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Czechmate Battle- baffled by map design (vague spoilers)


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So, I just got my ass handed to me playing as the Soviets in the Czechmate scenario and I'm a little unsure what my options really are tactically.

There might be some scenario spoilers here, so be warned if you haven't played it yet.

The map forces you into a narrow funnel that is covered by long range positions. My initial force was only able to accomplish recon by self-detonation and only got a firm spot on 1 position and was able to deduce another position (but I never saw anything).

Then my main force arrives and I'm still plugged up in the funnel unable to see anything and still spontaneously exploding.

I'd like to do something other than a Charge of the Light Brigade down the valley, but the river, forest and steep hill sides don't seem to give you much flexibility. The wheeled APCs have terrible cross country speed and my BRDMs and T-62s never seem to see anything before they get clipped (they are opened up).

Am I missing something?

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I'm just starting this and did not play test it so my comments are based on my pre game planning and thoughts. So, not really spoilers since nothing has happened yet...

I am planning to not rush even the initial force down any path and will likely wait for reinforcements before actually making a real move. In the mean time I'm going to use the recon units and have them pick their way through trees to get to good vantage points where I think I might even dismount the crews to have a look see. I am using the amphibious ability to have some infantry presence on my left as well. I am hoping I can find some enemy over-watch positions to give my main force something to blast away at once they do make a move.

We shall see if that will work.

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Posted (edited)

The main thing you have to be aware of as the Soviet commander is that every single one of your BTR60s can swim.  In fact, the only thing that can't swim are the tanks and the Shilka's.

Edited by ASL Veteran
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Sure the BTRs can swim, but even if they cross the river, there's no where to go. They're still hemmed in by the forest and slopes. The only way out is through the funnel.

My second attempt was still a brutal defeat for the Soviets. I was able to spot much more of the NATO defense this time during the recon phase.  I built up a covering screen of ATGMs (which took forever) and then dropped a smokescreen using the mortars and rushed the bridge with T-62s. The lead 2 T-62s got drilled by a single shot from an M60 through the smoke and the rest stacked up behind and were annihilated. The ATGMs did score a number of hits and kills, but with no way across the bridge it didn't matter.

Anyone else have luck with this scenario from the Soviet side?

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You were able to get to the forest roads on the other side of the river? In BTRs? I couldn't find a way through the woods to get to them.

The only way BRDMs have been useful to me is to make a covered approach to a scouting position, dismount and then move up on foot and hide. Otherwise, they just blow up when the enemy can see you.

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Well there are some parts of the woods that are impassible, but those parts are scattered throughout the woods as a whole and so those particular spots are impassible when the cursor changes, but there are routes around those spots.  The vehicles just have to pick their way around them.  The woods are a mix of bushes, clear terrain with just grass, passable trees and impassible trees.

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I'm still struggling with how to build up a base of fire that will allow the T62s to get over the bridge. It always seems to be that by the time I've built up everything to try a push, the bridge exit is liberally targeted by tanks and ATGMs in overwatch positions and the tanks can only get over the bridge in single file. Lose a leading tank and your boned.

Vehicle smoke dischargers would be super helpful, but the T62s don't have them.

I'm in my third time through the scenario and I've yet to score a single T62 kill. They always die before they can get in position and spot enemy forces.

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This scenario really disappointed me.

We just abandoned a PBEM after about five turns. The map is fantastic. The tactical problem from the Soviet side (aggressive recon and attacking through a chokepoint) is superb, but the forces given and arrayed against you really hurt this - the briefing tells you you're a second line force, running into other second line forces.

From the situation, it's clear this will involve marching into TOWs. The bridge is the key terrain, and the situation (a small cavalry force defending a chokepoint) is plausible and should give them a similarly difficult problem to solve.

Instead, the US start with three Bradleys and four TTS M60, so a ton of thermal optics, with the Bradleys sited well forward and in hull down positions against a line of advance.

The end result is that the Soviets have three possible lines of advance, and all three are covered by fires - either from the TOWs down the valley, or from the flanking Bradleys. The only element that the Soviets can have is the T-62 platoon, which cant get angles on the Bradleys without coming under fire from the TOWs. 

Further, the TOWs in the town can shoot into the Russian deployment zone, so not only are all three possible lines of advance covered from turn zero, they also cant stay where they are. If they did, they'd have no chance of winning a duel against TOW launchers at a multi-kilometer range, since they're only T-62.

Then you have the Russian forces themselves. Zero TRP, artillery is limited to 120mm mortars, and a tiny force - two companies is not sufficent for this size of target, and I'm not sure why the ATGM assets arent alongside the main force. I'm also not sure where the BRDM scout teams are, and I have some issues with the formations chosen, which will hurt their c2. This is also a scenario where you could legitimately have T-72, so there's that.

It's such a shame. This is halfway to being a *fantastic* scenario. The map is incredible, and the tactical problem the soviets have to solve is very thorny. It's just that the US forces dont have a similar problem to solve, and the combination of forces and placement really wipes out any interesting decisions to make.

I'm very tempted to do an alternate version of this scenario. I'm expecting the US to have a much smaller force - perhaps an armoured cavalry platoon (or two), in 1979, with maybe M60A1 or M48. I'd need to do something about the sight lines.

The aim would be to give the US a similarly difficult tactical problem - how a small, mobile force can use terrain to constrict and defeat a larger one.

I wouldn't be upset about this if it was so nearly brilliant - this map could easily be the basis for one of the best scenarios in the game, but currently it feels like a passive tower defence.

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7 hours ago, domfluff said:

This scenario really disappointed me.

We just abandoned a PBEM after about five turns. The map is fantastic. The tactical problem from the Soviet side (aggressive recon and attacking through a chokepoint) is superb, but the forces given and arrayed against you really hurt this - the briefing tells you you're a second line force, running into other second line forces.

From the situation, it's clear this will involve marching into TOWs. The bridge is the key terrain, and the situation (a small cavalry force defending a chokepoint) is plausible and should give them a similarly difficult problem to solve.

Instead, the US start with three Bradleys and four TTS M60, so a ton of thermal optics, with the Bradleys sited well forward and in hull down positions against a line of advance.

The end result is that the Soviets have three possible lines of advance, and all three are covered by fires - either from the TOWs down the valley, or from the flanking Bradleys. The only element that the Soviets can have is the T-62 platoon, which cant get angles on the Bradleys without coming under fire from the TOWs. 

Further, the TOWs in the town can shoot into the Russian deployment zone, so not only are all three possible lines of advance covered from turn zero, they also cant stay where they are. If they did, they'd have no chance of winning a duel against TOW launchers at a multi-kilometer range, since they're only T-62.

Then you have the Russian forces themselves. Zero TRP, artillery is limited to 120mm mortars, and a tiny force - two companies is not sufficent for this size of target, and I'm not sure why the ATGM assets arent alongside the main force. I'm also not sure where the BRDM scout teams are, and I have some issues with the formations chosen, which will hurt their c2. This is also a scenario where you could legitimately have T-72, so there's that.

It's such a shame. This is halfway to being a *fantastic* scenario. The map is incredible, and the tactical problem the soviets have to solve is very thorny. It's just that the US forces dont have a similar problem to solve, and the combination of forces and placement really wipes out any interesting decisions to make.

I'm very tempted to do an alternate version of this scenario. I'm expecting the US to have a much smaller force - perhaps an armoured cavalry platoon (or two), in 1979, with maybe M60A1 or M48. I'd need to do something about the sight lines.

The aim would be to give the US a similarly difficult tactical problem - how a small, mobile force can use terrain to constrict and defeat a larger one.

I wouldn't be upset about this if it was so nearly brilliant - this map could easily be the basis for one of the best scenarios in the game, but currently it feels like a passive tower defence.

The Soviets outnumber to American force 3 to 1.  There is one thing that you neglected to notice in your Soviet OB.  You have a lot of ATGMs that apparently you chose not to use.  You also have way more infantry firepower than the US force.  The US force is anti armor focused and the Soviet force is Infantry heavy.  The American ATGMs are easily taken out with the mortars because they are not dug in.  The problem isn't the Soviet OB.  The problem is your ability to use it to best advantage.

The American force is only two platoons btw.  Well, one infantry platoon and one Cavalry troop, but the Cavalry troop has no infantry so it's really like a big tank platoon.

Regarding the Soviet ATGMs since you asked - the 2500meter variety show up near the top of the hill on your side because - well if you were smart you would put them on that hill so they can fire into the town since they can see all the way down into the valley from up there.  The other infantry all have 1000 meter ATGMs that if you happen to notice the bluff near the bridge - well a smart man would notice that if he put his ATGMs up on that bluff maybe, just maybe, all those ATGMs could also fire into the town.  At that point you wouldn't need any tanks because your ATGMs would take out the M60s and your artillery could take out the TOW.  Now that I told you what to do maybe you can try it again.

Honestly I'm having a lot of trouble understanding why so many are having so much trouble with this scenario.  The bluff on the other side of the river near the bridge is just sitting there screaming "hey come on over here and deploy on me".  If you don't like that bluff there is plenty of high ground on your side of the river too.  The TOWs can only take out so many vehicles so if you wanted to rush them up to the intersection above the bridge you could put ATGMs in several locations over there too.  You are only dealing with one American infantry platoon and you have two Soviet infantry companies.  I mean seriously....

 

Edited by ASL Veteran
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Gotcha. The ATGMs show up after 25 minutes, during which the US can hit the entire Soviet deployment area with TOWs.

They start with three Bradleys, along with 4x TTS M60 - that's a lot of thermals for the T-62s to deal with in long-ranged, wooded map.

Advancing into TOWs is an interesting problem, and working out how to take the bridge against this defensive position is potentially really interesting... but the end result is that you can't actually move in any direction without being sniped. If you go forward, the forward-deployed Bradleys, hull down and in the woods can get you. If you go left and over the river, the TOWs can snipe you. If you go right to get fire on the Bradleys, you're exposed to TOWs. If you stay where you are, you're exposed to TOWs.

Now, perhaps this is mostly as it was a PBEM, and the setup position allowed for this? The scenario is not listed as being vs AI only.

I'm interested to see if there's something I'm missing here, but I can't really see how a scenario where you're losing vehicles in spawn from the first turn is something I'm doing wrong.

Edited by domfluff
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You swim with your BTR60s across the river and deploy on the bluff next to the bridge.  The Bradley's can't see to the valley floor from where they are located and you can put infantry onto that hill and flush them out.  The TOWs can't see to the other side of the river - at least not very well.  If you are sitting around then yeah, maybe they can spot you but if you know where you are going and are on the move you might lose one or two but that shouldn't be a problem.

You can also move tanks up towards the top of the hill on your side and engage the Bradley's from there. 

I mean, your gonna lose  vehicles - that's going to happen.  It won't happen as much if you are moving somewhere as opposed to if you are just sitting somewhere.  The deployment zone can get hit (unfortunately) but it takes several minutes before the TOWs can see into there and it's mostly the stuff on the right side and towards the back that might get hit.  If you move closer to the trees then you should be fine - assuming you want to sit around in the deployment zone

Edited by ASL Veteran
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Yeah, that was my approach. My read of the map and briefing was that of second-rate forces clashing. The key terrain was clearly the bridge, since the Soviet power is in the tank company, and so getting across the bridge was the logical thing to do.

I therefore sent the BRDMs and a BTR platoons to cross the river to the left, and sent a BTR platoon to the right, with mind to get eyes on both ends of the bridge and the town (and potentially deal with any picket forces on the way). My tanks stayed back, because there was nowhere useful for them to go right now - and they were to act as a reserve-by-fire for any forward picket/recon elements the infantry ran into.

The BRDMs and BTRs started exploding on turn one before they reached the river - they got perhaps two action spots out of the deployment zone. The other platoon was wiped out by a Bradley through the trees. Then the tanks in spawn started exploding. That was about turn five, and we called it quits.

 

Edited by domfluff
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The Soviet power is the infantry companies not the tanks.  The tanks are just along for the ride.  I guess it depends on where you tried to cross the river - you can also move through trees as well btw.  If you cross the river near foot bridge by moving north of the house then you should be able to cross there.  You can then re-cross the river to get behind those trees on your side of the river and (or you can just drive behind them I guess) then cross the river again and you are behind the bluff.  Now it's possible that your opponent deployed in a fashion that I did not foresee so there is that.  But if you play as the US against the AI you should see what I'm talking about.

The great thing about the AI is that it doesn't care when things explode

Edited by ASL Veteran
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2 hours ago, domfluff said:

Gotcha. The ATGMs show up after 25 minutes, during which the US can hit the entire Soviet deployment area with TOWs.
 

Minor correction here - the 2500 meter ATGMs show up at the 25 minute mark, but the infantry company weapons platoons that arrive at the 15 minute mark have numerous 1000 meter ATGMs to use.  If you stopped after five minutes though you probably wouldn't notice them.  Their range is too short to use from the back of the map, but if they are deployed along the bluffs on either side of the river they will be effective.

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Playing as the Soviets for the first time, this battle is brutal. And that is playing against the AI, let alone another person.

So losing and finding out what you are up against is not at all surprising.

 

The designer has more than explained now that the method is to use the infantry to move through the woods and to clear the enemy with arty and atgm's.

 

But I would be amazed if anyone wins this battle on the first try. I recall I quickly went to the methods needed to advance in my battle, but still ran into plenty of challenges. I walked away with a minor defeat to the AI and felt good about it.

 

But, if you play it again, using what you have learned about the enemy , you can win this battle.

But no, its presently not a good h2h battle, As likely mentioned. Best played as Russian vs AI

 

 

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2 minutes ago, slysniper said:

Playing as the Soviets for the first time, this battle is brutal. And that is playing against the AI, let alone another person.

So losing and finding out what you are up against is not at all surprising.

 

The designer has more than explained now that the method is to use the infantry to move through the woods and to clear the enemy with arty and atgm's.

 

But I would be amazed if anyone wins this battle on the first try. I recall I quickly went to the methods needed to advance in my battle, but still ran into plenty of challenges. I walked away with a minor defeat to the AI and felt good about it.

 

But, if you play it again, using what you have learned about the enemy , you can win this battle.

But no, its presently not a good h2h battle, As likely mentioned. Best played as Russian vs AI

 

 

You can play it US against Soviet AI as well - the AI got a victory that way too.  If I did it again I would probably delete one of the dismounted TOWs and maybe a Dragon, but that's about it.

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