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Hey! What Gives?

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Here's the situation.

An excellent Soviet platoon with excellent leadership attacks a german platoon (qualities unknown, numerically inferior to the Soviets) using the ADVANCE command.

The Soviets attack the Germans from behind, in the woods, by surprise, with all PPSH's, with a cross fire given by supporting armor. Maximum advance was about 50M.

The results - THE SOVIETS WERE WIPED OUT TO A MAN. The Germans turned on a dime and delivered a stupendous fire that killed or disabled everyone.

1. Was this outcome just bad luck?

2. Do I misunderstand the ADVANCE command?

It seems to me that I could not have engineered a more skillful attack - The question must be asked - Is it possible to win such an attack?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and answers.


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According to the manual I think you should have used the Move to Contact instead of Advance. Move to Contact seems to indicate more of a cautious type approuch which I believe would have resulted in your guys getting the drop on them whereas the Advance may have alerted them to your presence allowing them to react faster and more deadly. I am finding out that the Move to Contact move is the best movement to use almost in any situation as it stops your men as soon as they are noticed or fired on. The other movements always seem to cause more harm to my men because the men seem to continue on when they should stop and fight or take cover. I rarely use them althought sneak and move I do use a lot. And yeah I bet you were shocked to see you careful plan go bad. That sucks but had it been handled properly I bet you would have had much better results. Live and learn as they say. Better luck next time. ;)

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my experience in close-in (50 meters and less) combat such as in woods is that the side which isn't moving at the moment of contact, 'gets the drop' on the side which is moving, and can tend to inflict heavy casualties.

in the situation you described, perhaps the best way to approach is to somehow establish supporting fire into those same woods (which apparently you had with the tanks chucking HE; yet not enough to preserve your platoon under ADVANCE orders) and SNEAK into place.

to put it another way, close-range attacks requiring less supporting fire may be able to use the ADVANCE command, but if if they require more supporting fire than is at hand they should probably try and SNEAK to contact instead.

one thing would be to try and limit the extent of your moves to stop where your squads are anticipated to come into line-of-site/line-of-fire (LOS/LOF) of the defending units.

in any event i can definitely hear you, myself having had many a platoon rendered ineffectual whilst attempting to root out defenders who had automatic weapons in the woods.

the main thing to remember is that, if you as the attacker come under fire while making a move at 50m against squads with automatic weapons, it can get ugly really quickly.

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How long did you give your supressive fire to take effect? I'm just guessing here but is sounds like the enemy squad wasn't 'heads down' when you started moving in on it. Wait until the enemy squad has gone at least 'pinned' before moving your squad in to clean them out. Unless your supressive fire is REALLY heavy, this usually takes at least a turn or so. If the enemy unit is dug-in in good cover, it can sometimes take several turns.

I lay down supressive fire for as long as I can afford to before advancing on an enemy position. Ideally, I like to see the enemy unit(s) doing the 'horizontal boogie' (indicating they are probably broken or worse) before I send infantry in to clean up what's left.

As you probably discovered, squads that are only 'cautious' or 'shaken' can still put out pretty respectable fire, and if your squad moves in to them at this point, they can quite easily get cut down to a man. Even 'pinned' squads can still cause some damage, though usually you can get in on and wipe out a pinned squad without too many losses.



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I'll hazard a guess at what happened (if you review the film carefully it will tell the real story). Your advancing troops failing to ID the defenders as targets quickly enough. The defenders heard your advancing infantry, turned and let loose on them. The initial fire of the Germans drove your advancing troops to ground and then the Germans just poured it on at point blank range. If your troops are suppressed it doesn't matter if they have smgs or sharp pointy sticks.

Defenders that aren't moving have a distinct advantage at detecting advancing/moving infantry. Sneak can work though if other units of yours have ID'd the position. Sneak to just within range (add a hide so you don't have just one squad opening up at the end of the sneak). If you can make it undetected, the next turn you can unhide and merrily blast away.

I bet the Germans weren't just carrying rifles and lmgs too. That sounds like they were packing at least 2 smgs/squad and probably more. The 4smg/4 rifle/1 lmg German squads put out a heck of a lot of firepower at close range.

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50m is probably too long. LOS lines in full woods tend to be only 25m. It is entirely possible for moving men to simply not see stationary ones in woods down to 10m range.

The first trigger pull in such short range firefights has a tendency to snowball. SMGs are a very large plus, but first shot and many on fews set up by differential LOS are at least as important. Morale including leadership, and number of units, also matter.

I ran 2 tests of a similar situation, in a complete woods blanket. The Russians had a 25 man motorized SMG platoon, regular, with an all +2 leader. The Germans had a 43 man regular rifle platoon, with a leader with +1 command but nothing else. The Germans were facing east with west edge friendly, and stationary. The Russians advanced into the back of them.

In the first I let the AI command the Germans. Their HQ as a bit behind their other units. I ran onto it first. Germans got first trigger as I was still moving, but I halted within 15m of first shot, in a match up that put 2 of mine on the German HQ. It was eliminated rapidly.

They fought for several minutes and I burned most of the ammo. The Germans lost, with 33 men hit to my 7. The remainder scattered. Most of my losses came in 1 squad, engaged in a 1 on 2 for part of the second minute of action and suppressed until help came.

Without small adaptations you will always lose these woods firefights. LOS is 25m and units are often 40m apart even in the same platoon. They don't see the same locations therefore. Even staying tight, 20-30m, you will see different locations with your left edge than your right, and too bunched up each shot can pin several units.

But *small* is the operative word. Typically the minute end examination of LOS lines will show spotted enemy 20m from one unit but 30m from another, exchanging fire with the first while the second can't see anybody. A 7m advance turns that into a many on few and a win. Sitting still will lose, like as not. Trying to move everybody will let the enemy shoot at your movers practically unanswered (ROF for movers is much, much lower than while stationary).

I tried again hotseat to give the Germans command, better than the AI. I moved the HQ forward a bit to avoid it getting hit right away. Germans again got first trigger, but this time return fire came within seconds as some of the Russians had already stopped. (They'd been spotted moving, but the Germans had to turn which took time. In the meantime the Russian reached their waypoint and stopped).

It lasted several minutes. One Russian squad panicked and eventually recovered; it ended with 2 out of 7 men remaining an a few shots of ammo. The rest were dry, and only 10 Russian survived, including 1 from the uber HQ. 10 Germans also lived, but 5 routed, and 5 others who had recovered to a rattled pinned after breaking earlier in the fight. That still means 15 Russians hit to 33 Germans.

Both sides made numerous adaptation moves of 10-15m by "advance". Each occasionally got flanks that way, some cowered here and there, there were many grenades and occasional hand to hand when two advances by opposite sides collided.

It sounds to me like what happened in your case was the result of an overly long move, too far past the point where LOS became possible. Your men were trying to press on to 5-10m range, but took fire at 20-25m. They went to ground before they fired as a result. Once there, they were deep enough inside enemy LOS that several enemy could see each of them, and rapidly blow them away. (It is also possible, of course, the Germans also had SMGs).

The way you want it to work instead is all approach to the edge of LOS, and halt not long after getting there. To fire, and duel only the foremost enemy units, preferably while others deeper in the enemy position are still outside the short woods LOS distance. 1-2 SMG shooters firing will put the target heads down typically within 30 seconds. That reduces your incoming, and as suppression lifts increases your outgoing fire.

The actual killing typically happens after they cower. You advance 5-10m in a very short rush to get several close, they pour on fire, that enemy either dies or gets up to run away, often getting hosed in the process. There can be some difficulty with running out of ammo shooting at mostly broken men, when the cover is good. (When it isn't e.g. scattered trees, they die before you run dry).

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