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Has anyone played the Lost Cats scenario from MG on the German side? I really need some help with it, as I find it pretty much impossible and incredibly un-fun. I'm a CM veteran, I just bought the MG expansion, it's the first scenario I try and it's pretty much sapping all my interest from the game.

The entire map is basically open field with some sparse trees, with the Germans starting behind a small hill running the length of the map, with a rail line on top. The Allies have four anti-tank guns hidden in small copses of trees at the edges of the map with perfect lines of sight on the entire rail line, and a bunch of infantry in front of them, again with perfect line of sight. There's a also bunch of tanks and tank destroyers coming in from reserves. The German force is half-track infantry with a few light vehicles (AA guns, recon cars and gun half-tracks) in support, and PzIVs coming in from reserves.

I've got no artillery support beyond two 120mm mortars, and as soon as I move any unit to the top of the hill, even slowly creeping, to get LOS on the Allies it gets routed or annihilated in seconds by all the infantry, AT guns and tanks. Even rushing my entire mechanized force at once only results in absolute slaughter with nothing to show for it. EDIT: The main problem is those AT guns. They're pretty much impossible to spot and will easily kill at least 2-3 tanks every turn. Even a shoot-and-scoot order for an entire 5 tank platoon area-firing on a known gun location ends with several dead tanks and no results whatsoever.

Does anyone have any advice?

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I had lots of fun playing it as the Allies with the Germans surrendering as soon as I started to cross the railway. Dont know if it works the other way round.

Do NOT cross the railway unless in force. I guess this means waiting for your reinforcements. Remember he has the same problem like you.

When you attack choose a flank, drop some shells right behind the railroad just to be sure and push your armor in hull down positions simultanously. Use as much smoke as possible in the center to fragment the battlefield and time your artillery to supress the enemy on the flank you are attacking when you are attacking. Perhaps you get some LOS from second story or roof windows. Push over infantry on the flank where you are attacking (there is some cover on both map edges and in the center) to cover your tanks and scout the enemy. Get HQs on the railway to shift arty fire.

Destroy the flank you attacked, cross the railway, turn around and attack the other flank.

########Spoiler alert############

Do it as soon and as fast and as complete as possible.

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I had lots of fun playing it as the Allies with the Germans surrendering as soon as I started to cross the railway. Dont know if it works the other way round.

Yeah, I tried ten turns or so as the Allies, and for them it seems to be an incredibly easy and fun scenario. The Germans just spill over the railway and die en masse in a matter of minutes to the combined Allied firepower. The counterattack to get all objectives will likely be a challenge, but at least it looks doable.

Do NOT cross the railway unless in force. I guess this means waiting for your reinforcements. Remember he has the same problem like you.

I'm playing the AI, so I went into the editor and the AI plan is literally: sit and shoot, then scoot up to the objectives in the last ten minutes. I could get a win by simply waiting the Allies out and then destroy any unit that comes for the objective in the last few minutes, but that's hardly a fun game.

When you attack choose a flank, drop some shells right behind the railroad just to be sure and push your armor in hull down positions simultanously.

No matter how good I pick my hull down positions, the AT guns just pick them off easily. No surprise, given that the range is 300m at most.

Use as much smoke as possible in the center to fragment the battlefield and time your artillery to supress the enemy on the flank you are attacking when you are attacking.

My artillery has 6 smoke shells, and I have no way to get a spotter with LOS to the other side of the railway, at least not without getting him killed before he can even request the mission.

Perhaps you get some LOS from second story or roof windows.

Already tried, not possible.

Push over infantry on the flank where you are attacking (there is some cover on both map edges and in the center) to cover your tanks and scout the enemy. Get HQs on the railway to shift arty fire.

Already tried this. Infantry that comes up to or crosses the railway just dies to a crossfire of machineguns and HE shells. There simply is no cover for the German side.

Thanks for the help though. As much as it utterly annoys me to abandon a scenario I started, I think I'm just going to give up on this one or rework it a bit in the editor. I haven't had such an unrealistic, frustrating and utterly un-fun CM experience since I've tried the Courage and Fortitude campaign. BF should really get some better playtesting on the scenarios it ships.

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Playing the Allies the piecemeal attacks of the Germans are stupid but even so they took out some tanks. Conducting the counter attack was fun with timing all this arty. Couldnt play it to the end, a bit more resistance would have been ok.

Did you try to drop the smoke shells in the center and get the whole tank company up the railroad on your left flank?

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Yeah, just finished it as the allies and it really was just a turkey shoot until the Panthers showed up, and by then the Germans had already lost so much men and vehicles the battle was already decided. The PzIVs didn't achieve more than killing a few infantry. The only difficulty was capturing the farmhouse, because the AI had 3 Panthers and 2 PzIVs clustered on top of it.

I tried the flanking attack you suggest, and it just doesn't work. Not enough smoke, and those PzIVs don't stand a chance against the AT guns.

I think this scenario would play a whole lot better if the 5 Panthers were the first set of tank reinforcements. This would give the German player the capability to actually exchange fire with the AT guns, buying sufficient time to set up a firebase on the rail line. Panthers can take a few hits from those guns but still aren't invulnerable enough to just brush them aside. Maybe reduce the platoon to 3 tanks instead of 5, just to make things difficult enough. The map is still far too small and open for it to ever become a great scenario though.

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I played the German side of the battle vs the AI on elite tonight to see what is needed.

First, as the German, you have no need to try and attack until you have all your reinforcements available.

Second you need to hold the farm and RR tracks and that is enough for a win. The last thing is to cut the roadway off, you do not need to take the whole thing. Just cut it off to the Allies and you have a major win.

So you set all your support weapons in the forest line on the back of your area and cover the tracks and wait, go ahead and move the infantry up to the tracks at the 3 important areas along it and let them help secure your side of the tracks.

Now I tried while I waited for the 35 minutes to get all my armor to have the HQ's sneak up and order arty on some of them AT gun locations. It Did not work all that well. but I managed to get some damage on two guns at the cost of a couple of men in the HQ units.

If the allies attack the tracks, you have a nice welcoming force for them to wreck their day. (but that did not happen in my game.)

Once my armor was all there. I let the arty drop a smoke screen on the tracks just left of the far right flank and then attacked with four Panthers, 6 Mk4 and an platoon of infantry up that wooded road on that flank. The smoke and woods cut off the view of the allies on the far side of the map to your attack and I had plenty of firepower to clear the tanks, guns and infantry on that side only. It is costly, but all I need is to get to the road and the battle is mine.

After that the Allies on the far side attacked the RR tracks. But I still had a good size fire group waiting on my side of the track and I also had the flanking shots from the ground force I had whick had cut off the road, So the American moved into a meat grinder and pretty much destroys the majority of their units.

If I get a chance I will post a screen shot if you need any more clarity.

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First, as the German, you have no need to try and attack until you have all your reinforcements available.

Which means that in a 60 minute battle, you'd have nothing happening at all for the first 35 minutes. I doubt that's the designer's intention, and even if it were, it's hardly fun.

So you set all your support weapons in the forest line on the back of your area and cover the tracks and wait, go ahead and move the infantry up to the tracks at the 3 important areas along it and let them help secure your side of the tracks.

My briefing orders me to attack, not to exploit the fact that this is a videogame to cheese out a win. As I stated above, I know how to win the scenario as the Germans, I just don't know how to do so in an enjoyable way that doesn't take blatant advantage of the limitations of the game.

Now I tried while I waited for the 35 minutes to get all my armor to have the HQ's sneak up and order arty on some of them AT gun locations. It Did not work all that well. but I managed to get some damage on two guns at the cost of a couple of men in the HQ units.

Than you got incredibly lucky. My HQ units never survived long enough to even start spotting the artillery.

If the allies attack the tracks, you have a nice welcoming force for them to wreck their day. (but that did not happen in my game.)

Because the AI is programmed to only move towards those objectives in the last few minutes.

If I get a chance I will post a screen shot if you need any more clarity.

Thanks, but not needed, that strategy is incredibly obvious to anyone who played the Allied side of the battle. My problem with this scenario is that literally sitting around doing nothing for over half the scenario length is not enjoyable, likely not the designer's intention and completely unintuitive to anyone who hasn't cheated by looking at the way the scenario is built in advance. The German orders are to attack at once to cut a vital enemy road, setting up a firebase along the railway in support, so the player naturally expects his starting force to be sufficient to at least establish said firebase. My initial post asked for advice on winning this scenario on the assumption that I don't already know the exact Allied deployment (so I don't know exactly where the blind spots are) and the fact that I get Panthers after 35 minutes (which the briefing never tells you).

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"...literally sitting around doing nothing for over half the scenario length is not enjoyable..."

Yeah, this happens in too many scenarios imo. That's the simulation aspect of CM2 winning over the fun game aspect. Many players seem to enjoy the sim aspect and have the patience to sit around doing very little while they wait for an arty strike, or for reinforcements or for scouts who are sitting immobile to see/locate enemy positions. I am less patient and like a bit more action (and that's why folks like us are still playing CM1 as that is more of a fun game and less of a sim).

Of course there are many CM2 scenarios that do have more action and less sitting around waiting. Maybe one should treat a CM scenario like a book. If it aint working for you in the first 10-20 pages or 10-20 minutes, then put it away?

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Which means that in a 60 minute battle, you'd have nothing happening at all for the first 35 minutes. I doubt that's the designer's intention, and even if it were, it's hardly fun.

As I recall the designer mentions this should be played as the Allies, Not the Germans

My briefing orders me to attack, not to exploit the fact that this is a videogame to cheese out a win. As I stated above, I know how to win the scenario as the Germans, I just don't know how to do so in an enjoyable way that doesn't take blatant advantage of the limitations of the game.

Thus the reason I do not pay attention to the orders on briefings much. Half of the time the designer is trying to get you to do the worst thing.

Than you got incredibly lucky. My HQ units never survived long enough to even start spotting the artillery..

Send scouts up on rail, draw fire to their direction, then slide leader unit into a viewing position. make spot, immedietly slide back down off rail and wait for spotting rounds. Repeat. When spotting rounds drop. yes they still toke fire, yes a few guys died, yes the first mission was off target and had to be cancelled. and what else did I have to do than to keep the enemy honest since I did not know they would not attack and my scouts were spotting the AT guns and I had the time to use.

I was not trying to insult you ability, sorry that the game is boring from the German side, not like I designed it. Sorry I did not know what the AI would do, only played the thing once and that was years ago when it was first released.

As for exploiting the game, no. I made the decisions any intellegent leader would do. Why would you piece meal yourself when you dont need to because you have great terrain to hold the enemy off until all your forces are available. patience and timing is one of the most important skills in combat. Not vidio game action from start to finish.

Plus the assault was very enjoyable and is challenging to do well when the time comes. It is no cake walk. So it was worth the wait.

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I tried the flanking attack you suggest, and it just doesn't work. Not enough smoke, and those PzIVs don't stand a chance against the AT guns.

I think this scenario would play a whole lot better if the 5 Panthers were the first set of tank reinforcements.

Also tried it out (a bit sloppy I admit) but think the scenario is close to unplayable from the German side. What is missing for them is some LOS for spotting (Allies get it from the shack beside the Railroad and the buildings in the back) and some decent arty support. Without support the assault is just a gamble.

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What are the Allied ATG? I went and looked, and they're 6lbers. That last platoon of PzIVJ turns out to be... Panthers? Panthers are pretty much immune to 57mm. The guns have APDS and the Hellcats have APCR, but if you lead with your PzIVs you end up with indestructible tanks to nose over the berm and potshot the 6lbers and anything else that's giving you any kind of grief. You even get a Company command in a Panther that should be able to call arty on stuff.

I didn't see where the designer said it was "Allied only".

Without actually hacking through the whole thing, it does look like it might be a bit of a fun thing to obey your orders to attack: eventually you are provided with the tools to successfully prosecute your orders, and that might make the frustration of pressing early more bearable. Analysis of what you need for a victory, though, would suggest that sitting and waiting until you have your full force (since you hold the majority of the VLs at-start) is the "optimum" strategy.

Shame the briefing is misleading about what you're actually going to get. Probably a last minute change, when playtesting showed that PzIVs really are too **** to do the job, that never got revised into the briefing.

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womble, i saw the scenario like you and had no problem in waiting for the reinforcements since there is actually a lot to do to shift your forces and prepare for the assault.

The frustration comes once you move up the railway dam. Your tanks are getting blown up quite fast while you might take out one enemy tank or another but you wont even get contacts on all ATG.

Surviving tanks are popping smoke, retraeating and generally the attack is breaking up. You migght get lucky but chance is you wont.

The Panthers are going down as fast as the Panzer IVs. Flank shots and close range is actually not best Panther terrain.

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Just had a go myself. I would be surprised if someone could win with the Germans first time out. I didn't!

Spoilers....

I basically waited for the attack, with unbuttoned tanks in the treeline and infantry with fausts near the railroad.

I had also sneaked a Platoon HQ onto the other side of the rail track and into the building under cover of smoke, which gave me heads up of attack and allowed me to drop some artillery ;).

Once the attack was more or less wiped out, which took a while, I moved panthers up to hull down while storming infantry across, all on the German right flank. Eventually reached the road and rolled up most of the right flank in a flanking manoeuvre. I don't think all the AT guns can see you from that side. Lost a couple of P IVs+ 1 PV. AT guns inflicted a lot of damage but once identified were toast.

Hope that helps.

PS. OK, read some more posts afterwards, I see what you mean. I agree with you that it looks like the scenario was designed for allied play only, as trying to move across the railroad from the start would probably result in a complete annihilation of your forces. PIVs would stand no chance at all against what is waiting for them. I don't think it is winnable unless you wait for Panther reinforcements, which, as you say, is gamey. The limited ability to use tactics given LOS issues over railroad meant that it wasn't my favourite scenario from allies side either.

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What are the Allied ATG? I went and looked, and they're 6lbers. That last platoon of PzIVJ turns out to be... Panthers? Panthers are pretty much immune to 57mm. The guns have APDS and the Hellcats have APCR, but if you lead with your PzIVs you end up with indestructible tanks to nose over the berm and potshot the 6lbers and anything else that's giving you any kind of grief. You even get a Company command in a Panther that should be able to call arty on stuff.

Yes, they are pretty good at that, but playing the German side I did find they were not immune. I am pretty sure I lost one to the guns from the front and the cats sure can take them out also. Plus they are likely to take flanking shots.

Now after playing it from this side, back when the game came out I played it as the Americans. I think this could be a pretty interesting h2h scenario. I wished I would have played it in the format.

I lost 4 tanks, One was a Panther to a front shot, I know two were Mk4's but I am not sure what the other tank was. But I also lost a gun on another Panther.

If it was a human player, the assault would be much more challenging. because the flank would adjust to the threat much better. and the cats would be used in a better manor.

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Yeah, this happens in too many scenarios imo. That's the simulation aspect of CM2 winning over the fun game aspect. Many players seem to enjoy the sim aspect and have the patience to sit around doing very little while they wait for an arty strike, or for reinforcements or for scouts who are sitting immobile to see/locate enemy positions. I am less patient and like a bit more action (and that's why folks like us are still playing CM1 as that is more of a fun game and less of a sim).

I don't mind the first part of a scenario occasionally being a slow probe, but there is a difference between waiting while you scout/call in artillery strikes and waiting 30 minutes until the game bothers to give you sufficient units to actually do something. One is playing the game and requires thinking and input, the other is merely testing my patience. If the latter is the designer's intention, he should just start his scenario 30 minutes later.

Panthers? Panthers are pretty much immune to 57mm. The guns have APDS and the Hellcats have APCR, but if you lead with your PzIVs you end up with indestructible tanks to nose over the berm and potshot the 6lbers and anything else that's giving you any kind of grief. You even get a Company command in a Panther that should be able to call arty on stuff.

When playing the scenario from the Allied side, those Panthers died easily enough. They could survive a few hits (though one blew up first hit), but by that time in the scenario I had lost no AT guns or TDs, and had received an additional 4 Cromwells. Each turn those Panthers would pop up, get hammered by dozens of shells, one might blow up and the others would quickly retreat back behind the hill. Final count before they stopped coming: 4 dead Panthers vs 1 dead Hellcat.

Shame the briefing is misleading about what you're actually going to get. Probably a last minute change, when playtesting showed that PzIVs really are too **** to do the job, that never got revised into the briefing.

When you open the scenario in the editor, you'll notice those Panthers are labelled "3rd and 4th PzIVJ platoon" in the reinforcement tab. :D

So I tried my first attempt at this game's editor, and rebalanced this scenario a bit to be less gamey and more conforming to the briefing and (what I would reckon to be) a real military force's behavior. It's not fully tested, but so far I find it a lot more fun from the German perspective and less of a cakewalk from the Allied one. You can find my version here, if anyone is interested in trying it.

SPOILERS WARNING

--------------------

Basically I've redone the Allied deployment to represent a unit on the march being surprised. The AT guns start the game still limbered to their transports, and the TDs are spread out over the road. The infantry has just noticed the dust from the German vehicles and has disembarked, but there is still some chaos. The Allied player should set up defensive positions ASAP if he is to hold out until reinforcements arrive.

The Allied AI plan has the infantry pre-deployed next to the road, but all vehicles are still on the road. Within the first few minutes the TDs and AT guns will set up ad-hoc defensive positions to react to the threat, but unlike the original scenario they'll be a lot less hidden and prepared to ambush the Germans. The AI plan for the reinforcements now also assumes a German firebase at least partly along the railway line, whereas in the original the reinforcement halftracks would provide easy targets loaded with infantry.

To compensate for this, the German Panther units are reduced to PzIVs. The reinforcement schedule already labels them as such, so this was probably the original intention. Not every German tank scenario should be focused on Tigers or Panthers anyway. There's also a few less tanks now, since moving up to the railway should be a lot less suicidal. You have the element of surprise, so if you want to win you need to hit hard and fast.

The German AI plan is modified to represent this. It's primary goal is to quickly set up a very strong firebase along the railway at all cost, and then advance behind the tanks to close off that highway.

I think these changes really alter the dynamics of the scenario. No longer a turkey shoot for the Allies until those Panthers showed up, this version sees the Allied player caught off guard, pressed hard and desperate for reinforcement. For the Germans, speed is of the essence. If they can get sufficient firepower on the highway quickly, they might easily overrun the Allied starting forces. But those Allied TDs can easily wreak havoc on the German halftracks. Neither side should hesitate to use a pre-planned artillery barrage on the railway or highway to slow down their enemy.

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...

Basically I've redone the Allied deployment to represent a unit on the march being surprised. The AT guns start the game still limbered to their transports, and the TDs are spread out over the road. The infantry has just noticed the dust from the German vehicles and has disembarked, but there is still some chaos. The Allied player should set up defensive positions ASAP if he is to hold out until reinforcements arrive.

...

OK that is cool. I like the sound of your changes and I like that you dove in an tweaked things. Excellent. I only wish I had time to try it out myself - but with two new games starting and two scenarios I am already play testing but is just not possible right now. I look forward to hearing how this goes and perhaps even getting to try it out in a month or two:)

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By the time the Panthers arrive, if you've been playing "according to your instructions", you should have a fairly good idea that they need to be put at one flank or the other, facing inward, so they don't present any flank shots. Even if you haven't got contact on the ATGs (stealthy little buggers, aren't they? So much for "ATG are too easy to spot" crowd), the angles from which your other armour has been killed should be quite informative. I can see the sheer volume of incoming being a bit intimidating, though, for the poor kitties. Your best bet might be for one to get immobilised so it stays put long enough to kill some Allies...

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  • 1 year later...

SPOILER ALERT

Can someone help me out playing this scenario as Allies. I'm fine up until the Panthers turn up. They proceed to decimate the Hellcats and Cromwells. I've played it several times. The first time I was over the rail tracks on the left flank when the Panthers beamed in on top of me and easily destroyed the remaining Cromwells and Hellcats. I've played it twice again knowing the where the tanks are appearing but still can't defeat the Panthers. 

I place the Cromwells and Hellcats to get flanking shots on the Panthers when they are hull down but I'm lucky to get one or two knocked out before the Panthers knock them all out.

Should I leave the Hellcats and Cromwells in ambush, pull everything back and wait until the Panthers cross the railway?

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks

Ben.

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  • 3 years later...

 

I would like to renew Bens question from 2016: what is the masterplan to be able to compete with atg, cromwells, hellcats and infantry against the panthers? 

It does not matter if I'm already on the rails or not, they always stand with their front to me. 

Is it necessary to take the right side of the field to catch them in their flank?

 

So far I have the feeling that I can not compete with the panthers. 
No matter how much firepower I have on the field.
Edited by sPA505
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