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Bulletpoint

Difference between straggler groups and regular inf. companies?

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I understand straggler groups are supposed to represent small groups of infantry that have been cut off and are now trying to get back to friendly lines. I don't really see much difference in the editor though. Stragglers seem quite well armed and organised.

Stragglers still have machineguns, bazookas, and mortars (and the US stragglers have heavy machineguns for some reason, whereas the US infantry companies have medium MGs).

Also, the stragglers have one less 60mm mortar, but they still have two.

Their command structure is a bit different too, as the heavy weapons are under the direct command of the company leader, not heavy weapons platoon HQs.

 

Anything I overlooked?

Edited by Bulletpoint

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I must admit that I too was a bit surprised at how well they fight. I would have expected them to arrive a little less fit (due to hunger and exhaustion), with poor morale (due to being cut off from their parent unit) and lacking some equipment and especially low on ammo. These effects might be randomly distributed, but they should be present it seems to me.

Michael

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Isn't it usual for Stragglers to start a scenario with their status set to "Panic"? Leading them to spend the first few turns running away, and getting shot in the back if the enemy get a sight of them. And therefore losing some of their decent weapons.

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But all of those factors are controlled by the settings in the editor. If you want your stragglers to be low on ammo or exhausted then tweak the settings. 

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1 minute ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Isn't it usual for Stragglers to start a scenario with their status set to "Panic"? 

That is *not* something you can do in the editor.

Stragglers are supposed to represent troops that have become separated and have organised themselves in an ad hoc formation while until they can be brought to the rear.

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15 minutes ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Isn't it usual for Stragglers to start a scenario with their status set to "Panic"?

No. they are just regular infantry for all practical purposes. I don't understand why BF even spent their time making a dedicated straggler formation, as you could just choose a regular company and delare them stragglers. That's why I asked here if anyone else knew something I don't.

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2 hours ago, IanL said:

But all of those factors are controlled by the settings in the editor.

Er, but if one just wants to fight a QB, those settings are not available.

Michael

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Straggler sections tend not to have BAR's or other specialist equipment (they don't get bazookas, BAR, rifle grenades, etc.), and have a mix of Garands and M1 Carbines. Typical settings seem to give them lower motivation and possibly lower leadership, although I'm not confident about that one. They also have fewer grenades and less ammunition per soldier.

Infantry battalions also have integrated AT, Engineers, Jeep transport , etc. Having access to integrated Jeep transports will mean access to more ammunition.

The infantry HMG's are part of the Weapons company, along with the 81mm mortars, which the Straggler formations also don't have access to.

With how comms work in the game, having weapons integrated into your command structure is more effective than attaching them ad hoc.

With any points-buy system, there's always a possibility that you can break things by min-maxing, picking and choosing elements from A or B to produce something ahistorical, that's just the nature of the beast, but the main thing is that these are worse units, and ones you can't create in the editor.

Edited by domfluff

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1 hour ago, Michael Emrys said:

Er, but if one just wants to fight a QB, those settings are not available.

? Am I miss remembering 'cause I am pretty sure they are.

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34 minutes ago, IanL said:

? Am I miss remembering 'cause I am pretty sure they are.

Yeah, unfortunately, there is no Ammo Settings for Formations (thou, there is a quality setting) in QB's...Certain things in the editor are not used in QB's.

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Also, US and German stragglers both suffer from less flexible command. They don't have XOs at the company level, so their leadership is fragile, and they don't have Assistant Squad Leaders, so splitting the squads weakens them more. And since they have four squads per platoon/section, they're a little clumsier if you want to keep them in C2. In general it seems to me that German straggler units suffer more--since their squads never have inherent MG42s, which is a bigger loss, whereas the Americans only lose BARs, and even then only in some squads (it seems to be randomized). And the Americans also still get radios at the platoon/section level! 

It seems to me the stragglers, often as not, represent not beaten-up infantry units, but all the other hodgepodge of forces that ended up fighting as infantry in the Bulge--cannon companies without their howitzers, AT companies without their ATGs, non-combat engineers, supply units, cooks, drivers, clerks, etc. Hence the high numbers of carbines (and the reduced grenade counts) -- but there were still plenty of radios and even a few BARs and Thompsons floating around. The M1917 HMGs instead of M1919 MMGs also make sense since they were more common in the rear areas, lots being issued to engineers (I have no idea why?) and to the battalion HW companies and I think HQ guards. I don't get the lack of bazookas though.

Also, a full-strength straggler group is 226 men, while a US infantry company in the game is something like 160. So the straggler group seems to me more like the remnants of a battalion (and probably not an infantry battalion) rather than a company. Man-for-man, you can get a lot more firepower, and a lot more nimble C2, out of 226 Americans in other formations than you can out of the stragglers.

1 hour ago, domfluff said:

With how comms work in the game, having weapons integrated into your command structure is more effective than attaching them ad hoc.

This seems especially important for the 60mm mortars--the only way to use them for indirect fire is to keep the Group HQ back with them.

 

Edited by General Liederkranz

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50 minutes ago, JoMc67 said:

Yeah, unfortunately, there is no Ammo Settings for Formations (thou, there is a quality setting) in QB's...Certain things in the editor are not used in QB's.

Ah ammo, I forgot about that. But the experience and morale are there for sure.

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Thanks for the good replies. I did a little testing, setting up a US straggler group and an infantry company, both purchased with equipment set to "average":

To sum up:

  • No bazookas
  • Fewer grenades
  • No rifle grenades
  • A bit less ammo per squad
  • More carbines instead of Garands
  • Fewer BARs (but still some)
  • MGs and mortars attached to company leader instead of local HQs
  • Heavy MGs instead of light MGs (but with more ammo! 2K vs 1K)
  • One less 60mm mortar
  • No assistant leaders per squad
  • Can't directly use 81mm mortars or other goodies from battalion level

 

And I can add, myself:

  • No specialists (gunners, antitank) in regular squads. I assume this means their few BARs will be less accurate.

So, there are differences.

I would personally have liked to see straggler groups having more chaotic structure, such as widely varying head counts in the various squads, some squads directly commanded by company HQ, fewer heavy weapons, and less ammo count generally. Straggler 60mm mortars come with 32 bombs per default, just like regular formation mortars.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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37 minutes ago, IanL said:

Ah ammo, I forgot about that. But the experience and morale are there for sure.

Yeah, no Ammo or Headcount, and so QB's are designed more or less for 'Balanced' type Games due to Point System...I generally play QB's over Scenario's, and will miss these options...

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A 'straggler' could be reinterpreted as 'survivor'. While the rest of his former unit was wiped out he had the wherewithal to keep body and soul together. Like Rambo. Straggler is not necessarily a greenhorn with low experience levels. So it all depends on how you imagine your group. Are they the battle-tested remnants of a fighting withdrawal or are they PX clerks handed guns and sent forward? It all depends of what 'movie' you're imagining in your head.

Edited by MikeyD

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43 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

It all depends on what 'movie' you're imagining in your head.

Lol, that pretty much sums up in a nutshell why I play CMx2 games in the first place!

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6 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Thanks for the good replies. I did a little testing, setting up a US straggler group and an infantry company, both purchased with equipment set to "average":

To sum up:

  • No bazookas
  • Fewer grenades
  • No rifle grenades
  • A bit less ammo per squad
  • More carbines instead of Garands
  • Fewer BARs (but still some)
  • MGs and mortars attached to company leader instead of local HQs
  • Heavy MGs instead of light MGs (but with more ammo! 2K vs 1K)
  • One less 60mm mortar
  • No assistant leaders per squad
  • Can't directly use 81mm mortars or other goodies from battalion level

 

And I can add, myself:

  • No specialists (gunners, antitank) in regular squads. I assume this means their few BARs will be less accurate.

     

Setting up two platoons to "Typical" in the Editor -

The Infantry Platoon consists of:

39 dudes w/
3x Thompsons
3x BAR
3x M7 Rifle Grenades
2x Bazookas
3x AT Grenades
2x Carbines
+Rifles

Each 12 man squad (something close to)
1620 .30 cal rounds
180 .45 cal rounds
16 Grenades
3 66mm HE


The Straggler section consists of:
51 dudes w/
4x Thompsons
10x Carbines
+Rifles

Each 12 man squad (something close to)
1056 .30 cal
180 .45 cal
150 .30 cal Carbine
12 Grenades

Soft factors were generated identically in this test.

Setting this to "Excellent" gave me two BARs on this test, obviously there's a die roll involved here for all of this, but I think you usually won't get BARs.

Speculating, but I wonder if "Typical" is lower than "Average" for Straggler sections?

Obviously there are the aforementioned differences up the org chart as well. They're definitely a weaker formation, and very different to the mainline infantry.

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CM1 featured more randomness in units one would receive at an experience level plus a variety of weapons possessed by any unit.  For some reason. CM2 only offers standard cookie cutter units that are all identically equipped.

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15 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I don't understand why BF even spent their time making a dedicated straggler formation, as you could just choose a regular company and delare them stragglers. That's why I asked here if anyone else knew something I don't.

Because they also exist in Red Thunder.

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10 hours ago, Erwin said:

CM1 featured more randomness in units one would receive at an experience level plus a variety of weapons possessed by any unit.  For some reason. CM2 only offers standard cookie cutter units that are all identically equipped.

Are you talking in Quick Battles or the game in general? The editor and the quick battle selection process allows you to modify so many of the different soft factors virtually guaranteeing you anything but cookie cutter units.

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12 hours ago, domfluff said:

They're definitely a weaker formation, and very different to the mainline infantry.

Yes they are weaker, but I don't think they are that different. No bazookas is of course a tangible difference, but the rest seems to be smaller nuances.

One way to make them play differently would be to make them behave like Italians - unable to split the squads. Representing a breakdown of leadership.

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I think having two squads without an LMG (on that Excellent generation), or zero at all (on Typical) is pretty huge for anything WW2 - arguably the US LMG is less important than the equivalent in a German or Commonwealth unit (since the BAR isn't really a light machine gun, or particularly good at pretending to be one), but losing that automatic firepower is a losing large chunk of why the squad exists by doctrine.

I haven't really played around with the Carbines enough to know if there's a major difference in practice - obviously it's a smaller, less powerful round, but I don't know if that actually matters all that much in actual hedgerow-to-hedgerow (or house to house, or whatever) combat.

Essentially, without the specialist kit, what's the intended role? They don't have the comms or transport to be effective scouts, they don't have the firepower to be effective infantry - they're a stop-gap and expedience, which seem appropriate to me for "stragglers".

Edited by domfluff

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If anything, I'd like to see this formation type in all series. I imagine Russian mechanized forces would be more likely to encounter ad-hoc Ukrainian forces than coherent units after a day or so of a hot war.

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16 hours ago, domfluff said:

I think having two squads without an LMG (on that Excellent generation), or zero at all (on Typical) is pretty huge for anything WW2 - arguably the US LMG is less important than the equivalent in a German or Commonwealth unit (since the BAR isn't really a light machine gun, or particularly good at pretending to be one), but losing that automatic firepower is a losing large chunk of why the squad exists by doctrine.

I haven't really played around with the Carbines enough to know if there's a major difference in practice - obviously it's a smaller, less powerful round, but I don't know if that actually matters all that much in actual hedgerow-to-hedgerow (or house to house, or whatever) combat.

Essentially, without the specialist kit, what's the intended role? They don't have the comms or transport to be effective scouts, they don't have the firepower to be effective infantry - they're a stop-gap and expedience, which seem appropriate to me for "stragglers".

You got BARs on excellent EQ level, I got several on average. Maybe just lucky? I think the carbines are a bigger hit to their firepower than the BARs anyway. Also they do have comms; all platoons have a radio. 

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