Overlordy: Turn 4

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The sight of British armour beetling towards the central beach exit has prompted some hurried defensive reconfiguration from the Comment Commanders controlling German forces in this year’s communal Combat Mission game. When the clock stopped yesterday morning, the “unbuttoned” (hatches open) Stuart tank leading the exodus was seconds away from an encounter with a man armed with a scoped Kar98K rifle.

(For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here)

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Only CMBO‘s mercurial, unscripted AI knows for certain why that encounter fails to materialise. Moments after Turn 4 begins, the Stuart decides to halt 70 metres short of sharpshooter Wodtke’s ambush marker.

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The M3A3’s companions, the pair of Cromwells, are less tentative. They keep moving. Skirting a clump of burning pines, they veer left, pushing into the patchwork of pastures due south of the village centre.

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The sly sally is spotted in the nick of time by the manoeuvring PSW. Intimidated, our eight-wheeled armoured car opts to reverse and pop smoke rather than use its 20mm autocannon. Seemingly unaware of the fleeting missed shooting opportunity, the Cromwells plough on.

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At the start of Turn 5, Caent and its surroundings look like this:

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The pioneer squads, their HQ, and the mortar spotter are nearing their destinations in the centre of the village. The Pak 38 and flamethrower team will be lucky to reach their final waypoints in the coming action phase. Rearrangement of the rifle platoon near the bakery has failed to reveal any British infantry positions (most odd!) but from their new loftier and more southerly positions Lieutenant Nerbul’s men should be well placed to spot Tommies advancing in the west and along the diagonal green lane that connects the western beach exit with the village.

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Obg. Meyer and his mate don’t seem to do ‘haste’. Having alighted from their taxi, the MG 42 manhandlers are making exasperatingly slow progress towards the mill.

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56 Comments

  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 5 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 10 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter).

    *Pak 38 AT gun (e20)
    *Sniper (m22)
    *PSW 234/1 armoured car (j20)
    *Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack (p24)
    *Rifle platoon – 3 squads + 1 HQ (circa bakery, f21)
    *LMG team (q24)

    *Pioneer platoon – 2 squads + HQ (circa j22)
    *Flamethrower team (c22)
    *Mortar spotter (i22)

    *Pillbox survivors (fragile, six pistols, low ammo, r12)

    • klops says:

      Fine tuning of the pioneers: The unit heading to/in k22 runs to j19 between the smoke and the hedge and ambushes k16, if there is enough cover for the whole squad in j19 behind the hedge. If not, to the house in k19, crawling the final meters to the south side of the house. The squad running to the two-storey house climbs into second floor and looks south, hidden.

      Reasoning for j19: 1. Shorter distance would be more accurate (and a bomb assault would be über cool!), but the sooner we shoot, the bigger the chances are that the tank doesn’t have support from infantry or the following tank. 2. Shooting a panzerfaust indoors is a bit risky in Combat Mission. The rear whooosh that comes from the end of the Panzerfaust sends glass and debris flying and can pin down (or even hurt the squad?). That’s why not in the house in the first place.

      • emily riposte says:

        I approve of repositioning the pioneers to potentially ambush the cromwells should they cross the bocage at i18 and head north. Please don’t put them in the second story, though– we want to ambush with them, so we want to restrict their line of sight, as best as possible, to the 40m or so that we want to fight at. The last thing we want is to have them miss with the first panzerfaust, then have every jerk on the map turn their weapons on the second story of that building. Further, if we do need to get closer to assault with the demo charges (for which I don’t quite remember how close we need to be), or if things go badly and we need to retreat, being on the second story will just slow us down.

        • klops says:

          That’s why I put them to _hide_ in the second floor. But to be honest, I don’t remember how trigger happy they are. Panzerfaust 60 has a maximum range of 60 m so they won’t shoot that far. For demo charges we need to be next to the target (pretty hard but perhaps in this map?). They can’t hurl heavy chunks of explosives that far. And yeah, you’re right that after the possible shot, too many guns are pointed towards them. Even though I think that at that point there are firefights going on already.

          *****COMMANDER STONE, FINE TUNING OF PLANS, vol 2*****
          The pioneer squad to enter k21 stays downstairs.
          Also, please try to position the HQ so that the ambushing squad has contact to it.

    • Tarfman says:

      No more funny business with the pak. Let it get where it going and set up. Hopefully will be in time before the Tommy tankers show.

    • g948ng says:

      Orders for the SdKfz 251:
      Position it at the edges of P/Q 25, facing south-west and peeking just a teensy bit around that hedge with its machine gun.

      (It should be able to look over the white walls, right? The screenshots make it look like it could.)

  2. heretic says:

    Nice one on the top down view with units, I won’t need to struggle with the paint program any longer!

  3. klops says:

    Note: most likely many look with enthousiasm at the grey units on the map. “Our pillbox crew! They could be our spotters!” I’m not sure if Tim or someone else already told this, but no. In CMBO the crew are made intentionally blind so that you wouldn’t exploit them behind the lines for this. They can shoot small arms fire and are not completely incapable, but practically there’s little we can do with them.

    Question to Mr. Stone: What Panzerfausts the pioneers have: 30, 60, 150? Did the rifle platoon have Panzerfausts as well? 1-2 per squad?

    • klops says:

      at the map = _south_ of the map

    • Tim Stone says:

      The rifle and pioneer squads are all carrying Panzerfaust 60s. Just one per squad, unfortunately.

    • Cederic says:

      Crew can’t spot, but are pillboxes vehicles? Surely they’d be a standard squad and can thus spot?

      Assuming that they do in fact have eyes, the pillbox survivors from r12 to hide on the edge of the woods at s13, hunker down and not shoot at anybody.

      Absolute worse case, they delay infantry racing from the East beach exit, giving the LMG team more time to lug that heavy chunk of metal. Although the speed they’re going, you’d think it was a full blown 8.8cm Flak 37 they dragging after them.

      • klops says:

        I think they can spot but they are unrealistically poor at it. In this game they are not a regular squad inside a bunker, but a “crew” for the pillbox. Like Tim said, they have couple pistols.

        My point was that if we don’t see much with the crews, don’t count on the enemy not being there. At least that’s how I remember it. Haven’t played this in a while. Like in 15 years?

    • AlexHeartnet says:

      Move the pillbox crew somewhere where we don’t have vision then see how they get killed

  4. emily riposte says:

    Ok, time for the armored car to get out of there. Fast move via the road to h23 and k23, then between the wall and hedge at n23, the bocage gap at p25, to beside the house at r23. That should keep us away from the cromwells, and put us in a spot where we can quickly move to engage targets the 20mm cannon is useful against.

  5. emily riposte says:

    Oh, is the rifle squad at f19 under command? That feels like a little too far if the hq being on the second story isn’t enough to get los on the squad. (for those who aren’t familiar with the game, hq units have a greater command radius for units they can see than for units they can’t)

  6. Imaginary Llamas says:

    Are you using some graphics mods? The ground and building textures don’t quite look like the normal ones.

  7. latedave says:

    Flamethrower team to reach the light woods and deploy for ambush please Tim!

  8. Fire_Storm says:

    I’m terribly new to all this so forgive the questions, I’ve have been lurking for so long and I’m itching to get involved!

    Does our sharpshooter have LOS and range on the now stationary Stuart commander?

    • Tim Stone says:

      He can’t quite see the Stuart. It’s possible that moving him to the other end of the building might help (the house at n19 could be the issue, it’s hard to tell)

      • Fire_Storm says:

        Thanks Tim,
        I’ll leave this to the CMBO vets.
        If there’s a material advantage to hitting a stationary target then maybe it’s worth our shooter taking a quick scoot to the end of the building to see what he can see, see?
        But, if the ambush marker already has a very high chance of a direct hit then leave him be.

        • klops says:

          The ambush marker doesn’t improve your chances to hit. It’s just the approximate spot where the unit is allowed to shoot. Would you rather shoot a stationary target at 180 meters or a moving one at 100 meters with a scoped rifle?

          • Fire_Storm says:

            Thanks Klops, I’m not much of a marksman but a stationary target at 180 is a very reasonable shot indeed. The last question then, if our shooter moves to the end of the building and gets LOS, do we need to “shoot and scoot” to avoid a possible retaliation? (Boy, there’s more to this comment commanding than I anticipated!)

          • klops says:

            Most likely not. One little bullet from a professional marksman. And even if we did, you can’t really do that. This is not possible: 1. move, 2. shoot, 3. move. Again, I’d say. I’m not 100% sure.

      • klops says:

        Does the sniper see in d,e,h,i,k 16? It seems that Wodtke has quite a nice place to shock tanks slowly crawling through the hedgerow.

        • Tim Stone says:

          It’s hard to tell. Some of those squares look out-of-LoS but that might be a consequence of the LOS tool checking ground level rather than turret level. If the Cromwells trundle through i16 and the sniper isn’t bound to that ambush marker on the road, he may well take a shot.

  9. Sin Vega says:

    Are they really sending their armour into a village unescorted? Lord, they’re lucky we pulled back those rocketmen.

    • Stugle says:

      On the overhead map, it looks like the Cromwells are heading straight for the bakery. This has potential… (though I’ll add I’m glad I’m not one of the poor Landsers who has to lie in wait in a hedge to see if they can blow up a tank point-blank range with a Panzerfaust)

  10. Axolotl says:

    I absolutely intended for our AC to spot for us through the gap in the hedgerow I didn’t even know existed, when I sent it there.
    It looks like the Cromwells are charging blindly through the bocage? What for?

    • g948ng says:

      I officially have not the slightest clue what the Brits are up to, anymore. The Cromwells I kind of understand. It´s a detour for the bakery, allright.
      But the infantry we spotted? It was at the western exit three turns ago. (3!) What are they doing? Calling in preparatory mortar barrages? Picnicing? Remembering they didn´t like the French after all and swimming home?
      The Wasp is also unaccounted for, which probably worries me the most…

      • emily riposte says:

        Hmm, actually, considering the time they’ve had, it seems likely the infantry have moved up through the dense woods to j15 or so, and those tanks aren’t as unsupported as it looks. I guess we’ll find out. ;)

  11. Michael Fogg says:

    I can picture how that tank commander, rolling towards the village in ominous silence, would have second thoughts seeing that church tower looming in front of them.
    It would be so great to also have a replay of the turn posted on YT. Maybe the new RPS video guy could help with that ;)

    • Rituro says:

      I’ll second a call for replay videos of CCM shenanigans. While the narrative write-ups are fantastic, actually seeing the sprites scramble across Caent would be a nice bonus. Maybe not turn-for-turn, but an after-action summary of the whole engagement?

  12. Rituro says:

    Time to split up the rifle platoon slightly. We may need some extra firepower.

    Leaving HQ and one squad in the bakery (f21), move two squads south to f18 and prepare an ambush for incoming armour. Let’s give those tanks a Panzerfaust how-do-you-do the moment they break through.

    • klops says:

      Sparce trees are not much of a cover, if I may say. There would be two squads next to each other (prime target for HE) head to head against a tank or two in there if the tanks go that route or reach that far. It’s kill or be killed in that position.

      • Rituro says:

        Yeah, very true. I recognize it’s a major risk, especially if a whole column of armour pops in from the SSW. My thinking behind this is trying to second-guess CM’s AI with that somewhat puzzling NW trajectory of their current push.

        With boccage shielding the squads from the armoured advance on all sides, the thinking goes that if those tanks continue and pop out haphazardly, a pair of panzerfausts are primed and ready to wreck face.

    • g948ng says:

      F18 is very much open to the west and south. It´s your call,of course, but I will remark you those are infantrymen, Rituro, not the invincible Flare Path T34. ^^

    • emily riposte says:

      Another thing: what you’re trying to do would be a lot more effective with the advanced squads in command– Squads can’t lay down an explicit ambush marker by themselves (they target ambush markers laid by hq units), and while they could just hide and attack when the enemy gets close, being in command helps things like fire discipline and reaction time you need to carry off a successful ambush.

      I would suggest moving the hq forward to behind the bocage at f19, and then the third squad to the bocage line to support their flank to make your move work better.

  13. Skabooga says:

    Clarification for someone woefully unfamiliar with this particular game: for the LMG team in the screenshots above, do those red triangles on their path simply represent where they will be adjusting their course, or does the span between one red triangle and the next represent how far they can travel in a turn?

    Because if its going to take them four more turns to get to the church, I’ve made a huge mistake.

  14. klops says:

    Question for Mr. Stone:
    Could the halftrack move through the gap between the house and the hedgerow in qr 23? Or could it move through u24-25? Can you get out of that bag from anywhere else than p25 or o28? In case we want the HT to harass possible infantry in the eastern flank in the future.

    !!!I already made my move, so anyone please override this order!!!

    I don’t want the HT to be forgotten there. In case no orders are made for it before the deadline, could you please move it to q25 nose facing south-west, so if the Stuart approaches, the HT can reverse deeper behind the hedges? If this is too much against communalism, I apologize.

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