fire superiority over that field. Then you could advance into the field with some scouts. Not proposing an all-out charge :)

 

It's your game, I'll just break out the popcorn and see what you come up with.

 

I don't mind at all! Quite the contrary, I encourage it. You (and anyone else who participates) give me ideas, feedback and advice that even if I don't use right away or in this battle is something that I will think about and prepare for in another. So by all means, bring it on! Don't stop making suggestions. :)

 

Let me show you why I'm really concerned that I would not be able to pull off what you proposed. It doesn't mean your suggestion is bad, it means I need to learn how to effectively manage an attack you suggest. 

 

This image below is what I visualize when I consider your suggestion:

 

IMG_0070.JPG

 

It seems to me my units crossing the field would be subject to a withering crossfire. Almost every point in the field is covered from both the woods and the houses which are perpendicular to each other. My approaches - in my view - limit my exposure to what actually can see me and at least to some extent I can manage that carefully. The big disadvantage to what I intend is that it is very obvious to my opponent, and his defences will be geared toward that. 

 

To do what you suggest I would first have to try it out, rehearse it if you will, and work the bugs out of it because I'd get the timing wrong or my positioning and end up taking heavy losses. 

Edited by Bud_B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to be attacking across a narrow front - using woods as cover. The attack will take place using Avenue of Approach 2 as shown below:

 

IMG_0061.JPG

 

Based on that choice, I need a force that is flexible, heavy firepower, highly mobile, and able to handle both infantry and enemy armour. I don't expect my opponent to have a lot of tanks, but lately he's been in love with Panthers and I want to have the capacity to handle them. 

 

I want to have artillery, mostly for smashing a large section of enemy defences rather than pin-point response. Russian artillery is very slow, with long delays and so I want to plan a barrage from the deploy phase, and hope I can use it again mid-game. 

 

The map is not huge, so long range firepower is not that important. So I'm thinking SMG infantry. The Tankodesantnikii Company seems a good choice. If I can get enough tanks to mount it all that would be perfect.

 

T34/85s are good tanks. Not as good as Panthers or Tigers but quite capable and with the ranges that are likely on this map, should be able to hurt the big cats quite well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like your plan and your force suggestion. I was about to suggest the very same thing. I think I would be drawn to the left side avenue of approach because I like the cover of woods rather than buildings. But the more important thing is to avoid that field.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind at all! Quite the contrary, I encourage it. You (and anyone else who participates) give me ideas, feedback and advice that even if I don't use right away or in this battle is something that I will think about and prepare for in another. So by all means, bring it on! Don't stop making suggestions. :)

 

Let me show you why I'm really concerned that I would not be able to pull off what you proposed. It doesn't mean your suggestion is bad, it means I need to learn how to effectively manage an attack you suggest. 

 

This image below is what I visualize when I consider your suggestion:

 

IMG_0070.JPG

 

It seems to me my units crossing the field would be subject to a withering crossfire. Almost every point in the field is covered from both the woods and the houses which are perpendicular to each other. My approaches - in my view - limit my exposure to what actually can see me and at least to some extent I can manage that carefully. The big disadvantage to what I intend is that it is very obvious to my opponent, and his defences will be geared toward that. 

 

To do what you suggest I would first have to try it out, rehearse it if you will, and work the bugs out of it because I'd get the timing wrong or my positioning and end up taking heavy losses. 

 

I understand your concerns, but I believe you could easily achieve fire dominance over that field from the southern end. after some slugging it out, his guys would be pushed back and you would be able to enter carefully by leapfrogging infantry forward.

 

By getting funneled into two narrow pushes, you lose your strength in numbers. Could turn into a meat grinder if he sets up his forces on the sides.

 

Anyway, who knows. Let's see. Maybe your plan is better. It all depends on how your opponent is thinking. And I don't have any experience with playing as the Russians.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I were him, I'd place my Panther around the uppermost corner of the blue rectangle around the farmhouses.

 

Looks like it could dominate the long road down towards the bottom left of the map, and also the approach on the right side, while being masked from your starting positions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...