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sigop22

Then we will fight in the shade!

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Hello,

 

Ive never been a master tactician, but I feel like I've finally figured out combined arms and armour dueling pretty well between Normandy and Fortress Italy. I even managed to pull off a platoon half track and tank assault with only losing three guys who were hit by a stray mortar round. 

 

But one thing I just can't get my head around is fighting in the forest. Without armor to basically shield my troops from incoming rounds, it feels like whole squads are being ambushed every few meters. And with mortar support taking up precious minutes that tick away on the counter while they get slaughtered, I'm not sure how to do this. 

 

In one particular scenerio in the market garden pack (I can't recall the name), I have a couple German companies (Schultz and Erwinsomething) basically take on whst seems to be every Sten gun ever made with the British airborne swinging it around. Some of the fighting on one edge of the map is a few hundred meters of thick forest leading up to a clearing where the I o bjective is. I cant ignore it because it looks as though if I were even to bypass it, the open field nearby would be even worse of a death trap. 

 

I have four panzer iii's that are supposed to represent Char B tanks, but I had one knocked out early and two are trying to help clear out the main effort. The fourth is attempting to help the company - clear out the woods, but spends a good deal of time dodging piat rounds and grenades more than anything else. 

 

What strategy works best in the woods? Scouts get mowed down for 0 Intel. Sections are being cut up but can't spot and MG's never have a decent LOS to any of the Limeys. But this isnt the first scenerio I've had trouble with. I can reload the scenerio and just smash the woods with 105, but I don't want to waste precious artillery on foxholes when something worse is probably around the corner and the damnable town is swarming with Sten troops. 

 

Tldr, how to fight infantry on infantry in the forest without having to write too many letters home. 

 

I'm a cautious player, and hate seeing casualties. Maybe that's just new age military in me; but losikg whole platoons is starting to make me feel inadequate. Maybe call Sgt Steiner?

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One option, that eats up a lot of ammo and time, is to move forward one action spot at a time and fire into any action spot you can reach from there.  keep doing this turn after turn.  Another option is to use scouts, when they get blasted have you squad go one action spot back from where they were and do the fire at any action spot you can see routine.

 

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Posted (edited)

And use a lot of time and patience. 

Of course problem is some designers don't give adequate scenario time and essentially encourage hasty movement leading to bloodbaths.

Edited by Erwin

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Attacking SMG troops in the woods is no joke that’s for sure. Reminds me of trying to clear Soviet SMG squads out of the woods in Red Thunder. Not pretty! Sometimes there’s not much you can do without heavy losses, especially if they are deep inside thick woods. Then the fighting is man-to-man without the aid of all those fancy fire support doo-hickeys. The only things I can think of:

1) Fire into the woods from multiple angles rather than just straight on. Sometimes you can use HE fire to blow up trees on the outskirts of the woods, allowing you to fire farther inside. Very useful if you have a lot of tanks with a lot of ammo. Might not work if the enemy is deep in the woods though.

2) Like Dynaman said, when your scouts get mowed down and you know when and where the enemy will start shooting, park the rest of your men just outside that spot, and have them target the ground in front of them. Some of their shots will go high and fly into the enemy even if you’re not aiming right at them. Sometimes this alone can break the enemy and make them fall back a bit, or at least suppress them.

3) Sometimes I like to have my men crawl forward through the woods instead of run. When they’re running through the woods, they have very poor spotting ability, especially to the flanks. Sometimes they will run right past an enemy and not see them. At least when crawling, troops seem more willing to stop and open fire when they see something.

4) Advance on a broad front with overwhelming numbers. If the enemy has a platoon in the woods, send a whole company in there. Have one squad fire blindly into the woods in front of them while another crawls forward. Then have the crawling squad start firing and then leapfrog the other one.

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In Normandy, I generally tried to isolate forested areas and usually bombard them with on-map platoon/company level mortars. This would often encourage the enemy squads to change positions, giving my over-watching tanks and infantry targets. This tactic may have worked against demoralized rear-echelon Germans (possibly Ost troops) -- it may not work against well-trained GB paratroops.

My recommendation is to take it slow and spread out your troops. Try to get as many angles as possible on their suspected positions, without moving in. I always envy the German 8cm mortars, but you said you do not have the time to properly call them in. Could you get a LOS close to the suspected enemy position and direct fire on them? That'd save time and may flush out a few squads into your other units' LOS. If you can afford it, only advance with HUNT or SLOW into blasted territory.

I think a theme in WW2 CMs is that time and casualties are generally inversely proportionate to one-another. Take it slow, and save a few buds -- go in fast and expect heavier losses. Modern CMs give you well stabilized 120mm and autocannon AFVs and rapid fire infantry weapons with advanced optics. Against a less modern force, you can expect minimum losses in minimal time. I can only imagine how a WW1 CM would play -- taking hours and unreal casualties to win trivial victories.

 

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8 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

I'd be interested to know the name of the particular scenario that you were playing.

Sounds like Borderland. Germans attack from west (left map edge)

bl1.thumb.jpg.2c69f3cde6ca77a35ea69b00d68df607.jpg

P

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Posted (edited)

Thats it there. The South west corner I had a platoon moving through with a pander iii in support but can't support in depth. I have a company + coming straight on from the west with two panzers. Been a rush trying to flush the airborne out. The north has an understrength company trying to swing east with a panzer iii. 

 

Its been rough. Most German squads are bout 10-12 with mostly kar's and an mg42. A few separate mg42 groups but no on map mortars. Its rough without some of the typical on map supports that the Germans usually roll with (halftracks and mortars)

 

Damn stens push out such a high rof. Ill try and spread out what I have and try and centre the hmg squads with the platoons.

Edited by sigop22

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Here is a really good tactical principle to live by, especially in forests: Always make contact with the smallest amount of your force possible. 

This means that it is better to discover an enemy fighting position with 2 men than it is to discover that same position with 10 men. You can then "1 up" this all the way up the scale. For example, it is better to discover the enemy with one platoon instead of the entire company, etc. 

What this allows for is discovering where the enemy is without having your entire force then committed to combat once you do discover the enemy. With most of your force not in contact, you are then free to maneuver against the enemy. 

This is extremely helpful and important in forests. Instead of blundering into SMGs with your entire platoon, and getting the whole platoon pinned down, you can discover the SMG position with a scout team, and then use the rest of the platoon to maneuver against the SMG element. 

Check out this video. It shows how to move infantry through woods in a manner that will avoid a massive first contact firefight. 

 

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The best strategy for fighting in woods is to avoid them. 

However, if you must move through them you need to send scouts through the woods ahead of your main body with plenty of listening halts, try to always have about half your force stopped and listening for enemy contacts... hunt only through woods unless you know for certain where they are located.  The scouts should not engage (if possible) but should halt as soon as they get any contact whether it is firm or a sound contact... always know what you are going up against before you concentrate your main body against it.  I used this technique in my CMRT BETA AAR if you would like to see it in action (follow the link to the exact post where I discuss this).  Another reference is a very short AAR I did with C3K with Germans versus Russian SMG troops in the woods.

If possible, skirt the edge of the woodline and avoid the center of the woods, which is where you will probably find most of the defenders.  I used this technique in my CMRT BETA AAR as well.

If you have armor then a tank or two behind your scouts to send random shots as far as they can see will usually spook and make enemy defenders move around, which makes them easier to locate.

Good luck.

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Posted (edited)

 

10 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

If you have the Vehicle Pack you could always swap the PzIIIs for Chars

A revised version replacing the PzIII with Char B-2 (f) has been up on the repository pretty much since the vehicle pack came out. As you say the vehicle pack is required in order for this version to work

http://www.battlefront.com/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=314&func=fileinfo&id=3382

and here's the file

MG Borderland_vp.btt

P

Edited by Pete Wenman

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Too mamy bills to buy red tbunder I think ill just settle for the vehicle pack today. This thread is great and ill have to try these new tactics tonight

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1 hour ago, Pete Wenman said:

 

A revised version replacing the PzIII with Char B-2 (f) has been up on the repository pretty much since the vehicle pack came out. As you say the vehicle pack is required in order for this version to work

http://www.battlefront.com/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=314&func=fileinfo&id=3382

and here's the file

MG Borderland_vp.btt

P

Oh thanks for that Pete, I look forward to losing it very soon.

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So I retried the scenerio tonight and took into consideration everything said here.

 

My attempts in the South Forest were great. Scouts, scout squads, and flanking squads really covered the forest well. Had the opportunity to plaster the British a few times. But was halted just shy of the south objectives by withering HMG fire and a PIAT making the luckiest hit on my Panzer 3. However, the lack of reinforcements to the North left what was basically two under strength squads with a few HQ elements left to hold that area. The middle was daunting. All my panzers were knocked out by the end. The first three were matter of minutes at the start because some lucky PIAT's scored hits.

Overall lessons learned?

 

Don't fight British airborne in the forest.

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5 minutes ago, sigop22 said:

Overall lessons learned?

 

Don't fight British airborne in the forest.

To extrapolate on this; don't fight anything you don't have to. 

The typical game mentality is to engage everything you can find. However, the opposite is generally true in real life. You want to try to avoid contact unless absolutely necessary. It seems like you started to learn this lesson when replaying the battle. Why engage an enemy force when they have such an advantage? Remember, "The only fair fight is the one you lose."

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For sure. My southern force could have bypassed what seemed to be two platoons worth of paras and gone for the objective. Hammering through the front just cost me nearly a company. The north and centre were unavoidable though. They sat in what I wanted and my poor truppens paid for it dearly. 

 

That minor victory did not feel like one at all

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While many designers like to have one do a general advance across the whole "front" that seems to be lazy design.  In these cases it is generally best to concentrate all forces on one flank and overwhelm the defender there.  That's maybe "gamey" since the designer may not be able to program the AI to effectively displace its units or deploy mobile reserves to a critical place.  Maybe the new triggers that designers can use make the AI-side behavior seem more "sensible"?

However, the best designers create maps/situation where one cannot easily/successfully use gamey tactics like edge crawling etc.

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German infantry unit's composition is not good for attacking in woods, it is not even good for a meeting engagement.

 

I learned a hard lesson in CMRT. Man, those dirty SMG commies are brutal!

In one of the CMRT scenario, I had a powerful Panzer formation support by a platoon of Panzergrenadier. At first everything went well, everything Russian AI had was destroyed by my Panzer ball.  Then I sent the platoon into the wood to chase the rout soviet infantry units, a team of AT gun crew destroyed the whole platoon. My powerful Panzer couldn't do anything but just sit there and watch.

Everyone in that AT Gun team carries a PPSh SMG! They lost their 45mm AT gun at the beginning, but none of them were killed.  After this incident I have to click cease fire, accept a draw because I don't have enough infantry to occupy the VP point.

The German infantry units’ firepower comes from their LMG. I think this game simulate the extra time for LMG deployment, the delayed reaction time will be deadly in close combat.  And trust me, when you receive fire from the enemy, first casualties are always your LMG gunner.

 

here is my thought on how German player should deal with attacking into woods

1, Avoid woods like a plague.  Do NOT enter it.  Drop 105mm and 120mm on the trees is far better than spill the blood on the soil.   Use your firepower to control the woods, setup a HMG team and overwatch it, fire at anything that looks suspicious

2, if you must follow an area denial doctrine, prevent your opponent or AI to move their infantry to edge of the woods, causing trouble to your formation march on the open field, then you should control the edge. Of course, the first thing is to set up some fire support to overwatch this area. Sending some team to station at the edge, but do not get too deep.  Hopefully your infantry team and fire support units share the same LOS in the woods, anything come out will receive hail of fire. Sometime the fire support unit will not have LOS with enemy units. A tip is to area fire surrounding area, it will cause suppression.

3, When it comes to a situation requires you must enter the wood. Well, good luck. Remember “area fire”. Split the infantry squad to two teams. Keep distance between these two. The one with LMG area fire, they have enough 7.92mm. Hopefully it will suppress the enemy hiding there, or at least making the enemy shoot back reveal their position. The team with SMG leap forward a short distance, wait a while and put your LMG team advance, then area fire again.    Keep area fire even when you see enemy suffered casualties and running away, one or two survived SMG have enough firepower to turn the table. So…. area fire, area fire, area fire, then advance.

 

My two cents

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2 hours ago, Chibot Mk IX said:

here is my thought on how German player should deal with attacking into woods

1, Avoid woods like a plague.  Do NOT enter it.  Drop 105mm and 120mm on the trees is far better than spill the blood on the soil.   Use your firepower to control the woods, setup a HMG team and overwatch it, fire at anything that looks suspicious

2, if you must follow an area denial doctrine, prevent your opponent or AI to move their infantry to edge of the woods, causing trouble to your formation march on the open field, then you should control the edge. Of course, the first thing is to set up some fire support to overwatch this area. Sending some team to station at the edge, but do not get too deep.  Hopefully your infantry team and fire support units share the same LOS in the woods, anything come out will receive hail of fire. Sometime the fire support unit will not have LOS with enemy units. A tip is to area fire surrounding area, it will cause suppression.

3, When it comes to a situation requires you must enter the wood. Well, good luck. Remember “area fire”. Split the infantry squad to two teams. Keep distance between these two. The one with LMG area fire, they have enough 7.92mm. Hopefully it will suppress the enemy hiding there, or at least making the enemy shoot back reveal their position. The team with SMG leap forward a short distance, wait a while and put your LMG team advance, then area fire again.    Keep area fire even when you see enemy suffered casualties and running away, one or two survived SMG have enough firepower to turn the table. So…. area fire, area fire, area fire, then advance.   

Interesting stuff.  +1

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4 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

Keep area fire even when you see enemy suffered casualties and running away, one or two survived SMG have enough firepower to turn the table. So…. area fire, area fire, area fire, then advance. 

It feels wrong to "waste" ammo like this.  But, it is the only way in woods.

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On 5.4.2018 at 5:55 AM, Erwin said:

It feels wrong to "waste" ammo like this.  But, it is the only way in woods.

Well, exactly as described in „Battle Hardened“.

Excellent book, btw. Highly recommended in another thread.

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