Operation Iskra

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Operation Iskra

Postby pete AU » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:49 am

Section of map so far.
Everything is frozen - the river, the lake, the swamps, the bogs, the forest.

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I'm trying to figure out how to allow light tanks entry to hexes other tanks couldn't go - without giving them too much of a movement advantage in common terrain. Eg - light tanks can get accross the lake without pontoons - but T34's can't - and Tiger tanks can't get into frozen swamps but T34's can.
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Projects - Iskra (available to download), Stalingrad Pocket (ver101 finished and available to download), Guadalcanal (map done), Guadalajara (playtesting - volounteers?), Napoleonic Borodino (volounteers?)
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Postby JSS » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:04 pm

pete AU wrote:...I'm trying to figure out how to allow light tanks entry to hexes other tanks couldn't go - without giving them too much of a movement advantage in common terrain. Eg - light tanks can get accross the lake without pontoons - but T34's can't - and Tiger tanks can't get into frozen swamps but T34's can.


Pete,

Here are some techniques I'd consider using (or using in combination).

1) Make Light Tanks "Motorized Infantry" type (now different movement type from "tracked" tank units)... then many options for allowing/not allowing a unit type to have movement thru a hex or along a secondary type of road...

2) Use a very specific threshold for entering/exiting a hex (i.e. it costs 14 tracked movement OPs to enter a swamp hex, Tigers only have 12 OPs and T34s have 18 OPs)... swamp/lake boundries have a river hexside around them that also costs more than heavy tanks can move over (has combat limitation impacts)... secondary road/trail feature could be used along this lines (i.e. swamp/lake can only be entered by track units using the minor road/trail). Just have to watch impact of retreats and HQ move bonuses here.

3) Allow amphibious movement across frozen lake for light tracked units (downside is this takes out any combat on the lake you might want from those units).

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Postby Abwehr » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:00 am

Pete, as you know pontoons bridge hexsides, so the only way I can think of where units can get across a multiple hex wide body of water would be through amphibious movement, like in the Stalingrad scenario (I don't know whether Kharkov still has a "ferry" system, I'm currently at university so can't check the manual).

Using hexside effects like making a major river or minor river would be problematic as it gives the unit on the frozen water hex too much of a combat advantage whilst it's basically a very vulnerable target without any cover and with the danger of shelling breaking the ice or at the least cracking it.

Movement types might be the best option, but be wary of strange sideeffects on different hex types. I'm also not sure how many movement types you have left to use, as I'm guessing you also need a ski movement type.

As an aside, why can't Tigers go into swamps? Their first combat action (if you could call being stuck in a bog whilst under fire a combat action) was in marshland near Leningrad. They were clearly not suitable for the terrain, but they got there. The Tiger's wide tracks gave it a pretty low ground pressure for its weight.

Do you want all of the frozen water hexes on the map to be traversable?
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Postby pete AU » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:07 am

I need
Leg
Ski
Wheeled
Tracked
Tracked-T-34
Tracked-Light tank

so I could use horse and supply movement - just ignore the sound effects.

I was going to allow T34's only passage thru swamps at about 50% of their movement.
Peat bog would be at about 75% of movement for all tracked except T34's which could be about 40%.
Lake Lagoda and Neva river will be clear terrain to light tanks, and crossable by pontoon for T34's impassable to all other tanks.

Theres a good article about the operation in the winter 2009 WW2 history (vol 8, No7) - looks like it was mainly Tigers vs T-60's (ouch), however, Tigers did get stuck in bogs and such - presenting easy targets for the soviet pop guns. It was said they seemed out of place in the forests and bogs - but High command thought they'd be an ugly surprise for the soviets. If there was a way to have a unit need a die roll to get into and out of terrain, this would be the place to use it.

Ill probably criss cross the lake/river with major river hexsides but give the nil combat advantage. Clear terrain will get a cover bonus where lakes,rivers don't to highlight the bad defensive terrain of the river. The Germans won't have an AO across the river anyway - so thats not an issue.

I could allow hedghogs as the only means to dig in effectively - and regular entrenching just getting very weak benefits - to highlight the difficulty of entrenching in frozen terrain (Ie 2 turns to dig in) - no hedgehogs on the lake.

Read about the capture of Tiger 100 of Abt 502. Nice pictures of it being towed out of a peat bog or swamp by 5 T-60's. Apparently was sent to Moscow and the Soviets used it to develop the IS series.
History is an argument without end
Projects - Iskra (available to download), Stalingrad Pocket (ver101 finished and available to download), Guadalcanal (map done), Guadalajara (playtesting - volounteers?), Napoleonic Borodino (volounteers?)
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Postby Abwehr » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:30 am

What's the pace of the operation going to be like? Are the Soviets mostly going to bang their heads against a brick wall of German fortifications and strongpoints until they break through?

Keep in mind that hedgehogs, even with a minimal defensive bonus, still give no tactical shifts to all surrounding hexes which could in theory unbalance the scenario, like it can unbalance a game of Kharkov where the initial German defenses hold.

As to the Tigers: you could create smaller units to represent mobility kills/the fact that the Tiger was a maintenance crew's nightmare. It was very difficult to extract broken down Tigers from the battlefield. You might've seen some of the fairly well known pictures of Merkava's and Soviet tanks (in Afghanistan) that fell off ridges, but a Tiger couldn't even get back up on a steep slope on its own power and it seems crossing a bridge was always a tense moment (there are numerous pictures of Tiger sideways or upside down in a river with the remains of the bridge they were trying to cross next to them).

The fact that the Tiger was overengineered and (as a result) had mechanical difficulties wouldn't have been so much of a problem if the Germans had a recovery vehicle capable of towing the Tiger, but due to the problematic engine other Tigers had difficulty with towing a Tiger and the standard recovery vehicles were unsuitable. I'm guessing there are even more mobility kill stories for the Tiger II.

As to entrenchment: you could only allow engineer units to dig in ("hedgehog" in your example of using 2 turn entrenchments) on open terrain to represent the need for demolitions to establish trenches. I'm not too sure if deep trenches could be dug in the terrain, the ground water level must've been a problem. The pictures I've seen of the Leningrad area's fortifications show mostly log bunkers or other above ground strongpoints, but few trenches.
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Re: Operation Iskra

Postby critter » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:19 am

pete AU wrote:Section of map so far.
Everything is frozen - the river, the lake, the swamps, the bogs, the forest.

Image

I'm trying to figure out how to allow light tanks entry to hexes other tanks couldn't go - without giving them too much of a movement advantage in common terrain. Eg - light tanks can get accross the lake without pontoons - but T34's can't - and Tiger tanks can't get into frozen swamps but T34's can.


Figure which units they'd most likely be assigned and add them to the stats of the unit. Call it mech inf.
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Postby pete AU » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:56 pm

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Playtesting has begun with my good sparring buddy Abwher.

Here is a screenshot of the German positions at the opening of the battle. As you can see - the red tide will be hard to stop.
History is an argument without end
Projects - Iskra (available to download), Stalingrad Pocket (ver101 finished and available to download), Guadalcanal (map done), Guadalajara (playtesting - volounteers?), Napoleonic Borodino (volounteers?)
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Postby Abwehr » Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:58 pm

It's a very interesting scenario for the Germans, because you really get to appreciate Soviet numbers. In other scenarios, there were ways to compensate for lack of numbers, but the Germans will have to shorten their lines to survive this one, at least until the bulk of their units arrive later on.

Soviet units are not all that powerful (a Soviet Rifle regiment has roughly the same strength as a German battalion) but there are lots of them, and the Soviets have ~35 heavy artillery units and about 100 artillery units in total. The Germans have about 50, excluding FlaK and AT units which also function like artillery in this scenario.

For the Soviets, the main problem is that when they commit to an area, it's difficult to move to different areas early on when most German strongpoints are still there, so if they happen to run into a brick wall of German resistance, they'll have to wait for reinforcements.

OP's for most infantry units are pretty generous, armoured vehicles (especially German ones) struggle to keep up with the infantry due to the difficult terrain.
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Postby Noakesy » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:07 pm

Looks stunning (as usual!) Pete, well done, yet another one to add to your locker of scenarios. Will hopefully get a chance to download this in the next couple of days.

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