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hcrof

During Action Report - hcrof vs Mike Churchmoor!

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I read an DAR over on the CMBB boards and found it pretty entertaining so here is my attempt. I may slow down in the future due to 'real life' but here goes for now :)

I have been battling Mike for a while now and he is one of my most entertaining opponents. In light of this, I have decided to write up an AAR for the forum. Hopefully I can get some feedback on my playing style and I might be able to add some of this to the community strategy guide (If everything goes according to plan :) ).

The Battlefield

The map is my own creation based on a quick battle map. The QB map only takes a tiny proportion of the 2x2km map but it informed my visual style of the area.

The terrain is European farmland with rolling hills and a developed road network, the ground is wet and the sky hazy.

To the north is a large hill that dominates the area, it is lightly forested which restricts the views from the top but on the eastern slope, a farm (Objective HILLFARM) allows views across the river valley in the centre of the map.

2.png

The view from HILLFARM

Splitting the map in two is a river that winds its way from the west to the north. It is forested along its length and has 5 crossings – two of which are bridges. Due to the wet ground, the other three have a good chance of bogging vehicles that cross.

In the centre of the map there is a dense forest. This will severely restrict vehicular movement but might allow infantry to infiltrate close to the enemy.

Finally, in the north there is a village overlooked by a hill to the east. These two features dominate the terrain on that side of the river and will probably be key to any fights on that side of the map.

The Players

Mike Churchmoor is an experienced CMSF player who I win against as much as I lose. He, like me is quite cautious and tends to use an infantry screen in front of his armour in methodical attacks that keep his losses low. Given enough time and ammunition he will slowly work his way though all his objectives and there is very little that can be done to stop him. Our last battle unfortunately descended into stalemate and a draw so I hope this one will be a bit more decisive!

I regard myself as a competent player who is good at very small knife fights and can get the most out of artillery. My weakness is a reliance on 'textbook' manoeuvre which can make me careless in larger battles like this one. I also feel that my caution does not always pay off. I might not commit enough assets to a task for fear of losing them all at once only to find that I lose them piecemeal instead. In this battle I will attempt to be more aggressive as I feel this will catch Mike by surprise and neutralise his carefully placed overwatch.

Forces

We both command a mirrored force in a meeting engagement. A mechanised infantry battalion (- 1 company) and two platoons of T-62M tanks. At some point in the first half hour we will both also receive support from a battery of 122mm self propelled Howitzers. Given the map size it is not quite enough to cover all the bases with a force this size but that should hopefully result in some interesting manoeuvre warfare. The BMP-1 vehicles are baseline models with a Sagger-3B and the infantry ATGMs are also Sagger-Bs so the battle could date some time in the early '70s.

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My Plan

I have to prevent Mike from capturing 2 farms (Objective HILLFARM in the north and objective BIGFARM in the south) and capture the bridge in the west (Objective BRIDGE surprisingly :)).

If I lose BIGFARM I will accept the loss, if I lose HILLFARM I will counterattack and retake it before moving on to BRIDGE.

Prior to this battle I made myself a single player scenario where I tested out some 'textbook' Soviet offensive tactics. These are extremely simple, aggressive and worked very successfully. I hope to replicate these in this battle (As long as I hold my nerve!). Unfortunately, Mike tried out these tactics too in the same battle – I hope he hasn't learned what I have!

My overall plan is risky but hopefully will catch Mike by surprise, I will defend the farms with the minimum force possible, advancing quickly early on so I can fall back and delay his forces later. As soon as I get my artillery support I will launch a Soviet style 'Okhrat', dumping all my artillery on the bridge area and assaulting objective BRIDGE as fast as possible with half of my infantry and all of my tanks in an aggressive left hook. Hope fully the shock and speed of my manoeuvre will take him by surprise and vastly overmatch his defence. The bridge should be mine before the farms fall. When I hold all three objectives I will then call for his surrender and if he doesn't, my tanks will attack him from the rear.

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The HQ position with my 'strike force' lined up in the backround

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View of Objective BRIDGE

The keys to my defence are two things. First of all, I will set up my ATGM's near both farms. These will then have clear fields of fire across the valley and should hit advancing tanks on the flanks. I will also have a manoeuvre group of BMP's to the south ready to deal with any additional threats. Secondly, my infantry will rush forward into reverse slope positions on both sides. They will call down airburst mortar fire in front of them to discourage dismounted attacks and will retreat under cover of smoke when pressed, buying time with space and keeping casualties low. The river is a problem in the south. The crossing is not easily defended and it will restrict my movement. I have set up a machine gun section to cover the retreat. The defence in sector that I am attempting requires a great deal of skill and coordination but I feel that I have enough experience by now to be able to pull it off against a cautious opponent like Mike. (I have another opponent who would chew this defence up and spit it out, because of his incredibly aggressive opening moves so I am taking a bit of an educated gamble here).

Map1.jpg

There are 2 weaknesses to my plan:

1.If Mike is aggressive there is a good chance that I will not be able to stop him with my defending troops. My reserve will then be used plugging holes in the line rather than outflanking him.

2.The majority of my troops are concentrated in the north. There is no way to shift to the south without coming under fire. If his northern flank appears heavily defended I may have to punch through the centre in unfavourable tank country. Smoke will me crucial here to protect me from ATGM's.

An interesting point about the map is that there does not appear to be any good 'Hull down' positions. I might be mistaken at this point but if this is true Mike might be reluctant to use his tanks without them. It seems that most maps in CMSF have a huge number of natural hull down positions which tend to lead to players seeking them out more than in the real world.

I expect Mike to be less aggressive then myself. He will consolidate his defence before putting infantry feelers forward to scout out my positions. Hopefully, my mortars on airburst will discourage this sort of behaviour!

I expect his heaviest attack in the north, because the large hill is both vital to the map (I believe it his 'decisive point') and is difficult to defend. I will keep harassing mortar fire on it for as long as possible to stop a dismounted advance and hopefully my anti tank groups at BIGFARM will discourage armoured attack. I don't expect to destroy that many of his troops as he attacks. He is very thorough and will use combined arms and overwatch to maximum effect, minimizing losses while he advances slowly.

I think Mike will keep his armour in reserve and release individual platoons as needed. While I am confident I can defend against his tank attacks for long enough, I hope my attack doesn't bump into a platoon of T-62s! I may have to delay my attack until I know where all his tanks are.

My decisive point? :) When my artillery arrives!

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hey this is sweet! nice force selection...say what quality level are the troops, green/regular?

you got the AK74 or the AKM as main armament for the troops?

also i find it quiet impressive that you write down you considerations and moves you plan while the game is still going on...you must trust mike a lot becouse if he would read it...or only look at the pictures it would help him a great deal ;)

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Finally, a new AAR, or DAR. I like reading how others plan their game and then see it all executed in game. Kudos to you for making it!

The map looks really great!

I cant really comment on anything else because i suck at the game :) .

Whats that light green blop in the middle of the map and where are the objective location?(if there are any)

Good luck!

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in case you did not notice, there is a legend in the picture in the upper right corned. also the objectives are pretty clear to see in white letters on the map. bigfarm, hillfarm and bridge

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Thanks guys - I hope I can keep this going untill the end of the battle! If Mike reads it then it will be a short game but he has given his word :)

hey this is sweet! nice force selection...say what quality level are the troops, green/regular?

you got the AK74 or the AKM as main armament for the troops?

All the troops are regular with a mix of both types of rifle.

I forgot to add BRIDGE is worth 500 points and the farms are 300 each. Total force value is 1000 points each and we take a proportion of that as we estroy each others units.

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This looks like a fun map, a lot of room to maneuver!

Aren't you worried Mike will read this?

It'd be great if you could both post DARs on here and agree not to read each others' :).

What are "textbook Soviet tactics"?

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What are "textbook Soviet tactics"?

2 million tons of artillery and overwhelming mass at the point of attack......... I think the latter may be achieved in this game.

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This looks like a fun map, a lot of room to maneuver!

Aren't you worried Mike will read this?

It'd be great if you could both post DARs on here and agree not to read each others' :).

What are "textbook Soviet tactics"?

GSX has pretty much got it - I might not even dismount my infantry if I can get away with it! The tanks will lead - hopefully they can take any hits from defenders that arn't suppressed by artillery or direct fire.

If Mike reads this I will lose the game, but its only a game right? :)

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With a roar of engines, my BMPs lurch forward, racing to their positions. The long columns of carriers would make for an easy target so in the south they turn off the road into an area of dead ground. The vehicles disgorge troops who head for a field boundary and set up their positions.

4.png

Although I am setting up a reverse slope defence, spotters head for the hill tops, ready to call down mortar fire on approaching troops. Some carry RPG's.

One of my keen eyed Sagger operators at BIGFARM spots an enemy BMP, hiding in some trees 2km away. It has an extra aerial on it – the battalion commander!

3.png

He fires but enemy mortar rounds hitting BIGFARM, while ineffectual, throw his aim off and the missile swings wide.

Airburst crashes down near my positions but the men just huddle in their carriers, nervous but safe.

My biggest worry is now over, Mike is using all 3 mortar modules on useless targets. If he had hit HILLFARM on a 5 minute timer he could have really put the hurt on my ATGM teams there!

Unless this barrage stops quickly, Mike will have wasted a valuable asset. Unfortunately I may have done the same. I didn't realise it takes 8 minutes now to call in a fire mission – my men will have to order a strike on the forward slope of the south hill as soon as they arrive and hope that Mike takes his time to get there.

The only other thing to mention is the Keystone cops routine that is happening at the bridge – at least most of the stuff got through eventually!

5.png

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Suddenly the radio bursts into life – enemy coming through the village! BMP's advancing in the centre! As the picture emerges, it appears that the enemy is sending platoon columns forward, feeling their way through the centre and south.

07.png

Enemy BMP's moving along a road

The recon platoon sends an urgent message – an enemy BMP is less than 200m away from the southern defenders. They are still running to their positions on the other side of the hill!

Without warning, a carrier in the 'dead ground' explodes. No one is hurt but only the gunner gets out, the drivers leg is trapped and he panics, unable to move.

This is not good. No doubt Mike can see that I have 2 platoons of BMP's just behind the southern hill and can plan his attack knowing my positions. On top of that, I have just realised that my old fashioned BMP's cannot pop smoke. Without a smokescreen from their engines I might lose another one before they reverse further down the slope! I watched the BMP get hit on replay – it was a sagger that came from the southern edge of the map. BMP or ATGM? Who knows?

As well as this, elements of his force are already quite far forward, having ignored the obvious defensive potential of the village. It is probably just a probe – I can't form conclusions at this stage so my plan will not change.

08-1.png

My spotters seem very good. I have spotted both the Btn HQ and a tank 2km away and both of them are partially obscured by trees! Whether I can destroy them is another matter. I have already wasted 2 sagger rounds on the Btn HQ so I will order my team to hold fire until those mortars stop – apparently loud bangs and the threat of death can throw your aim a bit. Who would have thought? :)

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Excellent stuff. Thanks for putting the effort into this, guys. :)

Here is a wonderful example of how no plan survives contact with the enemy. Do you think that his forces in overwatch (Btn HQ, Tank platoon in the south) witnessed your entire force crossing the bridge? Or was your BMP just too far forward on the ridge? (Silhouetted against the horizon?)

Gpig

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Oh yeah, I should have mentioned - Thanks for all the responses guys!

Gpig - I believe that Mike is trying to hide the tank and the HQ but some sharp eyed soldiers spotted them though the trees. It look like they did the same to spot that BMP too, it was actually one of the furthest down the hill when it got hit! I looked at LOS from it and just got a blank row of trees and the ridge 100m away from it so I have no idea where that shot came from!

Anyway, because he hit a BMP in the centre of the group I can only conclude that Mike has spotted at least 4 vehicles unloading troops :(

Still, my ATGMs at HILLFARM have lots of his BMPs in their sights so as soon as they set up I can repay him with interest :D

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On the north hill, the recon platoon runs headlong into their enemy counterparts. They may have been surprised at the enemy working their way through mortar fire but they were faster on the draw!

10.png

The attached FO fires a single shot and shouts to alert the others. Troops on both sides hit the deck, and search furiously for another sign of the enemy, radioing the contact in to HQ.

Elsewhere the enemy seems to have halted, all under the watchful eye of D company HQ who swears at his ATGM teams to hurry up and deploy! It looks like the recon boys are going to win the race though as they finalise preparations for launch...

09.png

It looks like Mike has completely ignored HILLFARM seeing as he has stopped his units within LOS of the complex and didn't bother to hit it with artillery. Hopefully he will pay for that mistake as my quick deploying AT-4 (Spigot) gets ready. The Sagger teams will take a long time to finish setting up but when they are ready I will have a solid anti tank position.

I am being cautious with my recon platoon. I don't want to slug it out with his guys as I have no advantage in numbers or firepower. On the other hand, I have a mounted infantry platoon ready to go :) I doubt he has RPG's attached so time to give them a surprise! Once the HE has done its work I will continue to move my scouts forward and pull back the BMP's.

In the south, my defenders are nearly ready. The enemy BMP is still the other side of the hill but I have an RPG team hunting forward, the slope of the hill should mean they should be safe from return fire if they hit the deck. I have also sent a infantry squad to mop up the survivors so I am crossing my fingers...

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To the south, the RPG team hunts forwards, eyes straining for movement. Shots are fired and they hit the deck – where are they!? To their right, friendly troops open fire at their unseen attackers and they start crawling back into cover. As the infantry squad arrives they describe the situation as best they can, maybe 9 men can do the job that 2 couldn't?

The recon platoons AT-4 finally sets up and the gunner peers down his sight, selecting a BMP pulling back into a woodline in the centre. Calmly he launches the missile and guides it to the target... and misses! The missile crashes into the ground, the driver needs no further encouragement and disappears into the trees.

12.png

The skirmish continues in the north with brief exchanges of fire on both sides, my recon troops are keeping the enemies heads down. Suddenly one of them shouts! Two enemy casualties are being dragged out of the fight by their squadmates.

The rumble of engines signals the arrival of the armour and the scouts breath a sigh of relief – the fight is over. Suddenly, a BMP explodes in front of them! Men tumble out of the back as the vehicle catches fire. The scouts steel themselves, this is going to be tougher than they thought...

11.png

Three ATGM misses!? My luck is not good right now as I have now lost 2 IFV's to 2 men in response. Maybe I am being paranoid but it seems Mike has placed a lot of vehicles just in LOS using trees to 'catch' my missiles. The HQ BMP is empty and that tank that I thought was hiding is in fact facing HILLFARM (Thanks Gpig for making me take a second look at it!) and I have a funny feeling that it will open fire next turn! I order non-essential personnel and my AT-4 out of the building just in case. He probably knows I have ATGMs here now from the explosion in front of his BMP so I doubt he will armour rush me until he has destroyed them.

It seems I was a bit rash sending in the cavalry in the north – Mike has beefed up his scout platoon with some kind of AT asset and is probably laughing as my troops go up in smoke. If they had thier BMP's nearby it would explain why they moved straight through the mortar barrage.

I shall have to do this the old fashioned way – pin and flank with infantry, my BMPs will provide overwatch. Unfortunately his guys are behind a small fold in the ground so it will be difficult to suppress them. Because he might have BMPs I am being cautious. I have a spare RPG team and they will make their way forwards to hunt down enemy vehicles.

In the south there is nothing conclusive, hopefully the arrival of an infantry squad will tip the balance in my favour.

Right now we are fighting for information. I had hoped to set up a defence before he sent his scouts forward but it seems that he is being a bit more aggressive than expected. I have ordered second barrage on the front slope of the southern hill, heavier this time and contact detonated. It will arrive in 9 minutes if everything goes to plan and it should discourage Mike from moving through that area.

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2nd recon team turn in the direction of the shot and watched in horror as the commander of an enemy tank ordered the metal beast forward. Advancing with him were more armoured vehicles with infantry rushing forward from cover to cover. The team fires a couple of shots, killing the commander before switching targets and an unbuttoned BMP gunner is hit. In reply the tanks fire again, knocking out a second carrier.

'This is hopeless, we have to retreat!'

Too late – a tank starts to traverse its turret towards them...

13.png

1st recon team are watching the other side of the hill when suddenly a flurry of grenades arc out of the trees. There is no time to move and the men disappear in a cloud of tiny flying fragments. As the enemy advance to take the position, the sharp eyed FO once again fires and the enemy dive back into cover. Recon HQ moves around to flank them and take aim as they spot the enemy...

In the south, the platoon leader arrives and finds the squad sergeant – why haven't you advanced? The sergeant points. More movement in the trees!

14.png

Well, I don't know if this is the full attack but I was certainly right about Mike coming from the north! What I didn't expect was the speed and aggressiveness of his move.

Still, I hope I can teach him a lesson or two about why you don't drive tanks through constricted terrain! I will pop smoke and retreat my remaining infantry under the overwatch of my last BMP which is positioned to catch enemy armour coming over the ridge. I will then place my squads and RPG teams in some half decent cover and let rip as soon as he arrives again. I have 2 BMPs in reserve and these right now will prevent a flanking manoeuvre around the hill.

The only positive thing to say about the whole episode is that one of his BMPs now can't use its main weapon and that I killed a tank commander, reducing its effectiveness. That recon team deserves medals but it doesn't look as if they will survive to accept them.

The farm itself has a few defenders and hasn't come under fire from that tank so they can carry on the fight if I lose the platoon but it looks like I might have to counter attack sooner than I thought – especially if Mike has more troops coming that way.

15.png

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Finally took time to read your AAR.Looking good and will keep checking to see how this turns out.My guess is whoever wins this little skirmish will get the initiative on their side.If the enemy is full in 1 spot they must be empty in another.Maybe a counter assault somewhere else could catch him off guard.U said u got 2 tank squads does that mean 8 tanks in total?

Its always cool to see how other people play and how they use their tactics.Keep it going its a good read.

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You are certainly right about the northern skirmish - that is why I sent in the BMPs!

I like your point about counterattacking somewhere weaker but I have to retake that hill somehow otherwise Mike will will have a big terrain advantage over me.

It seems to me though that I can artificially created the situation you describe. If necessary I can order my southern troops forward in a feignt to draw in his reserves. That would draw his forces away from the hill and then I can attack where he is is weak :)

The only other option would be a push through the centre but the terrain is very unforgiving for tanks and I think I would get cut up if I tried.

I have 7 tanks in total - 2 squads of 3 and the company CO

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Having a lot of tanks on your side is a very good advantage even tho the enemy has tanks also.I find it hard to make a decision sometimes on whether i should use overwhelming force and have my tanks blitz and roam around close to each other like a pack of wolves constantly moving, or to keep them in ambush positions and wait for or scout the enemy to fire at them.If the enemies tanks are scattered and the terrain is not to rough then the first method would be good unless there's a very far visual range then your tanks could be sniped out by the opponent taking advantage of the aggression.Good thing its not 7 Abrams tanks out there those things are tough beasts and mow down anything that's brave enough to shoot at them.So many many ways to approach this and 1 of you is going to get it right,we are waiting to see who LOL.

By the way that,s a good looking map you created.

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