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CM Cold War - Beta AAR - Soviet Thread - Glorious Soviet Victory at Small German Town 1980


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So welcome to our Beta AAR.  Introductions, I am The_Capt...hello.  Some old timers may remember me from back in the day but for the newbies (and hopefully there are a lot of you) I am the Simon to Bil's Garfunkel.  While Bil is detailed, deliberate and cool all resting on a foundation of real talent; I am erratic, insecure and hot-headed resting on very occasional unpredictable sparks.  Between the two of us we try to make wonderful music.

So first the obvious, what is CM Cold War and where did it come from?  Well the game is our brainchild, not that it took a serious leap of imagination as people had been talking about a Cold War game for years.  Bil and I had been looking for a title to cut our designer-teeth on for years as well, and after a few false starts we approached BFC with the idea about 7-8 years ago, to which Steve sagely looked at two complete amateurs and said "uh, sure...why don't you guys go pull some stuff together and we will do lunch".  So we did up all the boring and work-like stuff most of you never see; project documents, historical research, backstories, TO&Es (pouring over things like Senate Arms Committee records and back issues of the US Army magazines), and campaign designs.  Once we did all this we came back to Steve like proud children that had just performed surgery on the family cat.  Steve's eyes went a little wider and very Bruce Willis-like said, "ok let's give these kids a shot".  I am pretty sure we were to remain a weird side project in the basement - that is where the older Beta Testers go in the end - but last year things accelerated and we found ourselves suddenly thrust into the rock and roll lifestyle of computer wargame designers...without the groupies, cocaine or leather pants.

So with a very small team, a tight timeline and another look from Steve that was somewhere between "ya, there is no way these guys are going to make it" and "but if they do...?" (seriously, support from the BFC guys has been outstanding) we started the journey.  So when you play the game on release (it is no secret we are on track for Apr, after Easter) you know who to curse when something either does not look quite right or you are getting beat up on a campaign (the Soviet one is particularly brutal).  If you love the game, praise the entire team, if you are angry that the Soviet officer holster does not look right, feel free to vent at either Bil or I, mostly Bil.

Onto the AAR.  Ok in the proudest tradition of this thing, Bil will wow you all with dazzling intelligence products that would make an ASIC weep.  I, on the other hand, prefer a  more tactile and coffee-stained approach...I also tend to lose these fights.  This map comes from the US campaign, a scenario called Dollbach Heights, but do not worry the scenario is completely different so no spoilers.  This whole thing is occurring in the backdrop of a Cold War-gone-hot strategic situation set in summer of 1982, which may seem quaint today but back in '83 we actually came pretty close.  The Soviets are basically making a break for the Rhine as fast as possible before reserves can be called up and fly-overs conducted.  The US forces are the tripwire forces of V Corp with units like the 11 ACR and 3rd Armd Div (for this AAR we do not assign particular units) as the game centers on the Fulda corridor (between the West German border and Frankfurt).  So the strategic game is simple, Soviets have to move fast as possible to get in close to the major urban areas, knock France out and put the UK into close range.  The bet back in Moscow is that at this point NATO will fracture as half of them sue for peace...we will see how that works out.

A couple points on force balance and doctrine.  So this is 1980, the beginning of a vapid and synthesizer-infested decade (trust me I was there). The US forces are still recovering from the entire Vietnam experience.  Goldwater-Nicols has not happened so we are still talking about conventional service competition in the US military, which was unhealthy (still is) and a US Army that was slowly coming out of the old ROADs models and heading towards AirLand Battle.  The TO&Es are based on the '77 force structures (you will note US tank platoons have 5 tanks).  The "so what?" is that US forces are pretty much at their most vulnerable point in this era.  They lack mass and are moving to active defense and maneuver warfare but the equipment has not caught up.  It is going to feel weird to some but this is a modern (well semi-modern) title where US forces do not dominate the battlefield.  They have to be played carefully to achieve parity.  For example the T62 can kill an M60A3 in the front from about 1500m, so the US player must be elegant and clever...like the gentle fox.

The Soviets on the other hand are the bear that eats said gentle fox and then poops him out, barely breaking stride.  The Soviets at this point are pretty much near the top of their game.  Their equipment is solid, if a little blind, and they have mountains of it. Soviet operational doctrine is actually very good, it uses mass much like it did in WW2, and frankly Genghis would be proud at how well the Soviet can throw MRRs at a problem and simply keep going.  The T64 is a beast, probably the best Soviet tank in the game (particularly the B versions), the T80 can throw a punch too.  The Soviet use of ATGM is frankly terrifying.  First, they literally put those things on just about everything, and the AT 5 feels like the modern day Javelin in that, if it can hit, it will kill.  In testing one scenario of the US Campaign, I played sloppy and watched an BMP MRB shred all the US armor in about 5 mins...so there is that.   

At a tactical level the Soviet are all about lining up the punch.  They were not mindless hordes, they would prepare and shape with recon but when they decided to throw that punch...oh, my.  First they would drop the sky on top of you using massed artillery.  Then they would advance en masse  along multiple axis projecting dilemma everywhere for an opponent.  They would then trade shots until your armor is gone and finally they might dismount and clean up any poor infantry you have left.  I say 'might' because they would often simply bypass those huddle GIs and just keep going.

So for this AAR, I will try to emulate the soviet approach as much as possible.  Stay tuned and see how it turns out.       

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17 minutes ago, stikkypixie said:

Coolio! Can we have this thread pinned as well?

Reading about the game design aspect, creating the models is not the hardest part? Were you two involved in that as well?

Creating models is a huge job, but we were lucky as a solid portion of the in-game models already existed but they all needed tweaking and re-skinning.  Our involvement here really became that of gophers for the artists and modelers (they would probably say we were more pains in the ass).  Uniforms, webbing, radios etc all had to be researched and good pictures found, doing all that was a team effort but the artists really make the game shine.

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8 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Creating models is a huge job, but we were lucky as a solid portion of the in-game models already existed but they all needed tweaking and re-skinning.  Our involvement here really became that of gophers for the artists and modelers (they would probably say we were more pains in the ass).  Uniforms, webbing, radios etc all had to be researched and good pictures found, doing all that was a team effort but the artists really make the game shine.

Thanks for the answer. Sounds like a huge undertaking and I'm glad you guys were willing to take it on!

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12 hours ago, The_Capt said:

The Soviets on the other hand are the bear that eats said gentle fox and then poops him out, barely breaking stride.  The Soviets at this point are pretty much near the top of their game.  Their equipment is solid, if a little blind, and they have mountains of it. Soviet operational doctrine is actually very good, it uses mass much like it did in WW2, and frankly Genghis would be proud at how well the Soviet can throw MRRs at a problem and simply keep going.

Grabbing some popcorn Captain, this is gonna be fun.

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3 hours ago, Vinnart said:

Happy hunting Capt, and look forward to seeing all of yours, and Bil's hard work in action. 

In a thread already derailed in a discussion of what clothing they may or may not be wearing.. things can be open to.... interpretation.  I blame the Capt.

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This is a exellent text !!
  I, who am less enthusiastic than the majority about this conflict which I still feel when I think back to the heavy atmosphere, the anxiety of adults at the news of Brezhnev's death (I still hear the radio announcing it and my mother worry aloud about the successor) alarming press messages and a teacher who explained to us what we had to do in the event of a nuclear impact.
  The movie Red Dawn in '84 had finished terrifying me and I rolled my eyes whenever I heard a plane persuaded to see hundreds of Soviet paratroopers scattered across the sky.
What a magnificent plea for the interest of this game, i am conviced !
So thanks to you and Bill.

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"Once we did all this we came back to Steve like proud children that had just performed surgery on the family cat." @The_Capt🤣

Seriously, you should do standup.

I am particularly impressed with your depth of research...this is also my era of service...and I remember pouring over books about the Soviet military when I was a wee midshipman...This is gonna be great.

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March to Glorious Victory Post Number One.

  So Bil and I have a loose-agreement (I would say gentlemen's but that is probably a stretch) to not peek at each others threads.  The dirty truth here is that this isn't really an AAR per se, it is more of an IAR (In Action Report).  Full disclosure, we are only about 6 mins into the thing, so I can't really put a spin on my plan or anything because I have no idea how this will end.  So far so good  but we are in early days.  We should start posting turn summaries tomorrow but for now may I present an end-product of about roughly 32 years of military training in both line and staff positions...The_Capt's glorious Mission Analysis!  

So here we are on this grubby little peice of West German real-estate (seriously, Pete Wenman is a freakin wizard with these maps btw) facing off against what I am sure are overfed, overpaid and over-entitled Yankee capitalists all huddled in their vehicles waiting for something to happen.  So like they taught me back in the day..let's start with terrain:

Terrain.thumb.png.c3b621e6fefde5e56446f5e380ba1c1b.png

So my guys are coming from the bottom, Bil and his jerks are up near the top.  I have a bunch of woods except for this defile behind a hwy bridge that I have to deploy my main force out of.  We have a big valley between us and the town of Dollbach in the center which is the golden goose we are both lining up to grab, whilst killing the other guy.  Not much to see on my map edge except a bunch of woods with some dirt roads cut through them.  

Bil has the high ground ridge up there and there are three major wooded areas that him and his ilk are no doubt hiding out in.  It is more one on the left but pretty much that approach along with the Valley is dominated by Bil's thugs.  In short, this is not an optimal starting position.

Bil's Plan.  So I have learned some time ago that you are not fighting vehicles and equipment, you are fighting a person (Capt's rule #1).  So spend time understanding and getting inside the head of that person.  With Bil it is easy because we have been sparring in CM for just about 2 decades now.  So here is what I am thinking, that Bil is thinking:

1716114485_BluePlan.thumb.png.ba5df669e2ff1c8a4a5ba72bf00abf73.png

So Bil is probably going to be cautious and build a nice path to victory here.  First he is going to put out Eyes in those woodlines, then he will reinforce with teeth because why stick his neck out if he does not have to?  Then once I have watered the West German countryside with my blood (and other fluids) he will make his reach for Dollbach (Hands...dirty, old, wrinkly hands with yellow fingernails).  I will be at a significant disadvantage at this point because I will be dead, and you do not fight so well when dead (Capt's rule #2).  So my role here is to play peeky snipey from a really crappy position with Soviet gear that does not see as well as his sexy US optics...hmm...Capt no-likey, no likey...one bit.  So now the Plan:

1803776616_RedPlan.thumb.png.8ed2ce8d6dc025e5426fe828c3e5f85f.png

My end goal is to make Bil more dead than me, not to get heavily invested in the West German real estate market.  So we are going to try something simple and blunt.  First, I will get Eyes on my woodline, gotta see what I can see (Capt's Rule #3).  Then I am going to put out hands...fingers really, to make it look like the land grab is my only game.  Then once my art start dropping (could be wait here cause he has EW turned on), I am going to bull rush that corridor and swing up into those hills to kill Bil (Teeth).  This is going to be tricky and I am going to take losses but I can afford them.  I get a MIC FSE in 5 and another Tank Coy-ish in 10, so I will have mass because I am betting the best he has is an Armd Cav platoon, maybe two.  So basically we will play Bil's snipey peeky game for a bit, push recon out into that town to make me look desperate and then freakin charge on the left.  Questions?

 

Edited by The_Capt
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