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robertiv

Tips for a CM/BS noob?

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Apologies in advance for the basic questions....

Black Sea is my first CM game. I've read thru the manual, played the tutorial campaign and feel like I have a decent grasp on the functions available if not tactics.

Fired up the UKR campaign, first mission seems pretty simple - advance on lightly defended treeline through a field, against outgunned forces. My first playthru was a humbling experience though. Soon as the first contacts go up, I'm taking return fire that wipes out a BTR. Shortly thereafter vehicles advancing up the highway are knocked out in quick succession. My armor has trouble spotting anything until close range and by the time they can really bring the guns out I've lost a number of IFVs, both on the road and in the field.

Obviously doing multiple things wrong but can't figure out exactly what - can anyone give some basic tips or at least point me in the direction of such? Thanks.

For the record, I'm playing WeGo on Veteran level.

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Generally, in all CM2 scenarios one should lead with inf scouts and not/never vehicles.  (Most CM2 scenarios are relatively short range battles with short LOS due to relatively small maps, so inf are best to spot what is ahead.)  The more time (a few minutes) a scout can simply sit quietly and observe, the more it will observe.

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Most of the following have some degree of exaggeration but you will see the truth in them

- Play Elite or Iron

- stay as far away as possible and kill from afar

- Artillery, air assets and tanks are for killing the enemy - the rest is just for mopping up a won battle

- infantry is only for spotting (and javelins if US)

- Spot first!

- AFVs (of all kinds) are entitled to exist on the battlefiled if the enemy has no tanks. Bradleys may be an exception in certain circumstances. 

- Dont bother to clear buildings - either demolish them or ingore them if you can

Edited by Euri

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As above.

 

- take your time.

- recon with infantry. Split them into teams, with smaller fire arcs, so they don't simply open fire on anyhing they spot, and get obliterated for their trouble.

- recon, recon, recon.... Repeat that. And then say it again..

- keep your recon in cover. Slow / crawl them into their final observation position to minimise the chance of them being spotted. possibly even hide them in poor cover (I'm sure someone will disagree with this...) Use lots of recon teams each with limited/narrow line of sight, but ensuring the sum of their coverage gives you a good battlefield picture. A recon team on a hilltop that can see the whole battlefield, can likely be seen by the whole battlefield... and will be quickly  deaded by the whole battlefield...

- take your time to get a solid battlefield picture before commencing your assault. Just cause you've spotted a solitary T-90 doesn't  mean you need to kill it right away. Find the rest of its troop, and likely its accompanying mech infantry first.

- in BS generally he who is seen is  VERY quickly dead. Do the seeing, and organise your mech/armour based on that overall battlefield intel in order to shoot first.

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Good stuff^^^.

I think elite/iron is good advice. The game is not HARDER: it is more "realistic". Your units spot and relay information in a more realistic manner. That is critical to your understanding of who sees what. Other games spawn more enemies with better weapons at higher difficulty levels: the CM games do not. Read the manual section which discusses difficulty levels. You'll be surprised.

Spotting is critical in modern battle. The US has the tech edge (but Russia no slouch). Find units with better optics/spotting and get them into concealed locations with overwatch. Find keyhole positions. Give them covered arcs: it'll face them where you want AND keep them from firing and giving away their locations. Next, give them TIME. It may take 5-10 minutes of scanning with binos or thermals to spot an enemy 1.5 klicks away. Or longer. More eyes helps.

On the attack, just because you don't see an ambush doesn't mean the enemy isn't hiding. Use SMOKE to seal off the area you're attacking.

Just about everything is deadly to everything. Spotting means death.

Don't forget to grab your Javelins. ;)

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1.  Understand your mission objective / win conditions.  By that, the briefing will tell you want you need to accomplish.

2.  Now, look at the map and identify your objective(s).  Now study the map on where to maneuver.  Look for covered approachs, areas you can speed across, positions you can support your forces with fire from, places you can place observers.  Now make a plan on how you will get from where you are to where you want to go.  Now, this is important.  Get your camera POV down at ground level and look at the route you are taking.  Looking at terrain from pie in the sky POV and ground level is night and day.  At ground level, you can see the minute depressions and folds in the ground.  What looks like a unviable route (like open ground) may be good to move infantry to move across due to depressions and minute contours of the ground, affording protection from observation.

3.  Other have mentioned recon.  Take time to have your forces move into positions of observation and then wait.  It may take a few minutes for your spotters to spot well hidden forces.  I have spent up to a hour in an hour and half game infilitrating my spotters/scouts to see what can be seen with very little shooting, and the last half hour the fury of battle of unleashing fire on the enemy I know about. Take time to simply position your troops and wait and watch.

4.  Try to avoid the pressures of the clock.  Yeah, the mission is on a timer and the newcomer thinks he has to revve up the engines on his war machines and race off.... and usually to disaster.  Even the biggest map in the game can be driven across in under 5 minutes.  Take your time.  Take time to move your forces on covered routes or through trees.  Take time to observe.  Take time to recon the area.   Be mindful of the clock but do not become fixated on the time.  The moment you feel the pressure of the time remaining and start being hasty will be the time you will play dearly for your haste.

5.  Moving troops need to covered with fire, in the event they are shot at, you can immediately shoot back.  Shooting troops need to mindful that firing exposes them to the enemy. Yeah, that position on the hill may be great for observation and firing from but if half the map can see that hill, expect to get shot at ... a lot.  And shelled.   Modern warfare is a sword that cuts both ways.

6.  Unless you are a naturally born tactician, you will make mistakes. Learn from them and adapt.  Overtime, you will make fewer mistakes.  Most of all, have fun with it.

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Take care about flanks. It is the most important, The worst thing that can happen - enemy in defiladed position behind a building, hill or forest that hits you units in the flank. You can't spot him before you come in his fire sector. So don't move in one narrow area, but use many ways in wide front, so your units would cover each other.

Edited by DMS

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Thanks for the detailed advice everyone, very helpful stuff!

I think for me the most important adjustment is coming from WWII games (and I checked out CM with the intention of WWII, but ended up too intrigued with Black Sea), where general long-range lethality wasn't anywhere near what we've got today. It really winds up being a different mindset tactically, and the whole rhythm of the game changes.

I'm extremely impressed with the recon/sighting mechanics, so looking forward to understanding them better.

One quick follow-on question if anyone's got a moment - are there any decent player-made campaigns suitable for single-player to supplement the 3 stock ones? And do other CM games have longer campaigns - the 5 mission length strikes me as a little short at first glance.

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robertiv,

Welcome aboard!

You asked some great questions, and clearly are keenly interested in learning. In return, you've gotten some terrific, hard-won (pummeled by the AI and/or humans to learn what not to do) advice. Since you mentioned sticking your toe first into WW II CM, let me give you a frame of reference. Actual WW II experience, as published in US Cold War field manuals, showed that to hit a fully exposed tank nose on at 1500 meters  took seventeen rounds. 17! When it comes to tank guns at typical CM range, that number is pretty much one 1! Unless operating a fully tricked out M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams, which is the toughest and hardest hitting tank in the game, there is the distinct likelihood a single hit will kill, though ERA has even been known to stop the M829A4 "flying battering ram" the Abrams fires. The problem there is that a Veteran Abrams crew can get out another shot a practically unbelievable four (4) seconds later! Things are not as grim when facing off the actual tanks or tanks derived from the T-64, T-72, T-90 families, except the T-90AM. Nothing in that list has a big enough autoloader to be able to fire anything in the same category as the manually loaded M829A4, so the tanks are more survivable if hit. Obviously, things like experience, morale, fire control, weather, fatigue state and more all factor into combat effectiveness--provided your tank lasts long enough to shoot! 

We are somewhat on par as far as experience. I've played some QBs vs the AI and a few PBEMs, but haven't tried any campaign at all. If you like, I'll be happy to link you to some threads showing my CMBS combat adventures.

Feel pretty crummy, so am off to lie down, but I wanted to mention that the stock BTR-70 of the UKR forces has notoriously bad spotting. The exception to the BTR situation lie in the modern BTR-4E, which is something else altogether and sees quite well, not to mention is heavily armed.

Regards,

John Kettler

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11 hours ago, robertiv said:

Thanks for the detailed advice everyone, very helpful stuff!

I think for me the most important adjustment is coming from WWII games (and I checked out CM with the intention of WWII, but ended up too intrigued with Black Sea), where general long-range lethality wasn't anywhere near what we've got today. It really winds up being a different mindset tactically, and the whole rhythm of the game changes.

I'm extremely impressed with the recon/sighting mechanics, so looking forward to understanding them better.

One quick follow-on question if anyone's got a moment - are there any decent player-made campaigns suitable for single-player to supplement the 3 stock ones? And do other CM games have longer campaigns - the 5 mission length strikes me as a little short at first glance.

Short answer: yes. There are much longer campaigns available. Some are stock, some are fan-based. The Few Good Men and it's subsidiary, The Scenario Depot are two OUTSTANDING resources. (

Links: http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/

http://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tsd3/ 

There are others, but those are the two I'm most conversant with. I'm not trying to play favorites, but the most recent player-made campaign I tried was for CMRT. It was Kampfgruppe von Schroif. Outstanding. There are many others...

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robertiv,

You're most welcome. I see I left out a key detail in my response to you. What I meant to say was WW II experience showed that, on average, seventeen rounds were needed to secure one hit on a fully exposed tank target at 1500 meters which was engaged from the front. 

Regards,

John Kettler

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There are so many things one needs to learn about the game before succeeding, but the most important is effectively spotting with infantry (as everyone in this thread has already said). 

To effectively spot with infantry, you must:

1) issue small fire arc to the unit, so that they do not fire upon spotting enemy (giving away their position)

2) move slowly (using slow, hunt, and/or move movement commands, depending on context), and if the unit is "tiring" or "tired" let them rest until they are "rested" or "ready"

3) when issuing movement commands, ensure that the final waypoint offers Line of Sight (LoS) to the areas you are attempting to spot enemies - to do this, select the waypoint and select the "target" command, then move your cursor to the areas to see if you have LoS - if no LoS, adjust the waypoint so that LoS is achieved

This all requires lots of patience.

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Chris ND has some good CMBS videos on youtube where he shows tactics and features. He's very easy to listen to check them out. And when playing BS, KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN! I found this out quickly when I first got BS. I have all the WWII titles and spotting isn't even in the same universe. Not even CMSF shows exactly how deadly modern combat is. If you keep sticking your head out chances are you'll lose it fast. And don't try using your armor like the WWII modules. Again I learned the hard way. It's very unlikely you'll get even close to an enemy vehicle like you can in RT for example. Good luck and enjoy! Its a completely different experience but great one you learn your lessons.

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robertiv,

For the sake of your sanity, do your best, but also practice Buddhistic non-attachment regarding your force. Why? This sim is incredibly lethal. To give you an idea, in my first QB, I lost 40% of my entire force in two withering minutes! By "lost" I mean either Killed or K-Killed. Things happened so fast it was dizzying to me, and the rate of loss was overwhelming. So traumatic was that first experience that I was openly asking myself "Did I waste my money buying a game I can't play?" It was a long time before I tried again. CM has always punished mistakes, but this goes way beyond that! Thanks to all the help you've gotten, your CMBS breaking-in process should be much smoother than mine.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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On 2/12/2017 at 8:50 AM, jtsjc1 said:

Chris ND has some good CMBS videos on youtube...

Speaking of the Normal Dude, what happened to @ChrisND?  Is he no longer affiliated with Battlefront?  I enjoyed his Combat Mission Twitch streams and was glad to see a Battlefront representative enthusiastically showing off the game, offering development news and interacting with the customer base in real time.

I can only assume he was fragged in retaliation over his brazen disregard for the well being of his AFV commanders.

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