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Imp June 29th, 2020 01:05 PM

German Campaign using War Cab
After posting this thread http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=52472 I decided to actually do a proper AAR covering this units exploits.

The first 2 battles will be a bit sketchy as that thread is the second battle & was not doing an AAR originally.

I will be using War Cab by Erik Cumps to assist in the reporting as it seems to work well.
Used in no intel mode throughout the battle then full intel at end as that shows the position of ALL enemy troops.

German Campaign starting in Sicily, & covering the Italian campaign along with a quick excursion to go play in the bocage of Normandy then is as far as I have thought.

FORCE COMPOSITION at start of 2nd battle 832 men

Infantry Company A - 13 Squads 4 of whom are Sturmpioniere's + 2X HMG groups & 2X Light Trucks to move them in.

Infantry Company B - 12 Squads + 2 HMG groups + 3 5cm Pak38 ATG + 3 SdKfz 11 halftracks to dual role moving MGs & ATGs

Panzer Grenadier Co - 11 Squads + 2 MMG all with halftracks + 2 scouts riding 250/11 gun halftracks

Support Units - 1 FOO 4 Panzerschreck teams 3 Snipers

Armour - 10 MkIVH + 6 StuGIIIG +2 SturmpanzerIV

Anti Aircraft - 6 Self Propelled 2cm FlaK

Artillery - 2 15cm infantry guns & 4 mortars with transport + 4 Self Propelled mortars + 1 17cm off map battery + 3 munitions carriers.

SUMMARY - 36 squads - 13 armoured halftracks - 5 soft vehicles - 18 Armour units - 3 ATGs - 4 - 6 AAA units & 11 Artillery units.
Not counting artillery & munitions transport.

First campaign using mainly MkIVs I supplemented with StuGs so at least some of my armour can take the high ground without inviting hits to that weak turret. Decided to be lazy with offboard arty normally buy 10cm K18 but took the easy path for counterbattery this time. Only have to worry about the 8inch & that is rare.
Panzer Grenadiers traded in their 251/9 gun halftracks for the AAA units taking the total to 6 as allied air becomes a problem.
Infantry is a bit odd as jumped the gun & started converting to 3 squad platoons by changing some to Sturmpioniere's. Does not happen till 1944 so whoops they will stay that way till then when platoon leaders will lose the 5cm mortar.

Imp June 30th, 2020 02:28 PM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
Welcome to Vizzini Sicily its a baking hot summers day visibility is 66 hexes & the map size is 100 wide by 80 deep.
Later maps will be 90 wide by 70 deep as this caused the AI to be to dispersed resulting in an easy first outing.
Timed objectives are set to 6 for the campaign.
Meeting Engagement vs The British

Firstly Kudos to the map generator the map could represent several areas in the Mediterranean & indeed reminded me of the view upon cresting a rise on a drive in a heatwave there.

Sorry no pictures for this battle save was overwritten.
MAP for this AAR we will assume the top is always North
The map is dominated by a sprawling hill range in the centre around 30 hexes wide with 3 distinct flat peaks around 70 hexes high.
These overlook other smaller hills around 30 high so are a good vantage point & the game kindly placed the VHexes on each of them.
Forestation is quite sparse just lines of trees scattered around, 2 broken tree lines around 7 hexes long running so \ crossed the top 2 levels of the North hill on the AI side & were the only real ones that mattered. Apart from that quite a few largeish vineyards & some patches of rough but not near where the fighting took place.
A road runs E-W We will call the peaks 1,2,3 Top Middle Bottom.

Simple split forces peak 1 was Company As objective, Peak 3 Company Bs.
Tanks were split evenly & a platoon of Pz Gren accompanied each. ATGs went with A because of the road.
4 Tanks & the remaining Pz Grenadiers were assigned to the middle, not to take Peak 2 which we would deal with later but to reinforce whoever needed them.

Turned out the AI decided to make its pushes in a similar fashion peak 1 being its main push & just as the PZ Grens were ready to crest the rise there the Brits took the victory hexes. Cresting the rise cannot see anything probably an Armoured Car behind the trees. 2 of them place smoke to let the ATGs deploy safely & the 3rd risks using the other line of trees to move forward so I can see hats coming.

My tanks will not crest the hilltop for another 2 turns so one takes position to interdict the AC while the others push forward bailing out their riders. Halfracks headed back to scoop up infantry.

Next turn 3 Shermans & a Honey crest the rise & drop riders, heck no need to see whats coming & I can't now they are here. I charge onto the hilltop firing smoke as am fast moving.
We are only 7-8 hexes apart & the Pz Gren reports infantry movement but 2 tanks have reamined stationary & have been joined by a third. Assume the other 2 have moved to the lower elevation & are skirting to the North. The AC or whatever it is has vanished perplexing not a lot of cover.
The hills are shallow 3-4 hexes between contours producing strips of blind spots.

I decide to play the waiting game to just moving infantry as am still waiting for some to arrive & arty will land next turn. I want to look over the edge to & the central force is coming to reinforce though still a few turns distant. Bit worried about the lone tank I left behind as he may be facing more than an armoured car so he actually pulls back to increase the range of any exchange. sporadic fire nothing serious. Spotted more AC about to take Hill 3s VHexes.
I have taken none & its the same situation Pz Grenadiers are nearly there but nobody else is close except the 250/11 halftrack that takes up an ambush position.

Sticking with hill 1 its now around turn 5 we push forward & first kill somehow my Sturmpanzer is leading the charge trying to pin the infantry & separate them. Not the most sensible situation to be in though he has a Pioneer supporting him. Still no sign of the units that vanished but I am now in a position to look North over the crest & see what's going on.

Scout takes a look & there are now 8 or 9 Shermans & half a dozen infantry. Looks like they are trying to skirt round behind me in which case they will run into the ATGs. & that lone tank. There are also 3 Shermans approaching the Sturmpanzer. If the North group turns back he will be between them.

So far I have been picking off exposed units now I am forced to go I have artillery plotted as now committed it all to this hill that should hit the Northern force if it moves West so take position while trying to cover the Sturmpanzer as best as possible. An AT team & 2 squads go to support him as fast moving to safety is risky.

The AI indeed heads West the AC dies to an ATG which also dispatches a Sherman with a flank shot, some exchange of fire but the lone tank is not targeted its to far away I guess as they are moving. It misses everyone when it opens up. The Sturmpanzer kills one of the Shermans approaching from the East that pops up 2 hexes away & the Pioneer heavily damaged another, 1 left. My artillery hits.

I do not like attacking tank formations with so many infantry close but its time to pull the pin.
The single tank advances, now he is taking low probability fire. Fires smoke to break target lock & keeps coming. One ATG opens up killing a Sherman with its second shot, now spotted as it to draws fire so stops shooting. Scout has a look to see the layout & a squad tries to look at what he missed & receives a lot of infantry fire for his trouble.
The Sturmpanzer & a few squads move to the North Forces rear & pick off infantry out of view of the Shermans. AT Team & squad should deal with the last West Sherman but Sturmpanzer discharges smoke to its rear just in case.
I think around 2/3rds of the allied tanks have 1 shot or less & they are suppressed & moving so try my luck which holds 1-3 hex moves engage then smoke & move my infantry up behind the screen as this was a 4 -6 hex ranged engagement. They should provide protection if the AI decides to enter the smoke. Got a fair few dischargers saved the rest, War Cab kill list for turn 8 which was a decisive blow to the Brits & the height of the battle.

Note the artillery killed some of the infantry the Sturmpanzer had been working over & at this range the 250/11 gun halftrack is a potent tool. fast high ROF & an accurate gun I like it though sometimes ask to much of it. My losses so far an AT team & the 250/11 on the other hill after taking on the armoured cars he went head to head with a tank.
Apologies I remember now they were Cromwell Is not Shermans that's why they got there fast.
One of my Stugs took 1 damage in the exchange but fully operational. A squad has lost a man & the poor guy that took a look lost 5 men.

That was pretty much the battle over for this hill just moping up then fending off sporadic infantry attacks. Only advanced about 10 hexes past the VHexes with some squads to spot approaching units & let the MG & halftracks deal with them from the hilltop.

Funny you remember tense battles quite well bit vague about hill 3 as that was a lot easier but we can save that for tomorrow.

Imp July 1st, 2020 07:34 AM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
Hill 3

Similar start to this one a couple of Humbers & Dingos got there just before me. 250/11 Halftrack made a short move to ambush as they came over the crest & 2 of my tanks took up position. The 250/11 got one & the others ran into my tanks sights.

Forgot there was a small clump of trees here to on my end of the hilltop, 250/11 took up position behind them & the Pz Grenadiers headed out for a looksee. This time some of my tanks had reached the crest just a 1 hex move to the hilltop.

Next turn 2 honeys & 3 Cromwell's turned up & took pot shots at the Grenadiers. The 250 could move 1 hex to line up a Honey while screened from the rest so it did & knocked it out with the first shot. Now I got overconfident Grenadier placed smoke so it could take on a Cromwell by moving another hex, it fired wide of the mark, we fired - no effect.
Another stray round comes our way so risk another shot its damaged, unfortunately its superficial & the return fire kills me.
Still that's 2 tanks that wont fire at me as I come over the rise. Grenadier places smoke blocking one of the tanks view & we come over the lip & kill the 4 we can target then stop. It died next turn when it moved as did another couple of Honeys that turned up.
There then followed a battle with quite a few infantry trying to take the high ground. I remember thinking that's more than the tanks could have dropped.
A squad & MG drove over to hill 2 to get a better angle on them & zipped round the VHexes at the same time.
The infantry were contained I now had free armour & a few halftracks in support though had to be careful not to expose them as we had Churchills inbound.
These were spotted earlier from hill 1 & keep dipping in & out of view so its time for the StuG's to do their thing 3 move out including 1 from hill 1 with an infantry escort. Trip to firing positions is fairly uneventful, one got shot at by a Piat team which was quickly killed by the escorting infantry. Did not engage odd infantry encountered let the HMG pin them or smoked till we were in position.
The British 2 Pounder does not have APCR yet so the StuG's have a sweet spot & opened up at 20-24 hex range as they are safe from return fire unlike the MkIV.
W fire the MG a couple of times then let fly the APCR seems the best way. Saves ammo & rarely triggers the dischargers just before you get that accurate shot.
When the last one died around turn 14 the Brits threw in the towel, I was quite surprised how much infantry was advancing on hill 3 that I had not detected yet. None could get near the VHexes however due to the tanks & MGs defending them.
That is why I changed map size battle was easy partly because the AI never got all its units to participate.
Will use War Cab a bit more this battle was my trial & I kept forgetting to save the data

Here's a War Cab end of battle screen & my losses screen. From that forgot my artillery got hit by the Brits the Maultier soft halftrack is my infantry gun transport simply because I have never used them before. plan to use some other untried equipment as we progress.

Imp July 1st, 2020 09:24 PM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
Before moving on to the battle that prompted this AAR a quick note on War Cab now I grasp it more.
I can use full intel so long as restrict myself to the opponents kill tab - this lets me check what they killed/damaged that turn.
This is because losses are a running total not per turn like kills as once a unit is dead its dead every turn.

This does mean it reports enemy force size as in men formations which does not give anything away in my view, scared the $#@% out of me though!
Also gives their readiness status which gives a bit away on how I am doing but fine with it. I have asked Erik who is very helpful to confirm readiness is based on - units destroyed plus suppressed state of current units.

Imp July 1st, 2020 11:02 PM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
War Cab reports Map width x height so 90 wide 70 deep not so sunny today though soon visibility was 0
How many men!

We are tasked with holding the bridge & stopping the advance, in the bottom of the map I added fords to every other hex along the stream to aid the AI crossing, nothing got stuck.

Purposely deployed light on expected main avenue of approach & behind the bridge as expected heavy bombardment, was right just did not think big enough. They were supposed to be supported by units on the elevations to each side but due to the level of dust this never happened till turn 8. North Flank purposely deployed heavy & with halftracks to act as a reaction force.
Shot myself in the foot bought mines to place in front of the bridge then decided that was to much & was going to place a few to screen squads but forgot.

We are currently on turn 13 so some screenshots - smoke off its light
Thought I had a deployment save but no.
3 most forward squads & a sniper have perished Company A who were tasked with holding here could well lose 2 complete platoons so things are not going so well this time.

2 StuG's & a platoon of Pz Gren (1 dead) are behind a broken tree line by my mouse cursor at the bottom of the picture.
Top tank attack swung in after meeting resistance - infantry may be following?
The AI formed up truck infantry & tanks here before following the first push by SPGuns & infantry after it eased the front edge of the bombardment which stopped completely on turn 11

Bottom attack was lead by a probe with SPguns one however decided to stop so I sent a squad to find it. My SPmortars & HQ were camped on the flank to avoid the barrage which they did but I had to pull them out.
Company B has had a quite time only one squad has engaged taking out a tank with its AT mine on the second attempt. Tanks & AT teams have engaged the armour attack which has only just commenced.

My squads on the main approach fought valiantly I could not have asked more of them but once the tanks turned up & they ran out of smoke they were overwhelmed.
They received virtually no supporting fire till turn 9 because of the blanket of dust, turn 11 before could really help much. They managed to stall the first push but now the tanks have turned up the AI is moving forward.
I missed an opportunity to place fire missions on the form up area, partly because my arty was only firing every other turn in an effort not to give away their positions. When I did place it missed anyway as the AI remained in place.
Arty is now going full bore as I think positions are known 2 Spitfires made a run around turn 6. Both were hit one downed but not before overflying my artillery park.
We will take up the action next post but I think I made a bad call leaving my arty battery on CB fire. That's habit thought fire missions were to dangerous but I bought 17cm it can do them.
Should have used it to stall the infantry & perhaps damage some armour to give my squads some relief.

Imp July 1st, 2020 11:09 PM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
Forgot bought 2 ammo dumps & 2 bunkers as support.
1 ammo dump & a bunker were destroyed by the barrage in the first few turns. The other bunker is heavily damaged can only fire one shot a turn & so far has fired twice for no effect.

Imp July 2nd, 2020 04:47 AM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
Position at start of turn 15

Lost contact with my offboard battery so only plotting this turn.
Only 4 or so British batteries opened up on turns 13-14 (now 12) so decided to throw caution to the wind & risk moving a few units.
Mobhack surmised I think correctly that most are general support so long call times.

Really fretted over the underlined units considered pulling them out but I need kills the Brits still have more armour than me. Be a shame to lose them StuG now has 12 kills taking out 3 last turn, the MkIV damaged 2. If the other StuG digs in in time I may be able to pull them out.

StuG advanced to take position to cover the advance & hopefully dig in before the arty starts.
MKIV pulled out heavily damaged its fight is over
Halftrack has tanks inbound so retreated.
The StuG managed a probe killing 2 tanks but now not sure what to do with it as the artillery is inbound. Head for the stream & hope no arty or risk trying to dig in.
AI did a nice combined arms move sending that squad in, if there are more we could be in trouble here all the units I have there are in the screen shot.
Reaction force is looking less & less likely as 2 of the 6 armour units are heavily damaged. The one that pulled out confirmed it cannot shoot if it moves at all.
Down South its been fairly quite which is a worry I think all hell is about to break out, is the AI forming up again?
Pretty confident I can stop this attack with minor losses though so only 1 8cm Mortar is supporting here hoping to lay some suppression.
One of my artillery crew is making a valiant attempt to return to his tubes. I have a horrible feeling I have signed his death warrant & he wont make it in time.

Over turns 13+14 the AI gained little ground & we managed to kill a further 14 units for 2 losses ourselves.
Kill ratio is just over 4:1 in our favour but the AI still outnumber us by 4:1 in terms of men. The AI losses are evenly split between infantry & armour, 31+32 26 of which are tanks. We have managed not to lose any tanks yet though 2 are effectively out of action.
More confident of containing them now when the barrage restarts they probably will have to stop advancing. Only issue is if they can make a run for the VHexes.

Imp July 2nd, 2020 07:39 AM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
The next 2 turns did not go so well kill ratio is falling we got 10 units but lost 5 in the process.
The barrage has still not resumed at intense levels & the AI managed not to hit itself.

My artillery crew has made it back can he reform & entrench in time, another crew has vacated its position however.

Screen shot shows I decided to pull out the StuG & MkIV under cover of smoke. Tanks near by were unsuppressed & when an AA unit & halftrack tried to put suppression on them at 20 odd hex range they died instantly.
If all goes well & my smoke lands okay they & the StuG that moved up should be able to lay flanking fire on the 4 hex rows before the bridge. Bet something interferes but its worth a shot.
Purple lines shows 250/11 moved to get a rear shot on that Sherman but failed to cause damage, it then moved back in cover. During its turn the Sherman took the bait & moved into its sights & a MKIVs, its undamaged but retreating.
I think we have killed most of the armour from the top attack, fairly sure there are some infantry still around fending off probes.

The main approach is nearly overrun 4 unhealthy squads with 10 armour units bearing down on them & I saw more Churchills in the formation area. The Bunker did get a SPGun before a Churchill put a round through the observation slit.

I was right to think the position in the second screen shot in previous post was getting dangerous. The StuG got immobilised by the barrage, it now shares the same hex as the lead halftrack which has lost its MG & the squad above died. The other StuG there managed to fend off a Sherman at point blank range despite being suppressed.
Getting tense & if a tank swings in from the middle its out of the StuG's fire arc & a sitting duck.

Action in the bottom part of the map was surprisingly quite maybe there are not more tanks there.
We missed the Sherman that was in our LOS & it fired the dischargers. The AT team got it in the AIs turn but is now out of ammo & in a precarious position. The Churchills advanced have LOS on one still but all hits bounced & it seems to have shrugged of any suppression.

Imp July 2nd, 2020 11:55 PM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
Turn 18 Things are now getting really tense the barrage has not resumed in strength probably about 10 fired & its moving around not like the original barrage that just stayed in place for 8 turns or so.
I really cannot wait wish it had resumed so I know where its safe to move we have problems I will just have to take risks

Firstly ammo resupply has moved up most of my arty is ammo critical, the good news is my 17cm has finally fired & hit a lot of tanks in the main advance so they should be suppressed. They have been one hex move or stationary firing at the few remaining squads there, all but 2 are wiped out.
They may try making a run for the bridge once they are gone.
Due to this 2 tanks have moved to take up position from the South Force, don't like sharing emplacements but realised the other is on impassable terrain once I got there Doah!
Some arty started falling here hope they dig in & view does not go to pot.

The StuG that has been in the centre of the action took advantage of the suppressed tanks in the centre & killed 2 more but it took 4 shots to dispatch them, AP ammo is low but should hopefully last.
We had a lot of hits bounce this turn which has not helped & while I was correct we had virtually eliminated the original Northern Push a Churchill turned up bet more are inbound.
Arty has started to fall here to but light & towards the rear. Ended up sharing emplacement here because of it as we were moving forces to cover centre.
5 hits on the Churchill for 1 damage damn. Tanks without LOS fire smoke to block that LOS & screen infantry & an AT team who have left cover to take up assault positions.
They put some fire into the couple of infantry units there along the way now there is only one known.

Just South of the main attack the situation is lost the StuG that can still fire placed smoke to screen the other & fended off another adjacent attack
but took heavy damage in the exchange - another one shot unit. Still managed to destroy another tank as the dust cleared in my turn before bolting for the treeline.
2 squads have PIATs my MMGs can cover this area but not very well I expect the other StuG & halftrack to die.

In the South maybe I was wrong there is nothing more coming a couple more Churchills turned up & despite a fair amount of duds we managed to kill them.
The Sturmpanzer got 2 & tanks the others after a fairly heated exchange due to the duds, no damage was taken.
If nothing turns up next go I am going to send infantry out for a look I have a lot of units here. Would like to reinforce the centre if the artillery allows.
The AT team is moving to a safer position as its ammo is gone & I still need to deal with that SPgun its not moved. Its in a tricky spot to attack however so that might have to wait till I see if I manage to resupply my artillery & can spare one unit to suppress it.

At least the kill ratio is back up to 4:1 as the Brits only killed a couple of units, losses now stand at 80:21
Company A has lost most of E & all of F platoon, Pz Gren have suffered to especially the halftracks due to the bombardment - they are close to losing O platoon.
As we are approaching 20% losses we will take a look at some War Cab screens in the next post.

Imp July 3rd, 2020 02:03 AM

Re: German Campaign using War Cab
Okay so lets take a look at some of War Cabs offerings its fairly easy to grasp.
Note with most of these you can hover over a point & a popup will give more info.
We will start with a few from the Dossier tab, this will show how my core progress throughout the campaign.
You could if you wanted look at individual units progress & kill history & there is a screen that gives top & bottom 5 in several categories but we will start with core makeup.

This is by units not cost & as I have made only made minor changes remains the same for both battles. Swapped squads for pioneers.
As you can see 39% of my force is infantry, hover over others for popups
Armor is 13.9%, Halftracks (APC) 11.3% etc

Here are a couple of screens showing my experience progress from one battle to the next.
For the first battle only 6% of my troops were Veterans jumping to 20% for this battle many of whom have I think died so it will be interesting to see the results after this battle.

This shows experience another way my average experience is now 74%
Best is a MkIV with 86 - Worst a SdKfz11 with 63

Now lets look at a battle screen this is kills over time (turns)
The green line tracks the best unit so starts at 5 as that was my best unit in the previous battle.
The blue line tracks average kills per unit - which started at 0.67 & has currently doubled to 1.27 kills per unit on average.
Took screen shot a couple turns back when StuG was on 13 kills.
Note the delay before I killed anything due to the barrage.

Next we will look at the suppression report blue is the average & green most suppressed. You can see the effects of the original barrage - where it lifted the front - stopped & now its climbing again as its restarted but with far less ferocity.

Out of interest I decided to look at British suppression report while I can relate to it.
Did not think this would give anything away but think it has if I am reading the report correctly. Will leave till battle end as said I would in future but was intrigued to see the difference.

Because I can mouse over suppression for first 6 turns was from my counterbattery fire.
Hence the reason Average was still near zero just 1 unit hit per turn. My average was higher for that period as say 1/3rd of my force was getting hit.
Shortly after my arty started continuous fire their average suppression climbed to similar levels (come on supply trucks reload keep it going :))
What I think this has given away is while my arty fire is more concentrated its still affecting a good portion of their force.
I may well be wrong new to this but that's my guess
I am not but if your the type of person that likes to track units individual progress this is a great tool - highly recommended.
Still a good tool to play with as I will be interested to see how my experience progresses through the campaign.
Also fun to realise some units performed far better than you thought. Last battle I thought Co A was in the thick of it but it was Co B units that had the high kill numbers.

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