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Immersion tip #1 "Planning"

 
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Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/23/2009 12:48:30 PM   
Pergite!

 

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Immersion tip #1

"Planning"




I really hate the autumn and especially November. Here in northern Europe it’s just dark, dull and damp. Its dark outside when you go to work and it’s just as dark when you leave the office for the day. I have seen the sun for three or four hours this month so far so it’s rather depressing.


Anyway, I thought that Crete would offer a perfect interruption to the otherwise hopeless existence. I tried to get the maximum out of COTA on my own, and decided to put some “real” effort in to playing a scenario. I choose “Stemming the Tide V3” and it lasts 36 hours.

In this first step I rushed together what is known as an IPB, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. IPB used in the military and defines a methodology employed to reduce uncertainties concerning the enemy, environment, and terrain for all types of operations. It is a continuous process that is commonly used throughout planned and executed operations. I used the basic core elements just to get my planning process rolling.




Crete 20 May 1942 2300hrs

Oberst Ramke took a sip of his water bottle and then looked at the tattered map in front of him. The sun had set a couple of hours ago bringing darkness and a well needed respite for the soldiers on both sides. A small kerosene lamp illuminated the small stone hut that now served as his forward HQ. The Cretan goats had moved out to make room for his small regimental staff.

The situation at hand was dire but not without hope. The landing in the Maleme sector had been a disaster and he had no idea about what happened elsewhere on the island, but he hoped that they had fared better.

Somehow the enemy had recently had withdrawn from their positions leaving the airfield open for the taking. It was however just a matter of time before the allied commander realized what had happened and decided to do a counterattack to correct his costly mistake.

Ramke´s sole objective and the only hope of German victory relied on keeping that airfield open for the much needed reinforcements and supplies. Losing the airfield was not an option.

He turned to his fellow officers and recapped the current situation…
-“Hört zu! Der Fiend… is currently preparing a counter attack as I speak. I agree with your assessment that it will be of brigade strength, something other would be pointless. The main objective will likely be to recapture the airfield in order to deny us our bridgehead and force buildup on island.

The enemy as I understand from your reports most likely consists of 5th NZ Infantry brigade. The brigade is assessed to be reduced after this morning’s heavy fighting and consists solely of infantry, supported with heavy machineguns and mortars.“

The Oberst took another sip from his water bottle, cleared his throat and then continued.

-“You have indentified only two likely avenues of approach for their counterattack. One is along the main coastal road leading through Pyrgos onward to the airfield. The second is from the village Xamoudokhori , or however that place is pronounced, north over Hill 107 and onward to the airfield. I feel that this is correct. All other areas are considered slow-go, even for infantry. The limitations mainly are due to creek beds, vegetation and rough terrain in general.

The most probable adversary course of action is that the NZ Bde commits tree battalions for the attack. One battalion is kept in reserve securing the exit and coastal road to Chania. During the night their 21.Bn and 22.Bn will move into forming up positions in the valley in and around the village of Xamoudokhori.

23.Bn will take up defensive positions and start securing the crossing along the coastal road in Pyrgos. At daybreak their attack will commence with 23.Bn advancing forward towards the airfield with the objective to draw our forces in that direction. They will then keep us engaged in along the coastal road in the easily defended woods and built up areas. 23.Bn will advance if given the opportunity but otherwise just aim to ties up our forces.

21. and 22. Bn will then start their advance up onto Hill 107 and onward to the airfield. We asses that they will have one phase line up on the hill crest where they will leave of their combat support which will from there support the advance further towards the airfield and the bridge.

The key terrain remains the same as after our initial assessments. It’s of course the airfield, hill 107 as well as all the water crossings along the coastal road. Addition to this I agree that that village Xamo-something also now is considered key terrain, due to that we asses it to be a staging area.“

Ramcke´s regimental staff examined the markings on the map and eagerly awaited the orders that would follow…


To be continued



Now I have a general idea of what I can expect and what my plan will have to counter. I only developed one potential ACOA (Adversary Courses of Action) which is a gamble, but also a trade off in time.



For a good beginners guide on the IPB method I do recommend looking into:
http://www.armchairgeneral.com/tactics-101-intelligence-preparation-of-the-battlefield.htm

There are also alot of actual military manuals and handbooks on IPB lying around all over the internet. Just remember to adapt the process and method to the scale and complexity of the game you are playing.



Legend:
Red filled areas depict slow-go areas for infantry
Red arrows depicts the avenues of approach for the NZ bn´s
Green boxes are engagement areas (where the fighting will take place)
Purple circles are key terrain that the enemy need to control to reach his objective.
Red lines are asseded phase lines for the enemy, objectives along his axis of advance.






Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Pergite! -- 11/24/2009 4:55:50 PM >
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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/23/2009 10:20:42 PM   
Arjuna


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Nice!

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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/25/2009 11:03:19 PM   
Chelco

 

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Outstanding, Pergite! 


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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/26/2009 8:45:26 AM   
Seydlitz69


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Fantastic.

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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/26/2009 3:42:07 PM   
Chelco

 

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This type of defensive planning will also come in handy for many scenarios of BFTB. :)


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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/26/2009 4:52:56 PM   
Pergite!

 

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I developed my plan accordingly to my assessment on how the enemy would act. I also developed another adversary course of action, one where they would conduct their counter-attack solely along the coastal road. As long as I had units up on HILL 107 I knew that I could tell which one I had to face.

Initially there where an attack or possibly probe conducted from the south, involving one NZ Bn. This never went anywhere and it was disrupted mainly by well aimed air strikes and some mortars. I then got some support weapons up on the hill and after that nothing ever got close. The enemy then instead put all his effort into attacking along the road, through the coastal villages. There were also attempts to go through the forest areas east of HILL 107... not a good idea when greeted with accurate 20mm fire at the other end.

I seized the initiative and moved my forces in the cover of HILL107 to the south and then directly east, advancing with hastily combined kampfgruppen or (task-forces) striking the enemy in his flank along the coastal road. I effectively trapped him between the Mediterranean ocean and a wave of now quite exhausted FJ:s. I advanced faster than he could withdrawal and from that point the 5th NZ bde was doomed.

My reinforcements arrived and the race to clear the road and capture the objectives begun. This however went rather poorly and all I managed to do was to create an enormous traffic jam.

2471 enemy losses (7 AFVs, 15 guns), 25 units "evaporated"
203 own losses

Marginal victory...


I then tried out my plan pictured above playing the allies. I managed to hold the coastal road with one bn and two engineer coys for 24hrs. When the Germans started to get through my own reinforcements arrived and I managed to plug up the gap.

The 2xBn assault from the south up on HILL 107 was however a nightmare. Massive German air strikes and mortars grinded the advance into a bloody halt. I was aggressive and committed my reserve bn into the attack, it also got stopped dead in its tracks. All support the enemy threw at my attack probably spared my defence along the coast road, because they where almost spared from any indirect fire early on.

-Something finally happened when I got a couple of Matilda tanks to lead the assault. They spearheded the attack that finally gained some ground. Darkness came, but I decided to push on while there still where momentum. This turned out the be a bad idea. All of a sudden my two infantery batallions where routing after encountering fierce opposition in rather close quarters. My tanks unaware of this trotted along and where soon trapped and annihilated way behind enemy lines.


Lesson learned: Include tanks under direct command of the unit it is to support to prevent this from happening again.


The germans never managed to break out from the airfield but this was achieved with a high cost in blood.




I tried to post pictures put all I get is an error message saying "Missing required fields"


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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/26/2009 5:04:20 PM   
Pergite!

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chelco

This type of defensive planning will also come in handy for many scenarios of BFTB. :)




I plan to take some time a side and conduct and document a complete military planning process for the first scenario I will do in BFTB. This will include pictures and overlays to make it as graphic and well understood as possible.

I wonder if it is possible with Ajuna´s help to get this rolling even sooner.

All I would require is:
1. Briefing and objectives
2. Map
3. Own ORBAT and current disposition
4. Enemy estimated ORBAT and estimated current disposition




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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/26/2009 8:33:51 PM   
Arjuna


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Pergite,

Your images need to be in jpg or gif format.

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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/30/2009 2:54:46 AM   
Chelco

 

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Great defensive battle there Pergite. Kudos.

One comment about the "engagement area" you drafted in your defensive plan. German doctrine of as early as 1933 includes this concept. It was called something like "main battle area" (Hauptkampffeld). For more details, please check "Truppenfurung". BTW, this book is now dirt cheap from the guys at Stackpole Books.

Cheers,




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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/30/2009 6:44:24 PM   
Pergite!

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chelco

Great defensive battle there Pergite. Kudos.

One comment about the "engagement area" you drafted in your defensive plan. German doctrine of as early as 1933 includes this concept. It was called something like "main battle area" (Hauptkampffeld). For more details, please check "Truppenfurung". BTW, this book is now dirt cheap from the guys at Stackpole Books.

Cheers,





Great book tip! Now I will be able to use the proper words in upcoming BFTB AAR:s

The NATO operational planning process is a total rip-off from the Wehrmacht so it comes to no surprise really. It will be an interesting read to see how little has changed over the last 70 years or so.

I am also impressed by your wargame blog chelco, its really good and its a shame I haven't discovered until now.

< Message edited by Pergite! -- 11/30/2009 6:53:44 PM >

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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/30/2009 9:27:38 PM   
Arjuna


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Yes, a very nice blog!

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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 11/30/2009 11:10:44 PM   
Chelco

 

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Thanks, gentlemen.

Pergite, your point on NATO/US doctrine is spot on. Much of the book tries to put forward that conclusion.

Any chance you have some screenies from the battle?

Cheers,



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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 1/18/2010 9:26:05 AM   
Seydlitz69


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I like the colours of your map. Is there any chance to download the colour theme? Or are these the stock colours?

< Message edited by Seydlitz69 -- 1/18/2010 9:41:08 AM >

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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 3/4/2010 6:14:05 PM   
ulisin

 

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Hi,
I've a question about tactical recon.
How can I overcome the lack of platoon-sized patrols in CVOTA scenarios? I'm reading Panther war college, and it waas a very interesting matter, but I don't find the forum discussion. 
And I don't know how can I do! I have to use full companies to do a job for platoons!
Thanks in advance


francesco

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RE: Immersion tip #1 "Planning" - 3/4/2010 6:24:22 PM   
Chelco

 

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Hi Francesco,

I hear you. The scale in the scenarios is a bit bigger (Co. and above) and off course you can't have platoon sized patrols. Are you talking about combat patrols (those sent after your force is deployed for battle)?

Cheers,



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Tactical reconnaissance - 3/5/2010 10:48:11 AM   
ulisin

 

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Hi,
thank you for your rapid answer.
I apologize in adavance for my awful english.
I do appreciate your favolous game, and I do apppreciate the scale. I think Cota could be considered a grand tactical game:
if I have to take that bulding - tactical, Steel panthers and so on
if I have to take that group of buldings - tactical
If I have to control a hill, a part of a village, and so on - grand tactical
And I LIKE IT VERY MUCH! It's a scale very difficult to simulate, in my opinion, but it could give a lot of satisfaction and fun. And COTA is able to do a great job!

The problem is that I was reading Panther war's College - Subject 1 - Tactical Reconnaissance, and, page 4, the author suggests a forum discussion about the question "How can you overcome the lack of platoon-sized patrols".
So, if tactical recon is the objective, I argue that it could be a way to overcome lack of platoons.
But unfortunately I didn' find any discussion or forum.

Thanks, bye

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RE: Tactical reconnaissance - 3/5/2010 12:21:19 PM   
Arjuna


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Overhauling recon is and has been on our wish list for quite a while. Please remind me once BFTB is out and we'll kick off a discussion about the best options for it then.

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RE: Tactical reconnaissance - 3/9/2010 5:42:48 PM   
ulisin

 

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Dear Arjuna,
ok, thanks!
ciao
francesco

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