COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Command Ops: Battles From The Bulge takes the highly acclaimed Airborne Assault engine back to the West Front for the crucial engagements during the Ardennes Offensive. Test your command skills in the fiery crucible of Airborne Assault’s “pausable continuous time” uber-realistic game engine. It's up to you to develop the strategy, issue the orders, set the pace, and try to win the laurels of victory in the cold, shadowy Ardennes.
Command Ops: Highway to the Reich brings us to the setting of one of the most epic and controversial battles of World War II: Operation Market-Garden, covering every major engagement along Hell’s Highway, from the surprise capture of Joe’s Bridge by the Irish Guards a week before the offensive to the final battles on “The Island” south of Arnhem.

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Bil H
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COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Bil H »

Legends of the Blitzkrieg

A while back I got to thinking that the Command Ops engine would be the ideal vehicle to use to experiment with tactical combat. The Command Ops engine has been used exclusively for Operational sized battles in the past with line units at the company scale. I did a few experiments with units at platoon scale and was very happy with the initial results, the game feels very different. So myself and Warren “TheCapt” Miron approached Dave O’Conner with the idea of creating the content for a tactical scale game with his engine.

We are doing the France 1940 battles of Fall Gelb (first stage of the battle for France) ... the battles from Fall Rot we are currently planning on doing as an eventual expansion pack then adding the Italians to the mix. This is planned on being only the first of many games from Warren and me.

We are going to platoons with specialist teams... and in my initial play testing I really like the feel of this scale. I personally prefer smaller scenarios and most of our battles will be at the Battalion(+) to Regiment scale.

We are also moving to 50m movement grids to take advantage of the finer fidelity that smaller grid will give us. The initial results with maps at this movement grid size are encouraging. Map textures will be all new, and maps will have more detail than ever before, more contour levels, more varied terrain, more accurately rendered road networks, etc. All of this is possible because of the smaller movement grid. See the attached image from a map (work in progress) to see where we are going with this... at this tactical scale things like fields, hedgerows, etc will be important.

Warren and I are overhauling all of the armor, accuracy, and penetration values as we go. In fact our data will be all new for this game, more detailed and more accurate, in keeping with the tactical scale. Warren (a combat engineer) is doing some stellar work on the formulas and insuring the values align with real world numbers.

Challenges that we are working on are how to represent different reaction times based on differences in communications and tactics... how to give the Germans a fighting chance against the very tough French tanks, etc. we have some answers to those questions... but a lot of testing is still required.

Small arms rates of fire (ROF) and effective ranges are being adjusted to more accurately reflect reality, this incudes increasing the ROF for rifles, MGs, etc. over the BFTB numbers. We are adjusting the HMG data to better reflect the differences between HMGs and LMGs In the game, this is a bigger deal than you might realize and HMGs definitely have different capabilities than LMGs do in Legends of the Blitzkrieg.

Artillery blast radii, ROF, effectiveness, etc. are all being reinvestigated to insure they are as accurate as possible.

Logistics modeling will also be represented as accurately as possible, this includes fuel loads, available supply transport, echelon of supply delivery, basics consumption, etc.

We are very excited to be working on this complicated project and hope to be bringing Legends of the Blitzkrieg to you within the next year. Watch this space for more details as this new Command Ops game is developed.

Bil

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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by danlongman »

I got excited and spilled my beer....
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

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Wowza!
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Gizuria »

Congratulations guys. I have to confess that I wasn't that excited by the thought of a 1940 tactical level game but looking at your map and giving it some further thought, it looks well tasty[8D]. So, nearly a year? Good luck. I'll be watching...
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Bil H »

FD.. PT.. whoever you are [:'(]

If you were to create a tactical game in this engine.. what would be the subject?

I really wanted to get away from late war West Front... East Front was out of the question as that game is also in the works... and the early war stuff has a special place in my heart, Fall Gelb seemed the ideal subject.

Bil
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by loyalcitizen »

Looking at those maps makes me think of Close Combat. However, I am way more hopeful for this project with the Command Ops engine behind it. Platoons feel better, so I don't have to care about individual soldiers.
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by nicwb »

Sounds really promising. I like the intent of moving away from late war Europe.
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by rfrizz »

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Custer1961 »

Sweet Jesus please keep me alive for one more year
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Stridor »

Bil, so this is what you had up your sleeve?

Very, very interesting. Looking forward to developments.

I wish you (and Warren) all the best.

Cheers

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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Gizuria »

ORIGINAL: Bil H

FD.. PT.. whoever you are [:'(]

If you were to create a tactical game in this engine.. what would be the subject?

I really wanted to get away from late war West Front... East Front was out of the question as that game is also in the works... and the early war stuff has a special place in my heart, Fall Gelb seemed the ideal subject.

Bil

Heh. I have an initial aversion to France '40 stuff because of my early board wargaming experience. I bought AH's 'France 1940' and no matter how much i handicapped the Germans and boosted the French, the Germans always won. And in 'World in Flames', the French could never hold up the Germans when the Germans were competently controlled. (Same with AH's Third Reich' etc, etc) I got the idea that the German-France match-up was a losing one for the French. However, when you get down to this level, it's a much more even fight. In fact, it's almost ideal as you have mentioned. I'll definitely be following your progress with interest.[:D]

Over here, I guess I'm a Fascist Dog. [;)]
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Bil H »

ORIGINAL: Fascist Dog
Heh. I have an initial aversion to France '40 stuff because of my early board wargaming experience. I bought AH's 'France 1940' and no matter how much i handicapped the Germans and boosted the French, the Germans always won. And in 'World in Flames', the French could never hold up the Germans when the Germans were competently controlled. (Same with AH's Third Reich' etc, etc) I got the idea that the German-France match-up was a losing one for the French. However, when you get down to this level, it's a much more even fight. In fact, it's almost ideal as you have mentioned. I'll definitely be following your progress with interest.[:D]

Over here, I guess I'm a Fascist Dog. [;)]

I hear you... play testing shows that in this game the French are no pushovers. We are striving to be as accurate as possible.. get the data correct and the battlefield results should take care of themselves. That is our goal.

You are correct at the tactical level the French gave the Germans fits... remember Stonne:
Captain Billotte, commanding a Char B1 Bis tank nicknamed "Eure", was instrumental in capturing the village of Stonne, defended by elements of the German 8th Panzer Regiment. The village had already been the scene of fierce fighting before Billotte's action, having changed hands for numerous times and lying on a strategic location on the road to Sedan. On 16 May, while under heavy fire from German tanks, Billotte and his B1 Bis managed to break through the German defences and to destroy two German PzKpfw IV tanks, eleven PzKpfw III tanks and two enemy guns. Billotte's Char B1-Bis tank received 140 hits from enemy tanks and guns, but none were able to penetrate the tank's heavy armour.

That is the kind of action we are striving to recreate.

I'm very happy you are interested in our project.

Bil
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Ralzakark »

How representative an action is that? I'm no expert on France 1940 but the popular perception is that it was a walk-over for the Germans.
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Bil H »

ORIGINAL: Ralzakark

How representative an action is that? I'm no expert on France 1940 but the popular perception is that it was a walk-over for the Germans.

We are trying to keep our scenarios at below Regiment per side to really highlight the tactical battles that were in many cases very close run affairs. Closer actually than many realize.

The battles of Hannut and Gembloux were very large scale tank battles (around 1000 tanks engaged) with the Germans winning, but coming away shocked at the quality of French armor, especially the S-35. They were successful due to superior organization, communications, coordination, and tactics... but it was no walk over.

Arras was a nail biter, the Germans only pulling it out when Rommel threw in his artillery and AA artillery in the direct fire role. This one is interesting, as the British and French (yes there were French troops at Arras) counter-attacked but their force lacked any real punch and fought in an uncoordinated manner.

Bil
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by hjc »


This is looking very appetizing! I appreciate the work you're doing, and that you took time to throw us a bone.

The thought of this takes me back a bit to the first time I wargamed france 1940, I was surprised to learn how good the French armor was - it was just often deployed in a way that played to german tactics. There should be some really good stoushes available in LOTB, bring it on. (Please [:)] )
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by GoodGuy »

ORIGINAL: Bil H

We are doing the France 1940 battles of Fall Gelb (first stage of the battle for France) ... the battles from Fall Rot we are currently planning on doing as an eventual expansion pack then adding the Italians to the mix. This is planned on being only the first of many games from Warren and me.

We are going to platoons with specialist teams... and in my initial play testing I really like the feel of this scale. I personally prefer smaller scenarios and most of our battles will be at the Battalion(+) to Regiment scale.

We are also moving to 50m movement grids to take advantage of the finer fidelity that smaller grid will give us. The initial results with maps at this movement grid size are encouraging. Map textures will be all new, and maps will have more detail than ever before, more contour levels, more varied terrain, more accurately rendered road networks, etc. All of this is possible because of the smaller movement grid. See the attached image from a map (work in progress) to see where we are going with this... at this tactical scale things like fields, hedgerows, etc will be important.

This looks pretty good. One or another community scenario designer tried to assemble some maps/scenarios at platoon level, IIRC, but I imagined that the large grids and (lower) fidelity made it hard to come up with decent results, that's why we never got to see any results, I guess.
Challenges that we are working on are how to represent different reaction times based on differences in communications and tactics... how to give the Germans a fighting chance against the very tough French tanks, etc. we have some answers to those questions... but a lot of testing is still required.

Very interesting.
Bad communication and the inability to amass tanks (on the French side) were essential for the Germans to get the upper hand in those few tank battles. If I am not mistaken, the French, instead of concentrating all those heavy tanks, which were superior to the German tanks (French tanks had thicker armor), they shuffled around smaller groups, with these groups basically beeing scattered all along the front, in an attempt to cater for local German attacks/breakthroughs. Earlier, at the Meuse, the Germans had crushed French armor (mostly in close combat, afaik), leaving the 1st DCR with 16 tanks only. The Germans had lost 50 (out of 500) tanks.

On a tactical scale, the German tanks got close with speed, in order to be able to score a hit/penetrate the French armor. French tank units had radios, but - if I am not mistaken - only the unit commander's tank had a radio. I don't know much about the organization of French tank units (means size and numbers of platoons, Coys, etc., amount of command tanks), but I think only every 4th French tank had a radio, statistically. If every enemy tank has a radio at his disposal, this will make swift tactical movements during an encounter almost impossible.

When Rommel encountered the Matildas at Arras, only 88mm flak guns (some sources say 105mm field guns were used as well) were able to stop the British attack, but French units then inflicted heavy losses on German armour when the Germans retreated. At this point, with the British local tactical victory, the Germans thought the Allies had finally concentrated all their tanks, but that was not the case. The Allied units were too disorganized to mount successful subsequent counter-attacks.

That said, I recommend to put in a couple of 88mm flak guns, in order to give the Germans the possibility to fend off the tough French tanks. That may necessitate the Command Ops engine to render tank warfare realistically, though. The engine still has trouble to cater for range (88mm flak guns in North Africa scored hits at ranges of 1.8 kilometers - and above, for example) and superior optics (eg. in 88mm flak guns and PzIV tanks, later in Tiger, Panther and KingTiger tanks). While the PzIII were too weak and while the PzIV tanks could not benefit from their superior optics (thus higher range) when they engaged the tough French tanks, the 88mm flak guns did benefit from better optics very well.

Even though my exposure to the BFTB engine is restricted to the demo version (I do know that plenty of changes have been made, meanwhile), it's still like you have to use the FIRE command to make a dug in or deployed 88mm flak unit shoot at enemy tanks (more than say 500 meters away) more than the usual 3 or 5 times it would fire if being left alone. If you use the FIRE command and set the ROF to max, such a flak unit (or say an AT unit) will spill out rounds like crazy, even at somewhat distant targets (it will still not shoot at targets say above 800 meters, at least the rounds are not rendered in these cases, and I can't see an effect either).

If such details can be revised/worked out, a smaller (tactical) scale version of the engine would work pretty good and would create heaps of fun, imho.
Logistics modeling will also be represented as accurately as possible, this includes fuel loads, available supply transport, echelon of supply delivery, basics consumption, etc.

I know supplies (and supply columns/trucks) are abstracted in the game, they are not visible. But what I would wish for, with a tactical scale version of this engine, that supply trucks would be rendered.

Example: Resistance units in Russia or say Yugoslavia ambushed supply columns regularly. In some Russian regions, such units controlled entire "Hinterland" areas, with woods and lots of places to set up ambushes or hidden camps. One resistance unit was even joined by smaller groups of regular troops, who either infiltrated or were dropped at night by planes. This unit controlled an entire area with the only road to the German main front units (i think the road supplied Army Group Center). The road was in Russian hands for several weeks, hampering the German supply effort tremendously, until the Germans sent rearguard SS-units which were held back to fight Partisans exclusively, where quite some of them consisted of Police-units, as the Police was subordinated to the SS-Hauptamt.

Another example would be the war in Iraq, 2003, when Iraqi army units ambushed a US supply column which wasn't guarded by armed vehicles, as the supply lines were too stretched. Some got killed, the survivors got in captivity, the supplies were captured, IIRC.

That said, for the player, it would be extremely motivating and fun if a tactical version of the game would provide visible supply units. Destroying/killing vital supply ressources (trucks, drivers) and maybe even capturing supplies (ammo, food, spare parts, guns, etc.) can put the ambusher at some major advantage. It makes a difference if you take out AT gun-crews and leave the working guns behind, or if you turn those guns and use them against the enemy's tanks, for example.

Also, vital for a tactical level game would be the possibilty to dismount motorized units and to cross woods with say tanks or halftracks. Right now, a motorized unit is either depicted as foot unit (so that it can access woods), but without the ability to be redirected and transported to another sector within an acceptable time frame, or it's marked as wheel unit, resulting in such a unit to (1) risk to loose all vehicles during an encounter and (2) in not being able to access woods or somewhat "rougher" terrain.
For example, many AT platoons and flak units either had cross-country trucks (eg. Krupp Protze for the smaller AT guns) or (if too heavy) even halftracks and could access even dense woods. There are plenty of WW2 pictures showing AT guns, tanks and flak guns set up or waiting in dense woods.

If these things can be revised, a tactical version (but even a "regular" installment would turn out to be way more realistic and fun.

My 2 cents
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Bil H »

Thanks Goodguy a couple of quick responses..

Supply vehicles will remain abstracted. It would be too much at this point to add the actual vehicles to the mix.. although I agree that it would sure add to the immersion if those trucks were actually present clogging up road networks, etc.

Mounted Ops has already been announced as a big feature for the East Front game.. it will be included in LOTB as well, and we are designing our Estabs and scenarios with that in mind.

Bil
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by GoodGuy »

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

For example, many AT platoons and flak units either had cross-country trucks (eg. Krupp Protze for the smaller AT guns) or (if too heavy) even halftracks and could access even dense woods. There are plenty of WW2 pictures showing AT guns, tanks and flak guns set up or waiting in dense woods.

A while ago, in another thread, I wrote about a situation that occured around March or April 1945, in the Siegen/Wissen area - hilly ground with plenty of dense woods and little creeks and rivers, not too far from my grandfather's home town, where US troops were unable to cross a creek, because the Germans had set up either a StuG or Sturmtiger in dense woods, turning every US attempt to cross the creek into an impossible mission, for days. Due to the weather, and due to the crew not having moved the heavy sucker for days, the tank finally got stuck (sunk in I guess) and was then abandoned (the crew destroyed the tank) after it had run out of ammo, with the local defenders then retreating towards the Ruhrgebiet, which later became known as the Ruhrkessel (Ruhr Pocket), due to ~300,000 German troops getting trapped there.

That said, for a more realistic depiction of tactical combat, 4 features should be present in such an installment:


[*]1. Cross-country vehicles should be able to access dense woods (motorbikes and AT guns with reduced speed, and even tanks to some extent, with highly reduced speed)

[*]2. Villages or dense woods should have an impact regarding camouflage and sighting:
If you hide a 37mm, 57mm or a 75mm gun in a wood, in or near a building or in a partially destroyed building, it will be extremely hard to detect the gun, maybe even at close range. That will force the attacker to send patrols or to initate a fake attack in order to try and recon camouflaged guns or gun nests. In turn, the defender has the option to fire early (and reveal his position) or to ambush and let the enemy close in.

[*]3. Tanks and heavy tanks should suffer in bad terrain (say Russian mud) with the possibility to get stuck for some time.

[*]4. Minefields consisting of both AP and AT mines.

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by GoodGuy »

ORIGINAL: Bil H

Mounted Ops has already been announced as a big feature for the East Front game.. it will be included in LOTB as well, and we are designing our Estabs and scenarios with that in mind.

Finally ! [:)]

I don't want to sound greedy, hehe, but what about a revised movement mode?
Will motorized units (that don't need a dismount feature) be able to access woods? Otherwise tank units would be ... hmm.. let me call it "left out" here.

And what about the transports of a motorized inf unit? Does the enemy then get the possibilty to destroy the transports (say they're "parked" way off the combat area) or are these going to be abstracted (deducted temporarily) from the equipment pool?
"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
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RE: COMMAND OPS : LEGENDS OF THE BLITZKRIEG - An Introduction

Post by Vincenzo_Beretta »

A very interesting project for sure. Just to answer the question, another good theater to experiment in would be North Africa, from the early Italian "advance" (1940) to the first actions of Afrika Korps in 1941. It would be interesting to play as the "underdog" (the Italians) and see what one can pull off.

The scenarios with them in "Conquest of the Aegean" at "painfully realistic" C&C level were more interesting than I thought. You really have to pre-plan.
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