Kineas reacted to JasonC in Hard coded SMG range limit.
PS on the issue with the actual hard cut off, I don't have a problem with saving the players from their soldiers wasting ammo they really want to hold for effective fire ranges, at ranges where a significant portion of that load could be fired off without achieving any hits. While it might be "realistic" to "let" players fire at ineffective ranges without any appreciable results, I certainly agree with the coders that it would be seen as a bug and not a feature, for their SMGers to all blaze away at ineffective range and run dry before they ever had a chance to fire effectively. My own issues are quite in a different direction - I just think the effectiveness of the SMGs is marginally too high *at* and right up to that 200 yard cut off. And rifles are too weak at the same ranges (from low rate of fire, mostly - if they were firing 10 to 12 shots per minute the hits per round level they are at, would be fine).
Kineas reacted to Christian Knudsen in German attack doctrine in CM
Since I started reading JasonC's posts, over the last 15 years or so, (I've been lurking here a long time, I guess) he has pretty unwaveringly (and at times, to be fair, somewhat brusquely) advocated an attritionist stance, both operationally and tactically. As an attritionist, he argues that efforts that do not aim to reduce enemy fighting power are at best an inefficient way of winning, and at worst a waste of resources.
Therefore he argues that terrain has no value, unless it imparts an edge when it comes to destroying enemy power. A bridge that crosses a major river is just a bridge. A bridge that is the only supply route for an enemy formation, the destruction of which would leave them unsupplied and cut off, is a valuable target. The minute the enemy finds another MSR, that bridge is less important.
So his position is that any piece of terrain has only relative value tied to its ability to affect the reduction of enemy fighting power. Great, sounds good.
But the current question (and we are far from German tactical doctrine now), has become one of scenario design. As I understand it, JasonC is basically saying that a scenario designer who ties the balance of victory to terrain locations is handcuffing the player by forcing them to go after ground, not go after the enemy.
Now I'm not knocking scenario designers - I've tried designing some, and I know it's really really difficult to do, much less well. My hat goes off to anyone who gets one finished, frankly. But I see his point about scenarios that overvalue victory locations. Why do I have to put boots in that village when I can just drive around it because I have killed off everything outside of it, and it is now totally isolated, all the ground around dominated by my fire? The enemy there is powerless, and I can kill him whenever I want, because he can't move without being blown to smithereens. Yet achieving this, I have lost the CM scenario, because I have not physically planted my flag on the enemy strongpoint, as it were.
I can, however, see two situations where one would design a scenario with a patch of ground that absolutely must be taken. The first is that you as the scenario designer provide a reason that makes that village an important piece of terrain. Maybe it is the only good option for an MSR for forces advancing past it, or it has an important bridge crossing that you need to use. Maybe the important VP location is the hill that allows your FO to see the the road going through the village! The other reason is to create a scenario in which you have to take that village because your commander thinks that ground has intrinsic value in and of itself, and you are just the poor schlep following orders! But even then, I think that victory should not be solely or largely dependant on holding that ground at the end of the scenario, in terms of victory points. If all the defenders are dead or shattered, they will not hold that village for much longer.
As a final point, one of the big reasons I am hopeful that choppinit's operational layer project succeeds is to reduce that sort of terrain VP based mentality. One almost never sees defenders withdraw in a CM scenario. They stand to the point that they break or die, and it is rare that a scenario awards a majority of points for defender force preservation. I realise that it is very hard to do from a design and balance standpoint, so there is that. But in a dynamic campaign, force preservation can become huge, and the idea of living to fight another day can have some real merit, so long as the campaign itself is well designed. Of course, I'm sure we will see the same arguments repeated then, with "campaign" substituted for "scenario". I look forward to it!
Kineas reacted to JasonC in German attack doctrine in CM
Kevinkin - fair question, but not quite right about how it worked in WWI. Yes you knew where the enemy trenches were. But that wasn't the same as knowing where his infantry was. There were way more than enough trenches, three layers deep, with dugouts, communications trenches to let reserves move about without exposing themselves above ground, and similar. But also, the defensive schemes had just had forever to set up, and create the coordination and integration that makes movement vital. The first of the haikus begins with, if we can win the war from shooting from right here, we probably should. If you went over the top vs a manned WWI defense you gave the enemy that. They didn't need to move to adapt to get good coordination of their various weapons, they set them up coordinated, three months ago. (Exaggerated for clarity).
But this is still a simplification of WWI. Early manned front line trenchlines were countered by heavy artillery, and that counter was entireky successful. The Germans fielded parks of 300 210mm howitzers for Verdun, for example, and artillery firepower that heavy could and did just execute any French infantry formation that tried to man front line trenches against them.
There is a counter to this method, though, one everyone backed into but that the Germans perfected by 1917. The denuded front or strongpoint based defense was precisely a counter to heavy artillery prep fires. It worked by using depth, driving the defender density low - just a few fortified machinegunners and registered artillery, plus of course wire obstacles, for the forward parts of the defense. Then the bulk of the defenders, who lived 40 feet below ground in artillery proof dugouts when not needed - manned parts of the rearward trenches when a major attack was on. The surrounding areas were covered by fire, and then local counterattacks insude the trench system fought any intruders that made it that far. With grenades, bombing up the communication trenches, and similar tactics, not going over the top, themselves. This defense in depth scheme precisely left the defenders unlocated somewhere in the full depth of the trench system, at the time any artillery prep had to be fired. Infantry artillery communication was bad enough that reactive fire could not be placed on these infantry reserves after they were encountered. The brawl between reserves and best penetrating attackers was a frankly attrition, even exchange thing. But the attackers had to pay a toll to get there through the defender MGs and barrages into no mans land, the defenders had better local intel from their stance and outposts, and their reserves and ammo and such got to reach those fights through their communication trenches, instead of above ground ir across the moonscape between the lines.
The defenders thus had a better time to front than the attackers, and safer approach and withdrawal than the attackers had. After the shift from the manned front trench to the defense in depth scheme, mind.
Hutier or infiltration tactics were developed after that dialectic had already taken the steps above. If the enemy manned his front trenches, they were not needed - just wheel up the 210s and murder the poor sods. The idea of the infiltration attack system was first off to forgo a big opening barrage that announced a major attack - prep fire, if used at all, was kept to 30 minutes or less, and usually more like 15 - but its intended target was a defense system sheltering from long term artillery threat by usng dugouts and reserve positions.
Then the idea is first, pick low visibility conditions like night or fog, and - in WWI you could do this - reduce visibility still further by firing gas, so that everyone had to fight in their masks. Push forward patrols by stealth, economy of force fashion, to find undefended routes. Diversions by firing and a local barrage laid here or there could try to focus the defenders on sectors besides the ones these pathfinder teams were infiltrating. Then the storming parties follow the pathfinders in narrow columns, to trace their steps, maintain control and direction, and present as narriw an "edge" as possible to gaps in the enemy defense. If any of the path finders were checked, the parties behind them followed others instead. Then they take out enemy outposts to widen gaps, and race as deep as they can afterward, before the alarm spreads and the enemy can react. The result was again a brawl with the enemy reserves inside his trench system, but that brawl could be started under more favorable conditions of local surprise, enemy confusion, and limited visibility, and all without paying much or any toll to defending MGs and barrages in no mans land before that brawl.
This worked well tactically. It produced break ins and break throughs. Those just didn't prive strategically decisive, because on a larger operational scale, the defender still had a better time to front than the attacker. Defending divisions *railed* to the break in sector. Attacking artillery had to be manhandled across the blasted moonscape to have combined arms again for the follow up, once the attackers gained 15 miles or so. Shells for that artillery had to be moved by horses, which don't like barrage zones very much. Or wait for the construction of narrow gauge rail extensions to haul meaningful numbers of shells. If the artillery was not brought up, the defenders coukd revert to the manned front line trench - even a hasty one - 15 miles behind the previous front line. The attacker options were then to attack with poor combined arms, inefficiently in exchange loss terms, to try to maintain op tempo - or to wait for the guns to catch up, but give the defender time to rail in more infantry, dig deeper and second line trenches, bring in their own artillery and shells, launch local counterattacks, etc. As a result, the attacjers would have to pause, then do it all again.
Those deeper relationships are the reason infiltration tactics, while they worked as intended and were tactically very successful, could not be translated into strategic results, under WWI conditions. They just took their place as tactical means in a still fundamentally attrition struggle, with defender dominance, with heavy shells and infantry bodies being exchanged off until one side or the other couldn't take it anymore.
In WWII, there are better comms to put down reactive fire on located enemies, armor to carry concetrated power through hus defended zone, trucks to move guns and shells, across more intact terrain and shallower defensive works because no one had years to dig deeper in the same spot, etc. And the sane tactics coukd therefore achieve at least operational results. At the highest level, it was *still* a war of attrition. Depth and reserves and mobility used reactively by such reserves could tame break through, and leave an attrition brawl again. But it was all a lot closer, more promising for the attacker, than the conditions seen in WWI after gaining the first 10 or 15 miles.
Kineas reacted to Combatintman in German attack doctrine in CM
Brevity isn't your strong point is it, or did you want this to be a one post thread?
There isn't too much to disagree with but I'm not seeing much here that I can directly apply to a QB, scenario or campaign, why not try breaking this up a bit into manageable chunks?
Kineas reacted to JasonC in German attack doctrine in CM
In the thread on Russian doctrine in CM, we went through how the Russian attack, especially their Rifle formation branch. That method applies the principles of attrition warfare, depth, firepower, relentlessness, last man standing stuff. German doctrine on infantry attacks was entirely different. SlowLarry asked about it in the previous thread, and rather than bury an answer there, I am moving that part of the discussion to its own thread, here.
Elements of German attack doctrine apply to panzer forces as well, but the focus here will be on infantry division attacks. Which may include StuG support or similar, generally divisional artillery FOs, battalion and company mortars - and squad infantry up at the pointy end. Obviously there are some requirements of overall odds, suitable terrain, fire support, and enemy strength that are needed for infantry formations to attack successfully. But the German doctrine uses everything differently, because the focus of their attack doctrine is positioning and articulation of forces - maneuver warfare stuff - not primarily force ratios and losses and attrition thinking.
In the German doctrine, the chief element of the offense is surprise. The idea is always to hit where and when one isn't expected, to catch the enemy napping, unprepared, with the wrong dispositions to deal with your chosen point and method of attack. To achieve that, the focus is on information on the one hand, and adaptation on the other. Adaptation includes mobility, heightening your own safe, feasible shifts of forces and weights, and restricting those of the defender. Those can then all be used to arrange many on few fights at chosen points, which once won, further disarticulate the enemy force. His elements are supposed to become less able to help each other, to find their proper combined arms targets, or to have the conditions of terrain and range and such they need to fight effectively. Some local advantages may be "cashed in" for dead enemy to move the overall forces in your favor, but most will be focused instead on continually reducing the enemy's options and moves.
In the ideal case, this ends with a surrounded and trapped enemy unable to move an inch without taking murderous fire. Fire lanes into open ground wrapped around an enemy position are like ropes binding his legs. Once all sides are covered around a given enemy this way, his "movement allowance" has been reduced to zero. His ability to pick what firefights he will engage in has therefore disappeared. You can decide whether to engage him, and he can't make an equivalent decision. By fire and movement principles, that is as good as a kill. An artillery barrage can then be laid on that immobilized enemy to destroy him at leisure.
In short, the idea is to surprise the defender, hogtie him, and fight the remainder of the battle with him in that condition. Needless to say, this places considerable greater demands on the attacking commander than the comparative straightforward methods described in the Russian doctrine thread, and it can readily be screwed up, and will fail if it is screwed up. The German approach in the matter was to take risks and generate chances for lopsided wins, and expect enough of those to pay off, to defeat the overall enemy more efficiently than the attrition method. The Germans don't ever want to fight fair - meaning no even engagements of like arm vs like arm without a big edge in their favor from one factor or another. If there isn't yet such an edge, maneuver for one before engaging too closely.
That difference in approach is easily stated, but what does it mean in practice for infantry attack methods? Three ways, really, each with some variations and subject to mixing with the others, at different distance, time, and force scales. The three ways are (1) broad front, recon pull, aiming at envelopment (envelopment for short), (2) the coup de main, which is effectively trench raid tactics on a grander scale, and (3) infiltration tactics proper, which stresses getting well into the enemy defended zone, by slow and stealthy processes, before the main engagement occurs.
Broad front recon pull means that a skirmish line of infantry sweeps forward like a single wave, and finds *all* the enemy positions. Not just one or two of them to chew on, but locating the entire enemy front line. Weak outposts are driven in by this wave to find the real enemy positions, the ones with enough strength to stop a single thin infantry wave. Besides finding the enemy, this leading wave is expected to pin him in place, to "find and fix". That works by not pressing hard anywhere, sitting down in the cover nearest the enemy but not physically held by him. Then reaching out by fire - from the LMGs the squad infantry brings forward, first of all - to cut up the enemy side of the field with fire lanes, around each body of cover on his side of the field. The goal is to freeze in place as much of the enemy force as possible, by making lateral movement far too risky, several hundreds yards deep into his own positions.
Then a reserve and assault group, which has been kept back out of that leading wave, picks targets found and isolated by it. The goal is to find gaps in the defenses already, and to widen promising fissures by destroying specific bits of the defense, to get deeper into it. The reserve maneuvers in the German "backfield", sheltered by the leading wave and the knowledge it has provided as to which locations are clear of the enemy, which routes already traversed drew no enemy fire, and the like. It sets up opposite its chosen targets. It brings with it heavier weapons - StuGs, FOs, 81mm mortars - and infantry weight in numbers. These supplement the fire of the elements of the scouting wave nearest the chosen target, and "escalate" the pressure on those chosen enemies. Meanwhile the rest of the battlefield is being ignored. The scouting wave is just waiting in the ground they took and preventing easy lateral movement by the enemy, to help the position chosen for the point of attack.
The overloaded point is thus destroyed. Now a new wave spreads from that point, into the deeper parts of the enemy defense. The scouts nearest follow in the wake of the now leading reserve, and form a new reserve behind the entry point. The new spreading wave finds the new enemy positions, and the process is repeated. The goal is to roll up the enemy defenses or break through them, always fighting only the new few that matter for the moves the attack is making next. But the attacker lets enemy weakness dictate where those points of attack should be. Always, hitting where they ain't, and trying to get into them before help can come from either side, or from the enemy rear and reserves.
Speed matters in this, because the enemy learns where the main point of attack is, as it gets going, and he will try to adapt. The attack wants to adapt too, faster, with better information. The scouting wave is also a counter-recon screen blinding the enemy as to one's own deployments. If a reserve is arriving at A, the point of main effort wants to already be over at B by the time they get to the front. Think of a running back making the defensive linebackers miss - it requires anticipation of enemy moves, faster reaction to new information. It helps if ranged weapons can also disrupt enemy movements - StuGs get missions like interdicting all movement across a certain road, pairs of HMGs put down fire lanes with a similar intent, an FO may plaster the only cover point that allows movement from the east side of the map to the west side. In other words, the role of fire is as much or more to restrict enemy movements as it is to hurt him directly.
Every area of open ground on the enemy side of the field is analyzed for its usefulness on cutting up enemy moves, and locations that can see each are determined, heavy weapons teams maneuvered to such positions long before the attacker knows he will need them. Enemy moves are systematically taken off the board by firepower threats into such open ground areas.
Frequently the scouting wave may start with a bias or direction, too. E.g. as a wing attack on the left 2/3rds of the field, with the intent of turning the enemy's left flank. Such routes or plans are made with an eye to being the least expected and likely to be the least defended against, *not* on the principle of the most promising terrain or routes for the attacker. Otherwise put, since the first principle of the attack is surprise, "most promising" normally equals "least expected" - even if it means crossing dangerous ground - as long as that can be done quickly.
The infiltration method can be thought of as a more extreme version of this on a wider scale and with less of an emphasis on fixing the enemy, and more on using stealth to find his gaps. Night actions, fighting in fog, use of smoke sometimes, are used along with this approach. The idea is to sneak into the enemy position. As much as possible, as deep as possible into his whole defense scheme, before first trigger pull. And after first trigger pull, the triggers are used as a distraction - look, look, over here, there are some Germans over here - while the haymaker is winding up from the other hand. The same principle of removing enemy moves by a tactically defensive stance and fire lanes to cut up enemy positions, executed by advanced wedges, is used here too, just like the scouting wave did in the previous method, once it went to ground.
There is a critical mental shift involved in this understanding of the value of positions pushed forward. They do not need to assault straight onto enemy positions. They do not need the weight to do so. They don't need the weight to shoot down enemies in good cover, nor do they need to press home to root him out of his holes. All they need to do is prevent him from leaving his present positions, without being cut up by ranged fire into the open ground bits he has to cross, to leave that cover and get to some other body of it. Anything isolated in this sense, by having all its useful safe moves taken away, is "hogtied". No reason to run up against them or fight that at all. They are already in a prison cell, and artillery can execute them later if need be.
There is also a new principle in true infiltration methods - to just bypass, wherever possible, rather than fight. Any position that can be ignored should be ignored. If there is a route that blocks LOS to that position, maybe someone watches it or at least prevents easy moves out of it, but for the rest, they might as well be on the far side of the moon. Consider anything that can't see you already defeated by poor positioning. Bypass and press deeper, all the way to the back of the defense. German infiltration attackers do not expect to keep the enemy in front of them. They expect to have enemies on all sides of them. Then blind them and pin them in place, and move between them. You can see how limited visibility conditions are critical to the full application of this method.
I passed over the coup de main. It is about surprise in the purest sense. Here, instead of waiting for recon pull to tell you everything about the defense, you need to guess it. Rapid, more limited scouting may be used, and there are certainly leading half squads going first - the usual drill. But you just guess where the enemy is and isn't going to be; you pick a key point you think you can get to that will put some portion of those enemies at a disadvantage, and then you drive like hell for that key point. Faster than the enemy can react. Others are trying to pin him where he is - heavy weapons from back at the start line, e.g., or a 105mm artillery barrage that discourages anyone from getting up and walking around from over on the right side of the field. But the basic idea is just "get there first with the most", where you picked the "there". Win at that point by weight of numbers and the right combined arms brought to that fight for the enemy faced, and do so before the enemy can adapt his positions to that new info about what you are doing.
The follow up can be another such adaptation, or just to exploit what was taken in more of the "fixed them, then pick the next spot to overload" method described in the first approach.
Coup de main differs from the broad front recon in that it is less driven by what the scouts first discover, more by your command push decision. But you are trying to base that on a guess as to where the enemy will be weak and won't be expecting you. If your guess is wrong, you back off and try something else, don't turn it in to an attrition attack on enemy strength.
The coup de main effort can be materially aided by having armor behind it, or as a second best, good approach terrain over a wide area (e.g. large continuous woods or city). It expects to win at the chosen point by getting a many on few fight there and winning that fight before the enemy can even the local odds. For that to work, it can't be the case that all the enemy weapons bear on the chosen point. You need to pick both the concentration objective and a route, such that only a modest portion of the enemy force has any chance to contest your approach, at first. Then you just want to go down that route so fast that "at first" equals "until the fight for that objective is over", because they only differ by 2 minutes (5 max, 2-3 a lot better).
Now, in all of this, you still have to pay attention to combined arms, meaning having 81mm mortars around and HQs to spot for them if there is going to be an enemy gun or HMG position, and a StuG or a panzerschreck up close if there is going to be an enemy tank, and 105mm or 150mm artillery fire if there is going to be a big block of woods full of Russian tommy gunners. Or you can put HMGs on fire lanes on 3 sides of those woods and just go around them, never into or by them. Remember, if they can't see your main force, and they can't safely move to change that, they are already dead (hogtied, same thing). They just don't know it yet.
I hope that helps explain the very different way German infantry attacks.
Kineas reacted to JasonC in Inferior to CMBB
JonS and Andreas - seconded (thirded, I guess, maybe more) - byte sized battles are the way to go for CMRT designers. Give me one platoon and an interesting situation, or at most an attacking company up against only a platoon and a half (with corresponding trouble from task and terrain to balance the numbers etc). Keep the tanks to a platoon on a side at most, sometimes just 1-2. People will play those more and more often etc. I know I will.
As for Macisles increasingly silly comments, show me the final result screen of your human game on anything like that scale. Setting it up isn't playing it to completion. We will wait (a couple years is my estimate, but maybe you play fast). Your later posts all but acknowledge that even good design on that scale is a chore, and actually playing it (my opinion, not yours) would be about as fun as having a root canal. In the 1980s SPI designers spoke of the mythical game "IT" - WWII played out with single man counters - any you are in the same silly situation. If the command span isn't realistic and manageable for the player, the game isn't playable nor are the results ever going to be realistic. My previous remarks on your first post in the thread, incidentally, did not say large CMRT games don't exist or aren't played by some, but ridiculed the notion that they are *more playable* than fights on the same scale in CMBB. And I stand by that comment. It was perfectly feasible to command whole platoons with two or three mouse clicks in a way that would actually make sense on the ground in that game. When the same group has 10 counters that should each pay attention to the location of every window, saying it is *more* manageable to command them is ridiculous and it is nonsense. Notice, no one was or is talking about the engine or the CPU, we are talking about the user's experience and the "CPU between our ears".
As for the issues being covered in the thread, yes the OP mostly wanted more coverage and also better QBs. My comments were different, stressing the reduction in game scale - which is fine for those who want the detail or have tons of time to pour over every move. The same, incidentally, applies to the editor and creating scenarios. It is a fair comment that some CMBB scenarios were meh - it was so easy to make new scenarios in that system that lots of people tried it. The polished results and beautiful maps of modern CMRT scenario design are definitely superior to the average CMBB user made scenario. There are also 2 orders of magnitude less of them, because they are much, much harder to make. Not just to make right, but to make at all.
No one has spoken about the weakest point of CMBB in my opinion, though, which was the AI. I couldn't attack worth a darn, especially with infantry, especially against armor etc. Scripting is certainly a better system and A* pathfinding. You could "work it" as a designer by giving the AI a defending role with good siting of its weapons, or lots of armor and a numbers edge when it was attacking, or mostly continuous cover if it had to attack with infantry - but it was still subject to "stupid AI tricks". This problem just didn't come up in human vs human, but it was a drawback to the otherwise great CMBB QB system (force selection was also bad - pretty much had to use "allow human" even for the enemy, which eliminated force composition surprise etc).
A better QB system, faster scenario creation, pre-populated AI scripts that the designer could edit but doesn't have to roll from scratch - those are things CMRT could use improvement on. Personally I'd love to see those plus the up a step size, semi-abstracted units again, but I don't seriously expect that. In the meantime, anything that can make it easier for CMRT players to have more small scenarios is useful, and especially ways to make such themselves more rapidly. That's the feedback here - make of it what you will.
Kineas reacted to Thewood1 in Inferior to CMBB
This was debated to death back in the early CMSF days when CM2 features were a hollow shell compared to CMBB/AK. CM2 has come a long way in adding those functions and features back in. But there is still something missing in CM2 that I have never put my finger on. I am in a weird place where CM2 seems like too much work, yet CM1 seems so outdated when I play it. I actually sit for a while trying to decide which game I want to play, CM1 vs CM2, but usually just give up and go play Command or fly ROF.
Kineas reacted to ASL Veteran in Inferior to CMBB
What I can't understand is why someone would post that CMBB is superior to CMRT on the CMRT forum. Wouldn't it be more useful to post something like that in the CMBB forum where like minded individuals can discuss their favorite game and where they can all agree that CMBB is superior? What is amusing to me is that people come onto the CMx2 forums with stuff like this and then they complain bitterly if they get any pushback. They complain that they can't discuss "important topics" like this on the CMRT forum because everyone dog piles on them. Mostly they complain about beta testers, but anyone who responds that they like the game the way it is becomes part of the Fanboi mafia because they just can't see how flawed and imperfect the game is compared to CMBB or whatever they happen to be comparing the game to or complaining about. Well what do you expect if you post something on the CMx2 forum? If everyone agreed that BFC made a mistake when they made CMx2 there wouldn't be a CMx2 forum. There wouldn't be a BFC because they wouldn't be able to sell any games so it should be pretty obvious that a lot of people seem to be at least satisfied with what they are purchasing. We all know that BFC isn't going to release a game that covers the entire Barbarossa Campaign from beginning to end for $40. We also know that BFC isn't going to switch away from one to one representation. Most of the people who are reading this thread probably also played CMx1 and those who didn't probably aren't going to pick up a game as old as CMx1 if they already have CMx2. So really, what is the point of this thread?
Kineas reacted to sburke in Inferior to CMBB
The OP simply forgot to include IMHO.
For some people he is absolutely right. For others he is absolutely wrong. The really cool thing is we have both. CMRT was never going to be a cmx2 upgrade of CMBB.
I would agree with the overall direction of JasonC's comments, maybe not all the particulars but enough.
The question to the op is well, what is your point? Just to express an opinion? As to CMRT and CMBB and comparisons to the competition, imho there was no real competition to either product so it is kind of a moot point.
Personally I really liked/ loved CMBB. But I do far prefer CMRT and have deleted all my cmx1 games. I just can't go back.
Kineas reacted to JasonC in Inferior to CMBB
I've played 4 scenarios of CMBB so far this weekend. I last played CMRT last November. The OP has a point.
It isn't actually the QBs and time frame that make the difference for me, it is the game play and scale.
I freely admit that CMRT is more realistic and that it is visually much more immersive.
But the level of micromanagement needed to play it right makes it feel like a sergeant's level game, in which I am primarily focused on the tasking and decisions within one squad at a time. With a platoon a comfortable total force and a single company leaning toward giant feeling. The realistic fire is dangerous enough, moreover, that large portions of the fight "go static" pretty quickly, since staying in good cover and firing is often the right thing for most units to do, at that point.
By comparison, CMBB feels like a company commander's game. It moves along quickly, the decision each game turn are managable but interesting, etc.
I freely acknowledge that people with other play priorities, or just a lot better at CMRT, may find it more enjoyable. I just don't. I'd love to have CMBB gameplay with updated graphics - wouldn't even need single man depiction. But that's just not where we are. In the meantime, I still consider CMBB the best tactical computer wargame ever made.
One man's opinion...
Kineas reacted to coffeeis4closers in Inferior to CMBB
This game, while good, is inferior to CMBB, despite the new graphics. CMBB covered 4 years of warfare, had TONS of different armies, and randomly generated quick battle maps. 10+ years after CMBB we have a three month time period, barely any armies, and set quick battle maps that become stale very, very fast. Red Thunder is a good game, sure, but it is nowhere near as good as CMBB was relative to the competition in 2002.
Kineas reacted to JasonC in Soviet Doctrine in WW2 - 1944
A sample force for a GMT "Panzer" scenario to show how a Russian mechanized corps force fights (as distinct from a tank corps force) - since it was asked. Feel free to translate into Combat Mission terms.
Recon element - 2 BA-64 armored cars, 2 infantry half squads motorcycle mounted.
Main body, tanks - 3 T-34/76, 1943 model, with 3 SMG half squad riders.
Main body, motor rifle - 4 trucks carrying 4 full Rifle squads, 2 designated as also having ATR secondary weapons
Support, HQ element - 1 M3 Scout Car carrying infantry half squad with FO ability. Medium artillery support (120mm mortar) with a max of 4 fire for effect missions.
Support, mortar element - 2 trucks carrying infantry half squads manning 82mm mortars
Support, ATG - 1 jeep towing 76mm divisional gun (ZIS-3)
You could up the recon element to a full platoon of motorcycle recon, 3 T-70s and 3 MA-64s, double or triple the tanks, and increase the motor rifle to 1-2 companies, and the weapons and supporting guns to double the figures above, for a larger scenario. But at least in Panzer, smaller command spans make for a more playable game, hence the force design above.
Understand, this sort of column is what you'd expect as a single one of the elements I describe in the echelon attack "drill" discussed above - the first hit or the flankers or the exploiters, each would be a column like that.
Notice, half the heavy HE firepower comes from dismounted weapons rather than tanks (82mm mortars or towed 76mm guns). There are small amounts of light armor, but most of the armor is just T-34s and they provide the armor hitting power of the whole formation. The trucked motor rifle is about half the infantry, the rest split between SMG riders, recon, and infantry heavy weapons parts of the formation. There is enough infantry to lead with it when the enemy and terrain calls for that, but its normal battle role is to follow hard behind the tanks, dismount just out of sight of the enemy, and mop up whatever the tanks have blasted through. if they need to deliver a "set piece" attack rather than fighting off the column of march, then the dismounted HE tubes (guns and mortars and FO) plus the tanks form the base of fire, and the infantry steps out first under their overwatch. The tank riders wait while that is happening, and mount to move forward with the tanks as enemy positions to neutralize are IDed.
When fighting off the column of march, instead, the recon leads and just scouts for open roads; the BA-64s can suppress infantry outposts to free the recon infantry if it is fired upon. The tanks follow and go where no enemy is encountered until they run out of undefended road, then hastily attack the easiest looking target. The motor rifle follows behind them and drops men if needed to dig out enemies that go deep to escape the attentions of the tanks, letting the SMG riders stay with the tanks. If a strong enemy is encountered, the recon and tanks try to bypass it, a bit of motor rifle screens it, and if needed the support element can come up and plaster it. Normally, though, the support element only deploys when a strong enemy position that needs to be carried is encountered. When that happens, the column piles forward and deploys to either side of its approach road, the support element and tanks form a base of fire, and the deliberate attack method described above is apply as quickly as possible.
Kineas reacted to JasonC in Soviet Doctrine in WW2 - 1944
The basic German defense doctrine was the one they developed during WW I to avoid being defeated by local concentration and artillery suppression, and it remains the basic system the Germans used in the east. That tactical system has been called the denuded front, in comparison with practice near the start of WW I of lining continuous front line trenches with solid lines of riflemen. Instead it was based around a few fortified machinegun positions, concealed, and cross fired to cover each other rather than their own front, in an interlocking fashion. The idea being to make it hard to take out just a piece of the scheme. Most forces were kept out of the front line to let enemy artillery "hit air". Wide areas were covered by barrage fire and obstacles (in WW I generally just wire, in WW II plenty of mines as well). Barrages and obstacles have the feature that they multiple in their effectiveness the more then enemy sends; his local odds does not help him, it hinders him or raises his losses instead. The MG and outpost network is meant to defeat penetration by smaller enemy numbers, while barrages crucify their masses if they overload those.
Then the main body of the defending infantry defends from considerably farther back, and executes local counterattacks into portions of the defensive system reached by the attackers. The idea is to spend as much prep barrage time as possible deep in underground shelters, and only come up and forward to mix it up with enemy infantry after they are mixed in with your own positions and hard for the enemy to distinguish and coordinate fires on them etc. This also was meant to exploit the confusion that even successful attackers were generally in, after crossing the outpost and barrage zone described above.
That is an effective enough system, but it isn't foolproof. The thinner front and separated strongpoint positions it uses are vulnerable to stealthy penetration, night infiltration e.g., rather than frontal attack on a large scale. The local counterattack part of the doctrine can be taken to extremes and get rather expensive for the defenders, resulting in mere brawling inside the defender's works, and just exchange off with the more numerous attackers. What it really relies on is the enemy being defeated by the artillery fire scheme and ranged MG fire over most of the frontage, so that the counterattack and brawl stuff only happens in a few exceptional spots, where the defenders have a safer route to the front, better information about where the enemy is, what routes are left clear of obstacles, and the like.
The main line of resistance, once hit, generally tried to solve the fire discipline dilemma by firing quite late, when the attackers were close enough to really destroy them, not just drive them to ground. Harassing mortar fire and a few "wait a minute" MGs were all that fired at longer ranges, to delay the enemy and prevent them being able to maneuver easily, mass in front of the defenders safely, and the like.
At a higher level, the division's artillery regiment commander, divisional commander, or regional "Arkos" tried to manage the larger battle by choosing where to intervene in the outcoming attack with the weight of divisional fires. They didn't distributed those evenly, or according to need. Instead they would have a plan of their own, to stop the Russians cold in sector B, and just make do in sectors A and C. They divide the attack that way. Then shift fires to one of the break ins, and counterattack the other one with the divisional reserve. The basic idea is just to break up the larger scale coordination of the offensive by imposing failure where the defenders choose, by massing of fires. They can't do this everywhere, but it can be combined with choices of what to give up, who pulls back, what the next good position is, and the like, as a coordinated scheme. The function is "permission" - you only get forward where I let you get forward, not where you want it. If the enemy tries to get forward in the place the defenders "veto" in this way, they just mass their infantry under the heaviest artillery and multiple their own losses.
I should add, though, that those doctrinal perfect approaches sometimes could not be used in the conditions prevalent in parts of Russia. In the north, large blocks of forest and marsh are so favorable for infiltration tactics that separate strongpoints with only obstacles in between just invite penetration every night and loss of the position. The Germans often had to abandon their doctrine in those areas, in favor of a continuous linear trench line. And then, they often didn't have sufficient forces to give that line any real depth, but instead had to defend on line, manning that whole front as best they could. In the more fluid fighting in the south, on the other hand, the Germans could and did use strongpoint schemes. The Russians got significantly better at night infiltration as a means to get into or through those, as the war went on.
Against Russian armor the German infantry formations also had a harder time of it. In exceptional cases they could prepare gun lines with enough heavy ATGs well enough protected and sited to give an armor attack a bloody nose, but normally they were not rich or prepared enough for that. Keep in mind that the Russians were quite good at tank infantry cooperation in their mech arm - by midwar that is, early they hadn't been - but lagged in the development of tank artillery cooperation. Which is what tanks need to deal with gun based defenses efficiently. The German infantry formations themselves tried to just strip tanks of their infantry escorts and let the tanks continue. The Russians would sometimes make that mistake, and send the tanks deeper on their own. That put them in the middle of a deep German defense that would know more about where they were and what they were doing than vice versa. But that is really an "own goal" thing - if the Russian tanks just stayed with their riders and shot the crap out of the German infantry defenses, the Russian doctrine worked fine.
On a deeper level, the Germans relied on their own armor to stop Russian armor. Brawling frontally with reserves, often enough, sometimes aided by superior AFVs. Sometimes by counterattacks that sought to cut off the leading Russian spearheads, and prevent their resupply (with fuel above all). That worked less and less well as the war went on, however, because the Russians got better at keeping multiple threats growing on the map, gauging defender strength correctly and waiting for all arms to consolidate gains, and the like. There was also just less of the fire brigade German armor later in the war, and it had less of an edge in tactical know-how.
There are also some weaknesses of the Russian doctrine that the Germans tried to exploit. It can be quite predictable. You can let them succeed at things to draw them in, in a pretty predictable way. The Russian mech way of attacking was at its best against infantry defenses, or vs armor against heavily outnumbered defenders. If they pushed too hard at a strong block of armor, they could get a brigade killed in a matter of hours. If you have such an asset, you can try to string the two together - let them hit a weak spot precisely where you want them to come on hard into your planned kill sack. They aren't doing a lot of battlefield recon to spot such things, they are mostly relying on speed to create surprise. If you let them think they just made a brilliant and formula perfect break in, they are apt to drive hard trying to push it home, and not to suspect that its is a trap. But a lot of things get easier if you have a Tiger or Panther battalion lying around, don't they?
Kineas reacted to JasonC in Soviet Doctrine in WW2 - 1944
There was nothing wrong with Russian interwar doctrine - which incidentally was not copied from the west. In so e ways it was the best in the workd, particularly the understanding of the need to sequence multiple large scale operations, the logistics limits on them, what the role of new mechanized forces was going to be, and the like.n it wasn't as good as the German doctrine in tactical details, combined arms principles, and some of the German maneuver tradition going back to Moltke the elder, but nobody else had that stuff down, either. Tbey had their internal political fights over it - the party basically feared that proper modern doctrine made generals tech heroes in a manner they feared was essentially tied to fascist politics, which was both paranoid and stupid, and they destroyed the brains that had come up with it in the purges, set back training and adoption etc. but the military acadamies had taught it to a fair portion of the senior officers, especially the younger ones who would rise to top commands during the war itself.
The more basic problem on the doctrine side was that it was still just academic theory. It had not had time to reshape the army along the lines of its thinking, and where it had, it had done so in impractical ways, for lack of serious experiment and training in full scake exercises and the like. The army could not implement the mobile part of the doctrine. The officer corps in particular, its lower ranks especially, was not remotely up to the standard of the Germans or even of the professionals of the western armies. In training, education, time in grade, staff work, etc. Bravery they could do, obediance they had done, about all there was to work with. Yes that reflected the purges, but also the scale of the force and its rapid expansion to that scale, its reliance on reserve mobilization (necessary given that scale in any event), lack of wartime experience, etc. at most, a small cadre had some battle experience from Spain or the brief fight with Japan - and the party tended to distrust those with the former experience. The Finnish winter war had been a disaster and showed how unready the force was, and didn't correct that, though a few of the officers involved got started off its lessons.
The two biggest weaknesses were combat service and support (CSS, more on it below), by far the biggest, and poor combined arms handling at the tactical level, particularly all cooperation with armor. They compounded each other, with weaknesses in the former forcing departures from book doctrine on the latter, that then failed. Behind the CSS failures lay inadequate staff ability, the officer management bandwidth to conduct the mech arms orchestra flawlessly. This was made worse by overly large mech formations with an org chart that wasn't streamlined enough and put extra levels of command between the key deciders and the execution, by lots of obsolete equipment (think early 1930s era T-26s, flocks of them) in a poor state of readiness, by inadequate facilities to keep anynof it working, and by lack of realistic large scale training (as opposed to unit level training or carefully staged set pieces).
On the org aspect, a prewar mech corps had two tank divisions, each with its own brigades, and those tank heavy. It had 2000 trucks at TOE, and 600 to 1000 tanks, depending on the makes. There were dozens of these. A huge portion of the tanks were old T-26s and the types were mixed, as were the truck types. To get a formation like that to move over a limited dirt road net from point A to point B with gas for everyone where and when they needed it, without traffic jams and without roads blocked by broken down tanks, with repair and spare parts to get the fall outs moving again, and then exoecting them to arrive with all arms together and coordinated, in communication with each other across weapon types, form them up into fighting combined arms teams, and go in to a schedule to hit the enemy in a well coordinated way - all proved beyond the capacity of one schooled muckety muck and his staff of four high school graduates with a pack of index cards, a phone and a couple of pencils. I exaggerate slightly for the sake of clarity.
What actually happened is they didn't manage it, one column got stopped by a T-26 regiment running out of gas, holding up 200 trucks behind, carrying the infantry expected to be part of the show; the other tank division got a brigade of newer BTs to the jump off point and looked around for all the folks supposed to attack with them, waited three hours, finally heard they wouldn't be ready until tomorrow morning, thought "that's crazy, this battle will be over by then", and drove down the road unsupported and attacked off the line of march as best they could. After scaring the German front line infantry, lost in the defended zone, they blundered onto a gun line and lost a bunch of tanks. They try again with minimal changes an hour or two latter and the Germans are readier for them than ever, and fails. The next day, an infantry battalion detrucks and tries, but expects the BTs to lead and do things for them; the try and fail, the infantry presses, and gets killed too. Nobody has heard from the artillery, which is 20 miles away in a traffic jam.
The CSS failures are huge by western or even later war Russian standards. A third of the tanks fall out on a road march. There are not planned arrangements to pick them up and fix them. The front moves and a road is cut. A full brigade worth of tankers get out and walk, in retreat, leaving their broken down hulks just sitting there. Another brigade follows the wrong dirt track, runs out of gas, and the trucks with the gas went someplace else, and by the time it is even sorted out whar did happen - let alone what has to happen next - there are Germans across the intersection between them.
Up at the operational level, a full mech corps hits the German lines, two days of confusion are reported, the corps is now a brigade, and the Germans resume their march. The Russian officers report losing their tanks to swamps (the swamp monster, I call it, because it appears over and over in these excuses). It fiesn't help that the Luftwaffe is strafing the columns making traffic jams worse, and German signals intel locates every radio with a range of more than a few miles and has told the Luftwaffe and army artillery where the Russian HQs are within hours, whenever they switch the set on. So soon the officers are trying to coordinate this sprawling mess with dispatch riders, who do or don't arrive with orders hours old that were issued without a clear picture of everything in the first place, and were nonsense on stilts two hours later. Then every muckety muck tries to clear it all up with their own orders, and the regiment commander has one order from brigade and another from division and a third (12 hours okd) from the original corps plan, but his (tiny) staff is telling him he can't physically do that anyway, because support X hasn't cone up and route Y is clogged and there is only enough gas to reach Z.
Now decide. You have five minutes.
It all goes pear shaped pretty quickly.
Some of this clears up as the decreipt T-26s drop out of the force. Some as the screwiest commanders ger killed. Sone as people learn their jobs better. But above all, the army reduces its ambitions and goes to tank brigades and gets thise working, the recreates division sized tank corps with a much flatter structure only after those are working. The types get more uniform, with the reliable and cross country capable T-34 becoming the workhorse. They only go back to trying to run tank armies after all those are working properly, and they use thise only with a lot more planning, and only a handful of them (with lots of independent division scale tank corps working for combined arms armies instead). The staffs get bigger and much more professional, and it all gets real and realistic. Just, a ,ot of poor slobs get killed in the meantime.
Kineas reacted to JasonC in Soviet Doctrine in WW2 - 1944
Aured - Did the Russians use the same fire and maneuver tactics with typical triangle tasking used by the US in WW II? No they did not.
Did they understand the basic principles of fire and maneuver, sure. But the whole army was organized differently, tasked differently, placed less reliance on close coordination with artillery fires, wasn't based on small probes by limited infantry elements to discover the enemy and subject him to more of those fires, etc. Basically there are a whole host of army-specific optimizations in US tactics that just don't apply.
The Russian force is divided into its mechanized arm and the rifle arm (called "combined arms" at the army level, but still distinct from mech). Each had its own specific mix of standard tactics. There are some common elements between them, but you should basically think of them as two distinct doctrines, each tailored to the force types and operational roles that type had. Conceptually, the mech arm is the arm of maneuver and decision and exploitation, while the rifle arm is the arm of holding ground, creating breakthroughs / assault, and general pressure. The mech arm is numerically only about a tenth of the force, but is far better armed and equipped, and controls more like 2/3rds of the armor.
The Front is the first element of the force structure that does not respect this distinction and is entirely above it, and Fronts are not uniform in composition, but always contain forces of both types (just sometimes only limited amounts of the mech type). From the army level down to the brigade level, the distinction applies at one level or another. Below that level it still applies but cross attachments may blur somewhat, but normally at all lower levels one has clearly either the mech or the rifle force type and uses the tactics appropriate to that type.
The army level is the principle control level for supporting elements and attachments - much higher than in other armies (e.g. for the Germans it was almost always the division level, with little above that level in the way of actual maneuver elements). The army commander is expected to "task" his pool of support arms formations to this or that division-scale formation within his command for a specific operation, depending on the role he has assigned to that formation. This can easily double the organic weapons of such formations, and in the combined arms armies, is the sole way the rifle divisions get armor allocated to them. What are we talking about here? Independent tank brigades and regiments, SU regiments, heavy mortar regiments, rocket brigades and battalions, antitank brigades and regiments, motorcycle recon regiments and battalions, extra pioneer battalions, heavy artillery formations from regiment up to divisions in size, etc. Basically, half of the guns and all of the armor is in the army commander's "kit bag" to dole out to his divisions depending on their role. A rifle division tasked to lead an attack may have a full tank brigade attached, plus a 120mm mortar formation to double its firepower at the point of the intended breakthrough. Another rifle division expected to defend on relatively open ground, suited to enemy tanks, may have an antitank artillery brigade attached, tripling its number of 76mm guns, and a pioneer battalion besides, tasked with mining all likely routes and creating anti tank ditches and other obstacles, etc.
Every division is given enough of the supporting arms to just barely fulfill its minimal standard role, and everything needed to do it better is pooled up in the army commander's kit bag, and doled out by him to shape the battle. Similarly, the army commander will retain major control of artillery fires and fire plans. Those are not a matter of a 2nd Lt with a radio calling in his target of opportunity, but of a staff of half a dozen highly trained technicians drafting a coordinated plan for days, all submitted to and approved - or torn up - by the army commander. This highly centralized system was meant to maximize the impact of very scarce combined arms intelligence and tactical skill, which could not be expected of every green 2nd Lt.
Within the rifle divisions, each level of the org chart has its own organic fire support, so that it does not need to rely on the highest muckety-muck and his determination that your sector is the critical one today. When he does decide that, he is going to intervene in your little corner of the world with a weight of fire like a falling house; when he doesn't, you are going to make do with your assigned peashooters.
The divisional commander is assigning his much smaller divisional fires on the same principles, with the understanding that those smaller fires become not so small if the army commander lends him an extra 36 120mm mortars for this one. The regimental commander may get his share of the divisional fires or he may get nothing outside what his own organic firepower arms can supply - but he gets a few 76mm infantry guns and some 120mm mortars and a few 45mm ATGs so that he can make such assignments even if he gets no help. Frankly though the regiment adds little - it mostly assigns its battalions missions, and the regimental commander's main way of influencing the fight is the formation he assigns to those component battalions. Formation in the very simplest sense - he has 3 on line to cover a wide front, or he has 3 in column on the same frontage to provide weight behind an attack, or the 2-1 or 1-2 versions of either of those. It is not the case that he always uses 2-1 on all roles. The most common defense is 2-1 and the most common offensive formation is column, all 3 one behind the other on the same frontage. Notice, this isn't about packing the riflemen in - those will go off in waves at proper intervals front to back. But it puts all 27 of the regiment's 82mm mortars (9 per battalion) in support behind 1 or 2 kilometers of front line.
The fire support principle at the battalion level is not implemented by having one of the component battalions support the others by fire from a stationary spot, with all arms. Instead it is a combined arms thing inside each battalion. They each have their 9 82mm mortars and their 9 Maxim heavy machineguns organized into platoons, and the "fire support plan" is based on those infantry heavy weapons. Battalion AT ability is minimal - 2 45mm ATGs and a flock of ATRs, barely enough to hold off enemy halftracks and hopeless against whole battalions of tanks. But that is because the higher muckety-mucks are expected to know where the enemy tanks are going to come and to have put all the army level ATG formations and their own supporting armor formations and the pioneers with their minefields and obstacles, in those spots.
Down inside the battalion, the same formation choices arise for the component rifle companies as appeared at battalion, and the usual formations are again 2-1 on defense and all in column on the attack. And yes that means you sometimes get really deep columns of attack, with a division first stepping off with just a few lead companies with others behind them, and so on. This doesn't mean packed shoulder to shoulder formations, it means normal open intervals 9 times in a row, one behind another, only one at a time stepping off into enemy fire zones. These "depth tactics" were meant to *outlast* the enemy on the same frontage, in an attrition battle, *not* to "run him off his feet in one go", nor to outmaneuver him. The later parts could be sidestepped to a sector that was doing better and push through from there. The last to "pancake" to the front if the other had all failed, would not attack, but instead go over to the defensive on the original frontage and hold. One gets reports of huge loss totals and those "justifying" the attack attempt when this happens - the commander can show that he sent 8/9ths of his formation forward but they could not break through. It is then the fault of the muckety muck who didn't gauge the level of support he needed correctly or given him enough supporting fires etc. If on the other hand the local commander came back with losses of only his first company or two and a remark that "it doesn't look good, we should try something else", he will be invited to try being a private as that something else, etc.
What is expected of the lower level commander in these tactics is that he "lay his ship alongside of the enemy", as Nelson put it before Trafalgar. In other words, close with the enemy and fight like hell, hurt him as much as your organic forces can manage to hurt him. Bravery, drive, ruthlessness - these are the watchwords, not cleverness or finesse or artistry.
What is happening in the combined arms tactics within that rifle column attack? The leading infantry companies are presenting the enemy a fire discipline dilemma - how close to let the advancing Russian infantry get before revealing their own positions by cutting loose. The longer they take to do so, the close the Russian infantry gets before being driven to the ground. Enemy fire is fully expected to drive the leading infantry waves to the ground, or even to break them or destroy them outright - at first. But every revealed firing point in that cutting loose is then subjected to another round of prep fire by all of the organic and added fire support elements supporting the attack. The battalion 82mm mortars, any attached tanks, and the muckety-mucks special falling skies firepower, smashes up whatever showed itself crucifying the leading wave.
Then the next wave goes in, just like the first, on the same frontage. No great finesse about it, but some of the defenders already dead in the meantime. Same dilemma for his survivors. When they decide to hold their fire to avoid giving the mortars and Russian artillery and such, juicy new things to shoot at, the advancing infantry wave gets in among them instead. And goes to work with grenade and tommy gun, flushing out every hole. The grenadier is the beater and the tommy gun is the shotgun, and Germans are the quail. Notice, the firepower of the infantry that matters in this is the short range stuff, because at longer range the killing is done by supporting artillery arms. The rifles of the most of the infantry supplement of course, but really the LMGs and rifles are primarily there as the defensive firepower of the rifle formation, at range.
It is slow and it is bloody and it is inefficient - but it is relentless. The thing being maximized is fight and predictability - that the higher muckety mucks can count on an outcome on this part of the frontage proportional to what they put into it. Where they need to win, they put in enough and they do win - hang the cost. It isn't pure suicide up front - the infantry go to ground when fired at and they fire back,and their supporting fires try to save them, and the next wave storms forward to help and pick up the survivors and carry them forward (and carry the wounded back). In the meantime the men that went to ground are defending themselves as best they can and sniping what they can see; they are not expected to stand up again and go get killed. That is the next wave's job. The first did its part when it presented its breast to the enemy's bullets for that first advance. The whole rolls forward like a ratchet, the waves driven to ground holding tenaciously whatever they reached.
That is the rifle, combined arms army, way of fighting.
The mech way of fighting is quite different. There are some common elements but again it is better to think of it like a whole different army with its own techniques. Where the rifle arm emphasizes depth and relentlessly, the mech way emphasizes rapid decision and decisive maneuver, which is kept dead simple and formulaic, but just adaptive enough to be dangerous.
First understand that the standard formation carrying out the mech way of fighting is the tank corps, which consists of 3 tank and 1 rifle brigade, plus minimal attachments of motorized guns, recon, and pioneers. The rifle brigade is 3 battalions and is normally trailing the tank brigades and holds what they take. Sometimes it doubles their infantry weight and sometimes it has to lead for a specific mission (force a river crossing, say, or a night infiltration attack that needs stealth - things only infantry can do), but in the normal offensive case it is just driving up behind something a tank brigade took, dismounting, and manning the position to let the tank brigade go on to its next mission. It has trucks to keep up, and the usual infantry heavy weapons of 82mm mortars and heavy MGs, but it uses them to defend ground taken. Notionally, the rifle brigade is the tank corps' "shield" and it maneuvers it separately as such.
The business end of the tank corps is thus its tank brigades, which are its weapons. Each has a rifle battalion organic that is normally physically riding on the tanks themselves, and armed mostly with tommy guns. The armor component of each brigade is equivalent in size to a western tank battalion - 50-60 tanks at full TOE - despite the formation name.
I will get to the larger scale tactics of the use of the tank brigades in just a second, but first the lowest level, tactical way the tanks with riders fight must be explained. It is a version of the fire discipline dilemma discussed earlier, but now with the critical difference that the tanks have huge firepower against enemy infantry and other dismounts, making any challenge to them by less than a full panzer battalion pretty suicidal. What the tanks can't do is force those enemy dismounts to open fire or show themselves. Nor can the tanks alone dig them out of their holes if they don't open fire. That is what the riders are there to do - kill the enemy in his holes under the overwatch of the massed tanks if and only if the enemy stays low and keeps quiet and tries to just hide from the tanks. That threat is meant to force the enemy to open fire. When they do, the riders drop off and take cover and don't need to do anything - the tanks murder the enemy. Riders pick their way forward carefully after that, and repeat as necessary if there are enemy left alive. This is all meant to be delivered very rapidly as an attack - drive right at them, take fire, stop and blast for 5 or 10 minutes tops, and move forward again, repeating only a few times before being right on or over the enemy.
So that covers the small tactics of the mech arm on the attack. Up a bit, though, they are maneuvering, looking for enemy weak spots, especially the weak spots in his anti tank defenses. And that follows a standard formula of the echelon attack.
Meaning, the standard formation is a kind of staggered column with the second element just right or left of the leading one, and the third off to the same side as far again. The individual tank brigade will use this approach with its component tank companies or pairs of companies, and the whole corps will use it again with its brigades.
The first element of such an echelon attack heads for whatever looks like the weakest part of the enemy position - in antitank terms - and hits it as hard as it can, rapidly, no pausing for field recon. The next in is reacting to whatever that first one experiences, but expects to wrap around one flank of whatever holds up the prior element and hit hard, again, from a slightly changing direction. This combined hit, in rapid succession, is expected to destroy that blockage or shove it aside. The third element following is expected to hit air, a hole made by the previous, and push straight into the interior of the enemy position and keep going. If the others are checked, it is expected to drive clear around the enemy of the harder enemy position - it does not run onto the same enemy hit by the previous elements. If the enemy line is long enough and strong enough to be neither flanked nor broken through by this process, well tough then. Some other formation higher in the chain or two grids over is expected to have had better luck in the meantime.
There are of course minor adaptations possible in this formula. If the lead element breaks clean through, the others shift slightly into its wake and just exploit - they don't hit any new portion of the enemy's line. If the first hit a position that is clearly strong as well as reasonably wide, the other two elements may pivot outward looking for an open flank instead of the second hitting right where the first did, just from a different angle. The leading element can pull up short and just screen the frontage if they encounter strong enemy armor. Then the second still tries to find an open flank, but the third might slide into reserve between and behind the first and second.
The point of the whole approach is to have some adaptability and flexibility, to be designed around reinforcing success and hitting weaker flanks not just frontal slogging - all of which exploit the speed and maneuver power of the tanks within the enemy's defensive zone. But they are also dead simple, formulas that can be learned by rote and applied mechanically. They are fast because there is no waiting for recon pull to bring back info on where to hit. The substance that needs to be grasped by the leader of a 2nd or 3rd element is very limited, and either he can see it himself or the previous element manages to convey it to him, or gets it up to the commander of all three and he issues the appropriate order downward. They are all mechanically applying the same doctrine and thinking on the same page, even if out of contact at times or having different amounts of information. The whole idea is get the power of maneuver adaptation without the delays or the confusion that can set in when you try to ask 3 or more bullheaded linemen to solve advanced calculus problems. There is just one "play" - "you hit him head on and stand him up, then I'll hit him low and shove him aside, and Joe can run through the hole".
There are some additional principles on defense, the rifle formation forces specially, where they use 2 up 1 back and all around zones and rely on stealth and field fortifications for their protection, while their heavy weapons reach out far enough to cover the ground between each "blob", and their LMGs and rifles reach out far enough to protect each blob frontally from enemy infantry. That plus deeper artillery fires provides a "soft defense" that is expected to strip enemy infantry from any tanks, or to stop infantry only attacks on its own. Or, at least, to make it expensive to trade through each blob in layer after layer, in the same "laying his ship alongside of the enemy", exchange-attrition sense. Then a heavier AT "network" has to cover the same frontage but starting a bit farther back, overlapped with the second and later infantry "blobs". The heavy AT network is based on cross fire by 45mm and 76mm ATGs, plus obstacles (watrer, ditches, mines, etc) to channel enemy tanks to the locations where those are dense. Any available armor stays off the line in reserve and slides in front of enemy penetration attempts, hitting strength not weakness in this case, just seeking to seal off penetrations and neutralize any "differential" in odds or armor concentration along the frontage. On defense, the mech arm operates on its own principles only at tank corps and higher scale, and does so by counterpunching with its offensive tactics, already described above.
That's it, in a nutshell. I hope this helps.
Kineas reacted to John Kettler in Patton quote ref US advantages over Russia & why we'd beat them if we kept going
I don't know know whether you're aware of this, but Patton was from the landed gentry of Virginia. He was so well off that during his time in the service, he kept a stable of polo ponies with him at his own expense. Racial attitudes in the period were awful, and the haughty Patton was no exception.
" General George S. Patton, Jr., in a letter to his wife, wrote that ‘a colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor.’"
Patton wised up, though, after watching the 761st Tank Battalion operate during maneuvers.
"The tankers received a welcome from the Third Army commander, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., who had observed the 761st conducting training maneuvers in the States: ‘Men, you’re the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren’t good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don’t care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sons of bitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all your race is looking forward to you. Don’t let them down and damn you, don’t let me down!’ "
Patton was very much the product of his class, his time and a very real American xenophobia. This was after all, the nation that put its own citizens into internment camps and robbed them blind, too. Equally, as a military man, Patton would've been thoroughly conversant with the deception practices of the Huns and the Mongols. It turns out that during the GPW the Russians used the Mongols as a model for OPDEC. See 17 and 18 here in Russian Deception Operations.
As for your wonderings, I shall not be commenting upon them.
Kineas reacted to Duckman in Patton quote ref US advantages over Russia & why we'd beat them if we kept going
First of all it was not going to happen since everyone was tired of war, there was still Japan (with the a-bomb an unknown), and the Russians were still the heroes of Stalingrad to most of the Western public and politicians.
Militarily the Soviets were pretty much scraping the bottom of the manpower barrel. So were the Brits of course, but the Americans and French (who were remilitarising rapidly) still had plenty left. Western logitics and air power were vastly superior. With ground forces it's probably a tossup, with the edge going to the West because of better artillery as well as the abovementioned logistical and aerial advantages which are huge force multipliers (cf what happened to the Wehrmacht).
Consequently the Soviet spearheads would find themselves at the end of a very long logistical chain that the West could cut fairly easily. A bit like the Wehrmacht in France or Africa, you could say. In that situation things like armour thickness don't matter much.
(To the above you can also add factors like the, eh, somewhat unwilling liberated peoples in the Soviet rear.)
Kineas reacted to 76mm in Patton quote ref US advantages over Russia & why we'd beat them if we kept going
A whole collection of misconceptions and mistakes in one sentence...let's break down Georgie's statements:
"The American Army as it now exists could beat the Russians with the greatest of ease..."
Famous last words if I ever heard them...was he talking about beating a few depleted Red Army units they encountered, or a knock-down fight with the whole Red Army? Hitler didn't do so well with the prediction that the Wehrmacht could beat the Russians "with the greatest of ease" , and I doubt that Patton's statement would have been much more accurate.
...while the Russians have good infantry, they are lacking in artillery, air, tanks...
Pretty nearly backwards as far as I can tell; the Russians were very short of infantry towards the end of the war. Red Army lacking in artillery? That's a good one! Russian tanks were both abundant and much better than most US tanks. Airpower is the only place I've give the US a solid advantage.
...lacking...in the knowledge of the use of the combined arms...
Again, pretty rich considering that the Red Army had just finished crushing the Wehrmacht after pushing them back thousands of kilometers across a huge front.
Kineas reacted to Sublime in Patton quote ref US advantages over Russia & why we'd beat them if we kept going
And so the next interesting question is about the conspiracy theory regarding Pattons death - that it was orchestrated by elements of the US government to get rid of a extremely high ranking military member who was agitating for war against the Soviets and making embarrassing statements regarding the greatness of the Nazis...
I personally think that while the US had Japan in a position where it could effectively put them 'on hold', and shift much of its USN assets and other ground assets to the ETO. Then theres the matter of the huge amount of manpower not even used or tapped yet at the end of the war. The US military had suffered relatively light casualties, while the British were more or less spent. The Soviets had suffered massive casualties, and taking on the US after Germany, combined with cessation of lend lease makes me think that whatever gains the Red Army did make in central Europe would be quickly rolled back. However it would have to be a Soviet attack, no Western attack would work, the public support would be nonexistent, everyone was war weary and the Western public's perception of the Soviet Union took a few years to make the drastic about face it did and this was after blatant hostility for a few years and provocative actions by the Soviets. Simply trying to say Uncle Joe is now Joe the bogeyman and we're attacking him would perhaps work in a fascist dictatorship such as Nazi Germany, but not in the United States.