Battle for Caen 1.0

The Command Ops 2 scenario pack covering the liberation of Caen

  1. Bie

    Bie Member

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    Bie submitted a new resource:

    Battle for Caen - The Command Ops 2 scenario pack covering the liberation of Caen

    Read more about this resource...
     
  2. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Really superb map, Bie. Thanks! Really beautiful. I'll let you know how I get on with the scenario.
     
  3. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Have just started as Allies, on painfully realistic delay. But I keep getting distracted by the map. It's a work of art, Bie - really top class. The detail is extraordinary. Must have taken you ages. Many thanks.
     
  4. john connor

    john connor Member

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    You MUST do the other side of Caen next. Goodwood!
     
  5. john connor

    john connor Member

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    But I do have some questions...

    The area contains - in reality, then and now - both fields and 'bocage'. Bocage being fields with many hedges, steep cut lanes etc, perhaps. Bocage should be much more obstructive to LOS than 'fields', offering high concealment and also a high impediment to movement. But the map seems to be mainly field, where I would have thought of there being lots of bocage (as you get to the southern end, at the very least). There are, in fact, only small patches of 'bocage' graphic (and I didn't check their effect on LOS). What was your rationale here? Did you alter the properties for 'field' to make them more obstructive of movement and los, and hence what is drawn as 'field' is often 'bocage'?

    SPOILER ALERT ********

    I checked your Axis troops and see you have them all dug in, more or less. But would they have not had some level of fortification also? And previous maps by yourself have included fixed fort structures, perhaps to compensate for the fact that the AI will move around all your starting troop dispositions (whether dug in, entrenched or fortified) once the scenario starts. But I don't see many fortificaions here?

    Just wondering.

    Peter
     
  6. Bie

    Bie Member

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    Yup that is the plan :)

    I'm still thinking of puting more detail in the map, especially more to the south. So probably I'll still add some more bocage and fields on that part of the map. The bocage is set to obstruct line of sight, but I'm not sure at what value I put it (I'm not at my home pc). The fields on the map also have changes to their values if I remember correctly. So normally they should at least obstruct in some fashion. But as the engine calculates all of the line of sight in increments of 100m I'm not sure how effective/realistic this will be emulated in game.

    I haven't done thorough testing with the bocages on the map. I might have to up the obstructiveness and impact on line of sight. In some cases I have placed bocages on the edge of a wooded area, which would definitely simulate a very thick hedge. But I don't want to do that for every bocage, as that would take to much time.

    Concerning fortifications: I'm unsure if there were any major fortifications anywhere on the map. In the reading that I've done I haven't come across any mention of it anyway, so that is why I haven't put any on the map. If you have any info on it I can always put some in. I might still put some units as fortified, as I can imagine that they would have time to build makeshift fortifications.
     
  7. john connor

    john connor Member

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    You have the (rather old) Epsom scenarios? I would suggest you use a solution as used there, if you think things need tweaking. The bocage isn't just the hedges themselves, but the whole area - hedges and fields. no need to draw them all - just set an area graphic as bocage (rather than a line graphic) and adjust the movement and visibility rates as you wish. The Epsom map was rather blank compared to yours, so I wouldn't suggest that few features, perhaps, as your map is beautiful and immersive (even though, with the 100m grid many features won't figure individually in calculations because they will overlap with others, I guess). The D-day scenario produced by someone some time ago also had a similar area solution for bocage, thought with a custom graphic. Take a look at the Epsom map. I think it's still available in the resources here?
     
  8. Bie

    Bie Member

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    Yeah, I've got the Epsom scenarios. I'll take s look at how he did it. I've also taken a look at my fields and noticed that I didn't change any of the values. So basically it's like heide, which is totally insufficient for what I want. I'll have to fix that tomorrow.
     
  9. jimcarravallah

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    You're visibility issue centers around the size of a farm field in the region you're portraying.

    In the US midwest, a typical field can be multiple hectares to several square kilometers in size (very much like the Russian Steppes) before it hits the tree lined border that separates plowed ground. Visibility across fields would be affected by the crop (usually corn, wheat, soybeans, or grass forage crops) and how the terrain rolls until the field hits the treeline. In the US Great plains, the grasslands are separated by tree lines of relatively sparse growth which diminishes visibility through it, but doesn't cut it off entirely. In my region, Michigan, the fields were cut from heavily forested land making the fields somewhat smaller due to the amount of work it took to remove all the trees and stumps, and leaving the the treelines between to be more densely grown. Visibility would be no more than a kilometer before hitting a treeline that masked everything behind.

    It's my understanding that the farms in that portion of Europe were smaller than what we have in our Great Plains and the bocage growth that separated plots is much denser -- more typically like what I see in Michigan than what would be in the Russian Steppes.

    If typical farmed fields in that region are a hectare or less, then the visibility is the same as dense forest for all the land (since the map is based on a 100-meter grid, or one hectare per terrain feature). If they're typically a hectare or more, then the visibility is adjusted to multiples of 100-meter increments that represent each side of the farmed area.
     
  10. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I'll hold off playing until you've made your changes, then, Bie. But the map is really awesome, even as is. Really looking forward to having a go at this scenario.
     
  11. Bie

    Bie Member

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    Thanks Jim and John for your feedback.

    I'll try the following: make the bocage have a high movement penalty, so you really have to penetrate it to enter the field. It would also have good direct fire penalties and its visibility reduction would also be very high.
    The fields will also have a movement penalty, but not as high as the bocage layer. It will also have light direct fire penalties. Line of sight would also be impaired but not as much as the bocage layer.

    I'll try this out and keep you guys posted.
     
  12. john connor

    john connor Member

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    1.png

    Small area to the east of Villers Bocage, aerial recon photo from 1944.

    Obviously, you don't want to be drawing in all those lines. Maybe not any of them. Just designate an area as bocage and fix the impediments to movement and los as you've said. Jim's reference to forest-level impediment sounds good.
     
  13. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Same general area on your map

    2.png
     
  14. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Roughly same area today. Quite a bit of building in the bocage, but many things the same!

    2.png
     
  15. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Beautiful user-made map from Combat Mission Normandy, drawn from period scans. Gives great impression of the impediment bocage presents. This is the area where Wittmann had his 13 June engagement, just east of Villers-Bocage.

    1.png
     
  16. john connor

    john connor Member

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    This site - https://ncap.org.uk/ - is fantastic for aerial recon photos of the area. You can browse for free. Nearly all of Normandy is covered by photos taken during the period you're dealing with. Sometimes you can even see the tanks in the fields. To get zoomable images - much more useful for map making - then you have to pay £20 a year.
     
  17. jimcarravallah

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    That's very well-thought.
     
  18. Bie

    Bie Member

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    I've been adding more bocage and fields on the map today. Here's what I'm up to:

    Bocage Example.jpg

    This is the area to the north of Vilers-Bocage. I quite like the aesthetic of it and it actually does impede the los quite dramatically as you can see on the next screens.

    Bocage los example 1.jpg Bocage los example 2.jpg
    The brunt of the los reduction is done by the fields. The bocage layer itself also reduces it by a little bit. But because it is not really that wide it is not as effective in reducing the los. A single bocage hedge sometimes stops quite a bit of sight, other times it doens't. It's a bit hit and miss. Still, I noticed that at least two hedges will take away quite a bit of sight.

    Bocage los example 3.jpg

    As far as I'm concerned I will continue to plop in more bocages like this. It is about the only thing I can think of to simulate it and still be aesthetically pleasing. What are you guys' thoughts on this?
     
  19. jimcarravallah

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    If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, here's an excerpt from a document called "Busting the Bocage: r American Combined Arms Operations 'in France, 16 June-31 July 1944"

    "For centuries, Norman farmers had followed the practice of enclosing the plots of their arable land, pastures as well as orchards, with thick hedgerows. The hedgerow country in the U.S. sector started about ten miles inland from the Normandy beaches and extended in a wide swath from Caumont on the American left to the western coast of the Cotentin Peninsula.

    "The hedgerows are sturdy embankments, half earth, half hedge. At their base, they resemble dirt parapets and vary in thickness from one to four feet, with heights that range from three to 15 fifteen feet. Growing out of this earthen wall is a hedge that * consists of small trees and tangles of vines and brush. This vegetation has a thickness of between one to three feet and varies in height from three to fifteen feet. Originally intended to serve as fences to mark land boundaries, to keep in livestock, and to prevent the erosion of the the land by sea winds, the hedgerows surround each field, breaking the terrain into numerous walled enclosures. Because the fields are small, about 200 by 400 yards in size, and usually irregular in shape, the hedgerows are numerous and set in no logical pattern. Each field has an opening in the hedgerow that permits access for humans, livestock, and farm equipment. For passage to fields that are not adjacent to regular highways, numerous wagon trails run through the hedgerows.

    'The military features of the Bocage are obvious. The hedgerows divide the country into tiny compartments. The hedgerows in each field provide excellent cover and concealment to the defender and present a formidable obstacle to the attacker. Numerous adjoining fields can be organized to form a natural defensive position echeloned in depth. The thick vegetation * provides excellent camouflage and limits the deployment of units. The hedgerows also restrict observation, making the effective use of heavy-caliber direct-fire weapons almost impossible and hampering the adjustment of artillery fire. Anyone occupying a high place that afforded good fields of observation and a clear view of the surrounding countryside would have a distinct advantage.

    "The uneven and compartmentalized nature of the Bocage put increased emphasis on the importance of the network of paved roads in the First Army sector. The main highways either paralleled the coast or stretched inland to the interior of Normandy. Carentan, in the center of the First Army's sector, was a vital road junction. From this village, good highways ran eastward to Priers and La Haye-du-Puits. East of Carentan, two parallel roads ran south to Saint-L, which was perhaps the most vital road junction in the First Army sector. Like spokes on a wheel, roads ran from Saint-Lb in almost every direction. The force that could hold Saint-LO would retain control over much of the road network in the Bocage."

    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a211817.pdf
     
  20. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Looks great, Bie. Loads of work to do it that way. An easier way would be to rename the fields tile as 'bocage' and really seriously change the field values so that they were roughly similar to forest. That way you don't really have to re-draw very much. For myself this would be very realistic as there isn't really anything that might be thought of as 'clear' in the Normandy countryside that isn't a field. So you could just regard the base layer as fields and the field graphic as that special type of field - the bocage. No need then to draw so many line graphics. They may end up confusing the engine, no, given the grid situation? Some of them are nice - so we really know that the fields they enclose are bocage, but I would just re-name your 'bocage' obstruction to 'large hedge' and then it will all work with you using the method I've stated, no? I'm not just trying to save you work - also conscious of the confusion that arises when you interogate the map for terrain details and there are many overlapping types of terrain. All of your present 'bocage' probably overlaps with something, for example.

    Your example looks beautiful though. If you stick with it, then shouldn't you be filling in the gaps between your bocage lines with 'field' instead of the base layer?

    The LOS graphic shows very well that your 'bocage' graphic limits things, I think. Visibility is right across the fields there and ends abrubtly at the bocage hedges.

    When I was doing my last bit of map making, a long time ago, I found that in order to really limit visibility to real world approximates, you really had to ramp up the modifiers very significantly. Visibility in a bocage field, in a relatively flat area, would only ever be as far as the next hedgerow - ie you could place men in the hedgrow bordering your field, but they wouldn't then be able to see through the next hedgerow, only as far as it. And you can see how small the fields are by looking at period photos.

    But the game is abstracting, usually, at company level, so a company might be able to occupy several such fields.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. The map was already awesome.
     
    #20 john connor, Nov 15, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018

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