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CMPzC Operation "Bloody Christmas" (Ortona '43)


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The San Donato combat has concluded. I am crunching the numbers and will have the specific overall result soon.

Basically the hex is still in axis hands but allied units may/can have control of some new PzC hexes alongside San Donato.

Then when the axis part of the turn starts, we will see if the axis try to reinforce the Fallschirmjagers in San Donato.

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Kuderian:  that is quite the scrap you have going on.....looks like there may as many as 4 AT guns.

 

For all players, a request:  can you guys turn off CM Helper while playing the campaign battles?  I was away for 2 days and have missed a bunch of turn files that were removed by CM Helper. Many thanks

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Kuderian:  that is quite the scrap you have going on.....looks like there may as many as 4 AT guns.

 

For all players, a request:  can you guys turn off CM Helper while playing the campaign battles?  I was away for 2 days and have missed a bunch of turn files that were removed by CM Helper. Many thanks

 

I don't want to seem (be!) unhelpful, but turning off CMH would be a pain, to be honest ... I use it to manage all my other games, and it's useful for this one too.

 

I've never tried, but I'm assuming that even if I turn it off to play this battle and manually move these files, when I turn it on again for my other battles it will "catch up" and remove this battles' files too?

 

A better option is to turn off the "tidy dropbox" option, which stops CMH deleting played files from the dropbox. But even this is an issue, as it applies to all games, and so all dropbox folders start accumulating files ...

 

Is it possible for you to shout when you are not around and thus need the files preserving, and I can temporarily turn off "tidy dropbox' for the duration?

 

Or am I missing an easy way to accomplish this, for this battle only?

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PhilM - I use CM Helper but I am no means an expert :)  I am not sure if turning off "tidying" files applies to all games or not. I am wondering if by right clicking on the game in CMH, one of those options that appear will do this for just that particular game?

 

And yes I can let you know when I away for a day or two

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Well hello Phil!  If you scroll back far enough through this forum topic, you will find the good map with identifiers.

 

Your stack is the topmost one of the three.

 

Here is what you have:  B Coy, RCR, two troops of tanks (6 tanks), a troop of halftracks from 4PLDG (recce), arty (25 lbers) and the Regiment's pioneer platoon (treat them nice!  I used to be Pioneer Platoon Comd for 2 years) At some point the pioneers are released for bridge construction - Koh will let you know the details.

 

Your tanks/vehicles cannot cross the muddy river banks  at this point, although they can provide sp fire,  so we need a bridge. It is imperative that you cross the river with your infantry so that the pioneers/engineers can build that bridge.

 

From recce, you are facing some AT guns and some infantry...thats all we know

 

Good luck!  Any other questions? Drop me a line

 

B Coy reporting in ...

 

Less than 10 minutes left; some clarification on my orders requested!

 

To make progress in the campaign, for this mission do I need to:

 

- clear the enemy fully from this map?

 

- or *merely* have a presence on the far side of the river at the end of the time period, and assume that the bridge can then be built under those conditions?

 

I'm hoping to avoid one or both of:

 

- unnecessary casualties pursuing an objective I don't need to reach (i.e. fully clearing the map);

 

- failing the mission overall by *only* completing 90% of it in an attempt to avoid casualties (i. e. getting my men across the river, but not enough of them, nor far enough across, to deem the bridge able to be built) and so "spoiling the ship for a ha'porth of tar".

 

Make sense?

Edited by PhilM
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Press forward and get them out of those buildings. More up on the higher ground. Try and get a tank across if you can.

 

The briefing says that tanks cannot cross without the bridge ... the point was, they aren't supposed to (be able to) cross yet?

 

And from what I recall of the map, the terrain is such that (in CM terms) they cannot anyway? (Though maybe they can ford somewhere?)

 

But in keeping with the briefing, this is why - besides LOS - all the tanks are currently set well back from the river, providing suppressing / covering fire across to the other side?

 

I'll happily press on with the foot sloggers.  I was going to go further anyway, accepting that I need more of a presence across than I have so far. It was just a question of "how much further"?

 

But the tank across? It's a bit late now to change the premise of the battle ...

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1. OK, don't try with the tank. Not a problem. No big deal.

Tanks trying to slowly get through the mud. Risky. 

Besides if you have LOS to support from afar, no worry.

 

2. The objective area is there as guidance. It already includes those buildings so really my reply was never needed.

But when you asked if you had to clear the Germans from the "map"...no, nobody says you have to do that.

Check those buildings for intel and any good vino! :D

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1. OK, don't try with the tank. Not a problem. No big deal.

Tanks trying to slowly get through the mud. Risky. 

Besides if you have LOS to support from afar, no worry.

 

2. The objective area is there as guidance. It already includes those buildings so really my reply was never needed.

But when you asked if you had to clear the Germans from the "map"...no, nobody says you have to do that.

Check those buildings for intel and any good vino! :D

 

OK, I'll try and make this my last whinge (honest!)

 

When you mentioned objective area, I thought ... jeez, what an idiot! (Me that is!) I must have them switched off, and not realised there was a VL!

 

So I loaded the latest turn and hit Alt-J to turn them on ... only to find that they were on already as I'd thought, and I had just turned them off ...

 

And what disappeared as I turned them off was a green area covering not far short of a quarter of the whole map! (Including the buildings in question overlooking the river, it's true).

 

But the "green" area was SO extensive that until that instant I had honestly just assumed that that was the terrain tile colour for that area - and never imagined that that whole area was a VL ... which perhaps explains why I got to ask the question that I did. Doh!

 

And such a large VL? I don't see the point really, TBH ... I cannot really expect to occupy / clear all of it, and stop the Axis side keeping a man in it somewhere? So how does / would it work in mission objective terms? I already have most of my men (excluding the tanks ...) in it, and they can / would all be so by the end of the battle ... but so what?

 

It is very reasonable to expect me to secure the crossing by occupying the overlooking buildings; but in case that I'd respectfully suggest that those buildings - and perhaps one other flanking position? - should have specific, achievable, VLs of much, much smaller area ... something that I could occupy? (And that I could know was an objective!)

 

And the tank thing? Well, I'm not not doing it because it's risky, I'm not doing it because that is "the story" of this mission ... which in turn has governed how I've approached this CM battle.

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If I may jump in here guys.....ultimately, the only objective that matters is Ortona.  Phil, as Koh and I have discovered, PzC is a good software tool but it cannot account for everything. Look at the very first battle of San Donato.  The town itself was the "green" objective, but I told Marco to stay out of the town - my objective was to destroy the long range weapon systems outside of the town, to picket the FJ in the town, and exploit/bypass the town.  But in PzC only one side can really occupy a "hex".  This is a great example where an umpire is required. Koh had to logically come up with a result other than the usual "we took the hex".

 

In your battles (Phil & Kuderian), Koh informed me that grunts have to be on the other side of the river in order for a bridge to be built because vehicles cannot cross. No more, no less. I would say exploit as much as you can so that in a real life situation that bridge could be reasonably built. Koh will look at each situation and make a judgment call/roll of a die.  I know its not a "hard objective" but so far in this campaign, these battles have not been typical....so far.

 

Anyway, I hope that clarifies what is going on. Congrats - you have done very well in your battle so far...just a little bit more :)

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I understand the frustration Phil.

Maybe these things that come up are the reasons that not many people desire to play in these operations and even fewer people volunteer to organize them.

But you are here. Thanks! Know that I do take notes and try to use my pea brain to outsmart these issues the next time!

Either by the editor or by rules or whatever. One issue was mud and tanks!

 

Chappy and I worked out a lot of stuff over the PM and based on things we experienced in the previous Eindhoven Operation.

One issue we kicked around then and recently was the muddy and swampy tiles that hinder a tank to the point the pathing goes nutso, tank bogs and maybe immobilizes.

So, it was technically never prohibited to try to cross and maybe a tank could slowly make it across given enough time and enough tanks!

The chain of command may have ordered you not to try in fear the bogging would happen.

Well, it all boiled down to avoiding frustration and the proposal that this would be solved using historically what occurred, some type of bridge was eventually built.

Back In '43....Did any vehicles try to make it? Did any actually make it across before the "impossible bridge" was put in place? I don't know.

I think I read that these poor baztards had to manhandle the AT guns all the way down and across the mud and whatever and up the far side and then on to San Leonardo. Wow.

 

Objective areas: I never count a lone enemy soldier cowering in a mud puddle as actual enemy holding out. Or the sprinkled remains of the defense just hiding.

If I make a few discrete objectives then maybe the player grabs just a few and we have some sort of big evaluation and decision after that battle ends.

Then to start another battle everyone is in LOS and ugghg. On and on. 

 

The ultimate cool thing would be one giant map and all players just log on and can enter into a continuous multiplayer battle assigned units to control by their CO with some designation system so those units know they follow your mouse and keyboard and as umpire I can edit in troops to arrive and the only objective would be Ortona. 

Now that would be cool! 

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Hey guys, thanks for both sets of additional info ... much appreciated.

 

(But, there does sound to be a bit of a misunderstanding about the tanks thing: "vehicles cannot cross" v "it was technically never prohibited to try to cross" ... :) )

 

On the whole thing of VLs: perhaps in calling for smaller, "more achievable" VLs I gave the wrong impression.

 

That would still be, for me, a second choice. Given all that you say (I agree) about trying to replicate the real world in both PzC and CM, I'd sooner see a map with NO VLs, rely on the briefing from the CO as to the objectives, and let the GM apply some realistic analysis to the outcomes to see "what happens next".

 

Given that I thought (doh!) that there were no VLs in my battle, this "interpretive" resolution process was what I thought was happening anyway ... hence my initial question about "how far do I go?"

 

And finally, I hope this hasn't seemed like too much of a moan. I really do appreciate all the work you've put into it so far, and I am grateful to be able to take part.

 

OK, one last heave up that hill!

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An interesting historical note:   The Germans had demolished the bridge due south of San Leonardo (where Phil and Kuderian are) so the entire Divisional plan was to cross with infantry and build a Bailey bridge where the demolished bridge now stood. As the operation was underway, the Engineer colonel suddenly informed Gen. Vokes that it was impossible to build a Bailey bridge there. Gee thanks engineers!  They had to shift an entire brigade westwards and re-launch the assault. Imagine that planning nightmare. 

 

In the end, a Major Fraser (engineer) improvised the bridge. 

 

"The engineers planned to confine the river to a culvert over which a corduroy-road causeway would be constructed. The corduroy road would consist of 800 twelve foot long round timbers of eight inch diameter set side by side. Under this would be a culvert built out of several rows of connecting lines of 40 gallon drums, with the bottoms cut away so each allowed the river to flow through the next in line.  A bulldozer would fill the streambed with dirt, forcing the river into the culverts, then grade a track from the bridge to the existing roadway. It required 34 three ton trucks..."   p. 128 "Ortona" by Mark Zuehlke.

 

The bulldozer was engaged by enemy fire several times, but the bridge was finally constructed after 7 hours! 

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