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Fire suppression from small arms discussion

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Warts 'n' all,

Fair question. I distinctly recall seeing this on a documentary, reading it or both, but so far, I can't find it! I do recall reading, though, that the British had not only almost completely fled Cairo (recall seeing it described as  "empty, like a ghost town"), but that a full-blown panic was underway in Alexandria, where papers and such were being hurriedly burned. If nothing else, it would seem the British thought they were toast. 

Regards,

John Kettler

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If a scenario designer or campaign overseer wanted to model the effects of genuine fatigue then selecting troops of a lower experience would seem the best way to simulate this. Units that were historically regular or veteran that were set in game to green or conscript will have compromised their spotting ability, accuracy, susceptibility to the effects upon morale of being suppressed & taking casualties, their ability to recover from suppression and their ability to pass on information.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Josey Wales said:

If a scenario designer or campaign overseer wanted to model the effects of genuine fatigue then selecting troops of a lower experience would seem the best way to simulate this. Units that were historically regular or veteran that were set in game to green or conscript will have compromised their spotting ability, accuracy, susceptibility to the effects upon morale of being suppressed & taking casualties, their ability to recover from suppression and their ability to pass on information.

CM2 games include the (sadly underused) "fitness" setting on the unit design screen for a similar purpose.  It has a drop menu allowing the scenario designer to select between "fit", "weakened", and "unfit."  The CMBN manual (for example) on page 131 describes the settings as follows: "FITNESS -- determines the inherent degree of physical readiness of the unit's soldiers.  This influences on how quickly soldiers tire and recover from physical tasks, such as running or being bombarded by enemy fire.  Options include: Fit, Weakened, and Unfit."

For example, I would use the setting for Germans in the late stages of the battle of Stalingrad, weakened by cold and hunger, or some Volksstum troops slowed by age (I think I have enough silver in my hair to make that last observation without offending my age cohort).

Reducing the setting to "weakened" or "unfit" allows the scenario designer to simulate troops entering the scenario in a compromised state such as from battle exhaustion, hunger, and so forth, and will reduce their ability to move without tiring, or to recover from fatigue.  However, I agree with Josey Wales' observation that it may be worthwhile to reduce their experience as well if you wish to have an impact on the troops' spotting ability, accuracy, morale, ability to recover from suppression and ability to pass on information.  None of THOSE appear to be impacted by fitness level.

 

EDITED TO ADD: I just noticed a couple of mentions in the thread that I had missed earlier discussing the "fitness" settings.  To the extent my post unnecessarily repeats old points I apologize.  But I'm keeping my post up because I think a bit of evangelizing about the use of that feature remains worthwhile.

Edited by Rokossovski

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11 hours ago, John Kettler said:

There is considerable evidence in soldier's accounts that simply seeing clearly becomes an issue, too.  Which target to you shoot at when seeing double? How do you aim accurately when your eyes are swimming? Battlefield accounts speak of men so worn out and mentally exhausted they don't react to incoming fire and have to be yanked down by one or more higher functioning comrades.

But the thing that you need to keep in sight is that they are not likely to arrive at that state during the brief course of a one or two hour CM firefight. If we are talking about a multi-day campaign, then yes, this depth of fatigue becomes a real problem. But for a single scenario, not so likely.

Michael

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11 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Are you sure about that? Didn't his extended supply lines, or British AT guns and tanks play any part in halting him short of Cairo?

Heh. Although I can't recall the precise details, I remember someone once saying about a similar situation that "The enemy may have had a hand in that too."

In The Rommel Papers he makes a similar claim that the road to Alexandria and Cairo was wide open but his troops were just too worn out to go any farther. But then, he said things like this quite a lot. A little later on he reports that the Desert Air Force tactic of carpet bombing also made it hard to move, a credible claim that the DAF was quite willing to accept.

Michael

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John, I'm not sure of your sources. But I fail to see how Cairo could be like a "ghost town", when the docks were full of ships bringing in supplies, and the brothels were doing a roaring trade. I suspect that that may have been a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the Germans. As for the "full-blown panic" in Alex, that sounds pretty much the same as what happened in Brussels and Ghent in June 1815, just because the toffs are in a tizzy, it doesn't mean the boys in the front line are. 

My granddad and his mates didn't run away in the summer of '42. They kept the supplies flowing to the front until Rommel was given a bloody nose and F***ed off with his tail between his legs.

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Would be interesting to have a "sleep deprivation" setting. It would make it possible to make a campaign that took place over, say, 3 days, where you start out with fresh core troops of high quality, and while they retain their veteran level and motivation etc. they would get more and more sleep deprived as the campaign went on.

As far as I know, this cannot be accomplished by setting a lower troop level, because the troop experience level is set at the campaign start and can't dynamically change.

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Posted (edited)

Here's a link to what the situation was in Alexandria and Cairo. It's on the third page of chapter 8 in Mitcham's Rommel's Desert War. Would post the paragraph, but Google Books doesn't allow that.And I wasn't taking a shot at anyone's ancestors, merely reporting what I'd read. Had forgotten the Fitness setting altogher, too. Doh!

https://books.google.com/books?id=d4pEEm7OQJMC&pg=PT150&lpg=PT150&dq=british+panic+in+alexandria,+rommel&source=bl&ots=jtR1BRd-HW&sig=BFY-ZgopfJSN2H9h8pXbVO-kD-A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjmbKEttPZAhVHgK0KHfu4D9EQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=british panic in alexandria%2C rommel&f=false

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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On 5/3/2018 at 12:17 AM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I tend to use the 'Weakened' condition in the editor to simulate fatigued troops.....TBH I kind of thought that was what it was there for.

That only makes them less fit; to get winded faster when running. Doesn't affect anything else, as far as I know.

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13 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Indeed, but at present it's the best option we get.

You don't think that reducing their experience level together with reducing their fitness would fit the bill?

Michael

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That could be an option too I suppose, but it has other consequences, so I guess it's up to the individual designer to find the settings that give the required results (or the best approximation thereof) in testing.

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10 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

You don't think that reducing their experience level together with reducing their fitness would fit the bill?

I think it's a very good solution - for single scenarios. It would make them run away more easily too though. But that could be fixed by bumping up their motivation maybe. To represent that they are still grizzled but a bit groggy.

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On 7.1.2018 at 8:08 AM, Oliver_88 said:

Yep sounds great to me also. The fantasy things not so much.

 

:lol::D

Haha the soldier tells correctly that "snaps" are the real deal and the movie makers still add a hiss.

Hollywood...

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On 1/7/2018 at 6:46 AM, JSj said:

(Admin note! - an offhanded comment about a fix coming in 2018 generated quite an off-topic discussion in the 2018 thread.  I moved it here as its own new thread)

Actually, accuracy is what matters when it comes to suppression, not rate of fire. There is a study done on this, I have not managed to find a link to the article online, so I have attached the PDF here.

The real role of small arms in combat.pdf

Super interesting article, thanks.

In a WWII context i guess it validates the sometimes criticized German choice of a fairly accurate (low shot dispersal) machinegun and the tactic of firing (fairly) aimed bursts with it, even if they may have made those choices for other reasons. The Garand should also fit the bill. I know the general thesis is that theoretical weapon accuracy is the least important parameter, but he also specifically noted the difference in efficiency between the Minimi and SA80 LMG.

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On 1/7/2018 at 12:47 PM, SchnelleMeyer said:

That article do have some holes and doesnt really hold to any kind of scrutiny JSj. 

1. I find it very strange if ONE UK study finds a truth that has escaped all modern armies on the deployment and use of LMGs since their adoption.

2. I ask myself what is the AIM of the article? - First a "problem" is presented. This is the need for, and lack of ability to train suppression. After this the writer presents the solution to the "problem". The solution is a new "gadget" made by some company. - I get a real commercial feeling from this.

3. The criticism of the Minimi LMG for not being able to suppress effectively because of poor accuracy is probably right,  but this is a really weak argument that doesnt stand up to scrutiny because this LMG in particular has an enourmous spread built into it, compared to almost any other LMG. - With a minimi its very hard to get anything better than a 50cm group for a 5-8 rnd burst on 300m. - This being on a peacefull shootingrange. - To draw the massive conclution that belt fed LMGs and automatic fires does less supression than single shot or magazin fed semi-automatics on the basis of testing just 1 weapon is ridicullous.

1. It's strange because it's not the case; as the OP mentioned, the Marine are in the process of trials to adopt the M27 IAR. In fact, they're wanting to use the same rifle in different configurations for riflemen and marksmen as well - much like the British model. (https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2018/03/08/congress-grills-marines-over-m27/)

The US Army has not followed suit not because they are concerned with the magazine capacity of the M27, but rather because it is chambered in 5.56 rather than 7.62, which brass believes will not solve for what they imagine to be a proliferation of body armour. (https://bearingarms.com/tom-k/2018/02/14/army-wont-follow-usmc-adopting-m27-iar/)

One element to consider is that unless the report is factually incorrect, they make a good point if the 3-5 round burst technique employed by SAW gunners is in fact only delivering one bullet on target. If they are just factually wrong about this, or are lying, then you have a point - but there is no way to tell from this one study.

 

2. The solution seems not to necessarily be a new gadget, but the advocacy of delivering single rounds rather than bursts, at least at the ranges of modern combats.

It may well have been that the MG42 did so well because it made a terrifying sound, not because it was terrible accurate past 300 yards. American infantrymen were, after some time in Normandy, advised to get up and bound forward when they ceased to hear the weapon firing - because it indicated that the gun was being reloaded. This indicates that many American infantrymen were effectively suppressed to some degree not even by close proximity to fire, but by knowing that they could be if they stood up.

This is likely the suppression effect achieved by cyclic fire or sustained bursts, and may well serve as a counter-argument to the article. Those rounds may not have to hit accurately near the target to suppress them if it is the case that soldiers keep their heads down upon hearing close sustained fire. Likely this varies largely on training, with greener troops being more easily suppressed by proximity fire and the noise of sustained fire, and better trained soldiers ignoring proximity fire and noise as a metric.

3. Not if the Minimi is the SAW employed by a military. The US Army might have the M240 higher up the chain, but the M249 is the SAW employed - they don't have several different types of SAWs serving the same role. Many forces employ it, so it is a reasonable thing to advocate changing - and the article is likely advocating it because the Marines and the Army are actively looking to replace it, and so there is big money there. The article is not the odd man out in advocating this, it is what those services are requesting.

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M27 is supposed to be accurate to within 12 inches at 600 yards (so less heavy ammo required to be carried).  Can fire longer than M249 b4 overheating, 10 lb vs 22 lb.  Sounds great. 

What puzzles me is why the same weapons, if they are the best as stated in the article, are not used uniformly by all armed services.   

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Yes...  Irritating that the cost of one super duper aircraft or a few advanced tanks that may never see service would probably pay for every soldier to have the best equipment - since they are the ones who are about 100% sure to see combat since they're fighting already.

But, yes...  My experience in defense industry a decade or more ago was that the big profits are in the nuke subs and other major weapons systems (along with the massive billing for training and maintenance/spare parts etc.), and it was extremely unpopular to air the view that what was needed in the real world of COIN vs UNCONS was more (relatively inexpensive) spec ops units with (relatively inexpensive) support gear.   The profits were just not as compelling.

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