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Need advice regarding TOE & plausibility @ Scenario


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Hello!

I recently started working on a small Blue vs Red scenario that initially was just for myself, but it's kind fun, so i maybe fix it up and share it. I need some help regarding the plausibility though.

Background Story: Official CMSF2 background story

SITUATION BLUE

You are commander of German Gebirgsjäger platoon and on a motorized patrol in the Syrian mountains near Allepo. Suddenly, the lead Fuchs APC is destroyed by an IED and from right and left, insurgents open fire, you ran into an ambush. This is where the scenario start. You now have the following tasks and 2 different courses of action:

1) Rescue the survivers from the lead vehicle (Touch objective, near the destroyed Fuchs APC)

2) Occupy the nearby suspected insurgent strong point (about 150 meters from current location, on a hill top) and attack an unknown but probably numerically superior insurgent force

OR

3) Retreat to the far side of the map (about 1000 meters over difficult terrain) while the insurgents try to cut off your route of retreat and chase you.

Fulfilling conditions 1+3 OR 1+2 lead to a tactical victory, 1+2+3 lead to a total victory. Otherwise, outcome will be evaluated as defeat.

SITUATION RED:

About 150 Insurgents equipped with mainly AKs, RPGs and a couple of DSHKs and couple of Trucks with Machinguns and SPG-9s. Your mission is to try to destroy the Blue force. CUt of their avenue of retreat and assault them mercilessly!

My Questions now are:

1) How plausible is that scenario? I have to make the insurgent force quite large to make the scenario fun to play (i.e. difficult enough for the blue player) but 150 insurgents + trucks gathering in a mountain village without beeing detected by Blue drones/air recon/instelligence seems unplausible

2) In such a scenario, how long would it take for blue reinforcements to reach the ambushed platoon and what would they plausibly look like? Currently i gave 30 minutes delay for blue reinforcements to arrive (1 x Hochgebirgsjäger platoon + 2 Tornado fight bombers with medium loadout), but i am not sure if that is plausible either.

3) How likely is it that the Red commander would not withdraw his forces after the initial ambush? Objectively, Blue air power could destroy any insurgent force if it stays too long in the same position, so the most reasonably approach for a Red force would be to retreat immedeatly after the ambush.

Any suggestions, tips, etc are welcome!

Edited by agusto
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50 minutes ago, agusto said:

Hello!

I recently started working on a small Blue vs Red scenario that initially was just for myself, but it's kind fun, so i maybe fix it up and share it. I need some help regarding the plausibility though.

Background Story: Official CMSF2 background story

SITUATION BLUE

You are commander of German Gebirgsjäger platoon and on a motorized patrol in the Syrian mountains near Allepo. Suddenly, the lead Fuchs APC is destroyed by an IED and from right and left, insurgents open fire, you ran into an ambush. This is where the scenario start. You now have the following tasks and 2 different courses of action:

1) Rescue the survivers from the lead vehicle (Touch objective, near the destroyed Fuchs APC)

2) Occupy the nearby suspected insurgent strong point (about 150 meters from current location, on a hill top) and attack an unknown but probably numerically superior insurgent force

OR

3) Retreat to the far side of the map (about 1000 meters over difficult terrain) while the insurgents try to cut off your route of retreat and chase you.

Fulfilling conditions 1+3 OR 1+2 lead to a tactical victory, 1+2+3 lead to a total victory. Otherwise, outcome will be evaluated as defeat.

SITUATION RED:

About 150 Insurgents equipped with mainly AKs, RPGs and a couple of DSHKs and couple of Trucks with Machinguns and SPG-9s. Your mission is to try to destroy the Blue force. CUt of their avenue of retreat and assault them mercilessly!

My Questions now are:

1) How plausible is that scenario? I have to make the insurgent force quite large to make the scenario fun to play (i.e. difficult enough for the blue player) but 150 insurgents + trucks gathering in a mountain village without beeing detected by Blue drones/air recon/instelligence seems unplausible

2) In such a scenario, how long would it take for blue reinforcements to reach the ambushed platoon and what would they plausibly look like? Currently i gave 30 minutes delay for blue reinforcements to arrive (1 x Hochgebirgsjäger platoon + 2 Tornado fight bombers with medium loadout), but i am not sure if that is plausible either.

3) How likely is it that the Red commander would not withdraw his forces after the initial ambush? Objectively, Blue air power could destroy any insurgent force if it stays too long in the same position, so the most reasonably approach for a Red force would be to retreat immedeatly after the ambush.

Any suggestions, tips, etc are welcome!

Well as its all fictional you do have a fair whack of leeway so I wouldn't worry too much about what you're proposing.

The premise of a small unit getting ambushed is fine but the Immediate Action (IA) drill on ambush is to break contact and get out of the engagement area. From there it would be a case of assessing the situation. In this instance, there are casualties to extract or maybe a vehicle to deny to the enemy. As a result, it would be unusual for a unit in such a situation to then think about attacking an insurgent stronghold so (2) in 'Situation Blue' is stretching credibility a bit.

The 150 insurgents is on the high side but I accept that potentially you will need those numbers to deliver a gameplay challenge. I think you should establish through testing and through Victory Point allocations whether you can cut the numbers down as much as you can. Once you've done that, the trick is not to frontload the player with that information and then make it clear in the designer notes that the number of bad guys is for gameplay reasons.

It is entirely possible that an insurgent group could concentrate a sizeable force without detection - Google Camp Bastion attack (numbers weren't that large but all in all an epic fail on the part of Blue). CMSF is set in 2008 and the only country fielding UAVs in significant numbers was the US. It would therefore not be unrealistic for the Germans to be a little short on this type of information. Speaking professionally, it is worth pointing out that Intelligence is the result of analysing information, with the best intelligence usually being derived from multiple sources. The presence or absence of intelligence will again depend on your narrative. If this is notionally the first patrol into the area then the chances are that insurgents could muster a sizeable force and spring a surprise.

As to the reinforcement arrival piece … well it depends how far away the Quick Reaction Force is and how they would travel from the FOB to the area of the contact. Typically a QRF is going to be about platoon-sized so your proposal is about right and should be on a fairly short notice to move,. Maximum being about 30 minutes. Bear in mind that 30 minutes NTM does not mean that they will arrive in 30 minutes, it means that they will step off 30 minutes after they get told to do so.

For the purposes of your scenario and talking in fairly generic terms ...

Let's say that the FOB containing your platoon sized QRF is 10 minutes' travel away from the location of the contact. The QRF platoon is on 30 minutes NTM so the earliest that they will arrive in the contact area is 40 minutes. Realistically it would be longer than that because of various frictions, the first of which will be for the HQ to decide based on the information provided to launch the QRF. This can take at least 5 minutes or so. There will be other frictions such as Schutze Dummkopf getting lost between the accommodation and the Helipad/wagons so let's say 45 minutes and if its dark add another 5 minutes.

Arrival of air will depend very much on what's available and how it is all set up in theatre. Typically, any given ATO (Air Tasking Order) will have a couple of airframes either dedicated to ECAS (Emergency Close Air Support - or whatever its called these days) or there will be airframes that can be dynamically tasked. Those airframes will be in the air rather than scrambling to a contact and all that is required is for the JTAC to hook up with the whoever owns the air or its higher headquarters and request ECAS or a dynamic retask. That whole process, which will include the higher HQ deciding whether the request warrants support, shouldn't take too long and from there it then becomes a speed/time/distance problem. Let's face it, a jet capable of Mach 2 ain't going to take more than a couple of minutes to get on station. From there, you'll have the checking in process between the JTAC and the aircrew and both parties working out who is where, what to strike and all that sort of stuff.

Insurgents work on hit and run 99% of the time so the default COA should be exactly that. There are of course the 1% situations which may be for a variety of reasons:

1) A poor commander.

2) The insurgent commander senses an opportunity to inflict a significant defeat.

3) The contact area has some significance to the insurgents.

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19 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Nice analysis.  

Another option for quicker reinforcements could be that there is (for example) an engineer team close by working on digging a well/doing sanitation work, or a Special Forces team doing "cultural exchange" in the nearby village close etc. etc.

Thanks and welcome back - but the figures were example only - the QRF could plausibly be at 15 minutes NTM rather than the 30 minutes in the example which would bring the response times down. The issue with your nearby engineers or special forces is that they may not be working on the same command net (the latter certainly won't be) and will be going into the situation completely cold. You also have an increased risk of fratricide on both sides because the 'rescuers' will likely be guessing where the opposition is and possibly also the ambushed callsign. The ambushed callsign is likely to be under intense stress and is more likely than not to start pinging rounds first and asking questions later to any armed force arriving unannounced into the vicinity.

The QRF; however, won't be going in cold as it will have basic situational awareness about the ground, threat and friendly force situation from the moment that it was assigned the QRF role. The QRF commander, if they're any good, will then have gone away with the platoon sergeant and done some analysis on what he might do if Callsign 33 got whacked on its convoy escort task or Callsign 32 got whacked on its patrol task etc. This activity may go as far as route planning and a verbal wargame with the section commanders consisting at the very least of actions on drills. So when you combine all of that with being tuned into the radio net or possibly having a QRF member in the Ops Room/TOC as the situation is developing from the initial contact, the QRF goes in with a warm start and is therefore a better option.

Fastest with the mostest is not always the best COA.

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Thank you...  Totally understand your comments that come from your experience...

My thought was that if you were on a nearby mission and heard that comrades were in trouble the instinct is to rush to aid.  Yes, there would be confusion.  But, it's still a potential feature of the scenario.  "Things don't go as planned" and "You go with what you got".

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Thanks a lot for the valuable feedback, particularly your detailed insights Combatintman!

I think i will remove the "Capture the strong point" objective from the scenario and play around with the victory points (i' m thinking of blue casualty limits + preserve objectives). I also will adjust the arrival time of the QRF.

Another question i have is how the loss of a full squad would affect the morale of the surviving personnel of the Blue infantry platoon i mentioned in the first post in terms of Combat Mission. I think about about setting their morale to -2 to make it hard enough for the Blue player to ward off the insurgents and fight through to the retreat objective, but on the other hand, is' nt that too much of a penalty? I mean, the Syrian Militia usually comes with a -2 morale rating but they are untrained conscripts forced into a war they don't want to fight, they cant be compared to the professional German soldiers that Germany would deploy to the hypothetical 2008 war in Syria.

I will create briefing graphics and stuff in the following weeks and then upload it for testing.

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@agusto, no worries.

The morale question could be debated all day but for the purposes of mission making you don't need to think too hard about how Schutze Schmidt is feeling at this point or how you should rate a professional Bundeswehr against a Syrian militia.  For mission making it comes down to your design decision, what is achievable in the editor and somebody being able to play the thing.

I would recommend testing various soft factor settings to see how your troops perform with those settings versus the effect you want to achieve. It is no good for instance to drop the unit's motivation to poor because you judge that this is how they would feel after seeing their mates die if that unit can then not be moved by the player because it remains in a pinned state for the whole game. Likewise, a sweeping rating of Syrian militia as untrained conscripts based on a real life assessment is no good if that militia doesn't present enough of a challenge to the player.

As I said, motivation is not the only soft factor in play here - you could drop the leadership factors to simulate shocked leaders or decision paralysis and you could drop experience levels to simulate the unit being jittery.

The bottom line though is it has to be playable, giving the player a reasonable chance of achieving the goals you set them as a mission designer. In simple terms, based on your description, the tension in the mission is created by the arrival time of the reinforcements and the extraction. The decisions the player has to make based on those tensions are:

  • Whether to stay close to the contact area and keep the insurgents away from the destroyed vehicle and desecrating the bodies of the fallen and relying on the QRF to rock up in time.
  • Whether to extract immediately to avoid being surrounded and defeated in detail by the pursuing enemy.

Tricks that you can use to achieve this effect are to vary the reinforcement arrival times and give the enemy a scheme of manoeuvre that makes it obvious that encirclement is a threat early on. Pulling this off well will require testing because essentially it is a balancing act of creating enough pressure on the player at the right time without overwhelming them.

The recent consensus regarding mission design seems to be that insanely difficult missions with only one possible solution are the least liked.

Edited by Combatintman
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  • 3 weeks later...

@agusto:

Please keep in mind, that the Gebirgsjäger are top rated light infantry troops in Germany, similar to the Fallschirmjäger. These two units normally go in first in foreign countrys, when Germany nowadays sents troops into the world. Before they set a foot in such countrys, they simulate scenarios like ambushes many, many times in the 3 or 4 month rehearsel-phase before the mission starts. Most Gebirgsjäger have combat experience today, because many of them were 3 or 4 times in Afghanistan. The troops 2008 were not as experenced, but would have been good enough, to know what to do in such situations.

By the way: You need no "Special Forces" unit nearby, in my opinion, the "Hochgebirgszug" is good enough for your purpose. The Platoon is the absolute elite of the Bataillon and the Hochgebirgs-soldiers are the (body-)fittest men, i ever met as a soldier. 

For the QRF, i would use a Panzergrenadier-Platoon with a section of Panzerpioniere in a Pionierpanzer Fuchs. The Grenadiers would be a typical QRF-Unit in Afghanistan, for example. You can assist with the Hochgebirgszug in Fuchs-Transportpanzer, if you want. 

For Info: I was a soldier of the Gebirgsjägerbataillon 231 some decades ago.

"Kaliber statt Spoiler"

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  • 3 weeks later...

You could also consider decreasing the ambushed units' Fitness level to reflect stress, dehydration etc., as opposed to Morale and Experience.

That also encourages them to hunker down and defend themselves until relieved, as opposed to engaging in strenuous and complex manouevres, or rabbiting around in a panic.

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