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Bud Backer

Some Tactical Advice Needed - Rooting out Infantry in a town

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The situation is a follows:

I’m fighting a player using US paratroops that are dug into a village. They have trenches and building to hide in. From a distance I’ve destroyed his ATGs and while he has one of his two Hellcats still working, it’s boxed in and the moment it exposes itself it will be destroyed by my King Tigers. I have a two platoons of Panzergrenadiers mounted on half tracks, 4 king tigers, and assorted artillery.

I’ve hit the town with my artillery (Nebelwerfers and 120mm mortars). I believe the losses to him are not significant. He has approx a company of paras, all set with short target arcs, and despite my having many eyes on the town for quite a number of turns (like 20+) very very few reveal themselves. 
 
I have some arty ammo left but used more than half. If I ride into town I’ll lose stuff like crazy to bazookas and so on. Surely there has to be a way to deal with this with the resources I have at hand. How can I dig out those paras without catastrophic losses?

I’d appreciate ideas, and the debate that will follow. :)

 

Edited by Bud Backer

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I rarely play games with that much heavy equipment, but I would say you're on the right track. First step is to locate and dismantle the AT guns, and box in the TDs, as you have done.

The next step is to dismount the grenadiers and have them approach the village carefully, supported by some of your heavy tanks. You probably don't need all four Tigers to keep the Hellcat in check, so assign a couple to the attack.

So, what you do is to use HUNT to walk closer and closer to the village. This gives your opponent a choice of two equally bad options:

If your opponent holds fire, you get closer, and get better and better chances of spotting him. Also, you build up your base of fire, so that when he actually does reveal their positions, he will get a lot of fire in return.

If he opens fire early, you will take negligible losses because of the distance, and your Tigers will spot and destroy his firing positions.

Also worth remembering is that the King Tiger is one of the few tanks that can survive even M9 bazooka rounds (frontally). It's not without risk, because the gun can get knocked out, but you can use this to break through some of those nasty situations where one bazooka team and a MG can dominate a street.

I should add that all this is a very general outline, and that the actual tactics depend a lot on the geometry of the concrete situation. Often with village attacks, there are some crucial locations/buildings that are the key to taking the place.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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2 minutes ago, Bud Backer said:

despite my having many eyes on the town for quite a number of turns (like 20+) very very few reveal themselves. 

If he is an experienced and smart player he will not have many troops that are in direct LOS of your guns.  If he does, you should use direct Area Fire (your Tigers) on any obvious defensive locations/buildings to deplete his men.  

But, if he's experienced and smart he will probably have placed most of his men in the village to the rear of the buildings that you have LOS to - behind walls or in other buildings that you cannot get LOS to.  So that while your men can approach the buildings, as soon as they enter a room/building they can be mowed down by enemy troops who have been safe behind the (2nd) far wall (or 2nd room).

If the above describes your challenge it is a tricky situation which I have also struggled with and would also like to know other players' successful approaches to this.

Attacking a village is a lightweight version of an urban assault.  What I would do is:

1) If you do not have other objectives needing arty HE you my as well dump the lot on the interior of the village where your tanks etc cannot get direct LOS.  This shod at least damage the buildings and may cause enemy casualties (or force em to flee.  If you cannot get LOS to the interior buildings/locations (or no TRP's), then dump the arty on whatever areas that you want to occupy, or that will help you occupy, in order to use that location to place men/equipment to provide supporting fire for the next phase of your attack.  One should not use arty where friendlies are close due to friendly casualties.  Once you get close to the village the arty will be unusable.  If you do not have other objectives needing arty HE, this is a "use it or lose it" situation.

2) You don't say how much SMOKE you have.  But, SMOKE is important to hep you close in on locations you want to attack and occupy.  SMOKE can also help create a temporary obstacle that can protect the flank of your troops and tanks thus creating a keyhole situation. ie: You can move your units into positions of danger so they can concentrate their fire on one part of the enemy, knowing that the enemy cannot use units that would otherwise be able to fire on your flank (cos they no longer have LOS to that area due to the smokescreen).

3) Using arty and/or Direct Fire, try and demolish the first line of buildings so that (once the dust clears) one has LOS to the interior buildings and spaces hidden behind the first line of buildings.  Could use a lot of ammo.  Hopefully you have enuff.

4) If you can destroy the outlying buildings you should have LOS to the soft interior belly of the village.  Your arty should have at least damaged the buildings, so that you won't need as much direct fire to collapse them.  The best/safest way to assault enemy occupied buildings is to destroy em using HE fire from a safe distance.  That applies even if the buildings are "Preserve" locations.  If you are playing like it's RL, it's always better to save your men rather than the buildings.  And a designer will or should have penalties for friendly losses that will be worse than for destroying "Preserve" buildings.

 

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25 minutes ago, Erwin said:

if he's experienced and smart he will probably have placed most of his men in the village to the rear of the buildings that you have LOS to - behind walls or in other buildings that you cannot get LOS to.  So that while your men can approach the buildings, as soon as they enter a room/building they can be mowed down by enemy troops who have been safe behind the (2nd) far wall (or 2nd room).

This is very true. But if he does that, then he basically just skips one of the phases of the defence by letting the enemy close in unopposed. Once you have a foothold in the village, you then switch to house clearing tactics.

There are some situations where you just can't really do anything to dislodge defenders - for example if they hide in big building complexes where there's a central building surrounded by other buildings. The only real way to clear those is to overwhelm them - surround the pocket of resistance and then rush in as many teams at the same time as you can, from as many directions as possible. Brute force and high casualties.

Ideally, flamethrowers should be just the right tool for those situations, but unfortunately they don't work like that in this game - they are unable to target into a building through another one. Area firing at the building between you and the target only makes them fire into the floor.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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These are useful and interesting comments, thank you. 

I did not think of isolating some defenders from the others with smoke. I have to see how much I have. 

The weird thing I am experiencing is that I am simply not getting even contact icons (one or two, but I know he has a much larger force here). So I have a host of small buildings,  plus scattered trenches everywhere. I can’t hose everything with prep fire as there are too many targets and I’m scared to walk my men right up to him. I’ll be ambushed. 

Edited by Bud Backer

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Since the village is not very deep/layered It seems you could move up your tanks on various sides of the village to make sure there's a LOF to each house. Not many places for your opponent to hide.

Also you could move the tanks very close to individual buildings and just spot and machinegun enemy infantry that way. As long as you make sure you keep facing the front to the buildings, you should be ok.

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2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:
2 hours ago, Erwin said:

if he's experienced and smart he will probably have placed most of his men in the village to the rear of the buildings that you have LOS to - behind walls or in other buildings that you cannot get LOS to.  So that while your men can approach the buildings, as soon as they enter a room/building they can be mowed down by enemy troops who have been safe behind the (2nd) far wall (or 2nd room).

This is very true. But if he does that, then he basically just skips one of the phases of the defence by letting the enemy close in unopposed. Once you have a foothold in the village, you then switch to house clearing tactics.

The big disadvantage of trying to defend at the "first defence layer" is that if Area Fire HE can be poured into that "first defence layer" those defending troops will die easily for no friendly casualties.  In my CM playing experience, the hardest defenses to overcome are the ones I described where there are little or no defenders I can use ranged Direct Fire against.  One is forced to close in and become vulnerable.  Of course, a few expendable skirmishers in the "first defence layer" would be useful to the defence if only to provide info as to what the attacker is up to.  But, if there are more than that, the attacker should find them an easy kill. 

 

Edited by Erwin

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27 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

Since the village is not very deep/layered It seems you could move up your tanks on various sides of the village to make sure there's a LOF to each house. Not many places for your opponent to hide.

Also you could move the tanks very close to individual buildings and just spot and machinegun enemy infantry that way. As long as you make sure you keep facing the front to the buildings, you should be ok.

Agreed.  This does not seem to be a particularly hard village to assault.  But, it's hard to tell unless one has the 3D map to explore re LOS.

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1 minute ago, Erwin said:

The big disadvantage of trying to defend at the "first defence layer" is that if Area Fire HE can be poured into that "first defence layer" those defending troops will die easily for no friendly casualties.  In my CM playing experience, the hardest defenses to overcome are the ones I described where there are little or no defenders I can use ranged Direct Fire against.  One is forced to close in and become vulnerable.  Of course, a few expendable skirmishers in the "first defence layer" would be useful to the defence if only to provide info as to what the attacker is up to.  But, if there are more than that, the attacker should find them an easy kill. 

We agree completely. If the attacker can bring sufficient HE AFVs, it limits the defender's options. A couple of teams in the outer layer also delays the attack, though. And sometimes they can be keyholed or set up in clever ways that limits their HE exposure. Then you can open up, cause some casualties, and then force the opponent to find and move his tanks to the spots that can direct fire on that location - meanwhile, you pull back the team and let him waste his HE on a now empty position.

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Urban warfare 101: Do you actually need to go into the village at all?

I would take a look at the time, the points allocated to each ground objective and the points available for destroying the enemy and decide off those factors.

If you don't need to take the village, then why take the risk? Occupy the two minor objectives, surround the village and chip away at him from a distance at minimum risk.

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I do need to take the village, yes. An interesting suggestion but the bulk of his forces are there so while I have lost no vehicles and only a 8 men so far, I haven’t killed enough of his forces to make it a victory for me. In any event, even if I had, this is a useful place to see how handle this problem. 

What bothers me so much is that I don’t see almost anything, and I expected I would. 

I do have direct HE available. I don’t believe it is sufficient to knock down most of the village buildings. But it may allow me to clear the trenches and then let artillery do some more work. I don’t have huge resources of artillery but I may as well use it. Does no good having rounds after the battle ends.

Edited by Bud Backer

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8 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

He has approx a company of paras, all set with short target arcs, and despite my having many eyes on the town for quite a number of turns (like 20+) very very few reveal themselves.

If it was me, I would have spent those 20 minutes using Target Briefly with two of my King Tigers on random buildings. 20 buildings in town, 20 turns worth of 15 second target briefly commands, probably about 20-30 HE rounds used, would still leave plenty left for the assault. As I recall, a King Tiger carries something like 50+ rounds of ammo?

Lever a round or two of HE into a building, and see what comes out. Next turn, send more HE into another building. Recon by Fire as it were, but if you've already used up twenty minutes, you might as well start rolling in. You're not going to spot enemy infantry in buildings unless you either bait them into opening fire, or you flush them into the open.

How much time is on the clock?

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Well, I wasn’t just sitting watching all that time. I did fire in several buildings but he never had anyone fire back. I hoped to elicit response. He probably set his troops as high experience and morale. 

Time remaining on the clock is about 27 minutes. 

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The village looks awfully small for a whole company of infantry. They must be densely packed like sardines in which case arty should be rather effective. Too bad you don't have 150mm. Are you sure he is not also set up in the woods behind the field and in or behind the tree line halfway between the village and the north west objective?

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A company of infantry is only 9 squads, so it's not quite a huge number of units to split amongst 18+ buildings, plus the half dozen trenches. I have scouted the woods to either side. The AT guns were in the tree line you mentioned, they have been destroyed. He has some more in the trees behind the village but I am taking them under fire. They have hit one king tiger 20+ times but I'm still chipping away at them. 

I can't guarantee he has a company there - it could be more or less but there are no units of any significance anywhere else. I for a time was wondering if he was doing something weird like buying a crazy amount of arty to hammer me once I enter the village but that seems less likely to me than that he wants to demonstrate to me how infantry is going to be impossible for me to remove. 

 

Guys, I do want to add that I find any comments useful - they jog my memory, make the reconsider, or consider for the first time, things you bring up. So please don't take my responses as defensive - they are not. I'm trying to process what you're saying and reacting, but everything said here is worth reading. :)

I ran out of upvotes/likes for the day... I will catch the rest tomorrow. 

Edited by Bud Backer

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Those troop-carrier HTs also have a lot of suppressing fire potential. If you flank the village at just under bazooka maximum range, you can put down enough MG fire at enough angles to suppress most possible ambush sites.

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5 hours ago, Hapless said:

Urban warfare 101: Do you actually need to go into the village at all?

I would take a look at the time, the points allocated to each ground objective and the points available for destroying the enemy and decide off those factors.

If you don't need to take the village, then why take the risk? Occupy the two minor objectives, surround the village and chip away at him from a distance at minimum risk.

I'm with @Hapless on this one... take or at least threaten the other objectives and terrain features before doing anything with the village... that alone will probably force him to move combat power from the village in order to support the other objectives.

Just my 2 cents, but your mileage may vary.

Bil

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12 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

What bothers me so much is that I don’t see almost anything, and I expected I would. 

Spotting in CM depends a lot on distance, and it's nearly impossible to spot enemies in buildings unless you are close, they move, or open fire. That's why I suggested you drive your tanks much closer. Even a weak German tank could get to about 180m distance from suspected infantry, and with KT's you can drive very close to the enemy held building. Then they will spot the enemy. Don't get so close that he can run out and grenade your tank of course.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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A good measure against infantry (and the AI) is to place them under fire from opposite directions. If the AI judges itself to be 'surrounded'  and kind'a freaks.

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54 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

A good measure against infantry (and the AI) is to place them under fire from opposite directions. If the AI judges itself to be 'surrounded'  and kind'a freaks.

First time I hear this.

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Yeah, I always try to get the enemy in a crossfire whenever possible. They *seem* to bug out/displace more easily that way.  Flanking fire, and all that.

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2 hours ago, MikeyD said:

A good measure against infantry (and the AI) is to place them under fire from opposite directions. If the AI judges itself to be 'surrounded'  and kind'a freaks.

"Tactics is making the enemy fight in two directions at once". 

I forget where I read that, but current field manuals emphasise looking to put the enemy in a dilemma.

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