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robertiv

How accurate *is* CMBS?

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Hi all, relative Combat Mission newbie here. Black Sea is my first CM game, been playing for a couple months though.

I've learned in hindsight how different CMBS than the other titles, especially the WWII games. Modern tech & therefore tactics are much different, I'm just curious how much of this has been borne out in real-world experience. Specifically the deadliness of weapon systems which essentially make CMBS into a variation of hide & seek - if you get spotted, you're dead soon after.

Do we have detailed enough records of engagements (as opposed to the usual low-intensity shelling, etc) in the Ukraine conflict to get a sense how these game mechanics match up with reality?

I guess for me thus far CMBS, despite being well-crafted, is strangely unsatisfying. After thinking about it a little, IMO the root of that weakness is the contact system - as it exists, it doesn't effectively give the "feel" of an actual battle. The suspected contacts being represented solely by an icon just don't convey this for me, thus the battles seem kind of empty & sterile until something pops up and is immediately killed, it just doesn't feel very dynamic from the player's perspective.

I'm really really trying to like it though - if anyone's got tips or strategies to "get more out of it", feel free to share!

 

Edited by robertiv

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Modern weapon systems are extremely lethal.

Using cover (not just concealment thanks to IR sights etc) is very important.

The WWII recon/spotting rules are even more imperative here. Never send a team anywhere a scout hasn't been.  Never send a squad anywhere a team hasn't been. Never send a platoon anywhere a squad hasn't been. Never send a vehicle anywhere infantry hasn't been and so on.

To me the immersion is in taking it very slow. Giving your troops time to spot potential targets and then dealing with them in the sneakiest possible way.  Keeping casualties to an absolute minimum (in pbem or vs the AI) is satisfying imho.

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Laser range finders, thermal vision, stabilization and lead, heat seeking missiles, high magnification optics - yes being spotted in modern combat is that deadly. Thankfully and perhaps not quite realistic - but CMBS requires a target to be positively ID'd before it gets shot to kill and does not feature civilians - which is fine because CMBS is already the most brutal and unforgiving game in the series.

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Oh boy!  :o

6666666666666.jpg

CM:BS is a fictional scenario (M1A2 APS, BM Oplot & T-90AM as the game portrays them simply did/do not exist).....If you view it strictly through that lens it's fine, but the capabilities of both sides can be rather exaggerated.  :mellow:

However the tools are pretty much there to model the Ukrainian conflict as it actually took place (a few T-72s would help) or how it might escalate.....In my experience this (the latter in particular) could generate 'discussion' of a rather negative/jingoistic nature and is probably best left well alone.  ;)

If it helps, I share your experience, it feels like something is missing/not quite right, but I can't put my finger on what.  :unsure:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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29 minutes ago, robertiv said:

Do we have detailed enough records of engagements (as opposed to the usual low-intensity shelling, etc) in the Ukraine conflict to get a sense how these game mechanics match up with reality?

Yes. Not just from that conflict either.

As @Vergeltungswaffe pointed out modern weapons are very deadly. As @Sgt.Squarehead pointed out some systems are speculative and BFC got some things right and other not quite. Actual experienced tankers have commented on here that those speculative systems preform in line with what they expect and the SOP of units reacting to the battle field are what they would expect as well.

So, for your question in the title the answer is very.

I predict that you are about the discover that some people don't think so and you are about to hear from some of them because I answered your question with a "very". :D

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21 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Just wait for Stryker MOUT in CM:SF II.....All the carnage you could ever want and more, plus enemies you can really hate too!  :ph34r:

Enemies you will really hate because they will use exit zones... :P

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6 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

it feels like something is missing/not quite right, but I can't put my finger on what. 

Not quite right... Ehhh... CMBS' LWR-equipped tanks (like M1) acquire ATGM-launchers almost instanteniously. What is the basis for such a behaviour when real life LWRs (Thales, Leonardo) give you 30/45 degrees sector??? Instant target acquisition in a 30/45 degrees sector at a distance of 2-4km??? Why not have an Abrams with an ion-gun then?

And it has profound impact on the gameplay. In real life (Yemen, Syria) we see tanks being burned every time they are careless enough while facing an ATGM-armed opposition. In CMBS a platoon of Abramses can simply drive through the whole map blasting everyone around.

Edited by IMHO

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A CMBB (game engine 1, eastern front) player back-in-the-day once stated that newbies tend to play Tigers versus IS-2s while veteran players preferred Hungarian infantry vs Finns (or some similar combination). ^_^  If you're burned-out on Ubertanks then leave the Ubertanks behind. Infantry with-or-without light armor makes for very different gameplay than clashing Ubertanks. Or if you want your  Ubertanks purchase the ones without Active Protection System. There's also playing in heavy rain, muddy conditions, anything that'll blunt effectiveness of IR optics.

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2 hours ago, IMHO said:

And it has profound impact on the gameplay. In real life (Yemen, Syria) we see tanks being burned every time they are careless enough while facing an ATGM-armed opposition. In CMBS a platoon of Abramses can simply drive through the whole map blasting everyone around.

Not my experience. Plus in Syria tanks are mostly outdated soviet/russian stuff. Abrams frontal armor can take ATGM. However hit anywhere else it's usually game over

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5 hours ago, IMHO said:

Instant target acquisition in a 30/45 degrees sector at a distance of 2-4km??? Why not have an Abrams with an ion-gun then?

I'd guess that would fall under the 'exaggeration of capabilities' I alluded to earlier.....But why bother even going there?  We both know how it ends.  :rolleyes:

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13 hours ago, kraze said:

Not my experience. Plus in Syria tanks are mostly outdated soviet/russian stuff. Abrams frontal armor can take ATGM. However hit anywhere else it's usually game over

You misunderstand, I believe - he's talking about unrealistically fast situational awareness giving unrealistic response times, accuracy and return fire rate to ATGM launches.

Generally, we want to Reduce the hyper fast awareness and turret traverse to more realistic timimgs 

 

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19 hours ago, IMHO said:

And it has profound impact on the gameplay. In real life (Yemen, Syria) we see tanks being burned every time they are careless enough while facing an ATGM-armed opposition. In CMBS a platoon of Abramses can simply drive through the whole map blasting everyone around.

This trash meme needs to die.

Comparing export model Abrams, crewed by completely inexperienced crews, being used willy-nilly with little tactical rhyme or reason DOES NOT EQUAL how M1A2 Abrams would perform in a full on conventional conflict, used properly by decent crews. 

Also, this whole "ATGMs are muh dangerous!" meme also needs to die. The Abrams tank, Challenger tank, and Leopard 2 tank were all SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED with NEW armor (Chobam, composites, etc) to DEFEAT ATGMs. ATGMs are largely USELESS against these types of tanks. Export models of these tanks DO NOT HAVE this composite armor. This is why they are so vulnerable to ATGMs in places like Syria and Iraq. Well that and they could not be handled more poorly in those situations as well. 

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  1. @kinophile@kraze, I'd rather limit my point to acquisition. Turrent traverse or ATGM probability-to-kill could be argued over but almost instant ATGM team acquisition is a pure fantasy. It makes ATGM a kamikaze job. To reliably kill a single Abrams one needs two ATGM teams as one team is quite often killed even before the missile hits the target. To face a platoon of Abramses one better have a whole ATGM company/batallion as M1s share targeting data. If the painted tank somehow misses the launcher and gets destroyed then his/her bros will finish ATGM for sure.
  2. @kraze, a lab scenario will look like a tank facing away from ATGM team at say 1-2-3km distance, then ATGM launches at the tank.
16 hours ago, MikeyD said:

newbies tend to play Tigers versus IS-2s while veteran players preferred Hungarian infantry vs Finns

  1. I'm playing since June or July 2000, will I count as a veteran? :):rolleyes:
  2. My point is this behaviour pretty much throws away a lion's share of scenarious of pure infantry vs. moders armour in Europen-like plains. But certainly we can always agree not to use Quake rocket jump :)

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4 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED with NEW armor (Chobam, composites, etc) to DEFEAT ATGMs

Can you differentiate between "my ATGM PtoK is almost zero against your frontal projection" and "your ATGM team will die one second after the launch and before missile hits the tank"? Because the first case means I need to maneuver my ATGM to hit sideways or from behind. But the second case means my infantry more or less does not possess long range AT capability at all. Or I rather pay 1.5 ATGM team for every launch against the tank whether taken down or not.

17 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

ATGMs are largely USELESS against these types of tanks.

Well... I guess Trophy must be wasteful spending then, right? Since ATGMs stand no chance against composite spaced armor... :):rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, IICptMillerII said:

Comparing export model Abrams, crewed by completely inexperienced crews, being used willy-nilly with little tactical rhyme or reason DOES NOT EQUAL how M1A2 Abrams would perform in a full on conventional conflict, used properly by decent crews. 

Agree with this.....Exported versions of the Abrams are not even close to the spec of the M1A2 SEPv2, let alone the SEPv3.  Saudi versions are alleged to be more capable than the Iraqi versions (probably why the Iraqis want T-90), but they've displayed their usual tactical genius and managed to lose quite a few.  :rolleyes:

1 hour ago, IMHO said:

Well... I guess Trophy must be wasteful spending then, right? Since ATGMs stand no chance against composite spaced armor...

But I also agree with this.....Modern ATGMs are just plain mean.  :mellow:

However the issue that is most pertinent is this:

4 hours ago, kinophile said:

You misunderstand, I believe - he's talking about unrealistically fast situational awareness giving unrealistic response times, accuracy and return fire rate to ATGM launches.

Generally, we want to Reduce the hyper fast awareness and turret traverse to more realistic timimgs

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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2 hours ago, IMHO said:

Well... I guess Trophy must be wasteful spending then, right? Since ATGMs stand no chance against composite spaced armor... :):rolleyes:

I typed out a long response to this but the forum deleted it when I tried to copy another quote, so I'll summarize by saying that you are wrong. TROPHY is intended to protect tanks in urban environments from infantry held AT weapons being fired from complex geometries (like from above/below) and is supposed to supplement the tanks defenses. 

Otherwise this type of statement shows a complete and utter lack of understanding of the subject matter, and employs a type of backwards logic I despise. "Why does a tank need armor at all? After all, a tank is supposed to shoot things, not get shot." I'm not going to take the time to riddle this fallacy out back to logic, so all I will say is that this line of thinking has no merit whatsoever. Further, ERA has been absent from the Abrams for decades now, even though it was applied to Patton tanks in the Gulf War. Why? Because the Patton tank did not have the composite armor of the Abrams. Even further, in CMBS Abrams have ERA only on the side armor to help defend against the most modern and lethal ATGMs, which only exist in double digit numbers. Currently deployed Abrams to Eastern Europe do not have this ERA applied. 

51 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Agree with this.....Exported versions of the Abrams are not even close to the spec of the M1A2 SEPv2, let alone the SEPv3.  Saudi versions are alleged to be more capable than the Iraqi versions (probably why the Iraqis want T-90), but they've displayed their usual tactical genius and managed to lose quite a few.  :rolleyes:

Exactly. To add, these export tanks also lack the same sophisticated optics as well, meaning they do not have the same level of situational awareness that M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams have.

 

52 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

But I also agree with this.....Modern ATGMs are just plain mean.  :mellow:

I agree. Even if an ATGM cannot kill a tank outright, it may be able to damage external systems, immobilize the tank, and cause other issues. The best defense is of course not to be engaged at all, and the second best defense is to be able to survive if you are engaged. Why give the enemy a chance to get lucky if you can avoid it?

5 hours ago, kinophile said:

You misunderstand, I believe - he's talking about unrealistically fast situational awareness giving unrealistic response times, accuracy and return fire rate to ATGM launches.

Generally, we want to Reduce the hyper fast awareness and turret traverse to more realistic timimgs 

It would appear that this is a more rational gripe with what is depicted in game. In my opinion, the reaction times of the Abrams is realistic for the following reasons. Engagement ranges in CMBS are primarily short to medium, and is to say within a few hundred meters out to around 2km. At these types of ranges, it is VERY easy to spot ATGM teams that have just fired. Between the large, hot missile, and the infrared signatures of the team that fired them, they are not terribly hard to spot. Keep in mind the SEPv2 Abrams has a x50 zoom. Couple all of this with the LWR the Abrams comes with in CMBS, and its not hard to understand the quick reaction times. 

All that said, I would not be opposed if there was a tweak to the TacAI logic that slightly reduced the reaction time. More importantly, I very much want a variant of the Abrams without LWR, as I cannot stand how the LWR functions in game, but thats a different conversation. 

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15 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

I cannot stand how the LWR functions in game, but thats a different conversation.

Amen to that too (What's all this agreeing about?  :o )  Indeed in a tank on tank engagement its the combination of 'cyber-spotting' & 'laser-panic' that most screws things (IMHO).....A really good crew with a round already up the spout should have the option of firing it straight down the beam while their opponents are mucking about.

PS - While I don't disagree with the general gist of your point regarding Trophy/ERA I do think you are placing a little too much emphasis on it's focus toward RPGs.....Perhaps fairer to say it broadly provides a supplemental defence against advanced chemical-energy warheads, found in both modern RPGs and modern fast ATGMs (precisely because composites & ERA were beginning to demonstrate vulnerability to such weapons).

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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2 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

I typed out a long response to this but the forum deleted it when I tried to copy another quote, so I'll summarize by saying that you are wrong. TROPHY is intended to protect tanks in urban environments from infantry held AT weapons being fired from complex geometries (like from above/below) and is supposed to supplement the tanks defenses.

Israel lost quite a few tanks to ATGMs in 2006.  Israel put Trophy on tanks.  Trophy defeated ATGMs.

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Yup, the reaction/acquisition speed is AI fast, not "human" fast. (Which is just a harbinger of the real future of mech warfare (say, within 15/20 years)...

That incredibly quick 180 deg turret swing  is just depressing. I see that happen and I know I'm facing losses of 3:1., weather I win or no. A pyhrric win, at that ratio,  in real life 

So for me it's the acquisition part of the loop that breaks my immersion. 

Now and then I play UKR v US just to feel how the Iraqis did. 

:)

 

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1 hour ago, akd said:

Israel lost quite a few tanks to ATGMs in 2006.  Israel put Trophy on tanks.  Trophy defeated ATGMs.

Not all tanks are created equal. What tanks were the Israelis using? Were they Abrams, Challengers, or Leopard 2s? I think I can answer my own question by saying no, the Israelis were not using those tanks. This means that Israeli armor as is, probably does not have the same armor as US, UK, or German tanks. This in turn means the armor on the Israeli tanks is not capable of defeating ATGMs in the same way that US armor is. 

Different tanks have different armor. The Israelis needed TROPHY because their armor could not defeat ATGMs. US tanks have been designed since 1980 to defeat ATGMs. Your point is moot. 

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33 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

Not all tanks are created equal. What tanks were the Israelis using? Were they Abrams, Challengers, or Leopard 2s? I think I can answer my own question by saying no, the Israelis were not using those tanks. This means that Israeli armor as is, probably does not have the same armor as US, UK, or German tanks. This in turn means the armor on the Israeli tanks is not capable of defeating ATGMs in the same way that US armor is. 

Different tanks have different armor. The Israelis needed TROPHY because their armor could not defeat ATGMs. US tanks have been designed since 1980 to defeat ATGMs. Your point is moot. 

And Israeli armour isn't? I would imagine they'd pay attention to ATGMs after their experience in 1973... What do you have to back this up? Why is their armour not capable of defeating ATGMs by virtue of not being British, American or German? (Obviously superior Kruppstahl notwithstanding! :D)

I agree with the sentiment on LWRs though, it definitely seems much too fast. Even with thermal optics there is a lot of stuff to look at in a 30 degree arc to survey before you can dial in that team of two or three guys hiding in a bush!

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