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RSColonel_131st

Anyone tried this yet? Procedure for defense...

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I've been thinking about a logical way to set up defense assets. I'm pretty new to this game, so excuse me if it has already been covered.

From what I've seen so far, it's ultimatly infantry that will capture flags. The enemy usually uses tanks to supress and eliminate defending infantry, HMG's and Bunkers, not to take flags.

So, I guess it would make sense to set up anti-infantry defenses for each point, and in such a way, that they can only be hit from a very narrow corridor by enemy tanks. Then, I'd try to get my Anti-Tank Force lined up to defend these corridors, thus denying the enemy the option to support his infantry.

Someone earlier advised me about "keyholing". My problem is, I can not cleary see any keyholes on most maps yet. But maybe you can *create* keyholes by giving the enemy specific targets to work on?

Comments and your personal ideas would be appreciated. This game is a blast to learn, especially with the help of people that are in there a bit longer.

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RS,

here's another thought for you, as a defender, what is your role ? is it to prevent your attacker from reaching Victory Locations (in such a manner as you described above) or as a defender, you are to delay your opponets for as long as possible until time runs out.

hmmmmm..... i was pondering about this when i lost to the AI twice in Tiger Tiger (as ruskies this time)

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Placing infantry so that it blocks enemy infantry approches, but is out of LOS of long range tank fire and then have AT weapons to prevent the tanks from moving into LOS sounds good to me.

Some weaknesses of this approach can be exploited by the attacker.

Such a setup puts pretty steep limits on units supporting each other. If the attacker managed to break one of the appoaches, either by pure mass and (dirct) firepower, by artillery or by using a less defended approach then the defender usually have difficult to bring his remaining weapons into LOS and effective range of this point. In CMBB this is especially nasty since you can have very nasty 200+mm artillery raining down in a preparation bombardment. Airplanes can hurt, too.

I use keyholing mostly for vehicles. With the few guns you have in a CM battle I had too many cases of keyholding meaning they never got useful targets. For thin TDs (Nashorn, Marder, SU-76) keyholing is absolutely essential.

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I agree with Redwolf, keyholeing means making educated guesses of the enemy approach.

I have been thinking of concentric lines of defense. If the purpose of defense in CMBB is to delay the enemy until the time runs out (I take it that time runs out means more reinforcement arrives or the enemy gives up the objective) , then defensive measures must be conducted against the enemy advances as far away from the Victory Location as possible .

Most of the scenarios are too small to practice Defense-in-Depth strategy, however, a 2 or 3 tier defense may be possible in Medium scenarios.

Some other points regarding this tiering defense:

- willingness to sacrifice units to tie-up enemy. And having the enemy overrun the tier-1 defense, the units need a tactical withdrawal towards tier-2.

-Making educated guesses about enemy approach and launching contingency Counter Attacks if enemy line of approach is different.

- As Redwolf pointed out, this may be difficult for units to support each other, especially if they are in isolated locations.

These are my thoughts and I have yet to put them into practice yet. I am playing Tiger Tiger (as Russians) and will try some of the above Keyhole and Concentric Defense tactics to use.

[ December 15, 2002, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: laxx ]

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For your infantry squads, you don't so much want keyhole LOS. You want locations where they have short LOS. The back side ("reverse slope") of a hill or ridge for example.

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In the small battles I've played so far (800 points, medium maps) it can be very hard to have more than one line of defense because LOS can easily be all across the map.

In larger battles, however, the idea of "delaying the enemy" seems good to me. I think that's bit of what the AI uses in villages and citys.

My biggest problem with that is that I like to use mines. And for mines at the front line to have effect, I found that I need to pull the defense back a good bit. Otherwise the enemy will be shooting at me before even crossing the fields.

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Well, if you can't get limited LOS, you can give short cover-arcs to your squads and other short-range weapons. Ambush the enemy as they cross the last stretch of open space before your line. With individual cover arcs for each squad, you can do this repeatedly, only giving away one squad each time.

(Assuming your opponents using reasonably good tactics, i.e. scouting with one squad before rushing. If it's a rush, open up with everything and wipe 'em out.)

Either way, you'll do some damage before they can even start suppressing your squads. And they may want to completely break 'em before trying to cross that gap again.

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As I see it, there are two main tactical options:

1) Delaying defense using up lots of territory, always the option to fall back. Many small skirmishes.

I guess this works well if you have only a limited number of turns, reinforcements, or similar. Then it will most likely spare you some casualitys compared to option two.

2) Last ditch defense with total firepower concentrated on a very small area. Problem is that the enemy can also concentrate his firepower on one area, and you have no way of retreating.

On the bright side, if this works you will crush your enemy and send him packing...not just delay his approach. In a scenario, this might be more usefull if you plan a counter-attack later on.

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The aim of ALL minor engagements ( IOW each minor engagement during the delay operation) should be the immediate and total anihilation of the enemy force component being ambushed.

String together enough succesful ambushes and/or local counter-attacks and you should be able to weaken the enemy sufficiently to make it clear to your opponent that there's no point whatsoever in even trying to attack your MLR ( since he has been too weakened on the approach march).

I see that somewhere else you, RS Colonel 131st, state that German doctrine was to constantly attack etc. Well, it was to constantly seek to ACTIVELY SHAPE the engagement ( which isn't quite the same as to constantly attack or to be constantly aggressive). Their local counter-attacks, ambushes, feints etc were all utilised to "shape" the engagement so that, hopefully, by the time the enemy got into range of the MLR the situation was such that no attack they could launch could succeed. So, instead of fighting a delaying action and being happy with a bit of delay why not fight a delaying action but seek to shift it from purely delaying the enemy into also anihilating his component forces?

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Guys,

He who defends everything, or who defends too much, defends nothing.

In CM, against a competent attaker, a defender will probably lose if he trys to defend more than a relatively small amount of well chosen ground that is well chosen for cover and concealment, that is important, and and that is point rich.

I contend that generally (but not always), competent and successful attackers use a single massive, well scouted attack with flanks (usually flank) properly scouted to prevent or forestall an aggressive defender making an outflanking counter attack. Such an attacker discovers the enemy positions with inexpensive and relatively expendable scouts (usually, half squads) with his main thrust force overwatching.

When the defender reveals his positions to stop the scouts, the main force attackers annihilate those revealed defending positions with massive application of gunfire & HE, direct & indirect. In short, this massive thrust can defeat most any defending position that is met. The more dispersed that the defender's forces are placed, the more that the massive thrust meets isolated positions that he crushes in succession.

If an aggressive defender attempts to outflank this massive attacking thrust, the attacker's thin observation line in the inactive area(s)/flank alerts the attacker of that threat. This allows the attacker to dispatch a smallish blocking force to "defend" the exposed flank and cause the defender to attack on the now not-so-exposed flank. Indeed, in this area/flank in order to attempt the flanking maneuver, the defender attacks exposing his already outnumbered forces to attacker attrition.

If the attacker uses the single massive thrust (which I contend is generally [but not always] the best way to attack in CM), the near only way that the defender can defeat or blunt this massive thrust and for the defender to gain at least a draw is for the defender to defend the well chosen, well covered & concealed, and point rich ground.

In short, the defender must be able to meet and defeat any attacking force that it meets. This includes defeating anything less than the attacker's main thrust, a portion of the attacker's massive thrust , or the main thrust itself. This is achieved by the defender's application of overwhelming gunfire and HE against that portion of the attacker's force from the defender's well chosen ground. :D

Just an opinion. :Dtongue.gif

Merry Christmas. :D

Cheers, Richard

[ December 25, 2002, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: PiggDogg ]

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A huge problem I just had in a QB...

I had three Halftracks with 37mm, three PAK38, and one Panzer IV. The AI brought up a few armored cars and maybe 6, 8 T-34.

Altough all my defense guns were well placed (narrow fire lanes of 30°), they simple couldn't knock the T-34's out, and soon became metal scrap.

So it seems that against those tanks, the defender should prefer less, but quality guns...or maybe let the enemy drive into the first defense line and shoot him from the side.

I'm really amazed at these results. I did all we talked about above in regards to gun placement, but they simple couldn't hack it.

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The German 37mm AT gun was called the "doorknocker," because IIRC, the T-34 was generally proof against it. Try the larger caliber guns. The 75mm Pak40 works especially well, and even more so when working in pairs with the same or near-same LOS.

You could also try a more IMO "gamey" approach, by using massed small-caliber FlaKs/AA guns. These fire rapidly and, while not usually strong enough to penetrate frontal armor, can hit quickly and repeatedly enough to cause AFV crews to panic and bail.

HTH,

Fan

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Yeah, I heard the story about "Hitlers Doorknocker" but I didn't expect it to be that bad...

Later I tried 75mm PAK 40, but that thing simple didn't hit with the first 3 shoots, and then the T-34 blew it to bits with the first grenade.

Seems that as soon as T-34 start showing up, you either need a few really good guns, or tanks. Dont waste points on cheap, but useless PAK 38.

That game never stops teaching me...

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Depends on the time period how you can use the PaK 38. If you're facing T-34 M41s or M42s, the PaK 38 is just fine. If you're facing T-34 M43s or later, you'll need side shots, but they'll still do the trick (had a PaK 38 bag not one, but two M43s this way recently). Perhaps the real problem is that you're trying to duke it out face to face instead of setting a good ambush from the flank?

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Maybe it depends on map size. I've been playing a medium map with 500 points, and I had the guns aiming diagonaly at the opposite corner of their emplacements. That is as much flank attack as you can get.

Today I tried to pull the guns into the village letting them shot to the sides...but by the time the tanks came there the guns had been overrun with infantry. And my own infantry was on the run home.

Indeed, difficult problem those PAKs and their use.

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With all due respect buy a lager AT gun than a 37. Buy a 88 and you'll get much better results.
If I'm spending the points, I'd rather have more PaK 38s (50 mm) and PaK 40s (75 mm) right up to the end of the war. The PaK 43 is nice but pricy.

The 37 mm PaK 36 does blow, though. No argument there.

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You mentioned the Tank's primary advantage, mobility. The successful use of PAKs depends on either luck if you are trying to go head to head or properly shaping the engagement area. For the PAKs to stand a chance they need to be able to fire without being seen. You will find that they become much more effective if you can force the enemy to button up before you engage with your PAKs. Try using small arms to distract the tanks before you try for a killing shot. Or you could try to use the Russian tactic of the PAK front and group 3 to 5 guns to fire on the same LOS at the same target. Making PAKs survivable is difficult but worth it if you can figure it out.

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I've had mixed success using the PAKs and infantry together.

Against the AI, use the infantry as a screen forward of the AT guns to prevent overrun.

Against humans, position them so that they can fire on AFVs that come up to dislodge infantry positions.

In general, I have found 37mm and below to be fairly useless from both sides after '41. After that, 45mm to 76mm are fairly even on the quantity v. quality tradeoff. 88mm are only worth the points in the out years when uber-tanks are derigour for both sides.

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another thing to consider - at least as soviets - is the use of 'cheap 76mm artillery piece pakfronts.'

now the HE-shooting 76mm may seem like nothing, but for the price you can buy a whole lot of them, and several of them combined could cause a fairly heavy tank to be abandoned...

and the 76mm is very good against axis infantry, armored cars, guns, and halftracks...

also, it is my opinion that practically no amount of 76mm pieces in the direct fire role should be considered 'gamey'... i mean 'eastfront' and 'soviet 76mm' are practically synonymous...

to me the key to the defense is that, however you set up, your units have to kill a certain ratio of attackers for you to break even... now as some may have already said the best way to defend could be to concentrate on a small area... on the other hand if you can commit your force piecemeal in the defense... and through a series of ambushes inflict the desired amount of casualties (say 2:1 when defending against an assault) then you're doing 'ok'... it's just that a concentrated defense is usually better than a piecemeal one...

of course if you concentrate 'too much' and your opponent hits you with offboard artillery or heavy air attack, then you have another problem altogether....

quick battles are really a series of 'paper, rock, scissors' decisions between the two players, particularly with rarity off...

just my opinion...

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I like using PAK fronts! :D I base them on my infantry kill zone, so that there is a patch of intercrossing Cover Armor arcs(from the ATs), then a patch of Cover Arc arcs (from the inf.) So if they lead with armor, they get into the Vehicle arcs first and get toasted. If they lead with infantry, they pass unengaged through the vehicle arcs and get slaughtered by a PPSH ambush (I use this tactic mostly with the russians). If it's mixed, then the vehicles get filtered out at a range beyond the infantry's capacity to reply. And I position my ATGs, 57s and 85s, on the flanks, so even if they miss the big kill zone they still get hit by half the PAK front from the flank. I also get a 45 or two to take out thin vehicles without risking my big guns. It works well. Yesterday a King Tiger hit the kill zone and was deluged by 2 45s, 2 57s (w/Tung.) and 2 85s. It was penetrated 7 times and the entire crew died inside the tank.

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