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Panicked halftrack passengers should stop manning the gun

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When a US halftrack is unbuttoned (manning the gun), it will stay unbuttoned even if the crew and passengers are in the "panic" state. And the player is unable to order the halftrack to button. So the vehicle will keep driving around randomly, and the passengers will keep getting shot one by one as they pop up to man the gun. This is not the behaviour of panicked people, but of very brave or fanatic troops.

Panicked guys should stop manning the gun, and try to hide at the bottom of the halftrack. If rounds start to penetrate, they should bail out and run away.

I know there have been cases of very brave troops who kept manning the guns even though they were under heavy fire. However, I'd argue they were not panicking, but merely rattled or shaken in CM terms.

Thanks for your attention. You're now welcome to tell me I'm all wrong :)

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Aye. You're not wrong.

I recently noticed this with my Hanomags in Pieper campaign. It'd be nice if they had a bit more self preservation. If tracers are flying, keep your head down? When I fought US mech guys in BN quick battles, I picked out a bunch of supporting halftracks with basic infantry this way.

I also have this issue with tankers. They'll be half-buttoned when shots are fired -- yet, they'll pop out their torso way too soon. Only way to be safe is to button them -- which makes them less safe because they can't sense anything.

 

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2 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

I recently noticed this with my Hanomags in Pieper campaign. It'd be nice if they had a bit more self preservation. If tracers are flying, keep your head down?

I think it's ok that they at least try to stay on the gun when ordered to do that, but when they panic, they should stop responding to orders.

3 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

I also have this issue with tankers. They'll be half-buttoned when shots are fired -- yet, they'll pop out their torso way too soon. Only way to be safe is to button them -- which makes them less safe because they can't sense anything.

This was actually massively improved by 4.0... My tank commanders duck down quite quickly now when under fire, so if I keep at least 300m distance to potential enemies, they often save themselves. Before, they would stay up forever while bullets whizzed past.

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Sadly still a known and yet unfixed issue. The more that unbuttoned crews are treated with the games tacAI cheat, making them a bullet magnet, like pillboxes are. Best to avoid some the badly constructed assets in the game, or just use them sparingly in certain opponent configurations.

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I don't know what the motivtion behind the topic is: Making the gunner duck in order to survive longer or making him duck in order to make him cease fire. Is the topic about the defensive or offensive capability of the halftrack? In any case, once panicked I also think that the passengers should keep their heads down. :)

I don't think that the halftrack is badly constructed. In my recent H2H game, I was very happy that my halftrack gunners were keeping their heads up and returning fire. In this case, the enemy's fire was ineffective (rifle shots from ca. 350-400m against the frontal armor & gun shield of the halftrack). Despite the halftrack getting hit by more than 100 bullets in a matter of perhaps 10 turns, not a single one penetrated or caused any casualties (video AAR will be available once the game is finished). The important precondition was that all bullets came strictly from the front. Combat Mission's cover mechanics are very detailed. As soon as the angle slightly changed, the gunner got exposed and shot, as the enemy was now able to fire "around" the gunshield. As always, distance/the laws of triangulation help to make it harder for the enemy to work around some piece of cover. And as always, you should not expose a weapon to areas that it can't control.

In fact I think halftracks are extremely strong (if used correctly) for their point cost. Major advantages:

  • elevated MG and eyes (better for spotting and firing over obstacles, but also harder to hide),
  • radio
  • good protection against light and medium artillery (a shell needs to land really very close for its shrapnel to have any chance to penetrate - protection can be increased further by proper positioning and sandbags; Note how elegantly the german halftrack is designed with the inwards bending upper armor plates of the passenger compartment - shrapnel striking upwards from the ground will hit the armor in a bad angle and be deflected just enough to protect the gunner)
  • good protection against long range small arms fire from the front
  • mobile
  • extra ammo
  • can transport troops

Basically, you get an artillery proof mobile heavy MG with slightly less ammo (which can also be used as a small supply dump) and a radio included. If you buy an ordinary hMG (and add a trench for arty protection), you pay more and still don't have a radio and are not mobile.  The only drawback is that the halftrack has no binoculars, which means that the mounted hMG is not that good at shooting on sight (prefer area fire). 

PS: The M3A1 doesn't even have a gun shield for its MG. :(

Edited by Kaunitz

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2 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

I don't know what the motivtion behind the topic is: Making the gunner duck in order to survive longer or making him duck in order to make him cease fire. Is the topic about the defensive or offensive capability of the halftrack? In any case, once panicked I also think that the passengers should keep their heads down. :)

It's not about halftracks being too weak or strong. It's just about realistic behaviour.

I don't want my own halftrack guys to fight like lions if they are panicked. Neither do I want them to be uselessly picked off one by one when they should be cowering.

 

2 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Basically, you get an artillery proof mobile heavy MG with slightly less ammo (which can also be used as a small supply dump) and a radio included. If you buy an ordinary hMG (and add a trench for arty protection), you pay more and still don't have a radio and are not mobile.  The only drawback is that the halftrack has no binoculars, which means that the mounted hMG is not that good at shooting on sight (prefer area fire). 

Yes, German halftracks are decent in the right circumstances. However, they spot very poorly, because of the gun shield and because their MG doesn't have a telescopic sight, which the HMG version has.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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4 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

I don't think that the halftrack is badly constructed. In my recent H2H game, I was very happy that my halftrack gunners were keeping their heads up and returning fire. In this case, the enemy's fire was ineffective (rifle shots from ca. 350-400m against the frontal armor & gun shield of the halftrack). Despite the halftrack getting hit by more than 100 bullets in a matter of perhaps 10 turns, not a single one penetrated or caused any casualties (video AAR will be available once the game is finished).

Yeah, but try this with HT's w/o Shields, and see what happens over a short period of time.

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2 minutes ago, JoMc67 said:

Yeah, but try this with HT's w/o Shields, and see what happens over a short period of time.

Yeah, but there is nothing wrong with that. 

2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

It's not about halftracks being too weak or strong. It's just about realistic behaviour.

I don't want my own halftrack guys to fight like lions if they are panicked. Neither do I want them to be uselessly picked off one by one when they should be cowering.

 

Yes, German halftracks are decent in the right circumstances. However, they spot very poorly, because of the gun shield and because their MG doesn't have a telescopic sight, which the HMG version has.

Wow. The info on telescopic sight is not visible in the game. It's only mentioned in the manual. Are you sure that its effect are modeled in the game, ie. like you say, a weapon without telescopic sight is not that good at spotting at longer distances (and maybe also less accurate when firing?)?

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8 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

Yeah, but there is nothing wrong with that. 

Wow. The info on telescopic sight is not visible in the game. It's only mentioned in the manual. Are you sure that its effect are modeled in the game, ie. like you say, a weapon without telescopic sight is not that good at spotting at longer distances (and maybe also less accurate when firing?)?

Yeah, but if your panicked (as mentioned above), then duck to make your unprotected Crew member last longer...You know, like they did in RL.

Edited by JoMc67

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2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Yes, German halftracks are decent in the right circumstances. However, they spot very poorly, because of the gun shield and because their MG doesn't have a telescopic sight, which the HMG version has.

Then, I wonder if spotting is also affected for things like RL peaking back-in forth around the Gun-Shield, unbuttoned crew Tanks peaking behind Copulas/Hatches, etc, Infantry peaking around buildings/Trees, etc.

So, BF might only model wither your Buttoned or Unbuttoned w/o any soft factors above, or possibly already factored in ?

Edited by JoMc67

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10 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

Wow. The info on telescopic sight is not visible in the game. It's only mentioned in the manual. Are you sure that its effect are modeled in the game, ie. like you say, a weapon without telescopic sight is not that good at spotting at longer distances (and maybe also less accurate when firing?)?

All I know for sure is that the telescopic sight is visible on the actual model of the MG42 on its tripod. And that the infantry MG42 is definitely way better at spotting and engaging at long ranges than the MG on the halftrack.

It's possible those effects are just from having more guys out in the open, spotting, and one of them having binoculars. But given the detail of these games, I'd be surprised if the actual telescopic sight didn't give some sort of bonus to spotting and accuracy at range.

Especially since they also do modern games where scopes are much more prevalent. It must/should be in the code.

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12 minutes ago, JoMc67 said:

Then, I wonder if spotting is also affected for things like RL peaking back-in forth around the Gun-Shield, unbuttoned crew Tanks peaking behind Copulas/Hatches, etc, Infantry peaking around buildings/Trees, etc.

In my experience, the gun shield makes the gunner spot markedly worse than a single dude in the open.

I don't think any peeking over/around the shield is abstracted. The gunner 's vision is limited a bit like the hull gunner in a tank.

But I haven't tested it scientifically. I just like to keep an eye on who spots what during battle.

German halftracks only really start to spot and engage by themselves at 200m range, which is way inside danger close range. They are best used to hang back at least 300m and preferably 500m+ range and do area fire for suppression. 

Edited by Bulletpoint

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

They are best used to hang back at least 300m and preferably 500m+ range and do area fire for suppression. 

I suspect that was also the case in RL. The halftrack MG was used for suppression while the passengers were de-bussing and deploying. Any casualties they might have inflicted would just be a bonus.

Michael

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

In my experience, the gun shield makes the gunner spot markedly worse than a single dude in the open.

I don't think any peeking over/around the shield is abstracted. The gunner 's vision is limited a bit like the hull gunner in a tank.

But I haven't tested it scientifically. I just like to keep an eye on who spots what during battle.

German halftracks only really start to spot and engage by themselves at 200m range, which is way inside danger close range. They are best used to hang back at least 300m and preferably 500m+ range and do area fire for suppression. 

What about the passengers? At least one of them will have binos, do they not use em? e.g. the platoon leader.

To add - SOP for me with SPW, prior to moving into contact is suppression fire both from the tracks and their own heavy weapons company. These 75mm cannon SPW are really effective at long range and even danger close as they are not unduly affected by rifle/MG fire at 200-300m or even closer.

 

Edited by George MC

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1 hour ago, George MC said:

What about the passengers? At least one of them will have binos, do they not use em? e.g. the platoon leader.

I'm not sure how the spotting of halftrack passengers work, but when they spot something, that doesn't automatically mean the gunner will spot the same thing (if it's the halftrack's dedicated gunner). Maybe if the passengers are also manning the gun, they can somehow spot and engage better? Not sure. 

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7 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

Maybe they could peek out the top? That's a big boon of open-topped vehicles.

The graphics show their heads poking up over the sides, but the enemies won't open fire on them. This is particularly noticeable with the Bren carrier. So I'm not sure what the graphics really represent.

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4 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

It's possible those effects are just from having more guys out in the open, spotting, and one of them having binoculars. But given the detail of these games, I'd be surprised if the actual telescopic sight didn't give some sort of bonus to spotting and accuracy at range.

I think it is primarily a function of the number of eyeballs. I don't know if the sight is explicitly modeled but I would guess not.

4 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Especially since they also do modern games where scopes are much more prevalent. It must/should be in the code.

Scopes in the modern games have to be accounted for to some degree because they allow soldiers to see in the dark.

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3 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I'm not sure how the spotting of halftrack passengers work, but when they spot something, that doesn't automatically mean the gunner will spot the same thing (if it's the halftrack's dedicated gunner).

I've been recently encountering something that strikes me as peculiar in Black Sea. And that is that passengers in Bradleys will spot enemy units that the crew of the vehicle still won't see. Shouldn't the situation be reversed? I thought that spotting from inside the passenger compartment was notoriously limited whereas the crew have all sorts of gadgets to help them spot.

Michael

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13 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

I've been recently encountering something that strikes me as peculiar in Black Sea. And that is that passengers in Bradleys will spot enemy units that the crew of the vehicle still won't see. Shouldn't the situation be reversed? I thought that spotting from inside the passenger compartment was notoriously limited whereas the crew have all sorts of gadgets to help them spot.

Michael

a. Passengers have more eyeballs and less tasks.

b. Periscopes have a wide field of view, as opposed to optics.

c. Periscopes face the sides and backwards, looking where the crew can't/won't look.

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1 minute ago, DerKommissar said:

a. Passengers have more eyeballs and less tasks.

b. Periscopes have a wide field of view, as opposed to optics.

c. Periscopes face the sides and backwards, looking where the crew can't/won't look.

a. Yes.

b. I was not aware that passengers in Bradleys had any way of observing outside the vehicle. A gap in my education, I suppose.

c. In the particular case I have in mind, the enemy unit is directly in front of the vehicle.

Cheers, Michael

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4 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

a. Yes.

b. I was not aware that passengers in Bradleys had any way of observing outside the vehicle. A gap in my education, I suppose.

c. In the particular case I have in mind, the enemy unit is directly in front of the vehicle.

Cheers, Michael

b.

Image result for bradley rear periscopes

Image result for bradley rear periscopes

Different variants have different layouts, but all Bradley's have passenger periscopes -- as do most IFVs. Very critical in situation awareness, especially in the case of ambushes.

c. That is weird, indeed. I doubt the passengers' periscopes have a lot of traverse, if any at all. How they would see past the turret is beyond me.

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Yes, some corrections of armoured infantry behaviour would be great. I read that Germans tended to fight mounted when they could (to follow tanks). When they could = when there is no AT guns. But... In the game they are usually got shot, panic, start to turn while gunner is exposed... Schutzen raise too high if you command to unbutton. Not like in this picture!

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