From: Holstebro, Denmark
Since you have COTA, then check out my Top Tips (one of the game docs). The second half covers scenario planning.
A fighting retreat involves some basic concepts. I will throw a few tips your way.
(1) Set up your arty fire base as far away from the forward edge of battle such that it can still "reach out and touch someone". You will use arty to balance the fact that the enemy outnumbers you. As such, you want to avoid having it overrun or the enemy getting inside the minimum fire mission range. By minimizing the number of moves, you also reduce fatigue. Remember if at night and contact is broke, let your batteries rest. Unlike other units you can switch their disposition in minutes.
(2) Reverse slope situations are your friend. Sitting out in full view of the enemy from many miles away is suicide. Allowing the enemy to gauge your situation facilitates economy of force for him; meaning he can minimize casualties and do just enough to dislodge you, and expect to get pounded by arty big time. If he doesn't see what he is walking into you have the chance to bloody him and cause him expend more effort. So, being on the backside of a hill or on the other side of a woods is the way to go. This gives you a very good chance of catching the enemy moving down a road in a column. You will shatter the lead units and it will take him hours to perceive what is going on and decide to come out swinging.
(3) You would think that cannot simply decide to blow a bridge in this game. But it is much easier than you think. Again you need a reverse slope situation. Get one reliable unit dug-in within 500 meters of the bridge in reverse slope. Instead of strongly reinforcing the bridge defense, leave them on their own. When they see columns of tanks rapidly approaching the bridge, they will blow it right quick. Things will happen too fast for the enemy to properly supress them. Of course, be ready with a Plan B if the enemy suceeds in taking the bridge. (Myself, I have a very good success rate with this.) But what if there is no reverse slope? Road block the enemy up the road beyond sight of the bridge. Hold him until night fall, then let him pass. The darkness will create an artificial reverse slope situation at the bridge.
(4) Remember when you displace, do it soon enough and travel far enough that you will be able to dig-in before you make contact again. You want to be dug-in while catching the enemy moving.
(5) When do you displace? If the scenario is controlling your timing via objectives, then pull out of your positions as soon as night falls. Work out the order delays and start to march about 30 minutes after it gets dark. Usually, the enemy slacks off at night. Also, if you have been fighting with him, you should easily get a few hours ahead, since he does not know you're gone and he is more likely to be deploying off road (slowing him down).
(6) When do you displace? If you are dealing with small forces and doing it of your own volition as opposed to objectives, then you watch the enemy's behavior. First contact, should have him surprised and simply moving in a column (see unit task box). After a while, he is going to pull back and decide to assault. When you notice those first units setting up to assualt (see unit task box), decide whether you can turn him back without too much expense. If you can, then knock him on his butt and as soon as he starts to pulls back to regroup, bug out. If you cannot, then bug out immediately. Again if you can bug out at night fall, this is best.
(7) Remember a retreat is all about time and space. Victory is not about taking territory, but rather throwing a monkey wrench into the enemy's time table. Don't try to hold him. Let him come. Engage and get him ready to fight ... run away. Repeat again and again. Give enough resistance to make him take you seriously, but not enough that you jeopordize your force.
(8) Remember that part of the ultimate goal is to make the enemy expend much more effort than yourself as he pushes you across the map. By the time, he has driven you down the map, you should have him totally exhausted. You achieve this by kicking him in **** when he doesn't see it comming, and then as he charges at you, you step out of the way. By continually repeating this, you are going to exhaust him. Either he will reach a point where his is too tired to pursue or when you finally face him down his fatigue will be his undoing despite the larger force.
(9) Depending on terrain and forces you should strategically block roads. A good road block can eat up a lot of time for a small investment.
(10) If you can get a unit dug-in in elevated tree line off the main road, then do it. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to lay arty on the enemy when he has no idea who is doing the spotting.
(11) Use your arty wisely. If it is limited, then save it to break assaults as opposed to hitting columns. When the assault falters, then stand down and conserve ammo. Don't waste precious resources hamering shattered units.
(12) Watch your flanks. Always make sure that they are covered.
(13) Use motorized units to quickly plug gaps. Be prepared to move them along interior lines so that they can get to where they are needed without interdiction.
(14) When you stop the enemy strongly someplace, expect him to try someplace else in the next 6 hours or so.
(15) Often the frontage of your withdrawl is going to narrow. Recognize when and where this is going to happen. By this point the enemy should be tired and you should have enough massing of force to mount a solid defensive line. Make your last stand. A good place for your last stand is just beyond the minimum range of your firebases.
(16) Realize in many exit scenarios, the enemy has an exit objective too. Leave a rear guard to stop him while you exit the necessary forces. Otherwise, right after gaining the points for a decisive victory, he will exit and narrow the point spread.
Well, I haven't done tips for a long time. I hope gives you something to chew on.
thanks, it's really useful info for us who haven't learned enough about military tactics. Can I get informations like this anywhere? I get easily over challenged with the many units and options!