Sunday, November 24, 2013

Combat Mission: Market Garden Module - Mechanisms of Defeat, Part 2: Functional Dislocation

This is the second and last part of the two-entry series based around a stock Combat Mission Market Garden scenario ("Out on a limb", by Steve Burke).

The crucial enemy strength on one side of the creek is a German AAA gun located on top of a hill. From this position, the enemy gun controls all avenues of approach to the bridge.
This second tactical vignette contains some spoilers. You have been warned.

Another look at the AAA gun and its field of fire, this time from ground level. There is an assortment of trenches surrounding the gun, as seen at mid distance from the bridge.

Functional dislocation

If you didn't check my previous blog entry, I have mentioned Robert Leonhard's mechanisms to defeat an enemy force (from his book The Art of Maneuver). These three mechanisms are preemption, dislocation and disruption. Previously, I involuntarily defeated a German infantry force by preemption. In this case I used functional dislocation to defeat the enemy strongpoint surrounding the AAA gun. According to Leonhard, functional dislocation is achieved by making the enemy strength(s) irrelevant.

Again, I can't say that the destruction of the AAA gun and the clearing of the enemy position was cheap in terms of casualties or devoid of tense moments where I thought I was myself defeated. But at least I hope it will show what it means to render an enemy strength irrelevant.

After the infantry ambush mentioned in the previous entry, it was easy to maneuver a couple of squads towards the AAA position. This worked up to a point, the square meters of dead ground were few and precious. This is a screenshot from the point of view (magnification applied) of the US forces on the east flank of the German strongpoint. The following weapon systems and fortifications are deployed in mutually supporting position (from right to left): MG in pillbox, AAA gun and improved infantry positions. A German infantry squad was caught in the open and quickly surrendered after suffering many casualties (center).
The view from the AAA gun with the US infantry (green icons) taking cover in the treeline. Note how the pillbox faces to the right (south), making it assailable from the flank. Some crew members of the AAA gun have already died to the direct fire from the US riflemen, but as seen in this picture there is still plenty of life left on it.
Not that all the toys surrounding it are not to be reckoned with, but the strongest enemy asset in the position is the AAA gun. As such, I centered my tactics on its destruction.

The weaknesses of the enemy position that I could reckon are: (i) the pillbox is useless against threats from the flank and (ii) the AAA gun and the improved positions around it are vulnerable to mortar fire. So, with no little effort and luck, I moved up a mortar team for the kill.

The US infantry squads helped with some rifle fire, mainly upon the German trenches. This forced the weary landsers to withdraw. Note the green icon for the US mortar team in the background and how the pillbox and the AAA gun are silent.

Checkmate! The US mortar team (green icon, left) has deployed its tube, protected from the AAA gun's fire by the cover offered by a useless pillbox which is in turn oriented towards the right. Some German infantry pelters the US troops with rifle fire, but it is useless.
It is a tactical irony played on the Germans: a pillbox deployed for the protection of the AAA gun is now providing cover for an enemy weapon capable of erasing the entire position.

The mortar fire had to be aimed a couple of meters to the right of the AAA gun (LOS is blocked by the pillbox), but thanks to the inaccuracy of the mortar fire, the gun and its crew are shredded to pieces in just three shots. 
A few more mortar rounds were enough to shatter the remaining German infantry in the trenches. My other infantry troops moved on the flank (avoiding the still very much alive German pillbox) and cleaned up the entire position.


1 comment:

Shawn Perwick said...

This is pretty cool, was the bunker still occupied when you assaulted? I am visualising a panicked AAA crew spraying their own fortification and turning their kameraden's brains to goo