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Reverse slope/grazing fire.

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6 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

I want to see how you shift an infantry gun right or left a bit quickly

Have you tried shifting a gun or MG slightly left or right - Certain MGs can move up to four action spots without the pack and unpack time - it can be done if you choose to do so.  Suggest you play a few games and experiment to see what can be done.

Edited by Wicky

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2 hours ago, Wicky said:

Have you tried shifting a gun or MG slightly left or right - Certain MGs can move up to four action spots without the pack and unpack time - it can be done if you choose to do so.  Suggest you play a few games and experiment to see what can be done.

You're right with the infantry gun. It can be manhandled shorter distances. Stupid me! The hMG seems to redeploy though (but it's not that much of a problem - 11 seconds).

I did run a few tests and admittedly, the problem isn't that big. Not because it doesn't exist, but because it affects only very few weapons (in the WWII titles).

For example consider the following situation: you have an infantry gun and want to fire at a tile that lies behind an ordinary (ca. 1m height) stonewall. Your infantry has told you that there is an enemy MG nest there, so you know the direction and approximate range. The game doesn't let you target that tile, as it counts as reverse slope for your kneeling spotter/crew. And indeed, if you bring your camera down to your unit's eye level, you can't see the aimpoint (1m height) behind the wall. However, in this case you could argue that 1) a 1m high wall would not stop you from seeing the splash of a 75mm HE shell and 2) a weapon like an infantry gun could easily use landmarks to help with the range in this case? Take that barn behind the wall - the target is half way between the wall and the barn. It can't be so difficult to get at least some shells in the rough area of the target in this case? Right now, all you can do is to target the obstacle that blocks your line of sight to the aimpoint or hit the barn, but you can't put shells in between the two. The only chance you have is a lucky ranging shot that overshoots the wall (I've noticed that infantry guns seem to need 2-3 ranging shots before they're zeroed-in). But this is not reliable by any means. 

Note that you could replace the wall of this example with other stuff like a very gentle ridge, a series of tiles with bushes/low foliage on them or a (admittedly larger) series of tiles with high grass.

Now, what kinds of weapons are affected by this problem? Primarily those that are close to the ground. Elevated weapons - basically any vehicle-mounted weapons - are less affected because they can see over most of the obstacles mentioned above. Also, any kind of flat trajectory armor piercing or anti-personell weapons are less affected because accuracy doesn't matter that much for them as long as the bullets/projectiles PASS the target tile at a dangerously low height. By contrast, weapons that fire HE shells - especially those with an arced trajectory (where LOS =/= LOF) -  need to actually LAND/IMPACT close to the target. So in the end, this only applies to infantry guns and mortars (HE-firing AT-guns have a flat trajectory so of course they should have troubles to shoot even over a low wall).

If I remember correctly, I've read something in the manual about mortars being allowed to fire at tiles that are slightly out of LOS? Maybe such a "semi-indirect" method of fire would also suit infantry guns? But then who would ever use them anyway? ^^ It's really but a minor issue.

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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Tiny addition: I quickly tested the onmap mortar and indeed it can target the reverse slope area behind the wall without problems, even if you have the crew go prone. It seems as if the mortar can target ANY reverse slope tile (I created a slight depression behind the wall, still no problems to target it). It would be cool if infantry guns (maybe even hMGs?) could also this targeting method.

Edited by Kaunitz

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A point to consider when using MGs: 

Like for all other weapons, the rate of fire depends on the distance to the target, even for area fire. If you order a unit to area-fire, the soldiers will first "aim" at the target, the duration of which depends amongst others on the distance to the target (ca. 1 second per 100m) and then fire (the MGs typically fire 2 bursts). So, if you're aiming at a square relatively close to the MG in order to get some grazing fire going, the rate of fire will generally be higher than you want it to be. I find this to be a bit of a problem with most automatic weapons, to be honest. MGs often fire at exaggerated rates ("target light" doesn't help). If you don't want them to  burn through their ammo too fast (leading to an extremely dangerous reload-intervall very soon), you can use target briefly, which is not a perfect solution either (the enemy will be un-surpressed/un-pinned after a few seconds...). I think MGs are a bit in a tough position, unable to provide the sustained reliable suppression they should.

Generally speaking, I also find it very, very hard in CM to "set up" units (like MGs). Even with concealment and crawling, they're spotted easily by the enemy. Not even to mention what happens once they open fire - instantly spotted (or identified by the player by looking at the direction of the tracers...). Somehow I believe it was more tricky to pin down the exact locations of the enemies in reality. 

Edited by Kaunitz

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9 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

 I think MGs are a bit in a tough position, unable to provide the sustained reliable suppression they should.

Huh? Light then up, burn through that ammo. What are you saving it for? :)

I use my MGs heavily and I don't concern myself much with ammo. Just use it.

9 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

 

 

9 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Somehow I believe it was more tricky to pin down the exact locations of the enemies in reality. 

Probably. This is a game after all. Seriously though, I don't think they are any easier to spot then they should be. After all they do fire a lot more rounds that a rifle man.

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On 9/25/2018 at 11:46 AM, Kaunitz said:

MOS:96B2P quoted official sources that there are 5 heights in the game: prone, kneeling, standing = small vehicle, tall vehicle, very tall vehicle. According to Vanir Ausf B's addition, reverse slope height extends to "very tall vehicle" height (so it's taller than a man). LOS aimpoint height is 1m above the ground.

What I would like to know is if these heights are the same for all units, or relative to the unit's own height?

For example, if I select standing infantry and do a target line, getting "no aim point", does that mean they can't aim at the ground but will be able to spot and fire at targets that are the same height or taller than other standing infantry?

And if I do the same with a Panther, does that mean it can't hit the ground, but it will be able to spot anything the same height as a Panther (but won't spot a jeep for example)?

The difference is important, because let's say I'm setting up an infantry ambush and I want to know if they will be able to spot and engage any enemy troops moving across a feield of crops. When I see "no aim point", could that in effect mean they will spot infantry or only very tall vehicles moving through that area? 

Edited by Bulletpoint

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26 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

What I would like to know is if these heights are the same for all units, or relative to the unit's own height?

For example, if I select standing infantry and do a target line, getting "no aim point", does that mean they can't aim at the ground but will be able to spot and fire at targets that are the same height or taller than other standing infantry?

And if I do the same with a Panther, does that mean it can't hit the ground, but it will be able to spot anything the same height as a Panther (but won't spot a jeep for example)?

The difference is important, because let's say I have prone infantry and I want to know if they will be able to spot and engage any enemy troops moving across a feield of crops. When I see "no aim point", could that in effect mean they will spot infantry or only very tall vehicles moving through that area? 

I think that you'd need a "reverse slope" on a tile to see anything (up to "very tall vehicle") on a square. 

To put it simple: 

  • reverse slope / no aimpoint: Your unit can't see the ground of the square (and thus is not allowed to area-fire), but has a chance to spot enemy units that "protrude" from the ground (depending on the angle between your unit and the enemy unit and their actual height). As they "protrude", enemy units offer your unit an aimpoint, so to speak. E.g. In a field of crops, if you get a reverse slope aimpoint, you might be able to see standing enemy infantry, but still have no chance to spot crawling enemy infantry (until it is very close and can be spotted "through" the micro-terrain). So when you have a reverse slope aimpoint, you have a chance to spot enemies under certain conditions (you don't really now how tall the enemy must be in order for you to get a chance to spot it).
  • no LOS: You can't see anything (even tall vehicles) here

My theory (on how micro-terrain affects spotting):  

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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2 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

I think that you'd need a "reverse slope" on a tile to see anything (up to "very tall vehicle") on a square. 

Maybe I wasn't clear enough. What I basically want to know is if a low vehicle gets the same reverse slope readings for the same area target as a tall vehicle.

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12 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

Maybe I wasn't clear enough. What I basically want to know is if a low vehicle gets the same reverse slope readings for the same area target as a tall vehicle.

Could you come up with an example? I'm still not quite sure if I understand where you're going.

Spotting with vehicles: I haven't tested it with vehicles, but if you use infantry in different stances, the difference is certainly there! If you change the height of the unit's eyes - by "hiding" infantry which makes it switch from "kneeling" to "prone" - all the LOS calculations are updated accordingly. I have no reason to believe that it works differently for vehicles of various size, or more precisely, varying heights of the spotters'/crew's eyes.

Vehicles getting spotted: Obviously one would assume that a taller vehicle gets spotted more easily as a larger part of it tends to surmount micro-terrain (of course depending on the actual position and the lay of the land).

Edited by Kaunitz

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Wanted to insert this in the post above but failed at it. :( Anyway, I think it might be usefull as a reference.

On 6/19/2018 at 7:13 AM, Kaunitz said:

Addition/correction to previous post:: Test 1 / tank / tall grass:  460 / 650 / full lane (second value was missing)

Conclusions from the tests described in the post above

1. Weather and daylight conditions don't seem to have an effect on LOS per se. For dawn (05:00) and hazy conditions, the LOS is the same as for clear conditions. At night (00:00), there is a hard cap on visibility (400m in this case - I've read that CM titles do consider the moon phases, so the exact value may vary with the date respectively). As there clearly is an effect on LOS in adverse light an weather conditions, but LOS as given by the target command stays the same, it seems as if units might rather receive a "hiding bonus"?

2. I think that my theory from last year (based on observations in CM: Black Sea) is not too far off the mark: There must be at least two values for each terrain: 1) density/LOS blocking value, and 2) height (either as in an acutal hitbox of some sort, or a z-value for the whole action spot). Different densities must be the reason why the range of full lines of sight vary with terrain. For example,  forest terrains (105m full LOS) are not as dense as crop terrains (60m full LOS).

The tricky part is to explain the "reverse slope" line of sight zones and the difference of results between tanks and infantry. It's much easier to explain my theory in pictures so here we go: 

01.png

Eyes below terrain height (e.g. prone infantry --> creates limited "reverse slope" LOS)

02.png

03.png

Eyes above terrain height (e.g. tank --> creates unlimited "reverse slope" LOS)

04.png

05.png

Explaining hull-down results with different terrain heights

06.png

07.png

 

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

If things work indeed as described in the diagrams and when you consider the test results from above, we end up with these terrain characteristics:

  • clear: no effect on LOS
  • crops: large height, large density
  • forest: medium height, low density
  • tall grass: small height (but still higher than prone infantry), medium density

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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11 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

Could you come up with an example?

Is the message Reverse Slope always based on the tallest possible vehicle being the potential target?

When I set up an infantry ambush, I am interested in knowing if they will be able to spot enemy infantry running across a field. I'm not interested in knowing if they might spot the tallest possible tank at that location.

However, when setting up a tank ambush, I'm interested in knowing if the tank will spot another tank.

In your graphical examples, you have both a man and a tank being the height to measure against.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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54 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

Is the message Reverse Slope always based on the tallest possible vehicle being the potential target?

When I set up an infantry ambush, I am interested in knowing if they will be able to spot enemy infantry running across a field. I'm not interested in knowing if they might spot the tallest possible tank at that location.

However, when setting up a tank ambush, I'm interested in knowing if the tank will spot another tank.

In your graphical examples, you have both a man and a tank being the height to measure against.

I can't find the quote right now, but I think the info comes from Vanir Ausf. B - reverse slope occurs whereever you have a potential LOS on a "very large vehicle" (so in my diagram, "a man's height" would need to be replaced by "very tall vehicle"). Reverse slope does not tell you whether you can see anything shorter than that tall vehicle. You might be able to see shorter units or not. There is no certainty except for your eyes' judgement.

 

(I would need to test if the target-arc might be usefull here? It seems to be set at the height of the unit and "cuts" through the ground mesh. In any case it helps to judge the lay of the land)

 

PS: Also, for anyone interested in spotting in general, lots of valuable official info can be found in the answers here: 

 PS: Oh and someone actually tried to come up with some calculation to judge better at what point you'd be able to see shorter units in a reverse slope area: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/114689-just-for-fun-determining-direct-fire-range-to-a-large-target-instead-of-the-ground/?tab=comments#comment-1526818

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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3 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

I can't find the quote right now, but I think the info comes from Vanir Ausf. B - reverse slope occurs whereever you have a potential LOS on a "very large vehicle" (so in my diagram, "a man's height" would need to be replaced by "very tall vehicle"). Reverse slope does not tell you whether you can see anything shorter than that tall vehicle. You might be able to see shorter units or not. There is no certainty except for your eyes' judgement.

Thanks for clearing that up. I always thought the target height was determined by the spotter's height.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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As area fire plays a big part for deliberate grazing fire, I thought I could also point out a few things:

Lateral aim

  • From my experience, when an infantry unit (that occupies only 1 square) is ordered to area-fire on a square, each individual soldier in the unit will select a point within the target-square (which must be visible to him?) and fire at it. Naturally, this means that if the target-square is very close to the unit, the resulting "cone of fire" will be very broad/large. If the target-square is very far away, by contrast, the cone will be narrow. You can try it out very easily in the editor - if you let a unit area fire at a very very short distance (to the adjacent square), the soldiers will be firing randomly somewhere within 180° to their front. In some very rare situations, you might make use of this to affect/narrow or broaden the size of a beaten zone of a MG. By setting the target square closer, you broaden the angle of your fire and vice versa.
  • Note that soldiers do seem to switch their target points within the target square from time to time during a turn. So the soldiers are not firing at a single point for the whole turn.

Vertical aim: 

  • Soldiers who are area-firing aim at ca 1m above the ground. (Depending on the angle between the height of the muzzle and the target point, bullets might travel on much farther after they have passed through the aimpoint)
  • Still you can see some shots going too low or too high. I suppose that this is just due to random deviations from the perfect elevation. Soft factors (unit experience) might play a role here. 

Rate of fire:

  • Among other factors (clip size/reloading intervalls), the output of fire depends on the distance to the target square. It's because the more distant the target is, the longer soldiers aim before they fire. So, as the duration for the "aiming" action increases, the intervalls between individual shots/bursts increase. Experience and other soft factors (and optics/weapon type?) probably play a role here as well.

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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I think this is the right topic to share some thoughts about how the heavy machine gun can be used in Combat Mission. Maybe I will create a small tactical video on it once I get some adequate footage from my actual H2H games as the explanations below would certainly benefit form some form of visualisation. I think that in some circumstances, the HMG is the most misunderstood, underrated but also most difficult to employ weapon in Combat Mission. Judging from AARs, I think that many players are unaware of its great potential!*

So why do I think the heavy machine gun can be the infantry's defensive weapon number one? And how to employ the heavy machine gun for good effect?

1. Lines of fire / control of space: I can't stress enough that HMGs should make maximum use of oblique grazing fire. You always need to fire at your opponent from an angle. This way, you create a line of fire that crosses the axis of his approach, rather than running paralell to it. After all the defender's main goal is to stop the attacker's advance. Instead of locking down individual spotted enemy teams for 2 seconds with every burst, our aim is to lock down lines of 400+ meters' length permanently and (almost) blindly. For this to work, you need to find adequate fire lines in the terrain, which is admittedly extremely fiddly and requires you to make "test runs" on the map before you start the actual battle. Your "fire lines" should be as long as possible - the longer they are, the more ground your HMG can control. Also, wherever possible, the HMGs gun's bullets must travel close to the ground (--> "grazing fire"). The HMG must be positioned roughly at the same height as its intended beaten zone. So you have to consider the muzzle height** of the machine gun in and the height of the tile that you're aiming at. The line in between the muzzle and the aimpoint will determine the elevation of the fire. Even though they're conspicious and likely targets for the enemy, multi storey houses can be usefull to achieve an even line between the HMG and the intended beaten zone. 

Also be aware that shifting your aimpoint forward and backward affects the "spread" of your fire. 

2. Reliability: The good thing about HMGs is that they come with plenty of ammo. While the ordinary HMG units are still somewhat limited (2k ammo) and might require some extra supply asset (trucks, wooden bunker),  wooden HMG bunkers offer plenty of ammo (5k). This means that your HMGs can and should be firing non-stop. This way, they are really able to lock down the enemy. LMG units cannot achieve this as their volume of fire decreases very quickly with range. HMG units, by contrast, keep up a high volume of fire even at ranges of 600m+ (their "aiming" task is much shorter than that of LMGs and they fire longer bursts).

Also note that smoke screens don't help against your HMGs. That's because you're relying on area fire and the LOS between your muzzle and your aimpoint (e.g. at 80m distance) will be clear and unaffected by the smoke screen at the beaten zone (e.g. at 600m).

3. Protection: The heavy mg's best protection is distance in combination with concealment. If enemy squads can get eyes on your hmg within 300 meters, your hmg is not well positioned. At ranges under 300 meters, you risk getting suppressed by ordinary riflemen and LMGs. by contrast, if you employ the HMG at proper ranges and in some concealment, it can stay concealed for a very long time even when firing. I really had some eye-opening moments (testing in hotseat mode) when my HMGs were able to pepper the opponent who had no clue where it was coming from. Therefore, HMGs are extremely usefull to scare away a tank's infantry support. When a mixed column enters the beaten zone of HMGs, the infantry gets suppressed, bullets hit the tanks (gradually damaging tracks and optics) but neither the tanks nor the infantry can see where it's coming from (note, however, that tanks could "block" the fire lines of your HMGs to build a "bridge" over the fire line for the infantry..!). The greater distance between the HMG and the opponent also helps against artillery and speculative fire, as the number of potential positions increases with range. It will be harder for your opponent to "guess" where the HMG is. [There is still the problem of sound-locating the HMG though, which I personally consider cheating/a bug].

4. Exploitation: The lines of fire described above are very effective at suppressing and pinning enemy infantry. This alone can be extremely usefull as it disrupts and slows down enemy advances. The lines of fire will not wrap up many kills for you though. Therefore, the standard WWII procedure works very well in Combat Mission: HMGs anonymously pin the infantry, mortars and arty do the killing. 

So, with these 4 points, HMGs can be deployed for great effect iif the circumstances are right. I don't consider any of this particularly "gamey". Rather, it's just another example that you can recreate proper WWII tactics in Combat Mission (although in this particular case it is very fiddly). I've even tried to apply some indirect machine gun fire - firing from a reverse slope - , but found that the maps were not large enough for it ;).  Of course the HMG can also be applied in the attack, but just like in the defense, you'd need to test your positions before the battle in order to prevent ugly surprises (the beaten zone is not where you want it to be, or the bullets go high alltogether). 

 

----------

* Even though I might come across as a lunatic, I also want to point out that the way that many quickbattle maps are designed severely handicap HMGs (and other support weapons and tanks). In my opinion, they often cut lines of sight unrealistically short. The maps are often too "bumpy" (the slopes are not soft enough, hills are too "small", ridges too sharp) and/or they are not deep enough to position support weapons at their proper ranges (support positions are simply "cut off").

**Note that medium machine guns are usually fired from the prone position (--> difficult to achieve good angles), heavy machine guns from the "sitting" position (-->better), and HMG bunkers are fired standing (-->best). 

Edited by Kaunitz

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Here is the heavy weapons company's field manual from 1942 ( https://archive.org/details/Fm7-15/page/n69 ); Take special note of chapter 5 & 6. [If you're unfamiliar with the map symbols required to understand the diagrams, take a look at the US map symbols here: http://lesliesoftware.com/mods/CatTacticalIconsCMBN/index.html; Basically, MGs are black dots - without a short line at the 11 o'clock  position; these are ATguns -  with long, protruding arrows that indicate their fire line - light Mgs have a "L" on their fire line? Obviously, each MG has two fire lines - one main (the bold line/arrow) and a secondary one (dotted line/arrow)]

I also found a few interesting mentions related to machine gun fire in some eyewitness accounts. Of course MG fire is mentioned all the time, as the basic experience for the attacking infantryman in WWII was to face MG fire and artillery. But I found these extracts interesting as they provide a bit more details:  

Quote

They had one machine gun set to fire tracer rounds (so no one could miss seeing them) at a height well above our heads. The brightly colored trails from the German bullets kept our attention and gave us a false sense of security, allowing us to believe that their gunners simply could not shoot straight.

We moved forward quickly and confidently into what turned out to be an enemy ambush. The Germans had a second machine gun positioned across the open area in the opposite hedgerow that was set to shoot at a height of about three feet (grazing fire) and without tracer bullets. We advanced unknowingly into their kill zone and learned a very important lesson the hard way.

Quote

[..] He was a big, heavyset, dark-complexioned man, and he was very concerned about his company’s mission. He was looking for advance positions for his heavy machine guns so they would have clear lanes of fire on long-range targets behind the enemy’s lines. This overhead fire was intended to harass the enemy during the rifle companies attack on the Siegfried [line].

The captain went about his task conscientiously, even though it was somewhat disheartening: he never could see where his bullets were landing. Heavy machine guns were much more effective on defense.

The captain talked about his plans perhaps a bit more than necessary and paced about in what seemed a nervous manner. Less than ten minutes after leaving me, he strayed off a marked path and had a leg blown off up to the knee.

 

This account is interesting. It describes an attack that was supported by Vickers machine guns. But also, it seems as if the attackers could never determine the source of the incoming enemy fire. Apparently, it is MG fire.  

Quote

A group of Manchesters had set up a couple of Vickers machine guns on the bank beside us to give covering fire over the heads of the advancing figures below into the houses and far woods. Suddenly the Vickers chugged into the steady monotony of their bullet-spitting fire, eating up their belts of ammunition like hungry Italians sucking in spaghetti.

[…]

The last two sections had just reached the fence when it happened: the fierce rip of a Spandau ahead dropped about eight of the figures in the field with the sweep of a scythe, leaving two hanging on the wire. The rest increased their speed of advance, a few running forward, crouching. The Vickers teams swung their fire onto the nearest barn and buildings. Several more of the scattered figures crumpled to another burst; some to lie still, presumably dead, others to roll slightly. Two of the fallen got up again and moved uncertainly forward.

One of the men who had fallen on the wire, slipped off and continued to move slightly for a while as though attempting to crawl back but was too badly hit to do so. Next I noticed with a pang of horror and disgust the reason for his efforts. At intervals the turf near his head was spattered dark by a bullet, then he lay still – one by one the wounded were being picked off by a sniper who seemed to be concealed in a wood on our left front. We found later that most of these had been finished by a round through the head. Maddeningly, we could see what was happening and knowing it was out turn next, there seemed little we could do about it. The Vickers, now hissing steam with their sustained continuous fire and coiled about with spent ammunition belts, swung back onto the woods. I joined with a few others and a couple of Brens in firing at places we suspected to be the source of fire, but there was no tell-tale suggestion of smoke anywhere to give a clue.

Only a small handful of the left-hand Platoon were still on their feet and running forward over the open fields towards the still distant cover, and firing from the hip as they went at places likely to be concealing the enemy, of whom we had still not seen the faintest sign. Behind these pathetically few running figures, a scattered trail of casualties lay like bundles of corn in a newly harvested field. Freddie, shouting way head, was one of those still going, though I could see no sign of ‘Mac’, and hoped he was all right. A little group of men on the left, the mortar team paused, and fired a few rounds at the nearest houses, but they had not quite enough range. During this vital period radio contact with the guns had unfortunately become erratic, perhaps because of the hill, and much-needed artillery support was lost to us.

"A" Company HQ were nearing the small farm half-way down the track, and there they were pinned by a hail of fire. Freddie, on the left, was being driven back. Smyg decided we could wait no more, and with thumping hearts we hurried down the track to attempt pressing the attack beyond the tide limit of "A" Company, who were still far short of the factories.

10 Platoon were leading, and Smyg, who had come up with me into the forward section to sense the reception which would await us when we came into the level ground, decided that the field was as good as suicide and that we should infiltrate up what cover the lane offered. We had got about 20 yards up the lane apparently unnoticed when a series of loud sharp cracks sheared twigs off the hedges on either side. It was impossible to tell from which direction was coming; perhaps even from concealed positions on the wooded hills behind us. To realise each crack was not just haphazard to upset us, but the skilled efforts of people with modern lethal weapons intent on finishing us with the least delay was, to say the least, unpleasant to think about. Fortunately, there did not seem much opportunity for thought. We completed the remaining distance towards Andrew in short rushes doubled on all fours or in frantic bursts of crawling when the crackling sounds were more than usually persistent about us. We were wet, plastered with mud and streaming with sweat, perhaps not all of it due to our exertions.

[…]

Somewhere away in the field to our left the voice of a wounded Jock was crying “Stretcher bearers! Stretcher bearers! For God’s sake where are you?”

I scattered my sections about the farm with a field of fire forward, while Smyg vanished into a dugout built into the bank by the farmer to consult with Maj. Andrew Stewart who had established his HQ in there together with the Forward Observation Officer of the artillery. What was the next move to be?

Bullets were crackling and whining off the walls of the farm and trimming the green shoots off the hedges and trees all about us. Without tank or carrier support there seemed little prospect of any of us reaching the housing estate if we were ordered to press the attack the remaining 450 yards even to this objective. The enemy had been capable of cutting A Company about a range of 1,000 yards.

Some cattle ahead of us in the fields had unhappily been hit as heavily as the Jocks. Those few still alive ran about in the distance crazed with feat and steaming at the nostrils.

[they were finally ordered not to push on but instead to bunker down at the farmhouse for the night]

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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I´ve yet to see a (german) MG burst cutting down 8 of the poor enemy guys the same time in the game. No way to achieve this the MG´s are still modelled in the game. It´s like the MG operators don´t know about "surprise" fire and deliver it accurately with a longer burst. <_< More serious with the tripod stuff which is ridiculously crappy modelled. Highly inaccurate few bullet, long pause interval bursts. You could also shoot with just riflemen instead. But oh well...

The other situation to me looks like the closed nature of terrain didn´t allow to make out the source of the enemy fire origins properly. Couple more factors involved here too, like weather and battle stress. Not really modelled in the game, but I don´t know of any that does either. A well setup (german) defense also has "registered" fire zones and there could be plenty of that as well. So germans could fire accurate long bursts to an area even if almost blind or at night. Just need to set up the tripod accordingly and make a list of target zones with proper MG/tripod aim settings. 

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1 hour ago, RockinHarry said:

I´ve yet to see a (german) MG burst cutting down 8 of the poor enemy guys the same time in the game. No way to achieve this the MG´s are still modelled in the game. It´s like the MG operators don´t know about "surprise" fire and deliver it accurately with a longer burst. <_< More serious with the tripod stuff which is ridiculously crappy modelled. Highly inaccurate few bullet, long pause interval bursts. You could also shoot with just riflemen instead. But oh well...

Wait are you refering to the tripod-mounted HMGs in the game? I found those to work pretty well, actually, in the method described above ("fixed line" area firing; for an example also check out my little video clip*). The rate of fire seems sufficient to me even at longish distances (target points set on an action square at 400m+). If you fear that the enemy might crawl under the MG fire or sprint through it in small, lucky teams, (totally QB-overpriced) wire should be employed. 

(Also, I'm quite happy that the MG does not cut down 8 men, to be honest.) 

1 hour ago, RockinHarry said:

The other situation to me looks like the closed nature of terrain didn´t allow to make out the source of the enemy fire origins properly. Couple more factors involved here too, like weather and battle stress. Not really modelled in the game, but I don´t know of any that does either. A well setup (german) defense also has "registered" fire zones and there could be plenty of that as well. So germans could fire accurate long bursts to an area even if almost blind or at night. Just need to set up the tripod accordingly and make a list of target zones with proper MG/tripod aim settings. 

Yep, that's the proper employment of the HMG on the defense! :) I found it can work pretty well in Combat Mission if you put effort into it. As mentioned, you need to "sight" your HMGs before the battle, doing test runs to see if the fire hits the desired area. It's a bit fiddly as you can only affect the elevation of the gun (and also the "spread" of the shots) by a clever selection of your area targets.  And you can't remove that odd bush, fence, tree that blocks your otherwise perfect line of fire....

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

*http://community.battlefront.com/topic/112114-reverse-slopegrazing-fire/?do=findComment&comment=1763352  (Note that this is a medium MG. Heavy MGs have a better rate of fire/don't take as long to aim between their bursts)

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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2 hours ago, RockinHarry said:

A well setup (german) defense also has "registered" fire zones and there could be plenty of that as well. So germans could fire accurate long bursts to an area even if almost blind or at night. Just need to set up the tripod accordingly and make a list of target zones with proper MG/tripod aim settings

You can get a similar effect to that with TRPs, Harry.

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3 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Wait are you refering to the tripod-mounted HMGs in the game? I found those to work pretty well, actually, in the method described above ("fixed line" area firing; for an example also check out my little video clip*). The rate of fire seems sufficient to me even at longish distances (target points set on an action square at 400m+). If you fear that the enemy might crawl under the MG fire or sprint through it in small, lucky teams, (totally QB-overpriced) wire should be employed. 

(Also, I'm quite happy that the MG does not cut down 8 men, to be honest.) 

yes, the tripod MG34/42. Well..if you employ at 400m or below, it´s not actually their "effective" ranges which was more in the 600 to 1200m range (and beyond in RL). Also at short to medium ranges they´re very sensible to enemy return fire if the map and LOS/LOF allows. What I meant to say is that the RL tripod HMG´s used single bursts of around 1-2 belts (50-100) and not that ineffective harassing fires one is used to see in the game. I´d also found at a time (V3 or earlier) that at long ranges "area fire" on a larger target (several squads in a rather small area) would be the more efficient way not just to suppress, but also to achieve a number of kills until the enemy comes too close and provides effective return fires. Best method seemed to be "leading" the enemy advance by about 30-40m at least to get most of the HMG salvoes into target and not beyond. However, there´s rarely a map large enough (or good enough LOS/LOF) to get it working to best effects.

 

3 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Yep, that's the proper employment of the HMG on the defense! :) I found it can work pretty well in Combat Mission if you put effort into it. As mentioned, you need to "sight" your HMGs before the battle, doing test runs to see if the fire hits the desired area. It's a bit fiddly as you can only affect the elevation of the gun (and also the "spread" of the shots) by a clever selection of your area targets.  And you can't remove that odd bush, fence, tree that blocks your otherwise perfect line of fire....

yes, much like that. As said above, leading is key here to make most the bullets actually hit a target and not the moon. Additionally and when available germans used concerted mass fires on key targets with HMG´s of at least Plt. size (2-4 HMG). So it´s always good if any HMG´s can be placed in a way that they can coordinate massed surprise fires on these key areas (Schwerpunkt or Brennpunkt). In the game I wouldn´t really bother using single HMG´s too much since they´re way too big and vulnerable targets themselves (can´t split and move the ammo carriers into full cover as was the case in RL). Think I´d also made an animation file mod, where both the gunner and assistant would operate the weapon from prone position which in RL was common practice due to the optics used on the tripod.

 

2 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

You can get a similar effect to that with TRPs, Harry.

blind direct fire on a TRP? Not sure I ever got something like that working, but need to retest. However the HMGs still remain highly inaccurate just like the tripod settings would not be fixed but rather loosened for wider area distribution fires. The games HMG´s simply do not reflect the RL capabilities properly so always remain weak when compared to the real things. TRP´s help, but don´t change anything to the "just fire subsequent small bursts" ingame generic behaviors. :mellow: That´s not what the high ROF german MG´s actually were made for. Quickly putting as many bullets as possible on a target, before it goes into cover. Thus the 50 to 100 round single bursts (2 to 4 seconds lasting). Same for lMG. A skilled gunner could put a 1 second burst onto a target rather accurately before the aim goes off.

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Accuracy of fires around TRPs is greatly increased provided that you have LOS - that's what I meant when I said a "similar effect" to pre-registering HMGs. I have personally never tried to fire directly with weapons on a TRP I felt like I had no LOS to at night - I have kind of assumed I wouldn't be able to. You can most definitely plot indirect fires at TRPs your spotter has no LOS to.

What you request is a quite specific form of fieldcraft that I agree it is not very faithfully captured by this (or any other) engine. Night combat and fortifications aren't really the forte of CMx2 either.

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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6 hours ago, RockinHarry said:

What I meant to say is that the RL tripod HMG´s used single bursts of around 1-2 belts (50-100) and not that ineffective harassing fires one is used to see in the game. I´d also found at a time (V3 or earlier) that at long ranges "area fire" on a larger target (several squads in a rather small area) would be the more efficient way not just to suppress, but also to achieve a number of kills until the enemy comes too close and provides effective return fires. Best method seemed to be "leading" the enemy advance by about 30-40m at least to get most of the HMG salvoes into target and not beyond. However, there´s rarely a map large enough (or good enough LOS/LOF) to get it working to best effects.

Bursts of 1-2 belts? :huh:

All I can say is that the volume of fire delivered by 2 obliquely cross-firing HMGs in the game is high enough to force enemy units to the ground consistently. If you have just one MG, wire obstacles might help, but I admit they are incredibly overprized in quickbattles. Once the enemy is down, he might crawl backwards or forwards. Hit him with indirect fires.

Again, while the HMG unit's "aim" task are very short even at longer distances, the rate of fire can be modified by bringing the area-target aimpoint closer to the gun (and vice versa). A high accuracy is not ideal for fixed line firing as very accurate fire could be "jumped over" and evaded by the enemy more easily. Here, too, in some situations you might be lucky enough to be able to influence the "spread" of the MGs shots by shifting the aimpoint closer (more spread) or farther away (less spead) --> see diagram. But in most cases, shifting the aimpoint makes your fire go too high (no grazing) or fall too short, so you don't get that choice.

Unbenannt.png

(Note that individual bursts, not individual shots, will be aimed at different points within the area-targeted action square)

I'd love if the defender was allowed to "modify" the map a bit. E.g. breaking holes through house walls, altering the layout of the windows (to simulate blocked windows, etc), removing some trees/bushes/parts of walls to improve his fields of fire, etc. I also wonder whether it would be a good idea to automatically include a (organical/cheap) target reference point when you buy a mortar squad/artillery battery. 

Edited by Kaunitz

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1 hour ago, Kaunitz said:

Bursts of 1-2 belts? :huh:

All I can say is that the volume of fire delivered by 2 obliquely cross-firing HMGs in the game is high enough to force enemy units to the ground consistently. If you have just one MG, wire obstacles might help, but I admit they are incredibly overprized in quickbattles. Once the enemy is down, he might crawl backwards or forwards. Hit him with indirect fires.

Morning. :) Yep, that´s how it "works" in the game, but far from what the german MG´s and standard tactical doctrines were made and used for that times. In case you understand german, I draw my info from original prime sources in my possession (mentioned it at other places already).

http://288vype.jpg

to the other stuff, I made those kind of tests years ago already and basically came to similar or same conclusions on proper deployment and best tactical use of (german) MG´s in the game. To say it again, the MG´s in the game make the (wrong) assumption that MG´s are "just" for suppressing and not actual killing. Suppression was always a secondary always available effect, but BFC kind of reversed the whole thing, at least with regard to german (tripod) MG´s and similarly powerful ones in allied possession. Single point accuracy of that tripod and weapon was always high enough to even combat "point targets" (enemy MG i.e) up to long combat ranges (800+ m) and if just by means of volume of fire in shortest of time. Thus the 1-2 belt (50 rounds each) fire orders in RL WW2. For moving mass targets the tripod can change both dispersal in breadth and depth in shortest of time and usually would be ordered by the team or squad leader. In the game you can "simulate" all that only with very insufficient means as

1. bursts are way too short (barely appropiate for lMG)

2. the generally poor accuracy as provided in the game (one type fits all situations approach) and

3. neglection of individual tactical combat doctrines and ammo expenditure for a given "fire task".

As (I) said above, TRP´s are of help for sure as is "leading" an area target (with of without TRP) in order to put maximum rounds into a desired to be beaten area. Yet any available means and "tricks" in the game remain just a shadow of the real thing very IMO. Similar things count for any other WW2 nations heavy tripod MG´s and employment as well. So I´m not a german gear "fanboy" any sort of, but the prime sources I have deal with german stuff mainly, so here can make best possible comparisons and draw conclusions. :)

Thus game tactics on use of any HMG´s need serious adaptions to at least give some similar, though highly insufficient RL effects.

Adaptions I use in my own games:

Cut the (standard) german HMG team by half (crew strength 50%) to make it a way smaller enemy target.

Higher Exp and good leader stat, though not neccessarily higher morale.

Keep them in C2 to appropiate superior (Plt. or Cpy leader)

Longest possible LOF/LOS to potential targets of at least 400-500m (so just enemy lMG might shoot back)

Early open up of fire on potential targets at longest possible range.

If enemy approaches to 400m or below, pull back to switch position and preplan for that.

Same if the enemy is able to put effective fires on the HMG position.

Have other units cover the HMG at flanks and support with "silent" HMG´s from farer back at appropiate times.

keyholed (horizontally and vertically) positions covered frontally by terrain (mesh).

TRP´s at most important enemy approach routes or likely point targets.

"Leading" target area fires by 30-50m (or more) depending on range/angle to targets, so the bursts don´t "overshoot" with many or most the bullets.

Combining multiple HMG´s on most important areas/targets.

Have a commanding leader unit in C2 with at least 1 binoc and sight on that areas.

Use of log shelters (not the MG version) for that more elaborate defense situations.

Hit enemy units majorily if they´re on the move or otherwise  provide a large target. This could already suppress and oftenly kill enemies when they´re still at ranges where they neither can see (spot) nor shoot back at the HMG.

Adapt/cut a maps terrain to improve fields of fire (assuming a defender who had enough time for that). Not possible with QB´s though.

so that´s the stuff from my memory and there might be some more I can´t recall ATM.

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