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Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
07-15-2018, 10:56 AM,
#1
Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
I have embarked on a project to create a multi-day Normandy invasion scenario. This scenario will not be for the feint of heart, with the number of units and replacement management implemented (see below). Presently, I am working on the OOB which has taken more time than I thought due to my own preferences. Scenario design concepts are expressed below:

The actual time frame of the scenario is still in flux. Originally, the idea was to run 20 days or until roughly the fall of cherbourg. I've also considered shorter periods of 7 or 14 days. I will probably start smaller, and expand farther out if play-testing goes well.

Platoons run the show: All units will be broken down to platoon level for infantry and the equivalent for tanks and guns. A house rule is implemented that no 2 platoon elements can combine that would create a single unit strength larger than the established platoon size. A separate pdt file is also generated that will further reduce hex stacking limits to between 100-110.

Replacements: Handling this on a multi-day scenario requires an out of the box approach, especially when no feature exists to enable replacements like in PzC. So, the following ideas came to light
1) As much as possible, units are organized in the oob structure to allow for the combining of units to consolidate strength when needed. Most of the effort here went towards MG units.

2) Replacement platoons: Each American infantry company will receive 2 additional platoons over time as replacements. These will arrive at the beach depot locations designated for each division. An additional house rule is implemented that these units cannot leave the beach area until at least two other platoons in the company have combined together(following the house rule laid out in "platoons run the show" section). The goal of this house rule is to maintain that each allied infantry company never have more than 3 individual combat units at the front lines. And best represents the replacement practices of the allied side. British and Canadian forces will only receive 1 infantry platoon representing their more limited manpower and possibly showing the more conservative approach of their tactics.

It is possible that beach depots could become crowded with replacement units. This is fine, as there were collection points and these units can defend the beach depots if by chance the Germans break through.

A similar approach will be taken to gun and tank companies. This will add a bit of unit management to the scenario. Some players may not enjoy this aspect. 

3) The Germans will receive very few such platoon replacements like the allies get. Instead relying on their feldersatz units and new units arriving to the area to bolster their front lines. Some Divisions on the contentin will receive some replacement platoons which bolster the companies from ad-hoc units formed in Cherbourg. Unlike the allies however, Germans can utilize their replacement platoons as separate combat units, this being more representative of German practices.

4) It is my hope that eventually, at some point, PzB-Normandy will be updated to include the new ticking VP location feature being implemented in PzB-3.

5) A separate game install will probably be needed for this scenario since the database is as rigid as it is, but I might take the time to redo all the units with new unit names to avoid this, but we'll see.

Personal preferences added to the scenario:
1) Captured equipment used by Germany will have its German designation.
2) Infantry fire range is reduced to 2 for allies, and 3 for Germans. 
3) MG fire range is reduced to 3 (might increase back to 4)
4) Fixed equipment belonging to WN has been reworked a little.
5) Adding names at battalion level where possible. Generic HQ pictures will still be used.

I got some work ahead of me, but I post this to open things up for suggestions, new ideas or concerns. I always believed more heads are better than one and perhaps there is an aspect I've not thought through, or thought of yet.

Thanks
Atheory
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07-15-2018, 05:46 PM,
#2
RE: Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
Atheory,

Some very interesting concepts here.

A couple of things to be aware of;

Platoons run the show - if you limit stacking to 2 or less units, you will accumulate excessive fatigue. The game system is hard coded to consider three units to be optimal. If you moved to a squad level, then I believe you could game this factor as from memory this will count as three units. The other option is to allow three units to stack. I’m not quite certain what you’re trying to achieve by limiting it to two platoons or less. PDT stacking limits. If you reduce this to the level you’re suggesting then fire will generate excessive casualties as there is a multiplier once the stacking limit exceeds 50% of the hex stacking limit. My recommendation if you want this approach is to set the stacking limit at 2x 2 platoons (which on my quick calc would be about 160). That approach allows a company to stack, but at a penalty for size.

Replacements. You’re correct, the mechanism for replacements was excluded from PzB. The interesting thing is that it should be in the code. The base PzB code was based on the PzC code as it was back in 2009. No promises, but there is a chance it may be revived if we see value in it. That said, you gave me a few ideas with what you’re suggesting. The replacement platoons idea would work. You could either do as you suggest and have say 5 infantry platoons per company or the more radical 15 squads per company. Going to squads allows you to drip feed the replacements in a more granular fashion. Better still remove the company structure and build out at battalion level either at platoon level (including 6 replacement platoons) or heaven forbid at squad level. I would not worry about house rules because if a player had so few losses that he could build Uber stacks, he would be punished by the PDT limits. It would also reflect big pushes where some units were over strength for particular assaults. This allows the players to decide on risk and reward.

The new ticking VP's will be included in the patches released post North Africa.

I would suggest you not create replacements for guns. They were very finite in relationship to their crews. This was such a specialised arm that you wouldn't have ready replacements. Your armor suggestions would work. particularly if you go to the battalion model I was suggesting. Excluding replacements for engineers and other specialised troops would be justified on the same basis as artillery.

The above approach would allow you to work with the current OOB, unless you went down to squad level. I think using the PDT file as your method of handling stacking and possibly redoing the OB to allow the replacements will be sufficient. New components will be a huge amount of work.

Happy to feedback as necessary - feel free to send any draft work my way for review, but I would start with the Longest Day scenario as your base....

David
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07-15-2018, 11:02 PM,
#3
RE: Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
Sounds interesting... maybe as test you can try your mod-scen in a more limited area... for example the assault over Caen or full Cherburg assault, focus in a more limited area to test how perform your changes.

If work fine the use of replacements this could be added in future PzB titles because i still miss some multi-day scens, more based in carry an operation in time and not only by a "space" concept

PD: the best thing could be use the replacement system with the number of avaliable replacements set in OOB BUT player can send them where he wants-needs...
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07-16-2018, 02:12 PM,
#4
RE: Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
Thanks for the feedback....nothing is written in stone as all is a work in progress.

I have come to the realization that adding components is time consuming. Work here is tedious, more so than OOB restructuring which I oddly enjoy. Getting graphics to three different folders seems excessive. Maybe I only need one folder, not sure which if so, could test that out later. But I got it working my way at the moment. I still think if possible, a new component could be linked to an already established image without having to add a new image. But these areas are things I know not.

My motive around stacking limits, as with the reduced fire ranges for infantry mainly stem from what I understand about small unit engagements. And I probably leaned a bit more on the defensive side of the equation. Always happy to take in insights from the experts on the game code. What you've suggested is reasonable.

Squad level would make things more efficient and flexible.....now I ponder the workload.

@Xaver
testing will take place, but I still have to finish the work on the oob.
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07-16-2018, 02:34 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-16-2018, 02:36 PM by Ocito80.)
#5
RE: Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
The working concept for squads:

If I remove platoons, each inf company would have 9-12 gruppe units. With an additional 3-6 as replacement units if so warranted. These would be named so they could combine into actual platoon or full company size units.

The oob would resemble something like this:

1/I/Gren-Regt.919
1./zug/1/GR919
2./zug/1/GR919
3./zug/1/GR919
4./zug/1/GR919
5./zug/1/GR919
etc...to 9.

2/I/Gren-Regt.919
1./zug/2/GR919
2./zug/2/GR919
3./zug/2/GR919
4./zug/2/GR919
5./zug/2/GR919
etc...to 9.

If I were to strip away the company structure, the battalion in my view would be void of any real structure, yet permit a broader use of the replacement system.

it would look like

I/Gren-Regt.919
1./zug/I/GR919
2./zug/I/GR919
3./zug/I/GR919
4./zug/I/GR919
5./zug/I/GR919
6./zug/I/GR919
7./zug/I/GR919
8./zug/I/GR919
9./zug/I/GR919
10./zug/I/GR919
etc...
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07-16-2018, 05:12 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-16-2018, 05:13 PM by Strela.)
#6
RE: Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
(07-16-2018, 02:34 PM)Ocito80 Wrote: The working concept for squads:

If I remove platoons, each inf company would have 9-12 gruppe units. With an additional 3-6 as replacement units if so warranted. These would be named so they could combine into actual platoon or full company size units.

The oob would resemble something like this:

1/I/Gren-Regt.919
1./zug/1/GR919
2./zug/1/GR919
3./zug/1/GR919
4./zug/1/GR919
5./zug/1/GR919
etc...to 9.

2/I/Gren-Regt.919
1./zug/2/GR919
2./zug/2/GR919
3./zug/2/GR919
4./zug/2/GR919
5./zug/2/GR919
etc...to 9.

If I were to strip away the company structure, the battalion in my view would be void of any real structure, yet permit a broader use of the replacement system.

it would look like

I/Gren-Regt.919
1./zug/I/GR919
2./zug/I/GR919
3./zug/I/GR919
4./zug/I/GR919
5./zug/I/GR919
6./zug/I/GR919
7./zug/I/GR919
8./zug/I/GR919
9./zug/I/GR919
10./zug/I/GR919
etc...

I would only remove the company structure if you were remaining with platoon.

If going to squad then you would do this all at company level as you suggest.

For graphics. You can copy an image in a folder and rename it to your new component name and it will be used.

My personal take for overall ease is that I would not do any excessive OOB changes (new components etc) but rather adjust the PDT to your desired level and add your new replacements at platoon level and try a few situations.

This is the path of least change and allows you to use existing work as a starting point. Anything else means a completely new (and large) project.

Always better to try a few things than biting too much off initially.

David
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07-17-2018, 06:35 AM,
#7
RE: Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
I created a hypothetical invasion of Pas-de-Calais for 1944 using the France'40 game. I'm no stranger to extensive OOB work. Taking big bites is kind of my thing :)

With the graphics, yes I know, but PzB added more folders (the _50 and _100 ones) which means more time copy pasting and renaming. PzC only had one folder. And it's not like one can copy and paste one image to 3 folders, each folder has a different image to deal with. Makes for some good times :P

The new component work is pretty much done, as is much of the graphics for them. I've been working on the OOB for the last 3 weeks, before posting here on the forums about the project. Besides, its hard for me to see the Germans using a french gun and not use the proper beute number for it.

If I elect to do Platoon at battalion level, or squad at company level, either way I am looking at a lot of additional copy/paste and editing within the oob. So, the question then remains, which way do I prefer to go....right now I'm leaning towards platoon level to start with.

Thanks
Atheory
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07-17-2018, 11:47 AM,
#8
RE: Atheory's Project: PzB-Normandy Campaign
After some consideration and given what we know of the campaign, I am going to implement both concepts. The Germans will be structured according to the battalion/platoon idea, whilst the allies will be done so at the Company/squad level.
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