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Hapless

DAR- Breakfast in Noville

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@ Rankorian Its just as interesting to me to see what you guys think and how you guys play the game, so thanks for chipping in! For the record, when I have the time and patience to try the scenarios against the AI I tend not to do particularly well.

@Erwin Luckily the game doesn't simulate various kinds of mysterious mechanical or radio 'difficulties', pixeltruppen never 'get lost' and never 'misunderstand' their orders, otherwise I would be up the metaphorical creek, probably with the pixeltruppen crew beating me to death with the metaphorical paddles.

Sometime though you just have to stick your nose out to find the enemy. It used to mystify me watching footage out of Afghanistan where NATO troops are just patrolling around in open fields like they want to get shot, but it turns out that's exactly what they were doing- it was the best way to find the enemy. Survival mostly hinged on terrible enemy accuracy, good drills and rapid support (none of which I can expect here, so hmmm).

I agree that its not very accurate historically speaking, but neither is the whole set-up here because its out of context. In a historical context, I'm winning here because the enemy is pinned into a confined space that my side can overwhelm with superior firepower and resources in the next few days- I don't have to do anything. In the game context, we've both occupied one objective each but I've taken higher casualties so I'm losing and the onus is on me to do something. Or, I feel like it is.

I'm very focused on being active and aggressive here, but holding my positions around Noville is a legitimate option. Going into the town is going to hurt- a lot- but my presence on the southern and eastern edges is pinning some of AjarmanG's forces in place and reducing the force he can send towards Cobru. Maybe if I'm lucky I can trick him into thinking that Cobru is lightly held and lure him in. Options abound...

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The important thing is that you are having fun.  I wasn't being critical, simply commenting on the different ways different people approach the game, or maybe the "philosophy" of how realistically one uses the sim.

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Unless I am missing something, this is what I see: you have him surrounded, but he has, then, the faster internal movement.  Normally, I would favor the faster ability to deploy internally.   But, again unless I am missing something, he seems to have a lot of units in a small amount of area.  That could prove to be awkward, as moving them could inadvertently expose them to fire from your units, and any fire from your units could potentially cause damage to his nearby units.  You also know, sort of, where his units are--"his" town.  He knows less about your units, except those he has see on your right flank  (which, I agree, may be unnerving to him)

In general, I would think that a contest between two equal units one would want to be in the defensive position (particularly with FOW).  This is what I find so jarring about QB ME battles: the initial rush to get into the central position (like gaining the central position on a chess board).  The person who does not attack the enemies fixed positions first may have the advantage.

If he attacks Corbu, I think the situation will be very, very interesting.  If he piece-meals the attack, or can't move units with precision, you have him.  If he does, however, he might have you.  That might then require you counter-attack at his rear to draw off units by threatening "his" town.

So, I would counsel patience (except, perhaps, to pepper some woods/target on the right flank to emphasize your potential threat there).  But I don't have command--the weight of decision is on your shoulders.

 

Edited by Rankorian
strengthening a point

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The race to the center "flags" in ME's has been an issue ever since CM1 days.  This must have been an auto generated QB map.  Most designers know to place the "flags" away from the center, so each side has to attack and defend.

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22 hours ago, Erwin said:

The race to the center "flags" in ME's has been an issue ever since CM1 days.  This must have been an auto generated QB map.  Most designers know to place the "flags" away from the center, so each side has to attack and defend.

The down-side of that (so I have read) is that both sides can sit on their distant flags, and thus be boring.  (since, with equal forces, attacking is risky).  Given the known artificialness of an ME anyway, I am not against trying to turn it into an interesting cage match--as we are seeing here.

I am reading the book "Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming" (a 800 page book on wargaming--what is not to like?).  Early on, I think from the designer of PanzerBlitz (I could be wrong about the attribution), there is a quote something like, "The Game is a Game." [CM, by the way, is just mentioned as a topical topic they just did not get to]

And, reading this thread, I am enjoying CM2.

 

 

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Thanks again guys, its all interesting stuff. How you get players to actually fight in a certain way is a big issue for games like this, especially when 'gamey' things like bumrushing the objectives at the start are so rewarding. Maybe for something like a QB meeting engagement the objectives should turn only appear on the map after x number of turns.

There's been a little bit more shooting (99% incoming) in the woods next to Cobru from a different contact from before, but that could just be the other half of a split squad. I'm not worried. A little comedy though- a few turns ago I regained control over one of the panicky crews from a knocked out Sherman which was in the middle of the field in front of the dead Panther so I crawled them forwards into the streambed to get a little cover. They quickly got spotted and wiped out, but after that the sound contacts started moving back down to that area, so I may accidentally provoked a bit of a reaction there.

The big news though is this from on the Road to Cobru:

Image3_zpscicw3ppf.jpg

The presumed Panther sound contact has been moving up fairly slowly and the tripwire team I've got covering that road has spotted some German infantry moving up as well, so my outrageous hopes of being able to mob an unsupported enemy tank have evaporated. My guys took some potshots, but I've ordered them to run away. I think it would be too much to offer no resistance whatsoever, he knows I can't be strong everywhere, hopefully he'll assume its a delaying action.

I have pretty much decided to wait and see what happens for the time being, while making a bit of noise and scouting around on the right some more. My biggest worry here is that AjarmanG throws caution to wind, clumps his Panthers into an armoured wedge and goes on a sightseeing tour of the map with them. Chances are I wouldn't be able to stop him without excessive casualties.

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Not a lot in the last turn (File 68?). The offending tripwire team outside Cobru legged it but came under fire from an MG42 off to its right. Nobody got hit, so maybe it some opportunistic area fire from AjarmanG trying to enfilade down the hedge they just evacuated. No matter, that's given me another enemy contact between Cobru and Noville. The only toher development was that the enemy teams in the wood next to Cobru have disengaged and run away.

Here's a quick overview as things stand:

Image1_zpsmkdvogfl.jpg

The big thing I've decided to do here is push the right hook across the stream and round behind Cobru to where the two weapons team halftracks are at the top of the image. There's a nice convex slope over there that they can mass behind. At some point I'm going to be pushing into Noville and its going to be easier to come in from the top because I'll avoid crossing the stream under fire and potentially get bogged in a really bad place.

Image2_zpsngfbgxjm.jpg

In the meantime, the highway platoon is going to put some fire down on the enemy highway positions opposite them- mostly to see what happens, but also to remind AjarmanG that they're there- and I'm still committed to holding Cobru, though my chances of bagging a Panther in an ambush up there are probably nonexistent if he's supporting it with infantry.

So, a little redeployment of the right hook and a lot of wait and see...

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Wow.

 

Given he started with the same point forces you did, where are they?

 

Your spread out right flank, which is something I was worried about, is starting to contract in and become a noose.  Could you be missing something off your left flank?  Even if you were, there is a lot of killing spot area between Cobru and the left forests to stop movement there. 

 

Again, your movements behind Noville is much more risky than I would attempt--you are essentially separating our forces into 2.  But....if he punches in one direction, you can forcefully counterpunch the opposite side.

 

The H to H stuff is a real mind game.

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@Rankorian: Its all mind games lol!

You have got a point about where his forces are though. I have a pair of halftracks idling by the woods on my far left- I'd expect any Germans sneaking through the woods to open up on them and give the game away. Even if he is sending troops around my left, I'm happy with that. Cobru is sorting itself out in an all-round defence so he can flank me all he likes. I'd be very, very happy to find a major enemy force popping up on my left flank, or even behind my left, because it means they're not busy preparing for Stalingrad in Noville.

Overall, I'm pretty sure he's got most of his force in Noville. I've brought two companies and some tanks along, I'm pretty much expecting something similar from him- 5 Panthers (a platoon) and 2 infantry coys. I've seen (and set on fire) a few trucks and kubelwagens, I've nailed a halftrack (but there might be more), I know that he was transporting men into Noville at the start by having them ride on the tanks, I know he's brought plenty of flamethrowers along... I might crack open the QB force selection at some point and try and replicate his force to see what I might be up against.

We have had an interesting development this turn though.

When the troops I ordered to fire on enemy positions on the highway opened up, something shot back! (And missed to boot!).

Image1_zpsv5otzmz3.jpg

Well hello there pussy cat! Is that a nice squidgy side armour you've got exposed there?

Image2_zpsvssvjych.jpg

I think it is!

The opportunity to wang some AP into that is not something I can ignore, so the two trailing Shermans are off on a snap tank hunting mission.

Image3_zps6g4g8kgg.jpg

The area that the Panther is in has been under observation from that friendly scout team there for a good ten minutes or more and things have come and gone without being seen- its only when the Panther fired its main gun and the infantry around it opened up that it got spotted, so I reckon there's a good chance I can sneak the Shermans up there without being spotted. If I'm lucky, the scout team will maintain the spot and it won't fade away so when the Sherman's pop up they'll be able to tell them where it is and minimise that terrifying spotting race.

Image5_zpsvseqe2lw.jpg

So one Sherman is creeping up to the house itself to get intel off the scout team, the other one is going into the woods a little further back next to the scout team's HQ, which should know about the Panther by the time the Shermans arrive. I want to get in there, spot the Panther as quick as possible, drill in the flank with AP and then run away. It might take a turn or two to get into position, so I'll be reconsidering if it looks like I won't be getting the drop on them. But I can't pass up the opportunity to get a flanking position on an unaware Panther. Need more burning kitties on this battlefield before I start feeling happier...

Edited by Hapless
Forgot something

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The results are in! I spent so long on the edge of my seat for this, it deserves a video:

Shoot: complete.

Scoot: in progress.

More details in the GMT morning. Hopefully that Panther's turret is full of dead people and broken machinery, but the Shermans aren't hanging around to find out!

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Hapless,

  That was really sharp.  I enjoyed the vid.  I'd say you'd be right about getting the commander unless he was bending over to tie his boot.  :lol:

  Did your tank commander get hit at the end?  I saw a red cross pop up.  Who would have sniped him, the enemy infantry around the Panther?

Heinrich505

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Nice work on the video. Yes American commander seems to have paid the price for that hit on the Panther. Let's hope there are no more bigger rounds incoming as he pulls back...

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It looked like the PzV saw and shot at the M4 as the latter was moving into position.  Then it just "forgot" about it.  A good video to support the idea of some sort of memory so a tank doesn't forget and rotate back its turret so quickly.

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The line of trees on the right you used--could not have been better positioned if you had walked out and planted the trees yourself.

The Panthers have a justifiably great reputation.....when they can present their front armor from a distance.  Not to be too "catty" [to use the slang for such German armor], but your opponent may have been better served by holding his Panthers back from Noville, in overwatch position, and at a distance.  Think of how that would have markedly disrupted your right flank move.

 

Moving Panthers into a town, in my opinion, markedly weakens their powers.  The cats are not great street brawlers.

 

Edited by Rankorian

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5 hours ago, Erwin said:

It looked like the PzV saw and shot at the M4 as the latter was moving into position.  Then it just "forgot" about it.  A good video to support the idea of some sort of memory so a tank doesn't forget and rotate back its turret so quickly.

Are you sure? it looked to me that the Panther took a pot shot at the scout team.

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Cheers guys! I can report that both Shermans managed to successfully disengage (read: ran away in abject terror) and that another opportunity may have reared its head, but first I’m gonna dissect that turn a little bit more.

What you guys didn’t see was the turn before where I started getting horrifically nervous. While I’d remembered to target arc the scout team in the house to stop them shooting, I’d forgotten that they were able to clue the scout platoon HQ halftrack next to them about the enemy infantry and they immediately opened up with the .50cal, causing some overshoots which pinged the Panther with pop-up text. I was pretty worried that that had given the game away, but decided to press on and see what happened anyway because it was such a good opportunity.

It looks like AjarmanG hadn’t spotted the halftrack and either got a spot on the scout team or correctly assumed I had some troops in that building and decided to give it a 15-second target-briefly with the Panther- hence, it tracks round at the very start of the turn, has enough time to fire one HE shell (harmlessly into the upper storey- my guys are on the ground floor) and then track back round.

Image1_zpstkbpryei.jpg

Alternatively, the Panther switched its attention because one of the abandoned (non-radio) Willys jeeps from the scout team just in front of the highway got spotted and immediately filled in with machine gun fire. This could have been MG fire from the Panther in question, the other tank contact just across the road or any of the enemy infantry lurking in the gardens and houses over there.

Image2_zpsf5vwclxi.jpg

Either way, I got a nice chunky side turret penetration. A bit of dirty quick testing (5 Sherman 76s with flanking shots to 5 Panther turret sides at similar range) shows that a turret hit like that should be enough to destroy and rinse the turret crew it unless I’m really unlucky, so I can be pretty confident that that Panther there is out of the fight (it also doesn’t appear to be moving, which is another good indicator).

Image19_zpsprbm7oez.jpg

My tank commander got domed by some fire coming out of one of the gardens from further up in Noville- I did get a full on spot on some infantry up there with the scout team, but lost sight of them. It might have been them, it might have been some other Germans up there- it seems like AjarmanG has got some infantry lining that edge of Noville. Once again, TRPs and artillery would be really handy here!

Image3_zpsjxc22p1k.jpg

The next turn, my Shermans manage to reverse away without any interference. Absolute visibility- how far anyone can see due to the darkness- is about 300m now (I think its increasing by 6-7m per turn) and it’s still dark and misty so spotting inside that range is by no means guaranteed. The Sherman that fired the shot was about 270m out, so it didn’t have far to go to safety. It did bog reversing out though, which is a little worrying even though it managed to escape. Bogging is the kind of thing that could be a huge problem, but it’s the first I’ve seen of it despite sending almost everything everywhere cross county- that Sherman has suffered some track damage going through fences and hedges etc, so I could put it down to that.

output_UsdH8H_zpskoo3avil.gif

Some interesting stuff happened on the other side of the fence too. It looks like all of AjarmanG’s Panthers in Noville switched their engines on! It looks as though he’s reshuffling the one by the highway and two more spots have popped up on the right side of Noville. These two moved into position after my aborted attack (attack? It was a raid *cough*) over there and I lost track of them- the top one I’d assume stayed in place, but I was working on the assumption that there were 5 enemy Panthers and with one down there were 4 left. Now it looks like there might be another one- though I’ve lost the sound contact approaching Cobru, I don’t think he’s pulled it back.

Image13_zps7pfl8kdj.jpg

The second Panther on the highway looks to have pulled back some (it was on the same line as the recently nailed Panther after all- moving it is a sound move), the other two look like they’ve pushed forward a little to get some flanking positions on the offending Sherman, but they seem out of range to me.

The top one is almost in range of the two Shermans further up the right hook, so if I hunt them forward and provoke it to open fire I might be able to bag another one. These are different circumstances though- there’s no keyholing opportunity here, no cover to take advantage of because of the range involved so the close Sherman is going to loiter a little while in case it has a good shot in the next turn while the other shifts further up the right to try and get a flanking hull down position.

Image11_zpsmwjbkb5j.jpg

Then we’ll see if I'm get punished for being greedy.

Incidentally, for interest value, Noville is a bit different these days, but not that much. Here's a best guess as the Panther and Sherman relative positions:

Image20_zpsb3ajtgkz.jpg

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Great presentation.

 

It is almost as though it was a story-book for a movie.  Overall shots, and then close in ones.  Hey, was that Brad Pitt sticking his head out of the Sherman?

Edited by Rankorian

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@Rankorian Thanks man, its actually kinda fun to do it this way as well, so win-win!

We got through a good four or five turns yesterday and it’ll take forever to peel it apart in minute detail, but the broad strokes are pretty interesting.

At the end of the last turn, as the Panther-killing Shermans were gallantly running away, it looked like AjarmanG was swinging a Panther out into the open on the right flank of Noville. It didn’t take long for my shattered GIs cowering in the stream bed to spot it and its supporting infantry advancing on them and we quickly got a rather one sided firefight.

Ok, so what actually happened was my infantry got rinsed, but it pinned the Panther in place, kept it spotted (most of the time) and it gave its position away to the Shermans when it fired its main gun:

 

So, one definite Panther kill there (plus a few footsloggers that the Shermans mowed down as they withdrew).

The downside is that my infantry platoon getting hammered down in the stream has really had enough. They’ve lost another halftrack, taken a few casualties in the firefight and to top it off that damn mortar got the range on one of the squads and wiped it out. So, those guys are pulling out.

I’m steadily moving my remaining uncommitted (read: intact) armoured infantry platoon round into the dead ground NNW of Noville and the tanks are moving to join them.

Enemy wise, there is definitely another Panther on the right in Noville (haven’t got a spot yet, but I can draw a line from the hole in the latest dead halftrack straight to a tank sound contact), I can still hear a tank down by the highway and it looks like he’s shifting the Panther heading for Cobru back into town to take up the position its most recently deceased buddy was holding.

Obviously its time for some pressure from Cobru to get his attention over there.

So, if I’m lucky, just three Panthers to go and then we can kick start the Fallujah party in Noville (Nice building there Fritz, would be a shame if anything… happened to it).

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4 hours ago, Rinaldi said:

Like I said earlier, you have him penned in. You're also starting to attrit the forward edge of his combat power. Time to sit back and let him bleed a bit. 

I might sound a bit more enthusiastic than I actually am- I'm definitely taking my foot off the gas here. I have plenty of time and space to work with, the pressure to act is on him.

If nothing else, AjarmanG is going to start being more careful with his Panthers so I'm going to be burned if start being greedy.

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I am sure your opponent is a excellent fighter, so I say everything with the utmost respect.

 

I do not like the use of those Panthers.  In overwatch, initially 3 on his left flank (your right), 2 on his right flank--with a screening force in front, and then moving the 2 over when he understands you moves.  I think that would have been the baseline/default positioning.  Keep them at a distance, clustered, with only front armor to be seen.

 

On the other hand, your handling of the Sherman tanks shows why we should give that fighting vehicle more credit, particularly in the more crowded Western Front.

 

Now I am going to make a generation specific comment:  You --move-- your tanks.  That is probably consistent with modern doctrine, and the Shermans are likely a good candidate for that.   In my thinking, in WW2 tank thinking was that they were more mobile AT/HE/MG positions with armor around them.  [ha...maybe such a generalization will get JasonC to jump in to eviscerate me] Yes they were mobile, but the concept was to move them to somewhere critical and sit and fire (yes there is the "shoot and scoot" in CM--but I consider that the exception to the rule, and was dropped as a command in CM2)

 

How is your ammo?  Do your Shermans carry much HE?  That might be critical near the conclusion of this battle.

 

 

 

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Not much change in the last few turns. I'm making sure to area fire the highway positions a little bit with some MGs to remind him that I have forces down there too.

@Rankorian My view on AjarmanG's handling of his Panthers is that it fits in to what I think he's doing. If we had ceasefired before the last two Panthers got hit then he would almost certainly have won. Now, it might be more like a draw.

If I put myself in his shoes, then what I see is a crazy bit of recce with the jeeps at the start and a bit later a messy attack up the edge of the highway, then later still a surprise flank attack by a halftrack platoon. All three times, he's stopped me dead. The recce team got blown away and then quickly mopped up. In the highway attack he knocked out two Shermans and mangled an infantry platoon for the loss of a Panther. When I flanked him on the right he only lost a few transport vehicles and gave my guys a good kicking.

So it makes a lot of sense for him to say "If Hapless is going to keep attacking me and I keep beating him off with minor losses then I'm steadily building up an advantage. I can just dig in here, let him throw away his combat power and then make a grab for Cobru towards the end when I've the upper hand."  That's without mentioning the fact that as visibility improves he's going to be able to play to the Panthers' strengths a lot more. There are disadvantages to this approach though, which I'm trying to capitalise on.

About the way I'm handling my tanks: I regard my tanks as tanks. That might sound a bit weird, but its pretty hard to explain. To me, tanks are very specifically tanks and I try to use them as such. At the moment I'm tank hunting, so movement is my friend for reasons of safety, deception, effectiveness etc. Once I'm happy that the AT threat has been degraded and fire support for the infantry becomes a priority then movement is less of a concern.

Ammo should be good. I don't think I've fired any HE yet at all so I should have about 30-40 HE shells per tank, something like that.

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Interesting that visibility is an important changing parameter.  MY first thought was that in RL were not designed for tank vs tank but for inf support. In a situation like this where they come vs PzV's, I thought that doctrine would call for the allies to halt and bring up tank killers.  But, the low range visibility changes that equation since the M4 gun is more deadly at these "point blank" ranges.  So, Hapless is doing a good job playing to his strengths while he can.  There may be some urgency here for the Allies the Germans tend to do better at longer ranges.

Very good scenario and reports.

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15 hours ago, Hapless said:

 

About the way I'm handling my tanks: I regard my tanks as tanks. That might sound a bit weird, but its pretty hard to explain. To me, tanks are very specifically tanks and I try to use them as such

I understand this completely, and I also agree. I don't subscribe to the 'roving bunker' philosophy whatsoever with armor. Terrain  dictates who leads/who supports but a tank is ultimately a tank; its made to do anything the situation demands - including fighting the big cats. Your attack on that Panther was definitely the highlight of the match for me thus far.

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