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ROW IV: a few more AARs published

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For a while I have been feeling a little disappointed that some of my AARs are in the group that is not yet published on the B&T site.

I did actually write them to be read by people.

So... I suddenly realised that I can actually publish them myself.

And so here they are...

... I'll be pleased to hear what you think, either here (if it's good :D ) or at the email given in the page above.


[ March 16, 2005, 04:42 AM: Message edited by: GreenAsJade ]

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GOJ I share your frustration that all that effort is not being seen and I still have all the original AAR's on my PC.

I can only hope that some of the B&T team will pick up the baton and publish them.

All the effort goes into running the tourney and not much into the backend processing which is a shame.

When I took up the job of running the AAR competition we did not have in place the agreement to publish them and who would do that. I just assumed that someone would do it as it is a mamouth job to undertake.

I wonder if there is a way we could do this where the authors as part of the submitting process could do some of the legwork to place the AAR's on the net? I.e. Like the Scenario Depot where authors can upload their own work and hence save the Admiral form all the headaches of administration?


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Let me say that I would not criticise anyone about anything to do with ROW. It's a fantastic gift that the organisers give to us, and everything they have done is more than they had to.

No-one guaranteed that everyone's AARs would be published, even though that was kind of the assumption. The rationale for the AARs was that they were the small gift that the players give back to the designers.

perfectly fair.

On the other hand, it certainly was a bit sad beinig one of the unpublished people if you had actually put the effort in.

That's why I was happy when I suddenly realised that I didn't have to be a disappointed person who's AAR wasn't published :D It's easy to publish your own!



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Some quick comments on "south of vevi" aka long walk in the hard rain.

As you noticed I am sure, a feint on the far flank is a fine enough idea but turning into an actual attack with nothing behind it is rather suicidal.

When you send a feint like that, the thing to do is pick a spot you want to get its MG to, where you know no enemy could have set up, and with decent LOS over that side of the field. The rest of the platoon gets it there. A few half squads can probe further, but no real attack. Just pick forward with half squads for completely empty ground. Keep any heavy weapons, the HQ, and at least a squad (full), back behind the half squad screen.

The point is just to give the other guy flags to look at, and to have enough points to observe from yourself that you can see things from that side of the field. Meanwhile your MG can reach out if opportunity presents itself, and help protect the rest if the enemy gets aggressive. Trying for more is a bad idea. Maybe in the last 10 minutes if all has gone well elswhere.

On your heavy weapons group on the right, the location was OK for one heavy weapons group, but you bunched them too much, it sounds like. One 81mm or 2 light mortars is all a single heavy weapons group needs in the mortar department. One FO (if you had any, unclear from the AAR). And a few HMGs, a leader, occasionally a sniper.

If you have more heavy weapons, make more weapons groups and send them to distinct locations. They don't need to concentrate because they have range. And you don't want them all under one barrage footprint.

Looking at your map, the obvious place for a second weapons group is the small hill on the route closest to the road of your three main ones. Behind the part of your force that went that way, pausing on that hilltop and overwatching from it, would have been fine. From there they can see the forward slopes and crest of the big hill ahead, and probably a fair part of the valley leftward. That would help on that flank, by fire.

You pushing ahead with advance was fine while under fire. Inside cover you can use move, in the open you do want advance. Yes it tires the men. You have to work in pauses. When you first see "tiring", if you halt for a minute you should get back to "ready". It you push too hard and reach "tired", it can take 2-3 minutes just to get back to "tiring". Any unit on tired or worse either rests or uses move - there is no point trying to "advance" men that don't have the "wind" left for it.

45 minutes is a long time. You were absorbing arty by turn 4. You should not have run out of time, if you correctly interleaved pauses to rest the men. After a barrage you need to collect people and give them a minute or two to rally, but then the effects are small. Yes mortar knockouts are an exception, they don't recrew the things. A good reason to keep them spread and in dead ground, trailing, etc.

Your problem with the gun came I think from the too heavy-right commitment, too early. The proper weapon to take out a gun is not a tank let alone light armor, but a mortar. You force had them, you just needed an HQ with LOS. You had LOS to the gun, but the mortars were all too far to the right. Another reason not to put them all in one basket. An 81mm mortar will generally KO a gun in one minute. It will at least pin it and a second minute will usually knock it out if the first minute did not. Even if only pinned, an HMG put on it will usually keep it that way.

Obviously there are other items in it that you already noticed. You don't want to walk a second wave over the same TRP, but deviate slightly from any route that failed. You don't send light armor over crests - at all if possible, certainly not 2nd and later vehicles with undefeats guns out there (spotted or not). Light armor is most useful late, not doing recon by death but acting as mobile MG nests when people are out of ammo and the defense it getting thin on AT weapons.

If you do lose 2 or more light armor to the same gun, at least kill it, by having a mortar standing by as soon as you expose the 2nd light armor vehicle. (I assume the first left the gun completely unlocated, was a surprise, etc. But the second should not take such risks without overwatch at the ready. Wait, instead).


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Useful, thanks. 211 in the middle should have been pressed much sooner.

I also notice the defenders are quite numerous in the infantry arm. I had the impression from the German AAR that the attackers were about a battalion and assumed the defenders had significantly less than that. From your end of game screen I see the manpower odds were 559 to 372 at the start. That is 3:2, about what I thought as a ratio, but distinctly higher absolute figures than I expected from the German side AAR.

That right valley was rather a narrow place for over 500 men. With so large a force, a wing attack was certainly still possible, but it probably should have extended closer to the center.

Incidentally, I notice from your screenshots that you had considerable forces along the road. He wouldn't have avoided much of your force - except your own voluntary front to back separation (which I think was smart, BTW - the second line clearly will take a lot longer than just one, supports better etc). But I do think 211 might have been taken much sooner and that may have helped (from a mortar able to see your right etc).

My only other comment is a tactical one about your hilltop defenses. They look mostly forward slope and crest. It obviously worked. But e.g. 217 might have been helped by some reverse slope positions as fall backs. A hill can protect by allowing free maneuver of reserves on its rear side, and a way of shutting off the heaviest attack firepower by a short movement.

Going "rear" on a particular hill - not all at once - reduces your pinning fire foward. But other hills may well be able to provide such fire and keep the enemy off the one "skulking". And the crestline can be contested readily. Think of the whole position as n interlocking parts each with 2 settings, up or back. One being driven to "back" is less than one falling, and the enemy needs some large combination of "fallens" and "pushed to back" accomplishments to get into the defense.

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JasonC - thanks heaps for the feedback.

There's lots I'd love to talk about more or respond to at least. One of the later points you made was about the whole direction of attack:

That right valley was rather a narrow place for over 500 men. With so large a force, a wing attack was certainly still possible, but it probably should have extended closer to the center.
The problem I felt I had with going any further left was that any forces to the left of the arrow marked "Side Forces" came into LOS from the whole middle basin of the map!

This would have meant (I thought to myself) that it would no longer have been a flank attack pressing to the back, it would have been a frontal assault.

As I concluded in my AAR, a frontal assault was probably the best way to win, because the back flag was too far to press. But given the objective I had of pressing through the flank, I don't think I could have productively exposed anyone to the middle. (Those exposed would have needed covering fire etc etc and before you know it you might as well be attacking in that direction).

That's what I was thinking, anyhow!



[ March 19, 2005, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: GreenAsJade ]

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Looking at your map, the obvious place for a second weapons group is the small hill on the route closest to the road of your three main ones. Behind the part of your force that went that way, pausing on that hilltop and overwatching from it, would have been fine. From there they can see the forward slopes and crest of the big hill ahead, and probably a fair part of the valley leftward. That would help on that flank, by fire.
At least I actually did something right here. That hill (215?) actually had a couple of MGs and mortars poistioned on it in a way that was out of LOS from the main basin yet could see through the saddle in front of 211 into the valley I was attacking. I briefly referred to them:

I managed to put some MGs on top of the forward hills overlooking the main attack area,

under the command of the lesser HQs, along with some mortar that they could direct.

I should have marked them on the map. I can see that I also should have included an OOB in my AAR, like Melnibone did.

The tough thing about where they were placed is that they couldn't see The Gun. They were to the right of the one patch of trees on the back right of 215. There is a whole long ridge leading towards 208 that meant the mortars there couldn't be brought to bear on The Gun. :mad:

That being said, I think "use mortars on guns" is a lesson I was still learning at that time.

(I've subsequently discovered that 50mm is not enough too. :mad: There is so much to learn :D ).



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And the topic that possible attracted the attention of JasconC in the first place :D :

45 minutes is a long time. You were absorbing arty by turn 4. You should not have run out of time, if you correctly interleaved pauses to rest the men. After a barrage you need to collect people and give them a minute or two to rally, but then the effects are small. Yes mortar knockouts are an exception, they don't recrew the things. A good reason to keep them spread and in dead ground, trailing, etc.
I defintely was going to run out of time if I used advance all the way. I'm pretty sure about that. I guess to be completely sure one would need to grab the map and advance a single squad across that whole distance resting as needed. Those slopes were really tiring the men - I think that was the issue.

What I had no idea about at the time, and still really very little feel for, is when its OK to use Move and when your men are going to need Advance.

In this battle, I think I incorrectly applied the "JasonC’s treatise on Infantry Advance Under Fire", using Advance the whole way, not appreciating that the treatise is talking about open ground.

If there's any wisdom out there about when units using Move will and will not break when they come under fire, I'd be interested to learn it. Usually in my games any unit using Move will be doing it at a time when any fire will cause them to break :rolleyes: , and using Advance will be at a time when there's no enemy within Cooee...


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Well here is how I'd do it. I won't revise the right hook idea - the terrain welcomes it and that is why both you and the defense hit upon it as the likely approach route. But with so many men, you'd want to phase the attack and distribute a little more, and hit that first part of the middle ridge sooner. Roughly as follows -

Weapons - three major teams, right middle and left. The right goes on your right flank and heads for the same hill you sent them to, behind a lead platoon. Middle goes to the first hillock to the left of the saddle entrance to the long valley. Left one goes on the ridge (216) extending into the center overlooking the road, and the left side of the long ridge.

Screen - one platoon to the left of the leftmost weapons, split to half squads and extended to the left. Along with the left weapons, these screen the center and left of the front and provide observation.

Main body is divided into three groups, left right and reserve. The left group goes over that middle hillock then up the forward slope of hill 211 - where you have "side force" on your first diagram. Right force goes first to the saddle you had as your main force route, but then goes for hill 207, not down through the valley. Reserve force follows behind left force, slightly to its right, perhaps.

The objective of the ridge 216 weapons is to prevent easy repositioning from your left across the road valley to the long ridge, and to sweep the left side of the long ridge with long range fire and with observation.

The objective of the hillock weapons is first of all to suppress anything on the forward slope of hill 211. If or when 211 is taken (more on that below), they would reposition by a right hook path through the saddle, to the upper right side of 211 - without crossing the crest. That is, they want to see the right side, objective valley, but not the road valley. From high up but still near positions on the ridge that starts at summit 211.

The right side weapons support the first attacks from where you had them. Then they want to displace forward to hill 207, after it is taken. From there, they should sweep the slope of that long ridge you intend to advance along, that faces the objective valley. They can also support attacks on the far end of the valley aka toward hill 217.

Hill 211 is the first target for the regular infantry. They want to use it as a shield, however, by staying slightly to its right. Circle the summit just below the crest on the right side, in other words, and accumulate there. This puts the summit of 211 between them and 210, 208, etc - the left side of the map.

When you have both 211 and 207, heavy weapons creep around 211 until they have LOS to the saddle between 210 and 217, as well as all of 217. There they stop, and both they and the weapons on 207 hit 217. The first attack force that took 211 holds it, mostly staying on your own, right side of the crest.

The right side force that took 207, heads down into the valley toward 217. As soon as they vacate the summit of 207 the weapons behind them (right weapons) set up there in their stead. Right force probes and probably draws plenty of fire from 217.

Then the reserve force goes forward, on the right side of the ridge from 211 to 217, trying to stay below the absolute crestline to minimize fire from 210. The objective of this last main attack is 217. All remaining off board arty hits 217 when it starts. It needs realistically to jump off on turn 30 (because company attacks typically take 10 minutes to close and 15 minutes to resolve), and this sets the pacing for all other objectives by counting back from this point.

The weapons on 211 are supposed to prevent reinforcement of 217 from 210, but 210 will be able to fire. Your left group up on 211 can come over to forward slope positions to help suppress them, at that point - as can the left weapons back on ridge 216.

Phase lines - minute 30 needs 211 and 207 in possession, reserve company relatively fresh and attacking toward 217. Right weapons need to be on 207 by then. Middle weapons need to be just below the crest of 211 and slight right of the peak. Left force needs to be on 211, ragged out probably, supporting the reserve by fire. Right force needs to be past 207, scouting for the reserve and IDing positions on 217, from the rightward far forward valley.

To achieve that, we count backwards. Hill 207 needs to fall by minutes 20-25. Hill 211 needs to fall by minute 15, or maybe 20 if you've absorbed his arty ammo in the process.

How do you get onto hill 211 in 15-20 minutes? All the weapons groups must be in overwatch positions by minute 10. Left weapons should pretty much start in their firing positions. Middle weapons should get to their hillock by about minute 5, behind a lead platoon perhaps and perhaps dealing with some annoyance arty and MG fire. It may take 10 minutes to get right weapons to their hill.

Left force needs to be past that hillock on turn 5, lead elements. The bulk of the company needs to be on the front slopes of 211 by turn 10 (slightly right of straight ahead, to avoid too much fire from your left - but basically range has to protect them from that flanking fire).

Right force needs to get right weapons into position on their hill by turn 10 and push on toward 207 by turn 15.

Reserve can start well back and does not need to rush. Its routes should be planned so they are free of fire once 211 and 207 have fallen, with only modest exposure at long range before that. They should stay rested by using "move" through dead ground, in the first half of the fight, essentially. If it all goes south they are also your means to adapt.

I can't read the terrain clearly enough to address the next question. If it is at all possible for armor to get to the saddle you have labeled as the first objective of your main force, that is the route pratically all vehicles should take. From the saddle between 211 and 207, they should support the move of 217 by fire, and help cut it off from reinforcements coming over from 210.

If the mediums arrive and can follow that same route, they should pass through that saddle, to the one between 211 and 217, staying to its right (in "objective valley", therefore, in visibility and thus fire terms) until 217 falls, supporting the attack in it by fire. If 217 falls before the time limit, they can risk cresting the 211-217 saddle, with infantry already on both, and weapons on 211 and back at the start line.

This is a late "left wheel", to endanger the two small flags in the middle of the map (210 and the one left of the 211 crest and closer to your start line).

This is probably not far from your original plan. The additions are - heavier toward the inward side. Main axis is the 211-217 ridge, just right of the crest-line.

Hill 211 to fall first, at least its forward slopes. Then 207, taken by a full company attack, not skirted, to clear your right of fire and provide a better vantage point for right side weapons. Pacing, and the phase lines. And the general tactic of hugging the hill you are on just below the crest, while circling at the same height or lower.

The objective is the same as your plan - to avoid fire from enemy on the left, and clear the route to the large flag on 217.


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It was the only scenario I liked at all (I suspected I wasn't ROW material before I entered, and I was right. smile.gif ) I pretty much hit upon the same Right Hook that GAJ did, and pretty much had the same results.

I felt constricted by the sheer amount of guys, so I did have more weight on my leftward feint.

I moved forward with lots of Advance & Hide spurts, and that served me pretty well - I thought I was doing pretty good except for my center spoiler, which got crushed.

Anyway, my main attack ont he right just didn't have the FP to keep enough heads down, and taking fire from the trenches on the high ground was deadly. In the end my left flank feint actually ended up getting to within assault range of a flag and trench, but the game auto-surrendered me on turn 43 or so, just as I was ready to charge.

My howl of outrage scared the dog.


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  • 1 year later...

Old stuff , but these are really entertaining to read.

I've only read a few of GAJ:s AARs so far and I must say that they are very entertaining smile.gif .

Oh, and I just wanted to say that I would really like to read an AAR by someone who has fought JasonC, or maybe an AAR by JasonC himself (spare me some of the details though, I have a short attention span tongue.gif ).


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Your writing style is economical and bitingly witty,

but with one exception I know of, you seem to have left critical information out of your AARs: the score.

It's interesting to read tales of woe from the perspective of having been walloped in those same battles while playing the opposite side. See particularly my debacle as the Italians in Retreat from Metemma and the numerous unpleasantries inflicted upon me in South of Vevi, magnified, in the latter case, by a string of setup mistakes.

By contrast, I did pretty well in Frontier Firefight as the Italians, using dogged infantry defense (would you believe a Glisenti kill?) and some novel antitank techniques, and managed to eke out a small victory in Squeezing the Melon, but only after such an extended sojourn in hell that I had my own wing!

Things Go Bump was an all but complete exercise in frustration which left me wondering how Rommel managed to do anything in the Western Desert, let alone ran wild. I hate Rocky terrain! First the

rocks tore my force apart, then I ran into the British! Gah!

Thanks for making your AARs available. I share your frustration that all the AARs aren't up yet and am still hoping that Treeburst 155 has and will post, preferably to B&T, the AARs from the Invitational Tourney.

Here's the link to what's available of mine, along with many others.



John Kettler

[ July 08, 2006, 06:47 AM: Message edited by: John Kettler ]

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