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Brent Pollock

Our Backs to the Volga - ongoing German AAR

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Originally posted by Runyan99:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />

I also have played this scenario 1 1/2 times PBEM.

I am always interested in analyzing this one, because I feel it has 3 flaws which are common to many, many CMBB scenarios.

1) It is too short

2) The defender has too much materiel

3) As a result of 1 and 2, the scenario favors the defender.

This scenario often ends in a draw. However, just because the scenario ends in a draw does not mean it is balanced.

The scenario is too short for the German player to reach the large VP flags in the rear. That isn't balance because the German player doesn't have an opportunity to win. </font>

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Whatever the specifics on this scenario, Runyan99 might have a generally good point. I think there may even be an explanation for what he sees: Many people play against the AI, when they do play against the AI they often take the role of the attacker, and the tilts he sees in the design may be a concious or unconcious bias because of that reality. I think the AI has a harder time the longer the scenario lasts.

Since I generally play against the AI, it does not bother me. And I could be completely incorrect--but I think the above is plausible.

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Originally posted by Rankorian:

Since I generally play against the AI, it does not bother me. And I could be completely incorrect--but I think the above is plausible.

Hi the above is very plausible if you play the AI.

I don't play the AI and I can not remember the last time I did.

I would guess it was Cemetery Hill by a certain wicked German. But since then no games against the AI.

I don't get enough time to play and when I do I want a decent game, and that can only be provided by a Human with both of us playing blind.

;)

H

P.s. Cap Dog is over rating me, I am not that good.

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Originally posted by Capitalistdoginchina:

I wonder if Holiens decisive victory above changes your opinion now? All flags captured, a major victory and completed before 36 turns.

Let's just say the time limit does not suit my style of play.

For my own enjoyment, I should have edited this one to 60 turns myself, and then found an opponent willing to play under the new time allotment.

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To be fair Cap Dog, Just because someone wins big time does not mean that it is balanced.

You just have to look at the ROW games and see that. Even unbalanced games can be won depending on what the players do or do not do.

I might have taken the correct approach in this game or my opponent might have been unlucky or unwise in his approach.

I can see the frustration in the time settings and that at least can be modified by someone taking what you have done and extending it.

For me that would not be appropriate as making a game much longer does not suit my disposition.

But this is where CM comes up trumps in that it can accommodate a broad variety of styles.

I think we can all agree that your design is very good and well worth playing, whichever way you choose to play.

smile.gif

H

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I am about to open this beautiful scenario up in the editor and make the following adjustments:

1. no sewer movement for the Germans;

2. removing the Russian TRPs & heavy howitzer/gun artillery;

3. extending the map to include the river and opposite bank. I will then place numerous 76 mm (HE-only) pillboxes for the Russians such that they can look right down the streest parallel to the river. From what I've read of the Russian artillery use, this is more in keeping with reality and should make things easier on the Germans (no hammerring the front line factories with 152 mm & 120 mm barrages, which is what really killed off the Germans in our two playings). I might leave some 82/120 mm mortar FOs in the Russian OB...and TRPs for them, too.

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Does anyone else notice that this AAR, exciting as it may be and fun for those involved, bears not the slightest resemblance to the actual fighting in Stalingrad?

It is dominated by tank match ups. When someone writes something like "try to deal with the last four T-34s in the area", um...

Stalingrad wasn't a 1980s video game of Tank. The battle was dominated by infantry fighting in building interiors, supplimented by HE direct and indirect occasionally flattening large sections of the city - which were promptly re-occupied by additional waves of infantry.

Tossing in a few AFVs makes sense in order to keep the threat of them alive. The attackers might also count on a certain amount of moving AFV firepower. But just reading this AAR, it is clear this particular scenario is completely broken as a realistic depiction of the weapons and tactics at play in Stalingrad.

The following comments are directed at the To the Volga op on the CD, instead, since it has the same problems.

Of course it is famously almost unplayable in point size terms. The forces are a German infantry regiment and a panzergrenadier regiment, with about 40 tanks and all sorts of dubious attachments. The Russians get a rifle regiment.

The least realistic thing about the scenario is that all units are at full TOE. The next least realistic thing is the unit quality, ridiculously high. The two are incompatible in the context of Stalingrad fighting. Yes there were units in Stalingrad who were veteran quality because they had been selected and toughened up by the battle itself. But they were step reduced because of it. Fresh forces, stuffed with replacements or new to the battle, were at best regular and particularly on the Russian much more frequently green. You can give the sides high quality or (nearly) full numbers, but you can't give them both.

There are also numerous mistakes in the force composition. The Germans get only a few HMGs for example, amounting to a single HMG platoon in each battalion. Um, every company had an HMG platoon and the battalion had a full weapons company. The on map 81s are all missing, while the Russians have scads of guns. They had 2 per company in addition to the 4-6 at battalion. But the force is given 6 sIGs, 2 Sf and 4 towed, and they wouldn't have that many. A full regiment had 2. The 20mm Flak is given 6 when there were 4 to a battery. The recon companies have no business in a fight like this at all and would be left out of battle or off screening flanks. Similarly for light armored cars and the SPW mounted infantry company.

Then there is the armor, a silly mix of 8 of each of 4 different types plus some obsolete Panzerjaeger Is. The idea apparently being to put in some of every vehicle the designer can think of. They don't need so many, and they would all be one type at this scale - at most a few of a second type.

It is also fairly silly that Panzer and Infantry forces are so mixed on such a tiny frontage. If one were burnt out and subordinated to the other that might be believeable, but 2 full TOE regiments of different branches on the same 1.5 km is not.

Then there is the reality that they'd fight regiments by depth, not all on line up front. There are no reinforcements, everybody is supposed to pack into tiny set up zones - just silly.

As for the Russians, where to start? Not all veteran. Then, the only group given as regulars are the SMGs of the storm company, who are the most likely to actually be veterans in the entire force.

Then the 76mm guns - 12 of them - are all infantry guns. A complete mistake. A regiment at 4 of those for fire support, HE tossing. The others would be long barrelled ZIS-3s with actual AT ability. For that matter, they rarely had all their guns in a fight like this. And 12 more 45mms is overkill on such a tiny map.

Then there are the Russian mortar FOs - 6 of them. Um, no, not remotely. Show some on map 82s or one FO per battalion, not 2. Since the battalions would realistically be burnt out as well, and the 82s did not have endless ammo (little artillery ammo made it to the west bank, that is why the artillery park was on the east side of the river), etc.

Last but not least, 2 KVs, 11 T-34s, and 4 T-70s for an infantry formation in a static defense is not a realistic level of armor. They'd be lucky to have 3 T-34s, and maybe a pair of T-70s or T-60s. If you want to leave the OT-34 as a 4th, OK.

The actual forces should be scaled down by a factor of 3 about, in addition to all of the above.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

[snip]

The following comments are directed at the To the Volga op on the CD, instead, since it has the same problems.

[snip]

The actual forces should be scaled down by a factor of 3 about, in addition to all of the above.

According to the Design Notes, it was.

I'm with Shmavis - pop open that editor and get goin', man! I mostly tweaked Our Backs to the Volga to test out the "opposite bank artillery park" you mentioned. I've got no beef with your comments, but have so far been too damned lazy to try them out from scratch instead of just adjusting what was already there.

Our Backs to the Volga...realistic - no. Rollicking good fun - hell ya!

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2003 --- My how time has flown...

;)

Good points Jason, however, game was bloody good fun and I guess the history element not so strong.

I still remember the battle and some of the high and low points, and for something 3 years ago that is a good sign it is worth playing?

H

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