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RE: East Front Game - 12/16/2011 6:31:20 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Period = late 1942/early 1943
Battles = post Stalingrad Soviet offensives along the Chir river and the German counter-attacks that followed.
Map Area = see picture below.


According to the colored areas on the map, I'm guessing this would then cover operations of the Russian 5th Tank Army, and subsequent blocking actions/counter-attacks by the German 11th Panzer-Division (which started on 8th of December 1942, although the unit was supposed to be part of the relief force advancing towards Stalingrad), for example?

If so, including the following 3 scenarios would make for some nice action:

A) Panzer-Regiment 15's rapid advance on Sowchos 79 (crushing a looong column of Russian mot. Infantry, taking them completely by surprise along the way): Elements of the Russian 5th Tank Army had pushed their way past the defending German 336th Inf Div., taking the collective farm Sowchos, deep behind German lines, with the Russian 1st Tank Corp now forming up/preparing at and around Sowchos, in order to strike at the 336th Inf Div's rear. The 15th Pz.Rgt then basically bowled over the Russian 1st Tank Corps within 1 day (during daylight = within less then 9 hrs), knocking out 53 Russian tanks in the process.

B) With Kotelnikovo as starting point for the LVII Panzer Korps on 12th of December 1942, a scenario covering the operation involving elements of Army Group Hoth and their attempt to secure a jump-off point for the relief of the 6th Army being trapped in Stalingrad:
After being pushed back across and behind the Mishkova and Aksay rivers, Army Group Hoth's Northern elements are tasked to hold the Chir river line. By diverting the 11th Panzer-Division Hoth hopes to secure gaps where Russian motorized Inf units are pouring in on the left flank, from the Northern bank of the Chir river. Without waiting for the arrival of the 17th Panzer-Division, LVII. Korps launches its attack on 12 December and reaches the Aksay river in the evening hrs, preparing for crossing it the next day. After crossing the Aksay river, LVII Pz.Korps reaches the high terrain at Kumskiy, meeting heavy resistance. The 6th Panzer-Division reports the loss of 23 tanks and 8 field guns. The Corps had made an advance of 60km only, while suffering susbtantial losses in men and material, at that point. Even though the Russian 8th Tank Corps and the 3rd Motor. Gards Corps are severely tattered, German long range recon reveals that the Russians are freeing units from the Stalingrad siege front and moving them south, in order to rush them towards the relief force.
The Russians, though, and according to plan, perform that in a rather slow and careful manner, as they want to make sure Hoth's attempt is not a diversionary attack, plus they want to force the Germans to field all their reserves, by - if necessary - even sacrificing the units forming the blocking force. The defensive posture of 1942 (see David Glantz), which is more sophisticated than the one common in 1941, and the now more experienced leaders play a vital role. But with the arrival of the German 17th Panzer-Division the fanatical resistance of the Russian units can be overcome, even the Mishvoka river can be crossed and a bridgehead formed. The southern perimeter of the Stalingrad pocket is 55km away, and the Spearhead of Hoth's Army Group can see German flares that are being launched from within the southern Stalingrad perimeter. The trapped 6th Army prepares for breaking out, by pulling back forces and equipment from the northern strongpoints of the pocket and concentrating some forces in the southern tip, and also by destroying equipment that can't be exfiltrated. The fuel reserves inside the pocket will support an advance of 15 km, few transports are available, though. Will Hoth's group be able to widen the bridgehead and relief the comrades in Stalingrad?

C) What-If scenario assuming that the 11th Panzer-Division would have been been available for commitment as part of Hoth's relief force heading for Stalingrad, and also assuming that the 17th Pz.Div. would have been committed from the start (at Kotelnikovo).

I'd love to see these scenarios.

........

Or is that game going to cover even the subsequent Donbas and Khar'kov operations, with Mansteins counter-offensive that let entire Russian armies implode?

Whatever the case, the operations in the Chir area are less known, so they are - like the entire COTA scenarios - somewhat "exoctic", once again, imho.
Still, the subsequent missions mid-December to 22nd of December, when the Corps-HQ was ordered to leave the Chir front and move ninety miles to the West, with the German 11th Pz.Div. acting as fire-brigade and saving various units, while sealing several breakthroughs, until the Russian First Guard Army eventually poured through the gaps caused by the Italian Eighth Army's failure, offers plenty of (tank- and mot. unit-)manoeuvre warfare.

.....

Imho, the following points will have to be considered, if you want to depict mobile/armored combat within that sector in a realistic and historically accurate fashion:

1) Major-General Friedrich W. von Mellenthin in his book "Panzer Battles 1939 - 1945, A Study of the Employment of Armour in the Second World War" pointed out that, until all was quiet on the 22nd of December on the 48th Panzer Corps' front sector, finally, mobile tactics had saved the Germans numerous times during their attempts to block or seal Russian bridgeheads, dealing heavy losses on the Russians:

"Before concluding this account of the battles on Chir, I must pay tribute to General Balck, a born leader of armour. Throughout the fighting his panzer division [11th Panzer-Division] had acted as the 'fire brigade', moving behind the two infantry divisions to quell one dangerous conflagration after another. When the infantry found it impossible to deal with the larger Russian bridgeheads, Balck came tearing down on the enemy with the whole weight of his armour in accordance with the old maxim: No stinting, but stunning. (Nicht kleckern, sondern klotzen). His brilliant achievements were the fruit of exemplary co-operation with the two infantry divisions and the Headquarters of 48 Panzer Corps. Balck never left a single tank in direct support of the infantry, as this was regarded as of no avail and a waste of much-needed armour. Mobile tactics of this kind retrieved dangerous situations on numerous occasions and inflicted huge losses on the enemy. During this period more than 700 tanks were knocked out in the sector of 48 Corps. I, the newcomer, saw and understood that the Russian masses of men and material could be successfully fought, if they were faced by men with steady nerves and by concentrated armour and artillery."


Von Mellenthin then added General Balck's own comments on these operations:

"[]...... For weeks on end the division moved by night, and before dawn was at the very spot where the enemy was weakest, waiting to attack him an hour before he was ready to move. Such tactics called for unheard-of-efforts, but saved lives, as the attack proper cost very few casualties, thanks to the Russians having been taken completely by surprise. The axiom of the Division was, 'night-marches are lifesavers'. It is true, however, that the question of when the men of 11 Panzer got any sleep was never clearly answered."

Such night-marches occured often, and - unlike with the strictly ordered night-movement of armor during the Ardennes offensive in December 1944 - were not hampered by massive fuel shortages (which occured in Summer 1942, though), at least in the main, or Allied uber-aggressive attacks from the air.
That said, fatigue (or whatever keeps units from moving at night and even during the day) has to be completely reviewed for the Eastern front game, in order to restore the game's level of realism for that matter.


2) General Balck also commented on issues such as order delay, planning and changing of plans in the field/during an attack:

"Orders were exclusively verbal. The Divisional Commander made his decision for the next day during the evening, and he gave the necessary orders verbally to his regimental commanders on the battlefield; then he returned to his main Headquarters and discussed his intentions with the Chief of Staff of 48 Panzer Corps. If approval was obtained the regiments were sent the wireless message: 'no changes', and all the moves were carried out according to plan. If there were fundamental changes, the Divisional Commander visited all his regiments during the night and gave the necessary orders, again verbally. Divisional operations were conducted from the forward position on the battlefield. The Divisional Commander had his place with the group which was to make the main effort; he visited the regiments several times a day. The Divisional Headquarters was somewhat farther back and did not change its location during operations. There information was collected and collated, supplies were handled, and reinforcements sent on their way. Communications between the Divisional Commander and his staff were maintained by R/T [radio/telephone]; there were few opportunities to make use of the phone."

That said, errr quoted, these procedures display the German fear that vital communication and planning could be compromised/intercepted, but also, since short-response times were/are required for this kind of (mobile) warfare, that regular message and order processing (ie. via telegraph or motorcycle messengers) was not feasible. Furthermore, Balck points out how he, as Divisional Commander, handled command and control: Balck was with the "group which was to make the main effort" and conducted operations from a forward position, which almost resembled Rommel's management style (who was sometimes right behind his Division's spearhead, well that's what the propaganda wanted the Germans to believe, at least ), and stayed in contact with his staff back at Headquarters. IMHO, this approach seems to be representative for a good number of German mobile units in and around the Chir sector, so this should be considered for orders delay of German armored units in the game: Radio was even used on the Divisional Commander level, who then - if necessary -, could intervene or who could fine-tune/change the Regiments' operations, as he inspected their performance personally several times a day. While - at first glance - it may sound cumbersome and slow to issue orders the evening before, actually being at the front with the main bulk and being able to assess the situation right in front of him (live and in color), gave him a definite advantage regarding flow/speed of infos/intel, if compared to an "armchair" general. The Russians lacked some of this flexibility.

A new feature would be nice here: say the user gives an attack order to a Div. HQ, and he wants to change the approach or target of one or another regiment without dumping the original plan, it would be nice to just be able to move the attack order marker, which would then produce a little window asking the user "do you want all regiments to shift to the new target?" and then have checkboxes where he can select or deselect the attached regiments. This would give the user the opportunity to say have the first Regiment stick with the original plan and attack the initial target, say south of a city, without him having to detach it (and replan), while the other Regiment will now replan and strike at the new position of the Attack order marker, say north of a city, to perform a northern pincer. This would save time (lengthy orders delay + planning + moving to FUP - cycle) and ensure that some momentum of at least a part of the attack (ie. south) can be maintained. I hope that made sense.


3) For a forum post on Battlefront.com, after TOW2 was released, I researched a couple of sources/facts to back up what Zaloga and few other authors wrote about superior German tank optics, because the programmers did not implement historically accurate tank optics in the game. In order to successfully simulate WWII tank warfare, you have to incorporate details about the superiority of German tank optics, which reached well into 1944, and with US tank optics, even well into 1945.

In short: American tank optics, just like Russian tank optics (until the IS-2 came up), were way inferior. In the first Shermans, fielded in 1942 in Africa, the tanks' optics would only produce a relatively blurry image at around 800 meters (if I am not mistaken), and total blur at and above ~1000 meters (again, IIRC), the lenses were not processed in the same way the Germans had treated their lenses for their optics.

The US faced (what I call) a "tank optics crisis" in 1943. Through their (tank) battle experience in Africa, they figured that a)their optics were inferior to the German ones, and b) that they had to take immediate counter-measures. So they installed a commission to overcome the bad situation for the tankers, consisting of scientists/physicists/engineers, to see what could be done. The result was that the production process was improved, but mainly the number of lenses (thus the level of magnification, from 3 to 5x magnification in 1943/1944, IIRC) was increased. The blur stayed or even increased (a physical effect, that added a certain percentage of blur with each lense that was added). The US Army/the commission could never completely solve this issue. In turn, the Russians could partially make up by copying some German tank optics successfully (to some extent), but did not have he knowledge (until really late in the war) to apply the same coating to the lenses as the Germans. As far as I know, only the IS-2 tank had optics that could keep up with German optics (at least halfway).
An example here would be a story relayed by Zaloga, where a US Sherman gunner (with German language skills), when asked to get to a radio that was still working inside a knocked out and abandoned German tank, to check out if he could pick up some of the chatter, looked through the gunner scope of that German tank and finally realized why even German PzIV tanks could fire and score a hit with the first round at distances of 1200 meters and even above, long before US Sherman gunners could identify/pick up the target, and where it then took up to 3 or 4 shots until the Sherman gunner had zero'ed in on an enemy at a distance of around 1000 meters (IIRC). The German sight delivered a very clear image, even at ranges where a Sherman gunner would just see a blurry picture (above 800 meters), giving the German gunners a definite advantage. Same can be said about the optics of the Russian T-34, afaik, they were not much better.
If I am not mistaken, the optics of Flak guns even delivered a pretty clear image of targets at distances of 1500-1700 meters.


This fact should be considered for the Eastern Front game, which means that basically German tanks (PzIV and above) can fire earlier (at bigger distances) and more accurately, without them having to move within the boundaries of the enemy's engagement range.

4) The possibility to mount and dismount motorized infantry. Especially in that theater, Russian infantry was able to cross rivers (often on makeshift rafts), to appear at even the most unfriendly river banks and form bridgeheads, and to just mount again once the pool of engineers (which got larger, as more engineer units were created in late 1942 and all through 1943) had built or repaired a bridge, so that the motor pool could follow.

5) General Balck's comment about the levels of training:

"On both sides newly established and poorly equipped formations were thrown into the fray. On the German side there were the Luftwaffen field divisions. After a few days they were gone - finished - in spite of good mechanical equipment. Their training left everything to be desired, and they had no experienced leaders. They were a creation of Hermann Göring, a creation which had no sound military foundation - the rank and file paid with their lives for this absurdity.
On the Russian side the tank crews, particularly Motorized Corps, had hardly any training. This shortcoming was one of the essential reasons for the German victory on 19 December.
"

Co-ordination:

"The fighting on the Chir river was made easier by the methods adopted by the command of the Russian Fifth Tank Army. They sent their various corps into battle without co-ordinating the timing of their attacks, and without the co-ordination of the numerous infantry divisions. Thus 11 Panzer Division was enabled to smash one corps after the other, until the hitting power of the Fifth Tank Army had been weakened to such an extent that it was possible for the Division to withdraw and start the game all over again with another Russian Tank Army."

My 2 cents



< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/17/2011 11:08:20 AM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 31
RE: East Front Game - 12/16/2011 6:34:58 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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This teasing thing is going to feel to us as pulling out our nails with pliers

Bring it on!

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(in reply to GoodGuy)
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RE: East Front Game - 12/16/2011 7:41:12 PM   
wodin


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Great read the book by Mellenthin. Recommended.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/16/2011 7:41:52 PM   
wodin


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Double post.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/17/2011 11:14:05 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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I decided to cut + paste parts of point 3) above and amend them here, with some more details:

3) a) ZEISS (IIRC) secured a patent in the 1930s (somewhere between 1936 - 1939, I can't remember the exact year), that involved a special coating (Argon coating!?) which provided a reduction of blur (which increased with every lense that was added) to 8% per lense.
When tank optics got more sophisticated, and with the need to up the number of lenses in order to gain higher levels of magnification (3 lenses, or even 4 lenses), in an attempt to improve target acquisition and max. effective range, optics evolved from 2x/3x to 4x magn. and then even 5x magnification systems, where the produced image of a given spot/target at 5x magn. above 1000 meters basically turned objects and vehicles into a blurry shape, or even into one piece of blur. I can't remember the exact percentage of blur that got added per lense without special coating, but it ranged somewhere from 20-40%. Even German 2 or 3-lense systems in PzIV tanks for example, providing only 3 or 4x magnification and 5x later on, produced only 8% of blur per lense and better results than optics of Allied tanks (some of the first Shermans deployed to Italy '43 IIRC had received 5x systems, way earlier than German PzIVs, which didn't really solve the problem, tho), still providing pretty clear images above 1000 meters, and even 1200+ meters, with "only" 24% of blur over all for a 3-lense system, for example.

The German Heereswaffenamt (arms and ordnance department) considered this patent/method to be of strategic importance, and declared it to be a military secret (resulting in being removed from the patent departments records) before the war, already.

During the last months of the war, the Germans tried to transfer documents and weapons that were meant to help the Japanese cause, like blueprints of engines or guns/weapons, a complete but totally disassembled ME 262 parts with blueprints, the StG 44 etc. and other goodies to Japan, loading all these things aboard a long-range submarine that was hollowed out to hold the extra cargo. When the Germans surrendered in May 1945, the sub was well underway in the Atlantic Ocean, so the commander asked his crew what to do, and they voted for surrendering to the next Allied vessel. The 2 Japanese officers in charge of escorting the precious cargo decided to commit suicide. The Sub then surrendered to a US or Canadian warship.
Whatsoever, the documents covering the patent must have made it to Japan through other channels, but Japan's Army was unable to use it during the final stage of the war. Interestingly, after the war, suddenly Japanese cameras with sophisticated optics appeared on the market (1948), the Nikon I was completely based on the German Contax II (Zeiss) camera, even the bayonet connector of the Contax was copied. Nikon gained some first international fame with the Nikon M (1949-1950), with the international breakthrough being achieved by putting the Nikon S (1950-55) on the market. Canon, supplied with Nikon lenses since before the war already, produced cameras influenced by the early Leicas and switched to produce direct copies or variants of the German Leica I, in 1939, with regular Nikon lenses, though.

With the sudden rise of Japanese camera manufacturers right after the war, it is obvious that the steep and sudden progress was not based on Japanese research, especially since the Allies, could not (US), or at least not completely (Soviet Union) solve this puzzle. The Russians disassembled the Zeiss factories, including all the tools/machines in Jena, East-Germany, but failed to handle the tools with care, so they turned out to be unusable when they were re-assembled in a plant in Russia. The tools were recreated, with partial success tho, as they were less accurate than the German originals.

I can dig out my posts for more detailed infos, if needed.

The technology provided for a higher max. effective range of armor and flak units until the end of the war on the Western front, and at least until late 1944/early 1945 on the Eastern front, as only the optics of the IS-2 (model 1944) tanks could compete with Panther and King Tiger optics, halfway, according to my research.

IMHO, these advantages materialized on the battlefields in Russia, too: When von Mellenthin points out that 700 tanks had been destroyed in the Chir operations (I do take into account that Mellenthin over-emphasized German achievements, while downplaying the role of Russian tactics and units), it is obvious that many of these hits were scored during surprise attacks, often from the rear of an entire Russian tank column, with the Russians thinking the vehicles at their tails would be their own units, but it is also pretty obvious, that many hits were scored well above 800 meters, at a distance where Russian tank optics of the time did not deliver a clear image anymore either, and well above 1000 meters, a distance where Russian tanks couldn't/wouldn't even respond, at least not until late 1944. In open terrain, like the Steppe west of Stalingrad, the superiority of German optics posed a vital tactical advantage. Russian tanks had to flank or get really close (way less than 800 meters) in order to get a Tiger tank, but even a PzIV could rely on superior optics (despite the initially rather comparatively low magnification - if compared to Sherman 5x optics).
The TZF 9b and c-variant sights of the Tiger offered a sophisticated range-finder (outer ring with exact predefined distances to make range-finding easier and triangles to help with measuring - as part of the cross-hair). According to the Tiger manual, authored by Guderian, the tank commander had to measure the distance with his scope, and then compute / translate the amount of triangles into distance in meters. The gunner then set the gun elevation according to the distance announced by the commander. If crews were trained, the whole process took less then 30 seconds. Crew members (loader, driver) were supposed to help with the calculation, which required memorizing distance sheets that could be found in the Tiger manual. Every crew member had to learn these by heart.

Sherman optics/reticles had little markers (dots and dashed lines, IIRC?), but they did not contain as many details as the German Tiger/Panther reticles. The M70F reticle introduced in 1943 Shermans offered a better reticle pattern than earlier scopes, but it was still a rather rudimentary tool, still forcing crews to find the right elevation by trial and error at "long" range, means above some mere 800 meters.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/17/2011 1:06:00 PM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 35
RE: East Front Game - 12/17/2011 12:20:47 PM   
Arjuna


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Fascinating. I knew that the Germans had superior optics but I was unaware of the Japanese connection.

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Post #: 36
RE: East Front Game - 12/17/2011 12:46:17 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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Michael Green in his book "M4 Sherman at War", page 85:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Michael Green

" How did the telescopic sight in the M4 series tank compare to its German counterpart? According to Sergeant Lewis A. Taylor in a wartime report, 'The German telescopic sight mounted in their tanks is superior to ours, in particular it is more powerful, in fact all of their optical equipment is superior to ours.' Howard A. Wood, a gunner on an M4 series tank fighting in Northwestern Europe, states in the same report, 'The telescopic sight on the Mark V [Panther] is also better than ours, because it always has a lever to make the sight have sixpower or two, whichever is needed'. "


Tiger I tanks were already able to fight targets up to 1800-2400 distance (in theory at least, there are various reports about 1600-1800-meter kills, one report about a 2400 meters hit), some wikipedia chatter even claims 4000 meters (2.5 miles?). I doubt that, as at that range a Tiger, despite the pretty flat trajectory, had to use ballistic targeting and firing methods, and I don't think the Tiger's optics could really help to acquire a target beyond a distance of 3000 meters. Still, even the Tiger manual ("Tigerfibel") shows and explains (with drawings and descriptive text in rhymes, hehe) crews how to use the gunner's visor and the commander reticle to get hits with the 2nd or 3rd round at ranges between 2400 and 2800 meters, it also provides the formula to compute it, along with a list of common engagement distances and the corresponding "amount of triangles" in the reticle. On top of that, distances [in numbers] were painted on the range-finder ring of the reticle. Flak guns in Africa scored confirmed hits at ranges of 2000-2200 meters, IIRC.

If there's interest, I can dig out my entire forum article some time, where I outlined the connection between the quality of the Tiger's optics, the accuracy and helpfulness of the Tiger's reticle and the existance of calculation sheets (in the manual) to speed up measurement of target distances, packed with links to scans of an original Tiger manual. Anyway, training of such targeting procedures played a vital role too, where the particular Tiger/King Tiger training did not start to deterioriate before very late 1944, afaik.
An engagement conducted by elements of a Heavy Tank Bn (King Tigers) around February 1945 in Poland/Prussia, where single King Tingers knocked out columns of up to 38-44 Russian tanks (most likely T-34) at long range, before the Russian tanks could get within effective range, is an example of the sueperiority of the optics (well and the guns in this case). That group performed a thrust eastwards along the coast, creating a bulge width a depth of ~40 kilometers. At that point, the Germans did just not have the men (inf) to hold the ground, anymore.

So, obvious question, are these max. effective ranges and superior detection ranges going to be rendered in the Eastern Front game?

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/17/2011 1:25:23 PM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 37
RE: East Front Game - 12/17/2011 1:37:13 PM   
Arjuna


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TO a degree they already are. Each weapon has a range table for each type of fire. Each range table has a series of entries which comprise a range, and an accuracy value. AARmFp also has a penetration value. The accuracy value in effect determines the hit probability and it is this that should be used to reflect factors like optics.

_____________________________

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www.panthergames.com

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 38
RE: East Front Game - 12/17/2011 2:01:47 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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Early detection on the German side and Russian inability to a) detect early (due to lower quality optics) and b) to fire early (due to lower max effective ranges) should be in the game, though, for historical accuracy's sake.

Whatsoever, what's your stand regarding the points 1,2,4 and 5 I collected in my first post?

And what about scenarios as outlined in A,B,C ???

Imho, if you include (or even shift the game theater's main focus from Chir to at least Stalingrad relief operations, so that the user can make a difference - eg. try to relief the 6th Army in Stalingrad, while still being able to do the Chir battles) at least one Stalingrad relief scenario, Command Ops will probably get more attention/new fans. Just an idea.

_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 39
RE: East Front Game - 12/17/2011 10:23:05 PM   
Arjuna


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From: Canberra, Australia
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GoodGuy,

I'll respond to your suggestions as I get time.

Re 1. Von Melenthin and night moves and fatigue. Yeh I've read von Mellenthin. He writes a ripping account, a good war story. Howevewr, when it comes to the facts I take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt. He was one of the principal post war generals who peddalled the notion that German forces could not be defeated tactically and that it was only at the strategic level that they were defeated. But anyone who has read widely on this subject knows that that is utter bunk.

German forces were consistently defeated at the tactical level on both the Eastern and Western fronts from late 42. What gave the German Army the biggest single advantage in the early part of the war was the quality of their officers, staff and senior NCOs. There was no doubt in the earlier period that their ability to come up with a workable plan quickly gave them a decided edge. They could process orders and get moving quicker than their opponent and hence won the initiative. But it came at a terrible price and by late 42 they had lost many of their best talented officers, staff and NCOs. With the demands to man units the training of their replacements was reduced and overall the calibre dropped. By 44 the vaunted German officer korps was no longer the war winning advantage it used be. At the same time the Western and Soviet officers, staff and NCOs had gained much by the brutal experience of the early combat. Training of these key personnel improved and when combined with battle experience gave them the edge over their German counterparts. Sure equipment played its part in swinging the tide but I put as much stock in the degradation of German commanders vis a vis their Allied opponents.

I have no doubt that German forces such as the 11th Pz Div conducted ops like he described ( move at night, attack at dawn, rest in the afternoon ). I'm fine with that. But what I question is for how long such forces can maintain that tempo. I have been on ops where we averaged less than an hour and half's sleep per day. We did that for five days and then had to be pulled out and rested. There was just no way the soldiers could be made to go on. I can remember turning around from the point of the column to see that every man bar myself had fallen asleep on the ground and no effort on my part including dragging them could get them back on their feet. These physical limits are well dopcumented and backed up by empirical evidence. I tend to believe that and my own experience over good stories with more than a hint of hyperbole.

BTW have you played BFTB with the latest build ( 4.2.248 )? We have overhauled the fatigue and recovery rates.

Re 2. Orders delay. Yes the Germans will have significantly shorter delays than the Soviet forces. However, I will leave it up to players as to when they kick off their orders cycle. With the current ability to set start at times the German player can easily issue orders in the evening that start in the morning.

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Post #: 40
RE: East Front Game - 12/18/2011 10:05:14 AM   
Alpha_one

 

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Much looking forward to the Eastern Front.

I gather that it's a PITA from a coding aspect, but it would be great if motorized infantry could dismount so they could traverse wooded terrrain etc. I often find myself wishing that I had plain old infantry rather than my uber-mechanized panergrenadiers.

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Post #: 41
RE: East Front Game - 12/18/2011 12:47:19 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
I have no doubt that German forces such as the 11th Pz Div conducted ops like he described ( move at night, attack at dawn, rest in the afternoon ). I'm fine with that. But what I question is for how long such forces can maintain that tempo.


That's certainly what makes or breaks a wargame at the operational level about the Eastern Front. Taking German memoryists apologetic works at face value, without leveraging them with actual OKH and STAVKA reports and sources, is a risky proposition at best.

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Post #: 42
RE: East Front Game - 12/18/2011 5:29:28 PM   
T-28A


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quote:

As appropriate as the Chir river battles sound Its going to create/force a very fluid OOB model if done historically.

Of this you could definitely be sure, our historical research is sort of exclusive, and is based almost purely on archival data both for Axis and Soviets, and the amount of research already put into the title is probably unprecedented for an East Front wargame But of course, making scenarios historically accurate is one thing, and making them fun to play is another one.
And, answering another post - yes, there will be Italians as well

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Post #: 43
RE: East Front Game - 12/18/2011 5:37:20 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: T-28A

quote:

As appropriate as the Chir river battles sound Its going to create/force a very fluid OOB model if done historically.


Of this you could definitely be sure, our historical research is sort of exclusive, and is based almost purely on archival data both for Axis and Soviets, and the amount of research already put into the title is probably unprecedented for an East Front wargame But of course, making scenarios historically accurate is one thing, and making them fun to play is another one.
And, answering another post - yes, there will be Italians as well


Are you involved in this? Wow

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Post #: 44
RE: East Front Game - 12/19/2011 12:35:00 AM   
T-28A


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Ah, this story is actually very old. Simply put, the HttR (CotA, BftF) game engine is perhaps the closest to the "Ideal Wargame" of mine, so who could resist such a temptation?
Adding few details to the aforementioned scope of the EF game - it will concentrate with actions from December 1942 to Februrary 1943. It will not be limited to Chir battles alone, but rather guide you from the final stages of Operation Uranus, then through the Little Saturn, and then through the southern part of Operation Gallop.
As the Soviet player you'll start up with the 5th Tank Army, and follow on with 1st Guards Army and then with 3rd Guards Army. As the German player you will start with 48th Panzer Corps, later joined with Armeeabteilung Fretter-Pico and Armeeabteilung Hollidt.
There will be no sound names like Stalingrad or Kharkov (as they worth separate titles), but you'll still find plenty of dramatic episodes. As Blues you could try to defend the besieged town for many days against Soviet attacks from all directions, or scramble to repulse Soviet tank corps ravaging your rears. Or, as Reds, you can try to outmaneuver the Mellentin himself at State Farm 79, or lead your cavalry corps alone into the deep audacious raid, terrifying German logistics and playing cat-and-mouse against two Panzer divisions.
What I especially like about our current scenario setup, is that, despite the giant scope of hundreds of kilometers, it still allows you to see the connection between events, and follow the storyline of Soviet winter counteroffensive. It is not exactly the linked campaign, as you will not follow any single formation through scenarios. But, whatever side you play, playing through scenarios you will regularly meet your old friends - and old foes too

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Post #: 45
RE: East Front Game - 12/19/2011 1:38:51 AM   
Trigger Happy


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quote:

"The fighting on the Chir river was made easier by the methods adopted by the command of the Russian Fifth Tank Army. They sent their various corps into battle without co-ordinating the timing of their attacks, and without the co-ordination of the numerous infantry divisions. Thus 11 Panzer Division was enabled to smash one corps after the other, until the hitting power of the Fifth Tank Army had been weakened to such an extent that it was possible for the Division to withdraw and start the game all over again with another Russian Tank Army."


That's exactely what you'll be able to judge for yourself when the game is delivered. The Germans were not just defending against countless Soviet assaults. They didn't achieve their goals. And they suffered very heavy casualties.

11th Panzer division didn't suffer much on december 8th proper, but all the other German formations had already and were still taking them to give the panzer division the freedom to move. And when they did take their place in the frontline, they suffered just like the others.

What I want to say is basically that the battles on the Chir river were not as lopsided as we were led to believe and involved a lot of close and desperate tactical encounters which often ended up with no clear winners. And while it's gonna be hard to do as well as 11 panzer division on 8.12.42, it wasn't necessarily the best way of using it to achieve 48th panzer corps goals. I think the game will help you answer that.

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Post #: 46
RE: East Front Game - 12/19/2011 8:34:49 AM   
wodin


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T-28A you tease,you cad,you...please stop. No ac5tually carry on, more info, more info!

As for the relief of Stalingrad I'm sure User made scanrios will cover it aswell as I expect some city action. Though how this will play out will be a massive test of the system. Not sure if it can do static orow moving city action. It's on area of the game I believe is beyond it's reach unfortunately. I think thats still the preserve of turn based games.


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Post #: 47
RE: East Front Game - 12/19/2011 10:12:49 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: T-28A

Ah, this story is actually very old. Simply put, the HttR (CotA, BftF) game engine is perhaps the closest to the "Ideal Wargame" of mine, so who could resist such a temptation?


Yes, I can indeed understand that

quote:

ORIGINAL: T-28A
Adding few details to the aforementioned scope of the EF game - it will concentrate with actions from December 1942 to Februrary 1943. It will not be limited to Chir battles alone, but rather guide you from the final stages of Operation Uranus, then through the Little Saturn, and then through the southern part of Operation Gallop.

As the Soviet player you'll start up with the 5th Tank Army, and follow on with 1st Guards Army and then with 3rd Guards Army. As the German player you will start with 48th Panzer Corps, later joined with Armeeabteilung Fretter-Pico and Armeeabteilung Hollidt.

There will be no sound names like Stalingrad or Kharkov (as they worth separate titles), but you'll still find plenty of dramatic episodes. As Blues you could try to defend the besieged town for many days against Soviet attacks from all directions, or scramble to repulse Soviet tank corps ravaging your rears. Or, as Reds, you can try to outmaneuver the Mellentin himself at State Farm 79, or lead your cavalry corps alone into the deep audacious raid, terrifying German logistics and playing cat-and-mouse against two Panzer divisions.

What I especially like about our current scenario setup, is that, despite the giant scope of hundreds of kilometers, it still allows you to see the connection between events, and follow the storyline of Soviet winter counteroffensive. It is not exactly the linked campaign, as you will not follow any single formation through scenarios. But, whatever side you play, playing through scenarios you will regularly meet your old friends - and old foes too


Awesome setup. It's indeed one of the most fluid episodes of the war. It also avoids to have to deal with extensive field fortifications, something that would probably delay considerably development. Thank you for the info and the comments T-28A, and be wary of mechanical problems

@TriggerHappy: understanding/studying this episodes is indeed very interesting and something that on this engine will also be enjoyable. The last part is harder to get with Panzer Campaigns, since you might well end up with carpial tunnel syndrome :S

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Post #: 48
RE: East Front Game - 12/26/2011 1:01:34 PM   
Lützow


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As much as I welcome another East Front title, the chosen time frame and location isn't the most favorable from a German Perspective. In regard of early 1943 I would rather like the 3rd battle of Charkov, and aside of that I had prefer something like Hungary 45 or Halbe pocket.

Having said that, I got two requests for your upcoming title. First, make it bigger in a way that the amount of disposable units is just restricted from the users system. A modern i7 can handle quite more stuff than a P4 was able to, when Panter released HttR years ago. You know, some of us are still waiting for the premised Road to Moscow.

Second, make it mod-friendly, so dedicated players can design additional East Front Scenarios, even outside the given time frame and area. In an ideal manner, the next Panther title would become a scalable Barbarossa Engine, kinda like TOAW.

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Post #: 49
RE: East Front Game - 12/26/2011 6:37:42 PM   
SeinfeldRules

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lützow

Second, make it mod-friendly, so dedicated players can design additional East Front Scenarios, even outside the given time frame and area. In an ideal manner, the next Panther title would become a scalable Barbarossa Engine, kinda like TOAW.

With the Estab Editor this is pretty much possible with the current engine. I can't imagine this will change much for the next release?

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Post #: 50
RE: East Front Game - 12/26/2011 11:50:38 PM   
Arjuna


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Lützow,

We have already given users the ability to recreate any battle anywhere. There is a full Estab Editor provided, so you can create your own force structures from any time period and the Map Maker allows you to create your own maps.

As to the time period, well we chose this because we wanted a series of fluid battles where the odds were fairly even. There is plenty of opportunity for both sides to attack and a large canvas for operational manouvre.

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Post #: 51
RE: East Front Game - 12/27/2011 4:47:12 PM   
Arimus

 

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Are there any plans to include obstacles in the game?

I don't believe the current "call for fire" mechanics will work for the Eastern front. The Russians relied heavily on preplanned fires which are currently not modeled. Actually, the current mechanics could probably use a dose of realism in general. They are too consistently responsive and accurate.

Will there be any changes to the enemy AI? Maybe the ability to withdraw a battlegroup when the fight is going against it?

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Post #: 52
RE: East Front Game - 9/19/2012 3:15:52 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Any news on this? The title doesn't appear on the Matrix Games "coming soon" list. I guess the COTA conversion and other projects took/take a lot of time.

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Post #: 53
RE: East Front Game - 9/19/2012 3:39:57 PM   
phoenix

 

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Wow, Comrade P - that's optimistic. I was thinking maybe december 2013......

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Post #: 54
RE: East Front Game - 9/19/2012 4:34:19 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Well, on page 1 of this thread there's talk of it possibly being released in the first half of 2012 (not literally in those words, but as in: first half of next year, typed in 2011).

I'm just curious, because it seems to have dropped off the radar (there's also no sticky for this game in this forum section as far as I can determine, which is also a bit odd considering that this is basically a game announcement thread).

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Post #: 55
RE: East Front Game - 9/19/2012 4:47:17 PM   
phoenix

 

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Wow, again. Did they really say that - first half of this year. Hope springs eternal. I'd like to know the SP too ComP. What's the latest ETA, Dave?

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Post #: 56
RE: East Front Game - 9/19/2012 6:13:27 PM   
wodin


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Never ever go by any date thats mentioned by Panther. Dave is a perfectionist. Which means his games spend along time in development and bug hunting. I think the Bulge game was expected for a good year and a half before it arrived.

Also defense contracts get in the way I think. But hey thats where the money is a Dave has to eat..

Still I very much doubt this game will be out before next summer...Dec2013 I think at the earliest.

Oh and if you check abit further down from when Dave mentions first half of "next" year he posts this..

"Just a sobering note re the release time. First half of next year is what we are aiming for but that depends on a lot of factors like the amount of time I and Paul have available to spend on development work, the amount of new dev work, the degree of difficulty involved in that work, the impact it has on the rest of the engine etc. There is a big Defence project that is about to go into the definition stage early next year and we are hoping to be part of it. If this comes off, then this will probably impact on the release date for the East Front game. But it may not. The bottom line is that first half of next year is nothing more than a target date. It is not set in concrete. Do not go off half cocked and then be bitterly dissappointed if we can't make it. "

I think that he was being very optimistic and realised what he just said..giving out a date so early and everyone getting excited. So nipped it in the bud.

Also I'm not sure if COTA pack is holding up the EF game...as Dave will be busy doing the new features for the EF game so I imagine thats on hold until COTA pack is released..then we have to see if any defense contracts come along...

< Message edited by wodin -- 9/19/2012 6:20:28 PM >


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Post #: 57
RE: East Front Game - 9/19/2012 7:23:06 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Yes, I read that, I just thought it was odd that after that nothing was posted about the Eastern Front game anymore in this thread, and that the thread wasn't stickied.

"Not the first half of 2012" also doesn't necessarily mean "second half of 2013", but it's a possibility. As stated, I'm just curious if there's any further information as this is the first Command Ops title I'm looking forward to, due to not having a particularly significant interest in the Western Front below regimental level.

< Message edited by ComradeP -- 9/19/2012 7:26:10 PM >


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Post #: 58
RE: East Front Game - 9/19/2012 9:04:32 PM   
wodin


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I too am looking forward to it..however I think your best putting it to one side in your mind for now...it will get here but god knows when. This and Combat Mission East front game I'm waiting on..but I try not to think about it to much:)

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Post #: 59
RE: East Front Game - 9/20/2012 1:03:28 AM   
Arjuna


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Re East Front game. Pavel has been very busy with his work for the last few months and has had little if any time to devote to it. In any event he's waiting on me to code up Soviet doctrine and mounted ops. I in the meantime and am waiting on Paul to fix some serious issues which I have gone into on other threads. It's my experience that we go through periods like this where seemingly nothing happens and then when the log jam is cleared we charge on at speed. Given the complex nature of the work and the part time availability of resources it is very hard to predict when it will be ready. Will it get done? Yes it will. But as to when I am not going to predict.

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