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Best approach to a hedgehog defense?


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I don't think this has been a topic before, and I think it might be interesting to get some views from people. I'm actually interested in both sides of the question: that is, what is the best way to organize a hedgehog defense, and what is the best way to attack it.

A few parameters: I am talking about a defense on the scale of a medium-sized CM game, not something representative of, say, the large hedgehog defenses on the Eastern Front. The point is that the defense has no flanks and is at least mostly surrounded (or could be). I am assuming the defense is organized around suitable terrain (one or more hills, good cover, lots of clear terrain around the position). I am assuming the attacker has limited FO or direct HE capability, and therefore must rely on some sort of attack. Similarly, I'm assuming the defense is relying heavily on MGs and infantry with some limited HE.

Some sample defense questions: Is it best to guess where the attack is coming from and concentrate firepower there, or spread the firepower evenly around the position? Do you like to have the infantry on the edges with MGs, etc, to the rear, or keep the infantry in the middle of the defense? Large or small reserve force? What else should one do?

Some sample attack questions: Is it best to concentrate everything against one segment of the defense, or come at it from two directions (perhaps with one being a feint)? Is there a way to get leverage on a hedgehog position similar to a flanking attack, or is it just a matter of trying to bludgeon your way in? Any other preferred approaches?

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I find the question hard to answer, because at the same time the situation is too vague to give a precise answer, but also has too many parameters to offer general tips.

The best thing against such defenses would be artillery, but since you have limited that option, it would be to use the terrain to your favour in such manner that you can expose a salient in the lines to fire from multiple directions (not hard, a small all-around defensive position is just one big salient). Indirect fire should be used to soften up defenders and help pin them down or block their LOS with smoke while assault detachment closes to the trenches, and interfere with reserve movements. Once breach is achieved, enlarge and exploit.

. \ . . . . /

. .\____/

A . ^B^. C

Formation B is to storm the salient while A and C give fire support. Once B has reached the destination, A and C can move forward and support B to roll the lines.

I would not attack from multiple directions unless my force simply was too big compared to the defended area. But I'd have teams watch from other directions to prevent defenders from disengaging.

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I think those assumptions are not too realistic. If there is insufficient support for the attack, it will almost certainly fail, in my view. That seems to be the lesson from those sort of engagements during the war.

Now, if you have some support:

a) Try to think of it as a an operation - use battle one to establish the location of firing positions in the defense. Assign fire support to suppress those identified during the attack.

B) attack from two directions at least, with one main attack, the other supporting, but capable to expand to be the main attack. Otherwise the defender can shift his forces to oppose just your main attack - you lose.

c) use long-range DF support to keep the heads down in the sector you attack. Targeted on ID'd locations. Speculative fire on likely locations.

d) Use constant mortar fire and HMG area fire into the perimeter to make re-deploying tricky for the defender.

All the best

Andreas

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Attacking - don't attack from all sides. It gives the defender interior lines and makes it too easy for him to break the attack on one side only. Also, it means all his assets will be in useful positions.

Pick two attack locations, preferably on adjacent sides of the position, like east and north. Approach both with screens, while the main body is lined up behind one of them. After both screens have engaged, hit the core with indirect artillery and have ranged support weapons (on map) light up the front positions on both attacked sectors. Then launch the main body at the chosen sector.

It helps if a few ranged weapons can cross LOS outside the position, on the other edges, but not actual attack is needed there. You may have to adapt the point of main effort, thus the choice of adjacent sectors as the places hit. It makes it about as easy for you to redirect reserves from fight A to fight B as it is for the defender with his interior lines.

And perhaps easier, if your artillery can gum up his repositioning efforts. A trick there is to take 1-2 large caliber conscript FOs and put them on the middle of the position with "target wide" orders, timed about 5 minutes apart and aimed 100-200m apart. The result is a long 10 minute drizzle of fat shells over a wide area. The few best shells pay for it, and it paralyzes movement quite well. Don't start it until turn 10 or so, plenty of time to approach with infantry.

As for defense, a few heavy weapons have to cover the approach routes. Infantry platoon positions can be manned on a few sides, some need to be in reserve. Pull out those on unthreatened sectors into the reserve, as it is fed forward to a threaten sector. FOs can reposition anywhere and usually have excellent targets.

As for the heavy weapons, they should be sighted to fire into the perimeter - but at long range - as well as across their sector outside, in order to support position across it once the enemy is part-way into the position.

Expect to fight two battles in sequence, one outside in the approach, and the second for the center and one edge of the position. The attacker can and will wipe out your initial force on the chosen side, you just have to make that expensive for him and slow enough that others have time to come help.

Make HE traps, in the form of TRPs or sighted field guns, to cover areas of cover the enemy might take just inside the original perimeter. Alternate those with mine and wire obstacles. Even where you have men - men are temporary, the obstacles and registrations last even when the defenders are killed, and are insensitive to enemy firepower.

You also want the enemy to get less than full use out of your own entrenchments. Trenches in particular should be placed with LOS outside but only longer ones inside, if possible (to make them useful to your heavy weapons, much less so to his infantry fighting their way through the position). A second set of positions in the interior should be far enough the enemy can't get full IDs of them without leaving the first trenches, whether by distance or LOS blockages.

Don't put the initial reserve smack in the middle without cover, waiting around. It is an artillery magnet. Avoid actual flags, likewise. Instead you want places a bit off center with LOS blocks around them. Trenches are good because the other guy won't have them located exactly. Non-descript wood buildings in a large enough village likewise don't draw attention to themselves as artillery targets.

HMGs are the best at slowing attacking infantry over open ground. Their nemesis is tanks, so they need to be covered by threat from full PAK or a hunting AFV linebacker. They won't break attackers, just slow them. Infantry must hold its fire until lethal ranges, 100m or so. Its stealth and surge firepower when it opens up is its key asset.

Don't spend artillery shells early just because they are stealthy. It just gives the enemy more time to rally from the effect of the shells. The best time to drop the serious arty is at the moment of contact, to break the following waves at the same time direct fire breaks the front. Be willing to counterattack even "outside the wire" with 1-2 AFVs or a single platoon, to finish off formations broken up by purely stationary defensive fire.

Inside, the first use of reserves is just to slide in front of a part taking heat, not to charge into it. Reposition before the previous line "goes". Only advance yourself when the local attackers are clearly already stopped and breaking.

Fine question BTW.

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Sergei: Sorry if the question seemed vague. It was stimulated by my studying a particular scenario, but I did not want to start a "how do I solve this scenario" thread. I was more interested in general principles and theory.

I like your point about salients. I'm not sure it's helpful to think of the whole defense as a salient, but it's reasonable to assume there would be one or more salient positions in a hedgehog defense (a perfect circle being highly improbable given the randomness of terrain). Given that, I assume a competent defender would want to organize so as to give strong protection to the flanks of such salients (which the scenario designer did in the default defense by the way). Of course, that might weaken other sectors. That suggests an attacker might want to probe both a salient and a non-salient to see which seems most vulnerable.

Also, the best use of smoke is a good topic. The scenario in question has only light FOs. I came to the conclusion that they were only useful for smoke in this situation, so I have been experimenting with different ways of getting the most from that resource. It does seem that smoke is best used to screen off one segment of the defense from the rest but that's just my best guess.

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Andreas: You may be right that my parameters suggest an unreasonably difficult problem for the attacker. That is partly why I wanted to start this thread. In other types of battles, I find it fairly easy to tell if the nut can be cracked (or, alternatively, if the defense can be held), but I realized I didn't have that level of certainty about a hedgehog situation.

The principles you suggest make a lot of sense, but can be hard to do. I *think* the reason is that the defense is so concentrated it can be hard to suppress all of the defender's ranged firepower (mostly MGs) in order to close on one segment -- if you don't have heavy FOs to make the defender pay for being so concentrated. My best thinking so far is to use smoke to screen off some of that firepower. But that only gives you so much time to break into the defensive line.

By the way, this thread was stimulated by my spending time with one of your excellent scenarios -- The Dirt Road. I'm sure that the scenario is not nearly as "unrealistic" as may be suggested by the parameters I described. :D Because I am playing it hot seat, I got to thinking about both questions of "best defense" and "best attack."

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No, use of vodka is a common error when attacking hedgehogs. If you have Commonwealth troops attacking they use it to clean their small arms, if you have US troops they ban it as illegal liquor in violation of temperance laws, if you have German troops they convert it to panzer fuel, and I leave it to your imagination as to what happens to vodka issued to Soviet troops, for whatever purpose.

There is a school of thought that says fizzy mineral water is effective against defending hedgehogs, the technique being you give him the fizzy water to the hedgehog through a straw, the hedgehog imbibes, eventually burps, and then after burping it naturally rubs its tummy, for which procedure it must unroll, and you have him.

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Jason: I was hoping you would weigh in on this one.

The idea of coming at the defense from two adjacent vectors seems right from the experimenting I've been doing. Shifting a main body from one vector to the other is not always that easy, but that may be more reflective of my skill than anything else. Of course, a good defensive system can also make that more difficult with ranged fire (especially since the CM model makes it more difficult to move laterally under any kind of fire). But you've often said that it's usually a mistake to worry about picking the *right* place to attack, as much as to just pick a place and hit it hard.

Your answer does suggest to me that there may be two levels to this question. One level (which is what I've been working with) is smaller in scale. That is, the defender isn't going to have to move troops around all that much to backstop a threatened sector. Rather, the defender will be trying to conduct an orderly fallback toward the interior while giving the attacker a severe bloody nose in the process.

The other level (which is what I think you are mostly addressing) is larger, where the defender has to worry about a sector collapsing and having the whole position blow up as a result. If I am right about this distinction, then (like Sergei's point about salients) it does give both defender and attacker some logical framework for thinking about the problem in setting up for a given battle. That's exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to get.

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Thinking about this some more, I guess that the key tactical problem in a hedgehog defense (or what I am calling a hedgehog defense -- which may in some cases be little more than a "circle the wagons" situation) is that it is particularly vulnerable to exploitation through a breach in the main defensive line. If an attacker can penetrate far enough into the center, there's no place for the defender to withdraw and the whole defensive position turns into a rout. On the other hand, the defender has a relatively concentrated formation which *ought* to be make it easier to get reserves to the breach.

On the assumption that a competent attacker is going to make a breach somewhere in the line, my thinking is that the defender should have decided in advance whether he will most likely use the reserve (1) to contain the breach while the main line withdraws to an interior defensive position, or (2) to stage a counterattack to close the breach and reestablish the original defense line. This decision would have to factor in the size and type of resources available to the defense, the terrain, how much the position has been fortified with trenches, wire, mines, etc.

Likewise, the attacker has to anticipate whether the defense is likely to try (or have the capability to try) such a counterattack. Part of this would include looking at the attacker's ability to disrupt the formation and positioning of a counterattacking force. Depending on this assessment, the attacker might organize to facilitate exploitation as soon as a breach is made, or to maximize resistance to a counterattack.

Either side could guess wrong, of course, and things might play out differently, but I'm mostly interested right now in how one would construct a basic game plan for this type of battle. Just thinking out loud at this point ...

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Originally posted by SteveP:

By the way, this thread was stimulated by my spending time with one of your excellent scenarios -- The Dirt Road. I'm sure that the scenario is not nearly as "unrealistic" as may be suggested by the parameters I described. :D Because I am playing it hot seat, I got to thinking about both questions of "best defense" and "best attack."

Touché. :D

That was not what I was thinking of though when you described a hedgehog defense, or to put it another way, a hedgehog defense was not what I was thinking of when I designed it.

You have some DF assets, and I believe mortar support, which should help you to get across the open space.

Considering the history of the scenario, it is quite interesting how it turned out, and that it has already spawned two very interesting threads (Krautman's AAR on the CMBB forum and this one). I should be quite chuffed with this one.

In case anyone is looking for it, you can download it from the 'Der Kessel' link in my sig.

All the best

Andreas

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SteveP - I don't think that concepts like breakthrough or exploitation have much meaning in fights of this kind, on this tactical a scale. The attacker's problem is not movement. And the defender's problem is not maintaining a line or other continuous barrier to the presence of attackers.

The attacker's problem is cover differential. If he conducts the entire fight from outside the whole position, he fights from poor cover or at long range or both. If he stays far away he simply won't break the defenders, his ammo will give out first. If he fights from open his morale will give out and his firepower drop, as his force is messed up by defending fire.

To solve it, he needs to get a portion of his force into good cover in range of the defenders. The defenders are in scads of good cover. Ergo he needs to take a piece of their initial ground, but not to "breakthrough" anything or "exploit" anything. He is not trying to restore or increase movement after passing the outer threshold of the defense. He is trying to stop instead of being stuck moving in the open, to get a safe place from which to fire.

If the attacker does manage to eliminate the cover differential by getting a significant portion of his force inside the defender's good cover, then his numbers will do the rest and melt the defense. The range will be low, so firepower and ammo won't be issues at that point.

Also, once a portion of the perimeter is held by attackers, it becomes much easier to move outside the perimeter, opposite the location seized. The attacker wants a route into the position that is free of ranged fire, and smashing the defenders along one face will accomplish that. It "blinds" the defense on one side. That makes a "highway" inward. The attacker can then feed troops forward to the cover taken, relieving the men there first. If those have melted neighboring defenders the attackers expand the portion of the position they control as more guys come up behind them. Otherwise they turn over in place, and outlast the local defenders.

The defenders aren't going to get away - a few heavy weapons covering the sides not hit heavily can slow withdrawals to crawling speed. The whole perimeter will not hold if large portions of the defenders are outside inspecting the grass (trying to get away on the other side but being pinned by machineguns) and others have been smashed (on the side hit).

So the defender's problem is to keep the attackers out in the open, not because they need to fear exploitation or rapid movement inside, but simply because they are better targets out there. And sideways sneakers out in the open don't fire back nearly as hard as safe men in captured trenches. The defender needs to keep the cover differential, in other words.

When the attackers smash defenders along one face, the defenders still need a means of stopping them, or at least of reducing the morale and numbers of the attackers who succeed in reaching formerly defender's cover. That is the reason for obstacles as well as defenders, and for remote control HE traps (like TRPs, or a field gun sighted across the perimeter). Something that isn't sensitive to the death of the local defenders.

So when the attackers seize the eastern face of the position and the former defenders there are all dead or routed away, the defenders call down their artillery on the portion taken, and just outside. The idea is to seal the wound, to stop the flow of additional attackers into the good cover.

If that fire breaks the attackers that make it to the perimeter cover, then a reserve can try to counterattack to clear them out and to re-man that portion of the perimeter. If successful that restores firepower into the open toward the east, etc. You don't counterattack if you haven't already broken up the intruders with HE, though, because the whole point is to keep the cover differential, not to throw it away by charging attackers now in trenches, in the open yourself.

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Andreas: Let me quickly say that I never assumed The Dirt Road was intended to be an example of a hedgehog defense. That was why I only named it when you posted. It was just that playing it (and studying it a little) started a train of thought which led to this thread. I do admit though that the "parameters" I listed were perhaps too much influenced by that scenario. I think Jason's first post was particularly helpful in redefining the question into something more general.

We have had other threads discussing other forms of defense and related attack strategies: e.g., fortified line, pak fronts, reverse slopes, echeloned defense, etc. I thought that perhaps it would be useful to single out this other type of formation and to see what knowledgeable people had to say about it.

IIRC, you are also the author of the infamous Cemetery Hill scenario. There are some similarities between the two scenarios it seems to me -- notably in how meager the offerings you give the poor German attackers. ;)

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Jason: Everything you say makes a lot of sense. But let me probe a little further on this specific point:

Do you see an essential difference (from either the defender or attacker POV) between a hedgehog defensive position and a fortified line (i.e., flanks on opposite map edges rather than a circle or near circle)? My quick take on your last post suggests to me that you'd have written exactly the same thing if I'd asked about the problem of a fortified line.

It strikes me that a hedgehog defense is something like the medieval castle defense. That was how I got to where I did in my last post. It seemed to me that the defense would be weighing the decision of counterattacking to retake the ramparts, or withdrawing to the keep. And the attacker would be weighing whether to focus on holding his position on the castle walls or throwing everything into a thrust at the keep before the defender could get established there. In both cases, it has to do with how you employ your reserves.

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Originally posted by SteveP:

Andreas: Let me quickly say that I never assumed The Dirt Road was intended to be an example of a hedgehog defense. That was why I only named it when you posted. It was just that playing it (and studying it a little) started a train of thought which led to this thread. I do admit though that the "parameters" I listed were perhaps too much influenced by that scenario. I think Jason's first post was particularly helpful in redefining the question into something more general.

I was not being defensive, just pointing out that I never consciously considered this to be a hedgehog defense scenario, but I can see now why one would think it is one.

Originally posted by SteveP:

[QB]We have had other threads discussing other forms of defense and related attack strategies: e.g., fortified line, pak fronts, reverse slopes, echeloned defense, etc. I thought that perhaps it would be useful to single out this other type of formation and to see what knowledgeable people had to say about it.

I agree with Jason that it is a good question, and I think it is a good thread.

Originally posted by SteveP:

[QB]IIRC, you are also the author of the infamous Cemetery Hill scenario. There are some similarities between the two scenarios it seems to me -- notably in how meager the offerings you give the poor German attackers. ;)

Ah, but in TDR you have a much much better chance, and better options than in CH. I think it is by far the better scenario.

All the best

Andreas

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Originally posted by Andreas:

Ah, but in TDR you have a much much better chance, and better options than in CH. I think it is by far the better scenario.

[/QB]

Probably so. In truth, I've only played CH against the AI, and I figured out how to beat it by taking advantage of a stupid AI trick. OTOH I've only played TDR hot seat. It was while noodling around with the defensive setup that I started to think about the problem in a more general way. And the fact that you didn't give the attacker any obvious tools for breaking open the defense (like heavy HE for example :D ) got me started thinking about this type of problem from the attacker perspective. It is, of course, not the sort of heavily fortified position that Jason has described in his posts (except for those two dug-in T34s, of course tongue.gif ). But perhaps the terrain features make up for that in a way, given the scale of the battle.

I'm glad that you think this is turning out to be a worthwhile thread.

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Yes there is an essential difference. In a standard defense, the defenders can back up, pick new ground, do it all over again. The attackers therefore care a lot more about movement after breaching.

They may also try to "lever" the defenders out of a position rather than smashing into it, by just persuading them it is compromised compared to an alternate position a little farther back.

The defenders can just screen the front to see where the point of main effort is before fighting that effort from positions well behind the screen. Their defense scheme may rely a lot more on warning and lateral movement, in other words.

Compared to all of the above, a hedgehodge is a set piece, much less fluid. The defenders aren't going to get away. They hold or they are toast. The attackers don't need to pursue and can't expect to "persuade". They just need to get into cover at close range and then pull triggers until the defenders die.

Because of those attacker advantages, defenders only use such schemes is very strong locations. Linear schemes can't be so selective about cover, they have to protect all the gaps between the good bits and the attacker can pick where to hit.

An all-around perimeter on the other hand is going to pick the strongest natural terrain only, and like as not improve it with obstacles, cleared fields of fire etc, meaning a maximum cover differential (in CM terms, men in trenches facing men in steppe trying to cross wire).

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Corvidae,

You think you can attract a hedgehog with American beer? Maybe those born stateside, but for European hedgehogs you need the real thing, or nothing at all. Although there are some cases of European hedgehogs laughing themselves silly and so unrolling upon the offer of America beer, I would not want to depend on a hedgehog's sense of humor if I was reponsible for conducting an attack on a hedgehog defense. Some hedgehogs are deadly serious about their jobs, they don't even giggle.

SteveP,

Good point about the castle defense, that is essentially the task. The attacker must break in, but the key to that is not actually moving inside the permiter, but rather breaking the continuity of the perimeter. Like medieval castles or Napoleonic squares, the weak point in an all-around defense is the corner or the narrow side, i.e., the place where the defender's firepower is least.

In a WW2 context the "end-on" approach is especially useful as an all-around defense generally is configured to cover approaches to the perimeter, but the defender's firepower almost always is limited firing across perimeter - very frequently because an all-around defense sets up on commanding terrain (if it doesn't, it's easily bypassed) and with the high point often in the middle that means one section of the perimeter has a lot of trouble supporting another section without repositioning.

In other words, find the weak point, and smash it.

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All right. I think some of this is starting to sink in. Here are the three biggest points (IMHO) about this type of defensive situation that I've managed to grasp so far:

1. Reserves. In a fortified line, it is relatively difficult to pull units off of the line to respond to a breach or threatened breach elsewhere. For one thing, it's hard to do this when the units are facing in the direction that the enemy is generally advancing. And even if you do it, such units have a long and potentially dangerous distance to cover to get to the breach. So, in that type of defense, you have to keep more of your initial force in a mobile reserve -- or respond to any breach by falling back.

In the case of a hedgehog or circle defense, it is easier to pull units off the line when they are completely on the other side from the breach, and it is a shorter route they have to travel. This allows the defense to get away with a smaller initial mobile reserve.

The attacker of course knows this about the defense and may attempt appropriate countermeasures -- for example, by slowly dropping HE into the center of the defense to disrupt movement

2. Withdrawing to an inner line. In a hedgehog or circle defense, the idea that one can plan on an orderly withdrawal to a new strong point (i.e., the "castle keep") is probably a mirage. If you have a properly strong initial defense scheme (see point #3 below) and the attacker still gets a firm fire base established on your perimeter (also see point #3), you will be prevented from making such a withdrawal. OTOH, if you are able to make such a withdrawal, it probably means that your initial defensive scheme was weak and you are only delaying the inevitable.

3. Fire plan. Perhaps the hardest point to sink in with me is this: that in setting up your initial defensive scheme, you need to ensure you have at least as much firepower directed at your own perimeter as out beyond the perimeter. You have to keep the attacker from holding a firm position on your perimeter, because he will be able to keep feeding new troops and ammo into that position, and eventually overwhelm you with protected firepower. The significant of the "castle keep" is *not* that it is a place of refuge and a new defense line, but that it is a high point from which fire can be directed onto an attacker that has breached the outer walls. And the amount of firepower you need is large, because the attacker is in a more protected zone once he gets into your perimeter.

On the attacker's side, he has to assume that there will be a lot of firepower hitting him as soon as he manages to break into the perimeter. For that reason, he has to be careful that he doesn't leave himself vulnerable to a heavy HE barrage or the like.

OK, how am I doing so far? Anything major I've missed?

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  • 3 weeks later...
Originally posted by SteveP:

1. Reserves.

In the case of a hedgehog or circle defense, it is easier to pull units off the line when they are completely on the other side from the breach, and it is a shorter route they have to travel. This allows the defense to get away with a smaller initial mobile reserve.

The attacker of course knows this about the defense and may attempt appropriate countermeasures -- for example, by slowly dropping HE into the center of the defense to disrupt movement

2. Withdrawing to an inner line.

In a hedgehog or circle defense, the idea that one can plan on an orderly withdrawal to a new strong point (i.e., the "castle keep") is probably a mirage. If you have a properly strong initial defense scheme and the attacker still gets a firm fire base established on your perimeter, you will be prevented from making such a withdrawal. OTOH, if you are able to make such a withdrawal, it probably means that your initial defensive scheme was weak and you are only delaying the inevitable.

3. Fire plan.

That in setting up your initial defensive scheme, you need to ensure you have at least as much firepower directed at your own perimeter as out beyond the perimeter. You have to keep the attacker from holding a firm position on your perimeter, because he will be able to keep feeding new troops and ammo into that position, and eventually overwhelm you with protected firepower. The significance of the "castle keep" is *not* that it is a place of refuge and a new defense line, but that it is a high point from which fire can be directed onto an attacker that has breached the outer walls. And the amount of firepower you need is large, because the attacker is in a more protected zone once he gets into your perimeter.

On the attacker's side, he has to assume that there will be a lot of firepower hitting him as soon as he manages to break into the perimeter. For that reason, he has to be careful that he doesn't leave himself vulnerable to a heavy HE barrage or the like.

OK, how am I doing so far? Anything major I've missed?

Final Protective Fires!

Hmmm, when hearing about Hedgehog positions I'm always reminded about Cholm and Velikiye Luki, admittedly both examples of those larger Eastern Front kinds, the later ultimately unsuccessful one had two internal forts or castle keeps.

Anyway I like what's been discussed and that you've concluded so far SteveP, but I'm windering if it is better to have a continuous all round circular initial defence, vertually equally strong everywhere with a mediocum of reserves and an internal final or all firing strong point, or if it would be better to have a hedgehog position at CM scale made up of many multible strong points designed to support one another adjacently to the best extent possible, though also backed up by a central reserve and baston of fire support?

The continuous circular scheme could have re-inforced sectors at likely enemy coverred approach routed break in areas, while similarly the multible strong point method would be appropriately deployed with better and heavier positions aranged accordingly. Think in theoretical catch phrases of this being between a wagentrain circle as apposed to something like a depolyment like that of Dien Bien Phu although not as ****ed.

To illustrate the latter further: say that the hedgehog force is a full stength Infantry Company re-inforced with another Infantry Pltn of some higher quality troops (be they Paras or SMGers etc) a HMG Pltn of four MGs, a couple of on board mortars, one light artillery spotter, a few TH & LMG teams, a sniper or two, 4 light ATGs and just two Tank Destroyers, be they Marders or Assault-guns, SU-76s or M-10s.

Now if that force was to go into a continuous circular all-round hedgehog position the ordinary Infantry Pltns would be positioned all around that circle with each of their squads 'in the line' as it were while the HMGs, TH & LMG teams and 3 light ATGs would be spread out equally amoungst them. May be the forth or extra HMG and a few of the other extras including the 4th ATG might be concentrated against that most likely attack zone with the coverred approach route or held back at the 'keep' somewhere in the centre with the best Infantry type Pltn, the mortars, Arty spotter and the two Tank Destroyers, etc.

OTOH with the second scheme of hedgehog defensive positioning, the 3 ordinary Infantry Pltns are positioned within their own well defined, self contained strong points, with a HMG, an ATG, an LMG or TH team or two, etc but that these strong points are designed close enough for mutual fire support from the other two, even if much of it only reaches the flanks of the Pltn strong point positions. The central baston is similarly made up as above with the same option for those extra 4th HMGs and ATGs and other teams to re-inforce the most likely Pltn size strong point to be attacked.

I hope that that is clear enough and please remember that there are mines and wire and plenty of trenches to go around for either kind of deployment scheme including enough for some communication trenchs to aide the movement of infantry re-informent both from the elite central reserve infantry type Pltn and to help with the lateral re-inforcements coming from the adjacent ordinary Pltns.

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