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-   -   AAR: Return of the Ottomans (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=51729)

Aeraaa October 24th, 2017 04:00 PM

Return of the Ottomans
I'm testing the scenario packages "Return of the Ottomans" regarding a hypothetical Turkish invasion of Bulgaria. Here is an AAR regarding the first 3 scenarios (more will follow). The first scenario is a Bulgarian delay (actually an ambush) while the other two are Turkish assaults.

Mission 1: Ambush at Route 7.

The Bulgarian covering battalion managed to ambush a large part of the advancing 55th Mechanized brigade. The Turks came under a torrent of small arms fire and RPGs, suffering heavy casualties. They did show considerable bravery in regrouping and firing back at their attackers, causing significant casualties of their own. Eventually, the Bulgarians were forced to retreat under heavy artillery fire.
In addition to that, the Turks tried to advance towards the left highway, but received ATGM fire, losing 5 APCs and one tank. They managed to eliminate the threat under combination of artillery fire and infantry attacks.

In the end, the Bulgarians managed to delay the Turkish brigade, causing significant casualties to it as well (246 men+13 tanks). It was a crucial first victory for the Bulgarian army.


Mission 2: assault on Balko Tarnovo

This time I command the forward elements of the Turkish 65th Mechanized Brigade making a secondary attack towards the forested mountainous terrain of Balko Tarnovo. There is only a single narrow road, which makes maneuvering impossible. The limited time (20 turns) as well as the fact that the objective is worth 0 points, makes me adopt a slow, methodical attack, with lots of artillery shelling and slow advances. In general the Bulgarian resistance is minimal, with isolated platoons in the forrest ambushing my troops and occasional mortar shelling. I lose one APC to an RPG and one jeep with an FO from a mortar, as well as a handful of dismounted infantry, but I slowly press on, eliminating any squad that reveals itself.
Bulgarian RPGs must be really old, for they fail to fuse at least 3 times. That saves my APCs on these occasions. The end result is a draw as can be seen from the screen.


I’ve managed to keep my casualties to a minimum, but I’ve only made it halfway to the end objective. More battles have to be done by the 65th in order to break through.
Seeing the dispositions in the end, verifies my suspicions. The town itself has the majority of the defending battalion, thus I had no chance of capturing it in the time frame available.

Mission 4: Assault on Elhovo

55th Mechanized continues its advance after the disastrous ambush along route 7. The Bulgarians have managed to mobilize their 2nd Mechanized Brigade and have taken defensive positions. The Recon battalion of the brigade managed to find a gap into the Bulgarian defense centered around the town of Elhovo. A mechanized infantry battlegroup is formed to assault and seize Elhovo. In addition to this, the armored elements of the brigade are tasked with a diversionary attack to the south of the town to draw attention from the battlegroup’s advance.
The plan goes smoothly in the first 10 turns. Straight out of Turkish army handbook, the town is brutally shelled, while dismounted elements supported by armor advance inside the urban area slowly but surely. The town is eerily quiet though. No signs of any resistance are visible, which worries me.
In the south, two M60A3 tank platoons are the first armored elements advancing. The tanks spot some BTRs and fire at them, while also calling for artillery strikes with DPICM munitions. Soon, 7 BTRs are up in flames. The Turkish attack causes the Bulgarians to react, and the latter shell the tanks with mortar fire. In addition to that, Su-25 appear in the sky. Turkish air defenses shoot down 2 of them and damage one more, but the Su-25s manage to destroy 2 Turkish tanks in their attack run.
While elements of the northern battlegroup move into the town, more Su-25s appear in the sky (it feels as if the whole Bulgarian air force is moving against the 55th. Despite the formidable SAM umbrella, some aircraft go through and they manage to knock out 8 M109 SP howitzers and 1 Rapier SAM. 2 more Rapier SAMs are destroyed by 122mm artillery, which also starts to fall down on the Turkish equivalent. The Turks use their own arty to fire CM on the revealed Bulgarian artillery, destroying 5 artillery pieces in the end.
Thanks to tank support, slow and careful movement and lots and lots of artillery, the Turks are able to capture the important town despite fierce close quarters fighting. Casualties are acceptable, while the Bulgarian brigade suffers much more serious casualties. The Turkish advance can resume now.
Result: MV. Turks lost 4 tanks in total, 5 SPGs and 3 SAMs.


Aeraaa October 24th, 2017 04:10 PM

Re: Return of the Ottomans
As usual, I cannot edit my post. I'll try to post the final screens of all 3 missions again.




In case they do not show again, the results are:

Mission 1:
Bulgarian DV

Bulgaria Turkey
Men 98 246
Artillery 0 0
Soft Skins 2 0
APCs 0 20
AFVs 0 15
Helos 0 0
Aircraft 0 0

Mission 2:
Turkey Bulgaria
Men 42 110
Artillery 0 0
Soft Skins 0 0
APCs 2 0
AFVs 0 0
Helos 0 0
Aircraft 0 0

Mission 3:
Turkey Bulgaria
Men 75 323
Artillery 0 2
Soft Skins 2 5
APCs 0 39
AFVs 12 11
Helos 0 0
Aircraft 0 9

Aeraaa April 10th, 2018 05:51 PM

Re: Return of the Ottomans
Mission 5: The battle of Plovdiv.

Turks advance deep into Bulgaria. Their main strategic objective is the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. Their route passes near another very important city, Plovdiv. Plovdiv has to be captured, or its garrison fixed in placed and bypassed if the Turkish drive towards Sofia is to succeed.
In this battle I take the scenario designer’s advice and pick Bulgaria, even though it is not player #1. A quick survey of the battlefield shows that there are two main sets of objective: the villages north of Plovdiv (that are in the way of the main line of communication) and Plovdiv itself. Like I mentioned before, the Turks can just capture the first set to bypass the defenders, so if they manage that, I will counterattack the Turkish force (this would be the most probable response anyway).
As usual, most of Bulgaria’s army is infantry. In addition to that, some 82mm mortars and a 152mm battery is at my disposal, plus two T-72M2 tank companies. This force has little mobility, the T72s at least have thermals so they are worth something, but the Turks have also attack helicopters, so I need to cause lots of casualties in dogged defense and hope for the best.
In the first turns I see the first elements of my opponent. A mechanized force, with several M60A3 tanks and for the first time, attack helos as well. The latter are always a problem, thus I need to minimize their impact on the battle. Some T72 from inside Plovdiv shoot at the attackers’ left flank and the result is one M60A3 damaged and one Cobra armored car destroyed. The Cobras (the attack helos) are fired by MANPADs and reply with rocket and 20mm fire. I plot artillery strikes on the road that the Turkish armored columns take, hoping to disrupt the attackers.
Turkish artillery fire first, causing some disruption to my ranks. In addition to that, a HUGE enemy air formation, of about 20 F4s and 20 F16s (!!!) engage my forces. I lose several BMPs, 4 tanks and some trucks and MANPADs to this menacing force. My tanks manage to destroy 3 Turkish tanks, but suffer 3 more casualties from enemy helos. My artillery causes some superficial damage to the Turkish force, but one howitzer is attacked inside Plovdiv from scouts that managed to sneak inside the city.
Turks approach the first crossroad (from now on nicknamed Derventski crossroads from the captain responsible for its defense). Despite heavy artillery fire, Turkish infantry disembark from their APCs and engage the Bulgarians in fierce close combat. At turn 11, they finally capture the crossroads, but casualties are mounting at the attacker side. Bulgarian tank fire knock out several Turkish APCs and M60A3 tanks as well (tank casualties are 8 Bulgarian tanks to 10 Turkish so far). My tank effectiveness increases when I realize how stupid I was the previous 10 turns. How so? By not realizing that the Turkish attack helicopters have a vision of 30, thus not being able to fire through smoke. Since my tanks have thermals, I can just pop smoke and either pick up Turkish APCs, or duel with tanks (and my tanks have the advantage there, thanks to the better frontal armor of the T72M2). And to think that 6 of the 8 tanks I’ve lost were knocked out by attack helos launching TOWs…
Turks advance towards the northwestern suburb, in order to at least secure the highway north of Plovdiv. Bulgarian tankers cause significant casualties to Turkish tanks and APCs, but also suffer casualties on their own. In the suburb, close combat infantry fighting erupts and the Turkish advance is stalled.
The advance on the NW suburb is slow and bloody. Bulgarian infantry make any dismounted advance costly and the T72s make any tank advance just as costly. In the end the Turks cannot secure the highway north of Plovdiv and were nowhere near assaulting the city, let alone capture it. Final result is as follows:


Turks lost 29 M60A3s (plus 7 more immobilized) and a Cobra attack helicopter. Bulgarians lost 17 T72M2s (only remain). In total the Turkish force was composed of 56 tanks, 14 Cobras, 20 F4 2000s and 20 F16s (yes, I’ve actually counted them all), making it officially the most aviation heavy scenario I have ever played. Despite this, the air force was only marginally effective, Turkish artillery was ineffective and only the Cobras were the stars of the Turkish side, since they claimed 12 of the 17 tanks lost from me (another one from a M60A3 and the other 4 from the fixed wing aircraft).
End result? Bulgarian minor victory. The Turkish offensive has to stop its advance, losing valuable time and enabling the Bulgarians to continue their resistance. Invasion was not a walk in the park as the Turks had hoped…

Aeraaa April 12th, 2018 08:57 AM

Re: Return of the Ottomans
Scenario 6: assault at Ruse

In this scenario, the Romanians enter the war. Their first action was to “secure” the Bulgarian border city of Ruse, which is directly to the east of the Danube bank. A single bridge separates the two countries. The official reasoning for this was the protection of ethnic Romanians in the region, but Turkish high command believes that Romanians want to secure Ruse and use it as a staging ground for their counteroffensive against Turkish forces. Therefore, one reserve Turkish mechanized brigade is ordered to assault Ruse and throw the Romanians back to the western side of the Danube.

The Turkish brigade that has the mission of assaulting Ruse has obsolete equipment. The brigade’s tank battalion is equipped with aging M48A5 tanks, and the infantry rides M113A2 APCs. Fire support is minimal; only the infantry battalions’ mortars and a M109 platoon will be used. Air support will also be used in the form of 8 F16s.

The brigade will attack Ruse from 2 separate axes. One column will attack from the northeast, one from the southeast. The two columns are almost identical in strength, with one mechanized infantry battalion, one tank company and one anti-tank company in each. I will organize every column into battlegroups, each having a tank platoon of 5 M48s, one mechanized company, 2 M901 tank destroyers and a couple of mortar carriers.

The battle will be given in night, with visibility being a paltry 3. That means that infantry will hardly be able to spot anything and I will have to rely on vehicles, artillery spotters and ATGMs. Situation is further complicated by the fact that we are forbidden from firing towards Romanian soil (the west bank of the river), except for self defense. That means that I cannot conduct counter-battery or counter AA fire missions, or use my aircraft to eliminate these.

With these things in mind I begin my attack (in this scenario I play as the Turks). A map of the whole area, showing the main maneuvers (in red), the area of Ruse proper (in blue) and the final frontline (in yellow) is given below:


Here’s the report of the battle:
My northern wing advanced to about 1.5 kms from Ruse, where it was subjected to intense artillery fire, both from conventional and ICM. Casualties were serious, even in tanks since M48s are essentially tin cans in 2016. Nevertheless, my forces reached Ruse proper, where intense infantry firefights erupted. The advance has bogged down at around turn 6.

My southern wing advanced up until the lead elements came under fire from dug in Romanian tanks. I do spot them , but my tanks are unable to penetrate the front armor of their opponents. The Romanians us the TR-85M Bizonul, an improved variant of the T55. Its frontal turret armor is 58, which make them practically immune to any munition the M48 carries. After the brief tank duel that made me lose two tanks, I withdraw out of range.

For dealing with Romanian tanks, my solution will have Desert Fox flair. Just as Rommel dealt with the heavily armored British Matildas by luring them into 88mm gun range, I intended to use my tanks to make TR-85s to reveal their position and then whack them with TOW missiles from my M901s, or Milan 3s from dismounts. My air force will also help with knocking out some tanks and other high value targets.

In addition to that, the southern wing had split as shown in the map, with about half of its force going next to the crop fields, using them as concealment, since some units that I sent them in this direction to scout, have encountered no enemy units.

The above tactics have helped my forces to enter Ruse from the south as well, at which point resistance became fierce. In addition to small arms fire and the occasional SPG-9 fire, dug in tanks are also encounter inside the streets of the city itself. The above tactic cannot help me in this regard, so I make a slight variation. I use my infantry to make Romanian tankers to focus on them, while I use my tanks to hit them from the flanks of rear. This tactic is successful, but costly, as my tanks also suffer serious casualties.

In the end, I manage to capture around 55% of the city (also visible to the map). Final results are here:


The end result is a draw, although I consider it a pyrrhic Turkish victory. I did manage to capture the bridge connecting Ruse with the Romanian side (IRL the Romanian city of Giurgiu, with the bridge ironically known as the Ruse-Giurgiu friendship bridge), therefore cutting the remaining Romanian forces off from reinforcements and supply. The fight isn’t over, with even fiercer close combat fighting expected in the coming days. Both sides had serious casualties which will affect their combat performance.

Tank losses: 20 M48A5 for Turkey, 25 TR-85 for Romania. I also lost one of the precious M901s as well. Most of my tanks were destroyed by Romanian tanks, with several also knocked down by ICM launched by artillery and one also destroyed by an SPG-9. The latter show how horribly obsolete my tanks were. Most of Romanian armor was knocked down by ATGMs in the open, and flanking shots from Turkish tanks inside the city.

Next scenario that I will play will be the Romanian Block.

DRG April 12th, 2018 10:59 AM

Re: Return of the Ottomans
Apparently, I missed adding these to the last patch... I thought I had gathered everything but I guess not

DRG April 12th, 2018 11:32 AM

Re: Return of the Ottomans
Please be aware that due to changes in the V12 Turkish OOB's there are problems reported with Sofia 1 and Sofia 3.( units will be missing....)

These "Ottoman" scenario did not make it to the last patch and were therefore not corrected for OOB changes made

Aeraaa April 12th, 2018 11:40 AM

Re: Return of the Ottomans

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 841745)
Please be aware that due to changes in the V12 Turkish OOB's there are problems reported with Sofia 1 and Sofia 3.( units will be missing....)

These "Ottoman" scenario did not make it to the last patch and were therefore not corrected for OOB changes made

Thanks DRG. I was prudent enough to not upgrade my version of the game until I finish all the scenarios so I'm safe from that.

DRG April 12th, 2018 12:04 PM

Re: Return of the Ottomans
I renumbered and saved before I looked at them because I didn't want to overwrite existing scenarios in my working game......do some of the originals have excess map area ??? the Malko Tarnovo one I have is half empty and that Ruse scenario you just tested is missing all of the Turkish Tanks if run in V12


I am working on correcting the entire series to work with V12 now.......

Aeraaa April 12th, 2018 02:02 PM

Re: Return of the Ottomans

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 841748)
I renumbered and saved before I looked at them because I didn't want to overwrite existing scenarios in my working game......do some of the originals have excess map area ??? the Malko Tarnovo one I have is half empty and that Ruse scenario you just tested is missing all of the Turkish Tanks if run in V12


I am working on correcting the entire series to work with V12 now.......

In regards to the maps, yes. Some maps appear to have a significant empty area. I think that is because the scenario creator wanted to represent the area behind the FEBA where artillery, and any defending AA exist. He didn't feel there was a reason to make it more detailed. About the tanks in Ruse, like I told I didn't upgrade my game yet and one of the reasons was that I know that old scenarios may not work properly with an upgrade.

If you manage to upgrade them that will be great news.

DRG April 12th, 2018 02:18 PM

Re: Return of the Ottomans
I have the changes made including trimming the Malko Tarnovo to the full playing area without excess....some of the other do show blank areas but that one, in particular, needed to be trimmed as the excess serves no purpose at all. I will run some more checks then post them all on the scenarios subforum ( then you can patch your game )

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