The Flare Path Welcomes Combative Commenters

I was tempted to explore Nineteenth Century warfare or try something operational for this year’s play-by-comment wargaming marathon, but after surveying my game collection and conducting experiments, found myself gravitating towards Battlefront’s oeuvre and WW2 once again. When it comes to generating gripping unscripted dramas I reckon first-generation Combat Mission is peerless, and that clever WEGO turn structure (the orders of both sides are executed simultaneously) might have been designed with communal combat choreography and episodic AAR writing in mind.

If The Battle of the Perfectly Rectangular Olive Grove is any guide, the coming scrap will play out at approximately 1TPD. Every 24 hours, the Red Army troops and armoured vehicles under your control will experience 60 in-game seconds of Eastern Front hell.

The Concept

Just in case you weren’t around for last summer’s nailbiting North African clash, here’s how PBC Combat Mission works. Every turn, via a comment along the lines of “Turn 1 orders here, please…” I solicit written instructions for friendly forces (enemy units are AI controlled). Orders are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis with individual commenters only permitted to ‘move’ a single vehicle, infantry platoon*, or weapon team per turn.

*Usually platoons are composed of several squads and an HQ.

One turn Buggleskelly might send the M5 halftrack trundling northward towards grid square E22, while Prof_Yaffle chooses a target for the 120mm mortars and Ganesha75 does something sly with the sniper. During the next order round, Cossack could end-up in charge of the halftrack while BillStickers and Toffeeman do the honours with the mortars and the sharpshooter.

Once the orders are in for all* units, I’ll execute them and return with a brief image-accompanied account of how the last sixty seconds of in-game action played out. Did you manage to sneak the HQ into that dacha without being cut to ribbons by the MG 42 across the river? Did your T-34 discover something nasty behind the woodshed? All will be revealed.

*Occasionally, to keep things moving, I may step in and issue orders for an unpopular or peripheral unit myself.

I can’t promise to process orders every day – like all GGMs (Groggy Gamemasters) I’ll be taking time out to sleep, eat, read, pet the cat, and dabble with recent wargame releases – but, going by past years, there should be a new turn summary/order invitation posted most evenings. Please pop in regularly to check on progress and lend a hand with the Ivan orchestration.

The Challenge

It’s mid January, 1945. In a small Latvian town lapped by the icy Baltic, a ragtag band of German units cut off by the advancing Red Army await rescue from the sea. That rescue seems imminent. VVS aircraft have spotted a destroyer and freighter approaching at speed from the west. If the town isn’t taken swiftly, the fascists could get clean away.

Your task, Commanders, is to secure the port and/or neutralise its defenders within 30 turns. Comrade Bagramyan believes a force consisting of two T-34s, two SPGs, an armoured car, and around 100 men should be ample for the challenges ahead.

We believe the Germans aren’t expecting an attack from the south. Recon troops sent into the southern suburbs at daybreak encountered no enemies south of the river except an MG bunker next to the east bridge (see above). However they did hear tracked vehicles moving about in the vicinity of the town square and observed some form of AA or AT gun being tractored out to the end of the new wharf.

An AI-controlled feint from the NE should draw some of the defenders away from the bridges and square in the early stages of your attack. Be ready for the return of the distracted units once they realise they’ve been duped.

The Battlefield

^ Click to enlarge. Walls (thick white lines), woods (dark green squares), and tall pines (blue-green squares containing three dark triangles) are impassable to vehicles

720m by 650m, the venue is dusted with a light covering of snow and is totally flat except for a castle-topped hill in the NW and a long low ridge on a spit of land in the SW.

To gain access to the town centre and the docks you will need to take one or both of the bridges spanning the river. Of the seven victory locations on the map,  two – New Wharf and Old Wharf –  are ‘major’, worth 300 VPs each. Capturing a minor VL – West Bridge, East Bridge, Square, Station, Castle – will add 100 VPs to the Soviet score tally*.

*Score tallies are also impacted by losses

^ Facing north. The two Soviet deployment areas are in the foreground (Click to enlarge)

^ Looking west along the river

^ Looking east from the wharves

^ The view SE from Castle Hill

Friendly Forces

There are two clusters of Soviet units on the southern map edge at the start of the game.

  • The central group (circa ii17) consists of…

A nippy BA-64B armoured car. Armed with a single LMG and plated with relatively thin steel, it’s made for rapid recon and cagey infantry support rather than tank tackling.

A SU-76 self-propelled gun. Known to its crews as the suchka (“little bitch”) or Golozhopiy Ferdinand (“bare-arsed Ferdinand” – a reference to its open top and frail flank and rear armour) the SU-76 sports a useful 76mm AT gun. HE rounds are also carried.

Lt. Ryumin’s recon platoon (two squads plus an HQ). Laden with grenades and Molotovs, most of the veterans in these two eleven-man squads carry rifles.

Lt. Batrakov, a spotter for an off-map battery of 120mm mortars. He can arrange fire on out-of-LoS targets, but will be far more effective when directing bombardments at enemies in his eye-line. Expect to wait around four minutes/turns for the first shots to arrive.

  • The SE group (circa ii30) consists of…

A T-34/85. Your most effective and robust tank killer.

An OT-34 flamethrower tank. Sure to strike fear into the hearts of even the stoutest defenders, the OT-34 can sling shells and spray bullets as well as squirt napalm.

Lt. Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three squads plus a platoon HQ). With their Molotovs and demo charges these three nine-man squads are well-equipped for urban warfare.

Kapitan Gurtiev, Myshkov’s boss and the highest-ranking Red Army unit on the map.

Yefreytor Renko, a veteran sniper awarded the title ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ for his deeds at Stalingrad.

  • Reinforcements due to arrive in 7-10 turns…

A SU-122 self-propelled howitzer. Building demolition is this heavyweight’s forte.

An M5 halftrack towing a 57mm AT gun.

A three-squad 30-man rifle platoon.

Issuing Orders

You don’t need to understand the intricacies of Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin to participate. Just provide a destination coordinate, and perhaps a clue to pace/cautiousness and I’ll do my best to translate your instructions into an in-game order.

Full strength infantry squads, represented on screen with three figures, can be split into two sections for tasks like scouting, and will fight harder, react quicker, and be less likely to panic if close to an HQ (The squad on the left in the above pic is ‘out of command’)

^ T-34/85 using a cover arc on the move

One of the most useful orders available to AFVs is the cover arc. Stretched over a potentially dangerous sector of the map, it helps prevent vehicles from becoming distracted while ambushing or manoeuvring.

Newcomers wanting to learn about CMBB, its powerful command options and deep simulation, could do worse than check out the manual and the demo. I’ll do my best to answer technical questions during the battle. Hopefully, knowledgeable spectators and players will furnish explanations from time to time too.

Happy hunting, Comment Commanders. Take the town by T+30 and the vodkas are on me.

Turns 1 & 2

As most Soviet units are still on the move at the end of turn 1 and no enemies are in sight I allow another turn to unfurl.

Seven seconds into turn 2, the unbuttoned commander of the OT-34 drops smartly into his turret and slams the hatch shut after an MG fusillade splashes him with sparks. The ‘hunting’ flame tank has attracted the ire of the bunker next to the east bridge. Unperturbed, it pauses to deluge the structure with liquid fire. One gout is enough. The bunkerites immediately abandon ship.

Turn 2 ends with Lt. Myshkov’s pioneer platoon ensconced in a two-storey house (y27) overlooking the east bridge. Renkov the sniper is nextdoor scoping for targets north of the river.

In a commanding position on the righthand map edge, the T-34/85 is well placed to tackle anything approaching the east bridge from the town square. The SU-76 at ff25 can’t see what’s going on to the north but does have clear LoS westward to the end of the new wharf.

Lt Ryumin’s recon troops occupy buildings around aa13 (the BA-64B is close-by). Batrakov, the mortar spotter, is the only friendly unit still in motion. A little weary – presumably, because he’s lugging a heavy radio – he’s approximately 80m from his destination, the upper floor of a two-storey house at y16.


Turn 3

… is tentative and sans combat.

Orderless, Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon loiter south of the east bridge while nearby both the T-34/85 and OT-34 edge westward.

Meanwhile, Lt. Ryumin and his scouts approach the west bridge as unobtrusively as possible.

The SU-76 is currently ‘hunting’ cross-country to z16. If there is an AT gun lurking on the end of the new wharf then its crew are either asleep or extremely cool customers.

(From here-on turn summaries will be presented as standalone posts)

76 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Syt says:

    Ah, CMBB. Still my favorite Combat Mission game, for its sheer scope of content. Was there ever a proper widescreen patch/mod for this?

    • Tim Stone says:

      I don’t think so. The last official update was the payware Vista patch in 2009.

      • Premium User Badge

        Syt says:

        A shame, that. But Battlefront are known to be weird with their patch/upgrade/expansion policy. Shame, really. It’s the main thing keeping me from buying their products these days. :(

        • wombat191 says:

          weird doesnt even begin to describe it.. making people pay ALOT for patches?

          • J.C. says:

            Yes – it’s a niche title. They have to make money.

            Also there is no widescreen indeed. That’s simply up to whoever wants to delve into the code for an old game.

        • Fred2 says:

          Not more of this silliness again… BFC creates patches for free that fixes bugs. Starting in CM2 they also update older games with new features they develop as they move forward.

          In the old CM1 days (CMBO, CMAK and CMBB) they released a few patches for each game but moved on for the next one and never updated the older game with any new features they developed. With the latest CM2 games they do both. The new way is far better. CMBN (and the others) are up to date with the latest features and behaviors. That costs them $ so they charge us for those upgrades. Updating CMBN years later with the newest features they developed for CMRT is not patching for bug fixes.

  2. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 1 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 8 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter)

    Central Group (circa ii17)

    *BA-64B armoured car
    *SU-76 SPG
    *Lt. Ryumin’s recon platoon (two recon squads + HQ)
    *Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter)

    SE Group (circa ii30)

    *T-34/85
    *OT-34 flame tank
    *Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three squads + HQ)
    *Renko, the sniper

    ++++ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 1 UNDERWAY++++

    • Wilson says:

      Send Lt. Ryumin’s platoon through the woods towards the houses around aa13, going via the woods at dd11 (so trying to stay in cover as they approach the houses).
      Good luck everyone!

    • AbyssUK says:

      They are not expecting an attack from the south and ..if Hollywood has taught me anything it’s put the sniper in the church tower..Send the full SE group up the forest road, tanks upfront men behind until half way through the woods (bb28) then send the sniper into the church through the woodland. Have the T34 head to the crossroads at z28 and while keeping eyes on the bridge move to z27. Can it take a shot at the east bridge MG bunker from there or does it need to get closer (z26) or can the sniper put it out of action. Flame tank ready to fire up the bunker too at z27/26.
      Men + HQ into y27 building for some cover.

    • Electricfox says:

      Well, Patton did highlight recon as ‘Go down that road until you get blown up’ so in that vein, Comrade BA-64B should proceed at speed down the road of BB17, and then swing left to support Wilsons movement of Lt. Ryumins recon to AA13.

    • gi_ty says:

      Move the SU-76 to ff 25. Load an HE shell and fire on the building due south of the bridge.

    • xcopy says:

      Damn comment system.

      Please send Renko, the sniper to the house at y28. I hope he can get a clear shot on anyone on the other side of the east bridge.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Could you send the t34/85 to aa 32, facing northwest to see what it can see of the East Bridge? Get eyes on that machine gun nest? If possible, maybe even lob an HE shell at it?

    • Rituro says:

      Reposting from down below (thanks, gi_ty):

      Assuming it hasn’t been spoken for, let’s get that flamethrower(!) tank into position to hose down any potential ambush sites. OT-34 forward to z28 via the road with an itchy trigger finger to hose any suspicious buildings with fire. If time permits afterwards, face west and slowly advance towards z25.

  3. maninahat says:

    Sweet! Not ready to think about issuing orders yet, but I’ll chime in soon. To the newbs, I can recommend not getting over-excited about the capabilities of tanks. Don’t be tempted to rush them forward towards the urban areas, where they are very vulnerable to mines/booby traps/hidden AT pieces/Other tanks/AT infantry. Similarly, be careful of charging infantry towards the urban areas to counter all these AT tricks – they’ll just blunder into deadly MGs. Try to combine both vehicles and troops, moving at a cautious pace.

    Also, smoke smoke smoke smoke smoke.

    As to the current situation, that MG pillbox on the West side prevents a quick dash of units towards those high value flags at the docks. Even if we cross those choke points at the bridges, we could end up slamming into an ambush.

    • maninahat says:

      Incidentally, I’m delighted how this is somewhere on the net where I can spot a Will Hay reference and not be surprised.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Seeing as you seem to know what you’re doing, I urge you not to be too shy about getting involved early!

      With so little to go on in the first few turns, us newbies are likely to be intimidated about taking early moves that lead to early blunders, so your help would be much appreciated for the sake of getting us to the mid game in good time and good shape.

  4. buzzmong says:

    So glad you’re doing one of these again, reading the last one was good fun :)

  5. drezworthy says:

    CMBB! I used to play the shit out of this game. I had all the first generation CM games as they were released and this was my favorite. Now I have just Combat Mission Battle for Normandy with all expansions and that leaves no budget for any other titles. The main problem with their games is they are overpriced. Also their UI and Graphics engine remains super clunky. Otherwise they are the best WW2 combined arms games out there in my opinion, better than graviteams stuff (which is also great).

  6. ElementalAlchemist says:

    Aha, Combative Commenters makes its return. Splendid.

    Question: Can an artillery barrage be ordered without enemy units sighted? Given that it will take 4 turns to arrive, I’m wondering if a pre-emptive strike at likely areas may be worth ordering right off the bat, giving a few turns grace to move into position. The MG bunker or AT gun on the wharf would be obvious targets. Of course this would presumably completely neutralise the effect of the diversionary attack. Do we have any idea how many turns that may draw off units for?

    • klops says:

      Yes, you can order artillery fire where ever you want. You can area target with all the units without any enemy contact. I’m just wondering would a smoke barrage be more effective to cover the advance in this situation.

      -EDIT- Four turns, perhaps not.

  7. Stugle says:

    Well, there goes my productivity for the next week or two. :)

    Thanks for doing this, Tim! Based on the Battle of the PROG, it must be a time-consuming commitment, but it’s wonderful to see it play out.

    Guess I need to reinstall my sole Combat Mission game (Beyond Overlord, because it was on GOG and not eyewateringly expensive).

    PS: I’m having a lot of fun with Cold Waters, bought on the strength of your coverage. Thanks for that, too!

  8. jayjay4466 says:

    Lt Batrakov (ideally with one of the recon squads supporting) to occupy the dark brown two storey building directly north along the road. Advance so that this move is screened from view from the western bridge by the building itself.

    From the upper floor of this building he should have line of sight to the western bridge and could call down smoke or HE in support of any subsequent attack on this bridge (which seems to offer us more cover than the eastern bridge and looks a more attractive target).

  9. Stugle says:

    Tim, can you give me a reminder as to how far the different elements can advance within a turn? I’m mainly wondering how far an infantry squad, a tank, and that armored car can travel, moving cautiously.

    Knowing how far (hypothetically speaking) I could push a recon squad, or that flame tank, would keep me from putting them in an embarrassingly exposed position at the end of a turn. I’ve printed out the map, so a sense for the cells-per-turn speed would be most helpful.

    • Tim Stone says:

      A lot depends on terrain type and order delay. A tank ‘hunting’ along a road will travel perhaps 100m (ten map squares) in a turn if undisturbed. An infantry squad ‘moving’ rather than ‘running’ roughly the same.

  10. xcopy says:

    Please send Renko, the sniper to the house ar y28.
    I hope he can get a clear shot on anyone on the other side of the east bridge.

  11. sandman2575 says:

    “When it comes to generating gripping unscripted dramas I reckon first-generation Combat Mission is peerless, and that clever WEGO turn structure (the orders of both sides are executed simultaneously) might have been designed with communal combat choreography and episodic AAR writing in mind.”

    Not to sidetrack from the main intent of Tim’s article, but I do wonder what it is about “1st gen. Combat Mission” that some veteran players think makes it superior to CMx2?

    I’ve put countless hours into all the CMx2 titles (except Shock Force). I think overall they are superb and deeply engrossing, while also deeply time-consuming and hampered by a truly dismal and obsolete UI (…so many fault the Graviteam games on its UI, but especially in the newest iterations of Mius Front and Tunisia, Graviteam’s UI is far superior to what Combat Mission features). But I never played CMx1, Barbarossa to Berlin, etc. (I did play a lot of the similar Panzer Command games from defunct developer Koios).

    I guess I just don’t see what draws folks back to CMx1 when — if I can judge by comparing CMx2 with Panzer Command — the experience in CMx2 just seems enhanced in every respect? CMx2 features the same, AAR-friendly, drama-heightening WEGO mechanic as 1st Gen., while looking 1000 times better in the process.

    Thoughts?

    • jozinho says:

      I was wondering the same thing. It seems that CMx1 is so dominant that the publishers/devs had to force shut down the mod scene, I’m guessing to try and get people to migrate.

      I remember an older Tim Stone piece where he mentioned the proliferating command types. Is CMx1 just that much more elegant? I’m one of the GOG-Overlord-only types so I haven’t touched CMx2.

    • Stugle says:

      I think Tim prefers the dynamic AI in the first generation game, versus the scripted AI in the later games. I can’t personally comment, as I haven’t played either game, but I believe Tim mentioned this in one of his pieces on CMx2 games.

    • Fred2 says:

      I have no idea either. I only stated playing the CM1 games just before CM2 (CMBN) came out. I loved the CM1 games and would still be paying them if there were no CM2 games but once CMBN arrived there was just no comparison and I finished the CM1 games I had going and never started another.

      What I love about the CM2 games is the graphics are soo much better – especially the one model on solider scale. It is much easier to get immersed when you get to see everyone and not just Larry, Curly and Moe. Combined that with the end of Borg spotting and I was hooked.

      The UI gets a lot of heat but it is not worse than CM1 and I find it functional.

      I also know that people get into a rage over spotting but frankly the way it works in CM2 is far more like what it is like on a battlefield. And the communication of spotting information through the C2 net – totally cool.

      Having said that two of my friends also played CM1 games with me. One has not made the transition – it was just too hard and he likes to play WoW and B4 these days so it’s not like he is still playing CM1 games. The other is on his like third attempt to make the transition. But again he also is not paying the CM1 games either.

      The CM2 games are harder and you are punished more if you make a tactical mistake.

      IMHO

  12. DetCord says:

    Talk about a blast from the past. I poured countless hours into that game. Unfortunately however, the CM series has barely improved upon the visuals and the UI from previous titles. It needs a serious makeover.

    Tim! Are you ever going to do another Flare Path Exhibition? I got some stuff for ya.

    link to rockpapershotgun.com

  13. Rituro says:

    YES!! This is the series that made me a regular reader of RPS. So very glad it’s back. Thanks, Tim! (And extra thanks to the commenters who pointed out I can get CM games on GOG.) Being a bit vain, I don’t suppose we could get a combat theatre featuring Canadians next time around…?

    Assuming it hasn’t been spoken for, let’s get that flamethrower(!) tank into position to hose down any potential ambush sites. OT-34 forward to z28 via the road with an itchy trigger finger to hose any suspicious buildings with fire. If time permits afterwards, face west and slowly advance towards z25.

  14. gi_ty says:

    Reply fail

  15. Tim Stone says:

    Last turn summary: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    Turn 3 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 8 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter)

    *BA-64B armoured car
    *SU-76 SPG
    *Lt. Ryumin’s recon platoon (two recon squads + HQ)
    *Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter)
    *T-34/85
    *OT-34 flame tank
    *Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three squads + HQ)
    *Renko, the sniper

    ++++ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 3 UNDERWAY++++

    • BooleanBob says:

      Can we get the SU-76 to proceed to z16, facing NW, please? It will have limited FOV of the wharfs until it repositions from there but I feel like the West Bridge group will need some shell support once they run into hostiles.

      • ElementalAlchemist says:

        How about ordering a barrage now somewhere around P6-P10? Seems like there are at least two units lurking in that building, plus there was mention of an AT gun in that area.

    • Electricfox says:

      Comrade BA-64B should hide by the corner of the house at y14, I suspect that the fascist menace will be looking to get an AT gun on that New Wharf and I don’t want our valiant recon unit being hit by it. So let’s put the house between us and the New Wharf, whilst still being in position to peek down the road towards the west bridge if need be.

    • xcopy says:

      Renko should wait until any friendly unit has crossed the bridge. Then he should hurry to reach the house at t27 and face north.

    • Wilson says:

      Let’s keep Lt. Ryumin’s recon platoon creeping forward through those houses towards the heavy building at W14 (one squad there and one at the lighter house at Y16 if the command range will stretch?)

    • Rituro says:

      Well done, Comrade OT-34! Vodka shots on me. Let’s get our fiery friend into cover and prepare for the next wave.

      Move to x22, maintain facing and hunker down. If the OT-34 has the capability to do so, pop smoke on t15 in case we decide the west bridge needs crossing.

    • Tim Stone says:

      Any instructions for Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon or the T-34/85?

      • ElementalAlchemist says:

        The T34 is currently at about AA-32? Perhaps it can slowly trundle – unbuttoned if not already – westwards along the road at Z to about Z-26/27, in the lee of the house to get a closer look at the bridge, turret traversed NNWish.

  16. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    I really enjoyed the last one – can’t remember how it worked though, will you update this post or submit new ones that will be available to the RSS feed?

    I would prefer an update that appears in the RSS feed so I don’t miss it :)

    [EDIT] was sitting on this page for 15 mins didn’t realise the first turns had already occured! So I guess no RSS? :(

  17. wombat191 says:

    everyone else left alive.. CHAAARGE

  18. Tim Stone says:

    Last turn summary: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    Turn 4 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 8 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter)

    *BA-64B armoured car
    *SU-76 SPG
    *Lt. Ryumin’s recon platoon (two recon squads + HQ)
    *Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter)
    *T-34/85
    *OT-34 flame tank
    *Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three squads + HQ)
    *Renko, the sniper

    ++++ORDERS RECEIVED. TURN 4 UNDERWAY++++

    • jayjay4466 says:

      Assuming he’s in position and hasn’t had a fatal asthma attack, Lt Batrakov could call in smoke onto the western bridge. Even if we don’t attack there, it could provide a distraction.

      I’m thinking though that if we took the west bridge, we are threatening to cut off defenders at the east bridge from the rest of the defenders around the wharf. That might affect morale, and if we are really lucky they might even fall back and give us the east bridge. You never know…..! Incidentally, it sounds like the SU-76 is in a great position to interdict attempts to reinforce the west bridge from the wharf.

      TLDR: call in smoke on the west bridge from the mortars.

      • BooleanBob says:

        If it’s possible: one of Lt. Ryumin’s squads to cross the West Bridge at speed, hoping to reach the house at t27. The other squad and HQ to follow behind with caution, providing cover.

      • Tim Stone says:

        Batrakov is still trudging towards the house at y16 (He’s just visible to the right of the blue LoS line in the last pic). He could stop in his current position and call in mortar smoke (ETA 4-5 turns) but as he wouldn’t have LoS to the west bridge I suspect the smoke would end-up scattered across most of the map.

        • jayjay4466 says:

          Oh dear….

          I still think we should ideally wait for the smoke before attacking but that would mean all units having somewhere safe to wait it out for 4 turns (coincidentally the reinforcements arrive around then too).

          The other option is to open fire on possible enemy positions on the north bank in the hope that they return fire and give away their positions. We then scratch the smoke and FFE on those positions instead.

          Oh, and sorry everyone for massively overestimating the movement speed of a lone, heavily-laden man…

          • alh_p says:

            I’m wondering what that supposed AA/AT gun on the wharf is. The A/T suggests it could be an 88, which would need very careful handling. A PAK38 would be something less complicated.

            Either way, I wonder about dropping some mortar shells on it to injure/incapacitate the crew before anyone marches out into its LOS (either bridge or the town square). Firing before identifying/fixing the target might not have the best results however.

            Tovarish Tim, I have a few questions. I understand there is a 4 turn lead-time betwen ordering and receiving the off map arty strike. How often can we call in separate strikes though? e.g. when can we next call in another strike from the off map mortars after ordering a first salvo?

            Further, what are the chances of spotting an emplaced AT gun before it fires? Our recon platton hasn’t spotted it yet, so what’s their spotting range and is it automatic, or do they need to be told to look?

            I know we have our Suchka hunting out west towards the wharf end, which may well draw fire from an ambushing/emplaced gun, but that also worries me. The advantage is probably to the AT gun vs an SPG in a straight shooting match – especially if the AT spots and fires first.

          • Tim Stone says:

            Batrakov has been promised 60 mortar rounds. That should be sufficient for several separate stonks. Barrages will go on until cancelled IIRC. Cancellation requests are usually processed pretty swiftly, and, I think I’m right in saying, batteries should be ready to fire on new targets in 4-5 turns.

            >>what are the chances of spotting an emplaced AT gun before it fires?

            Very hard to say. If there’s a gun on the wharf and the recon troops spend a turn or two stationary in the buildings around y14, there’s a good chance they will spot it.

        • jayjay4466 says:

          “Into the valley of death rode the 600….”

          I’ve just double-checked the screen shot you referred to and Batrokov is heading for the wrong house- the one I meant is the two-storey dark brown building between the two smaller, light buildings on the left of that screenshot. Although this house is still at some distance from the bridge, from upstairs you should have LoS over the top of the one-storey buildings nearby to the bridge itself.

          I’ll take responsibility for the mistake- I haven’t used grid references in my posts and I should have done.

          On the plus side, this building is a far superior spotting position (but a bit far away)

    • Electricfox says:

      Comment system seems to have eaten my last attempt. So I’ll try again. Comrade BA-Baracus64A should move to W15, and face the bridge in order to provide support to Comrade Ryumins recon squads, but keeping the house at W14 between him and the New Wharf.

    • Rituro says:

      Not sure if my previous comment actually posted somewhere; if it didn’t, send OT-34 (or “Otto” as I shall now call him) at full speed to t16, slowing to hunting speed and facing northwest. Pause briefly to peek around the buildings, then slowly advance over the bridge and hose anything even remotely German with fire.

    • alh_p says:

      Tim, you are the savior of Mother Russia for bringing this back! I’m endlessly amazed (and relieved) that you survived the purges.

      I got massively into both the Caen debacle and PROG skirmishes, neglecting professional and parental duties to scurry off and catchup/doom a few more imaginary men. Fantastic fun. Not surprised you needed 6 months off between them though!

      Can I check which units are order less this turn? It seems we are re positioning the tanks and sartorially challenged Ferdinand, waiting for comrade Batrakov to haul his carcass to his first spotting position, while both infantry units and the sniper are stationary, in position.

      If I may be so bold as to offer 2 words of advice from previous CCs:

      Don’t move the infantry arti/spotter too much. Best to get them into a decent position from which they can be effective for as much of the battle as possible. In the PROG, our mortar team spent most of the battle yomping their kit around (and getting stuck by a knee high wall). Once they finally got set up, they decimated a blob of enemy infantry. We don’t have infantry transport for this battle though (yet) but let’s get our spotter set up, then get down to business.

      The same should go for the inbound AT gun and tractor/half track. Set it up once with the intention of not moving it, if at all possible.

      • Cederic says:

        In the PROG, our mortar team spent most of the battle yomping their kit around (and getting stuck by a knee high wall).

        Yeah, sorry about that. I’m taking a more cautious approach to this battle, letting competent people make the early moves instead.

        • alh_p says:

          Don’t be too hard on yourself, I thought I was partly to blame for that! I may have moved them from their disembarked location…

    • Wilson says:

      I think at least a couple of squads from Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon should rush across the bridge for the house at T27, with the HQ and third squad holding back in the woods at X26. If the bridge rush can be timed for when any tanks have vision across the bridge (or to accompany any potential tank charge) so much the better.

      • xcopy says:

        Okay, lets try it! Before the pioneers rush the bridge, the T-34/85 moves to w24, goes hull down and keeps an eye on r27. This should cover our brave men!

        I just hope, that there is no minefield on the bridge! *crosses fingers*

  19. Tim Stone says:

    It looks like the T-34/85 and the SU-76 are still available this turn (I’ll use xcopy’s order for the sniper – “Renko should wait until any friendly unit has crossed the bridge. Then he should hurry to reach the house at t27 and face north” – as it couldn’t be implemented last turn)

    N.B.’Stay put!’ and ‘Continue present manoeuvre’ are perfectly acceptable orders.

  20. Tim Stone says:

    ++++ CHANGE OF FORMAT! ++++

    From now on, turn summaries will appear as daily posts on the front page tagged with “communal Combat Mission”.

    The first one – turn 4 – should be up in around 10 minutes.

    Please issue your orders via these new posts rather than this one.

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