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Bil Hardenberger

CMSF 2 - Co-op AAR (Bil v IanL) Using Realism Rules

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1 hour ago, IanL said:

Now you guys are starting to get complex. What I liked about @Bil Hardenberger's proposal and the way this works in practice is that is it simple. You don't have a lot to remember and you don't have stuff to write down. As much as some of the more complex schemes people have come up with are interesting I don't think they would be any fun to play.

I don't know Ian, I think there is room for a few more rules.. ;)  .. as long as they are simple to understand, are easy to implement, and still support the intent of these rules which is to emphasize command and control.  You are right though... they need to be kept manageable.

I do think the Cover Arc use as outlined above could be improved, and I do like @IICptMillerII's idea of national characteristics... I think that would be simple enough to implement and could add an interesting twist to the game play.

Bil

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To be honest, I think a lot of what might be termed "national characteristics" in ASL (or Crossfire, Combat Commander, or anything similar) are doctrinal or logistical differences, which are often baked into the unit structures, equipment, or not relevant at CM scale.

For example, three-tank Syrian/Russian platoons can't effectively perform bounding overwatch in buddy-sections, since there's no easy way to break down the unit. That means that you're lead towards using them as a single unit, and bounding with six tanks total, one platoon covering the other. In a similar vein, the WW2 British infantry section breaks down into Bren group and manoeuvre element, and the default squad splits support this behaviour in-game.

Simulationist design has had this argument for decades, of course - whether you should model, say, Italian soldiers as inherently worse, since they performed comparatively badly in WW2. The position that CM takes is ostensibly that Regular troops are Regular troops, regardless of nationality (which I think is actually the more complex position to take, ultimately), but clearly equipment does make a difference. Body armour, Night Vision gear, a full set of magazines, etc. certainly push a Regular US infantryman over a Regular Uncon with an AK and a hope.

I think there's room for both models, but it's worth being careful how one models "Design for effect" versus Cause.

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@domfluff interesting arguments... however we aren't talking logistics and unit organization limiting effects, but command and control as I'm sure you understand.  A western style unit in WW2; US, British, or German, had much better lower echelon control than did the Soviet and Italian armies. 

In 1940 the Germans were far more tactically flexible than the French and this showed up most dramatically in the tank war where the Germans with their radio equipped tank formations could easily out fight the French even though in many cases the French had the superior tank designs.. same goes for the early war in Russia... the infantry war was similar, though I admit that in WW2 the armies on the Western front armies would not be too different from each other, other than the Italians..  however in the modern games (CMSF 2, and CMBS) the Russian or Russian proxy units would be far less flexible than the NATO and US formations.

That is the type of effect that I am sure @IICptMillerII is interested in.. me too as it turns out.

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38 minutes ago, domfluff said:

I think there's room for both models, but it's worth being careful how one models "Design for effect" versus Cause.

I do think this line is worth calling out, and I 100% agree with you.

Bil

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A question regarding command and control, if the platoon leader is killed or if the platoon HQ is wiped out are any fire orders/movement orders allowed at all?

 

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42 minutes ago, nathangun said:

A question regarding command and control, if the platoon leader is killed or if the platoon HQ is wiped out are any fire orders/movement orders allowed at all?

You can always move.. regardless of your C2 state... as for losing a leader, well someone will always be in charge so the game will take care of that.  For example, lose a Platoon Leader and then 1st Squad Leader takes over.. the other squads in that platoon will be out of C2 until the 1st Squad Leader can collect them.  In the current rules C2 really only effects Area Fire anyway.

Bil

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I do think the Cover Arc use as outlined above could be improved, and I do like @IICptMillerII's idea of national characteristics... I think that would be simple enough to implement and could add an interesting twist to the game play.

I'm pretty sure the national characteristics are already built in.....Blue's (ie: modern western forces) advantages are (IMHO) already modelled in their undirected (TacAI controlled) fire and their vastly superior communications/spotting. 

Surely adding what will effectively become further bonuses in play would only serve to increase their already considerable advantage?  :unsure:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

AF-Type 2

  1. Players can order a unit to area fire on an AS that has a tentative contact that is known only to said unit
  2. The squad leader is directing fire

Hi @Bil Hardenberger what is the intent of this rule? To account for reaction fire? 

And if the Platoon leader gets fragged, can you use the Coy CO or XO instead?

 

PS: Apologies if the question has been already made up thread, writing this from my phone.

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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1 hour ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

You can always move.. regardless of your C2 state... as for losing a leader, well someone will always be in charge so the game will take care of that.  For example, lose a Platoon Leader and then 1st Squad Leader takes over.. the other squads in that platoon will be out of C2 until the 1st Squad Leader can collect them.  In the current rules C2 really only effects Area Fire anyway.

Bil

 

Ha ok, so it's just AF then. Thanks for the prompt reply. 

 

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39 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Hi @Bil Hardenberger what is the intent of this rule? To account for reaction fire? 

And if the Platoon leader gets fragged, can you use the Coy CO or XO instead?

Miguel, that rule was to allow units that are on recon duties or separated from the main body the ability to recon by fire or protect themselves. 

Not sure about the second part of your question as the PL is not required for this rule. 

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11 minutes ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

Not sure about the second part of your question as the PL is not required for this rule. 

My bad - that was written on the go too.

The second part refers to AF-Types 1 and 3.

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3 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

@domfluff interesting arguments... however we aren't talking logistics and unit organization limiting effects, but command and control as I'm sure you understand.  A western style unit in WW2; US, British, or German, had much better lower echelon control than did the Soviet and Italian armies. 

In 1940 the Germans were far more tactically flexible than the French and this showed up most dramatically in the tank war where the Germans with their radio equipped tank formations could easily out fight the French even though in many cases the French had the superior tank designs.. same goes for the early war in Russia... the infantry war was similar, though I admit that in WW2 the armies on the Western front armies would not be too different from each other, other than the Italians..  however in the modern games (CMSF 2, and CMBS) the Russian or Russian proxy units would be far less flexible than the NATO and US formations.

That is the type of effect that I am sure @IICptMillerII is interested in.. me too as it turns out.

Yes, that is the effect I was thinking of, and I agree that it is likely much more relevant in the modern titles than the WWII titles. My thinking didn't extend past area target commands, though I'm sure it could be extended to cover more, like the target arc rule you mentioned. 

I also agree with @IanL and @domfluff that additional rulesets should be streamlined. They are right to point out that a single turn in CM can already take a while to tackle without additional rules/conditions applied on top. Though, I would point out that in the case of my area target idea, I don't think it would negatively impact either side that much. OpFor would require higher levels of leadership to do the same thing as BluFor, yes, but at the same time OpFor is meant to be played at a higher scale anyways. Platoons are more like large squads, and companies like platoons, in practical effect on the battlefield. If anything, the additional 'national characteristics' may encourage players to play more towards the doctrinal strengths of each side. An OpFor platoon that acts more as a single cohesive unit is more effective in combat than if they are split up and used like a BluFor platoon. I could go on but I don't want to belabor the point and distract from the AAR.

That said, I do think the rules as they are are good, and I'm excited to see how they play out once both sides really come into contact. 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

My bad - that was written on the go too.

The second part refers to AF-Types 1 and 3.

Though I want to say yes..  I think it would be tough to make a determination with those HQ units with regard to C2.  But really that kind of micro-managing should be left within the Platoon structure.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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2 minutes ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

But really that kind of micro-managing should be left within the Platoon structure.

I am in agreement with that, even if the same problem would arise with regard the 1st (surviving) squad leader. As far as I know, C2 links do not reconfigure as casualties start to whittle down the command structure.

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13 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I don't know Ian, I think there is room for a few more rules.. ;)  .. as long as they are simple to understand, are easy to implement, and still support the intent of these rules which is to emphasize command and control.  You are right though... they need to be kept manageable.

I do think the Cover Arc use as outlined above could be improved, and I do like @IICptMillerII's idea of national characteristics... I think that would be simple enough to implement and could add an interesting twist to the game play.

Bil

LOL sure I guess :)  I am not sure how rules regarding cover arc would really help. As many people know, my views on cover arcs are that they are for preventing your men from firing and that's pretty much it. I only use them to keep teams from revealing their position or for forcing teams or vehicles to only target enemy armour. So, a system that creates a bunch of restrictions on when I can set cover arcs would be - yawn - uninteresting.

 

11 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

You can always move.. regardless of your C2 state... as for losing a leader, well someone will always be in charge so the game will take care of that.  For example, lose a Platoon Leader and then 1st Squad Leader takes over.. the other squads in that platoon will be out of C2 until the 1st Squad Leader can collect them.  In the current rules C2 really only effects Area Fire anyway.

Bil

We didn't really talk much about that. Another thing to consider is that the company HQ unit can direct a platoon. This could also be a good candidate for some national differences. Perhaps some nations really should be unable to direct area fire if their platoon leader and his assistant are a casualties.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, IanL said:

LOL sure I guess :)  I am not sure how rules regarding cover arc would really help. As many people know, my views on cover arcs are that they are for preventing your men from firing and that's pretty much it. I only use them to keep teams from revealing their position or for forcing teams or vehicles to only target enemy armour. So, a system that creates a bunch of restrictions on when I can set cover arcs would be - yawn - uninteresting.

Well.. even in your description as a control of when and when not open fire. that is a Control (the second C in Command and Control) and in real life, in many cases, is the responsibility of the Platoon Leader (and probably the Company CO in Soviet style formations)... especially when identifying limits of fire for each squad/team, etc..  So IMO it is a good candidate for some restrictions.

Here is an example of a Platoon Sector Sketch.. zones of responsibility are shown as cover arcs.  I may be one of the few people who use cover arcs for this purpose in game during my planning.  But then I have often been brought to task for my use of cover arcs (especially when I use tight cover arcs)... but hey, it works for me in most cases as it concentrates a unit's eyes in the area I want them focused on.

Platoon+Sector+Sketch.png

1 hour ago, IanL said:

We didn't really talk much about that. Another thing to consider is that the company HQ unit can direct a platoon. This could also be a good candidate for some national differences. Perhaps some nations really should be unable to direct area fire if their platoon leader and his assistant are a casualties.

Absolutely worth diving into and exploring the potential of your points here.  

We are all just chatting right now waiting for the next turn to get posted (won't be one from me today, sorry), so this back and forth discussion is good!  Also, not everybody is going to agree and that's okay.

Bil

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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I really like the idea of enforcing cover arcs for my squads, but I think the reason I'd shy away from that is that is that they're very easy to screw up, and it's not 100% what the response is going to be to something outside of arc.

If the unexpected happens, I'd like for my squads to be able to react, and often the covered arc will prevent or limit their ability to do so.

Is that limitation realistic? I don't know, but it doesn't feel right. Would a squad told to watch a particular treeline refuse to fire on a halftrack that appears to their left? It's possible, but it doesn't seem correct to me.

 

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2 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

Well.. even in your description as a control of when and when not open fire. that is a Control (the second C in Command and Control) and in real life, in many cases, is the responsibility of the Platoon Leader (and probably the Company CO in Soviet style formations)... especially when identifying limits of fire for each squad/team, etc..  So IMO it is a good candidate for some restrictions.

My point is though putting restrictions on *setting* covered arcs is not a real restriction. I and many players effectively don't use them so adding restrictions on using them is moot.

 

1 hour ago, domfluff said:

I really like the idea of enforcing cover arcs for my squads, but I think the reason I'd shy away from that is that is that they're very easy to screw up, and it's not 100% what the response is going to be to something outside of arc.

If the unexpected happens, I'd like for my squads to be able to react, and often the covered arc will prevent or limit their ability to do so.

Ah, now being forced to use covered arc - that would be restriction. I would hate that because...

 

1 hour ago, domfluff said:

Is that limitation realistic? I don't know, but it doesn't feel right. Would a squad told to watch a particular treeline refuse to fire on a halftrack that appears to their left? It's possible, but it doesn't seem correct to me.

Exactly. If you want a squad to watch a particular treeline the use the face command - so they are facing said tree line. Then if a halftrack shows up outside that they will target it. If you really really don't want your squad to defend themselves from unforeseen threats then by all means set a cover arc :D

 

2 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

We are all just chatting right now waiting for the next turn to get posted (won't be one from me today, sorry), so this back and forth discussion is good!  Also, not everybody is going to agree and that's okay.

For sure. I have a write up in the works - hopefully I'll get it out over lunch...

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1 minute ago, IanL said:

Ah, now being forced to use covered arc - that would be restriction. I would hate that because...

Mostly I was thinking about the earlier discussion, around the use of Target and what a platoon leader's role is - Bil suggested you could define fire sectors with covered arcs, to get around the lack of "Target" in this ruleset, to still allow for control of fires.

I like the idea of that, but (I think) not with one minute turns.

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5 minutes ago, domfluff said:

Mostly I was thinking about the earlier discussion, around the use of Target and what a platoon leader's role is - Bil suggested you could define fire sectors with covered arcs, to get around the lack of "Target" in this ruleset, to still allow for control of fires.

I like the idea of that, but (I think) not with one minute turns.

I am curious... what is your issue with the one minute turns?  

I find it interesting that @IanL rarely uses covered arcs... yeah, in that case any rule for using them would really be just a hindrance.  I would never sign on a for a rule that forced them on somebody... this is a game after all and still needs to be fun to play.

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6 minutes ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I find it interesting that @IanL rarely uses covered arcs...

Perhaps I should explain here so people get what I am talking about.

2 hours ago, domfluff said:

Would a squad told to watch a particular treeline refuse to fire on a halftrack that appears to their left?

The above is an excellent example of why I don't use them much. The effect of a cover arc in the game is to prevent firing outside of said arc. You almost never actually want that. Here are the two or three times I do use them:

  1. Circular cover arc to prevent a unit from firing on whatever the spot. Cover arcs are designed for preventing firing. These I use for scout teams, HQ teams, FO teams so they can defend themselves if they accidentally get close but also stop them from firing on anything they spot since I don't really want them to reveal them selves.
  2. Circular armour cover arc to prevent a unit from firing on infantry when I would really prefer them to use their assets on enemy armour. For example I give tanks an armour only cover arc that is big enough to cover the whole map. I use this to prevent tanks from fire HE on enemy positions that I already have infantry assaulting - prevents friendly fire casulties. Or more importantly Shreck, Bazooka, RPG and Javelin teams get a circular armour cover arc so they don't shoot at enemy infantry when their real job is to fire on enemy armour. Again I don't want them to fire and reveal themselves unless they are targeting something important.
  3. 180 degree cover arc for instances where the face command is not appropriate. Here are two times that might happen - tanks driving West East when the threat is to the North and positioning a heavy weapons team that I don't want to fire right away but I do want to control what windows they setup looking out.

Item 3 I consider high risk and I only do that when the risk of not doing so is higher. In both cases I want that cover arc off ASAP and it is always 180 degrees - ish.

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47 minutes ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I am curious... what is your issue with the one minute turns?  

No problem with on minute turns - any arbitrary line is going to be a compromise.

I do have a problem if the arc means that you spend 59 seconds of that minute holding fire against a new threat out of arc - a mistake, to be sure, but one that doesnt look all that plausible to me.

I use covered arcs a lot, but mostly for a limited set of reasons - 

Holding fire entirely. This happens all the time. This is fantasic with HQ units that need to be sharing C2 rather than fighting, scouts, etc. Usually these are small circular arcs, sometimes these are short directional ones for facing.

Ambushes and kill zones. Good when you get the chance.

Aiming tank turrets. In the odd situation where this is useful (coming around a building towards a known contact, for example), this can be the difference between winning or losing a tank duel. Saving a couple of seconds of turret traverse can be all it takes.

 

...that's about it for me. The downsides ("what if something goes wrong") otherwise outweigh the benefits for me.

 

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The tank sop has to be preceded by really good recon, but what I do:

 

Look at the exposed waypoint top-down, and estimate clock direction to the target position (say, 2 o'clock)

Set the covered arc from the tank's current position (or any one order before being exposed) with an arc which is wider than you think you need. This arc needs to centre on the 2 o'clock position, but might run from 12 to 4 or so.

Arcs are absolute, not relative, so a moving arc will move with the tank, not the target.

This has to be from a prior position if you want the turret to turn before breaking cover.

 

The turret will point at the centre of this arc, and your movement orders can be placed - clearly the last order should be hunt, so that the armour can potentially take advantage of the blocking terrain.

 

It's still a risk, but the payoff in this case is that you save turret traverse time, which can be sufficient margin to win the exchange.

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49 minutes ago, domfluff said:

It's still a risk, but the payoff in this case is that you save turret traverse time, which can be sufficient margin to win the exchange.

Or you can use a covered approach and make sure your final movement segment is in the direction of the target. That way you are covered if something unexpected appears and you are still facing the right direction when contact is possible.

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Yeah, but not always (which is why it's only in odd situations) - if you're coming down a row of houses, and need to target something at ninety degrees, you may not be able to make a move in the right direction.

Again, not always, but sometimes being in control of your turret can be extremely useful.

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