Flashpoint Germany Meeting of Titans

The following after-action report details a scenario from the US V Corps mission set in which I will be playing as the NATO Force Commander. The setting is the opening day of the war, May 7, 1989 at 10:00. The Warsaw Pact forces have successfully utilized electronic warfare capabilities to disrupt communications between units, resulting in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment receiving orders late to defend the river crossing at Norderfurt.

I previously played this scenario as the Warsaw Pact and obtained a Tactical Victory outcome.

Game Options


I am playing the scenario in full 30 minute (simulated) turns. There are a total of 24 turns however this mission will be done long before that.

Realism Options


NATO units are intended to use stealthy movement by default which enables them to utilize any available local cover and concealment to optimal advantage while moving. WARSAW Pact forces typically put a premium on high speed movement and overall formation cohesion so they would generally not utilize stealthy movement

Order of Battle


There are a number of screens relating information regarding the scenario before the game begins, one of them being the OOB for the friendly forces. Here I have US 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment consisting of three cavalry troops, a headquarters section, a flight of helicopters, as well as off map assets in the form of artillery and a flight of ground attack aircraft.

Critical Units


The M1A1 Abrams is a first line Main Battle Tank that sports a 120mm main gun and a unique combination of special characteristics that give it an edge over the Soviet MBT.

For this scenario I will have 24 M1A1 MBT’s as front line units at the start, and another eight scheduled as later turn reinforcements.


The M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle is a formidable in the anti-tank role as it fields two TOW missiles, as well as a 25mm autocannon. Although the CFV variant of the Bradley is intended for the scout/reconnaissance role, I will be using them in a direct action capacity.

For this scenario I will have 36 M3 CFV’s as front line units at the start, and another 12 scheduled as later turn reinforcements.

Pregame Setup Phase One


This is the pregame setup phase where I can take the default disposition of forces and drag and drop them where I like within the blue bounding box. The game map represents an area of the western portion of the Federal Republic of Germany measuring 20 km X 15 km with each square grid on the map represents 500 meters.

Objectives


NATO has Victory Points available in Sector 6 (30) and Sector 12 (10). The Warsaw Pact has points available in Sector 6 (150) and Sector 1 (10). Although the scenario briefing refers to securing the bridge crossing at Norderfurt (Sector 12), I can only win this decisively if I keep the Soviets from occupying and clearing Sector 6.

Please see my commentary in the Post Mortem section at the end of this post for an explanation of the electronic warfare setting.

Pregame Setup Phase Two


I decide to array my entire force as a reverse L to block the road leading northwest. The two flights of helicopters are sent out to scout for the enemy main force, and the off map M-109 A2/3 howitzers are ordered to deploy FASCAM at the indicated grids.

Combat Action


At the end of turn one, reinforcement arrived on the battlefield in the form of an additional Cavalry Troop (eight M1A1 Abrams MBT’s and their headquarters complement). This was a particularly bloody first turn in which NATO incurred significant losses, specifically losing three of the four helicopters.

Losses

NATO = 5
Warsaw Pact = 24

Additional Orders

The eight MBT that have just arrived are moved forward to take up defensive positions while additional FASCAM is deployed at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn two, the previously arrived reinforcement is filled out with two platoons of 12 total M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles. 

Losses

NATO = 7
Warsaw Pact = 40

Additional Orders

The newly arrived mechanized infantry units are deployed to the grids indicated.


At the end of turn three, the carnage on the battlefield is evident as NATO has lost 23 units and the Warsaw Pact has lost 56. This is another attrition war that the Americans cannot stand toe to toe with the Soviets in terms of units that can be tossed willy-nilly into the wood chipper.

Losses

NATO = 30
Warsaw Pact = 96

Additional Orders

FASCAM is deployed to the indicated grids in an attempt to mitigate the advance of units crossing over the bridge to the south, and all nonmoving mortar units are placed On Call.


At the end of turn four, the destruction of the previous turn is replaced by the rather placid loss of only two additional vehicles in total (for the Soviets). The advance of the reinforcement units has been very slow taking several turns to develop, and I wonder if I should have manually taken their movement off of “stealthy” for the deployment forward.

Losses

NATO = 30
Warsaw Pact = 98

Additional Orders

FASCAM is deployed to the indicated grids.


At the end of turn five, the battle has picked up somewhat with the exchange of multiple long range fire. However this has proven to be largely ineffective for both sides with little to claim for actual kills.

Losses

NATO = 30
Warsaw Pact = 100

Additional Orders

FASCAM is deployed to the indicated grids.


At the end of turn six, the Warsaw Pact forces have successfully flanked me to the left in no small part to my leaving the door wide open. Various HQ units now exposed are suffering direct fire but are moving to evade destruction given the SOP doctrines in place.

Losses

NATO = 35
Warsaw Pact = 124

Additional Orders

FASCAM is deployed to the indicated grids.


At the end of turn seven, I have lost one HQ unit to the flanking enemy force but continue to bloody their nose against my wall of armor as an additional 18 vehicles are claimed as kills.

Losses

NATO = 38
Warsaw Pact = 142

Additional Orders

FASCAM is deployed to the indicated grids.


At the end of turn eight, a flight of two A-10 Thunderbolts arrive. The enemy also has previously undetected air assets now appearing in the form of Mi-24F attack helicopters. My units are at a severe risk here as no component contains any organic AAA defenses (such as a Vulcan). My 155mm howitzers are now completely out of ammunition.

Losses

NATO = 40
Warsaw Pact = 157

Additional Orders

The A-10 flight is ordered to conduct an airstrike at the indicated grid.


At the end of turn nine, the A-10 sortie proved to be wildly successful in destroying six Soviet vehicles without the loss of a single aircraft.

Losses

NATO = 43
Warsaw Pact = 169

Additional Orders

A resupplied Abrams platoon is moved back into the front line, and the resupplied artillery is ordered to deploy FASCAM at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn 10, the A-10 airstrike capability has returned. The unmolested artillery has completed the FASCAM deployment and there is now a wall of mines in front of my defensive position. Neither side lost a single vehicle during the rather fast turn resolution.

Losses

NATO = 43
Warsaw Pact = 169

Additional Orders

The A-10 flight is ordered to conduct an airstrike at the indicated grid, and the artillery units are all placed On Call.


During turn 14 I finally receive a declaration notice that one side has exceeded 80% casualties. With the Victory Point Balance meter at the bottom of the image at 82%, I opt to roll the dice and accept the outcome.


The game ends in a Tactical NATO Victory outcome.

A player wins decisively if he nets 180 points or more over the enemy. 105 points or more is a tactical victory, 30 points or more is a marginal victory, and any other result is a draw.

After-action Reports


The Staff Overview and Summary reveals the final score as 208-43, a difference of 165 points (just 15 points shy of a Decisive Victory outcome). The unit loss during this scenario was astounding, with NATO losing 43 units and the Warsaw Pact losing 175.


The Tactical Operations Center Staff Diary details the number of survivors and the effectiveness of each unit.

The standout unit was the six M3 Bradly CFV’s of 3/A/1-11 Cavalry Platoon that accounted for 25 total kills for the loss of five vehicles.

The A-10 airstrike was very successful on the first sortie in taking six kills, but was only marginal in the second run accounting for two additional kills.

Review Final Situation


While the Soviets did manage to place several units within the objective sector, they were insufficient to garner any substantial points for the AI commander. Had they ventured further northwest those units would have suffered additional loss at the string of FASCAM that was deployed.

Post Mortem

While writing up this AAR I noticed in one of the information panels that the electronic warfare setting was low. This greatly frustrates me as I always play on medium (high is seriously overblown in my opinion), and I made sure before starting this that it was set to medium.

Going back through a couple of other AAR’s I noticed this has happened before. Perhaps I should have noticed this during actual game play when determining kill claims by turn, however I did not.

To test my sanity I started a number of games on medium EW and while in the game the setting had reverted to low. It seems to me that this is a bug in the game that missed quality control and the final patch process, and I can only hope that it is not present in the newer game.

It seems to me after some additional testing that the electronic warfare level is predetermined, regardless of what is set in the options screens before the scenario is launched. I have tried adjusting a mission such as “Soviet Main Force Attack” to low EW only to have the scenario configured for high EW.

This mission was played on 8/22/15 on a Windows 7 machine.

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