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RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:03:56 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Phil,

I am not sure that I fully understand your last post.

Are you asking why no one has responded to your Juggernaut thread? If so, I am not sure why.

I am checking my notes. I do make notes about the scenarios I play. It appears that I never played that one. If I had RDOA loaded, I would give you some thoughts on it. However, I really don't have the time to reload at the moment. I am sorry.

JeF,

Are there any AARs for that scenario available?

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Post #: 31
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:11:28 AM   
Tzar007


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From JeF:


quote:

JeF,
Are there any AARs for that scenario available?


None that I know.

[The rest of this post has been moved here on request]

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Post #: 32
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:13:12 AM   
Tzar007


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From Golf33:


quote:

... does taking direct command of arty units add to the command load of HQ like other units or are arty units special?


Yes, it does. In the British system (and most armies use something similar) command of artillery assets is separated into various levels. For example, the Division artillery staff commands three field artillery regiments (which it might even hand down to the brigades to command), while the Corps artillery staff commands two or three medium artillery regiments and often a couple of heavy artillery batteries. When you take direct command of all your artillery assets, you effectively place them all under command of Corps HQ - which then has to do extra work to coordinate them all, which would normally be handled at Division level.

On the plus side, in most cases the added load is only quite small.

There is also a way around it, especially in scenarios featuring the massed artillery of XXX Corps. By selecting a group of artillery units and issuing a Bombard order, the most senior unit of the group becomes the 'commander' and the others will then fire on Bombard orders issued to that unit. You will also only see the 'commander' unit in the Fire Spt tab. This reduces your HQ command load, simplifies the management of Bombard tasks for you, and brings the advantage of easy massing of artillery! Remember, a single round from 72 guns is far more effective than 72 rounds from a single gun.

quote:

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


Ooh aah indeed

Regards
33

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Post #: 33
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:14:25 AM   
Tzar007


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From Golf33:


quote:

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.


In this scenario, you start with four medium and five field regiments under command of XXX Corps HQ, plus another two field regiments (one split into three batteries) under command of Guards Armoured Div HQ. Each infantry battalion also has at least one mortar platoon. If you want to control the artillery directly, a good way to do it is to create two groups of two medium regiments each, another group of three field regiments, one of two field regiments, keep the entire Guards field regiment as a single unit, and group the three Guards field batteries together. This gives you six fire units with a variety of ranges and strengths.

Alternatively, you could group the mediums either all together or in two groups of two, group the XXX Corps field regiments in a single group of three and allocate the remaining two to the infantry brigade or even its battalions, while either keeping the Guards arty under your direct command or allocating it to the various subordinate formations of that division. As Arjuna points out, checking the "Arty Direct Support Only" box when giving an order to a unit that has artillery under command, will prevent that artillery unit firing at targets that are not of interest to the commanding formation. Just remember that when placing artillery under command of a formation you will incur the full orders delay, both for the formation HQ and for the arty unit. During this time you can still give Bombard orders directly to the arty unit, and it will respond quickly, but it then stops being under command of the manoeuvre unit.

Regards
33

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Post #: 34
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:15:10 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Ah, we are having a great discourse about arty and mortars.

Since the purpose of this thread is to teach the basics to new players and those less familiar with ground warfare concepts, I think I will back track briefly. (I didn't know any of this stuff a few years ago ...).

Okay, so, why have Dave, Steve, and myself put so much focus on talking about artillery as opposed to say your recon platoon of Stuarts (light tanks)? Simply put, arty plays a very critical role in the game and on the battlefield for the following three reasons:

(1) It represents a very significant portion of your total fire power which you can bring to bare.

(2) Arty is an indirect fire (meaning that you need not have visual contact with the enemy) weapon system. (Of course, there will be spotters and communications to the batteries.) As such, when it is used correctly, it can apply fire power to the enemy without receiving return fire itself. The same is no true of other units.

(3) Arty can move the focus of its fire power 15km or more in a matter of minutes. If you try to move the fire power you can apply with your armor, it can take anywhere from a few hours to more than a day depending on the situation.

So, learning how to effectively use your arty is going to be one of the most important steps you are going to take towards becoming an effective player.

---

So, if you take direct control, you will need to:

(1) Position it.

(2) Secure it.

(3) Manage the rate of ammo consumption.

(4) Be in contact with the enemy so that the guns have something shoot at.

---

Let's look at #4 immediately above for a second. It is saying that arty is a resource like petroleum. Meaning it needs to be integrated into a plan. On it's own, it is not going to give you a victory. Now, you can be in contact with the enemy by having two brigades making an assault. But also keep in mind the smallest and weakest and most understrength unit in the game is sufficient to be in contact with the enemy.

Thus, a single company can halt or delay major enemy movements along a road if rather than stopping the enemy with brute force direct fire, it has your on-call arty apply massive indirect fire to the enemy.

Corollary to this is the importance of not being observed. That's why Steve made the point in thread of not having the enemy spot your guns. That's why when you identify a location to FUP, if even 12 guys who have bailed out of their Panthers see you there, they can ruin your whole day.

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Post #: 35
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:16:15 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


I will tell you that I almost always dettach my arty (I don't mean mortars here) and I never group it like Dave and Steve have discussed here.

But let me give you some tips on how arty behaves when grouped with other units which is quite different.

If you group three infantry companies together and tell them to move from Point A to Point B, then after a certain period of time, you will find your three companies in the vicinity of Point B.

But that is not the way arty moves when given a [M]ove or [D]efend order and grouped with other units.

If I take three arty units (call them U1, U2, and U3) and order them to move from Point A to Point B, here is what happens. U1 will move to the vicinity of Point B. U2 and U3 will make sure that they are in bombard range of Point B, then stop and deploy. This is good for providing fire support for U1 during the move, but doesn't really help you position U2 and U3 when Point B is your fire base.

So, even if you plan to group your arty as suggested, you are going to have to give them individual [M]ove or [D]efend orders to get them to the fire base.

Since you are going to have to move arty units individually when you decide to relocate a fire base, they are not going to benefit from bounding overwatch and security forces like other groups of moving units. Thus, you will have to be extra careful that you are moving them along a secure route that is not under enemy observation.

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Post #: 36
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:16:56 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Lest you think that with so many units on the map and a handful of arty units on the map that it's no big deal if they are spotted, be advised that your arty units are an arty magnet for the enemy's AI gunners.

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Post #: 37
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:17:55 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Alright, tomorrow, I will get back on to the mortar thing.

Remember if you got arty questions ask them here to Steve. In his former life before being a game developer he was a gunner.

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Post #: 38
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:18:46 AM   
Tzar007


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From Mr.Frag:


Mark, does drag selecting with a move order accomplish what you suggest or does it turn them into a command structure and cause them to sub deploy as you have pointed out ... just wondering if there is some alternative to individual orders as some scenarios had rather insane numbers of units in the Arty catagory

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Post #: 39
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:19:53 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Mr. Frag,

Any manner of multiple selection of units followed by issuance of an order makes them one force.

I guess you must be of those half empty people and me one of those half full people. You can never have too much arty.

In terms of moving arty, I don't find that even when you take direct command you do too much moving. The reasons being:

(1) You tend to try to establish a fire base which will serve your needs throughout the entire battle. In some cases, you may need to make a single move after establishing the first fire base. I cannot recall a scenario where I needed to position arty units more than twice. The map just isn't that big and these guys have some reach.

(2) When they are moving and deploying, they ain't doing what they were made for which is laying down fire on targets.

(3) If they move, then they restart the whole process of deploying -> diggin in -> entrenching. As said before, it's best that the enemy doesn't have them under observation or run across them. However, if the enemy should find them, they are much better off being entrenched than dug-in. The less you move them, the more likely they are to reach that state.

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Post #: 40
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:20:59 AM   
Tzar007


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From VALENT PHILIPPE:


thinks for all your answers . if you have some information supplementaire you can give me, please about the game and the tactics for a beginner like me. thinks phil

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Post #: 41
RE: Tips thread - 2/18/2004 5:22:01 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Phil,

You will get better:

(1) Keep going to battle. No one learns without getting some first hand experience.

(2) Continue to follow the forum. By the end of the year, the forum should be full of people like yourself with questions. Just think, at that time, you will already be a veteran.

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Post #: 42
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:34:19 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


I was sitting around waiting for a meeting to start today. And, of course, my mind couldn't help but to drift to more relevant concerns like HTTR.

Here is a list of some the other areas I want to hit in this thread:

* Mortars - Their use, their behavior in attacks, ...

* Recon - It's importance, ways to integrate it, ...

* Order Conversion

* HQ Replans

* Setting up a Defense (Part I) - support weapons, woods versus treelines, coverage, ...

* Common Command Parameter Settings

* The fine points of "In-Situ"

* Setting up Defense (Part II) - layers

* Terrain and Units

* Successive Attacks

* How to Encircle and Anhilate

---

Of course, if I have some time to play some HTTR and something occurs to me, I will add it to the list. In mean time, the above should keep us busy for a little while.

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Post #: 43
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:35:50 AM   
Tzar007


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From VALENT PHILIPPE:


THinks to markshot . i 'll try to become a veteran! its very hard perhaps too hard!! phil.
congratulations to your tutorial at Rdoa for Mark Shot. phil

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Post #: 44
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:41:01 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Okay, I said I wanted to talk about mortars. I previously stated that I almost always dettach my arty, but will dettach mortars based on the situation at hand. So, what are my considerations?

But first a little aside ... just keep in mind that not all mortar units are equal. For example, the German 120mm mortars appear to have more than double the range of the American 81mm mortars. So, when dealing with any bombard capable units whether you are deciding whether to dettach mortars or create arty fire bases keep their range capability in mind. This is easy to check in the game by using the [B]ombard key ... the blue circle is the max range and the black circle the minimum range. Also, turn on the 1km map grid and it should be very easy to locate candidate locations for fire bases. Remember minimum range too. For example, if you locate your guns at an objective, those guns will not be able to provide support in defending that objective from a close assault.

I had previously shown a screen shot of two forward area fire bases with one arty unit each surrounded by 6 mortar platoons. Those 12 mortar units had been stripped from 12 battalions. So, why did I do that?

Take a look at the screen shot below. Each purple line/circle represents a battalion. The circles represent an unspecified formation; I left it to the AI. The lines represent a line formation which I specified. The red X represents my fire base with one arty unit and six mortars. The yellow arrows represent the directions from which I expecting a German advance/assault. (There are also some heavy weapon positions ... anti-tank gun platoons and machine gun companies which are not depicted.) Pretty grim situation, huh?

So, what would have been the consequence of not stripping those mortars from the battalions?

(1) Certainly one third of them would have been located very close to the defended objectives on clear and open terrain. Needless to say, if the Germans made progress along the highway from the North or South those mortar positions would have been priority targets for his artillery. That would have greatly diminished their effectiveness.

(2) The other two thirds of my mortars would have been located very close to the front lines of contact with the Germans. Again, if those lines were even slightly breached, those mortar positions would have come under heavy German bombardment.

By doing what I did, I got my mortars out of view from the enemy and somewhat removed from the hottest areas of engagement with the enemy. Thus, I increased their survivability and efficiency.

Here is one point which Dave made to me a while ago in the Beta forum which I think is worth repeating here. Remember if you can force an artillery unit to displace, then you have taken it out of the fight for some period of time. It's not armor. It cannot fire on the move. Arty needs to deploy and setup in order to be of any use. So, arty can be incapacitated through disruption if not by outright destruction.

So, when on the defensive, I think you should detach mortars under the following conditions:

(1) You are planning a static defense. Meaning that you will identify a number of key defensive positions and place defend tasks. You will not be depending on one large force totally under AI control to handle the defensive plan. I tend to go with static defenses you have some idea how the enemy will approach and there specific terrain features which the defender can exploit. Thus, as part of the static defense plan, you can locate your mortars out of site and out of harms way.

(2) The terrain represents a mix of high and low visibility areas. So you may have clear&woods or heide&towns ... As best I can tell, you gain nothing by having your mortars set up in a high visibility area.

The next time, we'll look at mortars on the attack.


MarkShot has attached this image:


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Post #: 45
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:42:47 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Okay, let's finish this off with discussing mortars on the attack.

First, when I like to dettach them:

(1) The attacking force is already in position to initiate the attack. This means that their current location will effectively become the FUP point.

and

(2) Mortar placement would put them in range of the attack task marker. Of course, the coverage should be somewhat beyond, since the attack force may be engaged by units which are beyond the task marker. Also, remember that the AI commander of attacking units will always generate assault paths beyond the attack task marker.

and

(3) By dettaching the mortars, you can keep them from being observed and in a safe location.

Second, when I like leave them attached:

(1) The attacking force due the particular terrain and disposition of the enemy will be forced to FUP such that the mortars if dettached at that location would not have the range to cover the entire engagement area.

(2) The attacking force (including their mortars) have been given a lengthy set of marching orders to get to the FUP. Thus, dettaching the mortars would require having them to travel to the area individually which would expose them to considerable risk if the enemy should catch them in the process. At least, if they are traveling as part of a force, they will have the advantage of bounding overwatch, some mortar units (if more than one) deployed and ready to provide support, and an AI commander who may reassess the situation and work out a new route to bypass the enemy. {Of course, you could handle it by first issuing [M]ove orders for entire force, followed by dettaching the mortars and then issuing [A]ttack orders and [D]efend orders for the mortars. However, that will incur some extra delays which most of the time you are trying to avoid anyway.}

---

Let's take a slightly different perspective on the above discussion.

What's the advantage of attached mortars on the attack?

(1) Greater traveling security.

(2) The ability to attack (assuming 81mm mortars with a 3km range) over longer distances. So, if you had to, you could assault over a 3-5km range. How does it work? Well, the mortars will be advance to contact along with the entire force. Once the force is engaged by the enemy, the mortars will then deploy and provide fire support.

(3) When the attacking force has successfully attacked and is securing the objective, the mortars and any reserve forces will be brought forward automatically and integrated into the new defensive posture.

(4) In a complex scenario, it's less details to worry about as it may not really have a significant impact on the big picture.

What's the advantage of deattached mortars on the attack?

(1) If you do it right, the mortars should be more secure and receive no incomming fire. Thus, they are going to do a better job of providing outgoing fire.

(2) Since they are not advancing to contact, they will be immediately available to provide fire support. This can be significant when you are not attacking with overwhelming force.

---

There you have it ... my thoughts on mortars. Feel free to poke holes in my reasoning. I get this from playing the game and looking at my monitor. But then looking at my monitor, the Earth looks flat ...

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Post #: 46
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:43:43 AM   
Tzar007


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From VALENT PHILIPPE:


thinks to MarkShot for all your answers about mortars and artillery.it i very interesting .i study, promise! phil

< Message edited by Tzar007 -- 2/18/2004 7:44:14 PM >

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Post #: 47
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:44:46 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Okay, I think my next planned topic is recon.

It is another key skill like managing arty. Master recon and you will be well on your way to being a better player. This is particularly true for the attacker in longer scenarios (2 days and beyond). A defender is more likely to have set up screens (thinly spread units meant to give advanced notice of enemy movements) and single units at key crossroads. So, the defender gathers intel in more of passive manner using a trip wire approach. The attacker will take a more active approach to build a picture through recon missions.

What types of things can the attacker accomplish with recon?

(1) Identify a safe route. Your force is currently located at Point A and you want to attack an objective at Point B. Ideally, you want to make your way to the FUP point without running into the enemy. Your goal is the attack and not skirmesh with the enemy on highways, roads, and tracks.

(2) Gauge the level of opposition on a route. It may turn out that the enemy presence is minimal and the attacking force can fight their way through. (Of course, remember that you must always consider the impact of enemy arty.)

(3) Determine where you should FUP. Provided that the enemy doesn't know that you are there, the closer a FUP is to the attack task marker, the better. Unnecessary distance will: tire your forces; result in a less cohesive attack; risk totally relinquishing the objective if the AI commander of the attack decides to fallback and reorganize, etc... Good recon will tell you just how close, you can FUP to the location you want to attack. In fact, it may even tell you that a single attack is not feasible, because you would be pushing your men too far. So, perhaps you will have to plan two attacks ... one to push into range of the objective with one force ... and a second to pass through the lines of the first force.

(4) Decide that an attack is not needed. Sometimes it may turn out that an objective is not even occupied and no attack is needed. Of course, you could still attack and take the objective. However, you are better off just proceeding directly there and setting up a defense. Why? (a) An attack will tire your troops. (b) Attacks takes time to organize at the FUP depending on the size of the force. So, you might have been able to seize the objective anywhere from 2-6 hours sooner. (When playing for occupation points, this impacts your score.) (c) Beating the enemy there is better than a pitched battle at the objective. (d) The sooner you get there, the sooner your troops will have prepared their defense and dug in.

---

So, you get the idea. A commander who uses recon develops plans and adapts them to the situation. A commander who does not use recon is stuck trying to impose a template upon the battle and hopes for the best.

---

Some recon pointers:

(1) Use single units. A single unit always move faster, then two or more units (no bounding overwatch and security). I generally use armored car platoons or light tank platoons.

(2) It's best to perform recon in daylight. Certainly, don't send a recon mission at night to be followed by a force movement in daytime. That's pretty useless.

(3) Put enough waypoints so that your recon unit(s) follow the path you will want your force to follow. Have the recon unit move its fastest taking the quickest route. Set AGGRO=MIN, ROF=MAX, and CASSUALTIES=MIN. You are not performing search and destroy; your intent is to perform search and bypass.

(4) Avoid dettaching recon units from forces in the middle of an important mission like an attack. This could cause the AI commander to generate a replan and cause a major disruption. Keep recon forces separate from other forces or, at least, dettach when the larger force is not actively engaged with the enemy.

(5) Don't get bent out of shape if a recon unit gets eliminated. Recon is a dangerous, but necessary job.

Recon timing pointers (I am assuming you are playing with order delays enabled):

(1) Often at the start of a scenario and for reinforcements, there is no order delay for the first 59 minutes. This means that for short distances, you can have a the larger force sit for 59 minutes while recon units race roads on their mission. Anytime before 60 minutes have elapsed, you can evaluate the recon results and give orders to the larger force and still avoid any order delays.

(2) Suppose you are beyond any order delays waived window ... Well, if you are looking at the main force moving a long distance, then you can give orders to recon units and the main force at the same time. (suppose the movement involves covering 15km and maybe with a bridge crossing involved) Why will this work? The single recon unit will travel so much faster than the larger force that it will develop a good lead in front of the main force. Perhaps, the recon unit will take 2 hours to reach the final destination and the main force will take 10 hours. Thus, you can issue recon and main force orders simultaneously. Now, what if the recon force turns up a problem? They should have enough of a distance/time lead on the main force that even with order delays, you will be able to modify orders for the main force and have them respond after a few hours. Bottom line - for long hauls, recon and main force orders can be issued concurrently.

(3) Pertaining to the above point, recon orders for short hauls (transits) will need to be issued a few hours before orders for the main force unless you are in the order delay waived window. So, like in chess, learn to think a few moves ahead.

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 48
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:45:28 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


One question ... aside from Phil, is anyone finding any of this stuff useful or is it all pretty obvious to you?

{It wasn't obvious to me, but I didn't have any wargaming or military experience just a few years ago.}

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Post #: 49
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:46:14 AM   
Tzar007


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From Mr.Frag:


Mark, always an interesting read, and if nothing else, you are highlighting things that are different from the original so we will all be in better shape to dive right in on day one.

Keep up the good work, remember there will be an influx of new folks soon too who will benefit too.

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Post #: 50
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:46:58 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


I would like to cover two small topics: "in-situ" and order modifications/conversions.

*** "in-situ" ***

This is one of the formation options which you have at your disposal when issuing orders. It means execute the order in place; don't move regardless of where the order marker is placed.

How to use it?

(1) It is the default formation whenever you ask your troops to rest, "Z".

(2) Suppose you start a short scenario with a small map. It turns out that your arty units already have coverage of the likely engagement area and are in no risk from enemy forces. Also, suppose that they are already deployed or dug-in, and you want their fire support immediately available (you plan to dettach them). The way to do this is give them a [D]efend order with an "in-situ" formation. Thus, they will not move and redeploy; they will simply go immediately "on-call".

(3) Suppose you have a brigade defending a town. They have already dug-in or maybe they have been there a while and entrenched. (Being dug-in or entrenched is much better than simply being deployed or moving if the enemy comes along.) Now, suppose you want to dettach a battalion to assist in an attack some place else. Anytime you dettach a unit, you are going to force the AI commander to perform a replan and its likely that new orders will be issued. But maybe you would like to short circuit (prevent) that process. What can you do? Do this ... Issue a [D]efend in-situ command to the brigade. Then, dettach the battalion of interest. None of your units who are part the [D]efend command will change their positions.

(4) Suppose you moved 10 arty units to a fire base. As we have already learned, you will have to give them individual orders to make this happen. Now, suppose you want to treat them as one command (force) either to help concentrate their fire or reduce command load. What to do? Do this ... select them all and issue a [D]efend "in-situ" order. (Or better yet ... do the trick I showed before with bombard, but for the units grouped.)

---

What else do you need to know about "in-situ"?

"in-situ" means wherever the unit is located at the current time. Note: >>> THE CURRENT TIME <<< and not the time at which the order issued. What's the issue? Well, if give a MG company a [D]efend in-situ order and they are attacked and thrown back, they will then continue to remain in whatever location they retreated to. If they had been given a [D]efend order with any other formation, they would have attempted to return to the the location of the task marker when they recovered from their retreat.

This is an important point. "in-situ" defenders will not attempt to retake lost ground.

On the other hand, this can be convenient at times. Suppose you have some mortars located in a large woods. Suppose the enemy forces them to retreat. There usually isn't and reason to really have them recover their former positions. They probably only fell back 0.25-0.50km and will do just fine deploying in their new location. However, with a standard [D]efend order, they will recover and once again advance back towards the enemy. (I personally tend to just use standard [D]efend orders out of habit, but perhaps you will command with greater finess than me.)

In just a moment, we are going to talk about order modification/conversion but before we do ... Sometimes, I may cause my arty units to move a fire base by simply dragging their [D]efend task markers to new a location. Earlier in this thread I showed you a trick to make arty units quickly rest or go on-call. Be advised that if you use this trick when you flip them to on-call, their [D]efend formation will be in-situ even if that is not what you originally specified. Then, if you drag the [D]efend task marker, they are not going anyway unless you change the formation. (It took me a while to figure that one out.)

---

You can modify and convert orders that have already been given and communicated through the chain of command. Of course, you can also issue entirely new orders from scratch. I tend to try to modify/convert orders if the force is the same and alterations are small. Be advised that any changes can cause replans (will talk about that a little later). Here are some examples.

* Moving mortar units which already have [D]efend orders by 1-2km.

* Moving the FUP location for a force on the march due to new intel available from recon.

* Changing an [A]ttack to [D]efend task for a force on the march due to intel revealing the objective is unoccuppied.

* An [A]ttack is going very well and I want the force to push on even further.

I believe that modifying and converting orders results in less delays than deleting the orders and issuing brand new orders from scratch. I have not attempted any emperical testing of this, but I think this was included in the HTTR order delay code such that small alterations have diminished impact on replans/delays. {Dave, could you confirm or deny whether that is the case? Thanks.} For the moment, that is how I am doing things.

As you can see, long range operations with recon and order modification can come in pretty handy.

How do you convert an order? Okay, suppose you are making a 10km trek to an [A]ttack. Hilight the unit with the [A]ttack order, then click on the [A]ttack task marker. Delete the task marker and hit [D]efend key. Everything remains the same except for the new task marker and elimination of the FUP. There is one important thing to note. The parameters associated with the new task come from the former task as opposed for being the default parameters for that task type. So, the default formation for [D]efend is unspecified (left to the AI). However, if the [A]ttack formation has been specified as wedge, then your [D]efend formation will pick up a formation of wedge (unless you change it).

---

I have another little topic which I want to cover here which doesn't really fit any place else. So, here it is. The AI route planning has no awareness of the future. It lives in the instantaneous present of the intel picture/route connectivity at the time it does a plan. What's that mean? It's 08:00 and I have pontoon bridge almost completed. It will be done by about 09:30. But at 08:00, I have reinforcements and order these guys to advance to the river and cross it. Now, they probably won't even reach the river until 10:00. In any case, the AI will plan to take the Ferry (slower). One thing you can do is simply give orders to the force to move to the bridgehead and then wait until it is complete before ordering them across. Here is something which I haven't tried, but which might work ... try moving the final task marker or altering it in someway after the bridge is completed. This might force a replan and new route calculation ... but I am just guessing here. {Dave, would that work?}

---

Let's finish up today with replans. What is it? Well, when you give orders in HTTR, your AI subordinates generate plans to carry out your orders. This is where much of the power and scalability of HTTR comes in. You can organize forces and give orders at any level. Most games have a flat structure for communicating with your forces, but HTTR has a very scalable and user friendly structure.

(Assuming you are playing with order delays) Except (sometimes) for the first 59 minutes of a scenario and the first 59 minutes for arriving reinforcements, the creation and communication of a plan takes measurable time. It can take from 30 minutes to six hours (these numbers are just for illustrative purposes) depending on circumstances. A replan is the generation of a revised plan by your AI commander. This can happen either due to implicit or explicit reasons.

* Implicit *

* A force is order to move from A to B. A route is plotted. Along the route heavy enemy opposition is encountered for a couple of hours. The AI commander may decide to take an alternate route and bypass the enemy.

* A force is attacking. The attack is beginning to fall apart and lacks cohesion. The AI commander may have the units fall back, reorganize, and attack again. Or the AI commander may bring back tired units and put them in reserve while ordering frest reserve units forward.

* Explicit *

* You issue new orders to a force.

* You modify the location or parameters for a task.

* You dettach units from a force.

* You reattach units from the force.

Now, why are we talking about replans? Well, because two things happen during a replan that can have a very impact on how your campaign in a scenario proceeds.

First, any replan activity slows a force down. HQ must work out a new plan. Then that plan must be communicated down the chain of command and finally to the line units. That takes time.

Second, replans always result in some disorganization and confusion. Units will halt whatever their doing and wait for new orders and then digest them. Also, this doesn't happen for all units simultaneously. Depending on the chain of command and distance from HQ, different units will experience this at different times. Believe me there is nothing more pathetic than a force actively attacking and heavily engaged which receives new orders. Some of the lead units will continue to push on while some supporting units will turn back leaving their mates (that Australian English is beginning to rub off) to be butchered by the enemy.

---

So, what are the implications of replans as far as you are concerned? First, implicit replans are generally for your benefit. It's the AI kicking in to help you do a better job. Second, it's the explicit replans that you need to watch out for.

(1) You need to be aware of what things can cause replans and the impact they have.

(2) Since reorganizing your commands (meaning immediate subordinates with direct orders from you) results in replans, you want to think carefully about your force structure. You want to be methodical about how you group and use forces. You want your commands issued to be executed with the minimum amount of disruption. Thus, try not to continuously be restructuring your forces or changing orders before they have been completed.

(3) It is better to sideline a unit than reattach it to a command and create chaos.

(4) Avoid explicit replans for forces which are in heavy contact with the enemy. You are going to be responsible for a lot deaths if you ignore this. Explicit replans are best experienced when your force is no longer in heavy contact with the enemy (either you are attacking or the defending against an atttack).

(5) It is better to pause (space bar) and take some time to think out your orders, then do it on the fly and keep making small adjustments. Issue the right orders, the first time.

(6) Keep recon elements separate after completing a recon mission even if they are now in the midst of the main force as you are likely to send them on another recon mission soon.

(7) Sometimes execution of imperfect orders are better left to proceed, then the delay and confusion which results when you try to improve them.

(8) Try to keep the units of a force in close geographic proximity. If you form forces from units scattered all across the map, you are going to introduce substantial delays and the response to your orders is not going to be nearly as coherent as it should be.

Well, if you ever managed people in your life (military, sports, workplace, ...), the above will all seem pretty common sense and realistic. That's what makes this a great game/simulation.

Well, that's it for today. Until next time ... dismissed.

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 51
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:47:34 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


By the way, I do attempt to proof read this stuff. But I am mainly doing this stream of conciousness. Thus, I ask your indulgence for the poor spelling, grammar, and organization.

I figure that the despite my poor style, the points are getting across.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend, all.

(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 52
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:49:06 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


Okay, we are coming up on the lunch hour in North America here and I want to give you folks in offices something better to do than checking your investment portfolios.

{I intend to jump ahead in my topic list today. But rest assured, we'll discuss it all eventually.}

The other day I was playing a scenario and I had one of those light bulb moments. This concerns the mechanics of encircling and anhilating the enemy. (Like most advances in war and technology it was due to serendipity.)

Below we have the lovely City of Nijmegen which as history would have it is strongly occuppied by the Germans at the moment. Yours truly, me, is the commander of an Allied force. In this particular battle which I fought, my intent was simply to capture the city. But we'll be talking today about the total elimination of the German defenders.


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(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 53
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 2:51:07 AM   
Tzar007


Posts: 761
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From MarkShot:


Quite a few months ago, I posted a query on the beta forum of how do you capture/eliminate enemy units? I asked, because it generally seems very hard to do by intention.

(1) Enemy units seem to squirm away pretty quickly when seriously threatened.

(2) Your orders pertain to location on the map and not enemy forces. You order "attack this location". You cannot order "attack this enemy formation".

(3) The AI self preservation mode for the enemy acts in a much faster time frame, then you can issue orders to pursue them.

(4) When you attack from multiple axis, it is very hard to ensure the attacks kicking off at the same time or proceeding at the same rate.

So, you may have an attack plan which looks like the one below. But almost always, one force will sweep through first (if successful) and the next force will follow up in their wake. The enemy will have already displaced. And, of course, the enemy will probably regroup and either harass you or counter attack later.


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(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 54
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 3:03:31 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


One of my fellow beta testers, Bil Hardenberger (a former officer in the USA military), gave the following response. Something to the effect, that you will have to have one force fix them like an anvil and the other force drive into them like a hammer.

I assume he meant something like this. (see below)

Well, I didn't give it to much thought or attempt to do anything with it, since I still suspected that the enemy would get away from me.


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(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 55
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 3:05:03 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


So, as I said initially I was playing a scenario where I had to take Nijimegen. In fact, there are quite a few of them.

My initial thrusts towards Nijmegen looked like this. We'll use green to represent armor and yellow to represent motorized infantry. (I put a little line at the end of my arrows so you can see where my forces were supposed to hold.)

My intentions were two fold.

(1) Seize the bridge heads primarily to prevent German reinforcements from entering the battle for Nijmegen later on.

(2) Secure my staging areas for the attack on Nijmegen later on. A common strategy is take a position and hold it. Then, have another force FUP behind it and attack through it's lines. You get the benefit of an undisturbed FUP relatively close to the enemy.


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(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 56
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 3:06:26 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


The final assault on Nijmegen looked like this.

Green for armor dug-in and defending.

Yellow for motorized infantry advancing through the city.


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(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 57
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 3:08:14 AM   
Tzar007


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From MarkShot:


As I said, I had one of those light bulb moments when I saw the results. Here let me show you.

Look at the incredible death and destruction which took place. I've highlighted with red two locations where the enemy dead were piled so high that you couldn't even count them.

PS: The screenshot looks darker, since it was taken at night.


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(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 58
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 3:09:24 AM   
Tzar007


Posts: 761
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From MarkShot:


Also, look at the AAR report. Now, not all of these numbers happened in Nijmegen, but a large proportion did.


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(in reply to Tzar007)
Post #: 59
RE: Tips thread - 2/19/2004 3:10:32 AM   
Tzar007


Posts: 761
Joined: 2/7/2004
From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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From MarkShot:


Okay, so what did I learn from this.

If you want to anhilate the enemy:

(1) Encircle the enemy as opposed to simply pushing into the very core of their strength. Of course, encircle on all sides.

(2) With separate forces push into the core of their stength.

---

Because in #1 you limit your advance, the enemy feels no pressing need to get away. Especially, if at the center of an encirclement is a high valued objective. Also, the encirclement need not be very hard, since you don't really need to press the enemy as you will take up positions somewhat beyond their defensive perimeter.

The encirclement creates a containment vessel which prevents their escape and neutralizes the problem of the attack forces not all having the same H hour and making the same rate of forward progress.

---

Time for lunch.

(in reply to Tzar007)
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