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CMPzC Bulge '44 Crossroads Operation - Allied HQ

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This operation will demonstrate CMPzC being played as it was conceived, namely, as a way two players can play an umpireless H2H CM operation. My opponent is Kohlenklau, we will be playing both the PzC turns, the CM battles, and performing all necessary admin. We are playing the scenario #23_02_Crossroads_Alt.scn, using the game Panzer Campaigns Bulge '44, and Volcano Man's mods and optional rules. Because we are using CMFI, we have had to make some compromises with the units portrayed in the PzC scenario, namely, we are using PzGDr's instead of SS PzGDr's, and Parachute Infantry instead of Glider Infantry.

Baraque de Fraiture, 30Km north of Bastogne, Dec 23rd, 1944: This scenario is based on actual events that took place at a strategic crossroads on Highway N15 near Liege. Major Arthur C. Parker was commanding 3x105mm howitzers from the 589th Artillery Battalion of the 106th Infantry Division. On his own initiative he set up a defensive position and gathered stragglers and remnants of retreating units. They held the position for almost 3 days before a concerted effort of the elite 2nd SS Panzer Division defeated them! (copied from the game description). The PzC scenario will last 8 turns (each turn representing two hours per turn) and starts at 08:00 hours. There is one Victory Point Location located at Baraque de Fraiture, worth 200 points. The winner will be the side in possession of the VL at the end of the operation.

Below are pictures showing the operational area, and the starting deployment of the Allied forces.





The picture below shows spotted enemy units after the Axis PzC turn.


I will now perform the first Allied PzC turn.

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My first move is to move the AA guns away from the front line. I want to use these weapons as a last line of defence, so I will move them to occupy the victory point hex. Another reason I am moving them is to take advantage of the fortifications, as Improved in PzC is Foxholes in CM, and I would rather they use foxholes than trenches in the event of a CM battle.

Therefore, to see which hexes I can move, and redeploy the unit to, I activate the three buttons below. (The T in the units info box denotes travel mode, the brackets around the units movement cost denote that save movement cost has been actived, and the unshaded hexes are reachable)



Therefore, I can move the AA guns to the desired hex, and change their formation from travel mode to combat mode.


I also want to move the 589th Field Artillery Battery away from the front line. Because it has a maximum indirect fire range of 11 hexes, I decide to move it to the town of Grandmenil, where it will be in range to support the VP hex.



Unfortunately the objective was too far away to allow the battery to redeploy to combat mode, so I will have to do that during the next PzC turn. However, it should be operational by the time the VP hex is assaulted.

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I will now use the 15 x M8's of the 87th Cavalry Recon Squadron to recce possible enemy approach routes.


Because there are three plus symbols after the units name in the unit info box, it means it can be split into two or three separate units. Therefore, I split the unit into three sections of five vehicles, using the combine / breakdown function.


Then activate the buttons below to see where the units can move, and redeploy to.




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All the rest of my units are fixed, apart from an Infantry Company, and a Tank Destroyer Company. I decide that, given my limited forces, to concentrate them on the VP location and wait.





Below are the final positions of the Allied forces at the end of Allied Turn 01. I will now send the PzC PBEM file to my opponent to begin Axis Turn 02.


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Now to start Allied Turn 02 (10:00 hours). First of all I read the Allied Command Report to get updates on my forces. You can see that some units recovered some fatigue. This can happen if the unit does not move or fire during a turn. Stockpiled relates to artillery, and means the stockpiled battery will be less likely to become low on ammo when PzC rolls its dice.


After watching the Axis battle replay, there are no visible enemy units.


Therefore, the only thing to do is to change the 389th Field Artillery Battery from travel to combat mode.



It will take one or two more turns for the battery to set up to be able to fire.

I will now send the PzC PBEM file to my opponent, to begin Axis Turn 03.

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Allied Turn 03 (12:00 hours). The floodgates have opened this turn. My recon units have been brushed aside by the Axis armoured columns, and I am almost surrounded by enemy units. Looks like I will be fighting a mini Bastogne next turn.



The Jagd Panzers that have appeared on my right were a nasty surprise. Their presence, along with the PzIV's, has Isolated my forces occupying the VP hex. I feel I have made a mistake here, as the recon unit that was sent to Samree could of been placed further back up the road, to occupy a forested hex, with a stream and bridge hex side between it and the enemy, giving it a much better chance of defending against the inevitable enemy PzC assaults. This could of possibly resulted in them delaying the Jagd Panzer column by at least one turn, thus allowing my forces to concentrate on the PzIV threat without being Isolated.




Isolation means that my supply line has been blocked by the enemy units zones of control: https://sites.google.com/site/cmpzch2hoperations/panzer-campaigns/pzc-zone-of-control/

The effects of this do not kick in until after the first CM battle:https://sites.google.com/site/cmpzch2hoperations/panzer-campaigns/pzc-supply

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On my left, the recon unit was assaulted by Panthers, this is worrying if they are on the battlefield, however, their attack on my recon unit seems to have delayed them, hopefully denying them a chance to assault my VPL forces next turn.


Also visible are a force of Pz Grenadiers, and a HQ unit.



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As most of my units are fixed, I will move the recon units and fire my artillery. I will need to rest my recon until they lose their disrupted status.




Now to fire off my artillery. I will be concentrating on the enemy units that are in travel mode, they will sustain more casualties.

The pictures below show the enemy units thate are eligible artillery targets highlighted in red



I concentrate all my artillery, and small arms fire, on the PzGD unit in travel mode, inflicting a total of over 40 casualties.

I target a PzIV unit in travel mode with my TG's, killing one tank.

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I just thought I would mention that there will be a delay to this operation while the CM map for the Axis assault on the VPL hex is created. Kohlenklau is making it, and I have asked him to give me an idea of when it will be completed, so watch this space.

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My opponent has declared that he is assaulting the victory point hex with two KG's, one coming from the NE, and one coming from the SW. Therefore there will be a CM battle to resolve the combat.



You will notice that my units have Isolated and Low Ammo status, I will explain the consequences of these on the CM forces that will fight the battle in my next post.

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To create a CM battle for the PzC assault on the hex at Baraque de Fraiture, this..........


becomes this..........


The excellent CM map above was created by Kohlenklau, my illustrious opponent. It measures 2000 x 2000m and represents the 1000 x1000m hex at B de F, located centrally, plus a 500m deep perimeter of no mans land.

The directions of the two Axis assaults are shown below.



The CM set up zones are placed in the following way.


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To finish setting up the map, I need to add exit zones for both sides.

The Allied exit zone is a single tile wide strip, 1000m long, running parallel with the set up zone, along the north edge of the map. I have highlighted the extremities of the exit zone.


The Axis exit zones run along the rear of their set up zones, with a single tile wide buffer zone between set up and exit zones.


Now the map is ready, I need to add the Allied units.

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Because my opponent and I are using CMFI GL to play this Bulge operation, certain compromises had to be made. i.e. PzGD's instead of SS PzGD's, Glider Infantry instead of Parachute Infantry, and Panthers as individual units with no HQ structure.

To determine the motivation for both sides, I have decided to regard motivation as a long term philosophical stance, being affected only by events happening over the long term, as opposed to a short term emotional response to environmental changes. Therefore, given the operation is only 16 hours real time, motivation will be a constant.

To determine the Allied motivation, I considered the situation for the Allied forces in the operational area. Therefore, given that the Allies were confident regarding their ability to win the war, and the units in question were resting and recuperating, I have decided to give them Normal motivation. Whereas, the Axis forces were involved in one last throw of the dice, as regards forcing a decision in the West, and therefore I have decided to give them High motivation.

Finally, to add an element of randomness to the OOB's, I have decided to use Typical settings for Experience and Leadership.

Below shows how the PzC units translate to CM. Isolation only effects supply over subsequent turns, however Low Ammo effects the unit immediately, therefore, Low Ammo units have their supply changed to Limited. Units that have sustained headcount losses due to previous PzC ranged fire, have their CM headcount modified to reflect the percentage value in the units info box, with 1 - 4% being rounded down, and 5 - 9% being rounded up.



I have two batteries out of three that are available to add their support to the battle.




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Finally, I need to add some fortifications. The amount, and type of fortification is determined by the information in the hex info box below the unit info boxes.


In PzC, the percentage modifier of a fortification shows the amount of casualties recovered when kills are calculated. This means that the % value shows the amount of protection a fortification offers to an occupying unit. For Improved, which in CM are foxholes, this number is 5% when the fortification is initially constructed, then, it increases in jumps of 5%, up to a maximum of 20% if the units carry on digging. Therefore, to apply this number to CM, I regard it as a multiplier, i.e. 5% = 1 x foxholes per 5 men, so a 20% Improved hex would contain 4 x foxholes per 5 men, with vehicles and guns being regarded as 5 men per vehicle / gun for purposes of fortification building.

However, because the hex was improved before my units occupied it, I need to know how many men occupied the hex at the start of the game. There were 15 Greyhounds occupying the hex at the start of the game, therefore at 5 men per vehicle, that comes to 75. Because the fortification is classed as 20%, that means I can have two foxholes for every 5 men.

75 / 5 = 15.

15 x 2 = 30 foxholes.


Now the fortifications have been added, and because my opponent has already added his forces (this is where trust comes into it) I can create the PBEM game. Once the passwords have been created, it will be my defensive set up. I intend to write an AAR for my set up phase.

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Sorry, I meant in terms of the number of units. It seems there are just a few units unless a lot more come in as reinforcements?



Yes, the US are up against it in this scenario. However, this operation is being played more to demonstrate, and test, the rules, and also as a way of utilising the snow settings in CMGL to create a Bulge trailer. In future, PzC scenarios will be checked for force balance. I would like to play a bigger scenario next time, to allow more CM battles during an operational turn, and more players involved in teams, this would add another level of thinking to the game. Regarding reinforcements, I do get some after this CM battle, when its my PzC turn. So fingers crossed they can make it to the show in time for the next CM battle on that hex, providing I hold out in this one :).

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Given the nature of the historical event: http://wikimapia.org/10511899/Parker-s-Crossroads-Baraque-de-Fraiture, I have changed the rules for a contested CM battle: https://sites.google.com/site/cmpzch2hoperations/home/combat-mission/cm-battle-extension

This is to allow the Allies to perform an "Alamo Defence".

I am really close to completing my Allied set up for the Baraque de Fraiture CM battle, so I should have the turn sent off before the weekend, with the first turn AAR posted early next week.

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It has become apparent that if I allow the defending unit to contest the CM map, and therefore the hex, irrespective of how many of the defenders men remain on the CM battlefield, there could be an absurd situation where one man could contest a map. Therefore, I have changed the rule regarding how to force a defender off a hex via a CM battle. I have reverted back to the rule I was originally going to use


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Now begins the first CM battle in this operation. Notice how I said "first"....that's confidence talking, let's hope I can back it up :)

I forgot to mention in my previous posts that I have a tank formation scheduled to arrive on the map at 14:00 hours.



Therefore, if it arrives on schedule, I will have it on the map when I do my PzC turn after this battle. This means I have to fight a delaying action, and remain on the map for two battles, to allow my reinforcements to arrive. Also, every PzC turn I remain on the map, allows my third artillery battery to come on line.


To force me off the map, and therefore the hex, the Axis have to reduce my "Men Ok" value to below 33% of its starting value. To determine the Allied Men Ok value at the start of the battle, I created my forces on a blank map, saved it, then ran it as a one player turn based battle. After calling a ceasefire, the CM result screen showed that I have 238 Men Ok at the start of the battle.


This value includes vehicle and gun crews, so It is advisable for me to remove crews to a safe place, once forcibly dismounted. Units that use the exit zone are classed as casualties in regard to calculating the remaining force %. Also, I am not permitted to use the exit zone until turn 31.

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