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Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors

 
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Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/27/2011 10:29:02 PM   
Major SNAFU


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Hi all,

I have been playing through Hofen, re-reading the AAR, manual and guides and trying again. I am struggling with not countering the Allied reinforcements adequately. I am able to take Hofen N and S on Day 1, but I am not able to hold them because my units are completely knackered and most of my arty has been expended so FPF is not as effective as needs be.

I have a screen shot below. The blue rings and line represent initial movement with defend orders. In some cases I detached the mortars and put them out of harms way prior to the assaults. The red lines indicate Assault paths. In 1 and 2, begun at the same time, the mortars were detached. By around 16:00 on Day 1 these units had secured H-N and H-S, with H-N being the last one secured. Once H-S was secured, around 14:00, I initiated assault 3 figuring I had enought time and it might draw off some of the reinforcements meant for H-S and H-N. However, a number of armored units showed up at H-N first and then another wave at H-S. They came fro the west, through the woods. I haven't figured out a good counter to this yet. All assaults were done with default settings.

As you can see in the picture, at this point I have lost all of the initial gains and the 3rd assault has bogged down. The 751st is a shambles with 1 Coy having surrendered and another looking like it may.

The one thing I have noticed a couple of times in playing this through is that often a routing unit will rout towards active enemy units. I am not sure if this is because I have some settings wrong with their orders, or if there is some other issue, but it seems odd to me.

Suggestions?


Thanks in advance.




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< Message edited by Major SNAFU -- 10/27/2011 10:31:58 PM >


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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."
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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 12:57:23 AM   
simovitch


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Major SNAFU, check out another AAR done a while back - I have some tips for the German player. It is a learning process...

Hofen AAR

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simovitch


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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 1:35:11 AM   
Major SNAFU


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HI simovitch,

Thanks.  I have read (many times) that AAR, but I am either mis-understanding the lessons or am just not thinking through the problem correctly.

My plan was to contest the three locations that have occupation timers as quickly as possible, and then send southern reinforcements to clean up H-N and H-S with the Northern one heading for Monschau.  But now I am thinking that I should just approach H-N and H-S with very close attacks and then let defend until the reinforcements can arrive.




_____________________________

"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 8:55:13 AM   
Lieste

 

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I'd say that there are two (broad) approaches to the scenario.

Attack in one place (eg Hofen) with all your troops - this exposes them to slightly higher casualties in the one area, but the attack will probably succeed eventually. Follow-on forces expand the break-in and look at taking Monschau or others on the second day. You should get near to 70-100 points, but the Allies will also get 30-50, so you may only get a marginal victory depending on details.

Bypass and drive onto all objectives on day 1 - you should be able to contest most objectives throughout the scenario, but you will never have sufficient combat power to prevail in any area, and ultimately you will also face difficulties with front-line supply. This is almost certain to be a draw to defeat.

Obviously there are a large number of alternatives - I favour a deep reconnaissance raid, aimed at supply, C^3 and artillery positions, using a small (non-sustainable) force to bring in long range artillery fires. The remainder of the forces do two tasks -
Isolate the Hofen area from Monschau and the rear.
Assault and overrun Hofen.

The first task is as important as the second - it minimises the number of reinforcing tanks that can get into the town and interfere with the assault and it increases the casualties to enemy infantry units that are retreating, ideally reducing their ability to launch an effective counter-attack to zero (collapse of morale or surrender/destruction). With his effective strength at ~50% the defender will then have a hard time attempting to hold what he has left, even without attempting to retake Hofen against dug-in infantry/artillery.

Anti-tank work can be given to the FK40 battery once it has shot out most of it's HE ammunition - these are PaK40 and are just as deadly as a PzJ Bn, if a little more unwieldy due to size. Also do use your leIG37 as direct fire anti-tank weapons - they can still do some HE work if they are in position to block armour movements, but can't add anything if left in the reserve positions - local IDF support will still be covered by the more effective 12cm sGrW even if you lose some, and the 'check' to the armoured probes is worth the risk, once his infantry is reduced and they have fewer HE targets anyway.

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 10:16:08 AM   
phoenix

 

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Quite a few AARs exist - plus my own not quite AAR, but recounting my own learning experience. All worth looking at. All giving diferent tips and views. For me the key change in my fortunes came when I stopped using Assaults and just gave Move (with' attack' checked) orders, stragglers left behind also (to ensure speed). Plus I used artillery to 'shape the battlefield', as Lieste put it - mainly by cutting off allied reinforcement routes at key moments (crucially the routes from Monschau up to Hofen). Orders at battallion level, using that ordinary Move command, plus judicious use of arty to block reinforements and break up attacks, it then didn't seem to matter much what order you took the objectives. My total victory scenarios all ended with me only gaining control of all objectives on the last day, but I had denied them to the allies on Day 1.
As others have remarked, if you can get some foothold in all objectives (except, perhaps, Mutzenich) on Day 1 then you deny the allies their points, plus you make them counter attack. Your troops will all get trashed and knackered, of course, but they'll be defending once they're in there and that's a much better position to be in. Then you can use the arty (or let the AI do it) to clear the objectives on the last day). This has worked for me, anyway.
The routing into the enemy (followed, obviously, by surrender) is a bug that has been addressed, I believe, in the patch, due out today or next week. As is the fact that Move (with 'attack' checked) works better than Assault, often. The patch makes Assault a better option, they say. So this scenario should be interesting again, after the patch.


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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 5:10:00 PM   
Major SNAFU


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Hi Lieste,

So placing the IGs and Pak 40 is one of the points i have been trying to understand from your post in the other AAR as well.

Does this mean you are suggesting placing the IGs at, say points 1 or 2 in the picture below and either IGs or the PAk40 in 3? Or is 4 a better position for an IG?

I am a veteran of TOAW and the Combat Mission series. I think I am struggling with how to evaluate the field in BFTB effectively.






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 6:09:20 PM   
phoenix

 

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I took that advice from Lieste too, I recall. Covering your point 2 certainly had a big impact on slowing reinforcements. I had expected if I blocked that route (down into Monschau and out again) they would just come round the side, via the road that would lead to your point 4 - which they did, but it took a long while to do it and the delay was pretty effective in letting me consolidate in Hofen sth and nth. I should add - I'm also new to all this and when I started this scenario I couldn't understand how I could win. I played it about 30 times, trying all kinds of different tactics, before I got complete victories. It was a great process. Fantastic AI, I think, that it can give you a fight like that. That's why I turned away from Combat Mission BN etc - because the AI just didn't compare.

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 8:34:29 PM   
Major SNAFU


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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

I took that advice from Lieste too, I recall. Covering your point 2 certainly had a big impact on slowing reinforcements. I had expected if I blocked that route (down into Monschau and out again) they would just come round the side, via the road that would lead to your point 4 - which they did, but it took a long while to do it and the delay was pretty effective in letting me consolidate in Hofen sth and nth. I should add - I'm also new to all this and when I started this scenario I couldn't understand how I could win. I played it about 30 times, trying all kinds of different tactics, before I got complete victories. It was a great process. Fantastic AI, I think, that it can give you a fight like that. That's why I turned away from Combat Mission BN etc - because the AI just didn't compare.



Hi phoenix,
Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

I understand what you mean about CM:BN. I bought it because I loved, modded, etc. the original CM series. But there are a few things that really bug me about the new engine, even since CM:SF which I bought just to sample and to support BF. I am still making up my mind about it.

But I wish, really wish, that I had understood what the HTTR, etc. system was all about. I would see it, read a bit, but not really understand what it was doing. I tried the COTA demo, but I still didn't get it. Since I bought BFTB I haven't fired up TOAW III except to finish a few ongoing things. I love both of them, but for very different reasons.

BFTB is perfect for where I find myself these days, time, family and job-wise.

I am going to try some more Hofen tonight and see if I get on any better.

Regards,


_____________________________

"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 10/28/2011 8:48:03 PM   
Lieste

 

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I'd probably aim to block the MSR just outside Monschau (but out of LOS of it).

A second bty of IG to the cross road just north of '4' or the village edge just south of it once the northern infantry position was pushed in, but hopefully before the tanks arrive - much better to meet them already deployed & dug-in... Until the infantry is displaced though the role of the rest of the IG is to 'shoot-in' the assaulting companies.

Even if they are relatively ineffective the delay caused while he deploys to deal with them, and then reforms before pushing onwards gives the troops in Hofen a chance to finish the attack and be at least in cover when the tanks roll in.

The last IG find their way in and deploy under cover of dark, plus the FK Bn if you choose to deploy it forwards... this one is a risk as you lose a considerable quantity of HE artillery (min range is long enough to eliminate almost all potential targets when in AT positions near the map centre). These must be 'ready' before they are contacted - sometimes it is best to place the AT guns into the second line, where they get protection from the front line screen (and artillery suppressive/FPF fires) before meeting a reduced attacking force they can defeat - the same guns on the edge of cover might find they are hit by a lot of fire and unable to effectively respond.



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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 12:12:54 AM   
Major SNAFU


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So, Um, I have been having more tries and I have a run-through going where things are looking really good.

I found some really nice places for a few IGs with really nice keyholes on the allies MSR.  I also used the Arty management tip to make sure I had about half left for the counter-attack late in the day.  I hold Hofen N at this point, and have inflicted serious harm on many allied units.

But one thing happened that has me truly puzzled.

I tried to move the Pak 40 to a better location.  I checked the route, etc.  But after it had moved a short distance (about 30 min of move time) it simply stopped moving.  No enemy units were firing at it.  I don't think any had LOS to it.  It wasn't fatigued, etc.  But it would no longer move at all.  So I eventually gave it a defend in place and used what little ammo it still had as best I could.

The other thing that surprised me is that I have a number of Arty units out of HE but with a good number of AP rounds.  Yet when I tell them to bombard an Armoured target, the don't fire.  I assume this is because the AP rounds are one valid when giving a "Fire" order as opposed to a "Bombard", but I would like to dispute this.  Plunging AP rounds, while not efficient, are better that no rounds incoming at all.  I think that if you select a valid armored target, the Bombard should allow AP rounds to be fired.

Anyway, I made it through day 1, and consolidating my hold on Hofen N and planning Hofen S.  I have an end run forming up and I am waiting to see how much arty supply I receive in the morning.

Oh, that is another suggestion.  I would really like it if the messages distinguished between supplies received and ammo received to a unit.

But the most critical puzzle to solve s why the Pak40 just stopped moving for no discernible reason.


_____________________________

"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 1:52:56 AM   
Lieste

 

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Where did it start, where was it moving to?

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 3:30:09 AM   
Major SNAFU


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Hi Lieste,

Here are some pics.  The first one shows my order, and the quickest unit route (which is what the AI did indeed choose to move the Pak40 along)  The second and third show where the Pak40 stopped.  It won't move at all, not matter what command I give, or what settings (no rest, etc.).  The last two pictures are from much later in the day.  I didn't do any saves previous.  The last two images show the unit overview and the E/S.  The units still has its movers and does not show excessive fatigue.

One thing that I also noticed is that the AI chose to move the guns across open ground rather than follow the track out of the original location.

Anyway, I would like to understand why they stopped moving.

Also, the original spot that I was going to move it to, and that I did move the IG to, has really nice LOS to some critical locations, esp the road out of M into Hofen N.  This is marked "B".  YOu just have to make sure you reserve some arty for FPF on the red line because the AI will try to take this gun out (as would I).




_____________________________

"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

(in reply to Lieste)
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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 3:31:35 AM   
Major SNAFU


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Hi Lieste,

Here are some pics. The first one shows my order, and the quickest unit route (which is what the AI did indeed choose to move the Pak40 along) The second and third show where the Pak40 stopped. It won't move at all, not matter what command I give, or what settings (no rest, etc.). The last two pictures are from much later in the day. I didn't do any saves previous. The last two images show the unit overview and the E/S. The units still has its movers and does not show excessive fatigue.

One thing that I also noticed is that the AI chose to move the guns across open ground rather than follow the track out of the original location.

Anyway, I would like to understand why they stopped moving.

Also, the original spot that I was going to move it to, and that I did move the IG to, has really nice LOS to some critical locations, esp the road out of M into Hofen N. This is marked "B". YOu just have to make sure you reserve some arty for FPF on the red line because the AI will try to take this gun out (as would I).

Also note that where the PAK40 stopped it had plenty of HE. Then, some hours later when I finally gave up in trying to move it and ordered it to defend insitu, virtually all of the HE was gone. But it should not have been firing (I didn't notice it doing so) because it was not deployed - or should not have been- while it have move orders.





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< Message edited by Major SNAFU -- 11/5/2011 3:36:05 AM >


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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 3:32:29 AM   
Major SNAFU


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first stopped pic




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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 3:33:32 AM   
Major SNAFU


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second stopped pic




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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 3:49:41 AM   
Lieste

 

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You must have ordered a bombardment from the FS menu, as it has a "player" defend order.
I doubt it fired as it would take longer to deploy than the bombard task, but that would be my best first guess.

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 3:50:48 AM   
Lieste

 

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Or in other words:

It stopped because you told it to.


Personally, I'd order a waypointed route via the wooded stream and Imgenbroich, along the trail to the final location, or possibly along the reverse side of the slope from Imgenbroich to the FP out of direct observation. The chosen location is fairly far forward - you might be able to find some slightly less exposed positions that offer some limited firing opportunities with less risk, but that is a trade off of firing ability and safety.

< Message edited by Lieste -- 11/5/2011 3:56:05 AM >

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 4:27:27 AM   
Major SNAFU


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Hi Lieste,

I understand what you are saying, but I unfortunately don't have the save games to refute you.  Yes the unit has a defend order in the 2nd and 3rd picture because after some 5 hours of game time and the unit not moving I did cancel its move order and give it a new order to defend in situ.

If you look at the first picture, those are the orders I gave to the units.  In the first half-hour or so it moved to the position in pictures 2 and 3, but I left those original order in place for 5 game hours and the unit never moved any further.  Again,  I was only after the unit had not moved for many game hours that I canceled the original orders and gave a new order to defend insitu, which is what you see in pictures 2 and 3.  There was no other interaction with the unit during the first 5 hours other than my looking at it from time to time and wondering why it wasn't moving.

If I order the unit, as you see it in pics 2 and 3 and give it a move order to any location, with any combination of movement parameters you would like, the unit will not move at at all.  If is essentially a static unit at this point.

If I did accidentally order the unit to stop and bombard it was truly and accident. I haven't developed the habit of using the FB tab yet, so I do everything thought the side bar on top. So I would have had to click on the unit, click on bombard, and pick a target. I am pretty sure I didn't do that.

Once I finish up this battle, I will restart and see if the same thing happens again.

Thanks for the help.




< Message edited by Major SNAFU -- 11/5/2011 4:34:03 AM >


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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 4:38:30 AM   
Lieste

 

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Okaay... would be better to show the movement order still in place in the stalled condition.

Next things to check - fatigue is mid-high - if the unit is heading to the front it might be attempting to rest prior to moving forwards. You can try moving with no rest (or max-rest - sometimes it interprets this as "get where you are going then sleep" and makes the now-movment happen at the cost of more fatigue accumulated.
It might be able to see a threat unit - there are some armoured vehicles about 3km to the West, and if it took fire from them the unit might have stopped.
I don't recall if that is horse drawn or motorised - fatigue will build faster and have more effect for horses, but fuel supply may be a consideration for motor vehicles.

If they won't move, I'd drop them to rest rather than defend - so that a subsequent order to bombard or to move would be at higher chances of success.



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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 8:59:27 AM   
miya

 

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Once the PAK unit has stopped click on it and read the message on the left side of your monitor. In most cases you can read "refueling" there. This means you will have to adjust your plans to use this unit on the second day. I hope that helps.
Otherwise I think it is a good idea to use it in a direct fire role.

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/5/2011 8:44:36 PM   
Major SNAFU


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Hi Lieste and miya.  Refueling.  I hadn't thought of that one.  I will go back and check.  I should have saved the game as soon as I noticed it so that I could provide a better record.  

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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/7/2011 5:43:07 PM   
Major SNAFU


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So. In try number 7 I managed a decisive victory. Here are the stats:






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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/7/2011 5:44:33 PM   
Major SNAFU


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Here is the overall picture of the critical units at the end:






Attachment (1)

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"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

(in reply to Major SNAFU)
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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/7/2011 5:46:48 PM   
Major SNAFU


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And here is a picture of which I have a question:

How is it that 3 Stuarts, near total exhaustion, can prevent me from having control of Mutsenich? I am confused.










Lastly,

Thanks for all for the help and advice. I could not duplicate the problem with the Pak40, so I must have done something wrong as Lieste pointed out.

Lieste's comments about moving the Pak40 and IG around a bit more safely are noted. The moves were originally supposed to have taken place during the night. However, I tend to risk a unit here or there if I feel there is a chance to catch the OPFOR with their pants down. The potential, which turned out to pay off well, of being able to catch the armor coming up out of Mutz in a crossfire more than paid off for the risk to the IG and Pak40 (although the Pak40 never made it to the location until much later). So long as I can be certain of sufficient FPF from the ARTY to break up an attack, risking a gun and crew are worth bottling up the OPFORs armor.

The tips on moving the IGs independent for the initial attacks was great, and digging up the how to reserve arty from Markshot's old posts really paid off. I had at least 2 10cm and 1 15cm Arty on rest at all times. I often finished they day with 3 units with near there full complement of shells. I tried to limit my direction of Arty, except for the NWs, who I handled directly most of the time - when they had ammo.

Great fun and onto the next.

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< Message edited by Major SNAFU -- 11/7/2011 5:55:15 PM >


_____________________________

"Popular Opinion? What I suggest you do with 'Popular Opinion' is biologically impossible and morally questionable." - T. Bartlet Rile, Prof. Irish History in Frank Delany's "Ireland: A Novel."

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Post #: 24
RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 11/7/2011 7:56:38 PM   
phoenix

 

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Well those stats are pretty decisive!! Well done. It's funny, isn't it - because it seems, when you start it (or, at least, it did to me) that you could never scrape more than a draw, then you just keep fine tuning it and finally get there. Of course, in the end it does lead to you being a bit disapointed with the AI, even though it is the best AI money can buy, because I would guess you can always do this, always eventually beat it (I have so far, in most scenarios). On the other hand, as I've said before, you do gain a substantial advantage in intelligence when you play these scenarios over and over again. But my point is, now try to find a human opponent to play Hofen with. Then you'll really start having fun, I think. Because still, when you play a human, nothing is certain...

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 1/3/2013 3:11:41 PM   
altipueri

 

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Wow, that's pretty impressive AAR. I'm still getting about 500 kills on each side. Hence a draw is my best.

Has anybody got (or claimed) a decisive vitory at their first go?

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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 1/3/2013 6:05:31 PM   
wodin


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Well replaying a scenario and having advanced knowledge of forces etc by doing it doesn't put an AI in bad light at all really. I think the AI is impressive, then again I don't constantly play the game to be honest. I do love the mechanics just not that into the theater and the scenarios are on the whole to large for my liking (i.e to many units, not scenario length). I'm sure though when the EF game and Blitz game come sout I will put more time in.

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(in reply to altipueri)
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RE: Hofen AAR in progress - A study in errors - 1/3/2013 7:06:08 PM   
altipueri

 

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Joined: 11/14/2009
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Well I got decisive victory at first go. As the US!

As the Hun I seem to waste all that artillery and rocketry in the NE. It's getting to me like a dog with a bone, I just won't let go, but I'm too impatient to take it slowly and carefully.

(in reply to wodin)
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