Monday, March 31, 2014

Battle Command - Flushing Insurgents Out of Khair-ud-dim - Micro AAR

The game is Battle Command, a continuous time, 3D tactical wargame from Historical Software Corporation. It is very difficult to be brief describing all the goodies this wargame packs. Indeed, I just moved my troops around today and there is still so much to learn. For starters, I would call this wargame a simulation because the level of detail and inner workings of this thing are enormous.

This scenario features a US light infantry platoon vs insurgents in the Khair-ud-dim region (Afghanistan). This scenario is actually intended for multiplayer gameplay, but I since I am learning and commanding the attacking forces (US) I thought it would be a good scenario to learn and play in a solo mode.

The scenario briefing comes from a pdf file located in the scenario folder.

Each unit has an information window from which one can learn its current status and issue orders. In this case, I am deviating from my orders above and actually moving my entire force towards the south west edge of OBJ Elijah.
Unit's movement orders can be issued via waypoints (as shown above) or by a quick menu that can be accessed via a left click of the mouse.

This is a top-down view of the tactical march of my forces. One can issue the same waypoints to all the units or keep the relative distance between units while moving. This helps to keep all sort of formations. Beware of the speed differences between units, though. In this scenario, the MG units were slow and I had to adjust the speed of all others to keep the platoon in a proper column.

Upon arrival to the west most ENY  position (a walled compound), my troops had problems spotting the hidden insurgents. The MGs were useful only sporadically. An order is issued to assault. 
The assault of the first ENY position goes very well. An ENY HMG opens up at high range from one of the other walled compounds. Fortunately, their fire is ineffective.
As my platoon regroups for the next assault objective, the ENY fire from that HMG becomes more intense and less amusing. I try to suppress them but my two MG teams can't acquire those targets.
The maneuver plan for the assault of the second ENY position was well intended but didn't work. I wanted to suppress the two ENY positions with the two MGs and the 3rd Squad (unit at our left flank) and move the 1st and 2nd Squad onto an assault position on our right flank. The suppression part didn't work at all because the insurgents were well hidden inside the compounds. Ammo starts to become an issue ...

The ENY fire is not overwhelming, but is taking a toll: 2 men from the 3rd Squad (left flank) become casualties. Something is amiss with our suppressive fire. I fire up the line of sight tool (output seen above) and it becomes clear that the MGs need a better and higher position. The effect is almost instantaneous: the ENY unit in the closest compound becomes an almost steady contact. Note the 1st and 2nd Squad still maneuvering in the right flank. Ah, the joys of slow pure-infantry units!

Well, lines of sight work both ways and moving those two MG teams onto higher terrain didn't go as dandy as I hoped for (3 more casualties). 1st Squad is asked to speed up that assault. 2nd Squad is supposed to follow and assume ... Damn it, they are dragging their feet!
The assault on the second ENY compound arrives uncoordinated and more US casualties are taken. I am already playing on borrowed time (the allowed time has finished almost two hours of simulated time ago), so I decide to stop right here. 
Tactically speaking, I made every mistake in the book. No assault positions to help coordination, over-reliance in ranged fire that could not be delivered due to problems with target acquisition. You name it. :)

This game/simulation is exquisite. Highly detailed but not intrusive to demand from you to go into every single window to groom your units. This is my second game with this engine and I am past worrying about the interface and into the realm of fire and maneuver. The scale of other scenarios is bigger than what is shown here. Stay tuned for more blog entries about Battle Command.

Battle Command may strike you as a bit strange at the beginning. For example you run a so-called station from which you connect to the simulation engine which runs separate from it. The simulation engine is what hooks the clients/players together. In this case, playing solo I had to connect to my own computer. The tailoring of Battle Command for multiplayer professional level war gaming is obvious.

Anybody up for a game?



Anonymous said...

This looks really cool. and daunting. The price is quite steep for me at the moment. Is there any other scenario(s) that is platoon level just like this one in your blog?

Can I get a discount coupon somewhere? :p

Chris said...

Looks awesome JC.


Has Michael been able to get the sim to use modern video cards? The last time I played Battle Command the default was processor video processing. I enjoyed the game very much but the FPS suffered as a result.

Carl Schwamberger said...

I used to play both computer based simulations and map of sand table based during my military service. This system is considerablly ahead of anything we used in the US Army or USMC. Hopefully the market will be good enough it can be kept up with the current platforms. I recall seeing this first some eight years ago & the programing was several years old then.

Chris said...

I watched two demo videos on the company website. Worth watching if you are interested in this game.

JC said...

Thanks for reading and for your comments.

Anonymous: a complete list of scenarios is available at Most scenarios are bigger. I just chose a small one because I'm learning.

Chris: yes, those videos pretty much sold me on this game.

Arthur: yes. I'm running this on a dedicated video card.

Carl: there is a lot of work put into this game/sim. Thanks for your service!


Mr_Centipede said...

Just took the plunge and downloading right now...

Have you registered in the forum? Was wondering how the modding/scenario creator community was like. I already registered but still waiting for clearance from the admin