Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Somewhere in the Eastern Front - A Combat Mission Red Thunder Quick Battle AAR

Battlefront has made a significant investment in the quick battles department. The quality and variety of the quick battle maps are great and the ebb and flow of battle is much better than before. In this blog entry, a quick battle AAR. The map is 005 (open, farmland, medium size) and the battle is a meeting engagement with both German and Soviet forces chosen by the computer.

Is that Bil Hardenberger, from Battle Drill? A Pz IVJ (background) and a Mobelwagen (front) getting ready for the battle.

At this age, I should be aware that a flak vehicle (left) strolling down a road is an enemy fire magnet. Note the enemy round falling in front of it. Fortunately, I had the PzIV on the ready (right) to engage.
The PzIV is now looking for a hull down position. The enemy threat is in the far background and those tracers are from small arms.
A perspective of the battlefield. The red line is the targeting of the PzIV medium tank. Enemy armor (green icons) can be seen in the background. I have my infantry moving into the farm buildings in our right flank.
A detailed view of the target line of my PzIV. It has been argued elsewhere that there are some armor spotting issues in Red Thunder. I think those alleged issues are very dependent on lighting (time of day) and atmospheric (haze, fog) conditions, but I digress. The targeting line of my PzIV went through the smoke puff of a previous round that fell short.

Achtung, schutzen! The front is the other way! 

I really thought my PzIV had the upper hand on this ... There goes 1/3 of my armor.

The enemy round hit the PzIV's main gun mount (arrow). The crew bailed out.

The main road is too hot for any type of armor and with my only tank gone I am forced to position my remaining vehicles wisely. In this screenshot, a Marder III tank destroyer takes position alongside the infantry in the farm.

A perspective of the farm (lower left) and the position of the tank destroyer tanking shots at enemy light armor trying to advance near a cabbage field on our right flank. The battle appears to be going our way for now.

The main enemy armored force is apparently sitting idle on the other side of the map and I decide to poke their eyes with my only tank destroyer (!?) by a wide flanking move. In this screenshot, the Marder III is pulling back while the flak vehicle assumes its role.

My tank destroyer took a wide right flanking move, through the open cabbage field. He engaged a combination of enemy self propelled and assault guns from their flank.
The same action as above, seen from the farm.
That Soviet self propelled gun in the background is about to be hit.

And right after that, one of those dreadful seconds of armor combat: a Soviet assault gun turns left towards the Marder III!
The fireball engulfs the entire crew. It's a catastrophic kill.
The flak vehicle moves into position with the hopes that a few flank shots on the enemy assault gun will stop the enemy armor tide.
The Soviet assault gun retreats, but barely harassed by the flak gun's fire. A couple of enemy rounds later, my forces have no vehicles left.
The only fight left on my side is from the infantry. I have a few men in the farm, panzerfausts on the ready.

Achtung, panzer!

There goes the first round. Note the soldier getting a second panzerfaust ready.
Both rounds result in partial penetration. The enemy assault gun turns ...

... And fires back with no mercy.

Encouraged by its effect on my infantry, the enemy assault gun moves through the farm. That shed on the right holds a surprise for the unsuspecting Soviets.

Not the broadest side of this barn, and is about to be hit nonetheless.
The panzerfaust round successfully penetrates and the Soviet crew bails out. An unexpected side effect of the blast is the barn/shed collapsing and exposing the German infantry. They surrendered a few minutes later under the heavy fire of enemy armor.

The enemy now sits at the edge of the farm. The Soviets brought up some infantry, which was engaged by our HMGs positioned across the road.

Our edge over the enemy offensive at the farm didn't last too long. Once self propelled guns showed up at the farm, the HMGs and their supporting infantry were history.

There were some very brave attempts to evict the enemy armor from the edge of the farm, but their fire was too strong.
Tank killing infantry teams. Fighting up to the last minute.

The end of battle screen. A poor score for such a brave fight.

The Marder III scored a lot of kills in this scenario. The arrow points to the hit from the Soviet assault gun that killed it.

This is the ISU 122 assault gun that killed our flak vehicle and the Marder III tank destroyer. At least it didn't end up the day with its threads rolling.


Colin Coulter said...

Wow. intense stuff there. I may have to dust off CM:BN again or splurge on this new add-on.

Would you buy this over the "Fortress Italy" add-on? I cant afford both :)

JC said...

Hi Colin,

Besides the obvious force composition/hardware differences, this one features more open spaces, more intense and long range armor battles. I wish I could have a review in time for ya, but time has been a bitch lately.


M.Dorosh said...

There would be nothing stopping anyone from including "open spaces" and "long range armour battles" in CM:FI. The map editor is fully accessible and you could build any kind of map you want in it, from mountains to deserts, since you have a practically unlimited range of contour elevations, as well as a wide palette of terrain, including sand and heavy rock tiles. There are a lot of QB map makers who, I am told, take requests. The real difference right now is that CM:RT uses the 3.0 game engine while CM:FI has not yet received the upgrade.

Chuck "Magnum" Ankenbauer said...

Excellent shots JC... soon as i was done reading, had to boot up.

Anonymous said...

JC nice shots. I have a question regarding the AI composing sides. While the Germans did fight with what was at hand the Ruskies avoided that in 1944. Lone is122 with only light armour support looks odd. Is there an implemented OOB when AI is choosing troops or its basically a random pick'n'mix?
BTW what made you think you've had an edge? With lone PzIV I'd say you were in a rather crappy position. It was well matched by T34/85 and only had real advantage in optics over the Ruskies.
BTW this is a stand-alone or you have to buy CMBN?
Chris Adamus

Michael Dorosh said...

So Chris, all those Sherman tank units the Russians were using in 1944 - you mean that was an example of the Red Army "avoiding using what was on hand"?

sandman2575 said...

JC -- Love your blog, man. Would you consider posting you system specs somewhere? Your screenies look amazing and I'm curious to know what kind of rig you have, as these are some demanding games hardware-wise (ARMA III especially). Thanks for considering -- and thx for the great posts.

Anonymous said...

Michael I was reffering to the unit composition and unit usage on the field. In Bagration there were even some kv2 used. But they were used in special unit not on a we grab what we can and make a kampfgruppe basis. Germans were short on everything so the situation in this AAR is possible on their side. But the lone is122 with some t60 or t70? I have not heard about this. They were used in numbers with t34 and other TD not with light armour. And they operated as unit not alone like in this scenario.
That's what I'm curious about whether the game actually uses the real OOB or just chooses the equipement randomly for a battle.
Chris Adamus

M.Dorosh said...

Ah - that makes sense, Chris. I'll let JC respond. I will note the surprising tendency to face self-propelled German anti-aircraft companies in computer-picked Quick Battles, though. Not that they aren't fun - and surprisingly tough - opponents. Just seems odd to encounter them so often.