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Killkess

accuracy/efficiency of machine gun fire

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With the right scenario and terrain using green troops are a lot of fun; ideally you manage it in such a way that you *aren't* rallying panicked troops. This does require a more cautious strategy, which is easier to manage in infantry only battles where you have a little more control.

Agreed! When I playtested my CMBN Makin scenario, I was very pleased to find that the first wave company (Green) consistently secured the beach, but was then basically a spent force. Even though casualties were not "high" by CMBN standards (10% -- one man down per squad avg, although this is of course textbook "decimation"). The Rattled / Broken squads were useless for anything but covering fire. The push into the jungle had to be undertaken by fresh forces, which is basically what you'd expect, and why RL high risk operations like beach landings were carried out in "waves" to begin with.

As Andrew notes, you need to husband these troops carefully, advance under suppressing fire, and worry about things like being in command and Fatigue levels. Otherwise, you run out of willing shooters and your men begin Panicking and dying like flies if you keep pushing them. Even when you have vastly greater numbers and firepower than the enemy (also Green, but Fanatic and in good cover).

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"Actually, any player can take a scen into the editor and adjust the morale and experience levels as much as they want, with no time demands made on any already overworked scen designer, and without requiring that BFC change the game."

Good point. But, it begs the question why was the capability to change experience levels en masse with one click, which was one of the many great features available in CM1, taken out of CM2?

This discussion is about labor-saving features of CM1 vs the very time-consuming features of CM2 that get in the way of playing. When injured and in rehab I was playing an average of 6-8+ hours a day, so I could really feel the wasted time doing "make work" functions instead of focusing on tactics and having fun playing the game.

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Good point. But, it begs the question why was the capability to change experience levels en masse with one click, which was one of the many great features available in CM1, taken out of CM2?

Could this be due to varied experience/health/morale levels from squad to squad? It would not be homogenous throughout a formation. Or are you asking something else?

Michael

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Click on the formation in the editor, select the desired Experience and Morale setting (or ammo or whatever) and voila! all subordinate units have that same setting. Easy enough -- 3 clicks or sumfink.

The only thing you can't change is the "Equipment Quality" (e.g. setting it to Poor). You need to delete and rebuy the formation in that case.

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When mortars get more accuracy than they really had and MGs get less than they really had, true tactical relationships go out the window.

I still think the biggest issue with MGs is that rally is way too rapid once a unit takes fire and especially casualties, and the lack of morale contagion from other units taking losses (other than losing an HQ).

As for those who continue to fixate on possible rate of fire, I still think that one is a distraction. Every crew served MG could throw all the ammo it could be supplied with by man-carry to the front line, in a matter of minutes, but tactically needed to be able to stay in action for hours. The regulating principle was therefore always the team's rationing of its ammo supply, not anything mechanically about the weapon itself.

High rate of fire does not enable a weapon to throw more ammo at the enemy. It can't create more ammo to throw, and all of them can throw everything they have in way less time than they will actually be in action against the enemy.

What high rate of fire *does* do is help to concentrate the time-windows in which that available fire is delivered, to coincide with the narrow time-windows when the enemy is most exposed. In a short rush with the men up and out of defilade for a split second, an MG-42 will put more rounds downrange than a Vickers.

But if the men are by hypothesis exposed for longer periods, it doesn't help at all. Either gun can fire everything it has - and the sooner it runs through the supply, the farther the average range it probably threw the ammo away.

As for the comments about real combat accuracy vs range notions of accuracy, yes there is a huge discrepancy. Basically range accuracy tells you nothing about real battle accuracy, only real battle experience tells you anything. This is true regardless of the weapon and has been for centuries. Theoretical tests of the exposure of formed infantry to musket fire before rifling, for example, would predict 100% casualties in a Napoleonic battle on a time scale of half an hour. No machineguns required.

The long trend is not for battle lethality to increase as weapon firepower increases. Instead it falls per unit time, battles become much longer and spread out in space as well as time, as the theoretical lethality of the weapons increases.

The reason is the spread of the men and the use of cover increases even faster than firepower, and everything slows down dramatically. People don't do things as hazardous, don't get as close, as often, spread out and send tiny sub-elements into danger zones at any one time, and the like.

Yes it would be nice if game simulations got every detail of that shift perfectly correct.

What I think we are seeing in recent CM is some of those details moving more than others, in a mix of realism about X and design for effect about Y, with the net impact being a quirky, jarring fit, with rough spots sticking out noticably and worrying people.

If you know the end tactical relationships expected and required for the simulation to be accurate in tactics (rather than engineered representation of each detail), then design for effect can reproduce those relationships and show the main reasons for them. But as soon as that is abandoned for subsystem literalism, every subsystem is stressed, and any one of them being "off" will break tactical relationships seen in the real deal or a prior design for effect system.

In the present case, 4 men wouldn't run half a mile at a machinegun position, unsupported. If they did, they wouldn't stay in one tight group around an imaginary action spot. If they did, that action spot would be in full defilade - only thing people with an actual self preservation instinct would bunch up into. If instead they bunched up in the open on a billiard table, the MG would wait until they were a nice 400-500 meters, and then send 1-2 of them to the great beyond in a single long 2 second burst. The others would be on the ground calling for their mothers or trying to keep their friends alive for another 30 seconds, maybe, depending on how sadistic the MG gunner was.

The achieved accuracy in real combat was much lower because the actual firing conditions were much worse than in the modeled example. Not because the MG gunners all had the jitters and couldn't hold the gun steady.

FWIW...

+1

I won't go into the morale issues, but the accuracy stuff is still a major problem. With so many things going right for WW2 CM2 (consider, again, the launch of CMSF), I think this is a matter of time before it is improved. But there could be, perhaps, a major game play issue: if, because of game engine issues (not being critical of anyone!) one cannot get the MGs correct, then to compensate one would markedly reduce mortar effectiveness.

Yes, that would mean a "wrong" for a "wrong", and the mortar experts could make tremendous plausible points about reality.

My [insignificant] vote would be to markedly increase how easily mortar teams are spotted and markedly reduce accuracy (I would also take out linear fire patterns--but perhaps I go too far).

Things like this would be a very, very, high level decison. It is like looking at the armor plate width of a tank, but deciding because of some design issue (geometry, or mantle design) to tweek vulnerability up or down.

If the MG/Mortar relative ability in CM2, say the Grogs, is historically correct, I will bow to that decision. And I will enjoy the simulation in all cases.

But my guess is that somewhere along the way, there will be some marked changes.

Then people can go back to arguing ahistoric uniform abnormalities.

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... mortars ... (I would also take out linear fire patterns--but perhaps I go too far).

No, I don't think that's going to far in an abstract sense, but as I understand it would require a level of granularity that CM isn't yet set up to support.

As it stands, all indirect fire assets are treated the same. The all have the same call-for-fire process, use the same menus and commands, and produce the same effects (varying only by calibre).

What you're talking about would, I think, require - at a minimum - that indirect fire assets be in one of two 'buckets' - either it is a guns based asset or a mortars based one (and you can easily add your own additional buckets - rockets, precision guided munitions, missiles, etc). The engine would then need to be provided with the rules for each of those buckets (for example; no linear for mortars) and know how to present the UI correctly for each bucket. The distinctions would need to be communicated to players so they'd understand why it is they can't do some things with this funny 'mortar' thing. And the AI would have to be 'taught' to know the difference between buckets, and know that it can select from each bucket depending on exactly what it is trying to achieve tactically.

That's no mean task, for what is quite a small perversion of reality.

(and, actually, you could argue that for mortars - at least - linear missions are actually *more* historically correct than point or area missions. On the ground mortars are usually laid out in a lazy W, and they usually all fire on the same bearing and elevation menaing that the round should - in theory - land on the target in the same pattern that the mortars are positioned on the ground. Given the round-to-round dispersion that's already in CM, a fixed-length linear that is parallel to the friendly map edge would - arguably - be the most "realistic". But from a game play perspective, that'd be a PITA).

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I'll say it again -- it really isn't the accuracy of mortars that's the problem, it's their hideously lethal effects on infantry who are (a) artificially clustered around Action Spots (B) don't hit the dirt and stay there when their RL counterparts would have.

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all shells are treated like they've burst on cement.

Really? Have you tested that? It'd be pretty easy - set up a map with widely dispersed large areas of different types of ground (grass, gravel, cobblestones, road, shallow ford, deep ford, etc) then place a TRP on each, scatter some infantry targets around each TRP (same pattern around each), then target them each with a POINT-HARASS-QUICK firemission during the setup phase (that should only send in a few rounds). Total up the cas (brown, red, and yellow) on each terrain type on each iteration (checking to ensure that each terrain type recieves the same number of rounds). Repeat at least 10 times, then see whether the results are consistent with your 'the ground doesn't matter' hypothesis.

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Yeah, you're right, I was just thinking that I overstated it but you beat me to the edit -- there is some difference. I am CM-less these days so I can't run your test, but I would still recommend even more muffling effect in soft ground and water.

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Oh, even allowing for some understandable hyperbole, I do think it would be an interesting test to run.

I don't know what the results *should* be, but it'd be interesting to see what they *are*.

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When mortars get more accuracy than they really had and MGs get less than they really had, true tactical relationships go out the window.

...

Great post and good explanation. But: the comparison between shooting at the HQ and shooting at a jeep clearly show that something is wrong. Looks like there are different algorithms behind shooting at truppen and vehicles. Shooting at troops seems to have a different accuracy. That should be fixed. If that has ramifications elsewhere than those should be fixed in place. But not by fuddling with MG accuracy based on target type.

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Great post and good explanation. But: the comparison between shooting at the HQ and shooting at a jeep clearly show that something is wrong. Looks like there are different algorithms behind shooting at truppen and vehicles. Shooting at troops seems to have a different accuracy. That should be fixed. If that has ramifications elsewhere than those should be fixed in place. But not by fuddling with MG accuracy based on target type.

If there are two different sets of "aim accuracy", then this could also explain the very accurate tank crews with their pistols. Since (pure guess here) CMx2 could still treat the crew as a vehicle, they could have different aiming accuracy than normal infantry. Anyway, pure guessing since I don't know the internal algorithms. But the test of the HMG against infantry and then a vehicle is certainly interesting.

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Talking about infantry and vehicles as targets, as an aside, I've noticed that the way the system is setup to fire at "centre mass" of vehicles, gives "vehicle riders" superhuman survivability.

Try rushing a loaded jeep past some infantry. The jeep passengers will fire at the infantry, usually causing multiple casualties, but almost all the return fire goes into the jeep, not at the hideously exposed passengers who will survive for an astonishingly long time.

I've seen the same effect with passengers perched up on the sides of Bren carriers.

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Talking about infantry and vehicles as targets, as an aside, I've noticed that the way the system is setup to fire at "centre mass" of vehicles, gives "vehicle riders" superhuman survivability.

Try rushing a loaded jeep past some infantry. The jeep passengers will fire at the infantry, usually causing multiple casualties, but almost all the return fire goes into the jeep, not at the hideously exposed passengers who will survive for an astonishingly long time.

I've seen the same effect with passengers perched up on the sides of Bren carriers.

That's interesting, since one sort of "vehicle rider" is right up there on the target priority list: the unbuttoned TC. Troops won't even fire small arms (without orders to do so) at a tank with a buttoned TC. Consider also the short lifespan of Half Track gunners when the crunchies can sneak rounds past the gun shield; there's a lot more half track to shoot at than gunner (and relatively more half track than jeep), so it does seem that half track passengers are selectively targetted, and they're the same "class" of vehicle as a jeep, as far as I can tell.

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You're right, womble, I've seen US halftracks run through almost an entire squad replacing the gunner who gets scragged regularly.

I can only speculate that TC's and HT guys are dealt with differently, but try running a loaded jeep past an enemy squad.

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It would not surprise me if TCs are handled differently. I did some extensive testing on CMBN 1.00 or 1.01 (don't remember which) that showed that at least from certain angles and distances Panther TCs were almost invulnerable to small arms fire. I think this has since been corrected in a patch, although I haven't tested to be sure.

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One other factor that might (if it even exists) be affecting MG lethality is the "terrain saving throw" abstraction for microterrain. I have memories of BFC saying that experienced troops were more likely to make this save, as (quite reasonably) they are assumed to be better at finding minor declivities and un-explicit ground clutter to hide behind, and more likely to have acquired "lucky cigarette cases". Where it might become less reasonable is if this terrain save gets rolled for moving troops. It would make Veterans more able to survive a hail of bullets while advancing than Greens, which does seem a bit far fetched.

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Not sure if troops moving upright gain abstract cover bonuses. Doesn't seem like they should. Based on my testing of targets approaching MGs, if the burst connects with a soldier, they go down.

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womble,

Have you never read of the minimal life expectancy of Green troops who arrive in a seasoned front line unit? They don't know the ropes, don't know the people and because they don't get mentored, die like flies. The veterans, who've lost so many they were close to, don't even want to know their names, which, of course, makes the new arrivals easier to ignore as people. So typical was this situation that it became a commonplace in war films.

This illustrates some of my points, but here, at least the veterans acknowledged the replacements existed. I've read plenty of cases, over a bunch of wars, where they ignored them altogether, unless to give orders. This article also shows what effect poor leaders could have on a unit.

http://www.worldwar2history.info/Band-of-Brothers/veterans.html

Why do the seasoned fighters survive? In part, it's reaction time, born of bitter experience. The slowest to react are the ones ripped to pieces by MG fire, mortar or artillery. Similarly, Green troops will freeze or run if ambushed; better trained and more experienced soldiers will attack through the ambush.

From what I've read over the decades, seasoned troops automatically read terrain on the fly, cross obstacles as low as possible, don't stand up and peek around corners, and the list goes on. Battlefield survival becomes ingrained, instinctive behavior. The link below more explicitly addresses the issues that got Green troops killed, and quickly at that, once committed to battle.

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/the-u-s-world-war-ii-troop-replacement-policy/

Regards,

John Kettler

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womble,

Have you never read of the minimal life expectancy of Green troops who arrive in a seasoned front line unit? They don't know the ropes, don't know the people and because they don't get mentored, die like flies. The veterans, who've lost so many they were close to, don't even want to know their names, which, of course, makes the new arrivals easier to ignore as people.

Of course I have. Learn to read, John. I said that veterans getting harder to kill seems reasonable.

Green troops will freeze or run if ambushed; better trained and more experienced soldiers will attack through the ambush.

Nothing to do with how hard they are to hit, and largely covered by motivation in CMBN, not experience.

From what I've read over the decades, seasoned troops automatically read terrain on the fly, cross obstacles as low as possible, don't stand up and peek around corners, and the list goes on.

But when they're jogging across an open field or down a road, they don't get bullet proof.

Getting better 'saves' while stationary or in cover is fine and dandy. Getting better saves while moving in the open simply isn't; they're not Neo.

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womble,

As I see it, you're arguing there is no vulnerability difference between advancing Greens and advancing Veterans. I disagree. Here's why.

While the Veterans may be worse on motivation than the Greens new to combat and eager to test their mettle, the Veterans will have it all over the Greens when it comes to executing leapfrog moves, providing cover fire, conducting flank envelopment, advancing by rushes and more. On each bound, their exposure time will be lower, their cover percentage higher (being devout Earth worshipers), their tactical cohesion and ability to deliver marching fire greater. Fires which would unhinge the Greens are likely to be bearable by the Veterans, even if only briefly.

Thus, the math works in their favor. They are more briefly exposed, thus can't be efficiently serviced. They are better protected, by using cover more effectively. Their reflexes are honed to razor sharpness, detecting mortal danger from what the Greens likely wouldn't notice, as in mortars being fired and the seldom/never correctly depicted by Hollywood fluttering sound they make when arriving (no telltale incoming shell whistle), and reacting almost instantly.

I maintain that, given a real company of Veterans and a real company of Greens against defined, identical objectives, the Veterans will not only achieve the goal with fewer casualties than the Greens (improved survivability), in better tactical shape (unit cohesion) but also with more damage inflicted to the enemy (KIA, WIA, MIA, Broken, etc.), which = greater lethality. Where the Greens might be able to carry one position and then be spent, I'd expect the Veterans to be able to carry several before reaching the same state.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Apples and oranges, John. You haven't refuted Womble's assertion that, to borrow JasonC's expression, when advancing against a MG across a pool table (i.e. ceteris paribus), we would expect vets and greens to be equally dead. All you're saying above amounts to "well vets wouldn't enter the pool table in the first place", which is also true but not really relevant to the discussion of CM mechanics.... It's more a TacAI topic.

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womble,

As I see it, you're arguing there is no vulnerability difference between advancing Greens and advancing Veterans. I disagree. Here's why.

While the Veterans may be worse on motivation than the Greens new to combat and eager to test their mettle, the Veterans will have it all over the Greens when it comes to executing leapfrog moves, providing cover fire, conducting flank envelopment, advancing by rushes and more. On each bound, their exposure time will be lower, their cover percentage higher (being devout Earth worshipers), their tactical cohesion and ability to deliver marching fire greater. Fires which would unhinge the Greens are likely to be bearable by the Veterans, even if only briefly.

All of which is in arguable. I completely agree with you. None of which has anything whatsoever to do with abstracted terrain bonuses, which is the point I was raising.

Thus, the math works in their favor. They are more briefly exposed, thus can't be efficiently serviced. They are better protected, by using cover more effectively. Their reflexes are honed to razor sharpness...

But still not sharp enough to literally dodge bullets. In fact, nothing in CM mechanically covers the "more briefly exposed". That's down to the player's handling of the troops. If he sets short movement bounds with waypoint pauses for the laying of covering fire, they'll be "more briefly exposed" between opportunities to exploit their abstracted advantageous use of cover.

...detecting mortal danger from what the Greens likely wouldn't notice...

They do that, by having better spotting abilities.

...mortars being fired and the seldom/never correctly depicted by Hollywood fluttering sound they make when arriving (no telltale incoming shell whistle), and reacting almost instantly...

And if they're on a Fast move (or a Quick with high motivation) in CM, their reaction will be to keep running, not hit the deck; they're not fast enough to dodge fragments either.

I maintain that, given a real company of Veterans and a real company of Greens against defined, identical objectives, the Veterans will [do better than the Greens]

No one is disagreeing with that. You really have to recognise when you're not arguing the point. And stop being condescending while doing it.

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sburke,

I knew I was going to get dinged, but that's the military jargon term.

LongLeftFlank,

If I give the two forces an optically flat surface to advance across, thus eliminating cover, the Veteran force will still do better than the Green troops. The Veteran troops will still arrive at the objective with more men--for the reasons I listed previously. Simply put, the Green soldiers will make better targets. This presumes grazing fire is employed by the MG/MGs defending.

womble,

I never said the Veterans could dodge bullets in the literal sense of dodging. I said they could make better use of whatever cover might be available. Veterans can take punishment which would stop the Green troops cold, so they would be far less likely to stall under fire, thus making even better targets than when moving forward. If CM doesn't model Briefly Exposed, then perhaps this needs to be considered for inclusion. Like it or not, the Veterans will have less exposure to hostile fire than their Green counterparts, and that is in some ways separate from the player's troop handling in the game. Am not quite sure how to model it, but it is militarily significant.

As for my 'being condescending," I invite you to compare my incredulity, "Have you never read?" which I kindly phrased, with your "Learn to read, John."

Regards,

John Kettler

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