From: Cologne, Germany
ORIGINAL: Bil H
We are doing the France 1940 battles of Fall Gelb (first stage of the battle for France) ... the battles from Fall Rot we are currently planning on doing as an eventual expansion pack then adding the Italians to the mix. This is planned on being only the first of many games from Warren and me.
We are going to platoons with specialist teams... and in my initial play testing I really like the feel of this scale. I personally prefer smaller scenarios and most of our battles will be at the Battalion(+) to Regiment scale.
We are also moving to 50m movement grids to take advantage of the finer fidelity that smaller grid will give us. The initial results with maps at this movement grid size are encouraging. Map textures will be all new, and maps will have more detail than ever before, more contour levels, more varied terrain, more accurately rendered road networks, etc. All of this is possible because of the smaller movement grid. See the attached image from a map (work in progress) to see where we are going with this... at this tactical scale things like fields, hedgerows, etc will be important.
This looks pretty good. One or another community scenario designer tried to assemble some maps/scenarios at platoon level, IIRC, but I imagined that the large grids and (lower) fidelity made it hard to come up with decent results, that's why we never got to see any results, I guess.
Challenges that we are working on are how to represent different reaction times based on differences in communications and tactics... how to give the Germans a fighting chance against the very tough French tanks, etc. we have some answers to those questions... but a lot of testing is still required.
Bad communication and the inability to amass tanks (on the French side) were essential for the Germans to get the upper hand in those few tank battles. If I am not mistaken, the French, instead of concentrating all those heavy tanks, which were superior to the German tanks (French tanks had thicker armor), they shuffled around smaller groups, with these groups basically beeing scattered all along the front, in an attempt to cater for local German attacks/breakthroughs. Earlier, at the Meuse, the Germans had crushed French armor (mostly in close combat, afaik), leaving the 1st DCR with 16 tanks only. The Germans had lost 50 (out of 500) tanks.
On a tactical scale, the German tanks got close with speed, in order to be able to score a hit/penetrate the French armor. French tank units had radios, but - if I am not mistaken - only the unit commander's tank had a radio. I don't know much about the organization of French tank units (means size and numbers of platoons, Coys, etc., amount of command tanks), but I think only every 4th French tank had a radio, statistically. If every enemy tank has a radio at his disposal, this will make swift tactical movements during an encounter almost impossible.
When Rommel encountered the Matildas at Arras, only 88mm flak guns (some sources say 105mm field guns were used as well) were able to stop the British attack, but French units then inflicted heavy losses on German armour when the Germans retreated. At this point, with the British local tactical victory, the Germans thought the Allies had finally concentrated all their tanks, but that was not the case. The Allied units were too disorganized to mount successful subsequent counter-attacks.
That said, I recommend to put in a couple of 88mm flak guns, in order to give the Germans the possibility to fend off the tough French tanks. That may necessitate the Command Ops engine to render tank warfare realistically, though. The engine still has trouble to cater for range (88mm flak guns in North Africa scored hits at ranges of 1.8 kilometers - and above, for example) and superior optics (eg. in 88mm flak guns and PzIV tanks, later in Tiger, Panther and KingTiger tanks). While the PzIII were too weak and while the PzIV tanks could not benefit from their superior optics (thus higher range) when they engaged the tough French tanks, the 88mm flak guns did benefit from better optics very well.
Even though my exposure to the BFTB engine is restricted to the demo version (I do know that plenty of changes have been made, meanwhile), it's still like you have to use the FIRE command to make a dug in or deployed 88mm flak unit shoot at enemy tanks (more than say 500 meters away) more than the usual 3 or 5 times it would fire if being left alone. If you use the FIRE command and set the ROF to max, such a flak unit (or say an AT unit) will spill out rounds like crazy, even at somewhat distant targets (it will still not shoot at targets say above 800 meters, at least the rounds are not rendered in these cases, and I can't see an effect either).
If such details can be revised/worked out, a smaller (tactical) scale version of the engine would work pretty good and would create heaps of fun, imho.
Logistics modeling will also be represented as accurately as possible, this includes fuel loads, available supply transport, echelon of supply delivery, basics consumption, etc.
I know supplies (and supply columns/trucks) are abstracted in the game, they are not visible. But what I would wish for, with a tactical scale version of this engine, that supply trucks would be rendered.
Example: Resistance units in Russia or say Yugoslavia ambushed supply columns regularly. In some Russian regions, such units controlled entire "Hinterland" areas, with woods and lots of places to set up ambushes or hidden camps. One resistance unit was even joined by smaller groups of regular troops, who either infiltrated or were dropped at night by planes. This unit controlled an entire area with the only road to the German main front units (i think the road supplied Army Group Center). The road was in Russian hands for several weeks, hampering the German supply effort tremendously, until the Germans sent rearguard SS-units which were held back to fight Partisans exclusively, where quite some of them consisted of Police-units, as the Police was subordinated to the SS-Hauptamt.
Another example would be the war in Iraq, 2003, when Iraqi army units ambushed a US supply column which wasn't guarded by armed vehicles, as the supply lines were too stretched. Some got killed, the survivors got in captivity, the supplies were captured, IIRC.
That said, for the player, it would be extremely motivating and fun if a tactical version of the game would provide visible supply units. Destroying/killing vital supply ressources (trucks, drivers) and maybe even capturing supplies (ammo, food, spare parts, guns, etc.) can put the ambusher at some major advantage. It makes a difference if you take out AT gun-crews and leave the working guns behind, or if you turn those guns and use them against the enemy's tanks, for example.
Also, vital for a tactical level game would be the possibilty to dismount motorized units and to cross woods with say tanks or halftracks. Right now, a motorized unit is either depicted as foot unit (so that it can access woods), but without the ability to be redirected and transported to another sector within an acceptable time frame, or it's marked as wheel unit, resulting in such a unit to (1) risk to loose all vehicles during an encounter and (2) in not being able to access woods or somewhat "rougher" terrain.
For example, many AT platoons and flak units either had cross-country trucks (eg. Krupp Protze for the smaller AT guns) or (if too heavy) even halftracks and could access even dense woods. There are plenty of WW2 pictures showing AT guns, tanks and flak guns set up or waiting in dense woods.
If these things can be revised, a tactical version (but even a "regular" installment would turn out to be way more realistic and fun.
My 2 cents
< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 6/5/2012 3:04:30 PM >
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
8th of August, 2006