Bridge blowing (Full Version)

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Phoenix100 -> Bridge blowing (2/15/2013 6:57:03 PM)

Anyone any ideas for what might be the best way to provoke defenders into blowing a bridge?

The best way to get them not to blow it seems to be to bombard them prior to an attack, then attack immediately after in force (preferably from 2 directions). But attacking with an inferior force, and no prior bombardment, doesn't seem to get them to push the plunger - I guess they don't feel threatened enough.

In some of the HTTR scenarios it seems useful to me to limit the crossing points through which the enemy can approach the allied supply lines, without having to devote too great resources to the task. Hence, I'd like to get them to actually blow some bridges.

Any ideas?

navwarcol -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/16/2013 3:19:45 AM)

If you give them the objective of holding the bridge, and the AI commander decides that it cannot be held successfully I believe this is the trigger for blowing it. I have tried (and had some success) a tactic regarding this, of sending weaker units forward so as not to trigger the "Oh no, we can't defend this, we have to blow it" response, and just use the weak force as a holding force to keep them in place, then hit from another direction and take the bridge. In doing this, I have tried to figure out the AI trigger as a ratio..have not been able to grasp the ratio yet though, other than it seems to be above the 3:1 range.

jimcarravall -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/16/2013 9:11:05 PM)

Being the pro-active type, if the crossing was critical to protecting the flank or rear of my advance, I'd issue a "deny crossing" order to an appropriately sized task group at the primed bridge.

If the task group's approach to carry out the order triggers the enemy holding unit to blow the bridge, it accomplishes the goal and the units can be reassigned / attached to the main force.

If not, the task group will be ready to prevent enemy counter attacks across it.

Better as a commander to make an attempt to control your destiny than to wait for someone to address it and be disappointed, and worst, defeated.

Ask Hitler about truncating Rommel's west wall plan by holding contingency forces at Calais too long.

Joe D. -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/16/2013 11:01:39 PM)


ORIGINAL: phoenix

Anyone any ideas for what might be the best way to provoke defenders into blowing a bridge? ...

Usually it's an objective and I need the bridge intact.

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 1:52:19 PM)

Like I said, Joe D, to limit the area I have to cover to keep my transport and supply lines safe. Specifically, I want to blow Mook, Heuman, Blankenberg and Hattert in the Maas-Rhein scenario. I'm playing a customised scenario and these are no longer objectives for me, but they do provide access for the Tettau command to get into my rear. I want 7 Bns of the 82nd involved in Nijmegan, with only 2 left to grab Grave and Honighutje. None left at all to cover all that area south and south-west of Honighutje and right across to the Reichswald. So, it would be nice if I could send a single company, say, over to each bridge in turn and tempt the germans to blow it. If I had the resources I would send engineers over with deny crossing orders, though that wouldn't be as certain as getting the Axis to do the dirty work for me. Similarly, up at Arnhem I would love them to blow the rail bridge, for similar reasons. It's just an idea. I've had some success with it, but it's hit and miss. I just wondered if anyone had found a more certain method of frightening the guards to press the plunger.....

Of course, I could always just customise the scenario further and unprime them all, but, I'm trying to put together a 'what-if', 'semi-historical' scenario based on the idea of me being involved in the planning for the drop zones and subsequent operation (rather than just inheriting the planning and making do with a botch job - it's one of the real beauties of the scenmaker that you can play the game this way if you wish, taking your imaginary involvement back a step further in the planning process) and being able to get some of what the airborne commanders did actually want to happen when they planned it, but were overruled (by the RAF). I haven't added resources, but have changed other things. I probably wouldn't be doing this if some of the old HTTR 'what-if' scenarios had been converted into BTFB (coup de main, for example, or the day 1 two-drop scenario). The reinforcement alternatives in Maas-Rhein go someway towards this, but you can go further, working from the history books, and it's fun to do. At least, for me.....

wodin -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 2:22:05 PM)

Mr P..when you start knocking out some good scenarios please upload them;)

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 6:08:55 PM)

Nothing so interesting, Wodin. I'm not doing anything anyone can't do by messing with the scenmaker. I'm (pleasantly) surprised by how easy it is. No doubt if I really get bitten by the bug, and learn how to do maps and estabs, then that will be harder and I might then produce something interesting enough to post. It's unlikely I will do that though, as it all takes too much time, and there are, of course, other things clamouring for the time.

It's very instructive to try altering scenarios though. The main problem I'm finding (inexperienced as I am) is balancing them, via strengths, reinforcements and victory conditions. It's a bit like a dilemma. You either balance it so well that it really is very difficult for you to win (or for the AI to win), or you leave some room for one or other side to win and then, of course, it's a less challenging play. Plus, as a human player it's really quite easy to do better than the AI, which means you tend, when balancing the scenario, to tilt things in favour of the AI, but that means it ends up only playable properly from one side. And even then it's a very fine act to get it just right so that, even with strength etc in the AIs favour, it's possible for the human to pull something tactically interesting out of the hat, enough to overcome the odds.

All an eye-opener as to how much work the Panther team (inc scenario designers) have put into this. It's massive. Amazing achievement, I think. Happy to pay for more!!

altipueri -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 6:35:35 PM)

I'm glad to hear you say it is easy because I sometimes think it would be good if there could be whole bucket load of scenario variants just so that it gave the impression of being new each time because, as we found with the Hofen scenario, you end up relying on black intelligence and "know" you can make a dash for X, or to avoid Y.

Suppose you produced 10 variants of Hofen each with exactly the same briefing but without telling the player you had altered variously, weather, re-inforcements, eliminated or relocated some units; or doubled others. Perhaps just changed the objective points?

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 6:38:35 PM)

Yeah. Sounds fun. And easy enough to do. You wouldn't get the fun out of it yourself, though, as you would know what was in each variation....

Lieste -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 6:56:30 PM)

Well ~ this is actually how the scenarios are set up already ~ usually* 2-3 options for each of the major selections (neutral^, favour us, favour them), ^including 'historical'.

*I'm sure that not all, but the technology is there to provide random variation within wide ranges of intent (or narrower). This also means that you can make and play your 'own' variations with some uncertainty still in, due to differing amounts and location of forces, weather and supply et al.

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 7:00:03 PM)

True, Lieste. I forgot you can add in levels of 'randomness' yourself.

altipueri -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/17/2013 10:40:19 PM)

That's why Phoenix should pump out ten, Lieste you too, me or Arjuna or Wodin; then there's effectively a random Hofen scenario bank. Then load them up to where ever and each can download and play other people's without knowing the changes.

As a starter for ten, why not produce a Hofen where Monschau is now 80 victory points and just see what happens.

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/18/2013 7:28:10 AM)

Or easier, bump up all the stats on the axis side, make them into a force worth reckoning with. Or, easier still, give the Axis arty full supply from the start.

But since - with a bit of care and attention - a decisive victory is possible, as Axis, as it is, then maybe it wouldn't be so interesting.

But anyway, sadly, I haven't time to knock em out, I'm afraid, and doubt anyone else has. And I'm still very engrossed in the scenarios we have, in fact, which are great.

I might do a 'One Step at a Time' variant on From the Meuse to the Rhine at some point - imagine Browning was so worried by intelligence reports about Bittrich's Panzers being in Arnhem that, at the last minute, he persuaded Monty that Arnhem really was a bridge too far and that they should proceed more cautiously, making Nijmegan the prize. There could be two variants for you to decide on. In the first 4 Para and the Poles go to the Eindhoven sector (off map), with the consequence that XXX Corps reach the Nijmegan map by midday on Day 2. 1 Para and 1 airlanding are dropped on the Nijmegan drop zones, with the 82nd. Same schedule as present. In the second variant 4 para and the Poles are also dropped on Nijmegan (same schedule - so day 2, if we bring the Poles forward a bit), leaving the Eindhoven sector to the 101st, with the consequence that XXX Corps arrive, as now, at the beginning of Day 3. The prize will be the Nijmegan road bridge. It should be do-able with such a massive force (on either variant). BUT, Monty has persauded you, Boy Browning, to make contingency plans for a push on to Arnhem if all goes really well. I could try to balance it so that you can only get a Decisive Victory if you push on and take Arnhem Road bridge. Nijmegan alone will only get you a Marginal Vic (though that's enough, and that's the 'official' goal, and, despite the huge forces I imagine it will still be an interesting challange).

It would be a historically instructive scenario, I think, because it might reveal why dropping paras on Arnhem bridge was actually a good idea. Because of the way the Axis is structured to respond (when Axis is AI) there will be a huge Axis force flooding over Arnhem and racing to Nijmegan to stop you. I imagine that 'pushing on to Arnhem' will be very challenging indeed, even if I add a couple of more days to the scenario to allow some rest before you try.

Might try it, if I get time.

jimcarravall -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/18/2013 1:44:50 PM)

So, in other words, imagine that the Rhine had dried up and striking Germany's Ruhr industrial region (e.g. the production of Krupp's tanks, guns, and steel) only required crossing the Meuse to end the European contest in 1944?

Bounded by limited time and materiel, there was a strategic goal that required securing three major water crossing zones quickly to succeed.

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/18/2013 3:22:42 PM)

What an odd response, Jim. You can make such objections to all 'what-if' scenarios, of course. Maybe you don't go for them, hence the sarcasm?

Besides which, the idea is that you do go for Arnhem, as I said, but in a different way. A 'what-if' scenario. Not reality, not history.

They took it in two stages anyway, historically, crossing the Rhine a few weeks later in Operation Varsity. If they'd done it like that from the beginning - which was certainly an option - they wouldn't have lost First Airborne along the way.

jimcarravall -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/18/2013 5:21:58 PM)

It's all perspective.

Wars reflect one means to resolve critical issues in history, and their battles reflect the means to address the strategic goals used to resolve those critical issues.

Without intent to cross the Rhine and capture the Ruhr, what's described as a "what if" reflects a massive diversion of resources and reserve combat power from American forces facing strong Nazi defenses at Germany's border to disrupt the refit of worn Nazi combat units in front of the British Army.

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/18/2013 5:32:44 PM)

You're right. (Of course.) And your arguments are incredibly persuasive, despite the fact that they had to cross the rhine in 2 stages, as it panned out in the end. But never mind that. I won't even think about doing that scenario any longer. How stupid am I? Frankly, I don't even understand how I could have considered doing such a worthless thing merely to amuse myself, let alone talking about it in here. :)

Arjuna -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/18/2013 9:59:26 PM)

I would like to encourage more what-if scenarios.

In regard to whether the premis for a what if scenario makes historical sense I'll say this, many of the actual historical battles lacked a modicum of common sense. Eg Hitlers decision to attack Russia in 41. His decision to pursue the 43 eastern offensive at Kursk despite all the intelligence that it was a fortified trap. His decision to drive on Antwerp in late 1944. Eisenhower's decision to not giving strategic priority to the capture of a working Antwerp port in 44. Monty's decision to not clear the Scheldt and thus not securing access to Antwerp once he had taken the city.

Wars are won and lost by mistakes. Major operation are launched on a whim. Major errors of judgement are made in a haze of suspect intelligence. That's war. So I for one am prepared to overlook a sound strategic basis for a what if scenario. In so many cases such a basis was missing from the actual historical battles fought.

A good well designed what if can be just as instructive in the art of operational warfare as an historical battle. Moreover, they can often provide a richer decision making environment and last but not least they can be a lot of fun. This is a game after all.

wodin -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/18/2013 10:05:33 PM)


ORIGINAL: phoenix

You're right. (Of course.) And your arguments are incredibly persuasive, despite the fact that they had to cross the rhine in 2 stages, as it panned out in the end. But never mind that. I won't even think about doing that scenario any longer. How stupid am I? Frankly, I don't even understand how I could have considered doing such a worthless thing merely to amuse myself, let alone talking about it in here. :)

Chill mate...make what you want. Jim I'm sure isn't trying to mock or take apart your game\ I said when you star making some great scenarios put them up for us all to enjoy;).

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/19/2013 7:59:06 AM)

Dave - do you have any idea when Matrix are going to put up 257? I'm waiting for that now, before playing any more.

navwarcol -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/19/2013 8:42:12 AM)

If I was guessing I would say at the end of the week, but just a guess based on having several Matrix titles, and seeing the rough average of time from the developer sending the patch to Matrix, and Matrix putting it up.
As a note on the earlier conversation..I do what you are doing all of the time.. really I get a lot of enjoyment out of the what if...we already KNOW what DID happen..I would not buy a game just to see that. But history was full of "almosts"..and it is quite educational, and fun, to see how sometimes even one minor change, could have had drastic overall effects. I agree with Wodin above, would love to give some of your creations a try when you get around to releasing them.

jimcarravall -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/19/2013 3:52:37 PM)

It's still perspective in the end.

Americans (guys like me) view the World War II conflict as a time when our fathers / grandfathers were trying end the fight quickly so they could come home from a land foreign to them.

We view the European strategy as getting Hitler out of power.

Europeans perhaps view the part of the conflict where the Allies were the aggressors in the battlefield as an opportunity for punishing the occupying powers.

And, Germans, of course, are viewing it as a time when they must defend their homeland from invaders.

Americans are content with rendering opponents ineffective as they pursue the "end it quick strategy" while Western Europeans are more intent on punishing the occupiers (e.g. eliminating the enemy units), and Germans ending the conflict before utter defeat.

In my case, I forgot I might not be talking to a fellow American, but instead talking to someone on the east side of the Atlantic with an entirely different perspective on the war than I learned at my home.

Despite my earlier statements, none of the perspectives are "incorrect."

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/19/2013 4:10:53 PM)

Well, I'm a Brit, and nearly 50 years old, and I had relatives who fought in the conflict, and I doubt, as such, that I would have a very different perspective from yourself. We Brits have of course, been in bed with the US ever since the conflict, and are richly criticised for that here in 'Europe'. I now live in Brussels, as it happens, where you would be hard pressed to find anyone of that generation (that was involved) who had anything other than a 'pro-American' perspective, as Belgium was occupied and 'liberated' by the Allies. Each European country has a slightly different perspective on it, much depending on whether they were occupied or not. In general, however, I have found that you would struggle to find modern Germans who would regard the Allies as invaders or occupying powers. I'm sure you can find Germans who would think like that, but it's not usual. Germans I have spoken to are more likely to have spoken of the Nazi time as an invasion, of sorts - a ten year vilification of everything that was great about a previously great civilisation, and they have been at very great pains to embody an appropriate attitude to that time, in full knowledge of everything that happened. That we can play games like this is I think fine testimony to the fact that Europe is moving on, without ever forgetting. But there are no doubt many different nationalities playing and it does well to be sensitive to that, as it's highly unlikely that anyone playing or indulging in this forum actually had anything to do with the events of 70 years ago, though the living history of it still defines the European jigsaw and the US relationship with it.

altipueri -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/19/2013 8:18:35 PM)

Is it you got them diamonds, Phoenix.

Phoenix100 -> RE: Bridge blowing (2/19/2013 8:30:40 PM)

You got it. It was the only way I could see to fund Panther Games properly......

I wish. Old style 'heist'. Doesn't happen very often these days, outside of films. Especially no injuries. Amazing. Must be a very traceable inside source.

Reminds of HEAT. Great film.

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