Back into it - some questions for the more experienced

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by JArraya, Jun 19, 2020.

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  1. JArraya

    JArraya Member

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    I'm one of those eagerly awaiting the release of the patch, and in the meantime I've started to get back into the game as a "warm up". I would really like to see this game have a resurgence and more players as it is still the best wargame out there (OK, top 3). I plan on starting a YouTube series when the patch comes out to hopefully boost help the popularity (I'm not a big Youtuber yet but you never know!).

    In the meantime, I have a few questions that hopefully some of the veterans can help answer. These refer mostly to gameplay rather than historical accuracy, but please add any historical references as these add to the gameplay in my opinion.

    1) How do you get your field guns and AT guns into the offensive battle? I find that the AI places these elements at the rear and many times they never do anything (looking at logs). I can imagine field guns would be a powerful offensive asset. Is there a best way to get these weapons to act offensively?

    2) In a typical scenario I issue orders at battalion level. What this usually results in is a division HQ being left behind with its base and maybe a mortar section or some other support unit like engineers or field guns. The other result is that the battalions take up a command slot from the parent commander, which seems to me like a waste. Two questions here:
    - Is there a way to get the division commander to issue orders to his battalions without taking up a command load from the division (or corps) HQ?
    - What is the best use for the division and it's support units and base other than to sit back or maybe, hold an objective?
    - Am I better off leaving one battalion attached to the parent Div HQ and issuing orders to it at that level?

    In other words, issue orders as marked with !:

    ! Div HQ
    + Bat 1
    + Reg

    ! Bat 2
    + Reg

    ! Bat 3
    + Reg

    3) How do you best "seek and destroy" enemies that pester? I'm talking about the 25 men with one machine gun that keep filtering behind your lines or appearing on the flanks. You know, the indestructible German squad. I know it is not very realistic that 25 men would take on a Division, but it happens in the game.

    4) I consistently run into the "1 truck was destroyed" situation where my supplies are disrupted by undetected enemies. What I end up doing is individually selecting the unit needing supply and moving it well to the rear of the formation, but then it causes all sorts of delays and breaks up the parent unit.

    5) What do airstrikes actually do? I've never been able to determine whether they are effective or any use at all. I have seen them increase suppression, but only very briefly. Is there a "best use" for airstrikes?

    6) Do AA units protect against airstrikes in any way or are AA units simply land attack units in the game? They seem quite effective as Apers, which I imagine they were!

    I've got many more questions but these were the pressing ones. Thanks!
     
  2. jimcarravallah

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    Artillery effectiveness is one of the problems addressed in the upcoming patch.

    Some effort has been made to assure long range artillery fires more frequently and moves less frequently with the force so long as the artillery can reach targets the force is confronting in battle. Other changes include when ordered to attack as part of a force, artillery will remain in the rear to provide fire support.

    In the current version on LnL (5.1.28), information on page 72 of the game manual explains how to use the toggle "Arty Direct Spt Only" on the task dialog for an order.

    It assigns artillery selected for the combat task to fire only in support of units acting on the same order -- if offensive in nature, the artillery assigned to the force would fire only during the offensive action.

    Other selections identify the amount of aggression, rate of fire, and ammo use for the force receiving the order. THough applied to the group as a whole, when artillery receives the same attributes, it tends to fire more frequently, and with less concern for ammo use.

    There are ways to group artillery and issue fire or bombard orders in conjunction with a combat force, but maintaining a fire rate that matches the effort being put in by line troops to attack requires coordinated management of the grouped artillery to have some success.


    No. When individual units or echelons of command are ordered to perform tasks not assigned to their immediate higher HQ, the "load" for handling their effort is assigned to the On Map Boss (top HQ in the game).

    Some effort was put into the upcoming patch to allow for a more efficient use of On Map Boss command mode, but the task is still put on the top HQ in the game.
    Division support units can be assigned to tasks issued to line units (say an infantry battalion) by temporarily attaching those support units to the unit receiving orders. Page 78 of the game manual explains how to group and ungroup units during the game.

    Keep in mind, after all line units are detached from a division HQ by separate orders, issuing orders to the Division only affects those units still assigned to the division.

    In real life combat situations, Divisions are essentially rear area policing and communications operations rather than active combat operations. They remain in place to facilitate the combat operations assigned to line units, and provide support to those line units which require it from the cadre of support units assigned at the Division echelon of command.

    Because a Division HQ is a high priority target, it's always a good idea to keep a few support units, or detach line combat units from an attacking battalion and assigned them to the division task to assure security in the event the division HQ location comes under attack.

    The alignment you describe includes two line battalions able to conduct combat operations with one line battalion held in reserve to support them. This is a more traditional alignment for a division ordered to take or hold an objective, leaving the battalion still under division control available for cross attaching purposes to one of the combat battalions which is facing more trouble in combat than it can handle efficiently.

    In this instance, the support units reporting directly to the Division level of command also could be used as reserve units.



    I only worry about the "rogue squads" in the game if they effect supply operations. Keep in mind that when those units appear on the combat map, it means they can be seen by one of your friendly units. Doesn't mean they are a danger except as they may interdict supply operations. If they are causing casualties to or cutting off supply to combat units, I'll assign either a subordinate to the combat HQ, or one of the reserve units to seek and destroy them.

    The upcoming patch includes some better route selection for supply convoys, expanding the number of routing options and adjusting the aggressiveness of the supply convoys so they don't continually run into interdicted sectors of the communications grid supporting supply. It should reduce the number of transport vehicles lost during supply pulses.

    One way to increase supply convoy security is to examine rear areas between the supply base and the front line units, and insure that the best potential routes are protected.

    This is done by assigning some of the reserve units to defend key points in the route, river crossings, major roads in heavily forested regions, routes through passes in mountains, key crossroads and villages, etc.

    A small interdicting unit can do a lot of damage to a supply convoy when it has to bunch up, or several convoys have to bunch up to pass through a portion of the terrain where there is only one route from one side of an obstacle to another.

    Another, though more disruptive ask would be moving the supply base to a location nearer the front or out of an area where routes from it to line units are limited. The supply unit suffers disruption of operations as it moves, and is more vulnerable to attack.

    In particular for base units entering during the game, it is worthwhile to assign them a defensive position at a major crossroads or town so they emplace at a point where there are more available routes. It's best done as they enter the map because they're already disrupted by moving onto the map.

    Air strikes are the equivalent of a short heavy ammo use and aggressive "bombard" command issued to an artillery unit. They do the same disruption to target units as bombarding artillery, but don't last as long as an artillery bombardment order could be scheduled.[/QUOTE]

    Because air bombardments don't last long, it's difficult to see what they do during game play. In theory, they cause aircraft to abort bombing runs, but there is no report or graphic that shows this has occurred.

    In WWII, they were dual purposed for anti-personnel, anti-tank, and in some cases bombardment tasks so long as they had the proper ammo. In the game construct, they are most obvious as combat assets when assigned direct fire missions on foot or motorized units.

    I've got many more questions but these were the pressing ones. Thanks![/QUOTE]
     
  3. JArraya

    JArraya Member

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    Thank you very much for such a comprehensive reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to write it.

    A few comments:

    1) I was referring to supporting field gun and AT gun units, not artillery. For example, if I take an AT and attach it to a battalion with an attack order, the unit usually stays to the rear and never fires a shot, despite possessing some pretty good AP capabilities.

    3. My question was more about game mechanics, how do I get the detached unit to seek and destroy? At present I issue an attack order and then have to move the attack marker periodically, causing a replan. It can take me many moves before the offending enemy is routed, but of course I have to be watching this part of the map a lot. Is there an easier way?
     
  4. jimcarravallah

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    There's an irony in what you say, because one of the issues being addressed in the upcoming patch is "support units leading the charge" -- meaning testers had an issue with units such as AT guns getting ahead of the combat units when attached to a force receiving an attack or move order. They don't traditionally lead an attack, but provide support to those units structured to perform one. They also don't traditionally lead a march, but join in the marching order after a more mobile and combat capable unit leads the way along a path.

    Your issue kind of points to personal preference in how the support units are used -- some perceiving them as better suited fighting from near the front, and others perceiving them in a rear area support role.

    If I recall correctly, they will be sited at a "firebase" someplace near the FUP for an attack (the HQ location for a force ordered to attack) with a clear line of fire on enemy units, but not so close they will be obligated to take casualties from enemy force small arms (infantry) units.

    I tend to manually maneuver the attached units toward the locations from which I want them to fire in an attack. Because it adds to the combat load for the On Map Boss, I use discretion balancing the need for added maneuver and fire power against the burden it puts on command (a typical combat dilemma for any operational commander).

    In general, I'll maneuver the AA and AT units to a location best suited for firing on the target, and place them in a defensive posture at that location before issuing the attack order to the remaining force.

    I'm afraid not.

    What you may be fighting with is the "fog of war" that is built into the game.

    Identifying specifics about an enemy unit is based on several factors, including the level of visibility available to the friendly sighting unit, the distance at which the enemy activity is observed, and the manpower strength, force disposition, quality of troops in the sighting unit and the time that the sighting was recorded.

    I tend to use the "current" view for the Intel filter, because it is the most recent information available on the location of an enemy unit. Using the other filters ("recent" and "all") means the intel could be anywhere from an hour to a half a day old, meaning an attack on the unit could be focused on a place where the enemy was sighted before it moved to a new location. The enemy unit may not necessarily be "running" from one location to the next, but the Intel on it is refined as the attacking unit approaches the last known location.

    To avoid re planning an attack, and assuming the "seek and destroy" force is of sufficient strength, I'll issue a "move" or "probe" order toward the last viewed enemy location, and convert over to an attack if the moving or probing unit takes fire from the location. Otherwise, once the "seek and destroy" force has reached the last viewed location with no action, I'll go over to defense and in effect establish an observation post and security base from which I can move and / or attack if the enemy unit reappears.

    In this manner, I'll learn whether the enemy unit is of sufficient strength to worry about and I'll also establish a location where enemy activity is more likely to be detected later in time.
     
  5. Agema

    Agema Member

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    I usually manually guide my field guns to where I want them to be and then reattach them to their normal parent (to reduce HQ load). These are indirect fire only - if you're defending, keep them well behind the frontline (give yourself a few km beyond the frontline) so they don't get overrun by a breakthrough. If you're attacking you want to make sure you can advance a decent way before you have reposition them, so maybe just a few km behind the frontline. You can (usually) leave mortars and infantry guns under the care of the battalion HQs.

    It's often worth having a little artillery fire team you manually control. If you really need to smash a defender or break up an attack, instead of relying on the AI, grab about 2-4 of these and concentrate bombardment.

    I think towed AT guns are very weak in attack. They are destroyed easily, often priority targets of enemy bombardment, and generally need to be kept safe in a location with cover or they'll be gone quickly. They also need to deploy before they can fire so they need to be prepared, which again favours defence. I generally detach them and leave them out of attacks. If I want them to try and take part, I'll detach and order them into a position where they can provide support fire at the target.

    Anything you give independent orders to puts load onto the main HQ in your force. For most scenarios, the on-map top HQ will have plenty enough command points to run the battle at a battalion level, plus numerous individual units. My suggestion for individual company / platoon units (say to hold strategic points) attached to regimental / divisional / corps is to give those HQs orders to defend in situ. Move the companies to locations you want to hold, and reattach them to their parent HQ. The in-situ should then transfer to the child unit so it won't move to join its parent HQ. Admittedly, you can't reattach with any individual companies that are normally under HQs you need to give other orders, as they'll leave their defence point. Alternatively, attach regimental / divisional support units to battalion HQs as desired: hold shift+select on multiple targets, the most senior unit will automatically take control.

    I often do not like holding objectives with "sensitive" units like HQs and bases. The reason for this is that the AI likes to go to objectives, and does so with the avoidance order. What this means is a steady trickle of annoying, marauding companies that hit resistance at the front line, then try to sneak past and - usually at night - end up slipping past and rolling down the roads towards your objectives (more below). If your combat-weak HQ/base units are there, these marauding units can make a mess of them. If you do use these base/HQ units to hold objectives, keep some halfway-useful combat units (e.g. flak, AT, engineers) around the base / HQ on the incoming roads to intercept the enemy.

    These marauding enemies annoy me more than anything in the game. They wreck your supply lines and ambush your troops when you're repositioning or delay reinforcements as youre moving them up. My only suggestion is to keep back a few companies of mobile units (preferably tanks, because the enemy tend to be companies with armoured cars) to rush round and mop them up. This is immensely annoying, as those armoured companies would be much more useful on the frontline.

    They particularly annoy me because as far as I'm concerned they have no business being in places they can end up. I find it often an absurdity that rogue enemy companies effectively cut themselves off from their own supply and command trying to get to stupid places miles behind the frontline by stupid circuitous routes, often at the expense of defending the actual frontline. I have frequently managed to sweep forward and claim major objectives, whilst a steady drip-feed of enemy units seem to be driving half-way around the map to find little back-roads into places I've long-since overrun and defended. Although they are very aggravating, they don't actually pose a significant risk and fritter away the AI's resources.

    Aistrikes are a bit like an instant, heavy bombardment: they can deal massive cohesion loss to units, especially in the open. They don't seem to kill infantry much, but can be very effective at destroying vehicles (again, usually needs them to be in open terrain): often good to target enemy armoured companies.

    As far as I can tell, aistrikes too close to AA will be weakened or aborted, but you won't see any message to that effect. AA guns are otherwise very nice at suppressing infantry, and some (e.g. German 88mms) also make good AT guns. However, they tend to need support: I don't find they're very robust or good at holding the line if put under pressure.
     
    #5 Agema, Jun 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
    Markojager likes this.
  6. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I think towed AT guns should be subsumed into Bn and company counters as an AT abstraction (they already are to a certain extent) because the game isn't really, in my opinion, the right level for the kind fo tactical messing around that is needed to properly site and use such weapons with the proper support they would have had.
     
  7. JArraya

    JArraya Member

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    Thank you again for the replies.

    With regards to field guns (not artillery units), I have done what people suggested, which is to put them about 1 km behind the front line, attach them to an HQ and give them a defend in-situ order but when I do this they never fire, at least not that I can tell from their logs. The only time they engage is when they are directly engaged by an enemy unit and even then, only with small arms and not with the guns.

    Like others have said, I find the enemy trickle into the rear the most annoying thing about this game. I accept that this is only a game and some consideration has to be given to this, but I find a squad of 30 men trying to take a victory point defended by over 1000 men too unrealistic, and very frustrating, because they will disrupt your supply enough to matter. I hope this gets fixed some day, but I don't see that happening any time soon given the pace of updates on the game.
     
  8. Agema

    Agema Member

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    Yeah, apologies for that. I'm used to the UK's terminology for WW2 where "field gun" meant any gun up to quite a large calibre (4 or 5 inches), which included most of the artillery such as the 25-pounder, and so I tend to somewhat inaccurately associate the term with artillery pieces.
     

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