Peter Robbins, 13 February 2023
I recently saw that Jan Heinemann of Let’s Play History was posting some play thru videos of Flashpoint Campaigns : Southern Storm, the recently released wonderful game released by Matrix Games and produced by On Target Simulations. If you recall, we’d recently done a first impressions of the game previously on the Armchair Dragoons site.
I thought, hey, let me hit Jan up for a multilayer match; as we are both members of the online Kriegsspiel playing group called IKS (see their site here for more info) and had played together on occasion in that groups’ events. Jan was keen to start up a match so we agreed upon a scenario, The Ride Of The 12th Cuirassiers (referring to the French 12e Régiment de Cuirassiers).
Jan then used Matrix Games’ PBEM++ online multiplayer matching services via Southern Storm to establish a challenge, with password protection. I was able to quickly find the challenge and accept it, and voila, we had ourselves a very interesting multiplayer match which we’ll run through in this article. The PBEM++ system worked quite well over our entire experience.
Let’s jump into what ensued: much carnage and fun as had by us both.
Below are several setup shots, establishing the overall Mission Briefing, SITREP and Intel reports.
Above is the overall mission briefing for the Soviets.
click images to enlarge
We are double-clicking here on one of the motorized infantry units to take a closer look at its sub-unit makeup, and their capabilities (and current state, as the unit overall is showing drop outs and casualties). The units marked with orange icons have already “dropped out” – and are not available in the scenario. Basically, they could not be repaired for use and were left on the field of battle.
Here is another example sub-unit inspection. Trying to get a feel here for what local fire support we may have.
We have a battery of 2B9 Vasilek towed mortars, 82mm. A decent amount of them for start of the scenario.
One of the first things I tend to do after reviewing setup tabs is check out the terrain display overlay for Concealment.
In the above screenshot we see the Emitters for the Soviets. These are any units that have active air- or ground-search radar capabilities. Note that we have 4 total BRM-3K Rys, which as you will see below in an Emissions unit overlay, has pretty reasonable ground search coverage.
In this picture we are showing the ground search radar coverage based upon a combination of the radar’s capabilities and the environment surrounding the unit. The high elevations to the west block coverage considerably on this particular map.
Of particular use is printing out all of the Operations and Logistics menu options worth of intel prior to starting the match. I’ve taken all of those printouts for this multiplayer match and thrown them in a Google drive for your downloading and viewing pleasures.
Soviet SITREP files for this multiplayer match can be reviewed here.
A sample screenshot is below from the PDF print outs from the SITREP area of the Ops menu items. I recommend you go to that google drive I link above and look through all of the PDF output files I generated from the mission intel. There is a great amount of information that you can print to PDF or paper and review ahead of starting a multiplayer or single player match. Just a lot of info. All very useful.
Situational map of the starting Soviet forces in the operational area.
Here the orange underneath is showing our deployment zone. I try and scooch this particular unit up as far North as the scenario will allow as I want to set up a choke point in this woods and lightly elevated region, as I suspect Jan will pump troops through this area, over the bridge to the North.
Here I am just showing you the combat range of the Artillery of this unit – max range is 5000m. These are the 82mm towed mortars I showed in detail earlier.
Here is a closer look at the emissions ranges of the recce units I’ve placed on Hold stance in the western edge of town. I could very well have pushed them out and down the pathways (and in retrospect, likely should have, you’ll see why later) but my initial thought overall is, consolidate, dig in, and pull back as needed. Keep the victory points for the main town involved and its outlying positions as long as we can until reinforcements arrive.
Above you can see the limitation of what forces the Soviets start with in this scenario. Good equipment, and positioned reasonably well for the start of the match, but as you’ll see, we start getting sliced like butter rather quickly.
One of my favorite bits of intel is the Reinforcements and Withdrawals tab in the Operations Center / Personnel and Logistics menu item. If you click on each, then click on the Hex reference in the detail to the right it shows, you can highlight the hex involved for their entry onto to the map as a blinking hex marker. Very useful.
In the above I’ve clicked on one of the impending arrivals.
Then I click in the yellow highlighted hex number, a text line above where it says Unit Status: Reinforcements at 0830 hrs, and as you can see bottom right of the screen, the hex blinks with a grey color.
Above I’m just trying to get my bearings again from a concealment perspective. Here I predict where they’ll come in, and decide where to lay in wait as we generally know, they are coming to retake this town. “They” being the French 12th Cur.
One of my favorite map overlay options to turn on and off occasionally throughout the battle is the Modified Combined Obstacle Overlay. It’s brilliant as it rounds up several good bits of information into one overlay. The shot above describes what each color or hatching means.
An early intention as to push this northern unit up and around via the North, but this is very quickly stopped by a tremendous barrage of inbound artillery fire from Jan’s French forces. Jan also starts to pump tanks via the bridge way to the North. If I’d had some engineers on hand or air support, I likely would have blown this bridge early in the match, alas, no such support on hand for this scenario.
Next time, the fur flies!
Flashpoint Campaigns – Southern Storm: Multiplayer Match AAR
PART ONE ~ PART TWO ~ PART THREE
Interested in the doctrinal concepts underlying the Flashpoint Campaigns series?
The Command Post Exercises (CPX’s) at the Origins’ Wargaming HQ are built around learning the principles of planning, staff coordination, and battle command, in a team environment where the players operate a command post against our OPFOR. The coaches are mostly former military members, and include a bunch of the dev team behind Flashpoint Campaigns. You can read more about these events here, and join us at Origins this Summer to jump into one yourself.
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IF YOU ENCOUNTER A COUNTER CASTING A HEX IN A HEX
AND YOU COUNTER THE HEX WITH A COUNTER-HEX IN THAT HEX DURING THE ENCOUNTER,
AND YOU HAVE TO COUNT HOW MANY HEXES ARE IN THE HEX DURING THE ENCOUNTER
ARE YOU PLAYING A HEX-AND-COUNTER WARGAME?