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AXIS : Gustav Line BETA AAR Round Two - Eye of the Elefant

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Map Overview

I finally got my new rig worked out so the screenshots are working better so thought I should put together a little post to keep you entertained.

I am starting my terrain analysis while I wait for GaJ to finish his purchases and put together the following as a basis for that discussion.


Here is a map overview image showing the objectives for this game. They are (in no real order):

1. Left Tit

2. Right Tit

3. S Ridge (comprised of two separate hilltops)

4. Ridge Road (starts before the tits and goes between them)

5. The Spur

6. Observation Point

7. Tame (village)

8. Santa Maria Infante (town)

And here is the same map with the topo overlaid (through the magic of Photoshop):


Finally here is the topo itself with the objectives outlined (except for the Ridge Road which I left out for clarity). This will be my main planning map.


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^^^ I think that is where many of us would prefer to be!

Bil, we are talking tree farming for crying out loud! Shoot something.

Here is the SITMAP for turn 40. Sorry it's been a while since I provided one of these.. its been way overdue. Hope it's helpful.

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Observation and Fields of Fire

How well do you normally know the ground when you play a scenario? The following several posts will talk you through some of the key elements of terrain analysis. Military professionals use the acronym OAKOC in order to compartmentalize this procedure.

OAKOC breaks down into:

---O = Observation and Fields of Fire - basically how well can you spot from key positions.

---A = Avenues of Approach - ideally this will include both friendly and potential enemy avenues of approach

---K = Key Terrain - these pieces of terrain are what you think might be important for one side or the other (or both) in the upcoming battle

---O = Obstacles - obviously this process will continue throughout a scenario... as you uncover any enemy obstacles they will be rolled into your planning map. This also includes and terrain obstacles that can block, hinder, or channel movement

---C = Cover and Concealment - identifying where the best cover and concealment is in your area of operation can help dictate how best to maneuver

For this segment I will show you a quick and dirty type of analysis for the Observation and Fields of Fire section.

I will start with the Left Tit position... from this image you can see that while this position offers GaJ good visibility in the distance, as you close on it there are many blind spots:


The Right Tit position does not seem to have these blind spots and can see well into my right side approach zone:


I will do this analyses for each of the positions I expect GaJ to have OPs on... I will not be posting them all as this analysis is done as a quick and dirty process and I will not be taking screen captures like the above for all positions. I will however look for any blind spots (a blind spot for one position might not be for another) and any obvious danger zones or potential enemy kill zones.

It is also a good idea to do this process from several different points on each position. This will help pin down the best deployment areas that the enemy could use.

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Bil, if it's not too much hassle, would it be possible to include for each turn you post a view of the map from directly overhead (and squared in the view as much as possible)? I will ask GaJ if he can do the same and then overlay these for posting in the peanut gallery so people can more easily see the disposition of each side's forces relative to each another. There might be some issues with turn synchronization if you both focus on different turns, but I would just use the closest in time for the comparison.

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Avenues of Approach

Keeping in mind the lay of the land I now try to forecast friendly and enemy avenues of approach (AA). It is very important that you keep in mind the enemy capabilities and use that to factor in any threat AAs.

In this example I have laid out my three most obvious AAs:

--- AA 1 - Provides good terrain for armored vehicles, yet is under direct observation from the Left Tit and anything on the S Ridge.

--- AA2 - Under direct observation from the Right Tit and the Spur objectives. Nothing fancy with a move down this AA... also this approach is not armor friendly as there is a stream that cannot be crossed by vehicles that cuts through the middle of it. So if there is an advance down this AA it will be primarily borne by infantry backed up by direct and indirect fire weapons from around the Hill 130 - 132 mass.

--- AA 3 - Straight up the gut.. this approach might be fraught with danger as the ridge road will be under the observation from just about every point on the map... however this approach allows some covered approaches to the Left and Right Tit objectives if used cautiously.

The Enemy Avenues of Approach (EAA) are how I expect GaJ to use any mobile counter-attacking force if he fields one. As a worse case I have to suspect he will have some sort of armored quick reaction force with which to hit back with.

--- EAA 1 - Hiding behind the S Ridge GaJ could strike into the flank of any attack down AA 1. I suspect this will be a high priority for him.

--- EAA 2 - Hiding a force behind the Spur GaJ could counter-attack any force down AA 2 or even on the Ridge Road.

I suspect he will have at least a Platoon of armor in each of these areas.


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Key Terrain

Key Terrain are those pieces of ground that have high value to either or both sides.

For me the key pieces of terrain are:

--- KT 1 - obviously the two hills called Left and Right Tits are important enemy OP or potential spots for HMG or AT support. They will need to be captured very early in the game in order to be able to mass and advance with some security.

--- KT 2 - I will want Hill 130 early in order to use it to either keep an eye on this half of the map or as a base of fire position.

--- KT 3 - The S Ridge dominates the left side of the map... another important position that it will be important to either obscure with smoke, dominate with fire, or capture. Early capture of this ridge could potentially force GaJ to commit any counter-attack force he could have here.

--- KT 4 - The Spur dominates the right side of the map and I will have to deal with this position sooner or later.

--- KT 5 - This ridge which contains the highest point on the map (Hill 173) could be trouble if I can capture the Spur and if I start to move into S. Maria Infante. Obviously this is low priority for me at this stage.


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Great stuff Bil. Im certain that I'm not the only one that appreciates the thoroughness you provide in these AARs. I've learned a ton. Typically I pull for the underdog, but as a fellow Richmonder, I'm wanting to see you make GaJ cry uncle. Thanks again.


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Either man made or natural obstacles need to be accounted for. All I have to work with right now are the natural obstacles. As I uncover GaJ's obstacle plan I will add to this overlay.

---O 1 - The small stream that runs through the approach on the right side of the map blocks vehicular traffic. I will have to keep that in mind as I develop my approach to this battle.

---O 2 - I included the Ridge Road as an obstacle because it effectively cuts the map in two and will be a hindrance to lateral movement. I cannot expect to easily move laterally if I need to. This means my force will effectively be in two parts, right and left, if I decide to advance down both avenues.


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Cover and Concealment

The difference between cover and concealment is that cover provides protection while concealment can aid in not getting spotted.

For this overlay I have isolated those areas that i think could provide the best cover or concealment.

The depressions behind the S Ridge and behind the Spur have already been discussed.

Notable are the possible ATG locations and potential kill zone these could have on the right side. I will have to be careful to scout these areas before I allow my force to come under what could be sighted here.


this concludes my OAKOC terrain analysis. I hope it was helpful. GaJ has finally returned the next file so I am off to make my purchases.

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Presenting my KampfGruppe for this action:

I wanted to go with something balanced and yet provide enough firepower to overcome any strongpoints GaJ might be forming.

So I went light on infantry (one company) but I hope, overwhelming on the support firepower. The eight medium mortars are all on map. The heavy mortars are off map.


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The river/stream on your right: is it really the Maceroni River? That's a great name. You mentioned it prohibits vehicular movement. Does it also prohibit infantry? If so, everywhere, or are there multiple fords?


Actually Ken I have a correction to make about that.. I had always meant to place a marsh tile for that stream but evidently never got around to it (this map was still a WIP when it was chosen for this AAR). So it is no obstacle to vehicle traffic at all.


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First Minute Orders

Okay I have just completed my initial orders. My initial goal is to capture the left and Right Tit objectives. I have tasked the 3rd PzG platoon to carry out this mission.


In support on my far left I have one Brumbar:


On my right moving to get in the saddle between Hills 300 and 302 are one Brumbar along with a Jgd Pz IV for protection:


This image shows a comparison between the two rendering modes:


Following up 3rd Platoon will be the Elefant. Once the tits are in my hands (hee hee) I plan to emplace the Elefant in that strong position.


Also supporting this mission are two harassing attacks by my 120mm mortars (one strike on each objective) and one 81mm mortar in direct support.

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