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Assaulting - 3/16/2013 10:07:15 AM   
dazkaz15


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Hope this helps.
If anyone gets different results please post it here, and ill update the picture.
Thanks
Daz

edit: Image updated in the post below

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< Message edited by dazkaz15 -- 3/16/2013 5:55:00 PM >
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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 11:16:58 AM   
dazkaz15


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New version.

I can't replace the picture in the original post, as it was uploaded to the forum, and won't let me replace it. so any modifications of the image will have to be new posts.
Sorry for the picture spam




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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 11:52:52 AM   
dazkaz15


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I don't like that the bombard order given to the Bn HQ, makes the whole assault hault, and bombard, even the ones that don't have any ranged weapons, then instead of continuing with the assault it completely abandons it.

Is it working as designed?

I have noticed that the mortar team very rarely helps during an assault, even when Arty Direct Spt Only is ticked.
The way I imagined it should work is that the Mortar team becomes on call to the Bn HQ.

If you as a player want to use that mortar team, or any other ranged units attached to your Bn HQ, you could then just click on the HQ, and give the bombardment order for where you want the fire.
All supporting ranged units attached to that HQ then fire on that target.
This order would not affect the line units in their assault at all, and the attack would continue.

At the moment if you need fire support from your mortar team you have three choices, well only one really as the other two will cause the assault to fail.

1, Don't include the mortar into your assault force. Detach it from Bn HQ, move it and use it as needed. This is the best and only option really.

2. Using the mortar team for a bombard order while attached to Bn HQ, during an assault will instantly remove if from the HQ's Force, modifying its force size and causing....well chaos realy.

3. Give the bombard order to the Bn HQ this will cause the whole assault to stop, and abort, but you will get mortar fire on the target at least.


< Message edited by dazkaz15 -- 3/16/2013 11:54:53 AM >

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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 1:14:32 PM   
wodin


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I've never chnaged my assault order on the fly..only the ROF.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 1:21:08 PM   
phoenix

 

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Excellent and extremely helpful, Daz. Many thanks. Some of the above I knew and had worked out, some I had no idea about. It's extremely useful to have a quick guide as to what will mess up an assault.

I second what you say about the mortar platoon doing bugger all during an assault. I keep trying to put in assaults (instead of 'secure bridge' for example) hoping the mortar team will put in a prelim barrage, but it doesn't. And you're right, if you then detach it to give it a direct order yourself then the assault gets wrecked - they usually seem to stop, move back, re-org, re-plan etc. I agree with you that the only effective way to use the mortars at the moment seems to be to detach them before you plan and do it manually. But this has changed I think. Some while back - long pre-patch 4, I mean - I started a thread about securing bridges and ensuring they were bombarded before an assault (as this normally guarantees, if ferocious enough and proximate enough to the assault, that the bridge will not be blown) and would the AI do that? Dave replied that it shuld if you tick arty support, and I tested this and it did work - that is, I think it used to be possible to order a Bn to either secure a crossing or attack it (with secure ticked) and its mortar would bombard prior to the assault. But now it doesn't seem to happen at all.

Many thanks, again.


Example of assault abandoned (or subject to re-plan) because I gave the mortar a fire order after it did nothing at all (it was slated to move near to the bridge, in fact, along with the infantry). Note what has happened - the 3 line companies were actually Assaulting and en route when I gave the mortar a bombard order. They stopped and are heading back to re-org...... Now, I know what (some) people say about never touching an assault order etc once it's going, but it's perfectly reasonable to tinker with the mortar, I think - especially if it's doing nothing. But you can't. You have to give it separate manual orders, I think, as Daz suggests.





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< Message edited by phoenix -- 3/16/2013 1:32:00 PM >

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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 5:51:22 PM   
dazkaz15


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Just found this in the manual, so either something is not working as intended with the bombard order, or the manule needs updating on the topic?

quote:

Manual

Changes that Don’t Cause a Replan
Bombard orders don’t cause a replan, because artillery units operated their own radio nets and used procedures that were capable of producing almost instant responses to fire orders. Because artillery generally required time to set up, artillery units on the move may still require some time to get deployed and actually start firing, even though they act on the order immediately.
Fire orders don’t cause replans either.


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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 6:03:26 PM   
phoenix

 

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Yes. I would think something isn't working properly.... On the other hand - I don't really see how it wouldn't cause a replan, to be sensible, because it is detaching a unit, in effect.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 3/16/2013 6:06:39 PM >

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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 7:25:11 PM   
wodin


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Mortar and IG units are the bane of my life in game..little help and first to die. I would like to see some improvement with them. My feelings with regards to Mortar units is that due to the abstract nature of the terrain they can't really find cover to bombard from within range alot of the time s get wiped out.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/16/2013 10:15:39 PM   
dazkaz15


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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

Yes. I would think something isn't working properly.... On the other hand - I don't really see how it wouldn't cause a replan, to be sensible, because it is detaching a unit, in effect.


A mortar platoon firing in support of its own parent formation would not be detaching it from the force.

Far from it.

Each Coy commander has its own embedded FOO, with direct radio, wire or whatever contact to its tubes, or guns.

The same goes for Artillery right up to Divisional level.
Bn HQ would usually have the Artillery regimental commander, CO located, with it, to advise on all matters Artillery.

The attached organic Fire Support is a very integrated part of a Bn.

Read this article, its very informative.
And yes you can expect rounds falling on target accurately with in 3-5 min for prepared fire plans, and within 5-15 for impromptu fire missions.
That's only 3-5 seconds for us game time on normal speed as the game clock ticks in minutes at a time, so very fast response to fire requests.

http://etloh.8m.com/strategy/artil.html

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RE: Assaulting - 3/17/2013 4:03:19 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz15

Just found this in the manual, so either something is not working as intended with the bombard order, or the manule needs updating on the topic?

quote:

Manual

Changes that Don’t Cause a Replan
Bombard orders don’t cause a replan, because artillery units operated their own radio nets and used procedures that were capable of producing almost instant responses to fire orders. Because artillery generally required time to set up, artillery units on the move may still require some time to get deployed and actually start firing, even though they act on the order immediately.
Fire orders don’t cause replans either.




That refers to units in a force being given a bombard task. Another matter is to issue the Bombard mission to the HQ - that's going to cause a replan. So assigning Bombard tasks (not Move, not Fire) to units belonging to a force conducting an assault shouldn't cause a replan.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/17/2013 9:59:50 AM   
dazkaz15


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek


quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz15

Just found this in the manual, so either something is not working as intended with the bombard order, or the manule needs updating on the topic?

quote:

Manual

Changes that Don’t Cause a Replan
Bombard orders don’t cause a replan, because artillery units operated their own radio nets and used procedures that were capable of producing almost instant responses to fire orders. Because artillery generally required time to set up, artillery units on the move may still require some time to get deployed and actually start firing, even though they act on the order immediately.
Fire orders don’t cause replans either.




That refers to units in a force being given a bombard task. Another matter is to issue the Bombard mission to the HQ - that's going to cause a replan. So assigning Bombard tasks (not Move, not Fire) to units belonging to a force conducting an assault shouldn't cause a replan.



Well at the moment if you issue a bombard order to the only unit that can bombard, either the mortar platoon, or IG pl definitely causes a replan, because it detaches it from the Bn HQ.
Does the bombard order actually do anything when you issue it to a line unit? I mean it will stop, and the icon comes up to say its firing but does it actually fire its 2in mortar's? I never see anything coming from them in the way of ranged fire when I do this even when there close.

I'm wondering if buttons like this that do nothing should be greyed out. It just adds to confusion especially for new players.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/17/2013 2:58:20 PM   
jimcarravallah

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz15

. . .

Well at the moment if you issue a bombard order to the only unit that can bombard, either the mortar platoon, or IG pl definitely causes a replan, because it detaches it from the Bn HQ.
Does the bombard order actually do anything when you issue it to a line unit? I mean it will stop, and the icon comes up to say its firing but does it actually fire its 2in mortar's? I never see anything coming from them in the way of ranged fire when I do this even when there close.

I'm wondering if buttons like this that do nothing should be greyed out. It just adds to confusion especially for new players.



Unless a line unit possesses an indirect fire weapon it shouldn't have the "bombard" order available.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 8:57:04 PM   
dazkaz15


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An example of line units bombarding when the order is issued at Bn HQ level.






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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 9:03:21 PM   
wodin


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^ thats odd..you can kind of bombard with MG's not sure if thats modeled in game though..but they have no ammo anyway.

Does seem strange and maybe a bug.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 9:07:16 PM   
phoenix

 

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Maybe they're spotting for the mortar. :) Wow. Haven't seen that before (because I don't think I've ever given a Bn a bombard order). Looks wrong, obviously.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 10:31:47 PM   
RockinHarry


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I´ve seen that happening with even larger forces (divisional HQ i.e), given a bombard order and all sub units place a bombard marker, beeing an Arty unit or not.

Anyway, I tend to remove mortars and other hvy wpns from Bn Hq´s and attach them to Rgt HQ instead, so they won´t be moved too far forward into the combat lines and get slaughtered for nothing. Maybe the game works better, if commands are given from Rgt level, instead of Bn. Personally I prefer micro managing, as this appears to be the only way to get reasonably employed units.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 10:59:43 PM   
dazkaz15


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

I´ve seen that happening with even larger forces (divisional HQ i.e), given a bombard order and all sub units place a bombard marker, beeing an Arty unit or not.

Anyway, I tend to remove mortars and other hvy wpns from Bn Hq´s and attach them to Rgt HQ instead, so they won´t be moved too far forward into the combat lines and get slaughtered for nothing. Maybe the game works better, if commands are given from Rgt level, instead of Bn. Personally I prefer micro managing, as this appears to be the only way to get reasonably employed units.


That's a great idea mate.

Then maybe move the Regimental HQ between the Bn's but obviously at the rear.
The only problem I can see with this is after you use the mortar, its not as easy to re attach as pressing the re-attach button.
What method do you use to attach them to the Regiment?
Do you just Ctrl click them both, then issue another defend in situ to the Regiment or do you have a better Quicker method?


< Message edited by dazkaz15 -- 3/18/2013 11:00:46 PM >

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 11:31:42 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz15


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek


quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz15

Just found this in the manual, so either something is not working as intended with the bombard order, or the manule needs updating on the topic?

quote:

Manual

Changes that Don’t Cause a Replan
Bombard orders don’t cause a replan, because artillery units operated their own radio nets and used procedures that were capable of producing almost instant responses to fire orders. Because artillery generally required time to set up, artillery units on the move may still require some time to get deployed and actually start firing, even though they act on the order immediately.
Fire orders don’t cause replans either.




That refers to units in a force being given a bombard task. Another matter is to issue the Bombard mission to the HQ - that's going to cause a replan. So assigning Bombard tasks (not Move, not Fire) to units belonging to a force conducting an assault shouldn't cause a replan.



Well at the moment if you issue a bombard order to the only unit that can bombard, either the mortar platoon, or IG pl definitely causes a replan, because it detaches it from the Bn HQ.


If that's happening, then that's a possibly bug, as it is contradicting the manual. Or maybe it depends on the orders of the Force: I haven't seen replans due to bombardments when the mission is Defend.

quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz
Does the bombard order actually do anything when you issue it to a line unit? I mean it will stop, and the icon comes up to say its firing but does it actually fire its 2in mortar's? I never see anything coming from them in the way of ranged fire when I do this even when there close.

I'm wondering if buttons like this that do nothing should be greyed out. It just adds to confusion especially for new players.


I suspect that units with 0 Bombardment rating aren't conducting any bombardment at all. I agree with this button should be greyed out for units not capable of bombardment.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 11:48:35 PM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz15

quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

I´ve seen that happening with even larger forces (divisional HQ i.e), given a bombard order and all sub units place a bombard marker, beeing an Arty unit or not.

Anyway, I tend to remove mortars and other hvy wpns from Bn Hq´s and attach them to Rgt HQ instead, so they won´t be moved too far forward into the combat lines and get slaughtered for nothing. Maybe the game works better, if commands are given from Rgt level, instead of Bn. Personally I prefer micro managing, as this appears to be the only way to get reasonably employed units.


That's a great idea mate.

Then maybe move the Regimental HQ between the Bn's but obviously at the rear.
The only problem I can see with this is after you use the mortar, its not as easy to re attach as pressing the re-attach button.
What method do you use to attach them to the Regiment?
Do you just Ctrl click them both, then issue another defend in situ to the Regiment or do you have a better Quicker method?



yep, like you say. In the meantime I prefer to set the desired (organic) command structure in the scenmaker. No mortars or IG´s assigned to Bn HQ anymore. To me it also decreases some the issues for the AI as well.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 11:56:13 PM   
wodin


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Harry..you really feel you have to micro manage to get a decent game going?

I've always played at Btn level with the odd coy sent here and there.

I can see a game working well though set at coy or platoon scale where you give orders to the individual units using this realtime engine and map set up etc without the higher HQ order aspect...but as this games main feature is the HQ aspect and giving orders to it it kind of defeats the games main purpose if played that way with this particular game anyway. Also I'd want alot lower unit density if a game came out where you give orders to individual units only. I do see a game like that solving alot of the current issues we have at present, however thats why we are giving back all this feedback to get the game to play out as if we've given out the orders to each unit ourselves. Thinking on this if you do micromanage with CO surely thats also taking away some of the leader aspects? As poor positioning could be down to poor leadership within the unit..doing it ourselves then makes that kind of redundant. SO it's a tricky one.

Anyway I'd easily buy a game at Coy or Platoon level where you give orders to individual units who then carry out the order based on their leadership levels, but you don't have this higher up order mechanic. Not only would it be alot easier to programme and get working compared to CO it would also solve alot of the issues we have had with the game.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/18/2013 11:56:58 PM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek

I suspect that units with 0 Bombardment rating aren't conducting any bombardment at all. I agree with this button should be greyed out for units not capable of bombardment.


Some side effects is that any bombardment order ticks (ROF ect.) will also be saved for all subordinates not actually meant to take part bombarding. Actually there´s one sub layer for ARTY units missing, i.e an Arty Rgt HQ unit, or any one higher above Div level. Usually germans have sort of HARKO (higher artillery commander), responsible for coordinating Arty on Corps and even Army level, to ascertain that Arty can be concentrated for main efforts on most important sectors. I already experimented with adding those units, but couldn´t finish tests yet, as I was busy with more important matters. AFAIK, the AI has some problems with this extra command layer for Arty, but a human player can make some good use of it.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 12:36:19 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
I suspect that units with 0 Bombardment rating aren't conducting any bombardment at all. I agree with this button should be greyed out for units not capable of bombardment.


Actually, I just checked, and units without Bombardment capability cannot be issued a Bombard task (see attached screenshot).

As per issuing a Bombard task to a Force whose components include bombard capable and not capable units, I think the bombard subtasks for the units uncapable of bombarding are actually an artifact. Dave is more familiar than me with that part of the engine, but I'd say that those tasks displayed as Bombard are actually Defend tasks.






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RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 12:40:11 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek

I suspect that units with 0 Bombardment rating aren't conducting any bombardment at all. I agree with this button should be greyed out for units not capable of bombardment.


Some side effects is that any bombardment order ticks (ROF ect.) will also be saved for all subordinates not actually meant to take part bombarding. Actually there´s one sub layer for ARTY units missing, i.e an Arty Rgt HQ unit, or any one higher above Div level. Usually germans have sort of HARKO (higher artillery commander), responsible for coordinating Arty on Corps and even Army level, to ascertain that Arty can be concentrated for main efforts on most important sectors. I already experimented with adding those units, but couldn´t finish tests yet, as I was busy with more important matters. AFAIK, the AI has some problems with this extra command layer for Arty, but a human player can make some good use of it.


Yes, something similar to what you mention is a feature requested by beta testers, since it would help a lot to keep micromanagment low if one wants to conduct preparatory barrages.

With the AI arty mechanics revision in build 258, what you mention (attaching artillery either directly to the forces conducting a major attack or more effectively I think, to their immediately higher HQ's) should give you reasonably good results.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 12:48:26 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Harry..you really feel you have to micro manage to get a decent game going?

I've always played at Btn level with the odd coy sent here and there.

I can see a game working well though set at coy or platoon scale where you give orders to the individual units using this realtime engine and map set up etc without the higher HQ order aspect...but as this games main feature is the HQ aspect and giving orders to it it kind of defeats the games main purpose if played that way with this particular game anyway. Also I'd want alot lower unit density if a game came out where you give orders to individual units only. I do see a game like that solving alot of the current issues we have at present, however thats why we are giving back all this feedback to get the game to play out as if we've given out the orders to each unit ourselves. Thinking on this if you do micromanage with CO surely thats also taking away some of the leader aspects? As poor positioning could be down to poor leadership within the unit..doing it ourselves then makes that kind of redundant. SO it's a tricky one.

Anyway I'd easily buy a game at Coy or Platoon level where you give orders to individual units who then carry out the order based on their leadership levels, but you don't have this higher up order mechanic. Not only would it be alot easier to programme and get working compared to CO it would also solve alot of the issues we have had with the game.


Everyone will find their sweet spot regarding micromanagement at a slightly different place, I think. Yet there are ways to micromanage causing the least disruption to friendly AI plans. This friendly AI is what makes these scenarios playable at this level (compare Command Ops ability to handle your troops on your behalf in a reasonable way with that of other similar computer wargames).

On the other hand, I find some people have trouble accepting the fact that changing their mind in the middle of a task being executed might be delaying progress towards achieving an objective. There are many occasions where it's best to wait and see.

I would like to remind everyone that one can always reduce the Orders' delay to their liking, getting a much higher - yet unrealistic - responsiveness to players' orders.


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RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 12:57:46 AM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Harry..you really feel you have to micro manage to get a decent game going?

I've always played at Btn level with the odd coy sent here and there.

I can see a game working well though set at coy or platoon scale where you give orders to the individual units using this realtime engine and map set up etc without the higher HQ order aspect...but as this games main feature is the HQ aspect and giving orders to it it kind of defeats the games main purpose if played that way with this particular game anyway. Also I'd want alot lower unit density if a game came out where you give orders to individual units only. I do see a game like that solving alot of the current issues we have at present, however thats why we are giving back all this feedback to get the game to play out as if we've given out the orders to each unit ourselves. Thinking on this if you do micromanage with CO surely thats also taking away some of the leader aspects? As poor positioning could be down to poor leadership within the unit..doing it ourselves then makes that kind of redundant. SO it's a tricky one.

Anyway I'd easily buy a game at Coy or Platoon level where you give orders to individual units who then carry out the order based on their leadership levels, but you don't have this higher up order mechanic. Not only would it be alot easier to programme and get working compared to CO it would also solve alot of the issues we have had with the game.


Yep, I certainly defeat the main purpose by not letting the various HQ´s do their own thing independently. As you´d noticed, many support weapon units are not well employed at lower level and get far too close to the frontlines, or do not fit well within given formations with regard to optimal combat support. While the given "schematism" works fairly well for line units, I oftenly wish for line support or support units to stay farther back, particularly indirect fire support units, who do not need to be that close and exceed firing range far beyond the actual assault, or defend objective.

While not directly related to AI employment, one example for wrong setup can be seen in St Vith tutorial, where almost all german support units are directly in the frontlines. The situation is even more serious, when considering most these units are long range mortars (120mm) and IG´s who can employ their supporting fires equally well from 2-3km farther back, where they also are safe from direct observation and thus massed US Arty punishments. Same goes for that large 12 gun Pak unit at Steinebruck which will be a nice Arty target, before getting chances to shoot at enemy armor.

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RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 1:03:22 AM   
wodin


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I've never tested or put a game through it's paces or lets say analysed one as much as some here do..sometimes I think ignorance is bliss;)...I was happy thinking it all worked well;)

I have no issues about order delays coming into effect if I change their orders..but I very rarely do change an order. The only time I give bombard orders for instance are to the big Atty Units I already have detached. Most of the time I put alot of the games I suppose some would say oddities down to poor pixletruppen leadership and go hey it's war these things happened.

HOWEVER....

Harry I do agree it's even very obvious to me IG, MG and Mortar units do need some more tac ai coding with regards to positioning..though I also think it's down to abstract terrain..small mortar units may have set up in a courtyard or behind some hedges etc etc and these things aren't modeled to they easy end up in LOS. It's lack of micro terrain that gets these units into trouble I feel. All are units that would use "micro" terrain as camo and keep out of harms way as much as possible esp Mortars..MGs will be in as much cover as possible...same as IG's and ATGs.

< Message edited by wodin -- 3/19/2013 1:09:09 AM >


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Post #: 26
RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 1:47:51 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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I can't offer a full rationale for the AI design, only Dave can do that.

Regarding support assets positioning etc. In my eyes, I think the AI does a quite good job positioning fire support assets such as mortars etc. I don't see them getting into harms way unless previously undetected enemy units come into sight. And that's something the AI (or you) can foresee. The observation Harry makes about the Tutorial is interesting. If you look into the ScenMaker, you'll see that the initial deployment of German units certainly can be improved (see attached screenshot in this post).

The enemy AI behavior is dictated by two things: initial positioning and the Objective Data specified (see screenshot in next post). As far as I know, unless there are other objectives active in the same time span, the AI will try - to the letter - to achieve the tasks specified. If one wants to have the AI, say, to perform a more flexible defense, then the scenario designer needs to add a suitable number of Objectives for the AI, playing with timings and priorities to have the AI allocate forces in an adequate fashion.

AI isn't "scripted" as such, but one can introduce in a scenario "hints" to nudge the AI to act according to some pre-established plan. Or perhaps, is more adequate to think of this as encoding knowledge about the importance and significance of locations in a way that the AI can exploit this knowledge (implicit in the terrain and other forms of "global" knowledge) at "run-time".

There's been talk of allowing the scenario designers to assign missions to Forces at "design time", but Dave has been reluctant to add that functionality. My impression is that hardcoding missions would result in having the AI committed too much to plans that eventually won't make sense in the face of player actions, especially in the face of repeated plays of an scenario, and constraining it in a way that it would become much more predictable (and less interesting).








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< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 3/19/2013 1:48:47 AM >

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RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 1:50:10 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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And the AI objectives




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RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 1:52:37 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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Having said that, changing the priorities into more "definite" directives (such as specifying suggested amounts of APer, AArm and Bombardment "points" to those locations might allow scenario designers to have more control on the composition of forces the AI allocates to tasks), but similarly as with specifying missions from the get go, it would also make the AI less free to react to player's actions.

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Post #: 29
RE: Assaulting - 3/19/2013 2:23:25 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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Another different matter, which is related to the discussion in hand, is the friendly AI and what's the "recommended" level of meddling.

This is a lot a matter of doctrine, and doctrine at the higher operational level cannot be easily modeled. Most importantly (in my opinion) is that the higher you're in the command chain, the more info the commander has about global conditions. For instance, a Bn commander might or not be aware that there is another Bn ready to back him up, and that's indeed a factor consider when making a decision about whether to hold fast or to delay the enemy while falling back to more defensively ground or nearby friendly troops concentrations.

And also, the actual significance of a particular local situation - say, an infantry Coy receiving the full brunt of a infantry Bn with tank support attack - is also context dependent since that Coy being overrun might be a critical thing or not at the Division level. The limited info available to commanders as one goes down the command chain is indeed a factor to consider when deciding whether or not to give a free reign to a Bn CO over Bn assets or intervening by issuing more definite orders to formations' assets.

I guess that some of you might be thinking that in some armies, such as the German or US Army, the level of intervention higher command echelons in the decisions made by lower level commanders should be very few (that's the celebrated notion of aufstragstaktik or "mission oriented command"). In the many years I've spent reading about the conduct of operations in World War 2 I have come to some realizations:

* A military organization can have a book with the sentence "You Shalt Not Meddle In Your Bn Commanders Business" turning up every now and then, yet at the same time, be composed by individuals with widely differing abilities and information. My impression of the style of command of the most successful leaders in WW2 is that whenever they knew they knew better than their subordinates, or whenever they distrusted their subordinates abilities, they didn't shy away from intervening and issuing more precise and detailed orders.

* Almost all major combatants had in their doctrines the notion of aufstragstaktik in one way or another. Even the Red Army.

I haven't read so much accounts about the German conduct of command during actual operations (and I've little interest in field manuals in themselves), but mostly the US Army Digital Library titles. These are very nice narratives, yet in order to gain insight into the plan formulation and execution (not the outcome of the latter) one needs to look into units War Diaries.

The military I have been most interested in and I've been able to find more material about is the Red Army. In the past two years or so I have been working through many accounts of the conduct of operations by the Red Army from 1941 well into 1945. Most recently, about the "battle" of Smolensk, covering all the way from late June to late September, in Glantz's "Barbarossa Derailed" volumes. It's not an easy read, as many chapters consist basically of translations of Army and Front command orders and scale-less situation maps. Yet I can get some interesting insight.

One interesting subtle fact is that one can see that the style and the content of the missions issued varies a lot. The biggest problem for Timoshenko (in my opinion) was that he had to deal with a substantial amount of commanders which were wearing boots two or three sizes bigger than they should. He was well aware of that, and redacted his orders accordingly.

So you can find a Front (Army Group) level commander like Timoshenko, issuing specific orders along the lines of telling 53rd Rifle Division CO to detach two battalions and some AT guns to cover one particular crossing. But you can also find more general orders, such as those issued to Konev and Rokossovsky. The only logical explanation for this difference in how orders were redacted is that Timoshenko didn't trust much or at all the abilities of 53rd Rifle Division Army Commander, yet was more comfortable with trusting Konev and Rokossovsky to do a decent job.

You can also see when this meddling becomes a negative influence. Usually and most notoriously, when Timoshenko has no idea of German units whereabouts and actions, or when he has incomplete information on his units status and level of equipment and supplies, and sends his units (unknowingly) after impossibly difficult missions.

Same thing at the Army level.

One especially interesting example is that of Konev, commanding 19th Army in early August. At this phase of the battle, the Red Army had managed to reform east of Smolensk and launched quite massive counterstrokes (yet in a patheticly disjointed manner) against Dukhovschina and Yeln'ya (that is, they were actually trying to do a double envelopment over Smolensk).

Konev's Army was tasked with the main advance against Dukhovschina (northeast of Smolensk), and is interesting to follow how he issued missions to his Division commanders as the days passed. You can see him detaching a Tank Regiment from a Tank Division and attaching it to one of his right flank Rifle Divisions (and who playing Command Ops hasn't been doing this more or less regularly, at a smaller scale). You can see him telling explicitly to another Rifle Division commander where he should be placing his AT batteries (same as with assigning armored assets), or where to send a Rifle Bn. But he doesn't do that in a consistent way: some division commanders get this kind of specific orders, others get much more free form instructions such as defend the line between Z-Town and S-Town, without no mention of where to put his artillery.

The logical conclusion (for me) is that this pattern was common amongst all combatants. The thing is that in the Red Army, because of human factors (the lack of experienced commanders or commanders with qualifications to do their job), this was just more apparent, frequent and more likely to happen between highly separated levels of command.

This is reflected pretty neatly in Command Ops - and I love this game because of that. Very much like these famous people I'm citing, I like finding myself having to assess whether I can trust the Bn and Rgt commanders judgement, skills and information at hand to be enough for accomplish the job or not.

This is a highly situation-dependent thing and a beautiful learning process (for me): one learns the skills as he interacts with the Command Ops engine, and I'm happy to recognize when I should have detached an AT battery and told it to deploy in some nearby heights overlooking a Bn line of advance and I didn't (or the reverse, when I shouldn't have done that).

EDIT: Improved clarity at some parts.


< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 3/19/2013 2:43:57 AM >

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