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Czechmate Battle- baffled by map design (vague spoilers)


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It's worth mentioning that in the first mission of the Soviet campaign, you'll have pre-battle intel, and enough artillery to lay down a decent fire mission.

This is doctrinal - about 10-30 minutes (which isn't a long time!) before the Forward Security element, you'll have a combat reconnaissance patrol to find enemy positions and routes of advance. That's partly simulated with pre-battle info, and partly explicit with the BTR platoon in the Soviet campaign. Those pre-battle spots should be hit with pre-planned barrages.

When the FSE advance guard arrives, they immediately attack. The intention is that they engage with the known enemy straight away, and try to break through by themselves. If they can, great, but if they can't then the FSE will act as a base of fire for the main body when it arrives. Implicit in this is that there will be some *unknown* enemy positions, and that's the licks you'll have to take. If the CRP has failed to do its job, then the FSE needs to do a probing attack instead, and pretty sharpish.

This is the "flexible" side of Soviet tactical doctrine - there's not much in terms of small unit tactics, since platoons tend to act as one, and on-line, but the how you use those platoons in concert, especially coming off the match, is really important, and can be very sophisticated.

To illustrate, an example of a successful FSE attack from The Russian Way of War (Grau, 2017):

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The Russian Way of War is focused on modern Russian operations, but the principle is identical to the Soviet method (and the diagrams are great).

Again, "How to Soviet" is a combination of Firepower, Speed and Aggression. Push, push, push. Keep them off-balance and reeling from the amount of fire you can lay down, and then use your speed to destabilise and not give them the chance to recover.
 

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Posted (edited)

I am down to 27 minutes left in this scenario.  I suspect I will probably get some sort of victory but I would rank this one as similar to some of those really difficult Black Sea scenarios.  If you stick up your head, it gets shot off.  

Spoilers---

Down to 27 minutes and I still have not been able to use vehicle firepower whether tank or BTR.  Every attempt has resulted in destroyed vehicles.  I have managed to take out all the M60s and Bradleys with my ATGMs but one Bradley...hopefully.  Also there could still be an effective M-60 somewhere.  However then I discovered masses of infantry dragons and at least one dismounted TOW.    I believe a minimum of 6 dragons.  Far more than I would expect from a platoon of infantry.  I have taken out several dragons with infantry and artillery but I am also running out of artillery.  At this point, there is still at least one dragon and one dismounted TOW covering the bridge and possibly one other dragon.  Mortar fire is no guarantee of a destroyed ATGM.  I hit one behind a wall fairly heavily with mortar and spotted again later and not one casualty.  So basically I have resigned myself to an infantry advance from the left ridges to the objective and it has to from my left.  I did get an infantry platoon across the bridge but then discovered a dismounted HMG with flanking fire on the far side of the bridge.  There is also an AGL which should be able to put firepower into that same area but hasn't yet.  Without vehicle firepower that platoon can't neutralize that HMG or the AGL if it opens fire.  I will put smoke on those two identified ATGMs and try to rush some tanks across the bridge and hopefully find some dead ground not covered by ATGMs but I don't have high hopes and time is running out.  But if I can get a couple tanks across and keep them alive, even with only 15 minutes left, they could help tremendously.  So the main assault will be infantry on my left and they have a lot of ground to cover and the last Bradley and possibly an M-60.  This is, IMO, a high difficulty scenario and how much you enjoy it will depend on how much you enjoy a very tough challenge.

Edited by FogForever
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34 minutes ago, FogForever said:

I am down to 27 minutes left in this scenario.  I suspect I will probably get some sort of victory but I would rank this one as similar to some of those really difficult Black Sea scenarios.  If you stick up your head, it gets shot off.  

Spoilers---

Down to 27 minutes and I still have not been able to use vehicle firepower whether tank or BTR.  Every attempt has resulted in destroyed vehicles.  I have managed to take out all the M60s and Bradleys with my ATGMs but one Bradley...hopefully.  Also there could still be an effective M-60 somewhere.  However then I discovered masses of infantry dragons and at least one dismounted TOW.    I believe a minimum of 6 dragons.  Far more than I would expect from a platoon of infantry.  I have taken out several dragons with infantry and artillery but I am also running out of artillery.  At this point, there is still at least one dragon and one dismounted TOW covering the bridge and possibly one other dragon.  Mortar fire is no guarantee of a destroyed ATGM.  I hit one behind a wall fairly heavily with mortar and spotted again later and not one casualty.  So basically I have resigned myself to an infantry advance from the left ridges to the objective and it has to from my left.  I did get an infantry platoon across the bridge but then discovered a dismounted HMG with flanking fire on the far side of the bridge.  There is also an AGL which should be able to put firepower into that same area but hasn't yet.  Without vehicle firepower that platoon can't neutralize that HMG or the AGL if it opens fire.  I will put smoke on those two identified ATGMs and try to rush some tanks across the bridge and hopefully find some dead ground not covered by ATGMs but I don't have high hopes and time is running out.  But if I can get a couple tanks across and keep them alive, even with only 15 minutes left, they could help tremendously.  So the main assault will be infantry on my left and they have a lot of ground to cover and the last Bradley and possibly an M-60.  This is, IMO, a high difficulty scenario and how much you enjoy it will depend on how much you enjoy a very tough challenge.

Depending upon the casualties for both sides, it's possible for the Soviet to win just by crossing the bridge.  It's also possible to lose after crossing the bridge but there it is.

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I am anticipating some level of victory simply because I have destroyed the mass of the armor.  But my sights are still set on taking that town objective but I may not be able to achieve that.  Still 27 minutes to go and time will tell.

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There are two risks.  The real power lies in the T-62 tank company.  However to get them into action, they have to cross the bridge.  The first risk is a tank destroyed on the bridge blocking all other tanks from crossing.  The second risk is taking so many losses crossing the bridge that it impacts victory level.  Regardless I will use smoke and see if I can get some tanks across and into hopefully some dead ground on my left.  But I am not crossing them unless I feel there is some hope of success.

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Hah!!!  Got a scout car across the bridge without smoke.  One explosion about 20-30 meters off while it was still around the middle of the bridge.  At first, I thought it was a TOW but I couldn't spot a missile track and it was a huge explosion.  I think it was a spotting shot from 155mm artillery...I think.  So I am considering trying to get a tank across.  That AGL is now hitting my infantry across the bridge and I need to take it out.  If I can get a tank across the bridge, it will take out both the HMG and AGL.  HMG is one thing but an AGL is much worse.  Smoke is not scheduled to land for another 7 or 8 minutes.  

Spoiler...Also I had to put 120mm mortar fire on the same spot as that Bradley on top of the high hill because it turns out there was an infantry TOW at the same location.  The 120mm Mtr barrage landed one hit on the already destroyed Bradley and got a top penetration.  The Bradley is now double destroyed.  Don't know if it took out the TOW. 

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Spoilers

If you can take out most of the American armor (using anti-tank missiles) and touch the bridge objective you do not need to get any additional forces across the bridge. I am curious if anyone has taken the town objective. That would be the only reason you need forces across the bridge. 

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I think I am going to take the town objective.  I have managed to get one scout car and 2 T-62s across the bridge without any TOW or Dragon fire.  The rest of the tank company should follow shortly and I still have 19 minutes left in the game.  Of course, every time I seem to make progress, a new obstacle brings the hammer down.

 

----spoilers------------

My 2 infantry squads and the platoon leader that first crossed the bridge and then were pinned down by AGL and HMG fire did get hammered by heavy artillery-at least 155mm.  Out of those 15 men only 3 survived.  One spotting round and next turn, full barrage.  All of my infantry but one platoon in reserve has been shot to pieces by this point. A fair number of losses amongst scout cars and BTRs.  And there is still one Bradley covering both exit roads on the left which means I can't get the reserve platoon deployed until that Bradley is taken out.

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  • 1 month later...

I've just started this as Soviet but am disappointed. Long range shooters can shoot straight into the setup zone. There is no artillery option to pin the shooting elements (artillery) until your reinforcements arrive. I doubt that a force attempting to cross into hostile territory would not have artillery or air support up front. Yes BTR can swim and navigate the forest but its just not realistic. The reinforcement come as one large drop and are automatically in LOS to enemy. 

I think this scenario should be altered. My suggestions are....

  • Map is great but I would change the footbridge to a wide bridge - options for the tanks
  • consider a longer map edge so incoming units are not in direct LOS to pre-sighted AI.
  • Full width setup zone, right to edges of map. 
  • reinforcement come in smaller groups e.g. 1 BTR platoon, then a tank squadron etc. 
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15 hours ago, Geoff-Ludumpress said:

I've just started this as Soviet but am disappointed. Long range shooters can shoot straight into the setup zone. There is no artillery option to pin the shooting elements (artillery) until your reinforcements arrive. I doubt that a force attempting to cross into hostile territory would not have artillery or air support up front. Yes BTR can swim and navigate the forest but its just not realistic. The reinforcement come as one large drop and are automatically in LOS to enemy. 

I think this scenario should be altered. My suggestions are....

  • Map is great but I would change the footbridge to a wide bridge - options for the tanks
  • consider a longer map edge so incoming units are not in direct LOS to pre-sighted AI.
  • Full width setup zone, right to edges of map. 
  • reinforcement come in smaller groups e.g. 1 BTR platoon, then a tank squadron etc. 

Sorry you are disappointed.  Some points

It was not my intention to have the setup zone in LOS of the TOWs.  That was an accident of how the map was originally blocked out.  You can read about that in the designer's notes.  When you block out a map in Google Earth (this is a real location btw) it isn't always possible to determine where units can see and I thought that entire edge was safe since it's behind a slight rise in the terrain.  Turns out that it wasn't.  The area behind the edge of the map towards the Czech border is all open farmland so extending the map wouldn't make a difference - the TOWs just shoot too far and the map was already pushing max size.  It's also very difficult and awkward to extend a map after you have made it and I wasn't going to extend the map another 1000 meters east.  We also didn't have a lot of time to finish these things.  

The setup zone originally extended all the way across the map edge but since the TOWs hit the entire map edge except the northernmost portion it would have been even worse if the setup zone was extended.  It is what it is.  The TOWs don't start to spot stuff in the setup zone for several minutes and if you stick close to the trees you should be okay.  Not ideal, but there wasn't much I could do about it so it is what it is.  Once the map is completed the die is mostly cast.

There is no artillery with the starting force because it's supposed to be a recon force.  The artillery comes with the main force because that's the attacking force.  I don't see an issue with that.  The air support is addressed in the briefing.

The footbridge is a footbridge because it seems like that's what it is in the actual location as far as I could tell.  There was another bridge farther north but that part of the map was removed during the creation process - you can read about that in the designer's notes

The reinforcements come in one batch (actually three batches) because of the 1 hour 30 minute time limit.  If they come in smaller bunches then you have less time to use them.  We also have a limit of seven reinforcement groups IIRC and I had already used three of them.  The time limit could have been extended, but then people see the longer time and skip it so you can't just put a crazy long time limit on everything.  You have to balance what you are doing.

The river is not an obstacle for the infantry.  It is only an obstacle for the tanks and the tanks are almost irrelevant to your chances for victory.  There are plenty of hints and tips in this thread if you are having trouble with this scenario.  After reading some of those you shouldn't have much trouble.  You can also try it as the American side if you think it's too difficult as the Soviets.

I think it's pretty obvious that the main issue most have with this thing is the setup zone and, it is what it is.  We didn't have a lot of time to finish these things (I barely finished it in time - many other scenarios done by others were never completed).  Extending a map after it's created is very difficult and awkward and extending the map east wouldn't have made a difference since it's all open and modern weapons have range close to infinity as compared to map sizes.  Maybe planting a few more trees in the area in front of the setup zone would have helped, but then it would have been more difficult to pass through those trees.

A lot of scenario design involves making decisions in the planning stages.  Blocking out your map.  How big do you want the map to be?  Where do you want the edges to be?  What can see what?  Often times you are doing it by looking at the terrain in 2D in Google Earth and you can't always get a decent picture of what it looks like in 3D until you finish it, and by then it's too late.  Once you finally get to the point where you have toys on the map shooting at each other it's basically too late to alter the map without a lot of work (reblocking the map in Google Earth and creating a new overlay and then putting the overlay against the completed parts of the map with all the correct distances - and it's difficult to go back to Google Earth and get the elevation exactly the same as when you first blocked out your map and made your overlay.)  When the map was made I thought the entire approach from the set up zone to the mid point in the highway was safe, but when it turned out it wasn't there was nothing I could do about it.  I restricted the set up zone to the area behind the trees and put most of the reinforcements there because they would be coming up the highway.  If during testing more complained about the setup zone I probably could have had everything come in north behind the mountain, but then no doubt someone would be complaining and wondering why everything is coming in behind the mountain and not on the road.

I'll just put this one in my lemon pile and move on.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  There is no way to know how it will play out once it's in the wild.  

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39 minutes ago, ASL Veteran said:

I'll just put this one in my lemon pile and move on.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  There is no way to know how it will play out once it's in the wild.  

Its not a lemon just trying to add constructive things to improve the options for players. I don't expect designers to get it right first off, look at all the player generated scenarios in version 2 or 3.  And we don't have the time constraints that you do. I didn't read the design notes but i will do that. Thanks for the detailed feedback m8. 

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  • 1 month later...

Well, that was one well placed Bradley. After playing from the American side and seeing what the Soviet AI tried to do, I think what would make playing as the Soviets so hard is thinking that the battle is some sort of tactical puzzle and overthinking what you're supposed to do. There's a hundred different ways you can try and push your force through a bottle neck, suppressive fire, smoke, just pushing through it, but just dismounting your infantry, going through the woods and trying to avoid the bottleneck altogether is not something I would have thought to do if I had tried playing as the Soviets first.

cm cold war.exe Screenshot 2021.07.31 - 17.04.46.58.jpg

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On 5/4/2021 at 8:00 PM, Green Clutch said:

Am I missing something?

 

On 5/7/2021 at 7:09 PM, slysniper said:

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.

Guys you have to play CMBS more :) RUS vs US or Excellent RUS (BMP-3/T-90) vs UKR :) Thermals teach to:

  1. Never ever move armor to a place that can be fired at from a place that has not been under observation by two observer teams for at least a minute (and two-three minutes is much-much better).
  2. Count seconds for your vehicle exposure. 3secs for APs, 5secs for HEATs, 10secs for TL/ATGMs at medium distances. That is the time for the actual exposure - vehicles take some time to drive out of the view.
  3. Use pop-and-hide multiple times to trigger a shot and thus force a lengthy reload for an enemy armor. That reveals enemy armor position as a bonus if you have eyes to look at :)
  4. Find unconventional observation angles for observer teams. Putting even 1-2 psn observation teams in front of enemy armor with thermals is a sure recipe for disaster. Even 1.0-1.5km distance is not enough - thermals can sometimes acquire targets pretty quickly.
  5. Be greedy with the number of people in observation teams. One guy is waaaay better than two and two is always better than three. Yes, you'd need more time to dwell upon the battlefield but you'd keep your guys alive. Hopefully :)

How CMCW is easier than CMBS (so far :)):

  1. No Javs that can be fired from inside the buildings with impunity.
  2. No thermals for US infantry.
  3. Relatively few thermals for US armor.

PS

  1. CMCW is a really great game! :)
  2. Czechmate is a really great scenario :)
Edited by IMHO
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On 6/29/2021 at 9:07 AM, Geoff-Ludumpress said:

Map is great but I would change the footbridge to a wide bridge - options for the tanks

Nah, that will kill all the fun. If you make the footbridge accessible to the tanks then you don't need to fight for the main bridge at all. You just clear the forest and take all your heavy force behind the US lines and win easily. Too easy - no fun.

On 6/29/2021 at 9:07 AM, Geoff-Ludumpress said:

consider a longer map edge so incoming units are not in direct LOS to pre-sighted AI.

  1. Firstly it's somewhat narrow firing lane.
  2. Secondly it's an an easy setup, immediately discoverable. Compare that to Debaltsevo in CMBS.
  3. There's no pre-sight for AI AT assets - it still takes full time to discover your units, target and fire. You have to consider possible enemy AT assets in the nearest buildings and overlooking hills. Add to that pre-planned barrages on setup zones and heavy air-support in CMCW that happen sometimes and you'd see you need to safely hide your units the first second they appear. Driving "those pesky command units/vehicles" across a wide open terrain for more than 10secs is definite ticket for disaster as well IMO.

PS @ASL Veteran both the map and scenario is great! IMO they are meant to be challenging!

Edited by IMHO
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On 6/30/2021 at 12:52 AM, ASL Veteran said:

I think it's pretty obvious that the main issue most have with this thing is the setup zone

 

On 6/30/2021 at 12:52 AM, ASL Veteran said:

I probably could have had everything come in north behind the mountain, but then no doubt someone would be complaining and wondering why everything is coming in behind the mountain and not on the road.

I had few replays and there has never been any problem with the main road INSIDE the setup zone. I really doubt TOW can hit anyone there - it'd hit the trees before it reaches any target. Sure there's a potential danger with TOWs hitting the reinforcements placed in the wide open but they're vulnerable enough to potential air support so they have to be hidden immediately in any case. The road OUTSIDE of the setup zone is dangerous but driving along it does not look safe anyway so why should it be a problem? :)

Edited by IMHO
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I did make a few tweaks to the scenario and hopefully the new version will be released with the Steam release.  I've submitted it anyway so hopefully they will grab it when the time comes.  I wasn't overly concerned at first about the set up zone, although I felt it was not ideal I figured it was manageable.  I think what might be happening is that many players haven't figured out their course of action by the time the main attack force arrives and thus they are basically sitting in the setup zone rather than executing their plan of attack.  That's why I gave the player 15 minutes to play around with the minor recon force prior to the arrival of the main force - in the hope that the player would have a plan of action by then and the setup zone 'problem' would be minimized since the player would be on the move.  

I think I've addressed the issue by planting a whole bunch of the biggest trees available in the editor - they are probably about twice as tall as the ones currently there.  Even so some of the TOWs still get in there somehow, but it should be minimized to the point where it should be acceptable for most players.  It does look a little funny to me, but it's all I could think to do.  I also anticipated the Bradley down by the river situation and modified the American setup accordingly.  It's still possible for the American player to do that, but it's an even less probable thing for someone to think to do with the way I have redeployed everything.  

I also made a few minor adjustments to the American AI and reduced their combat power ever so slightly - probably not even noticeable for most players.  I also made some modifications to the Soviet briefing in an effort to help steer players in the right direction if they are not familiar with Soviet equipment / capabilities or perhaps newer to the game.  I increased the time by ten minutes as well.

I've had scenarios panned before so it's nothing new.  You can't make as many scenarios as I have if you have a thin skin.  Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't.  Hopefully the modifications I've made will result in fewer complaints.  I typically try not to comment in scenario threads except for maybe a single post or two, but I was a little surprised and confused by some of the reactions that players were having when playing this scenario.  My honest reaction was 'what the heck are these guys doing?'  I'm thinking that most of the frustration was the TOW into the setup area when they can't spot what's hitting them.  If you are unsure of what your course of action is and stuff is 'spontaneously combusting' I can definitely see someone getting aggravated by that.  Hopefully now if a player wants to sit in the deployment zone for thirty minutes while they determine a course of action it will be safer for them to do so.

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5 hours ago, ASL Veteran said:

I also made a few minor adjustments to the American AI and reduced their combat power ever so slightly

Will this new version automatically overwrite the old one if I ever update? I'm using BFC distro not the Steam. If it will be overwritten can the older version be put somewhere? I do prefer a "harder one" :)

PS I think the discontent is partly due to how well placed all kinds of AT assets are. Were it not so carefully thought over - people would have waltzed through with no forum discussions. Actually each time my observers revealed a new one I was marveling the placement. And I liked well-timed retreat orders. Not one time I was right in the middle of carefully positioning my infantry to "ambush the ambusher" when the enemy suddenly redeployed and I had to start over again :) It was exactly long enough to delay my progress yet not too long to save the units to fight another day. Exceptional scenario!

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1 hour ago, IMHO said:

Will this new version automatically overwrite the old one if I ever update? I'm using BFC distro not the Steam. If it will be overwritten can the older version be put somewhere? I do prefer a "harder one" :)

PS I think the discontent is partly due to how well placed all kinds of AT assets are. Were it not so carefully thought over - people would have waltzed through with no forum discussions. Actually each time my observers revealed a new one I was marveling the placement. And I liked well-timed retreat orders. Not one time I was right in the middle of carefully positioning my infantry to "ambush the ambusher" when the enemy suddenly redeployed and I had to start over again :) It was exactly long enough to delay my progress yet not too long to save the units to fight another day. Exceptional scenario!

Make a duplicate of it now with the name Czechmate-orig and save a copy of that somewhere safe just in case. An update wouldn't overwrite it then. But that way you are covered if you for some reason had to reinstall the game.

Dave

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I really like this scenario 'cos its so realistic in terms of terrain.  I've had one play through so far as Sov's and spent the whole time just hunting infantry forward to the left bank bluffs, silly me for being so cautious in one of my first CW playings!

I've played as the US and just left the game to run and found I had to intervene a few times to get the Amies back in the game, it could've been a loss! So that's bodes well for balance (I dislike Blue side scenarios when not moving a unit results in a major victory for them eg Fort Apache).

About the briefing, a seasoned player would basically discard most briefings (not just in Czechmate), cos theyre usually misleading, talk as if they know what the plan should be (eg they want the player to seize an objective but the AI surrenders before my forces get close to it), or filled with what seems to be Amie military mumbo jumbo etc etc or content that is meant to make the player feel like theyre really there (its not even history!). Like in Czechmate the objecives are to seize the bridge and town but that doesn't mean you need to use a frontal assault. Sov's must maneuver first!

Like Valley of Ashes it takes some time to adjust to losing heaps of vehicles ('cos youre the attacker and the scenario imposes a time constraint and doesnt penalise you for losing them too much) and the need to plot the defenders defensive framework. 

Seeing the CMCW MRB training scenario, Czechmate conforms to the doctrine (which is pretty cool):

- send out scouts to identify defensive works

- setup ATGMs

- send in the artillery

- destroy whats left with ATGMs, SPGs, more artillery

- roll in tanks 

- roll in APCs etc behind to infantry assault what's left

- roll out FSE to the next US line

The difference here is slight, the ATGM gun line needs help, and infantry needs to press the flanks, with BTR backup, before the tanks roll in, forced by the terrain and the one tank crossing point.

I think the design enables the Sov doctrine and tactical problems to be explored well. Its not Rorkes Drift! Kudos to ASL Veteran!

Best

G

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