Stuff concerning Koz's Hedgerow Obsessive Disorder. ;)


Postby Koz » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:32 pm

Well I have been doing some solo gaming on VASL and have been coming up with some tactics on the Hedgerow. Here are my thoughts so far. Hopefully this can generate some traffic! =) Yeah this is a little chatty but I am bored. Hotel living is oh so exciting. ;)

Germans (Defence)

In this map I have noticed several sorts of defensive situations.

1: Hedgerows >= 2 hexes wide.
This is the ideal defensive situation vs Infantry. The infantry are forced to non assault move across the field. This will strip concealment and get the FFNAM and FFMO penalties and will keep the advancing fire at half (No PB double) Most of the best defensive lines on the map are facing fields this size.

Vs Armor this is a poor defensive location. It is beyond effective PF and PSK range. If you happen to have your ATGs set up then its obviously the ideal. If not. You are gonna get hammered by the tanks.

Hedgerows <2 hexes wide
This is the worst situation vs infantry. With the expanded ability to grow ? in bocage, the infantry WILL be concealed. This will allow them to assault move to point blank without the FFNAM/FFMO penalties. Any squad that survives gets to double for point blank, which means a 8 FP shot from american first line squads. I tend to fall back from these lines unless I have a BIG stack or cant afford to give the ground.

Vs tanks, this is the best situation. You can get a 2 hex range PF or PSK shot, underbelly if the tanks move at you. Since HIP remains HIP in open ground so long as LOS is not traced over a non bocage hex side or is non adjacent, those infantry LATW tank traps scare me as a tanker to wait for the infantry to sanitize these fields.

The orchards are just darned ugly to defend. Being concealment terrain, if you assault move/assault you gain go 2 hexes and keep your ?. Scott made good progress in our game crossing a 4 hex field this way. Between the area fire and the hinderances it simply was not worth shooting at. Aside of putting a squad or two to keep the US honest and force him to assault move, I think that defending hard on an orchard hedgerow field is not worth it. However you can spring some nasty HIP tank traps in the orchards.

Have not really fought IN the villages yet. But the ability to do that prep fire and hide trick in a building/bocage hex is pretty nasty. The good thing is that you can get some level 2 locations without the observation towers. Bag thing is this just screams "Pre register" or "Smoke me!"

Bocage Lanes
These can be ugly. Your shooters are place in crest and get the +2 vs bocage. Units IN the lane are not visible so they can retain their ?. So what if the enemy breaks the shooters in crest. You can route out of sight and if he advances into the vacated hex you still have your ? reserve IN the hex for ambush in CC. The drawback is if the enemy gets adjacent, IN the sunken lane you will loose any crest units in rout.([EDIT] Changed the Sunken Bocage Road rules to eliminate this.) I just mine the hell out of my flank to deal with that problem. BUT if he gets in and survives the mine and any DF, you are in trouble.

I cant ever have enough FPP. Believe it or not the simple BREACH purchase is invaluable to allow fast movement in your lines (no 2+COT over the bocage) and to open up hole for fire lanes or simple LOS. I was finding out how placing a breach in an unexpected spot can "Hole" the bocage to get some very unexpected LOS for my mortars. [EDIT]: This is a mistake. The breach is defined in the rules as not effecting fire or LOS, only movement. The things are still great for making movement paths no more 2 + COT.

MINES are also invaluable. each field has a little sweet spot that can see the entire field with no blind corners. Put mines there and you can force a blind spot for a counterattack, or blast a kill stack moving into position.

Wire and Foxholes, Roadblocks and Fortified Building locations are used the standard way, and the wire/roadblocks can slow down that highway into your rear areas. Plus the Roadblock as a wall can set up a nice nest for your MG stack to turn the road into a shooting gallery.

OBA...Pre-register that puppy. Your SR will more that likely fall out of LOS and you are just asking for a red card draw. But holy crap! with the FG's necessary to overcome all the ? targets, you are talking a target rich environment piled up on those Hedgerows. Bore sight your mortars for the same effect.

The most important fortification is the Observation towers. Used to spot for your mortars they give you some actual observation out to 10 hexes where the triple blind hexes make observation improbable. And the observer is ?, and stays concealed as observation is not a ? loss activity. Short of smoking him, your fire is halved twice so hitting that annoying observer is hard to do and those 81mm mortars are now something to worry about. The actual field is usually a blind spot, but the staging hedgerow on the far side isn't.

The best thing as the German is the Victory conditions. Toe to toe I usually cant stand up to the US firepower, and with my low squad count I cant afford to risk loosing a squad in a fire fight. But I can certainly force him to deploy and fight for every field. I have really had trouble actually killing US squads in the games I have played. Those big advance fire kill stacks intimidate me into keeping my ? for the return fire. But I've kept them at a crawl by skulking or falling back to the next field every time he gets to where he can hit me, then forcing it all over again. With the 6 turn limit, this is how I think most the games will be won by the Germans.
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Postby Koz » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:32 pm

American (Attacker)
I have only played US once but my counter pushing around the map and just some thoughts have me thinking this.

Hedgerow Field >= 2 hexes
As an infantry commander I cringe at these. I cant assault move if I want to CC the opponent. The US advance fire advantage using its assault fire to attack in advance, at the same strength most folks attack at standing still helps, but the 6 morale... Some one farts at them and they DM and get the skedaddle put into them. So without my concealment or a lot of LVs I am toast here in infantry.

As a tank commander I like these fields. I am well out of PF PSK range and this lets me set up to machine gun, HE or smoke/WP the hell out of the guy across the way. If successful, then my infantry can storm across unmolested.

Hedgerow field <2 hexes
I like to attack here as infantry. The sheer number of MF necessary to get anywhere sucks, but I can assault move without FFNAM and double my FP (plus us assault fire) of anyone that has survived. Considering my infantry smoke exponent I should be able to smoke my opponent as well. Finally. CC at the end will occur which I have a 3-2 advantage.

Tanks are a little scary here though. Every german there festoons with PFs and the HIP PSK trap is ubiquitous. Even the simple bocage in open ground can contain a HIPster. So I would tend to keep my tanks away from here unless I have a wad of infantry sanitizing the HIP traps in front of me. Or some canister to prune.

Scott G showed me the benefit of the orchards. Advancing ? and keeping it even at point blank in the ? terrain. And I can even move normally with only FFNAM, offset by hinderances, to hurt my assault. Advancing fire will suck with all the hinderances, but if I am trying to retain ? I don't need to fire anyhow.

With my potential HIP traps don't even think of a Tank in here though until thoroughly sanitized by infantry.

Vs the Sunken lanes. Mortars or OBA is the deal. The indirect fire effects the entire hex and this can hurt those in crest as well as those annoying krauts hiding IN the depression hex. Airburst terrain to boot. OR hitting it with WP.

This reminds me of my overall tactics. Bocage is clearly combined arms. Use your Sherman's. They are your friends. The M-10 are not as useful only having s5 sP5, HE. But the M-4 has a, sM5, wp7 and s5. wp7? WP7!!! Yikes!!!! and the sM5 to discharge in movement. Problems with that defended hedge on the far side of the field? Move up and stop to sM5 one hex in movement. Run squads behind the smoke. Advance fire the wp7 (You CAN fire it first action in any fire phase not just Prep fire like smoke) at any resistance (or just HE/MG them) And then assault phase through the smoke.

But first make certain you have run your infantry through the area so there aren't any HIP PF/PSK traps.

If you don't have your tanks. OPPORTUNITY FIRE! Your opponent will be ? and behind a +2 bocage at least. Make him sweat when he has to decide whether or not to strip ? to shoot your maneuver group, when the result is taking a non area fire shot from that opportunity fire kill stack. Your 2 666 MMG 16 Fp +2 stack will be much more effective that the measly 8FP+2 you had before. This is another lesson learned from Scott G.

I cant comment too much on this though as I have not been on the attack. but once. Anyhow I am about all talked out. Comments?
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Re: Tactics

Postby Keith Collins » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:57 pm

Well in my vast (4 scenarios) experiance in attacking in hedgrows I'm finding it amazingly similar to city fighting. Basically the defender (usually) has to set up on a wide front thus starting the game dispersed. As the attacker for set up you choose the approach you want to take, hoping to arrange a local force superiority. Arrange your suport weapons, armor, oba, board edge, etc to interdict possible movement, reinforcement by the defender of the area you plan to advance over. Use the prolific firepower, assault fire, & smoke of the american assault forces to overwhelm the defenders at the point of attack. Always use half squad scouts to force ? loss. Alwasys look for ways to flank & isolate hedgerow feilds and strong points. Most hedgerows will fall once you get in position to bring it under fire from 2 sides.

Actually the tactics mentioned in the back of the Original Squad Leader rules for city fighting work well for Bocage country too.
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