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.