Bit of a play question here - on Bn HQ being a little closer

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Grognerd, May 5, 2020.

  1. Grognerd

    Grognerd Member

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    I notice that Bn HQ's tend to stay pretty far away from the assault (most all the time).
    If I'm not careful the Bn HQ can get unto trouble. Seems like the AI doesn't understand the direction of the potential threats.
    Is there a command I should be using to tighten up the Bn formations or is the next patch going to fix?

    Not whining, just trying to improve my play - I think I've watched those tutorial videos now 3 times, HA!
     
  2. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    The HQ code was revised several times, over the years, if I am not mistaken. At one point Bn HQs even had a tendency to (kind of) lead an assault in some situations, iirc.
    Some players had difficulties as Bn HQs would be too close to the front, and there were game situations where HQs came under fire and were forced to retreat, which then delayed/disrupted an attack (or parts of it).

    In reality, a Bn HQ is the smallest unit that has the staff/capabilities to plan and execute more complex operations (independently). Historically, Bns did not bring their HQ staff to the fight, generally, to retain those command and control capabilities.
    Some Bn COs (not HQs) preferred to be with or close to one of their Coys, or generally kept traveling around, means they kept visiting their Coys to get first-hand knowlegde and to understand the terrain layouts, others strictly led from behind, solely relying on the HQ's communication infrastructure (radio, field telephone, messengers) and staff. 2 types of command posts: field (combat) command post and rear command post. In rear areas, the Bn HQs could be as far way as 5-13 km, German divisional rear command HQs resided in a zone that was around 15 km away from the frontline.

    Example: On November 3, 1944, the German 253rd Reserve Engineer Bn (Reserve-Pionier-Bn 253 formerly Pionier-Ersatz-Bn 253) was tasked with attacking US positions west of Hürtgen during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. The Bn HQ was established just south of Napoleon's Oak tree, the 1st and 2nd coy were supposed to form up west and then push across the Weisser Wehebach creek to recapture the former German defensive positions just west of the creek which were now held by US units. The US positions were probably 1.3 - 1.5 km away from the Bn HQ field command post. The 2 Coys captured the positions and managed to hold them.
    Some veteran accounts insist that the Bn HQ was then moved to a bunker 200 meters west of the oak tree. That still would have been a distance of roughly 1 km between the Bn HQ and its frontline units. Telephone lines, radio comms or messengers could then be used to maintain contact with the line coys.

    Paul Boesch, the commander of Rifle Coy G (US 121st IR?) led the subsequent attack (late November) on Hürtgen from his CP (green), located on an elevation ~ 300 meters away from his riflemen. He then got trapped for 48 hrs in a ravine/depression (purple), due to heavy enemy fire. Radio calls for support/help were widely ignored, but he received the order to send 2 soldiers to Paris (vacation) while the Germans kept shelling and firing at the ravine, as he described in his book.:jawdrop:.

    The German arty fire was directed from the Burgberg (hill 400) right behind the village Bergstein, most likely, as that hill partially provided a visibility range of 30-40 km (over at least 90-120°, probably more) for the German artillery observers who were stationed on the hill and using an observation framework, which enabled them to overview the vital parts of the Hürtgen forest area. The hill also allowed to cover other parts of the Eifel region. The distance from that observer position to Hürtgen is around 4.2 km.

    The Allies put up several bomber missions to take out the installations on the hill (1 bunker with living quarters for 15 men and with the observation framework on its roof) near the mountain top, after ignoring the hill for weeks, but the actual quarters were a set of bunkers with living quarters, ammo magazines etc residing halfway down the hill on the eastern slope and at the foot of the hill, but none of these were spotted/bombed. The bunker on top was damaged iirc, but the observers could not be dislodged. The Allies suspected an artillery unit or subunits to be stationed on the hill, but there were only the observers and the security/inf elements, the artillery pieces fired from different/rotating positions.
    The Rangers then captured the hill later on (Battle of Hill 400).
    The bunker still exists and a viewing platform was put on the roof right on the spot where the Wehrmacht's observation framework used to be installed.

    So even Coy commanders established their HQs behind their line squads, at times.

    Bn-Gefechtsstand Kopie.jpg
     
    #2 GoodGuy, May 6, 2020
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
    Seb3brv78 likes this.
  3. Grognerd

    Grognerd Member

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    Nice history but it doesn't answer the question of hints tips or commands to keep your Bn HQ's a little closer to it's companies and out of the potential direction of enemy advances. Do I need to move these Bn HQ's manually all the time?
     
  4. jimcarravallah

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    I'm assuming you're playing with orders delay.

    As far as the issue with HQ distance from the units, the Distance header on Pg. 149 of the manual discusses the command range for various HQ units (using Table 6). Basically,the best control of units occurs when the HQ is placed inside the minimum distance range. Control of units degrades from the standard orders delay as the command range goes beyond the minimum distance and the maximum distance.

    A HQ outside the maximum distance loses control of its units until it can get back inside the maximum command range.

    The AI is programmed to keep HQs within the optimum command range unless circumstances force the HQ toward the maximum range.

    Good Guy is right. The next patch addresses some of the HQ anomalies, but those changes have more to do with HQs venturing into danger without support from a line combat unit.

    The command distance wasn't addressed for the purposes you mention.
     
  5. ghibli

    ghibli Member

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    I understood that command range was disabled in practice. I think I read it in some old thread.
     
  6. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    You can ship around such situations by placing a move order (on a location you deem to be safe from enemy flanking manoeuvres or to a point you have previously cleared/checked - say with an armored Recon element), first. If you then hold shift and place the attack order marker on the desired target location, you'll have created a sequence with 2 orders: Your Bn will first move to the formup point, and then start its attack.
    Note: the unit will reorganize at the form-up point (FUP), not at the start point of the move order path, so you will have to include that additional time frame (movement to new location, form-up at the FUP and actual start of the attack) in your plan.
    The engine will add a reorg-point (the reorg symbol representing the FUP for the attack) automatically, which you can then drag/move to readjust the FUP to your liking.
    I hope that helps.
     
    #6 GoodGuy, May 6, 2020
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  7. jimcarravallah

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    I answer the question, and you want to find something to contradict it?

    If command range were disabled, then there is no reason to worry about how far your HQs are from the units they command, unless you wanted the HQs to engage in combat.
     
  8. Grognerd

    Grognerd Member

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    Well a HQ change like addressed may fix the dilemma. I'll try it when it comes out for sure.
    Thanks both Good Guy & Jim
     
  9. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Well, it looks like ghibli kept some bits and pieces of an old discussion in mind, and all he did was to chip in that rough recollection.

    Ghibli might have had this statement from Dave in mind:
    And Dave's following statement:
    So, not the command range code itself, but the code that enabled range attenuation was removed completely.

    What Dave et al didn't mention/discuss, is that if you consider/use attenuation then terrain features (eg. mountain ranges) and historic radio ranges should be considered as well, if you want to make radio communication realistic/historically accurate.
    That's a bit more complex - not just programming-wise, because it would also involve quite some research work to gather sufficient infos about the radio equipment used at the various command levels and in vehicles and command vehicle models.

    For instance, for long range transmissions from field CPs (generally above Bn level, but partly starting with Bn level) the Germans, the Western Allies and (I guess) the Russians used trucks with tall radio masts, but mobile frontline units like armored cars or tanks were quite limited regarding radio range, and large antennas for line units not used/considered, for several reasons (detectability, vulnerability,etc.). For such units, a set of mountain ranges or a set of woods could effectively block all radio communications in the area.
    The Germans equipped radio vehicles (ranging from armored recon cars with 6- and 8-wheels, scout cars to halftracks) and command vehicles (cars, tanks, halftracks) with the more powerful frame antennas and equipped a number of their armored recon cars that served in Recon Bns and the armored cars and halftracks of artillery observer elements with retractable periscopes/telescopes and retractable radio antenna masts (up to 8-10 meters tall, iirc) to increase max range and to address difficult terrain conditions, so that they could relay the gathered information.

    EDIT: The Russians and the Germans used frame antennas on light tanks, the Russians even put them on medium command tanks, like the command version of the T-28. Both nations removed frame antennas from tanks gradually, as such outfits used to draw more fire, because the frame antennas gave away the fact that those particular tanks sheltered unit commanders, but they kept these antennas on a number of other vehicle types. The replacements were whip antennas, which in the Panzer III could be retracted (into the rear end of the crew compartment), to avoid damages during artillery bombardments or close combat infantry attacks, for instance.
    I am guessing that radio calls/reception were/was restricted to the immediate vicinity, once the antenna was retracted.

    But with the regular equipment used at the time, say tank units would lose radio (voice com) contact with superior units after some say 8-10 km, iirc, and somewhat more powerful radios offered voice com ranges of say 9-12 or even 15 km (iirc) at later stages of the war. US units had an advantage in 1944, as their equipment increasingly contained transistor technology, which allowed for smaller devices (not necessarily better ranges), so that more units could be equipped with medium range equipment. I am guessing that they shared the tech with the Brits, as I recall that the Brits even used walkie talkies and their bigger "brothers" in UK's civil defense units. The somewhat higher voice com max. ranges could usually only be reached with the extra equipment put in a Befehlswagen (command tank of a Coy or Bn), where then in quite a few tank models the main gun had to be removed, to make room for the larger 2nd transmitter and an extra receiver, etc.

    I outlined the exact ranges of tanks, recon cars, inf artillery FW observers and platoons/coys in a thread years ago, in a discussion about communication and broken comm. lines, where I then suggested to implement historical radio ranges.

    Cut off units, say a tank coy, either had to use/stick to predefined orders, or they had to develop their own plans/initiatives and then wait for friendly units to catch up, once they lost radio contact.
    The radios in Command tanks had the equipment to send morse codes, usually, which then offered ranges of up to 20-30 km iirc, and even the regular radios in regular tanks had morse ranges of around 15-20 km in theory, depending on the transmitter model, but morse telegraphy was slow and cumbersome and the radio operator was also needed as MG gunner. The low transmission speed also made it easier for the enemy to intercept messages.

    If orders allowed to back away, such units could also just go back to a sector where radio contact could be re-established. Sometimes this just involved placing a command tank or radio car/falftrack on the obstacle (eg. mountain range) or a short relocation to a more favorable position to re-establish comms.

    While I'd love to see this rendered in the game, it'd be a rather complex project that would just delay programming work on more important features (dismount feature:peeking::hungry:)
     
    #9 GoodGuy, May 7, 2020
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  10. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Good query. I was about to answer it, but Goodguy has already comprehensively done so. So, it's not disabled, no.

    The query from Grognerd, I think, is about whether he needs to manually position his BN HQ to stop it running into trouble. Undoubtedly, the answer can be yes, at times. The game does 'know' threat directions, in terms of the 'control' overlay, I believe, as well as bits of intel, obviously, but sometimes when the front is complicated it has to guess more or less which bit of space is safe, and that might turn out to be wrong. I rarely mess around with Bn HQ placement because if you do so in the middle of an Attack, say, then that will cause a complete re-plan most often. But sometimes you might need to abandon the attack (in that way) because your HQ is in danger of getting sacked. Then you'll just have to go with the consequent re-plan.

    Easier when we're talking about defensive positions, because you can reposition the Bn HQ manually, issue defend in-situ orders to everyone inferior, then when the the HQ has re-positioned, lasso them all and issue a defend in-situ order to keep them like that.
     
    #10 john connor, May 7, 2020
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  11. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    That's why I recommended to relocate the HQ before ordering an attack. The reorg point (FUP) can be rotated/moved 360° around the attack location, so that method offers to easily pick any desired FUP location. It is recommended to set the movement route to "avoidance", to reduce the chance of experiencing undesired surprises on the way to the FUP.
    With the sequence I recommended, the attack would not be touched/disturbed by a reorg.

    Attached units will follow and give up their positions/foxholes though, so such manual relocation would involve pausing the game and detaching the BN's subunits by ordering to rest with in-situ (to retain the line units' deployment or fortification levels) individually or by combining them (selecting them with the lasso and ordering a rest or defend order with in-situ on a random spot) first, then unpausing the game for the actual relocation of the HQ, and then hitting the reattach button when the game is paused again and ordering a defend order for the Bn HQ with in-situ formation. That will keep the Bn HQ at a safe distance and the line units at the immediate frontline/defensive line.
    Note: retreating units will not return to their old positions after recovery if in-situ is ordered. If you want such units to return to their former deployment areas, then a formation type other than in-situ has to be ordered.
    (I just explained this for grognerd, in case he didn't know)
     
    #11 GoodGuy, May 7, 2020
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  12. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Sorry. Just saw this - that you'd already answered the query with this technique.
     
  13. Grognerd

    Grognerd Member

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    Yes this is all good info I'll need to try the above technique.
    The screen shot below shows the issue - this is an airborne drop scenario BTW.

    The British Airborne unit HQ never moved and is in the line of fire from the direction of the threat. I used crude yellow lines to show the facing and the threat direction. Looks Like I should have issued a move order before the defend order.

    The 82 Airborne Bn HQ is about 3 Kilometers behind the companies, which is about normal - But part of the threat direction is from behind the HQ, this is one I'd like a command to tighten up a bit since I can't (or at least it's not a good idea) issue a move order into unknown/un-reconnaissanced enemy territory.
    It's not a deal breaker or anything like that - just trying to elevate my play competence and not get HQ's all beat up.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. ghibli

    ghibli Member

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    Yes that was exactly the bit I remembered..

    I'm sorry Jim, I didn't mean anything against you. I just rushed in what I remembered, and I was wrong.

    ghibli
     
  15. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Actually, it's a brilliant idea. :)
    You can trust our expertise here.

    It would help to see more of the surrounding area (on your screenshots), but you can also create a sequence of move orders.
    I am not sure what the current limit is, but you should be able to create a sequence with a lot of move order waypoints.
    In the original HTTR, I stopped counting at 22 waypoints.

    You should set the aggro to minimum (this will allow your HQ to disengage even if an enemy unit reaches the area and even if it receives sporadic or moderate enemy fire) and the route to "shortest" or avoidance. In some situations, "shortest" may be the best option, as it gives you full control over the movement direction (in my example below, the HQ will leave the road and move south right away, to increase the distance to the enemy threat as fast as possible).
    If you then also select MAX for losses, the unit will still try to keep moving and disengage even if it suffers casualties. This will move the threshold up, so that your unit tries to move under fire as long as possible, instead of halting and taking cover (you don't want it to sit in the open, you want the HQ to run/relocate).

    I just created this quick example with HTTR, ignore missing buttons or options.
    The "target" could also be an objective, instead of an enemy unit, ofc.:

    avoid-enemy.jpg

    Even if the enemy threat has your HQ in its LOS, or if it dashes out of the wood, your HQ still has a high chance of escaping, with the recommended aggro/losses settings.
    Try it. :)
     
    #15 GoodGuy, May 7, 2020
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  16. Grognerd

    Grognerd Member

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    I'll give this a test. Not sure how long a HQ will move without "hunkering down" without line units though.
     
  17. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    If the HQ stalls, then keep one coy attached to the HQ and see if that works.
     
  18. jimcarravallah

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    No offense taken.

    My first source of information in answering most game play questions is the Game Manual and the associated development manuals.

    My second is an fairly comprehensive archive of US Army technical and doctrinal information that details WWII technologies, training, tactics and operational strategies.

    Finally, I reach back to more than 27 years of work with the US Military in gathering and broadcasting technical data on logistics and command control to soldiers and commanders who had to integrate various new equipment procurements into their documentation, training, leader development, organization, and material functions.

    Most often with the game manuals, I cite the page and even quote from paragraphs to detail the explanation.

    If the game manuals are out of phase with the software patches so be it. But, the manuals serve as the basis for documenting the reasoning behind the game operations and techniques.

    And historical doctrine serves as a basis to define what the operational commander would face in a field problem, and how those problems get evaluated and resolved.

    For most people, if they're told to sort through what is sometime idle chatter on this forum to arrive at an explanation of what is occuring in the game, they'll find another game to learn and play -- more likely one with good documentation.
     
  19. Lobsterr

    Lobsterr Member

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    One size does not fit all. Much depends on the situation at hand and the nation(s) involved.
     
  20. jimcarravallah

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    From a national standpoint, tactics may vary based on the operational availability and technology of communications systems, those with longer range communications capability remaining further from the action while still in control, but the techniques of command and control are pretty much the same in any Army.

    As it stands, the game relies on an emulation of dispatch methods to evaluate communications efficiency both in terms of time between the issue of an order and the initiation of the response -- those forces with more motorized equipment having an advantage over those which rely more on foot and horse-borne command control support.
     

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