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TacAI stupidity: Stryker infantry opens hatches to shoot and die instatly

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On 12/14/2019 at 4:38 PM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Still not seen this happen.  :mellow:

So, I have, but it's usually a consequence of incorrect use.

As a test, try setting up a quick battle with a US squad in a stryker against some uncons in a city, and just roll up the streets. If you're perhaps 100m away from an occupied building, the airguards will pop out and join in the fire. That's a terrible situation to be in, and the reaction is one of desperation - if any of those had an RPG, the squad would be killed, so I don't think it's unreasonable to put as much fire down as you can, right now.

Naturally, Strykers should maintain range (or indeed, not have LOS at all) with any potential or known enemies, disembarking one terrain feature away. Their power is in mobility and (importantly) C2 - with careful management of C2 structure and scouts, your squads can have a really good idea (contact markers) about what they're going to disembark into. If the Strykers are used for their firepower at all, it's for long ranged supporting fires, preferably hull down, and often after the infantry start the engagement.

Strykers are great. They're not Bradleys, BMPs or even BTRs, they're their own beast. Like a lot of things in Shock Force, they over-match a lot of the Syrian equipment significantly.

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Posted (edited)

I´ve played alot of CMSF2 since release and never seen this but its likely because I don´t bring mounted Strykers into close combat.

Imagining a RPG team would approach my fully packed Stryker from the flank or rear I definitely would prefer the airguard to open up and engage it with all means. If I do not wish for this behaviour I simply issue a small fire arc command to the mounts which is CM2 games´ equivalent for "hold fire". Nothing to do with fake but common pactice and fundamental game mechanic. 

CM players come with very different skill levels, approaches, put themselves into different situations, and have different opinions about certain TacAI aspects which is perfectly fine but this makes it hard for the devs/TacAI to satisfy everyone. Options are the way to go then and in this case all options are present: Permanent airguard (open up), default self defense (do nothing),  player defined self-defense zone (target arc), keep your heads down no matter what (tiny target arc).

One minor thing I would debate is the behaviour of gunners automatically reloading their external weapons systems which might put them into serious harms way and sometimes is hard to account for, like BMP gunners reloading their ATGMs in the midst of combat. When recording the R2V New Vehicles Showcase I´ve noticed that the Stug with the gunner´s remote controlled MG only exposes himself to reload the belt when "open up" is issued. I think this is quiet an intelligent solution which I would welcome to see for vehicles such as CMSF2´s BMPs.

Edited by Aquila-CM

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2 hours ago, Aquila-CM said:

Permanent airguard (open up), default self defense (do nothing),  player defined self-defense zone (target arc), keep your heads down no matter what (tiny target arc).

+1  This.  

 

2 hours ago, Aquila-CM said:

I´ve noticed that the Stug with the gunner´s remote controlled MG only exposes himself to reload the belt when "open up" is issued. 

Interesting.  I'll have to watch for this behavior. 

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8 hours ago, domfluff said:

So, I have, but it's usually a consequence of incorrect use.

As a test, try setting up a quick battle with a US squad in a stryker against some uncons in a city, and just roll up the streets. If you're perhaps 100m away from an occupied building, the airguards will pop out and join in the fire. That's a terrible situation to be in, and the reaction is one of desperation - if any of those had an RPG, the squad would be killed, so I don't think it's unreasonable to put as much fire down as you can, right now.

Naturally, Strykers should maintain range (or indeed, not have LOS at all) with any potential or known enemies, disembarking one terrain feature away. Their power is in mobility and (importantly) C2 - with careful management of C2 structure and scouts, your squads can have a really good idea (contact markers) about what they're going to disembark into. If the Strykers are used for their firepower at all, it's for long ranged supporting fires, preferably hull down, and often after the infantry start the engagement.

Strykers are great. They're not Bradleys, BMPs or even BTRs, they're their own beast. Like a lot of things in Shock Force, they over-match a lot of the Syrian equipment significantly.

I don't know why the Americans didn't just buy (or license) the LAV III instead of going with Strykers and belatedly making a version with a cannon.

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On 1/6/2020 at 12:38 PM, domfluff said:

So, I have, but it's usually a consequence of incorrect use.

I'd argue about incorrect. The area was well reconnoitered - there were no RPG teams. As an added precaution the runs from cover to cover (houses) were short so RPGs wouldn't have had time to aim. Strykers were close to 200m from the enemy squads - first shot P-to-hit is negligible for under-trained Syrian RPG team. So Strykers were used more or less as intended - battle taxis shielding infantry from small arms fire until they are unloaded in a safe place. And after all airguards correctly identified the enemy as MMGs that do not open on Strykers unless someone buttons up. Yet that's exactly what stupid TacAI decided to do. 

Edited by IMHO

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My understanding of Stryker doctrine was that the vehicle is supposed to be dismounted one terrain feature away from the target. In close terrain, the manual talks constantly about infantry leading on foot through built-up areas, with the vehicle providing close support.
 

Quote

URBAN 3-62.

When moving in an urban area, squads and platoons use modified variations of the traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch movement techniques. The ICVs and MGSs, if available, can be in overwatch behind the dismounted elements. The vehicles require dismounted Infantry to provide local security. Dismounted squads and fire teams may use the modified wedge (file or column) to move through restricted terrain or to take advantage of available cover.

Quote

3-194. ICVs have the following strengths in an urban environment:

• ICVs can provide protection to Infantry by negating the effects of enemy small-arms weapons, either by driving Soldiers up to a building or by covering the Infantry while moving behind it along a street.
• ICVs can resupply units quickly and with more ammunition than by foot.
• Because of their armor protection, ICVs can conduct casualty evacuation under fire.
• With add-on and slat armor, ICVs are protected against small-arms, heavy machine gun, and handheld antiarmor weapons. They are also protected against 152-mm fragmentation.

3-195. ICVs have the following limitations in an urban environment:

• If buttoned up, crewmen in ICVs have poor all-round vision through their vision blocks. They are easily blinded by smoke or dust.
• ICVs have only a local defense weapon system mounted. Once the Infantry has dismounted and is not supporting the vehicle, its firepower is diminished.
• ICVs are vulnerable to automatic cannon, heavy antiarmor fire, and antiarmor mines.

 

Now, "ICVs can provide protection to Infantry by negating the effects of enemy small-arms weapons, either by driving Soldiers up to a building or by covering the Infantry while moving behind it along a street." is the strongest counter-argument from "SBCT Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad". I'd argue that that's still a really bad idea, at least in CM, and relying on a Stryker as armour or cover is pretty far down the list of correct procedures.

Essentially, I don't think it's ever a good idea to engage with loaded Strykers within Small arms range. I'm also not sure how you guarantee in an urban environment that there are zero RPGs, when a single one would be disastrous.

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3 hours ago, domfluff said:

I'd argue that that's still a really bad idea, at least in CM, and relying on a Stryker as armour or cover is pretty far down the list of correct procedures.

Essentially, I don't think it's ever a good idea to engage with loaded Strykers within Small arms range. I'm also not sure how you guarantee in an urban environment that there are zero RPGs, when a single one would be disastrous.

So what do you do in CM - you dismount infantry at the staging phase and spend another hour moving to contact on foot? In many cases in CMSF there're no terrain features "one feature away", it's an open plain right up to the built-up AO. Just like it was in my particular case. So do you suggest I should walk squads on foot for about a kilometer under heavy enemy fire instead of suppressing first line of buildings from afar and then making a quick dash to cover to this first line of buildings?

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Would I walk them for a kilometre under heavy fire? No, that sounds daft. Would I run the Stykers forward under heavy fire? No, not that either. You have 120mm mortars for a reason.

That kind of frontal assault against a fortified enemy doesn't sound like the kind of thing you'd want light infantry for in any case, but if you were forced to do so, then the ideal would be to use that mobility to isolate the area. "One feature away" doesn't have to be literal, since that one feature could be the next city block or whatever.

In any case, the idea of disembarking within small arms range seems like rolling the dice - you'd be relying on your suppression to be effective and complete, and doesn't leave any margin for error.

If this was a hypothetical situation where light infantry were advancing across flat, open ground to an entrenched opposition, forced into a frontal assault?
"Don't have a battle" is the relevant Terry Pratchett quote, but really the only choice there is to dismount at distance and fire and movement your way in slowly, accepting the casualties.

The main advantages of the Stryker are mobility and C2. That's what they're for, and why they're useful. Your dismounts will have a better view of the battlefield (i.e., contact markers) than other dismounts will, allowing them to react faster to them.

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Leaving RL aside for a moment, in the game, an assault supported by Strykers works if they are massed together and provide mass covering fire while remaining around 500M+  from the position the inf are trying to assault.  As enemy fire decreases, the Strykers can move closer in.

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18 hours ago, domfluff said:

If this was a hypothetical situation where light infantry were advancing across flat, open ground to an entrenched opposition, forced into a frontal assault?
"Don't have a battle" is the relevant Terry Pratchett quote, but really the only choice there is to dismount at distance and fire and movement your way in slowly, accepting the casualties.

So you say I should avoid playing some scenarios altogether or at least go for sure losses instead of just a (non existent - see below) risk of same losses because that's not the dogmatic use of Strykers as written in some Field Manuals? 😨

18 hours ago, domfluff said:

In any case, the idea of disembarking within small arms range seems like rolling the dice - you'd be relying on your suppression to be effective and complete, and doesn't leave any margin for error.

I guess you didn't do extensive "lab" tests of CMxx, did you? There's no margin of error in suppression in CM. Suppression unlike spotting is more or less an exact science in CM. You don't need to GUESS about suppression - you look up the weapon dwell time in an Excel table, you count the seconds and voila and you KNOW the unit is now suppressed.

Edited by IMHO

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1 hour ago, IMHO said:

So you say I should avoid playing some scenarios altogether or at least go for sure losses instead of just a (non existent - see below) risk of same losses because that's not the dogmatic use of Strykers as written in some Field Manuals? 😨

I guess you didn't do extensive "lab" tests of CMxx, did you? There's no margin of error in suppression in CM. Suppression unlike spotting is more or less an exact science in CM. You don't need to GUESS about suppression - you look up the weapon dwell time in an Excel table, you count the seconds and voila and you KNOW the unit is now suppressed.

I'm sorry, I'm not sure what your problem is here. It feels like you're intentionally taking this in bad faith, and it's getting a little tiresome.

To respond to the above:

"Should I avoid playing some scenarios". That's not what I said, nor what I intended, as I'm sure you're aware. The initial comment was about the correct use of the tool, and if the tool is being used incorrectly, it's not going to have the intended results. If a scenario forces you into a frontal assault against the odds, then you're not performing correct function, and won't have a good result.

"Suppression unlike spotting is more or less an exact science in CM". CM is a game of hidden information. You can never be 100% certain of the state of everything. In a controlled test, it's certainly possible to get close to deterministic results, although variance in accuracy will always render that probabilistic. The lack of perfect information will make that significantly worse, which would inevitably be the case with suppressing suspected enemy positions. Good recon helps, but it's never going to catch everything.

Fundamentally though, the crux of the argument is:

From both a doctrinal and game perspective, running up Strykers into small arms range, particularly in an urban environment is a bad idea.

Do you think that's wrong? Why?

 

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An amateur's view...

The entire purpose of the Stryker was strategic mobility, not tactical mobility.  The Stryker was developed to give infantry something more than a truck, which has limited tactical usefulness, and marching.  And to also be able to be deployed by lighter air transport.  Then once on the ground, be faster and more mobile than a truck or foot.

The main strategic component, beyond mobility, was to be information.  The ability to integrate tactical and some strategic information for use in removing FOW for tactical commanders was supposed to be the secret sauce.  And in the game and in real life, people are trying to use Strykers like faster Bradleys.  In game, its the fault of players and scenario designers.  And of course, at design time, budgets were a factor as well.

In Steel Beasts, there are a number of Stryker-like vehicles.  There are even Stryker Dragoon-like vehicles, like DF-30s and BTR-82As.  In current modern armies, there is a wave of wheeled APC/IFVs that have come through.  SB shows that these vehicles do well in low-intensity combat and where you need to move long distances reliably and quickly.  But as soon as you hit serious enemy forces, you need to drop infantry and move back to cover.  Those wheeled APCs/IFVs get chewed up very quickly.  They are limited in how they can be successfully deployed for combat.  One thing SB also shows is that sending unsupported Stryker-like units across open fields is not good if limiting casualties is your goal.  You better make sure you recon real well.

Again, just an amateur's view from playing CM and SB.

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7 hours ago, domfluff said:

CM is a game of hidden information... The lack of perfect information will make that significantly worse, which would inevitably be the case with suppressing suspected enemy positions.

Sorry, but I don't think it makes sense to continue this discussion before you get at least a 100 tests on suppression under your belt. As of now you pull your ideas out of thin air.

3 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

And in the game and in real life, people are trying to use Strykers like faster Bradleys.

IMO in this particular case the Stryker's use is different from Bradley's. I use Stryker's speed not the Bradley's armor or Bradley's capability to suppress adversaries before they even have a chance to lay a shot. In my CM experience trying to quick-dash a Bradley from cover to cover under credible RPG threat is a recipe for disaster - Bradley's too slow. While Stryker is good at it if one does not get greedy about a distance to cover in one hop and provides Stryker with enough room to gain speed before exposing itself.

Edited by IMHO

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On 12/14/2019 at 11:38 AM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Still not seen this happen.  :mellow:

My Strykers seem absolutely rock fekkin solid TBH:

iMhr1O8.jpg

Same here.

The only major casualties I suffer are when gunners unbutton to reload a weapon, or use a pintle-mounted weapon.

When buttoned up, no infantry attempt to shoot from the air defense hatches.

 

On 12/21/2019 at 1:51 PM, IMHO said:

And I don't remember such a problem in CMSF1 though I'm too lazy to install it for a test by now :(

CMSF1 had this issue in spades, to the point I eventually stopped transporting infantry by strykers anywhere within 400 meters of enemy positions.

I think the behavior you are seeing is a result of transport far too close to enemy positions, that the infantry riding in the vehicle actually feels the need to poke their heads out and shoot to protect the vehicle. I suppose you could give a Hide command to anyone riding in a vehicle. That might sort you out.

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On 1/17/2020 at 4:59 AM, IMHO said:

I'd argue about incorrect. The area was well reconnoitered - there were no RPG teams. As an added precaution the runs from cover to cover (houses) were short so RPGs wouldn't have had time to aim. Strykers were close to 200m from the enemy squads - first shot P-to-hit is negligible for under-trained Syrian RPG team. So Strykers were used more or less as intended - battle taxis shielding infantry from small arms fire until they are unloaded in a safe place. And after all airguards correctly identified the enemy as MMGs that do not open on Strykers unless someone buttons up. Yet that's exactly what stupid TacAI decided to do. 

 

On 1/17/2020 at 9:16 AM, IMHO said:

So what do you do in CM - you dismount infantry at the staging phase and spend another hour moving to contact on foot? In many cases in CMSF there're no terrain features "one feature away", it's an open plain right up to the built-up AO. Just like it was in my particular case. So do you suggest I should walk squads on foot for about a kilometer under heavy enemy fire instead of suppressing first line of buildings from afar and then making a quick dash to cover to this first line of buildings?

 

Maybe if you posted some screenshots of what you're trying to do we could then see the context. It's hard to talk about tactics with nothing but text on the screen.

Here's an example of a Stryker infantry attack on an enemy occupied village. I used a dismounted platoon to probe towards a defilade terrain feature short of the town, rushed my vehicles into it, dismounted my troops, and launched an all-out assault. This came after about twenty minutes of recon and supporting fires to destroy identified enemy positions and vehicles.

The total amount of distance covered during the assault was only about two hundred meters, but we inflicted so many casualties the enemy simply surrendered in place. We didn't even move particularly quickly either, and a lot of time was spent lying prone while fifty cal worked over trouble spots.

 

Edited by General Jack Ripper

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13 hours ago, General Jack Ripper said:

Maybe if you posted some screenshots of what you're trying to do we could then see the context

I don't have them - it's been almost two months. I finished the game the day I did the post and those two crazy air-guards were the only and unnecessary casualties. I made a post to understand how often it happens in CMSF2. So I got the answer. I play mostly CMBS and the behavior is different there.

8 hours ago, DougPhresh said:

Charging Stryers right at the enemy is not out of character for the American Way of War

I play PvE at having zero casualties on my side. It produces very different game style. Unfortunately placing Strykers closer is a necessary evil. But having measured vehicle exposure down to a second of time or meter of terrain gives an acceptable level of risk.

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