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Three Towns (Stafford vs Drifter Man DAR)

Drifter Man

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Of course it can work in some cases, but that's a whole lot of very big shells on a very small space.
It is. If you want a good smoke screen for a large attack, it will cost you points.

I reread the original rules and I am curious why you agreed on only using regular troops with 0 leadership and standard motivation.
I think that the current morale model (casualties provide a huge hit on morale while suppression is just a temporary effect) really favors higher experience troops with high morale (leadership modifiers are kinda useless as they change once the leader gets shot).
It is precisely because high quality troops are favored and well worth the extra points spent on them. This results in a troop quality arms race, in which both sides command armies of superhumans who never break. We wanted to avoid that. I have already played a few battles using either this or "all units Typical" rule and liked it.
 

Drifter Man

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1443 hrs, Turns 108-113. Brief update.
  • Initially, I sent my men too far forward on Hill 36 and lost two teams. One got wiped out by a 2in mortar, another ran into a well thrown grenade. A third team found a sniper at pointblank range. They fired at him with MP40 and MG42 with no effect. The sniper shot back once, hitting the leader and leaving the remaining 3 men under someone with leadership -2. They immediately broke and ran away. A few turns later, I see the sniper crawling into another position under mortar + close range MG fire. His name is James Bond. No matter how much automatic fire the villains throw at him, he never gets hit.
  • The lost panzerschreck on Hill 36 was recovered, so now I have two tubes there again.
  • My opponent used a halftrack with two-man crew and a two-man team as passengers to get behind my troops on Hill 36, but I area fired it with a StuG. After a HE directly hit the halftrack MG, there is only one man left inside and the MG should be destroyed. So, this halftrack should not be a threat anymore.
  • I also see 3in spotting rounds inching towards the Hill. A few turns ago I saw a HQ unit sneaking around Hill 33, and I think that's the unit directing the fire. Again, I area fire the place with a StuG, but the spotting rounds keep coming. Having a 3in mortar barrage falling on my troops on Hill 36 would be painful. I hope it does not happen.
  • I dropped a few more smoke rounds to cover the retreat of the three halftracks that survived. It seems they all made it back. Meanwhile I find a position from where a StuG could have covered against the two Cromwells my opponent used to kill the halftracks during the attack. Too late...
  • Finally, I am sending a StuG to engage the immoblized Cromwell. It is risky as the position of the StuG is quite exposed, but I need more points.
 

Bulletpoint

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It is. If you want a good smoke screen for a large attack, it will cost you points.
Yes, and that's fine. My point was just that in many cases, the way the game delivers the smoke shells means it's more difficult to produce a proper smoke screen than it could be. But onwards with the AAR.
 

Drifter Man

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But onwards with the AAR.
There still are about 40 minutes left in the game, but I do not expect dramatic developments.
Stafford seemed ready to launch an attack for a while, but now he has gone passive again. I may be able to carry out one or two inconsequential attacks, but I think that the AAR is pretty much done :)
 

Bulletpoint

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It is. If you want a good smoke screen for a large attack, it will cost you points.


It is precisely because high quality troops are favored and well worth the extra points spent on them. This results in a troop quality arms race, in which both sides command armies of superhumans who never break. We wanted to avoid that. I have already played a few battles using either this or "all units Typical" rule and liked it.
It also avoids the opposite - where some people will buy the worst quality troops to send on suicide missions.. like in this game where Stafford rushed forward some light armour just to gain intel and annoy DM's advance. You can still do that of course; you just can't get those units extremely cheap.
 

Larsen

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My problem with troop quality is the the way moral is simulated. Casualties give a permanent hit on morale. One squad takes a few casualties and the whole platoon becomes pretty much unusable. I just don't think that makes sense. Suppression is a temporary thing and it lasts for a very short time. Moral hit from casualties is permanent and its effect is huge.
Scouting with armor cars is a different story. That actually might be the right to play. In British formations there are units specifically for that purpose. You send scouts forward, they report back what they see. Those missions don't have to be suicidal and better experience troops scout better as they can spot better.
 

Drifter Man

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My problem with troop quality is the the way moral is simulated. Casualties give a permanent hit on morale. One squad takes a few casualties and the whole platoon becomes pretty much unusable. I just don't think that makes sense. Suppression is a temporary thing and it lasts for a very short time. Moral hit from casualties is permanent and its effect is huge.
Scouting with armor cars is a different story. That actually might be the right to play. In British formations there are units specifically for that purpose. You send scouts forward, they report back what they see. Those missions don't have to be suicidal and better experience troops scout better as they can spot better.
I don't have a problem with the permanent morale hit due to casualties. It seems very "human" to me. It's just something to keep in mind - as soon as your troops are in the fight and start taking losses, their efficiency goes down fast.
It would be good though to have an option to have a small part of your force, say 15%, of better quality. But it is difficult to manage in QB.
 

Drifter Man

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1446 hrs, Turn 114-116. Minor developments.
  • James Bond was killed
  • A British scout team sent from Louvoy towards Wynton was sniped off with a mortar round from 600+ meters
  • In return, 5th Company lost 2 men to a mortar attack
  • The British mortar strike on Hill 36 seems to be proceeding despite my efforts to hit the suspected location of the enemy spotter, but the fire has low intensity and so far, no casualties were taken
  • The StuG sent forward to engage the immobilized Cromwell did not spot the target. Instead, the Cromwell started area firing its position and damaged its tracks. I pulled it out because I don't want to see it immobilized.
Negotiators were sent to the British side and cease fire arrangements are in progress.
 

Larsen

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Good game! You were quite unlucky with those air strikes.

Regarding casualty effect on morale.
It may be realistic that casualties make troops more brittle. But then,
1. the casualties in the platoon affect even the squads that don't know about them
2. if the casualties affect the morale so much then why the games keep going on with sides experiencing 30%, 40%, 60% and more casualties. Heck, a lot of battles go to the last man standing. Make then battles to auto cease fire once sides suffer 20-30% casualties. My problem is that while saying "A" the simulation does not say "B". And if you don't want the battles to end prematurely due to the casualties suffered than there is no need to punish so severely the individual units that take casualties.
3. The consequence of this permanent casualty hit on morale is that it makes mortars in a direct fire mode super effective and MGs very underpowered. It breaks the overall balance.
 

Drifter Man

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Time for a summary. The key element in Stafford's victory was his rapid advance in his opening turns. He took the objective in the middle and most of the key terrain around it practically uncontested. On my part, I relied on a slower, more deliberate approach, and that turned against me. By the time I made full contact, my opponent already had a defensive line and began reinforcing it. Since we both had a lot of points vs the width of the map (10000 points is too much for a 1800 m frontline), he could keep reinforcing it regardless of any casualties I might inflict on him.

The airstrikes were important, but secondary. By disabling or destroying 4 StuGs early in the battle, I was pressed into the defensive with my remaining StuGs. The fact that StuG is better suited for the defensive only reinforced that.

In the second half of the battle I attempted to turn the tables by inserting panzergrenadiers from halftracks on Hill 36, from where they might be able to mount an attack on Louvoy. This did not happen for two reasons. First, I messed up the StuG cover for the operation, so around 2/3 of my assault force was massacred still in the halftracks. Second, I could never take control of Hill 36, because the other side of the hill could be held by an unlimited amount of British infantry.

I had a general problem with the 30% points limit on armor. I wished to bring much more armor into this battle, instead I was left with a massive infantry force for which there was no use. Then, around 1000 points of my armor was wiped out by aircraft.

I looked at the casualties I inflicted on the British force.
  • 150mm: 43 casualties, 1x Carrier, 1x Truck, 1x 6pdr ATG
  • 120mm: 6 casualties
  • 81mm: 103 casualties
  • StuG III: 20 casualties, 2x Firefly, 3x Humber III
  • StuH 42: 14 casualties, 1x Cromwell VIII, 1x Humber III
  • SPW 251/1: 4 casualties ("rogue" bugged troops)
  • Panzerschreck: 5 casualties, 1x Stuart V, 1x Crusader AA
  • HMG: 8 casualties
  • Other infantry: 45 casualties
The 81mm mortars were used mainly for direct fire and did a great job as always. 150mm did fine, but only because I kept adjusting fire to take out specific targets - a method I would prefer to stop using in my future battles. 120mm mortars performed poorly.

German casualties were due to the following causes:
  • Typhoon IB: 33 men, 1x SPW 251/1, 1x SPW 251/2
  • Cromwell IV 71 men, 5x SPW 251/1, 1x SPW 251/2, 1x SPW 251/3
  • Sherman VC Firefly: 22 men, 2x StuG IIIG, 1x SPW 251/1
  • Cromwell VIII: 1 man
  • Crusader III AA: 10 men
  • Stuart V: 7 men
  • Humber III: 3 men
  • M5A1 Halftrack: 2 men, 1x SPW 251/1, 1x SPW 251/3
  • 3in mortars: 12 men
  • 2in mortars: 12 men
  • Snipers: 12 men
  • Other infantry: 28 men (11 Bren, 5 rifle, 9 Sten, 2 grenade, 1 unknown)
  • Friendly fire: 1 man
The total is 214 rather than 216 - I lost count somewhere.

The British force consisted of two Infantry Battalions and elements of an Armoured Regiment. The two battalions had 7 rifle companies, 2 mortar platoons, 1 and 1/2 of a carrier platoon, 1 ATG platoon. Attached were two FO's, 6 Universal Carriers, 5 QLT-TT Trucks, 4 M5A1 halftracks and 2 jeeps. Stafford seemed to prefer attaching individual vehicles to taking advantage of organic transports. The Armoured Regiment had 8 Cromwell IV, 2 Cromwell VIII, 3 Sherman VC Firefly, 2 Stuart V and 2 Crusader AA tanks.
 

Drifter Man

FGM Company Sergeant Major
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Regarding casualty effect on morale.
It may be realistic that casualties make troops more brittle. But then,
1. the casualties in the platoon affect even the squads that don't know about them
2. if the casualties affect the morale so much then why the games keep going on with sides experiencing 30%, 40%, 60% and more casualties. Heck, a lot of battles go to the last man standing. Make then battles to auto cease fire once sides suffer 20-30% casualties. My problem is that while saying "A" the simulation does not say "B". And if you don't want the battles to end prematurely due to the casualties suffered than there is no need to punish so severely the individual units that take casualties.
3. The consequence of this permanent casualty hit on morale is that it makes mortars in a direct fire mode super effective and MGs very underpowered. It breaks the overall balance.
I am happy to play either way - with a limit on troop quality or without it. If my opponent wants troops to be more effective even after taking losses, we can fight like that, too. With Stafford we agreed on this limit.
 

KGBoy

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Congrats on a defeat - on a better defeat than I thought it would be :ROFLMAO:
Yes well another aspect of your tally effect. Low by 2/3 maybe? The last charge probably changed you from a tactical loss to a minor loss. Or maybe you were closer to a draw? For myself I’ve had to change my thinking of what was happening all the way along!
 

KGBoy

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3. The consequence of this permanent casualty hit on morale is that it makes mortars in a direct fire mode super effective and MGs very underpowered. It breaks the overall balance.
An interesting assertion. Should bring it forward on BFC and have a discussion. The useless MG seems a recognized fact (I always thought it was just me).
 

Drifter Man

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Yes well another aspect of your tally effect. Low by 2/3 maybe? The last charge probably changed you from a tactical loss to a minor loss. Or maybe you were closer to a draw? For myself I’ve had to change my thinking of what was happening all the way along!
Hard to say. It probably increased the points difference but it did not change the ratio much.
 

Drifter Man

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I think the power of mortars does not come from morale modelling but from their ability to strike anywhere they see, including on reverse slopes.
This is what changed the balance from big guns to mortars in CM2 vs CM1.
 
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