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Bud Backer

CAAR - CMFI Rome To Victory Beta - The Kirpan & the Rhino

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Posted (edited)

The history of AAR goes back quite some ways, following the complicated and challenging path that Rome To Victory development took, as explained by Steve in various places in the past few months. The good news is that stuff we wanted but didn’t have back in 2018 is in the game now, and from a personal standpoint, it’s something Ian and I felt HAD to be in this addition to what is already my favourite of the CM series, CMFI. Like the song about the D-Day Dodgers, there are a lot of assumptions about CMFI that people make and people share. I made them, when it came out. What good was another Western Front variant? We had CMBN, and what would CMFI offer aside from Italians ? 

Boy was I wrong... 

The maps alone are worth the price. Terrain so different from anything we see in CMBN, and subsequently, CMFB. A time period that went back to the exciting days in 1943, when the Axis were first struck on their home territory - along with suitable equipment like Panzer IIIs and Elefants. I bought it with some hesitation, and it did not take long to see this game could carry half the war for me. Three years, with Rome To Victory thrown in. 

What you are about to see and read is the culmination of some historical analysis, a bit of fiction, and artistic licence. Yes, there really was a general Wolff who was negotiating with General Clark for the surrender of axis forces in Italy, at the secret authorization of Smiling Al Kesselring. This much is true. 

Just after the events in this AAR, in April 1945, the Allies began the final offensive to liberate northern Italy. Among the forces there were some represented in this AAR, the 8th Indian division, and the South African 6th armoured division. The lines in the west were south of the Apennines, and in the east, North, touching the Adriatic. Near Bologna, close to the Apennines, ran highway 8, a vital link for advance and supply. This much is also true.

And now, the story: In March, shortly before the great allied offensive, tucked in a cleft in the Apennines near Imola, a German combat group is threatening allied supply lines if bypassed. They need to be removed before April. A combined South African and Indian force is dispatched to dislodge the Germans from their cul-de-sac. 

What follows is what happened when they tried...

PS: I apologize in advance. Some documents are a bit crumpled or bloodstained. There is a war on, you know...

PPS: As always, the images are a lot larger than they display on the forum, so click on them for more detail.

PPPS: Remember the game is still in development, so flaws/errors/weirdness are because it’s WIP!

Edited by Bud Backer

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Posted (edited)

Kurt FTW 😎

Further refinement of your comic book style. This will be a treat.

Edit: To nitpick - it is "jäger" not "jaëger".

 

Edited by rocketman

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All offending material has been reworked.The proofreaders have been sacked. The people sacking the proofreaders have also been sacked. 

And Kurt has been colourized, because Kurt is not an old photo. Kurt is a person and he doesn’t feel quite so colourless. 

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comics with spelling errors? I've never done that, nope not ever /s

good job, I dislike the blood smear or whatever is it overlaying the panels. its fine in the gutters, but the panels shouldn't be layered over like that IMO.

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7 hours ago, Cobetco said:

I dislike the blood smear or whatever is it overlaying the panels. its fine in the gutters, but the panels shouldn't be layered over like that IMO.

I kind of agree with that. Which is to say that it annoyed me a little that it was really hard to make out what was written underneath in places. I can live with it, but it seems like you were trying too hard to make it look authentic; you could back off a little and be more subtle in applying the gore.

Otherwise...keep up the great work!

:) 👏

Michael

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Posted (edited)

So let’s hop out of the comic for a bit and present certain information you will find helpful to follow along in the story.

The map is about 1 square kilometre. Side to side and front to back dimensions are just over 1km each. The allies start in a clearing in the upper right corner, the Germans are everywhere else. Time allotted for the battle is one hour.

A ridgeline divides the map, and it borders an impassable river that has 4 crossings - the three fords near the allied zone, and the bridge at the village lower right. The river side of the ridgeline is open, rough ground. It is exposed to fire from units in the village almost to the nearest ford. The inland (north) side of the ridge is densely wooded. 

The ground is almost perfectly flat south of the river, from the village to the allied zone. On the other side of the ridge, the land starts flat at the far (east) end, and eventually slopes somewhat steeply in the town, and beyond, to the hilltop. 

The hamlet in the upper left (northeast) corner is the completely flat plains area, facing the ridge that rises just at its periphery.

It’s March, so spring melt and rain has left the ground a bit damp.

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Edited by Bud Backer

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Posted (edited)

Here is what I think the Allied commander’s options are:

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Plan A:  Use the fords to cross the river and go north, cross the ridgeline and pivot west to take the town. 

This plan requires the enemy to either defeat the hamlet defenders, or to try to use the woods as cover and close on the town, bypassing the hamlet defenders. I don’t think the latter is likely. The woods offer only a narrow band of good cover. My guns can hit units some distance into them so that would be asking for an artillery barrage on the woods. I have TRPs on the ridgeline in any case as this either way, he will initially be paused in the woods dealing with the hamlet, or crawling through them.

Plan B: Head across the flat, open plains on the south side of the river to the village, defeat the defenders there, cross the bridge, and then cross the ridge to attack the flank of the town. 

Despite the flatness of the southern plain, sightlines are not as ideal as one would expect due to crops, low walls and cultivated fields.

Plan C Cross the fords Near the allied zone, climb the ridge and use it bypass the defenders in the hamlet, and avoid contesting the bridge, then enter the town as in Plan B.

I see this as the least likely approach. It is exposed to fire from the village defenders, and I have some defences that will make it a bit more cumbersome to move there.

 

As we start looking at plans and deployment, I must remind you that this battle has started and so there is no alteration possible to what you see.

Coming up: breakdown of defences and the psychology of play

Edited by Bud Backer

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Beautiful AAR -- an inspiration to us all!

The Italian hills and valleys have always favoured the defender. I don't envy the Allied commander in this terrain. That river, alone, is like a moat for the Huns. Eager to see what the Commonwealth can square up.

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8 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

Beautiful AAR -- an inspiration to us all!

The Italian hills and valleys have always favoured the defender. I don't envy the Allied commander in this terrain. That river, alone, is like a moat for the Huns. Eager to see what the Commonwealth can square up.

Thanks, herr Kommissar! 

I'm pretty sure I'm in deep kimchi here. This battle is based on a lovely scenario by our own Nik Mond. It is his map, and what I decided was to change it as it was originally designed for Allied vs AI play. It needed some adjustment to make it more suitable for heat to head play. Ian has about 3.5 the force allocation I do. Gonna be ugly here...

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This is going to be interesting. Having played through the R2V stock scenario several times, this is a different kettle of fish and should be interesting.

 

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Thanks, Dave. The stock scenario is really well done. I can't recommend it enough, when the game comes out. Its called: End of the Line. This battle with Ian will be very different from the scenario. I'll be posting my forces shortly and I am sure you will see that this is not quite the force you fought. 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

Thanks for the comments, guys. I knew it was going to be a hit or miss proposition. It gets less bloody later. 

Personally I think it's quite a nice touch. So let the blood flow, Bud. Great to see you at work again. Thank you!

Edited by Aragorn2002

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Let’s break down this map into four quadrants. 

Starting with the upper right/south-east corner, where the allies will start the encounter. As already mentioned, the river is impassable. Three of the four crossings are right near the allied deploy area. In that general region, I am not going to drop artillery during the first several minutes as it is - from a game standpoint - profoundly unfair. There are no units in the area that have line of sight to the fords, nor the allied deploy zone. 

Likely the first thing that catches the eye are the “Decoy Positions.” What are decoy positions, you ask? When I purchased my fortifications, I had some left over that I did not see a suitable location for where I’d fill them with infantry etc. So some foxholes, sandbag walls and one bunker were put to a different purpose: I know Ian can see them, even without LOS, and I want him to. I want him to wonder if the positions are occupied or not. And I want him to eventually get used to the fact that the ones he encountered are not, because the ones that are may surprise him. They are there to slow him down, eat at the clock, and give me a chance to survive. The bunker on the ridge is a doozy, as he can see that right from his start position. It is unoccupied and gives me no information, but I do hope it is discomfiting.

I’ve placed TRPs at locations where I hope he will pause in his advance, either because he wants to see if he can spot my units or because he is held up by my ground fire. Artillery is going to fire preplanned bombardments at +10 minutes at the woods on the ridge northwest of the decoy bunker, and near the houses you see on the southern side of the river. 

The hedgehogs are placed from my side of the westernmost ford, to the woods on the ridge. This is meant to prevent a straight advance in force along the open side of the ridge, between my defences in the town and the village. Where the hedgehogs end, mines begin, all the way down the wooded slope of the ridge until it reaches the clear fields near the hamlet. They are there to prevent him moving west in the woods and clearing the barbed wire that runs across the ridge. None of this is an impenetrable defence, but my goal here is to buy time and generally make his free movement more inconvenient, hopefully making attacking my strong points the simpler option. 

 

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13 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

Thanks, Dave. The stock scenario is really well done. I can't recommend it enough, when the game comes out. Its called: End of the Line. This battle with Ian will be very different from the scenario. I'll be posting my forces shortly and I am sure you will see that this is not quite the force you fought. 

I agree with Bud. The R2V stock scenario is good. One thing I'm liking about the R2V scenarios is that in several cases there is a role for proper use of recon to scout out the opposition. Failure to do so = bad things happening. Very bad things. (Ask me how I know this).  In many CM scenarios the situation is pretty clear and the mission is to have at them. R2V in general is going to require some caution and development of the situation. IMO this is a really good thing. The stock scenario this map is from is a great example of that. As is the one that Elvis posted the edited picture from. You have recon forces and a reason to make use of them.

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Posted (edited)

As we move along the right bank of the river from the allied deploy area, we get to the bottom-right/south-west quardrant. 

You already know what some of these are, and the little psychological game I’m playing with them.

The one TRP is near the bridge. If the allies do move this way I won’t have the resources in the village to stop them, but the TRP will let me hurt them as they occupy the village and try to cross.

Next to the bridge is a flak 88, set in a trench, and a bunker with its ammo team.

A pantherturm is positioned to cover the road, and the nearer fields, and is assisted with a 20mm flakvierling. None of these weapons have LOS beyond the near fields. This is good, because when Ian comes to them they will be a surprise, and within rifle support range. provided by the Fallschrimjäger platoon.

Both 88 and the pantherturm have excellent LOS along the ridgeline. 

 

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Edited by Bud Backer

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6 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

Next to the bridge is a flak 88, set in a trench, and a bunker with its ammo team.

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I am under the impression that AT guns don't benefit from trenches or foxholes which would make sense as they are very narrow and/or deep. But sandbags do give a benefit.

Any official word on this?

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