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The Scottish Corridor Thread


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19 minutes ago, Erwin said:

I think this is the only CMBN campaign I never completed.  When it first came out I think I found it hard and after struggling thru "Courage and Fortitude" I wanted something easy.  Your AAR is inspiring me to take another run at it.

It has its frustrating moments. I found the difficulty curve all over the place. Some missions were almost easy, but others seemed impossible.

The branching difficulty system is ambitious and well-intentioned but I don't think it really works. I had to repeat the first scenario a few times, and I can safely say the 2nd was no easier at 'green' level. 'Green' is a bit of a misnomer, on one green scenario I still had regular troops but the SS were all veteran. I think it only adjusts time and it definitely affects enemy armour you'll face, but otherwise I didn't see much appreciable difference.

I think the flaws are more evident because the quality is generally very high. Great maps, good tactical options (with one exception I noted above) and you get to play with lots of interesting equipment (there's an armored car scenario! It's great!)

Give it a try, it's well worth your time.

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I get a bit concerned when I see campaigns that resupply 100% or close between missions. Ammo conservation should be a critical element, and I think there is a tendency to create campaigns using the

+1    Having to learn the "trick" to winning is the worst. The only reasons to replay a scenario is 1) if you are playtesting it, or 2) If it's a learning opportunity to hone one's skills. S

I was playing a scenario in a notoriously difficult campaign recently and going left got cover, going right meant moving a great distance in the open. So obviously I went left. But me being

Am on the 2nd mission and remembering now why I didn't go any further when I first tried this campaign all those years ago.  It's hard.  Maybe not quite as arduous as "Courage & Fortitude" but similarly frustrating.  At least the game doesn't end if one can lose by no worse than a minor defeat.  One has to lose a lot before one gets thrown out of the campaign.

The first mission I eked out a minor defeat even tho I captured the LHS objective.  Fortunately, a minor defeat (or better) still keeps one on the "win" track.    I'll continue onwards as the missions are very well designed. 

 

******* SPOILERS *******

What is impressive about the missions (the first two anyway) is that the designer (Paper Tiger?) has not chosen the easy way of scenario design and simply created attack scenarios where there are more defenders than attackers.  In the "Scottish Corridor" missions one has 3:1 or 4:1 attack advantage(!)  However, the designer has been very clever in creating ambushes and situations where just a few German defenders can do a lot of damage to the far superior Scots attacking force.

In part what he's done is create many 1, 2 or 3-man German defender teams - each with an MG42 and/or MP40's.  The game demonstrates how much damage one or two guys with an MG or SMG can do.  The other great design aspect is that all these teams are located in positions that are hard to get LOS to until one is in their kill zone.

The Scots get a couple Churchill tanks and a couple Bren Carriers.  But, the damp ground makes it dangerous to go off-road - even for the carriers which possess the best offroad performance (5 green bars) in the game.  In mission one I had a Carrier bog then immobilize offroad, and one of the invaluable Churchills bog and immobilize on the road.  (And that meant it did not appear in the 2nd mission.)  So, the tanks are of limited use - which is what the mission simulates per the RL attack.  

BTW: The game AI supposedly will slow vehicles to the appropriate speed for the terrain - so one concludes that one may as well move QUICK all the time.  Am not sure if it makes a difference, but the ground condition in this campaign makes one consider moving vehicles SLOW all the time "just in case".  

What makes the missions (so far) frustrating is that discussions on these forums tells us that the Brit inf forces were designed to be used with large amount of artillery plus MG's, plus inf tanks all working together.  However, in Scottish Corridor the player is faced with missions in which artillery is inadequate, there are no MG's at all, and the tanks are of limited use as it is fatal to go off road and it is very hard to get them into a good supporting firing position.  In Mission 2, the road is blocked so one can't get the tank(s) very far on the road at all.

While the RL campaign was very hard, it feels like it may be very hard to "win" a mission in the game.  While that doesn't kick one out of the campaign (unless one loses a LOT) that makes these missions demoralizing.  It would be nice to have the Victory Conditions calculated so that one isn't losing all the time.  But, perhaps later missions are easier.  We'll see... 

 

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The first two are tough. Mission 3 broke for me at the 5 minute mark so can't tell you much about it, but after that they're quite enjoyable. Mission 3 is a defend map, the first of a few in that campaign and that's a nice change you don't get much experience of in CM2 solo play.

Quite agree about the Artillery support, it is big annoyance and I mentioned it earlier that PT is so stingy with it is as if he is paying for it himself! This is a wider issue of designers being ahistorical and throwing out doctrine because they're looking for a certain outcome.  you may note the Germans have no shortage of it.  The time limit on the 2nd mission is outrageous too the worst in the campaign. Although my method in that one was to go right (you can get the tank(s) through the farmyard in the middle of the map) but the objective building is extremely well defended and walled by high bocage. As you say you don't need many defenders - just the right kind - to make them practically impregnable. I used the tank HE a lot (I had both Churchills from the first mission).

The scoring is very tough too. I said up-thread that if you are given two objectives you better get both of them or you'll be scored harshly.

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1)  Yes, noticed that the Germans seem to have no arty shortage.  :(

2)  You must have been very lucky going offroad with the Churchills.  The (very useful) 93mm Churchill bogged and immobilized in Mission One and therefore will not appear in Mission Two.  Almost as soon as the 75mm Churchill went offroad in Mission 2 it also immobilized.  Perhaps the trick is to try and find spots close to the road where an immobilized tank can still be useful??  Perhaps I could have used the arty better, but it's only effective if inf are not in buildings.  The problem Germans were all in buildings so arty doesn't do much to them.

3) I thought I was doing ok in Mission 2 until I had to rush cos was running out of time.  Also, I found it hard to do anything useful with the little arty that the Scots have at their disposal.  Most Germans are in buildings and so almost invulnerable to 81mm.  

4)  What is really impressing me with this campaign is the clever way that PT has positioned small teams (nearly all with MG42's) in very effective and hard to destroy ambush positions.  I don't know about historical accuracy, but the game demonstrates how and why the MG42 is a far better killing device than the Bren.  Every Scot squad has a Bren plus there are independent Bren teams.  But, in the game, they are not that effective and one feels the absence of any Brit HMG's.  It felt like one needs 3 or 4+ Brens to match a single MG42.

As with all Paper Tiger's campaigns this is very well designed.  But, also PT had a sadistic streak as his campaigns are all hard.  His "Road to Dinas" (CMSF) is brilliant and highly recommended.  But, the campaign ends if you lose certain missions.  One almost certainly will have to replay many missions multiple times in order to figure out the "trick" and win with enuff force remaining for the next missions.  I hate that.  

Am impressed that in "Scottish Corridor" as PT created three levels of difficulty:  "Hard/Veteran" "Normal" and "Green/Easy".   Apparently, if you lose a mission by a certain amount, the next mission(s) will have you on the "easy" track.  If you win a mission the next mission will be from the harder track.  Brilliant.  Wish other campaign designers would feature that.

 

Edited by Erwin
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Haha, be forewarned, the 'Easy' missions are not that easy. I played mission 2 both at Veteran and Green, and the only difference I could see was the German Armour (Stug III vs jagdpanzer) and that was about it. It played much the same.

In terms of AFV bogging, I got lucky. I used slow orders when off road and they fared okay apparently. 1st mission I put a single tank watching the right hand field right after the deployment zone (careful with where you put it as it can be in LOS to the AT gun) and the 2nd I moved into the orchard on the left hand side once I was happy the AT gun was down. Neither bogged. There are mines further up that road and at the intersection near the MG bunker.  The tank on the right flank has LOS all the way up to the tall Bocage in front of the 2nd objective. Very useful for putting down the ambush teams that in one plan were placed behind it.

The 95mm Churchilll can kill a Jagdpanzer from the front with the HEAT round. At CMBN ranges it's no problem at all for it to get enough accuracy.

Edited by Sulman
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3 hours ago, Sulman said:

In terms of AFV bogging, I got lucky. I used slow orders when off road and they fared okay apparently.

That makes a huge difference.  It's a scenario problem and frustrating that so much can depend on "luck".   The armor is needed to demolish the German strong points.  ***SPOILER NOTE*** (SEE BELOW)

Am tempted to replay Mission One (and maybe 2 as well) - just to see if I can figure out better Scottish tactics given the challenges - and to see if I have better luck re the immobilized tank and Bren Carrier. 

I admit that while on the road I had em move either QUICK or MOVE and that ended with a tank immobilized.  Offroad I thought the Bren Carriers would be ok since they have the best offroad performance rating.  But, moving QUICK immobilized a Carrier.  

Am not a fan of defending scenarios so not looking forward to Mission 3.

 

******SPOILER******

Fortunately, the Germans do not seem to have much/any personal AT capability in Missions 1 or 2.  So, getting tanks or even a Bren Carrier into the fight is very helpful - probably essential to get a win.

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There is one mission in particular where the Bren carrier is absolutely essential. The ability to fight German HMG positions with little risk is decisive. They're great in a supporting fires role.

The defensive scenarios are an education. They're not bad.  BTW as I'm sure you've discovered, using the mortar section and the Bren section together works well. They are good smoke throwers too, and always seem to have favourable LOS.

 

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2 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I've genuinely never used them that way.....Always scared they would get riddled!  :unsure:

Not only are they bulletproof up to rifle calibre, enemy infantry won't even open fire on them until the occupants dismount.

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4 hours ago, John1966 said:

Is that a bizarre historical quirk or a bug? 🧐

(Genuine question)

I think it is TacAI awareness that the unit cannot be harmed by rifle/MG fire. Rifle Grenades and hand grenades are a different story.

What does surprise me is how well the vehicle occupants are protected from small arms fire. even elevated positions don't seem to bother it much.

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7 hours ago, Sulman said:

I think it is TacAI awareness that the unit cannot be harmed by rifle/MG fire. Rifle Grenades and hand grenades are a different story.

What does surprise me is how well the vehicle occupants are protected from small arms fire. even elevated positions don't seem to bother it much.

Hmmm...

Interesting. Why can't a Bren carrier be harmed by rifle/MG fire? It's usually quite effective against halftracks. Infantry will even fire on tanks, if only to keep the crew's heads down.

Funny thing is, I'm always surprised how effective carriers are in CM.

Things stick with you and I remember 30ish years ago playing with carriers in a Squad Leader game. I don't exactly recall the rules but they were similar to halftracks but the occupants (crew and passengers) were always considered "crew exposed". So in the game I was playing with them, about eight were more or less knocked out (occupants broken) in a couple of turns. So I've always had it in my head that they're "a bit rubbish" even though they're rather good in CM.

It seems that in CM they're actually better than a halftrack. Certainly as far as crew/passenger protection is concerned. I'm not sure why that should be. After all, you can properly duck down in a halftrack. Carriers should surely offer less protection?

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It depends on whether you are talking about passengers sat in a Bren Carrier, who most definitely can be harmed. Or whether you are talking about a carrier that is only occupied by a driver and gunner. Unlike h/t's where the gunner has to stand up to use the mg. The Bren Carrier has a firing slit, and therefore the gunner has much better protection.

Edited by Warts 'n' all
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They're not like halftracks, not in CM. They can only be harmed by grenades or AT weapons. I don't know whether this is accurate but that's how it is.

 

If memory serves from Graviteam Tactics I think 7.92 ball ammunition could get through the carrier's plate if close enough, but that doesn't appear to be the case in CM2. It doesn't take much hardened armour to stop rifle rounds.

I have had a carrier wipe out an entire SS platoon it caught crossing a field at a range of about 100yds. The AI didn't seem to know what to do so kept advancing. That thing killed them all over about three turns.

All of that seemed feasible but I did question the possibility of engaging a position in a building on the higher floors. That should give the defenders a slant advantage into the carrier's crew, but apparently did not.

But ultimately they're much tougher than half tracks, which can be disrupted by a stiff breeze.

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1 hour ago, Sulman said:

I have had a carrier wipe out an entire SS platoon it caught crossing a field at a range of about 100yds.

Yes. I too, have done miraculous things with Bren carriers.

1 hour ago, Sulman said:

They're not like halftracks, not in CM. They can only be harmed by grenades or AT weapons. I don't know whether this is accurate but that's how it is.

Well that's the interesting thing. I've never really thought about it before but, now I do, the Queen of the Battlefield does seem a little more heroic than perhaps it should be. 😉

I was hoping a Bren carrier grog would come along and explain just why the CM carrier is modelled to be such a beast.

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54 minutes ago, Warts 'n' all said:

It is shame that we don't have a voice mod specific to the Scots. I would love to send 'em into battle singing Rabbie Burns' "Cock up yer beaver".

If you have the neccessary sound files I probably know a man who can.....Whether he would is another question of course!  :P

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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On 1/10/2021 at 5:44 PM, Sulman said:

I have had a carrier wipe out an entire SS platoon it caught crossing a field at a range of about 100yds. The AI didn't seem to know what to do so kept advancing.

That's because there is no AI, just a set of movement orders triggered at various set times. So when it's advance o' clock, that platoon will run towards its defined destination.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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11 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

That's because there is no AI, just a set of movement orders triggered at various set times. So when it's advance o' clock, that platoon will run towards its defined destination.

I understand that, but the TacAI typically plays a role in trying to evaluate and respond to things. The Bren carrier seemed to be treated like it was harmless, when it was in fact killing everyone.

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Nobody ever complains that the Vickers or Browning Water-cooled MG's can't deliver indirect fire? It was a common tactic and they had special sights for this. They can and should be able to engage from just behind a crest of a reversed slope position. It would the Universal Carrier in a more effective role with that combination.  

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5 hours ago, Sulman said:

I understand that, but the TacAI typically plays a role in trying to evaluate and respond to things. The Bren carrier seemed to be treated like it was harmless, when it was in fact killing everyone.

But it doesn't respond and evaluate anything. It just runs forward when given the order. If you had a tank sitting there instread of the Bren carrier, the same thing would have happened.

As you noted, the computer will not manually order fire against open-topped vehicles like the Bren carrier and halftracks, making the carrier much more powerful than it would probably have been in a real situation.

I also found it to be extremerly useful in the Scottish Corridor campaign. But only on my second playthrough, because the first time around, I just assumed it would be vulnerable (the guys in the back look like they are sitting ducks).

Edited by Bulletpoint
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