The Corridor, New Scenario.

Discussion in 'CO2 - Scenarios' started by john connor, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. john connor

    john connor Member

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    A debug version for scenario designers is a great idea, Goodguy. But why only for 'scenario designers'? Why can't the release version of scenmaker be a debug version, I wonder, giving anyone who wishes to make scenarios those tools? Might encourage more people to design scenarios. You should suggest it to Dave in the suggestions thread.
     
  2. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Well, I'm not a programmer, but I could imagine that some debug tools provide opportunities for other programmers (and potential thiefs) to see or intercept core AI functions, for example. Well, I don't know crap about high-level programming languages, but that's what I'm suspecting here.
    Actually, adding an option to remove the fog of war would do the trick, already. For instance, the game's executable could be started with a switch like CommandOps.exe /noFog.
     
    #22 GoodGuy, Jun 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  3. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Got another idea: If you ever work on a CO2 version, then don't field a Supreme HQ.
    If there are only Divisions, then do not field a Korps or Army level HQ on the enemy AI side. Let the AI pick a map boss (it will be one of the Div HQs) and let it deal with the additional command load (that, in addition with the other solution I mentioned before, packing additional ("borrowed") Coys into Bns or additional Bns under direct command of the Div HQ) and see what that does.

    http://forums.lnlpublishing.com/threads/explicit-supply-columns.1708/#post-9045

    I just added a feature request for the ScenMaker though, to get a better solution, though.
     
  4. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Good idea. I could do without Hausser very easily. Would have to test the results of upping the load on the AI on-map boss, I guess.

    But even if I got all that working, so that the AI more or less held the historical defensive positions then you're faced with the problem of the very significant superiority in numbers that the human soviet player would have. If you set up the numbers and starting positions as per RL, with the unit and leader stats fixed at an intelligent guess as to how they should be realistically, then as a human you will walk all over the Axis in no time at all. That is to say, the way unit and leader stats are presently handled doesn't allow you to accurately represent the picture of high quality Axis units in smaller numbers presenting a real problem for masses of soviet low quality troops, because the soviet numbers really were overwhelming. On the day this didn't count for too much (for many reasons that have been expounded at length in the source materials), but as the human player you can do really really well with this kind of force at your disposal and no doctrine or comms issues to hamper you.

    Ironically, when you play as Axis human the relative caution with which the AI proceeds mimics quite well this poor soviet use of resources and, as I said before, setting it up for play as Axis human I could get a roughly historical behaviour from the Soviet AI (by accident, as it were) . But when it's the other way round to stand even a chance of getting historical parity you have to really mess with the unit and leader stats. You have to totally max out the Axis, everything 100% except 0% fatigue, and really cripple the soviets with punitive fatigue levels and terrible stats to make sure the human soviet player cannot simply throw all that firepower forward in a coordinated concentrated fashion.

    And even if you do that (ignoring reality) then you face the problem of what to do with arty. If you put all the arty in that existed in real life (for both sides) then the game dies. The arty kills all movement that looks vaguely historical, and this (I think) is because the player (and the AI, for that matter) can use the arty in game in a pretty intensive and ahistorical way. That's the only reason I can see, anyway. So if you give the Axis all the arty and air power it actually had then those soviet tank brigades get stopped before they get anywhere near Axis armour. For all these reasons it was impossible, I found, to just produce, painstakingly, a historical map, use a more or less historical OOB and starting positions, historical objectives and timings and be able to produce one scenario balanced for both sides.

    I did actually get the scenario working in CO2 recently (I have the debug versions) and thought I might go back to it and tidy it up and improve along the lines we've been suggesting but, as you know, it's a lot of work and the uptake on the scenario wasn't super. I think anyone who knows the history of this engagement might be rightly put off because fighting as Axis is a bit of a slog, basically, a mainly defensive static business, not so much fun. And I think less people are interested in fighting as the ruskies. So I won't go back to it for now, anyway. There's a new (Westwall) pack in the works for release asap (not sure when exactly) and that will present many interesting scenarios to take up my time. Plus after that we can look forward, hopefully, to a Chir River scenario pack (though I'm guessing that will be next year now in my usual pessimistic fashion) which will satisfy the EF itch.

    Peter
     
  5. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Some historical settings do not make for scenarios with 2 playable (and enjoyable) sides, with the current tools at hand, we just have to accept that, I guess. Some of the stock scenarios that came with HTTR contained scenario briefings that contained emphasising recommendations like "Best played initially as the Germans", or "Best played as the Allied side", or even "Best played as Axis, not designed to be played as the Allies".

    In my opinion, it's absolutely sufficient if you state that the scenario is best played as Germans (or the other way around, wherever you put your design focus), and then focus on that one side.

    Hmm... the human player can use artillery units way more efficiently, as he can combine arty pieces (absolutely historical, that's what the Germans did), but he can also extend arty missions to say 1 hr (and more), if the fatigue level allows for such lengthy bombardment missions.

    Actually, I find the current system ahistorical for a totally different reason:
    Dave would probably argue that crews of artillery pieces would be tired after a while, but this does not reflect how bombardment capabilities were affected. Sure, arty ROF decreased after a while, as crews got tired, but if you look at the unit pools of artillery regiments (up to 480 - 780 men, depending on nation/layout), it's pretty obvious, that there was a sufficient amount of troops to maintain longer bombardments. In 1914-18, bombardments could last 12, 24 or even 48 hours. The longest bombardment of the First World War lasted around 3 days (if I am not mistaken). Of course, supply lines were short, huge amounts of ammunitions often stored right at or behind such arty units. But the Regiments of all sides did not have any problems to maintain such length of bombardment missions, in regards to fatigue of crews.
    In the Taganrog scenario long missions are needed to keep the Russians from rolling over your units. I figured that - in general - around 2.5 - 3 arty missions (of one hour, IIRC) can be executed before the unit either runs out of ammo or until it gets too tired. If the unit is too tired, the game will adjust the default amount of 11 mins to 6 minutes, in my experience, and it will not let the player set a longer duration for a bombardment.

    If you want to get say 21 minutes out of it (takes 2 clicks to up the default value to 21 minutes, the clickfest drives me crazy; a bombardment of less than 20 minutes will not sufficiently suppress a healthy enemy unit, in my experience), you have to order a bombardment FOUR times, once an arty unit has hit a high fatigue level.
    Cumbersome, annoying, and ahistorical.
    Check out the following picture, a 150-mm- sFH 18, which was usually present in an Artillery Regiment's heavy battery (4th battery, 3 light batteries and one heavy battery in each Regiment), only.
    Looks like these 9 soldiers are taking a break. Keeping in mind that the loaders were employed in turns, such unit could surely maintain fire missions for hours. Note the 2 guys in the background, where the guy on the right seems to carry a cable drum with the telephone cable (possibly on his way to connect the gun position to one of the forward observer positions [the Germans used to prepare several positions, where then the forward observer would switch between positions to avoid detection/sniper fire and to provide a better picture of the hit rate], or to the battery chief):

    Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-078-3073-23A,_Russland,_Kursk,_Artillerie.jpg

    A picture taken by Propaganda Coy 670 (yes yes, the guys with the loudspeakers at the River Rhein in 1940 :p), the caption says "Sowjetunion, Kursk.- Soldaten mit Geschütz; PK 670, 21st of June 1943" (Sovietunion, Kursk - soldiers with gun, PK 670), another misleading caption, as PK 670 was with German Army Group Center's 2nd Army (commanded by Salmuth in 1943, 2 Corps) from 1942-1944, but (before and during the battle) not right at the northern Pincer, but in front of the Northern bulge, facing the Russian 65th Army (Batov), the 60th Army and the 38th Army (Chibisov), tasked to contain the bulge's front. So, in this case, there's almost no chance that this picture depicts either of the action in or behind the pincer pushes.

    (Textbook) artillery tasks in the German Army:
    • Surveillance of terrain sectors, achieved by observing and firing at the enemy (worked like bait, you fire single rounds and then you get a rough idea about where enemies are/were hiding or hanging out and how many there are, once the run to find cover).
    • Firing at known/identified targets.
    • Blocking / Interdiction of advancing enemy forces.
    • Disruption of transport and supply lines by performing irregular surprise fire.
    • Suppression and blinding of enemy forces in accord with line units over the course of a pre-defined period.
    • Destruction ("stonk") of enemy positions (or strongholds), troop concentrations or FUPs with highest possible rate of fire and max ammo consumption.
    • Illumination of terrain areas (rarely terrain key points) at night, especially (in support) during attacks on enemy forces.
    • Disabling of enemy observer positions by using either HE or smoke grenades, dropping smoke on attacking enemy forces or on enemy positions the friendly forces are supposed to attack.
    • Destruction of Bunkers, field fortifications and point targets.
    In the main, an Arty Regiment's battery usually focused on supporting single entities, means usually on supporting individual Bns, unless the divisional commander or the regimental commander provided different orders. Several (or even all) batteries could be combined to strike the same target, at any given time (provided the battery was ready to fire).

    If the current Arty Regiments would be broken down into batteries, the unrealistic size of arty units would finally cease to unrealistically suppress and route entire Inf Bns the player sends to destroy the arty unit. Arty Regiments had security sections (can't remember the size, but surely not bigger than a Coy), and all German arty pieces had HEAT rounds and AP rounds at their disposal (even the 150-mm sFH 18, which had a range of 13.325 meters only), so that they could actually put up a fight against enemy forces closing in, and the artillery troops could switch to a pure infantry role, of course, but the focus of a healthy artillery unit's supply elements rested with hauling arty shells, and not with getting rifle or MP ammo to the regiment's soldiers.
    In the game, arty regiments are massive blobs of troops who appear to major obstacles, even if they are surrounded and if they keep getting routed.

    Anyway, if you consider that in the southern Kursk pincer sector the Russians ran out of ammo rather quickly, that just prior to the Russian counter-attack on July 12 the German Luftwaffe had regained air-superiority (for the last time on the EF, IIRC) over the southern sector, and that German artillery then shred a good part of the attacking Russian forces to pieces, the game will be able to simulate the vital parts of such historical setting. Current fatigue levels are ahistorical, though.
    Now, while high ROFs would accelerate wear and tear on arty barrels, it's a somewhat different story for mortar units, as here high rates of fire (usually over a long period, but sometimes even after minutes, many accidents occured where rounds got stuck or blew up in the pipe) would up the risk of getting more squib rounds and damaged barrels, or promote the need of cool downs or makeshift-cooling.

    In order to simulate a Russian arty supply problem, one can put the initial ammo count to a low value. This would be void upon the next resupply run, though.

    So, what the Scen Maker® really needs is a sub section, where the designer can set supply levels for particular ammo types.
    Another desirable feature would be to be able to set BASIC (!) supplies independently.
    For instance, German soldiers used their tommy-bags for bread and rations, and the bags were usually dropped off at the FUP, early in the war, but - later on - experienced soldiers would empty their bags at the FUP and use those bags as their little personal ammo depots, as the standard issue for a rifle man was 6 mags (with 5 rounds each = 30 rounds) and 6 mags for men carrying MPs, only. With such bags full of ammo (IIRC, usually another 30 rounds), this would only leave space for one or another can of food. So, say a group of soldiers takes an enemy position, but gets then surrounded by counter-attacking enemy troops, individual soldiers would usually just carry some water, extra ammunition and some bread or a can of something. If no water and food supplies can be found in the captured position, such group would suffer of thirst and hunger within hours.

    The game does not render this realistically, yet.

    Your map is beautiful. I'd set it up as Axis-only ("this map was designed to be played as Axis" :p) scenario. The Taganrog scenario displays how difficult (and challenging) it can be to maintain (and hold) a static defensive line. If you should ever change your mind and work on a CO2 version, I'd be up to help with testing.
     
    #25 GoodGuy, Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  6. john connor

    john connor Member

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    That's a kind offer. I'll remember. Glad you liked the map. I think I would have to get Dave to convert it properly before I could work it up for CO2 and there's little chance of that at the moment, I think, as all efforts are focussed on getting out of beat and then getting the Westwall pack out. But when that's all done I might come back to it. It was nice to discuss it all with you.

    Chris (Caphillrat - who did the Taganrog scenario) was working on a Kharkov map and scenario at one point. I hope that comes to fruition.

    Peter
     

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