Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 3/2

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Danielefc
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Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 3/2

Unread postby Danielefc » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:00 am

BETA is over and the two versions of this scenario have been uploaded to the community scenarios page. But feedback and comments are as always still welcome :)


Hi folks

This scenario covers the fighting in the Orel and Kursk salients in July 1943. Its singleplayer, and as always I've tried to make it as hard as possible while sticking to historical forces and areas of deployment.

The scenario differs quite a bit from previous versions of this battle ("Zitadelle" in Red Turn and the two community "Kursk" ones). The biggest difference is the inclusion of the Orel Salient. The player will not only have to breach into the Kursk Salient - but also defend against massive Soviet attacks into the northern flank of the Orel Salient.

NEWEST (and final) VERSION 1.06: Uploaded to community scenarios page http://unityofcommand.net/cs/view.php?sid=134

VERSION 1.00: Uploaded to community scenarios page (http://unityofcommand.net/cs/view.php?sid=132 )

Changes made for 22/1:

--Added objectvies in the Orel Salient. Its not something I've done before (objectives behind friendly lines) - But in the many tests I've made it works like a charm. This was done because in the previous version the player could pretty much loose the entire northern section of the map and still come out with a victory. Not excatly what was intended. Although partisans did not "occupy" the areas in question - there were massive problems with partisans in these areas at the time. As such i find this to be an acceptable work-a-round

--Tweaked AI

Changes made for 26/1:

--Added German Re-inforcements
----198.ID (5 steps, veteran, Turn 2 by Kharkov)
----253.ID (5 steps, veteran, Turn 4 by Bryansk)
----95.ID (5 steps, veteran, Turn 6 by Bryansk)
----20.PG (5 steps, StuGIII, veteran, Turn 6 by Bryansk)

--Added player prestige: 200

--Added German OKH Reserve
----5.SS (5 steps, StuGIII, elite, Turn 3 by Kharkov, cost 200)
----23.PD (4 steps, elite. Turn 3 by Kharkov, cost 200)

--Spelling/naming corrections

Changes made for 29/1:

--AI tweaks by Alexandrovka and Ponyri
--Bridge added south of Alexandrovka to add a (theoretical) threat from this area
--Static Unit added south of Kaluga bridge

Changes made for 3/2:

--Many tweaks to the AI
--Added and changed some specialists for the Soviets. Some for balance and some for realism.
--Changed supply setup - major change
--Changed objective turn conditions for Alexandrovka and Kursk
--Added static unit to Tula



SCENARIO NOTES:

1. The Soviets recieve massive reinforcements on turns 1, 2 and 3.

--Turn 1: Five Tank Corps and Three Infantry Corps in the Kursk Salient
--Turn 2: Two Tank Corps south of Kaluga
--Turn 3: Three Tank Corps, One Cavalry Corps and one Infantry Corps south of Kaluga -- Also three Tank Corps south of Tula.

2. The Orel Salient has its main supply source from a hex just east of Bryansk. This was done to simulate the disastrous supply effects a Soviet incursion into this supply route would have had on forces further east. (This is no longer true for the newest version)

3. The Soviet forces inside the Kursk salient have recieved a "fallback line" - in effect almost doubling the infantry corps in the salient. This was done to simulate the massive (and deep) defensive works that was constructed in these areas.

4. I have used abbreviations for naming Soviet units (like its done in the base game and dlcs). I usually spell things out as far as there is room for it. But because of the many Soviet armies that were crammed together at this time I had to do it this way to keep things straight in my own head while making the scenario.

5. There are two ficticious units east of the Kursk Salient. They are there to prevent "gamey" rushes behind the salient.

6. Historically the Soviet offensives into the Orel Salient did not start until July 12th (turn 2). Sadly there no way to make the AI "wait" - so the attacks start on turn 1. But the powerfull units do not arrive until turn 2 and 3.


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Last edited by Danielefc on Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:00 pm, edited 23 times in total.

Mandrake48
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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 22/1

Unread postby Mandrake48 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:41 am

Great work with this Daniel, it's a brilliant scenario. Really ingenious work with objectives and supply to ensure the Soviets attack the Orel salient in force.

In my first playthrough the Soviets smashed through my lines not only on the north side of the Orel salient, but on the south too! My northern pincer was almost encircled and only some pretty desperate counter-attacking by the battered remnants of my infantry and the arrival of two panzer divisions from the Kursk attack prevented a total collapse and restored supplies to the remaining panzers to the east.

As for the attack on Kursk, I managed to complete the encirclement on turn five, but it was touch and go. I couldn't have done it with a single division less - early Soviet counter-attacks destroyed several important formations. Even the situation south of the Kursk salient was a bit sketchy, because it's a helluva thin grey line you've got down there, and the temptation was to chuck into the Kursk cauldron whatever I could possibly spare.

So yeah, a great challenge and some really impressive work getting the AI to behave so aggressively. Nice one! :D

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Danielefc
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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 22/1

Unread postby Danielefc » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:03 pm

Mandrake48 wrote:Great work with this Daniel, it's a brilliant scenario. Really ingenious work with objectives and supply to ensure the Soviets attack the Orel salient in force.

In my first playthrough the Soviets smashed through my lines not only on the north side of the Orel salient, but on the south too! My northern pincer was almost encircled and only some pretty desperate counter-attacking by the battered remnants of my infantry and the arrival of two panzer divisions from the Kursk attack prevented a total collapse and restored supplies to the remaining panzers to the east.

As for the attack on Kursk, I managed to complete the encirclement on turn five, but it was touch and go. I couldn't have done it with a single division less - early Soviet counter-attacks destroyed several important formations. Even the situation south of the Kursk salient was a bit sketchy, because it's a helluva thin grey line you've got down there, and the temptation was to chuck into the Kursk cauldron whatever I could possibly spare.

So yeah, a great challenge and some really impressive work getting the AI to behave so aggressively. Nice one! :D


Thanks for the feedback! You nailed all the things I wanted to know worked as intended when played by someone other than me :). From what you describe everything went excatly according to plan so to speak.

The only change I am considering at this moment is removing the Katyushas from the guards mechanized corp that arrives north of Orel on turn 3. That thing "one-shots" anythig except a panzer division. On the other hand... I really want it to be a tough job on holding that northern supply chain open - as this was arguably the biggest constribution to the cancellation of 'Zitadelle' historically, along with losses amongst the infantry, the allied landings in Sicily and Soviet attacks further south.

Anyway - thanks for the feedback - very helpfull :)

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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 22/1

Unread postby Mandrake48 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:18 pm

I'd say the Soviet force attacking in the north is about right. They certainly do go through Axis infantry like a knife through butter but that makes things nice and desperate: how long can the infantry hold the line?

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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 22/1

Unread postby Tomislav Uzelac » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:21 pm

Very good scenario, Daniel. I've barely scraped through in my first playthrough, with a grand total of 225 points :D

The game played out very authentically IMO. I managed to pinch off the Kursk salient, albeit with the AI constantly taking back objectives there (hence the low score). In the north I barely manged to hold a much diminished Orel salient, and I retook the last objective at Klen (which the AI also retook at some point) only with a last turn rush.

The situation reads as if the Germans traded Orel salient for Kursk (also paid a stiff price in terms of casualties). The decisive pincer at Kursk was the southern one, which reminded of Manstein's claim - that he would be able to achieve a breakthrough given more time. Personally, I'm doubtful that this would have been possible historically, but the way the scenario recreates this situation naturally is very satisfying.

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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 22/1

Unread postby juoc » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:13 pm

My game crashed on turn 3 when trying out the old version of the scenario but I'm still on 1.04b so that might be it. Think I need to update? I see you've ruined my strategy of abandoning the northern front and group units around the supply center in the new version :).

Nice change of pace with an aggressive AI and no easy mass encirclements. I hope you continue with this concept if you make more scenarios (please do :)).

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Danielefc
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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 22/1

Unread postby Danielefc » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:57 pm

Mandrake48 wrote:I'd say the Soviet force attacking in the north is about right. They certainly do go through Axis infantry like a knife through butter but that makes things nice and desperate: how long can the infantry hold the line?


Cheers for the feedback :). There might be some minor german re-inforcements added to turn 4/5. But I'm also pretty happy with the balance at this point so will have to run a few tests. New (and probably final) version will be be up sometime tomorrow.

Tomislav Uzelac wrote:Very good scenario, Daniel. I've barely scraped through in my first playthrough, with a grand total of 225 points :D

The game played out very authentically IMO. I managed to pinch off the Kursk salient, albeit with the AI constantly taking back objectives there (hence the low score). In the north I barely manged to hold a much diminished Orel salient, and I retook the last objective at Klen (which the AI also retook at some point) only with a last turn rush.

The situation reads as if the Germans traded Orel salient for Kursk (also paid a stiff price in terms of casualties). The decisive pincer at Kursk was the southern one, which reminded of Manstein's claim - that he would be able to achieve a breakthrough given more time. Personally, I'm doubtful that this would have been possible historically, but the way the scenario recreates this situation naturally is very satisfying.


Cheers! Yea - Holding on to those objectives is supposed to be a challenge. Glad to hear its as much of a pain as intended ;). As for Mannstein's claims - yea not very likely that anything could have been achieved or changed imo as well. The German formations were bleeding out too fast and the Soviet reserves were still rather vast (and a lot bigger than Mannstein knew). It is intended that the "decisive" pincer be the southern one, since historically Model's attack floundered on day one pretty much. His force was much more reliant on assault guns plus he decided to use his infantry divisions for the intitial breakthrough - the way the Soviets and Allies preferred to do it. While it does spare the armoured forces of heavy causualties it also gives the opponent much better time to react. This effect is hard to re-create but giving the specialist steps to the infantry (as they should be historically) combined with the atttacks into the Orel Salient does an ok job of weakening the northern thrust imo.



juoc wrote:My game crashed on turn 3 when trying out the old version of the scenario but I'm still on 1.04b so that might be it. Think I need to update? I see you've ruined my strategy of abandoning the northern front and group units around the supply center in the new version :).

Nice change of pace with an aggressive AI and no easy mass encirclements. I hope you continue with this concept if you make more scenarios (please do :)).


It crashed on mine as well - It was because of some settings set by me in the editor. But this newer version should be completely stable. As for new objectives - Yea that was excatly why i did it :). Didn't want it to be possible to just "give up" the Orel Salient.

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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 26/1

Unread postby ComradeP » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:44 am

Good scenario, quite challenging!

The rows of German units in the north are the reason I didn't make a Soviet Kutuzov scenario.

Like some of my scenarios, the scenario clearly shows both the strengths and the weaknesses of the AI and AI hints. If you attack in a sector where the AI isn't expecting a major advance, it will tend to overreact and you can't specify which units should go where and when. The favourite AI strategy for recapturing objectives is hurling units at the defending unit over and over and over, which in this scenario means you're forced to create a screen of units around the objectives that will be hit first.

One balancing suggestion: make it more difficult to approach Kursk and Prokhorovka from the southeast, using the bridge across the Donets. Doing so seriously confuses the AI and makes it quite easy to get to Kursk. I nearly got a BV, but the AI hurled wave after wave of units at my Panzer division in Ponyri.

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Danielefc
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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 26/1

Unread postby Danielefc » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:32 pm

ComradeP wrote:Good scenario, quite challenging!

The rows of German units in the north are the reason I didn't make a Soviet Kutuzov scenario.

Like some of my scenarios, the scenario clearly shows both the strengths and the weaknesses of the AI and AI hints. If you attack in a sector where the AI isn't expecting a major advance, it will tend to overreact and you can't specify which units should go where and when. The favourite AI strategy for recapturing objectives is hurling units at the defending unit over and over and over, which in this scenario means you're forced to create a screen of units around the objectives that will be hit first.

One balancing suggestion: make it more difficult to approach Kursk and Prokhorovka from the southeast, using the bridge across the Donets. Doing so seriously confuses the AI and makes it quite easy to get to Kursk. I nearly got a BV, but the AI hurled wave after wave of units at my Panzer division in Ponyri.


Yea a pure 'Kutuzov' scenario would be problematic. However the AI's way of attacking (hurling units as you say :)) works well for this scenario as I see it. The attack into the North of Orel is so much more powerful than the units the player has to defend with that a bit of waste doesn't matter. As for the Kursk bulge - the only way to stop those german "über-divisions" is by hurling units at them, thus taking one out at a time. Now the problem - as you say - is that unexpected avenues of attack can seriously undermine the AI. But for a short scenario with a tight objective schedule its not a big issue (or atleast not an obvious one). But you seem to have found one - damnit :).

The bridge (and objective) accross Donetz: I tried to make the AI have a bit more presence against a concerted player advance through this area. But in essence I found it impossible without weakening the AI's efforts by Ponyri and Obojan. Again as you say - there is no way of telling the AI: send 60% of units here and 40% there. So in the end I decided against adding further AI hints in this area (there is already a "defend objective" backed up with a "defend with attack" behind it.) Plus I reckoned that the need for capturing Prochorovka-Obojan on turn 2 - coupled with the line of two veteran tank corps north of Alexandrovka (on players turn 1) would discourage players from using this alternate route. I will do a couple of playthroughs where I'll try to exploit this approach to the fullest. If its too "exploity" I'll see if some AI hint fiddling can make remedy this situation.

The irony is that Alexandrovka was added as an objective to make it harder for the southern pincer to succeed (and also to force some historical accuracy).

As for Ponyri: Its very very hard to hold on to Ponyri. One way of doing it is to relocate the Tigers from the 6.ID to the 9.PD on turn 1. Then letting the AI counterattack your other Panzer divisions - And then finally taking Ponyri on turn 3 with the 9.PD. At this stage the earlier AI counterattacks mean that by now an elite panzer division with tigers is "safe". There are other ways (a screen as you mention being one of them). But I find the above is the "easiest". And also the "intended" way of doing it - letting the player correct Models "mistake" of attaching his heavy armour formations to the infantry divisions - hoping to use them as the breakthrough force.

Anyway - thanks for the feedback! :)

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Re: Kursk-Orel singleplayer beta - UPDATED 26/1

Unread postby ComradeP » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:26 pm

With so many (fairly) good units for both sides the IGOUGO system shows its primary weakness as you might take an objective with your own quality unit, whilst the opponent will just take it back with his. I attacked Ponyri from the west and had not really suffered any losses worth mentioning yet (I think I lost 2 infantry divisions that I used as a screen), but the Soviets sending everything they had after me removed even the elite Panzer division from the game.


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