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lemkeh

Guarded bridges

13 posts in this topic

 With a subheading - Capturable bridges.   

 

As I wrote in the previous topic “Engineers' missions”   LINK   about the high cost of such an asset as a bridge, the question may arise, what can the high value of bridges give to the game? And i can give a simple answer - the gameplay. But i will try to explain more. As you could understand from the  subheading, i talk about capturing of the bridges, what might add to the game much more different gameplay, than their simple destructing (what too sometimes might to happen, by serious reasons).

But how to make such capturing more interesting to participants? You need to make it more complex.

I suggest a such scheme - at both ends of bridge will be a sentry's Box. With road blocks on the road bridge and signs on the rail bridge. 
 

Now, in these boxes will be AI-sentinels. 
I understand that many is against adding new AI. But who have been in the Army and at times also as a sentinel, knows that this is a very boring job. You can't compare it even with guarding a CP, because in CP is high chance, that someone will come and try to kill you. But you know how many are in the game the bridges? There will be much less chances to see any visible movement, not to mention an attack to a specific bridge (which could be bypassed by the enemy during advance somewhere else).
 

How i see this AI-sentinel. He would be a man with a rifle, with a bayonet attached. Also he should wear a greatcoat. Most of time he would be in a sentry box (guard shack). When he are in this box, he will be invisible from outside. Here he would be in relative safety. How? 
Because in situation of an overwhelming danger, he can (supposedly) hide in a bunker, which you can see on 1-st picture. What isn't unusual. That's mean, air attack can't kill him, if he are in this box (shack). Also you can't kill him, shooting from afar, through doorway. He (supposedly) can sleep, semi lying in one corner (which too isn't unusual..). But of course you can kill him, when he are outside of the box. He may be a little tougher than players, but one rifle bullet in the head or two bullet in the torso should kill him.

His movement (visible) would be very limited. He could have move out of the box and move again in to the box, no moving over the bridge or around. But would be good, if he would be capable to shoot from standing position, from kneeling and from lying position, depending by situation. On 2nd picture you see its possible shooting area. Of course, he cannot see 360 degrees at the same time. There is needed some solution, where he will see on 90 degree at one time (as example), and that might change on clockwise or counterclockwise every  1-2 minutes. From box he will see less, but not much less, i suppose.

As you have read, he would be a rifleman. I guess a better than average rifleman. Not a sniper, and even not a marksman, but nevertheless. I guess, the trigger to turn him to be alerted, will be something 500 meters for infantry and 800 meters for armor. In case of the armor it will be simple (it's very visible, noisy, more distinguishable, and very danger) he will give immediately alarm to bunker (by field phone), and in bunker is sitting (supposedly) a supporting platoon. That's mean, here will be opened mission with spawning in the bunker, where the players can to spawn, to have to play role of this "supportive platoon". Also this alarm will sended to the HC (or to OiC or to the squad leader or who else will be responsible for this territory and the bridge). Who can then give order (missions) to air players, to attack this armor.

In case of the infantry, this need to be more tricky. He's unsure, whom he see. The time between being alerted by infantry and to the time of sending alarm must be delayed. Maybe something around 2 minutes (with shooting it may be shorter). 
But of course, he must act. After being alerted, he will quit from a shack and aim the rifle at assumed enemies, with with a loud order to stop. If they don't stop or they will open fire, he begin shoot them.

You have not forgotten, that on one bridge will be two sentinels? As you see, a task of eliminating of two sentinels and preventing of large spawning from bunker will be very hard. Involving of at least two good snipers will a little simplify this task. But even then, a battle is almost inevitable. But that's what the infantry and armor are for. This don't prevent a large group from capturing a bridge, but can prevent to do this to a small group if they don't play very cunningly. What isn't unusual.

Why such intricacy? If you were watched the movement of hands, you already understand, where I'm going. Yes, we have paratroopers in the game. Such tasks is for them. Also they have ability to land on both sides of river and attack both sentinels at same time. That's great advantage.


Can a sentinel see their landing? Of course, if they are already on the bridge. And he wll begin to shoot them. If they are yet in air, then i am not sure (maybe when he will be outside of shack). But what will alert him for sure, it will be an airplane, what will fly low. And he will alarm the bunker , HC and whom else. Therefore the pilot of airplane, who want to aid the paratroopers to accomplished mission of capturing of the bridge, will be fly high, something over 1500 meters and in cloudy weather only over clouds ( i don't remember which weather system is currently in game). Which might to make this mission more difficult, but at same time more interesting and demanding of skill.

As a rough example, there might be mission of capturing the bridge with two airplanes, in first plane would be a scout (or small team of scouts), who lands firstly, but on some distance from the bridge. And he (they) will begin to watch at bridge by using the binocular (to see, is here someone besides sentinels or not). If not, he will give this information (by presumable radio station) to second airplane, who flies around here and wait a good moment.

 

But even for them it shouldn't be so simple. Where's hidden a trick?
In the bunkers..They wouldn't be only as place to (supposed) hiding of a sentinel from the aerial bombing. And the places to spawn to "bridge guarding team". 
But they would be also places to make "inspection missions". What is that?
In my vison they would be so - any player in officer rank from side of the bridge owner can do an inspection mission (though maybe is needed that players, who want to make such mission, should to play during a campaign only on one side). How this mission will look? Officer will be spawn in one bunker and will make a walk over bridge to another bunker. If here is nothing strange, he will quit from mission and mission will be accomplished. His gamename stay in log. But if there is something strange, or is there an attack on the bridge, he can raise the alarm and die like a hero.
 

A little bit about the bunkers. As you see on 1-st and 2-nd pictures, they will laid relatively close to the bridges. Also their doors (doorways) will be always pointed to the bridge. Why? That's mean, doorway are under control of sentinel. Second. If bunker on one bank are captured by enemy, that mean, you don't own anymore this bridge (owning a bridge implies owning both ends of the bridge). Therefore your main interest (as owner of the bridge),  will be defeat attacks of enemy, which come from outside.
Also as you see, around bunkers will be some anti-tank obstacles and barbed wire. 

On 3rd picture you see approximate layout of inside. The main point is, that from doorway you can't shoot and kill who freshly spawns (there will not be the direct view from doorway to spawn). This green pentagram will be a place to spawn. And this red dot will be a spawning switch. If enemy's soldiers reach this point, then spawning function in this bunker to owner soldiers is disabled. But in another bunker they can spawn. How long...there is needed a trigger, because if you lost one end of bridge, that mean you isn't anymore an owner of bridge.

Now, bunker, what were captured by enemy, will become to a no-man's-bunker (what belong to nobody, and where nobody can't spawn). After some time, if defender don't capture this bunker again, whole bridge become a no-man's-bridge, with all its consequences. If attacking side will captured both bunkers, then there is needed some time to become as owner of the bridge. 
And on 4rth pic you can see a possible appearance of these bunkers.

 

I haven't touched one theme, how you can destroy your own bridge, if there is serious reason for this. This might be tricky. Because if this bridge belongs to you, then your soldiers guard it, defend it. You can't just bomb it into ruins with them. That would mean a tribunal. 
Also not all bridges were mined by defenders. That isn't so foolproof solution. There might happened accidents, or enemy's saboteurs can use these explosives. OT. IIRC, i read somewhere, that during invasion in Low Countries Germans paratroopers was at least once capable to extinguish a match cord, which was set in fire by the bridge defenders. But then again, not all bridges were mined.

Therefore i guess, if you are a commander, who are responsible for that bridge, and you have serious reasons to destroy it, then firstly you need to evacuate own people from there. You will make a mission or give order, to evacuate the sentinels  (and supposedly also the guard platoons) from bridge. From the road bridge presumably by truck, from the rail road bridge maybe on something other.

 

What benefits will this bring to the game. Need i something to say else? You will have many new battles in the countryside (where is most of the bridges). Because in cities is also the bridges, this will add some new tactical maneuvers to battles for cities, new zest. The paratroopers will finally have proper missions to do. You don't forget number of bridges in game? That's it.

But. There might be one big problem, as we know. A task to make a proper AI-sentinel might need much time and effort. Though he might be useful to replace also old AI.
If this will be a problem, then i suggest Plan B.

 

Plan B might be: Make these sentinel shacks. Also the road blocks, signs and the bunkers. That's mean, all objects and features  except  AI-sentinels.
This might work even in so truncated variant. Of course, not so good, but at least something will be where to develop in the future. IMHO.

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Edited by lemkeh

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might be a good idea for a few select bridges at key points, but not really for all bridges.

perhaps it could be  an  HC placeable option, (limited to 2 or 3 at a time)

 

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I agree that smaller missions designed for a small group of players is a great addition. My one concern is what happens to the enemy if they don't own the bridge? Do tanks blow up the second they get close to it? Is there an invisible barrier that prevents infantry from crossing it? I understand the pillbox mechanic but I think the idea needs to be more fleshed out regarding the mechanics of how they would work in a multiplayer game. As you describe it I am having a difficult time visualizing why I would want to "hold" the bridge or what value it would bring. In your example of a raid to "capture" a bridge why would players want to do this (fighting AI is something players do not enjoy doing), and more importantly, after you capture the bridge what happens? Does it stop enemy supply? Does it disrupt communications? If yes how would the communications be modeled? How does this model play into the air game and bombing bridges?

 

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I see your idea but lets make it a bit easier.  2 Guard/Bunkers 1 on each side that you have to cap both to use the bridge for anything other than inf.  AI with either MG or ATG set on each side or one of each.  Only the guard/bunker that is next to town has INF only spawn having only Rifle, Smg and Eng to protect or rebuild it.

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I'd only want to see this sort of setup along the historical wall/defense lines, and only protected from the defending side.

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22 hours ago, Kilemall said:

I'd only want to see this sort of setup along the historical wall/defense lines, and only protected from the defending side.

Agreed. Not every bridge in Europe had massive concrete pillboxes. If we are going to make something around bridges it should add to the realism of the terrain and feel like something you would naturally see in WWII (i.e. simple sandbags, couple of trenches, maybe a wooden guard tower).

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1 hour ago, aismov said:

Agreed. Not every bridge in Europe had massive concrete pillboxes. 

Quote

Or maybe on bridges that are considered "frontline"

All of the Belgian highway bridge locations across bodies of water near borders in 1940 did have at least "massive concrete pillboxes", on the west side facing (sometimes) eastward toward the bridge site and the river, or (if better sited) laterally toward another pillbox, firing across the route of approach, and not visible from that route until alongside the pillboxes. The purpose of those pillboxes was to delay installation of a pontoon bridge at the site...on the assumption that the fixed bridge would be blown prior to the enemy's arrival.

The area around Antwerp was defended by 118 pillboxes and bunkers covering all bridge locations. All main roads additionally have an AT bunker and a searchlight bunker.

The Albert Canal had a number of highway crossings, which were guarded by a complex network of 148 laterally-firing MG bunkers.

The fixed bridge location across the Albert Canal near Liege was guarded not just by a pillbox, but by the largest fort in the world at the time...Eben-Emael. Other Belgian bridge sites across the Meuse south of Eben Emael were guarded by Belgian forts Aubin-Neufchateau, Battice and Tancrémont, from north to south. Integrated armament ranged from light and heavy MGs to 47mm and 60mm AT guns, 75mm and 120mm cannons, frag grenade dispensers, searchlights, numerous 81mm mortars...all mounted in protective enclosures with interlocked fields of fire...plus armored-door tunnels from which infantry assault forces and T13B1 SP guns could exit. The 120mm guns and 81mm mortars were provided with conventional "HE" blast/fragmentation ammo. The 60mm guns had HE ammo in addition to AP. The 75mm guns had both conventional HE, and shrapnel (shotgun) rounds for closer targets.

The Liege area was a heavily fortified zone. There were four independent sets of fortifications. The outermost ring, at an average distance of 17km from the center of Liege, consisted of 178 fortifications covering all approach routes in interlocking fields of fire. The forts at Aubin-Neufchateau, Battice and Tancrémont were part of this ring, behind Liege, to provide artillery support. Eight other artillery forts within Liege also provided support.

The second ring was about 8km from Liege. It consisted of six renovated WWI forts, 62 pillboxes, and a continuous steel-rail tank barrier within MG fields of fire. The fortifications were designed to withstand direct hits by 220mm shells.

The third line consisted of 28 pillboxes and 14 AT bunkers, on the eastern side of the Meuse behind Liege and Mastricht.

The fourth line was 2 pillboxes integrated into the structural works on the west side of Meuse and Albert Canal crossings, plus two artillery forts on the cliffs above.

312 pillboxes and bunkers were built to defend bridges and crossroads in the Ardennes. Mostly they were organized into two lines: Vielsalm - Gouvy – Houffalize – Bastogne – Arlon on the border with Luxembourg, and Lienne valley– Baraque Fraiture – Western Ourthe. The crossroads at Neufchâteau was protected with 27 bunkers and pillboxes; at Recogne with 20, and at St.-Hubert with seven.

Edited by jwilly

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On 11/26/2018 at 1:34 AM, lemkeh said:

JTPRArE.jpg

The directional placement of the pillboxes is backwards. The historical point of a pillbox or fortification at a river crossing is to prevent the river from being readily crossed there...not to protect the bridge itself. If the enemy is coming, the bridge will be blown before they arrive, so having a defending pillbox on the far side would be pointless, in addition to being suicidal for the troops there.

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Historical bridges I agree with such as along the Albert Canal, etc. But not every small bridge next to every small town.

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Belgium is the most "pillboxed" place in the world...almost all facing, or covering an approach from, the direction from which the Germans would come. The areas of Northeast France over which WWI was fought are also very heavily pillboxed. Both sides built pillboxes and other fortifications to back up their lines during the 1915 stabilized-front period, for instance:

WWOne11.gif

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I was ready to answer long time ago, but something went wrong and I did not have access to the forum. Now i tried something to put together.
.........

Now about some asked points. I don't get it, why not all bridges? Okay, there might be some few bridges, which can be unprotected, like these in theme "Additional weak bridges", but i doub't that even they. Look, if you have unprotected bridges  during the war, then you can't use them without a fear, because they might be mined by enemy saboteurs, when you have interest to use them again. Also you never know, when other bridges might be bombed by the enemy (mostly during offensive) and you will  faced with problems of evacuatings, or manouvering your forces by using of remaining bridges and so on.  

Secondly. This give to you the"eyes" over these bridges, currently you are almost blind about your bridges. Also you, or any officers from your side can spawn there to inspect the area around bridge. That's real zone of your control. Though i don't know, who might be this "you" - HC, or OiC, or some voluntary commander, or a leader of the squad, who will be owner of this particular area.

Again, this feature will be more like liberation of the hands of commander over this area, and at same times giving him the zone of control over this area (and the bridge).

Placeable by HC... In current game with low pop this will be additional task, which needs much time and effort. Manual repairing of the sentinels boxes and so on, might needs too much attention from commanders (although i am not against some additional gameplay for engineers, if this will speed up this repairing work). IMO, if your forces captured a bridge, then after some time it will change from a no-man's-bridge to your bridge, where your soldiers (the bridge defending platoon) can to spawn. 
Why i suggested a feature of manual evacuating of platoon, when HC (or who else in his role) want destroy own bridge, then because i see this as a rare event, in a hopeless situation.

About owning of the bridges and their value. I can't give the value to the bridge in game. I can only suggest to mimic its high value in real war. At least a little. And tried to explain it in "Engineer's ...." theme. If the breaked bridge in game don't interrupt moving of the supplies, then i can't change it.  And same will be, if bridge is not your. Then you can't move your supplies over them, and haven't opportunity to help of advancing of your forces from another flank (as an example) etc. In short, if you have a bridge, then you have an advantage in time. IRL this may save thousands lives of your soldiers. In the game it add maybe only some options to maneuvers.

Though maybe if some surrounded brigade (if there will remain at least something from brigades) want to retreat, but can't because bridges behind it is destroyed, or captured by enemy (which is even worse, by many circumstances), then Commander of the Brigade finds out the value of bridge. OK, i can't explain more, because there are sequences...if you haven't yet implemented A, then you can't go to B.

No, why there is needed invisible barriers to infantry? IMHO, they may walk over bridge, if nobody shoot them. If they are enemies to AI-sentinel, he will try to kill them and if there is happened a shootout, then he or his mate will try to call a help, which in turn opens spawning spots in bunkers to defenders of the bridge. If i means "battle", then i talk about a battle between attackers and this defenders platoon, who will be live players. They can spawns with all infantry weapons, including AT-rifles and bazookas etc (depends by Tier). To give them possibility to fight, i suggested a little different variant of bunker.

Again, this AI-sentinel means more as a trigger, he are here to prevent simple taking over a bridge and can call a help from the HC (or who there will be capable to help).
Of course, he can shoot and kill a pair of intruders, or a impudent truck driver, who try to rush over bridge. But that's it.

What there should be, is roadblocks (obstacles) for wheeled transport. If friendly vehicles drives over the bridge, roadblocks may move.
To stopping the Armor, i'm not sure. IRL you will have possibilities to mining the area, also to remote controlled mines. In the game this might be a game killer. I would prefer air forces for this job. That's for this suits all these tank busters (of course, the bunker platoon with AT-weapons can help too).

For the air game overall...with one hand it will take away simple bombing of bridges (though will come more complex system with the reconnaissance missions) and with other hand it give much more battles over the bridgeheads, attacking of tanks etc.

My main points is, that together with such relatively small effort (a model of sentinel' box with different colors, some roadblocks and signs, one new model of bunker for all bridges, and last but not least - a new AI-sentinel), you can have much more different gameplay possibilities. 
And this means MORE battles and much more simple way to newcomers to involving into game. Attack and capture an enemy bridge is much more understandable mission, that many current. I don't think it may have same glory like famous "Bridge crossing" map from AA, but who knows...

 

On 12/18/2018 at 0:23 AM, jwilly said:

The directional placement of the pillboxes is backwards. The historical point of a pillbox or fortification at a river crossing is to prevent the river from being readily crossed there...not to protect the bridge itself. If the enemy is coming, the bridge will be blown before they arrive, so having a defending pillbox on the far side would be pointless, in addition to being suicidal for the troops there.

If you look at the terrain around those bridges in the game, then what you will don't see? You will don't see supportive structures, minefields, several lines of barbed wires, search lights etc etc. That mean, that whole "rear" is bare land from defensive view. To compensate this "bareness", is added second bunker. You should don't take  map as a battle of west vs east. The frontline might be much more complex, as on my made scetches (blue dots means paratroopers, who landed in rear and want to make march to bridge, which would be unprotected from this side).

P4QlspN.png

  As you see, there might be several situations, when such bunker/pillbox would be useful for defending. Of course, if battle over bridgehead will last longer, then defender's engineers can build additional PPOs, but from first attack they can't aid.
 Also important, then you don't need to make changes on terrain, depending by who and from what side attack bridge.

And about bunkers itself. Yes, they were not meant to be the structures, which supposed to hold away enemy's armor attack. Their main purpose was to give place to guards, who currently rest and some cover to guard team from bombers (bomb fragments). And guards itself are there mostly to prevent sabotaging. But. If there is needed, then they don't will retreat also from overwhelming enemy and will give a fight (maybe to have time to evacuate and blow the bridge, I do not exclude this).

Now i must repeat, that's why i see as main force to attack and capture a bridge - the paratroopers. As one glorious military profession, which might hook the newcomers into game. 

Edited by lemkeh

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I can answer why I want this limited- because it's gamey and looks wrong everywhere and doesn't make military sense to have coverage both ways.  That ruins immersion.

 

So.  No.

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