Blackhorse - Soviet Side (Full Version)

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StuccoFresco -> Blackhorse - Soviet Side (3/3/2019 5:34:42 PM)

Seems to be a meeting engagement, so i will try my usual tactic of rushing forward full speed toward defensible positions, dug in, and let the yankees smash their faces against my units at close range.

PHASE ONE: PLANNING
I divided my forces in two balanced mixed battalions, with the only mech infantry company available assigned to the Primary Objective (PO). The two formations have separated objectives: PO will occupy Nordheim and try to defend it at all costs; the Flanking Force (FF) will try to spearhead through the eastern forest and end up in the left flank of the enemy forces that tries to take Nordheim. They will resupply at Willmars after the first move, however, because i want to have them at hand if the enemy attacks to Nordheim are too strong.

Reinforcements will arrive 30 to 40 minutes later. They will be sent toward Nordheim to help holding the city and/or try an offensive toward Sondheim and then Stetten. Available Hinds will be sent up north with the task of finding and killing off enemy SPAs and HQ.

[image]https://i.imgur.com/hyNm7vO.jpg[/image]



PHASE TWO: RUNNING
My forces succesfully take Nordheim and Willmars, and the enemy is nowhere to be seen. Just as PO has taken position and FF is resupplied and ready to move again, my reinforcements arrive.

When I check the TOC, however, the "enemy presence rectangle" has enormously elongated eastward, and now takes up the whole northern side of the map. Looking at the map, this may mean that there are enemy forces arriving from Fladungen and Stedtlingen. My flanking maneuver risks to be met head-on at Fladungen or hit in the rear from Stedtlingen, so I decide to call it off for now. My forces will take up defending positions around Willmars to counter eventual enemy thrusts that could threaten Nordheim, and also hold the VP and be ready to move if the enemy threat is revealed to be a feint.

A Hind gunship has arrived, so i'll use them to scout in the north and see if and where are the supposed enemy units. 2 Recon units with BRM-1k had already almost reached Fladungen, so i will try to hide them in the forests and spy on the enemy.

The tank battalions that arrived as reinforcements will be sent toward Nordheim and Willmars; and the infantry units split up among them.

[image]https://i.imgur.com/nt8cDAF.jpg[/image]




MikeJ19 -> RE: Blackhorse - Soviet Side (3/3/2019 10:33:57 PM)

Thanks for sharing. I remember this one as the NATO player, but not too clearly. Good luck and have fun




StuccoFresco -> RE: Blackhorse - Soviet Side (3/6/2019 6:26:15 PM)

PHASE THREE: CONTACT
The solitary Hind moves north, and is fired upon from the Willmars-Stedtlingen road. The enemy is already this close? Bad news: my armored reinforcements aren't there yet, but they will in my next command phase. A couple HMMMW are destroyed when they rush for the VP, but my SP-ATGM vehicles spot several Abrams tanks rolling toward my lines. They take out a light vehicle and a tank, but are then destroyed by the NATO guns.

I'm confident in my dug-in tanks placed in reverse-slope position, for now. NATO artillery, unfortunately, hits one of my tank companies and breaks a tank.

I try to send my Hind westward to avoid fire from the enemy units, but it's downed nonetheless from a fair distance. There is either a dedicated SP-AAA unit there, or some Bradley gunner got lucky.

The enemy assault at Willmars starts at 18:00, but it's met with a devastating fire from my T-80BVs and 3 Abrams are destroyed. More Bradleys and tanks roll forward, but now my reinforcements are in place too. Despite enemy artillery support, i don't think it will be easy for the yankees to take the town.

My recon elements near Fladungen spot a couple HMMW units.

[image]https://i.imgur.com/XpaGt5q.jpg[/image]


PHASE FOUR: HOLD THE LINE
The enemy is attacking Willmars, but for now my units are in place and there is no other plan to make here. Nordheim, however, is still silent. The enemy is nowhere to be seen and i place a mech infantry co and a tank co in Sondheim. I'm unsure what to do: if try to advance, risking to be caught in open ground, or stay in the city but risk that NATO dugs in Stetten and then attacks southward.

I try another scout mission with another just arrived Hind: this time i order it to fly to the westernmost limit of the map. From there, i'll send him north. I also order the recon elements near Fladungen to move forward and spot the damned enemy main force.

Another assault strikes Willmars, but it's driven back: an Abrams platoon of 4 is destroyed, and a mech company suffers the same fate. The yankee infantry actually manages to get up close with my T-80BVs and wreck 4 before trying to walk past them. Once they end up in the open ground, however, they are fired upon by my own mech infantry and second-line tank companies, and they get slaughtered.

At 18:55 circa, my recon elements spot tanks and mechanized infantry rolling southward from Fladungen and the northwestern corner of the map. My Hind appears on the right flank of the enemy and wreaks havoc among the Bradleys, destroying 5 of them with their soldiers inside! My BRM-1k are all destroyed except one, that engages a firefight with a HMMW unit. I can't call off the Hind: better let it stay there and kill more units, or at least harass and slow their advance.

I've seen at least one Abrams platoon moving toward Stetten, and the VP has changed to NATO flag. I'm still unsure if they will attack Nordheim or Sondheim, so i don't move my units yet. Both towns are well-defended or can be reinforced with ease. The enemy units i saw in the north before one of the recon elements got killed seemed to move in a disorganized fashion: there are several km between the units.

An SP-AT unit i placed on a little hill SW of Nordheim is destroyed by a combination of tank gunfire and artillery strikes. Shame it didn't even fire a single ATGM at the enemy tanks. My last recon element is destroyed by tank fire, so i have no more "eyes" there except the Hind, that is low on ammo and must fall back.

The subsequent attack on Stettin is a disaster for NATO: two Abrams platoons and a mech platoon are destroyed by the defenders (the infantry manages to take out 2 tanks and 2 mech on its own!).

[image]https://i.imgur.com/sAPOQGP.jpg[/image]




StuccoFresco -> RE: Blackhorse - Soviet Side (3/7/2019 4:33:22 PM)

PHASE FIVE: COUNTERATTACK
With most of the enemy forces destroyed, it's time to counterattack. The first force to strike out will be Willmars' garrison, that will try to destroy any survivor of the enemy flanking formation and its HQ, that has been presumed to be along the road.

I plan to make a full-blown sortie with Nordheim's garrison too, with two prongs: one toward Fladungen and one toward Stedtlingen. But for this I want to wait another hour, since if i'm not mistaken there should be a couple more units heading southward from Fladungen and if I can I want to fight them from my comfy defensive positions. It's 20:10 and i still have 3h50' so no need to rush.

The hunt for the enemy HQ is succesfull, but enemy artillery busts open 4 BMP and the troops inside, making killing the enemy commander a costly effort. I send the Hind toward the NW corner of the map, and it spots a lot of enemy units (at least 4) in Fladungen. The town is heavily defended, so i assign more units to the assault. It will take a while to concentrate enough firepower to take it, so i order my artillery to shell the town.

My Hind finds the enemy SPAs in the NW corner, but it's promptly shot down by them. Don't ask me how.

Despite the nighfall and 500m visibility, the fight for Fladungen is mostly fought at medium to long ranges. Losses are mounting for both sides. I rush some units toward the VP hexes in the northwest while my tanks pin the Fladungen's defenders.

[image]https://i.imgur.com/ImJJCY3.jpg[/image]


CONCLUSIONS
In the end, Fladungen was not taken, thanks to a remarkable defense by NATO infantry and the low readiness (and poor coordination) of my attacking units. Tanks and mech infantry, however, has crossed the Streu river westward of the city and thus taking another VP there.

By the end of the battle, NATO troops have been almost destroyed and will be forced to leave Fladungen sooner or later.

The battle sort of followed my plan, but could have ended in disaster if I didn't take time to resupply around Willmars. If I advanced from the city too soon, the NATO flaking force could have taken me in the open, on the road. Thanks to the military intelligence and the brave martyrs of my first Hind, i spotted the potential danger, and the defensive positions I took around Willmars destroyed the enemy thrust.

Nordheim wasn't the theater of any battle, contrary of my expectations. Instead, the enemy decided to strike at Sondheim, and got slaughtered by my reverse-slope defenses there. But much of the success may be due to my second Hind, that decimated two mechanized platoons, that then could not partecipate in the attack at Sondheim and instead went to defend Fladungen.

Enemy artillery proved to be very strong and accurate, destroying a lot of my units, both tanks, IFVs and infantry. My own artillery killed some HQ; given that it consisted of only 2 Gvozdika, it's not a terrible performance.

The AI, however, did not impress me. It tends to faceplants into strong defensive positions: even if it correctly sends scouts first, it then sends its main force in a frontal assault nonetheless. Since the scouts usually spot how strong my defenses are there, it would be smart to try to maneuver or call off the attack altogather. It may be luck on my side: the AI sees the danger, but has already ordered its units to attack down that route. But I'm not convinced: the frontal assaults go on during several NATO command cycles, so even if the first wave wasn't intentionally sent to die, the others were.




mirrorshades -> RE: Blackhorse - Soviet Side (4/17/2019 1:54:57 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: StuccoFresco
The AI, however, did not impress me. It tends to faceplants into strong defensive positions: even if it correctly sends scouts first, it then sends its main force in a frontal assault nonetheless. Since the scouts usually spot how strong my defenses are there, it would be smart to try to maneuver or call off the attack altogather. It may be luck on my side: the AI sees the danger, but has already ordered its units to attack down that route. But I'm not convinced: the frontal assaults go on during several NATO command cycles, so even if the first wave wasn't intentionally sent to die, the others were.


Not to take away from your victory, and I don't know how much it makes a difference, but I believe (based on the scenario name) that Black Horse is optimized for Warsaw Pact to be under AI control, and NATO under human control. At least, I have seen that described as such here on the forums, though I must confess I'm not sure what "optimized" means in detail. :) I don't notice an alternate version of the scenario that starts with "W".

This is probably my favorite scenario that I've played so far; I really recommend giving it a go as NATO. I've managed to find 2 or 3 different strategies that have worked out. The map is varied enough that there are lots of different options for placement and maneuver.

I seriously hate those Hinds, though. Soviet AI just drives them right up the middle of the map early on, like they own the joint. And apparently my SAM crews were just getting in from a late night in Stuttgart, since they are unable to produce anything that looks like even a near miss. Usually it's my tanks or Bradleys that take them down. Eventually.




StuccoFresco -> RE: Blackhorse - Soviet Side (4/17/2019 7:20:03 AM)

Yeah, also happened with another scenario: didn't check the name-tags and played the "NATO version" of it from WP side. That time there was a different landscape, in form of intact bridged that allowed me to reach a city slightly before NATO; in the WP version the bridges were blown up.

Helicopters are a mixed bag for me: sometimes they seem unstoppable murder gods that melts entire armored companies alone, dodging everything thrown at them. Sometimes they get blasted by APC autocannons from so far they can't even see what killed them. I'd still have them ready rather than not.




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