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HQ Company Questions - 7/22/2012 9:15:30 PM   
Adam106

 

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I have a few questions relating to HQ Company organisation - some will relate to the game and some not.
First is a general question relating to the American 'Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon' and the British 'Admin Platoon'. Both of these platoons were organic to the HQ Company - what was the role of these platoons within a typical offensive or defensive operation? Were they always up front close to the front line? If so how far behind? Did they operate as single entities or were elements split/assigned to work for separate rifle companies?
Were such HQ company assets expected to do much fighting? Presumably they were all fully trained infantry. Were battle skills not maintained as much as men in rifle companies? I suspect being in a HQ company might have been seen as a less dangerous / more cushy job than a rifle platoon.

The British Admin Platoon also looked after the battalion motor pool - did these vehicles always travel close behind the rest of the battalion - or were they maybe pooled at brigade or even division base areas.

The Admin platoon in airborne units raises some questions. I'm aware that Airborne units had significant 'seaborne trails' - most vehicles and admin platoon members I guess. Presumably airborne HQ companies did take some men of the Admin Platoons into action by air. Does anyone know how many and what roles they performed on the ground?

How does this all relate in Command Ops. Are such men accounted for in Bn HQ units (they seem a little small) or are they grouped in the 'Base' units. I suspect the latter. Be interesting to know the logic and decisions behind all this.

Cheers.

< Message edited by Adam106 -- 7/22/2012 9:17:14 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/22/2012 11:07:20 PM   
wodin


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I think they are at the base HQ...not sure though. Also resupply and trucks and men etc is a touch abstract I think at the moment and probably isn't in depth enough to take into account what admin platoons are doing.

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(in reply to Adam106)
Post #: 2
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/22/2012 11:48:35 PM   
Lieste

 

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Most of the "high level HQ", and "HHC combat arms" are concentrated into the HQ, "HHC support/admin" etc is concentrated with the Base units. For Bn this means aggregated at 'roughly the right levels' into a Rgt Base, as in the base Estab there are no Bn Supply elements (though I have experimented with these for my own purposes... with mixed results).

'Roughly right' because it doesn't (directly) adapt for additional/reduced numbers of Bn attached to a Rgt group.

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 3
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/23/2012 11:00:39 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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Joined: 5/17/2006
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Adam106

I have a few questions relating to HQ Company organisation - some will relate to the game and some not.
First is a general question relating to the American 'Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon' and the British 'Admin Platoon'. Both of these platoons were organic to the HQ Company - what was the role of these platoons within a typical offensive or defensive operation? Were they always up front close to the front line? If so how far behind? Did they operate as single entities or were elements split/assigned to work for separate rifle companies?
Were such HQ company assets expected to do much fighting? Presumably they were all fully trained infantry. Were battle skills not maintained as much as men in rifle companies? I suspect being in a HQ company might have been seen as a less dangerous / more cushy job than a rifle platoon.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Historian HUGH F. FOSTER III
LTC, USA (Ret.)
Carlisle, PA

http://www.trailblazersww2.org/history_infantrystructure.htm

"An infantry battalion headquarters & headquarters company (authorized strength - 126) contained the battalion’s headquarters cell, a company headquarters cell, a communications platoon, an ammunition & pioneer platoon, and an antitank platoon. Elements of this company operated all over the battle area in support of the battalion’s forward and rear command posts and the letter companies."


That said, err quoted , I'd say, even though Foster states that they operated "all over the battle area" and "in support of the letter companies" (means rifle/line companies), that the majority of tasks comprised of HQ protection and (more likely) indeed real pioneer work: Digging trenches, building HQ/command posts say like wooden "bunkers", laying mines or removing mines, unless they got explicit order to participate in an attack.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/33/a3763433.shtml


quote:

ORIGINAL: Adam106

Presumably airborne HQ companies did take some men of the Admin Platoons into action by air. Does anyone know how many and what roles they performed on the ground?

Actually, I doubt that they were taken into action with the first waves, as they were placed in safe positions at the rear. Even though the following describes the composition of a rifle platoon's administrative platoon, composition and positioning were the same, most likely:

quote:

ORIGINAL: HUGH F. FOSTER III

"The rifle company was the lowest level at which the unit was usually fielded in echelons, with components of the company not in physical contact with others. The rifle company normally operated in three echelons: the three rifle platoons and a portion of the company headquarters, including attachments; the three light, 60mm mortars of the Weapons Platoon, which tended to operate slightly to the rear of the “front line;” and the administrative portion of the company headquarters (cooks, clerks and supply personnel, totaling about 12 men) which usually operated from positions well to the rear."


By the way, the statement regarding a line company's organic mortar section is pretty interesting:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Historian HUGH F. FOSTER III

"60mm mortars of the Weapons Platoon, which tended to operate slightly to the rear of the “front line."


That's what I always thought how the US had positioned their mortar sections, so for the game, the organic mortar sections (of US and at least German companies) should actually be detached and placed as individual mortar platoons, just like the German AT platoons, so that the player or the AI can place them behind (and in support of) the line units and avoid to expose them to direct fire.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 7/23/2012 11:08:42 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 Adam106)
Post #: 4
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/23/2012 11:17:25 PM   
simovitch


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

That's what I always thought how the US had positioned their mortar sections, so for the game, the organic mortar sections (of US and at least German companies) should actually be detached and placed as individual mortar platoons, just like the German AT platoons, so that the player or the AI can place them behind (and in support of) the line units and avoid to expose them to direct fire.


I disagree with that treatment in this game. It's not Combat Mission. Just like the US 57mm AT platoons, the 60mm mortar platoon will just be another unit to wreak havoc on the OPFOR Operational AI assessment.

_____________________________

simovitch


(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 5
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/23/2012 11:54:55 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: simovitch

I disagree with that treatment in this game. It's not Combat Mission. Just like the US 57mm AT platoons, the 60mm mortar platoon will just be another unit to wreak havoc on the OPFOR Operational AI assessment.


You mean it will disturb (or mess up) the AI's assessment and planning procedures?
If the AI manages to keep such platoons right behind the lead line units, it would allow for more realistic depictions of assaults/combats.

By the way, what about the mortar companies in BFTB's most recent version, do they still tend to expose themselfs to direct fire, or even be on the same line as line units?


< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 7/23/2012 11:59:11 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 simovitch)
Post #: 6
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/30/2012 9:46:01 PM   
Joe D.


Posts: 3642
Joined: 8/31/2005
From: Stratford, Connecticut
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

... That's what I always thought how the US had positioned their mortar sections, so for the game, the organic mortar sections (of US and at least German companies) should actually be detached and placed as individual mortar platoons, just like the German AT platoons, so that the player or the AI can place them behind (and in support of) the line units and avoid to expose them to direct fire.


Even when attached, if you use an FUP, isn't that what happens anyway?

In the BFtB tutoral scenario, I've watched both the HQ and mortar units position themselves behind their assaulting line units without any micro-managing on my part.

_____________________________

Stratford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

"The Angel of Okinawa"

Home of the Chance-Vought Corsair, F4U
The best fighter-bomber of World War II

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 7
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/31/2012 12:54:37 AM   
Arjuna


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Before BFTB we used to have the HQ travel with the assault group. Now, though, the HQ stays at the reserve location with the mortars. Mortar positioning is also better handled now.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Joe D.)
Post #: 8
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/31/2012 5:37:15 AM   
GoodGuy

 

Posts: 1501
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From: Cologne, Germany
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Before BFTB we used to have the HQ travel with the assault group. Now, though, the HQ stays at the reserve location with the mortars. Mortar positioning is also better handled now.


Thanks for the info, Dave. That's the piece of info I was searching for. Good news.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Joe D.

quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

... That's what I always thought how the US had positioned their mortar sections, so for the game, the organic mortar sections (of US and at least German companies) should actually be detached and placed as individual mortar platoons, just like the German AT platoons, so that the player or the AI can place them behind (and in support of) the line units and avoid to expose them to direct fire.


Even when attached, if you use an FUP, isn't that what happens anyway?

In the BFtB tutoral scenario, I've watched both the HQ and mortar units position themselves behind their assaulting line units without any micro-managing on my part.


Well, with my statement you quoted, I was referring to the organic mortar platoon/section of a line unit (say an INF coy), and not to a Bn or divisional mortar coy. By checking such a line unit's equipment tab, you'll figure that quite some of these Coys have a number of mortars at their disposal. The mortar rounds are usually rendered by the engine and you should hear the mortar fire, too.
So I proposed to take these mortars from such Coys and place them on the map as independent units (ie. as mortar platoons or sections), so that the AI (or the player) can place them behind the frontline, as (for example) the Germans rarely placed them right on the front-line. If not "detached" (means not taken away), they'll probably be the first heavy EQ that gets destroyed if they encounter say a tank unit, or if they get hit by air strikes. A concealed mortar platoon or section wasn't a real fat target of opportunity for air bombardments, visually (spotting -> small size unit), imho.

I think see where Simo is coming from, AI-wise, though.
Also, with the grid-size/fidelity currently used in BFTB, such "detached" platoons might still end up in firing range of enemy companies, where in reality it was sufficient to take positions behind houses, in nearby woods or in bomb craters, 50 - 300 meters behind the front-line.
I remember reading about a US soldier/officer who received the Medal of Honor (posthumously, IIRC) for his actions in Italy, where a single German mortar crew wounded or killed many guys of his unit, and where the crew basically made any progress impossible, even though the German line had crumbled around that spot, as it kept lobbing mortars from a crater around 50-90 meters or so away, if I am not mistaken. Although severely wounded, the guy ran to the position, ignored enemy small arms fire, and wiped out the mortar position, thus saving many of his comrades.

The Germans handled mortar sections with quite a variety regarding positioning, since, unlike the mortar Coys, which adopted (copies of) the heavier Russian 120mm-mortars, the lower weight of their mortars allowed for quick shifting and positioning behind the front.

With Legends of the Blitzkrieg, its smaller scope and "finer" fidelity, it would make more sense to have independent mortar sections or platoons, actually, imho.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 7/31/2012 5:50:30 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 #: 9
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/31/2012 12:01:14 PM   
Joe D.


Posts: 3642
Joined: 8/31/2005
From: Stratford, Connecticut
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

Well, with my statement you quoted, I was referring to the organic mortar platoon/section of a line unit (say an INF coy), and not to a Bn or divisional mortar coy. By checking such a line unit's equipment tab, you'll figure that quite some of these Coys have a number of mortars at their disposal ...


I see, but in that case, can't these units use organic mortars assets for direct as well as indirect fire?

_____________________________

Stratford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

"The Angel of Okinawa"

Home of the Chance-Vought Corsair, F4U
The best fighter-bomber of World War II

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 10
RE: HQ Company Questions - 7/31/2012 10:10:16 PM   
GoodGuy

 

Posts: 1501
Joined: 5/17/2006
From: Cologne, Germany
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Well, the player can't use these assets, at least, but I saw such units using 'em during attacks and at ranges of say 500 meters and below, only. So it seems like they're only being used if there's visual contact, which is a bit odd, since they're still indirect fire-weapons.

After the introduction of the 80mm mortars on Bn-level (mortar coy), the German line Coys' received the 50mm mortars (before the war, if I am not mistaken), and - due to their small size - these could be (dis-)assembled within minutes, 2 men carried the parts of the mortar with 2 different special leight-weight backpacks, where one contained the barrel and the other one the baseplate. The 50mm mortar had a range of 575 meters and - once assembled - a weight of 12.5 kg. The design was revised continously until the production ended in 1943 (due to lack of punch). The spread was pretty high too: +/- 31 meters in range and +/- 4 meters to the side at a target range of 520 meters.

That said, if my observation in COTA and BFTB(Demo) was accurate, and if such low calibre mortars were part of these units' estabs during such game events, then the engine depicts the effective range of such German mortars accurately, such units just lack the ability to let the player use their bombard capabilities manually. If the Coy mortar assets included higher calibre mortars (say 80mm-Granatwerfer 34), then max range and behaviour would be pretty off (max. range: 2400 meters).
Whatsoever, it seems like the Coys are using their mortars rarely, though, if compared to the amount of on-call missions of the Bns' mortar Coys.

I am too lazy to check whether the Germans introduced 80mm mortars on Coy level or not, and - if so - when they were introduced (before or after the Battle of the Bulge?), the KStN indicates a massive shift to 120mm mortars for the mortar coys in 1944, and - despite their weight (285 kg in fire position, 600 kg when towed on carriage) - even for non-motorized INF Bns, at least, but 80mm mortars were still produced until the end of the war.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 7/31/2012 10:20:15 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 Joe D.)
Post #: 11
RE: HQ Company Questions - 8/4/2012 4:33:17 PM   
Central Blue

 

Posts: 695
Joined: 8/20/2004
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Adam106

I have a few questions relating to HQ Company organisation - some will relate to the game and some not.
First is a general question relating to the American 'Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon' and the British 'Admin Platoon'. Both of these platoons were organic to the HQ Company - what was the role of these platoons within a typical offensive or defensive operation? Were they always up front close to the front line? If so how far behind? Did they operate as single entities or were elements split/assigned to work for separate rifle companies?
Were such HQ company assets expected to do much fighting? Presumably they were all fully trained infantry. Were battle skills not maintained as much as men in rifle companies? I suspect being in a HQ company might have been seen as a less dangerous / more cushy job than a rifle platoon.

The British Admin Platoon also looked after the battalion motor pool - did these vehicles always travel close behind the rest of the battalion - or were they maybe pooled at brigade or even division base areas.

The Admin platoon in airborne units raises some questions. I'm aware that Airborne units had significant 'seaborne trails' - most vehicles and admin platoon members I guess. Presumably airborne HQ companies did take some men of the Admin Platoons into action by air. Does anyone know how many and what roles they performed on the ground?

How does this all relate in Command Ops. Are such men accounted for in Bn HQ units (they seem a little small) or are they grouped in the 'Base' units. I suspect the latter. Be interesting to know the logic and decisions behind all this.

Cheers.


Haven't got around to modding the Brits yet, mainly because I have been working my way through the Ardennes scenarios. For those I have modified the HHC's to include the bakers and clerks, mainly because we read so often of bakers and clerks having to pick up their rifles and carbines. But the second reason would be that it is hard to imagine how the HQ can really function if all of the guys stringing phone lines, talking on the radio, preparing map overlays, and whatnot, are imagined to be somewhere well behind the commander who is trying to make things happen. Once you've gone that far, it's too much to subtract a handful of guys making coffee or fixing the CO's jeep. Call me lazy

When I modded Greyhound Dash, I specifically created the rear echelon element of the 3rd Armored HQ because it featured prominently in the defense of Hotton in the real world battle. When I circle back to that scenario I will mod the 7th AD trains to match the real world TOE rather than the generic base unit the game needs.

Rules of Thumb: I only include the HHC's for HQ's controlling combat teams. Where the engineer, TD, indy tank battalions, etc., are parceled out to combat teams, I don't bother to find a place for their HHC's. Call me lazy. Since I view company units as much closer to the action, I have gone ahead and created company units minus one or minus two platoons.

Your mileage may vary.

_____________________________

USS St. Louis firing on Guam, July 1944. The Cardinals and Browns faced each other in the World Series that year

(in reply to Adam106)
Post #: 12
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