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Hapless

DAR- Breakfast in Noville

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First, I am not arguing with anyone. I am learning effective game tactics.

But let's take this situation:  seen in this DAR.

Your screening infantry sees a target several hundreds of meters ahead.  Your tanks leap forward, shoot the target, and then retreat.

Unless I am mistaken (and people will chime in quickly to what extent I am), that C2 did not exist in WW2.  If infantry communicated with the tanks, it was generally a very local, almost tactile experience--maybe some hand signals, or a phone on the back of the tank.  CM2 has non-Borg spotting, but we, as players, can break that (absent a house rule that one can only attack a unit with a unit which actually is aware of the unit) by area firing, for infantry units.  For armor, it is "seeing" what every unit sees, and then moving your armor when and where you want, presenting your armor frontally.

Then you wait for spotting.  But in the WW2 IRL the attacking armor would have been very more blind and at a disadvantage.  Mass would be more important. If, in the game, you may know where an enemy armor piece is because of some distant infantry unit, the attacker can gain the initiative. [this is, of course, an old issue: think of trying to simulate C2 issues in Napoleonic or American Civil War games--couriers--, much less with the Romans]

Tanks without, generally, even medium range effective communication with the infantry, mostly only able to fire when stationary, and substantially blind when buttoned unless one sat for awhile--that is my image of a WW2 tank.  My guess is that things have changed.

 

 

I am on the edge of my seat to see how this proceeds.

 

 

 

 

 

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@Rankorian Don't worry man, its always good to get as many different viewpoints in as possible.

On 13/09/2016 at 0:55 AM, Rankorian said:

Your screening infantry sees a target several hundreds of meters ahead.  Your tanks leap forward, shoot the target, and then retreat.

Not quite. With Panther 2, it fired on my infantry on the highway and revealed its position to the scout team in the building. The scout team was within shouting distance of its HQ, which was sitting in a halftrack with a radio so there is a spotting link via radio between the spotting unit and the tanks. There was a turn or two between spotting the Panther and the tanks getting into position and in that time they did get a spotting icon for the Panther, it just wasn't resolved- they knew that something tanky was over there, just not the details. To be sure, I was moving the killer Sherman up into position next to the scout team with eyes on the Panther so that they start yelling to the (unbuttoned) tank commander about that dirty great big kraut tank over there; but the Sherman spotted it on its on and made the kill.

Panther 3 is a little different- the Shermans had no idea that there was a Panther down the slope in front of them because it was too dark. But that's only in game spotting terms: you could argue that the tankers could tell that something was going on in front of them- plenty of muzzle flashes that are visible in the early morning murk but not resolvable, if that makes sense. From there its just a question of whether my orders to the Shermans represent orders from on high ("HQ says to move up and support the infantry getting hammered in front of us"- those guys in the streambed still had a radio I think) or whether they represent the tankers' own initiative ("The mission is to kill enemy tanks. Looks like there might be something ahead, let's creep forward and see."). In that case they actually spotted the Panther because it fired its main gun and lit itself up with its own muzzle flash.

Its a bit of a fill-in-the-blanks exercise I grant you, but once you start factoring the possibility that pixeltruppen can make local decisions on their own in line with the player-commander's intent, without waiting for orders you can pretty explain away any player based borg spotting :).

 

In the game, I'm still consolidating a little bit. I've managed to whack a radio operator down on the highway with some blind MG area fire and its starting to get a little difficult to keep track of AjarmanG's tanks: I'm not 100% sure how many there are and where they are now: one contact has popped back up on the Cobru road, one is definitely hanging around the top of town, I think the one on the highway has disappeared, that leaves the one in the centre of town unaccounted for... I'm trying not to think about it too much!

The real interesting news is that it looks like AjarmanG is worrying about his rear a bit and he's sent a long kubelwagen over to take a look. I'm all set to blow it away if it comes over the crest into my little staging area up there, but I'm fifty-fifty on whether to pop a halftrack up and swiss cheese it before it can get a load of sound contacts.

Image1_zps2ibnnxul.jpg

We'll see.

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16 hours ago, Hapless said:

@Rankorian Don't worry man, its always good to get as many different viewpoints in as possible.

Not quite. With Panther 2, it fired on my infantry on the highway and revealed its position to the scout team in the building. The scout team was within shouting distance of its HQ, which was sitting in a halftrack with a radio so there is a spotting link via radio between the spotting unit and the tanks. There was a turn or two between spotting the Panther and the tanks getting into position and in that time they did get a spotting icon for the Panther, it just wasn't resolved- they knew that something tanky was over there, just not the details. To be sure, I was moving the killer Sherman up into position next to the scout team with eyes on the Panther so that they start yelling to the (unbuttoned) tank commander about that dirty great big kraut tank over there; but the Sherman spotted it on its on and made the kill.

Panther 3 is a little different- the Shermans had no idea that there was a Panther down the slope in front of them because it was too dark. But that's only in game spotting terms: you could argue that the tankers could tell that something was going on in front of them- plenty of muzzle flashes that are visible in the early morning murk but not resolvable, if that makes sense. From there its just a question of whether my orders to the Shermans represent orders from on high ("HQ says to move up and support the infantry getting hammered in front of us"- those guys in the streambed still had a radio I think) or whether they represent the tankers' own initiative ("The mission is to kill enemy tanks. Looks like there might be something ahead, let's creep forward and see."). In that case they actually spotted the Panther because it fired its main gun and lit itself up with its own muzzle flash.

Its a bit of a fill-in-the-blanks exercise I grant you, but once you start factoring the possibility that pixeltruppen can make local decisions on their own in line with the player-commander's intent, without waiting for orders you can pretty explain away any player based borg spotting :).

 

In the game, I'm still consolidating a little bit. I've managed to whack a radio operator down on the highway with some blind MG area fire and its starting to get a little difficult to keep track of AjarmanG's tanks: I'm not 100% sure how many there are and where they are now: one contact has popped back up on the Cobru road, one is definitely hanging around the top of town, I think the one on the highway has disappeared, that leaves the one in the centre of town unaccounted for... I'm trying not to think about it too much!

The real interesting news is that it looks like AjarmanG is worrying about his rear a bit and he's sent a long kubelwagen over to take a look. I'm all set to blow it away if it comes over the crest into my little staging area up there, but I'm fifty-fifty on whether to pop a halftrack up and swiss cheese it before it can get a load of sound contacts.

Image1_zps2ibnnxul.jpg

We'll see.

Your explanation is a fair one.

 

Carry on

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I think I remember reading one of Harry Yeide's books years ago where it said that in the Overlord time frame tank -> infantry communication was basically non-existant. During the last months of 1944 however (platoon commander-)tanks were being equipped with infantry radio sets to overcome that. So around the time of the Ardennes it wouldn't be out of the ordinary I suppose that there was proper tank -> infantry radio communication.

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Alright! AjarmanG is officially coming out to play.

There’s two things going on here: first of all, it’s getting light enough for me to start spotting German infantry on the edge of Noville- which means that they’re going to be able to start spotting me too. Secondly, it seems like AjarmanG has decided to do a bit of recce himself:

Image1_zpsquvtsbkr.jpg

He’s sending some small teams out of Noville towards the Scout team in the house and towards his rear. The guys going for the scout team are in for a nasty surprise: not only is the scout team all set to ambush them, but there are two halftracks and some depleted infantry up there (including a 60mm mortar team) who can all cover the road in front of the scout house.

Image2_zpsnvopqqbv.jpg

As for the German teams going out the back of Noville, one was a single soldier in a Kubelwagen, who pretty much drove straight up the crest of my little staging area and peeked over. Chances are that AjarmanG knows there’s plenty of stuff up there from engine noise alone, but I have to assume that he’s seen things. I still haven’t quite nailed the little bugger yet, I’ve got a team moving up to check his last spotted position.

Another German team has been sneaking up through the graveyard that runs along the highway behind Noville, where the single unlucky survivor of the very first Panther encounter has been lurking. They spotted his jeep and destroyed it, but when they moved up into his target arc he managed to take two of them out. There’s a high chance he’s now doomed, but hopefully he’ll get his grenades off before he cops it.

Image3_zps3ehmerb8.jpg

All this activity on the right of Noville makes me think that AjarmanG is either trying to gauge the threat that he knows is out there or he’s trying to pull my own trick off and goad my units into firing and thus giving their positions away for the remaining Panthers. Whatever he’s up to, it looks like his attention is over on that side and he's not looking towards Cobru, so I’m going to put a bit of pressure on over there and see what he does. Its more mind-games too: I want him to think that I'm able to to hit him in the back whichever way he turns.

I’ve got two platoons in Cobru still set up to defend and they’re going to probe forward. The third platoon in Noville is currently loading into halftracks so I have a mobile force (read ‘back-up suicide thunder run platoon’) to try and exploit any opportunities that come up.

Image4_zpssivuxij0.jpg

Not that I’m about to go nuts now, I’m still holding to slow and steady for the time being.

There are 40 minutes left on the clock, visual range is now a scary 380m.

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Again, there hasn’t been too much going on. And it is distressing lighter now than it was earlier.

Both scout teams mentioned in the last post- the lone man in the graveyard and the team in the house- are dead. The lone scout was predictably finished off at close range, the team in the house took a Panther shell to the face. I never spotted the Panther, which raises the worrying possibility that now the visibility has improved, AjarmanG can actually pull his tanks back into the town to start exploiting keyhole positions, making it practicality impossible to get any flanking shots on him. So Panther hunting season is probably over.

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We’ve got 35 minutes left on the clock- we’re 2/3rds of the way through- which means that I’ve got to start prepositioning, organising and thinking about the endgame here.

As I see it, I have two broad options.

First of all, I can hold my positions. This is going to keep AjarmanG pinned into Noville, or at least threaten him so much that he doesn’t make a move on Cobru. That said, after that bleeding Kubelwagen driver (now deceased) managed to get up close for a look-see, I have to assume that AjarmanG knows I have a force up there. Whether or not he has a handle on how big it is and whether or not he thinks he can hold it off is a different matter. Either way, with this approach I can stand by to exploit any opportunities to deny the Noville objective and if none appear I can go for the draw/minor loss on casualties and tell myself that I won by my own standards of (mostly) dictating the battle.

The second option is to attack. I can pincer Noville between the right hook and a force attacking from Cobru, really putting the pressure on. Although I don’t have any artillery (why didn’t I bring any arty? Why?) I’ve got plenty of .50 cals on that halftracks and I can use them to paste any enemy positions that pop up. And I can always throw in some feints, demonstrations and general deception to try and draw the Panthers away from the real attack. The problem is that I’m not convinced I can pull off the real attack with enough speed to get into Noville before AjarmanG can send a Panther over to squash it. The last thing I want is to have a load of halftracks and infantry caught in the open outside Noville trying to win fire superiority over a few tenacious German MG teams because if a Panther turns up they’re all going to die. I could try and attract AjarmanG’s attention to one side of Noville and then try and Thunder Run into the other side, but I’m not massively optimistic about such craziness.

Options_zps026f2yl1.png

So low-risk, low reward vs high-risk, high reward. Great choices there...

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Excellent write ups @Hapless - seeing a H2H match where one of the sides gets hemmed in like this is very interesting: it is quite unusual and by seeing how it plays out I will be learning a thing or two.

Let me echo @benpark's idea about sharing saved games for spectators to take a look by themselves, it's a good one. 

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Hapless,

  Give it a little more time before choosing 1 or 2.  He's got a lot of troops somewhere, possibly massing for a punch towards Cobru.  I'd give him a few more turns to see if he reveals any sort of movement.  Then decide to hold or attack.

Heinrich505

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I agree with @Heinrich505; I think you can afford to sit and wait for a few minutes. If you had the luxury of it, now would've been a good time to start putting harassing mortar fire down in the treeline or on a few houses you suspect were occupied.

 

 

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@BletchleyGeek Its a bit unusual to play as well! I'm glad you're enjoying it. I'd forgotten about the turn sharing idea (sorry @benpark!). Now that I think about it I'll sort out some little sequences and dropbox them up so people can have a look- the tank stalking turns in particular- so that people can dive in and see for themselves. Then I'll try and think up a new password...

@Heinrich505 Funny you should say that actually, we've had a bit of a development:

After a few turns of mutual inaction I got in touch with AjarmanG and it pretty quickly became clear that neither of us were going to move. You can all see where I'm standing and appreciate the risks, AjarmanG knows that he's surrounded and that I've been poaching his big cats, so we've agreed to a ceasefire.

BUT!

We're putting the ceasefire turn to one side and ploughing on. We'll go back and do the ceasefire later for the 'real' result, but in the meantime I'm going to attack Noville to see what happens.

Obviously I'm not just going to throw my forces at Noville for a pretty but shallow slice of Michael Bay Gotterdammerung, I am going to be trying to do a good job. Of course, its probably going to end up with everything on dead, on fire or running away, but hey- the rest of the battalion will be coming up in an hour or so, I'm just pinning Jerry in place...

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I am looking forward to see how your attack turns out--forget (almost) win/loss, I will be interested to see your tactical moves.  The way you have moved your units thus far has (other than the recon jabs) has almost been poetic. 

 

 

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We are just now probably bringing it to a close. Or rather more accurately, I've not been able to figure out a way to break into Noville without excessive casualties so I'm breaking into Noville with excessive casualties.

This is absolutely not how to attack an urban area, this is exactly what I've been trying to avoid for the whole game and this is why cease-firing a few turns ago feels increasingly justified. But on the plus side, its dramatic as hell!

Here's a quick indicator of how it's going:

Never hear enough Stravinsky...

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Ok then, as you might have guessed from the human bbq above, the attack into Noville has totally failed.

I did a little probing and couldn't really get a handle on AjarmanG's defence (except that it involved at least 2, probably 3 Panthers), so there didn't seem to be any weakspots I could exploit and eventually I went with the pincer movement. So I kicked up up a noisy fuss down on the highway to try and lure the Panthers down there before storming in with a halftrack platoon from Cobru and the Shermans together with another halftrack platoon from the northeast.

Not a fantastic plan, but the logic is that I wouldn't stand a chance going up against Panthers in the open, the best I could do was grab some real estate in Noville and then try to engage the Panthers at close range when they counterattack. The funny thing is that I've spent the entire game playing the psychological game mostly because I'm terrified of what would AjarmanG could do with a single Panther. Irony is a harsh mistress.

So, in brief: the demonstration down on the highway totally failed to draw AjarmanG down there. The attack from the northeast disintegrated under MG fire: 4 of the 5 halftracks broke and fled before they even got close to Noville, the leading halftrack that actually had testicles got cooked by the flamethrower team in the video above (Stravinsky should have given it away to them- its like hearing the jaws theme while you're swimming). Then the Panthers opened up, drilling a few halftracks and one of the Shermans up there.

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I tried to bring the remaining three Shermans in the mob one of the Panthers that got spotted on the eastern edge of Noville- on the basis that fewer Panthers are better than more- but it was in a good keyhole position and managed to knock out the one coming from the front.

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One of the flanking pair got immobilised by a panzershreck team on their flank, then finished off by a second Panther lurking further down,

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which then proceeded to put a round straight through the last Sherman on the next turn.

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At least the last Sherman did actually get a shot out on the target Panther, even if it did nothing.

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The one tiny speck of good news is that the halftrack platoon coming from Cobru managed to get two vehicles into Noville and the pixeltruppen within piled out to occupy some buildings inside the objective area. But, they had to run the gauntlet of German troops in the wood on their right- which I knew were there and did nothing to really suppress them on the basis that it would take too long and give the game away. That's what you call a fundamentally bad decision and honestly, there's not really a good excuse for it.

So, I did get a toe-hold in Noville, but there was no way it was going to last: AjarmanG had a Panther on the other Cobru road that could fire on them and he brought another one up pretty quick. Interior lines and all that.

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Turns out he had four left, so while that means that he didn't have as much infantry as I thought he would have, he probably didn't really need it. Those guys wouldn't have lasted until the end of the battle and almost certainly would have done little to no damage to the enemy in return. That left me with a two severely mangled infantry platoons to the north and south of Noville and two intact platoons with the Btn HQ in Cobru. Not a force that's going to be able to break into Noville. So up goes the white flag.

Should I have mobilised everything to assault Noville in the first place? Well, I think I'd have gotten the same result. Even when it turned out that AjarmanG didn't have as much infantry as I thought he had, all it takes is a few lone MG42s to slow my guys down and he's got time to get a Panther over and wipe them out. I appreciate I'm sounding pretty fatalistic about it all, but that's the logic from my point of view. Would it have made better entertainment? Debatable.

Here's the endgame anyway:

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That seems a bit small. I had 246 men still kicked, lost 98 dead, 66 wounded, 1 missing and I lost 6 tanks, 7 halftracks and 5 jeeps. AjarmanG had 156 men still going, 44 dead, 32 wounded and he lost 3 tanks, a halftrack and 11 trucks/kubelwagens.

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Of course, that's the 'What If?' result, the real result is a ceasefire a few turns earlier because neither of us wanted to attack- which certainly seems a justified decision from my point of view now!

So hopefully, I'll be able to bring you guys the ceasefire result in a bit. I'm betting its either a draw or a tactical victory for AjarmanG.

Edited by Hapless
Incompetence

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It does appear that the visibility issue was key.  It may have mandated that the allies attack with everything at the start to take advantage of the short LOS.  The Axis have the  weapons that are more effective at longer ranges.  Very interesting scenario challanges.

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Re final bonus stage - should have backed off, waited for clearer weather and let the airforce bomb him to bits...

Can you go both go back to the turn on the mutual ceasfire and see what the game result was rom that position? EDIT saw your bit about rewinding to that.

Edited by Wicky

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We ran the ceasefire turn. Its a draw!

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Again, I need to make these bigger somehow. I got 207 points with 38 dead and 18 wounded, losing 2 tanks, 2 halftracks and 4 jeeps in the process. AjarmanG got 275 points losing 22 dead, 13 wounded, 3 tanks, a halftrack and 5 assorted light vehicles. I think it works out that he lost a higher percentage of the points he picked than me, but it works out as a draw. Why it doesn't think we're holding the objectives I have no idea.

And here's the end game:

Image9_zpslpnxwqdb.jpg

which is pretty similar to end of the "what if", except there's a lot more of my stuff still alive! Total hats off to AjarmanG for

I certainly made plenty of mistakes- not taking the wood full of pioneers between Cobru and Noville is definitely the biggest, though not taking any artillery is a close second. Sucks to fight when you're missing one leg of the old combined arms tripod.

One of the interesting things about the game is that it really came down to a tank battle, despite all the infantry hanging around, and that I spent most of the game tank hunting with the PBI as bait. So, as Benpark suggested and BletchleyGeek echoed, I've dropboxed up the tank hunting turns so you guys can download them and hop in to see how it all fit together:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cdi05lskgnudhrf/AAAnyOUhvFEmuxKuqU-R3e5Oa?dl=0

The password is papashah, which means that I need to find myself a new password.

If anyone wants any other turns up to have a look at, I can pop them up too.

So that about wraps it up folks- something a bit different hopefully, a bit more of a psychological battle. Hope you guys enjoyed reading about it as much we enjoyed playing it and hats off to AjarmanG for making me think so much!

Edited by Hapless

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Hapless,

  This was great and very much appreciated.  Thanks to you and AjarmanG for allowing us to play along as observers, so to speak.  It is always fun to watch DARs, especially ones that are well done and presented like this, and I always learn something on the way. 

Heinrich505

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19 hours ago, Hapless said:

So, as Benpark suggested and BletchleyGeek echoed, I've dropboxed up the tank hunting turns so you guys can download them and hop in to see how it all fit together:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cdi05lskgnudhrf/AAAnyOUhvFEmuxKuqU-R3e5Oa?dl=0

The password is papashah, which means that I need to find myself a new password.

Very cool. Thanks. I wish more people would upload their save games like this. Also... man oh man, that is one beautiful QB map.

 

 

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Thanks for the write up. Good to see how dawn circumstances affected the battle. Will try to remember that one.....

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