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"That's one vast valley!" - hard-edged, realistically scaled map


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The question whether the terrain was more compartmentalized (thanks, Bud Backer :) ) in the 1930s and 40s than today is an interesting question. I.e. were there more line-of-sight blocking features 80 years ago than what the modern google street-view map suggests? 

I don't think one should draw any broad conclusions. The first question one needs to ask: what constitutes a field? What we "gamers" typically consider to be a field - a piece land that grows one type of crop, its boundaries marked by some hedgerow or farmtrack - in fact usually consists of several parcels. These parcels are clearly discernable in cadastral maps and they can but don't need to be the property of a single farm. So, if the amount of land that a single farm cultivates increases, that does not automatically mean that the number of "fields" cultivated by that farm increases - it can also mean that the farm simply cultivates more parcels within the existing structure of fields? And then again one also needs to ask whether it would be that easy to bring about the  merging of several fields? There are certainly administrative obstacles...?

Now, I'm fully aware that the situation may differ greatly depending on where in Europe you look at (for example, when trying to create a map for CM:BS, I found that the fields in modern day Ukraine are really gigantically huge!). But I think it's a good idea to come up with a comparison:  

Here is a village in Luxembourg as shown on a cadastral map from 1811-1831 [!] (source: https://map.geoportail.lu/theme/main?fid=256_590&version=3&zoom=14&X=694162&Y=6366435&lang=en&layers=256&opacities=0.25&bgLayer=basemap_2015_global - * you need to click the sector south-east of the currently selected one, can't get the proper link to work!)

https://imgur.com/a/g56dmNp

Here is the modern satellite view: 

https://imgur.com/a/XlFRROc

Here, I tried to blend the two views (black lines = roads/paths from the cadastral map; green lines = green lines of the cadastral map - probably hedgerows?)

https://imgur.com/a/KOQIRQu

For me, it seems as if very little has changed. The structure of the parcels is almost the same.

One could also compare the aerial recon photos (Ian Daglish's books, mostly concentrated on northern France, include many views) with the modern day landscape.

Edited by Kaunitz
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By comparison, here are examples that show villages (in Bavaria) before and after major land consolidations (compare the pictures on the right hand side): 

https://www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de/Lexikon/Flurbereinigung

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PS: If you can speak german, there is a cute little documentation on youtube. If you can't, maybe it still inspires you as a mapmaker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC2HljwiVK0

 

Edited by Kaunitz
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On 11/12/2018 at 6:32 PM, c3k said:

Additionally, farmers (in the US, anyway) would traditionally leave a large border of "wild" land between fields. This provided a windbreak and allowed for wildlife to flourish. (Birds, small mammals, deer, etc.) However, with the move towards better utilization, that 100' border which stretches for 1/2 mile represents money lost. More and more of that border has been plowed under and cultivated. This is why we have huge monoculture farms. If you're not efficient, you're out of business.

Would US farmers really go out of business if they left a 100 foot border around their field? Or is it more a case that their profits would be slightly smaller?

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5 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

Would US farmers really go out of business if they left a 100 foot border around their field? Or is it more a case that their profits would be slightly smaller?

I'm not a farmer, but my friends who are (or were raised on them) stated that they had to do it that way. A farmer wouldn't do it if he didn't have to...so take that however you want. ;)

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On 11/13/2018 at 10:50 AM, Kaunitz said:

PS: If you can speak german, there is a cute little documentation on youtube. If you can't, maybe it still inspires you as a mapmaker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC2HljwiVK0

I can't believe it's Friday evening and I'm spending it watching a docile old German documentary about farming. I could be out barfing in an alley somewhere. There's a spot that goes un-barfed because of you, Kaunitz.

Anyway, on topic: Notice at 1:36 a good illustration of the point about houses being very close together in that old village. No modern suburbia with isolated houses each surrounded by their own garden and driveway as we unfortunately see in some scenarios.

Buildings away from the town cluster are mostly farmsteads, with several buildings, again very close together, and mixing houses for living in with barns and production buildings.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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  • 6 months later...

I thought I could upload the current state of the map here if anyone is interested in experimenting with how the game plays out when greater distances are involved. WARNING: This is by no means the final state of the map and it's not a proper scenario. All I did is to put some troops on the WIP map to get a feeling for how the game plays. It's only meant for experimenting, and you need to play both sides. 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bk9rpz0bwzvr4d2/vast_map_test.btt?dl=0

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6 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

I thought I could upload the current state of the map here if anyone is interested in experimenting with how the game plays out when greater distances are involved. WARNING: This is by no means the final state of the map and it's not a proper scenario. All I did is to put some troops on the WIP map to get a feeling for how the game plays. It's only meant for experimenting, and you need to play both sides. 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bk9rpz0bwzvr4d2/vast_map_test.btt?dl=0

think I´ll give it a test run as i´m interested in fairly the same matters. Also have the new patch installed for CMFB successfully.

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Thanks! The map has progressed in the last few days. Aanother orchard in the valley has been added, as well as 3 new farms with little pastures for their cattle, works on the borders of fields, on woods, ditches and the roads. I will upload a new version once I feel like it's a big difference. 

I've deleted the wall around the orchard. No too many thieves around here, even though the orchard lies adjacent to a main road. I don't think a wooden fence would serve any purpose (it also looks nice just to have the slight height-difference with "heavy forest" terrain (--> bushes) around it.

Generally speaking, for borders, I prefer the usage of "heavy forest" (somtimes in combination with a sharp 1m elevation, or with a "foot path" running through it) over that of proper hedges/bocage, as the latter creates all kinds of reverse-slope absurdities ("My MG can't fire through that foliage!"). I will replace some hedges with my custom "heavy forest" solution.

Once the map is finished, I'm planning to add a separate, "battle" version of it, full with defensive works (that will of course be visible to the attackers :( ) and shelled areas. It's natural to create the "untouched" version first. 

 

 

Edited by Kaunitz
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I'm always happy when someone is willing to test the stuff I create. No hurry at all. I'm not the fastest one in creating the map either ;). 

Short clip of a tank crew "brutality" that happened in my latest test (shortly thereafter the third tank got immobilized on the bridge by a grenade thrown from under the bridge; the immobilized tank then smoke-charged the orchard, pretty interesting scene ^^):

 

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14 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

I'm always happy when someone is willing to test the stuff I create. No hurry at all. I'm not the fastest one in creating the map either ;). 

Short clip of a tank crew "brutality" that happened in my latest test (shortly thereafter the third tank got immobilized on the bridge by a grenade thrown from under the bridge; the immobilized tank then smoke-charged the orchard, pretty interesting scene ^^):

 

that vid doesn´t appear to be ready yet  (wird gerade verarbeitet...) I bear with you Kaunitz! You can be glad if from say.... 100 downloaders, 10 do a "test" and one giving feedback at last. Leaves the question if that one feedback posting is rather detailed, or more of the "nice! well done!" sort of. :P But so is mission/map maker life. At least if you´re not among the "big name" folks around here. For whatever it´s worth.

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I need to point out that the map is still a big work in progress.

Tanks are very mighty here, that's true - assuming that the scenario takes place in daylight. They will have some troubles to advance because of the ditches that use "heavy wood" (impassable for tanks) terrain though. While I do want to add some places where tanks can cross a ditch (via marsh terrain, which I suppose has a higher chance to immobilize the tanks), tanks will still need to pass through bottlenecks that can be controled by the defender and/or be mined. 

So letting the tanks advance should be a risk. They're still very powerfull if they stay back (at proper tank range) and support the infantry's advance, primarily by knocking out enemy MG nests. These nests can pin the advancing infantry well outside effective rifle range. That's an aspect that I really like and that corresponds to the accounts that I've read of WWII engagements: The approach phase is dominated by MGs, artillery/mortars and heavier calibres/tanks. On a relatively open map like this one, that's particularly true. I also like that troops tend to get pinned more often and for longer spans of time, without getting immediately wiped out. That's a positive side effect of the relatively long engagement ranges (depending of course on the distance at which you decide to open fire).

The question is whether the defenders have "enough" protection from the tanks. In the scenario-version, I really need to dig-in the MG nests very well and/or put them into bunkers, which - despite them getting spotted way too fast - do offer good protection as long as the tanks stay at a longer range. 

I also wondered about whether it is a good idea at all to place the defenders in the farm in the valley between the two hills. It's a position from which there is hardly any retreat. As the attacker also starts from a hill, he has excellent view over the whole valley (the "line-of-sight shadows" of terrain-features shrink as you look at them from higher above...), so that any movement to the rear will be spotted and complicated by artillery or tank fire. (Also note that the larger footprint of features that offer good concealment makes spotting by FO teams way less risky than you might be used to). I might elevate/embank the main road leading to the swampy area (to the 88 flak) a bit. This should provide some cover for retreating infantry. 

 

 

Edited by Kaunitz
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On 5/26/2019 at 6:46 PM, Kaunitz said:

They will have some troubles to advance because of the ditches that use "heavy wood" (impassable for tanks) terrain though.

Did you paint the tiles with heavy woods to model antitank ditches? Another way of doing it is painting ditches with mud tiles and making the conditions wet. That gives a chance to cross the ditch, but the attacker knows he runs a big risk of bogging. I think that's more fun, and looks more natural than somehow having heavy forest growing in all the ditches.

 

On 5/26/2019 at 6:46 PM, Kaunitz said:

The question is whether the defenders have "enough" protection from the tanks. In the scenario-version, I really need to dig-in the MG nests very well and/or put them into bunkers, which - despite them getting spotted way too fast - do offer good protection as long as the tanks stay at a longer range. 

They don't, actually. A concrete bunker gives about the same protection against 75mm HE as a modular building. Unless something was changed in the 4.01 patch.

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

Did you paint the tiles with heavy woods to model antitank ditches? Another way of doing it is painting ditches with mud tiles and making the conditions wet. That gives a chance to cross the ditch, but the attacker knows he runs a big risk of bogging. I think that's more fun, and looks more natural than somehow having heavy forest growing in all the ditches.

Primarily, it's for aesthetical reasons. Heavy wood tiles are the only good option to create thickets. "Brush" and the "bush" foliage-elements are not dense enough (the latter are also to tall).  Bocage and hedge-tiles are linear elements and thus not suitable as thickets (they can be added on top of heavy wood to make the thickets even denser). As you've suggested, I will create some marsh/swamp spots for tanks to cross them. I think it's an interesting change to restrict tank-movement a bit more than it is common.

1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

They don't, actually. A concrete bunker gives about the same protection against 75mm HE as a modular building. Unless something was changed in the 4.01 patch.

Are you sure? From my observation, bunkers are treated like vehicles. When they get hit, a vehicle-hit-info pop ups ("penetration", etc). Unless they hit the opening (which took a few minutes at a range of ca. 1km), the Shermans failed to penetrate the bunker. (The bunkers were still spotted way too easily though...)

Edited by Kaunitz
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3 hours ago, Kaunitz said:
4 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

They don't, actually. A concrete bunker gives about the same protection against 75mm HE as a modular building. Unless something was changed in the 4.01 patch.

Are you sure? From my observation, bunkers are treated like vehicles. When they get hit, a vehicle-hit-info pop ups ("penetration", etc). Unless they hit the opening (which took a few minutes at a range of ca. 1km), the Shermans failed to penetrate the bunker. (The bunkers were still spotted way too easily though...)

I tested it out, and found hits from the front cause the same casualties on average as hits against a 2-story modular building. Bunkers are bugged.

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3 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I tested it out, and found hits from the front cause the same casualties on average as hits against a 2-story modular building. Bunkers are bugged.

bugged like a stray dog I´d say. Got to check with new patch again, but I guess they´ll remain unusable until V5.

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6 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Bocage and hedge-tiles are linear elements and thus not suitable as thickets (they can be added on top of heavy wood to make the thickets even denser). 

Kaunitz, did you consider using + X \ / , gapped and angled versions? ;)

Edited by RockinHarry
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3 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I tested it out, and found hits from the front cause the same casualties on average as hits against a 2-story modular building. Bunkers are bugged.

 

35 minutes ago, RockinHarry said:

bugged like a stray dog I´d say. Got to check with new patch again, but I guess they´ll remain unusable until V5.

That sounds weird. Yesterday, it seemed just fine to me. I need to check again tomorrow. (I was using the Pak-bunker versions, that can be purchased as "troops", not as "fortifications")

 

31 minutes ago, RockinHarry said:

Kaunitz, did you consider using + X \ / , gapped and angled versions? ;)

I use these a lot at the border of woods to cut lines of sight into the wood. :) Still "heavy wood" creates the most convincing thickets in my opinion (at least in CM:FB). 

26 minutes ago, RockinHarry said:

for  AT ditch I use "invisible" AT obstacle mod and place these anywhere I like to have tank/vehicle no go. Simple.

That's some advanced stuff right there! I'm not sure I want to use mods though and the heavy wood (=thicket) works nicely. As I've mentioned and as suggested by Bulletpoint, I will also set some crossing points. :)

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

The thing that still bugs me out the most is that my pixeltroopers can't make proper use of all the sunken roads and ditches I create so painstakingly. Either they expose themselves on the "embankment", or they position themselves so that they can't see anything. I can either just go with it and create the aesthetically more pleasing (but mechanically dubious) version of the map, or I can make a lot experiments to find out in which way I have to create depressions so that pixeltroopers can use them for cover against direct fire (I've given up on artillery...), even though the result might look as good (for my Gerbini scenario, I was able to find one particular setup for straight - not diagonal - terrain, in which my troops consistently positioned themselves relatively well: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/125278-highlanders-the-battle-of-gerbini/?do=findComment&comment=1747999).

 

Edited by Kaunitz
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41 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

That sounds weird. Yesterday, it seemed just fine to me. I need to check again tomorrow. (I was using the Pak-bunker versions, that can be purchased as "troops", not as "fortifications")

I just had some fun with this blowing things up, not really putting any thought into my maneuvers aside from getting units within LOS of each other to see what would happen to the bunkers. (It's a good looking and interesting map! It seems like with the forces currently on it, the long range gun duel will decide things. The little streambed was nice and it provided enough cover for a couple of guys to stage a Panzerfaust ambush (that's what I get for ignoring the US infantry and just drove the tanks toward the bunkers)).

Anyway I agree, the concrete PaK bunkers seem to hold up fine. I had it in Hotseat so I could see what ammo the US was shooting and what damage the Germans were taking. One of them took multiple rounds of 76mm AP and then several more of 75mm HE with no casualties (but some suppression). The only thing that eventually caused casualties and then knocked it out was a 57mm AT gun firing HE from very far away on the other side of the valley. It seemed like they managed to score hits on the opening--good shooting! The other one took casualties from a very close-range 75mm AP shot through the side (without hit text, oddly), and then from an equally close-range 76mm HE round that scored a penetration (complete with hit text and a hit decal) on the front--but not at the firing slit itself. That one did seem weird.

I was a little puzzled by the TacAI's targeting logic. It seemed like it picked HE if there were any chance of getting through the opening, and AP otherwise.

I don't have enough experience with concrete bunkers to know if this is how it was before the patch, but for what it's worth that's what I saw happening in this case.

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2 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

That sounds weird. Yesterday, it seemed just fine to me. I need to check again tomorrow. (I was using the Pak-bunker versions, that can be purchased as "troops", not as "fortifications")

Try with the MG bunkers, that's what I was commenting on .. since you were talking about putting MG nests in bunkers for protection :)

 

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That's interesting. I added a couple of MG concrete bunkers to @Kaunitz's map and they seemed to hold up as well as the PaK pillboxes--they took multiple 75mm and 76mm hits without casualties, then at some point after a minute or two of firing they would get a penetrating hit that inflicted casualties. One or two of those would knock them out. That seems like better protection than I'd expect from a building.

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