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 Post subject: Solving The Hard Problems.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:44 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Playing In the Sandbox
Dealing with a Rolling Attack (a rampaging combined arms assault rolling over your lines)

In the section on Armor and AT guns I told you what sort of attack can rip a hole in your lines and
keep right on going. Now I will tell you how you can begin to stop it. I say begin because in game
terms odds are if you didn't stop it you won't be able to stop it in time before the game ends. All
you can do is force it to turn aside and break it up somewhat. Deflect it if you will from its main
goal. If you have not read that section yet read it before you read this one. Otherwise it will make
less sense to you.

I am going to show you a few charts here Nothing special This first one more or less shows
what happened to you


The enemy has punched a hole in your lines and is pouring into it with the goal of making it
into your rear area victory hexes or making it off map leaving you in the dust. If they are at
all concerned they have reinforced the flanks of the attack and it is keeping you from getting
at them as they pass through the gap. As I noted in the other post the Flanks are the weak
spot of this attack.

This is what most players will do to stop this attack Most of the time they will fail.


The reason they will fail is that anything put in front of this attacking force is going to be meat
into a grinder it will die a quick death. The attacks on the flanks on your own side of the lines
are hitting the area that the attacker has set his flanking guard forces, He is expecting you to
try and close the gap by hitting this area.

Now this one is the solution to your nightmare. How you can close the gap.


Seems sort of silly doesn't it. But by going out past your lines and then closing the gap in
behind them you cut them off from the rest of the forces trying to follow and once you have
built up your forces you can begin to follow the enemy units and take them from the rear.
This is the only threat you can use to get them to stop moving forward and come back and
deal with your attempts to stop them. By going outside your lines your hitting an area that
is not reinforced waiting to be hit and your not feeding the meat grinder leading the pack.

What you need to bring is your armor with lots of infantry to cover them Leave the Guns on
the flanks to harass the enemy when they come back at you. The guns can work but they tend
to be less effective since they are too easy to pin and kill. Armor and infantry are your best bet.
You also should be hitting ALL of your artillery on the main body of this force nothing else matters
other then stopping it. If you can not stop it you would have to pull out of this line and fall back
alongside of the enemy who is charging forward. Odds are you can not and never will be able to
get in front of them again fast enough to set up another defense line so you might as well seal the
gap and chase them down as they turn back to deal with your attempt to get in behind them.

Now if you have something left you can begin to encircle the enemy who is now trapped inside of
your lines. Unless they kept going they can be dealt with best by attacking from the rear and
forcing them into your own guns as they retreat. If they did keep going and there are exit point
victory hexes or the victory objectives and time make it impossible to deal with this sort of attack
in time its over.

You had really only one chance to stop this attack and that was right at the very start when you
noticed that it was coming at you. At that point rather then pour units in front of it you would of
had to counter attack as I showed above and broke into one of the flanking wings so that you could
take on the enemy from a flank. If you do see this forming up be aware that when you hit the
enemy flanks they may turn into your attack. Be ready to hit them in the rear from the other
side if they turn into your first attack. Again you have to be willing and able to pull in your other
forces and attempt to surround this attack. This will only leave screening forces left to keep those
cheap fast cars from making a dash to any other Victory areas that you will have to abandon to
deal with this sort of attack. Make your decisions fast because this force is not going to stop to
deal with a few units that come at it. It is going to keep rolling forward and take passing shots
on units that are not a real threat to it. You need to hit it as hard as you can and as fast as you
can in order to stop it. At this point the Armor is not as much a threat to you as the trucks full
of men and units towing guns. You need to stop the movement before you can kill this beast.
as long as it is moving it is winning the fight. Once you take out the trucks you start to strip
the support from the armor and begin to isolate parts of it. You need to break up the formations
and destroy the support as well as stop the movement. Consider use of smoke to section off
parts of it to allow counter attacks to go after only a few units at a time. Early on your own
smoke can be used to block off the front of this sort of attack from all those units that are trying
to support it. But if you use your smoke before your own units are ready to attack its wasted.
You need to beak up the support this sort of attack has by using the smoke at the same time
your hitting it with your counter attacks. The sooner you can counter attack it the better.

Terrain can help you too if there are bridges to cross Blow them yourself or rivers to ford that you
can get to in time to set up some sort of defense. It doesn't have to hold for long just long enough
for you to get that attack into the enemy rear started. As I said that is the only way your going to
stop this sort of thing. Fight in front of this sort of attack only at the choke points you can cause
delays at. If they don't slow down get out as fast as you can and save what you can before it is
destroyed. Avoid feeding this sort of monster. Tossing too small of a force at it only costs you
more points in the end.


 Post subject: Re: Anti Tank Sceens
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:44 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Playing In the Sandbox
Dealing with a well placed Anti Tank Screen.

From reading the forums about SPWAW most players have no clue how to set one of these up
and for the most part they have no idea of what to do when they hit one. They just seem to
keep going and die to a man trying to bust into it. But there are some players who can and
will set up a very good Anti Tank Screen and tend it in a way that makes it near impossible to
locate the guns that are killing you.

This is a standard tactic in the Desert battles. It is a good way to section off an area where you
do not want enemy armor going. Despite what most players think high Visibility does not mean
that your going to find guns that are dug in and tended by a player who knows how to hide.

A well constructed AT screen will not only consist of several AT guns but also have support weapons
out in front of it. There will be Machine guns to kill infantry and fire on Armor to button it up. There
will be lesser AT weapons such as AT rifles or Bazooka (Panzerfausts) or even light AT guns mixed in
with more powerful guns. All of these weapons are set up with the goal of denying an area or route
of march to the enemy vehicles that approach it. You obviously want to kill armor when you set up
a screen but it also should be made to prevent the enemy from taking it apart by just sending in a
rifle platoon to shoot up the AT guns. That is why there are other weapons in the screen.

Even the most novice of players should know that if you can't see what is shooting at you can not
kill it. You have to see it to shoot back at it. This is why a good player will keep the ranges set
on his weapons low and why he will check them every turn to make sure they are set properly.
That is in part how you hide from the enemy. A good AT screen takes advantage of this concept.
The screen is designed to first fire the Mg's at any cars or infantry that comes around. They should
lose movement due to the Mg fire and even if not killed will be sitting in the area where the Lt AT teams
are waiting for them. They will then either op fire or during your turn you use them to kill the enemy.
You don't let the At guns op fire until they have come through the screening forces which will filter
out the cheap stuff.

To take out a screen that is well set up and being tended by a loving player who is looking to smoke
your armor you need to do it piece by piece. It is a slow and painfully time wasting evolution to do it
with a minimum of loss. First you need to send up some eyes to spot the Mg's and AT teams. Which
is a lot harder to do then it sounds. You may have to resort to using a few cheap cars or a truck to
draw the fire. Once you find those units you need to eliminate them. So that you can slowly move
forward with the scouts again looking for the guns. Your probably not going to find them with the
scouts unless one of them fires. Odds are they are turned off if the enemy is aware your looking to
take out his screen. So you need to again drag out a cheap unit and hope to draw fire from the guns
your looking to kill. If you find one odds are there are more in the area. Mark the position of the gun
and smoke it with direct fire from a mortar or risk a tank that can fire smoke. Send infantry after the
gun to take it out. Check the area for more guns. Keep a force ready to attack if enemy armor or
other units show up to take on your infantry. If the enemy wants to fight for his screen he will have
his own infantry around to defend it. As you can see this is not an easy thing to defeat. It takes time
and if the enemy wants to defend it he can make it costly for you to attack it.

The above is exactly why you might be willing to spend 300 or more points to build up a AT screen and
defend it. It much easier for the attacking player to go some place else and attack then it is to try and
reduce a well defended and set up AT screen. If the defender has mines or has had time to let engineers
lay some then it is all the more difficult to dislodge this sort of defense.

Now you thinking to yourself. Bull I will just lay a smoke screen along the front of the gun line and
kill all the support stuff in front of the guns and send my infantry up to get the guns. Wrong. That
sort of screen is not what I am talking about. That was done by someone who is not thinking of
how to do it right. Time for a picture.


I did this in the Sand to make it easier to see. It can be done anywhere there is open ground and a
good kill zone exists. But make no mistake this sort of screen is just as deadly to anything coming
at it even if it is out in the open. All units are dug in and ranges are preset. This screen costs 234
points It contains 3-50mm Pak At guns 4-Mg 42 Machine Guns 3-Panzerfaust 30 At teams with HQ
and 3 Scout teams (2 men) I consider this a cheap small screen. It can be done better and it can be
done cheaper.

The 2 man teams are dug in with weapons off They are spotters not shooters. You can stand in the
same hex with them and never see them. The At teams are also dug in and have ranges set to 2 at
the most. The Mg's and At guns are set up each with a different range and that is done on purpose.
The reason will become clear as I explain this.


Scouts out to the front (Enemy is coming from the Right side) Behind them the At teams. The Blue
circles are the Mg's and the Red ones the AT guns. Note how they are staggered and not in a line.
This is done on purpose. Its easy to smoke a line its not so easy to smoke a spread out group
its also spread out enough that plotting arty on one gun is not going to get another gun.


The lines I have put on this map are range lines. The rear most Mg's will fire on anything that crosses the
blue line to the far right of the picture. They may not score kills on a vehicle but they will sap its movement
rate and prevent it from going too much further in. If it does keep going the next set of mg's opens up on it
when it crosses the Green line and the AT gun at the rear now has it in range. It might fire if the mg's don't
get it first. Ah ha you say I will drop smoke if that gun fires so I can bring up more stuff. OK lets look at
what you probably did since you saw where the At gun was or counted out the hexes from combat log data
to get the range to the vehicle. Your probably feeling real good and think Ha ha smart guy I got one on
you. In your Face Buddy. No At gun is going to stop me.....


Did ya really? Please note that there are 2 more At guns out there that your not even seeing yet. One of
them has its weapon off and range set to zero so that I can have it to shoot in my turn in case I need it.
The other one will fire on you if you live to make it to the Pink line. But no you Say I still have more smoke
and I will use it. Well ok if your going to do the same thing you just did it looks like this now.


Still see that one gun..... You won't for long because if the Mg's didn't get you that gun is going to blow
your vehicle up. Do you still feel lucky? Its a point blank range shot and the odds of missing are slim to
none. You won't even feel any pain it will be over that fast.

The point here is that just because a gun is in the closest thing to the enemy it does not have to be the one
that is going to fire first. Op fire ranges can be set to fire at different ranges for each gun in a battery. How
you set that up and how you tend to it is the mark of a good player. If you just toss the guns out and set
them all to fire at a range of 12 hexes you deserve to lose the battle and every one you play until you get a
clue and start taking more time and doing it right. Your not even a better player then the AI if that is how
you set up a gun screen. Did I just insult a large group of players? Could be..... But they are not even worth
playing in a PBM game if that is what they consider their best game. Leave them to waste someones time
who is at the skill level they play at. Find someone else to play. We are out there waiting for you. :kilroy:

Alright from that little adventure you can see that taking down a well placed and tended screen is not as
easy as it looks. You will need to smoke the whole area and send in infantry to deal with the guns and
mortars to keep the mg's suppressed and if your really lucky you might even see the scouts and get them
too. But your probably going to have to do all that under artillery fire since the scouts will be able to call it
in when you start to bring up something the Guns don't want around them. If you find one of these
screens or traps if you want to call them that consider going around it. It will be a lot easier and less costly
to you.

There are not necessarily a lot of points involved here so unless you really need to kill this sort of thing for
the points its not worth the effort. To make killing this sort of screen worth doing you need to lose less
then the cost of the screen itself or your giving points to the enemy. This screen was 234 points a tank is
in the range of 150 or so points if not more. A platoon of infantry is worth more then the AT guns alone
are worth. So do you really need to wipe out this screen? Ok if you do, keep in mind it is going to take
you a few turns to do it. Can you afford the delay it caused you? Do you really want to commit to this
knowing that your forces will be open to a counter attack from an enemy who has time to bring in units
from a distance? Odds are your better off forgetting about this mess and going someplace else to fight
a battle. Take this on only if you have no other choice. This sort of thing is like chasing victory hexes
how much is it worth to you to kill it? It has to be less then the 234 points the player spent to build it
or your on the losing end of the deal.

If you want to bypass this sort of thing use your smoke at the point where the Vehicle first took fire so that
your screening off the whole area. Then go far enough around it that it doesn't turn on you and take you
in the flank. Yea you heard that right go back and look at the pictures. The thing is just as deadly if you
you approach it from the north or south. If the player has a turn in there somewhere he can set the ranges
and maybe even move a few units 1 hex with a very low chance of being spotted.


 Post subject: Re: Dealing with poor tank terrain
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:39 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:44 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Playing In the Sandbox
Dealing with a map that has poor tank terrain.

This sort of map is often covered in Mud. Swamps, Marsh. Rough or Rocks and Boulders Italy is a good
bet for this kind of terrain as well as some areas in Russia. But it can be found just about anyplace if you
assume it rained a lot the last few days. Mud does not recognize national borders. Its universal.

Every so often you take a game on a map that is just not well suited for tanks or vehicles. A good many
of these maps are covered in mud or just rocky hilly terrain. Moving tanks around is near impossible they
get stuck in the mud out in the open at the worst possible moment. It takes forever to get them over
the rough ground and they are tossing tracks left and right. How can you deal with this sort of thing?

Well the answer lies in your force selection. That is where you had the chance to go with an infantry
force. But you still need to have some armor support and at the very least some AT support. To make
the most of this you need to spend the points on units that are going to offer you the best bang for the
buck. Not the cheapest stuff or the most common of armor at the best cost. You need to get armor
that has a good long range gun and you need to pick one that has really good armor if you can. As
an example I might normally buy Pz IV tanks which is a good all around tank. I can buy them in larger
numbers and toss in a few Pz III's to save some points. But in the mud or rough terrain they are not
the best choice. It would be better to spend the points on a few Tigers or even some of the heavy
tank destroyers that have thick armor and a good long range gun. I would end up with less of them
and I have to be careful how I use them but I am getting a tank that at least has some chance to
survive if it does get stuck out in the open for a few turns and has to take some incoming fire from
long range. Some nations are not going to give you this sort of choice. They lack the guns or the
armor to allow this kind of thing to be done. Your not with out hope at this point. But rather then
go with armor your going to need to look at other options. AA guns or AT guns with high penetration
numbers can be substituted but you then have the transportation problem. See my comments below
about picking transport units when you have no good choices left.

But those kind of tanks are going to be stuck in the mud for sure. Why do I want them?

You want them because using armor in the first place is going to be a fruitless endeavor for both sides.
You will be stuck on any roads or terrain that allows you to move with out the risk of being stuck or
tossing a track. Your not going to be able to move them around much so you want that long range
gun that packs a punch and you want lots of armor so that it can take return fire with out the need
to run away all the time. Your going to be forced to leave them far in the rear and your going to have
to cover the infantry from back there. This could be the one time where you actually will want to put
them up on a hill top that has a good los over the battlefield and risk them getting shot at. If you do
try and move them forward your asking to have them shot up and destroyed when they get stuck.
You already know this is going to happen. Don't be tempted to push your luck.

In this sort of terrain most vehicles are going to be sitting ducks. They become a waste of points to
buy them. You are far better off looking at the most lowly of transport units. The Mule Pack. These
sure footed beasts can move your mg's and mortars for the Rifle companies forward. In some cases
you can even haul forward mountain guns or pack howitzers. Just because your stuck in the mud or
rough terrain does not mean you are stuck with out weapons. It just means that you have to select
weapons that can be moved with out the use of wheeled or tracked transport. Look at the requirements
of the weapons. There are even some AT and AA guns that can be brought forward if you want to try
it. If you do need to go with some form of transport to get a few weapons forward go with cheap
utility vehicles if you can. Those trucks are going to be shot up when they get stuck so you might
as well plan on using cheap transport so as not to give too many points to the enemy player when
they do get stuck and destroyed. Buy extras you will need them to take over from the units that
get stuck. They are after all cheap units. You can afford a few more then you need as a backup.

What you also need to do is plan to get stuck. Its going to happen and when that important unit is
stuck out in the open the only thing you can do to save it is set up a smoke screen to protect it and
get some infantry over there to guard it. Its either that or write it off as already destroyed. This
means that in terrain like this you also need to have some mortars since they are going to reload
faster then guns and give you a cheap means of making and keeping a smoke screen up for as
long as it might take for that important unit to dig itself out of the mud or repair the track it lost.

I do not recommend you stay on the roads and try and to force your way forward. Through out
history this has been done over and over again and it never works. With out the ability to maneuver
the armor is at its weakest. It is subject not only to At fire and infantry attacks but also mortar
fire which is going to make fast work of them. Use your infantry to fight forward and clear the
roads for mines keep doing this until you reach a safe haven or dry ground where you can then
send units up the road under the cover of smoke if necessary to that safe area. In this way
you can get them forward but your still have to keep in mind that your not out of the woods
yet. You still need to find them someplace to support you from at this new forward location
so you may have to risk a few turns of mud or tossed tracks to take up a new hill top spot or
a new area to support the infantry from. All you did by moving forward was lower the range
you were shooting at. You did not gain freedom of movement again unless the terrain has
changed in that area.

Now this may seem like its big deal over nothing but if you just do the normal force selection
and find out that I am right and your getting stuck and losing units it is a problem then. Your
giving points to the enemy. If you go with a pure infantry force you can avoid all this but your
also giving up the guns that come in very handy when you need that bit of fire power to take
out a strong point or well defended area. If you have played with the Japanese you may have
some idea of what I am talking about here. They lack real true heavy firepower. They are
like ants and will overwhelm the problem with infantry. But most nations will call up a gun
and blast away until they can send up the infantry to take the rubble. Using Infantry to solve
these problems is an expensive way to do it. They are tied down doing mass attacks when
they could be doing something more profitable. This is why you take on the trouble of keeping
a few big guns around even if you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to use them. Every
so often they will be needed and will make a difference.


 Post subject: Re: Welcome to the Jungle.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:44 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Playing In the Sandbox
Dealing with dense Jungle terrain.

This one is a nightmare. It is not something you willingly want to get into if you are not fond of bloody
close range slaughters. Fighting in the Jungle is best done by infantry and lots of them. Armor is not
going to be all that useful since it will have to be escorted everywhere and the short ranges make it
an easy target. Light armor or tankettes are preferred as well as armor cars. Recon is the most
important factor in Jungle fighting. You need it more then ever. I have said in the past and will say
it again. When fighting in the Jungle you are doing recon by the Ray Charles method. You bump into
something and it shoots back at you. That is how you know you found something. Odds are that
you will not see something until it shoots at you. Odds are you will not live to tell about it either.

In previous sections I talked about recon and how much of it you need. While it still has not changed
and there is no hard and fast number to give you. In the Jungle you need to double if not triple what
you think you need. This is because it is going to be destroyed and it is going to happen very fast
and happen often. The best choice seems to be to take 4 man units with Sub machine guns rather
then smaller squads with rifles. Some players will also use Lmg's and At teams with satchel charges
or some sort of explosives. This can not really be called gamy play or unfair. It really is a reality
that these sort of weapons were up front and used. Combat is at contract range often hand to hand
and very bloody.

Now one other thing to make all this even worse. It is common in places where Jungle is found for the
visibility to be very high. The weather is often very nice and the prospect of good flying weather is
frequent. But in the Jungle itself you can't see 50 meters the undergrowth in some places is that thick
in other places it is so open that you can see a good ways even though there are trees overhead.
In the game is hard to replicate. What you end up with is patches where los is non existent and
your at contact range and in other places even though there are trees it is 4 or more hexes. There
will be open areas too. If there are some hills or high ground the los from those locations could be
very poor or it could over you los into a patchwork of hexes where you can see what is there.
Hill top such as those are good places to put guns and spotters who can give some warning of units
they see.

Artillery is required even if it is only mortars. Once you make contact it becomes a last man standing
affair. One side is not coming out of it alive. The only way you can make this work in your favor is
to pour in the Suppression and keep the enemy from shooting at you from contact range. Even with
the Low Carnage settings these sorts of battles are killers. Losing a whole 12 man squad in a few
seconds after contact or even in the first shot is not uncommon. You need to keep that artillery
on the enemy when you find them and stay right behind it ready to pounce on them as soon as you
can. Never go anywhere that you do not have Artillery support plotted in advance a few hexes in front
of you. If you have to wait a turn to get it the battle will be over by the time it starts to fall. This
makes pre plotting and constant re plotting of Artillery a pain to do each turn but it is the best way to
insure your infantry will still be alive next turn.

You will also be tempted to toss your At teams and light machine guns into the role of scouts. This is
one way to make up for the high causality rates they will suffer but it is a bad idea. If you waste these
units as recon they won't be there is a Armor car or tankette shows up. It is better to buy the scouts
and buy more scouts and then buy even more still then it is to give up these units that are hauling around
weapons that serve a purpose other then recon.

It is also better if your on the attack to stay as a compact tight formation and move in a narrow area.
While this does open you up to artillery it also means your harder to spot and when you do get spotted
you will be there in force. You can spread out if you start taking causalities but over all it is better then
trying to be everywhere at once in terrain that gives the defender a chance to kill whole units on first
contact. I think some players are saying I am full of it when I say the defender has an advantage in
the Jungle. I will say to them that they need to take a look again at the tactics they were using if they
were taken out easily while in the Jungle. These players often resorted to double stacking units to get
the extra op fires out of them and then running away before the artillery started to fall. This was not a
bad tactic but it is risky and really best left to units that are using explosives and sub machine guns.

The main problem they had I feel is that they tried to defend in the dense jungle where they had little
or no idea of what might be coming at them. They know they can get a kill on the first units that they
see but they can't be sure what else is behind them. I think they failed to look at the map close enough
to find places where the los allowed for 3 or 4 hexes of visibility or a stream or river was going to make
a bit of open ground that an attacker would have to cross. The Kills zones are small in the jungle but
they are there. You just need to cover them and be willing to trade ground to maintain your lines in a
way that prevents a break though in one area. Movement in the Jungle is slow. It is on a trail that
you can make good progress. The trails are not always going to make for a good kill zone but a few
units can be used to hold up a larger force by making the use of the trails more difficult Mines and
wire used to deny trails is very effective if placed in the right locations. Even a platoon of engineers
can put down enough mines in a few turns to make movement on a trail a problem for an attacker
who has to make a fast march to an objective in a limited number of turns.

So when in the Jungle you want to have lots of extra recon. You want to have units with explosives
you want to consider double stacking on ambush sites. You want lots of artillery plotted to your front
and you want to make use of trails difficult for the enemy. You also want to take advantage of the
small Kill zones where they exist and make use of rivers and steams to give you those open areas
were mg's can make a difference. Study the map and take your time. This is a battle that even
when fought on a big map is going to be made up of lots of tiny fights that happen very quickly and
are over almost as soon as they start. You will not be given the chance to bring in forces from
other areas to reinforce a fight most of the time. Either you will be ambushed on the way or it
won't be there anymore when you arrive. it will be over or will have moved to a new location.


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