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Attrition vs. Maneuver Results!

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Well I feel rather stupid. I had some severe computer issues (had to get a new desktop) and have just got CMBB running recently. I had a number of games going on but somehow managed to forget about this one. I will continue it again if you wish. I didn't read the rest of your post. I also have a new email address: rdinsdal@ualberta.ca

Again sorry for not sending any news.

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Ahem.... IMHO the terrain is not well suited for maneuvrist defense. It lacks depth of terrain and covered lines of comms.

Examples for maneuvrist defenses with appropriate terrain are over at http://the-battle-of-lauben-campaign.foren-city.de/

Due to end of campaign, the forum is open to the public.

Battles to look for are

- B3 (or B2/B3, A2/A3, B2/B3) phase 3. Yes, it is the same terrain as in the B3/B4 battle from phase 2. For a maneuvrist defense, possession of the woods was key.

- J5/6 phase 4 - with attritionist elements in the defense. No covered lines of comms available to maeneuver and stop German inf in the center, so I had to use some static troops. Yet often some elements of the forward line tried to shift if possible.

- B3/4 phase 2 after turn 45 - Soviet side reports in http://the-battle-of-lauben-campaign.foren-city.de/topic,463,-phase-2-spotreps-all-fighting-commanders-to-report.html Regrouped remnants of Soviet forces hit the German flank in the thick fog. Last pic "Posted: 26 Sep 2007 22:30" shows an overview. 80m viz. Note the woods and the road thru it. Covered lines of comms, shorter lines of comms. Perfect terrain.

A3/A4 phase 2 - Soviet reports in link above and http://the-battle-of-lauben-campaign.foren-city.de/topic,506,-small-counterattack-in-a3a4-to-recapture-a-bridgehead.html

The latter was a linear defense behind a river, outposts and mobile reserves.

In phase 2 the thick fog allowed for maneuvres out of LOS, in phase 3 and 4 the terrain as key.

Select the German or Soviet forum, then *battle planning phase X, then the map name, e.g. http://the-battle-of-lauben-campaign.foren-city.de/topic,630,-phase-3-a2-a3-b2-b3-bielau-area.html

Note that most maneuvrist battles happened on larger maps - the originals were 2x2k, the glued maps somewhat larger, like 2x3k.

Also note that maneuvrist defense often happened on operational level - ie threatened areas were reinforced by the defenders. Though with all those HTs around, points in the mentioned battles might have been CM attacker odds.

(I haven't seen all battles of the campaign, there might be others that were maneuvrist defenses.)



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As the forces are chosen I must say how I was entranced by the tank dispositions and the AA complement - I have to assume that on a clear day in Russia you felt that you were suitably safe.

I ran two tests to refresh my failing memory as to how soon planes could arrive and in one test it was 4 minutes and in another 15 minutes in a 30 turn game. In both cases both planes were pretty much together. When playing Russians it's always worth a punt as the Russian artillery is great but immobilising a Tiger on the start line or shooting up a few half tracks normally upsets the German player.

To be perfectly honest I do not think the map is large enough or the terrain lumpy enough to allow much manoeuvre for the defence. I think particularly where the mobile element ideally wants side angles. However not being fully in on the original set-up I assume it is designed for its purpose. : )

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i didn't download the setup file so this is judging from the pic.

the setup doesn't make mobile defence easy, but i think the attacker made some bad calls which make it possible.

the decision to reveal most of the armor cards by initial overwatch pose makes it easier for the defender to predict attacker's intentions. also it doesn't seem very likely that the defender would deploy his infantry in forward slope, which forces the attacker to maneuver his mostly turretless armor across the map, revealing soft sides and rear.

furthermore the decision to create a left flank and separate armor and infantry main bodies makes his right flank very vulnerable to enemy armor which can easily maneuver out of the "bowl" by utilizing a protective smoke screen towards center and then advancing in the cover created by the woods on the right. such maneuver would most likely in itself win the battle.

attacker's left flank is vulnerable to flanking armor as well to lesser extent (especially if there is strong armor force flanking on attacker's right, which forces attacker's mostly turretless overwatching armor to face right).

but like said this is just from the pic.

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While URC points out a nice maneuvrist approach to smash the attacker, I question whether the attack is really attritionist if the attacker splits his forces as described.

Given the available forces (or points) per map size, it is pretty uncertain if it is possible to stage a hard-core attritionist attack anyway.

Please don't let these comments disencourage you. I just fear that even if maneuver wins here we can judge regarding superiority of theories. Which is far beyond the scope of a game anyway. Yet the example here might show aspects of both theories, what works under whcih circumstances and why - which is the more interesting part anyway.



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Well I will try to address the comments so far.

On the map,

It is true the map is not ideal (it is just a random QB map after all). However, the large hills break los from my zone to the attackers zone, and within my zone, laterally. I see armor as being the dominant arm of maneuver, and I think this map can support tanks well enough if they are cleverly driven. Whether I am capable of that is another matter;)

On Adam's observation,

It is true that these 'islands' are problematic when wanting to change positions while under observation. But I don't think that factor will be decisive. At least not until the armor war has run its course.

On aircraft,

I didn't want them in the game mainly because they are over-modeled and not player controlled. As a result, they tend to be high-variance items. I didn't want the results of the battle to be skewed by a 'chancy' weapon as aircraft are.


I agree the Adam has chosen a somewhat odd deployment. His armor was certainly visible instantly. However, I was initially expecting his infantry to be with his armor, so I have been caught somewhat wrong-footed in finding out he has at least a company striking out along the right flank. And of course, I am definitely trying to take advantage of his turretless afv's moving without strong flank support.


I understand that playing one game is not nearly sufficient to determine which doctrine is superior. One game is not even enough to determine which is more useful in any given situation. Just to develop any statistically accurate inference we would have to play many games to account for chance.

Also, I am guilty of making my strategy increasingly attrition based as the game goes on. For example, I am hoping to smash just a few more Stug's before they can use their HE, hoping then that Adam won't have enough HE depth to dig my infantry out of every hole. Not a very maneuver-ee idea. But I see it as my best and most realistic chance for victory (provided I only trade evenly in the rest of the armor war).

However, the game, like all AAR's, will allow for readers to hopefully understand the action and make conclusions as to what worked, what didn't and why.

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I can agree that planes are beyond control once bought however the trade-off that the enemy knows they will not appear and therefore buys no AA offends me. I prefer to leave planes as a possibility even though I would only rarely buy them. I DO know that adequate AA will negate aircraft over-modelled or not.

High variance occurs throughout the game anyway. I have had a Sherman hit by a variety of 75mm and 50mm shots at 500 metres killing range - seven in one minute and survive. I have had tanks killed at over 1000metres with a single and only shot. I have had a T34 miss a side on MkIV with three shots at 80 metres - and then die. Nailed a Sherman at 1% with a 'shrek. Yep I think the whole game has a lot of variable results none of which the player can control.

It will be interesting to see if anything bogs : )

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Also, I am guilty of making my strategy increasingly attrition based as the game goes on. For example, I am hoping to smash just a few more Stug's before they can use their HE, hoping then that Adam won't have enough HE depth to dig my infantry out of every hole. Not a very maneuver-ee idea. But I see it as my best and most realistic chance for victory (provided I only trade evenly in the rest of the armor war).

Killing StuGs is not an idea associated only with attritionist theories. The ultimate goal of maneuver is to kill. No need to wait with that till you do a big maneuver.

Given that the defender usually has the overall odds against him, maneuver helps him to achieve local odds, thus achieving lopsided kills. If repeated several times, the overall odds will dwindle. Note that not just numbers count, but position, too. If you pop 3 T34s into the flank of 6 StuGs you have local odds of 3:0 for a few seconds.

Shifting your tanks, concentrating on smaller parts of the enemy force to achieve local odds and then fire, hit&run - IMHO that is maneuvrist. Whether you score 1 StuG, 10 or 100 does not matter for the theory.

In one of the examples linked above, I attacked just 2 Panthers - with the 10 tanks I had.

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