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Assaults, Attacks, Probes...Do they make sense?


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I've been reading up on these three types of quick battles. It appears to me as if the probe is the best QB to be the defender in as the attacker gets 40% more equipment but the probe defender gets access to all of the fortifications available in attack and assault QBs.

In an attack, the only difference appears to be that the defender starts out in foxholes, but the attacker gets 50% more equipment. According to the manual, trenches are more effective than foxholes anyway.

In an assault, it appears that the only defensive advantage is placing extra fallback foxholes. I think it's very hard to fallback effectively so I see these as not very useful. The attacker gets 72% more equipment in these battles.

In attacks and assaults I also observed that the defender gets progressively more flags to defend. In a sample 2000 point probe there were 2 flags to defend. In a 2000 point attack there were 5 flags to defend. In a 2000 point assault there were 8 flags to defend. I hardly see this as an advantage to the defender - it spreads your forces out defending more flags. I think in an assault you should just defend one flag - that would allow force concentration.

Any comments on this? Why would assaulting someone be harder than an attack? I think it would be easier with all the extra equipment. In a 2000 point assault you get 3440 points worth of equipment. How could you lose? I think the defender should get cheaper fortifications to buy in an assault than in a probe - something to balance it better.

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Interesting point. In BoB we have been running assaults based on 1500 point defence and almost invariably the assault has won. I have looked at a couple where the defences won or drew and it is explicable why they were exceptions. Essentially experience wins out and in that I mean familiarity with the type of game, terrain, and tempo of the attack.

There are two important things that add extra layers of complexity to your question. Time available in which to attack makes an enormous difference. Restriction on purchases - if the forces are say, Combined Arms only it makes it possible on 1500 points to predict how much armour, how much ATG, how much infantry, etc the defender can purchase.

I any event it liiks as though Attacks and Probes would be interesting alternatives to Assaults. Thanks for highlighting the differences.

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Also there is a difference with how far back the flags are in the defenders set up zone with probes attacks and assualts.

Assualts give the defender more abilty to defend in depth and therefore attempt to defend time and space more adequatly. However in my experience this does not compensate for the massive force increase given to the assaulting forces.

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Originally posted by pocketrocket:

Also there is a difference with how far back the flags are in the defenders set up zone with probes attacks and assualts.

Good point - I hadn't observed that. Shortening the time limit would help balance it for sure. A longer narrower map would also help - the attacker couldn't flank well and it would take him longer to get there. But then you'd have to have a custom map.
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Originally posted by Der Kuenstler:

In attacks and assaults I also observed that the defender gets progressively more flags to defend. In a sample 2000 point probe there were 2 flags to defend. In a 2000 point attack there were 5 flags to defend. In a 2000 point assault there were 8 flags to defend. I hardly see this as an advantage to the defender - it spreads your forces out defending more flags. I think in an assault you should just defend one flag - that would allow force concentration.

Forget about defending flags. Turn them off when you are in setup and instead focus your deployments and strategy on defeating his attack. If done correctly the flags are yours anyway.

In any event, the AI places flags in some of the most ridiculous locations, like in the middle of a wide open field.

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In the dozen or so assault defenses I have played on medium maps over 32 turns with using the same parameters, regardless of ignoring the flags or not by the defence their forces are crushed almost totally.

My belief is that there is a very delicate equation on non-ME battles and this map size/time/force restrictions/weather provides a lot of variables.

In my experience and from the little feedback I have had from a poll I tried to carry out very few people have played assaults and virtually none have played probes and attacks.

It is simpler for people to play scenarios and ME's.

If anyone has any experience of the these rarer battles and flaws in balance it would be interesting to here. I do know that the break-off level is set higher but I was never au fait with that anyway.

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Well I have just started a 5000 point mirrored assault game for the Blitz ladder. Both players will defend as germans and attack as allies.

Map = Small

Moderate trees and hill light damage.

45 turns.

My first observation is that actual fortifications will come in very usefull, especial pillboxes. I am pinning my hopes for defence on a number of 75mm anti tank pillboxes which should prove hard to kill.

I have also a very large number of mgs that hopefully will enable me to maintain suppresing fire.

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20+ Turns would be way to short. It will take 10 turns to get to the launch off sight for the main assualt. Then it will be 5+ turns at least of recon to attempt to spot and then neutralise ATGs dreaded 150mm infantry guns and pillboxes. Another 5 turns hopefully detstroying his armour (mabe more as there may be uber kittys.) Then the infantry assualt can begin proper supported by whats left of my armour.

I would say 30-35 turns would probably be the optimum amount of turns.

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If you play an 'optimal setting' attack and expect balance, it never works out. There are a trillion variables that either make an attack too easy for attackers, or impossible. The middle ground is rare.

Take for example an assault with mod trees, small hills with snow. Attacker has weakend mechanized, 'medium' quality, and defender hs infantry only at 'high' quality. 45+ turns. In this example the attacking force is going to have trouble over whelming the defending. Remove the snow and 'weakened' elements and it may be too easy for attacker, etc.

The map layout is also a huge factor. On an assault, you want to use fortifications to their ultimate ability. If the map allows a serious keyhole, your advantage sky rockets. Putting barbwire, mines and trench traps where you know the enemy has to go will pretty much halt him.

The staple CM game is combined arms vs combined arms, 1,250 points, ME in a village. Throwing in things like casualties, randomized quality or lower ammo makes the player feel they unbalance things too much so they don't bother. In reality, CM isn't even balanced to begin with.

[ August 16, 2005, 11:40 AM: Message edited by: securityguard ]

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CM has always had two -sometimes opposing- playing styles. There's the 'histrorical recreationists' who want things as close to the real thing as possible, even if the resulting game is unplayable. There's there's the 'play-to-win' types who want a level playing field and all the available advantages, even if the result could never have ever happened historically.

Probe, Assault, Meeting Engagement, and Attack are in the game not to help optimize 'gameplay' but because they are separate distinct types of combat! If you want to recreate using a strong position to hold out against an overwhelming assault then an even number meeting engagement just is't going to cut it. By the same token, if you want to recreate two mobile forces stumbling across eachother while on the march then fielding bunkers and barbed wire wouldn't be appropriate. some may feel one type of game is less 'fun' to play than the other but each has their utility reenactment-wise.

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Pocketrocket

Two wins for the offense then : ). I would believe that normally but you are playing on a small map and that is very dense point wise. My money stays with the attack!!

I have played a dozen CMAK assaults over the last 9 months all to the same parameters [1500] though and I would be fairly confident the attack should win in 45 turns. However if you have unrestricted force choice it could be more amusing and closer.

Incidentally I find the 75mm bunker little underpowered as the rate of fire seems quite slow and the shell effect is not huge. Oh and do tests on how many vehicles can drive through a mine hex without damage - thats fun. : )

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Well, maps on 5000pt battles are not that small even when they are set to small.

If the map was any larger in fact the defence would be harder as I would have to spread out to thinly.

I am allready gambling that he dosnt attack down one flank it has no cover and have concentrated my forces to atempt to turn the covered approach into a death trap.

Another thing worth mentioning is that it is the map was set to town. This means that armour and infantry must assualt in unison.

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