CO2 BEDA FOMM Quick AAR

Discussion in 'CO2 - After Action Reports' started by john connor, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. john connor

    john connor Member

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    56.png

    My tanks advance VERY cautiously. Only the selected platoon (B) actually opens fire. That's the platoon with the cruiser tanks and the 'proper' gun.
     
  2. john connor

    john connor Member

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    The result wasn't long in coming:

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  3. john connor

    john connor Member

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    58.png

    Definitely a bug in the intel, which Dave has said he will look at next week. Thanks Dave.
     
  4. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Well, encouraged (perhaps stupidly) by how easy it was to destroy the Italian tanks, I will be swayed by Daz's aggressive advice and mount a coordinated armour attack on the front of the Italian column. 2 stages. First 3 Hussars needs to get rid of the Engineers (?) on the Via Balbia. Once they've done that and if nothing has changed in the situation, I will plot a coordinated attack for them to hit the side of the column at the same time as 2RTR. Throughout I will manually plot artillery support in advance.

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    It's tempting, of course, to use Infantry as well, but I'm not going to. They're all dug in and I'm very wary of what will still be coming down the road.
     
  5. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence mate.

    My detailed advice however, would have been to draw the column in with a delaying action / fighting widrawal along the coast, then stike at the rear flank of the column after a long right flanking move, not the front of the column.
    That would trap all of them in a pocket against the coast then ;)

    Not saying it woudl work, because I have never played this scenario, but that would probably be my plan.

    Let them think they are winning then chop off their tail lol
     
  6. john connor

    john connor Member

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    That's sophisticated, mate. Far too clever for me. I'm just worried I shouldn't do it at all because there's a whole division still coming down the road and I don't want to lose my armour....

    Hence, though I've saved that first move, I still haven't pressed play....

    Another thing also springs to mind - there might be no need for fighting withdrawals etc as they don't actually seem to be coming at me so far. Interesting.
     
  7. Daz

    Daz Member

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    That's probably because you have already shown your hand, with the attack by your armour near their left flank.
    I expect they are reassessing.
     
  8. john connor

    john connor Member

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    How very positive of you, Daz, to think that. I just think the AI doesn't know what to do. What it needs is some more work, I feel (as Dave has agreed) on the Defensive and Attack code governing how it decides what to do. In this situation it needs to send out scouts and probe the defences and find a way round. There's a desert of space out there. If I tamper with the scenario and change the Axis objectives I assume I will be able to get it to play better (at the cost of producing a 'play as allies only' version). But what I would be doing then was using the comparatively clumsy method of setting timed objectives to script AI moves as much as possible, to try to get it to probe about a bit. The Axis has a single Exit objective at the bottom of the Via Balbia and if you play this scenario as Axis you can win it without even thinking because you have a MASSIVE force at your disposal and its relative poor quality doesn't offset that enough when playing the AI. But for the AI it would need, I think, several linked Exit choices at the bottom of the map and perhaps a string of objectives of low value to force it to go out wide to some extent, plus around 80% of it's VPs assigned to the Exit objectives. That would probably produce a scenario where the AI was able to do something other than bunch up like it has. I know the problem the designer will have faced that caused him to set objectives like this - how to get the game to play historically when there is a huge disparity in forces, and because he has gone for creating a scenario playable from both sides then the AI ends up a bit limited, I feel. To set a scenario playable from the Axis side would require also a different set of objectives from those that we have at present, because at the moment it's extremely easy to win because the Allied Ai just bunches itself on the two hill objectives and you can just waltz down the middle of them and off the map. But I haven't time at the moment to tamper with the scenario to produce 2 versions.

    So I play on a bit:

    61.png

    And get this.

    So now I really am going to suspend this (and other AAR efforts) until we have a more 'final' version going.
     
  9. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I loaded the game up quickly last night to put my money where my big mouth was, and unfortunately, for this scenario you are right on the button.

    I played it through very quickly from both sides.
    It’s incredibly difficult, and not much fun to play, first and foremost because of the gobbledy gook the Intel bug is reporting back, but that problem is well reported now, and a fix on the way.

    I also experienced the formation lockups you have just mentioned.
    Another thing that may be paralyzing the axis AI is they have no bulk fuel capacity in their depots, so refuelling seems to take hours, and will randomly drop a unit out of the formation.
    Not sure if the bulk fuel thing only represents fuel tankers, and they get their fuel through the normal supply process via jerry cans if there is none?
    I don't know how that is handled in game so needs more investigation.

    The Italian command stats and morale are awful, which could also contribute to the paralysis, and bad decision making, but this is working as intended I think, and what makes the scenario realistic.
    You could tamper with it to make them better, but this would take away the realism, of a few hundred men being able to hold back 20,000?

    I think the best thing to do is as you say wait for another patch, when the Intel bug is fixed, then roport other bugs once you can at least see what the correct tactical picture is telling you.
     
  10. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Yes, it is working as the designer intended, I'm sure, from the ALLIED play side. But it's not flagged as an 'allied play only' scenario, and it really should be. Because, as I said, if you try it as Axis it's SO easy to march through and off the map and your force is overwhelmingly strong, and that disparity (between the experience of playing it as Allies or Axis) reveals quite a bit about how much the AI routines and planning need developing, imho.

    I put together a scenario which had a similar disparity between the sides strength (Prokhorovka) and I struggled for many, many hours to get the AI to play to generate a roughly historical result (even when doing play as one side only versions), and I can tell you that merely maxing out the stats for the Axis, in this Beda Fomm case, will do very little to affect their behaviour. Try it, Daz, and you'll see. The stats do have an effect and especially those that govern whether their leaders will be aggressive or not, but not that much of a difference. What you will see is a few more smallish attacks but never a concentration of force and an attempt to mount a large significant attack that would carry the day. I'm sorry, but the attacking AI just does not seem to do this once it has gone for the obvious objectives and ran into a halt. Hence, I think the attacking AI really needs some developing there too, imho.

    What can be said about the attacking AI at the moment is that due to it doing very little it more often than not produces roughly historical behaviour. The Italians in history didn't use all that vast open space to go round the holding force, but I think it would be preferable if the AI did have this capability (at least as a design option for the scenario maker) because where it IS required to attack in strength to produce an historical result (as in Kursk) then it just does not do so with any concentration.

    So, what you have to do, when making scenarios, to get round these issues - and this was my point, I guess - is actually 'script' the AI through the back door via the use of objectives. And that's a clumsy way of handling scripting, I think (for one thing, there's no real guarantee that the AI will go for the subtle system of points lures you set up).

    I had this conversation with Dave a bit back and I really think, as a virtual cure for some of these issues (at least with shorter scenarios, where the initial choices and actions will cast their shadow over most of what remains of the fight) it would be great for the scenario designer to be able to (a) script defensive at start positions that the AI should hold for a certain period, if poss (that way it won't just assemble on the objectives), (b) script attacks at start, or other postures. This would make a huge difference for me.

    And yes, I will wait for further patches, though things like the halting 'bug' depress me, because I wonder how on earth that has reappeared? I thought we had that sorted.

    It's interesting to compare this scenario with, for example, Manhay. I have never had an easy time of Manhay, at least not playing the Axis. Why is that, I wonder? I think it's because (a) the map is small (crucial for the defending AI because it can spot relatively well even from its default defensive position huddled on the key objectives, and then react to spotted threats), (b) the forces involved are relatively small in number, (c) the sides are fairly balanced, (d) the designer has done a superb job of balancing victory points and the spread of objectives, and (e) the AI under these conditions can defend relatively well. Manhay from the Allied side is easier, but still ok. I think under these conditions (basically small and balanced on a small map) the AI in the game works quite well.

    Peter
     
    #70 john connor, Apr 13, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  11. Daz

    Daz Member

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    When you play as the Axis side in this scenario, you are taking away the inept command they had at the time and replacing it with you, and like it or not you are a seasoned commander in this game now with many battles under your belt.

    So I think your being a bit unkind to the AI by saying it’s too easy to win as Axis.

    I’ve not looked yet, but is there a favour Allies option for the scenario?
    There are many ways to increase the difficulty of this and other scenarios if you are finding them to easy as you know.

    I've not really dabbled with the scenario editing yet, but the improvements you outlined sound great.

    I think you will enjoy this scenario far more once some of the bugs have been ironed out, and I expect that will also improve the AI as well.

    Agree about the halting bug, which I also experienced in my fast play through. Some of these old problems are almost as if Dave has forgotten to copy across the file with all the bug fixes he has done over the last 5 years lol
     
  12. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I've not looked at the options either. I think in general it would be best always to have 2 versions of each scenario though, one for each side against the AI (or 3, one for H2H too), that way - designing the scenarios - you stand a much better chance of balancing play, I think, whilst keeping within broad historical parameters. When I'm doing a scenario (and I've tampered with a few now, I guess) then I always try to get it so that, for the side you're playing, running through on fastest speed, with very minimal orders, you get a minor defeat (obviously, if you do stupid things you get a major defeat), which sometimes could be the historical outcome. With a bit more care you should certainly be able to get the historical outcome, which seems very often to be a draw, but need not be so. Really working at it should be the only way to get a dec vic, I think, if at all, if that wasn't the historical outcome. The historical part of this doesn't apply to 'what-if' scenarios, of course.

    So I think Beda Fomm, as Allies, is probably set up ok (and I say that knowing that there are many, many more forces still yet to appear on the Italian side from those so far visible in the AAR I've been posting). But as Axis it doesn't work, for me (it wouldn't work H2H either). Because you'll always win, easily. So at least, I think, it would need another version to balance it for play as Axis. And even then - this, again, was my point about the Defensive AI - sticking to the historical forces it just might not be possible to set it up so that if you play through with a little care, as Axis, you get the historical result (a crushing defeat). I can't see that being achievable as a matter of scenario design, with the Defensive AI as it is and with these same (historical) forces.

    I'll have to try now, though....it's like a bloody challenge now, isn't it?

    Peter
     
  13. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I wasn't going to mention this, but the reason I have to defend the Axis here is because in my fast play through as Axis I only got a Draw :shame:

    I was way too cautious, and instead of charging down the main road, I tried to outflank the Allied positions with a left hook, but kept running out of fuel in the desert. I didn't really appreciate how vast the distances are on this map, so never managed to exit any of my troops at all.

    I can redeem myself slightly though, as I did indeed trap the Axis against the coast in my Allied game, and won with a decisive victory :p
     
  14. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Lol. I was forgetting about fuel. Maybe I'll finish the AAR anyway. It's good for spotting bugs, anyway...
     
  15. john connor

    john connor Member

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    62.png

    Of course, as we all know, in war nothing goes to plan anyway.
     
  16. john connor

    john connor Member

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    3 hours later and without me doing anything my arty has succeeded in holding the Italians very well. 3 Hussars got back to their defend positions, as did D.2RB. The mortars are stuck, being bombarded and fired upon almost continually. They are down to 19 men now. I will issue a more cautious Move order to them directly.

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  17. john connor

    john connor Member

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    So, this is the position as light fades. The mortar platoon are pinned out there and will have to wait for darkness to sneak back, I think. There has been sporadic bombardment of my frontline positions, though nothing powerful enough to shift men out of their dug-in positions. The Italians have been accurately and intelligently bombarded by my arty (by the AI - I haven't ordered anything as it has gone so well) and that seems to have stopped them in the position we see. The Engineer unit at the head of the Via Balbia side of their column is undoubtedly tanks and has tried, alone, to mount several attacks and met AI ordered arty each time, which has been enough to stop it. So far there is no attempt at all to concentrate all those forces and mount a concerted attack. I'm very curious to see if the enemy AI tries anything and so I'm going to stick to the historical tactics and stay where I am in defensive lines. Remember, historically my task wasn't to annihilate the Italians but to block them until the main forces could get into their rear (as happened, and then they surrendered). So I'll go for that and see what the AI comes up with....

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    Before long I have a few reinforcements scheduled. They can block that huge gaping gap in my lines to the east and act, from there, as a mobile reserve.
     
  18. john connor

    john connor Member

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    And off to bed early..... No sign of the Italians staying up late to have a go at us, so far.....

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  19. john connor

    john connor Member

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    After midnight and something is happening. Not exactly an attack in force but the Italian 'Engineers' (tanks) are probing towards what is, in fact, a weak spot. Only the shattered mortar platoon presently occupies that gap. I've ordered some cruiser tanks to attack the Italian tanks. Hopefully we'll get a sharp night engagement, and not a series of halting messages....

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  20. john connor

    john connor Member

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    67.png

    These cruiser tanks are already on the way, and they've picked an interesting attack axis too, which will bring them into the Italian's rear....

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    From further East I order in the remainder of 1 RTR (these were reinforcements that arrived around 8pm the day before) and 7 Hussars. Just in case this represents the start of something larger.

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