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Subject: Once more to Saint Mihiel rss

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John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Great War Commander

Liam came round today and we played another Great War Commander random scenario. The setting was St Mihiel once again, and this time my Landwehr detachment were defending against Liam's Marine rifle detachment: elite troops against green troops, an auspicious start for Liam. After last time, my main concern was to ensure that I didn't set up in range and LOS of the mighty firepower Liam's marines could bring to bear from their startline. I managed that much at least. With no units or weapons ranging on his setup area, Liam was able to deploy his troops in a compact group in the open ground.
Setup: the Germans are in position to await the Americans coming forward onto their guns

Liam started the game with a FS10 artillery strike on my units on my right. His drift was perfect, as were his attack rolls, which reduced my units' terrain to shellholes, which, with the road penalty, offered precisely no cover. Hptm Bertin, my highest ranking leader, broke, and failed his first (and only) rally check. He was eliminated soon thereafter, along with his units. With the threat of Bertin's HMG lifted, Liam was free to manoeuvre pretty much as he wished in the centre, a freedom that was increased when he played Engineering Works to clear a path through my wire.
End: the Americans dominate the village while the Germans haven't moved from their startline

I wasn't completely without options, and managed to land, and to correct, my own standing/creeping barrage, as well as launch some fire attacks. But my artillery was only FS8, so wasn't doing much, even against units in the open; and I could only fire a lone platoon w/LMG, so they weren't doing much either. Liam, meanwhile, had manoeuvred his detachment into optimum firing positions, and soon brought down fire to eliminate most of what remained of Bertin's company.

The end, when it came, was via melee: Liam advanced into three melees, and his victory in the second one was enough to force my surrender on time 2.

Loser's lesson learned: just put your best leader and his HMG in the best terrain available in his position.

Afterthoughts
This game wasn't even close. My force selection - based on where I wanted to set up - was OK, but my setup was ill-considered. Fully half of my force saw no action at all except when they were targetted by the enemy. I'm not sure what else I could've done with this company: they'd've been eviscerated by American fire if they'd set up in positions to fire on the American startline. In this regard, I think I misused my wire again; it should've been placed to encourage Liam to come at my company in the centre, leaving my flanking company to fire at his units as they came forward.
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Mayor Jim
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Fort Wright
Kentucky
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Nice report...thank you.
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Charles "Chick" Lewis
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Tujunga
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These AARs are really GREAT, John.

Please continue your very interesting series !

Chick
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John McLintock
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Thanks guys.

Appreciation's great and all, but these AAR's still haven't drummed home the lessons they're supposed to. Take today's fiasco with my wire placement: putting it right where I wanted Liam to come, still a common mistake, and a loser's lesson supposedly learned way back in July, in the first of my current season of CC AARs. This, and other things, got me to thinking, and I devised an alternative set up.

This set up follows three principles:
1. Don't set up in range and LOS of big fire groups.
2. Don't set up so that a spotter can direct a standing barrage onto your key positions.
3. Use wire to prohibit movement.

The company at the top of the map (which was actually my right flank in the game) is mostly self explanatory. It has the highest ranking leader because he's in the better position to be an artillery spotter. The platoon w/LMG is in a position with poorer cover, but it's worth it for an extra piece firing at the centre. I did consider moving the platoon at the front to the rear, but it turned out that both possible hexes would be in LOS of the enemy FAO, thus opening up nice barrage possibilities.

This position's weaknessess are: the HMG nest can be hit with a standing barrage from the FAO by targetting the adjacent hex; at range 4 a hit is likely, leaving drift in the lap of the gods, but the barrage would be corrected on target with a maximum of two artillery request orders. With the marine rifle platoons' range of 6, it is possible for the Americans to build a reasonable firegroup against this position on their startline. It would only take an Advance order to boost that firegroup at little risk.

The company in the centre is there to hold an objective. Those positions are the only ones in and around that objective that aren't in LOS of the enemy FAO. The weaknesses here are those traditional to the defender when the fighting gets up close and personal: the attacker's hand of six versus the defender's hand of four; and overstacking melee.

That leaves the last platoon, sitting off by itself. It should be in the centre, but there's nowhere to put it that doesn't open up barrage opportunities, so it had to go somewhere else. It's positioned on an objective to keep it in coherence.

Now, I don't know if this is a good set up. I couldn't unless I tried it out. But it's the set up I got when I took three lessons I've learned in recent months, and applied them to the scenario I played this morning. As a solution to a tactical problem, it's a bit counter-intuitive. What do people think about it? Have I gone way off beam with these principles? Or is their application here just wrong?
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Robert DeVere
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South Carolina
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This is great! I can't wait for the next installment of AAR's.
I am really enjoying the mental process.

Cheers
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