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Allied AAR: Clearing the Niscemi Highway

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This is the same AAR start I did in the previous surprise thread, but I've started a new thread to drop all of the unrelated posts. From here on out, please keep discussion in this thread to AAR-related posts. ; )

Welcome to the Allied side of the Clearing the Niscemi Highway AAR! I'll be playing the plucky Americans against the dastardly Axis troopers fighting for Bil Hardenberger.

The Axis side of the AAR is here:


One more note before I begin: these screenshots have artwork that is in progress, and not necessarily indicative of the end product. Some art elements may be using CMBN stand-ins while new art is being made. Other art is still going through adjustment. Don't bother pointing these out, I already know about them.

The Situation

It is July 12, 1943. Operation Husky began two days ago, and the 82nd Airborne operation went, how shall we say... less than smoothly. Pockets of paratroopers have been scattered all over the area, from Gela to Niscemi. One such group from the 504th PIR has ensconced themselves into a hilltop villa called the Castelletti Villa, which overlooks the highway connecting Niscemi and Gela. The building itself is large, formidable and on high ground, with grapevines covering the southern slope of the hill, and a small forested area on the nortwestern slope. The surrounding area is harvested wheat crops and orchards intermixed.

The Luftwaffe Hermann Göring Division, having failed to eject the American landing forces from their beaches, is preparing to pull back to whence they came, near Niscemi. My plucky band of paras managed to ambush a 120mm mortar platoon as they were travelling along the highway and completely destroyed them. Understandably angered, the Germans, along with some help from the Italians, have set out to destroy me. To help out my defense, reinforcements from the 1st Infantry Division at the beaches are finally arriving to bolster me. But will they arrive in time?


The Forces

My defense force is a motley assortment of paratroopers. For basic infantry I have one platoon of airborne infantry, along with a number of HQs, including the 2/505 HQ. I've also got one section from the regimental demolition platoon. For heavy weapons I have one tripod mounted .50cal HMG and two on-map M1A1 pack howitzers. I'd estimate my strength at roughly 2-3 platoons worth of infantry.

To sum up my paras have:

- 3 M1A1 bazookas.

- 1 60mm mortar.

- 2 M1919A4 MMGs.

- 1 .50cal HMG.

- 2 pack howitzers, but with only one HEAT round apiece.

I've also been promised reinforcements within 20 minutes. They will consist of leg infantry from the 1st Infantry Divison as well as armor and some artillery. I'll just have to hope I can hold out till then.

The Objectives

I have three land objectives, as you can see on the map. The Villa itself is the most valuable, and I also have orders to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy while sustaining little myself. PSSSHHAWW yeah right like THATS going to happen. Not if Bil has anything to say about it. If I had to guess I'd say that I'm probably going to lose the Orchards objective, but it's relatively open and I can make him bleed for it.

The Setup

Here's a view of my setup.


The regimental demolition section is forward-deployed ahead of my defenses, in the orchards. I'm going to use them as a screening force, detecting the enemy advances, and giving them a little blood then pulling back before it gets too hot. They will ensure that the Germans and Italians don't pull any surprises on me. Most of them are a little exposed, with only a rural rock wall to give them cover. Hopefully not many tanks in the first wave. I've split off one fire team from the section and put them in some woods on the left flank where they observe in cover for any attempts by Bil to sneak his troops through the woods.

My main defense is set up to hit the enemy as he crosses the exposed ground in the middle while travelling to the Orchard and afterwards across the highway into to the hill. The pack howitzers can cover both likely routes of enemy armor advance along each side of the hill, while the infantry are dug in on the exterior of the patch of woods. If the fighting gets too hot they can pull back to either the interior of the woods or the villa itself. The .50cal HMG on the 4th floor of the villa has a dominating view, and can even support the demolition section from where it is. However, it doesn't have a lot of ammo, so I'll have to be selective with its shots.

Here's the view from my first screen line. Directly to that front of them is crest of the hill, and where I expect the enemy to first appear.


The defenses are ready. All there is to do is wait...


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Bil had a storm pass his way and knock his internet out, but we should be able to resume today hopefully.

I think they'll be cleaning up that mess in Richmond for several days.

Now if they could just clean up the mess on Broad Street while they're at it...:mad:

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NOTE: Every few turns I'm going to post a larger view of the map with notes to show recent troop movements.

The action begins right at turn 1, as a platoon of what looks like Bersgalieri mounted in a Fiat truck round the bend of the highway to the north. My .50cal engages them, putting a few rounds into the truck engine, promptly stopping them and forcing the Italians to dismount.


The truck presents a problem. While little threat in itself, it could give away the positions of my heavy weapons when they fire on it. To prevent that I give my pack howitzers and the .50cal a Cover Armor Arc, hopefully ensuring that they'll only open fire on enemy tanks. I leave one of the MMG teams with orders to keep firing on the truck and its occupants.

Elsewhere, I see a Renault R35 tank cresting the hill to the west. It has obviously spotted some of my paras on the outer line, because the commander promptly buttons up and the turret begins to turn in their direction. The R35 might be an old little tank, but it's armed with canister shot and that spells trouble for exposed infantry. The spotted demolition team gets a simple Hide order, putting them behind the rock wall. If that tank wants to come get them, it will hopefully have to expose itself to my defenses.


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The Renault fires one wild shot at my paras behind the wall and decides to pull back. Not sure why, but I'll take it. The truck pulls back, leaving some of the Bersaglieri milling about confused on the road until they pull back into a tree stand. Later in the turn I spot more trucks behind them, and my MMG starts to fire sporadically on them. While it keeps them from attempting to move quickly or do much of a rush, I also can't do much damage to them at this range without exposing my heavier weapons. The Bersgalieri also have a decently covered area to dismount and setup for an attack, for which they are well positioned to attack the flank of my forward section. As soon as I see them moving towards them, I'll have to pull them back ASAP.

For now I'm going to leave my troops in place. I still have the option to pull the demolition section downhill and to open up with my heavy guns, but he hasn't shown enough of his force yet to make that wise IMO.

There isn't a whole to show this turn. My screen takes a few potshots at fleeting glimpses of Italians, but that's it. So instead I'll show a demonstration of how the shaders act on walls:


And here's the overall look of the battlefield at the end of turn 2.


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Which of this terrain is new? It seems like we have seen most of it before but I may be missing some of the newer stuff.

I could not tell too much difference with the shader on the truck but definitely on the wall. Looks good. What type of video card do you need to run this with decent frame rates?

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Which of this terrain is new? It seems like we have seen most of it before but I may be missing some of the newer stuff.

Seen from before when? Not sure what in relation we're comparing it too.

I could not tell too much difference with the shader on the truck but definitely on the wall. Looks good. What type of video card do you need to run this with decent frame rates?

You can see it with vehicles if you look at the smaller details on them. In a still image the most visible difference is around the wheels.

I use a high end graphics card, so I'm not sure what sort of card would be minimally necessary for good frame rates. One of the beta testers with such a card can chime in if they please.

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