Bundeswehr "big cat" demonstrates the doctrine of I-fitz-I-sitzkrieg
This is a series of articles aimed at guiding players on how to run a defense in Team Yankee; basically anytime you are called upon to play the role of defender in the missions you play. In this part we'll take a look at how to set up a defense during a game.
While your units may lie unmoving in wait of the enemy, the same cannot be said for the gears in your head. As defender the battle begins the moment the scenario and roles are determined.
This part might tend towards the abstract as it is impossible to cover every possible combination of variables in detail.
Being on the defense naturally requires an element of preemptive thinking. We can break these down into principles, starting with the general ones
- Give the enemy tough choices.
This could have been mentioned in the previous part but it doesn't fit neatly into either because it concerns both list building and application. You need to make it difficult for your opponent to concentrate his fire, and you can do so by splitting your roles up between multiple units instead of having one unit do all of them. This is the main reason why I have a list building dichotomy between Frontline and Fire Support units. This way any firepower going to your fire support units isn't softening up your objective guarding units, and vice versa.
- Killing the enemy is but a means to an end
Seems obvious but had to be said. It's more a reminder to not let greed get the best of you
- Dying slowly is (usually) more important than killing the enemy quickly
Resist the temptation of firing when you shouldn't, especially for units holding the objectives. You have to hold off the opposing force for as long as possible, and revealing yourself by opening fire is directly detrimental to that. This goes especially for units sitting directly on the objective. Let the supporting elements do the shooting
As mentioned previously, the primary purpose of your frontline units is to deny your opposition access to places you don't want him to go. This can be accomplished through firepower, but also frequently through their physical presence. The most obvious example would be onto the objectives you are defending, which would look like the following:
A literal line is probably what most people think of first. They don't call them line units for nothing after all. While this kind of deployment is indeed good for blocking movement across a large space, it is very brittle to concentrated attack on either end. For this reason, deploying in a line is a bad idea.
Condensing your line makes it difficult for teams to be picked off and optimises defensive fire plus teams participating in an assault. However, this kind of deployment is extremely vulnerable to artillery. You can also still be pushed off the objective from an oblique angle.
In this example, the infantry are fanned out in a full 360 degree arc. The fixed rulers are placed there to demonstrate dispersal, both to deny access to enemy teams from all directions and to help reduce the number of teams hit in enemy bombardments. This kind of set up also increases the necessity of dislodging the infantry, and the effort required to do so. However, fewer teams that can participate when you are assaulted.
Overall this is the kind of defensive deployment I find myself adopting most in my experience.
In practice it's common to not have enough infantry to seal off the objective in a 360 degree arc. Under such circumstances you can adopt a U-shaped or horseshoe deployment instead. It has the same strengths and weaknesses as a 360 deployment, except you're more easily pushed off from the directions not fully covered
Lines of attack
- Identify the most likely routes of advance
- Seal off or inhibit the most direct approach to the objectives
- Be prepared to parry a thrust from another direction when the enemy force redirects
Above is a sample table and deployment with the most likely enemy movements labelled with red arrows. The ITVs and tanks are positioned to stop a direct attack on the front objective or through the center but not against a flanking move through the forest. Note that I didn't draw an arrow through the middle, partly through an oversight and partly because I judge this to be the least likely approach for the opponent due to how easy it is to hold off.
Now we have an improved set up to take into account what was mentioned above. This time round the Merkavas are deployed in the middle behind a copse of trees, so that they can react to any flanking run. However, due to the reduced line of sight it is difficult to avoid getting shot in the side by enemy tanks rushing through. For that reason it is likely necessary to commit an ambushing platoon of infantry to seal off that approach as well.
Tanks are still commonly referred to as cavalry. Armoured Cavalry is still a term. And how does one deal with cavalry?
You're welcome ;)
Stay tuned for the last part, where we'll put what we've gone through so far to the test in an actual game.