The Flare Path: Welcomes Combative Commenters

Hefty, persuasive, and reeking of spruce-scented Eau de Ardennes, the new Bulge-themed Combat Mission unquestionably deserves a Flare Path After Action Report. The trouble is, after seven days of snowy slaughter, fraught forest probes and costly cottage clearing, I’m now in no fit state to shepherd Shermans or put plucky pixeltruppen in harm’s way. Worn to a frazzle by delicate tactical decision-making and teeth-rattling mortar stonks, I’ve totally exhausted my capacity for command. There is a battle yarn waiting below the break, but to unspool it I’m going to need your help.

The Idea

Rather than risk repeating myself I thought this week, for a change, I’d let you dispense the orders. There’s probably a good reason why no-one has ever attempted play-by-comment communal Combat Mission-ing before, but here at Flare Path we’ve never let silly things like ‘good reasons’ stand in the way of an interesting, potentially entertaining experiment. Here, in outline, is how I envisage the world’s first (?) PBC co-op turn-based wargaming session working.

I’ve selected a bijou Combat Mission: Final Blitzkrieg ‘quick battle’ map and populated that map with two small opposing armoured forces. Battlefront’s AI will be left to choreograph the American AFVs while you, good Flareopaths will, I hope, attempt to guide the German ones to a famous victory. Every turn I’ll describe the current tactical situation (utilizing pictures and a gridded map where necessary) and, via a comment, invite Axis orders from anyone – prior CM experience unnecessary – willing to get involved.

As orders will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis and individual commenters are only allowed to ‘move’ one vehicle per turn, every turn will involve tactical input from multiple CCs (Comment Commanders). One turn Vintokryl68 might send the Tiger trundling northward towards grid square C41, while Hodges manoeuvres the halftrack and Nichtschießen does something sly with the Hetzer. During the next order round, SabotBrummel could end-up in charge of the Tiger while RATOG and Firecrest do the honours with the tank destroyer and Sd.Kfz. 250.

Once the orders are in for all vehicles, I’ll execute them then return with a brief image-accompanied account of how the sixty seconds of in-game action played out. Did you manage to nail that Sherman loitering in the churchyard? Were you able to reverse your Panzer IV into the safety of that alley before those Hellcats pounced? It will all be revealed.

Fondness for things like family, food, and sleep means some turns are sure to be executed faster than others, but with a thirty turn time-limit, and a relatively compact map, I’m confident this historic multiplayer engagement will have reached a conclusion by the time next week’s Flare Path heaves into view. Please pop in regularly to check on progress and lend a hand with the Panzer plotting.

The Challenge

It’s a cold clear day in late December, 1944. In the cobbled precincts of a deserted Belgian town the remnants of ravaged German and American armoured units are about to meet in mortal combat. The commenter-controlled Axis force consists of…

A mighty Tiger, sure to bead the brow and knot the guts of any US tanker that encounters it.

A squat Hetzer tank destroyer. Though not nearly as well armed or armoured as the Tiger, this ambush hunter is more than capable of stopping standard Shermans in their tracks.

A capable but callow Panzer IV J (late). Unlike its comrades-in-armour, this medium tank is crewed by a ‘green’ rather than a ‘regular’ crew. Will that inexperience tell in the fighting to come? Only time will tell.

A vulnerable but relatively swift Sonderkraftfahrzeug 250. Be aware that this halftrack currently contains your highest ranking unit, a three-man disembarkable Forward Observer HQ sadly without access to arty or air support in this skirmish but equipped with radio and three pairs of potentially useful Mk. I eyeballs.

Fleeting glimpses of approaching enemy units suggest the American force is a little larger than ours and includes Shermans (variant unknown) and tank destroyers (type unknown). Wipe out the US armour to secure victory.

The Venue

(Click map to enlarge)

The four German AFVs begin turn #1 sheltering in a square in the NE corner of the urban arena (Tiger g54, Panzer IV g55, Hetzer j54, Halftrack j55) while the US ones lurk unseen in the SW corner. The extensive undamaged road network means getting around quickly on this hill-free map won’t be a problem (Flat-out even the tardy Tiger could drive the length of the venue in a couple of turns/minutes). For the two turreted Panzers shortcuts through the numerous garden and yard walls (thin brown and grey lines) are practical. The halftrack and Hetzer will happily trundle through fences (orange lines) and previously breached walls but won’t barge through brick or stone barriers.

Looking NW

Looking N (centre of map)

Looking S (centre of map)

Looking SE

Running longitudinally through the centre of the town is a perfectly straight two-track railway line that affords unobstructed views all the way to the western map edge (naturally these views are reciprocal so be careful!). Elsewhere sight-lines are generally dictated by buildings and, sometimes, trees, the majority of walls on the map being of the low variety.

Issuing Orders

Your order instructions can be as brief or as detailed as you like. A simple “Order Tiger to drive down road to grid square gg40” is just as acceptable as a fancy command specifying multiple waypoints, a movement speed/type, and a cover arc direction.

CM ingénues that wish to nuance their commands should bear in mind that ‘hunt’ is the most cautious of the movement forms. A tank ordered to ‘hunt’ to a destination will proceed slowly and extremely vigilantly stopping to engage the first enemy it spots. ‘Move’ stresses momentum but still means a tank will engage and evade of its own volition if it feels the need. A vehicle ordered to move ‘quick’ or ‘fast’ will prioritise reaching its destination over swapping shells with foes.

Cover arcs are a way of focusing a unit’s attention in a particular direction during movement or an ambush. The Panzer IV in the screenshot above will keep its main gun pointed southward (the right-hand side of the pic) as it moves out of the courtyard and heads north then west. Using arcs is by no means essential but if you suspect you’re being flanked or are concerned about a particular side-road on a route, they can be lifesavers.

It’s unlikely you’ll need to give specific targeting instruction during the engagement (Battlefront’s excellent TacAI can usually be relied upon to choose the best target, re-orientate a vehicle to maximize armour benefits etc.). What you could conceivably find yourself doing is ordering a smoke shell shot. Both the Hetzer and the Panzer IV carry small stocks of smoke projectiles.

There’s a good chance, especially with longer multi-stage order sequences, that some actions won’t be completed within the scope of one sixty-second turn. If this occurs then the person guiding the vehicle during the next turn, may order any outstanding orders deleted or tag new orders to the end of existing ones.

If you’ve any questions about ‘rules’ or map features, ask away. The Tiger, Hetzer, Panzer IV and halftrack are nervously awaiting your instructions. Good luck and good hunting, gallant Flareopaths.

Turn 1. The Panzer IV and Tiger have successfully relocated to new positions beside the railway. The Hetzer is on the right of the pic looking westward down the long east-west road. The HQ halftrack is in the process of crossing the railway. No sign of the enemy yet.

Turn 2. The Tigers bold advance alongside the railway is uneventful. The cagier Hetzer moves to a new position with views of the church to the W. The halftrack  arrives at aa55 (bottom-left of pic) without incident. Seemingly confused by a lack of waypoints (I issued only one, the destination, allowing the tank to choose its own route) the unbuttoned Panzer IV (bottom right of pic) backtracks apparently intending to approach m39 from the NE. Still no sign of the enemy.


Turn 3. Within seconds of unbuttoning, the Tiger has spotted a Stuart halted in the SW (top left in the pic above) corner of the map. Shots are traded. A Sherman appearing beside the Stuart joins in the exchange. In a furious 60 seconds the Tiger is hit five or six times (turret front x2, weapon mount x2, weapon…). One hit causes spalling which injures the commander. The other impacts seem to cause no ill effects. It’s hard to assess the damage wrought by the outgoing 88m rounds but going by the sounds and a red cross that appears briefly over the Sherman, I believe the Tiger scored at least one penetrating hit. As the turn draws to a close both the Stuart and Sherman pop smoke, reverse and disappear from view. Elsewhere, the Hetzer arrives in its position, a position screened by several buildings from the US armour apparently concentrated in the SW.  Moving through the courtyard previously occupied by the Hetzer, the Panzer IV is still approximately 20-30 seconds from its next destination (o41, just around the corner from the Tiger). Meanwhile, the HQ is a short dash from the groundfloor of a three-storey building across the railway from the Tiger.

Turn 4. Let’s start with the good news. During turn 4 the Germans lost no AFVs and sustained no casualties. The bad news, the very bad news, is that our Tiger came under sustained fire from multiple US tanks including what looked like a 76mm Sherman ‘Easy Eight’ and now sports a useless main gun. Two of the Tiger’s tormentors, the Easy Eight plus a bog-standard M4(?) , now appear to be heading N towards the railway. From its new 1st floor eerie the HQ can see several thus far unidentified AFVs and an infantry unit (crew?) in the SW corner of the map. The advancing Hetzer and Panzer IV are still totally unsighted but are approaching positions where they may have LOS to targets if the enemy tanks keep heading N. The pics below indicate possible LOF.

Hetzer

Panzer IV

Turn 5. The patient Hetzer is no more and I feel partially responsible. As it trundled into position next to the church it was hit by two shells hurled by an undetected foe in the SW. The first shell ricocheted skyward, the second punched a neat hole through the TD’s front armour. The killer appears to have been the AFV arrowed in the pic below. It was firing over the intervening high wall something I didn’t think was possible.

Thankfully the turn wasn’t a complete disaster. Moments after the Hetzer perished, the Panzer IV made use of its new vantage point to kill an M3 halftrack that was heading in the direction of the church.

The wounded Tiger is now tucked in the alley at o38 while the three-man HQ on the other side of the tracks is just settling into new digs overlooking the US positions in the SW corner. Hopefully, they’ll make some useful observations in the next turn.

Turn 6. Some interesting developments. From its lofty perch at dd33/34 the HQ seems to have a pretty good view of the yard in the SW corner of the map. About midway through the turn a Stuart and what looked to be a two-man AT team was observed exiting the yard and heading N. Now the only occupants of the yard seem to be a destroyed M10 tank destroyer (slain by the Tiger during turn 3?) and a few scattered crewmen.

Spasmodic unidentified AFV contacts on the railway suggest US armour is gathering there, possibly with the intention of moving off E or N.

During the turn the Panzer IV backed into the lee of the house at k/l34 where it was joined by the buttoned Tiger. It looks to be in a good position to tackle anything moving E along the railway or N past the wreck of the M3 halftrack.

Turn 7.  In order to get the halftrack to z29, a little improvisation/interpretation was required. I chose to route the vehicle via the courtyard entrance in the SW rather than the one beside the railway.  The turn ended with the halftrack about to swing right into a road with LOS to the railway and a possible US AFV.

On the other side of the tracks things were quiet until, in the closing seconds, a three-man US infantry team toting a bazooka and a radio came into view close to the M3. The team appears unaware of the German armour watching it from the east.

Turn 8.  Shelled by the Panzer IV (which opened fire of its own accord) and machine-gunned  by the Tiger, the ‘AT team’ attempted a retreat. I think all three were cut down as they ran.

I could be wrong but I think I heard a US AFV moving towards the M3 wreck from the railway in the closing seconds of the turn. Potential prey for the Panzer IV?

The Hetzer team are 30 seconds away from a promising observation position in the second storey of the house at h16.

The halftrack is now a stone’s throw from the yard in the SW corner, but sees no targets (a consequence of its skeleton one-man crew?).

Turn 9.  The surviving Hetzer crewmen have just suffered the same fate as their mount. They were spotted at the windows of the house at h16 and mercilessly pummelled by the US armour lurking near the railway. Before they perished they clocked the following scene…

There are at least three US AFVs on the northern side of the railway. A 76mm Sherman (behind the wall, top-centre), a Stuart (amongst the trees) and a 76mm TD (on the road and, like the Stuart, facing N). The buildings in the foreground mean none of the trio can be seen by the Panzer IV (k34) or the Tiger (j35).

On the south side of the track, the HQ team are still making their way to their new OP.

Possible fourth AFV nr railway?

Turn 10.  Yep. There are four US tanks loitering north of the railway crossing.

Turn 11.  Gosh, that was an exciting sixty seconds.

The key events:

+27 seconds. Disobeying the ‘hold your fire’ target arc, the HQ team’s rifleman decides to have a pop at the closest Sherman. Madness!

+31 seconds. Pushing forward with the Tiger, the Panzer IV spots this same, now distracted Sherman and jams on its brakes.

+35 seconds. The Panzer IV fires. A lower front hull hit and a penetration!

+38 seconds. The perforated Sherman replies. Ricochet. No penetration. No damage.

+41 seconds. The Tiger, still advancing,  takes a canister round in the flank. It looks like the round emanated from the Stuart.

+44 seconds. South of the railway, the decoy is hit and KOed by the Easy Eight behind the wall.

+46 seconds. The penetrated Sherman pops smoke and begins reversing.

+47 seconds. And, hosed by the Tiger’s MGs, so does the Easy Eight!

+60 seconds. It looks like the M10 is about to spit an HE round at the HQ team.

Turn 12.  Real heart-in-the-mouth stuff.

Five seconds in, the reversing Tiger loses a chunk of Zimmerit to a 37mm AP round fired by the Stuart. Two seconds later, the M10 drives into view close to the M3 halftrack. It’s bringing its gun to bear on the Panzer IV when a 75mm shell tears through its weapon mount. The damage clearly isn’t terminal because the TD immediately goes into reverse. By the end of the turn it has disappeared back into the growing smoke clouds seeded last turn.

Meanwhile, south of the tracks, the HQ’s flight goes without  a hitch.

Turn 13. Unlucky for some.

Another gripping turn.

+27 seconds. Moments after arriving back at k34 in the company of its pal, the unbuttoned Panzer IV spots a Sherman at 11 o’clock on the south side of the railway (the Sherman hit and penetrated on turn 11?).

+32 seconds. The Panzer fires.

+33 seconds. Bullseye! A front turret penetration!

+44 seconds. A second shell is dispatched. This one strikes the wall in front of the target.

+47 seconds. Blimey. Hydrogene’s premonition of flanking proves eerily accurate. The Easy Eight is speeding east along the railway tracks.

Before the Panzer IV can engage, the US bruiser has disappeared from view.

+53 seconds. The Easy Eight was slowing and turning its turret anti-clockwise as it vanished. It seemed to be aware of our pair.

+59 seconds. The Panzer can’t resist a third shot at the penetrated and seemingly lifeless Sherman south of the crossing. The round passes harmlessly over the turret top, slamming into the façade behind.

+60 seconds. The HQ is a few steps from the doorway of the house at v34. Once inside and upstairs it should have a grandstand view of the currently out-of-sight Easy Eight.

Turn 14. Ignoring my ‘pop smoke’ order (not sure why), the Panzer IV relocates to o41. No targets in view from this position at the moment. The tardier Tiger is still heading south to join its companion when the turn ends.

From v43 the HQ team have a fine view of the railway and its denizens. The Easy Eight is stopped near s23 facing E. The Stuart is still lurking under the trees by the crossing pointed NE.  The AFV beside the wall on the left of the pic above is (I assume) the M10 damaged during the duel in turn 12.

Turn 15.  I’m not sure my heart will take too much more of this.

+9 seconds. On ‘road 41’ the Tiger’s southward progress is abruptly checked by a shell impact. A weapon mount hit. Partial penetration. Halted last turn the Easy Eight has decided to hunt along the rail lines. Glimpsing the buttoned German behemoth through a narrow keyhole, it has engaged and scored a palpable hit.

+18 seconds. The stunned Tiger is hit again. This time the shell punches straight through the front hull armour. Hatches fly open. Crewmen in mottled uniforms tumble onto the cobbles.

+30 seconds. Still moving E the Easy Eight catches sight of the Panzer IV reversing past the abandoned Tiger. For a few excruciating seconds the Panzer IV’s fate seems sealed. But no. The forward momentum of the Allied vehicle and the backward momentum of the Axis one conspire to cheat the Easy Eight of a second kill. The Panzer disappears behind the house at d39.

+50. From their roost south of the railway, the HQ team watch as the Easy Eight pivots to port and begins making for the entrance to ‘road 31’. Gulp. It looks like it’s going after our Panzerkampfwagen.

Blue lines = likely Easy Eight movement routes

In its current position the Panzer IV appears not to have LOS/LOF between buildings A and B.

Turn 16. Not for the first time (see turn 14) the Panzer IV decides to ignore a smoke instruction. It starts towards i38 without  smoke shelling the spot first as requested.*

*This was a LoS issue. See comments.

Ten seconds into its journey, our surviving AFV spots something squat, olive drab, and angular approaching at speed on the road by the church. It halts with the intention of firing but is unable to align its 75mm KwK 40 L/48 main gun before the beetling M10 disappears behind trees at the E end of the road. Will the TD reappear? No. It seems to have stopped out of sight of both the Panzer IV and the HQ in the vicinity of l30.

The Easy Eight is no longer alone.

And, as a consequence, the LoS picture is somewhat complicated.

The above is my very crude estimate of what the Easy Eight and M10 can see from their current positions. Green = Easy Eight forward field of view. Red = M10 forward field of view.

Turn 17. Little to report. The Panzer IV is now tucked behind the house at d39 facing west. The Easy Eight and M10 sit tight at o/p30 and l29 .

Turn 18. The Panzer IV manoeuvred without incident. No LoS to either of the US AFVs from  the new position.

At the thirty second mark, the Tiger crew came under SMG fire from a knot of tankless US tankies. Heading east the ersatz GIs had just crossed the road close to the stationary Easy Eight. The pistol-armed Tiger crew emerged unscathed from the attack and are now ready to take orders from a Comment Commander.

What next? Your guess is as good as mine.

Turn 19. Breathe, Tim. Breeeeathe.

Holy Hafthohlladung, that was thrilling.

A reminder for those that missed the last batch of order comments. In turn 19 while the Tiger crew attempt to crawl south to the safety of a nearby house, our last AFV, a plucky/lucky Panzer IV, is planning to quit its hiding place and go face the Easy Eight and the M10 TD that are waiting a stone’s throw apart on ‘road 31’ to the west.

An attention-focussing ‘target armour’ arc in place, the big red GUI button is pressed and the frozen battle instantly thaws.

+21 seconds. Creeping westward the Panzer IV catches sight of the Easy Eight down by the railway.

+25 seconds. After a slight twitch of the turret, a shell screams southward. The round hits the Sherman variant on the weapon mount and refuses to stop. ‘PENETRATION’. Perfect.

+34 seconds. Are we going to get something in return? It seems not. After a nailbiting nine second wait (What are our chaps up to in there?) the Easy Eight is rocked by a second impact. This time the AP round enters the turret, instantly setting the American machine ablaze.

+55 seconds. Meanwhile, on the road next to the church, the M10 is all a fluster. Having popped smoke, it’s reversing in a south-easterly direction. What is he up to? He’s ours, surely.

+60 seconds. Even our Tiger crew seemed to be leading charmed lives this turn. In another twenty seconds all four of them should be safe and sound inside the house at n39.

Turn 20. Victory in reach?

No miracles from the M10. The AP round that finished it off had enough energy left after completing its dark deed to burst back into the light, bounce off the building at 028, recross the road beside the church, and embed itself in the wall of the house where the Hetzer crew perished.

In theory all that now stands between us and an unlikely triumph, is the two American AFVs parked either side of the railway crossing at the western end of the map.

A = damaged Sherman? (see turn 13)

B =  Stuart

Turn 21. High noon.

As the Tiger crew bundle through the door of the shop at p40, pistol shots ring out. Our rattled recon team is being fired at from the S side of the railway by two prone American tankies! Don’t worry lads, at that range those trigger-happy clowns haven’t a hope of…

Ah.

The Tiger crew have a close-range target arc to ensure stealthy observation, but that’s forgotten in the heat of the moment. Two clusters of unhorsed tankmen are now trading pistol shots across the broad expanse of the railway tracks. From a high window at u43, the German HQ team, still undecided about moving west themselves, look on flabbergasted.

Things are quieter on the northern periphery of the map. The prowling Panzer IV’s journey west to c11 is entirely drama free. The tank stops a few metres from a left turn that, if taken, could produce a confrontation with a cowardly/coy Stuart.

Turn 22. Here we go round the mulberry bush.

Turn 22 from the perspective of our gunslinging Tigermen:

+5 seconds. Revenge.  A US tanker endeavouring to cross the tracks and join his pals is stopped by a flurry of Walther P38 slugs.

Turn 22 from the perspective of our predatory Panzer IV:

+30 seconds. Rounding the corner, the hunting PzKpfw IV finds a wounded M4 slap-bang in the centre of its ‘target armor’ arc. Moments later the Ronson is burning brightly.

Turn 22 from the perspective of our eagle-eyed HQ team:

+13 seconds. Interesting. It looks like that sedentary Stuart is finally making a move. Yep, here it comes, haring down the tracks. Where on earth is it headed?

+40 seconds. Ah. It’s hanging a left at the Easy Eight. If it keeps heading N we’ll lose sight of it. (The Stuart keeps heading N)

Stuart last seen at 031.

Turn 23. I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘s’.

The HQ’s move proves useful. From the third storey of the property at w42 they spot the remaining – we assume – US AFV. The Stuart is stationary and facing E – not the way you want to be facing when a Panzer IV is approaching at pace from the NNW.

In 10-15 seconds, assuming its orders remain unchanged, the PzKpfw IV will round the east end of the church.

Turn 24. And then there were none.

When our 25 tonne grim reaper swung into the churchyard and clocked its quarry, that quarry was desperately trying to make itself scarce. With its arse-end pointed directly at the Panzer, the skittish Stuart didn’t stand a chance. One round stopped it in its tracks. A second turned it into a crackling funeral pyre. I don’t think anyone got out alive.

Dabbing the ‘end turn’ button I half expected to see the victory screen, but it seems our silicon adversary still has a bit of fight left in him. Perhaps if we give the tank crewmen dotted about the railway tracks, and the yards in the SW, a little taste of bow MG the chump will realise the game is up.

Turn 25. Pinch yourself.

Mop up along the railway line. Use road i to rejoin the HQ. Be careful – it’s not impossible a bazooka team is still at large… In plotting the Panzer IV’s orders for turn 25 I attempted to reflect the concerns and wishes of several Comment Commanders rather than just one.

As it turned out, a tentative pause-punctuated run to the western map edge wasn’t necessary. Apart from a single long-range pistol shot fired at our unbuttoned Panzer TC as he passed junction i31 the turn passed without violence, the Americans surrendering at the close.

Pat yourself on the back. We secured a ‘Major Victory‘ (1000pts to 328pts)!

During five days twenty-five minutes of bitter, surprise-sprinkled scrapping we lost four men and three AFVs. The Americans suffered twenty-one casualties and left five tanks and one halftrack smouldering on the pavements and street corners of ‘Unnamed Belgian Town With Unusually Short Street Lamps’.

Post-battle stats confirm the obvious. Our ‘green’ Panzer IV performed brilliantly. By tomorrow, assuming one of the crewmen can scrounge a pot of white paint, that barrel will boast another five kill rings.

As suspected the Tiger’s only scalp was the M10 slain in the yard in the SW on turn 3. Of course what the numbers don’t show, is the important role our Panzerkampfwagen VI played in distracting attention from its little brother during the tense skirmishing around the church (see turn 11).

A Tiger-sized thank you to everyone that has issued orders, offered advice, or simply cheered from the sidelines since Friday. Without your thoughtful and enthusiastic contributions this experiment in communal Combat Mission would have failed dismally, and Flare Path’s AAR archive would now be much poorer.

* * * * *

This way to the foxer

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265 Comments

  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 1 orders, please. You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, Hetzer or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both).

    ORDERS ISSUED. TURN 1 NOW IN PROGRESS.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Please, move Panzer fast to P55, facing west.

      • All is Well says:

        I feel woefully unqualified to do this since I’ve never played CM, but since this is going a bit slow so far I’d like to request that the Hetzer be sent to D50, facing west down the road.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      I’ve never played CM, but this very small map looks full of surprises! :)

    • Leroy says:

      Can halftrack move fast to aa55 (stay mounted) and face west south-west

    • GrinningD says:

      Can we move the Tiger fast to Q54 to have a look down the rail line please.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hydrogene says:

        Don’t stay there too long, you’ll be in the exhaust fumes of my Panzer…

  2. JcDent says:

    Back on something awful, we have had several Let’s Plays with posters going either German or Soviet (in Red Something – they were Americans and Russians in Black Sea), with their own threads for coordination, roll20 maps and other stuff. So we had fun stuff like
    *Germans not bringing anything that could take on IS-2s
    *A huge Soviet attack breaking off after getting some casualties because they thought our position was much stronger than it was
    *Americans beating Russians into pulp because Russians brought a mixed tank and infantry force while American went heavy with tanks, which can see Russians perfectly with thermals and stuff

    A great game to play with people bickering over what units to buy, where to position them and coming up with funny names for geographical features.

  3. unacom says:

    I´d drive the HQ to L46, facing W

  4. Shiloh says:

    Hmm… hey fellers, what say we do what I always do in Combat Mission – group all the tanks together and CHAAAARGE!!!

    • unacom says:

      As the gentlemen of the opposition are probably not fielding anything worse than a M36 Jackson,…Après vous.

  5. chuckieegg says:

    Quickly Move the Hetzer to O51, facing south.

  6. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 2 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, Hetzer or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both).

    For future reference, if orders arrive before the Order Invitation they will be disregarded. It’s definitely worth finding out what happened in the last turn before making decisions about the next one!

    ORDERS ISSUED. TURN 2 NOW IN PROGRESS.

    • All is Well says:

      Unless chuckieegg’s previous order overrules it, please reposition the Hetzer to L44 (via the courtyard, not the open road, if possible), again facing west, to keep the northern portion of the map in the field of fire.

      • All is Well says:

        (And if the move is successful, could you please report on the what it can see and effectively fire upon from that location? It’s a bit hard to estimate from the pictures. Thanks!)

    • Premium User Badge

      LordBilisknir says:

      Tiger to advance to Q39

  7. unacom says:

    Panzer IV to m39, facing West.

  8. onionman says:

    Hetzer hunt to c41

  9. Shiloh says:

    I’m awful at this sort of mental chess – I have to see the pieces on the board to make sense of it. Without them, I just can’t keep the situation in my head long enough to get a clear idea of what’s going on or what I want to do.

    • Stugle says:

      Even if you gave me the board, I couldn’t make much sense of it. I’ll defer to my superiors in this field. :)

  10. Premium User Badge

    Hydrogene says:

    The halftrack carries on slowly to aa55. looking west.

  11. Stugle says:

    I stand in awe at the can-do spirit you all are exhibiting (well, all except Shiloh). I will also stand way to the back, out of the way. I’ve always found Combat Mission daunting to begin with, let alone played out in this fearsome way. Lead the way gentlefolk and I will periodically check in on your progress.

  12. chuckieegg says:

    Ah, the image at the end of the article has been updated to show the current positions. But come on guys, all of our vehicles ended up in the wide open. Hedge hop people, hedge hop!

  13. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 3 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, Hetzer or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both even if the HQ has disembarked).

    ORDERS ISSUED. TURN 3 NOW IN PROGRESS.

    • All is Well says:

      Hetzer hunt to I34 (keeping left flank protected by that house there).

      • All is Well says:

        (Or J34, whichever looks to provide the best cover in situ)

    • chuckieegg says:

      Panzer IV drive fast to O41, face west.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Half Track fast move to aa46, hunt to Y39, disembark HQ into nearest house if possible.

      Probably too much for one turn though.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hydrogene says:

        The soldiers can get into the houses?? ;)
        And they can spot from there? Smart!

        • Rorschach617 says:

          I have some combat missions, but really have little experience of actually successfully playing them :)

          Still, have a couple of hundred hours of Steel Panthers under my belt, lets see where that takes us.

          And if we can drop some handgrenades into a yankee tank-destroyer if we desperately need the clutch shot :)

          • Premium User Badge

            Hydrogene says:

            I like the “dropping the grenades” plan! You clearly know what you’re doing. ;)

  14. Rorschach617 says:

    Would it be in breach of the rules to get the HQ to disembark and move into the horseshoe of houses in the middle of the map?

  15. unacom says:

    Tiger. Unbutton and hold.

  16. unacom says:

    So our whole southern flank is one SDKFZ 250 and a dismounted HQ.
    Tiger in the middle and slow as hell.
    Hetzer to the north.
    That leaves Pz IV to scramble if things go south on our lower flank.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      And as we haven’t seen anything cross the railway lines, it should mean they probably are hidden somewhere south… This is fun!

  17. unacom says:

    Length of map is about 1 kilometer. So everything they have is probably going to penetrate anything we have, sans le tigre…

  18. maninahat says:

    Are we going to talk tactics too? (NB, not issuing orders, just discussing plans)

    It seems to me it would be advantageous to keep the Tiger standing back, covering the entire length of the railway? It’s big gun, armour and distance gives it a huge advantage over anything that tries to break out of cover and cross the tracks. Meanwhile, getting in too close sacrifices some of those advantages and comes into range of anti-tank units?

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Good thinking!

      ….hrmm, are you saying we were foolish to run ahead with the Tiger? ;)

      • maninahat says:

        Possibly. It could get “keyholed”, sideways on if, whilst moving forwards, it passes an alleyway and into the line of fire of anything with a bit of power. Plus if something emerges from the south behind it, the whole tank is going to have to turn to avoid exposing the back end, and to get a bead on the enemy. That would give the enemy the first shot at dangerously short range. Having the Tiger far back means that an emerging enemy only has a shot at the front of a tank, and the Tiger will have a bead on the enemy much sooner (and probably the first shot).

        That said, not advancing the tiger could be a waste if the enemy are smart enough to simply keep to the South, avoid breaking cover, and wait for our other, weaker units to bump into them.

        • maninahat says:

          As an addendum, The Tiger is in a pretty good spot here, covering two long lines (the length of train track ahead, and the open ground across from it (where the Sherman/Stuart was sighted). But there is a long East to West road to the very south, which the enemy could use to flank it.

          Meanwhile the MkIV is in a dense crop of buildings with limited lines of sight, and the Tiger is already covering everything south of it. I think the MkIV might be better off heading South, heading to that Southern East to West road. It can then hunt along the length of it.

    • unacom says:

      Tiger´s the best bruiser here. It can take nearly everything the oppos have.
      Hetzer is an ambusher and should be concealed.
      Pz IV is pretty decent in every role.
      My choice:
      Pz IV in point.
      Tiger middle to forward. HQ somewhere there.
      Hetzer to the back. Lurking in bushes.

      All advance slowly.

  19. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 4 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, Hetzer or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both even if the HQ has disembarked).

    ORDERS ISSUED. TURN 4 NOW IN PROGRESS.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Could we have an estimate of the last known position of the Sherman and Stuart? I can’t visualize where they came from.
      Thanks!

    • All is Well says:

      I’d like to move the Hetzer to G26/G27 and have it face SW-wards, between the trees+houses and towards the yard in which the enemy was spotted.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      I think the HQ should sneak into the building at the end of the row (ee37-38) and up to the first floor. As stealthily as possible.

      Halftrack moves up to cc39 in case the HQ needs to make a quick getaway.

      That make sense?

    • emily riposte says:

      That surprising display of american accuracy, and the fact that it actually did damage, has me a little alarmed. let’s fast-move the tiger to u35 to take cover behind that building, then hunt forward to u33 to try to get a shot at them from a somewhat more sheltered position. Also, put a cover arc facing their last known position– our turret is pretty slow, and we’d like it to be facing them when we do come out of cover again.

      • Rorschach617 says:

        The Stuart shouldn’t be a problem, but the Sherman could have a 76mm which might penetrate the Tiger’s front armour.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Panzer to N33, please. Turret facing LL7.

  20. unacom says:

    Well, I need to leave you with a Commander, wounded by my curiosity. german doctrine says: if in doubt, attack. Do you concur?

  21. unacom says:

    Tiger. Unbutton. Hunt Q 35. Facing LL1.

  22. emily riposte says:

    Oh, and I haven’t played a combat mission in a while– how sure are we that the smaller silhouette is a Stuart and not a Hellcat?

  23. unacom says:

    Any orders for Pz IV?

  24. emily riposte says:

    Looks like my orders for the tiger came second, so I’ll just tell the pzIV to continue its current path as quickly as possible. That looks like a good enough way to get it to a useful position, and also hedge against daring american tds coming up behind our tiger on that n-s road.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      There should be the HQ soldiers in the house at ee38 to warn us if anything comes from the south road.
      They can radio the Tiger, can they? o__O

      • emily riposte says:

        Hellcats are _fast_. If I’m remembering my combat mission correctly, and have the scale right, a suitably daring/ reckless commander could have tds from around gg25 up the road and firing on our tiger’s rear within the minute.

        • unacom says:

          That is why we should bring up the Pz IV as flank guard.

          • Premium User Badge

            Hydrogene says:

            Ok I’m convinced, let’s have the Panzer as flank guard (too late, I’m afraid! ;))

  25. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 5 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, Hetzer or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both even if the HQ has disembarked).

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 5 UNDERWAY.

    • All is Well says:

      Please let the Hetzer advance ever so slightly and then turn it, so that it has a clear LOF in the direction of the advancing allied armor. In other words, please try to position it so that it can fire along the rightmost line in the picture!

    • Rorschach617 says:

      HQ moves across the courtyard (stealthily) to the house at the other end of the horseshoe, dd34, and up to the first floor. Should have a good LOS from there.

      Didn’t Combat Mission have a mechanic where units could hear the enemy even if it couldn’t see it? Might be worth moving the HQ up even further if that is true.

      While the halftrack is only armed with an MG, I have these questions.
      Is it worth racing it up to spot and distract the enemy?
      And, how does the game model wrecks? For example, if the halftrack drives in front of the PzIV, can the Pz fire over it, and will the wreck of the h/t count as hull armour?

      • emily riposte says:

        A burning wreck will at least block los with the smoke. It is possibly useful to have the halftrack as a distraction, and the mg can at least force them to button up and reduce visibility, but that will need to be timed carefully, because 6 afvs will put it out of commission very quickly.

        • Rorschach617 says:

          Didn’t think about the smoke. I was thinking if the game would model the h/t’s wreck as, say, 13mm of truck chassis, or as an invulnerable object.

          Another option would be to use the h/t to block a road. The enemy would destroy it, leaving a wreck blocking access to a flank? Possible?

          • emily riposte says:

            Modeling other aspects of the wreck may have been added in CMs after the last one I played, so I don’t know. My last experience with cm, shells would travel unimpeded through wrecks with no effect on armor penetration.

    • Tim Stone says:

      Any takers for the Tiger?

    • GrinningD says:

      Yes Tim:

      Let’s back the Tiger up to the gap at O38 please.

      Can we squirt MG fire in the direction of the enemy armor?

  26. emily riposte says:

    uh, crap. It looks like the pzIV can back up a bit behind that building and have line of sight at ~w11 through the building gap at o25? Do that, and put a cover arc down on that gap.

    • emily riposte says:

      That is, back up from the current position to around k34, to try to both get cover to back up behind after shooting, and have los through the gap.

  27. GrinningD says:

    Also just wanted to add that I for one am really loving this community game and can we have more of them please?

    • All is Well says:

      Yeah, this has been great fun. Seeing as how my Jagdpanzer of choice is done for I’m signing off, but it was very enjoyable while it lasted.

  28. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 6 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both even if the HQ has disembarked).

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 6 UNDERWAY.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Crap! Cowardly, I’d stay well hidden behind the house in my PzIV in k34, facing west.
      I fear this is going to be a very short game! :)

    • Rorschach617 says:

      HQ stays in place, I guess, as does halftrack. With any luck, they will spot any flanking tanks.

      Suggest bringing the Tiger to the PzIV. The Pz is the only gun we have left, and putting the Tiger in close proximity would force the AI to split their fire, hopefully shooting at the stronger Tiger rather than at the weaker Pz.

  29. All is Well says:

    Damn, I bungled that one! I also assumed the Hetzer was hidden from sight behind that high wall. Oh well! Best of luck to the rest of you! :)

  30. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 7 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both even if the HQ has disembarked)

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 7 UNDERWAY.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Think HQ should stay in place and tries to fashion an American flag from stuff in the house.

      Halftrack fast moves along the ff line and tries to get into the bushes at z29. That way, it gets eyes on the railway line and can spot any hunters there and the PzIV gets warning of them. If the half-track, can unbutton it does so before moving.

      Throwing the halftrack away here, but trying to keep the PzIV firing.

    • Tim Stone says:

      Awaiting orders for the Panzer IV and emasculated Tiger.

  31. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 8 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). You are cordially invited to suggest a move for either the Tiger, Panzer IV, or halftrack/HQ (the same player moves both even if the HQ has disembarked)

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 8 UNDERWAY.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Ah, did not think that the halftrack would go around to the entrance, did not recognise the wall around the courtyard. My mistake.

      Implementing “Unternehmen sicheren Tod” early. Rush half-track to gg15 and stop. If there are visible infantry targets, engage with the MG. If not, hmmm, turn the half-track around.

      With luck, the AI will react by pulling one or more tanks towards the half-track.

      p.s. Can the Hetzer crew be commanded to get into a spotting position?

    • Tim Stone says:

      As order issuers seem rather thin on the ground today, from here-on each Comment Commander may provide orders for two rather than one unit.

      I’ll take the Tiger and Hetzer crew this turn. (Tiger will attempt to discourage AT team with some MG area fire. Hetzer crew will attempt to reconnoitre US positions from the building at h16)

  32. GrinningD says:

    Let’s sit the Panzer IV still and overwatch that direction for enemy armor.

    Is the P IV buttoned or unbuttoned? Can we unbutton it if it isn’t already please.

  33. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 9 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Each Comment Commander is cordially invited to suggest a move for up to two of the following: Tiger, Panzer IV, halftrack, HQ team, Hetzer crew.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 9 UNDERWAY.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      HQ team needs to move, fast move back east to the little courtyard surrounded by houses (line 35), then up to the northernmost 3 storey building (x and y, 33 and 34), then up into the attic.

      Getting flashbacks here :)
      link to youtube.com

      I really don’t know what to do with the half-track. Thinking of tearing up the 7 line at full speed (if it can break through what appears to be barbed wire surrounding the SW corner) to act as a distraction to the US tanks.

      Would welcome suggestions.

      • Rorschach617 says:

        Also would welcome info on the armaments available to the HQ and Hetzer crew. I am assuming small arms, but grenades might be useful in a pinch.

        • Tim Stone says:

          The Hetzer crew are armed with pistols. The HQ fields a rifle, SMG, pistol and two stick grenades (which almost certainly wouldn’t trouble a tank)

      • Tim Stone says:

        Currently the halftrack has a crew of one, the driver. I suspect its value as a scouting and support vehicle is pretty limited as a result. No-one is manning the MG.

        The yard in the SW corner is ringed by a low wall rather than wire, so the HT would have to enter it using the gateway.

        I’d be tempted to keep the HT back until enemy dispositions were a little clearer.

  34. GrinningD says:

    Lets keep the Tiger and the P IV sitting pretty then, have that tiger button up any armor that shows it’s face.

  35. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 10 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Tiger (main gun out of action), Panzer IV, halftrack (only one crewman), HQ team.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 10 UNDERWAY.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Can we have one soldier from the HQ to split up and run to man the MG in the halftrack? Otherwise, it’s pretty useless…

      • Rorschach617 says:

        I don’t know if that is possible.

        And I assume that losing the HQ would have a bad effect on unit morale/victory conditions so I would not want to put the whole HQ back in. Pity about the Hetzer crew, now I know that the passengers control the half-tracks MG they could have been used there.

        The h/t, as is, can be used as a last second diversion to draw fire from the PzIV, or driven safely to a point behind the Tiger, giving us the chance that any survivors of the Tiger, in the event that it is knocked out, can then man the gun.

        If we lose the PzIV, might as well learn our German-English phrasebooks very quickly.

      • Tim Stone says:

        Splitting the HQ isn’t possible.

        When stationary the HQ will automatically use its radio to share spotting information with other radio-equipped units (Panzer IV, halftrack). The Tiger’s radio is U/S, but I think I’m right in saying it’s proximity to the PzKpfw IV means it could receive some potentially useful information via verbal communications or hand signals. Units in radio contact with a safe/stationary HQ are less likely to panic so keeping the HQ safe and sound might be sensible.

        For more information on CM’s very sophisticated ‘C2’ modelling, I recommend a peruse of the manual included with the Final Blitzkrieg demo.

        link to battlefront.com

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      The brave sacrifice by the Hetzer crew brought back precious information! Seeing the Sherman position behind the wall, it won’t be easy to try and flank the two AFVs… I have absolutely no idea what we should do. o_O

    • Rorschach617 says:

      I’m hoping the new vantage point for the HQ will provide 360 degree coverage since it is the tallest building there. Whether they will be able to fight is another matter entirely, still, might get some eyes on any flankers coming up the railway line.

      • maninahat says:

        How’s about teasing one of the tanks out and using smoke to block the enemy line of sight? That way you can use the cover to edge the pIV into a position where, once the smoke clears, it will have a LOS of just the closest enemy vehicle (with buildings obscuring the other two from view). I wish I could get my heads around the current coordinates, I might have issued the orders myself.

        • Tim Stone says:

          Smoke rounds could well prove crucial in the coming turns. Sadly, we only have 3 (PzKpfw IV). Of course, both the Tiger and PzKpfw IV have the ability to surround themselves with close-range smoke using their smoke launchers.

          The coordinate system is a Flare Path lash-up. To understand/use it, you need the enlargeable map that’s midway through the article.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Side note: If we can get spotters on to all the avenues of approach to the PzIV, can it use smoke rounds in some clever way? For example, does firing smoke at x metres mean that only the lead tank in a column can see and engage the PzIV, limiting the return fire from all the tanks behind it?

      Can tanks fire down a bearing? Can the Tiger move forward, pop smoke grenades, then spot for the PzIV?

    • Tim Stone says:

      I’m a little concerned that there may be a fourth US AFV close to the railway just east of the TD. The ‘contacts’ picture is confusing. Once in their new position, the HQ should be able to confirm this.

      (I’ve added another pic to the last turn summary to illustrate this)

    • Tim Stone says:

      As there seems to be some indecision and allowing the HQ to finish its move may help clarify the situation, I’m going to go ahead and run turn 10. Stay tuned.

  36. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 11 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Tiger (main gun out of action), Panzer IV, halftrack (only one crewman), HQ team.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 11 UNDERWAY.

    • maninahat says:

      PIV hunt to 20I. Here’s hoping that it will only get a LOS on one enemy tank and not all four. If not, we’ve probably lost.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hydrogene says:

        Well, if we’running into open terrain without any cover I guess it’s too late to invoke “parley”… I would have loved having all the US tanks run one by one into our sights, but it’s seems the AI in CM is too smart for that! ;)

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Halftrack races up the road on line 11. Maybe some US tanks will turn to face it rather than the PzIV.

      Suggest the Tiger move forward to draw fire too, anything to distract from the PzIV.

      • Rorschach617 says:

        H/t can turn at x11 and make for the cover of the row of buildings that start at v15. If it makes cover, turn around and decoy run again in subsequent turns.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hydrogene says:

          That’s very optimistic! ;) I don’t see how the HT can even reach x11 alive…

  37. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 12 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Tiger (main gun out of action), Panzer IV, HQ team.

    One unit per commenter.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 12 UNDERWAY.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      HQ team has to take as much cover as possible and leave the building eastwards. If it gets to the horseshoe’s courtyard in one piece, enter the building at w37 and halt. How long does the AI remember our units?
      Dunno, might be an idea to hole up here for a couple of turns before moving on, or should they continue the retreat further to really clear their tracks?
      Also, the commander punches the rifleman. Latrine duty beckons if they survive this.

    • Tim Stone says:

      The Panzer IV and Tiger remain orderless. Any volunteers?

      • maninahat says:

        Have the Panzer IV stay put, but rotate so that the side of the Chassis isn’t as exposed as it is in the picture, should the second Sherman try popping around the corner.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hydrogene says:

          The Tiger should then reverse close to the Panzer, to bait the enemies, and divert their fire.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hydrogene says:

        How long does the effect of smoke last? One round? It seems it’s now a key parameter…

  38. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 13 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Tiger (main gun out of action), Panzer IV, HQ team.

    One unit per commenter.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN UNDERWAY.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      We need the spotting badly, I think. HQ sneaks into the house at v43, but I am considering a rush across the railway line to the taller houses there if they can make it in one turn.

      Can the Tiger angle itself a little against the enemy, maybe 15 degrees from head on? And can the PvIV be ordered to ignore the Stuart? The 37mm on the Stuart is much less of a threat than the 76mm guns on the other AFVs.

      • Tim Stone says:

        It’s your call, but as the last known position of the standard Sherman (penetrated turn 11) was round about s11 – the centre of the rail tracks – a dash N could be very dangerous.

        The Tiger could change facing but that would be someone else’s call if you chose to move the HQ.

        If the Panzer IV finds itself facing the Stuart and, say, the Easy Eight, it will almost certainly opt to deal with the Easy Eight first. There’s no way to force it to ignore the Stuart.

        • Rorschach617 says:

          The Tiger facing question was just a suggestion for other players. I am assuming that the game will take into account the angle of the armour plate at the point of shell impact, and that at a 10/15 degree angle the front hull of the Tiger gains a bit more protection without making the sides vulnerable.

    • Tim Stone says:

      To move things along I’ll manoeuvre the Tiger this turn. In keeping with the recon & retreat tone of Rorschach617’s and Hydrogene’s orders, the big cat will accompany the Panzer IV back to the house at k34.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Hydrogene says:

    I would reverse the Panzer to k34, close to the small house, to prevent flanking. Always facing west.

  40. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 14 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Tiger (main gun out of action), Panzer IV, HQ team.

    One unit per commenter.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 14 UNDERWAY.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Have HQ proceed with their move to the upper floor of v34, over.

    • Leroy says:

      Can the tiger reverse (facing west) and place itself between the flanking Sherman and the Panzer 4.
      I will leave exact positioning up to you as I am not entirely sure where they are in grid-squares at the moment.

      PS: Thanks for organising, this is a great read!

      • Tim Stone says:

        Without knowing where the Easy Eight is headed, it’s going to be difficult to block a potential flanking move using the Tiger. I’ve added another image to the turn report showing possible Easy Eight routes (the Tiger is above the Panzer IV in the pic). Can you give me a clearer idea of where you’d like the Tiger to go?

        Gridded map here:
        link to rockpapershotgun.com

        (Panzer and Tiger currently at k/j34)

        • Tim Stone says:

          Not easy to achieve this with the various unknowns and the Panzer IV’s movement, but I’ll give it my best shot. The Tiger will wait for its companion to reverse then follow it (also in reverse) thus blocking any potential shots from the W and SW. Once in road 41, The Tiger will take up a position on the Panzer IV’s left and facing SSW hopefully acting as a distraction should the Easy Eight continue eastward along the tracks.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Panzer smokescreen at current position, then reverse and move to o41, facing south west.

  41. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 15 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Tiger (main gun out of action), Panzer IV, HQ team.

    One unit per commenter.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 15 UNDERWAY.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      The Easy Eight has stopped on the tracks? Crap, there goes my plan for an ambush!

      The HQ should stay hidden where it is, with a good view to the west. No idea about what to do with the tanks, sorry! :)

      Also, what’s the soldier icon for, close to the M10? Anti tank crew?

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Tiger can go to m41 and face west, which provides warning if any enemy AFVs move in from there. If it can be so precise, point the hull directly at the building at o23, turret straight towards last known position of the enemy.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      This has been an awesome feature, keep it up guys I’m coming back daily to see this mission to its conclusion!

      What are the odds of the panzer winning a duel with the easy eight? (if I’ve understood which is which ^^) Is it possible for the panzer to inch forward a little bit until it has the easy eight in its sight but not be exposed to fire from the M10 and others? Would the panzer have a chance of firing first? Otherwise I guess could stay put for now.

      I don’t know anything about CM or tanks so I’ll let the others make the decisions :P but this is exciting!

      • khamul says:

        Absolutely agreed! Loving this. I don’t have the knowledge to join in, but I’m really enjoying following it.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hydrogene says:

          The problem is neither do I have any serious knowledge about tanks! ;)

          Don’t worry, the idea is to have fun, come in and help us!

        • Rorschach617 says:

          I think the fact that I have been in the game since turn 3 or 4 speaks for how much I am enjoying this. If it becomes a regular feature, it would be great.

          The main reason I have bounced off of CM before is that once you get above Platoon size engagements, there are just so many units to control and I have never found an option to let the AI control the minutiae.

    • Leroy says:

      Can Panzer IV reverse up to C41, keeping its facing South. On arrival face South-West.
      This should allow it to take shots at any M10 approach routes and potentially allow for a flanking manoeuvre later on if the M10 stays put.

      How dangerous is the Stuart to the Panzer?

      • Rorschach617 says:

        Educated guess?

        The Stuart is no threat to the PzIV if it attacks from the front. If it gets around or behind the Pz, the gun should be able to penetrate and damage.

        Of course, this does not preclude the possibility that the Stuart can immobilise the Pz with a hit to the tracks. This could happen from any angle.

    • weelillad says:

      Pz IV to stay put for one turn with its turret pointed south, to see what the Easy 8 does next.

  42. unacom says:

    I just came in from R&R (weekend) and must say: Splendid little war you Gentlemen and -women have here. This is a wonderful and enganging, uh, article… I admire your tenacity and command capabilites!

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Yeah, reinforcements! unacom, please don’t mock us, come and help us. We are in serious need of CM knowledge and ability! :)

      The situation was hopeless a few rounds ago, and now it’s only desperate. We’ve been lucky but it may not last very long ;)

  43. Stugle says:

    I stand in absolute awe that you are all (commentators and Mssr. Stone) still continuing the good fight. Pleased as punch, and words to that effect. It might even be enough to once again install a Combat Mission demo on my PC…

    Anyway, unless you want orders of the variety of “Cower in fear behind a brick wall”, I will refrain from ‘contributing’. Keep up the good work, lads (and lasses)!

  44. wodin says:

    As Quick Battles isn’t really designed with AI play in mind but more player vs player your not going to see the AI or game play aswell as if you’d chosen a proper scenario..

  45. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 16 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Panzer IV, HQ team.

    One unit per commenter.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 16 UNDERWAY.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      So, I got the Tiger killed? Sorry, thought the 76mm would have a harder time with the Tiger’s armour than, in fact, it did.

      Fingers crossed the PzIV can kill the easy8 first.

      • Tim Stone says:

        C’est la guerre. The Tiger had a wounded commander, no radio, damaged optics, and a useless main gun. It was living on borrowed time.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I notice the house at P34 has windows facing the courtyard the easy 8 seems set to advance into. Can HQ decamp and relocate to said building in a single turn? How likely is it the easy 8 would notice them, given its facing?

      • Tim Stone says:

        I think they’d be extremely lucky to get across in one piece and within one turn. If the Easy Eight pauses at the entrance of ‘road 31’ (not impossible) it could spot and engage them. The M10 and the Stuart at the western end of the railway might also cause problems for them. And it’s worth remembering that one of the three is carrying a backpack radio.

        Even if they got across alive I don’t think they could hurt the Easy Eight. Having looked at their equipment again I’m not 100% sure the two grenades they are carrying are HE. They might be smoke (the ‘pop smoke’ order is available to the HQ)

        • BooleanBob says:

          Mm. I was thinking more about keeping tabs on the easy 8 than engaging it. But the risk does seem greater than the benefit that might be gained by it.

          • BooleanBob says:

            Having said all that.. can targets be ordered to ‘ground fire’ in this game? Would it be possible – speaking purely hypothetically, mind you – to have the HQ ambush a close-range target with their smoke grenades, and then have the panzer fire directly into the cloud?

          • BooleanBob says:

            * can units be ordered, not targets.

          • Tim Stone says:

            Speculative fire through smoke isn’t possible, but occasionally you can get results by firing HE close to an out-of-LOS target.

          • maninahat says:

            If it’s like the oldest CM’s, the game refuses to let you “attack ground” in a smoke cloud.

  46. Tim Stone says:

    Although firing into smoke isn’t possible, smoke could be useful to screen movement. The Panzer IV still has three unused smoke shells in its rack.

  47. Tim Stone says:

    Cometh the hour, cometh the commenter.

    Any volunteers?

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      heretic says:

      Let’s finish this, Panzer pop smoke at i38 and move to i38 and wait for the bugger! Do we a get a bonus on shooting first as the smoke dissipates?

      (this is probably tactically unsound but better make a heroic charge rather than a retreat!)

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      Hydrogene says:

      If the PzIV wins the duel with the Easy Eight, we’ll need the HQ as spotters. As crossing the rails seems too dangerous, I say we keep them where they are.

  48. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 17 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Panzer IV, HQ team.

    One unit per commenter.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 17 UNDERWAY.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hydrogene says:

      Damn, the M10 is back! Can the HQ be ordered to look north? They should be able to spot the M10, no?

      • Premium User Badge

        heretic says:

        Do you think the panzer can make a dash for o41? (and face north? if north is up on the map) I figure by itself the panzer is toast, the only other unit we have is the HQ so we should try to make them work in tandem.

        How does CM work? Will the panzer stop to engage as soon as it sees an enemy? What are the chances of it making a dash and not getting mauled by the easy 8 or M10?

        • Premium User Badge

          Hydrogene says:

          Chances of getting alive to o41 seem very slim, as the M10 is just hidden by some trees, and has LOS to most of the road leading to o41. And the M4/E8 is close too…

          A smoke round to K32 (or smewhere close, not hidden by a wall) could give us some time to try something unexpected with the PzIV ;)

        • Tim Stone says:

          “How does CM work? Will the panzer stop to engage as soon as it sees an enemy?”

          I’ve tended to use ‘hunt’ for movement unless a Comment Commander has specified otherwise. With hunt the vehicle proceeds very slowly stopping and engaging at the first sight of a target. It maximises the chances of firing first in a duel.

          ‘Fast’ and ‘quick’ (yes, horribly tautological) orders will encourage a unit to press on regardless. They can create problems with turns in tight spaces though.

      • Tim Stone says:

        The HQ’s view of the M10 is blocked by the houses at o33/34. Currently no German units can see the M10.

        Having just spent ten minutes on the practice range I’m now certain the Panzer’s failure to fire a smoke round last turn was down to my clumsiness rather than a Panzer IV technical issue/attitude problem. Slightly annoyingly it’s possible to plot a ‘fire smoke shell’ order to an out-of-LOS spot and that order will appear valid until the ‘run turn’ button is pressed and the tank decides the shot is impossible.

        It’s also worth stressing that the ‘pop smoke’ order is distinct from the ‘fire/target smoke’ one. When a German tank is told to pop smoke it uses its turret-mounted Nahverteidigungswaffe to surround itself with a curtain of close-range smoke (the curtain will take a turn or two to thicken). When ordered to ‘fire/target smoke’ it uses its main gun to fire one or more smoke shells. Obviously the latter order is the one to use if you want a distant smoke screen.

        I’ve added a crude LoS guide to the last turn summary to illustrate the pickle the Panzer is currently in.

  49. ElementalAlchemist says:

    Not offering up an order, more a suggestion/question.

    Could the MkIV perhaps move to the lee of the house at approx. C39, facing to the west(?)/left? That would give it LOS on the M10 if it moves north(?)/up while providing it some shelter from the E8 if it moves east(?)/right. Although if the M10 and E8 stay together, it’s presumably screwed whatever happens.

    Btw, I’m really enjoying seeing this unfold. It would be cool to see more of this kind of thing in future, maybe with a bit more prominent promotion to draw in non-regulars such as myself.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      One of the things I have seen commenters say is that they don’t know enough about tanks to get into the game. Maybe an all-infantry game would get more people in, for example, commenter infantry hunting some tanks in a small map?

      • Tim Stone says:

        I considered a combined arms setup but was put off by thoughts of squad splitting, weapon/ammo acquiring, and maddening ‘spread out, you fools!’ MG massacres. CMx2’s infantry combat can get pretty complicated and can be just as brutal/unforgiving as the armoured warfare. Not ruled out for a future PBC game though.

        • ElementalAlchemist says:

          I think a focus on tanks is fine, but it’s intimidating when you only have a handful of units and there is almost zero margin for error. Much less when you get down to this type of situation where you have a single tank remaining, outnumbered and very likely to soon be surrounded.

        • Rorschach617 says:

          How much margin is there in CM to edit the units pre-game? Can you make an army of independent small infantry squads?

    • Tim Stone says:

      “Could the MkIV perhaps move to the lee of the house at approx. C39, facing to the west(?)/left?”

      As this is the closest thing to a command that has been proffered in the past twelve hours I’m going to go ahead and execute it. Wish me/you/us luck!

  50. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 18 orders here, please (see body of article for sit rep). Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following: Panzer IV, HQ team.

    One unit per commenter.

    Please don’t be shy. The smart money is on a German defeat at this point, so really we have little to lose.

    ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 18 UNDERWAY.