A TAO4 AAR...

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A TAO4 AAR...

Postby Papa Smurf » Fri Oct 07, 2005 7:42 pm

There was a thread a while back about the lack of AARs in the site (apart from the 'official ones' :) ), so I thought I might just get around to doing one.

Having just played a really enjoyable game of TAO4 (thanks to Unactuality) I thought this was a prime candidate for a write-up, so this thread is it. I know I enjoy reading other peoples AARs so hopefully a few of you will enjoy this one. If you think we made some tactical or strategic errors then feel free to chip in - we both made a few mistakes in this game but hopefully we can all learn from mistakes and become better players right? All comments are welcome (but be gentle with us :wink: )

Game Info:
TAO4, all default settings.
Axis: Unactuality
Allies: Papa Smurf

Now when I can just work out how to get images in my post, Turn 1 will be on it's way...
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Turn 1

Postby Papa Smurf » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:43 pm

Well the axis attack is underway, catching us with our trousers down. The attack is particularly brutal in the Elsenborn region. 99ID get their first real taste of action, and are promptly routed from their defensive positions. Both the 393 and 394 regts are reduced to company strength by the assault. Their accompanying engineer Bn is also hit hard, and 801AT and 14 Cav Recon are annihilated

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The stacks south of Elsenborn are effectively useless due to extreme casualties and will take some time to reorganise.

Elsewhere things are not quite so bad. 116Pz is seen heading for Deifeldt:
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Whilst Pz Lehr and 2Pz head for Clervaux. Further south, German infantry are reported in Echternach and Vianden after overrunning our outposts there.

NOTE: When I play Axis I am always caught in 2 minds about moving into Echternach, and I haven't yet concluded whether it is a good thing or not. I'd be interested in opinions...


The Allied response is to throw units in the path of the advancing Panzers. 2ID block the Losheim-Malmedy Road while CCR 9AD enters Deifeldt. CCB moves to 43,17 to protect the heavy artillery there. MISTAKE NUMBER 1 :roll: I have since concluded that this is a waste of time, as there is almost no chance of these artillery surviving the assault, no matter what. As we shall see, CCB could be better used elsewhere...

In a similar vein 112/28 protect the artillery SW of Deifeldt - another waste of time and resources...

In the south 4ID moves up to Echternach to contain the breakthrough.

Overall I was fairly happy. The Axis dice were below average and 9AD and 4ID had been released. I was confident our lines could hold...

End of Allied turn 1:
North:
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Centre:
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South:
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Postby Joe » Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:59 pm

Excellent!


Keep it up!
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Postby Vampire » Fri Oct 07, 2005 10:20 pm

Hi Papa Smurf,

thanks for starting this AAR. It's a lot of work and I appreciate it!

Some random remarks (for axis players) and answers:
*) Normally I don't alert 9AD, they can reorganise and get in the way too soon if you do.
*) I too send the 116Pz to deifeld, but you have to be careful not to use too much arty. In the picture shown, there's some heavy arty residue, which will cause OP penalties. This should be avoided so your advance won't slow down on turn two. Also try to remove the strongpoints on both sides of the bridge to remove OP penalties. Your engineers are to be positioned right after the bridge to remove the minefield there. (this could be very well the case here, can't determine it.)
*) South of Beaufort I do remove as many strongpoints as possible, but do not go over the river yet. Like 9AD, 4ID isn't very useful if it's stuck in the south, so keep it there for a while. The german divisions there have no OP reserve and most of the time I let them gather some OP's before moving elsewhere.
*) Try to get one attack on as many regiments of the 106ID as possible the first two turns. You still get the good arty bonus then and after two attacks, they'll be in the red so they can be removed pretty easily.
*) Don't forget to use a lot of arty on places where you don't have to advance (north of Elsenborn) to give your opponent OP penalties behind his line. This way his manoeuvrability will decrease.

Greetz, Vampire.
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Postby Unactuality » Sat Oct 08, 2005 12:16 am

I do appreciate any advice, although there will surely be a lot of it! I did many boneheaded things in this scenario, as you will all see (heh heh heh).

Because the AAR is being written after the game is over, the only way to get screenshots of old turns is to Observe them (we played in secure mode).

That means Papa Smurf will be posting the situation at the end of the Axis turn from an Allied point of view, while I'll be posting the situation at the end of the Allied turn from an Axis POV.

With that said, let's continue the AAR!

Allied Turn 1:

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Up north, the Allies pull back slightly and form a solid line of infantry.

(We've been playing this game for a long time, so my memory of the earlier turns is a little foggy.)

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A regiment of the 9 AD has moved into Diefeldt to block my progress there, and the 106th is attempting to bravely run away, taking advantage of the lack of attention I decided to give them.

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Farther south, not much has changed. Papa Smurf wisely places an armored battallion far enough away to not get creamed, but close enough to block my progress, while the infantry in the town stay put.

If I recall correctly, I tried a somewhat different strategy in this game, particularly up in the Elsenborn area. Some bad dicing meant that it didn't work out as planned, but the idea was to try to kill off a unit or two of infantry at the cost of pushing harder straight down the road.

Back to Papa Smurf to show the daring advance of the German war machine in turn two!
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Postby valter » Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:16 am

Very good idea!
I just wake up (after a very succesfull fishing night) have a cup of coffee and relaxing reading your posts.
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Turn 2

Postby Papa Smurf » Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:43 am

Start of Allied turn 2: Axis ahead by 85. 3 Allied units destroyed.

Here is the state of play in the north at the start of Allied turn 2:
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2 hexes south of Elsenborn sits 23/2ID which got hammered for 3 step losses this turn. 395/99ID also took a kicking, so out of 2 divisions I have a total of 2 regiments that are of any significant use. But importantly none were completely destroyed, and the Germans took a few casualties due to the glut of A1-D1 results. Time to pull back behind the river line up here...

Northwest of St Vith you can see CCB 9AD looking rather isolated. Lots of artillery support for them(2 more in the CCB stack ), but ammo may be an issue shortly :roll: St Vith still holds out, and elements of the 106th start filtering into the town. An Axis attack roll of '1' means that Deifeldt is still holding strong, but it is time for CCR to leave.

Moving to the centre...hmm, what centre?
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Remember that Armour Bn holding the flank north of Clervaux, that was 'too far away to get creamed'. Well it got creamed on an A1-D2R, leaving an artillery battery as the only unit blocking the road to Bastogne. The Clervaux garrison are in big trouble but try to break out to the west. 112/28ID abandon their artillery guard duties and set up defensive positions in Houffalize, whilst I rush a TD Bn up to the crossroads in an attempt to provide an escape corridor for 110/28ID.


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In the south everything is relatively peaceful, so I (belatedly) release the last Regt of 4ID and shuffle some units in the direction of the centre.

Last turn: Happy. This turn: Rather concerned. I've buggered up my defence of the centre and losing that armour unit is the straw that may break this camels back. My troops are looking hopefully over their shoulders for 10AD and the paras already and it's only turn 2...
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Postby valter » Sat Oct 08, 2005 8:58 am

Because I consider my self better in attack some advise for the German player

Your best units are 1ss, 12ss, 116 panzer, 2 panzer, Panzer Lehr. Try to position them on roads and use them only to advance and destroy easy targets i.e towns and overrun units. Never to defend the first 10-12 turns. Separate your forces in three different routes:
St Vith -> Vielsam -> Manhay -> Hotton (1ss, 12ss and some strong independent units)
Deifeldt -> Laroche -> Rochefort ( 116 Panzer)
Clervaux -> Houffalize -> Bastogne (2 panzer, Panzer Lehr)
Other forces can be used to close gaps.
If you have any problems capturing Houffalize you can use forces from 116. Try to attack Bastogne from north to south.
Do not bother going north. Just make a defensive line along the river Elsenborn – Malmedy - Stavelot – Trois Ponts. The key is speed so if some units blocks your way by pass them and encircle with forces following the advance.
As I have seen 1ss and 12ss divisions are heading to Malmedy and to the North. Disengage and move them towards Vielsam to follow the first route.
Very good AAR. :)
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Postby Fantassin » Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:59 pm

Good AAR guys, thanks for it. Now I feel inclined to report myself about past TAO games. Watch for it coming soon ...
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Postby Unactuality » Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:26 am

Valter - that sounds like good general advice for our readers, but this game is already over! :)

I think you will see that a lack of aggressiveness was not a problem for the Axis (myself) in this game. Rather the opposite, in fact...

At least I managed to surprise myself - hah. I forgot that I did actually destroy that armor battallion.

Next turn!

The weird screenshot color is due to the observed turn asking me to place the Von der Heydte paratroopers.

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12 Volksgrenadier and 3 Fallschirmjäger have both taken quite a beating. While my attacks have not destroyed as many regiments as I had hoped, they have opened up my axis of attack to the west. 1SS and 12SS Panzer are both positioned well for the thrust at the beginning of my turn following the Allied withdrawal northward.

St. Vith is occupied by elements of the 106th as well as some artillery. The other 2 regiments of the 106th are being pounded on, with one out of supply. Bad battle management on my part resulted in them being stacked together, so no isolated bonus yet.

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Diefeldt is ready to fall, since Papa Smurf's 9 AD CCR decided that discretion was the better part of valor. 116 Panzer is moving forward, though, leaving the mopping up to the infantry.

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And around Bastogne, the situation is looking pretty good. 2 Panzer and Panzer Lehr have taken minimal casualties, and the American regiment of the 28th you see here is down to two steps.

Vorwärts!

In the south, the 352 Volksgrenadier moves up toward Diekirch with a StuG battallion screening ahead. 5 FJ has been fanning out to probe the American line rather than concentrate for an attack - probably a mistake, in hindsight. Elsewhere, static.
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Postby Papa Smurf » Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:56 pm

Start of Allied turn 3: Axis ahead by 143, 6 units destroyed


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Watching the replay of the Axis advance sees a good attack by the recon elements of 1SS and 12SS which destroys the engineers holding Stavelot. Trois Ponts was left undefended by the foolish Allied commander, who is now regretting his use of 9AD.

The current situation in the north is shown:
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116Pz Recon is located in Trois Ponts, and the north is now looking pretty bad as well. All of 1SS and most of 12SS are on the main road northeast of Stavelot, ready to push on through to the west. CCB 9AD is now cut off and although it has plenty of supplies, it's fate is now inevitable. Similarly, 106ID is about to capitulate in the St Vith area.

Looking to the southwest of this image, we see a mix of good and bad news. CCR is in a sticky situation with the road to the west being cut, but 32 Recon Bn in Vielsalm spots an unescorted convoy loaded with Schnapps heading for the front. The problem is, they don't have enough OPs to attack it and get back to Vielsalm, so destroying the truck will leave another road junction wide open for the Axis advance. Hmmmm...

In the end I decided to take out the truck. I cursed this choice for a large chunk of the game, but in hindsight this turned out to be a very useful decision in the long run.

Looking to the centre:
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Bastogne is defended by an Engineer Bn, Gen MacAuliffe, a supply unit and and Arty battery. Nice. This was the first game I'd played in which Bastogne had been seriously threatened, so I (naively) thought this would be OK to hold for a turn. It's not like I have much available to put into the town anyway, especially with that well placed interdiction... Those unknown units charging towards Bastogne are elements of 2Pz and Pz Lehr.

There's nothing much to say about the south. A bit of a phony war going on there at the moment.
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Postby valter » Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:49 am

Supply truck-dead = pain in the … for axis :wink:
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Postby Unactuality » Wed Oct 12, 2005 1:06 am

(Papa Smurf - you may want to cut that battle description graphic a bit so it doesn't stretch out the page so much.)

Definitely.

Let's take a look at the 106th:

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They're still tying up two infantry divisions and other elements, but this turn is their last, as they are all isolated.

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Up north, we have a very nice breakthrough. Although the 7th Armored has moved up and blocked any progress northwards, let's note where they didn't go - toward Stoumont.

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Here we see the rogue recce battalion that is currently enjoying good German Schnapps. They will regret their little escapade - but so will I. Note that I actually have very few forces available to surround and destroy them, which proved to be very inconvenient. I needed 116th to move forward, not backwards.

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The regiment of 9 AD has withdrawn its head from the noose, but other American units are volunteering for destruction farther south. Papa Smurf left the 1-step infantry regiment as a distraction or bait (I assume), while pulling back to defend Bastogne with his tank destroyers and AT unit. Bastogne is left lightly defended, which you will hear more about in the next posting.

Little progress is made in the Ettelbruck/Wiltz area.
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Postby Papa Smurf » Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:20 pm

Start of Allied turn 4: Axis ahead by 323, 11 Allied units destroyed, 2 Axis units destroyed (Von der Heyte & truck)

First the good news. Elements of 106ID and that brave recon are still holding out behind enemy lines and tying up his troops. And 10AD have arrived.

And now the bad news, which is of course far more interesting :roll:


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In the northern sector, 1SS and 12SS are bypassing Stoumont and are close to Aywaille. South of Stoumont, 116Pz are driving by towards the undefended Werbromont. 26/1ID grit their teeth and build fortifications in the town. CCB 9AD is now doomed and can only serve to delay a few axis units. The garrison of cooks in Vielsalm still holds out, but meat cleavers vs panzers is hardly a fair fight.

At least these units have drawn 3FJ south, which means less support for the SS Pz Divisions...

The good news in the centre/south is that we still hold Bastogne, Wiltz, Ettelbruck and Deikirch. But only just.

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Thanks to that interdiction, 10AD can't get into Bastogne, so it's going to be up to those engineers to hold off 2PZ, 26VG and Pz Lehr. NUTS! The TD unit to the west has been wiped out, and the AT unit is isolated, so the line is pretty thin. Troops withdraw from the Wiltz area to try and slow the Axis hordes.

At the end of my turn, the Allied defensive line west of Bastogne looks like this:

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Oh dear, oh dear.
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Postby Unactuality » Thu Oct 20, 2005 2:32 am

Start of Axis Turn 5:

First, the north:

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Allied blocking forces have moved into place in the village road junctions ahead of the northern thrust. The 1 ID regiment in Stoumont will effectively block progress for a while, although it is pretty much doomed.

7th Armored blocks northward progress, and the surrounded 9th Armored regiment is still not out of bullets, although we're working on that. Similarly with the rogue recce battalion, although it is down to one step.

All these units behind the front lines will prove to be a major nuisance and fairly effective in slowing down the drive westward.

In the south:

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Houffalize and Bastogne are surrounded. While relief is near both cities, so are my panzers. The sole engineer battalion in Bastogne will have some hard fighting ahead. My single-minded drive toward this city has left the effort elsewhere quite weak, though. In particular, I'll have to forego exploiting the wide-open roads to the west. Papa Smurf's wise placement of a strongpoint in a forest crossroads will also prove to be a nuisance.
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