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No Plan Survives First Contact With The Enemy - Planning Tutorial

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Draft COAs


I will be showing three COAs below and resourcing them broadly in accordance with my deductions from Question 5. I say broadly because I can throw more resources than were in Question 5 as the deductions there were my minimum assessed force requirements. The important thing is not to employ fewer resources than were identified in Question 5. I hope you can see that I could actually have come up with far more draft COAs than the three I am going to look at in detail but for reasons of brevity (relatively speaking of course!!!) I am sticking with three.


COA 1 – Left Flanking


So this is pretty much what it says on the tin (well they all are really). In this COA I am clearing the outposts first before tackling the main objective and I am trying to present the enemy with attacks from more than one direction. The COA sketch is shown below.




The draft resourcing document is the TASKORG (Task Organisation) which is a simple way of illustrating how units will be grouped and who will command them. In this TASKORG we have our three Platoons, 1 Zug, 2 Zug and 4 Zug as the column headers and the elements they command are below them in the respective column. Real TASKORGs are slightly more complex than this showing different states of command, but for the purposes of Combat Mission games this is not important. You will note that 1 Platoon has the most resources and this is because this is the element that I’m going to allocate to clearing TAIs 1, 3, 4 and 5 and by my reasoning it therefore has the most to do relative to the other elements.




COA 2 – Frontal



This one is not overly subtle but it is a perfectly viable way of achieving the mission. Again I am clearing the outposts first and then maximising my combat power by attacking from one direction simultaneously. The COA sketch is shown below:




The TASKORG for this COA is shown below:




As you can see I now have 4 Platoon and a ‘Mortars’ grouping. By using 4 Pl HQ and grouping my MGs and the Sdkz 251/17, I have a third manoeuvre element giving me more flexibility.


COA 3 – Unhinge


This COA is audacious and probably carries the most risk (this is a typical characteristic of audacious plans). Here the plan is to get behind the enemy and attack him from an unexpected direction. The COA sketch is shown below:




The TASKORG for this COA is shown below:




Apart from the title, the TASKORG is exactly the same as that for COA 2.


So we are done with Question 5 – a point to note before moving on is that the commander could have made a decision at this point as to which COA to adopt. For the purposes of illustration we will press on because doctrinally the commander can make a decision after Question 6 (and between you and me … he’s going to) and because I think it is more educational if you can see more than one attempt at synchronisation … which is next.



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No worries, I think all we be clear as we go through the process. Right the confusion for me at least comes from the fact that going through the process, consecutive steps don't appear (at first glance) to differ much from the previous one. For example NAI vs TAI. Once the whole process is laid out, I think all will fall into place.


Stick with it mate - I understand where you are coming from because most steps build on previous ones so change/progress appears incremental. It is the reason why most of the intellectual effort is expended in Questions 1-3 - if you get that right, Questions 4-7 can get thrown together pretty quickly because you have all of the facts/assumptions to hand. If you focus on the title of the Question rather than the various components (a sort of seeing the Woods from the Trees approach), I think it will clarify things for you.

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This is synchronising …. Or put another way arranging activities in time, space and purpose to mass maximum relative combat power at a decisive place and time.


As with other steps in the process, this draws on information and deductions made earlier, particularly some of the timings identified in Question 1 on the event overlay. In Question 2 (Mission Analysis) we know we have an hour to complete the mission, from Question 4 we know where our effects need to be and from Question 5, we know what resources are required. The tool employed is the Synchronisation Matrix (Synch Matrix). This shows a schematic of the scheme of manoeuvre, a simple table showing timings and the actions of each of the elements in the TASKORG and a narrative with the mission, intent and scheme of manoeuvre.


This is the Synch Matrix for COA 1:




This is the Synch Matrix for COA 2:




And finally, the Synch Matrix for COA 3:




For the purists – yes I have used some pretty loose language, particularly in the table but space is a constraint. Abbreviations that may be unfamiliar are:




Mov = Move


Atk = Attack

Wdr = Withdraw

MDA = Main Defensive Area

Fwd = Forward

CE = Combat Effectiveness


So to summarise this what I have done – I have taken the relevant inputs (mostly time related) from the previous Questions and populated the matrix.


We're not done with Question 6 yet - but as there is a fair amount to digest here, I will continue with Question 6 in the next post.

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One thing that bothers me with this amount of pre-planning is that it does not seem to allow for much flexibility.  I constantly preach NOT going in to a game with a set plan (Course of Action), instead conducting a thorough reconnaissance prior to deciding on any course of action.


What happens if for example you decide on COA 3 and there is a long range AT asset on NAI 4?  That could throw a wrench in the works of your plan and bring your movement to a screeching halt.. the problem is that you do not know for sure what the enemy positions look like yet so how can you decide at this point?  Maybe for this particular scenario you can trust that the briefing has sufficiently outlined the enemy order of battle and positions.


I am watching this thread with fascination.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger
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Bill, the purpose of planning is to reduce uncertainty and to generate tempo IOT stay inside your opponent's OODA loop so of course it cannot legislate for every eventuality. However, if you throw enough resources at each TAI, it gives you the flexibility to overcome the unexpected. In the scenario you describe, I can always throw more indirect fire at TAI 4 to deal with the additional long range AT asset (this would be at the expense of time). The other mechanism is to identify branch plans and decision points to cater for these eventualities - you will see my branch plan and decision points soon ...

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Bill, the purpose of planning is to reduce uncertainty and to generate tempo IOT stay inside your opponent's OODA loop so of course it cannot legislate for every eventuality. However, if you throw enough resources at each TAI, it gives you the flexibility to overcome the unexpected. In the scenario you describe, I can always throw more indirect fire at TAI 4 to deal with the additional long range AT asset (this would be at the expense of time). The other mechanism is to identify branch plans and decision points to cater for these eventualities - you will see my branch plan and decision points soon ...


Oh I get that.. but my issue is that it is a command push system, where I prefer recon pull, which also attempts to reduce uncertainty... and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.   Don't get me wrong, I am very interested in how this develops.. I am learning a thing or two as well, so press on.

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Earlier I promised you that the Commander was going to make a decision about which COA to adopt – that time is right here and right now.


Usually (I’m talking Battalion level and above – which this is not) the Commander would receive a COA Backbrief/Commander’s Decision Brief. Formats vary from HQ to HQ but generally it would involve the draft Scheme of Manoeuvre, Synch Matrix, Draft DSO and a scoring method and relative advantages and disadvantages. We’re not going to do all that because you’ve seen the draft products being developed so I want to focus on relative advantages and disadvantages and a scoring method.


The scoring method will be a 1-5 scale with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest and we will score the COAs against the principles of offence, because this is an offensive operation. Clearly if this was a defensive operation I would employ the principles of defence as my scoring method. There are other methods/metrics (eg Principles of War or by Functions in Combat (Battlefield Operating Systems (BOS) for US forum dwellers)) but this is the one I prefer. So what are they:


Seek surprise.

Maintain security.

Seize key terrain.

Achieve fire superiority.

Exploit manoeuvre.

Concentrate the effects of combat power.

Plan to exploit success.

Keep it simple.


Here we go then:




So COA 3 it is then … well not yet, but it is off to a good start. Before I move on, some explanation as to the scoring where it is not blindingly obvious.


Seek Surprise – COAs 1 and 2 score badly here because the initial phases employ predictable avenues of approach and attack the enemy from the direction he is expecting.


Maintain Security – COA 3 scores badly here because the hook around the rear of the enemy position cuts the force off from the remainder of the (notional) Panzergrenadier Battalion.


Seize key terrain – All COAs plan to seize key terrain, but COA 3 scores lowest because it does it last in the scheme of manoeuvre.


Achieve fire superiority – While all are much of a muchness, COAs 2 and 3 score higher because of the flexibility to deploy firepower inherent in the 4 Platoon grouping in the TASKORG and its planned scheme of manoeuvre.


Concentrate combat power – Although COA 3 shades it here over COA 2 because it is attacking the main position first and is therefore less likely to lose combat power in the preliminary phases than any of the other COAs.


Exploit success – All score a 1 because there is no reserve in the TASKORG to exploit success.


Keep it simple – COA 1 scores badly here because the attack into TAI 5 (Main Wood) is being launched from two directions and when fighting in woods and forests it makes command and control a nightmare.


With that done and dusted, it is time for advantages and disadvantages and for this part of my notional Commander’s Decision Brief I want to deal with factors that have not been scored already:


COA 1 Advantages

Attrition of the enemy starts early

Facilitates identification of enemy laydown

Early occupation of buildings provides cover for observation and fire on TAI 5


COA 1 Disadvantages

Increased risk of denuding combat power prior to assault of ME objective (TAI 5)

High risk of fratricide during assault of TAI 5 due to attack axis being from different points of the compass

Assaults onto TAIs 3 and 4 expose elements to flanking fires.

Only two manoeuvre elements in TASKORG


COA 2 Advantages

Attrition of the enemy starts early

Facilitates identification of enemy laydown

Early occupation of buildings provides cover for observation and fire on TAI 5


COA 2 Disadvantages

Increased risk of denuding combat power prior to assault of ME objective (TAI 5)

Attacks onto TAI 2 and 3 vulnerable to fire from multiple positions


COA 3 Advantages

ME objective (TAI 5) is assaulted first

Enemy loses initiative early

By manoeuvring to a position to the enemy’s rear, the enemy is likely to withdraw without fighting

I am less likely to suffer attrition from the enemy prior to my assault on TAI 5 meaning that this COA maximises my chances of securing TAI 5 by giving me the largest force ratios of all three COAs.


COA 3 Disadvantages

Attrition of enemy does not begin until assault on TAI 5

Early flanking manoeuvre carries risk


The other activity in the planning process that should occur during Question 6 is the wargame. We will skip over that because at the end of the day we are playing a wargame … or we will once the plan is done.


So I think we’ve done enough for the Commander to do the brainy stuff …. and his decision is ……




Just a bit more to do for Question 6 but we'll leave that for another time ...

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Well I thought COA3 was a mere exercise as it seems the highest risk COA, is unconventional, and I thought certain you'd go with one of the other two. I'm a big fan of these high risk maneuvers, high risk can have a huge payoff, but they can be punished severely as well. I suspect you will be fine though and will clear the map in short order.

Going to be interesting to see how it develops.

Good stuff.

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Bill, when I first looked at this problem - I always reckoned I'd be going with something that looked like COAs 1 or 2 or my branch plan which I will post later on today. However once I knew from the timings that I had enough time to get around the back, COA 3 started to look attractive. Had I not gone through this whole process I would never even have considered it which for me demonstrates the value of going through planning ... if I pull it off of course!

Edited by Combatintman
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With the decision made it should be a matter of leaping straight into Question 7, but not quite. The wargame that I mentioned earlier is an opportunity to identify branches and sequels to a plan. A branch is defined as:


‘The contingency options built into the basic plan. A branch is used for changing the mission, orientation, or direction of movement of a force to aid success of the operation based on anticipated events, opportunities, or disruptions caused by enemy actions and reactions’.


A sequel is defined as:


‘A major operation that follows the current major operation. Plans for a sequel are based on the possible outcomes (success, stalemate, or defeat) associated with the current operation’.


For the purposes of CM, branching is the only thing we need to consider here.


So in my notional wargame activity I have identified a single branch:


Branch 1 What I will call ‘Left Hook’


The premise of this is that I get bogged down during my initial flanking manoeuvre leaving me insufficient time to get all the way around the back of Main Wood. The branch plan then envisages hooking into the wood on a broad front with all of my manoeuvre elements in line abreast.


The scheme of manoeuvre looks something like this:





Now strictly speaking I should fully resource this branch plan but I’m not going to mainly because I have shown you the techniques already (you apply the same steps) but also I’m guessing you’re itching to see me actually cross the start line and execute the plan.


I also need to refine my synch matrix (I’m not going to do this because the one I have is good enough for government work) and my Decision Support Overlay (DSO) and Decision Support Matrix (DSM). The only thing I’m going to do with the Synch Matrix is add a Decision to it. This is related to my Branch Plan identified above. It is marked as a star with the number ‘1’ in it. I will explain the mechanics of this in Question 7 (although it should be done here,I am explaining it later for reasons of clarity). So the refined Synch Matrix looks like this:




Although I should refine my DSO and DSM here, I’m not going to. There are two reasons for this, one is that there has been quite a lot to digest in Question 6 and two, the way I’m going to implement my control measures actually plugs into my DSO and DSM. I think it will be clearer to you all if I explain my control measures first and then show you the DSO and DSM.


Question 7 (and the tidying up of Question 6 as discussed above) will be coming soon ...

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Again thanks for the comments gents - c3k, I'm not sure you would want me to plan your battles, I lose/draw more than I win. Anyway onwards ...




So what does this mean – in CM terms it has little meaning because you as the Commander have a privileged view and can control every single friendly element on the battlefield. However for the purposes of education we will touch on control measures. So what are they?


‘Control Measures are the means by which the commander and his staff coordinate

and control what is going on in the battlespace’.


This is stuff like boundaries, routes, report lines and the like. They are there to ensure things like:


Units stay within their assigned areas.

Avoidance of fratricide (this fits into the above point but there are many means of doing this such as using report lines, designating no fire areas and establishing limits of exploitation for example.

Rules of Engagement.


The schematic below are my control measures – remember these are very light on and I’m doing this for the purposes of illustration more than anything else.




To explain then:


All of my TAIs have been turned into named objectives, using boy’s names. You will also note that what was TAI 5 has been broken up into a series of smaller named objectives and this is the essence of my control measures (note that I have stripped out the NAIs – this is because they aren’t control measures but don’t worry they will be covered when I do the DSO and DSM). Fighting in woods and forests presents huge command and control challenges so by creating these smaller objectives I can facilitate command and control and reduce the chance of fratricide.


As an example, 1 Zug in my scheme of manoeuvre is clearing south of Axis BLAU while 2 Zug is clearing East of it. When 1 Zug comes on the radio and tells me that he is clearing Obj BERLIN I know where that element is.


I have created some report lines (using girl’s names) to assist with this command and control of which Line FRIEDA is the best example. Let us say that 1 Zug is racing ahead and has cleared BERLIN and COCHEM but 2 Zug is struggling. To synchronise the attack, I can say to all callsigns that they are not to cross Line FRIEDA until ordered to do so. I can now wait until 2 Zug have sorted themselves out and when they say they are ready to push on I can issue the order to cross Line FRIEDA.


Note that there is no requirement to name your TAIs or turn them all of them into objectives, whether you do so or not will depend on the effect required in the TAI. The general rule of thumb I employ is that if it requires a physical presence then I would turn it into an objective.


Also, a quick word on the methodology for breaking TAI 5 into small objectives, all I have done is mark off areas within the former TAI 5 that are enclosed by easily recognisable terrain features which in this case are paths, tracks and the wood boundary.


Now to clear up the DSO and DSM (remember this is unfinished business from Question 6)


I also need to finalise my Decision Support Overlay and Matrix. The draft DSO and DSM are tested and refined in Question 6 – it is one of the main reasons for wargaming. As I have previously stated, I should have finalised this at Question 6 but I have left it until now because the way I have carved up the AO for my control measures means that I can use those control measures as named TAIs and so it makes laying out the DSO a lot simpler. Also there was quite a lot to digest in Question 6 already!!!!


Here is what my Decision Support Overlay and Matrix look like:




Now you are probably a little confused right now because the graphic is quite busy and because there are now 7 NAIs compared to the 4 NAIs that I had when you last saw them. First off, I’ve coloured the NAIs red for no other reason than to make the graphic easier to understand. The reasoning behind adding NAIs is this:


NAI 5, I had originally identified in Question 1, but for some reason (human error) it dropped off as I moved through the planning process. Luckily, this oversight was picked up in the wargame and it is another reason for doing a wargame (ie, to highlight oversights and refine the plan).


NAIs 6 and 7 cover areas that were originally identified in Question 1 and have been added at this stage because of the scheme of manoeuvre. What I mean by this is that I am coming at the enemy from his rear and therefore I need some means of confirming his COA. As things stand I would only get indications from what I see in Obj FRITZ and NAIs 4 and 5.


All of my TAIs as explained earlier are named objectives.


In case it is not obvious, the way I have allocated the assets column in the Decision Support Matrix is derived from the scheme of manoeuvre (eg 2 Zug is advancing through Obj AACHEN and NAI 1 so it is logical that 2 Zug is allocated as an asset because 2 Zug can put eyes on it).


Finally I will explain the Decision Line (this is marked as a star with the number 1 on the Decision Support Overlay). Decision Lines or Decision Points are where the Commander has to make a decision. Usually the big decision he needs to make is when to commit his reserve but other decisions are when to trigger/cue manoeuvre (such as a counterattack or a block) or when to execute a branch or sequel. This is not an exhaustive list but covers some of the important ones.


So about my Decision Line …


From the Decision Support Matrix I see that the decision is to ‘Execute Left Hook’ – this is the branch plan that was identified in wargaming. Remember the premise is that I get bogged down during my initial flanking manoeuvre leaving me insufficient time to get all the way around the back of Main Wood. So this is all about time and ability to get around the rear of the enemy.


Placement of the Decision Line is derived from the analysis done way back in Question 1 (remember the Event Matrix?) and refined in the wargame. The conditions that I have specified in the remarks column of the Decision Support Matrix obviously relate to time but also vehicle losses (I need those half tracks to get my guys to Line EVA).


So how it will work is that at H+20 if any or all of the following conditions have been met:


I have less than a platoon across Decision Line 1.

I have lost three half tracks before crossing Decision Line 1.

I have dropped to 75% Combat Effectiveness (75% CE) before crossing Decision Line 1.


I should decide whether to continue with my plan or consider executing Branch Plan 1 – Left Hook.


So that is it in a nutshell, WE HAVE A PLAN the next steps are to refine the products and write the order.


Which predictably will come next ....



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The long planning journey has ended and the output is the Operations Order (OpO or OPORD). I have made this a pdf and it is attached to the bottom of the post. The main reason I’ve done this is to give you an easy reference to follow the execute part of the mission.


In terms of putting it together, it is a pretty simple task because you already have all of the data and it is in a set format so it is just a case of plugging the data in to the right paragraph or annex. Like most things in this process, I have tried to keep it fairly short (as an example there is no enemy forces annex and I haven’t bothered with an intelligence collection plan) but I have tried to strike a balance of showing you what one looks like with the appropriate amount of detail. The acid test will be for you to put yourself in the shoes of one of the platoon commanders, read through it and think ‘could I make a plan and execute from this?’ The answer I’m looking for is ‘yes’ by the way!!! As I said from the start, I’m no expert in this but I have been around the process so it is by no means something that would pass muster at a staff college – but hey, we’re doing this for our own enjoyment.


So some thoughts about planning, firstly I hope you’ve found it interesting and informative. From my perspective, this was something I’d always wanted to do with Combat Mission but had just been waiting for the right time and the right scenario to come along.


Secondly, I have really enjoyed putting this together and for the most part it was pretty easy, until I got to Question 5. That was a real struggle to put together. Coming up with the draft COAs/schemes of manoeuvre was pretty easy but I created a problem for myself by making the main wood a single TAI which meant refining it back down using some of the work I had frontloaded from Question 1.


The most pleasant surprise for me was arriving at the COA (COA 3 – Unhinge). This was because I would never have considered it if I had not gone through the intellectual rigour of the planning process. When I first looked at the map and the problem I figured that I was either going to do the small village first or go at the woods from the bottom LH corner. That is not to say they are bad COAs as I’m sure they would work if resourced and synchronised effectively, it is just COA 3 is bold, aggressive and creates surprise. If you take nothing else away from this thread - don't rush into a scheme of manoeuvre, have a good think about the enemy, your resources and the things you need to do to win THEN COME UP WITH THE SCHEME OF MANOEUVRE.


I will shortly be moving into execute, you now have the Operations Order and associated matrices and control measures to follow it (in the attached pdf). However I will also be using some other products to battle track as follows:


The map with grid overlay (I shall be referring to grid references in my AAR).




A friendly force combat effectiveness tracker




An enemy force kill tracker


So, while my platoon commanders are now going through their planning process, I will let you go through the products and the next time I post battle will have commenced.

Operation Order.pdf


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<Snip>  I’m no expert in this but I have been around the process so it is by no means something that would pass muster at a staff college – <Snip>


Actually, I'm thinking after you retire you can teach at a staff college.  Very impressive.  Again I really like the grid overlay on the map.  The trackers are a work of art and useful.  Looking forward to the fight.  

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If you take nothing else away from this thread - don't rush into a scheme of manoeuvre, have a good think about the enemy, your resources and the things you need to do to win THEN COME UP WITH THE SCHEME OF MANOEUVRE.

I think this bears repeating... falls in line with my preaching as well, the key is you need good solid information on the enemy prior to rushing into a course of action. If you know nothing, find out as much as possible, only when you are comfortable with your knowledge of the enemy's intent should you decide on a final COA.

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Thanks for the comments on the trackers gents - I came up with the idea of generating them after having been exposed to quite a few of them in my day job and also because when playing at the harder difficulty levels I always found myself looking at an enemy contact and asking myself 'what was there again?


I think these are going to be really useful as I go through execute, if for no other reason than they will tell me how much risk I can take and (hopefully) how close the enemy is to capitulating.


Anyway, execute starts soon - the platoon commanders are doing their rehearsals ....

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Before we get into it, I will first of all show you some orientation images as you haven’t had a detailed look at the ground yet. The reason for this was deliberate as I didn’t want to get into the minutiae of looking at specific arcs and suchlike in the planning phase – this is strictly tactical business and is up to the platoon commanders to decide. As we were planning as the company commander it would be an unnecessary imposition, and I think leads to the temptation to leap straight into a scheme of manoeuvre.


So first up a look at some of the named features:




At this point, as I alluded to before, I will be referring to grid references throughout the AAR. The following should serve to orientate those of you whose map reading skills are a bit rusty.


Objective HERMANN is in Grid 151225

Objective DIETER is in Grid 154227

Objective OTTO is in Grid 154225

The top end of Objective FRITZ is in Grid 155225

The bottom end of Objective FRITZ is in Grid 155223


Finally for this post, this is the screenie of the setup relative to some of the named objectives and initial orientation arrows for Axis ROT




So into the breach ….



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0700 TO 0710 HOURS – TURNS 1-10


SPOILERS FOLLOW*****************


The first 10 minutes …


Situation as at 250705Jun44 (End Turn 5).

1 MG Team Grid 154220. Firing on suspected enemy position Grid 155223.

2 Zug moving through woods Grid 153220.

2 Zug scouts crossing open ground Grid 154220 heading south.




Situation as at 250706Jun44 (End Turn 6)

1 MG Team Grid 154200, Firing on suspected enemy position Grid 155223.

2 Zug moving through woods Grid 153220

2 Zug scouts crossing open ground Grid 154220 heading south.

1 Zug and Kompanie HQ crossing Line ANJA in IVO woods Grid 150220.




SIGNIFICANT EVENT 0708 hours (Turn 8)

Sdkfz 251/17 bogged




Situation as at 250710Jun44 (End Turn 10)

1 MG Team Grid 154200, Firing on suspected enemy position Grid 155223.

2 Zug scouts at Grids 156220 and 156221 heading south

2 Zug main body firm at Grid 154220

1 Zug main body traversing wood Grid 153220

4 Zug Sdkfz 251/17 and crossing road Grid 152220




So my thoughts on the first ten minutes …


First of all I am pleased that 1 Zug has arrived at the specified arrival time, while their arrival time plus or five minutes was never going to be a showstopper to my plan, an arrival time of plus five minutes for the mortars could be a problem. So I am working on the premise that because this first reinforcement has arrived on time, I should see my mortars arrive on time too.


The bogging of the Sdkfz 251/17 was a major fright. It is one of my key equipments/capabilities. While I may lose it further down the track I do not want to have lost it without putting it to some use. Fortunately it is unbogged and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief.


No enemy contacts yet, I am not too bothered about this but I would rather see an anti-tank rifle and deal with it before it sees one of my vehicles. This is one of the reasons I’m putting suppression down on templated enemy positions closest to Axis ROT.


Looking ahead, my main concerns are:


Moving my vehicles across the ground between Grids 156220 and 159220. This is a likely engagement area for enemy elements I have templated close to Axis ROT. Additionally, the small copse in Grid 159222 is sowing seeds of doubt. While any enemy located there would effectively be on a suicide mission because there are no covered escape routes, it is an excellent position with coverage of the large open field. I have no enemy templated there but the more I look at it (from a scenario design rather than a doctrinal perspective) I am concerned that there may be an MG team and an anti-tank rifle there.





Edited by Combatintman
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Are you advancing mounted or dismounted? You have not advanced very far in these ten minutes, and it looks like only around 150 meters (or so) in the last five...

The one team you show in the images is dismounted and appears to be on Move orders? I don't think I actually saw a scheme of maneuver, from the assault platoon's point of view, as to how they were going to advance (I am of course especially interested in your assault element).

I would have thought that speed would be important with this risky COA... yet I sense an almost calm stroll across the fields.. could be wrong, but that's how I read your first 10 minutes of action have played out.

I would have my assault element rolling across those fields at speed, led by one or two halftracks to scout for hidden enemy positions, with another on the left for flank protection. With this slow pace, and if you were playing against a human opponent you are giving the enemy time to shift his combat power to block your movement, easy for him with his internal lines.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger
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Bill - the scouts are dismounted and were initially on move orders. Towards the latter stage of the time block they moved on fast orders.  WRT the rest, in the light of the 251/17 bogging, I am driving through the wood at Grid 153220 with a degree of care and progress through that wood is slow. My intent is to move mounted for as much as I can but I want to be relatively sure that I can do so with minimum risk. 


Otherwise I ack your points about tempo although I'm not so sure that a human opponent would be doing much at this stage, all he has likely seen are 3 x scout pairs and an MG. He will have sited his positions carefully and therefore will have emotional investment in them - it will take more reporting IMHO before he's going to give up his recce'd arcs of fire. Additionally, based on the intelligence brief, he doesn't have much 'fat' in his ORBAT, he is probably like me and has no reserve to commit which limits his response options.


I'm also not convinced that he can move as easily as you say. If you look at my templated enemy COAs, he can't really move anything from Obj FRITZ for fear of it being engaged. If we work on the premise that the enemy commander decides that the axis I am taking is my ME, his likely COA would be to move the section templated at Grid 156228 in COA 1 or 157227 in COA 2 and move it to Grid 158226. Although I've said it before, I'll say it again - he needs to be sure that my ME will be on Axis ROT and moving will take a minimum of five minutes. By that time, if I get my skates on, I'll be behind him. The end result is that he is out of position and  dislocated.


So - I don't think the enemy is going anywhere right now.

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c3k, the exact terrain I would have to look at - I had marked it as restricted terrain in Question 1. As my planning was focussed at the Company level, I was never going to delve into the minutiae - I knew to be careful, I was and it didn't work out initially, however no damage has been done so onwards and upwards or as you would probably say .... ATTACK.

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0710 TO 0715 HOURS – TURNS 10-15


SPOILERS FOLLOW*****************


Situation as at 250711Jun 44 (End Turn 11)

1 MG Team Grid 154200, Firing on suspected enemy position Grid 155223.

2 Zug scouts at Grids 156220 and 156221 heading south

2 Zug main body at Grid 154220

1 Zug main body traversing wood Grid 153220

4 Zug Sdkfz 251/17 and mortars heading south Grid 152220


250712Jun44 = End Turn 12


Situation as at 250713Jun44 (End Turn 13)

1 MG Team Grid 154200, Firing on suspected enemy position Grid 155223.

2 Zug scouts at Grids 156221, 157221 and 158221 heading SE

2 Zug main body embarked on half-tracks Grid 155220. Half-tracks firing on suspected enemy positions Grid 155223 and 157224

1 Zug main body traversing wood Grid 153220

4 Zug Sdkfz 251/17 firm at Grid 154220

Mortars heading south through woods at Grid 153220



Date Time Group: 250715Jun44.

Location of contact: Grid 155223.

Location of observer: Grid 155220.

Target description: Enemy anti-tank rifle.

Action by target: Engaging.

Action by own forces: Exiting contact area South.




Situation as at 250715Jun44 (End Turn 15)

1 MG Team Grid 154200, ceased engaging suspected position and embarking on truck.

2 Zug scouts at Grids 158223, 157222 AND 156222.

2 x 2 Zug half-tracks have moved south out of contact area to Grid 157220. 1 x half-track has damaged radio, otherwise functioning. Remaining half-tracks are at Grid 156220, 1 half-track is engaging enemy ATR team in Grid 155223 and other half-track is engaging suspected position Grid 157224.

1 Zug is firm at Grid 154220.

4 Zug Sdkfz 251/17 firm at Grid 154220

Mortars firm at Grid 153220




Notes: Reaction to contact, intent is to redeploy 1 MG team back to original fire position and deploy mortars IOT neutralise the identified enemy ATR team at Grid 155223, prior to move of 1 Zug along Axis ROT. 2 Zug will continue its move SE along Axis ROT.


Enemy Situation:


Position of ATR team at Grid 155223 indicates a variant of COA 1 ‘Defend Forward’. Nearest positions to Axis ROT assessed as:


Outpost at Grid 157224

Section strength position at Grid 158226


These are illustrated in the following graphic – the top half being my Enemy COA Situation Template and the bottom half being the contact identified.




While we’re at it – time to start populating the fancy kill chart.




The convention I am using is:


Sighted = single diagonal red line

Killed = red cross

Unsure = do nothing and wait for the picture to develop


So my thoughts on the above …


The contact at Grid 155223 brought feelings of both elation and frustration. Frustration because, Murphy’s Law of combat intervened in that the moment that I decided I’d done enough hosing down of that general area with MG Team 1 the anti-tank rifle team popped up. Also frustration because I’ve been hammering away at the area with 7.92mm for just shy of 10 minutes and I don’t seem to have had any effect. Elated because I have identified one of the enemy main threat weapon systems early (and not lost a vehicle doing so) but most importantly in a place that I had templated it to be in. Given that my forum username reflects my day job, I feel reassured that I am vaguely good at it (now to convince my Boss to read this thread!!!!).


Otherwise, my scouts are making good progress, even if they’re not seeing much but movement is taking it out of them (they are pretty much hitting tiring/tired status at the end of three  moves). I am using mainly quick moves although there is always at least one scout team stationary working on the one foot on the ground while the other is moving principle. So long as none of them hit exhausted I’m happy as things are – although of course it would be nice if they did some of that finding the enemy/scouting stuff!!!


The mortars did arrive on time so I am obviously pleased about that and I want to use them early to deal with the identified and possibly templated threats to Axis ROT. I also want to see how long they take to get into action and how good my HQs are at calling fire in. This will help me to make decisions about what to target as the plan unfolds (eg if they are not very accurate I will not be calling in danger close missions and if they take an age to call in then I will have to factor in early calls for fire or depth targets).





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