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Colossal Crack - with spoilers


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What a totally amazing battle - absolutely superb! Thanks for creating it.

I've just been thoroughly beaten by the AI!

I lost 63 tanks! 63 tanks and 157 KIA. I inflicted 270 KIA and 5 tanks destroyed, but I knocked out 38 armoured cars. I've never seen so much hardware on screen at once. I attempted to focus on one flank, thinking I would be clever and fool the AI but I obviously chose the wrong flank! It was packed to the rafters with Pioneer and armoured cars plus a few Marders and Wespes. I did eventually capture the first village but I couldn't outflank the counter-attack. I lost the majority of my Shermans to the Panthers over open-ground. Bloody hard to kill at distance. I tried my best to out-flank the Panthers but I was unlucky. Even my air support didn't really help. Anyway, that is definitely the best scenario I've ever played using any CM game. Incredible!

What's really interesting though is how different this feels due to the terrain. There are no scenarios with this much space on the map and it really adds another dimension to the game-play. Whereas before you could quite easily disable a Panther with infantry if you were close enough over distance you really see the superiority of the German tank.

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I am just getting ready to start this battle. I faced almost all my units towards the right side of the map. Gonna head near the right side of the map on fast or quick. Then face towards Soliers,shroud it in smoke and arty fire. Then storm into Soliers in hopes that some of the German guns will have less of an advantage at shorter range.

No way am I gonna try to send my units through that gap. Monty can take a hike!

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Hmmm.......... I wish they'd given it a different name! lol

Nothing wrong with the name. Like a number of other names for scenario's (ie Breaking the Panzers - Really good book) it is a reference to one of the big works written on 21st Army Group. In this case it is a reference to Colossal Cracks by Stephen Hart, which is a term coined by Monty that Hart uses to define 21st Army Group battle doctrine.

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I am just getting ready to start this battle. I faced almost all my units towards the right side of the map. Gonna head near the right side of the map on fast or quick. Then face towards Soliers,shroud it in smoke and arty fire. Then storm into Soliers in hopes that some of the German guns will have less of an advantage at shorter range.

No way am I gonna try to send my units through that gap. Monty can take a hike!

Keep us posted - I'd like to see how you get on. I moved the majority of my units to the left flank and tried to gain ground there - so I did it completely differently. I didn't like the open terrain in the middle either which I predicted would be ideal hunting ground for AT guns/tank destroyers. Part of my problem was compounded by the fact I spent too long trying to rout the Germans from the village when I should have been concentrating my armour in hull-down positions. But that will teach me to read the briefing properly!

Upon reflection I should have sent a much larger force towards the right hand flank and occupied the village there, and I should have sent my FO to the top of the steeple, but I see the Germans had similar ideas ;) I made quite a few mistakes. There's always a next time :D

Has anyone played this as the Germans - I fancy a bash but not if the AI rushes everything forward within a few minutes.

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Nothing wrong with the name. Like a number of other names for scenario's (ie Breaking the Panzers - Really good book) it is a reference to one of the big works written on 21st Army Group. In this case it is a reference to Colossal Cracks by Stephen Hart, which is a term coined by Monty that Hart uses to define 21st Army Group battle doctrine.

If you, like me, had been fed on the teat of the "Carry On" film franchise that was part of the culture of the UK during the 60's and 70's, you would find the names of the scenarios "Colossal Crack" and "Sticking it Out" hilarious :)

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If you, like me, had been fed on the teat of the "Carry On" film franchise that was part of the culture of the UK during the 60's and 70's, you would find the names of the scenarios "Colossal Crack" and "Sticking it Out" hilarious :)

Yes Noob, precisely. I thought it must have been named after Herman Goering perhaps. Oh God, there's one called "Sticking it Out" as well, is there? I can almost hear Sid James laughing in the background!:

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Yes Noob, precisely. I thought it must have been named after Herman Goering perhaps. Oh God, there's one called "Sticking it Out" as well, is there? I can almost hear Sid James laughing in the background!:

I looked for more, but the only candidate was "The Column", but i thought that was a bit tenuous. (but obviously not tenuous enough to mention it in this reply :) )

p.s. I "can" hear Sid James laughing in the background.......all the time.......curse you the 1970's !!!....for making me this way !!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was able to achieve a minor victory against the German AI. Playing in WEGO Warrior mode. I was able to get enough units on Bourgebus ridge that I got the 1500 points for it. here are some other mission stats.

GB German

412 men O.K. 340 men O.K.

243 men K.I.A. 400 K.I.A

146 men wounded 143 men wounded

0 men missing 14 men missing

104 tanks lost 27 tanks lost

9 Armored vehicles lost 51 Armored vehicles lost

0 other vehicles lost 12 other vehicles lost

Before I started the battle I placed all units on the far right setup zone and faced them in this direction. Then I moved all units on fast or quick to the right side of the map,except for a Squadron of Shermans that I left stationary to alternately target the Church Steeple in Soilers. Then I faced all units towards Soilers. I was able to get into Soilers at about the 30 minute mark. Then it was time to dismount some of the motor rifle troops to start taking some of the Buildings and the Church Steeple in Soilers. When I got a scout team to the top of the steeple I could see the dead enemy F.O. in the top of the steeple. The scout team could also see a nest of Marders and other Enemy units. Things really slowed down at this point. Trying to get all units through Soilers reminded me of getting toothpaste out of a tube. I had to resort to having my tanks blast high and low brick/stone walls in order to speed up traffic flow. As my units started to exit Soilers a Marder III was able to fire over the top of a high walled enclosure ??? and take out 3 tanks before I could eventually destroy it.

Once I cleared Soilers. I started going straight for the Village of Bourguebus. I also had a Church Steeple that I kept constant tank fire on. I tried to use smoke and Arty trough out the advance but still lost some tanks to 88's when they crossed over a road as they headed toward Bourguebus Town. I got into Bourgebus Town and beyond at around the 1 hour mark. About this time the first panthers of the LAH started showing up. No I started pivoting my Tanks toward them for a flank attack. One of my firefly's took out 5 Panthers including the LAH Division commander. Another Achilles took out 4 panthers. the AI then got wise to my flank attack and pivoted there PAK 88's towards my units and started destroying some of my tanks. Then I got my F.O. in the Steeple at Bourguebus and get more tanks to target the 88's near Bourguebus Ridge.

When my Tank reinforcements arrived there were only about 6 panthers left [that I could see]....So I figured what the heck and I just gave the entire tank reinforcement group a mass movement order through Soilers and then towards Bourguebus ridge.

I was then totally amazed to see those six panthers literally stop almost the entire Tank force in it's tracks. Then another 7 Panthers showed on the far left side of the map. However they kept heading South towards Four and away from Bourguebus ridge. 2 panthers also stayed near the map edge near Bourgues ridge. However they could not target all my units on the ridge

The terrain features of the map have many tricky undulations and ambush zones.

In hindsight I should not have given the mass move order to the tank reinforcments

I was able to call in an Air support mission but it's target had already been destoyed by the time it arrived.

I really enjoyed this battle

Thanks to the folks at BFC for cookin up this masterpiece. It was so Colossal it reminded of a CMCW version of Man vs. Food

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  • 1 month later...
Keep us posted - I'd like to see how you get on. I moved the majority of my units to the left flank and tried to gain ground there - so I did it completely differently. I didn't like the open terrain in the middle either which I predicted would be ideal hunting ground for AT guns/tank destroyers. Part of my problem was compounded by the fact I spent too long trying to rout the Germans from the village when I should have been concentrating my armour in hull-down positions. But that will teach me to read the briefing properly!

Upon reflection I should have sent a much larger force towards the right hand flank and occupied the village there, and I should have sent my FO to the top of the steeple, but I see the Germans had similar ideas ;) I made quite a few mistakes. There's always a next time :D

Has anyone played this as the Germans - I fancy a bash but not if the AI rushes everything forward within a few minutes.

I just finished this as the Germans and won a major victory. The Allied attack came quickly through Four and the Germans there were ultimately overwhelmed.

The right wing of the first Panthers to arrive was stopped cold, but the left wing was able to use the bocage as cover to circle around Four.

The Allied tanks poured forward but were annihilated by Panther reinforcements. The panzers I had circle around Four were able to get behind the left wing of Allied tanks parked behind the bocage and destroy them.

At that point I thought I had killed all the Allied tanks, but I started losing a large number of Panthers. My efforts to mop up the Allied tanks behind the bocage on the right side of Four failed. There were about ten left at the end of the game.

I don't remember the casualty figures, but I lost about 29 Panthers. The Allies suffered well over 100 tanks destroyed. Had I been more careful with smoke, I would not have suffered as many tank losses as I did. As it was, I lost my last remaining good order Panther on the last turn of the game. I withdrew all the other Panthers to safety after their main guns/optics were knocked out. The Firefly is a lethal opponent.

Much like "Breaking the Panzers" it was one of those scenarios where even if you end up with a major or total victory, the battle seesaws back and forth to where you really don't know who has the upper hand until very late.

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Back where I can look up the stats. Game was on Iron level against the AI.

GB German

Men ok: 278 - 602

Men killed: 355 - 192

Men wounded: 164 - 92

Men missing: 4 - 11

Tanks lost: 114 - 26

Armored vehicles lost: 41 - 17

Other vehicles lost: 1 - 5

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  • 7 years later...

  Myself and a buddy played this one live, turn-based tonight and man, oh man, has it played out beautifully
thus far. So much action and anticipation!   We played a solid 5 hours and still have about 60 minutes
of game time left to play tonight. 
  I've never seen so much Allied armor on a map before. It was jaw-dropping to see it all pointed
at me!

  Highly recommended for human vs human play! 

Regards, Odd

 

  

 

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  • 1 year later...

Just started this last night but after 4 minutes I'm going to do something I never do - Start again!

The thing is, I read the briefing and it said move fast as you don't want to hang around in a kill zone.

No I don't. In fact I don't even want to enter a kill zone.

I looked at the map. Yep, I know a kill zone when I see one and that is definitely a kill zone.

Now, ordinarily I'd not have gone near the "colossal crack". I'd have gone through one or both villages. But from what the briefing said, I thought that might be cheating (sort of). Certainly not historical. Not playing it as intended. So, in all good faith, I charged up the centre using "Fast". Left a few further back with "Hunt" for targets that revealed themselves (which was actually quite effective).

But 4 minutes later with more than half a dozen Shermans brewing up, I thought, "Why is this a 2-hour scenario?"

If it was important to charge up the middle with a rolling barrage and a smoke screen, surely it'd be a 30-minute scenario?

So I thought, sod the briefing, I'll do this my way.

Now about to start again.

🧐

 

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It's years since I played this, so I've forgotten what the briefing said. But, having read your post, I must have taken one look at the map and said "sod the briefing". 

In the meantime, if anyone is interested our colonial convict pal Ithikial did put out a 21 episode video of this battle on youtube about six years ago.

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7 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Meanwhile I wondered if the briefing was meant to reflect the orders given at the time

I assume so. And with the multiple off map arty options available you can even arrange a rolling barrage and a smoke screen. Which is why I thought I might give it a go.

But as you've got two hours to achieve the objective it seemed pretty daft to try and get there in 10 minutes and experience told me it was doomed to failure anyway.

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