Overlordy: Turn 3

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This year’s communal Combat Mission scenario (click here to catch up on the story so far) incorporates a deadly version of the shell game. The computer-controlled British have a choice of three routes off the beach and the short-of-resources commenter-controlled Germans realistically can’t picket them all. Judging by the distribution of Axis units at the start of Turn 3, the players believe/hope the enemy will favour the westernmost route. Unfortunately, the Brits seem to have other plans.

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About thirty seconds into the turn, the singed pillbox survivors huddling in the pine woods close to the burning sanatorium see an unbuttoned Stuart V leave the beach via the central exit.

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Worryingly, it seems to be pathfinding for some weightier colleagues. Not all that far behind is a pair of Cromwell IVs and a Churchill VII all seemingly making for the middle exit.

The turn ends with a sliver of good luck for the Germans.

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At the sixty second mark, earlier than promised, Oberscharführer Larcher enters the map bearing unexpected gifts.

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In addition to two nine-man pioneer squads both armed with Panzerfausts and demo charges (“very useful anti-tank weapons at very close range”) he has managed to secure the services of a flamethrower operator and a two-man mortar spotter team. Assigned 150 rounds, the latter has a radio link to an off-map battery of 81mm mortars.

The situation at the start of Turn 4…

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In a few seconds time the beret of the Stuart commander should appear in the scope of church-perched sharpshooter Obg. Wodtke (currently our sniper can’t see any of the Allied AFVs). Should he open fire?

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Inexplicable tardiness from the halftrack means it’s yet to deliver its passenger.

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In the environs of the bakery, rifle squad B1, now tucked in behind the bocage, has a similar field of view to the nearby Pak 38 (Neither unit can see through the line of bocage on row 15).

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52 Comments

  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 4 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 9 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter).

    *Pak 38 AT gun (e20)
    *Sniper (m22)
    *PSW 234/1 armoured car (h20)
    *Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack – currently carrying LMG team (p24)
    *Rifle platoon – 3 squads + 1 HQ (centred on e21)
    *LMG team – embarked (p24)

    *Pioneer platoon – 2 squads + HQ (a24)
    *Flamethrower team (a25)
    *Mortar spotter (b25)

    (The twelve pillbox survivors – six each at b14 and r12 – are broken or routed so won’t respond to orders)

    Sorry, there was insufficient time this morning to add unit positions to the grid map.

    • heretic says:

      Map with unit positions at the start of turn 4.

      link to imgur.com

      Apologies for my poor attempt at adding icons, feedback welcome!

      • Tim Stone says:

        Brilliant! Thanks.

      • Cian says:

        Ta for this, makes it a lot easier to visualise.

        And Tim, I missed out on yesterdays Cowardly Commentators expressing admiration and gratitude but thanks!

        I probably won’t work up the courage to give misguided direction but will still be avidly following.

        • fuggles says:

          How dare you? I’m not cowardly I just have no idea what anything is. I have the same problems with company of heroes which is much more lightweight.

          Fine.

          All units are ordered to hunker down for 70ish years until the British military is largely disbanded. Then the enemy will tumble like a stack of cards… checkmate!

    • Smion says:

      How does concealment after firing work? I.e. how likely is it that the church gets turned into balsa wood immediately after taking the shot?

      • Tim Stone says:

        Even if the Stuart spots the sniper (highly unlikely after one shot especially if that shot kills the TC) Wodtke should be safe for the timebeing behind the church’s stone walls.

        Our attack would have to be triggered with an ambush marker (no LoS at present), so if Wodtke doesn’t fancy the odds he may decide to hold fire anyway.

        • fegbarr says:

          OK, given that and klops’s kind mentoring below, I’ll bite the bullet and place an ambush marker for the sniper at N16.

          (There’s one already on Heretic’s map but I can’t see any mention of it in any of the articles, so just to be on the safe side I thought I’d make sure it’s there).

    • g948ng says:

      Orders for our veteran Rifle Platoon.

      Squad 1 stays at F19.
      Squad 2 moves to G20, so it can look through the hedge.
      Squad 3 occupies the 2nd Floor its building. (D21) That should give them LOS into the c-f field.
      HQ Squad also climbs into the 2nd Floor (F21), but is explicitly told to hold fire.

    • Axolotl says:

      Please move the AC just north of the bocage at j-k20, facing east. Try and place it as far west there as possible without exposing its rear to anyone looking through the diagonal g17-j19. Ideally we want it to have an opportunity to fire into the Stuart’s side armor at point blank.
      For other players, I think we should try to move the pak to face the incoming armored column, now that our rifle platoon is watching the hedgerow.

    • Skabooga says:

      With great satisfaction, I would like the LMG team to disembark from the Halftrack, and set up in the cover of the bocage at P24, or wherever in that vicinity gives it the best view of the south and east while still keeping them in cover.

      Yay! They made it in position! (Hopefully I’m not speaking too soon.)

      • Cederic says:

        I must protest (as it’s all I can do; you have the conn).

        The HT is in P24 (unless it goes to ferry the flamers) and can provide support from behind the bocage. But someone on the ground there can’t see a thing to the south or south-east, so they’re wasted and will be seen as soon as they see anybody.

        I’d much rather they made their way to the mill, claimed that VP for us and provided cover to the east and to the south.

        But you get to make the call :)

      • Skabooga says:

        ORDER CHANGE FOR LMG

        Belay that order, LMG team! By all means disembark from the Halftrack, but based on advice from lieutenant Cederic, please move with all haste to the mill at u24, and take up residence on the second floor looking south. But also maybe keep an eye east for those paratroopers that should be arriving any second.

        I hadn’t considered that the halftrack would stay in place, but now that you mention it, it makes sense to keep it closer to the middle for ferrying purposes, and it can still provide anti-infantry support too. It might be a bit of a gamble to send the slow LMG east, especially where there are still a few pieces of British armor unaccounted for, but I’m willing to take that risk.

    • Cederic says:

      Nobody’s moved our Pioneers yet! They sprint due east from their current position, ideally reaching g25 or h25 in a single turn.

      I don’t want them engaging at excessive range, just getting across the village so that they can take up good ambush positions as the enemy armour moves up off the beach.

      • Cederic says:

        Ah, darn, I missed emily riposte’s order from earlier. I even did a search for ‘pioneer’. Doh.

        Treat my ‘sprint due east’ as a ‘take this route to’ the locations she’s ordered them to reach.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    I love these series, keep them up!

  3. fegbarr says:

    No insight from me, just questions to the more tactically wise among us:

    How far is that Stuart likely to move in the next turn if we leave it be?

    I’m wondering whether letting the sniper take out its commander will slow up their advance to any significant extent while they slow to a more cautious approach (but presumably be much more on the lookout for the ambush we hope to hurriedly reposition nearer them). Is there advantage in giving them one more turn of carefree advance?

    • klops says:

      It can reach the church. The sniper taking up their commander would button the tank and most likely stop it for a while (if I remember correctly, please correct if wrong). It’s not self-evident that the sniper hits a fast moving target, though.

      I’d shoot at the Stuart but dare not make the decision yet if someone has a good spot in mind where to ambush the hopefully shocked Stuart that has lost its commander (I don’t have the time to analyse this at work. Or the guts to take responsibility :D ). Also, buttoned up it has smaller chance of spotting anything.

      • fegbarr says:

        Ah, that’s what I was missing, thanks. I didn’t know if buttoning up effectively put them on alert and more able to spot things or what.

        • klops says:

          Buttoning up reduces the ability to spot, just like in real life when your head is no longer outside the tank. There’s no alertness level bonus, I’m pretty sure. It is a a choice between safety of the commander/situational awareness.

          Once a tank receives fire, they’ll button up. If the commander gets hit, the crew most likely be shocked for a while (10seconds?), which means they won’t work that well.

          I should be working… :D

  4. latedave says:

    Flamethrower team to advance to small building in k22 to cover the sniper if anyone tries to come round (can they run?)

    • Tim Stone says:

      Like the LMG team, the flamethrower can’t run. It will probably take it around two turns to reach k22.

    • emily riposte says:

      Also, iirc, flamethrowers have a bad habit of setting the building they’re hiding in on fire the first time they attack. Best for them to hide in woods, behind bocage, or just behind a building. (On the other hand, they’re great for setting buildings on fire right after the enemy has advanced into them)

      • latedave says:

        Ah I was unaware of the prospect for self imolation. In which case taking the advice of Emily; Tim, please hide behind the building at H21 with ambush on

        • emily riposte says:

          Can I nudge that into the light woods by the road just behind that building? They’ll hide a lot better there.

          • Cederic says:

            Does the game support pre-emptive flaming of vegetation? Could be fun setting the southernly woodlands on fire ;)

  5. emily riposte says:

    Tim, can you give us some info about just where the antitank gun has a vision keyhole to the church area? That’s important for where we’ll want to have the pioneers set up.

    • Tim Stone says:

      Right now the Pak has keyhole LoS to the bocage at n24. It cant see the church, hotel or any of the other buildings in the centre of the village.

  6. declan_23 says:

    Can the mortar team only call in strikes within their LoS? Also, how long is the delay before the bombs start falling? Would it be reasonable to call in a strike on the central road with the hope of hitting one of the Cromwells/the Churchill?

    • Tim Stone says:

      Strikes aimed at units or areas within the spotter’s LoS will be much more accurate. Expect the bombs to start falling about sixty seconds after the order is issued (A bombardment requested now would start roughly at the beginning of Turn 5)

      • declan_23 says:

        In that case the mortar spotters are to sprint to the large building at K21, and base themselves upstairs.

        • Cederic says:

          Oh, nicely done. I agree, lets put our lightly armed artillery spotters nearer to the enemy than any of our other units, and also put them nice and high so that even the enemy armour can get a clear shot.

          The British’ll never expect that.

          • emily riposte says:

            Ehh, it’s not that bad. Afvs will have a very hard time seeing the spotter team, particularly since the sniper should button ’em up for us, they can move to the back of the building to break los if they do get spotted, and I put the pioneers in a good spot to move up to defend them if infantry approach.

    • emily riposte says:

      The mortar spotter can target areas out of los, but with a larger delay and more inaccuracy. My recollection, though it’s been a long time, is that the delay is about a minute for the 81mm, twice that out of los. And we could target the central road, but not with any real hope of doing damage to afvs. The best use for the 81mm mortar is for pinning enemy infantry in place while our own infantry shoot them up– for example, if we saw the enemy advancing north from the c-e15 bocage, a mortar strike would do a great job suppressing them in the field while our infantry at the northern bocage destroyed them.

  7. ItAintNecessarilySo says:

    That Pak38 AT seems to be in an awkward position now, so could I request it to be moved northwards, positioned just between the building to the east of its position (also facing eastwards)?

    Ideally I would like it so sit in the bushes of e23. How many turns would that take?

    • Tim Stone says:

      At least three, I suspect. In its current position it has LoS/LoF into the field to the south. Moving it N would mean sacrificing that.

      • ItAintNecessarilySo says:

        In the first article it was mentioned the western exit was sown in with Anti-tank mines, that’s why i thought it a bit much to also have the AT gun there. Infantry would be better at to replace its current position.

        As long as the tanks don’t come rolling trough the bushes in the south it would also be an idea to move AT to something like g24, as long as it remains a bit behind the main frontline and directed at the tanks.

        • g948ng says:

          During deployment up I wanted the PaK at G21 looking south-east. Peeking through the hedge/house-gap should give it LOS to the critical junction at L19-L29.

          I still think it´s a good position and it is only 50 metres away. With a bit huffing and puffing we could lug it there in time. Not sure we can do that with G24.

          EDIT: I now realize this sounds a bit like “I told you, guys!” Sorry.

          • g948ng says:

            I meant the junction at L19-L20 of course…

          • ItAintNecessarilySo says:

            g21 could work as well but I am wondering how the LoS would work from the ‘top’of the bocage square and the house just next to it.
            (Sadly I missed turn one because I also would have preferred that position to its current one).

            For now at least trying get it a (narrow) field of fire between the building might help it cover the PSW 234/1 a bit. Somebody please order that away to something like g20 before it gets it side milled out by a Stuart shell.

          • g948ng says:

            Axolotl has given the PSW orders to go to J/K20 already. (See above) It is very ballsy, but will also cover whatever the PaK does.
            Since you took control of the PaK, please make sure Tim gets unequivocal instructions before tomorrow morning, whatever you decide.

          • emily riposte says:

            I do like g21. Among other advantages, if we can park the gun in one of those small bits of forest before they get eyes on it, it will be better camouflaged, and probably give us an extra shot or two before being spotted.

        • Tarfman says:

          Might be too late to reposition pak. Best to wait on armoured support to cover centre and mill area.

      • ItAintNecessarilySo says:

        In response to g948ng and the others: My final orders for the Pak 38 are to move it between the two building to it’s east (g21), if possible to have it reach one of the bushes there.

        Next turn, depending on the situation, I will decide to either let is stay in bushes, move east or towards g24.

  8. Cian says:

    I assume we want the HT to continue dropping the LMG team off, but do we have time to use it to ferry the Flamethrower or any of the Pioneers around?

    The Stuart might be the only AFV able to see if the HT were to dash back through the central village.

  9. emily riposte says:

    Hmm, which to pick? I think first order of business is placing the pioneers– and, considering the repositioning of the pak, and where the spotter is going– let’s move them to the building at k22 and the northern side of the building at k21 to hide and ambush the road beside the church.

    Some thoughts others might want to pick up: The armored car is in a vulnerable position if the stuart advances, but also could potentially penetrate the side armor. Moved forward a little, it could get direct shots at the side if the stuart advances to m20, and be able to quickly break los by moving forward to loop back to our lines by g17-c19-c22. The rifle platoon could maybe scoot a little toward center, and it would be good to make sure all three squads are under command.

  10. beleester says:

    Those tanks are scary, but we haven’t spotted any infantry accompanying them. I think we should hustle those pioneers to the center path and set up a Panzerfaust surprise for those Cromwells.

  11. Axolotl says:

    Do squads have to be in their own commander’s range to benefit from him, or can they be commanded by other HQ’s as well?

    • Tim Stone says:

      Squads need to be within range of their own platoon HQ (or a company HQ). Teams like the LMG and flamethrower team are less choosy.

  12. g948ng says:

    Oh, perfidious Albion, what deceitful devils you sent to our shores! (technically french shores…details, amirite?) Devils that would take a 45 degree turn to the right, then another one and then to the left, when we´d rather have them go straight ahead…ahem.

    What I am saying is, we better reposition our AT assets quickly. What I explicitly don´t want to drastically reposition is our riflemen overlooking the c-f field. Remember that we spotted hostile infantry already at the western exit two turns ago. Even if they take a north-eastern route they will walk through our riflemen´s or armoured car´s LOS.
    So let´s panic, allright, but not totally, ok?

    • Stugle says:

      Since I’m at a loss for good suggestions, I’ll run with the first part of that suggestion: consider the panicking bit covered.

      “Oh jesus, oh jesus, oh jesus. It’s like the whole 7th Armoured has decided to tour our little corner of the French theater!”

      I’ll leave the actual “Coolly responding to emerging threats” to others. :)

    • Skabooga says:

      I’m feeling a little like this right now:

      link to youtube.com

      Except we don’t even have a ship to abandon.