New option for HQ units.

GoodGuy

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I'd like to suggest 3 new features.

1) "Manual" HQ placement

I think it would improve the game's realism (and gameplay) if an HQ units' task tab would receive an option that would allow the user to determine where to establish the command post.
Technically, the user is both, an operational commander (say CO of a Corps or an Army) and - if he chooses to detach units, with detachment sizes ranging from Coys to even a Rgt or Division - a local commander.
While the higher echelons often advised/ordered staging areas, local commanders often enjoyed some freedom of choice when it came to the decision where to establish their CPs. These could be strongpoints (say a bunker), houses or hills providing for extra visibility/overview.

Aggressive commanders then often picked CPs closer to the objective (say a hill occupied by the enemy), to be able to give directions and drive the assaulting troops, sometimes even right at the frontline (which was one of the main reason for the high casualty rates among Coy commanders - especially on the East Front, by the way, another significant share was killed by enemy artillery fire - usually unobserved interdiction/harrassing fire, just behind the front, as the prevalent attitude of the officer corps included the thought that at least Captains were supposed to lead by example and show courage and fighting spirit, which would then also inspire their soldiers, at least according to their ways of thinking), while quite some experienced/seasoned COs maintained a safe minimum distance, to ensure the CP wouldn't be threatened/overrun by undetected/flanking units or wiped out during a counterattack.
This could mean that even a Coy CP would be established 4 - 6 km from the objective, or even from the FUP, especially during later stages of the war. Radios or telephone lines then ensured that the subgroups could be controlled in real time, if necessary.

Weak-spirited and unexperienced COs, say on the Coy or Bn level then might have preferred to stay way behind and solely rely on motorbike messengers, radios and phone lines (if available on the assaulting troops' ends), with the respective delays in command and control, if the subunits operated outside the radio range and if the advance had been so fast that phone lines had not been layed, yet.
It should be mentioned, that German commanders and group leaders performed mission-type tactics, especially on the Bn/Coy levels, so - with experienced COs and NCOs, subunits then often needed no or less directions, unless an attack failed or if a devensive perimeter was broken.

So, a) German units were taught/allowed to act independently to quite some extent, and b) a lack of communication or massive order delay didn't necessarily mean that a unit would just sit there and wait, as currently depicted in the game, IF the general attack orders were communicated beforehand (date/time of attack, general direction of the thrust or specific objective, etc.).
Imho, at least for the German doctrine/order delay regime, the game focuses too much on order delay, even though in reality a local CO's own initiative could make or even made up for broken comm. lines with higher echelons.
That's why I suggested something like an "adaptive order delay" a couple of years ago, which would reduce the delay down the command chain, until the delay reaches 0 (zero), IF the user issues a direct march order (eg. changing direction by ordering or adding a right turn) to a given Coy, since the user then acts as Coy commander.
There is no order delay for a Coy commander acting on his own initiative and residing at the head or in the middle of his columns, as he is with his unit and as his Lieutenants then execute the orders with their platoons, immediately. In the field, means in reality, there'd only be a delay of some say 5 minutes, for the actual preparation of an attack, for example, means the time needed to drop the field packs, to grab additional ammunition and hand grenades, to check the guns and assign a few soldiers to carry extra ammo for the MG teams, if such Coy is not supposed to time its attack with another Coy.

1) a) Manual placement
Such function could be included in the GUI with 3 checkmarks in the HQ tab:
The first one would basically say "establish CP right here" and the second would be say "join main force when perimeter is secured and safe."
The third checkmark would then have a checkmark saying "maintain distance" and an additional field where the user could enter a fixed distance from the HQ to its subordinated units (eg. for a Bn HQ). Say the user would enter 2 km, then the HQ would always (!) maintain that distance, on the offensive, on the defensive and during march.
Additionally, the last option could be also added as checkmark in the game settings, so that ALL HQs would always keep the indicated minimum distance to its frontline units.

2) Defensive stance

The Germans, for instance, had guidelines that determined the setup right behind the MBL on fixed fronts. There were field manuals and/or cadet/officer training instructions detailing the general distances, the setup of the second line defense behind the MBL, which was usually equipped with AT guns, tank traps or other natural or man-made constrictions to narrow the enemy's path of advance and which were usually placed along the left and right flank of a projected breakthrough path. Higher echelon HQs, including divisional HQs were supposed to be established in particular zones, at distances of 8 km, at 15 km etc., I outlined the distances either here or at Matrix, I'd have to dig for my own post, as I can't remember the details atm.

Whatsoever, in these guidelines, the general use of a prepared (usually empty) rear position that was comparable to the function of the position used in Private Ryan (the "Alamo position"), the "Auffangposition" (a blocking position and last line of defense, used during the battle on the Seelow heights and on many other occasions), was seen as a vital part of such setup.
If the enemy had penetrated the MBL and if he had managed to pass the second line positions, then survivors and reinforcements (if available) were supposed to move to the blocking position. While higher echelons sometimes didn't allow to retreat to such positions, some local COs then sometimes claimed that their comm. equipment failed or that messages had not reached them in time, and still moved there.
In theory, the blocking position was supposed to be manned/prepared right after the MBL was penetrated and when it was foreseeable that the 2nd line would not last long or even be mostly ineffective (say against KV1 counterattacks during the early Barbarossa campaign when higher calibre AT guns were not - or rarely- available).

It would be nice if such setup could be implemented in the defense code. This would enable the user to say use a Rgt. or a division and deploy it in a way that would simulate the deployment on fixed fronts seen in WWI or WWII in a historically accurate way, and without having to place them manually.
For instance, the Germans (and partially the Russians) switched to a defensive stance in winter/spring 1941/1942 almost all along vital parts of the southern front, digging trenches and establishing the setups described above.
In such stance, and if line formation (say with a width of several kilometers - ordered by the user) is used, an AI commander of say a division would then create a line of companies that would sufficiently cover the perimeter, but also be able to react to breakthroughs, means it would send nearby units to fill the gap and to contain the breakthrough.

3) Trace function

In order to contain breakthroughs or to find/knock out/capture stragglers, a trace function would be needed. This would save quite some hassle, where the user has to send several Coys to surround 24 enemy stragglers, who - in some instances - may even get resupplies, and where in reality one full Coy would be able to do the job, easily.
A trace function was mentioned by some users, already, so it's not an entirely new idea, but it seems like there's an actual demand for such function.
 
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Grognerd

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I too have wanted to "tighten up" the 2 or 3 kilometer distance between units and their HQ. Mostly in scenario's involving airdrops where you don't know which direction the threat can/will come from. So your suggestions seems valid to me.

The trace function for stragglers however, I would like to see a more direct approach to resolving this sometimes issue. Units that get beat up so badly that qualify as "stragglers" or "remnants" should be treated as non-combat capable units and replan their selves back behind their lines, as most survivors would do. Units that are high enough quality or have other special circumstances would continue the fight and be legit combat units.
 
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I too have wanted to "tighten up" the 2 or 3 kilometer distance between units and their HQ. Mostly in scenario's involving airdrops where you don't know which direction the threat can/will come from. So your suggestions seems valid to me.

The trace function for stragglers however, I would like to see a more direct approach to resolving this sometimes issue. Units that get beat up so badly that qualify as "stragglers" or "remnants" should be treated as non-combat capable units and replan their selves back behind their lines, as most survivors would do. Units that are high enough quality or have other special circumstances would continue the fight and be legit combat units.
Units which are so beat up they are ;no longer combat capable disband, and are merged into peer formations.
 

Grognerd

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Units which are so beat up they are ;no longer combat capable disband, and are merged into peer formations.
Well ok Jim, but I've certainly chased around units which are 7 or 8 men which keep popping up at victory locations. I remember a time where it was only one man in the unit! (Onry cus he was too, Ha!)
 
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Well ok Jim, but I've certainly chased around units which are 7 or 8 men which keep popping up at victory locations. I remember a time where it was only one man in the unit! (Onry cus he was too, Ha!)
The unit information reflects intel available under fog of war conditions -- accumulated the observation capability of friendly units which is altered by distance at which the activity is observed and the type of terrain where the unit is observed, the amount of light available at the time of day as altered by atmospheric conditions, and the enemy unit activity level.

The ability to identify enemy units is explained on Pg. 167 of the game manual.
 

GoodGuy

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The unit information reflects intel available under fog of war conditions -- accumulated the observation capability of friendly units which is altered by distance at which the activity is observed and the type of terrain where the unit is observed, the amount of light available at the time of day as altered by atmospheric conditions, and the enemy unit activity level.

The ability to identify enemy units is explained on Pg. 167 of the game manual.

Yes. But with an "excellent" intel reliability level and "current" sighting age, you get to know how many enemy troops are actually trolling you, eventually, if you are dedicated to hunt 'em down. Depending on all the factors you mentioned, that may be at 100 meters (or even less) or 200 meters or above, or only when chasers and stragglers are literally stepping on each other's toes in a confined area at night, but if you keep chasing and if you send in additional units, you get the exact number, eventually.
And that's where the user gets frustrated with close scenarios where the win-meter sticks close to the middle, as you then have to make sure that your local forces outmatch the number of stragglers near the end of the scenario even at minor objectives, if you want to pull a win. If you are unable to spare frontline units, then you might get in deep trouble where you can only pull a draw only, or where you even experience a close loss.
I use to deploy arty and base units at such spots, as weak stragglers tend to splash/suicide on these large units, but if there are several somewhat more potent stragglers, say above 30 men, they have to be chased down usually, as their combined troop size can at least contest an objective, and an arty unit can chase a few times, but if the stragglers have some MGs left, then even the big unit may retreat a few times.
If such stragglers keep wandering near the main roads - they can effectively shut down a vital part of your supply lines, if the road network consists of only a few roads, say in a heavily wooded area.
An operational commander or a local CO would just isse the order to get rid of the threat by either pushing/keeping them out of say a city, or by chasing them down. Putting the burden of constantly changing directions and reissuing attack orders on the player, may kill the fun for quite a few players. On top of that, you have the order delay, which in reality a chasing Coy wouldn't have. In reality, such Coy would keep chasing and not "replan" their attack if they follow an enemy's change of direction, it would just be a constant chase, automatically changing directions if the chasers manage to keep visual contact.

That's why I play without orders delay, only. A lot of my orders are given on the Bn and the Coy level, as I use to cover gaps in the front or occupy strongpoints with single Coys, ranging from elite units to "fillers", depending on the importance of the sector. Historically, if such units then had to react to enemy threats, or if they had to push forward, say to start reducing an enemy pocket, then there was only the delay I mentioned in the OP: the time needed to grab the LMGs, pick up some extra ammo, grenades and check the guns, a tiny holdup for a mere 3-5 mins, and maybe another 2-4 mins to brief the NCOs, IF the Coy's target was a fixed enemy position.

That said, and when playing with order delay, the order delay for single detached units (controlled by the player) should be replaced with the set-up time (prep time) needed to execute a move/attack order.
Switching to a move order (collecting all vehicles, horses - if present -, attaching guns, stowing HMGs, mortars, etc.) would take considerably more time than dropping everything and leaving the unnecessary gear and vehicles behind and getting ready for combat. The code should then check if the previous order/state was a move (order), or not. If it was, then the column doesn't have to be set up again for a new move order (meant to change direction or to avoid an area held by the enemy), as it had been in travel mode already. A replan wouldn't be necessary either, imho.
I think the engine should include such details.
 
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Yes. But with an "excellent" intel reliability level and "current" sighting age, you get to know how many enemy troops are actually trolling you, eventually, if you are dedicated to hunt 'em down. Depending on all the factors you mentioned, that may be at 100 meters (or even less) or 200 meters or above, or only when chasers and stragglers are literally stepping on each other's toes in a confined area at night, but if you keep chasing and if you send in additional units, you get the exact number, eventually.
And that's where the user gets frustrated with close scenarios where the win-meter sticks close to the middle, as you then have to make sure that your local forces outmatch the number of stragglers near the end of the scenario even at minor objectives, if you want to pull a win. If you are unable to spare frontline units, then you might get in deep trouble where you can only pull a draw only, or where you even experience a close loss.
I use to deploy arty and base units at such spots, as weak stragglers tend to splash/suicide on these large units, but if there are several somewhat more potent stragglers, say above 30 men, they have to be chased down usually, as their combined troop size can at least contest an objective, and an arty unit can chase a few times, but if the stragglers have some MGs left, then even the big unit may retreat a few times.
If such stragglers keep wandering near the main roads - they can effectively shut down a vital part of your supply lines, if the road network consists of only a few roads, say in a heavily wooded area.
An operational commander or a local CO would just isse the order to get rid of the threat by either pushing/keeping them out of say a city, or by chasing them down. Putting the burden of constantly changing directions and reissuing attack orders on the player, may kill the fun for quite a few players. On top of that, you have the order delay, which in reality a chasing Coy wouldn't have. In reality, such Coy would keep chasing and not "replan" their attack if they follow an enemy's change of direction, it would just be a constant chase, automatically changing directions if the chasers manage to keep visual contact.

That's why I play without orders delay, only. A lot of my orders are given on the Bn and the Coy level, as I use to cover gaps in the front or occupy strongpoints with single Coys, ranging from elite units to "fillers", depending on the importance of the sector. Historically, if such units then had to react to enemy threats, or if they had to push forward, say to start reducing an enemy pocket, then there was only the delay I mentioned in the OP: the time needed to grab the LMGs, pick up some extra ammo, grenades and check the guns, a tiny holdup for a mere 3-5 mins, and maybe another 2-4 mins to brief the NCOs, IF the Coy's target was a fixed enemy position.

That said, and when playing with order delay, the order delay for single detached units (controlled by the player) should be replaced with the set-up time (prep time) needed to execute a move/attack order.
Switching to a move order (collecting all vehicles, horses - if present -, attaching guns, stowing HMGs, mortars, etc.) would take considerably more time than dropping everything and leaving the unnecessary gear and vehicles behind and getting ready for combat. The code should then check if the previous order/state was a move (order), or not. If it was, then the column doesn't have to be set up again for a new move order (meant to change direction or to avoid an area held by the enemy), as it had been in travel mode already. A replan wouldn't be necessary either, imho.
I think the engine should include such details.
https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/09/18/reconsidering_rear_area_security_112318.html
 

GoodGuy

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It indicates the rear area security issues to round up "rogue" a normal operational concern in combat.

The article's findings aren't news to me, though.
Note (1) at the end is particulary interesting, if not telling, let me quote it:
"Popular conceptions of Operation Market Garden are based around the notion that the plan was A Bridge Too Far with the operation failing due to an inability to capture the last bridge at Arnhem."

The majority of German military historians and the German literature of the last say 25-30 years did not support that conclusion. Most of them stress that the confined space (only 1 axis for supplies, reinforcements and the relief combat column for Arnhem) and the German ability to cut the highway (thus the only supply line) several times and for a vital amount of hours enabled the Germans to buy enough time to reduce the British paras in Arnhem.

EDIT: Simply put, the Allies did not allocate ANY troops to flank guard duty (mobile or fixed), nor did they project concurrent waves to clear and occupy the left and the right flank of their vital life line. Technically, this was a disregard of the military principle observed and executed in Roman operations, during Alexander's pushes and in Napoleon's Waterloo failure (when the Prussians appeared on Napoleon's flank). Shape and nature of flanking manoevres were taught in Central European military schools since the 18th century, at least since the Battle of Leuthen (or maybe even way earlier), and the importance of flank guards was accepted in most Armies.
Instead of pulling additional mobile units from the Italian front, where mechanized units and tank units experienced some longer phases of "boredom", the less mobile paras were tasked with marching and countermarching to contested highway sections - well, until even Horrocks saw that he had to send motorized units to aid the paras and speed up the clearing of the road blocks.

When Model and Rundstedt had to plan the ill-fated Ardennes offensive, partially including units that only existed on paper, they at least assigned 2 infantry waves (a change ordered by Hitler, Rundstedt demanded 3 waves) which were also supposed to clear and secure the flank corridors. While having to administer the lack of everything, they at least considered and implemented proper military principles.
For the counterattacks during Market Garden, the Germans had more than enough room to execute classic flanking and interdicting manoeuvres, because it took the Allies 49 days to secure the territory west of the thrust corridor, and because it took them 58 days to completely secure the territory east of the corridor.
It would have been wiser probably to reduce the distance to Arnheim with a general slow (and limited) advance, say to take Eindhoven and push to (and stop at) the river Maas, creating a corridor between Grave and Mook and expanding the left and the right flank, first, to up the chances for a following successful para operation at Nijmegen and Arnhem.

So it wasn't just about rear area protection, but also about a proper flank guard regime and about the absence of flank protection (and their parallel or offset advance with the relief columns) during and after the push towards Arnhem, in fact.

In turn, Hitler understood that Montgomery's general plan/attitude aimed to push to Germany through the North. Around the 31st of July or very early August, Hitler had expressed that he expected a major British push through the North, already. In contrast to some other operations, Hitler sent all forces that could be spared and put most of the vital ones under Model's command, accordingly, when Market Garden began. Model then mostly used his troops in a number of decisive moves that stopped the Allies at the Lower Rhine - for months.
EDIT /

A few German officers (not all) understood that the main goal wasn't a limited territorial gain, which would have been within the scope of a limited offensive, or even just 2 separate para landings meant as diversional attacks or to capture Model (which he supposedly thought for a while) but that the Allies ultimately tried to connect the areas captured by the paras and to advance on Arnhem. This awareness and the discovered weak spots in the supply line enabled them to launch attacks on the right spots. Some failed, some aimed at partially overrated spots (Groesbeek heights, imho, but Gavin's - correct - thinking that the Reichswald was the perfect staging area for a counterattack made him delay the attack on "his" bridge, so maybe even the failed Groesbeck counterattack and the mere presence of the troops - meant to be trained just behind the Reichswald - contributed to the German delaying actions), but others were right on the money (Koevering and the road block near Uden).

Rear area security:
My rear area security is actually quite good, i use to keep/protect several corridors and secure the vital (or even all) objectives.
I often place single companies in a semicircle in the outskirts of a city, for instance, where then only very small enemy units (say 3-32 men) with very small footprints can filter in at night, due to the visibility conditions, if at all. That's realistic, patrols did that in and around the besieged city of Bastogne, on both sides, for instance.
Having to chase such buggers for days, in plain daylight and maybe even with vehicles, isn't realistic, though.
So, I was talking about stragglers that have almost no military value and which even arty or mortar units will route in a defensive stance within seconds, but which keep surviving, even if I then send units to chase them ruthlessly.

I'm a "Cleaner" type of CO player, means I am eager to clean a map, if the scenario settings allow for it. Usually, there'll be only a few enemy units left, especially in the HTTR scenarios, and then only because the mergers would "teleport" the remaining men all across the map to the last existing unit(s). On quite a few runs, a scenario will then end (say a day or 2) before the official end time, because the last unit gave up or got destroyed.
 
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