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Divisional level game using CMBB


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I'm in the process off building a massive, extremely detailed map for a hypothetical Divisional level game in 1945.

I've read many sources but I am still not fully decided about what would be included.

I've decided the German side will be an SS Panzer Division. So far, from what I've gathered this should consist of :

Two Panzer Battalions - I'm unsure of what each battalion would consist of.

Two Panzer Grenadier Regiments consisting of:

2x Panzer Grenadier Battalions per Regiment.

1 x Infantry Gun Company per regiment -6x 150mm towed guns per Regiment (1 regiment likely having 6 x self propelled)

1 x Pioneer Company per regiment

Combat Support:

1 x Pioneer Battalion

1 x Recon Battalion

1 x Anti Tank Battalion consisting of 3 Companies- 2 self propelled 1 towed. Total of 18 guns.

Anti Aircraft Battalion - 2 Companies of 4-6 Flak 88 each. In the game these would be anti tank guns, so would need to either add an extra AA company or change the flaks to 20-37mm.

As air support on both sides will be available (3 to 1 ratio for the soviets) I need AA.

Divisional artillery will be the only unit I would limit, as that would be too devastating to use the full arsenal available.

Ok, that is the SS Panzer Division. Other than needing help assigning tanks to the panzer battalions, I'm quite happy with that. Unless anyone disagrees?

Soviet is another matter entirely. I've read plenty of info but it will be much more difficult to create the OOB. This I need help with from any of you in the know. Also, I want the Soviets to have perhaps a 10,000-20,000 point advantage and certainly a lot more tanks available to them. I want to use Soviet guards, by the way.

Originally I had planned for this to be an open scenario where my opponent would choose his own historical divisional level force, but to keep the game as historically accurate as possible it's probably best for me to research and build each force myself. Doing it this way ensures realism in the OOB's and gives the Soviet opponent the advantage.

Thanks

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Yes, all on one map. Map is being designed to have 3 major seperate battles, and being 4km long gives a long enough front in the game. I will be using the reserve feature though, so it won't be too crowded over the course of a 100+ turn game.

I'm well aware that the majority of the time divisions did not commit all thier resources to battle and were likely spread over a 20 mile front. Still, I'm positive this will make for a very exciting game for anyone willing to fight such a battle. A lot of time and effort is going into the map (4th day building and only half done)

Back when CMBO was new, I was always complaining about the limited units you could purchase in the editor, not even able to reach regimental strength. I got my wish with CMBB (after coming back to wargaming after 5 years being busy with other things)

Still need a little help with the Soviet OOB.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't we be seeing stuff like this when CMC is released? With the maps being auto-generated based on the map tiles from the big overview map. I'm looking forward to it, like alot of people are, just wish it would ship this decade. ;)

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Even your German OOB is wrong. Heer PDs had 2 Pz Gdr battalions per regiment, but SS PDs had 3.

The project makes remarkably little sense. A campaign, OK. A series of scenarios, OK. Trying to command all the force in a division plus in one tactical go, pretty hopeless.

The corresponding Russian unit, though, would be a tank corps. (Possibly a mech corps, I suppose).

Typical composition of a late war Russian tank corps -

3 tank brigades

1 motor rifle brigade

plus

(infantry type attachments)

1 motorcycle recon battalion (includes armored cars, some M3 scout cars; army level might add another battalion's worth or not)

1 pioneer battalion (similarly, more at army level)

1-3 SU regiments - 12 SU-152 or ISU-152 in one, 16 ISU-122 or SU-100 or SU-85 in another, 20 SU-76 possible in a third

Occasionally also a heavy tank regiment of 21 IS-2 tanks.

1 AAA regiment (typically 16 37mm guns plus AA MGs)

1 antitank regiment (typically 24 76mm guns, also used indirect)

1 mortar regiment (24 120mm mortars)

1 rocket regiment - 18 132mm MRLs typical

The motor rifle brigade has 3 motor rifle battalions and a weapons and mortar unit with additional 82mm mortars, AA MGs etc

Each tank brigade has 63 T-34/85s plus an additional infantry battalion, usually SMG armed and acting as "tank riders".

Sometimes the 3rd SU regiment with SU-76s would be in place of the towed 76mm anti tank regiment. Either would often work with the motor rifle brigade. The motor rifle brigade provides infantry depth and holds areas taken by the tank brigades.

Recon battalions and one tank brigade usually act forward of the rest of the formation, scouting the road net for the enemy if the situation is fluid. In contact, the recon screens flanks or goes into reserve.

Pioneers are mostly on rear area route support work, briding and road improvement for the tanks etc. On defense they lay mines. They are occasionally also used as attack specialists in built up terrain.

One of the tank brigades is usually held in reserve to meet contigencies, typically reinforcing the most successful of the forward brigades on attacks.

The heavy SUs, rockets, and mortars all provide heavy ranged firepower to prepare the battlefield. The SUs may do so direct, in support of a single tank brigade (for each SU regiment).

The medium SUs (ISU-122, SU-100, or SU-85) are thought of as AT specialists. IS-2 tanks used as breakthrough specialists.

A tank brigade fights by fire and movement, mounted SMG infantry clearing blocks of terrain under T-34 overwatch, after artillery and tank prep fire.

I hope this helps.

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As for the composition of the German panzer battalions, one would be equipped with Panthers and the other with Panzer IVs. Each would have 4 companies. At this stage of the war those might have as few as 14 tanks each (yielding about 120 for the whole division with some command tanks added); earlier it went considerably higher. (3 platoons late, 4 earlier; 4 vehicles per platoon typical late and in Heer, 5 each in SS earlier etc).

Sometimes a couple of companies of the Pz IVs would be replaced by StuGs or Jagdpanzers. Not a TOE thing, an ad hoc measure. There would be additional SP guns in the Panzer jaeger battalion, bringing the "full AFVs" to more like 150 for the division.

The 150mm sIGs in each SS Pz Gdr regiment would all be self propelled at this stage in the war. In other words, 6 "Bison" in each regiment.

The first battalion of the artillery regiment would be self propelled, with 6 Hummel and 12 Wespe. The second would be motorized 105 howitzers, 12 of them. The third typically had 8 150s and 4 105mm cannons (longer range for counterbattery work).

The Flak would have 12 88mm Flak in the first 3 sections, and 18 37mm in the last 2. There would also often be some Flakpanzers with the tanks, a couple of platoons typical. And truck or Sdkfz mounted AA in the Pz Gdr regiments, a platoon each again typical.

One of the Pz Gdr battalions was typically armored, meaning SPW mounted, the rest trucked. The armored battalion would have up to 25 gun armed halftracks (75mm, 81mm mortar halftracks, flamm, platoon leader tracks with 20mm or 37mm, etc) plus 50-75 MG armed or HQ 'tracks, making it a large light armor formation.

The recon battalion was likewise a large light armor formation. Typically 2 companies of armored aufklarung, 1-2 companies with armored cars (PSWs, mixed but mostly 20mm varieties), and 1 company with heavy weapons halftracks (75mm, 81mm, etc).

The first company of the pioneer battalion was also typically armored. So the recce and pioneers between them had as much additional armored infantry as the single armored Pz Gdr battalion.

The Pz Gdr regiments typically each had their own Pz Jgr (anti tank) company and sometimes a pioneer company as well. The AT might have only 3-4 towed PAK each, but gobs of panzerscrecks, at this stage in the war. (Like 24 per regiment).

The divisional Panzerjaegers would by now be mostly SP guns. TOE was 31 Jagdpanzers, but sometimes if would be StuGs instead. The 3rd company might have 12 towed 88mm PAK instead of additional SP.

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Better yet, make it 3-4 fights in sequence, each between KGs (quarters of the whole force, mixed compositions etc), each using a third of its strength on each occasion.

CM simply does not work above battalion level. And I don't mean tank battalion level.

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Thank you Jason, that is a great help. I have now come to the conclusion a full divisional game on one map is too much, even if half the forces were kept in reserve until late in the game.

I'll probably halve the force sizes, which would be a little more realistic and far easier to manage and wont scare off potential opponents so much. Still though, it will be a sizable game, which is what I am looking to create and enjoy playing with other like-minded individuals via pbem.

One more quick question : How were Tiger units deployed? Were they thier own seperate units (brigade,company?) and used where needed most?

Thanks

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Tigers were deployed in Schwere Panzer Abteilungen (heavy tank battalions). Unlike the mass produced Pz. III, IV, and V, Tigers weren't attached to Panzer divisions. Instead they were organised into these battalions and were usually held at corps and sometimes army level. In major offensives (eg Kursk) these Tiger battalions would be assigned to Panzer divisions in a Panzer Corps' making the main effort.

Their primary task was to lead the breakthrough fighting, breaching heavy defences that would allow the Pz. III's, IV's and V's to exploit into. They were seen as very valuable assests and were only used to spearhead the Panzer Corps' main effort. Of course, later on they would be used as armored reserves to fight allied breakthroughs.

During the war, the Wehrmacht deployed 11 Heer Tiger battalions and 3 SS Tiger Battalions. The battalion had 45 Tigers organized into three companies.

I think some of the more favored divisions had a Tiger battalion permanently attached, such as the Gross Deutschland and Lehr divisions, though I may need to be corrected on this.

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Originally posted by Si32:

Thank you Jason, that is a great help. I have now come to the conclusion a full divisional game on one map is too much, even if half the forces were kept in reserve until late in the game.

I'll probably halve the force sizes, which would be a little more realistic and far easier to manage and wont scare off potential opponents so much. Still though, it will be a sizable game, which is what I am looking to create and enjoy playing with other like-minded individuals via pbem.

One more quick question : How were Tiger units deployed? Were they thier own seperate units (brigade,company?) and used where needed most?

Thanks

I just finished playing a PBEM with both sides having 30 000 points and spread over a large 4km operation map. By the middle of the game is was becoming ahuge pain to plot commands as the lag was to great. Processing each turn took nearly 20 minutes...

I would'nt do it again - the time lag etc detracted from what a great fight smile.gif

Cheers fur noo

George

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You want to present your commanders with the combined arms problems and abilities of the larger formations, but not to burden them with a command span neither they nor the game can readily handle. Fine. The solution is to create a "double step reduced" version of the previously intended fight. Rather than simulate whole divisions, or even single major subelements of them at full scale, you instead provide a mix of forces that parallels the load-out of the parent formations, but with everything reduced by an order of magnitude.

Really, it might make sense to make it down 3 levels, but I'll illustrate it down 2.

The Germans get -

2 Panther platoons each 4 Panthers (8 instead of 80 of the things)

2 Pz IV platoons each of 4 Panzer IVs

1 Jadgpanzer platoon of 3 Jadgpanzer-70s

2 platoons of armored panzergrenadiers, includes 8 SPWs, add 1 Pzchreck to each

2 companies of motorized panzergrenadiers, including 2 heavy weapons sections, add 2 Pzschreck to each

1 platoon of motorized panzer pioneers, 4 squad, 4 FT variety

2 extra weapons sections each HQ, 4 HMG, 2 81mm

4 20mm PSWs

1 150mm "Grille"

2 75mm "Stummel"

2 81mm SPW 251/2

1 Flamm SPW 251/16

2 "Whirblewind"

2 88mm Pak

2 37mm Flak (towed)

1 150mm FO

2 105mm FO

1 FW-190 air support, delayed and randomized arrival (e.g. 20% starting turn 10 say)

motor pool - up to 10 kubelwagen, 30 Sdfkz 7 (or Truck)

The Russians get

6 T-34/85 platoons (3 each, 18 total)

2 IS-2s (one platoon, late 1944 model)

1 ISU-152

2 SU-100

3 BA-64B light armored car working with

1 Recon C platoon, split, with 3 M3 Scout car and 6 jeeps ("motorcycles")

6 reduced SMG platoons (7 man, mech variety, each HQ and 2 squads), each with 1 tank hunter with RPG added, riding T-34s

3 Motor Rifle platoons, each with HQ, ATR, 3 squads, optionally riding 4 trucks each platoon

2 weapons platoons each platoon HQ, 3 Maxim, 2 82mm mortar, 4 trucks

1 pioneer platoon in 4 trucks, add 1 FT, 3 PTRS ATR

Motor rifle Co HQ section with Co HQ, 2 50 cal HMG, 2 M5 Halftrack

gun section with 2 76mm ZIS-3, 2 jeeps

2 37mm AAA with M5 Halftracks, plus 2 quad 50 cal haltracks

2 120mm mortar FOs

1 132mm rocket FO

Sturmovik air support, later arrival (e.g. 30% starting turn 15-20)

The Russians have 23 full AFVs to 19 German, but the Germans have more light armor and HMGs. Each has 27-28 infantry squads, the Germans somewhat more numerous and more LMGs - but the Russians include 120 "tommy gunners", etc. If you think the Germans need "play balance" help, upgrade their SP guns to 3 Jadgpanthers. (You could also add 2 75mm leIG to the German OOB, realistically enough - towed by kubelwagens). If you think the Germans are too strong as it is, downgrade their SP guns to StuGs instead, drop the Grille, or both.

This would still be a big fight. The total command spans are around 100 units on a side. But you could actually give orders to this much stuff, and later in the fight with portions of each side destroyed, others pinned down or otherwise out of serious action, and with some having obvious required orders or orders carrying over from the previous turn, it should stay managable.

And both sides have effectively their complete combined arms "kits". The towed guns are a bit light, but that is in the nature of the forces involved, which are highly mobile, attack oriented, etc.

Personally I think this scale of forces is the right sort of thing for a mini-campaign, where you further split them up on multiple maps according to the tasking decisions of rival supreme commanders - allowing the stuff on one map to be more like company scale, and each fight to matter. But you could at least still command them all, in parallel like that or one fight after another until one of the other side runs out of serious stuff remaining and "folds".

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I like to play big battles of this size, it's absolutely playable. (Well, you get a cup of coffee and plot for an hour). Maybe I'll try this setup in my next game.

I guess one side needs an additional force if this is planned for an attack/assault mission.

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They call what Jason is describing as "bathtubbing" in the miniatures world. Frank Chadwick did a "Bathtub Barbarossa" for his Command Decision rules that scaled the whole Russian front down by a factor of 25. Even then it was immense.

The problem with such an excercise is, Combat Mission is set to put you in the role of a company commander more or less. And even with that you are making the decisions of several platoon commanders. At a divisional level, you aren't making the kind of decisions a division commander would make, but the decisions of LOTS of platoon commanders. It just doesn't work.

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It works fine. No you can't redo Barbarossa, but then who wants to, or would reach for a tactical game system to do so? Play Russian Campaign or whatever.

The reason it works in CM is it presents the side commander with reasonably accurate combined arms choices, as a matched wits thing with the opposing commander. And it generates a variety of tactical situations aka fun CM games, and makes their outcomes matter in a larger context. Which also makes losses more important etc.

If ones doesn't have the time to run a campaign, or the whole crew of people, you can use the same set up to just generate a "scenario pack" worth of match ups, each down another level again, from the size I described. Which together pit the whole reduced KGs against each other.

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