Alt Manhay quick AAR

Discussion in 'CO2 - After Action Reports' started by john connor, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I think the Axis might have got a marginal win there, which is not the balance I want. I'll tweak it some more.
     
  2. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Tweaked. I gave the same 7 starting orders and got this:

    41.png

    My forces got into Grandmenil ok, but at Manhay we face stiff opposition. We do have 60 Panthers though! So, let's see how it pans out.
     
  3. john connor

    john connor Member

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    42.png

    Several night hours later. Despite those Panthers, Manhay is proving difficult. In fact, not many points ride on it, so the only reason I'm attacking is to get the points for killing the enemy, and to stop them attacking into Grandmenil, which carries almost 30% of VP points.

    This last pic is, again, from actual view, without fow, so I can see what the enemy AI is doing.
     
  4. Rob

    Rob Member

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    Hi,

    A great read and an illuminating one as well. :bookworm:

    Any ideas (yet) as to what caused the CTD?? :arghh:

    Rob.
     
  5. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Extracted from Hugh M Cole's account of the Battle of the Bulge:
    The 2d SS Panzer had nevertheless failed on 25 December to enlarge the turning radius it needed around the Grandménil pivot. The German records show clearly what had stopped the advance. Every time that the 3d Panzer Grenadier formed an assault detachment to break out through the woods south and west of Grandménil, the American artillery observers located on the high ground to the north brought salvo after salvo crashing down. All movement along the roads seemed to be a signal for the Allied fighter-bombers to swoop down for the kill. To make matters worse, the 9th SS Panzer had failed to close up on the 2d SS Panzer Division's right. General Lammerding dared not swing his entire division into the drive westward and thus leave an open flank facing the American armor known to be north of Manhay.

    Still think its gamey?

    That's not how I remember interpreting Dave's instructions on using artillery anyhow.
    What I interpreted from the conversation (that I can't find) was his response to someone that was concerned about the amount of micromanagement of the artillery that was necessary.
    Dave's advice was he usually controlled half so as not to have to micro so much of it.
    I don't recall it being attributed to any kind of game balancing advice?
    It was more gameplay advice for people that like to play at a faster pace.

    If its balancing that is needed then AI arty needs to be as effective as it used to be before the nurf, so as to come more in line with what the player is capable of.
    I don't think the AI arty at the moment is anywhere near as effective as it was historically.
     
  6. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I think I may have worked out why you are not getting the historical results of the Axis taking Manhay on the first night.

    Historically, and as per the scenario briefing the Allies were pulling out of Manhay to take up positions on the wooded ridge to the north.
    The tail end of this withdrawal was engaged by the Germans:

    It was now a little after 2230, the hour set for the 7th Armored move to the new position north of Manhay. The covering elements of the 3d Armored had already withdrawn, but without notifying CCA of the 7th. The light tank detachment from Malempré had left that village (the grenadier battalion from the 4th Regiment moving in on the tankers' heels), the support echelon of CCB, 9th Armored, already had passed through Manhay, and the headquarters column of CCA, 7th Armored, was just on its way out of Manhay when the American tanks that had escaped from the first roadblock position burst into the latter village. Thus far the headquarters in Manhay knew nothing of the German advance-although a quarter of an hour earlier the enemy gunners had shelled the village. A platoon commander attempted to get two of his medium tanks into firing position at the crossroads itself, but the situation quickly degenerated into a sauve qui peut when the leading panzers stuck their snouts into Manhay. In a last exchange of shots the Americans accounted for two of the panzers but lost five of their own tanks at the rear of the CCA column. Thus Manhay passed into German hands.

    The Allied counter attack to take back Manhay was not ordered until the evening of the 25th:

    Although General Ridgway had ordered the 7th Armored to recapture Manhay "by dark tonight," the means at Hasbrouck's disposal on the 25th were meager. CCA, which had been employed earlier because it had come out of the St. Vith fight with the fewest wounds, now was in poor shape indeed, having lost nearly two medium tank companies and much of its tank destroyer complement. CCB had not yet been reorganized (and in any case it was very much below strength in men and vehicles) but it could furnish two understrength tank companies and one company of armored infantry. The main road into Manhay from the north, intended as the avenue of Hasbrouck's advance, would take some hours to clear, for the retreating tankers had littered it with felled trees during the night withdrawal. To get at grips with the enemy from this direction the 2d Battalion of the 424th Infantry was added to the attack; the whole operation would, or so it was hoped, mesh with the 3d Armored advance on Grandménil from the west.
    The abatis on the Manhay road effectively stopped the 7th Armored tanks. When a company of six tanks lined up for a charge into Manhay from the east, half of them were knocked out; General Hasbrouck, who was on the scene, ordered the remaining tanks to retire. The battalion from the 424th did succeed in nearing the village but paid a heavy toll for the few hundred yards crossed-later estimated as some 35 percent casualties-and at dark was ordered back to the north.


    The problem I think may be because the Manhay objective in the game, for the Allies, starts at the scenario start time of D1. 21:00 (24th December 21:00).
    This means that the AI after the initial orders delay is trying to counter attack to re acquire it immediately.
    To get historical results a defend objective should be set for the AI on the ridge north of Manhay and the Manhay objective turned of until about midday on the 25th?

    This should have the AI withdraw north of Manhay to rest and await reinforcements before trying to counter attack the next day.

    Do you think that will work or am I way of the mark here?
    I have no experience in scenario making.
     
  7. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I have in fact put together already a scenario that works exactly like that, Daz. But what I'm actually trying to achieve - when putting it together from the player as Axis point of view - is precisely not that the Axis should be able to get into both Grandmenil and Manhay on night one without much of a fight. Because you always have to consider how very much more efficient the human player is vis a vis the AI. So if I as Axis get into Grandmenil and Manhay and camp out there on night one then, to be honest, with the historical forces available (and even if I beef up the stats for the AI allies to make them 0 fatigue and 90% aggressive with great leaders all round) the AI will not be able to get me out. Even if those two locations are its only objectives it is just not capable of concentrating the kind of force required to uproot 60 dug in panthers plus 2 Bns of panzer grenadiers. A big part of this is the reason you have mentioned - it cannot use arty in the same way that the human can. (Which is why it is 'gamey' I feel for me to be a God's eye arty observer with God-like powers of stompitude - if I limit myself to 50% then I get closer to the lesser effectiveness of the Ai in handling arty). So - in order to make this a challenge from the Axis point of view, but still within roughly historical parameters and only using the historical forces available in the historical starting positions - my aim is to set it up so that during the first night the Axis (using all the arty the player wants) cannot easily get into both Manhay and Grandmenil. Because, as people have pointed out many times, once you're in there, defending, it's much easier to hold on.

    That said, the scenario I put together in the way you suggested did end up with roughly historical results -- ie, the Allies pull back, rest, attack, and after a couple of days they get Manhay and Grandmenil back. BUT, I was only able to achieve that by structuring the objectives in such a way that towards the end of the second day, the Axis focus dramatically shifts and the player is forced to leave either Grandmenil or Manhay (or both), or at least dramatically reduce the units in there, in order to get crucial exit points (without which no win) over in Awez. Otherwise the player is easily able to hold the locations as long as they want without the possibility of any serious Allied counter-attacks backed by significant arty preparations.

    This is not to say that the AI is doing a very bad job. I in fact believe that the AI arty looks roughly historical. The problem, with that (the arty) and generally with aggressive attacking behaviour, is that the AI is more cautious and less efficient than a human player. BUT, the human player is generally way more aggressive, reckless (of life) and efficient than real life historical commanders. So when you try to balance things you have to take into account just how ruthless the human commander is in the game. That's what I feel, anyway.

    So what I see time and again if I have most of my force dug in to Grandmenil (as Axis) is that the Allied AI will not plan a serious attack using all of the force available. Instead it will more or less surround Grandmenil and snipe away from defensive positions. But surely this is what they would have done historically with the force available against such a powerful attacking Axis force? They really don't have enough force available to mount an attack on that level of Axis power, without terrible crippling losses. And the Ai won't sanction that. But turn the tables and switch sides and I will direct every single artillery piece onto grandmenil for 6 hours, or until ammo runs out, then mount a huge attack and take all those crippling losses no probs.

    One last point, rest considerations aside, the terrain to attack down into Grandmenil is all open and lethal, so to rest up in the north one night then attack the day after in broad daylight is always going to be very costly. And, in fact, the AI won't do this. Instead it will rest doing nothing for maybe a full 24 hours before doing night attacks. Sensible, but meanwhile the Axis has accumulated all those occupation points.

    So it's complicated getting a challenge, but I think it is possible in these smaller scenarios. When it comes to very big scenarios I've had much less success. In from the Meuse to the Rhine, for example, and Encircling Aachen I have often seen the Axis AI sitting back in space (sometimes on objectives, sometimes not) unwilling to mount concentrated counter-attacks, I assume because the odds of heavy casualties are just too high. It seems like realistic behaviour in many ways, and it's very much more difficult to balance these big scenarios to get a more aggressive and reckless AI.



    Peter
     
    #67 john connor, Apr 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  8. john connor

    john connor Member

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    43.png

    I'm happy enough with that. It's as aggressive as I can get the Allied AI to be, and gives an historical outcome. I played fast, with obvious orders, so I assume with more care I could do better.
     
  9. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I'll post up all 3 alternative scenarios in the resource section, when I get the chance.

    Peter
     
  10. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Thanks for the comment, Rob.

    I see that CTD quite often. Lassoo a very large group, place the move or attack marker and bang....CTD. need to save before doing large groupings....
     
  11. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    Interesting , maybe there is a way we could have an adjustable aggression level for the enemy AI , perhaps it could be set in the scenario creation . If so we could attempt to reflect how aggressive or cautious the enemy was historically , this should include artillery use . I will put a feature request in .
     
  12. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Grandminel and Manhay were not recaptured by the Allies until the evening of the 26th, the weak attack on the 25th having been repulsed with heavy casualties.
    By that time the allied artillery and especially the allied air power had whittled down the German forces quite considerably.
    In fact, by the time the Glider infantry attacked Manhay the Germans has already decided to pull out, because they had had enough, and were doing so as the 517th PIR were moving in, Hence their very light casualty's taken.

    3d Battalion of the 517th Parachute Infantry, which had just come down from helping the 30th Division in the La Gleize operation, for
    a night assault at Manhay.
    This attack, made an hour or so after midnight and preceded by an eight-battalion artillery concentration fired for twenty minutes, gained quick success. By 0400 on 27 December the paratroopers had cleared the village, at a cost of ten killed and fourteen wounded.


    Some clue to the ease with which the paratroopers took Manhay-not forgetting, of course, the weight of metal thrown into the town by the American cannoneers-may be found in the German account of events on the 26th.
    It would appear that the 7th Armored tank detachment which had neared the Grandmenil-Manhay road had convinced the commander of the 3d Panzer Grenadier that his battalion in Manhay was in danger of being surrounded (particularly since Billingslea's paratroopers to the east had driven back the 4th Grenadiers) and that he had ordered the Manhay garrison to withdraw under cover of night, leaving its wounded behind.


    That's eight whole Bn of artillery not 50% of eight Bn's lol
    A massive amount of fire power and for twenty whole minutes, not the usual 5 min stonk the AI will do.
     
    #72 Daz, Apr 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  13. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Its worth noting ( although I cant find the reference to it now as its way back in the document somewhere) that I read the Allies considered Manhay was untenable as a defensive position because it was overlooked by the high ground to the south and the north.
    Hence the withdrawal to the Hills north of Manhay.
    I have found this to be very true in my own games, where I usually set up most of my long range firepower on the high ground overlooking the village and only send a small holding force into the village itself.
    There is also reference to the allied artillery observers up on the heights, creating hell for the Germans down around the village.
     
  14. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    One thing that certainly needs fixing asap is enemy AI artillery use , at the moment its over cautious .
     
  15. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Its a shame that the AI won't put in an attack on its own by the morning of the 27th.
    Trying to hold Manhay on the night of the 24th with that weak, tired force and counterattacking that same night must take a terrible unnecessary toll on the Allied strength. Especialy if it is still out in the open come first light where the Panthers are most effective.
    Strength that would be better conserved for an attack on the night of the 27th.
    If Manhay and Grandmenil can be captured by the night of the 27th, which would be the historical timescale, would that result in a draw?
     
  16. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Yes Kurt I agree.
    The problem is not everyone likes to play the game with powerful enemy arty.
    I really think there needs to be another difficulty setting for the game, just like the orders delay.

    Easy artillery - would be the setting we have now.
    Realistic artillery - would be more powerful and effective than we have now. About what it was before the nerf.
    Deadly artillery - would be for a real challenge :nailbiting:
     
  17. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Are you asking about the stock scenario, Daz? If so, I'm not sure.

    In my scenarios the Allied force (when played against a human axis) is not tired at all, by the way, because I've set fatigue at '0', which was the only way to stop the allied AI going to sleep at scenario start. They might have felt like sleeping historically, but they didn't - they were too busy trying to get north. And as far as gameplay goes, it's a pushover for the Axis if what the allied AI does at scenario start is bed down.....

    I have found it difficult to get an aggressive AI without doing separate scenarios for each side. And by aggressive I only mean one which actually plans and puts in attacks (I have played game after game where the AI forms no formal attacks at all in certain stock scenarios - really....) so that the player is challenged by the AI in a realistic way. And one of the reasons for that is that you need to alter the stats for the AI side to favour it somewhat in that respect. I figure it doesn't actually matter, since in the normal course of events you don't see the enemy stats, so I have come to regard the stats as 'scripting tools', or, perhaps 'behaviour tools' rather than something I need to try to make realistic. That said, in these altered Manhay scenarios the only stats I altered were the aggressiveness and fatigue settings.
     
    #77 john connor, Apr 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  18. Daz

    Daz Member

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    That's clever thinking mate, using the stats to help replace scripting.
    Probably most of the scenarios should be edited like this but I still find the scenarios enjoyable if not entirely historically accurate.

    If I want more of a challenge I still have room with the favour enemy side for resupply and reinforcements, as well as the painfully realistic orders delay (which I don't like much btw).
    I have has some good challenging games with the favour enemy reinforcements settings though.
    Especially the St Vith Tutorial that takes away the entire CCR reinforcements :blackeye:
    Not tried the Manhay one yet with a higher difficulty.
    Maybe I'll get time to give it a go tonight.
     
  19. john connor

    john connor Member

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    To make Manhay more challenging, Daz, but keep the historical set up, then just open up the scenario in scenmaker, select the top level unit for the AI side:

    44.png

    Then select 'Unit' at the top, and go through all of the items there, from morale down to stubborness, selecting 100%. Except fatigue, for which select '0%' Each time you do this you will get a dialogue inviting you to apply the change to subordinate units as well. Select yes. ;

    45.png

    Do the same with the commander tab at the top. Then save as 'derived', navigating to your 'custom scenarios' folder, prefarably (if you haven't got one just make one):


    46.png

    Close scenmaker and play. It will make a difference.

    To make even more of a difference you could also select all objectives for the AI side on the map and simply delete them all except Grandmenil, Manhay and Erezee Exit. Very easily done. The game will recalculate the points for those remaining.

    I have found that to make the AI concentrate and put in attacks it needs to have as few objectives as possible at any one time, plus, preferably, all stats maxed out as above. Like I said, as you don't usually have any knowledge of the enemy AI stats, using them as a behaviour tool really makes no difference.

    Peter

    PS: I'm sure you know all this already, Daz.
     
    #79 john connor, Apr 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  20. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    Possibly a fourth setting ; historical artillery . By the way , what or who is the nerf ?
     

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