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"Layered Defense: ? HOW!?


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From time to time I've heard of this concept of a "layered defense", and thought I had an idea of what it involved.

But any time I've tried my understanding of how to do it, I just end up with a series of wiped out forces!

Can anyone describe how it works? Give examples of how you made it work? How you recognise when you should do one?

Ta!

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Hmmmm. I should wait for the JasonC post... hehe... but seeing I'm here.

By layered I take it you means lines of defence, and possibly lines configured with different assets.

In a recent scenario I'd stormed a town but then had to hold off an axis heavy tank assault. Plan A was to use half-squads to keep an eye on his advance, fall back a line of tanks in front of him (foggy, u see) though waitng too see if he left gaps to exploit (I had Hellcats), and fall back through a belt of bazookas who I intended would be the first line of resistance. Theory was I'd pick off a few tanks with the zooks, or get him embroiled against them while I maneuvered with the TDs. Of course, with Hellcats, I couldn't resist. In Plan B, I probed a few times and actually had to drift my zook screen forward as his advance became quite cautious.

However, that was a very mobile game with lots of armor and zooks (tho' no ATGs or IGs on my side). I think a dedicated/static layered defence will be quite a different kettle o' fish. I look forward to reading the correct answers. *G*

'Course JasonC's old 'how to defend like a German' might be a partial answer?

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Basically....is very simple terms..this is some peoples defence line:

___________________________

A Layered Defence would be more like:

______ ------- _______

_______ _______

______ ------- --------

You try tou make it s that if your enemy gets through your 1st stong points, he cant just flank you and run around behind your defenders and surround you.

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I don't think one can truely represent a "layered" defense on CM's scale. I think a layered defense would work with say 5 to 20 miles of battlefield. With this thinking you hope that the enemy goes through your 1st lines so that your other layers can start the process of encircling them.

Now you stagger your units when you set up, which I think is a must if your trying to create fields of fire, but that isn't really a "layered defense".

I think for CM a "static" or "mobile" defensive docturine is more approperiate strategy to discuss using.

Is the layered defense the answer to or the result of "deep penetration offenses"?

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Think of layering your various weapons systems' EFFECTIVE (50% hit Probability) RANGES so that those ranges are all physically congruent, focused on a small area. Functionally this means one creates an "Engagement Zone" (mobile units shifting their positions) or a "Fire Sack" (fixed units pre-positioned)...the focal point should be where the OpFor MUST concentrate physically (a choke point, a bridge, a steppe surrounded by scattered trees, woods, pine stands, a road thru an open area surrounded by cover terrain when the ground conditions are Wet/Mud/Deep Snow, etc).

[ October 08, 2004, 07:37 PM: Message edited by: Alkiviadis ]

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Wow - 4 posts and 4 different ideas of what "layered defense" would be!

My (mal-formed?) conception was most like HarryInk's: anticipating the line of attack, and putting different obstacles in the way, intended to feel out the attacking force, and weaken it while withdrawing in front of it, but not to stop or kill it: that is the job of the last layer.

This idea never works because "withdrawing in front of" an attacking force never works. The front layers are spotted then wiped out ... once they are engaged they are never able to move back.

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A) AFAIK, there was no such thing as a "Layered Defense" -as a military concept- till it was applied to the Missile Defense recently. (In case of doubt, check with Google -it is applied mainly to the SDI, and to antivirus software-);

B) the correct term is: "Elastic Defense in Depth", and the favourite link (most cited in this forum) is

Standing Fast: German defensive doctrine on the Russian front during World War II by Major Timothy A. Wray

In essence, it combines:

1) an outpost line -very lightly manned- with direct views to the enemy ((In CM terms, light MGs, sharpshooters and anti-tank-teams));

2) a Main-Line-of-Resistence, sited on reverse slope, formed of strongpoints with mutual support (and including a strong reserve),

and 3) an artillery line, or final resistance line (with indirect fire batteries), again on reverse slope.

the emphasis is put on

flexibility

decentralized command

iniciative

and inmediate response and counter-attack.

076L.jpg

- - -

C) Here is an example of elastic defense in depth:

CSI REPORT No. 13 - TACTICAL RESPONSES TO CONCERNED ARTILLERY

GERMAN COUNTERARTILLERY MEASURES ON THE EASTERN FRONT IN 1944-45: OPERATION BAGRATION

by Dr. Samuel J. Lewis

1st Battalion, 27th Fusilier Regiment, 12th Infantry Division

There are relatively few German Army battalion-level accounts concerning Operation Bagration. The following recollection by a battalion commander cannot be substantiated by documentation, but it does reflect how the Germans attempted to maneuver within the battle zone, which was consistent with the elastic defense.

The 12th Infantry Division served under the XXXIX Panzer Corps of the German Fourth Army. Since March 1944, the division fought east of Mogilev defending a 32-kilometer front along the Pronja Bend with no reserves, excluding the field replacement battalion. The 1st Battalion defended a front of more than four kilometers behind the Pronja River, which was fifteen to twenty-five meters wide and served as an antitank obstacle. Throughout May, the arrival of replacements and the return of convalescents increased the battalion's strength to about 430 men. By June, the 4 companies each fielded 70 to 100 men. The battalion held the northern flank of the division, with its neighbor to the north being the 337th Infantry Division. The battalion aggressively patrolled the 1 1/2-kilometer gap between it and its neighbor to the north and the front down to the river, most of which could not be observed from the main line of resistance.12

The battalion did not defend the river line but, rather, established its first line on a series of hilltops and rises (30 meters above the river) 300 to 500 meters from the river. That trench linked a series of weapons pits, each sited to provide flanking fire for another. Where appropriate, the infantry had placed mines and wire in front of the line. The troops lived in squad bunkers sited on reverse slopes. The battalion commander set up a second line 400 to 600 meters behind the first, mostly on reverse slopes. Covered communications trenches linked the first and second lines. It took the battalion eight weeks to complete five such lines.13

The Red Army's 2d Belorussian Front faced the German Fourth and Ninth Armies. It occupied a 160-kilometer front and achieved an artillery density of 181 guns and mortars per kilometer. The Front's main effort rested with the 49th Army, which concentrated ten rifle divisions to strike the German 337th Infantry Division, the northern neighbor of the aforementioned 1st Battalion.14

The usual harbingers of a Soviet offensive alerted the German defenders, accentuated on 22 June by Red Army loudspeaker psychological operations broadcasts, artillery fire, and aggressive patrolling. By the evening of the 22d, the battalion had driven the Soviet advance parties back across the Pronja River. The battalion commander expected the major attack on the following day, so during the night, he evacuated the first line and occupied the second line. However, he left several forward observers in the first line. After illuminating the battlefield during the night, the Soviets began their barrage of all calibers at about 0400. The rolling barrage lasted about three hours, moving back and forth several times across the first line and destroying just about all the positions and communications links in the first line. The German battalion in the second line suffered forty casualties from the barrage.15

Following the three-hour barrage, the German battalion commander took the unorthodox measure of moving forward to the first line. He found that a sufficient number of positions had survived for his troops to occupy. The first Soviet attack broke down about 200 meters in front of the first line. Subsequent attacks in regimental strength met the same fate. During the night, the German battalion once again withdrew to the second line where it once again averted the brunt of the morning Soviet artillery barrage and subsequently moved back to the first line. To avoid being surrounded, the battalion finally retreated on the night of 24 June.16

- - -

D) Here is an interesting paper on both defensive and offensive tactics:Dynamics of doctrine: the change in German tactical doctrine during the First World War by Timothy T. Lupfer

- - -

E) Fom the previous (d) point

On 9 May 1915 Capt. Andre Laffargue led an attack on a German position. Afterwards, Laffargue reflected upon the problems of the attack and expressed his ideas in a pamphlet, "The Attack in Trench Warfare." The French Army published, the pamphlet, but distributed it for information only; it did not become French doctrine. The British did not translate it.6 Early in the summer of 1916 the Germans captured a copy of the pamphlet, translated it at once, and issued it to units. Ludwig Renn wrote that Laffargue's ideas had immediate use as a tactical manual for German infantry.
I found From a 1916 issue of Illustration : a series of battlefield sketches by André Laffargue showing an attack on enemy trenches

- - -

F) Another interesting paper, though more on offensive tactics:

Evolution of Infantry Assault Tactics 1850-1918 by Frank W. Sweet

- - -

G) And finally, take a look to this PDF done in Powerpoint-style

German Army Tactical German Army Tactical Adaptation during World War 1

------------------------------------------------

I admit it is difficult to apply all the principles of the "Elastic Defense in Depth" in the CM games:

a) usually, you can´t choose the terrain were you want to defend from -something essential-,

B) not enough troops per Kilometer of front to create a real MLR -AND- enough reserves ((though it is usual to put the armoured assets in reserve for mobile counterattacks))

c) costs for fortifications preclude a real complete MLR.

Regards,

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Some people actually build several seperate lines of defense, and similar lines.

That's the most stupid things you can do, as it just allows the attacker to decimate you piecemeal while you can't bring all your weapons on him.

The theory is that the attacker is being frustrated by overcoming one layer, only to face a second one. Unless the attacker's morale is parcicularly fragile, that never works out for the above reasons, and in any case, more fire works wonders on enemy morale, too.

Sadly, the "some people" are not limited to gamers :(

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Well, I am happy to admit I suck at defence. Typically I'm impatient with the lack of forces, having to stretch them rather than concentrate them (as I do in attacks) and the stasis of my dispositions. I'm keenly interested in your opinions here.

Green as Jade observed, as I did in the battle I mentions, that the forward layers tend to get overrun, and to stop that the following layers become a melange in order to increase firepower to match the enemy.

Alkiviadis's advice of

1. id the focal points of attacks

2. assign them to 'engagement zones' of mobile forces or 'fire sacks' for static units (+ the mob.)

3. work for harmonious relation of elements ideally all w/n effective (more than 50%) ranges.

I just gotta go do some testing now about what constitutes 50% ranges for the most common units I use in defences.... : )

Looking forward to WN's upcoming comments. I hope they spark more.

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Elastic Defense in Depth probably isn't what you're looking for in Combat Mission, and I'll explain why in a sec. First of all I should point out that pk's post is an excellent description of elastic defense but, if you can't be bothered to read it all, here's the basics:

Elastic Defense in Depth was designed by the German army in WW1 due to a very real problem that had just come about: 5 men with a machine gun could probably hold a 25m stretch of trench just as well as thirty.

You see, all the extra men did was provide something for the artillery to hit. The idea was that, by lowering the number of men, you were less likely to lose them to artillery, and you could train the remaining squad to quickly set up and fire the Machine Gun.

If the enemy managed to break through the first line of trenches, they would have had a ridiculously high attrition rate compared to the defenders, meaning their first line (often consisting of many decimated 'waves' of attacks) would not have the man power, ammo or machine guns to hold off a German counter attack. It also meant that, in a war of attrition, the defender would sustain far lower losses compared to the attacker - something vitally important in a static, constant battle line like that of the trenches in WW1.

It must be remembered that this strategy was just that : a strategy, not a tactic. Now, this idea is all very well in Combat Mission, but it forgets one VERY important thing: with the advent of tanks (and thus increased mobile firepower), Machine Guns and entrenched troops could be stopped much more easily. If you leave your MGs and short range AT weapons unsuported out there, they will get picked off by overwatching tanks, no question. So, you may wonder what use Elastic Defense in Depth is.

The answer is, in its present form, not much. It had to be reformed and, surprise surprise, the Germans did this in WW2. Instead, they used an 'Advanced Position', best described here in this American intelligence report of the time:

The Germans organize the advanced position 5,000 to 7,000 yards in front of the main line of resistance, within the range of their medium artillery. A position is selected which will prevent seizure by the enemy of important terrain features, provide good observation points for friendly artillery, and, if possible, deceive the enemy as to the location of the main line of resistance. Troops manning these positions attempt to make the enemy employ his forces prematurely and, if possible, in the wrong direction.

The forces in the advanced position are usually reconnaissance detachments, which include machine-gun, armored-car, and antitank-gun units, the fire power and mobility of which make them suitable for this type of employment. In general they occupy important features, such as railroads, river crossings, cross-roads, and commanding ground. Forces in advanced positions are not expected to hold at all cost; in the face of superior enemy fire they retire along predetermined routes under cover of their medium artillery.

When using this advanced position, it is most important to remember that you want your troops ALIVE. I've seen far too many people just leave their units in the advanced position, while they get decimated. If you can get your units out, through a route covered well by tanks, AT and MG fire, you can even trick a foolhardy attacker to race after your units, thinking he's opened up a line in your defense. Then you can hit him!

Fundamentally, 'Layered Defense' (as we might as well call it from now on) consists of multiple battle lines (probably only 2 on a small/medium depth map), the front ones with less firepower and a well covered line of retreat, and the behind ones with enough fire power at their disposal to not only cover this retreat but also perhaps to launch counter attacks. I myself use it almost all the time, since it gives you such tactical flexibility.

Think about it: if your opponent is even a tiny bit reckless with his attack, his recconnaissance and maybe even his main attack (only if he's very stupid) may get caught up in your advanced position's fire. This could delay him, lower morale, weaken units and make him expend precious artillery/ammo on a position you've very sparsely populated, and don't care much about anyway.

Just as a final point (hadn't meant to write an essay!), REMEMBER that your advanced position is expendable - completely expendable. You shouldn't ever be slow to evacuate it before men start dying. 9 times out of 10, your opponent will overreact, use up his precious artillery assets, and move his tanks/ units in a way that will disorganise him for your Main Line of Resistance. Oh, and don't be afraid to move your Main Line of Resistance around a bit, depending on what your advanced position does to the concentration of the enemy force - it's there for aggressive recconnaisance too!

You can look at an interesting set of articles on German strategy here - Certainly helped me!

TimG

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What Tim describes is a screen which creates standoff between the enemy start line and your main lines of resistance. That standoff will prevent the enemy from bringing his full artillery power on you (range of guns, problems of getting the spotters forward) and also prevents him from leading with tanks as they know they might be picked off way before they can use their weapons on the primary targets.

I would describe it as a recon screen.

But note that the quoted report says "highly mobile". They are supposed to fall back when the enemy full attack begins. When the enemy is forced to start the full attack from the standoff position so that your main line ejoys the benefits of it, then the screen falls back.

Unfortunately there is practially no way to fall back like that in CM, for the following reasons:

1) too hard to have light vehicles at the forward edge of LOS-breaking terrain

2) way too much time required to hook up guns and towing vehicles face problem 1)

3) 1) and and 2) are made worse by absolute spotting where an infantry scout team can instantly tell any buttoned up tank on the map where some screen element is running

4) CM trenches are useless for movement near enemy MG fire

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Originally posted by Redwolf:

What Tim describes is a screen which creates standoff between the enemy start line and your main lines of resistance. That standoff will prevent the enemy from bringing his full artillery power on you (range of guns, problems of getting the spotters forward) and also prevents him from leading with tanks as they know they might be picked off way before they can use their weapons on the primary targets.

I would describe it as a recon screen.

But note that the quoted report says "highly mobile". They are supposed to fall back when the enemy full attack begins. When the enemy is forced to start the full attack from the standoff position so that your main line ejoys the benefits of it, then the screen falls back.

Unfortunately there is practially no way to fall back like that in CM, for the following reasons:

1) too hard to have light vehicles at the forward edge of LOS-breaking terrain

2) way too much time required to hook up guns and towing vehicles face problem 1)

3) 1) and and 2) are made worse by absolute spotting where an infantry scout team can instantly tell any buttoned up tank on the map where some screen element is running

4) CM trenches are useless for movement near enemy MG fire

This is very true. Also, I think the maps for most games are too small because you are restricted on the flanks. So this in effect makes ALL defenses "line defenses". Even if your defense has several layers of screens it's still a line defense. Elastic defenses are set up with corps not battalions. The battalion/company level we play is just a small portion of the overall picture and it could be that our battalion/company is the group that is suppose to fall back on contact.

That's why I don't think we can think in terms of "layered defenses" with in the scope of CM. In CM everyone staggers their defensive troops to gain the most los advantage and it would be almost impossible to actually line them up like a WW1 battle scene. So it might seem like an elastic defense but were just seeing a small little peice of the overall operation. In reality there would be battles being conduct on our maps flanks and our actions would depend on how those battles faired as well.

Walpurgis Nacht, please comment I like reading your "professional" CM tactics, and this is a good subject.

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Tim more or less has the philosophy, and well said, above. However, I don't get hung up on using "real, historical" tactics. Mainly because I'm not an expert on them. But I am an expert on CM game play :D

There are so many considerations, it is often difficult to describe what *exactly* to do (if only I were as gifted with the english language as our Jason), because every little terrain detail has a significant impact on how you want to approach defending.

If you are defending a flat, open map, fallback defense obviously will not work. . . and you shouldn't need it! Also, if you have green or conscript troops, forget it. Regs will work but preferably vets or better for this job. You want your boys to be able to shake off a few small arms bursts while on the move.

In terms of QB maps, medium settings or thicker terrain is perfect for the fallback defense.

First thing to do is create your "alamo" line. This is your final line. If it breaks, you lose. This is where you setup all of your trenches, main AT guns, HMGs, and other heavy weapons for support. Also setup all of your infantry on this line, just to start. Since we're talking about a fallback defense I won't address, in any detail, how to setup this line specifically. But one tip to counter the mistakes I often see is be damn sure you are setting up mutually supporting cells here . . .so that if your opponent attacks left, your central line has flanking fire for him. If your opponent attacks center, left and right flanking fire for him. And if he goes right, your center has flanking fire in support. Make sense? The LAST units you open up with on this line are your squads right in front of the attack. . the very last. You do not want him to locate your positions directly in front of his attack because once he locates them, he can smother them with arty and other HE. Use flanking MG fire until he finally pushes infantry through to your squads, who then in turn rip him apart.

OK, so once your "alamo" line is totally set, it's time to tear it all apart. But, you have to remember your “alamo” line positions. You’re not rushing your heavies forward like HMGs, and AT guns, so naturally they stay put. You’re rushing squads, and mobile AT weapons like schreks, and tank hunters. A typical example might be, in a 3 squad platoon, to rush 2 squads + HQ forward, leaving 1 back. Split this last squad and set him up on your “alamo” line in positions so that the foxholes act as markers for your other squads later, when they fallback. Make sense? Do this with all of your squads, using your split squad reserves to mark your alamo line with foxholes.

Now this becomes difficult to explain, because you really have to know how cover/terrain works to be successful. Observe the forward areas of your defense. What forward terrain can you rush to and not be spotted by the attacker? What forward terrain can you rush into, that will allow you to escape out the back safely when the time comes? You want to rush as far forward as you possibly can, while remaining unseen. You want to be careful though, if you rush too far forward you might well defeat the whole purpose by running into enemy troops! Once you locate these forward positions, you naturally stack your infantry on the forward part of your setup zone, ready to rush ahead. Make sure you hit hotkey “d” to take away their foxholes, so your opponent does not spot them and realize what you’re up to.

Turn 1, rush everyone forward to their positions. Make sure you do NOT hide your squads. Keep them up, with teensy cover arcs so they can see. They will not be spotted, even if not hiding, until your opponent gets so close that you want to open fire anyway. Remember Saturday morning cartoon philosophy from the 80s . . .”knowing is the half the battle!” :D

Now, the idea here is delay tactics. When you setup one badass line only, it allows the attacker to bring his superior firepower up to your line, and he in turn will crush you with it. Once you trigger a particular ambush, your advantage as the defender is used up. So the idea is, ambush-fallback, ambush-fallback, etc. Every time you fallback and reset, you regain the initiative. Now there are some exceptions to this. If you notice that his main force is on the other flank of the map (away from a particular ambush of yours), you might well want to hang tight there and fight it out a bit more. There is no reason to go and fallback from nothing more than a thin recon screen. You might also have a foolish attacker that does nothing in the way of recon on the flank he doesn't intend to attack. Even better! Sit tight for a good long while to make absolutely sure he has nothing in front of you, and then push forward, further into his backfield, come around and hit his attack from behind. Typically you'll catch his slower moving, expensive support weapons like mortars, etc.

Another trick, the “double-ambush”, is that you can wax his split squad in ambush once, then split one of your 2 squads (the one he probably now sees, whose cover arc he just tripped), and fast move him back, as if retreating. Do it in a way that the attacker is sure to see you (“fast” move is the easiest method of travel for your opponent to see while you’re in cover . . it gives you away the most). You might get lucky then and inspire him to rush multiple squads forward to “catch you”, while 1 squad + 1 split squad are still waiting in ambush. It’s a very nasty ouchy for the attacker should you succeed.

LMGs are a great way to cover the fallback process. You ideally want to find positions for them in the middle ground . . .say 150-250meters behind your forward ambush points, so he can help keep the attacker’s infantry busy for those precious few seconds your boys are trying to get the hell out of there.

Armor is so precious because it is mobile. And thus, also perfect to support ambush fallbacks, or in the case that the attacker’s main force is pushing elsewhere, to help your forward ambush infantry stay and fight for some turns. But be careful in how you use it before your ambush is triggered. It’s better to keep him just out of sight, but ready to pounce, until your ambush has been tripped. You don’t want to scare the attacker into being extremely conservative with his movement until you’ve already drawn first blood.

Consider the dangers of the fallback defense. What attacker leads with tanks? Answer:only those that are clueless. So, this forward ambush rush of yours should have at least 1 solid turn before he can get his armor on top of you, allowing you to crush and run in plenty of time. The same goes for mortars and arty. Sometimes, particularly with the nasty arty, you might well want to keep enough of your infantry forward to encourage him to use it. Remember you WANT him to use it then as opposed to having hordes of it left for your “alamo” line. A good trick with these suicide squads is to split them all . . .to give the appearance that your strength is greater than it is . . . encouraging him think the arty expenditure is worth it.

Sometimes you can setup 3,4, or more layered belts of defense this way. Perhaps it is because I’ve played so much CM . . .but it has been a very long time since any attacker has even come close to my “alamo” line by the end of the game, using this method. It’s an extremely time consuming pain in the ass for the attacker. Think as though you’re that attacker for a minute. What do you do when your split squad is waxed in an ambush? You bring up more men and firepower, positioning it to tear the patch of terrain apart. That takes time. So every time you can setup a new ambush, you are buying yourself more and more time. Finally the attacker, seeing his time slipping away, will start to make terrible mistakes in the name of haste. It happens every time. This will make it much easier to take out his armor now that he’s on the fast track.

And so your boys continue to fallback, until they reach their final positions on the "alamo" line. The closer the attacker gets to that "alamo" line, the harder it will become as they start to find themselves in LOS of your heavy support weapons. As I said, I am nothing but a dogged amatuer when it comes to historical tactics, but from my reading this falls very much in line with Soviet defensive tactics. The Russians always kept their best firepower and biggest boom booms on the final line, so as the German attack forces begin to tire, their attack become more and more difficult in addition to that exhaustion because the firepower they face increases the closer they get to the Russian's main line.

As I said before it is so difficult to explain every detail. Just knowing where are the best positions in that “woods” patch, to ambush from, is a thesis in and of itself. It is my hope that the above generalizations will be useful enough to help get anyone started. If someone has a specific question about any of this, I’m happy to elaborate.

[ October 11, 2004, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: Walpurgis Nacht ]

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Thanks for all this discussion. It's fantastic.

Tim described the idea that I thought "Layered defense" meant.

Redwolf (and earlier others) described my problem with it - I had the vague idea, but couldn't get it to work in practice. I just had forward people being killed then rear people being killed.

Walpurgis has described how & when it's supposed to work. Yay! That was exactly the kind of description I was looking for!

I still have one definite problem after reading Walpurgis's explanation. How do you get it so that the retreat can be covered?

One repeatable problem I have is LOS for covering fallback. It's almost a Catch 22. The guys are forward to be the first ones to see the oncoming enemy and trigger the ambush. So they see them, open fire, then want to run. But they were forward so they could *be* the ones to see the oncoming troops. Hence the people further back who are supposed to be covering still logically (and in practice) can't see the enemy units that the forward people have now engaged and want to retreat from!

This was particularly bad in Proof of Honour. But maybe it's "Duh - you can't do this in a low LOS environment like that".

Well - hopefully a better understanding of how it works will let me design it better & make it work!

Certainly having experienced troops up front is something I haven't paid attention to. In fact, I think I've been thinking "well, these forward guys are going to get waxed, so lets put the green people up there". Duh! Self fullfilling prophecy!

Walpurgis - if it's possible to describe some more around how you arrange the covering fire to be effective, that would be wonderful.

Thanks all.

GaJ.

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GaJ. Perfectly good question to elaborate on. I will be happy to do so a little later on when I can find a window of time.

I wish I had the computer skills to take screen shots and post them up here. And draw on them with nifty little arrows to point things out. It would save a lot of words . . . .which are of very limited value when trying to describe CM details!

Will post a reply soon.

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GaJ wrote:

One repeatable problem I have is LOS for covering fallback. It's almost a Catch 22. The guys are forward to be the first ones to see the oncoming enemy and trigger the ambush. So they see them, open fire, then want to run. But they were forward so they could *be* the ones to see the oncoming troops. Hence the people further back who are supposed to be covering still logically (and in practice) can't see the enemy units that the forward people have now engaged and want to retreat from!

One way is putting your firing position near the breaking-LOS ridge. In that way, a short "Assault" or "Advance" order will put them on a safe reverse slope (or wood, or any other LOS breaker, such as buildings).

Another, is smoke (not enough in CM for that, though).

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Paco's got it perfect there - the idea is that, when you move your advanced position forces out of their zone, along the fallback line, they should be out of LOS of the enemy, unless the Enemy gains the position which your advanced units fell back along.

Your further back lines should be able to hit this position as hard as possible, like a long range ambush to cover your retreating units.

What Tim describes is a screen which creates standoff between the enemy start line and your main lines of resistance. That standoff will prevent the enemy from bringing his full artillery power on you (range of guns, problems of getting the spotters forward) and also prevents him from leading with tanks as they know they might be picked off way before they can use their weapons on the primary targets.

I would describe it as a recon screen.

This is correct, I was trying to describe what GreenAsJade wanted to know about. As you can read, I named this strategy that of an 'Advanced Position'.

TimG

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How to get your forward positions away alive from the attack?

a) This is rather easy in CM. Just move them off the map sides. Probably a valid tactic in reality. You don't run thru the glacis towards your own positions but first move to the side, then to the rear.

B) Smoke.

c) Use of terrain

d) Any combination of these

Hey - this is rather easy, isn't it. But something is wrong with it. Actually it does not work in most CM battles.

Reasons:

a) Smoke costs points. Most players prefer to use them as HE.

B) Moving off the sides means your troops are gone for that battle. Not a problem in reality - they would live to fight another day (literally) and had done their job today. CM is all about one battle. So I want the maximum use of any unit I have. Moving them off-map seems to be a waste (except for units out of ammo). But forward units usually don't survive the amount of turns neccessary to spend their ammo as they are overrun or panicked before.

c) Terrain in CM is approximated. In the open, you are x% exposed and will be spotted as soon as the enemy is near. In reality, a small troop could hide somewhere in the middle of the glacis. A single bush might conceal two men as their is absolutely no LOS to them. So the forward troops could withdraw a little bit, then hide in small "reverse slopes" and hope for the MLR to stop the advance before the enemy discovers/reaches them (Example: Reverse slope is 200m behind crest. Forward units are on the crest. They run once the enemy is 100m away...making it halfway to the MLR). Makes them pretty useless for quite some time - but cf above. To achieve something like this in CM, you need to have small dips in the ground with some cover - one level lower with brushes, rocks or stones and something to break LOS might work. It will not work on small maps as it will cover too much of the available ground. But on large maps you can add those dips every now and then. Some people might object - hey this is rather gamey as this terrain feature is not for real and placed exactly for this purpose. Yes. You won't see 400qm of cover spread across maps. But there are 4qm pieces. And these might be enough. But you can't model them in CM.

Gruß

Joachim

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