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Firing at suspected enemy positions

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Is there ever a time where recon by fire or speculative suppression is considered gamey?

When I usually send out scouts to find the enemy its a platoon at least that is bounding overwatch, but never do I fire at a position I'm advancing towards if I don't know the enemy is there. Of course this changes if its an objective that I've been specifically told has enemy units in it. This usually leads to being shot at first and taking casualties of course. Is this a rational viewpoint if I'm trying to play realistically or am I being way too stupid?

Edited by Raptorx7

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5 minutes ago, Raptorx7 said:

Is this a rational viewpoint if I'm trying to play realistically or am I being way too stupid?

If you're asking if this was a tactic practiced in the actual war, yes it was but not in a consistent manner. It usually came down to whether the guy behind the gun and his sergeant believed it was better safe than sorry or it was a bloody waste of ammo. I expect that on average more experienced soldiers tended to do it more often, but were also more discrimination in how they went about it. By the by, in games like this I don't think one should get too subtle in tactics if one is trying to be realistic. War is a blunt object and at this level a lot of it is spray and pray. Only a small fraction of 1% of rounds fired actually hit anything, but then it didn't always have to hit anything to be effective. As far as using light weapons for recon by fire, it all comes down to the psychology of the opposition. If they can be provoked into revealing their position and likely strength by shooting back, then the expenditure of rounds was well worth it. I have no idea to what extent the pixel troops in CM can be provoked. Someone looking for something different to do might devise a series of tests to find out.

Michael

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well i think it can work now better in game , because its seems like that unit behave whit " hide" command is chanced . it feels like that thous troops give upp " hide " when they get under fire, sou this can provoked them to shoot and give upp position.  this is tjust my feeling now , dont know if its right or wrong.

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1 hour ago, Michael Emrys said:

<Snip>  If they can be provoked into revealing their position and likely strength by shooting back, then the expenditure of rounds was well worth it. I have no idea to what extent the pixel troops in CM can be provoked. <Snip> 

If your playing against the AI and the AI spots your unit it will generally fire (if in range etc) at your unit.  So your recon by fire will increase the chance of the OpFor seeing and shooting at your unit.  A human opponent may give his troops a short Target Arc.  Depending on the soft factors these troops can be very hard to provoke.   

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Regarding recon by fire, I can only underline what MOS:96B2P has said: By firing, you give away your own position to the enemy. So keep your fingers crossed that you're area-targeting a spot close to the actual enemy position. If you guess wrong, you're firing at a bush whereas your enemy is aiming precisely at your soldiers' muzzle flashes. Also, recon by fire is very dangerous if the number of possible enemy positions is greater than the number of positions your troops are able to suppress. So I think it's a good idea to "prepare" a recon-by-fire. In most cases, you'll need to concentrate forces in order to be safe. Other than that, I think that a prepared recon-by-fire is the way to go when crossing terrain which can be controlled at close range by positions on your enemy's side (for longer ranges of 400m+, the effect of first fire is usually not that decisive so you might risk crossing without recon-by-fire).

I think it's very sound to fire at areas of likely enemy presence (because of confirmed contacts/suspected contacts/prior enemy movement towards that area). My experience with the game has made me play in a way where I get confirmed contacts only very rarely (except for vehicles/tanks-engagements). I'm positive that a high reliance upon area-firing not only leads to less bloody encounters, but also these engagements have a more realistic feel to me. If you keep in mind estimations of how many % of bullets actually hit something and if you take the notion that only a small percentage of soldiers was psychologically fit to aim at other human beings with at least a little grain of salt, I think it's safe to assume that area-fire is pretty realistic.

Tactically, area-fire is very interesting as well - to a point at which I don't consider it to be gamey at all, but rather part of the game (especially if you're playing against human opponents). You start to think in terms of volume and saturation of fire: how many bullets are needed to suppress an area of this size (at distance X)? Directing area-fire is a very delicate affair and proper management of fire-volume is the key for success.    

I think that some instances of area-firing can be rather unrealistic. Specifically spotting enemy units with one unit and area-targeting that very precise same spot with a different unit (e.g. a mortar) that is unable to see that enemy unit. Doing so practically takes out and bypasses the entire information-flow-system of the game. Sometimes, when playing singleplayer, I force myself not to do that. However, even though the result is refreshingly interesting and realistic (all of a sudden you start to understand why there are so many HQ-units!), you will run into time-problems very fast as many scenarios become impossible if you role-play communication. Of course it all depends on how many radios your force has at it's disposal. If you play the Italians, for example, and to a lesser degree the Soviets, you'll spend a lots of time waiting while messengers are running back and forth between HQ-units. Also, this aspect of the game is not fully optimized yet. The system itself is in place and is working like a charm (information-sharing via communication-links), however in order for it to work more fluently, I'd welcome a messenger-unit (single men - I don't want to let whole squads run around as messengers; this could be another administrative-squad-split-command) and also I'd like to be able to distribute my radio-operators over my troops as I wish so that I end up with a communication structure that fits my plan.

 

PS: I'm currently doing a quick-battle AAR (half way through) where you can see how much I rely on area fire. You might find it interesting to watch. Coming up soon on youtube (me = youtube-user "Kaunitz")

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1 hour ago, Kaunitz said:

Specifically spotting enemy units with one unit and area-targeting that very precise same spot with a different unit (e.g. a mortar) that is unable to see that enemy unit. Doing so practically takes out and bypasses the entire information-flow-system of the game.

This is the biggest abuse of area fire I'm aware of.  I agree with everyone who says that recon-by-fire is a legitimate tactic.  My platoon is advancing and I suspect the enemy has an observation post in such-and-such building, that stand of trees and brush over there would be a clever place for the enemy to place an anti-tank gun, etc...  Why shouldn't I be able to target those locations?  It's cheaper to send bullets than lives.

The gamey part is when a limited portion of your force gains a contact marker (partial or full) and then other portions of your force (without any contact marker in the vicinity) magically and instantly start area firing at that same location.

 

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 too bad the game does not "deny" that area fire to the "other portions of your force (without any contact marker in the vicinity) magically and instantly start area firing at that same location" and only grant  that area fire if there is c2 from spotting unit to area firing units, now you could play a "gentlemans rule" and never conduct area fire on unspotted enemys without c2 and some form of time delay, say 30-60 seconds. 

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I once came across a statistic awhile ago that compared ammo expended to casualties caused in WWII. I can't recall the exact number but it was HUGE. A LOT of ammo got expended to no result, by the ton. You see a bit of that in CM, your tank or your inf platoon has spend the whole game firing-firing-firing and at game end he's got zero kills.

About units not in contact area firing the same spot, I'm reminded of a story told me by an old jungle fighter. His unit was manning forward fox holes at night. At one point he looked up and was startled by a Japanese soldier peering down at him. The soldier then moved on and peered into each fox hole in succession. Why, you ask, did nobody shoot the Japanese soldier? Because they were more frightened of their own unit behind them. If he had popped off a few rounds it would have startled the whole company into firing blindly in his direction. Area fire is infectious, if one squad sees another squad firing furiously into a copse of trees they assume they're doing it for a good reason.

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4 hours ago, MikeyD said:

Area fire is infectious, if one squad sees another squad firing furiously into a copse of trees they assume they're doing it for a good reason.

Yep, there are definitely some grey areas and it just goes to show how impossible it would be code in limitations without somehow nerfing legitimate area fire along the way.  (I think this is the main reason that BF threw up their hands.  Not because it's impossible to abuse area fire, but because they didn't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.)

If I want to order a unit to area fire against a spot where they don't have a contact but other units do (I play on Iron), I stop and ask myself: "Would they really take that shot?"  Sometimes I can rationalize it and sometimes I can't.

If the range is relatively short and other squads/teams from the same platoon are engaging (like MikeyD's example) or maybe the unit to engage has a nearby partial contact maker (just not exactly where The Borg wants to fire), then OK.

If the range is relatively long and the unit is in a different formation, then no way.

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Playing on Iron can help you be honest in a way - area firing solely because a friendly unit you cant see is firing at a contact you haven't yet got, could be resisted. Needs iron self discipline though! ;)

Against the AI is it a useful self check - if I am aware of my fellow team firing at an area, joining in isn't unreasonable to join in in the absence of better targets.

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