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GerryCMBB

Still disliking Artillery

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And several one man sniper teams (reduce them to 50% to lose that MP40 that opens up all the time) for the defender whose overriding task is not to be part of the unit's base of fire, but to find and kill the enemy FOs.

This just reminded my of a scenario I finished that My sniper team was a 2 man US team, the second guy had a bolt action rifle.

Their tally was 16 in the battle, which was excellent for me. Seldom do I get great results from my Sniper units.

But I agree with you that not pairing them up can help the sniper.

But for once in this battle I saw the second guy actually helping me. They were located behind the enemy lines and I waited to open them up only after the enemy units entered open fields pushing towards my front lines after they had shelled and pinned any of my remaining front line units. So I caught about a platoon moving in the open about 300 meters away. it was a perfect ambush.

I stopped that section of the assault in its tracks. I might have done even more damage but he did have some over watch units that he moved into position and they finally killed my sniper, but the second man picked up his weapon and fought on to the end of the battle.

What I wanted to point out was for the first time I saw the second guy get a few kills at range with his rifle. He even dropped someone in the overwatch group that was trying to kill them. He then picked up the fight as the sniper when his comrade went down. So in this instance, I was glad to have that second man. It is never black and white as to how the game should be.

But I like it when I get scenarios where they have provided only 1 man sniper teams.

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I tend to find that trenches and foxholes offer the kind of protection I would expect them to. In my experience even repeated fire missions with 105s (point detonating) tend not to cause many casualties against troops in foxholes. AT guns though are a different matter. Only sandbag walls give them any kind of protection and it is very inadequate protection (although sticking the crew in foxholes also helps a bit). I don't know how easy it was to excavate gun pits in Italy and Sicily but it does seem a bit of an omission to me not to have a better type of fortification for use with AT guns, infantry guns etc...

When it comes to infantry in the open, artillery is very deadly and that, I feel, is the way it should be.

I think it has been pointed out At guns in foxhole locations get no benefits, You might as well have them in open ground.

Even normal squads seem to have issues.

If they are not in the hole, they are exposed and generally die quickly. part of the problem being, you send them to the hex, but for some strange reason they do not like getting in the holes. It gets old seeing them lay down between the foxholes in the game. That is one area that does not get picked on enough. that could use some improvement.

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I tend to find that trenches and foxholes offer the kind of protection I would expect them to. In my experience even repeated fire missions with 105s (point detonating) tend not to cause many casualties against troops in foxholes. AT guns though are a different matter. Only sandbag walls give them any kind of protection and it is very inadequate protection (although sticking the crew in foxholes also helps a bit).

Yeah, guns are screwed either way.

However, the problem with infantry is that it's not that reliable to actually get them distributed into the foxholes and then make them stay in them, and not lose LOS or LOF to the targets in the process.

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I'd like to know why aren't dug in soldiers and guns placed below surface, so that only a very small part of their body remains above surface.

Since the engine can handle the placement of individual soldiers along walls and other objects very, very well, is it impossible to make them align to an invisible wall below surface, representing a trench, a pit or a formation of foxholes?

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Craters help gun survivability considerably, but given the terrain, guns need sangars, which were used quite effectively in North Africa.

http://www.lexic.us/definition-of/sangars

Pics, of what appear to be badly abused ones, here.

http://www.sidirezegh.co.nz/Menus/Platoon-Diary.php

Intact specimen, Radicosa, Italy, 1944. Note what it is especially good for surviving.

http://asl-battleschool.blogspot.com/2012/07/special-delivery-fssf-at-70.html

Finally! 88s and other guns in sangars

http://www.lonesentry.com/battleoftheomars/appendixb.html

Regards,

John Kettler

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Agree on 2 man sniper teams being handy as infantry on occasion. Alas, the second guy can't distinguish stealthy sniping from a firefight.

Re Fortifications, I'm grateful that BFC found a way to get FoW in there after years of our whining, and I like the way segments automatically link up. But they are still Spotted far too easily, even when in what should be excellent concealment terrain like Forest or Tall Grass. It seems the game engine treats them as vehicles for certain purposes, including spotting. If I want to keep a unit like a FO or sniper hidden I've invariably found Entrenching or Bunkering it to be the kiss of death.

It wouldn't seem too hard to designate Camouflaged units; the functionality already exists in the engine. Based on "population density" for example, CMSF Uncon units are made harder to spot until they either are close or commit an overtly hostile act. That would seem to provide the basis for a similar function where specific units (assign them a special AI group or sumfink) are hard (not impossible) to spot until they shoot, move or you get close. Either that, or work up some kind of placeable object that creates (invisibly) the impact of a Smoke grenade in a single Action spot, not dispersing until bullets are fired into or out of the space (inferior solution). FWIW - just wool gathering.

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I'd like to know why aren't dug in soldiers and guns placed below surface, so that only a very small part of their body remains above surface.

Since the engine can handle the placement of individual soldiers along walls and other objects very, very well, is it impossible to make them align to an invisible wall below surface, representing a trench, a pit or a formation of foxholes?

Because it would be too expensive for the 3D engine to break up the ground mesh.

In a 3D engine there is a strict difference between a ground and fixed large objects (or other environmental borders) that are never modified on one hand and stuff that can move and change shape. It would be prohibitively expensive to make modifiable ground.

That is the reason why foxholes aren't holes in the ground, why they are donuts on top of the ground.

We went over this many times and I think there is general agreement on the why. The differences in opinion are in the real of how to deal with the problem. Solutions would include:

  • Use more abstract cover as opposed to 3D cover
  • Cut soldiers in half which would look odd graphically but would put them in about the right position for 3D cover
  • Graphically, do you use flat "carpet-like" foxholes like in CMx1. Uglier than the donuts?

Soldiers are one thing but the guns not getting cover from fortifications that are subject to FoW is IMHO a serious issue, in particular in Normandy.

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It's true that a GUN doesn't get any benefit from being placed in a foxhole or trench but its crew does. The crew will hunker down in the fortification when the mortar/artillery rounds are coming in and then get back up when the threat stops. That's quite realistic. It's quite hard to knock out the gun itself so the gun in a foxhole/trench has a greater survivablilty than one that is not. Sandbags seem to be good against incoming fire but not so good for artillery. Of course, when you're playing the stock scenarios, you may not get any/enough of these lovely foxholes/trenches but it's worth bearing in mind when you're purchasing your own OB ;)

When I was testing missions for the 'Scottish Corridor' campaign (stops for applause) I noticed that infantry in foxholes were actually quite safe from artillery especially when they were hiding. There was one mission where the Brits set-up zones were set to be targetted by some medium Nebelwerfer rockets at set-up. As long as they were hiding, the rockets didn't inflict many casualties at all. We're talking about 1-3 on average. If the rocket hit the foxhole itself, well, that's tough because I wouldn't expect it to provide much benefit in real life either.

But currently it's ridiculous, that three 50mm mortars can rip off any heavily entrenched defense of the heavy weapons.

Instead of running against HMGs over and over again, why didn't they simply use a small mortar?!

Funny because I've often thought the same thing. I'm back working on something using US PIR units and they have one 60mm mortar per platoon and I've decided that the best way to tone these blighters down is to set their ammo to Scarce. And that has helped a lot. Perhaps the Full ammo loadout is a bit over the top. It's something like 48 rounds IIRC and I've already posted a screenshot demonstrating what a single mortar can do in the right set of circumstances.

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BTW, ASL halved the gun's calibre to get the mortar's firepower. I think a 60mm gun had a FP rating of 8 and so the 60mm mortar used the 4FP table or something like that. However, ASL was very abstract and so isn't a very useful comparison.

One thing that I'd suggest is that the game gives units greater protection from artillery when cowering on the ground while the rounds are falling, especially lower calibre rounds*. Units that are ASSAULTING should get a morale boost using that order (the got one in CMx1 and I assume that this is still the case) that will keep them moving through the falling artillery, to a point. So maybe better protection from grovelling would help?

* I doubt grovelling would provide much protection from a 150mm round though.

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I'd like to know why aren't dug in soldiers and guns placed below surface, so that only a very small part of their body remains above surface.

Since the engine can handle the placement of individual soldiers along walls and other objects very, very well, is it impossible to make them align to an invisible wall below surface, representing a trench, a pit or a formation of foxholes?

Answered by Redwolf in the post prior to yours: if Fortifications put infantry too low to the ground to maximize concealment and protection, they lose LOS and the enemy can walk right up to your positions unseen by many of your men. LOS is the same reason for other oddities, like pixeltroops not taking cover soon enough under intense fire (and staying there), LMGs being fired from the shoulder and tripod MG gunners sitting bolt upright.

Part of the benefit of the "earth pimples" is that they provide Low Wall-height cover for men in the "taking a knee" stance (one of the 3 possible stances for infantry that offers the best balance between LOS and cover).

Field of fire from emplacements is a real world tactical problem too, which is why defensive emplacements need to be carefully sited, preferably on elevated ground (water table is also a consideration), fire lanes cleared of obstructions, etc. You don't just dig a foxhole anywhere and expect to fight from it. At best, it's a bomb shelter.

I suspect the original CMSF testers can tell some stories about what Charles doubtless went through to arrive at a practical balance that doesn't result in a defending player having to agonize over the precise placement of units so they aren't blind.

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I understand. Seems that the LOS-check at ground level is reaching it's limits.

I begin to hate the realtime-option, because it seems to be the reason, why we can't get rid of these restrictions. With pure WEGO more complex LOS-calculations would be no problem at all. :mad:

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One thing that hasen't been mentioned so far is that ground features are not in the FOW. We see that all the time with fences: we can see them magically break down without having LOS.

If a foxhole would be a real dent in the ground you would immediatly know where all the enemies foxholes are!

If 'ground FOW' comes at some point in the future - that will change the game a lot. But I don't expect that very soon because its probaly a LOT of work.

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I begin to hate the realtime-option, because it seems to be the reason, why we can't get rid of these restrictions. With pure WEGO more complex LOS-calculations would be no problem at all. :mad:

Aha. But the Real Time engine means that there are other game design features that were not possible using CMx1's old WEGO engine ;) It's been a VERY long time since I read some of Steve's posts talking about the benefits that the RT engine would confer. I believe that one of them was that artillery no longer had to start and finish in the same turn. I guess, if I'm right that it means ballistic tracking can be maintained across turns. So it's not all just for the benefit of the 'teenagers' in our midst (like me :D)

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It wouldn't seem too hard to designate Camouflaged units...

They already do this for ATGs (at least - if the manual is to be believed, and I've seen enough evidence to be convinced) deployed at game start and not moved. How effective this is and should be in various different terrain types is a matter of discussion.

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There was something else with craters that make them not true holes in the ground from a 3D standpoint. I don 't think troops can sink into them, can they?

Yes, they can. Your previous answer was mostly correct. You said that deforming the mesh was a problem. Technically there's no problem with deforming terrain, including the mesh. The problem comes with FoW because we can't have two states. Either the terrain is deformed 100% of the time, for both sides, or it's not. There's no practical way to have it be two different ways depending on player perspective, not to mention individual unit perspective.

Which means we can deform the mesh for a shell impact. There's no really compelling FoW reason to hide this information, so it's not a problem. A foxhole or trench, on the other hand, need FoW. Therefore, they can not deform the mesh.

CMSF had deformed mesh for foxholes and trenches. Consensus was it could be justified because Blue forces would most likely know of them before hand due to terrain types, sat photos, aerial recon, UAVs, etc. But for something like Normandy? No way, no how would that work. Which is why we changed things.

I understand. Seems that the LOS-check at ground level is reaching it's limits.

I begin to hate the realtime-option, because it seems to be the reason, why we can't get rid of these restrictions. With pure WEGO more complex LOS-calculations would be no problem at all. :mad:

It has nothing to do with with RealTime vs. WeGo. It mostly has to do with VRAM, RAM, and framerates (even for WeGo). LOS checks are also a huge problem, but WeGo doesn't make it practically better. Meaning, WeGo would require so many extra checks that it would greatly slow down turn computations quite noticeably. And that's if the system was even capable of handling the other problems mentioned.

If 'ground FOW' comes at some point in the future - that will change the game a lot. But I don't expect that very soon because its probaly a LOT of work.

Not so much work, rather major demands on the hardware. We have no plans to address this at all. Ever. That's how big of a problem we think it is.

Steve

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It has nothing to do with with RealTime vs. WeGo. It mostly has to do with VRAM, RAM, and framerates (even for WeGo). LOS checks are also a huge problem, but WeGo doesn't make it practically better. Meaning, WeGo would require so many extra checks that it would greatly slow down turn computations quite noticeably. And that's if the system was even capable of handling the other problems mentioned.

I can only speak for myself, but i would be GLAD to have several minute long turn calculations if the problems would vanish.

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Not so much work, rather major demands on the hardware. We have no plans to address this at all. Ever. That's how big of a problem we think it is.

Steve

That really should be in your sig- heck you should probably have a list on your SIG - or better yet maybe a FAQ page where you just post all your answers to these questions and just refer people there. :P

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I can only speak for myself, but i would be GLAD to have several minute long turn calculations if the problems would vanish.

I doubt many would agree it's that important. And even if they did, there are still the other problems which are not fixed by being WeGo only. Nor the other features that wouldn't get in the game because we'd be spending a considerable amount of time on making this work.

Effectively the game would have to store two maps in memory; one with FOW deformations, one without. That's a huge footprint.

This is like trying to swat a fly with a 155 Howitzer. Sure, the current implementation isn't visually as pleasing as we would all like it to be, but there's practically no game play problem with the way it is now. Given everything in the balance, it's pretty much a no-brainer to leave it alone. Which is exactly what we're going to do.

Steve

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Agreed. Low ammo loadouts for mortars keeps things more in line with the expected, in my experience.

I recall a loooong time ago (CMSF Brit module?) I did a scenario where I greatly restricted available off-map artillery ammo. As a justification I exlicitly stated in the orders the limited artillery would be due to (imagined) counter-battery fire disrupting your artillery support.

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MikeyD,

Don't know whether this would apply to CMFI or not, but it's certainly directly applicable to artillery dominance in CMBN. The Americans suffered through eleven months of ammunition shortages, some in the scary range where all but the most juicy and critical targets had to be ignored.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-Logistics2/USA-E-Logistics2-9.html#fn1

I didn't find anything equivalent for Sicily and Italy, but I did find something fascinating for the upcoming module covering Anzio--tank sleds! See page 212 here.

http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/Beachhd_Btlefrnt/ChapterXII.html

Something that would apply particularly after D-Day in Italy is a rapid drop in supply priority, which got so bad, for a bunch of reasons listed above, that it was necessary to harvest wrecks of jeeps and trucks and do large scale, assembly line type rebuilding simply to keep things going at all.

As a rule, the Germans had us outranged by their artillery at least through Sicily, and if you want to count, and one U.S. commander did, German railroad guns in the equation, then it was also true of Italy as well. I believe that's discussed at the first link. Been back and forth so many times I've lost track of what I read where!

Regards,

John Kettler

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