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RexSaur

Need some advice for breaking the bank

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I went through the other scenarios quite smoothly. "Day on the beach" was a walk in the park but "Breaking the bank" proves to be a tough nut and I don't see what I am doing wrong or what could I do better.

The main problem is that my infantry when it assaults a building gets instantly slaughtered by enemies hiding in the next building. I usually use the assault command to clear buildings. In most cases when I place infantry in buildings they are quite resilient to enemy small arms fire but in this scenario the enemy kills them very easily although they are across the road in another house.

I can't bring my armor because they are also quickly taken out by RPGs, I can't suppress the enemy because too many buildings and no LOS and the artillery is ineffective for buildings too (LOS problems as well). I managed to get a rifle squad take position in a good spot but although they suppress the enemy an RPG instantly took out half the squad.

What am I doing wrong?

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Some general tips:

- fire superiority is THE key. When moving to another row of houses do it with maximum amount of troops simultaneously.

- Use AFVs to control roads and so split the city in sections. You can even block off retreat paths.

- Cover manoeuver with smoke. No street should be crossed without smoke. Throwables, tanks, mortar, artillery...

- Take your time. I always mentally prepare to be ok with time running out. (It almost never runs out)

- Divide the map in smaller sections to be cleared one by one. 

Here is some gameplay with even worse urban scenario. He plays pretty well. Good place to start learning.

 

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Welcome to Syria!

- MOUT is really hard, a slow and costly grind, street by street.
- MOUT is also the bread and butter of CMSF, and probably the main thing that differentiates it from the other titles.

First, an excellent link: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/call/call_01-9_karagosian.htm

What I find really interesting about the above is that it not only gives advice on how to do it, it also highlights how even the official sources have fallen into the same kind of traps that we do as players - focusing on the target building, rather than isolating it with fields of fire and concentrating on the avenues of approach.

 

24 minutes ago, RexSaur said:

The main problem is that my infantry when it assaults a building gets instantly slaughtered by enemies hiding in the next building.

Yup. This is why isolating and overwatching plausible buildings are important. 


Take this as a simple example (moving up the left street at the start of Breaking the Bank)

K2R59fE.jpg

Platoon wants to turn this corner. This street is overwatched by a challenger from the start of the scenario, so it's reasonable to assume that all of these visible windows are free from enemy.

OjJlMtw.jpg

Team's eye view. Notably, they cannot see the large building to the right:

Peeking around the corner with the camera:

VLUsvGw.jpg

Both large buildings here seem like plausible locations for enemy. You can inch around the corner and see each window in turn coming into view - running around this corner with anything is a Bad Idea (Street Fighting is not about fighting in streets, as per the article).

The team could move into the building they're currently lined up against, but that creates some more problems:

ltpwe2q.jpg

This does allow covered LOS to the two threatening buildings, but also exposes the team to a third (large wall and taxi, above). This building has the further downside that there is no way for supporting fires to reach this one from this situation - anything firing from there will go pretty much unanswered.

So this is an awful situation, and one which is fully in Red's favour. How can we improve, using only the above?

Well, across the street from the team there is a tall building with a decent area for overwatching the two key buildings. This is the view from there:

Jgh67Ta.jpg

The plan then would be to get some firepower set up in this building, and then recon-by-fire onto the suspect buildings from a degree of relative safety, granting your teams more freedom to manouevre.

This is the kind of inch-by-inch puzzle that MOUT is all about, and CMSF does really well.
 

24 minutes ago, RexSaur said:

I usually use the assault command to clear buildings.

Splitting squads minimises risk. The assault command can be useful to clear buildings, but it also commits the entire squad to the clearing, if you split a squad and run into the worst possible situation, you'll "only" lose a fireteam, and not the whole squad. As per the above article, the actual *clearing* is not the important factor, but it's easy to get hung up on. 

 

45 minutes ago, RexSaur said:

I can't bring my armor because they are also quickly taken out by RPGs


Armour is a mixed bag in MOUT, in any period. It's really effective at bringing devastating firepower quickly and ending firefights, but it's also extremely vulnerable to infantry ambushes. You definitely do not want to drive your armour up to the middle of the street, hoping the RPGs will miss, but as a way to finish a firefight they can be very successful. The key, as with a lot of combat mission, is to control the tempo as much as possible, and to engage with the minimum amount of force that you can get away with, so that you can maintain options and reserves.

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My biggest problem in this scenario is the lack of HE ammo in my vehicles (iirc my Challenger 2s only have 10 HE rounds and my IFVs only have 30). 

Wouldn't British army units who know they are going into a MOUT operation stock up on HE?

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The limitations of the various Blue Forces are one of the interesting things about them. The Dutch, for example, have some great it, but are very infantry-light. The rate of fire of the 30mm Rarden cannons on the Warriors are more than capable of suppressing targets in buildings, regardless of HE, and the warriors are full of 51mm mortar rounds and AT-4's, all of which can help.

In reality, you have to go with what you've got. This mission definitely gave me more appreciate for the Stryker MOUT units - MGS Strykers make a lot of sense in this context, and having a squad that splits into three teams (one of which has demo charges) is extremely useful in this environment.

Now, you can make a broader point here, which is that CM scenario design tends towards the difficult. That's definitely a valid complaint, since you're often faced with worst-possible scenarios and some extremely well dug in or sited enemy positions. Human opponents usually have better "AI", but Quick Battles usually won't leave you with a massive problem to solve (like a lack of AT weapons, or insufficient infantry).

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2 hours ago, RexSaur said:

I usually use the assault command to clear buildings.

Don't do that. This is a mistake that I see a lot by many different people. The Assault command is just a bounding overwatch drill (leap frog). Very useful in many situations, but room clearing is not one of them. For room clearing, you want to have as much firepower directed at the target building as possible, and when you enter the building you do not want to do it piecemeal. 

Here is a very simplified example of how I conduct MOUT:

For simplicity sake, this will only be a 1 squad demonstration using the US Army, but you can scale this up to multiple squads, to platoons, etc, as well as other nations. 

First thing is to split off an Assault Team:

N6jd9Uj.jpg

This results in a team of 4 men with rifles and a lot of handheld grenades. The squad leader, a Staff Sergeant, leads the section. This is important as his leadership will help give you an edge in morale in a close firefight:

pJZCWIW.jpg

The second team is the remainder of the squad, 5 men, led by the assistant squad leader, a Sergeant. They have both of the squads SAWs and lots of ammo. This makes them an ideal base of fire element, which is exactly how I am using them in this example:

GWhlRml.jpg

As you can see, they are on the second floor of a building overlooking the target building, and they have a target arc covering only the target building and the immediate surroundings. This way, they won't get distracted by engaging other targets that appear elsewhere, and will instantly engage any threats that appear in the target building. 

The assault team is given a series of movement points and pauses for its movement to, and entrance into the target building:

EoeZHtM.jpg

First, the assault team will wait 20 seconds before moving into the open. That way, the entire squad has time to orient themselves on the target building and see if there is any initial activity. If you've already had the target building under observation you can skip the first pause.

The first movement order is a Quick move to cover, the low wall. The reason I use a Quick move here is so that if the assault team does take fire from the building, they can return fire as they move to cover. When they get to the wall, they will pause for 10 seconds. This allows them to both catch their breath and observe the building from a closer position. If they were engaged during the run to the wall, this will allow them to put more fire into the threat.

Z2dyHiE.jpg

Then, I use a Hunt command on the movement to the outside of the building. This will allow the team to spot better as it approaches, and immediately hit the ground and return fire if they are engaged. When they reach the outside of the target building, they pause again for 10 seconds to look in the windows/doors for any bad guys that might be hiding inside. This pause can be longer, but I recommend at least 10 seconds. 5 tends to be too short.

biOeRIh.jpg

J7451Qw.jpg

Finally, the final command is a Quick move order into the target building. This part is very important. It is imperative that once you commit to entering a building, you do it quickly and with the entire assaulting element entering the building. The Quick command is used because the team will run into the building, but will still pause momentarily to engage targets before continuing on. 

jpmLx7a.jpg 

Others may have a different way of doing this, there is plenty of nuance to MOUT. There are also many situational factors that influence which specific technique is best. I'm using the above as an example of a template you can always fall back on and build from. For example, if you had two squads available you could use one squad as the base of fire element and the second as the assault element. If the target building was occupied and you knew that, you could use the base of fire element to put suppressing fire into the building before the assaulting element moves, and while the assaulting element is moving to the building. 

Do not Hunt into a building. All this will do is get your men stuck in a fatal funnel. The second they take fire, they will immediately stop and go prone. Many times, they will do this in the direct line of fire of the enemy at point blank range, and will get slaughtered in short order.

Avoid rooftops when possible. You are much more exposed on a rooftop, and can be much more easily spotted by the enemy. That said, sometimes the roof provides the best vantage point, or the only vantage point and you have to take a risk. 

All that said, the single best way to clear out a house (or a town for that matter) is to destroy it with indirect or direct fires from heavy weapons, and prod the rubble with a bayonet afterwards, but this is not always possible/practical. 

Hopefully this helps!

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3 hours ago, domfluff said:

MOUT is also the bread and butter of CMSF, and probably the main thing that differentiates it from the other titles.

Wow... I would say the exact opposite.  It's the large mostly featureless desert expanses and larger maps with long LOS that differentiates CMSF from the other more "claustrophobic" titles. 

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1 hour ago, AtheistDane said:

My biggest problem in this scenario is the lack of HE ammo in my vehicles (iirc my Challenger 2s only have 10 HE rounds and my IFVs only have 30). 

Wouldn't British army units who know they are going into a MOUT operation stock up on HE?

Yes, providing specialized ammo loadouts was easy in CM1, not sure why not in CM2.

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1 hour ago, IICptMillerII said:

I use a Hunt command on the movement to the outside of the building. This will allow the team to spot better as it approaches, and immediately hit the ground and return fire if they are engaged.

Used to do that but it's too easy to get suppressed and massacred out in the open. 

Once one is reasonably sure there is no one who can shoot at your guys in the open I'd recommend QUICK move to the wall with 10 secs PAUSE b4 any movement to enter.  Also note that it's devastating to have units entering a building be ambushed by enemy hiding behind the far wall of a building.  It's best to time your entry for the last 5-10 seconds of a WEGO turn.  That way your guys will usually spot any enemy and if required can FAST move out at the start of the next turn.  This reduces casualties from such an ambush.

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Enemies hiding behind a building is one of the many reasons why you need to do this kind of thing:

9xxWKj6.png
Rather than this:

3wchvJX.png

If at all possible. If you can isolate the building with fires, you prevent reinforcements arriving or occupants fleeing, and you maintain control over the engagement, tempo and otherwise.

It's worth also pointing out that the first diagram shows two platoons of troops, versus the three squads of the below.

Obviously in practice you have play the hand you're dealt, but understanding what you'd like to achieve is the first step.

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Applying the tactics and strategies I just learned my latest attempt is going a lot better now. Maybe too good because now whole enemy teams suddenly surrender. How does this surrender feature work? Do they disappear after a certain time automatically or do I have to move my guys near them to get the "white flags"?

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9 minutes ago, RexSaur said:

Applying the tactics and strategies I just learned my latest attempt is going a lot better now. Maybe too good because now whole enemy teams suddenly surrender. How does this surrender feature work? Do they disappear after a certain time automatically or do I have to move my guys near them to get the "white flags"?

They disappear after a certain time. If they don't it's because there are still enemy troops near. I think (it's been a while) that if you leave them completely unattended they might revert to a fighting state.

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1 hour ago, RexSaur said:

Applying the tactics and strategies I just learned my latest attempt is going a lot better now. Maybe too good because now whole enemy teams suddenly surrender. How does this surrender feature work? Do they disappear after a certain time automatically or do I have to move my guys near them to get the "white flags"?

1. You can shoot them with "target" command to make sure the enemy doesn't retrieve them.

2. You can capture them (worth more than kills in VP) by getting close (1-2 action spots) to them.

3. The enemy can get them back by getting close (1-2 action spots) to them.

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21 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

Hopefully this helps!

That is excellent. I like the hunt addition - I will look for opportunities to do that. Many times there is no intervening cover but when their is I like it. The only thing I tend to do is area target the building before / as the assault team enters. If I really do not think it is occupied then I will enter with out firing but if I think it might be then I will be targeting the building before the assault team enters. Ideally that would look like two teams firing one on the lower flow and one on the upper flow. Full target or target briefly commands. I would time it so that the firing on the lower flow stops slightly before the time the team gets to the low wall (in this example) and switch the firing on the upper floor to target light at the same time. You do not want any HE hitting the building while your guys are getting ready.

This is so any enemy troops in the upper floors are taking fire the whole time your guys are entering the lower floor and any enemy troops on the lower floor are taking fire as close as is safe before entry.

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Very good info in this thread!

One thing that I really missed in this scenario was an indicator for the floor number(s) that my troops and the enemy occupy. In those densely packed areas it is difficult to get down to lower view levels to get this info.

The other thing that really disturbed me is that even in big buildings the soldiers could not move from floor to floor without being detected from the outside. Even a Syrian sniper team moving up inside the tall bank building got detected and fired upon. I found this very unrealistic! How would that happen in reality???!

Best regards,
Thomm

 

Edited by Thomm

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The weakness in the approach Cpt. Miller illustrated (and, to be fair, he did caveat this significantly), is that the team is spending time hanging around in the open street, rather than in a covered position - either on that low wall, or if they make contact during the hunt or pause orders.

That's fine if you're 100% sure your flanks are secure, of course, but that can go horribly wrong very quickly..

This is part of the reason why I think the actual room-clearing part is very secondary - if your focus is instead on avenues of movement to and from the target, on creating and restricting paths of mobility, the room clearing can almost take care of itself.

"Avoid rooftops" is also an interesting point, especially in CMSF with all of the flat roofs. Rooftops do give you the best visibility possible in MOUT, especially for crew-served weapons, and therefore controlling this space is important. That doesn't mean that you have to join the enemy on the rooftops - controlling this by fires (especially mortars) can be equally worthwhile.

Edited by domfluff

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On 11/1/2018 at 1:50 PM, domfluff said:

Platoon wants to turn this corner. This street is overwatched by a challenger from the start of the scenario, so it's reasonable to assume that all of these visible windows are free from enemy.

I do not fully agree with this.

Many times, I found it necessary to expose own infantry to the enemy in order to get them to shoot and reveal their positions to the vehicles.

Best regards,
Thomm

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I think from a scenario design point of view it's a reasonable assumption for this position - it's not really sporting to start a scenario with an in-progress ambush, and it's reasonable to assume that your setup is out of LOS and generally safe. Since each street has a Challenger covering it, I think that's a reasonable assumption, given that the briefing doesn't mention incoming RPG fire or whatever.

Same issue with briefings in general - briefings can be wrong, and inaccurate briefings can be used as part of the game, but there's a difference between mis-reporting the type of guns in the Brecourt Manor assault, and "surprising" the player with a platoon of Tigers. It's the difference between a "Fair" and an "Unfair" puzzle, if you like.

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1 hour ago, IanL said:

That is excellent. I like the hunt addition - I will look for opportunities to do that. Many times there is no intervening cover but when their is I like it. The only thing I tend to do is area target the building before / as the assault team enters. If I really do not think it is occupied then I will enter with out firing but if I think it might be then I will be targeting the building before the assault team enters. Ideally that would look like two teams firing one on the lower flow and one on the upper flow. Full target or target briefly commands. I would time it so that the firing on the lower flow stops slightly before the time the team gets to the low wall (in this example) and switch the firing on the upper floor to target light at the same time. You do not want any HE hitting the building while your guys are getting ready.

This is so any enemy troops in the upper floors are taking fire the whole time your guys are entering the lower floor and any enemy troops on the lower floor are taking fire as close as is safe before entry.

I agree, if you are trying to take down a building that you know is occupied, and you have to clear it, you want to dump as much fire into the building as possible without causing damage/suppression to your own men. 

1 hour ago, domfluff said:

The weakness in the approach Cpt. Miller illustrated (and, to be fair, he did caveat this significantly), is that the team is spending time hanging around in the open street, rather than in a covered position - either on that low wall, or if they make contact during the hunt or pause orders.

This is some of the nuance I mentioned. The main reason MOUT is so complicated is because there are literally hundreds of specific factors per building. In my example it is assumed that other known threats are being suppressed, or unknown threats are being looked out for. Perhaps imagine that the other buildings in the area are being observed by other squads. My example also assumes that the target building is not known to be occupied, hence the Hunt command. 

1 hour ago, domfluff said:

That's fine if you're 100% sure your flanks are secure, of course, but that can go horribly wrong very quickly..

In my example it is assumed that the flanks are in fact 100% secure. Again this is just for simplicity sake. 

1 hour ago, domfluff said:

This is part of the reason why I think the actual room-clearing part is very secondary - if your focus is instead on avenues of movement to and from the target, on creating and restricting paths of mobility, the room clearing can almost take care of itself.

I very much agree with this. If a building is occupied by the enemy, the last thing I want to do is try to enter that building. It is much safer to attempt to destroy the building, or at least the enemy within, before attempting entry. Ideally, room clearing is the act of confirming that a room is in fact empty. 

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5 hours ago, Thomm said:

The other thing that really disturbed me is that even in big buildings the soldiers could not move from floor to floor without being detected from the outside. Even a Syrian sniper team moving up inside the tall bank building got detected and fired upon. I found this very unrealistic! How would that happen in reality???!

Best regards,
Thomm

 

I feel you here. I lost my 1st platoon HQ (at least the CO and 2IC) from Syrian sniper fire, while they were (quick) moving into a position inside a building on the 3rd floor. I do think that hunt/move (or slow for best results) makes troops more difficult to spot.

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I don't think Hunt-ing into a building is the worst idea, but it's a bad idea for *clearing* - if there are (suppressed!) troops in there you want to get in and established as soon as possible, so Quick is probably the best option. Room clearing should still not be plan A though, although it's tempting.

If you're intending on entering an unoccupied building that might have oversight on an occupied one, then Slow, Move or Hunt may well be the best option, if the firefight is not already in progress - stealth matters more here than speed, since if you can engage in a firefight from a static position behind cover, you'll be in the best position available to you.

Edited by domfluff

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5 minutes ago, domfluff said:

I don't think Hunt-ing into a building is the worst idea, but it's a bad idea for *clearing* - if there are troops in there you want to get in and established as soon as possible, so Quick is probably the best option.

If you're intending on entering an unoccupied building that might have oversight on an occupied one, then Slow, Move or Hunt may well be the best option, if the firefight is not already in progress - stealth matters more here than speed, since if you can engage in a firefight from a static position behind cover, you'll be in the best position available to you.

Good point (hunt being bad for room clearing but not other tasks). To clarify my post, my HQ was moving into a building which one of their squads had occupied already for a couple of minutes. Given that the squad was occupying the first floor, I had the HQ moving up to the 3rd floor. Perhaps they fired a shot, not sure. 
Imo the best for stealth is move/slow coupled with 'hide' and a short covered arc.

Edit: After getting a foothold in the city the scenario isn't that hard, given the available firepower. Don't wan't to go into spoilers here, but I got a Syrian surrender when I had surrounded the objectives, setup some bases of fire and was slowly pushing forward. 5 WIA, 1 KIA (and some more yellow bases). I did reload a few times when soldiers/vehicles moved into weird spots and I was lucky with a couple of RPGs missing barely and or hitting trees and a ATGM that hit a tree and then the ground in front of a warrior. Don't be scared to hit the objectives with 30mm or 120mm, just not lay waste to them with 155mm artillery.

Edited by Lethaface

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Oh, another thought - Assault isn't nessecarily a bad idea for clearing either (but it usually is).

 

The circumstances where it's okay are when the building is isolated (you won't be receiving fire from surrounding buildings, on the way in or afterwards), and when the squad can reliably suppress whatever is in the building.

 

The SOP in that (very specific) instance would be to start a Target command, then an assault command just outside of the building, with a second target order from this point.

 

Using this combination, the stationary elements will be firing continuously into the building whilst the moving element leapfrogs. Assuming that your squad can reliably suppress the target, you're now safely into grenade/close assault range to finish things off.

 

In general, I don't think that's a good idea, especially because you don't have full control over where your fireteams choose to leapfrog, and you really don't want to leave them in the middle of a street.

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If I'm entering a cleared (or probably cleared) building, BUT that building is in enemy LOS, I'll Hunt. Hunt makes your guys less prone to being spotting. I'll give them a tight covered arc of ~10-20m. That way, if they spot the enemy, they won't freeze (unless the enemy is inside the covered arc).

This way I can infiltrate my units into buildings, and the upper floor of buildings, without the enemy spotting them.

That's about the only time I use Hunt going into a building.

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