Anti-Axis Bias....?

Mark Weston

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.....OR - what am I doing wrong?

Hello,

New to Command Ops but definitely not new to wargaming.

I loaded up the core game and the three 'beginner' scenarios, playing as Allies - I rarely play as Axis.

It struck me on my first two attempts, which ended as draws, that the Allies made a very good go of things. Several of my companies of Shermans held well, perhaps too well against greatly superior firepower.

So...
When I switched to the bigger of the three scenarios, (Foxes Dash?) I switched to German units. All was going well until I encountered the same type of formation that had done so well under my command - namely a 13-strong Sherman company (9 Sherm 75s, 2 Sherm 76s & 2 Jumbos).
I approach with 4 x companies of 9-11 Panthers (Pz Vs) - plus 2 companies of assault guns (9 stug 3Gs & 10+ Jagd 4s (I think)).

Approaching from 'front and back' - I know you cannot specify, let's say I had them surrounded - only to watch as my units were decimated from 300-400 mtrs. Retreating back almost twice each. After the second attempt to dislodge these mighty Shermans (with help from 2 batts of inf, my companies were averaging 4-5 vehicles each ...... the Shermans had lost only 4 of the 75s and 1 each of the 76s and Jumbos. They retreated in order and continued to cause problem to the entire brigade after their friends arrived.

Now - - I know bit about strategy, real life AAR and simulated AARs. I just cannot see a company comprising of 13 Shermans, be they Jumbos or even Fireflies (well, possibly Fireflies), being able to take out (according to the command info - highly trained and motivated) over 40 Panthers and 20 or so assault guns.

When I loaded those units into (the original) Combat Mission, a suspicious AI, yes, but a very good ballistics/physics emulator, the Shermans, no matter what you do, last around 11 mins - every time.

I cannot set facing, hull down, distraction, shoot and scoot or any other tactic that would wrong foot the Americans in Command Ops. The tutorials say you must trust the AI to do the right thing - just order the attack and the AI will work it out But it's just move/attack/probe - I tried all of them, after the recommended 'org' phase (and ineffective artillery) - all resulted in the near destruction of my tanks - my entire spearhead of the division.

What am I doing wrong?
Or is there something else going on here? I have come across some games that bias the Axis down a notch or two to make it an easier match for two players etc.

Thx. . .
 

simovitch

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The raw data favors the Mk V over the M4's In almost all respects except vehicular reliability. What will turn the odds are fatigue and suppression. The US has a lot of artillery and it's tough for the germans to get off some shots without getting blasted. Germans must also use the superior range to their advantage.
 

Takoda

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When launching a full scale attack use line formation whenever possible and set Agro, ROF and Ammo to max, and most importantly use artillery fire during the attack.
 

Daz

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One of the most important factors to take into account late war, when Allied and Axis armor face of against one another, is that Axis armor favors longer range, where as Allied armor needs to draw the heavier armored and better gunned Axis armor in close.

This means that bad visibility (dark/long winter nights, fog, close terrain, rolling hills/reverse slopes, built up areas) can be a big disadvantage to the Axis player with heavy armor.

The terrain in the Ardennes is as bad as it gets for tank warfare.

Keep your armor covering open terrain preferably in daylight.

I did an AAR using Command Ops 1 for Greyhound Dash scenario, the link is here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3588883

Hopefully it will be of some use to you.
 

john connor

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Besides all the things said above, Mark, I would say it's difficult to really take a view unless you take some screenshots and show us what's happening. It is always possible that what you're looking at is either a bug or something that should be changed in the estabs, and it's always possible that what you've described is working fine, but just down to the specific situation. Difficult to say without screenshots (and saves). I can certainly say that, if anything, I have noticed the reverse - that collections of allied tanks fare pretty poorly against Axis Panthers. Is the behavior repeatable and can you post screen shots?

Peter
 

Mark Weston

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Thanks for replies - when I next get my gaming hour (small kid in tow, means that's a luxury these days) I'll see if I can post saves and screenies. I have a horrible feeling I've saved beyond that point now.

I think the attack was at dawn or at least in daylight - and I used arty most of the time (I attempted the attack 3 times from the save). In the Combat Mission trial, as I said - not a watertight example, but a pretty good ballistics reproduction, the 75s had a woeful time until the Panthers were within 150 metres - most shots breaking up. The 76s faired better getting 2 Panthers and 3 Stugs at 200 mtrs, but then the other 30+ Panthers arrived .... lol.

Also - I did use ROF and Aggro on Max - though I'm not sure I used Line Formation - I think it was just default.
 

john connor

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Im not sure what the affect of max aggro would be. Despite whats been said above id worry it might make your units keen to close the distance, whereas you want to maximise their stand off potential. Not sure.

Peter
 

Takoda

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Im not sure what the affect of max aggro would be. Despite whats been said above id worry it might make your units keen to close the distance, whereas you want to maximise their stand off potential. Not sure.

Peter

Your absolutely right, Max Aggro is a terrible idea for Axis. I'm feeling incredibly embarrassed right now.
 

Daz

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Your absolutely right, Max Aggro is a terrible idea for Axis. I'm feeling incredibly embarrassed right now.

Actually Peter (John Connor) has inadvertently given you very bad advice there.
The exact opposite is true.

If the Aggro is set to max then they will engage at maximum range, which is exactly what you want.
To close with the enemy, you set the aggro to min as they will engage later.
This min setting can be used to sneak up on an enemy as they may be able to stay undetected for quite some distance, or until the enemy unit spots them and they become engaged.

The other effect of Max aggro setting, that very rarely happens unless you are commanding at regimental level or above, is more units will be allocated to the attack and less to reserve tasks.
This is also desirable in most cases to ensure overwhelming firepower, but is obviously dependent on the situation.
If your frontage is restricted say by rivers or forests on both sides of your line of advance, you may want to keep a bigger reserve so as not to over stack your assault, making them more vulnerable to artillery.

To summarize; the higher the aggro the longer the range they will engage at.
As far as I know a higher level of aggro has no effect on the rate at which they will close on the enemy (speed of advance) or their determination to continue the assault in spite of casualties or suppression.

Would be nice for Dave to chime in here if any of what I have just said is wrong.

Also consider using combined arms tactics, something the AI is not so good at I'm afraid.
This involves sending the infantry in first especially useful in poor tank country, or last when crossing open terrain..
You may have to micro manage this, as the AI is very inconsistent in using infantry supported tank attacks.
Sometimes it will send the tanks in first, other times the infantry.
As it can sometimes he desirable to send either in first, there should really be an option in the interface for the player to select infantry first or armour.
I'm not sure if the selection is done randomly by the AI or if there are other factors like seniority of unit, i.e. it comes higher up in the pecking order because of naming convention (numerical, alphabetical) or some other hidden factor.
 
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Mark Weston

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All good advice and interesting. Nice that there are other factors involved - as I really enjoy this, almost the perfect war-game, imo.
 

Kurt

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Historically panzers preferred to engage enemy tanks no closer than 800 meters , their superior optics and long barrels gave them a killer edge at range . Russian and Allied tanks always tried to close the distance between them and enemy panzers . I tend not to allocate panzers to an assault but instead position them to provide direct fire support from a safe(ish) distance .
 
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john connor

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Thanks for the clarification, Daz. You were right, Takoda (if Daz is correct) - please don't ever feel embarrassed on account of anything I say, Takoda - I haven't a clue, to be honest - I was just raising the query. But what's your source, Daz? (I don't mean you have to quote it - but does it actually say all that about max aggro in the manual, or have you worked it out through playing? ......hangs head shamefully, as never reads manual......)

Peter
 

Daz

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Sorry for the delay Pete.

Yes there is a bit about it in the manual and some I have worked out for myself.

From the game manual:
Change Aggression Level
The higher the Aggro Level the more likely the force will engage against enemy units it encounters. The lower the aggro the more likely the force will bypass enemy opposition or run away. Setting the Aggro to Max for an Attack or Probe will maximise the allocation of units to the assault and minimise that to the reserve.

Probe Order
A Probe is largely the same as an Attack. However, the default thresholds for Aggro and Acceptable Losses are set to Low instead of High, resulting in an increased probability that the force will exceed their casualty threshold when they meet serious opposition. In which case, you will receive an "urgent" message to that effect.

Defend a Location
The aggro setting largely determines the range at which your troops will engage the enemy; high aggro means they will start shooting early, low aggro means they will allow the enemy to move a lot closer before firing.

Delay Order
If you want your blocking force to offer stiff resistance then:
  • Increase the Losses setting and/or
  • Increase the Aggro setting
However, this may not be such a good idea as they may end up trapped rather than withdrawing to fight another day.

Withdraw Order
The Main Body will perform a Move task to the ObjLoc, using an avoidance route and with its Aggro level set to Min – it will try to keep going, regardless of what it encounters.

Fire Order
Because Fire is so sensitive to the range to target and LOS, it is only useful in some circumstances. At night or in close country it is not terribly useful; often it is more productive to issue a Defend order with a high Aggro setting and let your units engage the enemy on their own initiative.
 

Guy Miller

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Mark, I made this same mistake many times, and wondered how my platoon of panthers & stuG's could be so easily beaten off by a couple of shermans and TD's. As with everything else, what I had to learn is that even with overpowered AFV's you have to pay attention to how you give orders. Just sending in "unspecified" orders will always yield inferior results even with superior firepower. And never do the "russian human wave" tactics with your panzers. But sounds like you picked up on that a lot quicker than I did.

I don't want to highjack this thread, but the above comments about concentrated artillery support for attacks brings up the ongoing dilemma that I have about how much ART I should be controlling. I have tried to tone it down a lot lately due to comments from the dev's on another thread I started. But when I really want an objective, I still feel I have to micromanage the ART a lot to really give the covering fire. And someday we will have smoke I hope....
 

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