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SOTW II: Panic at Gela... Spoiler Alert

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Let's try the double SOTW experiment for a week or two. If the two SOTWs don't dilute too much from each other, we can continue in this fashion. Shift the scene to Sicily and see how that American infantry does against a determined German attack.

Your tactical ruminations and AARs are welcome.

Also, source materials from the original battle are also welcomed.

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Guest BigAlMoho

I show "Panic at Gela" as 43-07-11 and at least half way down the chronological list... What gives?

By date, the next SOTW should be "Eritrean Camerone" and then "Airborne Assault to Hill A"

Al

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Guest BigAlMoho

Here is the chronological list as I understand it:

<basefont face="Courier">

TITLE............................DATE

Attack on Nibeiwa Fort.cmg.......40-12-09....34 lg al at 1950

Beda Fomm.cmg....................41-02-06....40 lg na me 3450

Eritrean Camerone.cmg............41-03-28....30 md ax at 500

Airborne Assault to Hill A.cmg...41-05-20....35 sm ax as 1000

Hunters in the Groves.cmg........41-05-20....30 ty ax at 300

On the Edge.cmg..................41-05-20....30 md ax as 1300

Waltzin' Matilda with Me.cmg.....41-05-21....35 ty al at 350

Counterattack to Galatas.cmg.....41-05-25....30 sm al at 560

Hellfire Pass.cmg................41-06-15....25 md al at 3500

Hellfire Pass-Easier.cmg.........41-06-15....25 md al at 3500

Clash of Titans.cmg..............41-07-18....40 ty na me 600

Scouts Out.cmg...................41-09-13....35 sm na me 1200

Find the Fox!.cmg................41-11-17....10 sm al as 750

Ariete-The Ram.cmg...............41-11-19....20 lg al at 2800

Taking of Sidi Rezegh.cmg........41-11-19....40 md al at 1600

Totensonntag.cmg.................41-11-23....90 hg na me 10000

Forgotten Outpost.cmg............42-01-12....30 sm na me 400

Mishmish.cmg.....................42-01-28....32 md na me 1400

Jock Column.cmg..................42-05-21....40 md na me 1500

Blenheim Blunder.cmg.............42-05-27....20 md na me 3800

Blenheim Blunder-Quick Play.cmg..42-05-27....15 sm na me 2200

FlakFront!.cmg...................42-05-27....60 md al pr 4000

Gathering Before the Storm.cmg...42-05-28....40 sm na me 2000

Bir Hakeim - The Last Day.cmg....42-06-10....35 hg ax as 1600

Ambush!.cmg......................42-06-13....18 md na me 2800

Ambush!-Quick Play Version.cmg...42-06-13....15 sm na me 2100

Cleopatra's Garden.cmg...........42-10-05....55 md al pr 2300

!Tutorial-Relay Race.cmg.........42-10-13....28 sm al at 450

Attack on Trig 29.cmg............42-10-26....30 md al at 1200

Defence of Trig 29.cmg...........42-10-26....22 md ax at 4000

The Defense of Snipe.cmg.........42-10-27....48 lg ax as 4050

Rangers Run to the Fight!.cmg....42-11-09....16 sm al pr 1050

Raff to the Rescue!.cmg..........42-11-23....50 lg na me 2400

2 Pounders and Tigers.cmg........42-12-02....36 lg ax at 3600

Meet Me at Medjez.cmg............42-12-10....30 ty na me 1000

Fr├╝hlingswind.cmg................43-02-14....40 md ax at 1600

TF Stark.cmg.....................43-02-19....40 lg ax at 3400

Assault on Longstop.cmg..........43-04-23....35 md al as 3000

All is Fair.cmg..................43-04-29....75 hg al as 4100

Panic at Gela.cmg................43-07-11....32 md ax at 2100

Surrounded.cmg...................43-07-14....30 sm al as 700

Killingfields Marsala.cmg........43-08-14....45 md al at 900

The Creek.cmg....................43-09-13....55 md ax as 1700

Assault on Perano.cmg............43-09-23....35 sm al as 1400

A Walk in the Sun.cmg............43-10-09....12 ty al at 350

A Mountain Retreat.cmg...........43-10-13....45 md al at 870

Prelude to Anzio.cmg.............43-11-03....30 sm al at 650

Pantano Knobs.cmg................43-12-03....35 md al at 1000

Point 441.cmg....................43-12-23....45 md al at 730

Brits at Anzio.cmg...............44-01-26....40 lg ax at 3200

A Ranger Last Stand.cmg..........44-01-30....20 sm na me 2200

The Melfa Bridgehead.cmg.........44-05-25....42 lg al at 4500

A Few Boys from Texas.cmg........44-05-31....15 sm na me 1200

Knifefight at Cecina.cmg.........44-07-01....15 ty na me 900

Another Hill.cmg.................44-08-12....30 ty al pr 320

The Ridge.cmg....................44-08-13....45 sm al at 720

Spaghetti Western.cmg............44-11-44....30 sm na me 1050

Petrarcholi Ridge.cmg............45-01-01....28 sm na me 1400

For the Family Honor.cmg.........45-04-05....40 md al as 1800

Greyhound.cmg....................45-04-12....45 sm al at 2400

Po Valley.cmg....................45-04-14....30 lg al at 2000

Tally-Ho!.cmg....................45-04-22....17 sm al at 900

<basefont face="">

[ December 31, 2003, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: BigAlMoho ]

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Originally posted by BigAlMoho:

I show "Panic at Gela" as 43-07-11 and at least half way down the chronological list... What gives?

By date, the next SOTW should be "Eritrean Camerone" and then "Airborne Assault to Hill A"

Al

In a previous SOTW we had some discussion regarding the viability of an Italy SOTW parallel with the N. Africa one. We're trying this out. If it works, then we'll continue. Also, having two SOTWs will move us through the list faster.

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Well, I'm game to discuss it. First of all, nifty map and interesting forces. I played this both ways vs. the AI and found it fun, though as usual the AI has trouble handling things.

I first played the Amis since I wanted to see how the heavy arty posing as naval gunfire would do against the armor. It did achieve some immoblizations and a few kills, too, but most of my tank kills were from the 57mm guns, which I tried to post effectively and which proved quite lethal. My infantry hung up the German inf as they tried to cross the river and they had bad losses there. All in all, the AI had a lot of trouble mounting an attack. As the Axis, this was maybe a more interesting challenge, though, again, the AI had trouble. I'll provide more detail if folks are interested, but I suspect this battle really works best as two-player and I'd like to hear about that if anyone has played it.

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I'll provide more detail if folks are interested, but I suspect this battle really works best as two-player and I'd like to hear about that if anyone has played it.
By all means post, although I agree that head to head AARs are more valuable. Anyone have an idea on how to generate more of those? A tour of North Africa tourney, perhaps?

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I've just started it as PBEM. I'm playing the Americans.

SPOILERS

The very first turns the germans attacked in a place where i expected them : near the central fords. an ambush from engineers combined with naval gunfire stopped them until now. I think we managed to immobilize a PIII with the arty and to destroy a gun HT with rifle grenades. Dead or wounded panzergrenardiere are lying on the river shore and others, panicked, run everywhere or duck as 155 mm shells land exactly on top of them. On the opposite bank, a couple of .30 MGs are giving them hell.

But i can alredy see more panzers approaching...

[ January 04, 2004, 08:44 AM: Message edited by: Thin Red Line ]

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Playing it w/o arty would be hard...not necessarily impossible, though, at least vs. the AI.

Another odd thing about the intro matter is the title--Panic at Gela. In real life, as I understand it, the defenders didn't Panic and held their ground--and while the attackers withdrew under fire, it wasn't a disorderly flight. So to whom does the title refer?

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Chris did a great job on the scenario, and I just wished we could of added actual Naval Support.
I am curious why it wasn't added, and whether it could be added in a patch (with all the other stuff you guys are going to add).

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I was one of several people advocating the inclusion of naval gunfire in CMAK. Not sure why the decision was made to exclude it--but I'm guessing that if we didn't get it in the original, we won't get it in a patch.

Still, there are decent equivalents among the regular US arty, at least in terms of gun calibers. E.g 6"=155mm (light cruiser); 8"=8" (heavy cruiser); maybe Brit 4.5" or 5.5" or US or Brit 4.2" mortar for 4.5" or 5" destroyer guns.I'm not sure about the actual blast effects, which might be different. Anyone have any info on this?

My thanks to Rune for the great pfd on the Gela battle. Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. sure was in the thick of some of the key fights of WWII. His actual military record is more distinguished than his dads, I'd say. ;)

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Originally posted by Michael Emrys:

Historically the naval gunfire is usually given credit for breaking up the German attack. I wonder if anyone has tried playing the scenario without arty?

Michael

The original beta version did not have the arty, but instead featured a company of Matildas as reinforcements. Fortunately, I was able to convince Rune that the Matildas weren't at Gela, and instead to put in heavy arty to represent the Naval support.

Just another example of the hard work and attention to detail that is the hallmark of the beta test team.

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Kingy is on a roll.

Yes, it was the reason I went witht he 155mms, as close as I could get for the Naval gunfire.

As for general Roosevelt, Yep, to me it sounds like he saved the line a few times. The part of the cpl trying to hold together his unit, and the old man with his walking stick holding the line was impressive. He does it again at Normandy if I recall correctly. Goes ashore with the first waves and gets them inland at Utah, not knowing if the second wave lands where they are, or at the correct spot.

Rune

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Originally posted by rune:

Yes, it was the reason I went witht he 155mms, as close as I could get for the Naval gunfire.

Did you check to make sure the cruisers involved were the 6" variety and not 8"?

Michael

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Ok, here goes... My first AAR. I hope it's not too much into detail ;)

I played as the US against the German AI.

Based on the briefing, I was expecting a lot tougher fight than the result was. Also, what surprised me was that even though the briefing says that "we do not have many AT-guns", there are still 8 of them (4 are crap though).

But anyways, I rearranged my troops to a much better defensive position. Here is a screenshot of my setup: http://tik.cs.hut.fi/~aalestal/Panic_at_Gela_setup.jpg

Here is what I had at each of the numbered locations:

1) 1 rifle platoon, bazooka, 2x57mm AT-gun, 1x37mm AT-gun (larger guns to the south), 155mm spotter, extra HQ unit, MMG.

2) 1 rifle platoon, FT, bazooka.

3) 1 engineer platoon,1 bazooka, 1x37mm AT-gun, 1x MMG.

4) 1 engineer platoon, bazooka, 2x MMG, 2x37mm AT-gun (one across the river), 1x57mm AT-gun, Company HQ.

5) 1 rifle platoon, bazooka.

6) 6x60mm mortar, Platoon HQ.

7) 1 engineer platoon, FT, bazooka

8) HQ squad, 155mm spotter, 1x57mm AT-gun (I actually forgot this here), Section HQ(?).

Like I said, I didn't expect to do very well because I thought my guns wouldn't hit hard enough. I was very wrong.

First few turns passed with only 1 sighting of infantry. Only then I noticed the northmost ford at the NE corner of the map. I was going to get pummeled I thought.

Then a column of tanks ID'd as panzer IVs came rolling along the road. I set both spotters for indirect fire at the northmost TRP and ordered the two 57mm guns to open fire on the first panzer IV (which was ahead of the others). Four of the five tanks were right on the TRP when the first shots landed (way off target by the spotter without visibility). Next salvo hit right on the target though and all the tanks buttoned as the first one took couple penatrations from the AT-guns and was KO'd. I thought my guns couldnt fire on the last 4 but to my surprise the middle gun (at number 1) killed 1 more tank on that turn. On the next round 2 more tanks killed by the 2 guns and the last remaining PzIVG on the following few mins.

Meanwhile the enemy infantry could be seen advancing on the north side of the riverbank from the NE. I tried to find a visible point on the riverbank for my furthermost spotter and managed to do so with luck. Soon the 155mm shells were pummeling the supposed location of enemy infantry.

At the same time first tanks came to view from the NE ford of the river. It was identified as Tiger and I was sure my days were numbered. Soon I got a full ID and it turned out be "only" PzIVH. Yet again my 57mm guns gave a pleasant surprise by knocking it out. Two more of the Hs tried to cross the steep slope but both were killed by the AT-guns. One PzIIIN managed to get to the woods near the river but it had a damaged gun from a lucky shot.

Here is a picture of the battle outcome (viewed after battle ends):

http://tik.cs.hut.fi/~aalestal/Panic_at_Gela_enemy.jpg

First infantry contact came at point 2 where my slightly missplaced rifle squad went to hand-to-hand combat with some panzergrenadiers. The grenadiers took heavy casualties and fled as my FT opened up on the next incoming squad, which also quickly fled. Next a platoon HQ attempted to attack my defenses and caused me some casualties. My infantry wasn't placed that well because I could only spot the enemy when they were right on top of me. However the 155mm barrage had considerably weakened them and only total of 4 squads and 2 platoon HQs got that far. I moved a fresh squad to the foxhole at point 2 and defeated those, taking only light casualties (7 or so).

I continued to shell the riverbank and withdrew from the northside. However, that was pretty much it. Only 2 more PzIIINs were killed on the northmost ford while the infantry attacks were on and 1 HT on the northmost TRP by the 37mm gun.

I lost one gun when the enemy finally managed to lay some indirect fire (81mm mortars I think) on my AT-guns. The heroic gun with 7 tank kills was KO'd and light infantry casualties to one squad.

Basically only the 3 guns and 1 platoon + spotters did most of the work. I had moved some of my guns and the mortars incase the enemy was to attack but it never happened.

On the screenshot after the combat you can see the 5 PzIVGs and the HT at location 1, loc 2 is where all the infantry action basically took place, location 3 is the north ford where rest of the enemy armour was stuck (maybe due to poor AI, I don't really know). There are total of 3 destroyed PzIVs, 2 destroyed PzIII and 1 with gun damaged, 1 immobile PzIV at the ford and 2xIV, 2xIII, 7xHT unscratched left at location 3.

One silly tank can be seem soloing at loc 4. Basically all the enemy infantry died to my artillery, my spotters racked 74+58 kills. I could only find 1 squad and 1 MG team + a spotter team after the combat had ended. Three or so squads had only 1 or 2 soldiers alive. The rest were scattered dead between locations 2 and 3.

Frankly, this was way too easy and I don't even consider myself to be a good CM player. I've never played this scenario before and I played it through with one sit. If I had to improve this scenario, I'd take away 3 or 2 of the heavier AT-guns to make it more of a challenge. Artillery should also have less ammunition and maybe add a tad more infantry to the germans. Against a human it would probably be a different story.

Ok came out pretty damn detailed :eek: I hope someone finds it enjoyable to read or something.

[ January 05, 2004, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: AC ]

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Thanks for the great AAR. Your level of detail seemed just about right to me, so well done.

Regarding the challenge, I encourage you to find someone else to play against. The competition adds a new dimension to the game that is very demanding and fun.

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Originally posted by Michael Emrys:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by rune:

Yes, it was the reason I went witht he 155mms, as close as I could get for the Naval gunfire.

Did you check to make sure the cruisers involved were the 6" variety and not 8"?

Michael </font>

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Originally posted by Kingfish:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Michael Emrys:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by rune:

Yes, it was the reason I went witht he 155mms, as close as I could get for the Naval gunfire.

Did you check to make sure the cruisers involved were the 6" variety and not 8"?

Michael </font>

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Yep, the point of the scenario was to show that Naval Gunfire did indeed turn the tide for this battle. Now try it as Germans and see how far you can get. smile.gif

Rune

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I managed to win as the Germans, too, in part because the AI isn't so hot at handling arty, though the 155mm FO killed a lot of my infantry when they almost ran him over (but didn't quite) around the central river fords.

I guess that this proves that, aside from the weapons, tactics count too...

BTW, I've read that the light cruisers with their 6" guns were favored for support of amphibious landings because their guns were "rapid fire". I don't know much about this--maybe auto-loaders? But I can imagine that a lot of 155mm falling rapidly on a concentrated area would have a deterent effect...

[ January 07, 2004, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: CombinedArms ]

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Originally posted by CombinedArms:

I managed to win as the Germans, too, in part because the AI isn't so hot at handling arty, though the 155mm FO killed a lot of my infantry when they almost ran him over (but didn't quite) around the central river fords.

I guess that this proves that, aside from the weapons, tactics count too...

BTW, I've read that the light cruisers with their 6" guns were favored for support of amphibious landings because their guns were "rapid fire". I don't know much about this--maybe auto-loaders? But I can imagine that a lot of 155mm falling rapidly on a concentrated area would have a deterent effect...

I'm trying as the Germans and am getting slaughtered. I'm on my third start to this one. Those 57mm guns are proving most lethal against my armor. I've tried taking them out with mortars, but that isn't working. My tanks can't seem to hit them before they get knocked out. My infantry can't get close enough. Would love to hear a more detailed AAR from the German perspective on this one. I'm not going to resort to looking at the AI defense setup just yet ...

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Played this as both Axis and Allies against the AI. I destroyed the Axis when I played the Allies, but only won a minor victory when I played as the Axis.

When I played as the Axis, I let the computer place it's units. Don't do this; the computer placed all it's guns at the far end of the river. I destroyed all I contacted, but did not make contact with most of the defenders. Have the computer use the scenario default deployment.

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