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14 minutes ago, IanL said:

Did that Stug Fire on you? Normally AFV's don't adjust their gun elevation unless they are aiming to fire (and then they don't adjust them back again until it is needed for another target).

No it didn't fire.  I've seen tanks do that with their barrels with an extreme elevation change covered arc.

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Just now, Bil Hardenberger said:

No it didn't fire.  I've seen tanks do that with their barrels with an extreme elevation change covered arc.

Interesting - I'll have to keep my eyes open for that.

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Thanks Bil for doing this AAR - always a pleasure for us armchair generals.

I love the 'Movie' mode shots by the way.  So much nicer on the eyes esp. in 'The Green Hell'!

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Posted (edited)

GATHERING INFORMATION

My goal at this stage of the fight is to gather information.. after a couple more minutes have elapsed I am getting a much clearer picture of my opponent's intent.  At this rate I should have a fair picture in a few more turns, at least as to what he plans to do on each of the main AOAs.

AXIS RED is busy.. a large body of dismounted troops are heading up this axis.  STUG 02 has not moved from what I can tell.  These troops are moving relatively quickly.

AXIS Orange has far fewer forces, so far it doesn't look like he will push anything more than a harassing force down AXIS ORANGE.  I fired some light mortars at STUG 01 last turn and it repositioned back a little bit.  Just keeping him honest.

002-A.PNG

BAKER COMPANY:

1st Platoon has moved forward, split squads and are watching the enemy deploy.  Most of my sound and visual contacts are coming from them.

002-B.png

2nd Platoon's positions:

002-C.png

3rd Platoon's positions:

002-D.png

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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On ‎3‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 12:58 PM, Bil Hardenberger said:

 

ELEVATION TEMPLATE

This map was created specifically to highlight the elevation on this map.  Blue indicates low ground, while red is high, you can clearly see that the terrain rises from the bottom left corner to the top right.  My forces are arrayed on this ridge and will have great visibility.

Elevation+Template.PNG

 

This is a little misleading.  :D  Having played this one a few times, La Madeline is up slope a bit though still lower than the farm.  This presents some difficulty for the Germans as they are moving downhill initially and they are even more exposed than if it were as show above.  If your opponent hasn't already fired smoke, they may have a helluva time moving forward.  Once they get to the "valley" floor they are in much better covered terrain.

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Hey fellas, ScoutPL here.  Bil asked me to chime in.  This fight is from awhile ago (over a year I guess), so my memory for the detail is rusty but I think I can give you an idea what I was thinking.

Key to my plan was the open ground that existed between what I assumed was Bils front line (based on scenario intel and confirmed in the first few turns) and the actual objective.  Essentially, his line of communication from his forward trace back to his main position could be interdicted with fires.  So I set up a pretty strong Support By Fire position with my machine guns, Forward Observers, and one STUG.  I dont remember precisely, but I think there was an infantry platoon there for security, as well.

The main attack would consist of an end-run to my left, what Bil has labeled as AOA2.  I felt it offered the most cover and concealment and would force Bil to fight in two directions at once.  I had one ace in hand that made such an aggressive move possible: a few heavy trucks.  After the STUGs and a dismounted platoon proofed the route, I was able to move most of my company by truck to the Attack Position in two quick trips.  Then it became a slug fest as I pushed up the hill hedgerow by hedgerow.

Offense.png

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The whole thing must have been like assaulting a castle with concentric walls. 

That approach you chose is indeed best, you don’t want to walk down a slope like that in the view of the enemy. 

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6 hours ago, ScoutPL said:

Hey fellas, ScoutPL here.  Bil asked me to chime in.  This fight is from awhile ago (over a year I guess), so my memory for the detail is rusty but I think I can give you an idea what I was thinking.

Thanks for joining in Scout.  I love when an AAR can feature discussions about both sides of the fight, it makes it more complete.

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12 hours ago, sburke said:

This is a little misleading.  :D  Having played this one a few times, La Madeline is up slope a bit though still lower than the farm.  This presents some difficulty for the Germans as they are moving downhill initially and they are even more exposed than if it were as show above.  If your opponent hasn't already fired smoke, they may have a helluva time moving forward.  Once they get to the "valley" floor they are in much better covered terrain.

This was only meant to show, at a glance, the elevation changes.  Of course it isn't accurate.  I have the elevation contours if I need to refer to that detail.  Good observations, though my opponent had little trouble moving forward.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

This was only meant to show, at a glance, the elevation changes.  Of course it isn't accurate.  I have the elevation contours if I need to refer to that detail.  Good observations, though my opponent had little trouble moving forward.

Yeah that swing to his left is the safest route of advance, I think that was the same path I used... mostly. Be curious to see what he does next compared to what I did. 

 

Ahh just finished reading scoutPL’s post. Didn’t realize this one was over.  Anyway what I did once on your right was to spread out laterally along the hedgerows, stretching the defense and probing for holes. If I recall correctly I eventually had almost completely encircled the American position. The German mortars assisted a lot as they had good observation on the hill.  Eventually the cracks started showing. It is a lot of ground the Ami’s have to cover. 

Edited by sburke

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So Bil what were you thinking at this point?

Looking at AA Red you have about 30 x dismount contacts. Using a bit of tradecraft that works out as roughly:

 

  • Worst case 30 squads = 10 platoons = a battalion based on the premise that each contact is an unsplit squad.
  • Probable case 15 squads = a company with some attachments based on the premise that squads have been split into two.
  • Best case 10 squads = a company based on the premise that squads have been split into three.

 

Looking at AA Orange you have about 7 x dismount contacts. Following the same premise as above

 

  • Worst case 7 squads = 2 platoons
  • Probable case = 1 x platoon
  • Best case 2 squads

 

You then have 2 x Stug contacts one each identified on Red and Orange.

 

You have no contacts on AA Yellow.

 

My intelligence gap right now would be ‘where are the other three Stugs that you would expect in the platoon?’

 

I would also be wary at this early stage of falling into the trap of assuming that AA Red is the main effort because a best case sighting indicates a company while a worst case on AA Orange indicates 2 platoons. When you consider that both AAs are supported by 1 x Stug then I think it is wise just to hold off a bit.

 

Were you suspicious of an absence of sightings IVO AA Yellow and did you consider that ScoutPl was trying to extend you on the flanks so that he could strike punch through the middle on that AA?

 

That said (and of course we know the answer from ScoutPls post) it does seem likely that the ME is going to be AA Red.

 

Looking at your active defence philosophy, noting your interior lines and your desire to avoid matching strength with strength, did you consider launching a spoiling attack on what we now know is ScoutPls SBF position?

 

Also, if you accept my premise that there could be 5 x Stugs out there, and even if you take the face value number of 2 x Stugs from your sightings how were you planning to take those down? From my perspective, using a centre of gravity construct, those Stugs have to be critical capabilities/targetable critical vulnerabilities.

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@Combatintman & @Bil Hardenberger 

 

5 minutes ago, Combatintman said:

You then have 2 x Stug contacts one each identified on Red and Orange.

 

My intelligence gap right now would be ‘where are the other three Stugs that you would expect in the platoon?’

 

 

This is something that I wanted to ask you both about: the analysis of enemy forces and intentions based on force structure. It’s not the first time that it’s been brought up in one of Bil’s AARs. 

What I wonder is how do you deal with the fact that forces don’t always have what is expected from a formal TO&E? In this battle, there really might only be 2 StuGs, or 3, or the full platoon, or a platoon plus 1 attachment. As players we can mix and match what we want for our force. What if the player decided to sacrifice 3 StuGs for some off map arty? You can’t know what he’s done, so at what point do you conclude that what you’re facing is indeed 2 (or however many there will be) StuGs? 

I’m in no way questioning what you do, or how good you’re at it, I’d like to understand the thought process and analysis that goes from “I’d expect more StuGs so where are they” (in this case) to “I’m confident he didn’t bring any more to the battle”. Between those two is a gulf of thought that I’d like to understand more.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Combatintman said:

So Bil what were you thinking at this point?

Fabulous!  I will take your questions one at a time:

Quote

Looking at AA Red you have about 30 x dismount contacts. Using a bit of tradecraft that works out as roughly:

 Worst case 30 squads = 10 platoons = a battalion based on the premise that each contact is an unsplit squad.

  • Probable case 15 squads = a company with some attachments based on the premise that squads have been split into two.
  • Best case 10 squads = a company based on the premise that squads have been split into three.

 Looking at AA Orange you have about 7 x dismount contacts. Following the same premise as above

 Worst case 7 squads = 2 platoons

  • Probable case = 1 x platoon
  • Best case 2 squads

I always think worst case when looking at UI contacts and without more information that shows squads are split... so I suspect that we are looking at least two companies worth of FJ infantry (I have confirmed they are FJ) and support units (MGs, mortars, AT teams, etc.) on Axis RED.  At this stage of the battle it would be rare for a player to split his squads when on the Approach March.  Usually players simplify their orders overhead by not splitting until contact is imminent. 

As for Axis ORANGE, I have only identified one infantry unit on this sector and it was an MG unit, so I need more information before I can make an assumption as to what ScoutPL has in this sector and what their role is.   

EDIT:  Thinking about this, I am certain that many of those UI contacts are ghosts, so they are not really a good representation of the amount of individual teams/squads are moving up RED.  

Quote

You then have 2 x Stug contacts one each identified on Red and Orange.

 

You have no contacts on AA Yellow.

 

My intelligence gap right now would be ‘where are the other three Stugs that you would expect in the platoon?’

As for the STuGs, at this point i am in a wait and see mode.  I do expect to see more than two, but whether or not it will be a full platoon, I don't know yet. 

Quote

I would also be wary at this early stage of falling into the trap of assuming that AA Red is the main effort because a best case sighting indicates a company while a worst case on AA Orange indicates 2 platoons. When you consider that both AAs are supported by 1 x Stug then I think it is wise just to hold off a bit.

Agreed, to a point.  I think at this point, two minutes in, I was pretty sure his main effort was coming up Axis RED.  I thought he had at least two infantry companies coming up that route, and a couple platoons (maybe) or so on ORANGE.  The speed he is moving on RED tells me that he is indeed intending to move up RED and is moving to attack positions closer to my lines.

At this point, the STuG on ORANGE is obviously in a support by fire role, whether it will stay in that role throughout remains to be seen.  

Quote

Were you suspicious of an absence of sightings IVO AA Yellow and did you consider that ScoutPl was trying to extend you on the flanks so that he could strike punch through the middle on that AA?

 

That said (and of course we know the answer from ScoutPls post) it does seem likely that the ME is going to be AA Red.

Not really.. like I said in my analysis, I thought Axis YELLOW was unlikely as it is not armor friendly.  That being said, it is always possible for his formation moving on Axis RED to turn, or split and move up both YELLOW and RED... I am not abandoning my line in this sector yet and am watching him closely.

Quote

Looking at your active defence philosophy, noting your interior lines and your desire to avoid matching strength with strength, did you consider launching a spoiling attack on what we now know is ScoutPls SBF position?

I am always on the look out for such opportunities... whether I have them in this game or not remains to be seen.  At this point in the game I did not know the role he had in mind for the units on Axis ORANGE, but I was watching it and was keen to identify the unit types so I could analyze it's mission.

Quote

Also, if you accept my premise that there could be 5 x Stugs out there, and even if you take the face value number of 2 x Stugs from your sightings how were you planning to take those down? From my perspective, using a centre of gravity construct, those Stugs have to be critical capabilities/targetable critical vulnerabilities.

I have zero long range AT assets, so I will need to close with them with small AT teams... this will not be easy, especially with the amount of infantry he has, and knowing how good a player ScoutPL is I am in doubt as to how effective my AT plan will be.. at this point in the game I wasn't really considering how I was going to take them down, it was a problem I could push lower on the priority list.

Thanks Combat man, those were great questions.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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16 minutes ago, Bud Backer said:

@Combatintman & @Bil Hardenberger 

This is something that I wanted to ask you both about: the analysis of enemy forces and intentions based on force structure. It’s not the first time that it’s been brought up in one of Bil’s AARs. 

What I wonder is how do you deal with the fact that forces don’t always have what is expected from a formal TO&E? In this battle, there really might only be 2 StuGs, or 3, or the full platoon, or a platoon plus 1 attachment. As players we can mix and match what we want for our force. What if the player decided to sacrifice 3 StuGs for some off map arty? You can’t know what he’s done, so at what point do you conclude that what you’re facing is indeed 2 (or however many there will be) StuGs? 

I’m in no way questioning what you do, or how good you’re at it, I’d like to understand the thought process and analysis that goes from “I’d expect more StuGs so where are they” (in this case) to “I’m confident he didn’t bring any more to the battle”. Between those two is a gulf of thought that I’d like to understand more.

Bud, I get into this in my post on Reconnaissance on my blog.  To simplify, you always assume worst case, until you have confirmation one way or the other... so if you see two STuGs out of a potential five, ASSUME that there can possibly be three more that you will have to contend with. 

Gathering intelligence is a never ending process and you answer questions as you go, but often many questions are never answered until the thing ends.

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32 minutes ago, Bud Backer said:

@Combatintman & @Bil Hardenberger 

 

This is something that I wanted to ask you both about: the analysis of enemy forces and intentions based on force structure. It’s not the first time that it’s been brought up in one of Bil’s AARs. 

What I wonder is how do you deal with the fact that forces don’t always have what is expected from a formal TO&E? In this battle, there really might only be 2 StuGs, or 3, or the full platoon, or a platoon plus 1 attachment. As players we can mix and match what we want for our force. What if the player decided to sacrifice 3 StuGs for some off map arty? You can’t know what he’s done, so at what point do you conclude that what you’re facing is indeed 2 (or however many there will be) StuGs? 

I’m in no way questioning what you do, or how good you’re at it, I’d like to understand the thought process and analysis that goes from “I’d expect more StuGs so where are they” (in this case) to “I’m confident he didn’t bring any more to the battle”. Between those two is a gulf of thought that I’d like to understand more.

Good question mate and you're right about the uncertainty. In this case, the game is a scenario rather than an H2H QB which I always think makes things easier for a number of reasons:

Scenarios are generally designed to be winnable by both sides which gives you a left and right of arc to scope the problem.

Picking units in the scenario editor is largely driven by the TO&E and most scenario designers are going to take that easy option of basing the unit picks on TO&E structures.

The information in the Situation Enemy Forces paragraph and the graphics will also help you scope the left and right of arc of the enemy.

FWIW, and I have no knowledge of the scenario because I don't own the title (I know burn this heretic now ...) but I don't think that there are 5 x Stugs, we've seen 2 x Stugs and I would be surprised if there are more than 3 x Stugs. As for the dismounts I reckon that we're looking at a full FJ company plus some support weapons, a recce platoon and an engineer platoon.

Of course all of this is moot if the scenario designer is a fruit loop ;)

As I said early in the piece, H2H QB games are a totally different matter. The only intelligence you have here is the number of points that your opponent has and the objectives. Whenever points are involved, a human being is going to squeeze every last advantage out of them which means a lot more randomness in the force makeup. However, the core of any force pick will still be TO&E based. The best that you can hope for here is to identify that core eg is it a an armoured/mechanised infantry/infantry based core. From your initial sightings you can then start to crunch the numbers. Taking this as scenario as an example, let's say the Axis player has a point allocation of 1000 and that a Stug costs 10 points each. Well we know now that there are 980 points to find. If an FJ company is worth 500 points then there are 480 points to find.

Of course it is more complex than that because soft factors affect points values so the best approach is just to average it out by assuming that all units are regular. Obviously this is never going to produce a 100% correct solution but intelligence is never a 100% solution, it is about reducing uncertainty.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I think StuG batteries are organised in threes rather than fives.

Now that you mention it, I do believe you are right about that.  ;)

I will double check when I get home tonight and can look in the editor.

 

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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Posted (edited)

Just did.....I am.  ;)

TBH I like StuGs quite a lot.....They did most of the real grunt work, but the panzers get all the credit.  :D

PS - I suppose they might just be part of a medium panzer platoon (as replacements), so then there could be five.  :unsure:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Posted (edited)

I have a question about your setup Bil (having just played through the scenario as attacker so I could better follow the AAR). I was wondering whether you considered setting up higher up the hill near the objectives, where there is less/no LOS from likely enemy support fire locations (could you call it reverse slope defence?). Where you are now seems in sight, and therefore vulnerable, once you open fire and reveal your location.

Edited by AlexUK

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AlexUK said:

I have a question about your setup Bil (having just played through the scenario as attacker so I could better follow the AAR). I was wondering whether you considered setting up higher up the hill near the objectives, where there is less/no LOS from likely enemy support fire locations (could you call it reverse slope defence?). Where you are now seems in sight, and therefore vulnerable, once you open fire and reveal your location.

I like a man that does his homework.  

I didn't plan on opening fire with anything but support weapons at any kind of range, and even then I will re-position often to make sure I don't give him too much to sight those STuGs on.  I was not too fearful of being spotted.  I also was planning on moving one whole platoon forward into OP/LPs (as shown in one of my previous posts above) so I wanted to make their movements as short as possible so they can get into position and hunker down before he can get too many eyes on the hill. 

Oh, one more thing.. I like reverse slope defenses, but not as the main line of my defense.. I want to stay mobile and flexible, and if I went reverse slope I would lose my eyes on his troops and force myself into a static defense.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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Bil,

  Always great stuff.  Thanks so much for posting this.

  You said you weren't too worried about being spotted but were mainly sitting and watching to identify enemy compositions.  Did you have close covered arcs to keep your troops from opening fire or was that even necessary?

 

Heinrich505

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9 hours ago, Combatintman said:

(I know burn this heretic now ...) 

I've just spoken to the Witchfinder General, and sadly (for you), burning is not an option at Eastertide. So it's crucifixion for you tomorrow morning.

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8 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I think StuG batteries are organised in threes rather than fives.

In my defence, my book collection is sat in a container on a ship just off Singapore right now.

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