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Company Command - Infantry Advance Illustrated, Part Two

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Company command -

Force selection:

As a basic company I picked the Rifle 42B version with 12 squads each of 11 men, without additional support weapons. Then I added a heavy weapons group of 2 Maxim MMGs and 1 82mm Mortar. A single 76mm USV gun and a 76mm FO provide HE support, bringing the total up to 599 points at standard rariety. All told that gives 175 men, 148 of them fast infantry and the rest slow heavy weapons (only the 76mm gun is "very slow").

The mix of heavy weapons is important. Each has particular strengths and will be used for specific tasks. The FO deals with large areas of cover. The 76mm deals with bunkers and buildings, and along with the 82mm mortar with trenches. The main mission of the 82mm is dealing with defending guns, then with fully spotted MGs. The MMGs cover open areas to prevent repositioning, "pursue" routed or retreating units, and maintain pins achieved by other weapons (using their "ammo depth").

If I had more, I'd add a second 76mm, perhaps use a 120mm FO, then add a fourth platoon, perhaps of pioneers. A sniper is another reasonable addition.

Basic plan and force tasking:

I decide on a simple plan of wing attack up the left side of the board. An overwatch platoon will head for the limited cover in the center, and screen the bulk of the frontage by fire. Get the heavy weapons in position, get the left hand force up to ID range, blast anything IDed with heavy weapons. The main body then goes to the objective, IDing and outshooting whatever it encounters.

The cover suggests an attack up the center. But there are only 2-4 tiles of cover even there, barely enough to crowd in a platoon. I also expect those areas to be most heavily covered by defenders. I don't go up both edges because it would dissipate my odds edge. Instead, 3/4 of my squad infantry will hit only the left third to half of the defense.

Wing Attack Set Up


For tasking, I have one platoon with very good HQ except an ordinary command rating. This means they will be strong but must remain tightly deployed. I decide to make this my "point" platoon for the main body. The company HQ is decent, with +1 command and morale. Combined with his ability to command anybody this makes him way too good to waste commanding a few MGs near the start line. He is given 5 squads from the other 2 platoons and trails the point as a company main body. This makes for a 9 squad, 2 HQ main body "column" that is 3 units across and 4 units deep.

One platoon has only +2 stealth and one green squad. It is assigned to my far right as a "patrol", with the green squad split. They are meant for deception and to a lesser extent for spotting. The last has +2 command, giving a very large command space. It gets the heavy weapons and 2 squads, and will head for the center cover. One MG and the mortar are initially set up in cover, not planning to move (or much). The other MG, veteran, plans to move up first to a patch of rocky then to the scattered trees in the middle, to cover the whole front from a better range. Everybody starts out hiding except one MG in cover.

The initial advance is meant to look like a broad front sweep. The patrol on the right uses "move to contact and hide" with short waypoints. They are brittle and do not need to make time or get far, they just need to look more or less like a platoon. In the center the regular squads head for the trees. On the left the point platoon, only, moves off, with only the front two squads moving the first turn. The rest on the platoon gets order but pad them with pauses to start on turn 2. The company HQ and main body remain hiding - they will let the point move off a bit before following, so as not to broadcast the point of main effort too early.

1&2 - On the first turn nobody fires. The moves are uneventual. On turn 2 the FO targets the large rocky patch near the objective, to start counting down the 5 minute delay. The vet MG heads for the rocky patch, the riskiest move so far. On turn 2, 2 HMGs chatter away at the various moving units. They get a few to "cautious" but don't hit or pin anyone - the range is long in all cases and most units are advancing through steppe. The vet MG draws fire but makes it to the rocky. The patrol on the right goes to ground when it draws fire. Two sound contacts appear, one near the intact house on my right, the other near the large area of rocky.

So for turn 3, the 76mm on map gun is ordered to area fire at the intact house. I'm not certain there is an MG there, but if there is I will soon find out, as the HE will make him duck and I will notice the interruption of fire. The rest is standard movement under fire stuff, as described in the platoon advance vs. lone MG example, previously. The MG that was under fire would like to unhide and set up - which would take 29 seconds. But it will first hide for a minute to turn into a "flag" contact only, and to give the 76mm a chance to hit the house.

Artillery Engages Suspected MG Positions


Turn 3 execution, sure enough one MG ducks the instant a 76mm HE round hits the house. The second round demolishes the place. The other MG fires repeatedly at the point platoon, hitting one man and pinning the right front squad. The right rear one, hit the previous turn and pushed to "cautious", rallies fully after a turn hiding. The 76mm FO is down to 3 minutes on his clock and the new sound contact for the remaining HMG is right in the rough area he targeted.

Turn 4 execution, the one remaining firing MG spreads its fire over 3 different targets, dropping each as the squad reaches its short waypoint and hides. The first was in scattered trees for its second shot and fully recovers. One of the others is pushed to "shaken" but recovers to "alerted" by the end of the minute, while the other is merely "alerted". The previously pinned squad, unhit this time, rallies to "shaken". A few "tiring" cases are also appearing in the point platoon.

The point has moved up 135m and is 300m from the sound contact. It will mostly rest for a minute, just getting its right hand side caught up with its left. The barrage reads 2 minutes. I could wait for this to land before moving up the main body behind the point, but decide to move out now to close up the distance more rapidly - mostly because the opposition so far has been light and ineffective, and one MG has been at least temporarily silenced by the on map 76mm.

Turn 5 execution, one squad in the center overwatch platoon that went forward is panicked by several shots and heads back for the trees, sneaking. At least it happened near cover.

I will ask less of them in the future - if they can make it to the trees without getting worse they should recover fully in a few minutes. The point platoon rallied completely due to the shift in fire when they hide, and so moves off again. They time their move for the arrival of the first flight of on map 76mm. The main body continues to close up.

Turn 6 execution, 2 men are hit in separate squads in the main body, making 3 so far. The first 13 rounds of 76mm land but do not cause any ducking or reduction in fire. There were only a few hits in the rough proper, and 3 of the tiles have not been touched yet. The panicked squad makes it back to the trees, but does not yet recover any.

The Approach


For turn 7, I order the FO to shift his fire very slightly, just to postpone the barrage for a minute or so. A few rounds were fine, but I do not want to expend a whole battery of artillery against a single MG sound contact. It is not urgent to get the MG, and later I will want ammo against defending infantry, once it opens up. Instead I order the regular MMG to area fire at the forward rough. I don't expect to this to do more than an "alerted", even if that is exactly where the enemy MG is. But I do expect to see him duck if that is where he is. This is a kind of "recon by fire", looking for the MG. I use an MMG for it because it has enough ammo to spare a little for this sort of thing.

Meanwhile the point platoon makes for 2 craters about 200m from the rough area, while the main body continues in its wake. The right front squad in the main body is "shaken", so it pauses and hides for a minute. The squad behind it steers right to go around it, leaving a decent interval. The "patrol" on the far right continues its short "move to contact and hide" creep. The center guys just rally, and wait for the other MG to set up in the trees. Last, the 76mm rotates over to cover the rough area, in case the MG probing fire locates the enemy MG.

Executing, 1 more man is hit in the main body, and a squad in the point platoon is pinned. The panicked squad in the middle rallies to pinned. And I pick up 2 full IDs, one in the rough and the other on my right in a shellhole. I also spot a trench in front of the rough - those become visible at around 175m and the point is now close enough. The MG remains a sound contact, but I saw it duck once, so it isn't far from the MG's point of aim. The MMG that was moving forward has halted, but still needs 24 seconds to set up.

Time to develop the ranged battle. The MGs will go after the full IDs, each going for the closer target. The 76mm area fires at the trench. The FO readjusts his aim point directly on the full ID in the rough. The mortar waits, having limited ammo. It wants a full ID of a gun or MG position before opening up. The LMG half squad in the patrol also fires, at the 44% exposed unit in the shellhole 200m away. Against better cover that would be a bit far, but these guys are a holding action anyway, and the target doesn't have great cover.

Notice, the ranged overwatch assets are all in the battle before turn 10. The leading infantry has advanced 200m in 7 minutes, and is now 150-250m from the forward enemy positions. Only 4 men have been hit. 2 squads are pinned and 1 cautious, and several are "tiring". None are broken or scattered.

The point platoon basically halts, with only one rear squad leapfrogging forward, while the one shaken last turn does a short advance to the nearby shellhole. Their only full ID is to a unit already heads down and in good cover, so they continue to hide rather than going "up" to fire. The main body follows up behind them, with the tiring squads using 50m advances with one additional pause before moving, to rest about half a minute.

Fire has sent the enemy squad in the shellhole on my right into a rearward sneak - probably "cover panic" and pinned, perhaps full blown "panic". Normally squad infantry would cease fire at that point. But this one is crawling across a road and is therefore 90% exposed. That is too good a shot to pass up, so the LMG half squad on the right continues to fire. The rest of the patrol advances 40m and hides again. In the center, the pinned squad will sit and rally, but the other one advances halfway toward the rough ahead. Eventually those two squads want to live in that rough, and support by fire where they are needed.

The 76mm ATG halts its fire. It hit the trench proper with 3 rounds, one on its left end and two in the middle. One was short and another long, while 3 more were barely long. Only the 3 that hit the trench would do much to men actually in it. But if there was anyone there, they probably pinned - unless all the way at the right end, perhaps only alerted there. As I don't see anyone, I leave it at that to save ammo. The gun rotates back to where the MG is expected to be, still awaiting a full ID. Meanwhile the FO's retargeted barrage is 30 seconds out. I'll let half a minute of shells land, since I know there is one target there and the MG is somewhere reasonably close.

Turn 10 - A couple squads in the main body have reached "tired". They halt for a full minute. The point platoon has mostly rested, but are close to contact. So they stop hiding, and advance one at a time. The HQ shifts to one of the shellholes. A unit still up and advancing stretches its waypoint a bit, and a "rested" squad in one of the shellholes advances 50m. The other two squads just overwatch and rest.

The FO shifts its aim point to defer the rest of its barrage again. The Germans on my right routed, and the MG "pursuing" them has its targeting order cancelled as a result. Pursuit fire is meant to prevent rally, and right now that unit is so deep into rout it doesn't take additional fire to keep them there. The unit in the rough, just crawling, still gets MG treatment.

Overall, we are at the point of contact and getting forward to get full IDs. Movement slows somewhat, as only a few units at a time move out. That is meant to increase cover fire, and to limit the number of units exposed and crossing covered arc lines if the enemy decides to open up with whatever hidden shooters he has. The dilemma we want to present is "open up now, and the range will be still too long to hurt them. Wait, and more will creep up to full ID range and go stationary, increasing eventual attacker firepower".

Spotting the MG


And there he is. The MG that has been causing practically all the trouble is now IDed, 175m from the point platoon. The 76mm gets a few shots off at it, and briefly reduces it to a flag again. But it is up again by the end of the minute. Meanwhile the other IDed unit in the rough is routed by continual fire. Another sound contact appears toward the center - perhaps a sniper in that rubble, given how it appears and disappears. But one enemy at a time - that MG must die.

So turn 11 orders, the 82mm targets the MG. So does the 76mm, and the veteran MG. The FO shifts his aim point again. The rear MG shifts forward to "overwatch woods". Last but by no means least, the entire point platoon will fire at the now spotted MG. Sure enough, he is up and running by second 45.

In the first 11 minutes, we have had 8 men hit. But we have advanced to full ID range of the first rank of enemies, silenced 2 MGs, and routed 2 other infantry units. Everyone is now in good order, with a few needing a little rest but that is all. The bulk of the regular infantry, 9 squads, are all on the left third of the map, from 100 to 325 meters from forward unit to the first enemy trench and rear unit to the rear of the rough.

All decent MG and rifle range, in other words. And 9 squads is a lot of firepower once they get that close. All support weapons are still functioning, though the 76mm has about half ammo and one of the MGs is presently repositioning. Two thirds of the FOs ammo is still available with a fire mission only 2-3 minutes away over the whole area immediately ahead of the company. Moreover, the overwatch platoon is also close to reaching its desired positions, of two squads up in the rough and 2 MGs behind in the trees.

The defenders probably don't have a large portion of their force immediately ahead of my main body. Their long range MGs have already been silenced. My own MGs cut up the field, preventing any easy, rapid repositioning (it'd be as hard for him as the last 10 minutes have been for us. Worse actually, with all the rifles ahead of him and the gun). There is a trench, which might offer a big cover differential. But it has already been hit once and can readily be hit by 76mm or 82mm HE if the need arises.

So far we've just been setting up the "wing attack". It may take until turn 15 for it to close with the first enemy positions. But it is in excellent shape to overpower a limited set of defenders right in front of it, through sheer firepower.

Turn 12 orders -

Continue the advance. Most move out, as the MG ahead of the main body has been silenced. Only a couple of tired squads rest. The forward units move half the distance to the trench. One squad without SMGs fires at already "down" men, filling in for the moving 2nd MG. The other MG "pursues by fire" the now fleeing German MG. In the center, the overwatch squads head for rough. More squads are up ready to fire if targets are seen now - the whole point platoon, the front of the main body, the overwatch platoon. Over on the right, the patrol veers right to get its LMG half-squad into a patch of "rocky" on the right edge. They go half way this time.

I expect sniper fire from the center, and perhaps a new shooter or two either in the trench or a bit deeper. Notice that the HE part of the overwatch is "off" - mortar and 76mm hiding, FO counting down but over 2 minutes. With all IDed targets sent packing, there is no need to burn more HE ammo right now. (Note - for this turn, the save game file is before I entered the orders - a missed "save" on my part).

The Main Line of Resistence - Mad Minute 1


Execution - we find the main body. 5 full ID contacts in "craters", a sound contact that is pretty clearly from the trench, and 2 more farther in the German rear. Only 1 more man is hit and a few squads pushed to "cautious" - very good for first contact with the enemy's squad infantry. The patrol also drew fire from one unit, which hit the moving MG first and reduced it to a cover panic sneak.

So how do we react? Panic and run away? Charge? No. We sit down where we are and shoot it out. We brought so much infantry across the open ground together, taking the time to keep them all in good morale and coordinated command, precisely so we would have superior firepower at this moment. If we moved a bunch, we'd throw that away. Everybody and his brother is going to shoot for all they are worth this turn - and maybe the next. So they have 44% cover while we have only 65%. We've got a company and they've got only a platoon and change.

There are a few exceptions, though. The sneaking MG can't fire. It needs 35 seconds to set up. Also, it is only 6m from rocky. So it is ordered to continue its sneak to the rocks, then rotate toward the enemy and stop. The second waypoint up in the trees is erased with "backspace" (see why I used 2 waypoints for the original move rather than one?) In the patrol on the right, with only one enemy ahead, the LMG half squad is too close to the HQ. It got pushed to "alerted" by fire at the HQ because of this. So it continues its "advance" just far enough to get away from this area fire suppression (25m), then turns to fire at the enemy ahead. The HQ hides - its own FP is only 11 at this range, not worth anything. And the SMG half squad closes, because it isn't very useful from this far away.

The FO shifts onto the center of the new targets. This bumps his time - which was 51 seconds at the start of the turn - to 2 minutes. Notice, because I was already registered the 5 minute response time regimental Russian arty is going to arrive in 2-2.5 minutes - as fast as light mortars if I had waited to call for it now. If my anticipation had been perfect, the rounds would have landed in a minute, but this will be close enough.

A key decision here is whether to put one of the two heavy HE shooters on the trench, where there is only a suspected real shooter related to a sound contact. I decide not to. I've got targets, I will shoot the ones I know are there. I do want to keep some HE ammo for trenches, because other stuff is much less effective against them. But now is not the time to be thinking of conservation. It is a time to pin or break as many of the enemy shooters as possible. Firepower must do the work of cover here, reducing my incoming by half, by reducing his outgoing.

The mortar gets one of the squads behind the pond. The second one, because some rounds will miss short, and this way they might hurt the squad in front. The 76mm gets the squad on the left nearest my men. That leaves the one in the middle on that side unhit - but he is the aim point of the FO, so he will "get his" soon enough. Unfortunately, the vet MG jammed while the regular one is sneaking, so they can't help this turn.

One squad at the back of the main body shoots at the already cowering MG in the rough, to prevent any rally over there. The other busted units in the area should be close enough to pick up a little suppression from area fire. The rest of the infantry all fires, by group select, at 3 of the nearest targets - 4 squads + 76mm, 3 squads, 3 squads + 82m. I want to hit them hard enough to pin them, hard enough to break them in the case of the HE targets. I don't need to get them all this turn. Some can be hit next.

Execution - It goes well. The target of the point platoon and 76mm is up and running away before the end of the minute. The target of the 82mm is down and turning away, probably trying to sneak. The squad in front of that one is heads down - not broken yet but not firing. Two others are fully IDed - not in the trench incidentally - and still firing. On our side, one squad in the point platoon is sneaking toward the trench in "cover panic" but we have no losses or breaks.

The Main Line of Resistence - Mad Minute 2


The point platoon shifts fire to the nearest up shooter. The main body behind takes another, farther back. The overwatch platoon shoots at the same heads down guy as before. The now unjammed vet MG "pursues" the crawling unit from last turn. The company HQ puts its weak fire on the already running guys to "pursue" them. The mortar hides - it has only 12 HE rounds left and there could still be guns out there. The 76mm fires one more turn, then it too will have to save ammo to deal with trenches. By then the FO stuff will be landing anyway. The only movements are brief ones by the point HQ to re-establish command to the pinned "sneakers", and some rear guys in the main body shifting slightly forward. Notice how the 2 minute pause to fire also rests the tired and tiring men. The regular MG has reached the rocks and is setting up - it will help the overwatch platoon once ready to fire. The patrol on the right lengthens arcs to fire at their shooter, while the SMG half squad tries to close to the road. The basic story is unchanged - outshoot them, think about moving only after this batch have had enough.

Turn 15 - And sure enough, there is a gun. The 82mm is put on it immediately, along with the veteran MG to keep any pin level the mortar attains. Since most shooters are heads down or running, though, it is time to advance the point platoon to the trench. Part of the main body swings right and forward to come back in command range of the overwatch platoon, which moves up to the rough (squads and HQ). Executing, we find the second line of foxholes around the flag. Some of them foolishly try to come forward and run into the barrage. Most are still just sound contacts. Their intervention spreads "cautious" and "shaken" results across the forward units, but does not break anything.

The FO is adjusted to hit the leftmost of them along with the pile-up of broken units in a rough patch. The mortar and 76mm on map are back on hide, each with only a minute of HE left. The MGs and company HQ do "pursuit by fire", with the vet MG trying to keep pinned the only fully IDed unit in the second line of foxholes. The squad infantry has all its targets voided (via "x"), as ammo is down somewhat and most near targets are already cowering. They will thus fire as the tac AI chooses, favoring up and firing full IDed enemies. The point platoon continues to the trench.

Executing turn 16, the point platoon rushes the trench, finding a 37mm PAK hiding inside. They are overrun while rotating to shoot at the nearest squad, and 4 are captured. A few rounds of on map mortar fire are annoying the point platoon. But essentially, we've made it to the forward enemy positions, advancing 350m over open steppe, and at least some of our men now have better cover than the enemy. Who is, moreover, more than half broken already. We've lost only 11 men all told, ourselves.

Into the Position


Nothing fancy now. The point platoon, having reached cover, fires and waits for support. Overwatch and main body platoons move up on either side of it, in short bounds by whoever isn't tired or pinned. The barrage will soften the Germans further and I want the whole company online at good LMG and rifle range by the time it lifts. By turn 20 I expect the Germans in front of me to be in no shape to resist, and everyone not hit on my side to be rallied and ready to go. Then we will shoot our way forward to the objective.

Turn 18 - Took a little fire from the left, where one squad has rallied. The whole left side platoon fires at him. The whole right side platoon fires at the up shooter at the right end of the second foxhole line. The middle platoon shoots at the men close by, ahead, to finish them of or scatter them. A few short adaptation movements - e.g. a cover panic sneaker crowds into the trench. I let him come, and move out the better morale unit already there, forward to a foxhole in the road. Over on the right, the patrol has routed an HQ. They move up to the road with the SMG half squad crossing it.

The FO relocates his aim point on the second foxhole line - a short adjust that leaves the time reading "1 minute". He has 22 rounds remaining, enough to give another good blast to that second foxhole line. Notice, there is no great rush. The ammo won't last long anyway, even with numerous small adjusts. I could use the last minute of fire from the 82mm and the 76mm, but instead save it in case something harder to deal with crops up. (E.g. that MG I broke way back when in the house on my right might rally. If it does, it'd sure be nice to have a minute of HE to knock it out again, wouldn't it? So I save the last bits).

Turn 19 - The foremost squad makes it to the foxhole in the road but panics there. At least he is in cover. I will just try to shoot people off him and wait for him to rally, and give them somebody else to shoot at by leapfrogging another squad forward. And sure enough there is a shooter in that rubbled building - though also a dead unit, so not the MG. The 76mm unhides and shoots at him anyway. Notice, good cover enemies at long range get the HE treatment. Also notice that the patrol on my right is helping provide the full ID. They will close as the 76mm fires, so if it pins that building, they can get close enough to keep it that way.

One other thing to notice here. I am taking more heat than before. I've got a squad panicked and another pinned and a third sneaking sideways as well as pinned. My HE ammo is getting low. You have to gauge how hard to push, and a good rule of thumb is "until it hurts, but not until you break".

The enemy, I am sure, is a complete basket case compared to my men. He has units routing off the board, others wiped out, others cowering hopelessly after previous routs, some just heads down (with a barrage 20 seconds out) - and all of two shooters up and firing. My firepower is "melting" him.

If I pushed harder, my firepower could go down, as a few shooters got several "panics" against men in the open. I don't need to. A few units just at the edge of bad morale will rally back. Most in good order means firepower stays high. I have IDs. I can by now see anything that fires at me, and have a company of rifles to throw against only a few shooters at a time.

Turn 20 - Didn't get the house, the 76mm saved HE and fired smoke. He will fire his last 2 HE at a remaining squad in the second foxhole line, while the patrol moves up from the right. In the main fight, single squads cross the road one at a time. Most are firing, but short advances continue all along the line. The FO has 5 rounds left - not worth trying to retarget them. My last blast of HE will be 5 rounds of 82mm, saved for a rallying unit. The guns still have smoke, but I don't really want it right now. I'm the one doing the shooting.

On my left, one squad hit AP mines. He sneaks to get out of them, through to the other side as the shorter distance since he is past the minefield marker. The squad behind him in column, notice, had his previous waypoint at the turn-ago location of the squad ahead. So he didn't follow into the mines. He now detours right, following the right side of the platoon. See how columns work? The right side squad made it up to the road, so his route is probably safe.

Mopping Up


Turn 21, resistence crumbling. The company slithers across the road by short advances. More units are moving now. Some are getting tired but I push them anyway. It is not so important to all stay together and rested now. Instead it is important to close, to not give the enemy time to breath and rally. Most of the HE has been used, many units are down to the teens in ammo, the MGs are almost dry (and one jammed). Press in and make it so it has all been enough. The infantry still has enourmous firepower, as long as the range is close. They can finish off the broken men, as long as they don't give them a chance to regroup, open the range, and make it again a matter of crossing wide open ground (without remaining heavy support).

Turn 22 there is an auto-ceasefire. The Germans retreated, basically. They lost 66 men, I lost 16 and won a total victory. Reviewing what inflicted the losses on the Germans, the 76mm FO got 9, the on map got 12 and the 82mm got 3 and a gun, making 24 for the HE. The MGs added 9, making 33 all told for the heavy weapons, or half his losses. The point platoon alone got the majority of the remainder, but all platoons contributed. Even the little patrol got 4, though a couple of those were routing mortar crewmen caught in the open near the end.

What did the Germans have left? 6 good order rattled infantry in the rubble on my right, a 2 LMG squad type, with 9 ammo left. The patrol was in position to hit them from shellhole cover, the SMGs at 50m and the LMG and rifles from 100m, the smoke between just having cleared. 5 mortar crew and 1 section leader with a pistol in the rough on my left. Hardly enough to stop a company. 8 men in panic on the second foxhole line, where the barrage landed, and 10 men routed here and there. Shattered. I lost a squad and a half worth of guys, spread over a half dozen units.

Against humans it would all be tougher. Of course, you might also have cover against humans, or tanks, or both. But I think it shows the basic principles of company level infantry attack pretty well. The approach march portion can seem agonizing. But at range there aren't that many shooters and each doesn't annihilate. You can get through it. More shooters will show up later but after you are fairly close. Once you get up to ID range, you do a "mad minute" or two with all support weapons and every squad, and the fire against you slacks off.

Early on, range and only a few stealthy enemy shooters are what protect you. Late, it is the past effect of your own firepower, which leaves only a handful of good order enemy shooters at any one time. At the critical point in between, you must have as much of your combat power as possible in good order, at good ranges, supporting each other properly. That is what a well executed advance sets you up for.

Cover helps. When there is plenty, the right objective to steer for is good terrain that will hold your guys without packing too close, within full ID range of the likely forward positions of the enemy (100-200m). But even if all you have is steppe and a few shellholes, the basic principle still applies. He can't kill you with just a few shooters at long range. And if you keep the men well in hand and organized, you can kill him once you get close.

I've got the saved game files again, zipped with the narrative, if anyone wants it.

[ February 09, 2004, 05:28 AM: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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One quick question: what if my opponent locates the 76mm gun and takes it out of the equation in turn 5 with mortar fire?

This question because if my oppononent reads your "essays" he will for sure take at least 1 mortar with him on the defeence. (I am asking as I have never luck with guns against human opponents, teh usually don't life long once the ope nnfire . in teh above you have the gun open fire pretty soon and it seems to survive pretty long. Is it so far away from the enemy frontline that the enemy only has a sound contact??

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Hehe I think you dont have to do exactly what jason did.

He gave an example how to attack. If you try to copy his moves against a human opponent exactly with unknown forces you will fail.

What is important I think are the proper use of Assault commands and covering fire. The terrain is very open and flat, too. Under other circumstances you could use other tactis as well.

But the tuorials are very useful for players, who only use move and fast commands.

Move to contact, advance and hide are very important commands when used properly.

I hope you get my point.

If you enemy uses mortars directly you can supress it. But if he uses it indirect, youre screwed :eek: :D

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A full sized mortar - or 2-3 small ones - to suppress overwatch guns is a useful addition to any defense. The first available counter is just to have 2 guns. Also the small mortars will often just pin the gun, allowing it to rally in a few minutes. (The German 50s also don't have much ammo).

The defenders typically need wide LOS for the spotter, and dead ground behind. Often there aren't that many places that qualify. And they can be good spots for planned "prep fire" arty barrages. If placed in a less obvious spot, sometimes the HQ will have LOS to the shooting gun and sometimes it won't.

As for spotting, the guns that provide useful overwatch fire are generally easy to spot at range. The exception is light AA. The really small ones, single 20s and 25s, are hard to spot but aren't very effective. They help against planes and light armor, and can suppress other targets like an MG. But the quad 20s and 37s can hurt infantry targets seriously, while remaining hard to see at range. They are also great against bunkers, finding the firing slit fast.

But that is a quibble. Usually the attacker's guns will be spottable at range. The infantry guns can be as cheap as the mortars that counter them, but the mortar is likely to win if it is in the right spot.

Every thing the attacker has can be countered. A big overwatch group can be countered by a heavy artillery barrage, a single gun by a mortar. If the overwatch is a T-34, though, then you need a heavy PAK. So, which is it going to be?

When you have to buy an 81mm mortar, a 75mm PAK, and a 105mm FO, to shoot the overwatch force regardless of what it is, you are starting to talk serious points. How big is the overall scenario going to be, in which a defender has all of them? The attacker has more points. Sure, if he knows or guesses beforehand exactly what the attacker will use, he can counter in his own force selection. Trying to counter everything, though, he will have only a shoestring number of items for each.

You can go through a whole list of things the AI did wrong in the scenario above. It had the wrong guns - 37mm PAK - against an infantry attack. An 81mm FO would have helped against the company main body, especially if it waited until the moment of contact. 4 HMGs would have worked better than 2. The trench should have been farther back to avoid detection and shelter a sound contact MG for a long time. Maybe two of them. The area between the two ponds would have been a better spot for wire or mines than for a trench.

Some of these are just using item in a smarter manner. Some require additional forces. And all told, they add up to a 150-200 point wish list in a 400 point scenario. 400 points isn't a lot. After buying 2 infantry platoons to avoid being swamped too badly on the numbers side, 150-200 points is the rest of the defense, not the budget for additional items beyond what the AI had.

And yes, an 81mm mortar to counter guns would be nice - though on the map as it was, there wasn't any defilade to hide it in, so it would have been spotted in return. It had 50mm mortars and went after infantry with them, getting a few panics only. They should have gone for the gun, together - though the gun KOed one HMG on the turn it opened up.

If all it did was take out that house, killing one HMG, and then absorb the ammo from 3 50mm mortars, think it would have paid for itself? It might have taken all that and been alive but pinned. Or it might have been KOed by half the 50mm ammo. You are still talking about 50-80 points worth of defenders to counter a single 50 point attacker item.

Defenders have to counter a 50 point attacking item for more like 33 points to stay even with attacker odds, in attrition terms. That means a perfect counter of 81mm for 76mm. Or, if you are also going to lose HMGs to them, one mortar fully KOing 2 guns. To break even.

The odds problem the defender faces is not forgiving. Sound attack methods do not need to have no counter or be invulnerable. They just need to be sensible enough they "stress" the defense. Weight and time will do most of the rest.

Against a good human using the right counters to each component of my force, would I expect to lose only 16 men on that sort of attack? No. If he has the right counters of course he can win. Fights between humans are supposed to have even chances, obviously. If these examples get new players to the point where they can regularly kick the AI to the curb, even with unfavorable terrain or force type matchups, then they will have done their job.

[ February 10, 2004, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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good post jc. i've already started using your advance and rest method against a well dug in german position in a scenario i created. it's a russian advance into a well dug in german position. so far it's working pretty well. i'm keepin my groups together and have minimized casualties. it's a tough fight as most of the time the german mgs open up i don't even get a sound contact. of course the ranges are a bit longer than the example you posted here. also i put several of the german mgs in trenches and haven't approached close enough yet to locate them. and no doubt i made some mistakes in the setup as well, but this is only a play test for balance against a friend i will play against(he will be the russian), and wanted to make sure it was at least close to being winable for either side.

again, thanks for the post!

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Just a quick point and question;

This demo attack relied a lot (as all attacks do) on overwatch fire and massed squad fire. The posts back suggested countering the overwatch fire by attempting to "outgun" the overwatch with defensive heavy units. I am wondering, wouldn't it be better to try to conduct a reverse slope defense? even a small hill can support an entrenched platoon on the rear face. The direct fire assets would be virtually useless against such a position, and the arty spotter would have to do a non-LOS barrage, thus greatly reducing quickness and accuracy. How would the attacker counter such a defense?

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Originally posted by Tigrii:

Just a quick point and question;

This demo attack relied a lot (as all attacks do) on overwatch fire and massed squad fire. ... I am wondering, wouldn't it be better to try to conduct a reverse slope defense? ... How would the attacker counter such a defense?

The attacker should attempt to flank and roll up the position. If a direct assault is absolutely necessary, lots of smoke helps.
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JasonC is the Martha Stewart of CM-- didactic, meticulous, fussy, slightly terrifying for the slapdash.

My attacks never quite work out like that, just like my souffles never quite rise and my bike repair never quite looks like the one in the book.

What's wrong ? I dunno, grit just gets in the works

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Hi - does anyone have the saved files that Jason C referred to in his tutoial (above?). I've tried emailing Jason himself for him but no reply - I think he may have changed his email address - also not seen him post round here for a while. i would like to check out his files to go with the tutorial so can anyone help please?

many thanks in advance

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