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John Kettler

Landing craft idea for St. Nazaire and other scenarios Thoughts?

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In reading the AARs for ROW V St. Nazaire, I noticed several cases in which the attacker got hosed while trying to paddle in to land. So severe were the casualties that in one case the battle lasted less than ten turns. My take on this is that the deadly triple combination of no armor, no real speed, and no suppressive firepower led to casualties much worse than would've normally occurred.

Suppose, though, that instead of assault boats, we use M3 halftracks (or whatever model will carry a full squad). Wouldn't this give us all three of the currently missing attributes and thus, a least an approximation of what the armored British LCAs gave the men aboard them? Three M3s would equal the carrying capacity of one LCA, but some of the MGs would have to be disabled to keep the firepower (a Bren and an LMG per LCA) reasonable.

Since the AI's notorious for jamming up vehicles moving closely together, how about deploying the M3s in 3-vehicle platoons and requiring them to stay within red range of the HQ vehicle at all times, while setting vehicle morale on the low side to keep the distances short? Treat all the usable water approaches as fords, then either make a rule limiting the quasi LCAs to the fords, or put in some sort of terrain the M-3s can't cross but the onboard infantry can, and require that the LCAs all have landed by some short time period.

Granted, outright LCA kills will be hard to come by, but offsetting this is both greater resilience in the attack force and the opportunities and downsides of task organizing the assault elements.

The LCA may not be sunk, but it's going to sting if a mortar round takes out an HQ or MG fire from above sleets the support weapons. In American landing practice at least, each LCVP carried a self-contained platoon size formation of infantry,

MGs, mortars and even bazookas. I believe the workaround I propose would let the British player do something similar, with all the ups and downs it entails. German ammo loads might need tweaking because of the greater number of targets to engage.

If I'm right, and this works as I envision, I believe we may have a much better way to model St. Nazaire and many other potential scenarios involving landing craft. We should wind up with a speedier, better protected force which can at least attempt to suppress nearby defenders during the attack run in.

There's my idea. What do you think of it?

Regards,

John Kettler

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Lucho and I tried it long ago while making a battle in the Philippines. A WWII forerunner of the Brown Water Navy.

The river was three to four tiles wide and made from ford tiles.

I tried every APC the Allies have and they all got shot up, reversed, traffic jammed.

IIRC it was also done in the CMBO PTO mod battles for island assaults.

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An alternative approach in this scenario would have been to have placed several "islands" in the water with a suitable gun on them. These would represent the gun boats available to the Brits and would have allowed a measure of support fire for the assault boats.

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To represent naval fire support, I have also seen islands at the exreme edge of the water. These either have guns or FOs. These would represent destroyers. Bigger FO batteries would be crusiers, etc. Limited ammo would be appropriate for large calibre since this would not be used in close proximity to the landing force. A few well placed rounds will shake up the defenders.

Are British Kangaroos available? I think I'm thinking of CMBO (I'm not too familiar with the CMAK CW force pool).

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There's always the option of reducing the visibilty using fog to recreate dust thrown up by bombardments and air-raids. This gives the boats a fighting chance. But besides, half the fun of amphibious assaults is knowing that only about half the troops you start off with are ever gonna make it to the beach.

Another way I've seen amphibious assualts done is to give a smallish number of boats to the attacker (enough that some of them will make it across) and then have re-enforcements arrive shortly after they land on the beach. That at least removes the possibility that the defender gets lucky and wipes out the attacking force whilst they're still in the water

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Three of us played with these ideas also when designing Sie Kommen's Hell at Waldam Beach scenario... We attempted the first 10 turns more then 100 times during testing...

****** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ********

Our conclusion was to have islands out in the water with many FO's (with reduced ammo loads examples (6) 8 inch FO's with 10-14 rds each, (2) 240mm with 8 rds each, plus (4) 155mm with a total of 140 rds across the board... around turn 4 another (3)105mm with 60 rds each.)... We figured you could cover the whole landing front with big arty for 2-3 minutes, based upon reload... and cover the area with smoke, for 4-5 minutes (Then use the 105 reinforcements as you see fit.. smoke or HE)... Units arrived in shallow fords starting 2 minutes in (representing waves of landing craft)(also we used almost all 20 reinforcment markers keeping units spread out with small Qtys-platoons, 1 or 2 Close support Tanks, etc) and continuing throughout the scenario... and the units where reduced to 60-70% strength, down on ammo, many shaken or pinned upon arrival... (this reflected casualties recieved while in the boats...)...

All in all it seemed to work out pretty well based upon feedback... but if you dont use the smoke or arty right, you can hose up the landings...

Also have tried all the AFV's crossing fords (as per Junk2Drive... and it seems that once under fire in any expanse of water (ford) and the TacAI sorta makes a muck of it...

That is all...

-FR

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One solution to using apcs as landing craft would be to just separate the beach from the rest of the map by terrain the apcs can't get over. Rough or roadblocks for instance.

The "water" is terrain that makes the apcs move as slow but gives poor cover, for instance soft. The apcs start wherever they start and drive until they can drive no more. Infantry gets out, crosses the vehicle barrier, and they are landed.

If you run the vehicle barrier out to the edge of the board, then you can separate the "water" into distinct areas, and so keep the "boats" where you as a designer want to allow them to go, and prevent them from going where they shouldn't.

If you were using islands to simulate warships you would obviously also have to put vehicle barrier terrain around them as well, as if you didn't, players would drive their assault boats (apcs) onto their warships (islands).

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With regards to St Nazaire, it would appear that the scenario has got it exactly right. The commandos arrived by two means. Several teams arrived on the Cambletown, disembarked and carried out their tasks. The remainder arrived in small motor launches and the majority of them never reached the shore. The boats were petrol diven and unarmoured. The German guns massacred them. Just as I gather happens in the scenario.

The Navy asked for the job to be done, but were not prepared to risk a second old destroyer to bring the other teams in and recover those from Cambletown. Result: A job done for the navy and an entire commando wiped out.

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Interesting Ideas as to some approaches to show landings.

I will agree with the statement that the scenario is Good as is, just started playing it and I feel that the numbers hitting the shore and what support is not there is about correct. You get a feel for the battle as it was, once the troops were on shore. As to the craft being represented before landing. Nothing will really work very well, face it, it would have been nice for some design to have been done in the game system as they kept working with it through the changes.

Creative ways of trying to potray it though, but you can only do so much.

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