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jonPhillips

Some Tactical Advice Needed - Defending against an AI attack

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I just finished reading a thread in the CMFB forum asking for tactical advice when attacking a town and lots of excellent hints and tips were posted - which prompted me to ask for similar advice, only this time defending against an overwhelming AI attack.

The scenario in question is about 8 missions into 'The Scottish Corridor' campaign and given the two previous AI attack missions in this excellent campaign, I’m in for a rough ride. I have a couple of companies of British infantry (one weakened), one 17pdr AT and a few Churchills to face down a whole horde of German infantry, supported by artillery and several Panthers.

We all know the attacking AI is no match for a human attacker, but the scenario designer (tip of the hat to Paper Tiger) has a great talent for getting the best from the AI when attacking and so far I’ve lost both missions in this campaign when defending.

So please post your best advice, which I suppose will be good advice for defending in any situation - but facing an AI swarm has it’s own challenges. Show me what you got...

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One misstake i did when playing a Great AI attack scenario...festungplatz podolzk Or something simular it was called iirc by PanzerMike...

Was to get to 'gready'...not pulling back my troops from their defensive possitions until they got totally overwhelmed by the advancing enemy...

I wanted to kill'em all 😆

On my second  playthrough i had learnt to not remain stationary as long...

But rather to pull back my guYs to New possitions before then got annilated...

This allowed them to continue the fight  from  their New possition 😎

It worked much better !

This was a city fight...

 

 

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6 minutes ago, RepsolCBR said:

On my second  playthrough i had learnt to not remain stationary as long...

But rather to pull back my guYs to New possitions before then got annilated...

I second this. I was formulating a post just like that as I was reading your request and then there it was the very advice I was about to give.

I have on so many occasions watched my guys deliver some hurt and then get lots of return fire and I have said to my self I'll leave them there just a couple of more minutes. Now I don't do that because it rarely ended well. The corollary is that when you setup your defence think about their avenues of withdrawal and what their secondary and tertiary positions will be.

Some basic advice is to setup so that your guys have some cover and concealment and their kill zone they are covering has some restrictions on the attacker. What you want is to maximize the number of times the attacker has to expose small percentage of their force without having support nearby friendlies. That may mean not using some positions because while look good the entire attacking force can bring fire on your position - don't use positions like that. Or use them only OPs that you abandon as soon as you have some intel on the enemy.

In a city or village that could mean having your guys in the second row of buildings not in the first. That way your enemy has to actually enter the town to engage you and when they do they loose the support of the entire rest of the attacking force. In a forest similarly stay back from the edge - other than some scouts to keep watch. Also look for elevation changes where you can position forces to hit the enemy coming over the hill without exposing your guys to the rest of his force.

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I saw the first words of the title of your thread and mistook it for my own initially! 
 

In addition to what others suggested above, I would recommend trying to find keyhole positions. In case you are not familiar here is one of @Bil Hardenberger’s excellent blog posts about that. 
 

https://battledrill.blogspot.com/2017/06/battle-technique-keyhole-firing-position.html
 

The idea here is that you as much as possible try to position units so that they can only be fired on from a narrow angle that required the shooter to expose themselves in order to do so. Your field of view may be narrow, but if it is well sited, it may reach some considerable distance across the map, which enemy must cross and have limited resources to engage you with.

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2 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

recommend trying to find keyhole positions

Yes, locating your ATG's and other primary weapons so that they can ambush the enemy from the enemy's flank as they roll by.  That will help the ATG's stay alive long enuff to kill a few things. 

The worst defense positions are ones where one sets up to fire directly at the front of an advancing enemy.  It doesn't matter if your weapon can kill the enemy frontally.  Since an attacking enemy (who knows what they are doing) will have more firepower, your defenders which are in direct LOS will get KIA very quickly as soon as they open fire.

 

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11 hours ago, jonPhillips said:

I just finished reading a thread in the CMFB forum asking for tactical advice when attacking a town and lots of excellent hints and tips were posted - which prompted me to ask for similar advice, only this time defending against an overwhelming AI attack.

When setting up a prepared defense I generally try to do it in the following order: Heavy weapons, Medium weapons, Rifle platoons.  Identify keyhole positions.  Position heavy weapons to fire from the keyhole positions.  Then build strong points around the heavy weapons (with the medium weapons and rifle platoons).

 

7 hours ago, RepsolCBR said:

One misstake i did when playing a Great AI attack scenario...festungplatz podolzk Or something simular it was called iirc by PanzerMike...

CMRT scenario Fester Platz Polozk by @PanzerMike.  That was a cool urban battle.  I often take a few screenshots of a scenario, label them and add them to my PC screen saver slide show.  Below are two from the scenario.  

UQI4fwvh.jpg

rcE76Bzh.jpg

In the above urban scenario setting up strong points that could fire down streets perpendicular to the OpFor's advance worked well.  

 

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21 hours ago, jonPhillips said:

The scenario in question is about 8 missions into 'The Scottish Corridor' campaign and given the two previous AI attack missions in this excellent campaign, I’m in for a rough ride.

I played the campaign twice, and as far as I remember, that particular defensive mission is not as difficult as the previous ones. The key is to make sure you don't go head to head with the Panthers but rather keep your Churchills out of sight, use infantry screen to figure out where the enemy amour is going, and then jump them with your tanks at a place and time when it's to your advantage.

Infantry in CM have magical ears that can detect and pinpoint the exact location of an enemy tank at hundreds of metres of distance, even in the middle of a town with several blocks of buildings in between. So if you just place a few forward observation posts, you'll know exactly where those tanks are. If you have a visual on them, you'll also know which way they are pointing - then you can do the "Maxwell's Silver Hammer".

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15 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

CMRT scenario Fester Platz Polozk by @PanzerMike.  That was a cool urban battle. 

Yepp...That's the name i was looking for...thanks.

It is one of the better AI-attacking scenarios i have played 😎...

 

 

 

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I guess this is a backend problem in the editor regarding how AI plans work but too often QB attacks fail because the AI is not able to utilize their forces effectively and the map becomes a jumble of scattered and disorganized units without C2 links. The best way to overcome this is to either give the AI overwhelming numbers or superior hardware.

I'd rather like to see a Heer Grenadier Battalion 44 accomplish the kind of objective on the kind of frontage you would expect it to. Something as simple as "Here is a battalion, AI. Please conduct recce, use a company to establish a base of fire, push up the weapons company and then advance with 2 companies up and 1 in reserve".

I know that is unrealistic because I've tried to set AI plans and I know how tricky it can be but my dream is being able to plug in forces and the AI determines BEEP BOOP BATTALION ATTACK, HEER, 1943 and knows what to do.

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25 minutes ago, DougPhresh said:

...being able to plug in forces and the AI determines BEEP BOOP BATTALION ATTACK, HEER, 1943 and knows what to do.

+1  Would also be great to have an AI that can handle many of the human player chores eg:  "Go recon over there" (and the teams act realistically and not suicidally to locate enemy); "Go resupply"; "Go tend to WIA"; "Follow the leader" (road convoy etc.)...  

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Imo the QBs are a H2H gameplay option only...

Or usable for running simple equipment/tactic tests either hotseat against yourself of vs the AI...

Getting a good 'game' out of a QB battle vs the AI is very, very rare...The AI is lacking in to many ways to be able to handle it..

I would rather see that Marc Esras (i belive it is) attention is put to use on other things...SKIP THE AI PLANS for QB maps !

Spend the time designing a greater number of more detailed maps...sure...That would be great...But don't waste time on designing AI plans for the QB maps...

It does not work very well !

This is by no means Marcs fault. It is a game-engine limitation !

 

 

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since the AI is higly dependent upon properly created plans, I´d take advantage of disturbing them as early as possible. Identifying HQ units (which is fairly easy for infantry type units) and then  bothering them by use of snipers (preferably from at least 300m away) or some guesswork mortar barrage can turn a planned mass attack into a piecemeal one.  Otherwise the already mentioned methods of keyholed defense positions and planned to retreat outpost defenses work best in most cases. A scenario creator as well needs to take measures to counter any that clever human defense tactics by putting HQ units (down to Plt level at least) in attacking AI forces into their own groups. Then there´s great opportunity to make good use of any triggered by unit or area movement schemes to avoid most of the messy and uncoordinated AI movements. Same pays off for an AI defense although it all involves lots of work an testing.

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Generally, against players as well - think like the Canadians in Normandy - shoot them to pieces.

Quote

The fights at Putot and Bretteville on June 8–9, as well as the battle of Norrey (June 9–10) were slaughter battles, in fact, in which the youthful grenadiers of the 12th SS came up in waves and the steady and well-equipped Canadians mowed them down in the same fashion. Throughout all these battles, the Hitlerjugend Division, in particular, attacked recklessly and paid the price. The division used the same tactical approach that had worked so often in the Soviet Union, but it had failed spectacularly here. Colonel Hubert Meyer, the division’s Ia, later wrote: “The tactic of surprise, using mobile, fast infantry and Panzers even in small, numerically inferior Kampfgruppen, had often been practiced and proven in Russia. This tactic, however, had not resulted in the expected success here against a courageous and determined enemy who was ready for defense and well equipped.” Indeed, the Canadians shot them to pieces. “The Germans thought we were ****ing Russians!” one of the men in the Regina Rifles later commented. “They did stupid things and we killed those bastards in large numbers."

Citino. “The Wehrmacht's Last Stand”

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