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Reverse slope/grazing fire.

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It's very annoying not being able to fire in a direction because you can't see an action spot on the floor. I realise why: having a 2D interface for a 3D world.

What would be brilliant is, if you ever get "reverse slope no aim point", you instead got "grazing fire" to the point, and your unit could fire at it with the expectation they'd be shooting over the area, that would do it?

So you can setup MG fire to keep a units head down even if you can't fire at them.

The engine would need to model the vertical separation between the fire and the unit, of course, to work out suppression but it would remove one of the last remaining gripes.

...am I in the first hundred to suggest this?

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Grazing fire has been asked for before. Grazing fire as the default for when the game says "reverse slope target - no LOS", I think that might be a first! :)

I could really do with some o' that right now... there are ATGs that I can't area fire at until the unit firing has spotted them. But if the tanks can't get some HE into the ATGs before they spot them, the ATGs will do 'em in...

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Grazing fire has been asked for before. Grazing fire as the default for when the game says "reverse slope target - no LOS", I think that might be a first! :)

I could really do with some o' that right now... there are ATGs that I can't area fire at until the unit firing has spotted them. But if the tanks can't get some HE into the ATGs before they spot them, the ATGs will do 'em in...

I believe Womble's thread : http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=112956 asked this quite recently.

But it never hurts to ask again :D

And good suggestion.

So saying, in effect, fire over this AS, we've voted 100% that it works so far ;)

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*super necro powers*

As it has been mentioned elsewhere, grazing fire (and theoretically also indirect fire) is possible right now in certain situations. You can let your units fire in a "flat" manner over ground if you position your units properly and the terrain is suitable. So it's not really a feature, but rather a very complex work around.

From my observations, it depends on the height of the firing weapon in relation to the height of the aimpoint on the area-targeted tile. Draw a line between those two and you get the path/angle of the projectile. If the line continues close to the ground for a long distance "after/behind" the tile you've aimed at, what you achieve is grazing fire. They bullet stays dangerous as it travels on.

Since the aimpoint is hardly ever on the exact same height as your muzzle, the distance between the muzzle and the area-targeted tile plays a major role. The higher your muzzle, the greater the distance to the targeted tile needs to be in order to achieve a "flat" trajectory. Therefore, it's pretty much impossible to get a flat trajectory with the main gun of a tank atmedium ranges. A prone infantryman with a MG, however, can get a flat trajectory at medium ranges. At extremely short ranges though, even the prone MG will get a "negative"/downwards pointing angle, firing into the ground at the area-targeted tile - so I assume the aimpoint must be slightly lower than the muzzle-height of a prone infantryman.  

To sum it up, you need to consider the height of your muzzle, the height of the tile you're targeting, the distance to it, and - importantly - the shape of the ground "behind" the area-targeted tile. You want your bullets to travel close to the ground after it passes the targeted tile. 

--------------------

Of course you still require a LOS on the tile you want to target. So, while small muzzle heights are generally good for grazing fire, they also suffer from terrain that obscures LOS (from my observations, each terrain type has a LOS-reducing value and a "height"). If you're on a hill or in the upper floor of a house, you have an easier time spotting enemies (as your LOS travels above most terrain tiles and thus cuts through fewer terrain tiles), but you trajectory is not flat.

It's also worth mentioning that the distance to the aimpoint affects your rate of fire. Before firing a shot or burst, a unit needs to aim, and the time it takes to aim depends on the distance to the aim-point (for a regular XP unit, I suppose it's ca. 1 second aiming per 100m distance). As you're generally targeting tiles that are much closer to you than your actual target zone, using the grazing fire method described here will result in relatively high rates of fire (and ammo consumption).

I also need to point out that due to its high ammo consumption, this method of grazing fire is not really usefull except for very few situations - mainly for MG flanking fire along the path of the attacker. With "target briefly", it can also be handy to make some impression on distant targets that pop out only for very short durations - if you don't use area-target, your units' aiming takes too long so they don't fire at all. Last but not least, it could probably be used for heavy MGs, whose capability for indirect fire is underrepresented in the game (also due to maps being too small in many cases). It would be interesting to place a heavy MG on the reverse slope of a very gentle hill. The MG would have many tiles in front of it, with the height increasing very gently from one tile to the next. This would allow you to fine-tune the elevation of the gun (by area-targeting different tiles). And then you'd need to observe where the bullets "land" (affected by bullet drop) for each elevation. Interesting idea, but probably not very practical :D.

The only thing you'd really need to make intentional grazing and indirect fire a real thing in Combat Mission is some form integrated gun-elevation. E.g. you should be allowed to target reverse slopes if the circumstances (1) terrain, 2) max/min elevation of the gun, 3) bullet or projectile drop, distance to the target) would allow an effective line of fire on that tile (one that is close enough to the ground to inflict suppression).  It would make a lot of sense for MGs and also infantry guns which, by the way, are also also underrepresented in the game right now (they suck because you can't make them fire indirectly!). Right now, you need to elevate the gun by firing at a tile that has a suitable height (if you're lucky enough to have one within your LOS...). 

Edited by Kaunitz

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What about targeting an AS behind the AS you want to effect but can't see? Not a circumstance that would arise very often, I suppose, but I've had it happen in games I was playing.

Michael

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If both tiles have the same height, it could work, especially since there is always some random dispersion? From my understanding, given a perfectly flat terrain, your bullets will cross through the "effect zone" at a greater height if you aim "behind" the zone. As soldiers tend to go prone (reduce their height), such a fire might be less effective .

If you aim short of the effect zone, by contrast, your bullets will cross the effect zone at a lower height, if at all (if they don't hit the ground in the effect zone that is), which is more dangerous for prone soldiers.

But really this depends on the exact height of the "aim point" which is unknown?

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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1 hour ago, Kaunitz said:

The only thing you'd really need to make intentional grazing and indirect fire a real thing in Combat Mission is some form integrated gun-elevation. E.g. you should be allowed to target reverse slopes if the circumstances (1) terrain, 2) max/min elevation of the gun, 3) bullet or projectile drop, distance to the target) would allow an effective line of fire on that tile (one that is close enough to the ground to inflict suppression). 

Interesting idea.  But, as you say earlier - only useful on larger maps.  Presumably you would need LOS of 2 Km or more.

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In my eyes, "large" CM maps are just medium maps, really. Small maps usually lack ("cut off") observation and support positions. This in turn means that many units suffer disproportionally, especially scouts/observers and other recon elements as well as support elements (assault guns, infantry guns). Due to the tiny size of many maps, these units are forced into closer, uncomfortable ranges to the "frontline". Ranges at which they're spotted more easily and at which the opponent's shots miss rarely. Also, since the overall number of positions is limited on a small map, artillery can be extremely dangerous - there are only so many positions where the enemy can hide, which again increases the weakness of the aforementioned units which are typically only lightly armored. 

Anyway, back on topic! :D

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+1  Couldn't have said it better.   This is main reason CM1 is still played as it is very easy to play on a 8Km x 4Km map with more than a reinforced Regiment Task Force on each side.

One of the mission types I miss in CM2 is the "vehicular recon".   Distances are rarely large enuff to justify em.   Usually it's better to dismount any recon vehicles and recon crews on foot.  And recon vehicles and inf units nearly always get used as conventional troops.

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Well, I suppose the problem with larger maps (apart from the technical/performance issues it might bring) is that the scales would get mixed up. In some instances, I wished the game had turns of 30 rather than 60 seconds and smaller/more action squares. If we'd have larger maps, however, most of the 60 second-turns would still be utterly boring. So gameplay would really suffer from the mix of scales. A very fine resolution of time and space fits to the tactical, but not to a grand-tactical/operational scale. Also, to a certain extent, positions that are farther away are already represented by offmap support, even though it's nice to see these units as 3D models on the battlefield. :) 

So it's really hard to draw a line here. I prefer relatively large maps with relatively few troops. The larger maps are just enough to allow for properly spaced-out support positions. Give me more troops and I'm overwhelmed by the load of micromanagement. Give me smaller maps and it feels "bottlenecked" and a bit unrealistic. I also have to admit that I think that CM is set on a very small tactical scale, which primarily is about playing it "right". 

Of course landscapes differ a lot in the real world. So I'm not denying that in some situations, maps can be small without any loss of tactical complexity. But overall, my gut feeling tells me that the engagements are a bit too crowded and close in Combat Mission. It's interesting to compare CM engagements with those that another game I like to play, Command Ops II, creates (in terms of distance, troops involved, duration of engagement, losses caused by engagement). Command Ops is set on the grand-tactical/operational level and also features maps that are true to scale. On this scale, scouting makes perfect sense. (And also, you'd rarely attack with infantry in daytime in Command Ops, which is standard for CM  - well, it's because of all the graphical eye candy again, I guess ;) ).  

I think that the problem, if you want to call it such, becomes more noticable with the "modern" titles (Black Sea). The more the operational and tactical spheres are intertwined in reality, the more problems you run into with a game engine that is designed to represent only the tactical sphere.

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3 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

From my understanding, given a perfectly flat terrain, your bullets will cross through the "effect zone" at a greater height if you aim "behind" the zone. As soldiers tend to go prone (reduce their height), such a fire might be less effective .

It might cause fewer casualties, but since more bullets would be whizzing through the enemy-occupied AS, it might do a better job of keeping their heads down. Furthermore, if the enemy got tired of laying there and decided to run off, the act of standing up would put them back into the line of fire. Since I haven't tested this, I don't know how it actually plays out in the game. I'm just hypothesizing.

Michael

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Here is a diagram I've quickly tossed together, showing the effect of distance and muzzle height in relation to the aimpoint. If your aimpoint is at a different height than your muzzle, increasing the distance to the aimpoint results in a flatter trajectory, which can be used for grazing fire. Note that for the two muzzle points at lower height (red + blue), the intended grazing zone would be reverse-slope and could not be targeted. 

(Of course there is always some random inaccuracy/deviation from the "ideal" lines. This is not shown in this pic.)

1111.png

Edited by Kaunitz

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I remember reading a memoir of a British soldier in WW1. He noted the difference of sound, and therefore trajectory, of both MG and rifle fire on trenches. Germans would allow their bullets to drop "with a smack" into an obscured trench, when they did not have a good firing solution. The soldier considered to be much less dangerous than fire coming from flatter trajectories, as those did have a firing solution (snipers, he thought) and kept the infantry pinned.

Either way, using direct fire weapons for indirect effect seems to be a common tactic, especially in desperate circumstances.

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