TOAW IV: Issuing orders to your forces

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A new Turn will start if the Scenario doesn’t end during the End of Scenario Check. During each Turn, you and your opponent will both be given an opportunity to issue Orders to your forces.

Variable Initiative

The Force defined in the Scenario as “the first player” (usually the Attacking Force) will always move first on the first Turn of a Scenario. After that, the first player is determined by an Initiative Check. This means the order of players can change from Turn to Turn. Variable Initiative can be turned off in the Advanced Game Options menu.

The Initiative Level of a Force is partly randomized but is strongly influenced by the average Movement Allowance of all friendly Land units on the map not assigned to Formations with a Reserve status.

PBEM and Hotseat Exceptions: In PBEM and Hotseat games, the Initiative remains fixed in the order established on the first Turn of the game.

Using the Game Control Panel

Button Panel

The Button Panel shows sixteen buttons at a time in four rows of four buttons each. There are three tabs that toggle the display of three sets of sixteen buttons. The three tabs are Units, Map, and Reports. The functions of these buttons are described by prompts in the Information Panel at the bottom of the window.

Units Tab

Row 1:

  • Previous Unit – Focuses the game’s attention on the previous unit in the force by making it the current unit.
  • Next Unit – Focuses the game’s attention on the next unit in the force by making it the current unit.
  • Current Unit – Calls up the Unit Report for the current unit.
  • Resolve Combats / End Turn – If you have any combats planned, this will resolve them. Depending upon the state of your forces after the combat your Turn may end or continue. If no combats are planned, this simply ends your Turn. This button switches to crossed swords if combats are planned. Note that it is gold color, which indicates that it causes an action on the map – it isn’t just informational.

Row 2:

  • Previous Formation – Focuses the game’s attention on the previous Formation, making its first unit the current unit.
  • Next Formation – Focuses the game’s attention on the next Formation, making its first unit the current unit.
  • Current Formation – Brings up the Current Formation Dialog, from which you can examine the entire Formation and issue non-movement orders to units belonging to the Formation.
  • Undo – Undo the previous order.

Again, the gold color indicates that this button causes an action on the map – it is not just informational.

Row 3:

  • Unit OOB – Brings up the Unit OOB report. This is a list of all friendly units on the map.
  • Formation OOB – Brings up the Formation OOB report. This is a list of all friendly formations that have units on the map.
  • Air OOB – Brings up the Air OOB report. This is a list of all the air units on the map.
  • Unit Icon Display – Changes the unit icon display preferences. In 2D mode, this selects between showing unit Strengths or Movement Allowances.

Row 4:

  • Planned Combats – Brings up the Planned Combat Report. This shows all planned combats.
  • Combat Review – Brings up the Combat Review Report. This shows all recent combats.
  • Unit Visibility – Toggles between invisible, visible, visible & current DBR, and visible & all DBR. Left-click advances forward through those; right-click advances backward through them.
  • Help Topics – Brings up the Help Dialog.

Map Tab

Row 1:

  • Supply – Toggles between sources, invisible, and visible.
  • Weather – toggles between invisible and visible.
  • Objectives – toggles between visible, floating, and invisible.
  • Resolve Combats / End Turn – Repeated from this position on the Units Tab.

Row 2:

  • Airfields – toggles between airfields floating above units and below units.
  • Anchorages – toggles between anchorages floating above units and below units.
  • Headquarters – first click brings headquarters to the top of the stack. Second click brings artillery to the top of the stack.
  • Undo – Repeated from this position on the Units Tab.

Row 3:

  • Location Grid – toggles between visible and invisible.
  • Place Names – toggles between visible, floating, and invisible.
  • Possession – toggles between flags, borders, and invisible.
  • Battle Visibility – toggles on-map crossed swords for Planned Combats, Combat Review, and Battlefield Timestamps visible/invisible. The sequence is: none visible, Planned Combats visible (gold), Combat Review visible (silver), Battlefield Timestamps visible (bronze), and all three visible.

Row 4:

  • Decrease Y-Zoom – Decreases the Y-Zoom. (Ten scaled steps between the Map View sizes)
  • Increase Y-Zoom – Increase the Y-Zoom. (Ten scaled steps between the Map View sizes)
  • Decrease Map View – Decreases the Map View size. (Five view sizes from Ultra Tiny to Huge)
  • Increase Map View – Increase the Map View size. (Five view sizes from Ultra Tiny to Huge)

Reports Tab

Row 1:

  • Situation Report – shows the Situation Report.
  • Scenario Description – shows the Scenario Description.
  • Weather Report – shows the Weather Report.
  • Resolve Combats / End Turn – Repeated from this position on the Units Tab.

Row 2:

  • Air Briefing – shows the Air Briefing.
  • Recent News Report – shows the Recent News Report.
  • Inventory and Replacements Report – shows the Inventory and Replacements Report.
  • Undo – Repeated from this position on the Units Tab.

Row 3:

  • Expected Reinforcements Report – shows the Expected Reinforcements Report.
  • Recent Reinforcements Report – shows the Recent Reinforcements Report.
  • Theater Options Report – shows the Theater Options available.
  • Unit Panel Display Mode – Toggles the Unit Panel Display between Stack view and Group Composition view.

Row 4:

Formation PO Track – toggles showing the PO Track for the current formation.

All PO Tracks – toggles showing all PO Tracks.

PO Mode – toggles PO Mode on/off.

Move PO – When gold, in “hot” mode and starts the PO move. When not gold, in “safe” mode and won’t start the PO move. PO Mode button toggles it between hot and safe modes. Again, gold color indicates it will cause an action on the map.

Selecting Theater Options (Advanced Rules)

In some Scenarios, you may have options to request Out of Theater actions that can affect the situation on the map. At the start of your Turn, you will be notified if you have any available Theater Options. Use the View / Theater Options menu item to check your Theater Options. Click on an Option button in the window to select it. Its button will turn silver. Your selection will not become effective immediately, it must first go thru the end/beginning of turn cycle.

Giving Orders to Your Units

A dialog menu showing orders that that can be given to a unit.
An example of right-click dialog window to issue an order. In this case, artillery is being set to 'Tactical reserve' so that it can support any combat within its range (2 hexes as shown by red outline).

You order normal Movement or combat by right clicking on a map location. Select units by left clicking on them.

Advanced Unit Orders Rules (Advanced Rules)

In most cases, you will be able to choose how many units you wish to affect by an order. Depending on your orders, one or more units will attempt to Attack or Move toward the selected location by the most effective route. If you right-click on your current unit, you can issue General Orders to it from the popup menu. Depending upon your Advanced Rule setting for the Menu Show Delay, you may have to hold the right button down for a short while to get the popup. Otherwise, the unit will skip the popup and automatically do the most obvious action.

General Unit Orders Popup Menus (Advanced Rules)

You can use this menu to issue General Orders to your units. Most of these Orders can also be issued from other windows, displays, etc., but this is the most convenient place to see exactly what options you have for your units at any given time. General Orders are as follows:

Note that only General Orders that are available will be displayed.

  • Disband Unit – Disbanded units are removed from the map and return their equipment to your Replacement Pool. It is not possible to disband units that are Routed, Reorganizing, Unsupplied, or “In Garrison.”
  • Divide Unit – Divide the unit into two or three smaller units. See Division into Sub-Units (Advanced Rules).
  • Recombine Unit – Recombine several smaller units into a single larger unit. See Division into Sub-Units (Advanced Rules).
  • Board Train – Board a Train to use Rail Movement. See Railroad Movement
  • Board Aircraft – Board an Aircraft to use Air Movement or Airborne Movement. See Air Movement
  • Board Helicopters – Board Helicopters to use Airmobile Movement.
  • Board Ship – Board a Ship to use Seaborne Movement. See Seaborne Movement
  • Disembark – Disembark from Trains, Aircraft, Helicopters, or Ships.
  • Repair Railroad – Attempt to repair damaged Railroads in the current location.
  • Destroy Bridges – Destroy bridges in the current location.
  • Repair Bridges – Attempt to repair bridges in the current location.
  • Deploy: Dig In – Assume or increase Defensive Deployment, to Defending, Entrenched, or Fortified.
  • Deploy: Tactical Reserve – Unit assumes a Tactical Reserve Order.
  • Deploy: Local Reserve – Assume a Local Reserve Order.
  • Deploy: Mobile – Assume a Mobile Deployment.
  • Mission: Air Superiority – For Air units only; the unit will assume an Air Superiority Mission.
  • Mission: Interdiction – For Air and Helicopter units only; the unit will assume an Interdiction Mission.
  • Mission: Combat Support – For Air and Helicopter units only; the unit will assume a Combat Support Mission.
  • Mission: Sea Interdiction – For Air and Helicopter units only; the unit will assume a Sea Interdiction Mission.
  • Mission: Rest – For Air and Helicopter units only; the unit will assume a Rest Mission.
  • Orders: Minimize Losses – Set Loss Tolerance to minimize losses.
  • Orders: Limit Losses – Set Loss Tolerance to limit losses.
  • Orders: Ignore Losses – Set Loss Tolerance to ignore losses.
  • Show Unit Report – Show the Unit Report window.
  • Show Formation Report – Show the Formation Report window.
  • Show Group Composition – Show the Group Composition window.

Bombardment of or from Distant Locations

In some Scenarios, some locations may be “Distant.” These locations are usually used to represent off-map Anchorages and/or Airfields and are frequently surrounded by Non-Playable or Deep-Water locations. The distance of a Distant location is included when determining attack ranges. Distant hex values have no effect on movement, however. The Distance hex range limit is 254.

Land Movement

This is the normal movement of Land units through certain allowed types of terrain.

Change of Ownership

When a non-Guerrilla Land unit enters an enemy controlled location, that location becomes friendly controlled. Entering an enemy-controlled location incurs additional Movement Point penalties; see Enemy-Controlled Terrain in Additional Land Movement Costs for details.

Guerrilla units have a special ability to choose between two different methods of Movement. By default, these units will not change the ownership of hexes that they pass through. After Movement is concluded for the unit, and another unit is selected, then the hex that the Guerrilla unit occupies becomes friendly-controlled. This mode plays to their combat advantages (see Guerrilla Unit Notes) in attacking from hexes that were previously enemy-controlled during the Turn, by retaining more enemy-controlled terrain from which to gain the bonus on subsequent Turns.

Guerrilla units may also operate more openly by choosing to convert hexes that they move through. This will make their Movement paths more visible after playback and reduce the number of hexes that they can operate with a combat advantage from on subsequent Turns. To convert a hex during Movement, stop the Guerrilla unit in the hex to be converted and select another unit. This will convert the hex that the Guerrilla unit stopped in. Then, you may continue moving, repeating this procedure as necessary, to convert any other hexes.

Railroad Damage

Any Railroads in an enemy-controlled location may be damaged when a friendly unit enters the location. The chance that this will happen is dependent on the Scenario. Damaged (broken) Railroads may not be used for Railroad Movement or Supply delivery.

Transit Attrition

Even in the best of cases your units will suffer minor equipment losses during Movement. Most of these losses represent simple straggling or small details left behind for route security duties and are not permanent. The “lost” equipment is assigned to your Replacement Pool for later redistribution, provided that the moving unit is not marked as Unsupplied. If a unit is marked Unsupplied, its Transit Attrition losses are permanently lost.

Interdiction Missions

If your opponent has any Air units flying Interdiction Missions, it is possible that your unit may come under Air Attack during Movement. The chance for this is proportional to your opponent’s Local Interdiction Level. Units on Roads or using Rail Movement are particularly vulnerable to Interdiction Missions. Enemy Air units striking your units might be intercepted by your Local Air Superiority effort, which in Turn are subject to attack by your opponent’s Local Air Superiority. Reminder: Interdiction only affects overland movement of ground units. Similarly, Sea Interdiction only affects sea movement of naval and embarked units.

Supply Consumption

Your units will consume part of their internal supplies and will suffer a reduced Readiness with every Movement Point expended.

Disengagement (Advanced Rules)

In the real world, it can be quite difficult to break contact with enemy units. When you order a unit to move out of a location adjacent to an enemy unit, that unit will attempt to disengage. Successful disengagement results in a normal ordered Movement.

Disengagement is automatic if:

  • Your unit is a Commando unit,
  • Your unit is either a Headquarters or Artillery unit, and the first location moved into is occupied by a friendly unit, and/or
  • Your unit is moving to a destination not adjacent to an enemy unit, and there is a friendly unit in the location being vacated.

Your Disengagement chance is improved if:

  • Your unit has a large Reconnaissance capability,
  • Your unit began the Turn with a very high Movement Allowance relative to the enemy units it is adjacent to, and/or
  • Your unit is heavily equipped with armored equipment.

Your Disengagement chance is reduced if:

  • The enemy units have a large Reconnaissance capability,
  • Your unit began the Turn with a low Movement Allowance relative to the enemy units.

Terrain modifies the Disengaging unit’s Reconnaissance Capability:

  • Badlands, Forests, Super Rivers, and Suez Canal locations offer the best cover for Disengagement (3x Recon).
  • Bocage, Dense Urban, River, Canal, and Fortified Line locations (2.5x Recon).
  • Mountains, Urban (2x Recon).
  • Cropland, Hills (1.5x Recon).

Terrain modifications for disengagement regarding Reconnaissance Strength are not cumulative. Only the best (highest value) terrain type is considered. For disengagement purposes, unit Reconnaissance Capabilities are multiplied by an additional 0.5 on night Turns or if there is Heavy Rain or Snow in the location (which is cumulative).

Should your unit fail to disengage from the enemy, it will be subject to a Disengagement Attack. This is a short, one-sided shot at your unit as it attempts to move. The attack is based on the attack strengths of all enemy units involved, and the defense strength of your moving unit plus any supporting fire from eligible air and artillery units. Only the moving unit will take losses, which may force it to retreat, divide into subunits, or (in the worst case) disband.

If the units attempting to disengage are much weaker than adjacent enemy units there is an additional movement cost – up to 3x the normal cost to move out of the location. Relatively strong units will see no additional movement costs.

If you wish to avoid the effects of disengagement in your games, you can turn “active disengagement” off using the Game Options dialog.

Attack Menus and Attack Planning (Advanced Rules)

When you order your units to move into an enemy occupied location, you are creating a plan for an attack on that position at some later point in the Turn. In some cases, the would-be defenders may decide to retreat rather than weather your Attack (see Retreat Before Combat (RBC)). If this happens, your units may advance into the vacant location. If the defender does not retreat before combat, a popup menu will allow you to set up an Attack. You can quickly select the number of units to attack with and set their Loss Tolerance directly from the popup menu. If you wish to plan the battle in detail, you can choose the Attack Planning window.

Attack Deployment (Advanced Rules)

You may set up as many Attacks as you wish. The Orders emphasis you select determines how hard your units will fight for their objectives. If more than one unit is scheduled to Attack any location, all involved units are combined into a single Attack. Units may be ordered to Attack, conduct a Limited Attack, or (if at a distance) Bombard the defender. When setting Attack Deployments for units participating in an Attack, each unit can be given individual Attack Deployments orders; i.e., one unit can be ordered to “Ignore Losses”, one can be told to conduct a “Limited Attack”, while still another can be given orders to “Minimize Losses”.

Attacking units participate fully and may advance into the location if the enemy retreats. Units conducting a Limited Attack add half their Strength to the Attack, suffer only half the losses they would in a normal Attack, and will not advance into the location after combat.

Bombardment Attacks may be set up against enemy units within range of your Air and Long-Range Artillery units by clicking on any non-adjacent enemy target location within range.

Adjacent ranged units may also bombard if they have more that 50% of their combat strength coming from ranged equipment or if their range has been changed from nominal. Players can tell if an adjacent unit is going to bombard instead of assault by the resulting movement path over the target hex. If it is the “arrow” path it will assault. If it is the “cross-hair” path it will bombard.

Bombarding units and units conducting a Limited Attack will not advance after combat. Attacks take precedence over Bombardments. If any Attacks are plotted against a location scheduled to be bombarded, any Bombarding units are added to the Attack. Bombardments are generally much less effective than Attacks, but they can be useful for damaging enemy units out of reach of a normal Attack. Bombardments are subject to counter-battery fire if the target hex contains in-range ranged units.

Counter-battery occurs after the bombardment that triggers it (instead of before, as in older versions of TOAW). Artillery that supports a ground assault is not subject to counter-battery – regardless of the presence of ranged defenders in the target hex.

Retreat Before Combat (RBC)

The first time you order a unit to Attack any enemy location in any given Turn, there is a chance that the defenders will retreat before combat. If there is a large difference between the combined Attack Strengths of your current unit when the Attack is ordered and the combined Defense Strengths of the enemy units in the defending location, the computer will check to see if the defending units immediately retreat rather than face your assault.

When checking for retreats before combat, a Flanking Check is made, which is based on the quantity of “active defender” equipment in the defending and attacking units relative the Scenario Map scale. If the defender has less than the amount of equipment necessary to fully cover his frontage in the Scenario Scale, the Attacker has more equipment, and the Attacker passes a Unit Quality Check, the chance for a retreat before combat is increased by a random fraction between one and:

Attacker Equipment Density / Defender Equipment Density

This makes it much more likely that “small” units will retreat before combat with “large” units because the large unit is assumed to have succeeded in turning the flank of the smaller unit.

There are two types of retreat before combat. If the defending units fail a Quality Check, they will simply retreat. They are subject to the same types of losses and penalties as in normal after-combat retreats. Depending upon their Loss Tolerance Orders, units passing their Quality Check may still retreat before combat in order to avoid likely destruction during your assault. This is more likely if you have given the unit orders to Minimize Losses.

Units retreating after a passed Quality Check are treated more favorably than those retreating after a failed Quality Check.

In some cases, retreats before combat will result in the destruction of the defending units during your Movement, leaving their location open for occupation by your units. Headquarters and Artillery units, as well as units with Minimize Losses Orders, are more likely to retreat before combat. A unit with Ignore Losses orders is less likely to retreat.

Units advancing into locations vacated by enemy units retreating before combat pay the additional cost of entering enemy terrain, although they are exempt from the costs of moving adjacent to enemy units.

Note that the P hot-key and the “Double click opens planner” option provide methods to avoid causing a Retreat Before Combat, if desired. RBC chances are adjusted for faster units (proportionate to their speed advantage) to a max of a 2:1 additional advantage. This doesn’t apply to fixed defenders, though.

'RBC stands flag' will be cleared when a combat phase inflicts over 50% losses to the defenders – allowing such defenders to then be subject to more RBC attempts in that same turn.

RBC at greater than 8:1 odds, now proportionately decrease the chance of the unit standing. So, if the odds are, say, 100:1, then the defender will be very likely to be RBC’d. But, note that those odds still incorporate the defender’s deployment / terrain multiples.

RBC code allows only one RBC attempt against a combined stack. The attempt is against the combined stack [not against each individual unit in the stack] – if successful, the entire stack retreats. RBC code requires the defender to have 15% of the density penalty threshold to avoid the flanked penalty during any RBC attempt.

Attack Options (Advanced Rules)

If the defending force does not retreat before combat, you will be asked for your General Attack Orders. Depending on circumstances, you may be given the following options:

  • Single Unit Attack: The current unit will attack the enemy position.
  • Single Unit Limited Attack: The current unit will conduct a Limited Attack on the enemy position.
  • Single Group Attack: All units grouped with the current unit will attack the enemy position.
  • Single Group Limited Attack: All units grouped with the current unit will conduct a Limited Attack on the enemy position.
  • Atomic Attack: The unit will launch an Atomic Attack. The strength of the attack is shown on the menu.
  • Bridge Attack: The unit will attack bridges in the location. The chance of success is shown on the menu.
  • All Units Attack: All units (regardless of Formation; Non-Cooperative Attack penalty may apply; see Unit Cooperation) that can possibly participate will attack the enemy position.
  • All Units Limited Attack: All units (regardless of Formation; Non-Cooperative Attack penalty may apply; see Unit Cooperation) that can possibly participate will conduct a Limited Attack on the enemy position.
  • Minimize Losses: If determined enemy opposition is encountered, the attack will not be pressed, so that losses are minimized as much as possible.
  • Limit Losses: The attack will be pressed, even in the face of significant casualties. This is the usual Attack Order emphasis.
  • Ignore Losses: The attack will be pressed regardless of casualties. Due to excessive casualties, this type of attack should be used rarely and with caution.

Reconnaissance (Advanced Rules)

As your units’ approach or enter enemy territory, they will discover previously unknown enemy units in or adjacent to their path. Normally, only the number and type of enemy units will be uncovered during movement. If your moving unit has a large Reconnaissance Capability, you may also discover enemy strength information. Units using Air or Airborne Movement have a greatly reduced chance of gaining information on enemy units. These units can fly over enemy units without spotting them.

Deployment Recovery

Ranged units (artillery, aircraft, etc.) retain their deployment states after combat. Furthermore, assaulting units can recover their previous deployment states if the attack is canceled before execution. This means that it is now safe to directly assign bombarding units to attacks even if it is likely that the turn will end before another movement round – they will still be in a support deployment if they had been in one prior to the assignment to the attack. Also, you can assign dug-in units to an attack, cancel the attack, and find them still dug-in.

This especially helps the PO, since it previously dis-entrenched most of its force just testing whether attacks with them were plausible.