Saturday, November 23, 2013

Combat Mission: Market Garden Module - Mechanisms of Defeat, Part 1: Preemption

Combat Mission got patched last week (both Battles for Normandy and Fortress Italy). This was not an earth shattering patch content and features wise if you already have Market Garden. But it shows a strong commitment to take Combat Mission towards its full potential at a steady pace.

This two-entry series is based around a stock Combat Mission Market Garden scenario ("Out on a limb", by Steve Burke). It is a devil of an scenario and I highly recommend it. I will present two very short vignettes during my play of this scenario, at the cost of spoilers for you.

Right click and open on a new tab for a better view. This scenario is loosely based in the actions of E Company (US 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment) near the Grave bridge. In this screenshot, one US platoon (green icons) has slowly advanced from their landing position (to the left) towards the objective area (the bridge and guard house). The advance was brought to a halt after observing a German AAA gun (grey icon).
In his book The Art of Maneuver, Robert Leonhard distinguishes between three ways of defeating an enemy force: preemption, dislocation and disruption. Although I can't claim that my use of preemption and dislocation was elegant, at least it was enough to thoroughly defeat the German forces on the east side of the creek. In this entry the meaning of preemption. In the next one, the use of functional dislocation.


Preemption is an attack on the enemy while he is not deployed or prepared for such action. Under my command, it was more the result of the enemy's mistakes (lack of proper reconnaissance) than a deliberate action. Nonetheless, the opportunity was served to my forces on a silver plate and we basked on it.

A kubelwagen showed up on the dirt road that leads to the bridge. It was an easy ambush for my paratroopers hidden in the woods (green icons) and an inspiration for what it was to come later.
Later on, German infantry (grey icons) moves directly onto our position (from the right to left in this screenshot). The Germans can't see us until they have crossed the road and the most nasty (and unintended ambush) flares up.
Total chaos among the German infantry while casualties mount and they try to move to safety.

US paratroopers (background) engage the few Germans that made it to the edge of the woods. It was a close range mess that badly mauls any German stepping into the wooded area.
As time moves forward, so do a few German infiltrators that make it into the US positions. But they are caught in a hail of fire.
After the initial debacle across the road, a few German survivors deploy MGs and the US fire superiority starts to wane.
This was basically an unplanned ambush. It matches Leonhard's concept of preemption because the enemy was not ready to defend itself from our fire. Eventually (see screenshot above), the enemy recovered the ability to lay some suppressive fire on us, but its potential to assault us has already evaporated.

In the next entry, functional dislocation.


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