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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips!

 
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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/15/2006 1:19:38 AM   
MarkShot


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Suppose you have a foot infantry force that you want to preposition to see later action (in a couple of days) and you are not sure how you will ultimately deploy them. Now, of course, you could just issue a MOVE or DEFEND order and they will get some rest when they arrive until they get new orders. However, giving a REST order, I believe, accelerates the fatigue recovery process. Of course, then you have to keep and eye on that force and also issue a second order that will experience a delay.

What to do?

You can actually issue a REST order. By default the formation type is in-situ, but you can change it to unspecified. This will cause your force to march to a new location and immediately upon arrival begin to rest. Thus, you save potentially a few hours of order delays and don't need to keep your eye on them either.




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< Message edited by MarkShot -- 9/15/2006 1:27:53 AM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/15/2006 4:25:53 AM   
MarkShot


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Dave added another day to one of the delaying/exit scenarios to help balance the game play. As part of my revised plan, I am now priming every single bridge which I can get to. Previously, I only primed the most critical for the enemy and which were the most likely to be able to be blown.

Once again, let me show you how to take advantage of another thing which was previously mentioned in the Mini-Guide. Defensive improvements made are presistent although it does not show on the map, but the game records it.

So, as part of my effort to get into the Guinness Book of Records for most bridges primed and blown in a three day scenario ...

First, bring in the engineers to do the priming. Now, typically I will not have already any infantry in the location, because these are poor defensive location, since usually they are very exposed with no cover.

Next, once primed send the engineers on their way and bring in infantry to deny the crossing. Place the infantry DENY CROSSING task marker exactly on the spot that the engineers were located.

Why? This will accelerate how quickly they will get dug-in into their position. And when you are going for a record, every minute counts! (being dug-in will increase their chances of not getting supressed and blowing the bridge)

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 9/15/2006 4:28:23 AM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/17/2006 4:26:37 AM   
MarkShot


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Another little tip when playing with Max order delays and lots of bridges.

Suppose that you have primed and are planning to blow a primary crossing point (you'll know this due to bridge and road scale). Now, if you have sufficient units, then you may also cover other secondary crossing points (light bridges and ferries) to slow the enemy down or you may not due to insufficient resources.

Anyway, if you have not covered secondary crossing points, then you need to be prepared to move very, very quickly. The game mechanics work like this. When a bridge is blown, the engine automatically recomputes paths for existing orders. Thus, the enemy who was trying to cross a river (via a simple MOVE order) will instantly respond to losing a bridge and proceed to move toward the secondary crossing point. There are no order delays involved. Thus, you cannot afford to be anything less than expedient to get some coverage to that secondary crossing point. (Of course, we assume either due to interior lines or pre-positioning that you will be able to move your troops quicker than the enemy.)

I think the above is true in the case of the enemy attempting a MOVE order. However, if the enemy was attempting to ATTACK or SECURE the bridge itself, then it is beyond simply an issue of pathing. The enemy will have to issue new orders which means that the enemy should experience order delays and therefore you should have greater amount of time to move units to cover a secondary crossing point.

Now, if one works through this issue from the player's perspective, it opens up some possibilities for you too. Although I haven't tried this, it might pay if you are ATTACKing or SECURing a crossing to have a fast recon force with low AGGRO orders to simply move somewhere on the other side of the River. If the enemy holds, your recon unit will probably be forced to halt and defend while the larger assault goes on around it. However, if the enemy should blow the bridge, then your recon unit should immediately be repathed to try the next best crossing point. This could develop some valuable intel for you and depending on what orders you gave might have your recon unit setting up a road block to slow the enemy down from covering the secondary crossing point.

Mind you, there is quite a bit of speculation in this post, but I think the reasoning is pretty solid. Of course, Dave is the final arbitrator when it comes to the validity of clever game mechanic tactics. :)

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/17/2006 11:09:09 AM   
Arjuna


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Oh Mark you are getting clever and a little gamey I think. Now if I were playing Mark and knowing that he might use this ploy, I would position an AT unit dug in on the near side of the alternate crossing and blast the daylights out of his recon unit when it crossed over.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/18/2006 12:58:23 AM   
MarkShot


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This is another synthesis/rehash post where I pull some previous ideas together which were previously scattered about ...

Topic: Time, Transits, MOVE/ATTACK

Given1: You or the enemy wants to get from Point A to Point B which are some distance apart.

Given2: There are two ways to make the transit. First, MOVE - a single move order from Point A to Point B. Or second, ATTACK - multiple attack orders between Point A to Point B.

Given3: The player is cast in either the role of the advancing commander or the delaying commander.

I would like to discuss some of the considerations associated with the above circumstances. Although the presentation sounds trivially simple, how you handle this will have a key impact on the element of time, fatigue, and casualties. And, of course, those items will likely determine who is the victor in a particular struggle.

Now, if there is no enemy presence between Point A and Point B, then a single MOVE command is the fastest way to make the transit. Much faster than multiple ATTACK commands (assuming that there is no enemy). With multiple ATTACK, the will be multiple order delays, time spent organizing the ATTACK at the FUP, time spent assaulting over slower terrain than might otherwise be used, and time spent in the final securing stage. Finally, ATTACK incurs a higher level of fatigue both due to the activity and movement through less than optimal terrain.

Of course, it could well be the case that the enemy is present at one or more locations between Point A and Point B. Does that mean MOVE would then be the wrong choice? Not necessarily. If the enemy presence is quite weak relative to transit force; if the enemy is on the move or only deployed; if the enemy is caught in open terrain; if the transit force can call upon arty support, then MOVE might still prove to provide the fastest transit from Point A to Point B. The force in transit will just have to shoot it out with the enemy and keep moving.

On the other hand, the enemy could well be dug-in or entrenched in strength in a village on a key road juncture and significant arty to call-in. In which case, the transit force using a MOVE command is not going to have any chance of shooting their way through the blocking position. Most likely the transit force will be pretty badly roughed up and suffer significant casualties. The only was that such situation could be dealt with is through a determined ATTACK and not MOVE.

In summary: MOVE transits much faster than multiple ATTACK especially against weak opposition. ATTACK is the only option against a well considered blocking action.

So, what are the implications to you the player?

*** You the player in the advancing role (transiting force) ***

Ideally, you prefer to use MOVE, but it could turn out to be a big folly. What to do? Get a fast recon unit to take the desired route in advance of the main force (generally in daylight). A number of things can happen:

(1) The route comes up clear, and you can order a MOVE.
(2) The enemy has weak presence and your recon fights their way by. Well, certainly a stronger force can repeat that, and you can order a MOVE.
(3) The enemy has a strong presence and you recon is badly bloodied. Well, you will have to ATTACK and now you know exactly where. MOVE will not work and you will avoid a costly folly.
(4) Recon doesn't see the enemy or get hit by direct fire, but is heavily bombarded. This means the enemy has the route under observation and substantial arty resources. This is a tough call. Calling for an ATTACK may not be very useful. Attack who/where? You could order a MOVE at night, since the enemy is unlikely to see you if they weren't directly blocking the route. Or explore another route to where you need to be.

NOTE: There is one important case where recon and MOVE may be the wrong choice due to high risk. This is the case where you have a primed bridge ahead of you. In such case, even without any knowledge of the enemy being present, you may want to order an ATTACK if the bridge is critical to your mission rather than risk it.

*** You the player in the delaying role (opposing the transiting force) ***

In general, the AI does not conduct recon. However, the scenario may well have multiple objectives and therefore the AI may have decomposed its command into a number of task forces. Given a limited set of possible routes, it is quite possible that a small fast force heading towards a distant objective may well make the OPFOR AI aware of your force along a key route of transit. And a much heavier force also planning to make the transit may be retasked to perform an ATTACK on your position(s). Effectively, some serendipitous recon. So, although the AI doesn't perform recon, one cannot rule out this case.

Now, for you in the delaying role, there are two main ways you can approach your mission.

(1) You can mount a strong determined defense. You might do this if you have sufficient resources and time and the terrain is conducive. Of course, bridges are always primed candidates. Woods are also good candidates when dealing with a motorized enemy. Towns can also be good. The OPFOR AI may run into your position while under a MOVE order, but it will be forced to ATTACK in order dislodge you. A position such as described can hold out for an extended period of time; perhaps even a couple of days under the best circumstances.

(2) You can look to mount sufficient resistance such that the enemy cannot simply MOVE past your position. The enemy will be forced to issues new orders to ATTACK. In such a situation you will be easily swept aside. You goal is not really blocking, but eating up time and tiring the enemy. In every battle time is just as much a resource as vehicles, men, fuel, and ammo. Even if the enemy should deem that they can MOVE past your position, it will still cost some degree of time since the force previously in road column formation will deploy for greater security. Their rate of travel will slow considerably.

Do this a two or three places along a long route and you can easily cost the enemy considerable time to deal with your minor actions. Additionally, when they get where they are finally going, they are going to arrive disorganized and fatigued. So, if their mission was to deploy for a major attack on a key objective at the end of their transit, then they will be off to a bad start when they arrive.

(3) Finally, I toss in here one of my personal favorites. There must be a military term for this, but due to my ignorance I will just call it the "shadow defense". Similar to #1, find yourself a strong point to hold the enemy. Back it up with plenty of arty. The idea is that the enemy encounter it during the day time and possible even make a strong attack and be repulsed. You hold this position until night fall letting the enemy organize a strong attack against the position. As soon as it gets dark, you pull out as quickly as possible.

If things work properly, the enemy ends up eating time making a major attack on an empty strong point. The enemy still suffers a significant loss of time and increased fatigue and you come away having accomplished that with very minimal casualties. And, of course, you can play the same game again tomorrow 10km up the road.

---

Okay, it's back to the war for me.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/20/2006 12:14:42 AM   
MarkShot


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Okay, I've completed by beta testing for today and it is tip time.

Today's topic is "How to avoid the rush hour on the way home".

Many COTA scenarios feature EXIT objectives. In some cases, you will need to painstakingly fight your way through to the exit kilometer by kilometer while coordinating separate forces.

Well, that's the not the case I want to cover here. What I want to discuss is the following situation:

(1) The enemy's strong point defense(s) have been neutralized.
(2) The enemy no longer has any bridges prepared for demolition between you and the the exit.
(3) The enemy is general in a state of disarray and confusion.
(4) The enemy is largely on foot while you are motorized.
(5) The enemy is out gunned by your forces.
(6) The main body of your force will still need to cover 20-30km to exit.

When you look at the above, it's obvious that you have already won, but the question is how to cash in quickly and smoothly?

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/20/2006 12:20:58 AM   
MarkShot


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Here is what such a situation might well look like playing as the Germans. My main force is concentrated at Elasson. Have some units a further North and armor battalion which has been operating the enemy's rear further South. Effectively, I have broken the enemy's stronghold across the Elasson river and the Town of Elasson. To the West is a highway leading to the my exit objective (Larissa) at the extreme South. I have also neutralized all primed bridges along the highway. The enemy has been scrambling trying to reinforce Elasson, but this is a lost cause. It's just a matter for me to give the appropriate orders to my forces to start the drive to the South.





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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/20/2006 12:25:30 AM   
MarkShot


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One simple approach is to reattach everyone to the senior HQ and order the senior HQ to exit. If you try that, you will end up with something that looks like this. You will get a complex mess of non road column pathing generated by senior HQ, because there are still enemy units moving around the map. Additionally, your arty units rather than hanging back in fire base support to cover everyone else like they would on an attack are going to be up there on the road with everyone else. We'll call this "rush hour".

There's got to be a better way to bet home than this, no?




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 9/20/2006 12:50:06 AM   
MarkShot


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The following approach worked quite well for me. I don't have too much time today. So, I am going to describe the process without demonstrating it step by step with screenshots.

Now, in my example we assume that you want to exit pretty much everyone. In many scenarios that is not required. However, in the one I was playing, I had an AE (auto end) objective. Meaning that as soon as it is satisfied the scenario is over and I have won.

(1) Reattach all units to the senior HQ but for arty firebase units and supply bases.
(2) Use the OOB tab to manage the next steps. Expand the entire OOB. Decide whether you'll work from the bottom of the OOB or the top.
(3) For each HQ with no subordinate HQs, select that force and give orders to exit.
(4) When you have found all the bottom level HQs, move up to the next level HQs and repeat the process.
(5) Keep doing step #4 until you final give an exit order to the senior HQ.
(6) Let the game proceed.

As your forces move forward, you are going to want to "step up" you arty units from time to time. You would your units in motion to be under a protective umbrella or arty fire support. So, from time to time, take half your fire base units (individually) and give them defend orders up the road to a point that has already been cleared by your leading elements. Never have are your arty in motion or at risk at any moment, but do it in halves; this is the "stepping up" (I got that term from our Golf33, our resident gunner.). You shouldn't need to worry about the other units outpacing your guns, since single units travel faster than forces and your forces will probably meet some delays with weak enemy resistance. At some point, when there isn't much to protect with arty and your arty is already in bombardment range of the exit, you will simply order them to exit too.

So, what does all this accomplish?

(1) You end up with a number of small and flexible forces which will push rapidly towards the exit.
(2) If one leading force runs into the enemy, it will not force another force 15km back to fall out of road column order like one large force might. On the average, everyone is going to keep moving faster. If significant resistance is encountered, than your individual forces will probably bunch up and shot their way through it.
(3) Forces requiring rest will not bring a halt to everyone who is trying to exit.
(4) Your arty will provide the rapid fire support response you need to deal with weak enemy opposition instead of being in transit out on the road with everyone else when a lone enemy company opens up on them.

One last point, remember that you can wake up auto-resting forces by simply "jiggling" (slightly moving) their exit task marker.

Well, that's if for today's tip. Have a good and swift ride home; no rush hour! :)

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 9/20/2006 12:56:41 AM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 10/16/2006 3:20:21 AM   
MarkShot


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I wanted to produce a screenshot for this tip, but it was too hard to capture one.

Sometimes during an attack, you are taking fire but you have no contact reports. My armor was advancing up an open hill and taking fire from infantry dug-in along a tree line. However, I didn't have a single contact report.

One thing which you can do in this case is zoom in and observe the fire arcs (from where they are originating). Then, lay a barrage on this area. Of course, if the incomming fire falls off, then you have found something. Or if your barrage causes the enemy to displace, then you should immediately get a contact report and you can let the AI on-call arty take over.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 10/16/2006 3:24:56 AM   
MarkShot


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I have spoken a lot about recon in the past, but you can do other things with recon units too.

Here is the situation. We have a relatively sparse battlefield. I will be making an armored attack East to West from the Reichs Wald up the hill to the objective. I will be extremely visible and vulnerable. The enemy is dug-in and well hidden. We both have arty.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 10/16/2006 3:28:13 AM   
MarkShot


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Now, I have already gotten a recon unit through the enemy's defense. However, my main effort is being pounded without mercy by enemy arty. As a result, my attack has stalled. What to do?

Here is the solution, I order my armor car recon to cruise up and down the main highway (the most likely location) and see if they can locate the enemy arty emplacement.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 10/16/2006 3:32:15 AM   
MarkShot


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Ah, look what I found! :)

I immediately issue orders for counter-battery fire. Although this pulls my arty out from its role directly supporting (in principle; not game option selection) the attack, the enemy's loss of arty will hurt him much more than me. Why? I am the attacker and on the whole much more vulnerable to the fire he is laying down on my units, since my units are visible, exposed, and on the move.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 10/16/2006 3:34:56 AM   
MarkShot


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The next thing I do is order the AC company to attack the battery. Normally, trying to attack a specific unit is a waste of time due to order delays. However, the unit/force delay here is only 30 minutes or so.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 10/16/2006 3:36:47 AM   
MarkShot


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Here we see about 1km down the road, they get the orders for the attack and begin to prepare their assault.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 10/16/2006 3:42:42 AM   
MarkShot


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The end result of this little episode was that I shut down the enemy's arty and shortly there after my attack was once again making progress up the hill which I took and won the battle.

As you may have noticed, the above example was with HTTR and not COTA. If you are just getting into COTA, but think that HTTR has nothing to offer you, because its older and lacks various enhancements, I would disagree. The two games play somewhat differently, but both offer a fun experience, realism, and opportunity to learn tactics/strategy.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/15/2006 7:58:35 AM   
Joe 98


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I refer to post number 54 on page 2 of this thread
 
How do you know it get dark at 22:00 hours?
 
What time will it become light?
 

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/15/2006 9:22:17 AM   
flintlock

 

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In the screenshot provided, he has moused over the weather graphic, which indicates sunset at 20:00. Dusk typically occurs sometime after the start of twilight. So it's a pretty safe bet it shall be dark at 22:00. Insofar as light is concerned, the same info (which may change at 00:01 of the day in question, I'm not certain) reads 06:00 for sunrise. We know that dawn occurs sometime before the sun itself appears, ending twilight. It's not an exact science, but there's enough information provided to form an educated guess.

< Message edited by flintlock -- 11/15/2006 9:27:19 AM >

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 6/6/2007 10:59:28 PM   
BK6583

 

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As my learning curve increases I'm still finding simple things that are stumping me.

I check the path tool for a "safe" path. If I give a unit a move order and use the mouse to draw nothing but a straight line from the unit to the point on the map where I want it to move BUT click on "Safest" path, will that unit travel in a straight line or will it follow the path it showed me with the path tool?

For attachments - if I click on a Bn HQ and then hold down the "Alt" key and left click on other units not in that HQ's chain of command, does that "attach" them to that HQ (given orders delays I assume)?

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 6/7/2007 12:07:13 AM   
Keke


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BK6583
I check the path tool for a "safe" path. If I give a unit a move order and use the mouse to draw nothing but a straight line from the unit to the point on the map where I want it to move BUT click on "Safest" path, will that unit travel in a straight line or will it follow the path it showed me with the path tool?


It will follow the safest path shown by the tool.

quote:

ORIGINAL: BK6583
For attachments - if I click on a Bn HQ and then hold down the "Alt" key and left click on other units not in that HQ's chain of command, does that "attach" them to that HQ (given orders delays I assume)?


It does, but you should use "Ctrl" instead of "Alt".


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 6/7/2007 1:59:44 AM   
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re Safe path - in theory the unit should use the safe path drawn by the tool. However, there is a  time delay imposed between the order you gave and when the unit receives and acts on it. In this time conditions may have changed eg intel on enemy, ground condition etc. So it may not always be exactly the same.



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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 5/20/2010 4:23:51 PM   
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No one may read this given that the last previous message isyears ago, but I just read this AAR after reinstalling the game in view of the upcoming Bulge game.

I am no Rommel, but I think I have discovered a couple of flaws in your plan, Markshot.

1) You have the armored force plan to head straight through all the way, a plan that had to be modified when the tanks reached the main bridge area where the main allied defensive was, which involved some additional command delay. The plan had the tanks driving right through this area, and it should have been obvious that there would be the main Allied defense there.Given the speed of the armor, it should also have been obvious that the tanks would reach the area before the main German force would. So would it not have been better to give the armor probe or attack orders at the bridge? If the bridge defense had been considerably stiffer and armed with AT weapons, this could have led to disaster as the tanks with move orders and without infantry support began to reorganize.

2) Apparently the Allies at the bridge had delay orders (which is a mistake as pointed out by someone else since giving up the key objectives without a fight is a no-no) and they retreated before the Allied infantry could engage them. But then you used the armor to protect the bridges while the main force crossed and deployed. It seems to me that using your only armor to defend a key position is not the best way to use them, especially given the spirit of your original plan which was to drive the armor down to Larissa as fast as possible before the Allied defense could get organized. Would not a better plan would be to keep driving down as fast as possible with the armor while the infantry already across defend the bridges as best they could? Even assuming that the Allies retreat was a feint and that a counterattack took place against the bridges, the Germans have an overwhelming superiority of infantry forces, and if they originally had enough to take the bridges, they certainly had enough to hold them without the armor once they were taken.

Anyway it is a great AAR, as is the one you posted over at the Bulge forum. Your AARs give a very good taste of what the game is like.

Henri

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 382
RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 5/20/2010 5:41:02 PM   
MarkShot


Posts: 6611
Joined: 3/29/2003
Status: offline
Henri,

Glad you enjoyed it. It's been so long ago that I am ill equipped to discuss the merits of my approach. If I recall, the main focus of this AAR was speed, since the Allies were not prepared. So, my plan was "hasty attack".

You refer to the BFTB AAR, but perhaps you mean HTTR. The BFTB AAR thread was never completed.

As you can see from the thread create date, Dave told me exactly a year ago that he was releasing BFTB and so I began to scramble to get an AAR done. Well ... When, it comes to OODA loops, no one does a better job of messing with mine than The Wizard of OZ himself, Dave O'Connor. :)

I am sure you will have a great time with BFTB in the months to come!

_____________________________

Panther Games (RDOA/HTTR/COTA/BFTB) Beta Tester

(in reply to Henri)
Post #: 383
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