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[Let's Play] Battles from the Bulge: The best wargame you've never heard of

bamjobamjo Registered User regular
edited January 2011 in Games and Technology
In this Let's Play I'll be playing Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge, the latest in a series of excellent wargames on the Command Ops engine developed by Panther Games
and published by Matrix.

bftbo.jpg

This newest addition to the series builds on improvements in past titles, and adds improved AI and scenario, map, and estab editors. With these tools it is now possible to model practically any action in WW2, and probably WWI and Korea as well. There are already scenarios in the works for the American landings at Anzio and other battles in the Italian Campaign. Theoretically we now have the tools to make scenarios from the East front to the South Pacific.


The past titles are also very good and you can probably find them for pretty cheap.
aardoa.jpg
Airborne Assault: Red Devils Over Arnhem is the first game in the series. It covers Operation Market Garden, specifically the British airborne drops to seize the Arnhem
bridge.

httr.jpg
The next game, Highway to the Reich, still covers Market Garden but expands the scope to the 82nd and 101st airborne drops to secure the Eindhoven and Nijmegen bridges, as
well as 30 Corps advance and rescue attempt. This game adds more sophisticated supply modeling.

cota.jpg
Conquest of the Aegean deals with the little known German airborne invasion of Crete and other operations in Greece. This one adds more objective orders and numerous
interface improvements.

The AI in the game is really superb. This is the only game out there in my opinion that gives a realistic simulation of the command experience at this level. There are lots that do the tactical level well, but none that cover division and corps level command like this. The basic premise is that you give orders like a real commander- 1st Battalion, take this town- and the AI acts as your staff, works out the best route to the objective and comes up with an attack plan, then issues the orders to the subordinate units. This leaves the player to focus on the big picture, logistics, and enemy intentions. If you choose you can take direct control of the smallest units, but if you do this too much your staff will become overloaded and orders will be increasingly delayed. Letting the AI take control of subordinate units is not a unique concept, but what is special in this game is how competent the AI is. Basically it's what Paradox tried to do in Hearts of Iron 3, but this game does it right.


"Wait," you might ask, "Is this one of those turn based hex games with a 300 page manual and stats that make your eyes bleed?"

NO! SHUT UP!

hexes50mm.jpg

No hexes, pausable real time, and you don't ever have to look at stats if you don't want to. And besides, the manual is only 200 pages.

"But I get to control lots of guys, right? I want to send mans to pew pew and blast nazis!"

Yes most scenarios give you control of tens of thousands of men, and hundreds of tanks, armored cars, and artillery.

"Dude, that must look epic! I bet I need a sweet new computer to keep up with all that directx 11 shit."

Well not exactly, because your units look like this:
infl.png

"But... that's a square with numbers on it!"

That's C company of the 318th infantry battalion. They've got 150 men and loads of rifles, machine guns, and bazookas. And there's lots more where they came from.

"Where are my mans?!

Here
inf2.png


"Fuck!"

It's ok, you get tanks and stuff too.

"Well... tanks are pretty rad I guess."
tankr.png

"FUCK!

"I suppose there aren't even any nazis to pew pew?"

There's totally Nazis, hordes of them coming at you from all directions. They attacked on Christmas during a snowstorm to achieve total surprise and deny the Allies use of air support. It will take all you can do to hold them back.

"That sounds pretty good, as long as I can blast nazis!"
gerb.png

"FUUUUCKK!!!"


So this isn't a game you play for amazing graphics, and the sound effects are utilitarian as well. But the maps are easy to read, they are based on scans of historical maps of the time and are accurate to 10m. The graphics convey a lot of information at a glance. The little icon in the upper right corner of the counter can cycle through all sorts of information displays, from morale to ammo, to combat status.

This game just came out, and I've only played the tutorial. I'll be learning as I play, hopefully any mistakes I make will be hilarious. There are 30 scenarios to choose from, and some of them get pretty huge. I'll probably choose a smaller one to start with, and if enough people are interested I'll do more after.

I wanted to do a let's play of this game because I loved the previous games, and presenting a clear plan and documenting the execution makes the game more fun for me. But also this game is different from many of the games we talk about on these boards, so I wanted to let people unfamiliar with wargames know what they are like and how much fun they can be.

bamjo on

Posts

  • LionEyezLionEyez Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    This just came out?

    Have to admit the graphics look terrible. That said, it'll be interesting to see what the gameplay is like. I've heard nothing about this game or any of the past titles.

    LionEyez on
  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I've always been really curious about these games, especially Highway to the Reich. That one covers Operation Marketgarden, right?

    I like the idea of RTS done up wargamer style, just still not quite sure if it's for me. Maybe this LP will help me make up my mind one way or another on dropping the cash on some of these.

    Drake on
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I've chosen to play the scenario called Battle of the Roadblocks as the defending Americans. This is a 3 day scenario with a lot of movement, and it should provide a lot of action. I've never played this scenario before, so I have no idea what to expect from the enemy. According to the briefing they have armor and are coming in strength.

    The German forces have just smashed through American lines, and are advancing on Bastogne. Reinforcements will arrive steadily throughout the first 2 days. The overall objective is to conduct a fighting withdrawal, and hold Bastogne at the end of day 3. Secondary objectives are to be held for a certain amount of time. At the start of the battle we have forces deployed at two road junctions and two small towns near the highway.
    begin1.jpg

    The terrain is broken up by hills and forest, with no east-west roads except for the main highway. It is a cold, foggy night.. The ground is soft and muddy. Armor will be effectively confined to the roads. True sunrise is at 8:00, with dawn an hour before.

    weatherstats.jpg

    Commander Assets:
    VIII Corps HQ
    Combat Command R (CCR) of the 9th Armored Division-split into 3 task forces, Harper, Rose, and Booth
    2 self-propelled artillery battalions
    oobstats.jpg

    There are also a battery of anti-aircraft guns, a few engineer platoons, and the 9th armored supply base.
    In total 2,800 men and 240 tanks, 50 artillery pieces.

    allforces.jpg

    All in all not much to stop a full scale German attack.

    Reinforcement schedule:
    reinfstats.jpg

    We have little information about the enemy. There are some advance recon forces moving toward our positions. The rest of the enemy is massing on the other side of the river. We know they have some mechanized forces, but no details. As our forces meet we will obtain better information. We just have to wait and see.

    enemyq.jpg

    My initial plan is to delay as long as possible at the first road junction, giving the other forces time to dig in. Hopefully the weather will be clear so I can utilize Allied control of the air and call in strikes.
    I only have to hold the first objective until 20:00 hours. The grayed out objectives become active at different times on day 2. My plan is to send reinforcements as they come in to dig in at those locations, or wherever they are urgently needed.

    initialplay.jpg

    Initially, the Germans can only advance along two roads. I'm not worried about the southern flank, forests and a river will slow down any force moving to the south.

    frontlines.jpg
    The dotted lines on the map represent dirt footpaths. Motorized move very slowly over these routes, but still faster than they would over muddy ground.

    trackstats.jpg

    The red line is highway, solid brown line is roadway. Light colors are low elevation, dark is higher elevation. Trees are, er.. trees.


    G company is in serious trouble. They are stuck on foot, and will be unable to withdraw quickly if attacked. Luckily they have armor support nearby. If they stay off the main roads during their withdrawal, they should be ok. Also with them is a battery of 105mm howitzers that have decent anti tank capability. They are dug in, and in a village which offers some protection, so they should be able to give as good as they get. This is a slow force, so I will have them hit the enemy hard and fall back fairly soon.
    villagew.jpg

    Most of the troops are well rested, but disorganized. Company G and Artillery battery B are very tired, which means they will fight less effectively.
    fatigue.jpg
    cohesion.jpg

    That is the overall picture. Next time I'll issue orders and see what the enemy does.

    bamjo on
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    This turned into a long, pic heavy post, so I've spoilered it. The Germans attacked aggressively and brushed aside my blocking forces, but not without casualties. A well timed airstrike did some damage, and American forces left several burning tanks before they retreated.

    I recorded a few minutes of video as well, but it's causing me difficulty. The game does not use directx for graphics, so fraps doesn't work. I'm using Camstudio, but it won't record sound. I'm still working on a solution. I'll post what I have anyway, but it's kinda boring without sound.
    When any order is issued there is a delay before the receiving unit processes the order and acts on it. As the commander you must plan ahead and anticipate situations and the required responses. If you are constantly issuing orders to the same unit, it will become stuck processing every new order and will not accomplish anything. The best way to control units is to issue an order to the proper HQ, and let it control its own units. You have a large amount of control over the parameters of your order, so the AI is not left completely to its own devices.

    You issue orders by setting objective, waypoints, and any specifics that are relevant ie. secure a crossing or proceed without rest. That last one is important, because if you don't specify the AI will rest when it becomes too fatigued. If a unit becomes completely exhausted it will rest no matter what. It's important to keep track of fatigue and rotate units that have seen hard fighting to quiet sectors.

    I have told all units to defend in place(In-situ) since they are all entrenched. If a unit moves out of prepared defenses, it obviously loses the benefit of those defenses. So everyone is staying put until told otherwise.
    I have issued the order directly to HQ units, they will pass it on to everyone under their command. Notice all the parameters that are under the player's control. In this order all I have specified is formation and facing.
    defend1.jpg

    The pink background on the status icon means the unit is processing orders. The symbol shows its current orders. A unit will carry out its most recent orders until it hears differently, either from you or from its AI commander. If you don't account for orders delay this can be disastrous.

    I've also placed a 3 battery unit of motorized artillery under my direct command. The AI will call for direct arty support when it needs it, but it's a good idea to keep guns in reserve for any situations that pop up. Artillery can chew through ammo very fast if there is a lot of fighting going on. This scenario has American forces receiving 50% supplies for the first day because of the German surprise attack and the haphazard Allied response. So arty ammo will be especially precious.
    artywaitingdetail.png

    Even though this is a 2D game, 3D line of sight is modeled. It's night time, so visibility is short. During the daytime both of my forward blocking forces will be able to see enemy units advancing down the roadways.
    loszoom.jpg

    Now it's time to start the action.

    Contact! It's still night, so all we have is a vague report of a motorized infantry company.
    firstenemycontact.jpg
    The enemy actually showed up before our units received their orders. In this scenario orders delay is set to 200% of normal to simulate the disarray of the Allied forces.

    We've lost control of the first road junction. We need a 10:1 friendly ratio inside the objective area to control it. Points are given over time in this case, so we are not getting any points for this objective while the enemy is there.
    lostcont.jpg

    It's now 7:00 and an enemy armor has rolled up. We have better intel on that enemy, it is a mechanized infantry unit consisting of mg and mortar halftracks.
    enemyintel2.jpg

    The Germans have brought up Panther tanks, which means our Shermans are in trouble. One Sherman is knocked out and A company 2nd tank battalion is forced back, but it rallies.

    enemyzoom.jpg

    I call in arty to support the Shermans.

    artyb.jpg
    My arty forced some of the attackers back, but more are behind them.

    The southern blocking force has made contact also. G company has been forced to retreat. They are up against a platoon of flak guns and and company of panzer IVJ's.
    gretrreat.jpg


    The sun comes up, and task force Rose is in deep shit. A company is down 3 Shermans and is fully routed. It will be an hour or more before they recover. Only constant artillery barrages are keeping my guys alive. The orders delay is so long that the forward units are just now at 8:00 responding to the defend orders I gave at 6:00. I'm issuing withdrawal orders now, anticipating that by the time they arrive it will be time to go. The Germans might not give me that long.
    rosetrouble.jpg

    Here is a video of a few minutes of the battle. Sorry about the no sound, I'm still working on the problem. My time is occupied calling in arty strikes. They are pretty effective. At around 3:50 min an airstrike becomes available, and it absolutely wrecks a German mechanized company.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oBHOf9IzDc
    At 10:48 on Day 1 the first reinforcements arrive.
    reinf.png

    Team Cherry, commanded by Lt. Colonel Henry Cherry, is a hodgepoge armor force thrown together and sent to the front. I'm scrapping my original plan and sending the reinforcements directly to help task force Rose. It will likely take Col. Cherry 2 hours to get into the fight. I'm ordering him to this road junction with all possible speed.
    cherryqy.jpg
    That is the first 5 hours of Day 1. The blocking forces didn't really stand a chance, and I'll be lucky to get any of them out of there intact. The Germans attacked aggressively with heavy tanks supported by infantry, using both of the possible roads. We delayed them and caused some damage. We'll see if it will be enough.

    bamjo on
  • ToastlyToastly Registered User
    edited June 2010
    I love games like these, the video makes it sort of hard to tell whats going on, I'd prefer pictures at least till the sounds working

    Toastly on
  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yeah I love a good wargame. Info rich interfaces instead of concentrating on graphic bling. Historic scenarios and campaigns with attention to unit roles and real world tactics. Crazy hypothetical and what-if scenarios.

    I just wish the really good ones weren't so expensive, or I'd have more of them.

    Drake on
  • DietarySupplementDietarySupplement Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Incredible OP, nice job. I'm sold.

    DietarySupplement on
    Skull2185 wrote: »
    Basically, (PlayStation) Home is Second Life Ultra Light? Most of the cool stuff, none of the creepy blimp on blimp fucking.
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Day 1- 11:00 hours- Outskirts of Bastogne
    I order Col. Cherry to defend the intersection. His orders are to take the quickest path to the objective without stopping to rest. Once there he is to defend to the east. That's all I have to say, his HQ will handle the details.

    chryordrzoom.jpg

    An assault gun platoon is tenaciously holding its position against the full German onslaught, with the help of friendly artillery barrages. Behind it TF Rose HQ is in full panic.

    aghold.jpg

    All that incoming fire is too much for the assault guns to take. They fall back with only 2 vehicles intact.

    agrout.jpg

    With the last obstacle out of their way the German Panthers race down the highway, catching the retreating battery B. The guns turn around and blast the enemy armor at point blank range.

    returnfire.jpg

    Meanwhile TF Cherry is making good time. The AI has formed into a road column with a strong force of mechanized infantry leading, backed up by M18 Hellcat tank destroyers. It has placed the lightly armored M8 Greyhounds to the rear. Just the kind of deployment you'd expect for a column expecting to run into trouble.

    roadcolumn.jpg


    The road column meets a company of 14 Panthers headed toward Bastogne. They halt and exchange fire, and our mechanized infantry company is forced to fall back. The relief column could be in serious trouble. But wait...

    airstrikemsg.png

    Aw hell yeah!

    panzerretreat.jpg

    The fighter-bombers send the Panthers packing, destroying 10 tanks in the process. TF Cherry rolls on to its objective.


    While all this is going on, in the north the remnants of TF Rose have decided on their own initiative to bypass the Germans attacking down the highway. They follow a side trail to their rallying point. This is another example of the AI making intelligent decisions.

    rosebypass.jpg

    Combat Command B headquarters section from the 10th armored division has arrived. It is just the command staff, supply base, and a company of anti-air vehicles. They also brought a very welcome battalion of artillery. I order them to defend in Bastogne to shore up defenses there.
    reinccb.png

    The 4 Panthers that survived the airstrike have had enough, and have thrown in the towel.
    pzsurrender.png

    The relief column comes under enemy artillery fire and takes casualties. But they have reached their destination and begin to take up defensive positions.
    reliefs.jpg

    Damn! A fog has rolled in, and our planes can't see ground targets. Our arty will try to pick up the slack.
    fog.png

    The last reinforcements of the day arrive. Major Desobry leads another mixed unit to the front. This is a powerful combo of mechanized infantry, armor, and mortars. I'm not sure how best to use this latest force, that can wait until next time.
    desobry.png

    As night falls, we take stock of the situation.
    nightfall.jpg
    The enemy has sent probes to both my flanks, possibly looking for a way around my blocking forces. Fortunately a combination of tenacious defense, timely reinforcements, and massed artillery have stopped them for now. The front line blocking forces are decimated. But their sacrifice has delayed the enemy and caused them to bunch up, allowing artillery and airstrikes to pound them. The massive bombardment has caused significant damage, and more importantly, has created disorder among their advancing forces.

    This was an action packed day. I was not expecting the Germans to come so fast with the numbers they did. I also did not account for how huge a difference the initial orders delay would make. The front line units were in a precarious situation to begin with. Not having clear orders probably caused more casualties than would otherwise have happened. Overall I'm pretty happy with how things turned out. The enemy probes are ominous, however, and I'll be on the lookout for flanking moves on Day 2, or even a surprise night attack.

    bamjo on
  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'm enjoying the LP and the game looks awesome. I love these kinds of orders systems. TacOps V4 does a similar type of system on a much more tactical level, and it's simultaneous turn based instead of real time. But the idea of telling your dudes where to go, with just ROE and target priorities and then seeing how that pans out is pretty great when the AI can handle it. It puts more emphasis on doctrine, and in real time completely eliminates the need for micro. Battles are won based on your understanding of the big picture, your familiarity with the capabilities of the units under your command and proper use of terrain and other battlespace features depending on the era.

    I'm going to have to figure out a way to afford one of these. Hopefully Highway to the Reich has come down a little bit in price now that this game is out.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how you are going to handle the German assault that is most likely coming now that they nave probed your flanks.

    Drake on
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Drake wrote: »
    It puts more emphasis on doctrine, and in real time completely eliminates the need for micro. Battles are won based on your understanding of the big picture, your familiarity with the capabilities of the units under your command and proper use of terrain and other battlespace features depending on the era.

    Thanks, Drake this is exactly why I love these games so much. After playing them I can't go back to those turn based games where you give orders to every single unit every turn. The micro makes them seem tedious by comparison.

    bamjo on
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Day 1 18:00 hours
    I've ordered the latest reinforcements to head down the highway to the second road junction objective. From there they will be in a good position to respond to an enemy move to the north or south, or to support Col. Cherry in defense of the highway. In this order I have specified that Major Desobry is to act with maximum aggressiveness when moving down the roadway, which means they will orient towards and engage any threats they come across. In effect he will sweep the highway from Bastogne to his destination. I've also placed his organic mortar completely at his disposal, so it will only respond to fire missions called by his command and no others.

    moveorder.jpg

    We've been notified that G company 110th infantry have taken too many casualties to function as an independent force, and the remnants have been folded into one of Col. Cherry's armor companies.

    disbanded.png

    But this announcement is followed by some good news, a Panther company that pushed too far forward has been cut off and has surrendered. That's 2 Panther companies out of the fight, almost 30 tanks total. Not bad!

    panthsurr.png

    We also are informed that supply runs to Col. Cherry's forces are being intercepted.

    supplymsg.png

    The enemy has indeed made some movements under cover of darkness, and at least one enemy unit has cut supply along the highway. I modify Major Desobry's move order and tell him to check out the town of Hamiville.

    supplycut.jpg

    Those sneaky buggers! They infiltrated using a trail that bypassed my troops and took out an entire supply convoy. They will be dealt with!

    nightcontact.jpg

    At 6:00 on Day 2 the leading elements of the 101st airborne division arrive. I've sent them to secure Foy. It is a rear line town, and the airborne troops are lightly armed. I want to give them time to dig in before the enemy reaches them.

    airbornemsg.png

    We have also received vague intel reports of a sizeable enemy force bypassing our strong points. I did not expect the AI to be so slippery. We have held the forward road junction for as long as required, so I'm having everyone fall back to secondary defensive positions. A new set of objectives are about to become active and need to be secured.

    outflank.jpg

    Sunrise of Day 2 shows us a rapidly deteriorating situation. Bastogne itself is being probed.

    bastprobe.jpg

    And the Germans have taken Bourcy and are moving more forces south around my strong points. It appears they are going to hit Bastogne in a pincer move, enveloping my troops along the highway in the process.
    envelopeg.jpg

    Fortunately the rest of the 101st airborne has just showed up. I'm deploying them in the forests and hills to form a perimeter around Bastogne.

    Here is the overview on late morning of Day 2.
    d2overview.jpg

    I'm hoping my armored forces can withdraw quickly back down the highway to aviod getting surrounded. The German AI basically ignored the highway and bypassed my blocking forces to move on Bastogne directly. I was really surprised by that. I'm sending 2 armor task forces to hit Bourcy from the east hoping that will catch the Germans off guard and oriented westward. The rest of the armor is booking it back to Bastogne.

    The timely arrival of the 101st and the success of their perimeter is going to be crucial to holding Bastogne. The situation is still extremely fluid. Although events have taken a turn against the Allies, they still have a strong force in the field. The rest of Day 2 is going to be really interesting.

    bamjo on
  • LionEyezLionEyez Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Interesting day!

    I don't think this is my kind of game though. I don't need dumbed-down arcade-y action or HD visuals, but while looking at some videos I'm put off by the lack of visual represenation of what is actually happening.

    I do like this in LP form, however. Great job so far Bamjo!

    LionEyez on
  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    That's one hell of a situation Task Force Cherry has on their hands. Looks like some hot an heavy Armor on Armor action coming down. If you can get the upper hand though it looks like the Germans will have a lot of exposed artillery and mortar units you can pick off.

    Drake on
  • InzignaInzigna Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    This is intriguing. I wish I learnt my European history this way.

    Inzigna on
    camo_sig2.png
  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    LionEyez wrote: »
    Interesting day!

    I don't think this is my kind of game though. I don't need dumbed-down arcade-y action or HD visuals, but while looking at some videos I'm put off by the lack of visual represenation of what is actually happening.

    I do like this in LP form, however. Great job so far Bamjo!

    You may be surprised if you give these types of games a shot. Once you get used to the abstracted representations of units and action, you may find computer wargaming just as tense and action packed as any other subgenre. And it's amazing what you can learn from these games.

    Drake on
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Thanks LionEyez, you are right that games like this don't come off well in video form. The interface is loaded with info, but it does take an initial investment and practice to make sense of it all. I think its very similar to dwarf fortress in that respect. A lot of the important info is contained in a small color change, or an icon. The details are in a side screen that at first looks like it throws a ton of data at you, but you get used to picking out the important numbers and bits of information.

    One tool that helps a ton is the unit event log. Every unit keeps a time stamped record of what happened to it. Because your attention can't be everywhere, often you will suddenly see a unit rout or fall back and you have no idea why. If you check the log you will see exactly what happened, ie. that it came under fire while being bombarded by artillery and retreated.

    So you're right that a lot of the info isn't "up front," but it is there somewhere. It does take reading rather than just seeing a quick visual indicator. So if you are a visual person, like me, its harder to get into. For a long time I was intimidated by these games, but I kept reading things like this Let's Play posted by other people and finally decided to just sit down and learn it.

    bamjo on
  • NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    This is so tremendous

    NotASenator on
  • FleebFleeb has all of the fleeb juice Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yeah, Great LP, keep it up!

    Fleeb on
  • LionEyezLionEyez Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Drake wrote: »
    LionEyez wrote: »
    Interesting day!

    I don't think this is my kind of game though. I don't need dumbed-down arcade-y action or HD visuals, but while looking at some videos I'm put off by the lack of visual represenation of what is actually happening.

    I do like this in LP form, however. Great job so far Bamjo!

    You may be surprised if you give these types of games a shot. Once you get used to the abstracted representations of units and action, you may find computer wargaming just as tense and action packed as any other subgenre. And it's amazing what you can learn from these games.

    Thanks, I'll guess I will just have to dig in one of these days.

    What's a good game to start with in this series?

    LionEyez on
  • NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    LionEyez wrote: »
    Drake wrote: »
    LionEyez wrote: »
    Interesting day!

    I don't think this is my kind of game though. I don't need dumbed-down arcade-y action or HD visuals, but while looking at some videos I'm put off by the lack of visual represenation of what is actually happening.

    I do like this in LP form, however. Great job so far Bamjo!

    You may be surprised if you give these types of games a shot. Once you get used to the abstracted representations of units and action, you may find computer wargaming just as tense and action packed as any other subgenre. And it's amazing what you can learn from these games.

    Thanks, I'll guess I will just have to dig in one of these days.

    What's a good game to start with in this series?

    I started with this one on the Tandy 1000:

    http://www.mobygames.com/game/gettysburg-the-turning-point

    NotASenator on
  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Ah, cool. I really like the series, but the $90 price tag put me off of this one. I'll be glad to watch.

    They've got a demo up so anyone interested can try it.

    PolloDiablo on
    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The Command Ops: BftB Let's Play is back from real life distractions and way too many good games to keep up with. But there are no breaks for the men in the Ardennes forest! We last left our heroes at dawn on Day 2 of the Battle of the Roadblocks scenario. There is a mad scramble to the town of Bastogne. My armor has the advantage of a major highway, but they have been mauled by the German onslaught. Let's see how the next crucial hours will unfold.
    The retreating mechanized column is under fire by German artillery, which is slowing its progress.

    artydelay.jpg

    Outside Bastogne the 1st battalion of the 506th PIR is taking up positions in the hamlet of Luzery.Hopefully they will have some time to dig in before the German wave crashes into them.

    luzery101.jpg

    Team Cherry HQ has been overrun by a company of PzIV's and been forced to surrender. This command has seen the heaviest fighting and taken horrible casualties. We hope their sacrifice has bought the needed time for the American defenses.

    pivsurrender.jpg

    Back in Bastogne the massing American paratroopers have bloodied the German probe of halftracks, Puma armored cars, and JagdPanzer IV tank destroyers. The recon mechanized infantry are decimated and surrender. There is no more fight left in them.

    probedefeat.jpg

    reconsurrender.png

    Elsewhere on the field, our counter-attack into Bourcy has caught some German tank destroyers unprepared. Our mechanized forces pound shells through the tank destroyer's weak rear armor.

    behindtd.jpg

    The last reinforcements of the scenario have arrived. I have ordered the paratroopers to defend the wooded heights in Le Bois Jacques. When they are in place the defensive perimeter around Bastogne will be complete.

    lastreinforce.jpg


    All morning our mobile artillery units have been under merciless counter-battery fire from German artillery and rockets. But they are well situated, and are busy obliterating a German anti-aircraft battery that somehow wandered into point blank range. Boy did they pick a bad place to get lost.

    counterbattery.jpg

    The weather is still playing hell with Allied aircraft. We really need those fighter/bombers.

    poorvis.png


    Meanwhile to the north of Bastogne, an armored force of Pz IV's are pushing into Noville. But our engineers have had time to fortify, and are holding their ground tenaciously.

    engdefend.jpg

    We finally have an airstrike available and pound a company of Panther tanks that are harrassing Bastogne.

    airstrikepanther.jpg

    This brings us to noon on Day 2. Let's take stock of the situation.

    noonday2.jpg

    Our Bastogne perimeter is shaping up nicely. But so far it is only made up of lightly equipped airborne troops from the 101st. We really need the armor from the forward positions to shore up the line. Unfortunately they are being slowed and harassed by artillery and flank attacks along the highway. Our forces have really chewed up the probes at Bastogne and Noville, but there is a worrisome enemy presence just east of Bastogne at Bizory. The intel on those forces is very shaky. I plan to hit that pocket
    heavily with artillery in hopes of softening them up so our retreating armor forces can sweep right through.

    The counter-attack into Bourcy is going very well. We have killed many Panthers and JagdPanzers. It seems that intel had overestimated enemy strength, and actual enemy forces are considerably weaker. I plan to take Bourcy back and defend it as long as possible. That blob of unknown enemy contacts seems to be bogged down in the mud at the moment, but if we have learned anything in the last couple days it is that you can't count on December weather in France. A good overnight freeze will harden the ground and make that enemy concentration a serious threat.

    Morning of Day 2 has gone considerably better for the Allied forces. But that mud-bound enemy force can't be ignored, and poor weather still hampers Allied air power. There was lots of action with losses for both sides. We will see what the afternoon holds.

    bamjo on
  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    This has to be the longest an LP has gone quiet and still come back to life. :P

    admanb on
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah, thanks to fleeb for getting my lazy ass to continue it. It also helps that I'm reading The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara. It's gotten my imagination going about this time period again.

    bamjo on
  • TeriferinTeriferin Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yay! It's back!

    Things seem to be looking up for the allies. I'm sure that will change shortly.

    Teriferin on
    teriferin#1625
  • bamjobamjo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Day 2- 1200 hours
    The attack on Bourcy is being disrupted by German artillery. The mech infantry takes casualties but the tanks plow ahead. The Germans have some AT guns in town that may cause trouble.

    artydelaybourcy.jpg

    But the American artillery is not silent either. Panzergrenadiers in Bizory take several barrages and break as members of the 501 PIR look on. The paratroopers command the heights overlooking Bizory, and the Germans there are in a really bad spot.

    artybizory.jpg

    Task Force Harper has stalled in its attack on Bourcy. It has taken heavy casualties from enemy artillery. I could order them to continue the attack regardless of losses, but they have Task Force Booth to support them. I will have TF Booth press the attack and hold Harper in reserve.

    harperstall.jpg

    Bourcy is proving a tough nut to crack. The German defenders will not be persuaded to leave. Maybe 36 105mm howitzers will change their minds.

    bourcybarrage.jpg

    Outside Bastogne the German forces have been wiped out. Another Panther company has surrendered. The Germans are losing Panthers today at a tremendous rate. The Reich's beleagured manufacturing plants will not be able to

    replace such losses.
    pantherdestroyed.png

    The attack on Bourcy has completely stalled. German artillery has chewed up both task forces, and they are exhausted. What early in the day looked to be a golden opportunity to hit the enemy forces in the rear has turned into a dangerous situation with two strong enemy forces on opposite sides of TF Harper and Booth. Let's look at the big picture at 1800 on Day 2.

    bigpictured2.jpg


    The intel reports of the German forces in Bourcy were inaccurate. There was a much stronger presence there than first thought. Intelligence officers have finally admitted that they have no clue how many Germans are in Bourcy, or how many are advancing from the east. We'll see if this will turn into a complete blunder, or if our boys will be able to hold out in the forest. There is not much help to send them. If things get too hot, their only recourse is to retreat south to the strongpoint held by CCR HQ.

    German artillery bombarded American forces heavily throughout the afternoon. The paratrooper battalion overlooking Bizory was particularly hard hit. Hopefully they can rest and dig in tonight. American artillery was very active as well, and our batteries are critically low on ammo. They will be resupplied overnight, and come dawn priority tasking will be supporting our Bourcy forces and also assisting the push into Bizory from the south.

    The silver lining of the Bourcy debacle is that the Germans were forced to defend the town instead of hitting Noville or pushing down the rail line toward Bastogne. Hopefully our artillery caused as much disruption as theirs did. Task Force Desobry will form up under cover of darkness and when dawn breaks will push aggressively into Bizory, supported by all the artillery we can muster.


    Other than the Bizory pocket, the area around Bastogne looks to be in good shape. We will not be recieving any more reinforcements, so for Day 3 we will have to manage our forces carefully so they do not become exhausted. So far the Americans have succeeded in denying the Germans the use of the highway, and they have been forced to move through rougher terrain. The Germans have seen their share of setbacks, and must be nearly as exhausted as the Americans. Day 3 will be a test of endurance.

    bamjo on
  • FleebFleeb has all of the fleeb juice Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Great to see this back again!

    Fleeb on
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