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Combat Mission Cold War - BETA AAR/US Side - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980

 
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Combat Mission Cold War - BETA AAR/US Side - Battle of ... - 3/5/2021 8:47:14 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline

Hey fellas... this AAR is being posted on the Battlefront forums, thought perhaps posting it here would help generate some conversation and interaction with those of you who do not visit the other forum. I hope you enjoy it. Bil Hardenberger

“Here, across death’s other river, the Tartar horsemen shake their spears.”

T.S. Eliot



This BETA game is being played against Warren (The_Capt), and we are very familiar with each other’s style, strengths and weaknesses as we’ve been playing CM against each other for close to 20 years now.

CM Cold War was our brainchild and has been on our wargame design table, off and on, for eight years now, but now it is a real thing. You’re welcome. :D With that said it is only fitting that Warren and I play in this BETA AAR. We haven’t played in public since our original CMBN BETA AAR, Not your Father’s Combat Mission.

I hope you enjoy the ride, and welcome to the COLD WAR!!



Sidebar! I strictly use the Movie Mode when I play so all of my screenshots use that feature. I don't mean it to insult anybody, but I just think the game looks better.

Meeting Engagement at Dolbach Heights, 1980

When Warren and I laid out the design for this game we wanted it to be primarily and ultimately a sandbox for experimentation and reflection. A tool to test the tactical theories that were prevalent at that time. Time… yes, we also wanted to be able to examine the different sides from different time perspectives, and this release, the base game in the CM Cold War series, contains the years 1979 to 1982. We also only cover the months March to October, mainly so we didn’t have to generate winter textures and models which would have been one feature too many.

This particular scenario is one that Warren and I threw together that we thought would be fun to play and show off. The map is from the US Campaign and when you play that you will see this map eventually. I will start my METT-T analysis in my next post, but for now, sit back, enjoy the existence of this game, and don’t go away!

Bil



< Message edited by Bil H -- 3/5/2021 8:50:01 PM >


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/
Post #: 1
METT-T Analysis - MISSION - 3/5/2021 8:58:18 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
METT-T Analysis

MISSION


“The Army I grew up in was focused on high-intensity conflict against a peer competitor called the Soviet Union.”

Mark Esper



Mission: Seize and control the village of Dolbach that sits along an important Main Supply Route (MSR) which runs east to west just north of this village. Advance to contact and “convince” the Soviets that this is not the village they are looking for.

I think Warren once described this type of fight as "two fat men fighting over a donut". ;)



So the mission is simple... at least it sounds simple. However this is 1980 and the US does not have the technical advantages they will have a mere two years later.

“Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult.”

von Clausewitz

This is basically a meeting engagement, and our forces will be, in numbers at least, relatively balanced. However there is a capability gap at this point in time in favor of the Soviets as you will discover.

Bil


< Message edited by Bil H -- 3/5/2021 8:59:29 PM >


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 2
RE: METT-T Analysis - ENEMY - 3/6/2021 3:05:49 AM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
METT-T Analysis
ENEMY



“Remember, me lad, though the Irish fight well, the Rooshian artillery’s hotter ‘n hell.”

The Kerry Recruit – 1855 Folksong

Enemy: The expected enemy force consists of perhaps a Reconnaissance Company and an FSE with unknown follow-on forces, but Intelligence says that the closest supporting Soviet formation is a Reserve Tank Battalion, so we might see elements of that formation come in as a reinforcement.



Suspected enemy Order of Battle (OB):

Reconnaissance Company
- x2 Recon Platoons on BMP 1(type?)
- x1 Tank Platoon (x3 tanks) – unknown type (possible T-64A or T-64B)
Possible Forward Security Element (FSE)
- x2 Mech Infantry Platoons on BMP 1(type?)
- x1 Tank Platoon (x4 tanks) – unknown type (possible T-64A or T-64B)
Follow on force – possible Reserve Tank Company? Company (+)? – unknown type, (possible T-62) – possibly x10 tanks.
Available Support – unknown, but no enemy aircraft are expected in this battlespace.

Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIRs):

1.Where is the enemy’s main effort concentrated?
2. Where is/are the enemy SBF position(s)?
3. What is the size of the initial Soviet force?
4. Where are enemy’s tanks? This is a persistent PIR and should be kept updated throughout the action.
5. What model tanks are in the Reconnaissance Company?
6. What is the organization of the initial follow-on force?
7. What model tanks are in the initial follow-on force?
8. What is the organization of any additional follow-on forces?
9. What model tanks are in any additional follow-on forces?

Bil


< Message edited by Bil H -- 3/6/2021 2:00:25 PM >


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 3
METT-T Analysis - TERRAIN - 3/6/2021 2:08:54 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
METT-T Analysis

TERRAIN


Key Terrain: Any locality, or area, the seizure or retention of which affords a marked advantage to either combatant. See also vital ground.”

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms


Terrain: This is very complicated ground… the heights, along which my forces are situated provides very scanty and elusive visibility over the Soviet approaches in the north. This is forcing me to close the range fast to get eyes on my areas of interest. The forest, through which the enemy must advance, could slow them down if they exit at NAI 2 and/or 3… but if they rush out through the NAI 1 approach then they have a secure straight road into the heart of the village. That is my biggest fear.

Map size: East to West @ 2 km, North to South @ 2.5 km

Terrain Objective: Control the Village (Dolbach)

If my opponent doesn’t do a thorough terrain analysis then he may weight his approach differently than I suspect as laid out below.



Enemy Avenues of Approach (EAA):

- EAA 1: I suspect this will be the main enemy approach. This is low ground and as such provides excellent masked movement up to and into Dolbach. My goal is to get as many eyes, and guns on this area as quickly as possible.
- EAA 2: I suspect that this approach will contain at least a Support by Fire (SBF) position but could it be the main line of effort? Doubtful. Though this area is covered pretty well by my forces on the ridge, I suspect it will be a minor avenue if it’s used at all.
- EAA 3: I suspect that this approach will contain at least a Support by Fire position but it could be the main line of effort. This approach is pretty secure from my ability to place fire here, so I suspect it will have a higher priority than EAA 2.

Key Terrain: EAA 1 is the Key Terrain feature within this area of operation. Whoever can control it, controls the center and probably the village. If I can cover it by fire, then the Soviet commander will have to use one of the other, more vulnerable approaches. If he can maintain fluid movement down this route, then he can push a lot more combat power into Dolbach than I can.



Named Areas of Interest (NAI):

- NAI 1: This area is blocked from view right now and is expected to be the main avenue of advance for any Soviet push towards the village.
- NAI 2 and NAI 3: These exit points from the woods could provide nice over-watch positions and for support by fire positions. These could also be assembly/assault positions for a flank attack into Dolbach.

The goal for all of these NAIs is to identify enemy activity within them before it becomes a problem.

Bil


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 4
METT-T Analysis - TROOPS & TIME - 3/6/2021 8:20:50 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
METT-T Analysis

TROOPS


“We are an Army historically unprepared for its first battle. We are accustomed to victory wrought with the weight of materiel and population brought to bear after the onset of hostilities. Today the U.S. Army must above all else, prepare to win the first battle of the next war.”
FM 100-5 (1976 – Introduction to the Active Defense Doctrine)

Troops: My advantage over the Soviet force will probably be in available support. His BMPs and tanks will probably out class my M113s, M60A1s, and M150s so I will depend heavily on my attached support assets to even the playing field.



My force for this action is task organized as follows (start formations are in blue text).

Armored Cavalry Troop

Troop HQ – Five minutes out
-HQ Team on M113A1
-FO Team on M113A1
1st Platoon – Initial Formation on the map
- HQ Team on M113A2
- x2 Scout Teams on M113A2 – note, these teams have the ability to Call Artillery
- x2 Tank Hunters (M-150 TOW)
- x4 M60A1 (Rise+)

2nd Platoon – Five minutes out
- HQ Team on M113A1
- x2 Scout Teams on M113A1 – note, these teams have the ability to Call Artillery
- x2 Tank Hunters (M-150 TOW)
- x4 M60A1
3rd Platoon – Ten minutes out
- HQ Team on M113A1
- x2 Scout Teams on M113A1 – note, these teams have the ability to Call Artillery
- x2 Tank Hunters (M-150 TOW)
- x4 M60A1 (Rise)
[B]Mortar Section[/B] – Five minutes out
- HQ Team on M577
- x3 M106A1 Mortar Carriers
Support (Attachments):
- x2 Battery (x6 M114A1 guns each) – available at start
- x1 Battery (x6 M114A1 guns) CLUSTER MUNITIONS – Available in five minutes
- x2 AH-1F Cobra Attack Helicopters – Available in ten minutes

CMCW Feature: New to Cold War, CLUSTER MUNITIONS!! For both artillery and aircraft (if available historically). Wait until you see these in action.



METT-T Analysis

TIME


Time: There are 40 minutes available in this action.

Reinforcement Schedule:
- On map: 1 Armored Cavalry Platoon with x2 Heavy Artillery Batteries
- Five Minutes: AC Troop HQ, x1 Armored Cav Platoon, plus x1 Battery with Cluster munitions
- Ten Minutes: x1 Armored Cav Platoon, plus x2 AH-1F Attack Helicopters

Bil


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 5
RE: METT-T Analysis - TROOPS & TIME - 3/6/2021 9:35:51 PM   
OldSarge


Posts: 612
Joined: 11/25/2010
From: Albuquerque, NM
Status: offline
Following with interest! I appreciate the formality of METT-T(C) and OAKOC analysis, adds a great deal of depth to the AAR.

_____________________________

You and the rest, you forgot the first rule of the fanatic: When you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy.
Jeffrey Sinclair, "Infection", Babylon 5

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 6
Tentative Plan - 3/6/2021 10:29:50 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
Tentative Plan

Battle Planning:
My philosophy is to never develop a final plan until I have an estimate of the enemy situation.

“The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!”

George S. Patton

In the above quote, Patton is describing the OODA Loop, though of course John Boyd’s description and breakdown of his now famous loop was still decades away.

OODA Loop (Observe-Orient, Decide-Act) - In the OODA loop the Observe-Orient components never stop, from the battle kickoff to the end. They are always running, and all enemy interactions and sightings feed Observe-Orient which add to the picture a commander has of his battle space making their decisions easier, faster, and more intuitive.

If you can beat your opponent to “understanding the situation” then your OODA Loop will cycle at a much higher pace than theirs and your decisions will be more effective and they will be at least one step behind, which is a bad place to be in a fast paced combat zone.



For this battle, I need to get eyes on NAI 1, 2, and 3 as quickly as possible so this initial formation (1st Platoon) will act as my reconnaissance force.

Once I have an idea as to how the enemy is deploying I can then Decide how to Act. Once a decision has been made there must be no hesitation, act aggressively and with confidence in the decision.

I can make some assumptions:
- Assumption 1: The enemy will attempt to seize the village. This is a sure bet, as it is the main objective for this scenario, for both sides.
- Assumption 2: The enemy will advance down EAA1 towards the village. Another safe assumption due to the masked movement corridor this avenue presents.
- Assumption 3: The enemy will build a SBF position close to either NAI2 or NAI3, or both. Reasoning is that both of these positions can provide excellent flank support to the main effort, probably moving through EAA1.



Reconnaissance Plan: In order to get eyes on the enemy I need to close the distance as soon as possible.

Scouts: My main recon force will be the three M113s, Scout teams and the Platoon HQ team. Which will rush toward Dolbach, dismount prior to entering, and creep forward as far as possible. These are not expendable units, I want them alive and capable to help in a later phase.
CMCW Feature: New to Cold War, US Scout teams all have the ability to call for fire.



Overwatch: The two M-150 TOW vehicles will provide long range overwatch from the ridge. Their visibility from up there is suspect and I am pessimistic as to the level of fire they will be able to place on the enemy.



Overwatch/Support by Fire: Split into two, two-tank teams the M-60A1(Rise+) tanks will be on the extreme right flank providing Support by Fire and Overwatch for the M113s. Their goal will be to shadow the M113s and to interdict any enemy vehicles they can.



Obscuration: My two Howitzer batteries will be laying down a quick smoke screen in front of the enemy in order to, hopefully, decrease his ability to engage any of my moving units. Also this is meant to increase the difficulty of the enemy spotting and any shots the Soviets may attempt.

Intent: The intent and goal for this initial phase is to answer as many of the PIRs as possible prior to the initial reinforcement wave (5 minutes). They are not to get decisively engaged or do anything stupid that will force them to suffer casualties. Force preservation is key, especially for the tanks and the M-150s.

Bil


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to OldSarge)
Post #: 7
First Three Minutes! - 3/7/2021 8:29:29 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
First Three Minutes!

“Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”
A Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi


The initial phase of this action will be me positioning my units to get eyes on the most likely enemy avenues of approach, especially EAA1 (NAI 1).

After two minutes of action:

- M113A2s and Scouts: Reached their drop off points and the two Scout teams have dismounted and are continuing on foot in order to get into positions where they can look into EAA1. The Platoon Leader will stay mounted in his M113 for now.





- M-60A1 (Rise+) Section 1: Arrived in hull down positions with views of NAI 2 and 3.
- M-60A1 (Rise+) Section 2: Arrived in hull down positions with views of NAI 2 and 3.

- Tank Section 1 moves into position:





- M150 TOW Tank Hunters: Both now in hull down positions overlooking NAIs 2 and 3.



- Artillery Smoke Screen: After two minutes I have cancelled the fire from both batteries. Mainly because I want them available once my Scouts start to see into NAI 1. The screen should build for a few more turns as laid then should last for several more. It’ll be interesting to see how effective it is at messing with the Soviet spotting-targeting cycle.



FIRST ENEMY INDICATOR: In the third minute M150 1/5 (1st Platoon, 5th Vehicle)) noticed some movement in the woods between NAIs 1 and 2. Nothing is known about this contact other than that it is a light armored vehicle, suspected BMP from the Recon Company.



Now to place this image in context... in case you ever wondered what a Hull Down M-150 Tank Hunter looks like from the Soviet perspective (with a lot of zoom):



Bil


< Message edited by Bil H -- 3/7/2021 8:37:01 PM >


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 8
The Fourth Minute - First Contact! - 3/10/2021 1:51:08 AM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
Fourth Minute - First Contact!

“One should not be diverted by geographical objectives, but should concentrate on the destruction of the enemy’s military forces.”
Classic Russian Military Principles


A little excitement during this turn, and first shot fired (all times are in Game Time, counting down from 40:00). Yellow text for contacts equals a tentative contact, red text is for solid identified contacts.

@36:47: Early in this minute M150 (1/5) got a firm spot on an enemy BMP moving to the edge of the woods, then immediately lost the contact as it continued forward slightly. Positive ID: BMP-1P.
Note: this is a resolution of the tentative spot from the third minute.



@36:35: M150 (1/4) noticed some movement near NAI3. Appears to be a light armored vehicle, suspected to be a BMP.



@36:21: The 36:35 spot becomes a positively identified BMP-1P as it nosed slightly out of the treeline. This BMP is oriented directly toward M-150(1/4) but does not have a spot, it could be overwatching the ridge the Tank Hunter is sitting on.





Note the type of ATGM (AT-4 I believe) and the mast antenna. The ATGM makes it a BMP-1P, the mast antenna makes this a BMP-1PK, a Company Commander's personal ride. One Company HQ identified... make a note.

As the BMP halted at the edge of the treeline it gave M-150 (1/4) enough time to aim and loose a TOW, which alas, fell well short of the mark probably due to my smoke screen. The contact was then immediately lost, probably due to the smoke, missile destruction debris etc.



With any luck, the enemy commander will have missed the missile launch and will think the missile’s impact with the ground is a spotting round.



@36:04: M150 (1/4) noticed some movement within NAI2. Appears to be a light armored vehicle, suspected to be a third BMP. One full Company or parts of two? Time will tell.



Only one adjustment was made to my positions this turn. After a quick check, M-150 (1/4) is only Partially Hull Down to the BMP it fired at this turn so will be reversing into a full Hull Down position to this enemy vehicle, and will also be narrowing its cover arc to focus on the location of this enemy BMP.

A note about Hull Down… just because you are Hull Down to one piece of ground, does not mean you are Hull Down to another. You should check and recheck this as a scenario unfolds, especially when you have firm contact sightings.



Bil

COMING UP NEXT: The Return of the Famous Blood Board!!


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 9
Fifth Minute – Return of the Blood Board! - 3/12/2021 12:33:13 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
Fifth Minute – Return of the Blood Board!

“Onward we stagger, and if the tanks come, may God help the tanks.”
William Darby


Near NAI2 a Tank Section 1 tank (1/9)) spotted the BMP-1PK that M-150(1/4) had spotted in the previous minute and fired short on.



It took two rounds, but eventually the tank put one through the BMP, in the front and out the back. This was the Company Commander BMP mentioned in my last post. Hopefully the Company CO was on board when the round hit.

Range: 1610m.



Another BMP-1PK (Company HQ vehicle) moved forward and was spotted on NAI2 by M150(1/5) . It loosed a TOW, which after about 10 seconds in the air…



…hit the damned trees. This BMP is very well situated and close enough to the edge of the trees to still be able to see out, yet far enough back that the trees provide some protection. Classic positioning.

Range: 1546m



One of the Scout Teams has reached it’s observation position (OP) and notices some infantry movement moving from NAI3 and it looks like it may be heading toward the town. No... this does not appear to be related to the MP that was just destroyed.

Also spotted as an infantry or scout team moving from NAI2 towards the smoke screen. Will keep an eye on these contacts, but I find it curious that Warren would order dismounted teams to move towards Dolbach.



Reinforcements! Received my first (of two) reinforcements this turn. Including:

2nd AC Platoon equipped with M113A1, M-60A1, and M150 Tank Hunters


Mortar Section equipped with an HQ on an M-577 and x3 M106A1s
Armored Cavalry (AC) Troop HQ and Forward Observer team, both mounted on M-113A1s


What are my plans for them? It is way too early and I don’t have enough information to task them yet.

For now they will be the first component of my reserve, counter-attack force. I plan on keeping 1st AC Platoon engaged and observing the enemy movements and positions. Once I have enough information I will make a plan for my reserve.

I think I can put my M-106s to work pretty soon though, depending on what he sends down EAA1.




_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 10
RE: Fifth Minute – Return of the Blood Board! - 3/24/2021 1:45:30 PM   
Bil H


Posts: 1994
Joined: 4/24/2003
From: Fredericksburg Virginia
Status: offline
Apologies for the delay on getting additional turns up. Going forward I will post a link for any new posts.

Here are some more to start you off:
- Sixth & Seventh Minutes
- Eighth Minute - One Meter Too Many
- Eighth Minute - BDA and Movements
- Ninth Minute
- Tenth Minute

< Message edited by Bil H -- 3/24/2021 1:50:44 PM >


_____________________________

Ah, well, since you do not wish death, then how about a rubber chicken?

Sam the Eagle

My Combat Mission Blog:
https://battledrill.blogspot.com/

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 11
RE: Fifth Minute – Return of the Blood Board! - 9/30/2021 7:02:49 PM   
OnWargaming


Posts: 87
Joined: 9/13/2021
From: Italy
Status: offline
Great AAR Bil H, I really liked the pre-battle detailed analysis.

Btw, your blog is amazing, excellent stuff!

(in reply to Bil H)
Post #: 12
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