Monday, March 21, 2011

Steel Beasts ProPE - Match Offensive Tactical Tasks to Terrain

This Steel Beasts ProPE scenario still haunts me.

A US tank and mechanized infantry company team (1 platoon of M1 Abrams and two platoons of M114 AFVs) must attack and seize a town located some 6 kilometers northwest of the tactical assembly area. Rolling hills, plenty of wooded terrain crossed by some deep ravines. A Russian reinforced mechanized rifle company is defending. Time allowed for this mission: 30 minutes!

I lean my axis of attack on one of my flanks to avoid the pesky Russian infantry outposts. Otherwise I will get pummeled by enemy artillery. We are moving to contact and everything works fine so far.

Movement to contact. Contact is likely now and the tanks are overwatching the movement of the infantry.
To reach the objective, I chose a questionable approach route. A single road in the middle of heavy woods.

A two tank section leads the way as a sort of advance guard. The other tank section is now behind us,intermingled with the infantry. Very stupid train of tactical thought I was into ...

The wooded terrain ends 1.5 km short of the objective. Once the woods clear, contact will be unavoidable. My two-tank section will make contact first, but I will not be able to maneuver other units based on that contact because there is only one road and the terrain surrounding it is un-passable, at least for the tanks.

Contact! The two tank section just emerged from the woods (left) and is immediately engaged by Russian armor. Note the red rod in the M1 tank in the left. It is an enemy shot that resulted in a catastrophic loss. I am in the tank in the right, trying to maneuver.
Once contact is made, the commander should engage his team into the so-called "offensive tactical tasks". One of those (and the one I intended to push my team into) is "advance in contact" (maneuvering your team into an advantage position to destroy or assault and enemy position). Didn't work out very well in this case: lost one tank right  and thus fire superiority over the enemy off the bat, my main body will arrive in a narrow column. Aaaggghhh!

The infantry arrives through the road. My other two-tank section should be next, I hope (?). Caught in the open, these guys have little hope to survive.

The Russian tanks rush to put a cork on my attack. It's now a knife fight (I am the guy in the background).

Advance in contact is possible only when there are alternatives to maneuver. The little area I had available was of no use for that.

Still puzzled on how to achieve the objective. I will keep trying!



Bil Hardenberger said...

This makes me sorry I sold my copy of SB Pro PE...

Love the 80s era equipment... those APCs look like M-113s to me though not M-114s

Bil Hardenberger said...

...on second thought I suppose those could be M-114s. ;)

chrisol said...

Could you say what the name of this scenario is ?

(Just in case I get a chance to give it a go...)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm also curious to see what mission this is. Do you think it's a realistic mission, having to cover 6 km in max. 30 mins ?

And what about the screenshots, they look quite good, did you embellish them maybe ?

THX, Koen

Anonymous said...

The sim has improved greatly with the addon of 80s era equipment. Still missing playable "Red Vehicles" though.

chrisol said...

I was going to ask about the screenshots as well... I was wondering about a mod-ed sky (there are a few available) and skins perhaps ? Certainly looks good anyway


Jomni said...

Will long range sniping (something the M1 is good at) be a better alternative in this mission?

JC said...

Bil! How you doing? Indeed, those are M-113s. :p

The scenario is Platoon Attack02-HV or something like that. Look at the multiplayer scenarios folder. I hope I didn't spoil the scenario for you, guys.

As for the screenshots, much of it is the result of a soon to die graphics card and the wacky settings that I have on this old hardware. I changed some settings for a better contrast back when I had a projector and I don't remember how to change the settings back. The only touches I do to the screenshots are re-sizing the image and converting it to a lesser quality jpeg with PhotoShop. I am playing the latest version of plain vanilla SBProPE.

@Jomni: There is an avenue of approach with deeper fields of fire, but maneuvering the whole company is difficult because of the streams that criss cross it. This scenario was designed for multiplayer and I am shorthanded to baby sit all the units through that.


Storm Rider said...

Maybe if you can provide a more valuable target (MBTs) for the enemy to be distracted with, at some distance of course, then you can advance in contact or better saying, bypass (rush) the less valuable IFVs through the narrow road for the next move: flank!

Gary Owen said...

Just having seen your blog entry, I tried the scenario for the first time. It's on a map that is familiar to me, but has been modified for these scenarios. Many of the small streams have been modified to bog terrain and are no longer impassable. The approach along the eastern avenue is not as bad as it would have been if the streams still channeled movement along the bridged roadways. Additionally the woods are not impassable and that woodline just south of the objective is not too far from the cover of the objetive's built up area.

JC said...

Thanks for your comments, gents!

@StormRider: that's a good point. I didn't think of dividing my tanks ... the AFVs are so thin-skinned :( that I fear leaving them alone. They don't stand a chance.

@ GO: Ey, nice to see you around! :) I've noticed that passable terrain. But the AFVs get bogged down there. As for the woods, given the time constraints, I didn't even bother. I will keep trying, though. Have you played this bad boy? Let us know!


Gary Owen said...

**********SPOILER ***********

The scenario uses the Haune Valley terrain map. The built-up area in the southwest corner is the small city of Hunfeld. The village in the center is called Kirchhasel. I marched the unit, tanks first, north across the first phaseline. Setting the tanks in a battle position on the spur ENE of Kirchhasel, I cleared the area north of Kirchhasel. The M113s stayed covered south of the spur. I then broke the tanks into sections and bounded them north along the eastern approach. Once the tanks cleared to the second phaseline, I moved the M113s along the roads using the quickest route possible to the woodline immediately south of the objective, which by the way is the village of Malges. Just as I was moving dismount troops into the objective, I ran out of time. The version I played had map updates turned off, so that caused me a wee bit of confusion and cost a few minutes. I lost 2 tanks and the other two were mobility kills vicinity of the second phase line. The victory conditions are not impossible to satisfy.

JC said...

Ey GO,

Good shooting, man! :) The eastern approach never worked for me.

I also played with the map updates off but given the amount of trials I made, I already know every inch by this time. :)

Have you played this one online?


Gary Owen said...

I've never played it online. I would expect that online play would lead to a greater chance of mision success.