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HTTR (mini-guide): And even more tips!

 
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HTTR (mini-guide): And even more tips! - 2/13/2004 10:45:47 PM   
MarkShot


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Towards the end of 2003 around the time that HTTR went gold and showed up on store shelves, I created two extensive threads in the HTTR forum which had served as a mini-guide to the game. In the beginning of 2004, a hacking incident resulted in a considerable loss of content from the Matrix Games forums including these two threads.

Fortunately, I had created an offline archive of the content which contained about 90% of what was valuable. Thus, it became possible to resurrect these two threads for the HTTR community.

First, I would like to thank Ugo "Tzar007" Marsolais who put in a tremendous amount of time and diligence in order to reconstruct these two threads manually from the archive.

Secondly, I would like to thank Dave O'Connor of Panther Games and Marc Schwanebeck and Shaun Wallace of Matrix Games for their support and assistance with this effort.

We all hope that this material will help you to get the most out of your purchase of Panther Games' latest master piece, Highway to the Reich. Remember to return to the forum often for more tips, AARs, user maps/scenarios, multi-player action and the latest news about official strategy guides, scenario expansion packs, future games, and much more!

---

Note, since the thread was rebuilt by Tzar007, you will notice that each post starts with "From Member:". Tzar007 did this in order to maintain the context of who was the original poster of each post.

Mark "MarkShot" Kratzer on 02/14/04.



The HTTR and COTA mini-guides are now available in offline format (PDF) for download.

I would like to thank Eddy Sterckx, fellow beta tester, for the time and effort he put in to reformating the HTML into MS Word to yield a PDF.

You may download them here:

HTTR download link

COTA download link

* Note that the HTTR guide does contain quite a bit of material that is still applicable to COTA.

Enjoy!

Mark "MarkShot" Kratzer on 01/12/06

The COTA Battle Planning Checklist is now also available for download. HTTR players should also find it useful. The link for download is:

COTA Battle Planning Checklist

Enjoy!

Mark "MarkShot" Kratzer on 02/25/06


< Message edited by MarkShot -- 2/25/2006 11:40:02 PM >


_____________________________

Panther Games (RDOA/HTTR/COTA/BFTB) Beta Tester
Post #: 1
RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:48:54 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


======================

I originally started writing this for Phil, but I thought this would be a good community project for the veterans here to help RDOA/HTTR new players. So, please add some stuff.

======================

Phil,

You should be aware that ORDER DELAYS were introduced in a patch after the original game was released. As such, some of the shorter scenarios (demo and full game release) became more challenging given their 12 hour time constraints. You can always turn order delays off, but be advised that most players play with it set to PAINFUL. Therefore, advice and AARs will reflect this as well as finding online opponents.

Also, remember that you can always go into the scenario editor and give yourself a later end time for the scenario in question if you feel that you need it.

Don't try to think of strategies for each particular scenario. RDOA/HTTR is not that kind of game where each scenario is a one-time riddle. Instead there are general principles which are applicable across all scenarios. Read through the posts here and you will see. Some examples:

(1) Get arty in range, protect it, and create fire bases.

(2) Use recon to develop a picture of enemy disposition so you can finalize a plan and pick good FUPs and axis of attack.

(3) Attack in terrain appropriate to the units involved ... open terrain for armor ... urban and wooded for infantry.

(4) Move at night when the OPFOR has massive arty resources that mauls you.

(5) Choose what combination of objectives you need to secure, contest, or ignore at game start in order to achieve victory based on points.

(6) For meeting engagements, choose objectives and timings based on your role. Meaning take easy to defend objectives initially and dig-in and leave hard to defend objectives towards the end.

(7) Sometimes the key to the battle isn't so much the objectives as weakening the enemy. Use the objectives to entice and weaken the enemy for 80% of the scenario. When the enemy is staggering and cannot fight, then focus on the objectives. (See my German strategy at the end of the my tutorial.)

(8) Use layered defenses when on the defense. Realize that there are two dimensions to achieving victory when defending. First, you can stop the enemy outright. Second, you can simply cause the enemy to run out of time.

(9) Small forces correctly positioned along a road in the woods with substantial arty support on-call can delay/stop much larger enemy forces on the move.

(10) Attack from multiple axis to disrupt the enemy.

(11) On a map with spread out objectives, you can fight in one area over a period of time and draw enemy resources and attention while flanking unseen with another force and hit someplace else. Thus, you catch the enemy with prepared for defense from the wrong axis and thin forces.

(12) Prepared defenses are much more effective against attackers. Use advance forces to slow down the enemy so that defenders can have time to deploy, dig-in, and entrench.

---

Well, there are a few general principles. Hopefully, the rest of the community will jump in add to this.

PS: Phil, don't feel bad. I was probably as clueless when I started as you feel now. You'll figure it out after a while! Don't give up!

(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 2
RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:49:51 AM   
Tzar007


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From VALENT PHILIPPE:


thinks to you Mark SHot i am very happy to look at your tutorial .phil

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 3
RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:50:50 AM   
Tzar007


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From Kevinugly:


I'm just going to add a bit of detail to Mark's comprehensive 'basic guide'.

1) If you do create an artillery 'fire base' ensure that you do protect it as there's nothing worse than having your artillery decimated by counter-battery fire when you've got no idea where it's coming from. However, fire base security is a job for 'second-line' troops and HQ units, if you're having to use your primary units then the base is too close to the front line and/or you're losing badly.

2) Assess the value of the objectives you're holding as regards the units you have in place and the potential enemy threat there. When playing the full campaign as the Germans I normally control the Rhine crossings to the west of Arnhem with some of my weakest units. I have yet to see the AI attempt to take one of those crossings (although I cannot speak for HTTR on this). Incidentally this matches historically what the Germans did with some of their weaker units.

(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:52:08 AM   
Tzar007


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From Golf33:


quote:

1) If you do create an artillery 'fire base' ensure that you do protect it as there's nothing worse than having your artillery decimated by counter-battery fire when you've got no idea where it's coming from.


"Protect" in this instance includes protection from observation. You need to deploy your arty in a location where it is screened from view and consider using your security forces to ensure the enemy cannot move to a position from which he can observe. For example, if a nearby hill has observation onto your firebase, consider positioning a security unit to prevent the enemy getting on top of that hill.

quote:

I normally control the Rhine crossings to the west of Arnhem with some of my weakest units. I have yet to see the AI attempt to take one of those crossings (although I cannot speak for HTTR on this). Incidentally this matches historically what the Germans did with some of their weaker units.


Historically the Allies also made no attempt to seize the smaller crossings, with the exception of a few ineffective attempts at reinforcing the Oosterbeek cauldron using the destroyed Heveadorp ferry. The only result of this was to add to the casualty and captured lists since the reinforcements shared the fate of the airborne division men they joined. MAJ GEN Sosabowski pushed for a much greater effort at crossing the Neder Rijn, both to relieve the airborne forces and to salvage something of the operation's objectives, but was ignored and subsequently (unfairly) made the scapegoat for much of the Allied failure.

Regards
33

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 5
RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:53:28 AM   
Tzar007


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From Dutchguy:


When I started playing I sometimes saved my game, then surrendered too see were the enemy is hanging out, and then going back to my saved game
I know it's not really honourable, but it worked for me!

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 6
RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:54:23 AM   
Tzar007


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From VALENT PHILIPPE:


thinks for idea it was an excellent. phil

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RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:55:14 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Okay, I think the best way to grow this thread is to add insights from time to time drawn from some of my actual battles.

In just a few weeks, there will be a new crop of green players surging into the forum hoping to avoid AI-Model or AI-Monty mopping the floor with them. Of course, help is on the way in the form of a strategy guide. Panther's top historian, Steve Barnes, is doing the historical portion, and Panther's top strategist and scenario designer, Steve Long, is doing the game technique portion. However, until the master piece is completed, I hope these tips from the field will keep you alive.

One other thing, since I will be drawing these from my actual games and illustrating them with screenshots where appropriate, there is some potential for a small degree of spoiler information to creep in. I will try to avoid naming scenarios or painting too broad of a picture, but be warned.

And away we go ...

(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 4:56:49 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


I had previously stated in my tutorial:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=554123

that I generally leave my arty on call except for doing preparatory bombardments to seize primed bridges.

Well, the other night I played through a small scenario (an offensive operation) a few times. What I learned that taking command (using the [B]ombard command in lieu of [D]efend command) of your arty can make the difference between a decisive defeat and a decisive victory. The scenario was short and pretty much most of the orders were drawn up before starting. Thus, I played through quite a few times and with arty management being the only variable.

So, what was going on? In both cases, I had commanded the location of my firebases by dettaching the arty from its organic superior. In both cases, whether the AI did the targetting for me or I issued orders the enemy units targetted where those on periphery of my assaulting force. Now, here is the one difference.

Whenever arty goes "on call" which happens either due to orders from an AI superior or you, the human, giving it defend orders, ROF is set to SLOW. This is done, since arty is a precious resource and get used up very fast on the battle field. It's hard wired into the game engine no matter what you set for it or its superior's task. However, when you personally order [B]ombard, you can choose any ROF you want.

Thus, when I took the same plan for this scenario and called in fire myself with ROF=RAPID, the enemy positions easily broke and my assault overran their positions. It was reasonable for me to do in this case as the scenario only ran about 1/2 day and there was only one real goal.

< Message edited by Tzar007 -- 2/28/2004 8:36:52 PM >

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RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 5:27:34 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Steve Long aka Golf33 mentioned setting up fire bases outside of enemy observation. Let's look at an example of that. Here is one where my fire base is set up in the polder. German, enemy, forces are operating on the North side of the Canal.

You will notice that my arty batteries have been set up right behind a small rise. How did I determine that? First, the darker shade of the terrain indicates a higher elevation. Second, you can use the LOS tool to show you the contour of the terrain across a given vector.

Additionally, you should notice that it is no accident that this fire base is located on the South side of the Canal. I have used a natural terrain feature to greatly reduce the chance of disruption by German units.

MarkShot has attached this image:


(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 10
RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 5:30:03 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Here is another look at that same fire base. The security force is pretty minimal, since I primarily depending on the Canal keeping the Germans away. However, you will notice that I have positioned light flak units on the slight rise (in a reverse slope) position for the following reasons. Light flak will provide longer range fire power and the elevation will increase their purvey of the surrounding terrain. Just in case an enemy unit happens to wonder into the area.

This fire base is what I would call a rear area fire base meaning it is not hot and in midst of active fighting. A little latter we'll look at a forward area fire base.

MarkShot has attached this image:


(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/17/2004 5:31:18 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


As I stated I like to leave my arty on call and let the AI manage it. It does a fair job. But there is one problem, how do you avoid running out of arty by 13:00 or 14:00 each day in larger scenarios. I can tell you that there is nothing more depressing than it being 15:00 and facing 5,000 angry Germans assaulting your position of 500 riflemen with no arty support on-call. About the only thing worse I can imagine are the Germans bringing along a few squadrons of Tigers for good measure.

Here is how you can have your cake and eat it too (meaning have the AI manage your arty and not run out). Have some units of your fire base "on call" and others stand down (rest). Then, at appropriate times, you activate specific batteries. For example, when are in the process of a major attack.

In the screen shot, you will notice the unit information icon showing the West half of the fire base resting and the East half of the fire base on call. In the next post, I will show an easy trick for doing this.

MarkShot has attached this image:


(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 12
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:17:48 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Here is how you active and deactivate your arty units quickly with no order delay impact. (I learned this trick from Steve Long.)

In the OPTIONS Tab, there is a check box for REST AFTER BOMBARD. If you want to activate, then uncheck it. If you want to deactivate, then check it.

MarkShot has attached this image:


(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 13
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:19:03 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Now, issue a [B]ombard order like this. That's right directly on top of the unit. They won't actually fire; so, don't worry. Set the duration for one minute. The state of the unit will flip. That's all there is to it. And you can make your arty last all day long.


(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 14
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:19:59 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Okay, be sure to check back later for more "War Stories". Also, the rest of you RDOA veterans should feel free to add your own insights to this thread. Let's make sure our fellow HTTR newbies survive their first 24 hours of simulated combat!

(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:21:59 AM   
Tzar007


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From VALENT PHILIPPE:


thinks to MarkShot for all your work for the beginner like me . it was very interesting and i have to imprime all the pictures and text to understand the subtilities of the game. thinks very much.
A question very simple to you of course ( a napoleon gamer!) the scenario jugernaut , side germans, is there a plan to struggle the allies ? it was a great scenario with many troops and many objectives very differents . no? a too big for me,? all you say to me applies in this scenario? that'true?
thinks to me for the answers. phil.
it is a good forum "grace" at MarkShot sympathic one .

(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:31:02 AM   
Tzar007


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From Mr.Frag:


Mark,

Can you go into proper use of Armor now as Dave was saying he has changed it to not walk into point blank range with HTTR. This will make for some dramatic differences over RDOA...

(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:31:58 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Phil,

Bonjour, ca va bien?

Well, a number of points:

(1) If you have specific scenario questions, why don't you open up a thread for it like, "RDOA Scenario Help: Juggernaut". I would like to keep this thread spoiler free so as to not discourage people from reading it.

(2) I no longer have RDOA installed only HTTR. I don't believe The Juggernaut made it into HTTR. However, I am not sure, since some scenarios were migrated, but estabs and names were modified.

(3) If I recall, the scenario is a meeting engagement. So, see point #8 on my very first post on this thread.

(4) On the old forum, Golf33 gave a good reference to a primer on maneuver warfare (as compared to attrition warfare). One of the basic principles which I recall was "Don't meet strength with strength. Meet weakness with strength." So, some corallaries are: avoid the fair fight (withdraw), mass your forces and hit the enemy, his weak force, by a large force ... This may give you some ideas for the scenario.

(5) Also, see my first post points #3, #5, and #6.

(6) One other thought ... if a scenario (meeting engagement) has spread out objectives. If you spend 2/3s of your time concentrating on 2 or 3 of them, you should find at the end if you hit the last objective hard that it may well be lightly defended. Forces tend to be pulled to where they are needed and thinned where they are not. So, surprise the enemy when he is not looking ... toujours l'audace!

Perhaps, if you open a new thread, someone with RDOA installed can give you more specifics.

Bonne chance, Mon General!

(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:34:21 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Mr. Frag,

I'll bring up armor in a later post. At the moment, I have yet to finish my discussion of fire bases.

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 19
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:35:06 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Phil,

I just realized that I may have confused "Juggernaut" with "Clash of the Titans".

Well, at least, you get some tips for "Clash of the Titans".

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 20
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:39:38 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Now, let's take a look at setting up forward fire bases that are in the very midst of fighting.

For the next few posts, we will be looking at my desparate attempt (Allies) to set up a hasty defense of a crossing while large German forces move into the area to deprive me of same crossing.

Golf33 said avoid observation. Sometimes, you can do that by hiding behind a rise like I had previously demonstrated and sometimes you just got to find some woods and set up shop there.

(The screenshot shows another new HTTR feature using the mini-icon view for uncluttering the map. Use the '~' key.)

{Dave, did that make it into the documentation? I am looking at my keyboard reference and I don't see that there. Hmm...}

Below you will see two fire bases set up in the woods. For the most part, they are shielded from casual view. To achieve this mortar platoons were stripped from 12 separate battalions (meaning I gave them direct [D]efend orders). You will notice that the configuration of mortars gives me an oval of coverage about 9km by 6km. Each fire base, also has some light arty in the center.

Some additional points:

(1) As stated this is an active combat area, thus besides increasing my mortar coverage I have somewhat reduced my total risk of loosing arty/mortar support by splitting them.

(2) Also, by splitting them, the 75mm howitzers of each fire base can provide mutual support for the other fire base. The 81mm mortars don't really need this as they can practically fire point blank.

(3) The mortars also substantially add to the strength of the security perimeter around the arty units. Remember, that arty units will have a minimum range and therefore will not be able to lay down fire when they are at risk of being overrun. Mortars don't have that problem.

(4) You will note that the mortars are spreadout. This serves to help reduce the effect of counter battery fire if it happens. Additionally, the enemy if the casually stumble upon the position are less likely to know that they have found a major fire base.

MarkShot has attached this image:



< Message edited by Tzar007 -- 2/17/2004 9:40:17 PM >

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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:41:53 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Also, you will note that the fire bases security has not been left to lady luck. A couple of battalions have also taken up positions in and around the woods where they reside. However, these battalions are pulling double duty and that's why they are somewhat removed.

We'll discuss setting up a defense next time. We had better. I am hearing a lot of whispered commands coming out of the neighbooring woods and it doesn't sound like they're speaking English.


MarkShot has attached this image:


(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:51:37 AM   
Tzar007


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From Kevinugly:


I assume that the arty in HTTR WILL now follow orders unlike the truculent swines who manned the guns in RDOA.

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 23
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:53:10 AM   
Tzar007


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From Golf33:


quote:

I assume that the arty in HTTR WILL now follow orders unlike the truculent swines who manned the guns in RDOA.


Yes they certainly do In HTTR, Bombard orders no longer incur orders delay. Also, when a unit has finished Bombarding and goes to Rest, this does not incur an orders delay either. Folks with real-life artillery experience will appreciate that this realistically models the ability of artillery to rapidly switch targets, and the instantaneous response of the gun crews to the command "Rest" from the GPO .

Note that the trick MarkShot describes for rapidly resting artillery will not work in RDOA since it's artillery modelling is not as accurate as HTTR's.

There is also a brand-new "Fire Support" tab next to the unit info and status tabs, that shows the current status of every indirect-fire unit under the player's direct command. When you issue a bombard order you will see the status of that order in the tab. For example, if the unit cannot fire because friendly forces are in the target area, you will see "Friendlies in Way" on the Fire Spt tab under that unit. Similarly, if a rocket unit is reloading (takes quite a while for Nebelwerfer batteries as you can imagine) you will see "Reloading" on the tab. The Fire Spt tab also simplifies ammo tracking for artillery, since you can select units off the tab and see their ammo state right there; and you can even issue orders by selecting a unit off the Fire Spt tab and placing an order point on the map.

Regards
33

(in reply to Tzar007)
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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:54:33 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Steve,

As long as I have sucked you into this thread, I was wondering the other night ... does taking direct command of arty units add to the command load of HQ like other units or are arty units special?

Thanks.

Folks,

By the way, here is a look at that new Fire Support Tab which Steve mentioned. Ooh aah ...


MarkShot has attached this image:


(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 25
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:55:32 AM   
Tzar007


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From Arjuna:


Markshot,

Thanks for pointing out the omission in the Ref manual regarding the display of small icons. I've emailed Marc to see if it possible to get this in, but I'm not sure at this late stage. If not, we'll have to post an amendment on the forum. Heh, another reason to check the forum .

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 26
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:57:45 AM   
Tzar007


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From Arjuna:


Hi all,

I must say I am enjoying Markshot's tips. Many thanks Mark.

I would like to offer some alternate advice on the issue of centralising control of indirect fire assets. In smaller scenarios there is usually only a few arty/mor units, and so it's fine to take direct control of all of them. In larger scenarios where there are significant numbers of arty and mortar units I tend to take direct control of the arty units and leave the mortar units under command of their Bn HQs. I find this the best use for the mortar units for a number of reasons.

First and most importantly, their battalions need them and they will need them at short notice and usually when your attention is focussed elsewhere.

Second, the more arty units you have under direct command, the more work you have to do in managing them. In larger scenarios this can detract or divert your focus away from where it should be. In the Breakout from Joe's Bridge scenario, for instance 30th Corps has a plethora of arty units, not to mention mortar units. So I tend to only command directly the medium and a few of the field arty units - around six to ten units. I find that's a good number to handle. I will usually allocate three or four field how units to support the Irish Gds group's drive up the highway and one field how bn to each of the flanking infantry Bns. I then check the box on the tasks for the Irish Gds and the infantry Bns to ensure that these arty units only support them. In effect this ensures that their arty firepower is dedicated.

Everyone is different and one of HTTR's great strength is that it does provide alternate approaches to managing your forces. So I would recommend you experiment a little before settling on the best approach for you.

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 27
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 4:59:51 AM   
Tzar007


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From VALENT PHILIPPE:


Thinks for all your answers . i study what you say in this forum. .

phil

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 28
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:01:22 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Yes, time for a disclaimer.

(1) The tips presented here (by me anyway) do not necessarily reflect the views of Panther or Matrix.

(2) The tips I offer seem to work for me as I win more than I loose. However, your actual mileage may vary.

(3) Past performance is no indication of future results.

Well, I think that covers every TV commercial cliche I can think of.

As with many games, there really is very little public discussion of how to best use the tools the game provides. I have to admit I am very excited about the Strategy Guide project and the prospect of the Australian War College opening their annals to the general public.

Now, if I can just get Matrix to ban the sale of the Strat Guide in Pennsylvania, I might actually have a glimmer of hope against Yakstock in an MP game.

---

Folks,

Stay tuned. I'll be back later to talk about when to detach mortars and when to leave them with their organic commands. My views may differ a bit from Dave's.

Debating game play techniques with the developer is a little like debating theology with your maker. I hope I am not going to get myself cast down into the fiery pit for this.

---

All clowning aside, I'll be back later with some more tips. In the meantime, RDOA veterans please jump in here and give us some fresh meat to chew on. Thanks.

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 29
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:03:17 AM   
Tzar007


Posts: 766
Joined: 2/7/2004
From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Status: offline
From VALENT PHILIPPE:


mARKSHOT?
i am sorry i don't understand the problem! its with me? can you explain please where is the trouble? i want some explain with the game , only!
sorry .thinks à + tard phil

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 30
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