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Subject: Analysis of the Russian Defense in Scenario 3 rss

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Chad Jensen
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What follows is an analysis of the Russian defense in scenario #3: "Bonfire of the NKVD". This was originally posted in the Combat Commander forum at Consimworld. The author, Robert Leonhard, has graciously allowed me to repost it here. It does help a bit if you have map #3 handy as you read, but it is not necessary. Enjoy!

I'm enjoying this game because it reminds me of my many years training in the Army at the National Training Center and other locations, as well as actual combat. This game adds a lot to the science of simulation by introducing realistic events and the "friction" of the battlefield. Whenever I play, I love the way the card flow and random events frustrate the "best laid plans" of either side. Very realistic, in my experience. Indeed, the mark of a good officer is his ability to deal with the unexpected setback or opportunity.

Here I'm going to share an analysis I did of the Russian defense in Scenario 3. Not sure if that interests anyone, but I like that scenario a lot. If the Russian plays well, it can be very well balanced. After watching another Russian player get trounced, I decided to analyze it using the analysis techniques we use in Army tactical estimates and planning. The analysis led me to a recommended course of action that I will share, for what it's worth.

Mission

This scenario revolves around one key issue: defending or (for the Germans) taking the command post (CP) at N5 (aka Objective 5). Because the pre-selected objective chits put such a high premium on the CP, its fate alone decides the scenario. Technically, the Germans could win without taking the CP by eliminating virtually the entire Russian force and taking the other four objectives (each worth 1 point), but this is an unlikely outcome. Therefore, the Russian defense should focus on retaining control of the CP as the major objective, with force protection a distant second. As for the other four objectives ... forget ‘em.

Enemy

The German force is powerful but small. The most important thing to note about them is that they out-range the Russian force considerably. They have two good leaders, but if they are neutralized, the German force becomes much harder to maneuver. They also have a heavy machine gun that can range the entire battlefield, but it takes a while to get it into position to be useful…unless, that is, an inept Russian commander offers the Germans easy targets. The German commander must take the Russian CP, and this will undoubtedly be his main focus throughout the fight. The question is: how can he take it? If the Russian commander deploys CPT Egorov, a squad, and the medium machine gun in the CP (my recommended course of action), then the German has his work cut out for him. With Egorov in the CP, it will be tough to break the Russians with firepower alone. Even if they do break, they will recover fairly easily. Therefore, the Germans’ most reliable course of action will be to maneuver well-led squads to the CP and take it by assault. It is this assumption that will drive our deployment: how to delay, disrupt, and defeat the German assault on the CP.

Terrain

We will now perform an analysis of the terrain, using methods employed by the US Army and Marines. The key to this analysis is to understand the Germans’ challenge: they must traverse the battlefield from one end to the other and then close with and seize the Russian CP by assault.

Obstacles There is no “no-go” terrain on the battlefield. That is, given enough time, the German attackers can go anywhere. There is, however, an abundance of “slow-go” terrain, including woods, buildings, and, most significantly, the wire obstacles employed by the Russians. As the battle unfolds, of course, there may be additional obstacles — fire, mines, more wire — but the Russian commander cannot depend on these. Instead, one of his most important decisions will be how to place the wire.

Avenues of Approach

Since there is no definite obstacle to movement, the avenues of approach are also not clear-cut. Although there are three basic avenues that the Germans can use to advance, they blend with each other, and in the course of a battle, the attackers could switch from one to another, although it’s not easy to do that due to enemy fire and time constraints.

The first avenue of approach is the Germans’ right flank. This is a high-speed avenue of approach, as it traverses a lot of clear terrain, open fields, and roads. It has the advantage of allowing the Germans a rapid advance to within 150 meters of the CP, and it also leads naturally to the best assault position: hex N7. The disadvantage to this avenue is its vulnerability to Russian fires along the route. This may or may not be an issue, depending on the Russians’ deployment. If the Russian commander uses my recommended course of action, he will not place any combat power to disrupt the Germans along this avenue of approach. The greater disadvantage to the right flank avenue of approach is that if the L7-M7-N7 terrain is properly defended, the Germans will face a challenging Russian defense in the woods while maneuvering across open terrain—never a happy circumstance.

The second avenue of approach follows a route down the center of the battlefield: stepping off in or near C6 and proceeding to the edge of the woods and then skirting the wood line toward the road at J4 and thence to the CP. If the Russians defends along this route, the Germans will tend to have the upper hand, especially if they can bring the heavy machine gun into the fight. However, once they reach the vicinity of the road, they still have the unhappy prospect of assaulting the CP from a position of little cover.

The third avenue of approach is along the Germans’ left flank…i.e., through the woods. This approach offers maximum cover from enemy fire, but it is slow and, if the Russians defend properly, it can bog down near Objectives 1 and 2. At first glance, an advance through heavily wooded terrain seems ideal for a dismounted attacker, but this first impression is flawed. Since the Germans enjoy generally greater firepower and range than the Russians, they do not require as much protection as they might normally. Further, close terrains serves as a sort of “range equalizer” by denying long-range shots. Hence, by advancing through the woods, the Germans nullify their own range advantage and give the Russians potential opportunities to force them into melees. I believe that under most circumstances, the Germans’ best avenue of approach is on their right flank.

Cover and Concealment

As discussed above, the best cover is found in the heavily wooded terrain on the Germans’ left flank. However, they also can enjoy considerable concealment along the open right flank, depending on the Russians’ deployment. If the medium machine gun is deployed in the CP, it can’t see much until the German reaches mid-field. Next to the L7-M7-N7 woods lies Objective 4, a 60-meter long building. It is an interesting structure in this battle, because from one end of it, you have a clear LOS to the CP, while the other end of the building is hidden from the CP and immediately adjacent to the woods in L7. The building in K7 plays into the situation around the L7 woods, too, because it has a clear LOS to L7.

Observation From the Russian CP

Captain Egorov and his mates can see the woods at H7 and J6—both likely positions for the German heavy machine gun. They can also see the building at J7 clearly. On the other side of the battlefield, they can see the woods at L3, J4, and J5, but all these LOSs are hindered. Closer in, they can see the wooded assault positions at M7 and N7, and on the edge of the battlefield, they can see 07 and 08. All these LOSs are important for setting up the Russian defense. In brief, each one of these positions is a good candidate for a wire obstacle.

Key Terrain

The most decisive piece of terrain is Objective 5, the Russian CP at N5. Its capture or defense basically decides the outcome of the scenario. Objective 4 is key terrain, because it includes a clear LOS to the CP at a range from which German squads can fire. It also is key because it makes a good assault position against the L7-M7-N7 woods. The building at K-10 is key terrain, because it provides a firing position against those same woods. The L7 woods complex is key terrain, because it can serve as an assault position against the CP. The wooded position at H7 is probably the best spot for the German heavy machine gun, because it offers an unobstructed LOS to the CP. Finally, the woods at H2, I1, I2, I3, J2, K2, and K3 are key, because if the Russian can occupy them with troops and/or wire, it will slow the German assault through the woods.

Troops

The Russian force has mass, but not very much capability at the squad level. The most important characteristic of the squads is their poor range. Since they can fire at half the distance of the Germans, the Russian commander must avoid exposing them to German fire at more than two hex (60 meter) range if possible. For this reason, a defensive line at mid-field is inadvisable. The Russian force has mass can afford losses better than the Germans. Whenever a squad has the opportunity to close assault the Germans, it should do it. “When in doubt about what to do, go kill something” should be the Russian motto at the squad level. The strongest potential for the Russians is to defend the CP with Egorov, a squad, and the medium machine gun. The captain’s command influence turns the medium machine gun into a powerful weapon that can make a German advance down the center a tough challenge. The single green team is next to worthless as a component of the main defense, but it can be placed close to the German line of departure in the woods and can be activated later to grab Objective 3.

Time

As the defender, the Russian wants time to go by quickly. One of the not-so-obvious ways he can accomplish this is by using the medium machine gun to fire at anything and everything it sees. Also, the Russian plan for wire emplacement should aim at delaying the moves that the German has to make to take the CP. While the Russian has no hope of stopping the German attack, he can effectively slow it down, disrupt it, distract it, and delay it through an artful combination of obstacles and key defensive positions.

Course of Action Development

This brings us to my recommended course of action for the Russian defense. The theme of this defense is not to attempt a forward or mid-field defense, but rather to defend the CP directly. Further, we are not trying to stop the German or defeat him through fires, but rather we are seeking to delay and disrupt him so that he runs out of time or else exposes his forces to deadly combinations in his haste.

As noted above, Captain Egorov is in the CP with a militia squad and the medium machine gun. Since we anticipate the Germans most likely avenue of approach is along the Germans’ right flank (the Russians’ left flank), we need to build a defense in or around the L7 woods/Objective 4 complex.

The question is: How?

At first, the temptation is to defend Objective 4 directly, but this is a mistake. German firepower can scatter any Russian troops there or worse—bypass them. In the case of the L7 woods complex, less is more. Rather than placing a lot of troops there, it’s best to build one solid position and supplement it with wire obstacles. The best hex to defend directly is L7. It offers cover, and it cannot be engaged with German firepower until/unless the Germans take K8 and/or K10. However, it stands in the path of any German force trying to get into M7 or N7 for an assault on the CP. Therefore, we place Sergeant Maisky, a squad, and the light machine gun there. At our first opportunity, we will dig in there, too. The key to this defense is to emplace wire obstacles in every location the German needs to occupy to overturn the defenses in L7 and the CP. Hence, we put wire in the following locations: K10, K8, J7, M7, N7, O8, and H7. This means that if the Germans want to take out the L7 defenses, they must either enter the wire obstacles or approach the position through clear terrain—both unhappy choices.

On the other side of the battlefield, we put Corporal Gordov and most of the infantry squads in the woods in/around Objectives 1 and 2 and hexes I1 and I2. Wire obstacles at G1 through G4 will slow down the German advance through the woods and expose them to the rifle fire of the Russian squads. As mentioned above, the woods help to nullify the Germans’ range advantage, so the Russian troops there are at their best. The last wire obstacle can go in I4, and the remaining squads in the woods at K3, N4, L1, L2, and perhaps in the fields near the CP. If the German takes the expected avenue of approach on the Russian left, the Russian commander should direct one or more squads to reinforce the left flank during the battle. This can be a difficult move in the middle of a fight, particularly if the Germans can manage to bring their heavy machine gun into the fight. Nevertheless, use any extra movement opportunities to bring a squad or two over to reinforce the L7 woods complex if you can. A great location is hex K7. Even though it is open terrain, it is often shielded from German fire if the Germans are using the expected approach. From K7, the Russian squad can execute an advance into Objective 4 alone or sometimes in conjunction with the Russians in L7 (although I don’t recommend using them for assaults unless the German force is almost spent.) If the Germans advance down the center or on the Russian right flank, the L7 defenders will be well placed to fire with the light machine gun and perhaps even with the squad there (whose range is 4 with Sergeant Maisky.)

If you are familiar with modern tactical concepts, you might recognize these defensive tactics as a classic “reverse slope” defense. In a reverse slope defense, the defenders place weapons and forces in positions that the approaching enemy cannot see or engage until they close to short range. The advantage of a reverse slope defense is that it serves to nullify the attackers’ range advantage. The disadvantage is that the attacker has a free ride as they advance across the first half of the battlefield quickly. But with the Russians’ short range capability and their advantage in mass, the reverse slope defense is the way to go. Again, don’t entertain any ideas that this defense will stop the Germans cold. It won’t. But it has the potential for so disrupting him that the staff officers in the CP can finish burning the secret papers there and pull off a victory by the time the game ends.

Conclusion

This defense will challenge the Germans by denying them the best jump-off positions for an assault on the CP. It will tend to force them into open terrain and expose them to possible close assaults. As always in CC:E, nothing is for certain. Those delightful random events and card draws will make every fight different, but this Russian defense should prove a solid tactic for success.

--Robert Leonhard
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Will Green
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Beautiful tactical doctrine! I only wish I had read this before my battle, as the Germans, against a well defended Russian battlefield...

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J Mathews
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This is a very well-written article and made me think about some stuff. That being said, there are some parts that I disagree with, concerning the game. I don't know enough to disagree with the military stuff, and it all sounds good. That being said, I want to go through how I would assault this set up, and some thoughts as to how to make it better.

How I'd Assault as the Germans
First off, I always set up the Germans sort of bunched in the middle of my side with my HMG stack on my right. It works the same way that a bunch formation does in football in allowing me flexibility to go left right or center without telling my opponent where I'm going. So with my units bunching in the middle, this map gives me a great opportunity to advance on Russian positions quickly. Given a good draw of Move cards, I could get into a good position to start an assault before the first Time is drawn.

My HMG stack would run down and set up in I6. From there, I could shoot up Maisky's position in L7 without much problem. And my superior firepower would decimate that position pretty quickly. However, I would still need to figure out a way to assault the CP. My other leader, with the group of squads could run down the tree line, getting to I5 or so without even being fired at. From there you need to start getting careful, but you could jump into the trees around K4/L3 and start attacking the leaderless units there. Then you can run around to the N4 side, exit some units and set up for your assault on N4.

The reason for this is that I don't fear Egerov's MMG. Too many of the fire lanes are choked with brush, giving it a maximum 6 FP attack at range 4 or less . With my guys at 7 Morale in the clear, that's Advantage Me. I also don't fear Maisky, who has a 7 FP at a range of 3 or less, above that it's a 4 FP. Without some fancy rolling, that's not going to stop my units. So wherever I go, the Russians will have a difficult time getting enough fire on me to drastically stop me. Conversely, anywhere my HMG goes, Militia die. So while the question of how to assault N4 is in quesion, the point is that I can get down there with time on my side to get a lucky roll, and break, than Rout the MMG out of the building, or anything else I can spot.

Improvements to the Russian set up
In general, I really like the areas the leaders are in and the thought behind the set up, but the devil's in the details.

Mission
Here is the first place that I depart from the OP. Protecting the CP is a secondary priority in my opinion. The most important thing in this scenario is to delay the German advance. Most games of this scenario I have played have ended through Time. So, as the Russians, your most important job is to delay the Germans long enough to Time the game out. If the Germans have enough time to assault when they are ready and have the best batch of cards, bad things can happen. If you can delay the Germans long enough that they must rush their assault, or run out of time before they can assault, then your job is done. In general, tossing Egerov, a Militia Squad, and the Green Team in N5 is sufficient defense for N5. It is the Time that is most important.

Avenues of Approach
In my opinion, the Russian set up must make the Germans choose right or left. From a Russian POV, I want the Germans to come through the forest because it takes more time and requires more Move cards and I have a lot of Advances to break or kill them one-by-one. It also is a must to prevent the Germans from being able to find a good place to put the HMG and fire from cover.

Breaking down the defenses on each side, you need to guard the forest with units and be able to put Fire on the Germans moving on the open side. And guarding the center means being able to react quickly to moves that the Germans do. While it's the hardest approach to guard against, it's also the most difficult one to assault from.

Key Terrain
Other than the CP, there are two things to pay attention to on this map of great importance. First is where the HMG can be placed, in cover, to hurt the Russians. The second is the building Obj #4. This is because you can need to have someone in cover to shoot at the German advance.

Course of Action Development
The first thing to do is to set your defenses up according to your guns and leaders. This means Egerov in N5, Maisky in J7, and Gordov in I2, all with squads and the Green Team with Egorov. The MMG goes with a squad in J7 with Maisky so that the Germans think twice before running down that flank. The LMG goes in N5 with Egorov's squad. Squads in I1, J1, and J2 complete Gordov's force. I support a forward, and sacraficial, placement of two Squads forward of the main defense in G2 and H3. Basically playing as Ambushers of Opportunity. Usually I can pick off a German Squad or two through Advances and Ambushes. Otherwise, it forces them to deal with someone sooner in the forest and takes more time. The one on H3 can serve as a small speed bump guard for a central assault. However, it is understood that those are ahead of the Wire line and will die during the scenario. if not, use them as sinks for extra Move orders and eventually exit them if the Germans go somewhere else. Remaining Militia go in K8 and M7 as reinforcements and a body to slow down the Germans.

Wire placement is a bit more variable, depending on the German setup. but in my mind, the point of the wire is to push the Germans into the forest. The only Wire I set up in the forest is along the road H1, H2, I3, and I4 so that I can shoot at Germans as they try to cross the road. 3 Wire get placed on D7, D9, and D10 to prevent HMG fire from those positions. The next Wire gets placed from H7-H10 for similar reasons. No HMG and anything that tries to push through gets shot. I6 is the last place for the Wire because I don't want the HMG setting up shop there. So they are down to H6 and J5, and neither of those are really that good places to stop at. J5 can be attacked from many angles and H6can only attack J7. Retreating to K8 forces more German movement to be able to attack again. And, if they are aiming for H6, you might be able to hold a Hidden Wire card to fill the proverbial hole. Happens sometimes, but not often, for me.

Conclusion
My goal for this scenario is force the Germans to make choices and take time to assault the CP. I think that this set up achieves this. A forest assault must fight through the wire and deal with a bunch of troops along the way. An assault down the right flank is either funnelled into the center or must go through wire under fire from the MMG. And a central assault is dealt with through a Move/Advance card or two that would shift Gordov to face the road from the forest side. Obviously, no plan lasts past the turning of the first card, but this is my take on the set up here. I am not trying to say that the OP is wrong, but this is more of how I look at the same set up and come up with different conclusions.
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Chad Jensen
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Nice counterpoint, Jon. It's always interesting seeing the varied ways folks approach the scenario situations in CC.
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Ethan McKinney
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For those not familiar with him, Robert Leonhard is not "just some wargamer." He is one of the leading theorists of the Maneuver Warfare school. Amazon.com list
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J Mathews
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Oh, I didn't know that. Not that changes my post any. It's just kind of interesting the many people you can 'meet' online. As an aside, I've found it interesting, in my ftf games, the differences in approach that board gamers, ex-military, and non-ex-military war gamers that I've played with take. Board gamers seem to be a bit more gamey (meaning trying to win the game rather thanplaying like it's a 'real' situation).
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David desJardins
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EventHorizon wrote:
I support a forward, and sacraficial, placement of two Squads forward of the main defense in G2 and H3. Basically playing as Ambushers of Opportunity. Usually I can pick off a German Squad or two through Advances and Ambushes.


I think it should be quite unusual that you manage to kill anything with a lone, leaderless squad. It's very hard for the defender to have two Ambushes, because you need to use your Fire cards for opportunity fire at the enemy forces as they move, and you need to keep cycling your hand. While the attacker, with a larger hand capacity and less need to fire, can usually accumulate Ambushes.

I don't disagree with putting some units up there, I just don't think they can be as effective as you say.

Quote:
Wire get placed on D7, D9, and D10 to prevent HMG fire from those positions.


Why do you care about D7? What is he going to shoot at, from there?
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J Mathews
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From D7 they can shoot into Objective 5. While it might not do much normally (FP of 7 once everything is taken into account), I had some outlier rolls that hurt me the first few times I played this scenario as Defender. I don't have a better place to put the last wire, so I keep myself pot-shot free from there.

The two leader-less squads aren't horribly effective at killing stuff. Out of the 5 times I've played as defender with that set up, I've killed 2 Squads once and 1 Squad twice. Of course small sample size and all that, I don't find it that difficult to hold onto Ambushes at that point in the game. If someone is going through the forest, they will have used their Move cards on the Forest group. That means not as much Op Firing as normal. And if I know that they are coming, why would I cycle Ambushes and Advances out of my hand? Why wouldn't I stockpile those and cycle the Moves, Artillery, and Routs out? I don't think that the problem is as pronounced in this instance as you are making it. At least that has been my experience.

That being said, even if they don't kill anyone, they are still an obstacle that the German player must deal with. Even if the Germans go through them like tissue paper, the Germans have used cards, taken time and actions, and paused the advance a bit. That's as effective as they need to be. I didn't say the were to be anything more than speed bumps that can take something out. At least 3 of the 5 times I've done it. YMMV.
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David desJardins
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EventHorizon wrote:
From D7 they can shoot into Objective 5. While it might not do much normally (FP of 7 once everything is taken into account), I had some outlier rolls that hurt me the first few times I played this scenario as Defender. I don't have a better place to put the last wire, so I keep myself pot-shot free from there.


I think I'd be happy if the Germans are burning up time with ineffective potshots at N5. If they are going to fire through the brush, wouldn't they be better off going after your MMG in J7? They can assemble a substantial firegroup in E5/E6/F5/G6, for better shots, against a more vulnerable leader and more valuable target.

You didn't mention the clear LOS from F6 to J7. That might be a useful place to put wire. H6 is also a useful hex for the Germans. Wire in D8 is also pretty useful, if the Germans set up some units in the corner, just because it slows them down in moving out from there.

Quote:
I don't find it that difficult to hold onto Ambushes at that point in the game. If someone is going through the forest, they will have used their Move cards on the Forest group. That means not as much Op Firing as normal.


I guess this depends on the attacker's style. My preference in scenarios like this is to cycle quickly and play lots of Moves, this forces you to respond with lots of Fire cards. One reason is specifically to force the defender to constantly be emptying his hand, so that (1) you get a better chance to catch him with no Fire cards at all, and (2) you deprive him of the ability to accumulate Fire cards, and then choose to play others while saving the Fire/Ambushes.

I am not criticizing your approach, I think it is well thought out, although I personally still prefer to defend N5 most strongly, with a bunch of close-in wire.
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J Mathews
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You're correct in that a lot of this seems to be a stayle. Actually, it seems to be a questions of your main goal as Russian defender. Are you defending N5 or are you stalling the Germans? In my games, I try for stalling so the Wire can be used to better effect away from N5. But, then again, my defense isn't centered around N5.

The one time I lost with this defense, the Germans decided not to send people through the forest and was able to clear out Bldg 4 through a Sniper event that broke the MMG and allowed quick Moves down their right side and past Ob 4 (I didn't have a Recover for a few turns). With that done, I was toast as he had most of his forces one the opposite side of all my forces.

But, in general, I have been able to stall long enough to get a victory. The one time I played as Germans against someone who heavily defended N5, I was able to get enough firepower against the building to take out the units, not Egerov, and force a surrender. I really don't like the MMG in N5 because it is too easy for the Germans to avoid the Fire arcs and doesn't stop them from Moving into position early in the game and squeezing the Russians, or exiting Squads over and over.

I am at work and don't have the map, or I would look at the suggested Fire attacks from the hexes. This defense has undergone changes every time I play, so I am very open to people deconstructing it so that I can make it better.
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Colin Lewis
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EventHorizon wrote:
I am at work and don't have the map, or I would look at the suggested Fire attacks from the hexes.


I'm shocked that people are spending work time thinking and talking about CC.

Now, if I could just find a way to make my work machine check my doorstep for CC:M and Battlepack #1, the day would go by much faster, and I wouldn't have to refresh my browser so much.
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David desJardins
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EventHorizon wrote:
I am at work and don't have the map, or I would look at the suggested Fire attacks from the hexes.


http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/170464
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J Mathews
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I think I'd be happy if the Germans are burning up time with ineffective potshots at N5. If they are going to fire through the brush, wouldn't they be better off going after your MMG in J7? They can assemble a substantial firegroup in E5/E6/F5/G6, for better shots, against a more vulnerable leader and more valuable target.

You didn't mention the clear LOS from F6 to J7. That might be a useful place to put wire. H6 is also a useful hex for the Germans. Wire in D8 is also pretty useful, if the Germans set up some units in the corner, just because it slows them down in moving out from there.

Thanks for the map link. I didn't think to look it up there.

I was happy with the ineffective potshots until they connected with an effective Rout a turn later (again, no Recover). Outliers, I know, but it didn't make my job any easier.

The E5/E6/F5/G6 Fire group is a hard one to pull off effectively because you are Moving people into the open into lightly covered or clear hexes. And if I have an Advance or Move, I can get my guys out of sight easily, if necessary. It opens up the center a bit, but you would still need to deal with the MMG and the right side is still covered.

If F6 is clear, then I can shoot when they Move there. Or again, a retreat to K8 is available.

I like leaving D8 and H6 open. I can't hit D8 with the MMG (IIRC), so the Wire is wasted (and they can't Fire from there and hit anything either). Hidden Mines there was good one game, but not reliable I want the Germans to turn and come through H6. I can shoot them in low Cover without Hinderance. And I can still retreat into K8, if necessary (done that w/ Advance to buy time for a Recover).

Ultimately, with this scenario, it is hard for the Germans to be advancing on both flanks at the same time. So you have the flexibility to adjust your defense to address the current challenge. You tend to get enough Advances to be able to pull your stuff out of the way, if necessary, and the Defender Only cards can be used to great effect here.

Again, I think that it is a matter of personal preference to guard N5 or try to stall the advance. I don't really like giving up more than half of the board in this scenario because I feel that running Time is a more effective way to win this than turtling. That's this scenario though.
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David desJardins
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EventHorizon wrote:
The E5/E6/F5/G6 Fire group is a hard one to pull off effectively because you are Moving people into the open into lightly covered or clear hexes.


Well, I'm protected by the brush. You have 5 FP into G6, and 4 FP into the other hexes. Not very scary.

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I like leaving D8 and H6 open. I can't hit D8 with the MMG (IIRC), so the Wire is wasted (and they can't Fire from there and hit anything either).


That wire is certainly not "wasted", because it slows the German advance, a lot. A unit that starts in E9, for example, can move D8-E8-F7. Then the next turn it can move again, e.g., F6-F5. If you shift the wire from D7 to D8, then the same unit can only move C8-D7 on the first turn, and D7-E7 on the second turn. Essentially, the German player has lost one entire round of movement.

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I don't really like giving up more than half of the board in this scenario because I feel that running Time is a more effective way to win this than turtling.


I don't really think that guarding N5 means giving up half the board.
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J Mathews
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It does in the OP's analysis, and in the other opponent that did that that I've seen. By placing the MMG in N5, you are giving up at least half of the map because the fire power and firing lanes aren't sufficient to stall a German advance down their right side or the center. I'm not saying that you should leave N5 empty, but from the set ups I've seen on this scenario, people that focus their wire and defenses around N5 end up paying for that by yielding a lot of territory to the Germans. Those that focus on stalling have no fallback position if it doesn't work but engage the Germans much sooner. Pick your poison.

Good point on D8. I was thinking just from the terms of being able to fire at those stuck in wire and denying a covered place for Germans firing from. Gives me something to think about and try later. A mobile HMG is a scary thing.

As for E5/E6/F5/G6, I'm not concerned about the group there either, so we're even. I'll Op Fire as you Move into it and count once everyone gets in position and if it's too much, I'll move to K8 and force you to do something else. -shrug-
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Sean McCormick
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First off, this post is tremendous, particularly the OP. Looking over the battle plan, it does exactly what it should- maximizes the strengths of the defender and minimize the advantages of the attacker. It never occurred to me to put wire in buildings- for some reason I assumed it wasn't possible to do so, but clearly you can. The wire effectively negates German firepower at nearly every potential jump off point, as you can't fire weapons when you are in wire. So putting wire in objective four, for instance, is arguably more effective than trying to defend the buildings when your ultimate objective is to retain objective five. The goal of hampering German HMG placement is paramount, and with that in mind, I would consider just one alteration in initial deployment- move the wire in G1 to I6. The I6 position is troubling because an HMG position placed there could both reduce the defense in L7 and fire directly on the command post, so you want to remove that possibility. And opening up a gap in the wire may actually benefit the defenders, as it causes any German left wing thrust to flow into a kill zone at H1.

Anyway, I love this, and I'd like to see similar breakdowns for other scenarios.
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Sean McCormick
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elbmc1969 wrote:
For those not familiar with him, Robert Leonhard is not "just some wargamer." He is one of the leading theorists of the Maneuver Warfare school. Amazon.com list


And highly readable at that. The Art of Maneuver is a terrific book.
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Sean McCormick
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I like the bunch formation concept as a response to the defense presented in the OP. Leonhard talks in his books about the power of displacing enemy combat power through maneuver rather than through the application of firepower (i.e. you don't need to kill everything on the board to dominate it). My approach to this set up would be to create a firebase around the HMG and two of the LMGs and rush the middle of the board with the idea of setting up the HMG in F6 while the maneuver element swings right with the intention of storming the Russian position at L7. The firelane established by the HMG effectively dislocates the majority of the Russian combat power by pinning them in the woods- in order to get into the fight, they need to fall back through the woods and then swing south using L3 for cover from the HMG fire. Normally as the Germans you don't want to trade squad for squad, but you would be more than happy going into melee at L7 to wipe out the position even if it costs you a squad or a team. It's true that you still have to cross some open ground to finish off the command post, but you can maneuver either a LMG or the HMG into J5 for close support and collect a couple of smoke grenades to protect you as you jump off from L7 and I think you'd be fine.
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Lorentz Teigen
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My main diference in tactic (the only game as a defender) is mainly the treat of Volountary exit.

This means i set up abouth the same troops as mentioned in the main post on the german left flank, but i put them in e2 f2 f3. And i put one squad in D10. (uses the team with Egorow to boost final stage fp)

The reason behind this is to force the German to use more time and movements at the start without getting mutch forward motion. If Germans put up forces on their left flank i can use my first move to pull back some, if they got few forces there i threaten to do a VE. Same with the squad at D10. I threatens a VE or to take VP 3 afther the germans have left. (I see the reasoning of using a team here instead as its one less vp to lose though)

I have only played as the attacker one time. I am next to vl5 now and we are at timetrack 6. So its a close call with noe certainities.

Thanks for some very good posts folks
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