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Dellinger327

Land mines... a rant.

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For the love of all that is good and decent, I HATE mine fields...

1.) My assault squad just ran through a hedge row gap into an unseen mine field. Boom, one guy down.

2.) The rest are all suppressed. Give orders to 'quick' out of mine field after minute ends.

3.) Upon next turn, they are still suppressed and ignor my move order. After 30 seconds lapse in the next turn, they start to recover morale. Oh, yes, and squirm around and go to give aid to the down soldier. Boom. Another squad mate down.

And the endless scenario continues until one guy finally makes it out.

What am I doing wrong here? How do you get your guys the hell out of this situation?:mad:

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If your guys are not under fire and you have Pioneers (engineers) it is safer to hide your sqd where they are and use your engineers to "mark mines".

Once it is marked split your sqd (large sqds have a tendency to wander about and may trigger mines in adjacent actions squares) and either "walk" and "crawl" out of the minefield. Also as your sqd is split you will have less guys standing and not as much chance of multiple casualties and panic.

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What am I doing wrong here? How do you get your guys the hell out of this situation?:mad:

Best bet:

Don't get them into that situation

Second best bet:

Don't try to move them. Just leave them sitting there in the minefield till the end of the scenario.

Third best bet:

Have some engineers or pioneers come up to them and clear the minefield before you attempt move them out. You will probably need to provide smoke and/or a lot of covering fire to suppress any enemy overwatching the minefield.

Most likely:

Do what happened to you, because 1, 2, and 3 don't, can't, or won't work in the specifics of any given minestrike.

Incidentally, there was an incident at the Kajaki Dam back in September 2006 when one guy wandered into an unmarked minefield, presumably leftover from when the Soviets were there in the 1980s. He lost a foot. Someone went to rescue him. He lost a foot too. A third guy tried to rescue both of them, tripped a mine, and eventually died of his wounds. And so it went on. Eventually there was 1 KIA, 6 WIA, and a damaged helicopter. All without direct enemy involvement.

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TIP 4: If you absolutely must traverse a suspected mine field make sure your men and/or vehicles advance using Hunt. That way if the guy in front ignites the dude following will stop in his tracks.

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What's really frustrating is that there is no way to clear mines without getting at least one guy killed, or risking immobilizing a vehicle. I understand that you wouldn't know they were there at first, but after finding and marking one field, you should be able to spot the ones adjacent to it. Unless there is some way to do this that I am missing.

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Use scout teams on Hunt. Two or three men max when mines are even suspected.

If a minefield is discovered(flaming datum) issue the HIDE order to any pinned troops. Hide is NOT a movement order and will be obeyed in most circumstances. This keeps buddy aid casualties down, as the troops will not move from hiding positions until ordered to do so... or breaking.

Once troops are under your firm control, issue a SLOW order out the way you came in.

Do not go that way again.

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What's really frustrating is that there is no way to clear mines without getting at least one guy killed, or risking immobilizing a vehicle. I understand that you wouldn't know they were there at first, but after finding and marking one field, you should be able to spot the ones adjacent to it. Unless there is some way to do this that I am missing.

Theoretically according to the manual any people in the vicinty have a chance of spotting and engineers more so.

But in practice it rarely happens. Even if you plant engineers right where you expect to find them. Maybe "mark mines" could also serve as a look for mines.

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Minefields are a bit the same as heavy concentrations of artillery fire. It's shockingly efficient a times, just as it should be, but when it happens to the player it feels like the devs or scenario maker hates you.

I just recently played vs AI and my attack preparations were smashed when what I assume was rocket artillery crippled the 3rd Company deploying to support the attack.

The casualty rates were around 60% and all of them within some 60 seconds, the battalion HQ wasn't hit but somehow never recovered from the shock and were shaken and prone and all it's subordinates were out of C2 with it for the rest of the session.

The second Coy ran into a minefield and then got mortars dropped on them which resulted in utter chaos as units broke and tried to run.

In the end Some two platoons from the first company saved the day together with the lone Stug I could afford but I still got a draw due to the casualties.

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What's really frustrating is that there is no way to clear mines without getting at least one guy killed, or risking immobilizing a vehicle. I understand that you wouldn't know they were there at first, but after finding and marking one field, you should be able to spot the ones adjacent to it. Unless there is some way to do this that I am missing.

Wait till the Brits arrive with their Flail tanks!

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Theoretically according to the manual any people in the vicinty have a chance of spotting and engineers more so.

But in practice it rarely happens. Even if you plant engineers right where you expect to find them. Maybe "mark mines" could also serve as a look for mines.

Maybe it's just random luck, but I've actually had some success spotting mines by placing engineering units in the vicinity, and let them sit and observe.

I will note that, in my experience, it takes quite some time. IIRC, the last time I did it, the engineering team was sitting still in one place for about 5 minutes before it spotted the mines in the action spot adjacent to it (they had finished marking mines discovered "the hard way", and I left them there because I didn't have anything else to do with them at the moment).

One refinement I would like to see in the game is a differentiation between minefield types. Some minefields, especially hastily laid ones and very thick "barrier" minefields, are pretty bleedin' obvious and trained units shouldn't have much difficulty spotting them at all. Oftentimes, the defender actually expects an attacker to know where these minefields are and doesn't bother with concealing them too much -- I've seen pictures of this type of minefield with the warning signs in plain view. This type of field is there to channel the attack into kill zones.

At the other end of the spectrum are thinly laid, carefully concealed "nuisance" minefields, which can be VERY hard to spot, until someone sets one off.

The minefields in CM right now seem to be somewhere in the middle, which is fine, but some more options and detail would be nice.

And I still want some kind of option in game to clear a narrow path through minefields via explosives; this is one of the things bangalore torpedoes were designed to do. IMHO, this should be somewhat faster than the "mark mines" command, with the obvious trade-off that it would cost demo charges to do it. The effect should be like the mark mines command, too -- one quickly laid bangalore shouldn't eliminate the entire patch of mines, it should just be abstractly assumed that the explosives have cleared a narrow path through the action spot, and units can probably cross safely as long as they're not moving too quickly.

Cheers,

YD

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Minefields are a bit the same as heavy concentrations of artillery fire. It's shockingly efficient a times, just as it should be, but when it happens to the player it feels like the devs or scenario maker hates you.

I remember discovering that a field was clear of enemy fire so I quickly tried to run a platoon across it. Of course, it turned out to be a deep minefield and the platoon was decimated in a turn as they had all been given a "quick" order so they just kept on going even though their mates were blowing up mines all around them. In fact, the lead squad eventually panicked and ran back through the minefield that had caused the panic in the first place and received another load of casualties!

Now that annoyed me because I don't believe that's what would have happened in real life. They weren't under fire so as soon as the first guy set off a mine they would have all stopped.

This seems to be real reason why mines are so deadly in CMBN. The pixeltruppen basically behave stupidly upon the discovery that they are in a minefield. Mines were never expected to destroy the enemy, they were supposed to slow them down. The reason they weren't expected to destroy the enemy is because you wouldn't expect them to blindly run across it once they'd discovered it.

I'm sure the problem can be resolved by some minor tweaking. Just getting them to stop once a mine has gone off would be a start.

(And yes, I do realise that, on occasion, we might actually want our pixeltruppen to go through a minefield. Surely that could be resolved by a Y/N order confirmation on known minefields?)

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Way back when, when Steel Panthers was the only game in town, the first option button that got dinged was "No Mines".

I hates them.

Unfortunately in the Normandy campaighn, the Germans had plenty of time and expertise, so mines were a real problem.

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The second Coy ran into a minefield and then got mortars dropped on them which resulted in utter chaos as units broke and tried to run.

Hey Praetori - have you been watching me play?

That whole scenario you recounted sounds eerily familiar.

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I remember discovering that a field was clear of enemy fire so I quickly tried to run a platoon across it. Of course, it turned out to be a deep minefield and the platoon was decimated in a turn as they had all been given a "quick" order so they just kept on going even though their mates were blowing up mines all around them. In fact, the lead squad eventually panicked and ran back through the minefield that had caused the panic in the first place and received another load of casualties!

Now that annoyed me because I don't believe that's what would have happened in real life. They weren't under fire so as soon as the first guy set off a mine they would have all stopped.

This seems to be real reason why mines are so deadly in CMBN. The pixeltruppen basically behave stupidly upon the discovery that they are in a minefield. Mines were never expected to destroy the enemy, they were supposed to slow them down. The reason they weren't expected to destroy the enemy is because you wouldn't expect them to blindly run across it once they'd discovered it.

I'm sure the problem can be resolved by some minor tweaking. Just getting them to stop once a mine has gone off would be a start.

(And yes, I do realise that, on occasion, we might actually want our pixeltruppen to go through a minefield. Surely that could be resolved by a Y/N order confirmation on known minefields?)

As you correctly note, it's not always a good idea to stop in a minefield as soon as a mine detonates. A good defender will almost always sight MGs and mortars onto a minefield. So standing still once you've entered a minefield in a firefight can mean certain death.

But if there isn't danger of incoming fire, then stopping might be a good idea. It's a tough call for the AI to make.

BFC is generally reluctant to clutter up the UI with lots of additional command options, so I don't think it's likely we'll see such a context specific command as a "Stop in Minefield" Y/N button. But it is interesting to debate how the command options available to the player could be tweaked.

My personal opinion is that the "Move" command for infantry could be changed. Right now, it's only marginally useful because it's so slow -- issuing Quick orders with occasional pauses for rest will actually get a unit somewhere faster, and at the same level of readiness. Perhaps if the Move order were changed to represent a faster movement (more of a "double quick" march), but without expectation of incoming fire, it would be more useful. The AI under Move order could then be set to do things like stop immediately if it encounters unexpected resistance/danger, such as a minefield, and Quick could be kept as it is now -- more of a "push through" order, with a strong preference for completing the movement, no matter what. This would then give the player a useful choice.

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For the love of all that is good and decent, I HATE mine fields...

1.) My assault squad just ran through a hedge row gap into an unseen mine field. Boom, one guy down.

2.) The rest are all suppressed. Give orders to 'quick' out of mine field after minute ends.

3.) Upon next turn, they are still suppressed and ignor my move order. After 30 seconds lapse in the next turn, they start to recover morale. Oh, yes, and squirm around and go to give aid to the down soldier. Boom. Another squad mate down.

And the endless scenario continues until one guy finally makes it out.

What am I doing wrong here? How do you get your guys the hell out of this situation?:mad:

BFC has got this one sooo right. Minefield+troops=total sh#t-show. Use scouts, lots of scouts. When they hit the minefield, start writing letters and then don't send the rest of your troops there.

Squad gets hit inside one; you can try a rescue but that may just turn more trained troops into dead ones. Best bet it to try and move them out slowly but in reality if a squad goes to ground in the middle of a minefield it is in serious trouble.

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My personal opinion is that the "Move" command for infantry could be changed. Right now, it's only marginally useful because it's so slow -- issuing Quick orders with occasional pauses for rest will actually get a unit somewhere faster, and at the same level of readiness. Perhaps if the Move order were changed to represent a faster movement (more of a "double quick" march), but without expectation of incoming fire, it would be more useful. The AI under Move order could then be set to do things like stop immediately if it encounters unexpected resistance/danger, such as a minefield, and Quick could be kept as it is now -- more of a "push through" order, with a strong preference for completing the movement, no matter what. This would then give the player a useful choice.

Quite like the sound of that. You're right, I rarely use the "Move" command for the reasons you outline. It seems like a movement command for when you are REALLY nowhere near the action. If you're on the scenario map then you are, by definition, near the action (unless it's a particulary dull scenario ;)) so it never feels like the right command.

Perhaps it should be replaced by a "Jog Moderately to Contact" command? (OK, that's a stupid name. But you get the idea)

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Perhaps it should be replaced by a "Jog Moderately to Contact" command? (OK, that's a stupid name. But you get the idea)

Yeah; that's more or less what I was thinking of. This would be a command that I would actually use regularly. As it is now, I only use Move only rarely for infantry and I think the space in the UI would be better served by a more useful order.

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What am I doing wrong here? How do you get your guys the hell out of this situation?:mad:

You're using "Quick" to get them out once they've been suppressed. Use Slow. You have a fair chance of crossing a given mine square without casualties if you crawl.

The buddy aid movement setting off mines is a bit of a downer though. Don't know what you can do about that.

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I think because most players play balanced QBs or one-off scenarios with symmetrical or default settings for the "soft" factors, they're less likely to see any usefulness to the Move command.

But if you have a battle where your forces start out "unfit," even more than two Quick bounds in a row will push them into tiring, tired, etc., quite rapidly.

I had a battle like this recently (the "unfit" state of my troops was dictated by the situation in the operational-layer boardgame) and I was forced to rely on Move a lot more than I would have liked, giving me a constant dilemma between preserving their limited energy and getting them into position/maintaining battle readiness. Unfair to my side, but realistic and a fun challenge.

My point is that Move has a purpose and it's not necessarily a flaw in CMBN -- its value might just not be apparent some typical game situations.

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I think because most players play balanced QBs or one-off scenarios with symmetrical or default settings for the "soft" factors, they're less likely to see any usefulness to the Move command.

But if you have a battle where your forces start out "unfit," even more than two Quick bounds in a row will push them into tiring, tired, etc., quite rapidly.

I had a battle like this recently (the "unfit" state of my troops was dictated by the situation in the operational-layer boardgame) and I was forced to rely on Move a lot more than I would have liked, giving me a constant dilemma between preserving their limited energy and getting them into position/maintaining battle readiness. Unfair to my side, but realistic and a fun challenge.

My point is that Move has a purpose and it's not necessarily a flaw in CMBN -- its value might just not be apparent some typical game situations.

Well, I prefer campaigns, and love interesting complications like playing with Unfit troops, and I still rarely use Move. Even with Unfit troops, most of the time, Quick orders interspersed with Pauses at waypoints to rest and catch breath will still get a unit from point A to point B faster, and generally more safely, too, since they spend less time actually up and moving.

But in any event, this is easily adjusted for; just make the speed of units executing "Move" orders dependent upon their current level of fitness & fatigue.

So a Fit, Rested unit moves at a steady trot, not much slower than Quick, but an Unfit and/or Fatigued unit moves at something similar to the pace of the Move order (Which is quite slow -- I actually timed how long it took a unit to walk 100m on Move in CMSF, and then tested the same pace in RL. It's taking a stroll with your Grandma speed).

Basically, it becomes an order that tell as unit to get as efficiently as possible from point A to point B, without causing undue fatigue. Additional proviso that this should be a movement order for use when contact is *not* expected, so the unit is more vulnerable to incoming fire (i.e., the unit moves in a way that prioritizes movement efficiency and unit cohesion over stealth and awareness), and if the unit does come under any fire, or encounters other danger such as a minefield, it is likely to immediately cancel the rest of the Move order and seek nearest cover.

This would be a very useful order, IMHO.

EDIT to add: The one time I do find Move useful is transiting a significant length of difficult terrain, like ford or swamp. Difficult terrain can fatigue units very quickly, even on Quick order. But the above structure could still adjust for this; if the SOP for Move is that the unit moves as quickly as it can along the route without incurring undue fatigue, then the unit should slow down to a non-taxing pace when it encounters difficult terrain.

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Wait till the Brits arrive with their Flail tanks!

I read that as "fail" for a second. Personally I haven't really used or encountered mines all that much, there is so much ground and so few mines!

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My point is that Move has a purpose and it's not necessarily a flaw in CMBN -- its value might just not be apparent some typical game situations.

I agree. If my troops are in contact with a known or suspected enemy position, I move individual teams in staggered 40-50m bounds with a ten second pause between bounds plus whatever is left over at the beginning and end of the one minute turn. This way, out of each squad at least one and sometimes two teams are resting and observing while one is in motion.

But move comes in handy in the later half of a game when I am moving reserves up after the front line has advanced a few hundred meters. Then, if it is reasonable to assume that they are protected from fire by terrain or distance, I will move whole squads giving long Move bounds up to the point beyond which they might begin to receive fire. I do this for simplicity's sake. One plotted move is easier than four or five.

YD's point about it being the preferred mode of movement through certain kinds of terrain is a good one too.

BTW, we have been discussing men on foot, but in the case of vehicles, I also use Move with them most of the time unless they are on dry roads. I figure they are less prone to bogging and immobilization that way (although I've never run tests to see just how much difference it makes), and are a bit more likely to spot and react to threats of any kind. Besides, most of them don't seem to go a whole lot slower than using Fast on non-road terrain.

Michael

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