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Hammer's Flank Crossing the River


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I just played this battle last week-end, and what i think is the most frustrating is that german got plenty of artillery, and with too much reactivity and accuracy. You are suppose to play the sovie

I am the one who designed mission 1. The map, opposing forces and defenses are all as close as possible to the historical situation on the morning of June 23rd as we could determine based on the histo

kind of harsh JasonC, the designer put a lot of hard work into that campaign

I played about half this battle a long time ago... As I recall, some of your assets are allowed to suffer a lot of casualties because they will be replaced later. I got some benefit by using my MG's and SU-76's to do suppression from a distance. I think it's OK to go slow because you have a lot of time. And there are opportunities to have some teams run forward when the enemy has been hurt. And don't go at him like an even wave, find a good spot and concentrate your attack there. 

A certain amount of frustration is inevitable. I lost several SU-76's to mines too, with men riding on them.

I didn't finish the scenario only because there are so many units to give orders to, and human opponents are more fun.

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Since he wouldn't get out of my chair, it was all labor lost, in my case.

Lessons for other designers - don't write scripts.  Don't try to force the player to do this or that.  You can't force him to do anything.  Reduce the force to space you were thinking of by a factor of 2 or 3, and look at the map again that way.  To see whether you need to do it again, not to undo it.  You get one chance - screw it up and you will never get another.  Scenarios should be playable.  Set up shouldn't take 3 hours.  No, your set up isn't perfect and doesn't help - see above under "get out of the player's chair".  If the units are on top of each other you are doing it wrong.  If the units have to move on top of each other you are doing it wrong.  If hitting "split squad" results in units on top of each other or unmanagabke command spans you are doing it wrong.

Players can command forces a few at a time with arriving reinforcements.  But only use this if the real situation is attack offbthe march or similar.  In a set piece, the commander must have command of his forces and knowledge of what he has to work with.  But you can't exceed playable command soans, for any reason.

There is nothing dumber, cheaper, more "low", more stupid than trying to make your AIs job easier by channeling attackers through narrow chokepoints devoid of cover.  "Higher ups demand an unprepared attack at the stupiest possible location" is not an excuse.

i could go on.  But those are enough to prevent monstrosities like this.

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I am the one who designed mission 1. The map, opposing forces and defenses are all as close as possible to the historical situation on the morning of June 23rd as we could determine based on the historical records.

you don't like the scenario? I am sure the Russians and Germans who actually had to fight it in real life liked it even less. B)

Edited by Sgt Joch
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To Sgt Joch I call historical BS.  Map scale and Russia side fire support in that scenario each have nothing to do with history.  

well Jason, maybe you should actually research the history of the campaign before commenting. B)

map scale is correct for the force levels in that sector. This was one of the main axis of attack of the 11th Guards Army. German forces were relatively light in the area, since they did not think the Russians would attack in that type of terrain. German troop density is correct for that secor.

As to the fire support, yes that is a game restriction. The Soviet prep bombardement was up to 3 hours, obviously out of scale for a CM mission. The idea was to simulate the tail end of the bombardement and this was the most practical solution. I believe this is also stated in the designer notes?

I spent a lot of time researching this one, so if you have other comments I can swat away, please be my guest. :)

Edited by Sgt Joch
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I am the one who designed mission 1. The map, opposing forces and defenses are all as close as possible to the historical situation on the morning of June 23rd as we could determine based on the historical records.

you don't like the scenario? I am sure the Russians and Germans who actually had to fight it in real life liked it even less. B)

Having tried to force my poor Russians through that map, I agree that they likely hated it.
Suffice to say I was only able to take the first line, and at heavy cost.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

There is nothing dumber, cheaper, more "low", more stupid than trying to make your AIs job easier by channeling attackers through narrow chokepoints devoid of cover.  "Higher ups demand an unprepared attack at the stupiest possible location" is not an excuse.

 

Cheers to that. I haven't played this mission, so I can't comment on that, but I agree with your post in general.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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Sgt Joch - you don't even understand what I am saying, so it is completely unsurprising that you don't get it.  You claim the scale is "correct for that part of the front", but don't notice how impossible that claim is.

What part of the front?  Why that part, in left to right distance?  Why that depth front to back?  Why this amount of time?

You say the 3 hour prep fire is clearly out of scope, without noticing that this destroys your claims of accuracy at the outset.  Saying "I realize this is pants" in the designer's notes doesn't change the fact that it is pants.  You are left presenting the player with the task of crossing a defended river with direct fire support from a flock of SU-76s at point blank range and some 82mm mortars.  The actual attack never had that.  It had major fire support for hours on chosen points to affect a crossing, and those arms to follow up and deal with holdouts.  No, you don't depict that accurately by pretending that the fight starts after it happened.  The whole point of that step was to nuke specific points needed to cross obstacles, not just to evenly reduce defenders.

How was the time pacing of the actual attack?  Let there be X forces per yard of front line - how deep were they layered, front to back?  Hint, ignoring the actual prep fire step makes local force concentrations that appear liveable completely false.  Under hour long 152mm fire you can't bunch up, you must spread front to back and go deep in holes to survive it.  The attackers don't mush their entire strength behind the frontage into the first 60 yards either, then bums rush forward.  Why?  Area effect weapons.  Instead a thinner wave set by the frontage must be sent, but there can be nine of them in a row, one behind the next, spread back half a mile.

Pathfinders start forward during the actual barrage.  It doesn't lift uniformly in all sectors, instead lifting fifteen minutes early just here, so the Germans stay in their holes while the pathfinders get forward just here.  That forms the base of the planned set piece after the rest of the barrage lifts.

Where?  At loops and bends in rivers and streams, where the defenders can't easily line the bank without making a great arty target and having MGs sited across their position from 180 degrees.  Nuke one of those loops with 152s in the last ten minutes of the barrage, then pathfinders across mark routes, then the main body at jump off time, but one wave at a time.

You aren't showing any of this, because you don't know enough tactics.  You have taken everything out of the attackers real toolkit, in timing, fire coordination, choicd of sector of the frontage to use what.  Instead you have applied a mindless even mathematical division of the total attacking force, to an equally mindless even mathematical division of the length of the front, shown only a third of the relevant depth front to back of that much front for formations of this size, scooped out all the bigger artillery weapons, shaved off most of the relevant overwatch fire in the time domain as well - and think it must be accurate, because you looked up 3 numbers and did a couple of arithmetical divisions.

And I'm here to tell you and anyone else that the result is unhistorical stupidity, not accurate anything.  You have not only sat in the Russian attacking commander's chair, you have imagined and "managed" and divided and abstracted him into the biggest brain dead fool since Pickett's charge.  You turn the result over to the player with the effect of "here, I've decided that you are a witless idiot, please play that part in my movie script now."

Pound sand.  Nobody deserves this treatment as a player.  

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So how would this be done right?

Double the length of the front.  Double the time.  Double the depth of the map, Russian to German side, with most of the extra depth on the German side of the river.  Cut the initial Russian force to 2/3rds of that shown, despite the wider front.  The frontage should include at least one bend of the river toward the Russians - that shown is sufficient - and a neighboring sector that might have less of that.  The initial German force should be 4/3rds as strong on the wider sector, and deeper.  The Germans should get another 2/3rds at the back of the map 30 minutes in, as their reserves and deeper lines.

But the Russians should get a force as large as the initial one around the 15 minute mark, arrival staggered over 5 minutes to make it easy to control.  And the same again at the 30 minute mark, similarly staggered.

The last 5 minutes of the prep barrage should be shown within the scenario, as low quality but large caliber Russian FOs using "map fire" missions.  This enables the Russian comnander to shape the battlefield as the prep fire concludes.

Notice the cumulative effect of those changes.  The Russians have their whole, real toolkit of supporting fires.  They have choice of areas and times of main effort.  They have a deep attack.  They are not overcrowded at the start line.  They have managable command soans and force to space, albeit at the cost of eventually needing to command a larger force in the second half of the clock.  But they also have the depth to absorb losses and continue the mission, in that second half.

Nothing has been changed in total forces depicted per linear meter of frontage.  But the scale being right, and the limits of time and depicted forces being less falsified by playability concerns, the result is that the Russian player is in actual command of his attack, instead of the scenario designer having shoved him into a stupid approach with only half his tools.

That is what I meant by getting the scale and the fire support wrong.

Edited by JasonC
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Pound sand.  Nobody deserves this treatment as a player.  

JasonC, the only reason you retain posting rights here despite your generally abusive and condescending attitude towards others is because most people understand you have "issues" that are not directly related to whatever vitriolic rant you happen to be on at the moment.  Which is why most people don't take it personally since it seems everybody is contemptible in your eyes.

That said, you sometimes manage to cross the rather generously tailored line we've set for your behavior.  This is one of those cases.  In the interests of me not giving you a temporary ban to hammer home the point that you do not rule this roost, kindly simmer down and return to your usual barely restrained surly attitude that we all know and... well, know.

Steve

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Ban away, brave one.  You don't rule the internet, but feel free to wall off your little corner and stick fingers in your ears.

There are players who know more than scenario designers, and their are customers who know more than publishers.  The latter are frequently in the dark on the point, confusing role with an expertise.  Feel free to take your ball and go home at any time.  Until then, I will think what I actually think and say it too.  Thicker skins improve learning, thinner ones stagnant.  Entirely up to you.

Edited by JasonC
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Ban away, brave one.  You don't rule the internet, but feel free to wall off your little corner and stick fingers in your ears.

Hmm.  You fail to understand my rebuke was not about the subject of the discussion you think you're having, rather the rebuke is purely because of the way you are conducting yourself.  Specifically, overtly abusive.  And that is against the rules, no matter how much slack we've cut for you over the years.  For a person who spends so much time telling everybody how much smarter you are than everybody else, I find it a bit ironic that this rather obvious point seems to have gone completely over your head.

Thicker skins improve learning, thinner ones stagnant. 

Thicker heads decrease learning because they don't understand that hostility and abuse decreases learning.  If you were half as interested in the topics you profess to care about you might understand that.  Instead you're more interested in trying to put others down to make yourself look better by comparison.

Entirely up to you.

Actually, it's up to you.  You chose to be a jerk one too many times, you chose not to heed my warning, you chose to attack me, and you chose to make yourself look foolish in the process.  Now here's something else that is entirely up to you.

In consideration of your 14 years and 8000+ posts, I've given you only a temporary "cooling off" ban and not a permanent one.  When that period is up you have a choice, which is entirely yours to make.  You can either return with a fresh understanding that you can be smart and hammer home a point without being a right bastard about it, or you can return in the same frame of mind as you are right now.  Your choice, whatever it may be, will decide if the ban becomes permanent or not.

Again, entirely up to you.

Steve

Edited by Battlefront.com
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I enjoyed that battle, as I enjoyed the whole Hammer's Flank campaign. The infantry took a lot of casualties, but there was plenty of them. I followed the briefing plan, keep attacking and accept some casualties, and I ended up with a pretty decent victory. Once the Soviets are across the river in force, the Germans are in trouble. I pushed mainly down the left flank, but the right would have done just as well.

Actually, it was a fun scenario. I was sorry when that campaign ended.

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I'm glad you enjoyed it!

One of the things that isn't well known about Bagration is that the Soviets initially had a pretty tough time breaking through the German lines in several key locations.  The Germans were very well dug in pretty much all along the front.  However, by a tough time I mean it took a day or two with significant losses for the Soviets to break through.  By Eastern Front standards that's pretty quick.

The Germans, on the other hand, had absolutely no way to hold the front under such pressure.  The areas they retained control of after the initial assaults were subsequently destroyed or bypassed because there wasn't enough reserves and mobile counter attack forces to the rear.  The Germans found it hard in some places to fall back to 2nd and 3rd defensive lines, the latter weren't even all that well established.  Which means the brave soldiers who stood their ground on Day 1 pretty much accomplished nothing that mattered.

Steve

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I would just like to point out that anyone who has had the opportunity to research battles down to the company or battalion level will very quickly discover that very few, if any, battles play out or get fought in the 'text book' manner.  It may be the case that X is supposed to happen followed by Y, but even with pre planned and deliberate attacks things seldom match the 'script' as written by the attacking commander or as spelled out in the field manuals.  It would be historically inaccurate to try and force scenario designers to conform to a battle script of what some individual deems to be the 'right' way to do something. 

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Personally, I took a look at the starting situation, briefly reviewed the overpacked number of units, saw what the script writing scenario designer expected, and closed the file.  Just stupid beyond words, and not something I was going to indulge.

...says the guy who never uploads any of his own scenarios.

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