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Company HQ close to action?

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How close to the action would the Company HQ and the XO teams be in real life?

I almost always keep them safe in a building or something like that, but Im guessing in reality they would have to fire their rifles once in a while?

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“The company commander posts himself where he can best direct and control the action. Whenever practicable he occupies an observation post from he can see all or at least the vital part of the company zone of action; observers are posted to watch the remainder of the front and flanks. His position must be able to communicate readily with the company command post, with the support, and with supporting weapons under his control. Whenever conditions make effective control of the entire company impracticable from such an observation post, he goes wherever he can best observe and control the action of that part of the company whose operations are most vital to success.”

FM 7-10 Rifle Company, Rifle Regiment date 02 June 1942 PP 20-21 refer.

Or put another way, there is no set distance, the commander needs to position themselves so that they can see the battle and influence it. That could be a tactical bound behind the lead platoon or it could be sat on a hill a couple of hundred metres behind the rifle platoons.

The stated distance for the Company Command post in the publication above is about 400m away from the front line. This is where the XO would hang out. The whole document is here:

https://archive.org/details/Fm7-10/page/n1

 

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But is there a benefit in CM in having the commander in sight of the battle, if he's in contact with the rest of his force via radio? The only benefit I can think of is being able to call arty strikes.

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13 minutes ago, Anson Pelmet said:

But is there a benefit in CM in having the commander in sight of the battle, if he's in contact with the rest of his force via radio? The only benefit I can think of is being able to call arty strikes.

That is an entirely different question. Over and above the ability to call in indirect fire, the extra pair of eyes is always helpful of course. My good friend @MOS:96B2P has an awesome thread that explains this. I'm sure he'll be along soon to point you at it. I'll save him the trouble - I've found it:

 

Edited by Combatintman

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7 hours ago, Swant said:

My quess is that airbourne HQ saw more action than infantry HQ

It is exactly that though, a guess and it is a moot point. The job of any HQ, whether airborne or not is to command, not put rounds downrange so if it spent all of its time fighting it wouldn't be doing its job. It works in the same way as any civilian enterprise, the managing director of a car firm doesn't improve their business by working on the assembly line, they improve it by ensuring that the right parts are ordered, finding and doing deals with the cheapest suppliers etc.

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So you dont think a company commander leding an assaulting goup of 10 scatterd men after the drop on d-day, wouldn't be any diffrent than a full size company assault?

He would just sit back and not put rounds downrange?

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1 hour ago, Swant said:

So you dont think a company commander leding an assaulting goup of 10 scatterd men after the drop on d-day, wouldn't be any diffrent than a full size company assault?

He would just sit back and not put rounds downrange?

His job in that scenario is to work out where the rest of his company is, establish communications with it, get it assembled and plan how that company is going to complete its assigned mission not urinating about playing Audie Murphy with about 1/10th of his combat power.

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13 hours ago, Swant said:

How close to the action would the Company HQ and the XO teams be in real life?

I almost always keep them safe in a building or something like that, but Im guessing in reality they would have to fire their rifles once in a while?

This was your original query. @Combatintman,  who does this for a living in RL, gave you a series of very useful and documented answers.

You could at least have the good grace to thank him for his efforts before getting cute with corner cases (if those are your Likes, fair enough).

(Thanks, CIMan!)

Edited by LongLeftFlank

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40 minutes ago, Swant said:

I don't know, Winters seems pretty engaged in this assault. He is the Company commander if I recall correctly.

 

 

You're right - you don't know and, as you love the clip so much, I'm surprised that you didn't pick up on the spelling of airborne on their shoulder titles.

Edited by Combatintman

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My quess is that airbourne HQ saw more action than infantry HQ

43 minutes ago, LongLeftFlank said:

This was your original query. @Combatintman,  who does this for a living in RL, gave you a series of very useful and documented answers.

You could at least have the good grace to thank him for his efforts before getting cute with corner cases (if those are your Likes, fair enough).

(Thanks, CIMan!)

Yes and I gave him a like for that answer.

But thats not the query were discussing now. This is:

   My quess is that airbourne HQ saw more action than infantry HQ

 

Im actually curious why he thinks that I was wrong there.

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"We're paratroopers, lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."

If the above happens to be where you're headed with that thought, sure, that's part of why paras and marines are elite troops, preferably hand picked for aggressiveness initiative and resilience.

But I see no reason that they'd choose to organize and deploy for combat too much differently than regular Infantry, other battle conditions being equal. Happy to be proven wrong....

In fact you might argue that para COs might see *less* action sometimes,  given that unlike regulars deployed on an established front line, they've dropped behind the lines and aren't getting shelled by anything heavier than mortars, at least for a while. Artillery is the true reaper of souls in war, as you know.

Fwiw. These aren't questions that lend themselves to ready answers....

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36 minutes ago, Swant said:

My quess is that airbourne HQ saw more action than infantry HQ

Yes and I gave him a like for that answer.

But thats not the query were discussing now. This is:

   My quess is that airbourne HQ saw more action than infantry HQ

 

Im actually curious why he thinks that I was wrong there.

Because you asked a question in the first place which should mean that you don't know the answer. You then guessed that an airborne company commander would fire his rifle more often than an infantry company commander. You then put up a clip from a TV series based on a book written by a discredited historian depicting an airborne company commander as your evidence. You have yet to produce anything that could be considered as evidence from either the airborne company commander or his line infantry equivalent.

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The answer to the question lies in who the company commander is.

Most would be that recommended distance back from the front line, directing their men from the rear in a sense, where they are somewhat safe and can keep communications flowing.

But as with anything else, some commanders are warriors and will place themselves in the thick of the fight. many times just to be able to understand what is going on by seeing it with their own eyes instead of relying on communications. When you put yourself in such a situation, then there is times you will be engaging in combat.

It has nothing to do with what unit they are in. It has to do with the person. Likely 1 in 10 would be that type of leader, where as, 7 in 10 will keep themselves safe as possible. and 2 in 10 will be more than safe and be even father removed from the fighting if possible.

Leading from the front is a way to command, it motivates the men under that leader. it also is a way to have a short career.

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Bringing this back to CM...

@MOS:96B2P's post linked above about information sharing and C2 is the place to go for info on the subject. @Combatintman has given some good info on the Company commander's job. I'll just add that my way of using the Company commander in CM is to be aware of the information sharing component and try to be as realistic as possible and the reason for that is that if a platoon commander becomes a casualty the Company commander can offer command to that platoon's squads. Keeping your front line units under command of their superior improves their performance.

As outlined by this post

Here is how that works:

 

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Would the XO be close to Co CO?  I thought the idea was that if the Co HQ gets blown up, the XO (who would be someplace safe?) could take over rather than getting blown up as well.

Or you saying that the Co Command Post has the XO while the Co CO would be closer to the front line so he can see stuff?   

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13 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Would the XO be close to Co CO?  I thought the idea was that if the Co HQ gets blown up, the XO (who would be someplace safe?) could take over rather than getting blown up as well.

Or you saying that the Co Command Post has the XO while the Co CO would be closer to the front line so he can see stuff?   

I don't know who the question is for but if it is to me then go and read the link in my first post in this thread.

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18 hours ago, Anson Pelmet said:

But is there a benefit in CM in having the commander in sight of the battle, if he's in contact with the rest of his force via radio? The only benefit I can think of is being able to call arty strikes.

Units radios (in the WW2 games) do not function when those units are on the move. And can sometimes take time to come back up. The visual communications do not suffer that disadvantage. Contact is kept even when both units are on the move so long as they can see each other. Same thing with the voice communications as so long as they are within about 50 meters (about 15 when hiding) contact is kept even when on the move.

So even though he has that radio the benefit to keeping him in sight of the battle continues to be that the can keep in contact with his force. Think about all those times that you move your platoon commanders. Every time that happens the chain is cut. I would say that adds up to being quite a lot of time out of contact with his force. And maybe not being in contact when it matters.

Having said that I'm also guilty of hiding him away most of the time.

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In game benefits is harder to tell as to keeping command structure. All I try to do is keep the red lines that show units are communicating. l don't worry much about what form of communication. so platoon leaders are normally behind the front line squad, generally in the middle. the company command is behind the platoon leader, also normally behind the middle unit.

If a platoon leader is lost, then I send the company command up to help that platoon keep communications.

the game does a good job of letting you mimic how it should work in the field.

So in game company commanders generally stay out of the fight unless things are bad and I need all hands on deck.

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This has come up before, even back in the old CMBO days when CM was closer to its hex wargame roots,  but in Elite and Iron modes it would be interesting to introduce a limit on the total number of units (% of total in play) the player could issue commands to each WeGo turn. Not sure of the RT equivalent, but it could mitigate the 'speed chess' clickfest issue that makes RT H2H a rarity for most of us.

1. The limit would be set based on: 

(a) formation quality (reflecting likelihood of units to take initiative);

(b) comms, using a 1-5 scale set by the designer to reflect radios/wire, visibility, terrain, atmospherics etc. (emplaced defenders would usually be a point higher?)

2. Units in command all the way up to the top HQ (the player) would be exempt from the limit. This could also tempt the top dog to go forward and get things moving.... at his own risk, which speaks to the thread topic.

3. Elite status units (exceptional self-reliance) and units not yet in contact (Rested, zero Alerted status) might also be exempt, so the entire formation can advance to contact before all hell breaks loose.

4. Emergency cancel/bugout commands, Hide/Unhide or Face would not count against the limit; units would always be allowed basic self preservation orders. Specialized orders like artillery direction could also be exempt.

5. Not everyone would dig these limits of course, as it would discourage excessive micro and squad splitting, and place greater reliance on the TacAI.

But it would arguably be more realistic, and the "in command" exemption would make CM much more of a Command game, as opposed to shoving orders at 300 'should be' Audie Murphies each turn. Men take fire, go to ground, defend themselves. They aren't necessarily keen to get up and going again all at once.

Thoughts?

EDIT: I have no expectation whatever of this being introduced, it's just for discussion.

Edited by LongLeftFlank

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It would be neat if in addition to radio contact being lost when units move, C2 links also broke when the HQ team fired their weapons. It would add an incentive to keep HQs with tight covered arcs. I've always thought it was a little gamey to order my platoon leaders and their radio operators to lay down fire while *simultaneously* calling in artillery. 

This would get even more interesting if combined with a command system like the one @LongLeftFlank suggests. In other words, if the limit of units available to be commanded decreased when the intermediate HQs were moving, firing, or suppressed.

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In prior discussions of this idea, a standard rejoinder has been that the chaos of war is already baked into the In Command logic: you can issue as many orders as you like,  but can never be sure how soon guys out of command (and Shaken) will respond, if at all. 

Fair point of course, but

1. I never feel like out of command delay is significant enough. Morale and troop quality seems far more weighty. (And let's face it, 'my dudes don't do what I tell them! WTF!?' really ticks off FPS gamers)

2. At present, formations already in battle can change plans/course en bloc *far* too quickly to react to unexpected developments,  and with far too much cohesion. Even a unit in full command shouldn't be able to swarm onto a sector counterattack instantly, especially in forest or bocage, or at night.

.. In fact, night actions should be by default: as soon as plan A goes to heck there is NO prospect of plan B. Get your men out of the meat grinder...

2. Putting the move limit in  would restrict that kind of reactivity to high quality, good order formations only, and even they couldn't go all at once.

3. Overall, it would streamline play and add back a  command 'chess' element to the game. You must focus your limited micro/command allotment on the schwerpunkt, and also make the most of your few dependable elite leaders and Sgt.  Rocks. The less important sectors are left to stagnate until they can be given attention and new orders. 

Btw, I also believe that in an WW2 infantry game, armour support should always be out of Command by default. Directing it, even in close proximity,  should be akin to calling artillery....

Edited by LongLeftFlank

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Any command delay or limit on the number of commands falls short for one important reason: in CM the player assumes all leadership roles from the battalion on down to the squad (and at times team leader). The squad Sargent should always be able to issue orders to his men. To him the macro situation and higher level planning is largely irrelevant if he is in the middle of a firefight or in danger or with his path blocked. His leadership on those, right now, right in front of him, issues is not hampered by delays in comms from the Lt Col three levels up.

So, any time anyone cooks up a system that means I cannot have my squads conduct themselves in a sensible way just because the company on the other side of the map is changing its plans I'll be pointing this problem out and advocating that whatever that game mechanic is gets dropped from consideration.

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Please continue to do so @IanL.

When I wish to wax nostalgic; I'll install CM1 and quickly realize that in the olden days of command delays it wasn't all that fun nor realistic after all!

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