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NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
10-01-2017, 06:38 AM,
#31
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
(09-30-2017, 10:30 PM)Battle Kat Wrote: If you guys get the team game started, do make some notes as you go along. Alan told me he'd be interested to hear how it plays out, and I'm sure others would as well. Helmet Smile

I fear I put the kibosh to the team game. Looked at the first turn and OOB.......no way I can sit thru almost 300 units of small mortar and  76mm infantry gun fire replays.... the supply level for Russians is set low and the arty will not all be available every turn.....unfortunately a low supply level also affects all the other units....my first impression is it might need some work to be playable. I guess if you are strictly an historian might be your cup of tea.

VE
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10-01-2017, 06:21 PM, (This post was last modified: 10-01-2017, 08:26 PM by Battle Kat.)
#32
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
(10-01-2017, 06:38 AM)Von Earlmann Wrote: I fear I put the kibosh to the team game. Looked at the first turn and OOB.......no way I can sit thru almost 300 units of small mortar and  76mm infantry gun fire replays.... the supply level for Russians is set low and the arty will not all be available every turn.....unfortunately a low supply level also affects all the other units....my first impression is it might need some work to be playable. I guess if you are strictly an historian might be your cup of tea.

VE

This aspect of the game is really the one where the abstraction does not work out, isn't it. Having served in artillery, I can live with the two most precise fire missions per turn (although I'd prefer only one), but the fact that scenario designer having first modelled the historical OoBs correctly, the result is just an insane fire storm, that is just wrong in so many levels. 

One thing we once did in one of the team games (or was it just a one-on-one PBEM, don't recall), was that we put a gentleman's agreement in place that mortars 82mm and below would only be used in direct fire mode. It helped a bit, especially as most infantry guns are direct fire only.

Yet, it is too bad the separate Arty Ammo base level did not make it to JTCS 2.02. It helps a bit, you can scale that down if necessary, while everyone else is properly supplied. Yet, that is also a kludge in a way, when used to model arty being more restricted, instead of properly modelling them conserving ammo, or even being in short supply.

Other restriction that could perhaps aid here is if it would be possible to restrict in-direct artillery only to organic units of that formation. That would require some thorough testing as well to make sure it provides a proper abstraction. 

Yet, at the end, I come to think that Arty fire cost should be like 60 for most pieces. That would help. Artillery firing, after all, should not be about firing the weapons, but performing fire missions. One fire mission per turn would be OK imho. 

But, for now, we're here because we're here...
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10-02-2017, 03:53 AM,
#33
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Battle Kat - what you mentioned concerning artillery is something I hope is considered when producing EF III.

No need to port over two chances to fire per turn without justification for that. Thought is one mission a turn is better but for the next go around, I hope more thought is given to the time each turn is supposed to represent.
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10-02-2017, 05:07 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-02-2017, 05:09 AM by Battle Kat.)
#34
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
(10-02-2017, 03:53 AM)Cole Wrote: Battle Kat - what you mentioned concerning artillery is something I hope is considered when producing EF III.

No need to port over two chances to fire per turn without justification for that.  Thought is one mission a turn is better but for the next go around, I hope more thought is given to the time each turn is supposed to represent.

Yes, artillery is one of the items to receive some additional attention, hopefully already for VN, let alone EF III. 

Organizational spotting is high on the wish list, but we haven't got into looking whether it would require a huge coding effort, or would be something easier. Everyone likes a low hanging fruit, se here's hoping. 

I'd like to see a chance for scatter as well for spotted artillery too, it is too much of a precision strike now.

One fire mission per turn would be simply about adjusting the fire cost. That's a no-brainer (technically, that is. Needs to be considered from all sides, first).

By the way, future games as of CSME 2.0 will run unencrypted files on solo mode (vs-AI, hot seat, campaigns, battle generator). Easier to mod if you don't like something, or would like to try something yourself! PBEM and LAN remain encrypted.
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10-02-2017, 05:15 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-02-2017, 05:15 AM by Battle Kat.)
#35
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
double.
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10-02-2017, 09:34 AM,
#36
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
I find it sad. Very sad. Lighting2
Change for change sake is the worst. Horse2

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10-08-2017, 07:37 PM, (This post was last modified: 10-08-2017, 07:40 PM by Battle Kat.)
#37
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Here's a comment from Alan regarding the Artillery situation, and how to depict Supply levels in a scenario of this size:

Quote: Although many think that the supply  level for both sides  is low (35% Russian, 40% German) they reflect more than just the artillery supply. Both the Germans and the Russian were not fully supplied on this day. The Russians had a fixed amount of ammo that was largely carried into the area with the units.  Once they used most of it on the attack, they had to hoard the rest for defense until they could be resupplied, this mostly applies to the infantry. The armor had fuel and supply points in the route along their road march to Prokhorovka, but no supply points in the area until they were brought up in a few days. The artillery was limited to firing a fixed amount of rounds a day per gun and mortar. About 90% of this was fired in the first 15 minutes of the attack, after this the firing was sporadic for the rest of the day.  The Germans just had problems keeping up regular supplies of all kinds because the supply columns from Belgorad were under almost constant attack from the Russian Air Force. The percentages that I gave both sides were just averages taking all of this into account. It's not easy putting in all of history into an East Front scenario, especially one the size of Prokhorovka.

I well under stand the problem with the artillery. When I made my first Prokhorovka scenario back in 2002 (Prokhorovka: The Real Battle) I found that it quickly developed into an artillery battle between both sides. So as I made my successive renditions, I looked for ways to scale back the artillery while keeping with history. But thereis only so much that I can do, given the current mechanics of the game.

So one solution I discussed with Alan, for the coming game engine changes, was a possibility to limit the artillery availability to certain turns only. It certainly would fit how it historically played out at Prokhorovka.

Please do continue to comment this scenario. It is such a huge one, there's bound to be more details and observations to come. Helmet Smile
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10-08-2017, 10:34 PM,
#38
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
On another news, please download the Prokhorovka 5 scenario again for an updated version, with full Motorcycle stacks in the middle of the map reduced, to allow for loading into them.
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10-21-2017, 05:08 PM,
#39
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Download archive now with an updated Design Notes from Alan. Here's some additional background information on the topics he's addressing:

Quote:I am also sending you a corrected file for East Front. It is my article for the units involved in the battle of Prokhorovka. To be specific, the correction has to the do with the artillery regiments for Das Reich and Totenkopf. For year I have been saying that the self-propelled artillery battalions in those regiments had some odd arrangements, Das Reich having three Wespe batteries and Totenkopf having two Hummel and one Wespe batteries. Well as it turns out it was not always that way. At the start of the Kursk campaign each SS division had a self-propelled artillery battalion of two Wespe batteries and one Hummel battery. At some point before the battle of Prokhorovka Das Reich and Totenkopf traded batteries, one Hummel for Totenkopf for one Wespe for Das Reich. This was a temporary trade and I believe it was for Totenkopf's attack north of the Psel River on 12 July. The reason for this was because Totenkopf want maximum artillery support for their attack as it was the main one for the day. The LAH division's artillery regiment was close enough to support, at least the eastern half of Totenkopf's intended area of operations, but Das Reich's artillery was too far away and was not going to give up any of its artillery.  So a trade was arranged through II SS Corps headquarters as Totenkopf was seeking heavier firepower. Both divisions eventually got their original batteries back after Prokhorovka. So what I have written is essentially true for the battle of Prokhorovka, it was not necessarily true for before and after the battle. It also explains how Das Reich lost a Hummel to air attacks on 12 July when it had three Wespe batteries, it lost it why it was serving under Totenkopf.

This brings up another point. In my article I said that Das Reich and Totenkopf had self-propelled artillery pieces that were based on captured French tank hulls.  This was based on older sources I used years ago when I made my earlier Prohorovka scenarios. Yet Christopher Lawrence's does not address this point, it continues to address those divisions' SPAs as Wespes and Hummels. I checked into this. When the Hummel and Wespe went into production, a schedule was established on when units would get their SPA vehicles (unlike with wargamers who when a certain vehicle become available on a certain date, all units in the army are magically fully equipped with that vehicle on that certain date). The LAH division got theirs in June and the Das Reich and Totenkopf were to get theirs in July.  Obviously, Das Reich and Totenkopf didn't want to wait for them as the upcoming Kursk campaign was coming. So they used their influence to get possession of the these experimental French vehicles when they were turned in by units that had received their Wespes and Hummels.

After the conquest of France in 1940, several private German firms took to converting some of the captured French tanks into assault guns, self-propelled anti-tank guns, and self-propelled artillery pieces. Most of the vehicles stayed in France and were encountered and captured by the Western Allies in 1944. But some were sent to the Eastern Front for combat testing. Among these were the self-propelled artillery pieces as the Germans were testing out the SPA concept. These French vehicles were to be sent back to France, but the Waffen SS intervened and got them for themselves first. It is possible that some Wespes and Hummels arrived for Das Reich and Totenkopf during the Kursk campaign but I can not ascertain when they took possession of them, but certainly not during the campaign. I know that after the German battle of Kursk (as they define it) when the LAH division was transferred to Italy, Das Reich and Totenkopf received all of this departing division's vehicles, including its Wespes and Hummels.

So why did the Germans SS continue to refer to the SPA units as Wespe and Hummel batteries even though they had French vehicles. My guess is that since they were going to get those vehicles anyway, it was easier to refer them as such, considering the fact that the French SPAs were based on five or six different vehicles (which must have been a maintenance nightmare for the repair crews in the field trains).


Thanks Alan! Salute
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11-27-2017, 01:41 AM,
#40
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
I'm currently playing two games as the Russians.  Was thinking of an AAR or DAR but don't have the time for it, especially for this monster scenario. Instead I'll post some thoughts I have after 30 turns of play in a head to head game and about 19 turns in a 2x2 team game.

Please note that anything I say negative about the scenario and / or Campaign Series does not take away from my over all rating that this scenario is good as it stands and has the potential to be a classic (such as an item I note that Battle Kat just posted concerning a new update in which the hexes filled with motorcycles have been adjusted allowing for dismount before the Germans arrive to slaughter the loaded units).  As for Campaign Series my profile is incorrect as I have been part of this club way before 2000 (was part of the Leadeaters club) and playing East Front from its inception.  Over this CS "career" I've taken time away, sometimes a few years break at a time, but always come back to this game....

1:  Wondering if the massed loaded trucks and motorcycles, especially for the 2nd Guards Tank Corps and the 2nd Tank Corps was purposeful to allow the Germans to grab some points before the Russian counterattack? I can't update to the latest version in the middle of two games but take heart that this may have been mitigated a little.  It would take a hell of a lot of extra work but would be good if the two corps's units were deployed in traditional defensive positions.

2:  Earl has a point about the masses of artillery and its effect on play-ability. Believe Earl also does away with the lower level HQs such as battalion level.  Campaign Series was never designed for games on this scale but gamers will always try to push it to the extreme.  I think Earl did a good job with his Kursk scenarios and a few of the games I played ended with close to historical results.  That being said I think Alan's effort helps expose some of the weaknesses in the original design (i.e. the artillery discussion) and allows designers to improve the game engine for EF III).    I hope Alan is up for future revisions as this scenario has the potential to be a "capstone" scenario for EF III and I do not suggest removing all the smaller units for playability purposes. If command responsibilities are assigned to Corps Commanders then the game for each commander is more manageable and those 81mm mortars are more significant in the commander's corner of the battlefield.  Even more true for divisional play but doubt there could ever be a team game with that many players).

3:  This scenario is for hardcore gamers only.  Each turn is a significant investment in time.  It takes an average of 20 minutes just to see one side's artillery replay.  This is perfect for a team game but the issue is finding 4-8 players willing to put in the work on a consistent basis.   I find that I only watch the enemy's replay every few turns.  

Wondering if a future version of the game engine could improve play ability by allowing for abstract and quickly viewed battle and artillery reports?  Instead of an either/or replay, either watch each and every unit in your LOS move and fire and sit through movement out of LOS or nothing and forced into watching each and every artillery unit fire there were battle reports by area or unit (artillery strikes on these hexes resulted in so many SP losses, disruptions and disables)?

4: Wondering what the Germans were thinking by attacking north of the Psel River?  Even today, viewing Google maps there are few crossings and any German unit heading in a NE direction would only have a tenuous supply line back the way they came.  No help from the south.  Very ambitious plan to push to the NE then take Hill 252.4 with the under-strength Totenkopf Division.  They must have thought they had the Russians on the ropes and were unaware of the forces waiting for them.

5: I'm on turn 30 in the head to head game and have been successful in repulsing the German push east at the cost of both the 2nd Guards Tank Corps and 2nd Tank Corps being mostly destroyed.  These two corps were able to absorb the attack and push the Germans back to the start line.  I'm about 8 turns into a massive counterattack along the main Prokhorovka railway and highway. I'm surrounding and capturing many German units but the initial cost in units was high and each turn I start around -1000 points.  Slowly but surely I am catching up on points but I note that a Minor Victory is at 4000 points.   This is keeping the game exciting as I'm not sure where the 5000 points will come from as my initial counter attack will run out of steam soon.   Just had two divisions released but now I'm facing the problem the Germans had.  The further I advance, the closer I get to the enemy's artillery.  I'm beginning the slow process of moving my artillery regiments forward.
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