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Nemesis

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Winner Nemesis

Loser holoween

Was The Result A Draw? No

Combat Mission Version CMFB

Comments A Battle for the Ages with Holoween on the Wiltz map. I was attacking with a battalion of American infantry vs. Holo’s Germans. It was a rainy day in Wiltz and the ground was muddy, so I chose to bring no armor.

I pushed hard on one flank and ran into a buzz saw. Holoween held the hill in the middle of the map (which was on my right flank) in force and also held a strong reverse slope position to my front.

As I massed forces to my front to push into Holo’s reverse slope defense, Holoween got a slick firing angle and blasted my massed troops with direct 81mm mortar fire. My men seemed to then run FORWARD over the crest of the hill and got cut down by Holoween’s reverse slope infantry. Both Holoween and I thought this was a bug in the latest patch and this was recently confirmed by Battlefront. This bug hurt me initially and then hurt Holoween later in the game.

This was an incredible debacle as I lost nearly an entire infantry company in this push. I doubt that I killed even 15 of Holo’s men. My survivors pulled back and joined a fresh rifle company. I began to blast Holoween with 105mm artillery. My battalion actually stayed immobile for a long time as I found numerous targets to shell. One target was a Panther which was hit and killed by my 105s. Unfortunately, another Panther was lurking nearby.

As mentioned, Holoween was holding a hill on my right flank. His defenders on this hill were pouring fire into my right flank as I advanced. Holo snipers and HMGs were particularly effective. I shelled the hill and launched an infantry attack to clear the hill and to remove the threat to my right flank.

After a tough fight, my men were thwarted in their attempt to take the central hill. Every single man who attacked the hill was KIA/WIA. However, Holo's men on the hill took heavy losses and were pushed back. While Holo's men on the hill were trying to repel my attackers, they could not fire on my men moving forward in my main effort. I managed to push my main effort forward and actually bypassed the hill. I then pivoted my units and positioned my force between Holoween’s forces on the hill and Holoween’s forces in Wiltz. Now even as Holo's men on the hill repelled my attackers, they were cut off from their comrades in Wiltz.

My artillery managed to KO/suppress Holoween’s mortars and to weaken his reverse slope forces to my front. I launched a second attack in the same spot where I was trounced earlier. After a tough fight, my men pushed over the crest and pushed Holoween all the way back to the South Hill objective.

More artillery fire and maneuvering allowed me to take the South Hill objective. Two Holo AT guns were KO’d in the process and he suffered heavy infantry losses. Now the bug that I mentioned earlier worked in my favor. Holoween’s men were put under fire in both Wiltz and on the central hill. Some of those men then routed toward the source of the incoming fire and were killed.

One funny moment occurred when 105mm artillery began falling on my men. I thought this was friendly fire and I shut down all of my fire missions. It was actually Holo shelling me. I have never seen a defender use artillery this heavy before and I assumed it was my own artillery! This artillery fire killed 29 on my men.

I sensed that Holoween’s infantry was crumbling as his men started to surrender almost immediately when faced with close combat. However, his remaining Panther was causing serious damage to my units. Therefore, I pushed some of my battalion across a river to threaten the Bridge objective and to “open another front” against Holo to stretch his men even thinner. I also played a cat and mouse game with the Panther. When the Panther was in a given sector, my men in that sector would stop advancing and hide in the forest. My men in other sectors would then advance safe from the Panther. When the Panther would move, I would advance the men in the sector that the Panther just vacated and halt/hide the men in the sector that the Panther was going to.

By playing this game and using direct fire mortars against Holo’s defenders, I infiltrated into the Bridge objective without losing many men. I also started moving my bazooka men into positions and set up cover armor arcs to restrict the movement of Holo’s Panther. Holo saw this and used an AT gun to snipe at some of my bazooka units. But each time Holo moved his Panther, I would tighten the noose on him by moving bazookas up. I also sent an infantry team after Holo's last AT Gun and they caused the crew to abandon the gun with BAR fire.

Time was running short in the game. Holo’s Panther was running all over the place. It was driving recklessly crashing through fences, crushing hedges, collapsing walls, driving fast through muddy farm fields, etc.. With the rainy weather and saturated ground, I was waiting for his tank to bog / immobilize. To my intense frustration, it never did.

However, I did eventually sneak my bazooka men onto 2 sides of Holo’s Panther. Numerous bazookas and rifle grenadiers rose up and opened fire on the Panther at the same time. I managed to put a HEAT round into the side of the Panther killing it.

Now the rout was on. I had a lot more infantry than Holo did. My men were also more experienced, had better leaders and had higher morale. The downside was that there was only about 6 minutes left in the game.

I launched an aggressive frontal attack and managed to clear every building in the town of Wiltz in 5 minutes which was a minor miracle. Half of my men would suppress Holo’s defenders while the other half of my men rushed directly at them. Bayonets and grenades were used liberally. Holo's defense in the town completely collapsed and I took very light casualties.

That left only the North Hill objective. My final artillery shells blasted the hill to soften it up while I was fighting in the town. Then, my men rushed the hill and found the ONLY survivor (an AT gun crewman) of Holo’s entire force hiding there. When this man was shot, Holo’s entire force was eliminated or captured and the game ended. We were 4 turns into overtime.

160 Nemesis Americans were KIA and 142 were WIA. Tragically, only 94 uninjured Nemesis soldiers were left to attend the Memorial Service in Wiltz after the battle.

Holo’s Germans were eradicated to the very last man with 200 KIA, 137 WIA, and 7 captured. He also lost two Panthers.

Great game, Holo!
 
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holoween

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My forces consisted of a panzergrenadier batalion with 2 infantry companies and the anti tank platoon from the weapons company supported by 2 panthers and a 105mm arty battery.

I expected to face an infantry batalion supported by a platoon of shermans, a 105mm arty battery and 1 or 2 m36.

With Wiltz itself being entirely undefendable i had to set up my defense way ahead of the actual objectives. The central hill provided the biggest challenge to setting up a deense as its loss would inevitably lead to a collapse of my left flank and the loss of the town itself yet there was only little space to deploy troops on the hill so a defense in depth was impossible against an attack focused there. On top of that the deployment zone didnt cover enough of the hill to make a minefield an option to create a shallow but strong defense.
The next issue was the ford on my far right flank. the area leading to and from it could not be covered adequately with at weapons or mines and a push aimed there could potentially get tanks and infantry around the majority of my defenders into their back.


As a result i placed one company on the hill with 1 platoon covering the left and top of the hill one covering the right and one in reserve. 2 trps were placed to allow me to call arty on the hill to make any frontal assault a nightmare and allow me to hold this position as long as possible.
My second company was placed in depth on my right flank with one platoon pushing up the trail from the ford into a reverse slope defense with several teams placed forward on the edge of the forest to delay even further and these would end up costing Nemesis a lot of men to remove. The second platoon was placed firther behind on a second small ridge covering the first platoons flank and froming the second defensive line with the third platon even further back forming my reserve and 3rd line. Crucially i forgot to purchase 2 trps i originally inteded to place on that route which ultimately lost me the battle.
My at guns were placed overwatching the roads leading to Wiltz and the fords with both panthers placed as reserves to respond to any tank pushes.

In the opening minutes of the battle all men reached their assigned positions and awaited the enemy.

With enemy recon teams being pushed up my right flank and troops further in the back also being shifted to the right it seemed like that would be the main effort and some fo my troops on the hil were immediately pushed forward to confirm that.

As soon as the fighting started it became clear that this was going to be a tough fight. Any of my troops that would engage were shortly after met with accurate morter and arty fire which caused heavy casualties especially on the hill where there simply wasnt enough space to spread out my men enough. The artillery and mortars would ultimately cause the vast majority of my casualties.
With the lack of trps on my right flank my arty wuld be slow to respond so i attempted to get my first 2 mortars into the fight which ended in a disaster as the first one was catched by a mortar barrage intended for a different target and the second one consistently refused to get good area fire targets wherever i deployed it and with the threat of light mortars responding within 3 minutes it could never stay set up long enough in one place to have a good efect.
Things continued to go badly as my forward observer calling in the artillery was hit and killed by one of the first shells hitting the hilltop reducing my callin time on non trp targets to 20 min and stopping my already called barrage minutes before the first shells could land. I eventually managed to get my arty involved by calling it on a trp at the hill and adjusting from there but it took half way through the game to arrive and wasted about half the shells on targets it didnt need to engage because it took so long to redirect it.

The one thing going for me was that because Nemesis couldnt push me quickly i was able to recover my mg42s so even as i took casualties my firepower didnt diminish too quickly.
By the time his push came in on the right side my two forward platoons were reduced to barely more than an infantry squad and only heavy mortar fire from my two remaining mortars was saving them from being quickly overrun.
But with my mortars being out of ammo and then destroyed by arty the second attack easily overran them.

My defenders on the hill fared a bit better as the enemy troops attacking them came under flanking fire from my panthers, finally got my arty dropping on them and then got pushed back by my reserves.

At that point i Sent a 2 man recon team up the left flank to give me advanced warning shoule Nemesis ever consider attacking there and then gave up my defense of the left side and moved them into positions on the central hill replacing losses there and allowing some broken teams to move into Wiltz itself for a last stand.

With time and men running low i attempted to hold inside Wiltz to at least keep some vps but at that point i got hit by the retreat bug and my entire force still sitting on the hill in flanking positions should anyone try to get into town started charging down the hill into the open and got cut down. With my last Pantehr being blown up just shortly after and having a handfull of men remaining in the town there was only praying that time would run out before my last men were cut down but with overtime even my last men died.

GG WP
 

Butterblümchen

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As soon as the fighting started it became clear that this was going to be a tough fight. Any of my troops that would engage were shortly after met with accurate morter and arty fire which caused heavy casualties especially on the hill where there simply wasnt enough space to spread out my men enough. The artillery and mortars would ultimately cause the vast majority of my casualties.
[...]Things continued to go badly as my forward observer calling in the artillery was hit and killed by one of the first shells hitting the hilltop [...]
[...]which ended in a disaster as the first one was catched by a mortar barrage intended for a different target [...]
I see you had some problems to protect your men from indirect fire and support weapons. I wonder why (small terrain features can be "saturated" too easily, fortifications don't work *cough*). This puts the defender almost in the same place as the attacker regarding "vulnerability", the only difference is that the defender has the advantage of the ambush/first shot, whose effect is somewhat diminished due to zerg-spotting (the attacker can instantly let all units area-fire at contacts that are only spotted by one of his units...). Artillery/mortars and tanks (who would be much less effective in support if they had to spot targets for themselves!) are overly dominating right now. No fun.

Did you ever consider to buy wooden HMG bunkers? You've seen them in action in our PBEM.
Pros: 1) not too expensive (47 pts); 2) Can't be suppressed (bug?), 3) plenty of ammo, 4) resilient against light artillery and small arms fire from medium distance (350m+).
Cons: 1) horrible concealment, 2) knocked out by AT guns, 3) immobile
 
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holoween

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I see you had some problems to protect your men from indirect fire and support weapons. I wonder why (small terrain features can be "saturated" too easily, fortifications don't work *cough*). This puts the defender almost in the same place as the attacker regarding "vulnerability", the only difference is that the defender has the advantage of the ambush/first shot, whose effect is somewhat diminished due to zerg-spotting (the attacker can instantly let all units area-fire at contacts that are only spotted by one of his units...). Artillery/mortars and tanks (who would be much less effective in support if they had to spot targets for themselves!) are overly dominating right now. No fun.

Did you ever consider to buy wooden HMG bunkers? You've seen them in action in our PBEM.
Pros: 1) not too expensive (47 pts); 2) Can't be suppressed (bug?), 3) plenty of ammo, 4) resilient against light artillery and small arms fire from medium distance (350m+).
Cons: 1) horrible concealment, 2) knocked out by AT guns, 3) immobile
Nemesis bought 3 105mm howitzer batteries and enough trps to cover my entire side of the map. Coupled with elite spotters that meant 60mm mortars hitting in 2 min and 105mm hitting in 4 min with perfect accuracy. that ease and mass of arty was a far bigger problem than anything else seeing as the one place where he took heavy casualties was in a place where i pushed forward into a position where he didnt put a trp.

I didnt consider the Hmg bunkers for this battle but i tested them since and id certainly buy a few. But mainly because they seem quite broken. Its practically impossible to knock them out with even heavy arty and tanks seem to want to only use he against them which also doesnt seem to scratch them and only kills occupants if they get a hit into the bunker.

As far as attack vs defense is concerned id rate the defender as being in a far better position to exploit arty. the attacker has to mass troops and you can funnel them into certain areas and concentrate arty on them. My main failing in this game was actually that i forgot to deploy one trp which if it was there would have allowed me to shell nemesis main axis of attack and force him to either take significant casualties, go far around the flanks or wait out my arty.
 

Butterblümchen

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Thanks for the further explanations. :)

Regarding artillery, fastness/accuracy and protection are two sides of an equation. I think the protection side is the more problematic one. With TRPs and plenty of radios, I don't think that arty reaction is much too fast?

To be fair, I've seen wooden bunkers get knocked out by tanks quite consistently (in our PBEM, your stummel knocked out my bunker). Sure, it takes more shots than CM players are used to, but at some point, a shot will get through. I've also experienced losses of the bunker's HMG (it got destroyed) to concentrated small arms fire. The only thing that seems to be bugged to me is that the bunkers can't be suppressed.

I'm not entirely sure if artillery is much more advantageous for the defender. If the attacker scouts properly and identifies the defender's position before unveiling his own main force, then he can severely damage the defender's position (unless the defender has set up in buildings or uses armored assets) with artillery before committing his own force. That is: If he can get eyes on the position or has a TRP on it, which should be the case in a properly planned attack (I failed at that in my PBEM against Nemesis :whistle:). Due to the lack of fortifications, artillery is as dangerous to the attacker as to the defender. The attacker has to move, which is dangerous. But the defender has to stay stationary and has no means to protect himself which is just as dangerous (more so if the map forces the defender to concentrate very densely, less so if the defensive position is "large" - dispersion is the only protection against artillery). I'd even say that being forced to defend stationary can be more dangerous - the attacker can at least choose when to concentrate and reveal himself.
 
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holoween

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Arty allows the defender to easily shift his focus to wherever required, allows shelling of the attackers jumpoff points and advance lines.
Id say arty is at least as important to the defendas as it is to the attacker and also overall more efective.
 

Nemesis

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Very good discussion.

Artillery is theoretically more dangerous to the attacker because he is moving around outside of cover. However, practically speaking the defender usually cannot buy nearly as much heavy artillery or nearly as many TRPs as the attacker. Most games that I see have the attacker using 105s at most and the defender being limited to 81mm mortars. Holoween shocked me by using 105s as a defender.

Artillery and TRPs are a great way to concentrate combat power. The more you spend on them, the more powerful "network effects" that you get.

The downside is that CM's adjustment of non-TRP fire is horrible and unrealistic as your FO often cannot spot his spotting round impacts even when they are clearly right in front of him. So using artillery without TRPs is way harder than it should be. This is balanced by TRPs being cheaper than they should be and TRPs offering perfect accuracy.

I am not the biggest fan of bunkers because once you punch a single hole in a bunker line, you can get behind them and roll them up. They cost too much to set up a defense in depth where bunkers can cover each other. Sometimes I put smoke down on bunkers, close assault them from behind with grenades, and get my men back out before the smoke disappears. The biggest issue is the obvious one--your bunker can't move (or even rotate) and you are committed to defending the bunker's flanks no matter what. This can make you inflexible tactically and get you killed. Also, if your opponent does not attack you in an area where you have bunkers.....those bunkers will sit idle and you have just wasted those points.
 
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Butterblümchen

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Regarding bunkers, I think they're highly dependent on the terrain. Our experiences may differ here, as I've practically stopped to play those quickbattle maps whose design is still stuck in Normandy. I only play the larger "open" (I would say "normal") ones or scenario maps with manually adjusted deployment zones. On these, you often get "good" lines of fire for bunkers, so that a bunker can cover 400m+ of the front with oblique/enfilade fire and you don't need more than 2-3 bunkers to cover the whole map. Of course bunkers alone might not be sufficient, as stopping the enemy at longer ranges is really a question of the volume of fire. A few sporadic shells here and there are a good addition. The volume of fire simply needs to be high enough not just to cause a few casualties, but to to actually pin down/stop an advancing enemy until the aimed indirect fire hits. Unit quality is a big factor here, as higher quality units are harder to pin. It's true that you need to protect the flanks of the bunkers though. Ideally, the other bunkers should help with this. Just like with TRPs (30 pts), bunkers that are in a wrong position are a waste of points (47 points+ crew). But to be fair this always happens to immobile/slow troops of the defender and even for vehicles, the defender's ability to move and react is highly dependent on terrain. Movement is extremely risky.

The thing I still wonder is how there can be "cover" against artillery (as in "the defender having the advantage of more cover against artillery"). Except for buildings, armored assets and the bunkers, nothing really helps against arty. In planning my defence, enemy artillery always gives me horrible headaches. Spraeading out as far as the maps and my weapon's effective range allow, positioning my troops in unsuspicious positions as long as possible, ... However you look at it, it sucks that you need to improvise so much to evade artillery. Can you give me any tips? It's just incredibly frustrating (and unrealistic) to be entirely at the mercy of the attacker's ability to guess my positions and his availability of arty.
 
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Nemesis

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I think you answered your own question with some good answers. :)
I have my own tactics for defeating artillery and TRP concentrations. But I have to keep those secrets to myself! :) :cheerso:

You sound like you are using a lot of bunkers, armor and artillery. Just remember to bring enough infantry.

Infantry gives you eyes all over the map and gives you local security. It keeps the enemy from just running all over the place and forces your opponent to play conservatively. It is stealthy and deadly in close combat. It is good for recon and cheap so losing an individual unit is no big deal. Your men are almost like ammunition--if you run out of them, the game is over.

A surefire tactic is to strip enemy infantry from its armor. Armor without infantry support will not last long.

I am not sure that I agree that movement is risky. I know it depends on the map but....to not move is ultimately more dangerous. You are trying for local superiority in every firefight. Moving men around is critical. Set up your defenses with an eye toward covered reinforcement and retreat routes.
 

Butterblümchen

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It's true I'm very reluctant to use infantry in a suicidal way, sending it forward as "ammunition" to feed the meat grinder. For me, realism is a big appeal of the series, therefore, I try to do my best to keep my infantry casualties as low as possible. The infantry casualty rate is already way too high in CM.

I'm currently in a PBEM with Bulletpoint and we use a "properly" sized map that features relatively open spaces with LOS longer of 800m and even longer (in realistic terms, 1-1.5km LOS are quite common in gently hilled agricultural landscapes). It will be interesting how this turns out. So far, I think I can say that casuatlies are rather low on both sides, but the main attack has not started yet. You have to re-think many of the tactics that work on the standard (smaller, crowded) quickbattle maps. E.g. infantry depends much more on heavy weapon support, and heavy weapons are better able to hold ground. I will post a summary of the results and my impressions when we're finished.
 
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