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A Quick Battle AAR: Shermans vs Pz IVs, Not Your Fathers Combat Mission


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"Personally I think Warren's big mistake was not performing any recon to try and ID what I had before committing his main force"

I had always played CMx1 in a different way , the aim was to get all your Armour over a summit at the same time to get maximum guns on a probably single target with the aim of having less losses (i.e Napoleon style put all your guns in once place for max effect). Units coming over a summit one by one could be picked off one by one by a single enemy asset as they had time to reload. Granted i was playing the AI and CMx2 is a different beast.

Heh I tried that in the QB Bil and I had after this one...I don't recommend it.

To be honest, and I am not entirely sure why but CMBN feels far more chaotic (read: realistic) than CMx1 did. At least to me.

You may crest an entire troops of tanks but they all won't spot at the same time, then when the shooting starts smoke an dust kick up making it even harder to coordinate fire. Hit outcomes are really wild. I actually had one fight where an AP round punched entirely through one tank and hit the one behind it taking out its gun. The game is full of these moments.

Better to crest from multiple positions, as you have seen in this AAR.

Going to be very interesting to see the comments on tactics when the game comes out. Some of what we did back in CMx1 works just fine, other stuff is definitely different.

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Thanks Redken, although i don't remember the sausage resemblance.

My biggest sin (The_Capt Great Sin #5): Never fight the battle on your opponents terms, fight it on yours.

What might've been a game-changer was if you were willing to wait out some really boring turns. Force Bil to come looking for you out of exasperation. Of course that would've made a pretty dull AAR, though. :D

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Capt, console yourself with this fact, if this had have been June-July 44 then this would have been a victory for the US, they could afford the losses you suffered, the Germans could certainly not afford theirs.

Very good point. From a strategic point of view, a clear victory. Bil is down 4 Pz IVs crewed by Crack and Elite crews...medals all around.

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I'd add to Steve's thoughts that The Capt's position was winable. I was thinking my style of being cautious in Bill's position would have maybe played into your hands. Taking the hits like that, 4 down and none to show for it, I'd have backed off on the right and been indecisive trying to figure what to do. By that time Capt's armour could have consolidated. Very different outcome then.

Thanks for the AAR. Very interesting to see that Hull down looks like it works better than CM1.

Now to be honest, being an infantry guy at heart, Id still be optomistic in Capt's position, especially as somebody mentioned earlier if there was more terrain, or if you had some arty smoke for a late game objective grab.

What's the range of the infantry AT?

Am pre-ordering tonight.

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I'd add to Steve's thoughts that The Capt's position was winable. I was thinking my style of being cautious in Bill's position would have maybe played into your hands. Taking the hits like that, 4 down and none to show for it, I'd have backed off on the right and been indecisive trying to figure what to do. By that time Capt's armour could have consolidated. Very different outcome then.

Thanks for the AAR. Very interesting to see that Hull down looks like it works better than CM1.

Now to be honest, being an infantry guy at heart, Id still be optomistic in Capt's position, especially as somebody mentioned earlier if there was more terrain, or if you had some arty smoke for a late game objective grab.

What's the range of the infantry AT?

Am pre-ordering tonight.

Well the box it came in said 250m but that is a loooong shot. Best employed 100-150 in my experience.

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Minute 15

Gamey bastard that I am, I send a couple crews into no-man’s land to do a little recon. I don’t want to risk a tank for this job, and besides they will have plenty of big guns overwatching their movement, so they’ll be fine… right?

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Crew 3, complete with headphones, runs across to the patch of trees next to where most of the Shermans died. The action sequence that followed was thrilling to watch, and had me on the edge of my seat.

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Crew 3

As they enter the woods, Crew 3 identified an American crew. The Americans look like they might be on hide orders.

Like an Old West shoot out, pistols in hand they start unloading on the prone Americans.

While they are engaged and distracted, suddenly, a hidden member of the American crew pops up and takes a few desperate shots himself!

5579314945_0ff6e5d720_b.jpg

He succeeds in killing one German crew member and before the Germans can react he takes off (the two other crosses are dead Americans, the one in the center is the German casualty).

He is spotted by one of the over-watching tanks, whose MG rounds can be seen in the bottom image below impacting in the trees around this brave tanker.

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I found myself rooting for him to escape as an HE round impacted behind him.

Last I saw of him he was still running into the woods.

The last image of this sequence below shows Crew 3’s RO watching after the American and enjoying the fireworks, while behind him the lone survivor of this American crew surrenders to the German’s fellow crew members.

5579315139_feb246d542_b.jpg

Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better in my opinion!

Other than 2nd Platoon's HQ Tank moving up next to the village and Tank 3 taking some shots at a sniper team in the big woods, all else was quiet on the field this turn.

Next: Minute 16

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You may crest an entire troops of tanks but they all won't spot at the same time, then when the shooting starts smoke an dust kick up making it even harder to coordinate fire .... better to crest from multiple positions, as you have seen in this AAR ....Going to be very interesting to see the comments on tactics when the game comes out. Some of what we did back in CMx1 works just fine, other stuff is definitely different.

Thanks for the reply. Your comments above are good news indeed , less gamey , more realistic. Will totally have to re-write my tactical notes by the sounds of it :)

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To be honest, and I am not entirely sure why but CMBN feels far more chaotic (read: realistic) than CMx1 did. At least to me.

You may crest an entire troops of tanks but they all won't spot at the same time, then when the shooting starts smoke an dust kick up making it even harder to coordinate fire. Hit outcomes are really wild. I actually had one fight where an AP round punched entirely through one tank and hit the one behind it taking out its gun. The game is full of these moments.

Excellent observation. It's funny... I know all the nuts and bolts of how the game works under the hood better than anybody except for Charles (he BETTER know more about them than anybody else or we're all sunk :)) and yet I have a problem answering a simple question like:

"What is so important about Relative Spotting?"

or

"What is the biggest difference between CM:BN and CMBO?"

Holy crap... where to start?!? There's dozens and dozens of extremely long answers I could give to either of these questions, yet at the end the reader might not really get how different the game feels. Laundry lists of features, explained in full detail, just doesn't capture what Capt here just stated so nicely. As I've said more times than I can count, end results from player actions in CMx2 have inherently less certain outcomes than CMx1. Which should say something because it's not like CMx1 was an easily predictable game!

I too have been completely bitten by the "advance all my guys at once, I'm sure that will do it" way of thinking. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is a disaster. And that's the way it is in real battle.

I'm reminded of a story about the Polish armored division trying to cross a big field that had a slight rise in it. There was a Pak40 somewhere in the treeline on the opposite side. It was well protected by MG fire so the accompanying infantry wasn't able to do anything except get chewed up. So they moved a couple of tanks up and BOOM, they lost a couple of tanks. They decided to rush the enemy position and this lead to more tanks destroyed because they couldn't find the AT Gun before it had holed them. I don't remember how they finally knocked the gun out, I just remember that despite overwhelming odds in their favor, they came out with a far worse result than statistically they should have. CMBO would have probably yielded a result closer to the statistical prediction, CM:BN more likely as the real battle turned out.

Steve

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Capt,

Your decision to purchase Infantry was not a bad one, if you look at the terrain, Bill's side of the map is more suited to armor especially the light woods that allowed his tanks to react and move under cover up to the objective. A good pregame terrain analysis might have given an indication that he would deploy more armor because of the light woods on his side of the objective.

Your side of the objective was thickly wooded so Infantry was the only tool you could use to get in close. In hindsight 2 Plts might have been too much but I don't think so. Your initial contact went well and even though Bill had you outnumbered in tanks by 12 to 8 you quickly evened the odds by taking out 4 of his. At the range of this engagement, it appeared that his return fire was ineffective.

Your Major sin was believing in your invulnerability and you became over confident and continued to push forward. I think in your eagerness to destroy his armor, you lost sight of the objective and you continued to push down AA3 and as you moved in closer his fire became more effective.

Its difficult for me to see the terrain relief from the the screen shots but if you had sought some good defensive ground with your armor(hull down position especially with the M10's) after the initial engagement and continued to push toward the objective with your infantry. This might have been a much different battle.

Of course we(the viewers) are all Monday morning quarterbacks and its easy to see your mistakes after the fact so don't feel discouraged. I can't tell you the number of times I have lost battles because I was sloppy in the pre-planning stage and I can't stress the importance of good terrain analysis.

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Take heart, Capt -- once again I look at this test QB map and say "North Germany" or "Poland", but not "Normandy".

For example, in Normandy those clusters of farm buildings would almost certainly have low stone walls around them at a minimum, as well as vegetation (trees, gardens), providing your hard pressed armour and infantry both a last ditch refuge and keyholing opportunities.

Which makes me worried about the maps we're going to see in this game. Is it just a limitation of this particular QB map, which was intended just as a testing ground for a Mark IV vs. Sherman match? Or are these shortcomings due to something about the game itself and the limitations of the way it does buildings and objects? Some of the other screenshots I've seen looked like they had plenty of Norman flavor, walls, etc. So I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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Which makes me worried about the maps we're going to see in this game. Is it just a limitation of this particular QB map, which was intended just as a testing ground for a Mark IV vs. Sherman match? Or are these shortcomings due to something about the game itself and the limitations of the way it does buildings and objects? Some of the other screenshots I've seen looked like they had plenty of Norman flavor, walls, etc. So I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Don't worry about it. Not sure how much I can say here (don't know how much my NDA applies to maps ;)), but I don't think you'll be disappointed. :)

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Minute 15

He is spotted by one of the over-watching tanks, whose MG rounds can be seen in the bottom image below impacting in the trees around this brave tanker...I found myself rooting for him to escape as an HE round impacted behind him...Last I saw of him he was still running into the woods..Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better in my opinion!

Come on, now admit it: Don't you wish you knew "brave tanker's" name?

(Sorry, I know this issue has been settled -- just couldn't resist)

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Don't you think it was just as risky sending the crew as it would have been sending a whole tank? Perhaps even MORE risky? If one crew member dies (the driver, for instance), the tank is more or less useless. And the crew are not bulletproof and only have pistols, whereas a tank has two machine guns and armor. If there had been infantry in those woods instead of just crew, you could have essentially lost a tank (by loss of the whole crew) to nothing more than a single American with a Thompson.

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Something that has bugged me since I first saw screens of CM:BN, and that I kept hoping would get better before release, is the arms of the men. The shoulders and, especially, elbows just look huge and bulbous, and not at all natural. The overly-large size of these joints makes the arms look too long in proportion to the body (especially the upper arm). I'm sure this is a byproduct of having joints that can move without "stretching", but it still looks strange and unrealistic.

Nothing to do with the combat itself or the strategy going on in the AAR, but I thought the above picture illustrates the problem well.

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I'm not really clear on how Buddy Aid works. Can the German tanker who was injured be patched up and return to duty, or is this simply a matter of wounded vs KIA? Does buddy aid actually "aid" the person who's injured, or is it more about getting useful gear from the dead and wounded for use by those who are still alive and well?

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Don't you think it was just as risky sending the crew as it would have been sending a whole tank? Perhaps even MORE risky? If one crew member dies (the driver, for instance), the tank is more or less useless. And the crew are not bulletproof and only have pistols, whereas a tank has two machine guns and armor. If there had been infantry in those woods instead of just crew, you could have essentially lost a tank (by loss of the whole crew) to nothing more than a single American with a Thompson.

None of this even entered my mind... this crew was from a tank that had been knocked out in the opening stages of this game. ;)

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JSj, read my post just above yours.... aren't you guys paying attention?

Don't make me get all Drill Sergeant on you. ;)

Sorry, when I started writing your message wasn't there yet. When I saw your answer, I deleted my post. So now I guess your latest post doesn't make any sense...:D

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None of this even entered my mind... this crew was from a tank that had been knocked out in the opening stages of this game. ;)

Ah, yes. Okay, that makes sense. For some reason I automatically assumed that you dismounted crew from a working tank. The Americans have been taking such a pounding the last few turns, I sorta forgot about the KO'd Panzers from the first few turns. :D

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