Communal Combat Mission: Turn 6

Every year The Flare Path runs a communal Combat Mission skirmish in which RPS readers attempt to outwit and outfight CM’s decidedly dangerous AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this year’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. Five turns after leaving their deployment zone, the commenter-controlled Soviets are focused on securing two bridges leading to the town centre and docks.

Bullets begin zipping to and fro across West Bridge ten seconds into turn 6. The enemy infantry squad that triggers the exchange by exiting the house at s16 soon finds itself comprehensively outgunned as Ryumin’s scouts, moving north to occupy positions overlooking the river, join the BA-64B armoured car in hosing the opposite bank.

Watching the one-sided firefight from his roost at w16, Batrakov, the mortar spotter, almost fails to notice a Panzer IV briefly visible during the latter stages of the turn. The skirted medium tank appears for a few seconds circa j12. Moving east to west, it seems to be heading for the wharves.

Meanwhile, at East Bridge, Myshkov is busy being Myshkov. Ignoring explicit instructions, the commander of the Soviet pioneer platoon decides to lead the house-clearing at t27 himself. Shortly after entering the building, the three-man HQ runs into a surprised eight-man SMG squad.

Pistols crack, knives flash, punches are traded. For a few terrible seconds it looks like the players’ most aggressive officer has bitten off more than he can chew, but then support arrives and the German squad begins to take casualties.

At the close of turn 6…

At West Bridge, a firefight involving the BA-64B and Ryumin’s men rages, while the SU-76 hunts towards the fence at w17. Flare Path, the OT-34 flamethrower tank, is now ‘shaken’ rather than ‘panicked’ so should respond to commands in turn 7.

T27, the house NE of East Bridge, is full of gun smoke, flying grenades, and darting soldiers. Approximately 20 Soviet rifle-toters are tussling with 7 German Schmeisser-clutchers. Outside, the buttoned T-34/85 rolls towards a new position at u27.

27 Comments

  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 7 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

    Assuming orders are forthcoming, the summary of turn 7 will appear on the RPS front-page at around this time tomorrow morning.

    • opowell says:

      Ryumin’s platoon waits until the firefight dies down before attempting any bridge crossings.
      – Squad 1 (in w14) moves down to 1st floor of the same building.
      – Squad 2 (in w16) holds position.
      – HQ moves up to a position just S of Squad 2.

      • Electricfox says:

        Do you think it might be worth getting Otto/Flare Path to hose the building at S16 that Jerry just came out of with some fire, or should we save it for the recon squad to shelter in when we get across the bridge?

        • gi_ty says:

          I say burn it all down!

        • opowell says:

          My own inclination would be to save it for shelter (since the building on the west (S14) is already on fire, meaning S16 is the only option).

          I would, however, be in favor of hitting P15 with fire. We don’t need that as a safe haven (lots of other options), and it could cause us lots of trouble.

    • xcopy says:

      Renko moves to the 2nd floor and sneaks into position to put a bullet into everyone north / northeast.

    • Wilson says:

      Oh jeez, that’s more house action than I’d expected. No new orders to Myshkov’s platoon this turn, they should hold their position and focus on evicting that German squad from the house. I assume they’re all engaged already based on the last screenshot and giving orders will delay or distract them, but if extra orders will help make sure all three squads are fighting then do that.

    • Electricfox says:

      Comrade AH BA-64B is to continue as is.

  2. sneetch says:

    It looks like those soldiers are about to go into a song and dance routine and one of them is out of position at the very start. The Russia’s Got Talent judges won’t like that!

  3. alh_p says:

    When/why did the T34/85 button down? Was it the whiff of infantry scaring the commander?

    • ElementalAlchemist says:

      Someone explicitly ordered it a turn or two back.

      • alh_p says:

        Well that’s just the thing, I thought I asked him to stay in the turret. I just wonder if it’s a misunderstanding or if it got too hot for the commander.

        • gi_ty says:

          I did explicitly request the tank commander be buttoned down. We knew there was infantry nearby and i didn’t want to risk loosing him to small arms fire. Hopefully when we get eyes on the northwest he can take shots at the soon to be retreating infantry squad. Then with infantry support we can continue north before turning east to fight through the main section of town.

          • gi_ty says:

            I will also add I’ve never played CM game so I erred on the side of caution.

          • alh_p says:

            No worries! I must have missed something on the last turn or two. Carry on tovarisch!

  4. Michael Fogg says:

    Apologies for me being from the twitch generation, but wouldn’t this rad feature be even better if Tim recorded and uploaded each turn as it unfolds? That could be a good entry point for folks like me, who still have CM on the todo list.

    • backwardsdog says:

      That could probably be a cool feature article in the future! As an old timer i enjoy the format used right now and the ‘slow’ pace of it.

    • Dinger says:

      Being the Twitch generation is cool. Here’s the problem. Gen-1 CM (and Battlefront, I love you guys, but CM1, especially cmbb, was just the perfect mixture of nerdy sim and abstraction.) at one time teased the possibility of full-game playback, but never delivered. You want in-game playback, because often things happen simultaneously on different sides of the map. This synchronic aspect is difficult to communicate in video form, without giving the user control over playback.
      On the other hand, a good retelling with lines like “Myshkov being Myshkov”, well that brings it alive. Sure, I could give it my own interpretation, usually involving pathfinding errors, but I like the capturing of the illustrative screenshot and building the narrative. A video would require better playback options than CM1 to even have a shot at being as cool.

  5. Electricfox says:

    We need to keep an eye open on the west for that Panzer IV Ausf H, that could cause us problems. I think Otto Flare could probably handle it, the /85 certainly could but he’s east at the moment. Myshkovs encounter with the squad of Germans reminds me a bit of the broken wall scene in Private Ryan.

    • alh_p says:

      I agree but the SU76 will shortly be in position with a clear sight line to the Panzer’s last location.

      • Electricfox says:

        Ah excellent, I’d forgotten about Comrade Suchka. Yes, that’ll punch a nice hole in an Ausf H’s flank.

  6. backwardsdog says:

    Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter) wants to call in smoke screens, at what i think is R15 (between the two houses, past the bridge). That should provide some cover for advancing troops.

    Additionally, we should keep an eye out at K9 for the tank that was briefly spotted. If we see him again, how large is the splash radius of our heavy artillery?

    Can we engage that tank with heavy shelling once we know an approximate position, is what I’m getting at.

    • alh_p says:

      I’m not sure shelling a tank with our mortars will do much, but I’m prepared to be corrected. They might suppress it but no more.

      Smoke screening, infantry in the open or buildings might be better targets for our mortar arty.

      Again, that’s only my assumption, but we don’t have proper arty.

      • backwardsdog says:

        I think you are most likely correct. Hand held mortar rounds wont do much to a tank. But just like you, im no expert. If we have heavy artillery support though, we could certainly kill that tank!

        Either way i think the smoke screen a little past the bridge will be beneficial for our troop movements.

        Also, another movement request: Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter) wants to make sure he is not left behind/ambushed. Can he set a anti personal mine at the entrance to the stairway leading to his perch? If he gets too far away from his teammates, maybe he will get antsy and start following them? I’ll let the GM make those decisions ;)

      • Cederic says:

        Turns out that’s hard to research.
        link to ww2data.blogspot.co.uk is interesting and suggests that an anti-armour role wasn’t ever intended.

        Generally it looks like a direct hit on the engine will hurt, a direct hit on the rest of the tank might well upset the crew and a near miss will probably immobilise it.

        If it’s a light tank a near miss may knock it out, but a Panzer IV we should assume would remain effective.

        I’d go with the smoke option, it can’t hurt us if it doesn’t know we’re here. I don’t want to be hurt.