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Tips for spotting AT guns

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Anyone have any tips for these pests?  I was playing a game against the cpu where I had a TON of King Tigers vs various soviet afvs and at guns.  The guns weren't much of a threat to the king tigers but they would fire for massive amounts of turns and never be spotted by the tank.  My arty observers could see them and I dropped "cease and desist" hints on them but I couldn't believe how my tigers could never find them after 9-10 turns of constant pings off their armor.  Same thing happened a few turns later with some hidden JS tanks in the woods.  Not complaining at all, just wondering how to spot them without my TC losing his head after a turn or if the Kings visibility is that bad?  Actually had some Panzer IVs and Panthers with them as well and they couldn't find the threats, however they weren't getting any ap rounds off their main guns and optics.

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Since it's a game you can move the camera around the map until you hear the sound of the gun(s).  Otherwise it's usually what infantry eyes are for.  Never let your Panzers leave home without em.

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Oh I had infantry with them, the ranges were far.  Sorry I failed to mention that.  The AT guns were probably over 1000 meters away.  The JS tanks were much closer however, less than 300 meters but that is were the infantry had been routed because of the tank fire and my King Tigers were still unable to aquire the targets.  I set some area fire marks but they wouldn't fire due to the enemy position being a reverse slope area.  So I couldn't even get lucky and get a hit on the tanks or AT guns with the Tigers by area fire.  I even tried setting a target arc as narrowly as possible on both the at guns and enemy tanks but that also didn't provide any help in spotting. 

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It sounds like someone was using the AT guns properly - ie: at much longer ranges than the small maps we usually see in CM2 games allow.  Because nearly all CM2 maps are small and/or have short LOS due to blocking terrain, gamers have become accustomed to playing almost exclusively short range "knife fight" battles.  It's obviously much easier to spot at short ranges.  On small maps, AT guns usually get to fire once and are then KIA.  Perhaps we CM2 gamers simply don't have the experience needed for dealing with long range fights.

That's a primary reason that many of us still like CM1 games and also CMSF - they often feature much larger maps and much longer LOS/ranges.

What is your scenario?

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If weather conditions are right, as in dry, take a look in the direction of the AT fire and spot the dust cloud after each shot. Use area fire to that location. The guns will suppress and even try to move, crews may move as well. All this might make the gun visible for a kill shot. Grouped area fire is your friend. Best case anyway.

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Look carefully at the impact on your hit vehicle. Try to determine the direction the projectile came from. Not as easy as it sounds, but it helps. In reality AT guns were very hard to spot, which made them harder to kill than a tank.

Another not entirely waterproof tip: try to determine where YOU would have placed your AT guns.

Edited by Aragorn2002

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15 hours ago, LC- said:

<Snip>   I set some area fire marks but they wouldn't fire due to the enemy position being a reverse slope area.  So I couldn't even get lucky and get a hit on the tanks or AT guns with the Tigers by area fire.  I even tried setting a target arc as narrowly as possible on both the at guns and enemy tanks but that also didn't provide any help in spotting. 

There are probably multiple things that have gone wrong.  Infantry is a big help in spotting and they need to be deployed / utilized so they can spot and report.  In CMRT a team with binoculars can ride on the top of an unbuttoned tank and horizontally share information with the TC.  If the teams are getting shot off the top by small arms fire they are probably to close to the OpFor.

There are many threads about the use of Target Arcs with different opinions as to there use.  @womble once made the following statement which I have found useful.  I am paraphrasing:  A Target Arc is primarily a restriction on where targets are valid, rather than a "focus" to identify and prioritize seeking targets in that arc.   

They are useful for when a tank pops out from an alley and fires down a side street and you need the turret facing 90o from the hull for a rapid shoot and scoot. Target arcs are also useful for some other things but not so much the situation you described.  

It sounds like you did locate the AT guns but your tanks refused to area fire?   If the game allowed you to place Area Target lines but then refused to follow through and actually area fire after you hit the red button I feel your pain.  This has been discussed in other threads.  I now closely inspect my red target line.  If I see any breaks in the red line I assume that it will probably not fire and I try something different.

If you area target an Action Spot or two in front of the actual target some bullets / shells will travel further and land in the actual target.  This may be enough to suppress / KIA / drive off troops working an AT gun.     

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Yeah, the area target just couldn't get much because it was reverse slope and placing it a little in front didn't get the suppression I was hoping for.  Was playing against the country and yes very far distances on some, the Joseph Stalin tanks pretty close though and still didn't spot them.  I just can't believe it was over ten turns, minutes of the enemy firing constantly and never getting a spot for that long.  They ran out of ammo before I spotted them but I'm not mad, just curious if I did something wrong that they never spotted the whole time.

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Target line from tank to possible AT gun firing zone and area fire with MGs - often works better at suppressing till you spot the buggers and then nail em with the big guns!

FWIW in RL enemy PAK were the bain of German tank crews lives. I've read more than one account where the chap said the first they often knew of a PAK front was when their panzers started to suddenly start burning...

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8 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Would I be correct in assuming that you are describing the battle "Gog and Magog"?

I believe that is a correct assumption.  It was a few days ago but it was a battle with many tanks.  About 8 king Tigers, 8 Panthers and a few panzer IVs and a couple companies of infantry.

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I wonder what kind of guns were involved. Light AT guns like 37mm and 45mm can be very hard to spot. Did the tanks suffer morale effects from all the AP hitting their armor? That might reduce their spotting ability- I think. 

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8 hours ago, LC- said:

I believe that is a correct assumption.  It was a few days ago but it was a battle with many tanks.  About 8 king Tigers, 8 Panthers and a few panzer IVs and a couple companies of infantry.

That sounds a bit smaller than "Gog and Magog", where you have 11 King Tigers, 13 Panthers, and 8 Pz IVs. But, it might be that you couldn't remember the exact numbers. I think the advice that other people above have given should stand you in good stead in any battle involving enemy AT guns. I would just like to add that in regards to that particular battle. I kept my full force together on one flank, leading slowly with my KTs. Giving them a hull down position. They dealt with the Russian tanks and assault guns. I think only one or two had their optics damaged by AT gun fire. The Panthers join them to engage any suspected AT targets, clumps of trees, foxholes etc Then the infantry mounted on PzIVs close in. Just bear in mind, you don't need to see an AT gun to knock it out. If a HE round lands close enough it will do the job nicely. 

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Just now, Warts 'n' all said:

That sounds a bit smaller than "Gog and Magog", where you have 11 King Tigers, 13 Panthers, and 8 Pz IVs. But, it might be that you couldn't remember the exact numbers. I think the advice that other people above have given should stand you in good stead in any battle involving enemy AT guns. I would just like to add that in regards to that particular battle. I kept my full force together on one flank, leading slowly with my KTs. Giving them a hull down position. They dealt with the Russian tanks and assault guns. I think only one or two had their optics damaged by AT gun fire. The Panthers join them to engage any suspected AT targets, clumps of trees, foxholes etc Then the infantry mounted on PzIVs close in. Just bear in mind, you don't need to see an AT gun to knock it out. If a HE round lands close enough it will do the job nicely. 

Spoilers ahead for those who have not played the mission

 

 

Yeah I am sure I have forgotten the number of tanks because what you described there is pretty much spot on to what I tried to do.  I kept my forces together, led with my KTs, started from the right and swept left.  Got most everything on the map except for the pesky AT guns and JS tanks on other side of the river/creek on the other side of the map.  They just kept pinging away at me eventually my KTs front armor looked grey from all the hit decals when they started as the tan camo :)

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"Gog and Magog" gave me fits! I lost the main gun on about 1/2 my KT's the first time through. Grrr. The second time, I just charged forward with the KT's. The results were more satisfying. ;)

Un-buttoned TCs spot better. They die better, too. Shrug. That's why they get the cool uniforms and the hot chicks when they're home on leave. Every man with a pair of binos needs to be looking towards the tree lines. Once an ATG starts pinging hits on a tank...get it out of there! Back up. Advance another one. Play "wack-a-mole". Don't let the ATGs range in on your tanks. Death by a thousand cuts.

Pick the likely ATG spots and hit 'em with arty. Toss a few expendable scout teams on hunt around the map. (Near your focus...)

It's a hard battle and will test your skills.

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How I wish it was possible to lock "ears" in place on the spotting vehicle/soldier/unit and, for that matter, "eyes," too. I feel that flying around the map and projecting one's senses that way is gamey, but we don't have a setting to stop such things as of now. Maybe one day we'll have that. ATGs should be tough to kill and scary. Wittmann considered them more dangerous than tanks as a threat and dreaded encounters with Russian Pakfronts. This is something we don't really see much in CM, since you typically see only a few ATGs in a battle, rather than batteries and even battalions.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Although one has very unrealistic "god-like" capabilities in the game, because it is a game, players also suffer from very unrealistic limitations.  The LOS system is often misleading for example.  Units can't be moved a few inches to allow a support weapon to fire at a target that the 3rd ammo bearer can see and shoot at...

So, it seems not too gamey to cheat a little re locating units by their sounds. 

Edited by Erwin

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5 hours ago, Erwin said:

Although one has very unrealistic "god-like" capabilities in the game, because it is a game, players also suffer from very unrealistic limitations.  The LOS system is often misleading for example.  Units can't be moved a few inches to allow a support weapon to fire at a target that the 3rd ammo bearer can see and shoot at...

One of my pet peeves is that an enemy unit can apparently occupy a part of an AS that I can't target with area fire.

Michael

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ME was referring to the frustration about not being able to target things that are in unobstructed sight.  It may be an understandable compromise when developing a complex game, but to have any claims of high fidelity or realism or WYSIWYG, that will need to get fixed in CM3 at least.

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Yeah, the deal is that I can get the blue line to the spot I want to target, but when I click on it, it snaps to either one side or the other, always in a completely different AS. Now that may simply reflect some arcane coding limitation, but for me the player it represents a breakdown in realism.

Michael

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19 hours ago, Erwin said:

claims of high fidelity or realism or WYSIWYG,

Well WYSIWYG means what you see is what you get and in this case your unit cannot see the target.  I would argue that this is a case of a unit that has not spotted the enemy itself therefore should not be able to target the exact location where the unknown enemy is :D

 

23 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

Yeah, the deal is that I can get the blue line to the spot I want to target, but when I click on it, it snaps to either one side or the other, always in a completely different AS. Now that may simply reflect some arcane coding limitation, but for me the player it represents a breakdown in realism.

(my bold) Except it is not!.  In reality the unit in question either has the vaguest idea where the enemy is or no idea at all and some upper leader is asking them to lay down fire "10m west of that red rock".  Not being able to target the exact location of an enemy that a particular unit has no idea is there is entirely realistic. Placing area fire near by is exactly what would happen if a platoon leader instructed a squad to lay down suppressive fire near a target they could not clearly see.

Time to throw away the look up tables and dice throws of our wargamer experience and think like the Lt giving knife hand signals to his squad leaders on where to add some bullets.

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One additional thought regarding Michael Emrys/Erwin's comments and IanL's response about target lines 'snapping' (apologies - I don't know how to use the quote feature!): in my experience, the target line will always 'snap' to the centre of an Action Square during area fire.

The unit firing will then proceed to direct fire (as best they can) across the entire Action Square, shifting fire between bursts for example. If a small unit is in one corner of the AS or another, they will still conceivably receive some incoming fire (not sure if that is responsive to you are referring to). I have also noticed that if a unit is directing area fire to an AS, and then spots a unit occupying that AS - they then direct their fire more accurately at the acquired target. 

MH

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