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Some questions for Volcano Man
06-08-2006, 02:11 PM,
#1
Some questions for Volcano Man
VM - some questions on your new unit values for your alt scenarios and the design decisions behind them:

Since the Campaign Series (CS) models tactical combat scale and PzC models grand tactical/operational scale, how did you address some possible issues? To wit:

A. A CS unit will generally be composed of just that unit, e.g. a platoon of recon tanks, whereas a recon tank unit in PzC may be composed of a mixed force of recon tanks, motorized infantry, a antitank platoon, some light artillery and even a few medium tanks. Wouldn't giving the PzC recon unit the values for a CS recon platoon cause distortions in unit capability?

B. In CS scale, line of sight is modelled at the tactical scale. Due to this, direct fire units will rarely engage at their maximum, or even medium, ranges due to intervening terrain features. In PzC, since you are using the larger scale, a "clear" terrain hex is abstracted somewhat - e.g. it is likely not flat as a billiard table but for playability it is assumed you can see across it to the next hex. But won't porting over the longer ranges of some of the CS units (and I am thinking here the heavy tanks and larger AT guns) to PzC give them an unrealistic ability to stand off and engage from distance?

C. Regarding lowering the artillery hard attack values, I have a similar question to A., above. In CS, when you fire on a platoon of Panther V's with artillery, when you are firing at the Panthers (assuming nothing else is in the hex of course) you can assume certain target characteristics that would lower the likelihood of knocking out those tanks. In PzC, that battalion of Panther tanks may represent not only the tanks, but also some of the "soft" command and control and supply elements. While a barrage of Soviet 76mm artillery on that battalion may knock out few, if any Panthers, the effect of that barrage may cause sufficient distraction and damage to soft elements to merit a "D" result and also fatigue. But in your new system of unit values, a low hard attack strength for artillery means that Panther battalion will also suffer fewer disruptions and fatigue.

D. On the increased artillery soft attack values, there may be a similar issue. In CS, when a barrage hits an infantry unit in the open, it generally has a drastic effect. As CS players know, the way you deal with enemy artillery is to: 1) disperse your troops; 2) keep moving so the enemy can't zero in. In PzC, with 1 km hexes, you can assume that within the hex the targeted infantry unit is doing the same thing to try and reduce losses - dispersal and avoidance. Porting over the soft attack values of CS artillery scoring a direct hit may overstate the impact of that same artillery unit on a PzC infantry battalion.

E. Lower hard defense values for armored cars and open-topped or light tanks. I understand the rationale for lowering their hard defense values on a CS scale. But again, at the tactical level there was a tactic the owner of these units could use - shoot and scoot, mobility to get out of tight places, etc. The CS system had some limits here, since the way the turn was structured still meant armored cars had very low survivability. But if you port over these low armor defense values to PzC, you may be making these units unrealistically vulnerable, especially given the longer and deadlier ranges for medium/heavy tanks and AT guns. These recon/light armor units are also reduced to scrap by Stukas and Sturmoviks whenever they appear, given the overall deadlier nature of the way PzC models air support vs. the more random model used in CS. Under the new lower hard defense values, the recon cars/tanks and light/open-topped armor don't seem to have any real use except to provide VPs to the enemy. Their attributes of speed and manouverability, which gave them some survivability at CS scale, are lost at PzC scale.

Wonderful work as always in your new alternative system, and I salute you for your efforts. These questions are meant not as criticism, but only to raise some issues. You may have already considered these, but it would be great to hear your thoughts.

Tolbukin, aka Elxaime
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06-08-2006, 03:09 PM,
#2
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
Elxaime,

Thanks for your points, but I think you might be over thinking the issue. These are definately valid, but the scale and size of unit is irrelevant. What I mean is, I only used CS values as a "spectrum" per se. I took one constant, set in stone value, (the PzC 88mm FLAK gun that was finally decided on after years of adjustments) and then looked at the same rating in the CS database. From that I came up with a ratio that I could apply, through different formulas, for the "spectrum" based around that PzC number. So basically, I only used the CS series as a sort of guage to measure the distances between each value, from say a King Tiger to a Sherman or a Pz III vs. a T34.

So the mechanics of either system (or the differences there of) play no real factor in it as I didnt just simply take the values from CS and plug it in because it wouldn't be relevant. Also, most of the values (defense and hard and soft attacks) remained the same. Since this is true then it was the first clue to me that the data was narrowing in and refining and not creating a whole new animal.

As far as the artillery, much of the artillery remained the same as it was before. There are only a few exceptions where some artillery went higher or lower in soft attack strength and most of these had to do with increases in SA strength of rocket artillery. But, as you say, most of the change was in the hard attack factors. Again, I merely used the "spectrum" approach, averaging out the firepower of the CS value along its entire range and then taking that average and comparing it to a known PzC value. The result is, any way you cut it, WW2 artillery was not very effective vs armor. I recognize that everyone has grown accustomed to what I have called "the indirect anti-tank guns", but there resided one of the issues some had with the system. Artillery could be used on just about anything you saw, be it tank or man, and the effect was usually just as effective. However, taking the spectrum approach, the difference in effectiveness of the SA vs the HA in WW2 artillery it was almost 10 or 15:1 in difference. That is not to say that ALL artillery is not effective against armored units, just that they are not as effective as before. Of course this is all relevant to the target type. If you are talking about lighter tanks, scout cars and halftracks then artillery is still effective against them.

Truth be told, it is only during the modern times (1980's) that artillery became truely effective against armored units (with DPICM type munitions).

In regards to lower armored TDs and scout cars... I think (from testing) that the result will instead be a more realistic use of such assets instead of the traditional use of them right now (the front line units that they are used for). Have you played any of the modern campaigns with the BRDMs? These lightly armored vehicles stand no real chance on the modern battlefield if you constantly leave them on the front line, taking fire, so you have to use them for the intentional purpose; to move about using recon spotting, or to move and bump into an enemy (or take fire from unspotted enemies) and then move to the rear. They should NOT be used like we are used to using them, regardless of the mechanics of the system. As for the TD's, the lighter armored ones are purely standoff weapons. The light armored ones (Marders, M18s etc) are intended to be somewhat of a "self propelled anti-tank gun". Their strength is in their range and mobility. That is not to say that ALL opened topped TDs have low armor, in my database the M36 is opened topped but has a defense of 20. So opened topped only really plays a role in its assault factor (vulnerability) where as the defense factor is related to its armor and defense. So it doesnt quite matter if the scale is different... at least in my rationale behind the changes.

Now I admit (and I mentioned this in the other post) that a lot of habits would have to change, but I think it promotes more realistic behavior. But your points are definately valid... lets see how it turns out.
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06-09-2006, 02:12 PM,
#3
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
I have to add...

...I thought about it more and I suppose it depends on two different school of thoughts. I can certainly see what the concern, since some would expect that things that are beyond tactical control are in effect, but I think this is still represented. With higher quality levels given to different units in PzC they become more or less effective already, as well as more or less defensive. Also, the defense factors in the DB are not strictly taken from a straight armor level from the CS program but instead are a calculation based on its armor and its defense.

While I certainly agree that other factors take effect such as hiding or mobility but most people expect that when they fire on a light armored car unit with a battalion of Panthers or Tigers that they are going to get a good effect instead of one or two vehicles killed and that these vehicles should only be at the front long enough to locate the enemy.

But again, the points are valid. I encourage more discussions for and against the idea. I just wanted to say this because on second thought I do NOT think you are thinking about it "too much." The great thing about it this too is that with a couple of key strokes I can change all the ratings back (to a previous ALT OOB) if it is deemed necissary.
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06-09-2006, 03:31 PM,
#4
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
I was thinking about this some more as well, regarding the impact of air power on the light armor units with lower values.

In CS, you would call for an airstrike, but it may not arrive or hit what you wanted. In PzC, it is abstracted in such a way that airpower is much more reliable.

I just started a PBEM of K43 using the new alt values. I saw a German armored car company in the open with my Sturmoviks and blasted seven of them at once.

In a tactical situation, the recon cars are moving around, avoiding. In CS, they can reveal an enemy unit when fired on, then get out of Dodge. In PzC, that same recon unit is either hidden or not - there is no shoot and scoot, no avoidance capability. I think that is why, in PzC, these units have higher defense values than their armor thickness would seem to merit.

I have always thought the better way to model recon units in PzC would be to give a greater distance to recon spotting for specialized recon units, so that you could model recon abstractly without putting the light unit out there to die.

Anyway, that is an issue for when they develop a new engine someday for PzC, I guess.
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06-10-2006, 01:11 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-10-2006, 01:31 AM by Volcano Man.)
#5
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
If you had a group of 7 armored cars in the open, I dont think any sort of movement on their part would avoid their annihilation from a flight of 60 Sturmoviks, instead of in CS where an airstrike represents one solitary aircraft. But that is just my opinion.

But you make a valid point. I think the solution is not to give recon units a defensive bonus but instead to look at the airstrikes. The rate in which they become available again is aguably high, not to mention the AA ratings of anti-aircraft units might need adjustement.
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06-10-2006, 03:52 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-10-2006, 04:07 AM by Volcano Man.)
#6
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
I seemed to have found an issue. Thanks to you pointing me in the right direction (airstrikes) I noticed that part of the issue of why the soviet airstrikes are so devistating is that they have far too many planes. My sources state that (in 1943) the core tactical unit was an air regiment consisting of 40 planes, of up to three 12 plane squadrons. Three to four regiments comprised an air division and two to four divisions made up a corps. That said, it also states that Soviet bomber regiments contained about 30 aircraft (33-32 specifically) of squadrons of 9).

So, it appears that the soviet airstrikes in K43 can be reduced to 30 planes, with historical argument, thus reducing their effectiveness by 1/2. This would help "tame" them so to speak since the armor levels of some units are lower. Does anyone have any specific information stating that the soviet regiments in Kursk consisted of 60 planes instead of the common 40? I suspect that the number of planes in these regiments was boosted in order to make the airstrikes historically effective, but that "bonus" no longer is required.
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06-10-2006, 07:54 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-10-2006, 08:02 AM by TET2.)
#7
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
James,

In regards to the combat value of armor in the OPS series and the re-calibration of various units in the mods provided by VM and others, I have always been frustrated by the general ineptitude of the Russian armor and its ability to damage their German opponents especially in K43 (only when I am Russian, otherwise it is just fine :-) ).

So just for fun I dug into an old cardboard warrior tactical game called Panzer (Yaquinto Games), and two current tactical games here at the Blitz, the Campaign Series (with some help from a table Huib provided), and Combat Mission to build a table of gun factors for eastern front armor.

The resulting table which summarizes the calculations of penetration factor modified by the range for each game system and then combines them is quite interesting. If you would like to have a look, just shoot me an email and I will forward it to you.

Tobias
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06-10-2006, 07:58 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-10-2006, 08:10 AM by TET2.)
#8
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
Double post, sorry. Besides, it would appear that the point is moot after reading VM post on the mod. Nice work VM, see what happens when you stay away from the blitz for too long. Now where is that bar of soap?

Tobias
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06-10-2006, 11:01 AM,
#9
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
On the airpower, I was using the K43 Soviets for an example, didn't mean to set them up for nerfing! Serves me right for bringing it up! Eek

All humor aside, if you use the example with Ju-87s attacking Soviet armor the impact is the same. In the aggregate, PzC airpower is modeled in the game engine as more effective than airpower is modeled in CS. If you reduce hard defense values for vehicles, air will be more effective against vehicles if their values remain unchanged.

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06-10-2006, 11:30 AM,
#10
RE: Some questions for Volcano Man
Another thought on the impact the new lower K43 artillery indirect fire hard attack values may have.

One of the things I always assumed for the stock unit unit values was that the artillery hard attack values represented not necessarily the penetrative power of the artillery round, but the concussive impact of the round on vehicle and weapons systems and the impact on personnel.

Assuming that, when an armored vehicle is "lost" in PzC, it doesn't necessarily represent a tank with its turret blown off by a penetrating round, but can include a vehicle which is disabled or made (even temporarily) unavailable for service in some way, artillery should have some impact. For example:

- a high angle round hitting a tank doesn't penetrate the hull armor, but damages electrical, fuel or weapons systems either through kinetic or concussive disruption, or by scoring a lucky hit on the tracks or some other weak spot

- a tank crew (and you read this time and again in the literature) will sometimes, upon taking one or several direct or close hits from large caliber artillery, suffer a morale loss that results in retreat or even abandonment of the vehicle (a D or fatigue result or an outright combat loss in PzC terms). A concussive impact could also, in the right circumstances and with a large enough shell, kill or disable the crew despite the armor.

- a tank crew that remains "buttoned up" for long periods, whether under enemy artillery fire or for other reasons, will over time suffer a decrease in effectiveness, and this was especially true in WW2 style vehicles which had few creature comforts. In PzC terms, I have always seen this as represented by a buildup in fatigue for tank units sitting out under bombardment for lengthy periods of time. Even with few or no vehicles outright being lost, this seems very historical to me. Commanders simply did not let their troops sit under artillery bombardment if they could avoid it, no matter the armor protection, due to the effect of prolonged bombardment on the human psyche and physique.

With the lower hard attack values, I think artillery may have become much less significant a threat to enemy armor than it was historically. Again, this is assuming that losses, disruptions and fatigue under the PzC system don't necessarily correlate to the artillery round being able to penetrate the AFV turret or hull armor.

Again, I offer these comments in a constructive way. As far as I can tell, you are unique among the folks who play this game for the dedication and research you put into the wonderful alternative scenarios and unit art you create. Your work shows both thoughtfulness and a sincere love of wargaming. I salute that wholeheartedly and make these comments only because I think you value getting straight opinions on the work you do.

Cheers.

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