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Fallback foxholes: Useful?


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Question for general discussion: Has anyone found a good way to make use of the extra fallback foxholes that the defender against an assault receives? Perhaps it's just my usage of them, but I don't really understand how to make them work well. By the time a unit is in enough danger to require a fallback foxhole, chances are the safest place for him is to stay put. It is much safer to weather an attack of any type by taking cover rather than running (advancing, withdrawing...) back to a different position. Moreover, any fallback position that's close enough to get to quickly is probably under the same threat as the original foxhole (or will be very very soon).

This issue is especially more important since it is one of the only additional advantages given to the defender of an assault (compared to an attack), while the attacker is given a considerable point advantage (compared to an attack). If it can't be utilitized effectly, assaults become very unbalanced.

So if anyone can give me tips on how to use these more effectively, or if there are any good stories describing their utility, I would love to hear about it.

Thanks,

Dr. Rosenrosen

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Originally posted by Dr. Rosenrosen:

So if anyone can give me tips on how to use these more effectively, or if there are any good stories describing their utility, I would love to hear about it.

Thanks,

Dr. Rosenrosen

Use 'em as decoys. I once got a PBEM opponent to drop 1000 pts of arty on a whole lot of NUTHIN'. So if fallbacks aren't working, put them in front of your MLR. At the least he'll spot the foxholes and have to slow the advance until he determines they're empty.

NASTY TRICK: lay fallbacks in a mine field. Upon realizing they're empty, said opponent may rush in to occupy them, getting a second unpleasant surprise.

That said, they can work as fallbacks, if you can time it right and your opponent "cooperates," i.e. if you fallback when there is a lull in the attack. I've done this a couple times in the RD tourney, second round game. If you're being overwhelmed, it's no good, but if you're holding your own and the attack falters, you can rush back to the second line.

[ February 28, 2003, 02:52 AM: Message edited by: Malakovski ]

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I find them handy in that, if my infantry can't cover all flanks, then I can still have my reserves occupy those extra foxholes on left/right if my enemy is coming from that direction (of course I've got something on my flanks so that the reserve has enough time to get into positions).

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Falling back to alternate positions is an art, really. The trick is to time it right (i.e. do not wait until too late) and to provide suppressing fire from nearby friendly positions while one portion of your line withdraws (oh, and covered withdrawal routes help, too :D ).

What I personally found to work quite well is to use the first line as observation posts more or less, exchange some shots with the enemy to get him to deploy early, then withdraw to your main line of resistance. Buys you time, but you need to keep you ammo levels under control.

Martin

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There are lots of alternate uses, but the idea is to have a place to fall back to. The fallback defense works when your initial position's occupants ambush the enemy, annihilate/rout/pin them. Then, you withdraw, just as you have seemed to win, because you must get out now, while no one is shooting at you. If you stay, th enemy will bring up tanks and call down arty, and you'll get creamed.

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...or use the first positions at longish range to pin the enemy as he makes his initial advance. Next turn, volunatry break (Withdraw) to your fallbacks before you get attacked in any serious way. You may have killed a few enemy and delayed him a few minutes because he may have to regroup a bit.

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use the front to ambush and thin out the enemy, meaning giving them hell until there close enought to arm u. Just before they get within a good range u pull back. and to do that u wud need cover fire.

wot we need here is someone who as been in or as left the army (any army) and to tell us how exactlly they r used

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Hmm, if the guys up front are only supposed to exchange a few shots with the enemy they need no foxholes or fortified positions, hiding in the woods and than pop up to fire some shots would be enough.

The same ist true if you've repelled the first attack and than retreat with no enemy in sight... why ?? I thought the line was fortified in the first place to slow down such an attack / prevent a breakthrough and not to retreat even before such an attack is commenced. So why give up good defence terrain with no need to ?

A real fallback position would be a second defence line behind a first defence line but than the question remains, if this first line is under a lot of preassure and you are forced to retreat.. how ? Does it help to deploy some trenches to connect both defence lines ? If Infantry is running inside a trech, are the largely protected from enemy MGs and arty ? Or are they seen as running outside by the CPU ?

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one reason for a fallback line could be: you set up a first line of defence, with AT guns, infantry guns, minefields etc but as soon as the enemy has destroyed most of your heavy equipment and breached your mine fields / barbe wire defence line, your infantry would be trapped helpless in their trenches unable to combat the enemy tanks or other long range support fire. Than you retreat to your second line of defence were again AT and Inf. guns with good line of fire are set up.

Probably only valid for large scenarios were you can afford to buy enough equipment to build a second line of defence.

In smaler scenarios its more likely a 'not a single step back' situation.

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A very nasty way of using them is by deploying your first line on the edge of a wood with fallbacks behind (out of sight from everywhere except inside the wood). First you make the enemy approach that first line, which usually costs him some. Then you withdraw deeper into the wood and have a prepared position in there as well. Works especially well with infantry with lots of close-quarter firepower.

apex

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On a related issue. One thing that I have decided is really missing is a 'Fallback' command, which is fundamentally different from the 'withdraw' command.

A fallback command should work like a 1/2 speed Advance command where the troops use all available means for cover, while always striving to FACE the enemy and perform an organized and coordinated movement to the rear.

This type of movement should not incur the penalty if an increased likelyhood of braking like the 'Withdraw' command.

If you had a command such as this, then the falback positions and multiple lines of defense would really come into their own.

To summarize:

Fallback = Coordinated movement, using cover and maintaining contact with the enemy, while maintaining force cohesiveness as much as possible.

Withdraw = "Let's get the h*ll out of here!", every man for himself. Uncoordinated reaerward movement of individual groups of soldiers. Very detrimental to force cohesiveness. Hence the pentaly to their 'morale'.

This is why I hardly every use the Withdraw command. The troops usually are in good shape afterwards. And all ofht eother commands require that your troops turn their backs on the enemy while performing their movement (based on my understanding of how LOS is affected).

I am hoping for this in the CM3.

[Edited to remove posyble errers] :D

[ February 28, 2003, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: Sgian Dubh ]

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Sgian -

While a "Fallback" command per se does not exist, I find that the "Assault" command works very well for retrograde movement under fire, and comes fairly close to the type of movement you are talking about.

The trick is to make sure that the amount of ground you have to cover under fire before you break contact is relatively short.

For example, one of the ideal places to use this is the edge-of-woods setup mentioned above - your units will only have 25m or so (maximum) to move back into the woods before they will totally break LOS with anything outside the woods. If they're already under fire, "Assault" gives them a much better chance of falling back without panicking.

I think you are right, though, that it would be an improvement if CM modeled "threat axis" seperately from movement direction since the two aren't necessarily the same.

It makes sense to me that a squad moving retrograde to a *known and expected source of enemy fire* would be less affected in terms of both supression and casualties than the same squad moving along and expecting contact to the front, but suddenly recieving incoming fire from the flank or rear.

I'm not sure there even needs to be any additional commands for this to be modeled. The TacAI could automatically set "threat axis" the moment incoming fire is identified, and when necessary the player could control it using covered arcs - as far as I can tell, 98% of the time, the best 'threat axis' for a given unit is also going to be approximately along the center line of a covered arc.

So, if you told an infantry squad to "Assault" to the rear, but kept the covered arc facing to the front, this would effectively be the "Fallback" command you mention. Furthermore, if the squad was already recieving incoming fire from the front when it initaited the Retrograde movement, it would keep it's threat axis to the front while falling back of it's own accord.

The above system has the nice side effect of making low quality troops really bad at dealing with threat axes other than straight in front of them since they can't use covered arcs. This strikes me as quite realistic.

Cheers,

YD

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Originally posted by apex:

A very nasty way of using them is by deploying your first line on the edge of a wood with fallbacks behind (out of sight from everywhere except inside the wood). First you make the enemy approach that first line, which usually costs him some. Then you withdraw deeper into the wood and have a prepared position in there as well. Works especially well with infantry with lots of close-quarter firepower.

apex

For me, this is the key idea--always have cover between your front line of foxholes and your fallback positions. That is, as above, put your front line in the front of the woods and your back line in the back of the woods. Or have your front line (of observers, FO's) on the crest of a hill, then let them pull back to foxholes in a reverse slope position. Or have your men in a building and place fallback foxholes behind the building. When the tanks start blasting the building (or better yet, before), decamp to the foxhole in the rear. Retreating to fallback foxholes across open ground while under heavy fire is indeed suicidal, but it can usually be avoided in a well planned defense.

And don't wait too long to pull back. As soon as the enemy has amassed sufficient firepower to do more harm to you than you can do to him, it's time to bug out--fast! The withdraw or advance (in reverse) commands can work well in this context--for 'withdraw' you absolutely MUST have a covered line of retreat or your soldiers will rout. I agree, though, that a 'fallback' command would be a nice addition to the new engine.

Meanwhile, by compelling the enemy to commit sufficient force to expell you from your forward positions, you will have forced him to commit to a specific line of attack and you can adjust your defense (behind cover) accordingly.

[ February 28, 2003, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: CombinedArms ]

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