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Dissapointed with the research that went into this


DreDay

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Hello fellow wargamers,

I am a new user to this forum, so I hate for my first post to be a negative one. I very much appreciate the effort that has been made by BattleFront to put out the realistic and challenging wargames and I want to support this company in any way that I can.

That being said, I have to be honest and to state that I am quite disappointed with my recent purchase of the CMA. I have studied the Soviet military and the Afghan conflict for a long time and I was really looking forward to recreating some of those battles using the excellent engine that the BattleFront has created. Unfortunately, after playing around with this game for a bit, I came to a conclusion that the developers (probably Snowball) have not done a very good job of researching the subject matter.

Here are just some of the glaring errors that have jumped at me:


  • The mixed bag of AKMs/AK-74 at squad level - at the beginning of the invasion (1979) Soviet airborne units (VDV) were armed with AK-74s while the motor-rifle units had AKMs. By the early 80s pretty much all of Soviet infantry was armed with AK-74/AK-74S rifles. It is extremely unrealistic to have the squads equipped with both due to the fact that this would have created a logistical nightmare in real life, much like it does in a game...


  • The IFVs of the VDV - initially Soviet airborne units had entered Afghanistan in BMD-1s. However, by the early to mid 80s all of them were reequipped with BTRs/BMP-2s due to the fact that the BMDs were too vulnerable to the enemy fire and their suspensions were too fragile for the mountain terrain. From what I can tell, BMD-2s were never deployed to the Afghanistan... even if they were, there is plenty of evidence that BMP-2s and BTRs were the main stay of the Soviet airborne and air assault forces there by the mid 80s.


  • The late Soviet motor-rifle squad size - from what I can tell, the late Soviet motor-rifle squads have just 4 men in them. Yet, I am pretty sure that the proper OOB for those squads was 7 men, as always. It is true that a lot of Soviet units in Afghanistan were undermanned due to the illness, battle depletion, and turnover... However, those factors have to be handled by the proper variables within the game and not be defaulted.


  • The over-reliance on RPGs in Soviet squads. It is true that regular Soviet infantry squads had and RPG gunner and assistant per squad... However, most of the time there were not enough targets for the RPGs in Afganistan and RPGs were left at the base or in the IFV/APC, while their gunners carried regular assault rifles.

Those are just some of the errors that have jumped at me right away. Again, I hate to criticize BattleFront... However, I do feel a need to voice my concern as a customer that has purchased the game with an expectation of a certain level of realism and has found it very difficult to enjoy the game due to those expectations not being met.

Peace,

DreDay

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Thank you for the welcome, bodkin! I agree, and I am not going to bin the game right away. There is still a lot of goodness in it (at least when recreating the earlier phase of the war), and hopefully some of my concerns can be covered by the future patches and mods.

I am fortunate enough to be able to spend $35 on a game without sweating it, and I am glad that a portion of my money would go to BattleFront to award their efforts. I just wanted to voice the concern of a person that is familiar with the subject matter, cares about the realism in wargaming, and thinks that this game could be so much more with a bit more research and care.

Peace,

DreDay

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Hello fellow wargamers,

Here are just some of the glaring errors that have jumped at me:


  • The mixed bag of AKMs/AK-74 at squad level - at the beginning of the invasion (1979) Soviet airborne units (VDV) were armed with AK-74s while the motor-rifle units had AKMs. By the early 80s pretty much all of Soviet infantry was armed with AK-74/AK-74S rifles. It is extremely unrealistic to have the squads equipped with both due to the fact that this would have created a logistical nightmare in real life, much like it does in a game...


  • The IFVs of the VDV - initially Soviet airborne units had entered Afghanistan in BMD-1s. However, by the early to mid 80s all of them were reequipped with BTRs/BMP-2s due to the fact that the BMDs were too vulnerable to the enemy fire and their suspensions were too fragile for the mountain terrain. From what I can tell, BMD-2s were never deployed to the Afghanistan... even if they were, there is plenty of evidence that BMP-2s and BTRs were the main stay of the Soviet airborne and air assault forces there by the mid 80s.


  • The late Soviet motor-rifle squad size - from what I can tell, the late Soviet motor-rifle squads have just 4 men in them. Yet, I am pretty sure that the proper OOB for those squads was 7 men, as always. It is true that a lot of Soviet units in Afghanistan were undermanned due to the illness, battle depletion, and turnover... However, those factors have to be handled by the proper variables within the game and not be defaulted.


  • The over-reliance on RPGs in Soviet squads. It is true that regular Soviet infantry squads had and RPG gunner and assistant per squad... However, most of the time there were not enough targets for the RPGs in Afganistan and RPGs were left at the base or in the IFV/APC, while their gunners carried regular assault rifles.

Interesting post. I've never read that much depth around Russia's Afghanistan so taking the above at face value, if I buy I would hope they are addressed in a patch, especially defaulting to 4 man squads.

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Hello fellow wargamers,

The mixed bag of AKMs/AK-74 at squad level - at the beginning of the invasion (1979) Soviet airborne units (VDV) were armed with AK-74s while the motor-rifle units had AKMs. By the early 80s pretty much all of Soviet infantry was armed with AK-74/AK-74S rifles. It is extremely unrealistic to have the squads equipped with both due to the fact that this would have created a logistical nightmare in real life, much like it does in a game...

While I agreee that that should not happen early in the war, AFAIK many Soviet soldiers (especially Spetsnaz and VDV) returned to the older calibre since it was considered (right or wrong) to have better stopping power, so it sould not be uncommon to see some AKM and AK-74 rifles mixed even at squad level.

The IFVs of the VDV - initially Soviet airborne units had entered Afghanistan in BMD-1s. However, by the early to mid 80s all of them were reequipped with BTRs/BMP-2s due to the fact that the BMDs were too vulnerable to the enemy fire and their suspensions were too fragile for the mountain terrain. From what I can tell, BMD-2s were never deployed to the Afghanistan... even if they were, there is plenty of evidence that BMP-2s and BTRs were the main stay of the Soviet airborne and air assault forces there by the mid 80s.

Right. It would be nice to see VDV troops with BTRs and BMPs, although I would retain (in the game) the various BMDs just to have more stuff! :D

BTW, it seems that the game doesn't check availability dates when setting up QBs, so it's only a scenario design issue.

The late Soviet motor-rifle squad size - from what I can tell, the late Soviet motor-rifle squads have just 4 men in them. Yet, I am pretty sure that the proper OOB for those squads was 7 men, as always. It is true that a lot of Soviet units in Afghanistan were undermanned due to the illness, battle depletion, and turnover... However, those factors have to be handled by the proper variables within the game and not be defaulted.

True. AFAIK there was no change in OOB for MR squads.

The over-reliance on RPGs in Soviet squads. It is true that regular Soviet infantry squads had and RPG gunner and assistant per squad... However, most of the time there were not enough targets for the RPGs in Afganistan and RPGs were left at the base or in the IFV/APC, while their gunners carried regular assault rifles.

I think this could be easily modelled using the same system BFC uses for the Bazookas in the upcoming CMN: Bazookas in armored infantry units can be acquired by squads or be left in the HTs.

Overall CMA is a nice game but I agree with you that those Snowball guys didn't probably do all their homework! ;)

I already pointed out some inaccuracies in Soviet uniforms... it's worth noting that CMBB rendering of Soviet uniforms was in some respect more accurate that CMA, even if the first was researched by a US company and the second by a Russian one! Not to speak of the fact that in CMx1 we had different 3D models and textures for officers... I hope this feature will return in CMN.

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Question is, can Battlefront decide on their own about what goes into a patch for the English version of the game or does it have to be run through a committee between the two companies?

Game wise, I think the decision to not allow loading or ammo storage on the 475 & Kamaz 4310 Trucks to be a bad decision. They really serve no purpose other than to be protected...even with the excuse that Russians wouldn't have used them to carry soldiers they should have in the least, haul ammo...and the Muj should be able to ride in them. Seeing that they are completely covered they wouldn't need to show guys sitting in them.

Mord.

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Of all the CM titles CM:Afghanistan will probably benefit the most from conscientious 3rd party scenario designers producing serious historical scenarios and dropping them into Repository.

CMSF started out as a "work in progress" back in 2007. But its three module packages will have brought an abditional 100(?) scenarios to the game, each one better than the last. We've got the raw material with CM:Afghanistan, we will just have to rely on ourselves to make something of it.

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True. AFAIK there was no change in OOB for MR squads.

This would be my biggest technical/ accuracy gripe. Size of squads defaulting to 4 from 7 to simulate losses,or manpower shortages has the biggest impact.

Depleted manapower would be better done at scenario design level and mentioned in the briefings.

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Depleted manapower would be better done at scenario design level and mentioned in the briefings.

Agreed, 'specially seeing that they provided a way to deplete units.

Also, in case anyone hasn't noticed...you can rename units AND unit leaders now...

Mord.

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Try changing equipment status to "poor" should give you a mix of both

BMP-1 = Standard BMP version with AT-3

BMP-1K = Command version of BMP-1

BMP-1P = later version with AT-4

BMP-1PK = Command version of BMP-1K

BMP-1D = heavy 'Afghan' version (more armor, no ATGM)

I had no success with this. I only get BMP-1/K, BMP-1D or BMP-2/D/K variations.

T-55 (1970) is still only labeled T-55 on the unit panel, but it's an improved version from the base model. Only tiny mistake of course, but taken over from CMSF.

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[...]

Game wise, I think the decision to not allow loading or ammo storage on the 475 & Kamaz 4310 Trucks to be a bad decision. They really serve no purpose other than to be protected...even with the excuse that Russians wouldn't have used them to carry soldiers they should have in the least, haul ammo...and the Muj should be able to ride in them. Seeing that they are completely covered they wouldn't need to show guys sitting in them.

Troops can be put in trucks - Soviet, D.R.A., even Muji + Tribals. Both Kamaz and Ural have each 3 places in the cap and only one driver. Only HQ-trucks have a commander on board.

So spys, FO teams and small HQ's can be transported with trucks.

But I agree that it would be better, if the bed could also be used. Maybe Soviets have not used it, but what about D.R.A.?

I strongly demand Ammo-Trucks, which can cook off:

"...Often the mujahideen placed heavy machineguns, recoilless rifles, or mortas on the high ground to the direct front or rear of a straight stretch of road. From there, they could more easily adjust their fire. Only in constricted terrain would they mine or otherwise disable the convoy's forward security element. They did so to preclude a "drive-through" by the main body. Occasionally, they planted antitank mines along the road at places where the enemy's armor might deploy after an ambush.

To limit the armored response, the mujahideen would sometimes attack when half the column had crossed a bridge. For psychological effect and added protection, their first targets were fuel or ammunition trucks at the middle or rear of the convoy. Often a convoy commander would not take the time to send back enough combat power to deal with such a threat. Normally, the mujahideen shot quickly and left before the helicopter gunships arrived. Only occasionally would they close with the convoy to systematically destroy its vehicles . [...]

from H. John Poole - Tactics of the Crescent Moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods, p. 100

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Good thread. I'll give you my own perspective on DreDay's concerns as best I can since this is not an area I consider myself an "expert" on. First, a general comment...

Afghanistan, as a game engine, is more like Shock Force than like Normandy. Shock Force was not designed for different time periods within the same game or major variations of forces. The game features necessary to make that work were intended for Normandy and beyond because Shock Force simply didn't need those features. Afghanistan, as a project, came to us out of the blue and long before any significant Normandy work had been done. Therefore, some of the problems DreDay has pointed to are more-or-less adaptations to the way the code needed things to be.

The mixed bag of AKMs/AK-74 at squad level - at the beginning of the invasion (1979) Soviet airborne units (VDV) were armed with AK-74s while the motor-rifle units had AKMs. By the early 80s pretty much all of Soviet infantry was armed with AK-74/AK-74S rifles. It is extremely unrealistic to have the squads equipped with both due to the fact that this would have created a logistical nightmare in real life, much like it does in a game...

My understanding is that, in fact, the weapons were mixed to some extent for the reasons Amedeo mentioned. Having said that, there were some limitations within the game system itself. It was fairly easy for us to set up the TO&E to be one way all the time, every time. It was a little trickier, but not that difficult, to have some variations within a single unit. But with the underlying game system that CM:A uses it's very difficult for us to have small arms variations be more widespread and yet follow some sort of directed logic (i.e. not random). The new TO&E system in Normandy and beyond has largely addressed this problem.

The IFVs of the VDV - initially Soviet airborne units had entered Afghanistan in BMD-1s. However, by the early to mid 80s all of them were reequipped with BTRs/BMP-2s due to the fact that the BMDs were too vulnerable to the enemy fire and their suspensions were too fragile for the mountain terrain. From what I can tell, BMD-2s were never deployed to the Afghanistan... even if they were, there is plenty of evidence that BMP-2s and BTRs were the main stay of the Soviet airborne and air assault forces there by the mid 80s.

I know Snowball caught a couple of vehicles that were in Soviet inventory but not deployed to Afghanistan. Mostly tanks. Perhaps they missed the BMD-2?

As for them swapping out the BMDs for BTR/BMPs, this isn't surprising to me but I don't think Snowball wanted to take away from the uniqueness of the VDV forces by giving them the same vehicles as the others. At least not by default. I can probably address this in a patch. I'll have to look into the TO&E to see how I structured it. The TO&E was frozen in late 2009, so it's been a while since I've looked at it.

The late Soviet motor-rifle squad size - from what I can tell, the late Soviet motor-rifle squads have just 4 men in them. Yet, I am pretty sure that the proper OOB for those squads was 7 men, as always. It is true that a lot of Soviet units in Afghanistan were undermanned due to the illness, battle depletion, and turnover... However, those factors have to be handled by the proper variables within the game and not be defaulted.

This should be chalked up to the transition of the code base. Initially there was no way to handle headcount reductions in Afghanistan. This meant that either all late war units went into battle with 100% official headcounts 100% of the time, or they went into battle with some compromised headcount 100% of the time. Considering how rarely Soviet units were 100% up to strength at the end of the war (at least that's my impression), I agreed with Snowball that a headcount reduction was the right thing to do. And if the Afghanistan code stayed the way it was when we made the scenarios, that would still be my opinion.

Things changed very late in Afghanistan's development. A "Headcount" feature was introduced so people could reduce the counts from theoretical to typical (as however they wished to define it). Unfortunately, nobody thought to go back and revise the game's TO&E. The scenarios were likely "frozen" already by then, however we could have made the change anyway and have it be used going forward by other scenario designers. I'll take a look at doing this for a patch.

The over-reliance on RPGs in Soviet squads. It is true that regular Soviet infantry squads had and RPG gunner and assistant per squad... However, most of the time there were not enough targets for the RPGs in Afganistan and RPGs were left at the base or in the IFV/APC, while their gunners carried regular assault rifles.

This makes perfect sense to me, however a limitation of the game system is that it's very difficult for the player to select if they want RPG armed Squads or not. Normandy fixes this to a large extent, but there was no way of pushing that code into Afghanistan for a variety of coding reasons. What we could have done, and perhaps should have, was to make the RPG-7 an "Acquirable" weapon from within armored vehicles and trucks. This has some potential for gamey abuse, however, and it's one reason why we probably didn't think of doing it. I don't think it is wise to change this now, so it will remain this way even after a patch.

To sum up...

1. I'll see if I can have VDV forces use BTRs and BMPs as optional equipment for their late war forces.

2. I'll see if I can bump up the Squads to their theoretical headacount without breaking anything.

3. I'm probably going to leave the AKM/AK-74 selection the same, however I'll check it out and see if I might be able to do something more logical.

4. I'm going to leave the RPGs as they are in the game now.

Steve

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Sawomi,

Can someone point me to the parameters I have to choose to get BMP-1P and BMP-1PK in the editor?

I'm pretty sure these were yanked out of the game as they were found not to have been deployed to Afghanistan. But I could be mistaken about that. If so, and the manual says they are there, it appears the manual didn't get updated. I'll look into this.

Steve

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