Tactical assistance please (Full Version)

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flibby -> Tactical assistance please (10/16/2011 9:41:22 PM)

I have been playing a lot of the Bastogne scenario with a view of getting this game when the woman allows!

I want to really master the system before buying but I think my tactical know how is letting me down at present. I am constanly wondering how to best manoeuvre troops in offence and how to cover them when crossing open ground that huge casualties are inflicted on the troops through a lack of decisiveness.

Can anyone please recommend where to learn the required military tactical knowledge, or perhaps agree to review some battle plans from screenshots and point out my deficiencies?

Many thanks :)


johndoesecond -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/16/2011 9:45:33 PM)

If you post screenshots and AARs, I'd gladly comment on.

Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/16/2011 10:04:28 PM)

A good basic primer is the Armchair General 'Tactics 101' series - if you really need anything they didn't cover I'd be surprised...

Obviously most isn't required, but the basics that will get you 'reading' your troops' capabilities, the terrain and quickly assessing whether a mission is feasible... well worth learning.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/category/tactics101/page/4 (nos 1-15)
http://www.armchairgeneral.com/category/tactics101/ (most recent)

A good idea is also to, when you find yourself 'stuck', to make a save/take screenshots, and try out different techniques/ask for ideas. Obviously sometimes the problem is you are in trouble and have been too slow to spot it... but that's all part of the fun :)

flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/16/2011 11:11:54 PM)

Thanks for the feedback, it's much appreciated! I'm going to try Bastogne over and post pics..

flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:02:45 AM)

Okay here we go. i'll show you my typical way of going about things for major critique!

This is my first initial plan, along with what i think could be an alternative. The objective is obviously Bastongne, but firstly i have gone with a sweeping arc from both sides in order to hopefully encircle enemy troops in the process - second option is to have the two sides much more closely supportive of each other.


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:06:38 AM)

second plan


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:08:21 AM)

i'm not all together sure whether it's better to go for 'attack' or just 'move' as i don't see a lot of difference in their operation - perhaps someone could give me a heads up. i decided to go for an attack order on the first objective as you can see.


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:10:12 AM)

the objective is taken, and i route some of the reinforcements to go around the flank to begin the encirclement of enemy before bastogne.


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:11:50 AM)

with the northern side of the pincer you will see that i have two options (as i see it) - a smaller attack to come right behind the enemy attacking my recon btn, or to swing further wide, and come in to the northern end of Bastogne.


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:13:30 AM)

i decide to split my forces and come in from wider, whilst providing a 'blocking force' to the east in order to 'bottle up' the enemy infront of me


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:14:55 AM)

you will see here that my armoured troops are being decimated whilst forming for the attack. how do you avoid this? the artillery fire is threatening the entire mission.


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:15:51 AM)

my envelopment is already becoming out flanked...


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:17:56 AM)

when dawn breaks there really is an 'oh ****' moment when the enemy forces seemingly multiply by 10 and spread out, defeating my dispersed troops.


flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:20:28 AM)

and this is where i became too disheartened to continue [:@]

Thank you for looking at this anyway. I'm just hoping that someone can breathe life into my game and make it worthwhile for me to get BFTB.

My own analysis is that i tried too much. Perhaps an envelopment of this scale shouldn't be attempted, because there will always be troops behind to outflank me? perhaps these sorts of maneuvers were carried out over a far greater scale, i don't know.

Thanks all [:)]


Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:26:15 AM)

That is HTTR? Correct?

Nothing fundamental changes, but there are some differences (not least in the terrain & supply).

Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:40:33 AM)

Ok, first, what forces do you have available? Where are they and when do they arrive if reinforcements. What is the starting supply state, particularly fuel and artillery?

This gives an idea of what is possible.

Next, what is the prevailing visibility range? This gives an idea (only) of where it is safe to move/form-up... in the middle of an open field in broad day-light is not good... deep in woods, at night and in light rain... you can be almost 'on-top' of him, which is good for artillery avoidance and minimising fatigue.

How 'dug-in' are the defenders? If they are moving to take up hasty positions, then move, bypassing, overrunning as you meet each - artillery to neutralise each position you must break through. Keep lots back to hunt his rear area units (HQ/Supply/Artillery - these are early targets to spot and destroy if possible, neutralise if not) - avoid hitting these larger units with your point troops (they can  be individually dropped off to defend in place while the rest of the column bypasses if needed) - these are targets for heavy commitment of artillery assets, particularly as they attempt to displace, and to be overrun while moving or once they are routing retreating.
OTOH, if they are entrenched, then you must be more methodical, bite off small bits each time, holding them against counter-attack and then pushing the next objective along. Always look for opportunities to hit rear services if you see them, but this will be more painful and harder to work.

When planning an attack, think how you would defend the ground, what each of the likely BP can see - ideally don't try to form up in sight of any of these units, at least while his heavy artillery is present and active. Route the assaults so they don't need to run the gauntlet of multiple converging fires on a single target group - if necessary displace his flank first before enveloping the main objective from covered routes.
Infantry and artillery are there to find and suppress his tanks and anti-tank weapons before committing your very limited armoured forces - the same is true for the US, but there is enough armour (usually) to also be able to recon by death and retain credible forces.

Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 12:42:27 AM)

Can you also turn on the grid, it helps judging the movement/position better. I can get close by comparing to the BftB map, but it isn't quite the same (the new map is much nicer :))

Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 1:22:46 AM)

You might also want (if you haven't already) to grab the demo for BftB - this is a full (hypothetical) scenario using part of the St Vith map, and uses all of the same mapping/forces/supply as the community is currently using - this will make it easier to give directly usable advice/tips/comments on your planning processes etc.

wodin -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 9:42:21 AM)



That is HTTR? Correct?

Nothing fundamental changes, but there are some differences (not least in the terrain & supply).

Thats BftB Lieste....whoops just relaised it must be HTTR.

BftB is alot easier to play with the UI and chnages and extra opttions than HTTR. I wont go back to HTTR since CotA came out let alone BftB.

Also when you get the full game you can try the smaller scenarios and practice.

You really need to read the manual thouroghly or watch the BftB tutorial vids.

flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 1:12:58 PM)

I will certainly be Getting the game, I just want to perfect my technique so that I can have more fun playing the same.

From the comments so far it seems as though encirclements are not the priority so far as combat at this level dictates, and that more focus on progressing via frontal assaults is the key, is that correct? To that end would my plan be improved by massing greater numbers of troops in one thrust as opposed to trying to spread out and attack individual enemy positions from different angles of attack?

wodin -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 2:02:17 PM)

Well if you give an attack order at brigade\regiment level leave it up to them to decided how to attack. A few times I've seen them use their coys to surround the objective.

simovitch -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 3:42:52 PM)

This was a user-made scenario for HTTR and while it was an noble effort (by el savior) the map has got some elevation and contour anomalies and IIRC it was not very well balanced.

Getting cut off is a real problem in the longer BFTB scenarios as your supply trucks and wagons get shot up and you run out of ammo for your heavy weapons rather quickly. HTTR resupply was very basic indeed.

As wodin suggests, try the free BFTB demo and watch the tutorial videos before deciding to buy... and good luck![:)]

Joe D. -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 6:30:44 PM)


ORIGINAL: flibby

I have been playing a lot of the Bastogne scenario with a view of getting this game when the woman allows!

I want to really master the system before buying but ...

... it won't matter because your forces will run of of "otto" anyway.

Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 7:31:50 PM)

Frankly, if you think that your planning can be totally ignored, because the AI 'runs' everything, then I suggest you aren't doing it right.

Taking the tutorial as an example - just letting the AI do it's thing as the US will get you bogged down at around Beitfeld Crossroads, and give a straight-up fight against Peiper. You will 'win' but it might be marginal.

With good planning and task allocations you can bypass & get into St Vith within 24 hours, and have destroyed Peiper (completely = early scenario end) by the night of D4/D5. Friendly casualties lower than in "AI only" also.

To me, that seems like a wide enough margin of command performance to totally refute the 'AI runs it all' nonsense. I play with painfully realistic or realistic delays only.

johndoesecond -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 10:29:03 PM)

flibby, I'd warmly suggest you to try to play BftB demo instead of HTTR.

Maybe the differences are not so visible at the level of UI (although some are not at all irrelevant), but under the hood the simulation model is significantly richer and more evolved.

Also, yes, the tutorial videos are really the best starting point for understanding the game mechanics and some basic tactics.

Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 10:54:12 PM)

Also, for comparison, a similar area of the BftB Bastogne map, showing the difference in relief etc.


wodin -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 10:58:52 PM)

I'm not saying that Leiste...all I'm saying is if you don't have to micro manage especially when it involves Corps. I've been playing since RDOA. Though I'm not brilliant I'm reasonably competent and take umbridge that I'm not playing the game "properly".

I usually give orders at battalion level, in larger scenarios sometimes at brigade and when needed at coy.

It's a very good way to learn how the AI operates giving orders is on the tutorails scenario give an attack order at regiment level and wathc what it does, don't give an FUP though let the AI decide...thats when I've seen the AI attack from different sides.

Oh an another point you only need 100 points so alot of the time you don't need all the Obj's.

flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 11:31:49 PM)

okay i've got the demo and will be playing with it tonight.

Perhaps someone could answer this however;

Contrasting the AARs i've seen from BftB and the Armchair General tactical 101s - there seems to be very little flanking or manouvering - the game seems more focused on making sure you don't set up in the open, then have frontal assaults covered by artillery at objectives - is that a fair assessment? Just seems to be very little wide swings with formations to get to the flank/rear of an enemy formation.

Lieste -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/17/2011 11:57:20 PM)

Steady on Wodin, it was a reply to Joe D, that "... it won't matter because your forces will run off of "otto" anyway."

As for the question about frontal engagements and the AAR...

Well often the battles depicted are break-in battles - assaulting across a river-line, driving to take a town which is obviously the main 'target' of any offensive in sector etc...

Now, this leaves relatively little scope for an 'initially' surprising attack. I can assure you though that within each 'frontal' attack to open up the path for follow-on troops, there is plenty of scope and reward for isolating the battlespace, and strong rewards for isolating units that are being forced to retreat. Manoeuvre alone will only do so much (and in the worst case will just destroy your forces piecemeal), but using manoeuvre to dislocate, to isolate and destroy the enemy once he is locally defeated and to prevent his digging in again ahead of the spearheads - all achievable and giving appropriate rewards... but your skill in assessing the situation, applying timings to various moves, retaining unit efficiency and effectiveness over days of intensive movement and combat will be important in whether it 'works' or just dissolves into a mess of exhausted shells.

Try the tutorial, using both 'slugging it out' and 'manoeuvre' focussed orientations, and see what does and doesn't work. Do use the higher two command delays, and make a "decent plan" and let it play out to conclusion, rather than endlessly fiddling with the penalties associated with regrouping under fire. This in turn forces the 'current plan' to be fairly simple/ or 'short' in terms of distance covered (especially where contact is expected), two units acting together might seize the approach to a village, then the village itself, rather than both attempting to clear the village in one bound.
Ultimately it is possible to completely destroy the enemy forces when played as US using standard supply & reinforcement and painfully realistic delays, as I've accomplished this on about half a dozen play-throughs. This is never a "given" though, even with lots of experience, as sometimes the AI manages to place spanners in the works - usually small forces interfering with (but not stopping) supply. Occasionally, a late start by US troops due to fire, stubborn defences or just a traffic jam at the bridge allows the AI to seriously interfere with things... enough to let Peiper into position before all US objectives are met... and then you have to dislodge dug-in Panthers or Tiger IIs, rather than have them come to you [:-]

flibby -> RE: Tactical assistance please (10/18/2011 6:16:57 PM)

Okay well I have the demo now and I've been having a play, however I still have a few questions (apologies for the tediousness!)

I have watched the tutorial and understand the system more now I have to say. One thing that still confuses me though is how to conduct a breakthrough ( on a flank or anywhere else). My view is that if I conduct an assault against an enemy position with infantry, making sure that I have direct fire support from an advantageous terrain spot if possible, and artillery support, along with a fup close to the enemy an under cover, then I can proceed to use an armoured bbde to (with a move Order??) to a point through the breach....would this be correct?

Finally: what is the position vis a vis movement to contact? Is it best to scout with a single company, or to attack as planned based on supposition of where the enemy is?

Thanks again!

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