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Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/17/2018 5:46:40 PM   
booboo130

 

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I have been playing FCRS for the last couple of weeks and have been thoroughly enjoying it. Long time board wargamer here, however lately due to my work schedule (I work midnight shift) I haven’t been able to read and digest rule books. With FCRS I can jump right into the game since the game won’t let me violate rules plus I can quickly replay the smaller scenarios. The AI, while not perfect, still gives a good showing of itself. Thought I would write up some of the tactics I’m slowly learning while working my way through then scenarios.

Scenario: The Pied Piper (NATO): Using artillery to separate enemy companies. Use the OB to cross attach units so they are not out of command. Careful use of blown bridges to channel enemy forces. Played the scenario six times before coming up with a good strategy. Had all West German units fall back toward Hamlin but had a platoon of Leopard 1’s stay at hex 1806 east of Holtenstein. In setup I attached that platoon directly to the 4th PZ HQ so it would remain in command even though so far from other forces. I blew two bridges in Hamlin and one in Grob Hilligsfeld to slow the WP units down as much as possible. As the WP units came through the valley I utilized the West German artillery to slow down the follow-on companies, so the NATO troops could damage the initial companies quickly. NATO would then fall back and repeat. The Leopards in Holtenstein shot up a group of WP recon units trying to go around to the north. They then quickly moved back into Hamlin to help with the defense. I had over 60% of my West Germans still in the field by the end of the game.

Scenario: A Meeting of Titans (NATO): The use of Hasty Movement in cover to get troops quickly into position. The use of kill zones to quickly whittle down mechanized forces. In this game, which I played three times before coming up with a decent strategy, I shifted A Troop south in the urban areas along the Steilbach River while B Troop moved into the ridge line west of Olderup. Both troops could support each other depending on which direction WP forces came from. Since they ended up coming both from the south and east I was in good positions to defeat the attacks. The kill zone in the valley was very well done although the WP units did cause some significant losses to my A Troop Bradley vehicles. Also, the A-10 Warthog is a devastating plane...destroyed two companies of Russian tanks and won the scenario for me.

Scenario: The Soviet Alamo (NATO): Cross attaching entire battalions to make forces more balanced. Learning the power of WP artillery while on the defense. I thought this was going to be a walk over for the attacking West German troops. Cross attached the battalions, so each battalion had one tank company and two mech companies. My plan was to have two battalions attack into Pappeln while the other two conduct supporting attacks to capture the three small towns along the Nahe River. I would then reorganize and push into Ummeln. Well, I never made it into Pappeln. The West German troops were constantly hit by WP artillery, even with my West German artillery units conducting counter-battery fire. The losses I sustained were brutal although the defending WP forces did take significant losses. Plus, I should try as hard as possible to not stack more than two units per hex...just invites artillery fire. I was able to capture the river line without significant losses, so I think my plan just needs to be tweaked some. Perhaps a few preparatory bombardments into Pappeln to try to soften up the defenders. The West German troops need more artillery although the F-4 makes up for that some.

Scenario: A Few good Choppers (NATO): Propper use of fields of fire. The fragility of helicopters. Also, artillery may be the god of war, but the weather is its crazy uncle. Played this twice, first time my helicopters were annihilated by the WP ADA units and my A-10's were destroyed before they could do anything. Interesting to see the red lasers of death reach out across the map and destroy three Cobra attack helicopters in the blink of an eye. I then started looking at where to place the helicopters to give them the longest fields of fire for the Apaches and covered terrain for the Cobras. The Apaches set up between Westerbruck and Boffzen to cover the bridges along the Womitz River and the autobahn. The Cobras set up in southern Westerbruck and southwest of Halle to cover the Halle bridge and the autobahn between the two towns. I set the MLRS unit on counter battery fire. Initially it was a fantastic turkey shoot with visibility out to 8000 meters. The area between Halle and Erbelegen was a smoking ruin of Warsaw Pact tanks, IFV’s, and air defense units. The MLRS rained down destruction on company after company. The Gadfly ADA unit was hit with ICM’s and destroyed. Then it started raining and visibility dropped to 2000 meters. Suddenly my Apaches couldn’t hit anything and wasted a lot of ammo trying to hit targets in the rain. When it finally cleared my Apaches were running low on ammo and had to resupply. This allowed the WP units to move into Westerbruck and capture the victory hex. I ended up with a Tactical Victory in the scenario but if the weather had stayed good I would have stopped the WP forces before they made it into Westerbruck. Plus, bad weather makes the A-10 unable to fly. The vaunted air unit only destroyed one tank.

Scenario: Dawn’s First Light (solo Head to Head): Decided to play head to head with this one. Learned that attacking for either side is no picnic. Also, learned that the order delay for the Russian side can be a deciding factor for the NATO side. At one point in the game NATO had three activations before the WP had one. NATO could react to anything the WP came up with. NATO forces put two mech companies into the Grob-Umstadt and Klein-Umstadt areas, the third company was near Hergershausen. The NATO engineers were ordered to blow as many bridges between those areas to try to keep the WP units from getting to the autobahn. NATO artillery was in Dieburg. The Russian forces set up to attack along two axes into Grob-Unstadt and Klein-Umstadt since that was where many of the victory hexes were. The Russian troops captured 6000+ victory points in the Grob-Umstadt and Klein-Umstadt areas mauling the two defending NATO companies. By this time NATO reinforcements had moved into the Seim and Habitzheim areas and the WP troops didn’t make it out of the cities. NATO had won a tactical victory but I decided to try to recapture the two 1100-point victory point hexes. What little Russian forces that were still defending were able to stop the NATO attack. The T-64 is still deadly at point blank range. Still came up with a NATO tactical victory.

Next up I think will be another medium size scenario maybe with the British this time. Besides the Challenger tanks they really don’t have good equipment in my opinion.

Dan
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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/19/2018 1:48:55 AM   
IronMikeGolf

 

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Very nice. You're learning "How to Fight". Comments below are for Pied Piper:
1. Counter-recon is an important task that is often overlooked by players. If WP recon spots the main body of a NATO defense during the approach, well, it gets very very difficult to win. The challenge is NATO brigade level formations in that era did not possess a credible counter-recon capability. So you have to pull forces from your maneuver elements to do that. And counter-recon elements need tank killing capability. Your pulling a tank platoon and essentially giving them a covering force mission under Brigade control is doctrinally sound. Well done.

2. Counter-mobility is used to shape the battlefield and influence enemy actions or options. The biggest tool in your kit in Red Storm is blowing bridges. When you're lucky, the bridge you want to blow is next to a deployment hex. If that's not the case, keep in mind you need to provide time and space for a unit to get to the bridge and then blow it. The time required is 30 minutes after the orders cycle after the unit arrives at the bridge. Generally speaking, racing forward 5 km to try to blow a bridge is a dicey proposition in the published scenarios.

3. You've discovered/re-invented one of the core parts of Air-Land Battle doctrine when you talk about using your arty to partition the battlefield and to disrupt the timing of an echeloned attack. That part of it applies down to brigade level. 20 years before the time this scenario was set, GEN Starry recognized that NATO could consistently win defending at 1 to 3 odds vs WP forces. The problem was how to prevent WP from stacking up 5 or 6 to 1 odds. That's what Air-Land Battle is about, though a lot of it is at EAC (Echelons Above Corps). Even so, Deep Attacks exist at Corps, Div, and Bde levels. Those commander's deep battles are about preventing their subordinate units from becoming overwhelmed. It's not so much about destroying 2d and later echelons (though that's a good thing, too!), but about messing up the attacker's timetable.

Kudos!

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Jeff
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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/19/2018 10:13:56 PM   
MikeJ19


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Daniel,

Well done and welcome to the community. I enjoyed your summaries!

Good luck with your next battle.

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/20/2018 12:52:08 AM   
booboo130

 

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Thanks IMG and MikeJ19!! This game is thoroughly engrossing to me. Simple to learn but very difficult to master.

Currently I am playing the "Wolves" Scenario as the West Germans. Completed the first scenario and quickly learned that attacking as the NATO side is never easy. Plus I found out that sometimes you just have a bad setup from the beginning. I had placed my Leopard 2 tank company along the west side of the map to support a panzer grenadier company in destroying Soviet Recon units in the area. Those tanks were desperately needed in the middle of the map when two T-72 tank battalions showed up from the north and shot up my grenadiers in the middle of the map. I destroyed numerous recon, air defense, and HQ units but I guess they are not worth a lot of victory points in this scenario. I should have pulled back as soon as the enemy tanks showed up to try to get them into some kill zones. I was able to get a Marginal Victory which I was impressed by. Interesting scenario in my opinion. Now looking at the setup for the second scenario. I just have to hold three or four victory hexes...how difficult can that be?

To tell the truth defending as NATO is not too bad but having to attack as NATO, usually when you are outnumbered, is very difficult. I do need to try to figure out how to use my recon units better and to setup my attacks so that all my attacking units get to an area at the same time. Gotta look through the forum here to find out the tricks to attacking as the NATO side.


Dan

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/20/2018 1:14:54 AM   
MikeJ19


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From: Ottawa, Canada
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Dan,

Take a look at some of the AARs, they were very helpful to me when I started. It is a very fun game and I really enjoyed the time and space aspect of the game.

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Mike

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/20/2018 2:18:34 PM   
IronMikeGolf

 

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booboo, what was your plan for Scenario 1 of the Wolves campaign?

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/21/2018 12:05:13 AM   
booboo130

 

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Attached is my basic plan for Scenario 1. I was going to attack up the autobahn from the west going east with my Leopard 2's and a company of Marders. The two other Marder companies would attack in the middle of the map with the mortars and some recon elements to stop or slow down and Russian forces that showed up. I had my artillery units direct supporting my recon units in the middle of the map.
I ended up getting hung up to the west by Russian recon units and by the time my Leopards made it to the middle of the board I was facing two battalions (I think) of Russian tanks. I got shot up pretty good but still ended up with a marginal win somehow.


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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/21/2018 12:28:59 AM   
booboo130

 

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For Scenario 2 my plan was to capture three to four VP hexes and then interdict the autobahn (in yellow on the attached planning map). I would keep my panzer company in reserve behind the grenadiers and then use them if I ran into some stiff resistance. I was doing good...my recon elements got a line of sight on a whole lot of Russian trucks so I started dropping artillery rounds on them. A couple companies of Russian tanks attacked east on the autobahn towards the A3 and A48 autobahn crossroads so I committed my Leopard 2's to destroying them. I was doing good and pulled some recon units from my north east flank to try to get a better visual on the large group of Russian trucks near Ruppach. Suddenly there is an entire Russian tank battalion in my rear areas wrecking havoc. They came from the northeast area, moved through my rear areas, then out the west side of the map. I tried to react to the attack but by the time my Leopards got to the area the Russian tanks were gone. By then another tank battalion had attacked along the autobahn and my grenadiers were in trouble near Elgendorf. Not sure how I pulled it off but I got a exceptional win. I did destroy 50+ tanks and 120 trucks so...of course in the third scenario I have almost no tanks to use at all so I'm not sure if I will replay the second scenario or just go with what I have.

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/21/2018 12:56:17 PM   
booboo130

 

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After checking over my forces for the 3rd scenario, of the eleven mechanized infantry platoons (or what is left of the platoons) I have, seven of them have no transports. I may start the 2nd scenario over again to try to save more of my Marders...

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/21/2018 3:10:06 PM   
booboo130

 

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I will try out Scenario 3 with the units I have. Here is my basic plan so far. The Infantry units will simply assault two VP hexes and then try to hold them against any counterattacks. I will send what is left of my tanks and mech units to try to grab some smaller VP hexes, cause as much damage as possible, and if able try to capture a 2000 VP hex. The artillery and mortars will be used to hit any attacking motor rifle troops since they are the only units I have so far that have not taken any hits. Hopefully I can get through part of this scenario today.

Dan

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/21/2018 7:21:03 PM   
WildCatNL


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Dan, thanks for sharing (and creating these clear graphics). Looking forward to your next report.
William

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RE: Thoughts and tactics learned - 9/29/2018 3:12:21 PM   
booboo130

 

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So I was unable to post in the Forums. I didn't realize you cannot post for seven days after your tenth post. Weird rule but I assume there is a reason for it. Is there a list of these rules somewhere?

I am currently on Scenario 6 of the Wolves Campaign. Although I am taking some losses I am able to dish out serious damage to the Category B & C Russian units I am up against. The fifth scenario was interesting as I was setup surrounded by irradiated hexes and the Russians had to come through breaks in the hexes. I only had two Leopard tanks in the scenario; one died quick the other held in through the scenario destroying T-55 tanks for hours.


Very fun game. I am enjoying it immensely.

Dan

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