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Counter-Attack at Crete
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Date: 04/13/04 12:04
Game Type: Other
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Report Rating: 8.5, # of Ratings: 2, Max: 9, Min: 8
Lifetime Rating for Some_God: 6.8571

Due to popular demand, I have created a second report on Combat Mission: Afrika Korps. If you haven't read my first report on the game, I suggest you do so. For those of you who did read it, skip the next couple of paragraphs. They are meant to introduce people to the game. 56-kers beware: There is a large amount of pictures in this report.

Wow... can you say new pic?

CMAK is a 1-2 player, hybrid turn-based/realtime 3D simulation of WWII tactical warfare in parts of the Mediterranean Theater including North Africa, Italy, Sicily and Crete from 1940 to 1945. The fluid game interface combines with 3D lines of sight, misidentification of targets, enemy detection by sound, advanced armor penetration systems, unit morale and leadership effects, spreading fires and billowing smoke, wind and weather - and much more to bring you unprecedented realism in a computer simulation.

This game's graphics are dated but the do the job.

Units are squads, teams, and individual vehicles. You can command a force as small as a depleted platoon, or as large as a several reinforced battalions. Each man and weapon is kept track of for maximum realism but because of the power of today's desktop computers not every single man in the squad will be shown. Three men show a normal squad, one man shows a company of a platoon leader, etc.

Full Tables of Organization and Equipment for all the nations represented (Germany, USA, Italy, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, South Africa, France) are modeled with thousands of different unit types available depending on the year, month and region.

This kind of picture inspires people to buy this game... or download it for free off of Kazaa.

There are two types of maps in Combat Mission: Afrika Korps. Battle and Operation maps. Individual fights will occur across a Battle map while the longer operations (several linked battles) are fought with the Operation maps.

Each turn is equal to 60 seconds of combat. Players give orders in a turn-based fashion, and then these orders are simultaneously executed for 60 seconds of real time action. Then the next orders phase begins. A typical scenario lasts about 20-60 turns, or 20-60 minutes of simulated combat but the player can adjust this.

While the game is based on its award-winning predecessor, Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, it introduces new desert environments and terrain types, as well as features like multi-turreted vehicles and dust clouds from explosions and moving vehicles.

1941: With most of Western Europe conquered, Nazi Germany set its sights on the Soviet Union. Then in April, Germany invaded Yugoslavia because a pro-Allied coup had overthrown the old regime, which was allied to the Axis powers. Britain, taking advantage of an opportunity to strike back at the Axis, landed troops in Greece, leaving Hitler no choice but to invade that country or have his southern flank exposed. Using overwhelming force and superior tactics, the Germans easily overran Yugoslavia and Greece. The Allies had no choice but to evacuate mainland Greece or be cut off and surrounded by the Germans. The Allies evacuated to the largest island the Greeks possessed: Crete.

Faced with the threat of air attacks from the Allied air bases on Crete and pressed for time, men and equipment on the eve of Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union planned for June), Hitler decided to launch a lightning air assault to take Crete code-named Operation Mercury. German High Command ordered their elite paratroopers to take the island. The paratroopers were highly disciplined, dedicated and skilled, proving themselves in the western campaigns of 1940. Unknown to the Germans, the Allies knew of the imminent German attack and began digging in. What was to follow would be one of the bloodiest airborne operations in history…

After finding an opponent, someone going by the name of Drach, and discussing what kind of battle we would fight, Drach and I came upon a conclusion. The battle would be an Axis probe, which means that the Axis carry out an attack but get a little more points ("Money" that you use to buy your forces) then the defender. The time of battle would be May 1941, during the fierce battles fought on Crete.

Inserted this pic for the people who dont know where Crete is.

Using the points that I had, I bought, what I thought was, a balanced force of machine guns, mortars, and assault squads. Because I knew I would be up against a heavily fortified enemy, I bought myself some flamethrowers, which, if used effectively, could route an enemy squad with one spray.

Insert gay joke here.

After picking my forces, I pressed done and the map loaded. The map had three dominating features: A town, a hill on the right side of the town, and a forest behind the town. The town, which ran alongside a road, was small and was a stepping-stone for the two flags behind it.

In the unit placement phase, I positioned most of my forces on the eastern part of the map, with an MG42 and a mortar watching my left flank. My plan would be to move across the hill on the eastern part of the map, then enter the town. I would move house to house up the town before making a flanking maneuver to capture the flags.

Strategy phase for me.

Action came quick, as I received suppressive fire from a concrete bunker behind the town. As my infantry ran towards cover, they spotted a British tank in the town. The bunker's suppressive fire stopped a couple of squads from advancing, splitting my infantry into two groups. The group that escaped the machine gun fire quickly entered the town to find that house to house fighting would ensue, as they spotted British infantry nearby.

The troops enter the town despite enemy fire from the concrete bunker.

The British tank, which was only mounted with a machine gun, was still in the town and an easy target for my infantry. A couple of my infantry squads were located in one house, an inviting target for the British, so I ordered some to run across the street so they could knock out the tank and continue moving up the town. The first squad that crossed the street managed to receive no casualties due to suppressive fire put on the British by the squads still in the house. One squad after another began crossing the street and into a house overlooking the tank. The tank, seeing the danger from the grenade wielding Germans, retreated.

Meanwhile, on the eastern part of the map, the separated squads, stopped by machinegun fire, were now beginning to route. I ordered the squads not in panic to retreat behind a building.

The seperated group runs away... T.T

Back in the town, the German paratroopers were advancing up the town, finding stiff resistance from the British, who were reinforcing their positions. As a German squad entered another building, they found a British squad in the adjacent building. Fierce fighting erupted. The British tried to stop the troops from advancing deeper in the town and let loose a hail of small arms fire aimed at the Germans trying to reinforce the battle stricken squad fighting the British.

The Germans run into resistance.

Grenades were thrown, as both sides tried to gain the initiative. Soon there were 3 German squads with a flamethrower team fighting a lone British squad, house to house. The British now saw the house-to-house fighting as an opportunity to stop the Germans from advancing and began a counter-attack. This counter-attack failed but there was still no gains made by either side in the desperate fighting.

The British reinforce their positions. Quotes taken from 'The end of the world'

The German squads then used their demolition charges. The Germans chucked the TNT pack, which exploded, causing the house to explode and the British inside to panic. The British then concentrated their fire on the building occupied by 4 German squads. The light building did little to protect the Germans inside from the murderous amount of small arms fire being directed at them.


The British then began to reinforce the bombed out building, leaving me no choice but to send more troops into the fray. As my reinforcements tried to reach the battle, they were decimated by machine-gun fire from the concrete bunker.

Concentrated fire is a bitch.

Meanwhile, the German squads pinned down in the buildings were dropping like flies. Five squads in one building became two squads in a matter of minutes. The position held out until it finally collapsed a few minutes later. The British made another counter-attack, which could not be stopped because I had no more troops that combat ready. All were either wiped out or broken. The only thing left for me to do was surrender. With that, the battle was over and a total defeat was handed to me.

I accidentally pressed the surrender button... yeah thats it.

While the German paratroopers were fighting for Crete, German reinforcements from the mainland tried to arrive and help out by supplying men and equipment to the battle stricken troops. They were organized into two convoys. The British intercepted the first convoy, nearly decimating it, while the second convoy was canceled to avoid a similar fate. The surviving ships and men of the first convoy reached Crete and unloaded their precious goods. These came just in time, as the British knew about the landing. They sent some of their best men and tanks into stopping the Germans from re-supplying their attacking paratroopers. This was to be one of the last fights that occurred during Operation Mercury…

This game was to be played against Tigrii, an experienced CMAK player. As before, this battle was to be fought during the invasion of Crete. I was the German defender, while Tigrii was the Allied attacker. The attacker gets 500 more points than the defender in this type of scenario. Not knowing if my opponent would use mostly tanks or infantry, I compromised. I bought an equal amount of anti-tank and anti-infantry weapons.

This game will prepare me when I sign up for the ROTC.

In a more detailed explanation of my forces, I bought one platoon of paratroopers, one platoon of mountain infantry, three heavy MG34s, a couple of anti-tank mines, a pillbox, a Panzer IV, a tank destroyer, the famous 88mm Flak, and a couple of guns (Some howitzers, some anti-tank). After picking those forces, I pressed done and looked at the map.

My view of the defenses.

There were 4 flags, with two being major and the other two being minor. Three roads ran from the Allied setup zone and into a very small town in the middle of the map. My defensive area was perfect for setting up ambushes. I placed my machine guns so that they would have a clear line of sight between them and the unsuspecting attacker. I placed my guns in the trees to give them better cover and concealment. I placed my tanks behind trees, as they were my reserves, ready to move to support the line wherever it fails. My main problem would be a hill that overlooks a big portion of the map. I would have to wipe out anything that was up there in order to prevent the enemy from blasting away at my positions. I placed the anti-tank mines in the town just in case Tigrii had any ideas. Last but not least, I placed the MG bunker on top of a hill that overlooked the town and everything around it.

Birds eye view of the defenses. Notice how my guns are placed to provide cover for each other.

Double-checking my defenses, I was sure that this line would not be penetrated. Now the moment of truth had arrived. The first couple of turns were uneventful, aside from a coulee of infantry squads scurrying about on the other side of the map. Not long after, my worst fears were confirmed. Tigrii sent his tanks on the big hill. Not far behind were his big guns, embarked on trucks. Defying orders the MG bunker fired burst rounds on enemy infantry moving slowly towards some rocks. Now the enemy tanks, which were Matildas (Infantry tanks), opened fire on the bunker. The bunker, which was protected by reinforced concrete survived and smoked itself, preventing the enemy tanks to fire at it accurately.

The concrete bunker is superb at withstanding enemy fire.

The tanks then moved down the hill towards my defensive emplacements. They spotted my panzer, which was hiding behind some scattered trees, and began firing at it, damaging its gun. Shocked that the British might take out one of my only tanks, I ordered my 88 Flak to open fire on the tanks. The lightly armored Matildas were no match for the 88mm gun and were quickly dealt with. Lashing back, Tigrii knocked my 88 out with artillery, which also knocked out mortar teams close the 88.

If used properly, the 88 can become the deadliest weapon on the battlefield.

After the smoke subsided around my pillbox, it couldn't help itself (again). It targeted an unarmored truck that was moving Tigrii's artillery around the map. The truck was knocked out but the artillery was already disembarked. The artillery opened fire of the pillbox, destroying it in a fiery explosion.

Unfortunatly the 25-pound gun can destroy almost anything the Germans have.

Now the battlefield became quiet, a sign that even heavier fighting would break out. On my right flank an infantry squad, which was probably probing my lines, came to close to one of my machine guns and paid the price. The MG34 ambushed it and sent it into a route. My machine gun was then pounded by an artillery piece, the same one that took out my pillbox, which was identified as a 25-pound gun.

The MG34 squad ambushes a British squad, wiping it out. Unfortunatly, it gets eliminated by the 25-pounde gun.

Unknown to the German MG34 squad, a British assault squad had sneaked by them and into some scattered trees, occupied by a 75mm infantry gun. Horrified by this, I ordered my 37mm anti-tank gun nearby to open fire on the British squad, which still didn't find my infantry gun (it was hiding in a foxhole). Tigrii, who had to leave, then halted the battle. Combat Mission > Life.

The British squad comes dangerously close to a gun. I have no choice but to fire at it with my anti-tank gun.

A couple of days later I found Tigrii and we resumed our game. Anyway, the British squad still didn't find my infantry gun and the anti-tank gun bombarding it had no effect on the squad. Unfortunately, the squad found the hidden infantry gun and knocked it out after a few seconds of combat.

With my right flank in danger of collapsing, I ordered my reserve panzer to help out. I also ordered a couple of infantry squads defending one of flags nearby to assist. The situation looked bleak. The reinforcing squads that arrived were quickly forced to go back to their original positions by the British, who quickly exploited my weakening flank. The panzer that arrived was then unable to use its gun, which was damaged in combat with the Matildas earlier.

The next report is going to be a surprise... that is if there is going to be a next report.

Sensing an infantry assault coming towards my main flag on the right flank, I reorganized my defense, placing my heavy machine guns on hills overlooking the paths below and palcing the other squads on hold, ready to counter-attack. I used my "unusable" panzer to make Tigrii think twice about an assault, knowing that if an attack did come the panzer would be of no use to me.

A fierce artillery barrage then rained down on my right flank, pinning my men down. Then smoke rained down on the area, a sign that the assault was about to begin(smoke blocks line of sight). One after another, the British squads walked through the smoke and into hell. Machine gun ripped the British squads into pieces forcing them to halt and seek cover. My MG34 found a hole in the smoke and began firing at the British. Behind the assualting British, an armored car came to assist the pinned down troops. Shortly after, it was destroyed. Another armored car raced over a hill and into a wall of infantry. A couple of grenades later the armored car was knocked out. Nearby, in the scattered trees, a mortar crew, using only their lugers, wiped out a depleted assault squad.

The British bomb, smoke, then assualt my right flank.

Meanwhile on the other side of the map, British infantry were walking down the slope of the big hill and up towards my defenses. Then a huge artillery barrage shook the earth. British infantry used it as cover and began moving forward. An MG34 squad waited too long to ambush the approaching British and was annihilated. Wanting to avoid the same fate as the other infantry gun, I ordered an infantry gun in the trees to open up on the advancing British. The gun caused some casualties and made one squad retreat. Sadly, there were too much British infantry for one gun to handle and it was quickly overrun.

Fierce fighting erupted on the left flank, as the British infantry broke through. They were all converging on the main flag on that side of the map. My tank destroyer tried to halt the infantry but was knocked out by the 25-pound gun. Infantry behind the flag we gunned down by the last armored car the British had. The left flank was nothing more than a memory.

My left flank is overrun.

The right flank, on the other hand, still had hope. The last armored car, after mowing down the infantry on the left flank tried to mow down the defenders of the flags that I possessed. On the way, British artillery knocked it out, doing me a huge favor since my infantry was low on ammo and out of grenades. Meanwhile the British assault on my positions had gone stale. Smelling fear, I ordered a counter-attack. British moral plummeted. Their retreat turned into a route and, using a couple of hand grenades, resistance on my right flank was wiped out.

The British hit their own vehicle, while my infantry counter-attack on the right flank.

Both sides were now exhausted from combat, but luckily they wouldn't have to fight again, since the battle was now over. I suffered a minor defeat but the British won a hollow victory. For some reason the game decides if you agree to a cease-fire or not.

Ummm... yeah.... so anyway .... Did you know there is a reporter on the website that calls himself Hitler?.... yeah... well .... uhhh..... later and stuff.

The capture of Crete using only paratroops was a testament of the power of airborne infantry. Despite the success achieved, the high cost of the seizure of the island led Hitler to lose confidence in airborne operations. The possession of Crete proved of little offensive value to the Axis Powers because subsequent developments in the overall situation prevented them from exploiting their success. To the Germans Crete was not a stepping-stone to Suez and the Middle East, but rather the concluding part of the campaign in the Balkans.

Moreover, after October 1941 the shortage of trained ground forces compelled the German High Command to commit trained airborne and parachute units as infantry in Russia. General Student, the head of the German airborne divisions, therefore seems to have been justified in stating in a post-war interrogation that "Crete was the grave of the German parachutists."

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