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Tommy Cookers III AAR


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#1
DC338

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Task:

1. Defeat the recon probes

2. Defeat German Main effort

3. Shift point of defense and defeat forces to the west of the AO.

4. Counter attack and take and hold Key terrain.

5. Fall back and re-org defense against a significant enemy effort.

Forces:

0-A DC

Red 1,2, 3 (Churchhills) Red 4 (Sherman Firefly)

Red 1- Guder

Red 2- Rambo

Red 3- FuLIOn

Red 4- Xerxes

Blue (infantry Elements) Piro Lol and finally Mully.

Plan for initial:

Due to lack of Infantry numbers Blue 1 & 2 infantry elements were positioned around Hermansbourg (eastern flank) leaving the western flank unguarded by infantry. Red 1 & 2 positioned forward to be able to move to support infantry in the East whilst keeping good battle positions to hold the center. Red 3 & 4 positioned in the rear as potential movement element and fire brigade (heavy tank killer) They were positioned to be able to cover the western approaches.

Phase 1

Infantry came under immediate attack from both dismounted and mounted recon elements, (Platoon strength size) Also it seemed mortar attack. Red 1 & 2 moved and engaged. Red 1 being detached to proceed to provide direct support to infantry upon request that infantry needed support. Enemy recon elements defeated with light friendly casualties, though Blue elements were under pressure.

Phase 2

Company + sized attack with half track and assault gun support. Infantry units continued to be under severe pressure in the east, sustaining continued casualties from seemingly infantry and mortar fire.
Red 1 in support. Red 2 holding the center with Red 3 & 4 still maintaining defense of the western flank and rear. Major enemy infantry push through the center west. Red 2 employed to great effect although numbers of infantry were too great to hold from large numbers slipping into the forest on the western flank. Red 3 & 4 advised to expect contact and they took large numbers of enemy infantry under fire as they tried to penetrate to the rear.

Enemy forces seemingly destroyed, but a large time expired as tried to find the remaining enemy forces. Eastern flank withdrawn and consolidated to center as infantry was needed to sweep the woods to the west of center. Infantry forces placed under control of Mullydawg. Sweep conducted and elements returned without finding enemy. Enemy subsequently destroyed after intel report.

Phase 3.

Movement to contact. Enemy forces reported by upper powers advancing to the west. The western part of the AO needed to be secured.

Plan: To shift the infantry through the woods with Tank support on either side of the woods (woods ran W-E)

Exec:Believe the infantry and the northern (right) flank made good progress. RED 1 was knocked out (not sure by what Arty?) and at that stage 0-A was killed by mortars that where targeted at the woods. The other forces achieved the goal of eliminating the threat from west. Without 0-A lead (after death unable to get another 119 out of box even though they were available.)

Lead to phase four.

Phase 4.

Before proceeding on stage 4 forces where pulled back and a re consolidation period was undertaken.

Forces: 3 RED tanks and approx 6 infantry.

Plan: To proceed from point A (western part of AO) with infantry proceeding to the woods. (good concealment) with Red 1 in close support. Red 3&4 in bounding over watch positions.

Exec: Infantry advanced unopposed initially along with tanks. At this point infantry was engaged. No idea from what (possible assault gun or Heavy Tank) at this time 0-A was killed in a blue on blue incident. Believe Red 4 assumed tactical command as the infantry had been destroyed. Zero Alpha re joined battle as RED elements had knocked out a Tiger and Hetzer, 0-A again severely wounded in blue on blue incident, after patch up REDs then proceeded to secure the objective against further armoured targets. At the objective 0-A was killed by enemy mortar fire was observing surrounds from a high building.

0-A rejoined fight as mopping up operations were undertaken by RED 1-4. This led to phase 5.

Phase 5.

Forces to expect large enemy attack.

Forces left Reds 1-4. I believe no infantry.

Plan: return to positions around point B (center of AO) be prepared to fall back if unable to hold.

Exec: Initial positions were held for a decent time until over whelming forces appeared and the threat of being out flanked was highly apparent. A fighting withdrawal conducted back to the line of departure, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The line was held whilst suffering few casualties. 0-A knocked out of the game whilst manning an anti tank gun. Red 4 the vital Sherman Firefly was knocked out by a flank shot from a sneaky &^$%er :2guns: with a faust.

Phase 6.

I believe was perhaps hunt Gelly.

Exec. Will have to be taken up by someone else as I was dead.

Sustains:

-Fantastic tank support and leadership within the armoured units. They inflicted huge numbers of casualties with little losses themselves.

- Junior people stepping up to lead when needed. (Mully)

- Infantry forces were well lead and effective as a whole despite being eventually overwhelmed by large numbers of enemy forces.

Fixes:

-A Better comms plan. Radio plan was fine and good in theory. As radios where limited however in practice when infantry leaders were killed, comms to the forward elements broke down. I should have allocated runners for that event.

-I should have probably pushed a couple of tanks towards friendly infantry earlier, I was probably horded them a little too much in the opening phase which may have cost infantry.

-The succession plan for chain of command probably should probably have been discussed a little better, but did seem to work.

-When issuing orders I should have been mindful that splurting out grids without prior warning to have map open could cause unnecessary repetition of orders. Didn't happen on the night but a note for future players in leadership roles.

- Blue on Blues. They are a fact of life in the heat of battle but care should be taken to correctly ID targets before engagement.

- When infantry carriers (jeeps, half tracks, tank riders etc) halt for long periods (say more than a couple of minutes) infantry should dismount and take spacing as they are a fat juicy target in a vehicle.

I would like others to come up with other fixes from their perspectives. I am also happy to try to answer any questions on why I did certain things at certain times if people have them. It is the best way to learn. Please don't sugar coat if you thing something should have been done better. Let me/us know.

From a personal perspective I really enjoyed it though It was not without it's struggles and was a really interesting TAC. It kept me awake for an hour or so after running things though in my head. I would also be interested to hear any thoughts from Gelly's perspective. Now bed calls.
  • Gelly, Xerxes, CptDavo and 1 other like this

#2
Xerxes

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Quick summary from Red-4

Red-4 "Serenity"
Sherman VC Firefly (17 Pounder, 76.2mm gun)

Crew:
Commander - Xerxes
Gunner - Jazzakid
Driver - Ridgeheart
Assistant Driver - AI
Loader - AI

Phase 1 & 2:
Red 3 & 4 were kept in reserve. Red 3 positioned 100-200 meters to our south, covering the southern MSR. We were tucked in against the eastern tree line with concealment from the south with our eyes fixed on the opposite tree line to our west. While the rest of the Company had heavy contact, Red 3 & 4 saw little action from our reserve position. Towards the end of Phase 1 approx a platoon size enemy infantry force came through the western tree line, headed north towards our LD. I gave Jazza the command to let loose on the coax MG while I turned out from time to time to hose them down with my .30 cal. With the combined GM fire from Red 3 + 4 we engaged and destroyed the enemy platoon, any remaining enemy routed. A few minutes passed until an enemy assault gun (likely a Stug) appeared, peaking through the edge of the tree line. I gave a hasty order to fire the 17 pounder, loaded with APC, Jazza fire 3 rounds, with at least 2 scoring front armor hits. The Stug slowly backed back into the trees as I called the contact over the radio. I gave Ridge the order to bring Red 4 across the open to a patch of trees NW of the previous contacts, as to give a better overlapping field of fire from Red 3 + 4.

Phase 3:
Red 3 + 4 were once again the rear gaurd, as the company moved along the western forest towards CP Alpha. Red 1 was knocked out of action, so Red 3 left our side to assist in the push up the northern side of the West-East running forest. Red 3 identified and engaged an enemy armor unit, and called us in for assistance, I brought Red 4 up on the right side of Red 3 and identified the Stug that we had previously engaged. I had Jazza fire 2 more APC rounds into the Stug just to be sure. Shortly after we where call to re consolidate just south of CP Alpha.

Phase 4:
Company advanced south, bounding through tree cover, to take south eastern town. Red 3 + 4 kept in rear, in over watch position. While passing a large tree covered area, the company split in two, one force flanking around the eastern side, INF + 0-A + Red 1 while Red 3 + 4 where on the western flank. A this time INF and 0-A were engaged by an enemy Tiger and Hetser tank destroyer. Comms broke down, and I believe Red 1 may have been damaged during this engagement, Red 3 pushed up, flanking around to the eastern side, while Red 4 pushed south down the western side. We identified the enemy armour roughly 400m to our south west, I had my gunner repeatedly engage with APC and the combined fire from Red 3 + 4 (and 1?) disabled the enemy armored threat.
With 0-A out of action I moved Red 4 into a position over looking the SE town, behind the concealment of trees about 300m from the NW edge of town. Red 3 set up just to our south, off our right flank. We observed no enemy activity in town. After some time, 0-A arrived, and led the charge into town with the remaining INF (at this time only 1 or two guys). I was just through warning him of sneaky window firing MG42's, as is one of Gelly's tendencies, when 0-A was mowed down by MG fire. We quickly identified a Tiger, defilade by a roadside trench on the eastern MSR heading out of town. With the Tiger in a hull down position, I thought it best to reposition and I had Ridgeheart back us up quickly behind the cover of trees. I called in the Tiger position and Red 3 quickly dispatched it while I moved Red 4 further south and set up on Red 3's right flank. Red 3 identified at least one other armor threat within the town and engaged it. During this time, Red 1 had reappeared on the far north side of town and engaged the enemy. What was now no more than a tank platoon (Red 1,2,3) mopped up the remaining enemy as we took sporadic mortar fire.

Phase 5:
Red platoon + 0-A quickly pulled back to the A,B,C defensive line. Tanks were arranged in a V formation, with Red 1 + 3 out on the extreme left and right, forward, and Red 4 back in the center. A large enemy force of mech infantry, approx company size, attacked from the south. From the easter treeline, not far from our original position during Phase 1/2, I gave Jazza the order to load and fire HE, repeatedly at enemy armoured vehicles and INF advancing from the south. A few minutes into the engagement, we observed HE rounds exploding close to our tank. I had Ridge bring us across the MSR to the western treeline to attempt to identify the threat.
At this point, all hell breaks loose. Jazza yells "Behind us, fuck fuck fuck!" or something to that effect, I look over my shoulder, and we have an enemy company sized infantry force right on our rear within 100 meters firing AT rockets at us. I have Ridge reverse and right stick to pull us away from the enemy to our rear, without turning our back on the enemy attack to the south. Jazza attempts to slew the gun round 180 degrees as I radio in that we have enemy INF close to our rear and we are pulling back to the LD, almost instantly we take a rocket to our rear-right side. Our right track and hull has red damage, the AI assistant driver and gunner fall out our half burned tank and get finished off by small arms fire. I tell Ridge to keep reversing, and he struggles as the broken tank pulls against him towards the enemy. I turn out, and in a hail of incoming rocket and small arms fire, I let the Jerry's have some .30 cal, I think I may have even said aloud "Get some!". Jazza manages to get the gun back around on the enemy and lets rip with the HE and coax. Our tank limps backwards, right through the middle of an enemy company as we dispense flaming death from our 17 pounder cannon! I continue to brass them up with the commanders .30 cal until I take a round to the left shoulder, then the right side of my head! I turn back in. Red 3 passed by us in their churchill and accross the LD. We barely crawl past the LD as Red 1 follows behind.
Red 1+ 3 take up defensive positions along the LD as I attempt to service my vehicle. At this point, Ridge disconnects and I crash due to a game bug. But suffice to say, we held the LD against everything the Germans could throw at us.
  • DC338, Guder, Jazzakid and 2 others like this

#3
Xerxes

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Sustains:

- Good drills from tank crews. Special shout out to Jazza who put all his CAV training from CATC into use on the night. Calling "on", "APC up" ect. Ridgy did some top notch driving, I know it can get boring in the driver's seat of a stationary tank for a 4 hour tac, but Ridgy stayed with us with his head in the game.

- DC did an outstanding job leading us in one of the craziest, most drawn out, endurance testing tacs ever. He maintained tactical awareness for the duration and conservative approach kept us alive and got our tanks back to the LD. A lesser man may have cracked under the pressure, but not DC.

Fixes:

- Comms broke down a few times, and when this happened it completely stopped our advance. Perhaps we should stick to "mission tactics" as to ensure all subordinate leaders are able to keep the ball rolling, even when Comms are out, or 0-A gets killed.

- the conservative use of tanks was a good call for preserving the tanks, unfortunately we did loose a lot of infantry early on, which made it difficult later in the game. Perhaps infantry could have been used only as tank security and forward scouts, rather than their own fighting force, considering how poorly equipped they were.


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#4
DC338

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Good points Xerxes.

I possibly should have recalled the infantry a little earlier. The size of enemy forces that they faced should have been ascertained, that would have given me a better idea of whether to get them to withdraw.

I could have pushed to the town myself but was aware that the last time as 0-A I was killed whilst pushing to the front to see what was happening.

If mission making didn't dictate an infantry start in Hermansburg I may have though probably not have changed the disposition. Lack
of two full squads was a hinderance and altered the ideal tactics as Xerxes points out, though under strength units are common.

Would love to hear a perspective from infantry, I have much less of idea of the battle from their perspective than the armour side, especially how casualties were taken. Was it small arms or mortar or tank fire.

One thing that stands out and is highlighted in all TACs is how important communications are to command and control. It is absolutely vital.

Comms also has it's limitations. With most of our TACs taking place in modern timeframe with everyone wired up, the ability to get prompt feedback from higher up is simplified compared to i44 and insurgent type scenarios. Junior leadership initiative is also vital and sometimes they just have to make decisions based on what could be a better perspective than higher up. This was not necessarily the case in the TAC but should be emphasized in leadership positions and courses.

As Xerxes say a great deal of praise should go to people like drivers, they may not be as fun but are critical to Mission accomplishment.

#5
Reddeth

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Cool AAR guys

#6
Gelly

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I like those points raised about what can be done better for future tacs and especially in regards to leadership both in mission commander and team leaders/tank commanders.
I've been making these tac's (playing OPFOR) so as to force and/or encourage others to fill command roles and lead from the front.
The results have been pleasing and the decision making process has been sound and thoughtful. The individual tactics of players is quite interesting at times, when I see people using covered approaches, maintaining security, dispersion, use of cover and firepower employment. Some of you probably dont think of this like that, but when I'm playing on the Enemy side, things seem to take on that basis, and I see it.
Most times, it's hard to contact/attack you guys without having a 5 second lifespan, due to what we do in training and 'game' discipline. Definitely not like unorganised pubbers IMO.

As far as the game went, It was almost impossible to infiltrate your lines until an amount of players disconnected or died and your numbers thinned out. I had the pleasure of stalking and killing the remaining Sherman firefly with a panzerfaust, wish I had that on video, was just amazing. A big glitch of the German AI (40-50%)was to halt their advance in a field pretty much in a favorable killing ground right in easy reach of BLUFOR. I wonder what would of happened if they pressed the advance into the airfield.

#7
Jazzakid

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near the sorta beginning i saw a stug or something like that approach from the trees, and i thought it was you gelly trying to bypass our security, it looked like you were lining a shot on red 3 but i called it in to xerxes and popped a few rounds in it (most likely hitting the top half of the tank) and saw that tank's barrel swivel trying to locate where the shots were coming from. but you reversed back into the forest, where xerxes decided to move red 4 into another position so you wouldn't know where we were, and to also anticipate another attack from the tank.