Quick AAR - Race for Bastogne (Allies)

Discussion in 'CO2 - After Action Reports' started by john connor, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Starting this again, in here. Will post as I go along, just a skeleton AAR, really.

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  2. john connor

    john connor Member

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    A couple of hours into the battle and some units are now getting orders. However, the vulnerable units in Hosingen and Marnach, who I have instructed to pull back to the Clerf immediately, did not receive my orders before they were engaged. Worse, they are already being pinned by ferocious barrages of what can only be massed Corps artillery assets. To stay entrenched would reduce their losses, but only for at most a half hour, then - under this level of barrage - they would surely break and run. So there seems to be little I can do to preserve these units. Especially those in Hosingen (325 men of the B.103 ENG and K Co.110) who are really being hit hard already by arty. I would appreciate any advice (for future references - too late for this run-through) on what should be done in this kind of position? What is the best way to try to protect and pull out units who will not get your orders until after they are already under the cudgel and who will face overpowering arty bombardments. In these circumstances (and because I've played through this before) I expect most of these front line units to perish.
     

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  3. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Near midday. A detail from the battle at Hosingen. I have never seen such concentrated bombardments. The 2 units were pinned in place and devastated. No orders were effective to move them because the arty attention prohibited all movement.
     

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  4. john connor

    john connor Member

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    6pm, Day 1.

    The only possible consolation is that due to the presence of the 110th Infantry Regiment a massive, overwhelming Axis attack has been held to an advance of only about 8km (at its widest) in a period of 12 hours!! If it were not for the 110th they would be in Bastogne already.

    Yes. I'll try to think of it that way.....

    4.png 4.png

    For those about as knowledgeable as me as to how many men in a Corps or Regiment etc - the 110th Regiment has about 2,700 men left (perhaps just over half that line troops) and they are facing a full German Corps - around 25,000 men......
     
    #4 john connor, Oct 24, 2014
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  5. john connor

    john connor Member

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    As an aside - I love the posting mechanisms in here - much better than in the matrix forums. You can post PNGs, as either thumbnails (expandable when clicked) or full size (expandable with CTRL-wheel). You can edit easily. Like it.
     
  6. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Yeah, it is much better.
    Better than the Matrix one as well I would say.

    I guess the only way to find out which method will work best, to try and preserve some of the 110th is to experiment.
    It sounds like there is such an overwhelming weight of fire-power, that they just become pinned until what's left runs away, or dies.
    I think its actually quite realistic, what you are describing.
    Men hit with that kind of concentrated fire, will just cower in place, until they break.
    Especially as they have not yet received permission to pull back, and are caught totally by surprise, as these have.

    I know Lyle Bouck's Recon Platoon were in much the same situation in Lanzerath, and they put up a hell of a fight, but they were not hit by that kind of artillery concentration, and I think their circumstances were quite exceptional.
    They were all captured eventually of course, once an officer with enough sense came along to out flank them.
     
  7. john connor

    john connor Member

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    It seems very realistic to me too, Daz. Though those engineers took near to 120 casualties in about one hour of bombardment as they fled over that open ground. The AI bombardment was incredibly persistent - it followed the fleeing unit step for step in a massive concentration.

    I will now try to hold Clervaux and Drauffelt through the night (that shouldn't be a problem, touch wood....) and as much of day 2 as possible. I need desperately to slow the weight of Axis armour at the Clerf to give time for my day 3 reinforcements to arrive and take some blocking positions (as in the more minor 'roadblock' scenario). And that, in turn, will allow my day 4 reinforcements (the paras) to get into positions around Bastogne itself.

    You're right it would be nice if the 'delay' order could be trusted. I'm going to try it extensively now.
     
  8. john connor

    john connor Member

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    sporadic bombord 1.png

    Throughout the night there were probes into Clervaux, easily repelled with artillery. But at 4am there was a half hour bombardment of downtown Clervaux which dislodged the entrenched defenders. It seems trenches and an urban environment won't keep them in place if the shells come down hard enough. C company 1.110 was holding the main Clervaux bridge, but, hit by the arty, broke and ran for the wooded slopes nth of the river bend. At around 6am they were picked out and bombarded there too. Here's 2 pictures to show the affects of this kind of bombardment.

    sporadic bombard 2.png


    That is, 2 half hour bombardments left C coy with 50 casualties - one third of compliment. I assume this is working as intended. But if it is then there's no way you can hold a town by digging in and ducking....
     
    #8 john connor, Oct 26, 2014
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  9. john connor

    john connor Member

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    But is it working as intended, I wonder?

    I get 15 Stuart tanks as reinforcement. They enter the battlefield at the northern edge, between the Clerf and the Our. I try get them across the Clerf. They are caught in open ground and bombarded for about an hour, apparently defenceless. Result? All destroyed. Are they really that defenceless, I wonder? Is the arty really meant to be that effective?

    poor stuarts.png
     
  10. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I have played Axis in this scenario, so I know how much arty they have, at the start, and its a lot!
    The Arty is incredibly effective, its why well over half the total manpower on the battlefield are gunners, and not line infantry.
    Its particularly effective, and necessary for breakthroughs, and is why the Germans massed so much of it for the start of this offensive.
    As you have so few targets for them at the moment, they can concentrate all of it on just a small area.
    They also have fast dwindling supply's, and a decreasing throughput as the days go on, where as you have an increasing one daily.
    Also the big static guns will be out of range once you pull back to the area around Bastogne, so don't despaired mate, you are supposed to be losing badly at this stage of the battle.
     
  11. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I'll take courage then! I actually re-set (from a save) from that recon group of Stuarts and played it again, to see if the same happened. It didn't - they lost a lot fewer. Another re-set and they didn't lose any! So maybe losing all of them at once was just bad luck. The casualties from an hour of concentrated bombardment, however, nearly always run to 33% plus. It's hell.
     
  12. john connor

    john connor Member

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    It's daylight, day 2. I'm going to experiment with Delay orders. I have read the manual again, and have no idea how it's meant to work.....I don't think it's made very clear what parameters you can change and which are fixed. I have given delay orders to 5 groups of units, to start within an hour or so and end roughly at darkness day 3. I have put in 2 waypoints before the final delay position, but I don't know if that's enough to override the AI selecting the delay positions or not (there must be at least 3 waypoints to override the AI, the manual says, but does that include the final position, and the starting position?). We'll see what happens. What I'm expecting to happen is a kind of chaos as certain of the groups (those in Clervaux and Drauffelt, especially) come under a concentrated arty bombardment that wrecks all plans, including the AI's 'delay plan'. Units that are forced into retreat and rout are probably not going to worry about where their blocking positions are. But this has got to be a common event when defending units are under attack, so if the 'delay' command is to be of any use, it has to be able to cope with it. So it will be interesting to watch.

    As you can see from the picture, I've ordered the units to delay back to blocking positions on that big red road and in Wiltz.

    6 delay.png 6 delay.png
     
  13. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Message to the effect that the tank group I ordered back to Wiltz in a blocking/delay move have started off to a blocking position which (I think) the AI has selected. So far so good, though this group were under no pressure. I t's how the order works with units under attack that I'm most interested in.

    blocking 1.png blocking 1.png

    Note, as an aside, that I've got my recon Stuart reinforcements (very top of map) almost back to our lines untouched, this time.... :)
     
  14. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Next 'blocking point' message. This time what I wanted to achieve hasn't worked. I had placed one 'blocking point' waypoint between the starting position and the Fe-'itsch end objective. This has been ignored. The group seems intent on heading directly back to Fe'itsch. Maybe I needed to place 3 waypoints between the starting point and the end point to override the AI. But that would have been too many stops. I wanted just one, but it seems if you demand this you won't necessarily get it. I think - since this is an experiment - that I'll go back to the save when I set the delay orders and try putting 3 waypoints in for this unit, just to see what happens.
    blocking 2.png blocking 2.png
     
  15. john connor

    john connor Member

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  16. john connor

    john connor Member

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    That produces a better result. See below.

    blocking 3.png blocking 3.png

    It remains to be seen how well this AI plan works, as this entire group at Drauffelt are now under severe bombardment. The HQ unit (3.110) has already gone into retreat. The retreat status didn't stop it coming up with this 'delay' plan, but will any of it be executed?
     
  17. john connor

    john connor Member

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    From the top edge of the map . 2.110 is already falling back on the delay order (and being bombarded as it goes). Perhaps I should have delayed their delay a little. I hope the enemy doesn't now decide to flood over the crossing up there!

    blocking 4.png blocking 4.png
     
  18. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Thanks for doing this mate.
    I have been scratching my head over how it is meant to work many times. Tried it out, scratched my head, re-read the manual and scratched my head again!
    I'm still wondering if I do something wrong, as sometimes it seams to work, others they pull back right away with no enemy in sight, and sometimes they don't pull back at all even after taking 50% casualties.

    Just knowing what variable settings can be used would help.
    For instance, I know from experience they completely ignore any formation set.
    Which really bothers me when they go into road column formation, right in the face of the enemy!
    They also seem to ignore any route choice set, safest, covered, quickest etc.
    The route choice seems to be avoidance, yet none of the other options are greyed out to give you a clue that they won't work?

    Experiments with changing the agro, and losses levels have been inconclusive, as this is a very hard order to test without having the power Dave has to set up a situation, and monitor both sides of the equation.
    Deleting one of the waypoints seems to give you a measure of control over the order, but doing this won't make it stop at the next waypoint, it just continues to go right the way to the end waypoint?
    Also this is subjected to a full command delay, and I thought the whole idea of the order was to simulate a pre-arranged plan, so the command delay should at least be halved?

    Anyway I hope you manage to get more success with it than I have.
     
  19. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Well, I played it through to around mid-afternoon day 2, letting the delay orders run, but wasn't happy with the results really, so have now re-set back to 7.30 again. The delay order seemed to work but I would have to experiment a bit more to try to find out what was happening. What bothered me was that it all took ages and what I ended up with was a group of units spread out along a long retreat line with events having well and truly rendered the original order redundant. Units were still holding at the front of the queue when they had long been outflanked and the units at the back of the queue were already, at the same time, under attack! This may be because I gave delay orders for which the termination was 6pm day 3. I did this because I'm used to just clicking extra time onto the end task time (when giving Move orders, for example) and it having no effect other than to make sure your units don't run out of time. But it may be that the AI actually tried to schedule the full delay precisely over the time limits I set, with the effect that all units hung on too long and couldn't disengage because by the time they tried to they were all too embroiled in fighting. I'm not sure if that was the reason why, and have got a little tired now of experimenting and being stuck in day 2 morning. So now I'll just play on without, I think.....maybe I'll try putting in a shorter span delay at some point to try out that theory. But generally, though it worked in some sense, it would, I think, be too hands off for this particular scenario at this particular point, for this particular player. I wanted to give many more differing orders to the units within the groupings during the time they were executing a single delay order.
     
  20. john connor

    john connor Member

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    6.png 6.png Back to 8pm, from a save.
     

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