What to do in scenario creation when one side of a battle has no clear structure?

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by GeoNL, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    I have hit a roadblock in my development of the Axis side in a scenario that is based in North-East of the Netherlands in april 1945. I finished the Allies, it is as accurate as I found it to be based on books and websites.

    All info is based around:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Groningen
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Amherst
    https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/history/battlehonours/northwesteurope/groningen.htm
    https://www.battlefieldtours.nu/informatie/slag-om-groningen/
    https://www.tracesofwar.com/articles/2621/Operation-Amherst.htm?c=gw
    https://codenames.info/operation/amherst/

    There is no clear Axis structure to be found at that point. All I have found out right now is:
    • Generalmajor Karl Böttger was leading the Feldkommandur 674, which was the garrison force of the Northeast.
    • Elements of 34th SS Volunteer Grenadier Division Landstorm Nederland (Dutch volunteer Waffen-SS), named a division but never reached more than Brigade strength).
    • Elements of the 408th Infanterie Division.
    • Scattered Luftwaffe defenses (mostly flak positions).
    • Sicherheitsdienst elements.
    • Kriegsmarine elements.
    • Some Hitler Youth.
    • Johannes Blaskowitz was the top overall commander of Heeresgruppe Nordwest which included the whole of the Netherlands.
    • All was directed towards holding out at all costs and covering the retreat of all German forces in the area through the gap through Groningen.
    • A few days before the battle the 480th Infanterie Division (I found it peculiar that both 408 and 480 are mentioned, a mere coincidence or an error?) left the city by train to return to Germany in the east.
    7000 - 7500 German forces in the area. But no real idea how to tackle this and try to remain as accurate as possible without a structure to follow.
     
    #1 GeoNL, Feb 10, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    Bie likes this.
  2. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    71
    This is what happened to me as well when I started creating scenarios. I'd make this awesome map, thinking that I'd be halfway through scenario creation, but then it hit me that I still needed to make the whole OOB, position the units and take care of objective placements and the sorts.

    Just a few tips to start of with:
    • Concerning the "Supreme Force" unit in the OOB: I always take the supreme force unit as one tier above the highest tier unit I'll be using in the scenario (so the onmap boss/the player). So for a brigade the supreme force would be a division, for a division it would be a corps and so forth... Most of the time I also use the supreme force commander as the one that gives the player the briefings.
    • Once you have completed a whole unit, a brigade or division or anything really, you can export that unit if you plan on using it in later scenarios. Just right-click on the unit HQ, select export and export sub-units as well. The whole unit will be put into an xml file for later use. You can import by right clicking on the Axis or Allies part of the unit tree and selecting import force list. By now I have a whole library of divisions that I made and as you would imagine this cuts down on scenario creation immensely.
    As for the OOB for you scenario: If you need any more Allied units, take a look at the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in my Goodwood scenario. It should be quite complete, though I don't know in what way it would have changed between August '44 and April '45. If need be you can export the division and use it in your scenario.

    As for the German side of things. I can imagine that by April '45 most of the Germans forces would be a spent force and mostly be a ragtag group of defenders, which indeed would make it hard to get a decent OOB from. I'll take a look into this and see if I can help you.
     
  3. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Messages:
    2,859
    Likes Received:
    248
    Sometimes you just have to make your best estimate. Don't be afraid to say so either. The fact is that in 1945 Germany was disintegrating and along with it the German Army and the political structures in the various regions under direct threat of Allied invasion. It was chaos and command structures under chaos don't fare to well. What the German's were at though is forming battlegroups under various leaders - the so called kampfgruppen or KGs. The Germans at this stage were also attributing a scale several levels up to a particular force. Their so called armoured brigades were often a half strength battalion. But you get the idea. Use what info you know, particularly around recognisable leaders and don't be afraid to craft a hodge-podge of units into a temporary KG.
     
  4. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    Yes, this was my latest conclusion also with how it seemed the best.

    Side-matter: I generally like having that fancy signature a General/Field Marshal has at the end of a mission. So I did want to have it as you suggested, but the generals that I want to have doing the briefings do not have a signature to be found on the internet (as far as I have been able to look into it).

    Concerning the allies: the highest tier force on the battlefield is a division. So the Corps commander is the tier above it, and the supreme commander for my briefings as you suggested. In my case: Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds

    For the Axis it is about the same tiers more or less. It would probably be the 88. Armeekorps (http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/Korps/LXXXVIIIKorps-R.htm), lead by General der Infanterie Felix Schwalbe. But yes, it would be total chaos, low morale, low cohesion, not at full strength etc.

    Thanks, handy to know this.

    I've managed to take a look at your scenario for inspiration already. The allies side is basically complete in my eyes. As far as I gathered, not much had changed for the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division between those months. The structure was the same. Only thing I changed, was they had a Kangaroo unit too at this time of the battle. The 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment.

    Yes, I gathered from one commander in the area who spoke about it after the war, that during the retreat from the Netherlands there was basically no communication. Hermann Plocher, Generalmajor of the 6th. Fallschirmjäger Division said all they could do was retreat, retreat, retreat, as there was no communication with the Army Corps above it. Couldn't be reached. Which is kinda strange, because a whole division like that (even if not at full strength, the 6th. Fallschirmjäger Division were no pushovers) would surely have been more capable of giving proper defense for the city of Groningen. Instead, they were split in half and eventually regrouped somewhere in Northern Germany where there was the 1. Fallschirmjäger-Armee.

    That's a very good and adaptive suggestion. I'll go a bit deeper into the fray and figure out the best way to do it. Alternatively, I considered a fictional "what if" element. The fallschirmjäger division I mentioned, what if they did have formal communication and actually were sent in the area to aid the defense later during the battle?
     
  5. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    By the way two small questions:

    1. After generically naming some static flak defenses and garrisons as "xx Groningen Garrison" etc. As I have seen had been done before in official scenarios, since I have no info to go on for accurate named units. What would you generally name units that are smaller regiments (but not garrison), but you don't have info on was it was named within a certain Infanterie Division?

    I did find the named regiments within the SS grenadierdivision I mentioned (https://www.axishistory.com/books/1...lligen-grenadier-division-landstorm-nederland). So there I can manage with creating a somewhat ragtag bunch of units.

    However, I don't have the info for the Wehrmacht troops in such a way. Most likely the 480th infanterie division that was in progress of leaving, where some stragglers probably left behind.

    2. What does "ID" stand for? I figured out most of the tags, but WF - ID - Gren. I don't know, something with Grenadier. But no idea what ID stands for.
     
    #5 GeoNL, Feb 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  6. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    71
    I would guess that ID stands for infantry division.
     
  7. jimcarravallah

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Messages:
    589
    Likes Received:
    44
     
  8. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
  9. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    I am in the final stage. And I stumbled on a tiny issue. I used a temporary name for my map, and I build my scenario already on top of it. I wanted to rename the map (the file name), but that causes the scenario not to recognise the map anymore.

    Is there any way around this? As I rather not supply the whole package with a silly temporary name.
     
  10. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Messages:
    2,859
    Likes Received:
    248
    Copy the existing map file. Rename it. Then inside the ScrenMaker click on the Map File button. It will bring up a list of the available maps. Choose the one you renamed and it should simply replace it and all should be as it was before but with your new map name. Hope that helps.
     
  11. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    Thank you, I'll check this as soon as I get back home tomorrow .
     
  12. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    My scenario is finished.

    I am letting my father and myself test it privately a bit first currently. Then afterwards when I feel brave enough I will post it here and let you guys have a try, and hopefully have some feedback from other viewpoints since it is a first release and I expect tweaking to be done. The balancing is the hardest part of course, especially when one side is (supposed to be) severly outnumbered. Axis should have it hard, but not in a way that it is not fun. And I am sure you can give me pointers if it is needed.
     
    #12 GeoNL, Feb 13, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    Bie likes this.
  13. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    71
    Good to hear! Playtesting is a crucial but in my mind one of the hardest things to do in scenario creation. Good luck and I hope to be trying out your scenario soon.
     
  14. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    Currently I am trying to steer the Axis AI into being more careful and prioritising the vital objectives (the city mostly) over lesser ones.
    What's the best way to do this? At the moment I find the Axis AI to be slightly too aggressive in going for other objectives (bridges, smaller towns) and as a result the most important objective is weakly defended.
     
  15. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    71
    If you find that the AI concentrates its forces to much at lesser objectives. These are the things you can do:

    - Change the priority of the objective to low or even minimum. This will directly affect how many units (if any) the AI will place in the objective radius.
    - At the same time change the crucial objectives to medium or high.
    - If you have a crucial objective over a large area (like whole cities), you should break up your objective into smaller ones. Like outskirts to the north/east/... and the center or something likewise. Make the center a high priority and the outlying objectives one (or two) tiers lower priority. This will allow the AI to bolster the defense into layers as it will try to fill all of those objectives with troops.

    Also don't forget that you can put objectives without points. The AI will still act upon them, but won't receive points for it. And players won't even see the "pointless" objectives. So in the case of a layered defense of a city you could award points for the defense/capture of the city itself, but not necessarily for its outskirts.
     
  16. GeoNL

    GeoNL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2019
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    12
    I implemented those things you mentioned, will try this out. Also, funny how you sometimes oversea small things. I forgot to add a bridge on a road that crosses a major river. Didn't even see it. Good thing to test out all things first.
     

Share This Page