BletchleyGeek reacted to Bil Hardenberger in A Word on Follow-on Modules
I know everybody is excited and would like to know what is next after the Base Game... believe me we are all excited too!
As far as follow-on modules go.. yes several are planned, but what they are specifically we will keep to ourselves until after the game is released. For now the focus must stay on the base-game for us, but feel free to conjecture and dream, I enjoy those threads, but we won't be confirming or denying anything until after this one is on the street.
Just so you guys know that we aren't ignoring you in those discussions, we are trying to stay focused and not get sidetracked so we can deliver this thing in time.
BletchleyGeek reacted to SimpleSimon in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
Not much differently from 1945 either Bletchley. Apply firepower, then a little more, and once the heavy guns are dry, send some bullets. Then send men, but not prior to flattening the grid square. If you're using an Armored Division troop, apply all of the above, but send a tank between the bullets and then the man step. Tactically the US Army looked pretty good, and was second only to the Red Army in being subject to the least of post-war cuts and expenditure reductions-which were still quite substantial nonetheless. US Army Divisions had all of their artillery batteries augmented from 4 guns to 6 after the war, however some of the expansions in US heavy firepower were offset by Soviet improvements in their own artillery parks. So unlike the Wehrmacht US Infantry would be facing much more serious threats from counter-battery and preparatory fire this time around. The BM-21 is not a terribly sophisticated piece of equipment but God, they sure got a hell ofa lot of em!
Much like the Wehrmacht, it seems that much American thinking was now oriented toward strong-point style defense which would hopefully nullify much of the consequence of the heavier fire by simply not presenting any target. Then of course the Armored Divisions would have many built in advantages against that but much like the conundrum facing the Panzer Divisions in 1944- how many of those do you have? You've got 7th Army. Group Soviet Forces Germany alone is seven Armies.
What's the promise of defeating the Red Assault with strings of infantry in blocking positions and counter-attacks by Armored Divisions to plug gaps? If 1945 is any hint, it's not good-but there's room for frustrating time-tables and slowing down the enemy's advance. This was a big element of the REFORGER exercises after all ie: hold on until the cavalry arrives. In this frame there's quite a room for Combat Commands/Brigade Combat Teams to work around inside of. If Bill's force looks like the buffet table at the Shoney's that's because his force is a post ROAD (Reorganization of Army Divisions) command. IE: It's all Brigade Combat Teams, not Regiments. So the structure is closer to 2007, but the execution will still look more like 1945.
BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in CM Cold War - Beta AAR - Soviet Thread - Glorious Soviet Victory at Small German Town 1980
March to Glorious Victory Post Number One.
So Bil and I have a loose-agreement (I would say gentlemen's but that is probably a stretch) to not peek at each others threads. The dirty truth here is that this isn't really an AAR per se, it is more of an IAR (In Action Report). Full disclosure, we are only about 6 mins into the thing, so I can't really put a spin on my plan or anything because I have no idea how this will end. So far so good but we are in early days. We should start posting turn summaries tomorrow but for now may I present an end-product of about roughly 32 years of military training in both line and staff positions...The_Capt's glorious Mission Analysis!
So here we are on this grubby little peice of West German real-estate (seriously, Pete Wenman is a freakin wizard with these maps btw) facing off against what I am sure are overfed, overpaid and over-entitled Yankee capitalists all huddled in their vehicles waiting for something to happen. So like they taught me back in the day..let's start with terrain:
So my guys are coming from the bottom, Bil and his jerks are up near the top. I have a bunch of woods except for this defile behind a hwy bridge that I have to deploy my main force out of. We have a big valley between us and the town of Dollbach in the center which is the golden goose we are both lining up to grab, whilst killing the other guy. Not much to see on my map edge except a bunch of woods with some dirt roads cut through them.
Bil has the high ground ridge up there and there are three major wooded areas that him and his ilk are no doubt hiding out in. It is more one on the left but pretty much that approach along with the Valley is dominated by Bil's thugs. In short, this is not an optimal starting position.
Bil's Plan. So I have learned some time ago that you are not fighting vehicles and equipment, you are fighting a person (Capt's rule #1). So spend time understanding and getting inside the head of that person. With Bil it is easy because we have been sparring in CM for just about 2 decades now. So here is what I am thinking, that Bil is thinking:
So Bil is probably going to be cautious and build a nice path to victory here. First he is going to put out Eyes in those woodlines, then he will reinforce with teeth because why stick his neck out if he does not have to? Then once I have watered the West German countryside with my blood (and other fluids) he will make his reach for Dollbach (Hands...dirty, old, wrinkly hands with yellow fingernails). I will be at a significant disadvantage at this point because I will be dead, and you do not fight so well when dead (Capt's rule #2). So my role here is to play peeky snipey from a really crappy position with Soviet gear that does not see as well as his sexy US optics...hmm...Capt no-likey, no likey...one bit. So now the Plan:
My end goal is to make Bil more dead than me, not to get heavily invested in the West German real estate market. So we are going to try something simple and blunt. First, I will get Eyes on my woodline, gotta see what I can see (Capt's Rule #3). Then I am going to put out hands...fingers really, to make it look like the land grab is my only game. Then once my art start dropping (could be wait here cause he has EW turned on), I am going to bull rush that corridor and swing up into those hills to kill Bil (Teeth). This is going to be tricky and I am going to take losses but I can afford them. I get a MIC FSE in 5 and another Tank Coy-ish in 10, so I will have mass because I am betting the best he has is an Armd Cav platoon, maybe two. So basically we will play Bil's snipey peeky game for a bit, push recon out into that town to make me look desperate and then freakin charge on the left. Questions?
BletchleyGeek reacted to Bil Hardenberger in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
Battle Planning: My philosophy is to never develop a final plan until I have an estimate of the enemy situation.
“The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!”
George S. Patton
In the above quote, Patton is describing the OODA Loop, though of course John Boyd’s description and breakdown of his now famous loop was still decades away.
OODA Loop (Observe-Orient, Decide-Act) - In the OODA loop the Observe-Orient components never stop, from the battle kickoff to the end. They are always running, and all enemy interactions and sightings feed Observe-Orient which add to the picture a commander has of his battle space making their decisions easier, faster, and more intuitive.
If you can beat your opponent to “understanding the situation” then your OODA Loop will cycle at a much higher pace than theirs and your decisions will be more effective and they will be at least one step behind, which is a bad place to be in a fast paced combat zone.
For this battle, I need to get eyes on NAI 1, 2, and 3 as quickly as possible so this initial formation (1st Platoon) will act as my reconnaissance force.
Once I have an idea as to how the enemy is deploying I can then Decide how to Act. Once a decision has been made there must be no hesitation, act aggressively and with confidence in the decision.
I can make some assumptions:
Assumption 1: The enemy will attempt to seize the village. This is a sure bet, as it is the main objective for this scenario, for both sides. Assumption 2: The enemy will advance down EAA1 towards the village. Another safe assumption due to the masked movement corridor this avenue presents. Assumption 3: The enemy will build a SBF position close to either NAI2 or NAI3, or both. Reasoning is that both of these positions can provide excellent flank support to the main effort, probably moving through EAA1.
Reconnaissance Plan: In order to get eyes on the enemy I need to close the distance as soon as possible.
Scouts: My main recon force will be the three M113s, Scout teams and the Platoon HQ team. Which will rush toward Dolbach, dismount prior to entering, and creep forward as far as possible. These are not expendable units, I want them alive and capable to help in a later phase. CMCW Feature: New to Cold War, US Scout teams all have the ability to call for fire.
Overwatch: The two M-150 TOW vehicles will provide long range overwatch from the ridge. Their visibility from up there is suspect and I am pessimistic as to the level of fire they will be able to place on the enemy.
Overwatch/Support by Fire: Split into two, two-tank teams the M-60A1(Rise+) tanks will be on the extreme right flank providing Support by Fire and Overwatch for the M113s. Their goal will be to shadow the M113s and to interdict any enemy vehicles they can.
Obscuration: My two Howitzer batteries will be laying down a quick smoke screen in front of the enemy in order to, hopefully, decrease his ability to engage any of my moving units. Also this is meant to increase the difficulty of the enemy spotting and any shots the Soviets may attempt.
Intent: The intent and goal for this initial phase is to answer as many of the PIRs as possible prior to the initial reinforcement wave (5 minutes). They are not to get decisively engaged or do anything stupid that will force them to suffer casualties. Force preservation is key, especially for the tanks and the M-150s.
BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in CM Cold War - Beta AAR - Soviet Thread - Glorious Soviet Victory at Small German Town 1980
So welcome to our Beta AAR. Introductions, I am The_Capt...hello. Some old timers may remember me from back in the day but for the newbies (and hopefully there are a lot of you) I am the Simon to Bil's Garfunkel. While Bil is detailed, deliberate and cool all resting on a foundation of real talent; I am erratic, insecure and hot-headed resting on very occasional unpredictable sparks. Between the two of us we try to make wonderful music.
So first the obvious, what is CM Cold War and where did it come from? Well the game is our brainchild, not that it took a serious leap of imagination as people had been talking about a Cold War game for years. Bil and I had been looking for a title to cut our designer-teeth on for years as well, and after a few false starts we approached BFC with the idea about 7-8 years ago, to which Steve sagely looked at two complete amateurs and said "uh, sure...why don't you guys go pull some stuff together and we will do lunch". So we did up all the boring and work-like stuff most of you never see; project documents, historical research, backstories, TO&Es (pouring over things like Senate Arms Committee records and back issues of the US Army magazines), and campaign designs. Once we did all this we came back to Steve like proud children that had just performed surgery on the family cat. Steve's eyes went a little wider and very Bruce Willis-like said, "ok let's give these kids a shot". I am pretty sure we were to remain a weird side project in the basement - that is where the older Beta Testers go in the end - but last year things accelerated and we found ourselves suddenly thrust into the rock and roll lifestyle of computer wargame designers...without the groupies, cocaine or leather pants.
So with a very small team, a tight timeline and another look from Steve that was somewhere between "ya, there is no way these guys are going to make it" and "but if they do...?" (seriously, support from the BFC guys has been outstanding) we started the journey. So when you play the game on release (it is no secret we are on track for Apr, after Easter) you know who to curse when something either does not look quite right or you are getting beat up on a campaign (the Soviet one is particularly brutal). If you love the game, praise the entire team, if you are angry that the Soviet officer holster does not look right, feel free to vent at either Bil or I, mostly Bil.
Onto the AAR. Ok in the proudest tradition of this thing, Bil will wow you all with dazzling intelligence products that would make an ASIC weep. I, on the other hand, prefer a more tactile and coffee-stained approach...I also tend to lose these fights. This map comes from the US campaign, a scenario called Dollbach Heights, but do not worry the scenario is completely different so no spoilers. This whole thing is occurring in the backdrop of a Cold War-gone-hot strategic situation set in summer of 1982, which may seem quaint today but back in '83 we actually came pretty close. The Soviets are basically making a break for the Rhine as fast as possible before reserves can be called up and fly-overs conducted. The US forces are the tripwire forces of V Corp with units like the 11 ACR and 3rd Armd Div (for this AAR we do not assign particular units) as the game centers on the Fulda corridor (between the West German border and Frankfurt). So the strategic game is simple, Soviets have to move fast as possible to get in close to the major urban areas, knock France out and put the UK into close range. The bet back in Moscow is that at this point NATO will fracture as half of them sue for peace...we will see how that works out.
A couple points on force balance and doctrine. So this is 1980, the beginning of a vapid and synthesizer-infested decade (trust me I was there). The US forces are still recovering from the entire Vietnam experience. Goldwater-Nicols has not happened so we are still talking about conventional service competition in the US military, which was unhealthy (still is) and a US Army that was slowly coming out of the old ROADs models and heading towards AirLand Battle. The TO&Es are based on the '77 force structures (you will note US tank platoons have 5 tanks). The "so what?" is that US forces are pretty much at their most vulnerable point in this era. They lack mass and are moving to active defense and maneuver warfare but the equipment has not caught up. It is going to feel weird to some but this is a modern (well semi-modern) title where US forces do not dominate the battlefield. They have to be played carefully to achieve parity. For example the T62 can kill an M60A3 in the front from about 1500m, so the US player must be elegant and clever...like the gentle fox.
The Soviets on the other hand are the bear that eats said gentle fox and then poops him out, barely breaking stride. The Soviets at this point are pretty much near the top of their game. Their equipment is solid, if a little blind, and they have mountains of it. Soviet operational doctrine is actually very good, it uses mass much like it did in WW2, and frankly Genghis would be proud at how well the Soviet can throw MRRs at a problem and simply keep going. The T64 is a beast, probably the best Soviet tank in the game (particularly the B versions), the T80 can throw a punch too. The Soviet use of ATGM is frankly terrifying. First, they literally put those things on just about everything, and the AT 5 feels like the modern day Javelin in that, if it can hit, it will kill. In testing one scenario of the US Campaign, I played sloppy and watched an BMP MRB shred all the US armor in about 5 mins...so there is that.
At a tactical level the Soviet are all about lining up the punch. They were not mindless hordes, they would prepare and shape with recon but when they decided to throw that punch...oh, my. First they would drop the sky on top of you using massed artillery. Then they would advance en masse along multiple axis projecting dilemma everywhere for an opponent. They would then trade shots until your armor is gone and finally they might dismount and clean up any poor infantry you have left. I say 'might' because they would often simply bypass those huddle GIs and just keep going.
So for this AAR, I will try to emulate the soviet approach as much as possible. Stay tuned and see how it turns out.
BletchleyGeek reacted to Pete Wenman in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
I hope Bil doesn't mind but the evolution of the Dollbach map. Note the map image predates the autobahn and bridge. It also gives an overview of the battlefield for those that like that kind of detail
BletchleyGeek got a reaction from The_MonkeyKing in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
The more I think about it, the more in agreement I am with this.
If Warren plays in character, I would expect an attempt at a "deep operation" - like a massed rush along one flank - rather than a frontal advance on the town under the guns of the enemy (the town seems to be at the bottom of a "bowl" in the middle of the map).
BletchleyGeek reacted to General Jack Ripper in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
Music for the thread:
BletchleyGeek reacted to General Jack Ripper in Heaven & Earth: Project discussion thread
I know this is an old post, but one thing to note is that decaying pine needles are HIGHLY corrosive, so natural pine forests really don't have much tall undergrowth.
One major bone I have to pick with map makers is their pathological tendency to "fill" empty space to such an extent that a simple terrain feature like a copse of trees becomes as dense and complicated as an urban center.
BletchleyGeek reacted to Sgt.Squarehead in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
Oh man.....I need more likes!
BletchleyGeek got a reaction from Bil Hardenberger in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
By the way, how is that going to play out? Is there going to be house rules to limit command and control capabilities in some way? In a completely different setting, I recently made a statement along the lines that: "the perception I get from reading stuff written at the time, often considering Warsaw Pact militaries to be some kind of fearsome beast/machine that could somehow be led to its demise via clever tricks, gadgets and fancy footwork was a cozy notion which fortunately nobody had to find the hard way whether it was right or not".
BletchleyGeek reacted to Bil Hardenberger in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980
“Here, across death’s other river, the Tartar horsemen shake their spears.”
This BETA game is being played against Warren (The_Capt), and we are very familiar with each other’s style, strengths and weaknesses as we’ve been playing CM against each other for close to 20 years now.
CM Cold War was our brainchild and has been on our wargame design table, off and on, for eight years now, but now it is a real thing. You’re welcome. With that said it is only fitting that Warren and I play in this BETA AAR. We haven’t played in public since our original CMBN BETA AAR, Not your Father’s Combat Mission.
I hope you enjoy the ride, and welcome to the COLD WAR!!
Sidebar! I strictly use the Movie Mode when I play so all of my screenshots use that feature. I don't mean it to insult anybody, but I just think the game looks better.
Meeting Engagement at Dolbach Heights, 1980
When Warren and I laid out the design for this game we wanted it to be primarily and ultimately a sandbox for experimentation and reflection. A tool to test the tactical theories that were prevalent at that time. Time… yes, we also wanted to be able to examine the different sides from different time perspectives, and this release, the base game in the CM Cold War series, contains the years 1979 to 1982. We also only cover the months March to October, mainly so we didn’t have to generate winter textures and models which would have been one feature too many.
This particular scenario is one that Warren and I threw together that we thought would be fun to play and show off. The map is from the US Campaign and when you play that you will see this map eventually. I will start my METT-T analysis in my next post, but for now, sit back, enjoy the existence of this game, and don’t go away!
METT-T Analysis MISSION ENEMY TERRAIN TROOPS / TIME Tentative Plan The Action: First Three Minutes! Fourth Minute - First Contact! Fifth Minute - Return of the Blood Board! Sixth & Seventh Minutes Eighth Minute - One Meter Too Many Eighth Minute - BDA & Some Movements Ninth Minute Tenth Minute Eleventh & Twelfth Minutes - "...damn your eyes." Thirteenth Minute - The Board is Set Fourteenth Minute - Spoiling Attack Plan Fifteenth through Seventeenth Minutes Eighteenth Minute - Relearning Old Lessons Nineteenth & Twentieth Minutes Twenty-First & Twenty-Second Minutes - Beyond Here, There be Dragons Twenty-Third & Twenty-Fourth Minutes - Saga of Tank Section 1
BletchleyGeek reacted to 37mm in And now.....
Probably just the artificial night-brightness option.
It should be noted the scripts file additions included the M2 Bradley (introduced in '81), M901 ITV* (introduced in '79), and, as the PASGT gear was standard issue by '85, I'm all but certain this will be a 1983 Fulda Gap game.
*Also the M163 VADS
BletchleyGeek reacted to chuckdyke in Hard Cat Rules v2 - Simple to Use Command & Control Rules - UPDATED 14APR20
Like a Rugby match. Go for the ball and not for the man sometimes tackle too high sometimes tackle too low. Look forward to the All Blacks visiting
BletchleyGeek reacted to Bil Hardenberger in Hard Cat Rules v2 - Simple to Use Command & Control Rules - UPDATED 14APR20
Of course. Let's shake and have a conversation.
Regarding Cover Arcs... those are in the Optional/Advanced rule section (page 2) so obviously you can feel free to take them or leave them as they are optional and considered Advanced rules. But the purpose behind them is to force a player to maintain proper C2 distances... keep the squads within their Platoon Leader's command range. A real Platoon Leader will control the zones that each of his squads cover, to ensure his entire zone of responsibility is protected. THis is not normally a squad leader function when working within the PL's control.
Now there are two exceptions to this and both have to do with scouting, as an infantry team on a scouting mission and a dedicated Scout Platoon (on a scouting mission). Both are really autonomous units and thus do not need a leader to dictate fields of fire, etc.
Units performing a scouting mission Recon platoons performing a scouting mission A word about the reasoning behind exception #2 - a player could abuse a Scouting Platoon and use it in an infantry role.. in that case it should follow the same rules as a normal infantry platoon. If it is actually performing a scouting mission, then of course it is in its element and gets its special exception.
Now if a squad from that Platoon is working independently as a maneuver element during a platoon attack drill, then of course that squad is acting as an autonomous unit and should also be able to use covered arcs as required. This type of exception to the rule could be a player decision or I could add it as a third exception type thus:
Units performing a scouting mission Recon platoons performing a scouting mission Formations/units acting as a Maneuver Element during a Battle Drill (i.e. Attack Drill) We have to be careful to not give too much slack, for example, if I were to say "Exception 3 is any unit acting independently" a player could then say, "well... all my units are acting independently!" So we need to carefully spell out the exceptions.
These rules were written for myself and a small group of like minded players.. most of whom have been constant commentators in this thread, they definitely are not for everybody.
I'd be interested in your thoughts.
BletchleyGeek got a reaction from Freyberg in Hard Cat Rules v2 - Simple to Use Command & Control Rules - UPDATED 14APR20
I got that sense Chuck Too bad I am at Melbourne. I would route you to FGM if you don't know it, you may find someone in your same TZ to player real-time or wego live over a connection.