.com.unity Forums
  The Official e-Store of Shrapnel Games

This Month's Specials

Bronze - Save $8.00
winSPMBT: Main Battle Tank - Save $6.00

   







Go Back   .com.unity Forums > The Camo Workshop > WinSPMBT > After Action Reports
Notices


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old March 31st, 2016, 02:21 AM

jivemi jivemi is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Philippines
Posts: 351
Thanks: 216
Thanked 75 Times in 63 Posts
jivemi is on a distinguished road
Smile Wild Coincidence

This is an AAR about Scenario #242—The Fruit Factory by Ulf Lundstrom. It takes the PoV of a ROK Army battalion commander, Lt Colonel Park. Dates and names have been changed to support an altered historical view.

---Spoiler Alert---

1020 hours June 25, 2017. Lieutenant Colonel Park Chung Li stood outside his reserve mech infantry battalion's TOC, puffing on a cigarette while surveying his troops in the assembly area, a flat patch of land behind a couple of hills, two-and-a-half kilometers east of his main objective, the Kosan Gun Fruit Factory. They were about 30 “klicks” south and inland of Wonsan, a North Korean port city on the peninsula’s eastern side, and 60 north of the DMZ.

It was only two weeks since South Korea, provoked by the North’s missile launches, cross-border artillery barrages, special forces attacks on southern targets (for which they always claimed innocence), and other bellicose behavior by its “Supreme Leader,” Kim Jong Un, had finally declared war. While ROK and US Air Force jets paralyzed or incinerated Nokor’s transport and communications, elite Sokor assault divisions had punched holes through the DMZ on either side of the peninsula and raced north. As they did so, military officers in Pyongyang staged a coup against the regime, sparking a general revolt throughout the country. Defecting enemy units either surrendered or fought battles against Communist die-hards, who retreated into the hills in a hopeless attempt to regroup and continue the war.

That was mind-blowing in itself. Just as bizarre, even surreal, was that he found himself participating in a most peculiar existential experience. Because when he’d received his orders barely 18 hours before, he realized that he was being commanded to do what he’d already done several times before, with much the same order of battle, in a tactical computer wargame called Steel Panthers Main Battle Tank (or SPMBT for short). With uncanny prescience a human designer had created a scenario in which Park was now the real-life commander. He didn’t know how to describe it; was it Fate, a Cosmic Joke, or just plain old wild coincidence? It reminded him of the philosopher who’d been dreaming he was a butterfly, and when he awoke he wasn’t sure if he was man or butterfly. It was weird, but at the same time it felt good.

His facility with English had led to this preternatural situation. He’d been introduced to the game by some American friends while serving as a KATUSA at the US Eighth Army Headquarters in Seoul. What made SPMBT so engrossing was how it mimicked combat in such minute detail. Individual infantry squads, armored units like tanks and other AFVs, anti-tank guns and anti-tank guided missiles, mortar and artillery units, and so on, behaved much like their counterparts on actual battlefields. It even accommodated close air support and corresponding anti-air capability, including radar-guided conventional flak and surface-to-air missiles. Each infantry unit, vehicle, artillery piece, or aircraft was integrated into a carefully balanced combined-arms system which allowed the human player to control digital soldiers and weapon systems while fighting historical battles, or hypothetical scenarios of either past or future (one of which just happened to anticipate Park's present situation) in the post-WW II era.

It wasn’t a perfect “simulation” since it was turn-based, with sequential fire and movement. In that context certain practical concessions had to be made. Skirmishes or battles were shorter than in real life, since directing just a company-sized force in a supposedly hour-long engagement might take twice that long to play out in real time. Park suspected that direct fire-- especially from small arms at short range--was more lethal in order to achieve faster combat resolutions. (Yet others vehemently disagreed; wargamers were a contentious lot. Fortunately the game allowed the user to set parameters—in this case “infantry toughness”—to suit their fancy.) Command control was most unrealistic, since it provided a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield and the ability to almost instantly determine the status of, and give orders to, any unit (except those routed or retreating) in one’s forces.

Despite these compromises it was remarkable how closely tactics and results in SPMBT mirrored reality. Combined-arms forces of certain sizes were matched against each other in three basic types of battle: meeting engagements of relatively equal forces, and advances/delays or assaults/defenses where attackers almost always had superiority of numbers and firepower. Success or failure depended largely on how well the human player(s)--there was e-mail competition too!—utilized basic concepts such as fire and maneuver, achieving superiority at the point(s) of attack, using tanks mainly as infantry support (their breakout role of shooting up soft targets in the enemy’s rear areas usually didn’t happen until later stages of a battle, if at all), employing preparatory artillery or rocket barrages to stun defenders, suppressing enemy fire before advancing, deception (including smokescreens), and so on. Charging impetuously across open terrain would invariably result in defeat, while moving cautiously through or behind cover to locate enemy positions before committing forces to combat usually held the key to success.

1040 hours. Park’s reverie was broken by the deep roar of diesel engines as his maneuver force of two mechanized infantry companies (F&L)—each with a platoon of engineers attached—and a tank company (C) of twelve upgraded M48 Pattons began their oblique approach to the first objective, a road junction one-and-a-half kilometer to the southwest. Meanwhile his six self-propelled 81mm mortar tubes and three of 107mm prepared to fire their smokeshells, as did four attached sections of 155 and 205mm artillery several kilometers away. He wanted to time it so the smokescreens would be laid just before his forces came within sight and range of the enemy.

There were also six F-4E Phantoms circling to the northeast, under control of the FO, SGT Lee, but—

WHAM!! There was a sudden explosion several hundred meters south. He could see that one of E Platoon’s tanks had been targeted by a well-concealed enemy who hadn’t been spotted by his patrols, and had found LOS between the two hills which had hidden the battalion during assembly. CPT Park Jong Pil, whose command tank was the only one with smoke rounds, immediately fired one off to conceal the intended victim. Apparently the enemy had been spotted in turn, for several tanks proceeded to position themselves behind the smoke, using their thermal scopes (lucky the enemy didn’t have any!) to see through it and blast away with their main guns until the target—a 100mm SP Gun--was hit and destroyed. CPT Park fired a couple more smoke rounds to make sure there was no more unwelcome interference as L Company continued its southwest maneuver along the southern hill, trailed by the tanks of E Platoon, C Company's vanguard.

F Company meanwhile moved south behind the northern hill and prepared to move forward into the gap after smoke was laid. Then it too would also move southwest. The plan was for both mechanized companies to emerge from the smokescreen and blocking terrain just west of the southern hill, more or less abreast and along the road running south from the first objective. (Park recalled that he’d never won this scenario in the game after several attempts, and best as he could remember he’d run into difficulties by committing his forces into orchards north of the first objective. He had no intention of making the same mistake three or four times; twice was bad enough.)

1105 hours. First contact. L Company moves toward the road in its sector and comes under fire. Nobody can see where it’s coming from so they wait for backup. F Company takes position just east of the road further north without drawing fire. A few minutes later more of L Company arrives and they move forward again, taking fire as before but this time they spot two dug-in infantry sections and shoot back. As F Company moves across the road it too is targeted and begins taking casualties from small arms fire. Artillery is called down on spotted or suspected enemy positions.

In the heat of action 2LT Lee orders G Platoon to seize the intersection. After CPL Um’s squad gets pinned down by fire from one of the buildings Lee tries it with his own, since other squads are too far away and already engaged. He too fails, but SGT Kim, commanding one of the platoon’s tracked APCs, hearing Lee’s order and disregarding strict instructions to avoid independent action, moves forward but hits a mine. Another APC under SGT Choi succeeds, but is immediately destroyed by an unseen enemy. Both crews bail out, but there are casualties; much blood has been shed for one road junction, and there are still four objectives to go.


(To be continued)

Last edited by jivemi; May 16th, 2017 at 11:14 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old March 31st, 2016, 02:57 AM

jivemi jivemi is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Philippines
Posts: 351
Thanks: 216
Thanked 75 Times in 63 Posts
jivemi is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Wild Coincidence

Fortunately less sanguinary progress has been made elsewhere. F Company has secured three buildings, pinning down enemy units with dismounted mech infantry before faster wheeled APCs loaded with engineers from Z Platoon move in for the kill. Meanwhile H and I Platoons have knocked enemy infantry out of their positions in orchards immediately south of the buildings to establish contact with L Company.

They in turn have flushed out or destroyed enemy units—including a 107mm recoilless rifle and a cleverly concealed RPG team—with much help from E Platoon’s tanks, which were able to pin them down and inflict casualties from elevated positions well out of RPG range on the southern hill’s western rim. After being held up for ten or fifteen minutes, some following squads remount to prepare for the next bound forward.

1125 hours. Terrible news: SGT Chun’s tank from D Platoon, maneuvering to get a better shot on a dug-in Ch’onma-Ho II tank, has been hit and destroyed instead. But where did the shot come from? D Platoon’s commander, 2LT Kang, insisted that smoke blocked unassisted view to the target, and the enemy tank could surely not have had thermal sights, since none of that type had yet been discovered with any. At any rate SGT Chun survived in one piece and another tank dispatched the Ch’onma-Ho, but one crewman was dead and two others seriously wounded. Park received the news with dismay, but left it to his XO, Major Lee Syung Moon, to remind his men against performing unnecessary “heroic” actions when the war was all but won.

He watched several airstrikes come in shortly afterwards. It was always risky to call them in; not only did it endanger the pilots, your own men might become targets for inexperienced or glory-hungry pilots. There had already been several incidents with other units, and it was always a demoralizing tragedy when it happened. He saw flak and some missiles greet them as they approached, and follow them as they pulled up and away. He heard later that two had been hit, none seriously, and that a mortar battery had been destroyed. Not much return for so much risk. He radioed SGT Lee to call off the “flyboys,” as the Americans called them, and to reserve the 203mm sections for counter-battery fire if he hadn’t already, just to make sure. So far his men hadn’t been hit with anything that heavy, but you never knew what those insane Northern “cousins” might come up with in their desperation.

Another flurry of reports comes in: tanks from D Platoon spot T-55As coming in from the upper western road about 1100 meters away and brew up all three. As F Company clears the buildings and advances along the central road to the next objective they spot another dug-in Ch’onma, directing a tank to neutralize it, which it does with grim efficiency. They also spot the 85mm ATG which apparently destroyed Chun’s tank, dug in among some trees a couple hundred meters beyond the intersection. Another D Platoon tank swings its turret in that direction, detects it through the smoke with its thermal sight, and blows it away with a single shot. A 100mm SP Gun kills a tracked APC from I Platoon, but is immediately blasted in return by 2LT Kang’s “steel panther.”

1155 hours. Dismounted infantry have overrun the three remaining road junctions, the main Fruit Factory buildings, and close in on the last objective, an outbuilding north of the core complex. One more Ch’onma is discovered and destroyed. Opposition now consists of suicidal attacks by fanatics who come boiling out of their dug-in positions in a vain attempt reverse the tide of battle. MGs from J Platoon advancing slowly into the northern orchards spot them closing in on the eastern junction and engage. Some enemy squads are pinned, but heavy return fire inflicts casualties; two MG squads break and disperse as more desperadoes keep coming in a virtual human wave. Some squads from F Company are hastily remounted and head for the disputed junction, along with several D Platoon M48s. Attacks continue as the last objective is taken but are now easily beaten off.

1205 hours. Silence envelopes the battlefield as remaining enemy units finally accept defeat and break contact. Park receives the congratulations of his staff, but a “butcher’s bill” he is handed from an initial collation of reports is sobering: In addition to 4 APCs and Chun’s tank, his battalion has lost 81 men, including 17 killed in action. Sadly, Chun himself is among them; apparently his remorse over losing his own men led him to disobey orders and participate in the defensive action at the first junction, thus forfeiting his life. Victory didn’t come cheap, and steel panthers didn’t live forever. An awareness of such unpleasant facts was enough to bring anyone down to earth.

Writer’s Note: OK, so the story’s a bit far-fetched and long-winded but I needed something to jazz up a rather one-sided scenario while using the protagonist as an alter ego to express my devotion to this game. Of course yours truly was to blame for losing two APCs and a tank around the first junction, not 2LT Lee or SGT Chun. Also I was responsible for Chun’s ultimate sacrifice, since I used him as a spotter when no infantry were available.

Mr. Lundstrom’s Second Korean War scenarios are fun to play, and this one was no exception. It was also the first “unblemished” DV I obtained from any of them, since I got into the nasty habit of reloading and playing on after losing a valuable unit, or simply suffering any loss from a mis-click. Better just to accept misfortune as a learning experience and play on. You’ll be a better player for it and get more out of the game.

BTW the saves aren’t terribly interesting since they come at relatively quiet periods in the battle. That’s ‘cuz critical moments tend to absorb so much attention that the need to make a save is forgotten. Sorry about that.

That’s about it. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!
Attached Files
File Type: rar Fruit Factory T3.rar (180.4 KB, 60 views)
File Type: rar Fruit Factory T7.rar (173.3 KB, 52 views)
File Type: rar Fruit Factory T11.rar (178.2 KB, 53 views)
File Type: rar Fruit Factory T17.rar (178.6 KB, 52 views)
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jivemi For This Useful Post:
  #3  
Old March 31st, 2016, 11:51 AM

Steves308 Steves308 is offline
Corporal
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 54
Thanks: 84
Thanked 19 Times in 15 Posts
Steves308 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Wild Coincidence

Thanks for posting this, it was fun to read!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Steves308 For This Useful Post:
  #4  
Old March 31st, 2016, 08:15 PM
Oche's Avatar

Oche Oche is online now
Corporal
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 188
Thanks: 236
Thanked 171 Times in 72 Posts
Oche is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Wild Coincidence

I PBEM this scenario about a year or so ago, i had a good time. Very entertaining, challenging and unpredictable just as most of Ulf's Lundstrom scenarios. IMHO the other Ulf's Korean scenarios are as good or even better than this one.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Oche For This Useful Post:
  #5  
Old April 1st, 2016, 02:33 AM

jivemi jivemi is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Philippines
Posts: 351
Thanks: 216
Thanked 75 Times in 63 Posts
jivemi is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Wild Coincidence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oche View Post
I PBEM this scenario about a year or so ago, i had a good time. Very entertaining, challenging and unpredictable just as most of Ulf's Lundstrom scenarios. IMHO the other Ulf's Korean scenarios are as good or even better than this one.
Yeah, only reason I said it was "one-sided" was 'cuz the first couple attempts at it my guys got hung up getting through barbed wire north of the first VH. It made sense to try a longer approach march to the southwest; experience is the best teacher!

Speaking of which, I've had numerous "blue-on-blue" with aircraft in Mr. Lundstrom's Korea '09 scenarios (and MBT in general). For example in #203 (Masters of our Enemy) they took out an M728 CEV engineer tank and several AAV-7s, while in #206 (Carnage of Kaesong) a single mistargeted Paveway LGB demolished both a K-1 and AAV-7 that were in the same hex! Jets can be wonderfully devastating against the enemy, but it's heartbreaking when they take out your own. Live and learn, eh?
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jivemi For This Useful Post:
  #6  
Old April 1st, 2016, 06:58 AM
Suhiir's Avatar

Suhiir Suhiir is offline
Major General
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 2,103
Thanks: 182
Thanked 435 Times in 337 Posts
Suhiir is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Wild Coincidence

I've found that if you plot an airstrike within around 10 hexes (500m) of your own units it almost always winds up being blue-on-blue. From what I've gathered aircraft attack the first unit they spot within a radius of the target location you give them. And guess what, your own units are spotted!
__________________
Suhiir - Wargame Junkie

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." - Albert Einstein
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old April 1st, 2016, 09:05 AM

jivemi jivemi is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Philippines
Posts: 351
Thanks: 216
Thanked 75 Times in 63 Posts
jivemi is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Wild Coincidence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suhiir View Post
I've found that if you plot an airstrike within around 10 hexes (500m) of your own units it almost always winds up being blue-on-blue. From what I've gathered aircraft attack the first unit they spot within a radius of the target location you give them. And guess what, your own units are spotted!
Yuppy-wup. In retrospect ALL blowbacks were my own fault. In the first case (Scen #203) the engineer tank was knocked out by carelessly targeting the strike within 20 hexes of my guys (see Andy's comments in the links below). The LAV-7s were hit when I didn't check on entrance-exit hexes and the AI changed them on its own, so the LAVs were the first thing the fighter-bomber jocks saw. Better check them flightpaths every turn!

In the second case, not only did I violate Andy's 20-hex rule, I neglected to turn OFF the anti-armor Paveway, since I was attacking an infantry unit, and in a senior moment thought the Paveway was just another gravity bomb (not!) . This game punishes human error with a vengeance, just like on real battlefields.

http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=47585
http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=50341
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jivemi For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1999 - 2017, Shrapnel Games, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.