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Author Topic: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine  (Read 6827 times)

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Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2017, 08:18:37 PM »
I don't know if that is any less complicated, but it seems like a good idea. One possible issue is that I think CM limits designers to 8 VLs, although I don't have a rule book handy.

Ha, ha  ;D, yeah I meant to mention that in my post...it may not be less complicated, but I think it does a decent job reflecting different battlefield situations. I see nothing wrong with your idea other than I personally would dread trying to count all of my pixetruppen post battle. Do you know of an easy way to do this?

You bring up a great point! i was under the assumption that there was no hard limit to the number of VL's, and you are correct there is a limit of 8. HOWEVER, from what I understand after reading the CM 3.0 engine manual it appears that there is no limit to the number of spots assigned to an objective. It states:

"Note: there are no limitations in how you “paint” the objective
area. You can create a single large area, two
or more independent ones, or even sprinkle small
spots all over the map
. Keep in mind that points for
a specific objective are only awarded once and that
10 separate spots for a single objective means that
the player must pay attention to ALL 10 spots, not
just one. If the mission is to destroy these areas,
for example, that means all 10 must be destroyed
in order for the player to get points. This can be
difficult to effectively communicate to the player,
so be careful when spreading things out. Therefore,
generally it is better to make separate objectives for
non-contiguous goals."

So we can have all 30 spots as 1 Objective if we want, because CM isn't telling us who won or lost the battle. We are simply using their tools to create our own determination on battle outcomes. Does this make sense? Anyone have a different understanding of this? Further thoughts?

But anysolution will have to be a balance between complexity and workability. We need to keep in mind that we definitely want to design for effect here; what matters is that the final result in the op layer makes sense, no matter how we come to that result,
I couldn't agree more!  :) That is a core tenet of my entire process.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 08:20:17 PM by choppinlt »

Offline Christian Knudsen

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2017, 11:01:18 PM »
Ha, ha  ;D, yeah I meant to mention that in my post...it may not be less complicated, but I think it does a decent job reflecting different battlefield situations. I see nothing wrong with your idea other than I personally would dread trying to count all of my pixetruppen post battle. Do you know of an easy way to do this?

I think your idea will work better than mine, tbh.  I suggested the counting because I think it would be fairly easy to do, you just cycle thru and keep a running tally.  Anyways maybe a better way would be to just count formations, each section or AFV is three points, each team/unarmoured veh is one.  Or go by platoons. 

Still think your idea works better, although I wonder how we handle it if the attacker manages to occupy all three at the 600 and 700 meter lines, but only 1/2 at the 200-500 meter lines, i.e. the defender has been surrounded a bit.

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #62 on: January 14, 2017, 02:49:35 AM »
It would work the exact same way! 1st, the limit of advance is reached at the first point where the defender holds 2 of 3  VL's on a phase line. So this means that the attacker could occupy all 3 VL's at 600 and 700m, but if the defender holds 2 of 3 VL's at 500 m at the end of the battle, the limit of advance starts at 500m. Then the final limit of advance is adjusted back from that point, if necessary. Remember that we are talking about battle end state, so that means the attacker had ample opportunity to re-take any lost VL's, and they either chose NOT to re-take or were not able to retake the objectives to their rear. Does this example make sense?

My core concept of 'advance' is that it is incumbent upon the attacker to take, occupy, and have effective control of the territory. All the defender has to do is deny the attacker effective control and they have prevented advancement.

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #63 on: January 18, 2017, 02:54:18 AM »
FYI, Canadian Cat just posted several shots of his AAR from this battle on the Battlefront forums! Check it out
http://community.battlefront.com/topic/124269-theatre-of-operations-aar-the-battle-of-st-andre-de-l’epine/?do=findComment&comment=1698487

Keep up the great work Cat, and stay away from those mines! :)

Offline A Canadian Cat

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #64 on: March 20, 2017, 10:00:27 PM »
I just reached (well actually surpassed) the casualty limit for the CM battle. We have some considering to do. Here is a link to the final turn posting: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/124269-theatre-of-operations-aar-the-battle-of-st-andre-de-l%E2%80%99epine/?page=4#comment-1705838

Basically I hit 61 casualties (give or take I was counting manually) and F Co managed to push a force to phase line Baker while E Co only manged to get to phase line Able.  The full map:


A close up:


Note I don't have a complete picture of the enemy force but I know there is a significant force on E co's right but not significant forces between F and E Co or to F Co's left flank. I would not say there is no enemy there just not a serious threat.

We should have some discussion about a few things, such as the actual casualty numbers. Is 6% really a good number? For my infantry battalion F Co and E Co each have a platoon that is combat ineffective - the game shows several broken squads. I think you could make a solid argument that both of those companies are done fighting for the day.  But G Co has suffered no casulties at all and the engineers only one platoon has suffered any. The tank companies have hardly been scratched.

I guess the discussion would be around should the battalion use G Co to continue the assault or just solidify the gains and continue the battle another day. I would say that would be a reasonable suggestion. Or you could argue that G Co should continue the fight at least for a while. I am interested in the discussion.

Online Asid

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2017, 02:49:19 AM »
Very interesting...Makes great reading.  :clap3

Thanks for posting this .

Regards

I stand against Racism, Bigotry and Bullying

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2017, 01:56:33 PM »
Agreed, this is an awesome point of discussion! Great write-up too, thanks again Cat for doing this. Now to business...

You ask if 6% is a good number... The battalion order was to make a 'determined' attack. This means the commander was told to make a solid effort with a balanced approach between casaulties and ground taken. A determined attack is meant to be used as a more sustainable approach to attacking with the intent to fully engage the enemy and take ground (i.e. NOT skirmishing). You indicated that the current status of two of the rifles companies suggest they could be done for now, and the 3rd company is in good shape. So the commander would say "we hold for now while 3rd company rotates up to hold on our gains while the 2 rifle co's rest and reorg a bit". Keep in mind that this unit is NOT done for the day, it is only halted for now. In a few hours they could re-engage again! IMHO this scenario worked out as intended.

For review, a 'stubborn' attack is more of an all out attack with a higher tolerance for casualties. It is more of a high risk-high reward type of situation. If a unit fails to complete its objective, then it suffers additional cohesion loss and results in longer times between attacks. A unit may gain more ground in a given engagement, but is less likely to sustain over time. Units caught in a bad situation may be forced to adopt this attack!

A 'cautious' attack can represent a number of different things. It can represent a probing attack, skirmishing, or a holding attack. Mechanically they all work the same, but the situation and commander's intent is why they represent different things.

From an analytical perspective, perhaps more risks could have been taken with the armor that could have lessened risk to the infantry. In other words, perhaps the loss of a few tanks could have resulted in less overall casualties sustained and the attack could have been sustained longer? PLEASE DO NOT read this as criticism, I am just trying to throw out some analysis. I say this from a historical perspective, because tank-infantry-engineer teams spearheaded the assaults and led to notable armor loss. OTOH, the armor provided confidence to the foot troops and a steel shield to a certain degree. German LMG's couldn't open up without the fear of an immediate deadly response.

The issue is that from a CM player perspective you are no where near done! You are looking at all this combat power and thinking "I am just getting started here!" What we need to do is convince the good folks at BFC to make it so we can either A) edit an on-going scenario, or B) export information from a scenario so a new scenario can be created in a rather seamless manner.  8) I will add that there is nothing stopping you guys from playing it out further if you want, even if the campaign portion has been satisfied.

I have some thoughts on additional options, but I will stop for now because I want to hear thoughts and suggestions from you all. There is lots to consider with this discussion.

Offline A Canadian Cat

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2017, 01:48:52 PM »
Agreed, this is an awesome point of discussion! Great write-up too, thanks again Cat for doing this. Now to business...
Thanks for letting me be involved it was fun even though it was time consuming. I'd do it again.

You ask if 6% is a good number... The battalion order was to make a 'determined' attack. This means the commander was told to make a solid effort with a balanced approach between casaulties and ground taken. A determined attack is meant to be used as a more sustainable approach to attacking with the intent to fully engage the enemy and take ground (i.e. NOT skirmishing). You indicated that the current status of two of the rifles companies suggest they could be done for now, and the 3rd company is in good shape. So the commander would say "we hold for now while 3rd company rotates up to hold on our gains while the 2 rifle co's rest and reorg a bit". Keep in mind that this unit is NOT done for the day, it is only halted for now. In a few hours they could re-engage again! IMHO this scenario worked out as intended.

Roger that.

For review, a 'stubborn' attack is more of an all out attack with a higher tolerance for casualties. It is more of a high risk-high reward type of situation. If a unit fails to complete its objective, then it suffers additional cohesion loss and results in longer times between attacks. A unit may gain more ground in a given engagement, but is less likely to sustain over time. Units caught in a bad situation may be forced to adopt this attack!

A 'cautious' attack can represent a number of different things. It can represent a probing attack, skirmishing, or a holding attack. Mechanically they all work the same, but the situation and commander's intent is why they represent different things.

Oh that makes perfect sense. Especially the part about them not being done for the day. YES! PERFECT! It will really be a mind set change for playing CM - which I don't mind at all.

From an analytical perspective, perhaps more risks could have been taken with the armor that could have lessened risk to the infantry. In other words, perhaps the loss of a few tanks could have resulted in less overall casualties sustained and the attack could have been sustained longer? PLEASE DO NOT read this as criticism, I am just trying to throw out some analysis. I say this from a historical perspective, because tank-infantry-engineer teams spearheaded the assaults and led to notable armor loss. OTOH, the armor provided confidence to the foot troops and a steel shield to a certain degree. German LMG's couldn't open up without the fear of an immediate deadly response.

No, go for it. That is the way I play with armour in the bocage - the tanks support the hard work of the infantry. Tanks die fast and loud when they get too close to Germans. In that kind of country Shreks, Phausts AT guns and even just infantry are just deadly and the tanks have no real chance to spot any of that first and no room to manoeuvre.

So, my tactics were just as you described. The infantry hunted for targets and the tanks did the heavy lifting of killing them. I think that was executed pretty well. If I was more aggressive moving my tanks I don't think I would have gained much but instead might have lost more. What I probably could do better is be less aggressive with my infantry. Two guys could be risked in unknown terrain and get the same benefit of risking a team of 6 but the consequences of things going sideways would be less.

The issue is that from a CM player perspective you are no where near done! You are looking at all this combat power and thinking "I am just getting started here!" What we need to do is convince the good folks at BFC to make it so we can either A) edit an on-going scenario, or B) export information from a scenario so a new scenario can be created in a rather seamless manner.  8) I will add that there is nothing stopping you guys from playing it out further if you want, even if the campaign portion has been satisfied.

Agreed the kind of features you will want is the kind of report that we see at the end screen in a data file plus the ability to save the map as it is at any point in the battle. Ideally it would be nice to also have automatic starting and ending of battles based on criteria like 6% causalities.

I am thinking here that the ToO game starts the game by launching CM with what ever inputs are needed (perhaps its just a scenario perhaps more) and the CM game plays out and when one side or the other hits their casualty limit CM ends and passes back the data to ToO (no CM users seeing an end screen or the other sides forces please).

One could even see a case like this where the next battle in the day was nothing more than starting the CM battle again from the same place.

Picture, in this case as you said, the operational player can decide now if they want the Battalion to hold its position and do something else for the rest of the day - in which case the next battle might be a fresh start from a similar place or not if the operational layer changes. Or could just be continue with the fight for more of the day.

BTW I'll talk with @Mad Mike and we may well continue a bit longer just cause it's fun.

I have some thoughts on additional options, but I will stop for now because I want to hear thoughts and suggestions from you all. There is lots to consider with this discussion.

This is interesting stuff. Thanks for the clearer picture of how this could work.

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2017, 03:53:34 PM »
Quote
Thanks for letting me be involved it was fun even though it was time consuming. I'd do it again.

GREAT!  ;D I'm glad you enjoyed it...that is the entire goal right there!!! I'm glad you said this, because if you have been following along with the scenario we have a brand new combat day dawning... This goes for anyone else that wants to volunteer doing a tactical battle resolution with any system then wish.

Quote
It will really be a mind set change for playing CM - which I don't mind at all.
Agreed, this requires a mind set change, and I mentioned above the whole point is for people to enjoy doing this. While there will be several that don't mind the change, there will be many that don't care for it as much. What I would like to do is provide "conversion options" to appeal to a wide group of tactical gamers based on preference/style of play. There will be those that want to do it exactly how we did this battle, but we can provide other options on how to execute it. For example, I would like to come up with ideas on how to allow for a higher casualty threshold for players, however there would have to be further balancing by adjusting the limit of advance and perhaps the engagement time. I have some basic thoughts, but I am completely open to suggestions here. So this is an explcit invitation for anyone to help brainstorm and offer suggestions....

Quote
So, my tactics were just as you described. The infantry hunted for targets and the tanks did the heavy lifting of killing them. I think that was executed pretty well. If I was more aggressive moving my tanks I don't think I would have gained much but instead might have lost more. What I probably could do better is be less aggressive with my infantry. Two guys could be risked in unknown terrain and get the same benefit of risking a team of 6 but the consequences of things going sideways would be less.

Trust me I get it. I have lost countless vehicles myself, and it is quite frustrating to see your armor randomly blow up only find out a faust took it out with no payback. I just threw it out there from the historical perspective. I also agree that you executed your plan very well. You mention that 2 man teams may have been better served...this brings me to part of my point above; I want to be mindful of the player experience/enjoyment. I don't want to force players in to overly tedious tactics in terms of executing movement in CM. In other words it is less effort to give a squad movement orders than to split the squad and give it 3 sets of orders. So if we can find some good balancing options, that would be great. I routinely split my teams up for various reasons when I feel the situation dictates (as I'm sure most CM players do), but I hope my point is clear that I don't want to exacerbate a situation where players feel they need to "over control" their forces.

Quote
Agreed the kind of features you will want is the kind of report that we see at the end screen in a data file plus the ability to save the map as it is at any point in the battle. Ideally it would be nice to also have automatic starting and ending of battles based on criteria like 6% causalities.

I am thinking here that the ToO game starts the game by launching CM with what ever inputs are needed (perhaps its just a scenario perhaps more) and the CM game plays out and when one side or the other hits their casualty limit CM ends and passes back the data to ToO (no CM users seeing an end screen or the other sides forces please).

One could even see a case like this where the next battle in the day was nothing more than starting the CM battle again from the same place.

Picture, in this case as you said, the operational player can decide now if they want the Battalion to hold its position and do something else for the rest of the day - in which case the next battle might be a fresh start from a similar place or not if the operational layer changes. Or could just be continue with the fight for more of the day.

Ahhh, music to my ears! :) This is precisely my vision fully realized. Whether we get there will depend on many things, to include BFC, but this is my goal.

Quote
BTW I'll talk with @Mad Mike and we may well continue a bit longer just cause it's fun.

Sounds great! Please keep a save point where the battle "ended". Also, I would love to get some feedback from Mad Mike too on his experience being on the defensive. I am also curious about the number of casualties he sustained as well.

Quote
This is interesting stuff. Thanks for the clearer picture of how this could work.

Thanks I agree, so please let us keep this discussion going. I want to hear thoughts and ideas.

Offline Christian Knudsen

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #69 on: March 22, 2017, 03:55:13 PM »
Hey I'm back!

This is great - the more we crack on at this, the closer we get to sorting out a firm ruleset. 

FYI, I had the attacker casualty levels for the ASL crossover at 4, 9, and 18 percent for cautious, determined, and stubborn, respectively, although I'm scuppered as to how I came to those values, though I know I had a good deal of discussion with Matt about it.  One of the benefits that ASL has is a pre-existing and robust Casualty Victory Point (CVP) mechanism that includes vehicles.  So it is fairly easy to count up a total CVP value for a side's OB, do a bit of quick division, and you have a limit expressed in a system that all ASL players understand.

I am a bit concerned about how CM and by extension TO will count vehicle casualties.  Obviously the crew is a 1-for-1 in terms of men, but I would argue that an AFV potentially has far more value than an equivalent half-squad.  This is fairly solvable by just counting purchase points (for an average crew, no rarity), but unfortunately CM doesn't count CVP that way, iirc!

Another thing that will have to be factored into the CM interface, I guess.  In the interim, we will have to include VP totals for each vehicle lost, either factored into TO, or at a minimum included in the documentation for each "operation".  This then leads to another difficulty, that of assigning an average CVP value to each infantry casualty. 

Why is that?  Well if a Tiger is worth 100 points (as a totally random value), and we want to translate that into 1 Tiger = x "men", (because CM tracks "men" for victory, not points), then we need to know how many points a "man" is worth.

This leads us down a real rabbit hole, because CM figures the worth of a man based on a few factors that I don't think we want to care about in translating to TO.  A veteran soldier in CM is worth more points than a conscript.  But I think to assign an increased value to that experience for CVP might risk penalizing the player twice in TO.  Losing soldiers from experienced formations will be bad in TO as it is, but by counting an experienced troop as being worth more in terms of casualties, we actually make better formations less able to attack and defend, as they can absorb less (more valuable) casualties before being required to break off the battle! 

Of course this is counter-intuitive.  So we then need to create an "average" value for each individual soldier in terms of points.  I think this would have to be based on the battalion; it is the basic maneuver unit in TO, and is the biggest OB formation.  So in this case we say that a battalion has 400 men (bayonet strength), and a (average) Bn is worth 1000 points, so each "man" is worth 2.5 points. 

Then we get to play the game of how much things that CM does not track are worth; Regt and higher HQs, Armoured formations bigger than a Platoon, Artillery batteries, Transport columns, etc.  A problem for another time, I think.

My 0.02, anyways.  http://dogsofwarvu.com/forum/Smileys/akyhne/shotsemot.gif

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2017, 06:43:50 PM »
Hey welcome back CK, and thanks for posting!

I could be completely missing your point, but I don't think we need to assign victory points when using CM. Players will be prompted by ToO to input the battle results. This will include engagement time, limits of advance, total casualties, and vehicle losses.

Are you talking about determining casualty thresholds to signal the end of an engagement? If so, then I wasn't counting equipment loss in the equation at all. I was literally using number of casualties as the sole determining factor. So there is no need to worry about converting equipment to X number of men. Nor is quality a particular concern. Higher quality troops will be more immune to additional negative effects of sustaining casualties, but the rate of casualties sustained is what will remove fighting spirit from a force. Does this explanation make sense?

Keep in mind that attacking players are free to halt an attack at any point they wish prior to ever reaching their casualty threshold. For instance, the attackers suffer few casualties, but their supporting armor is all hung up in mud and mines while the rest has been knocked out. The attacking player is probably going to call a halt. The immobilized tanks will all be returned back to service (eventually, though it could be many hours if not days), and a certain number of the KO'd tanks will also get back in to service over several days.

Did I address your concern, or was I way off?!  :)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 08:08:51 PM by choppinlt »

Offline Christian Knudsen

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #71 on: March 22, 2017, 07:39:17 PM »
Yes, I was more worried about engagement thresholds, both for attacker and defender. 

I can see your point regarding armor and other equipment.  I had worried that players might lead with the panzers in order to stretch the casualty thresholds, but I guess that sacrificing armour will have some pretty negative effects as the operation goes on, so caveat emptor to those using that particular tactic!

I do worry, however, that we will have to jig something for less granular systems like ASL and WiF - basically if you only have a company, and then lose a squad (as in ASL, for example), you've basically lost around 10% of your forces right there, which might lead to some pretty short (and not very fun) engagements.  I tried to deal with this in two ways, one by instituting a mechanic that allows a side to try and avoid the engagement thresholds (within limits) if they think it's worth the cost, and second by allowing a chance that casualties might be resurrected after battle - walking wounded, hiding in a corner, got lost, etc.

Again, a lot of this will come out in the wash as testing goes on...

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #72 on: March 22, 2017, 08:21:46 PM »
I can see your point regarding armor and other equipment.  I had worried that players might lead with the panzers in order to stretch the casualty thresholds, but I guess that sacrificing armour will have some pretty negative effects as the operation goes on, so caveat emptor to those using that particular tactic!

They can lead with the tanks, but that is going to lead to other potential issues for the attacker! And remember that the loss of crews count as casualties!

I do worry, however, that we will have to jig something for less granular systems like ASL and WiF - basically if you only have a company, and then lose a squad (as in ASL, for example), you've basically lost around 10% of your forces right there, which might lead to some pretty short (and not very fun) engagements.  I tried to deal with this in two ways, one by instituting a mechanic that allows a side to try and avoid the engagement thresholds (within limits) if they think it's worth the cost, and second by allowing a chance that casualties might be resurrected after battle - walking wounded, hiding in a corner, got lost, etc.

Agree fully. With CM it is fairly simple because it shows 1:1 representation on a 3D and dynamic battlefield. Game systems using methods that are more abstract in their depiction will require work to figure out conversion and balancing methods. You know this better than most with your outstanding efforts with ASL!  :) But with a little work, it can be accomplished, right?!

Again, a lot of this will come out in the wash as testing goes on...

Agreed!  ;D

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Battle of St. Andre de l'Epine
« Reply #73 on: March 27, 2017, 02:52:32 PM »
I am open to suggestions on ways to handle the casualty threshold levels, but here is my basic suggestion for an alternative method: multiply the casualty threshold by 2 for each side, then develop a relationship between each side's casualty % that adjusts the line of advance. In other words, the attacker may gain 800m, but if they take a much higher casualty % relative to the defender then the line of advance may be moved back several hundred meters (and vice versa). These results can be normalized to prevent losses from being too high in ToO, AND the tactical players have more flexibility in terms of the battle parameters. I am hoping this creates a situation where players can "have their cake and eat it too"  :bacondance Thoughts?

DON'T PANIC,  :scared1 the math averse crowd does NOT have to compute this. This can be done automagically, with answers simply given to the users. This is for discussion purposes only...

Lastly, those keeping tabs on the scenario will notice that this discussion is timely, because we are dawning on a new day of combat. I hope to have something ready soon, but keep in an eye for when we look for tactical volunteers. It appears that we can use up to 8 tactical players that are interested.