I Am No Tactician

When you play an operational game for so long (Command Ops), and then try to shift gears and take on small units in a game like Combat Mission Fortress Italy you are most likely going to get your clock cleaned.

Inspired by JC's post about Darby's Rangers at Gela and Doug's foray into Operation Husky  inspired scenarios I tried out a quick custom battle of my own using Battlefront's Combat Mission Fortress Italy last night (unfortunately no screenshots).

The situation and Allies plan:
Elements of a German reconnaissance battalion are probing an important road junction in rural Italy with two companies of Fusiliers. To meet them, British paratroopers have dug in on the opposite slope of a stream to provide direct fire on the objective.  I've also deployed paratroopers inside the vineyard on the slope above the objective.  They are dug in around some stone barns which lie next to the objective.

There are a number of small stands of trees that will give the Germans good cover should the choose to use them up until the objective I am defending.  As well as a series of stone walls that are more exposed but that almost go up to my positions on my extreme right flank.

I have a mortar platoon I am deploying well to the rear with good LOS on the objective.  My plan is to keep the Germans pinned back with long range LMG fire and if they use the cover of trees to advance on the objective, smash them with concentrated mortar fire once they get in the open.  Attacking from the far right over open ground from the safety of those stone walls seems unlikely.

The Result:  Tactical mistakes Galore.

Positions on the left bank of a stream should be able to provide covering fire whenever possible for positions on the opposite side. I didn't really check to see if there were overlapping fields of fire and watched helplessly when a full German company used the stone walls to move up and isolate my dug-in platoon on the right side of my defense.  Using artillery and smoke before their final attack, they were able to quickly knock out my LMGs and drive back the remnants of my platoon back through the vineyard.

Bad intelligence loses battles and no reconnaissance certainly doesn't help either.  I prepared my defense for a motorized formation with well sighted field guns but got the dismounted infantry first.  They used the terrain to their advantage instead of being funneled down the road by their use of vehicles.  Their final attack over open terrain took them to my far right where only one squad stood between them and my exposed flank.  My forces on the opposite side of the stream were unable to provide support as a slope and a farm stood in our way.  Forced to move my platoon of men from my left flank, they were cut down when they tried to cross a stream that divided the battlefield in half.

Tonight, I will try this scenario again with some screenshots and hopefully a better defense.





Comments

Doug Miller said…
Shifting gears from operational level command down to tactical platoon scale is rough! It always seems to take me a couple of false starts to get my perspective back in the right space whenever I make a switch like that.

Sounds like an interesting scenario, though.