AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

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peterjfrigate
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AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:14 pm

Welcome to my first AAR for Battle Academy on the Capture of Balta! I will be playing the Axis. Postings will be one turn per day till the game ends, and I kindly ask my opponent Lt.Jeggs to refrain from peeking until the game is over. This is a fun, challenging scenario and as we will see a great illustration of the importance of teamwork and careful planning. First, some brief remarks about strategy and tactics before moving on to the set-up and first turn.

Strategy: The axis are attacking from two sides and need to capture both flags by turn 12. This means they need to move quickly, though the Russians present many obstacles which need to be traversed. My first objective is to take the woods separating my forces, but to do this I need to take out the fortified trench (indicated by the leftmost red circle). Other presumed Russian deployments are also in red. Once the forest is secured, I will have no choice but to push forward in bitter house-to-house combat. The Axis will have a tough time, but they have some powerful assets to help them succeed.
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Tactics: most important is organizing units into fighting groups in such a way that they complement each others' strengths and special abilities. For example, notice (below) in the set-up for the Germans I've placed an engineer, LMG, leader, scout and infantry on my left flank. I think of this as a single unit that will advance on the houses just to the left of the main woods. I've also grouped most of my other LMGs on my right flank (along with the Stug) as these will be needed to suppress the trench mentioned earlier. Finally it is VERY important that I advance into the woods with a screen of INF backed up by leaders (3 in this case). The leaders need to STAY CLOSE so that we can use them later (as we shall see).

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Meanwhile (see below) the Rumanians have been shifted to the left. This is so they are in a better position to hit that trench. As a bonus this will give them cover from presumed fire that will be coming from another trench to the right of those buildings.

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This completes my set-up. Next time I will show what happens during the first turn!

peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:01 pm

Capture of Balta: TURN 1

We begin by identifying the first objective in the struggle: The trench pictured below. (I know that it is manned because I've previously played as the Russians.) The plan is to first scout with the Rumanian leader (circled) since our fire is much more effective when the enemy is sighted. Next the remaining Rumanians will advance and fire on the right flank with support from as many LMGs as I can muster on the left. I'd like to overrun this threat quickly and with a minimum of losses.

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Unfortunately, the Soviet leader in the trench can also scout: my leader takes fire and is dead!
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The good news is that despite the KIA, my leader located positions of an LMG, Soviet leader and INF and the assault can proceed as planned.

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Next, the Rumanians advance. Keep in mind their rifles only have a range of 3 (like the soviets in this scenario); regular German infantry still have a range of 4.

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Blasting away with an LMG at long range!

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Though we manage to suppress the LMG and infantry, the Soviet leader still poses a threat and can rally a unit on his turn.

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I fire with my remaining units bringing the enemy leader close to suppression. My side has no moves left except for the leader (below) who would need to run up to the trench to try and finish the job. I decide to chance it.

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And here's the battlefield at the end of my turn. Unfortunately, I failed to suppress his leader so I will probably lose some units when he returns fire. Note that we also advanced rapidly into the woods and towards the buildings. Next turn we will proceed in "hunt" mode for safety.

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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by pipfromslitherine » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:14 pm

Very interesting idea. Well done! :)

Cheers

Pip
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peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:20 pm

thanks!
pipfromslitherine wrote:Very interesting idea. Well done! :)

Cheers

Pip

peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:02 pm

Capture of Balta: Turn 2

The Russian trench returns fire KOing another leader and damaging an infantry squad.

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On my turn we begin by advancing deeper into the woods using the much safer hunt-mode. We need to advance only one tile per turn -- any faster and the leaders won't be able to rally units that get suppressed.

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Of course, the enemy is waiting in the woods, and a lead squad is heavily damaged (below). We also notice he has left his flanks are unsupported. If the remaining shots of the enemy squads can be discharged, then maybe they can be suppressed.

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Here's how it's done. We advance units in hunt mode on the flanks who absorb one more attack each. Then we advance another unit into the breach. Though it is almost destroyed, it absorbs still more attacks. We have to keep count until every enemy has fired three times. Leaders stand by to rally a unit if it is necessary to provoke more attacks. Finally, the enemy has run out of defensive fire and we are ready to assault his position. The 3 soviet infantry squads pictured below can be hit by units on the flanks and especially in the middle where I have left a space open (tile circled in blue). This way we can move units in and out of firing position until the enemy is suppressed using faster, normal, movement to maximize the number of attacks.

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On the left side of the battlefield, a leader has spotted some Soviet units that are not adequately under cover, so we move in to hit them with fire.

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The last thing to to do is to finish off the trench with the battered Rumanians. Overall the turn is a success with several soviet units suppressed or KIA.

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The causality ratio needs to be favorable to the attacker for it to be worth continuing (>2:1 is desirable). So far we are ok despite losing two leaders.

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enric
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by enric » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:16 am

Great!!, very cool Peter.

(I suffered your well planned German attack...)

peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:13 pm

Thanks for the great scenarios--Keep em coming!

peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:35 pm

Capture of Balta: Turn 3

The turn begins with massive reinforcements arriving for the axis on the rightmost part of the map (which I will call "Group D") . The Soviet tanks will be a major threat so we need to watch them carefully.

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Here's the starting situation in the woods. It is assumed that a second line of infantry is waiting.

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Some shots are traded with infantry hiding in tank traps.

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Here's something nice. With so many infantry this was bound to happen, so I wasn't too worried about losing some leaders earlier. I've never been able to figure out what activates the spawning ability--Is it just a certain amount of experience?

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And the new leader immediately does some scouting, revealing nothing.

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Back on the right side of the map, we trade shots with entrenched Soviets

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Long range fire concentrates on suppressing his LMG, then we move on to the infantry.

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End of turn for Group D. The smoke is to provide cover from the Soviet tanks. Note the position of the leader who will do some long range spotting of that trench next turn.

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End of turn. Still no sight of anything in the woods. Maybe he's going to fight elsewhere?

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enric
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by enric » Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:25 pm

Here's something nice. With so many infantry this was bound to happen, so I wasn't too worried about losing some leaders earlier. I've never been able to figure out what activates the spawning ability--Is it just a certain amount of experience?
About generating a new leader.

Infantry squad that is at level 1 or 2 (levels in BA are: -1 to 2.
Infantry squad with more than 3 men left and not disrupted.
Infantry squad is not in range of a leader (leader have a different range depending on his own level).

Then this squad is isolated from leaders so it may try to designate one of his remaining men as a new grenn leader (level -1).

For more info:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/361 ... %20BA2.pdf

peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:15 pm

Thanks - the mod pdf is very helpful!
enric wrote:
Here's something nice. With so many infantry this was bound to happen, so I wasn't too worried about losing some leaders earlier. I've never been able to figure out what activates the spawning ability--Is it just a certain amount of experience?
About generating a new leader.

Infantry squad that is at level 1 or 2 (levels in BA are: -1 to 2.
Infantry squad with more than 3 men left and not disrupted.
Infantry squad is not in range of a leader (leader have a different range depending on his own level).

Then this squad is isolated from leaders so it may try to designate one of his remaining men as a new grenn leader (level -1).

For more info:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/361 ... %20BA2.pdf

peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:24 pm

Capture of Balta: Turn 4

On the far right of the map, a leader from Group D uses the "spy" ability and spots a bunch of units in the trench.

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More scouting. The leaders are vital here.

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I think my opponent should have made another stand in the woods, but maybe he is planning something.

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End of turn on the right side of the map. Some enemies have been killed or suppressed and we are making good progress.

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peterjfrigate
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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:58 am

Capture of Balta: Turn 5

Start of turn (left side)

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Start of turn (right side)

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Once again the leader does some spying.

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Armoured encounter...

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At this distance, there is no contest.

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Smoke from their mortar would have helped the soviets hide better.

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End of turn. I first dropped some smoke charges to cover my flamethrower.

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Casualties are now about 4:1 which is very good business.

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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:10 pm

TURN 6

Midpoint in the game starting with shots of the left and right sides of the map. Having taken both the forest and the adjacent cluster of buildings with minimal losses, the Soviets will need to fight strongly in the territory still under their control.

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Absence of smoke lets a leader do some spotting. Those units are all shot up.

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End of turn on the right side where I am only positioning. The placement of the soviet tanks prevents me from moving forward. I'll need to think of a way to get around them.

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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:57 pm

TURN 7

Closing in on the first objective. First, we move in and neutralize the AT gun, next the focus will be on taking out the mortar.

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Same situation from another angle.

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LMGs suppress the enemy and the flamethrower moves in.

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Enemy INF and leaders are all pinned or engaged. This part of the front has basically collapsed.

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Right side of the map. Maybe I have enough units to make the Soviet tanks waste their reaction shots, allowing my engineer to move in and kill one? I decide to test the waters with the INF on the far right of the trench. This is a risky move, but I can afford a bit of reckless play now.

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Aaaaand it was a terrible idea! My infantry is shot up by soviets hiding in the woods.

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Instead of letting more units get slaughtered, I try to move into position to challenge the tanks next turn.

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Still, the overall outlook is very good. Casualties are 34:12, so almost 3:1. I think the Soviet's only chance will be to muster his remaining forces and make a final stand around the last objective. With 5 turns left to capture it, he only needs to slow me down till the clock runs out.

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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by peterjfrigate » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:58 pm

Turn 8: It's over!

SUMMARY AND FINAL REFLECTIONS ON PLAY BALANCE

My opponent KOs another of my units but concedes the game at the end of his turn. Here's the casualty count:

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Now that it's over, we can consider play balance a little. Do the Russians even have a chance in this one? Sometimes players conclude that a scenario must be unbalanced if the outcome is lopsided. Certainly it's a concern in a game like this where there are often new maps that aren't playtested endlessly, and when opposing sides have very different goals and forces. However, I believe the Soviets can be very effective in this one, if they make a strong stand in the woods. For example, here's how things looked when I played the Soviets against a different player at the end of turn-5:

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"What is this witchcraft?" you may be wondering! The trick is to think through how to maximize your side's effectiveness, and minimize the enemy's. One thing I notice over-and-over is that people don't use smoke effectively (or at all).

SMOKE IS YOUR FRIEND!

Remember that trench I overran on turn 2? Here's how you defend it. I fired smoke from the Soviet mortar on TURN ZERO (during my set-up). The rules allow me to even redeploy the mortar to a safer location afterwards (Enric informs me that pre-game smoke placement is intended and should not be considered "gamey;" likewise for the placement of your other units--check to see which ones you can move to more favorable terrain before you start the game).

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This and other techniques were so effective that by only turn-2 several axis troops had been mowed down:

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Here's another hint:

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That's right: your second line should have leaders who are there for both improving shot accuracy and for rallying. The woods is defended in the same way:

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Some other tips: notice I don't have any units forward enough to be spotted. I have a single line that runs the longest length of the woods, and lots of reinforcements ready to do battle. So, concerning play balance again, assuming both sides used the strategies described here, it would probably be a bloody fight with an uncertain outcome.

That's about it for now. Good hunting and thanks for reading my AAR!

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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by morge4 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:54 pm

Very well done!

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Re: AAR: Capture of Balta 1.0 (no Jeggs plz!)

Post by jeggs » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:42 am

Just found my own AAR. Would have played to the end, if i had known. Still have to find a valid strategy to win this map as Soviet.

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