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Knocking out Ferdinands


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I'm playing a 1500 ME quick battle with a friend, and I'm facing 3 Ferdinands. I have (had) an mechanized guards battalion (2 x rifle Co, 1 x SMG Co, 1 x MG Co) and 4 x T-34s (Late).

I threw everything I had against those beasts, hitting them from the rear, from the side, from the front, assaulting them with infantry, pelting them with 14.5mm ATR fire for the entire game, you name it. Nothing.

Is there anything I could have done, or was this game doomed from the start?

Phemur

[ June 22, 2003, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: Phemur ]

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Those Ferdinands are some big boys. My way of dealing with them is i cross my fingers for a gun damage or atleast a immobilization. All while im being shot to hell and back.

Seriously though, close the distance and try to engage them on their sides/rear from point blank range. I know, not an easy proposition.

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You were mostly doomed. Wrong force to tackle them. 4 vs. 3 odds when you need a flat point blank side shot for a remote chance at a partial penetration doesn't work.

What can work are pioneers (demo charges are better AT weapons than Russian tank hunters get) and SUs (152s best, 85s going for the flanks so-so). On defense, AT mines can help.

On defense, 25mm AA are also a good bet - those just need to stay out of range of full ID and pelt them repeatedly, hoping for gun damage or immobilization (either will serve). You can try that with ATRs (or at longish ranges, 45mm ATGs), but it isn't as likely to work.

The right way to try with what you had was to get shots with the T-34s from directions they weren't facing that instant, then reverse out of LOS before they turn and fire. You then need a lucky track or gun hit.

If they "keyhole" to present only their forward facing to avoid turning, you have to send infantry to the sides, then through the cover they are peeking between.

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Just a bit more background...

I unfortunately did not purchase any tank hunter teams. Really, the only AT capability I purchased were the 14.5mm ATRs and the T-34s.

Plan A was to zip around the Ferdinands, and take a shot at them from behind. He parked all three of them in the open, on a road, and fired at the buildings and in the woods where the objectvies are, so I figured my infantry would keep him busy enough that my armor could get into position.

And they did. They weren't in point blank range, but they were fairly close. I hit them in the rear and in the sides probably a dozen times, and all I got were ricochets and no damage.

After the first few shells, he went after my T-34s. I tried to maneuver out of the way, but his gunners must have been ex-snipers. He took one T-34 out while it was moving at fast speed *perpendicular* to itself. One shot, direct hit in the side. No one survived.

A few turns later, I managed to get a rifle platoon within 10m of his Ferdinands. They did nothing, except stare at the view. The Ferdinands calmly turned, and flattened the woods were that platoon was located.

It's turn 24 right now, and I have both objectives. My casualties are moderate, and besides his Ferdinands, my opponent has no force left, except for a platoon that's under heavy fire. Since my opponent is typically very cautious, I don't expect him to bring his Ferdinands anywhere near the objectives, so I'll likely hold them until the end.

I'm just out of ideas on how to kill these things.

Phemur

[ June 22, 2003, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: Phemur ]

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There are some situations where your opponent simply has you with your pants down. Nothing you do short of your opponent being totaly incapable will allow you to take out those tanks. (this is what I was talking about in my uber tank thread people, large tanks can make a hell of a differance in a battle) Those three tanks are going to dominate the field and keep your infantry and armor cowering behind some brush. Yes, if you can get some armor point blank behind those tanks great! But you have as much chance of doing that as I do of winning a gold medal in womens figure skating. He has you where he wants you. Take the pounding then play him again with some rules that ban heavy armor like that. Even if you had a su155, the german long range optics would still destroy you. I think you are out of luck my friend.

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Originally posted by Patton21:

There are some situations where your opponent simply has you with your pants down. Nothing you do short of your opponent being totaly incapable will allow you to take out those tanks. (this is what I was talking about in my uber tank thread people, large tanks can make a hell of a differance in a battle) Those three tanks are going to dominate the field and keep your infantry and armor cowering behind some brush. Yes, if you can get some armor point blank behind those tanks great! But you have as much chance of doing that as I do of winning a gold medal in womens figure skating. He has you where he wants you. Take the pounding then play him again with some rules that ban heavy armor like that. Even if you had a su155, the german long range optics would still destroy you. I think you are out of luck my friend.

I had 3 tigers take out 3 platoons of T34/76's and a company+ worth of troops all by themselves. Heavy tanks take the fun out of it in my mind.
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This is a perfect example of playing a non-historical scenario. 15 T-34/76's against 3 or 4 Ferdinand tank destroyers would have been more like it.

Refuse to play with this opponent unless they realize that pitting 3 or 4 German heavies against as many T-34/76's is not very sporting and certainly not historically accurate.

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I don't want to go on too much about scenario balance. Suffice to say, my opponent and I didn't place restrictions on units before the game, so I won't complain. Even if we had, I'm not sure I like "artificial" limits. I'm guessing the Soviets did encounter heavy armor without the appropriate AT weapons, and they just had to deal with it. So that's what I did.

Back to my game. I now have one abandoned Ferdinand and one that's immobilized. The immobilized tank was pure luck. I ran a squad to within 15m, and they lobbed a hail-mary grenade that popped it's track. It was probably due to being weakened by the 210+ 14.5mm ATR shells I fired at it.

I'm not exactly sure how the other Ferdinand was knocked out. I send two squads to assault it from the front, and two more from the back. The tank immediately reversed to get away from the first two squads, backing right up against the other ones. All of a sudden, I got a "top plate hit" (or something) marker on the tank, and a few seconds later, the crew bailed out.

The third Ferdinand is apparently out of ammo.

I doubt I can get squads in there to finish them off, but at least two are out of combat.

Phemur

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Shameless plug for my armor limit ruleset smile.gif

http://www.battlefront.com/cgi-bin/bbs/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=23;t=007650

Seriously, these mismatches often happen accidentially, the heavier player only having maxed out because he thought his opponent would max out.

EDIT: as for the Ferdinands, in 1943 they have a long list of weaknesses in the unit info screen. They are tougher when they reappear in 44.

[ June 22, 2003, 11:02 PM: Message edited by: redwolf ]

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The third Ferdinand is apparently out of ammo.

43' era Ferdinands don't have a single MG. I beleive in real life during the battle of Kursk some were destoryed by close assault after the infantry behind them had been stripped away.

One Soviet unit that will kill them from the side or rear is the Little SU-122 with HC rounds. It's still quite a challenge though, but at least it is a chance. Oh, tank hunter teams with RPG-43s work wonders too.

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I never take really heavy armor (I play almost exclusively as the Russians though), and everyone I've QB'd against the last month or two pick as many Tigers as they can possibly get :D To my credit I usually can get a draw or at least a near draw by fielding a lot more infantry and destroying everything else but the few Big Cats. Sometimes you get those too with persistent close assaults in dense terrain. I consider it a challenge, albeit it can make you frown when you feel you had a sound plan and were defeated by two tanks, not a combined arms force worth 2000 points.

And sometimes it frankly sucks.

Rarity helps (that excludes the largest tanks often, but not always since its not a balancing option like we all know), and playing -42 or -41 games helps too, though the Russians easily end up with a few KV1s and the German players, used to taking everything thrown against them with Jagdtigers, Tigers and Panthers roll over and surrender in dread. Oh God, we are facing slow armor with ****ty guns and possibly no radios, but they have heavy front plates we can't win! Wimps.

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Ferdinands did come with a MG34 with 600rds of ammo for dismounted crew use...but thats no use to you while in a vehicle with no real safe and effective way of using it against swarming enemy infantry.

Ah, I did forget to mention something about that in my last post. During the battle of Kursk, the Ferdinand crew got so desperate to fight off infanty that they would fire the above mentioned MG-34 down the barrel of the main gun while there was no 88mm round loaded and the breech was open. Not my idea of a good time...

[ June 23, 2003, 04:56 AM: Message edited by: Nippy ]

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If you hold all the objective areas Phemur it would seem you have already beaten the Ferdinands...

All hail the Queen of the battlefield smile.gif

Oh, and a bit of Ferdinandiana...

Spielberger notes that 19 Ferdinands were destroyed (total losses) between the 5th and the 14th of July 1943, most of them to artillery hitting the engine covers. In four cases the electrical drive caught fire and destroyed the vehicle. By the 1st of august another 20 Ferdinands were lost, most of those being blown up by their own crews to prevent capture.

By that time the regiment had reported 502 enemy tanks, 20 PaK and around 100 artillery pieces destroyed.

(Schwere Jagdpanzer, 2.Aufl., page 86)

M.

[ June 23, 2003, 05:43 AM: Message edited by: Mattias ]

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My friend and I play a lot of cmbb. At first we used to buy our own troops, but when you buy your own troops you always buy the best you can. So our battles were quite boring when you always had an good idea what the other had. But now we play totally random quickbattles. You have no idea what troops you have and in what shape they are until the battle begins. And you have no idea what the other has. Most of the times the other has a quite clear advantage over the other. Like I was defending with finns with no armor and only 3 at-guns and some jaegers when he had 6 stuarts and 3 KV-1 and 2 T-34 and air support. Not much infantry, but when those tanks rolled in I ran away.

Try some totally random battles they are quite refreshing!

;)

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Originally posted by Phemur:

Is there anything I could have done, or was this game doomed from the start?

Phemur

Hmm, IMHO you won the game when his infantry was dead and you held the flags, since you said your opponent is usually "very cautious" and such solid "masterful" battlefield tacticians rarely rush unprotected heavy equipment inside hordes of infantry.

But then you somehow knocked out two of those monsters and one ran out ammo to boot with!

I would call that a rather solid victory against three units of far superior armor.

I'm acquainted with that tight knot in your stomach when you realize you have a platoon of superheavy enemy tanks parked in front of your position and you just lost your last tin coffin of a T34, but if you have the guts to play through it you can surprise yourself and your friend!

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I'm in the process of reading a good book , "Blood Red Snow", written by an Eastern front veteran. He mentions that several of the new tank destroyers, Ferdinands, were brought to his sector and they gave the Russian armor a real pasting. He also goes on to say that the Russians tried very hard to find out what it was that was giving there armor such a hard time.

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A few replies

Shameless plug for my armor limit ruleset

Redwolf

I took at look at them last week, and they were quite good. Well explained, well presented, and very fair.

The reason we're hesitant on adopting them is that we've never really had an arms race situation. This is really the first time we've had two mismatched forces facing each other. But then again, most of our games probably would have been legal according to your rules. We'll definitely give them a shot in our next few games.

If you hold all the objective areas Phemur it would seem you have already beaten the Ferdinands...

Mattias

and

IMHO you won the game when his infantry was dead and you held the flags, <snip>

But then you somehow knocked out two of those monsters and one ran out ammo to boot with!

I would call that a rather solid victory against three units of far superior armor.

Ligur

I'd normally agree, but he did pound the living daylights out of me for most of the game. I've lost all 4 T-34s, and probably half my infantry. Even with the objectives, I don't know how many points I'll get. The last time I checked, it was a draw, but that was before any of the Ferdinands were knocked-out.

I tried two very stupid assaults, and at least three platoons were eliminated out right.

The first was an assault on my right flank. He had one Pz Gren platoon holding that position, and I wanted to get in there so I could clear out his center line from that flank and from the front. That way, I could get infantry in position to assault the Ferdinands. The assault failed, because his entire force opened up on my assaulting squads.

A bit later I tried an assault on all three of his three positions (he split his company up by platoon). I finally overran that right flank, and rolled up the center and the Ferdinands, but the cost was quite high. I'm hoping that the knocked out Ferdinands will give me enough points for a victory.

I'll put up an AAR of this battle on my upcoming CM website.

Phemur

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Great Elefant mods! ;)

This may be the occassion where that most hated of all CM messages may come to your aid -- "Gun Damaged"! Perhaps concentrated fire on the Ferdi's will knock something loose. 'Track hit - immobilized' and a killed tank commander would be nice to see too. you can't count on luck, but sometimes luck happens.

It certainly happened in real life. Shell splinters had a nasty way of working their way around the Ferdi gun mantlet and into the fighting ocmpartment. I recall reading about how one Ferdi commander lost his fingers when a non-penetrating shell struck the commander's cupola he was holding onto. Ouch!

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