Communal Combat Mission: Turn 14

 

Welcome to the third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and CM’s decidedly dangerous AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this summer’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. Thirteen turns in, the commenter-controlled Soviets have lost all but one of their core AFVs, but are close to securing the crucial town square VL in the centre of the map.

Some tentative and conflicting orders make preparing turn 14 a bit of a challenge, but eventually all the waypoints are in place and CMBB’s marvellous clockwork is wound for another sixty seconds of suspense. Will the AT gun on the spit survive the attentions of that pesky AA gun? Will those two SPGs ramble south, threatening Myshkov’s right flank? Will some sly Panzerfaustist end Flare Path’s fate-tempting/crowd-pleasing adventures in the square? Read on!

Buffeted by the shockwaves of nearby mortar blasts – ‘friendly’ mortar blasts – Flare Path’s dash to q19 is executed in forward gear. A little slow to get underway (a consequence of that dead crewman?) she has arrived but is still reorienting and acquiring the AA gun on the end of New Wharf when the turn shudders to a stop.

Though that AA gun hasn’t stopped firing for the entire turn, its target, our AT gun on the spit, is still in one piece at T+60. Shielded by some extremely helpful sand dunes and toiling feverishly, the Ivan gunners will have their cumbersome weapon ready for use about midway through the next turn assuming the duffers on the wharf don’t elevate their barrels a fraction in the next thirty seconds.

The BA-64’s backwards diversion failed to divert, and the armoured car ends the turn back at w15,  shoulder to shoulder with the M5, menacing foes north of West Bridge.

Pounded by the last of Batrakov’s allotment of 120mm mortar bombs, organised resistance in the riverside warehouse and the squares surrounding the dead Pz IV has all but vanished by T+60. Two survivors from a badly mauled SMG squad are still in place at s13. A lone, retreating rifleman cowers on the cobbles at q14.

On the eastern side of town, Renko, the marksman, is creaking the stairs in the house at m26. He’ll soon be joined by one of Myshkov’s squads. The pioneers are planning to lurk on the ground floor with their Molotovs in case the StuGs, both of which are now out-of-LOS, sally south.

All fire coming from the church at the east end of the square has now ceased…

…and the square is now officially in Soviet hands!

^ click to enlarge

27 Comments

  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 15 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 10 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter)

    *BA-64B armoured car (w15)
    *Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter, upstairs w16, ammo exhausted)
    *OT-34 flame tank (q19, turning to fire at New Wharf gun)
    *Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three splitable squads + HQ, q25, p26 and, imminently, m26)
    *Renko, the sniper (upstairs, m26)
    *Lt. Lapshin’s rifle platoon (three splitable squads + HQ, s22,23 and, imminently, r18)
    *Tank hunter team (x25, moving painfully slowly towards p26)
    *M5 halftrack (w15)
    *AT gun (bb10, 24 seconds to setup)
    *T-34/85 crew (p30, pistol armed)

    Assuming orders are forthcoming, the summary of turn 15 will appear on the RPS front-page at this time tomorrow morning.

    • BooleanBob says:

      And.. exhale.

      I have a few questions for you Tim.. not to be interpreted as orders. Sorry again for the confusion last turn :)

      * What’s the effective range of Flare Path’s flamethrower? Is elevation a factor (for multiple story buildings) or does a burst of flame affect a whole square evenly?
      * What’s the effective range of a panzerfaust?
      * Is it possible to tell a gun crew to temporarily abandon their piece and seek cover? If so, can they later be commanded to re-crew?

      • BooleanBob says:

        As best I can tell from the manual, squares are 20m x 20m (~28m diagonally). Panzerfausts at this point of the war were effective at up to 60 or 100m depending on the variant. Which would either be 3 squares lateral / 2 sq diagonal, or 5 sq lateral / 3.5 sq diagonal effective range, respectively.

        Some haphazard googling threw up the suggestion that FP might be wielding one of three flamethrowers, ATO-41 through 43, for only one of which I could find an effective range (130 meters, or 6.5 squares lateral, 4.5 squares diagonal).

        So if my info is correct (far from a given), we outrange the worst threats of any German infantry – albeit slightly. This gives us the option to retreat the OT34 further into the square if we want to protect it from the buildings in the north east, while still being able to hose them down should they become occupied.

        However, I’m in favour of taking a minute to fire on the AA gun this turn. I believe the tank is still in the process of reorienting NW, so it won’t remain as exposed as the screenshots suggest it is right now.

        I’ll tentatively issue an order of no new orders to OT34 this turn. Open to reconsidering if my comrades feel strongly.

        • Tim Stone says:

          Flamethrower range is listed as 100m in the info panel. In theory, from her current position, FP could ignite the church at p23… the building at l18… anything coming round the corner behind the Pz IV (q14) (all maximum range targets)

        • Dogshevik says:

          No objections from me this time. We chose a path, now we need to follow it to its end.

    • Wilson says:

      Myshkov’s HQ and one squad should advance into the church, while the other squad heads for O24. The squad going from P26 to O24 should probably run to minimize expose to those stugs. The hopeful molotov hurlers should continue with their current orders towards M26.

    • xcopy says:

      The T34/85 crew runs to the house at o31 and looks north. I hope we can keep track on the Stugs.

      Thanks for adding the coordinates. This is very helpful!

      • BooleanBob says:

        I did see this as I was rooting through the manual:

        link to i.imgur.com

        So we might not be able to expect too much out of our brave crewmen :(

        Weirdly I think this limited vision makes them more likely to be used heartlessly as a disposable resource, not less.

        • xcopy says:

          Oh, okay. Thanks for the info!
          I guess, they have to get real close to the Stugs in order to spot them.

    • Electricfox says:

      The AA gun ignored Comrade BA-64B? How rude! We’ll have to try again then, go around the half-track to the right, and come to V15, burst fire at the AA gun and then retreat back again. Hopefully either Flare Path or the AT gun will then be able to finish the job.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      The M5 halftrack should move to s15, hopefully distracting the AA gun as it crosses the bridge. It’s MG should be ready to take on any German stragglers the mortars haven’t killed.

      As a future action, perhaps it should head east through the square to pick up the tank hunter squad, to ferry them north. Not this turn though.

      • AbyssUK says:

        Let comrade FP or the AT gun take out that wharf AA gun first now, but yes we need to push forward now. When do the mortars stop ??
        We need to get the mortar spotter into the warehouse (r13) so he has full eyes on the wharf even if he has no ammo… Once that wharf gun is out push the men into the warehouse behind the M5 across that bridge.

        • Tim Stone says:

          They’ve stopped. That’s your lot.

        • alh_p says:

          Shell’s may have run out, but he can still use his ‘nockers. I second a move to r13, with the caveat that we should make sure to have dealt with the AT gun and SMG squad at s12/13 first, before he trots out.

    • Dogshevik says:

      Orders for the tank hunters:
      Change course slightly to R25. Best speed.

      @Tim
      The coordinates are super-helpful. Also, my apologies for adding to the order-mess last round. I think I speak for all of us if I say we are happy you put up with our over enthusiastic bumbling.

      Also: Could we see in which direction the StuGs disppeared?

  2. alh_p says:

    Thanks for adding in current coordinates Tim! That should help understand things and maybe simplify orders.

    I hate to make it even more complicated but some sort of tracker or comment box for orders for each unit might also help. I know that’s partly down to the first poster/commander of a given unit.

    Also, I’m intrigued we have lost sight of Stugs and are no longer under fire from them. Does the absence of fire on the units at q25 mean the Stugs don’t know they’re there?

    • Dogshevik says:

      Inscrutable StuGs are the worst kind of StuGs! Guessing from the screenshots last turn the second ´SP Gun` went east. It is probably somewhere along the rail line or between the small houses to the SE. Our objectives are in the other direction, so maybe we can ambush it later if it reacts to our moves.
      The first StuG´s whereabouts are harder to guess. It could have gone east as well or turned west at any point. (G-row or I-row) I´d be alarmed if it went as far as the L-row and is headed for the square. But I -presume- (yeah, I know) we would have spotted it along the way.
      Alternatively it could just sit where it was quietly. Waiting. Watching. Leering…

    • Tim Stone says:

      No Soviet unit has LoS to g25 at present (though that should change when Renko gets into position) hence vanished StuG and, assuming the LoS situation is mutual, the lack of incoming fire. The SPG that appeared last turn looked like it was heading for f26.

    • alh_p says:

      Ok, once Renko has rebased we should be able to see north up column 25. That will leave what lies beoynd the north of the square. Once we have consolidated the square (within a couple of turns), I’d be in favour of getting a squad into n19 or m20.

      • Dogshevik says:

        More rambling: I think the key to this scenario is control over the east-west street at M11-L27. It provides access to the two major VLs. We will have infantry at the eastern intersection next turn, hopefully able to ambush the StuGs. If we manage to push more infantry in the buildings adjoining this main street first (say in M20 and N17) we can make our move for the wharves with Lapshin Plt, the rest of Ryumin Plt :( and FlarePath, covered by the M5 and BA. Good news is we are not in a hurry.

        But, suspiciously, we haven´t seen a single MG42 nest yet. Either the game doesn´t have them or…dun dun dun. Also, that castle looks like a prime location for putting a big gun into overwatch position…

  3. declan_23 says:

    Time to push west I guess. Lashpin’s squads at s22 and s23 to move to s16 and s17 respectively, and the HQ to move to s17. Once the third squad arrives at r18, it should cover the west entrance to the square.

  4. mompkin says:

    I completely understand that it’s a lot of work for you Tim and probably quite annoying, but I wish I could read communal combat serials every day on RPS. I had to go back and re-read the previous installments when this one started. It’s like twitch for patient people who hate watching videos online! I enjoy reading the armchair generalling in the comments almost as much, even if I don’t have the courage to put in my own two cents.

    • khamul says:

      I absolutely agree! I haven’t had the courage to join in on this one, but avidly look forward to each update.

      Forward with courage, comrades! The People are with you!

  5. Cederic says:

    AT gun crew to duck & cover while FP takes out the AA.

    We need that AT gun. The Stuggies are going to pop back out soon and we have nothing else that can sensibly spank them. Well, except FP itself, but I’m anticipating a short and painful interaction when they do eventually meet & greet.

    • alh_p says:

      Stugs are great but only web they are directly facing their prey. I hope we can engineer an ambush with FP and our brave infantry in the town, where it should be easier to surround or flank them.

    • Premium User Badge

      DoubleG says:

      Disagree on pullng back the AT – it’ll take too long for them to move, and they’re far from the action anyway. Let ’em take some shots at AA.

  6. xcopy says:

    Since Batrakov is out of ammo, he should be used as a scout.
    Would it be too dangerous for him, to cross the bridge?

    There are no orders for him, but I already issued my order for my shortsighted scouts (T-34/85 crew).