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Halftrack gunners...

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HT gunners do seem to die fast and I don't know if that really was the case or.not, but I would hate to see a tweak that make HTs into Bradley fighting vechicles and players start using them that way.

Exactly our concern as well.

HTs on the other hand are large targets with outlines that make them easy to see and giid aiming points.

Yes. And it is true for armored vehicles themselves. I was just watching some combat footage from Syria and I could see all the Syrian BMPs and Tanks clear as day. No problem. But I could barely see where their infantry was. The video quality and scale is not unlike looking at something through binoculars.

How can a complaint be a result of bad tactics if at least me doesn't lose any HT gunners at all? Why? Because I keep them away from any small arms fire and use them like trucks. Good tactics but unrealistic. Therefore my complaint.

No, that's not what is being said at all. I wish you weren't so wound up about this and could think more rationally.

The manual states, very clearly, that HTs should do three primary things:

1. Stop to shoot and stay stopped only for a few seconds.

2. Stop in places that offer good protection/cover to the flanks and rear.

3. Button up and move if the enemy is firing at the HT.

So if you, the player, parks your HT for 2 minutes in the open without proper cover to your sides... are you telling me it is the game's fault that the HT gunner dies?

I guess I am a bit confused by your posts. Could you please clarify if you think there is a problem with the Tac AI and half-track machine gun usage? I think many of the posters think that the Tac AI is a bit slow to react to incoming fire, i.e. the gunner should duck sooner. Is this something that could/should be altered?

Yes, I agree that the TacAI is not as sophisticated about self preservation as it should be for this particular circumstance. Gunners should be very reluctant to stay in a firing position if there is incoming fire. Unfortunately this is a very difficult thing for us to program and not have it frustrate players by making their HT weaponry non-functional.

Here's the problem we face. Right now the TacAI is deliberately programmed to favor using the weapons. Especially if they have targets assigned to them by players. If the player puts them into risky tactical situations the TacAI isn't helping compensate for the player's mistakes by ducking down. Which means in some situations, especially those resulting from bad tactics, the gunners are likely to suffer a higher rate of attrition than if the TacAI was more conservative. Which gets people complaining that their gunners are too easily killed, regardless of how much of it is their own fault.

If we make the TacAI more conservative we have the opposite problem. Players won't suddenly change their tactics to be more realistic and reasonable, which means they will do the same things they've done before. Except this way they will find that their gunners are often not manning their weapons, no matter how many times they are given a Target Command. This then causes players to complain that their crews are "cowards" and that Battlefront is depriving them of victory because of bad TacAI programming. Reminding them that we changed the behavior because they complained won't change the equation because it's never the player's fault.

Which is to say that no matter which way we have the TacAI someone is going to complain that it is wrong and it should be the other way. The grass is always greener on the other side :D

Steve

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Yes, I agree that the TacAI is not as sophisticated about self preservation as it should be for this particular circumstance. Gunners should be very reluctant to stay in a firing position if there is incoming fire.

Yes, interesting problem. I wouldn't mind a bit more ducking or perhaps not replacing they poor sod when he goes down with new blood unless the player issues an open up order later. Up to you.

Now about the finding that riders in a KW were safer than the gunner in a HT. Is that on your radar or do you feel that more testing needs to be run?

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This discussion has reminded me of this scene from Black Hawk Down.

I mind in CMBB that SPW gunners were prone to being sniped at by Soviet AT rifles. I've found that if you use SPW against suppressed enemies then your gunners get by just fine - it's when you expect them to be something more there is an issue. I would like to see a bit more self preservation but in the absence of that I'm happy to stick with refining my SPW tactics :)

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well there's a very easy solution. If you insist on using your half-tracks to close with the enemy, make sure you've got the buggers buttoned up - as you would do with your tank commanders.

Then consider why the Germans developed the remotely operated top mg for the late stugs and hetzers.... which I love btw.

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Yes, interesting problem. I wouldn't mind a bit more ducking or perhaps not replacing they poor sod when he goes down with new blood unless the player issues an open up order later. Up to you.

Now about the finding that riders in a KW were safer than the gunner in a HT. Is that on your radar or do you feel that more testing needs to be run?

+1 and like to know, too.

That may be a bit simple but why don't the HT gunners behave like TCs? A TC will usually close the hatch the second the first bullets ricochet off the turret. No one has complained about that AFAIK.

And this:

1. Stop to shoot and stay stopped only for a few seconds.

2. Stop in places that offer good protection/cover to the flanks and rear.

3. Button up and move if the enemy is firing at the HT.

1. I can do in Wego

2. too but even if you are head on to the enemy it won't help much because 1 minute of fire will cost you 0-3 gunners

3. well - that would be a quite interesting step if Wego ever gets an 'if' :)

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Steve:

Your answer got me thinking. Does The AI opponent seems to have some sort of logic as to when to unbutton and shoot and when to stay buttoned or does it just start out unbottoned and wait until enough incoming fire comes to either kill the gunner or make it button up?

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That may be a bit simple but why don't the HT gunners behave like TCs? A TC will usually close the hatch the second the first bullets ricochet off the turret. No one has complained about that AFAIK.

Perhaps because TCs most often aren't standing behind a gun that should be going powpow? But I get your point - how many people complain when their standalone HMG stops firing because it is supressed? I've never noticed before, but is there a 'cowering' stance for troops inside soft-skinned vehicles to lower their profile? Likely not for those sitting, but the gunners? Also, is HT driver behaviour (e.g. reversing out of danger) linked to incoming fire against passengers, even if the passengers aren't in the same unit?

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Now about the finding that riders in a KW were safer than the gunner in a HT. Is that on your radar or do you feel that more testing needs to be run?

I've only run into this problem once, and it might be an outlier. But my impression from that occasion was that the Germans should have thrown away their HTs and ridden into battle in KWs, which appear to be all but totally indestructible.

:D

Michael

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... but once the round is fired it travels according to physics and collide with whatever gets in its path. If that's the gun shield then it hits the gun shield and ballistic vs. armor physics kick in. If the bullet intersects with the gunner, he gets a good chance of suffering a wound. There's no magic going on, just straight ballistic physics.

Steve

Steve,

Thanks for your comprehensive answers. Just for clarification - and given what you said about test results, I accept that and so don't necessarily expect any further answer here - the point I managed not to spell out in my first post was to wonder how the exposed target of the gunner is calculated for game engine purposes, and IF there might be any possibility that, for the unique (? - similar to, but not the same in detail as an unbuttoned TC) case of a HT gunner, there could be a mismatch between the representation we see as in-game graphics of the exposed firing gunner and the "exposed target area" for the gunner that is being used in the target selection/aiming/shot result calculations in the game, such that it could exaggerate the other primary effects which reduce their survivability that have been discussed here?

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I quit playing after this happened:

Well aware of the problem, I cautiously advanced an 251, with an HQ unit in it, nearer to the frontline in order to maintain good C2. I didn't want it to attack or support, just get it closer to the fighting infantry. Had it moving, well away from direct enemy fire, on the edge of the map. And, of course, the only one or two seconds that it was visible for an enemy unit the MG gunner was immediately killed, and the halftrack backed up for miles. (Ok, "miles" is a little exaggeration, but the rest isn't.)

I've been playing for quite a while, years and years that is. Beyond Overlord, Afrika Korps, Barbarossa, Normandy, CW and now Market Garden.

But after another murderous midday for my Sdkfz MG gunners, I'm sick of it. These 250/251's can't be used in a support role, so if I want to play on without this huge frustration I'll have to use them like trucks. Silly, and I disagree with those who state that this more than 100% death-rate for gunners is normal and/or because of my battle-incompetence.

I'm very curious why I didn't experience this incompetence before..

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My interest in this is ever since CMBN came out, HT's in general have been like swiss cheese to any type of fire almost at pretty good distances. Not just for the gunner but for the passengers also. And it has been said the ballistics and armor factors are very correct in this game.

if these type of units provided such little protection, why even continue building them during the war. The steel could be cut back and the transportation lightened to have made it more mobile.

Is it just because most of the units on the game are packing AP rounds and this is something that was happening at the end of the war and the units were more resilant to most infantry fire from the earlier war period or is there something else off.

I know the squad leader series sure seem to make HT's hard to penetrate unless you had a large cal. MG and were with a pretty close in range while velocity was still high in the round. Close combat series also

And even in the cmX1 series, they manage to take more punishment.

So what happened that is more correct and is proving HT's to be a wasted source of materials by all nations that were using them by this point of the war, because trucks with tracks would serve their function better for what they are worth anymore if the game protrays them correct.

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@Seedorf81,

you might give the vehicle's gunner a covered arc as a workaround.

ps: the automatic opening up of tank commanders in CMx1 was the reason for me to quit playing it after many years - I understand you, but gladly with the covered arcs we have at least a workaround to this problem.

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My interest in this is ever since CMBN came out, HT's in general have been like swiss cheese to any type of fire almost at pretty good distances. Not just for the gunner but for the passengers also. And it has been said the ballistics and armor factors are very correct in this game.

if these type of units provided such little protection, why even continue building them during the war. The steel could be cut back and the transportation lightened to have made it more mobile.

Is it just because most of the units on the game are packing AP rounds and this is something that was happening at the end of the war and the units were more resilant to most infantry fire from the earlier war period or is there something else off.

I know the squad leader series sure seem to make HT's hard to penetrate unless you had a large cal. MG and were with a pretty close in range while velocity was still high in the round. Close combat series also

And even in the cmX1 series, they manage to take more punishment.

So what happened that is more correct and is proving HT's to be a wasted source of materials by all nations that were using them by this point of the war, because trucks with tracks would serve their function better for what they are worth anymore if the game protrays them correct.

The reason for having armoured transport for infantry was to make the more mobile and, while mobile, safer than in alternative transport. Whatever armament and whatever period of the war you look at, you would be better off in a HT than a lorry.

And the question of the quality of armour protection for armoured vehicles continues to this day - it was a live issue for UK troops using armoured landrovers and apcs in Afghanistan and issue for the Abrams in Iraq, one or two of which I believe may have been penetrated by RPGs. There is always a trade off between armour and mobility.

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Here's the problem we face. Right now the TacAI is deliberately programmed to favor using the weapons. Especially if they have targets assigned to them by players. If the player puts them into risky tactical situations the TacAI isn't helping compensate for the player's mistakes by ducking down. Which means in some situations, especially those resulting from bad tactics, the gunners are likely to suffer a higher rate of attrition than if the TacAI was more conservative. Which gets people complaining that their gunners are too easily killed, regardless of how much of it is their own fault.

If we make the TacAI more conservative we have the opposite problem. Players won't suddenly change their tactics to be more realistic and reasonable, which means they will do the same things they've done before. Except this way they will find that their gunners are often not manning their weapons, no matter how many times they are given a Target Command. This then causes players to complain that their crews are "cowards" and that Battlefront is depriving them of victory because of bad TacAI programming. Reminding them that we changed the behavior because they complained won't change the equation because it's never the player's fault.

Which is to say that no matter which way we have the TacAI someone is going to complain that it is wrong and it should be the other way. The grass is always greener on the other side :D

Steve

Would it be possible, rather than the existing choice of opposites as outlined by Steve, to have the AI alternate between the two.

So, sometimes the 'conservative' attitude is chosen and the crew duck and don't use their weapons and sometimes the opposite, more aggressive role is chosen.

No player control and still a gamble to misuse weapons systems; sometimes it may pay off and other times it might bite you in the arse.

Of course I'm totally ignorant of how easy/hard that would be to implement in the AI procedures.

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I'm mostly agnostic on the gunner vulnerability issue. It looks to me like the gunner in both Allied and German halftracks may stand a bit taller behind the machine gun than you would expect for a man firing a machine gun in combat, but I'm not sure about it. But with regards to the vulnerability of the halftracks themselves to bullets I think it should be kept in mind that bullets were not the greatest killer of men in WW2. Somewhere around 80% of all battlefield wounds were from artillery and mortars. So it stands to reason that the primary purpose of halftracks was to protect men from shrapnel more so than bullets.

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Would it be possible, rather than the existing choice of opposites as outlined by Steve, to have the AI alternate between the two.

So, sometimes the 'conservative' attitude is chosen and the crew duck and don't use their weapons and sometimes the opposite, more aggressive role is chosen.

No player control and still a gamble to misuse weapons systems; sometimes it may pay off and other times it might bite you in the arse.

Of course I'm totally ignorant of how easy/hard that would be to implement in the AI procedures.

Like you, I don't know how hard this would be to implement, but it strikes me as a good idea, especially if keyed to the morale level of the unit.

Michael

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I agree that gunners are killed too quick. My next statements are not to prove or disprove anything but were thought of while I was messing around in the editor.

Put 8 elite snipers in front of a HT with a HQ team in it. Do not button up or hide the HT. But give it a short covered arc that does not hit an enemy unit. I am seeing the snipers taking shots but rarely hitting anything. My snipers are in buildings 8 stories up so the men in the HT should be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Now take the covered arc away and hit play. You men will be chopped down even before your gunner can swivel the gun mount.

I also lined up 8 HT's with the gunners unbuttoned and unhid but with very short covered arcs. The snipers again took shots but rarely hitting anything. I then removed all covered arcs and before the first mg burst happened 'red crosses' lit up the sky.

Like I said this was just me playing in the editor and I am not trying to prove or disprove one thing or another. Just some observations.

Not sure if anyone noticed this either. Messing around again I found that in the old CM1 games that if your armor had a covered arc and was targeted by an enemy tank outside that arc your armor would ignore the arc and target the enemy that is eyeing it up. In CM2 you can pretty much drive circles around an enemy armor unit without it batting an eye as long as you do not go through its arc. If you target it the enemy armor still will not ignore the arc - unlike CM1.

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I agree that gunners are killed too quick. My next statements are not to prove or disprove anything but were thought of while I was messing around in the editor.

Put 8 elite snipers in front of a HT with a HQ team in it. Do not button up or hide the HT. But give it a short covered arc that does not hit an enemy unit. I am seeing the snipers taking shots but rarely hitting anything. My snipers are in buildings 8 stories up so the men in the HT should be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Now take the covered arc away and hit play. You men will be chopped down even before your gunner can swivel the gun mount.

I also lined up 8 HT's with the gunners unbuttoned and unhid but with very short covered arcs. The snipers again took shots but rarely hitting anything. I then removed all covered arcs and before the first mg burst happened 'red crosses' lit up the sky.

Like I said this was just me playing in the editor and I am not trying to prove or disprove one thing or another. Just some observations.

Not sure if anyone noticed this either. Messing around again I found that in the old CM1 games that if your armor had a covered arc and was targeted by an enemy tank outside that arc your armor would ignore the arc and target the enemy that is eyeing it up. In CM2 you can pretty much drive circles around an enemy armor unit without it batting an eye as long as you do not go through its arc. If you target it the enemy armor still will not ignore the arc - unlike CM1.

Good job eniced!

I understand that you state that these are just observations, however they would be more complete if you drew conclusions from your testing.

I am wondering now what arguments the supporters of the theory of players' tactical shortcomings will now bring up to justify the fact that mere presence or absence of short CA dramatically impacts the vulnerability of halftrack gunners..

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It's even worse: you can drive with K├╝belwagen into close combat range without the snipers opening fire on them, while any halftrack would be long gone:

http://www.battlefront.com/community/showpost.php?p=1475099&postcount=19

Use tiny covered arcs for the HTs and you can open them up, have good spotting ability and they are safe.

Since recently a bug with the new flat rooftops was discovered, because the new graphics model was not prepresented correctly within the inner game model (LOS blocked by the new flat roofs despite the graphics showed there was no roof to block it), I'm wondering, if there could be a similar bug with HT gunners.

Maybe as soon as they use the gun, the internal model places them eratically on top of the vehicle, instead of moving them a few centimeters lower aiming behind the gun?

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It's even worse: you can drive with K├╝belwagen into close combat range without the snipers opening fire on them, while any halftrack would be long gone:

http://www.battlefront.com/community/showpost.php?p=1475099&postcount=19

Use tiny covered arcs for the HTs and you can open them up, have good spotting ability and they are safe.

Since recently a bug with the new flat rooftops was discovered, because the new graphics model was not prepresented correctly within the inner game model (LOS blocked by the new flat roofs despite the graphics showed there was no roof to block it), I'm wondering, if there could be a similar bug with HT gunners.

Maybe as soon as they use the gun, the internal model places them eratically on top of the vehicle, instead of moving them a few centimeters lower aiming behind the gun?

Exactly why I raised in my two posts to Steve if there was a possibility of a mismatch between what we see as in game graphics of the HT gunner and the size and location of the target area that the gunner represents within the game mechanics ...

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Put 8 elite snipers in front of a HT with a HQ team in it. Do not button up or hide the HT. But give it a short covered arc that does not hit an enemy unit. I am seeing the snipers taking shots but rarely hitting anything. My snipers are in buildings 8 stories up so the men in the HT should be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Now take the covered arc away and hit play. You men will be chopped down even before your gunner can swivel the gun mount.

I also lined up 8 HT's with the gunners unbuttoned and unhid but with very short covered arcs. The snipers again took shots but rarely hitting anything. I then removed all covered arcs and before the first mg burst happened 'red crosses' lit up the sky.

Wow, that is pretty dramatic. Can someone from the test team chime in here. I bet this defect will have an interesting story behind it.

I am wondering now what arguments the supporters of the theory of players' tactical shortcomings will now bring up to justify the fact that mere presence or absence of short CA dramatically impacts the vulnerability of halftrack gunners..

Seriously! Sounds like a bug. Still doesn't excuse people from driving their HTs around the battle field expecting terminator like effects.

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