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Lt Bull

ATGs again...

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Hello,

I know that there have been some very intense discussions in the past about the modelling of ATGs in CM, primarily related to their concealability, the speed at which they can be manhandled by their crews (including rotation) and their deployment/packup times.

One of the more significant discussions can be read in this very well represented thread: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/111333-at-guns-problems-and-how-to-solve-them/

I have had reason to question various aspects of the way CM models AT guns recently.  A PBEM opponent of mine in a QB actually recently posted about the "concealability" (or lack of) of four Flak38 88m guns that featured in a QB we recently played.  We discussed his post after the battle and we both considered how things might have gone had he in fact used 75mm Pak40 ATGs instead of the Flak 88 guns.  The Pak40, based on tests, seem to have a huge advantage over the Flak 88 as far are concealment.

We both tended to agree that ATGs in general seem to "have it tough" in CM for some reason and not just in concealment.  Movement speed, deploy/packup time. To make matters even more grim for ATGs, the latest CMBN patch 3.12 actually, (for some unknown reason) has reduced the rotation speed of ATGs.

Does anyone know why and what the basis of this change in the latest patch anyway?

Regardless, I went ahead and just did some investigating and testing myself.  First of all, I checked the rotation speeds of a deployed 75mm Pak 40, a Flak 88 and a Flak 37.  The results are as follows:
To rotate 180deg:
Flak 37 = 12sec
Flak 88 = 32sec
Pak40 = 43sec

NOTE: WynnterGreens rotation speed tests conducted in that thread above lists the speed of rotation of a Pak40 in that version of CMBN as being an incredible 114sec to rotate 180deg!  BFC must have found reason to increase the rate of rotation of a deployed Pak40 since that thread by about 265%.  However as mentioned, as per patch 3.12, they have now seen reason to however reduce the rotation speed of all AT guns (can't check yet  as I have yet to install the patch).  I am curious to know what reasons they had for that.

I haven't found any reference to compare these values against but I have found these videos of a surviving Pak40 being handled by re-enactors on flat ground that is more wet/soft/slippery than it is hard/dry.  (I do not think these videos of a Pak40 being handled were ever referenced in the thread I linked above. Similar videos were shown but of a Pak 37mm ATG), Throughout the video they do not seem to be in any haste at all and seem to be going a a rather calm/relaxed pace.  I could only imagine that in a combat situation, they would not be so calm/relaxed/unhurried as they are in the videos you will see.

starts at 2:05

This video clip shows an undeployed Pak40 being rotated 180deg in about 12 seconds.  Compare that to 43 seconds in CM for a deployed Pak40.  For what it's worth the Pak40 is not deployed either at the start of it's rotation or at the end of it's rotation whereas the CM Pak40 in the test was.  How much does this matter? Hard to say.  Curious, I did another CM test this time with an undeployed ATG.  It took 37sec, which is still over twice what we see in the video.

But it was when I compared the speed at which the undeployed Pak40 was being moved by it's crew of six along the wet (almost muddy) grassed ground (might even be on a slight incline) that I just had to compare this to what we see in CM.  It is very easy from the video to get a very accurate/precise estimation of the speed at which the crew are moving the ATG at what appears to be a very average/casual/relaxed speed.  This speed turns out to be about 67m/minute.

starts at 1:43

If you check the speed at which an undeployed Pak40 in CM can be moved in one minute on even flat dry paved roads, they move no faster than 16m/minute! That's about 24% of the relaxed pace you see in the video (or four times slower).  Interesting to note that infantry in CM on dry paved ground walk at about 56m/minute.

NOTE:  According to tests conducted by WynntrrGreen during the writing of the thread I linked above (basically whatever version CMBN was in Nov 2013), the speed of moving a Pak40 was then 8m/minute which is an astounding 8x slower than what you see in these videos.  Since that thread, BFC apparently saw reason to double the speed at which a Pak40 can be manhandled/moved.

If this doesn't raise the questions as to the appropriateness/accuracy of the movement speed assigned to at least the Pak40 in the game, then I don't know what else would.  The only explanation I have is that in the game, the wheels of the ATGs do not rotate when they are being moved so maybe BFC are actually modelling the speed at which ATGs can be moved/dragged with wheels locked! (OK I am being silly here but if that were the case then the in game movement speed seems realistic enough!)

The mass of an AT gun definitely figures in to how "easy" it is to manhandle, but so do the size/width/type of wheels mounted to them (ground pressure), it's geometry and location of centre of mass .  To keep things in perspective, here are the masses of key representative AT guns and other heavy things on wheels (albeit 4 wheeled varieties) you may have had to push around at times:

Pak36 37mm (light):  327kg "combat" or 450kg "travel" (not sure what "combat" and "travel" weights are...I'm guessing "travel" includes ammo. 327kg sounds precise ie. of gun alone)

Morris Mini-Minor: 650kg

Pak38 50mm (light-med): 830kg

QF 6pdr (med): 1140kg

Compact car: 1354kg

Pak40 75mm (med): 1425kg

Midsize car:1590kg

Midsize truck or SUV: 1936kg

Large car: 1985kg

3inch Gun M5 (med): 2210kg

Large truck or SUV: 2460kg

QF 17pdr (heavy): 3050kg

Pak43 88mm (heavy): 4380kg

We all know many people have chimed in on various threads about the modelling of ATGs in CM in the past.  From what I have read, the overiding reason given to explain why ATGs are significantly less "mobile" (at least up to 4 times less in the case of a Pak40) as what you see in videos like this is because "if modelled ATGs were more mobile players would "abuse" them" or some other "game specific" reason/justification not based on actual field data.

Significantly under-modelling the mobility of AT-guns across the board in CM has typically caused players to ignore the large variation in actual local mobility amongst the different sizes of these weapons and the significant tactical advantages these differences would otherwise infer to some of the smaller calibre weapons. The under modelled mobility of the lower calibre AT-guns results in all AT-guns being treated as if they are the same thing: A static weapon that once deployed is going nowhere and just waiting to be die in place.

I think if the local mobility of a Pak40 or anything lower should be a factor in the units tactical deployment and survivability.  I am sure there is data/records/doctrine that would confirm the local mobility of these assets as being part of their tactical deployment.

Consider tactical ambushes where you might have a med-light AT-gun in wait out of LOS behind cover (such as a building, crest etc), with it's ammo crew slightly forward spotting enemy, ready to give the signal for the weapon to be quickly pushed only a  few metres forward into a deployed ambush firing position perhaps behind a hedge fire a few shots, then perhaps be pulled back out of LOS within a reasonable tactical time frame, to be redeployed elsewhere or to avoid the inevitable "whack a mole routine" of incoming arty that is such a staple of CM gameplay. CM under-modelling of AT-gun mobility simply did (does) not even make this kind of utilisation of these weapon systems possible. It really is a drag knowing that the only way to really use any AT-gun in CM is to just find a spot on the map that has both LOS to potential enemy and has some local concealment/cover, plonk it there, and hope and prey it doesn't get spotted before it has a chance to at least take a shot at an enemy.  Being able to tactically deploy it in defilade and quickly move in and out from a firing position would greatly increase the survivability and effectiveness of otherwise "sitting duck" med-light AT-guns.  

Probably can get this discussion going in the right direction by asking the following question:

What core data/source/information/modelling have BFC primarily used to base/assign movement speeds/rotation speeds/deploy/packup speeds of say the Pak40 (and all other ATGs for that matter) on?

If it has ever been presented I have yet to see it.

Edited by Lt Bull

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1 hour ago, Lt Bull said:

I am sure there is data/records/doctrine that would confirm the local mobility of these assets as being part of their tactical deployment.

Not surprisingly, I was able to find actual documentation/doctrine that specifically describes the very ambush scenario I considered/hypothesised above when tactically using med-light AT-guns.

Found in the document linked to in the other thread on ATGs I mentioned:

FM 18-12 Towed Tank Destroyer Gun Platoon (Aprl 1944)  that explains AT-gun doctrine and use:

 

They actually gave it a name for "FOCOL" and literally sketch it all out plain as day.

knabn.png

It is clear that the local mobility of the AT-gun is essential for this doctrine to be executed and is fundamental to how the AT-gun should be used. The L in FOCOL, part (5) L for "Lines (routes) in and out.

The text before this also discusses the concepts of Primary Firing, Alternate, Supplementary and Cover positions.  When referring to the Alternate position, the document says "routes to it [from the Primary position] also are to be selected", which implies local tactical relocation/redeployment by the crew.

In the figure above you can actually see the artist even sketched in the tyre marks on the ground the AT-gun left behind from moving it in and out of defilade. Not surprisingly, the tyre marks on the ground don't seem to indicate that the crew pivot the AT-gun 180deg to move in in and out of the firing position, unlike what needs to happen in CM.  I don' think this is coincidental.  I think we can be pretty confident AT-Guns were moved both forward to get in position and directly in reveres to get back in defilade.

I am sure a similar doctrine would exist and be described in the corresponding German/Russian etc field books.

It is a shame CM does not allow this realistic tactical deployment of the light/med AT-guns. Instead we are stuck with a "pick a spot on the map, sit there, pray/hope your don't get spotted, die there" and shutup about AT-guns already kind of mindset.

There is no way the actual doctrine described in the Field Book could ever be practically realised in CM without giving AT-guns the ability to be moved both forwards and in reverse.

Is even that just simply too much to ask?

This one change (to give AT-guns a reverse move capability) alone would go a long ways to at least allow AT-guns to be used in ways they were actually prescribed/designed to be used in, and in doing so improve the general usefulness and survivability of these weapons and moving away from the whole "advance infantry, spot defenceless/unknowing "ambushing" ATG, call in arty, wait, kill ATG, rinse, repeat" whack'a'mole type of gameplay that CM typically degenerates in to.

Edited by Lt Bull

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Just to clarify, you do understand that "large wheel ATG can be moved in the deployed condition."  CM v3.01 Manual p. 54

Hence satisfying the scenario detailed in your post, ie moving from a concealed position into defilade.  The manual also indicates this (movement) increases the probability of spotting.  

 

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1 hour ago, aus3620 said:

Just to clarify, you do understand that "large wheel ATG can be moved in the deployed condition."  CM v3.01 Manual p. 54

Hence satisfying the scenario detailed in your post, ie moving from a concealed position into defilade.  The manual also indicates this (movement) increases the probability of spotting.  

 

Yes I do (only recently though and have yet to try in a game) which definitely was a step in the right direction from how AT-guns were initially modelled (8m/minute speed!).  You do realise that the speed at which an AT-gun can execute this move has a large bearing on the practicality of such a move.  The longer it takes to execute this move, obviously the more vulnerable and less effective the AT gun will be.

Of course I would expect the probability of spotting the ATG to increase "as it's moving in LOS of the enemy", but this is inconsequential to the alternate scenario of having an largely immovable static "ambushing" ATG permanently deployed in LOS of the enemy just waiting unknowingly for something to eventually spot it and kill it before it has a chance to fire.

But as I mentioned, moving IN to position is one half of the FOCOL doctrine.  Moving OUT of position is the other and without a reverse move available to ATGs, the complementary "life saving" other half of the doctrine can not be practically execute in CM.

Also I say FOCOL to anyone who disagrees! LOL 

Edited by Lt Bull

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3 hours ago, Lt Bull said:

You do realise that the speed at which an AT-gun can execute this move has a large bearing on the practicality of such a move.  The longer it takes to execute this move, obviously the more vulnerable and less effective the AT gun will be.

 

A deployed Pak40 can move roughly 1 AS per turn.

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Of course an 88mm flak gun will be incredibly easy to spot at the ranges that are >95% of the scenarios in CM, it's huge. A 75mm ATG goes up to what, just below a standing man's rib cage? The 88 is well over twice that tall, making it even harder to spot would be invoking outright magical camouflage. There's a good reason it was almost only used against tanks at very long ranges and/or in emergencies.

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i have to admit. that AT guns (and more importantly infantry support guns like the lieg 18) do move a bit slow for their size. but its never been that much of an issue on meeting engagements where i have a truck or 2.

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Appreciate the speed of movt issue, although improved from early on it is still a point for discussion.  

Do all the 75mm and less ATG move at 1AS/min (turn)?  Would 2AS be too fast?

I have tried the shoot and hide idea with the ATG (current version) but you rarely get out of mortar/small arms range (H2H).

I also think they are too easily spotted.

I'm certainly not against the argument that smaller ATG advantages are under-modelled (concealment/size) and disadvantages over-modelled (man handled movt).

For the purpose of argument we could disregard the 88mm, it is obviously an outlier.

 

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Now that I've had time to view the films you included, I can add this: Yes, they do set it up, turn it, and move it faster than in CM. But then again, neither do they "brace" the ATG (digging the legs into the ground a bit to provide a more stable firing platform), nor are they carrying ~70 75mm shells and other accessories without which the ATG is worthless if you want to do more than fire a pyrotechnic charge from it. Same would go for turning the ATG, that means you'd have to drag all the shells and such along a bit to have them close enough.

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Did a quick test of pak40 75mm movement on a variety of Ground1 surfaces.

Deployed - 1AS/min

Undeployed - 2AS/min

The idea of packing, moving and redeploying is unusable in-game.  Deployment 2.2 mins, Pack up 4.4 mins - 7 mins plus movement time.  

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Lt Bull,

Speaking as one of those very active in the whole moving and turning discussion for not just ATGs but IGs, I went to considerable trouble to present hard evidence supporting the , to my mind, grossly inadequate depiction of how fast guns could be pivoted past traverse limits, picked up, moved and redeployed. When the Russians did firing trials of two Lend Lease 17-pounders, one of the telling points they made was of how little mobility it had (barely 100 meters over smooth terrain) using only the crew, whereas the 76 mm ZIS-3 could be moved 500 meters over rough terrain. Just try that in CMx1. You can read about it over on Archive Awareness. Further, I've seen footage of Germans racing a Pak 40 out of its shelter and up a ramp into firing position. Took only seconds, and it was a continuous shot! There is also footage of ATGs from several sides being moved by pushing with the trails wide open. Indeed, the Russian classified report on the 17-pounder trials specifically used the word "push" to talk about how the Russians moved their guns and also tested the British guns. 

Turning to the vexed 88 issues, I've a longstanding gripe that BFC has consistently refused to let us fire the cruciform platform towed versions from the wheels, despite both credible accounts and film footage showing exactly that was done. Rommel moved his, still on tow, behind his tanks in the Western Desert and let the British tanks, seeing a presumptive German retreat by the Panzers, impale themselves again and again on his gun line of  Pak 38s and 88s. Nor does it let us fire while fully deployed, pick up stakes, go on tow, move and resume firing in any form. Yet I have shown official tests at Aberdeen revealed the 88 could, I recollect, be brought in and out of action in 4 minutes! How that's not well within a CM battle's time constraints I don't pretend to know. I will say, though, that things are altogether different when it comes to the humongous Pak 43, which was all but immobile because of its heaviness and size. Similarly, the US M5 3-Inch ATG was so heavy and practically immobile in mud during the Bulge that the crews simply couldn't get them out of battery and on tow, causing many to be lost in the retreat. Finally, lets look at your 88 spotting issue. Dug in, it's not very tall or wide with no shield fitted. Not dug in and with shield, relative to the small, low and narrow Pak 40 shield, even in open ground, it's a huge target. I don't know how BFC really figures out whether a prospective target is spotted, but US Army studies conclusively show that the single biggest element in the target spotting process is target height. This is something the Flak 18 and Flak 36 possess in abundance. The two 88s are 2.1 meters high, the 17-pounder is 1.6 meters high, though the Military Factory, through a huge oversight, shows it as having neither height nor width), and the US M5 is 1.6 meters high. Hope this helps.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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Lt Bull,

Correction. What I meant to say was that a shield fully exposed, with nothing visible below the shield, 88 presented a much bigger target than a fully exposed Pak 40. I've seen both up close, and there's no doubt regarding the accuracy of my statement. It took some digging, but the width (not sure what's being measured) of the Pak 40 is 2 meters. By contrast, the 88 mm Flak 18/36/43 is 2.3 meters. I had a terrible time finding a width at all, but again, I don't know what's being measured really. One source says 2.3 meters. Judging by the numbers and what i've directly observed, I'd say the width for the Pak 40 is with trails extended. Thus, we're not really talking about the shield width plus wheels. 

(more digging ensues)

Eureka! War Department TME9-369A German 88 mm Antiarcraft Gun Materiel, 29 June 1943 says ~2.5 minutes are needed for traveling to firing  ~3.5 to take it from firing to traveling (p. 7) and lists (p. 6) time to traverse 360 degrees in high gear at 34 seconds and 70 seconds in low gear. This report is from the technical exploitation of the 88 Major G.B. Jarrett found while liaising with the British and shipped home to APG. As best I can tell (p.6), the width of the weapon in travel configuration is ~1.8 meters. That is the larger of the two tread figures. Nowhere could I find a direct statement on the width with outriggers down, so presumably the shield is at or a bit more than that. You've got Pak 40 footage with men in it. What do you estimate the width of the Pak 40 to be, measuring at the widest point and w/o the trails extended?

Regards,

John Kettler

 

Edited by John Kettler

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I think it would be nice to have small guns be more mobile, not only AT guns but also the little infantry guns for example.

Right now, it just seems the small guns are generally considered inferior to the bigger ones, because we get all the drawbacks and none of the advantages of the smaller guns. (mobility, concealment, ability to use cover like buildings and foxholes where bigger guns won't fit)

Edited by Bulletpoint

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12 hours ago, Anthony P. said:

Now that I've had time to view the films you included, I can add this: Yes, they do set it up, turn it, and move it faster than in CM. But then again, neither do they "brace" the ATG (digging the legs into the ground a bit to provide a more stable firing platform), nor are they carrying ~70 75mm shells and other accessories without which the ATG is worthless if you want to do more than fire a pyrotechnic charge from it. Same would go for turning the ATG, that means you'd have to drag all the shells and such along a bit to have them close enough.

Yes, i do believe some of BFCs reasoning for the long packing, setup and moving times account for this. Instead of animating the soldiers packing/unpacking and carrying the rounds of ammo, it all abstracted. And that's what Lt Bull doesn't seem to realize.  However, it does seem somewhat extreme. 

 

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The movement rates for ATGs are very abstracted. They move at exactly the same speed on every terrain and ground condition, uphill or downhill. And the crews never tire. They can push that gun all day ;) I'm not saying they could not be improved, just something to keep in mind.

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11 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I think it would be nice to have small guns be more mobile, not only AT guns but also the little infantry guns for example.

Right now, it just seems the small guns are generally considered inferior to the bigger ones, because we get all the drawbacks and none of the advantages of the smaller guns. (mobility, concealment, ability to use cover like buildings and foxholes where bigger guns won't fit)

THIS. also does it ever bug anybody else that the guy actually "pushing" the ATGs always does spins and various funky dance moves, further slowing him down. or how the rest of the team is sometimes miles ahead of him?

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1 hour ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

<Snip> They move at exactly the same speed on every terrain and ground condition, uphill or downhill. And the crews never tire. They can push that gun all day <Snip>

Thanks.  Good to know.  I had this on my list of things to test. 

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First let me say thanks to BF for making progress on the ATG issue, the squeaky wheel did get some attention. It's proof to my mind that they'll listen to cogent arguments.

However, as Bullman is pointing out, only a partial overhaul got done.
 
On 5/20/2016 at 11:40 AM, Anthony P. said:

then again, neither do they "brace" the ATG (digging the legs into the ground a bit to provide a more stable firing platform), nor are they carrying ~70 75mm shells and other accessories without which the ATG is worthless if you want to do more than fire a pyrotechnic charge from it. Same would go for turning the ATG, that means you'd have to drag all the shells and such along a bit to have them close enough.

9 hours ago, Pak40 said:

Yes, i do believe some of BFCs reasoning for the long packing, setup and moving times account for this. Instead of animating the soldiers packing/unpacking and carrying the rounds of ammo, it all abstracted. And that's what Lt Bull doesn't seem to realize.  However, it does seem somewhat extreme. 

 
Static bracing and digging in were desirable, but not necessary.
Here's some perfectly acceptable and historicity accurate 'bracing'.
 
PIC_2-391.jpg
 
When necessary a crew member would also ride the barrel or muzzle as a counterbalance during quick re-positioning manoeuvres and facing adjustments.
 
In Combat Mission nearly all ATGs have a separate 'ammo bearer' detachment.
Surely the ammo bearers role in a Tactical Simulation [as opposed to a logistical one] is to simulate the packing, movement, deployment etc. of incidental equipment?
Leaving the gun crew itself to fight as dynamically as possible.
 
Artificially restricting the combat capability of ATGs [and I believe I clearly demonstrated that to be the case in the previous thread on this issue] for those reasons is a spurious argument in my view.
 
3 hours ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

The movement rates for ATGs are very abstracted. They move at exactly the same speed on every terrain and ground condition, uphill or downhill. And the crews never tire. They can push that gun all day ;) I'm not saying they could not be improved, just something to keep in mind.

This is part of what I meant by partial overhaul.

ATGs went from a requirement of having to be packed up, then moved, then re-deployed even if they only needed to be moved a single action square, to being able to move short distances while deployed.

However nothing was done about ATGs glacial movement/turning speeds, their speed over various terrain, more accurate modelling of fatigue, etc.

There were definite improvements made, but they weren't given the full attention they needed.

Edited by WynnterGreen

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Lt Bull,

Most informative videos, though I wanted to strangle the guy going on interminably in Russian, at times talking over the German firing related orders. 

Bulletpoint,

I've posted this before. It speaks exactly to what's not currently modeled in terms of the real maneuverability of light guns. In this case, a later le IG 18.

Vanir Ausf B,

What you said about abstracted movement rates strikes me as being outright bizarre. I hope BFC addresses this. After all, it's quite apparent there are both WW II and contemporary videos showing what's possible. 

Anthony P,

Where did your ~70 round figure come from? At the very least, hauling that amount of ammo would require some sort of handcart (which we don't have), but almost certainly horses (which we don't have) or a truck (which we do). To say the gun can't be brought into action w/o moving tens of rounds first is ridiculous. Why? The Russians, after having guns and hard to replace crews massacred by the Germans time and again, adopted a practice in which only the gunner manned the piece, with only one round loaded. The remaining crew and ammo were away from the gun and sheltering. If the gunner got it, a replacement was sent forth. In order for the gun to be a credible threat, only one round need be moved, and it can be preloaded, I believe. Moving a handful of rounds would be fairly trivial and vastly faster than hand schlepping the huge pile of ammo you describe.

(Goes away and consults CMFB physical manual)

Got it! Page 113 of the CMFB physical manual shows a single Pak 40 has, not approximately 70 rounds, but 20 (5 HE and 15 AP). With a platoon/zug being 4 guns, it seems your ammo figure is not for the gun but the platoon.

WynnterGreen,

Concur there has been progress, but I believe much remains to be done in order to let these weapons perform correctly, thus greatly enhancing their combat utility and survivability. Some of us have long pushed for the ability to temporarily decrew or initially leave unmanned a gun or HMG while under indirect fire (crew sheltering), then reman or man it once the fire lifts. AFV and vehicle crews can debark from their vehicles, then later return and fight, but heavy weapons can't? I see. In CMx1, I tried to save the crew of an HMG by abandoning the gun. Game didn't let me, and my barely moving guys slogging along with the beast got massacred. I believe where we are right now is that if the crew abandons the heavy weapon, said weapon is now useless. I have a huge problem with that. Starting at 0:23 on screen right you can see exactly the sort of thing I mean. The Russian barrage has lifted, and the men, in shelters before, run to man their rather pathetic (vs. T-34/85) Pak 38. This is, to my knowledge, flatly impossible in even CMx2 Version 3.2. In the same overall scene, you can also clearly observe the same process happening with dug-in HMG-42s. I highly recommend this movie "1944". It is quite good, the situation is heart-wrenching, seems very credible tactically, and it has all the right toys, which is most delightful to see. 


Regards,

John Kettler

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Point still stands. The ATG crew, without counting the two extra ammo bearers, carry roughly 20 shells (more than the 2 ammo bearers). That's 4-5 men carrying all of that, in addition to moving the ATG. This is clearly very different to 4 men turning just an ATG in place, extending the legs and firing a blank and then enlisting the aid of another 3 men to move it maybe 50m, again without any ammo or equipment for it. Films of reenactors playing war for half a day is not a good source for how anything worked during the war.

What's actually ridiculous is expecting the perks of a tactic that isn't portrayed in CM, along with none of the downsides.

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1 hour ago, Anthony P. said:

This is clearly very different to 4 men turning just an ATG in place, extending the legs and firing a blank and then enlisting the aid of another 3 men to move it maybe 50m, again without any ammo or equipment for it.

In real life, you wouldn't need to move all the ammo in one go, just  the first couple of rounds, then the ammo carriers could run back and forth to the ammo pile to feed the gun while the rest of the team fired. 

I guess the in-game performance is more to discourage gamey behaviour than to reflect reality.

A good way to balance this might be to make it possible to move deployed AT guns quite rapidly, but make it _massively_ tiring for the crew. That way, you could roll out the gun to surprise fire, but not keep it rolling around for more than maybe 4 squares before it would need to stop and rest (representing the time needed to move the ammo etc.)

Edited by Bulletpoint

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Definitely a good option. Perhaps e.g. including a Split function for ATGs (like infantry squads have) where you could elect to break off 1-2 men with the bulk of the shells to allow the remaining crew to move the gun faster but with only 3-4 shells could be a great feature as well.

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Anthony P.,

I disagree as to the lack of value of re-enactors out, as you say, playing for half  a day in terms of evaluating tactics. For starters, long before those guys ever show up for the public demo, they've spent whole weekends out practicing the crew drills and firing procedures. And before that, they first have to learn to dress and behave as Landser. Consequently, for our purposes, I'd say their training level would at least be Green, if not higher. These guys know what they're doing, and it shows in their every actions. What they're doing is called "living archaeology" in academic circles. This simply means using actual equipment and weapons or as close to them as possible, in order to both recreate what it was like and to evaluate the correctness of  history studies based solely on ancient texts. 

For example, I was a star Latin student in high school and an afficionado of the Roman legions going back to elementary school. We read Caesar's Commentaries in Latin class, and I built a scale cross sections of Roman fort and a Roman siege shed. Doing those alone provided a great deal of insight into how things were and what went on. Reading about Roman siege weapons and building one from period instructions by Vitruvius will fundamentally alter your perspective on the topic! But the real revelations were to come. 

Somehow, I became aware decades later of these guys Legion Six Victrix, a hardcore re-enactment group which makes its own military sandals, sews its own tunics, and even makes its own shields. Some, who are blacksmiths, forge their own heavy spearheads and armor. These guys go out on route marches in full kit an, conduct drill and weapon exercises to Roman Army standards and using orders given in Latin. They eat Roman Army fare, carved with correct knives and served on appropriate mess tins. They are anal, and that's a great thing. Why? Because they offer unique insights into what was and was not possible in ancient times. They are a living laboratory through which all sorts of experiments can be conducted. It's one thing to read about being a legionary, but something altogether different than when you're in the characteristic articulated Roman armor typically seen in films, wearing the the heavy helmet, with sword in right hand and shield in the other charging up a hill. I say this because I did it at a huge all-period re-enactor event in California. As it happened, it was on a sea bluff, with a fair amount of wind. Running uphill in full war array was a lot to do for someone unpracticed and on the far end of the legionary service period, but what I learned about the shield in action was astounding. I found that with a wind behind me the shield became a kite! Instead of being close to my body and perpendicular to the ground, the thing effortlessly rose to shoulder height and parallel to it! The tactical implications of this are obvious and only truly comprehensible via living archaeology. Similarly, Caesar talks about when the Nervii suddenly attacked while the Romans were on the march, burdened with packs, shields encased and crests not affixed. It was also raining. If you want to know how long it takes to actually be able to fight while thus caught off guard, living archaeology provides the answer. Consequently, living archaeology has become a new tool for archaeologists to use in reconstructing daily life. Therefore, I feel perfectly comfortable in saying that what we see happening in the re-enactor demonstrations and the movie are significant in aiding understanding and directly relevant to our ATG/IG discussion of what's doable in the game vs what should be doable based on real world demonstrations.

Bulletpoint,

Your proposal would certainly be a big improvement, though I'd suggest that the associated Fatigue hit be tied to terrain and maybe weather. Clearly, the mobility and maneuverability of the actual guns discussed are much greater than even our earlier investigations revealed. The videos Lt Bull provided far surpassed anything I'd previously seen. Before that, my gold standard was the video of the vastly lighter and smaller leIG 18 being brought into action. To use an animal metaphor, if the leIG is a newborn calf, the Pak 40 is a mighty bull. Relative to the former, it truly is a beast, yet can clearly be manhandled by the crew quite easily--as long as not as it's not the dreaded Rasputitsa and in full retreat!

Regards,

John Kettler

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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