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BletchleyGeek

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  1. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Geoff-Ludumpress in Ost Front Books   
    This arrived today, it's the second edition of 'Bloody Streets'. For those 'Fire & Rubble' nuts (like me) this is 25 years research on the Battle for Berlin in one book, well two, as it comes with a separate map book.  

  2. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to domfluff in Any advice on the NTC Training Campaign (first mission)   
    The NTC campaign might now genuinely be my favourite campaign in all of Combat Mission.

    NTC campaign is supposed to be brutal, like the real NTC. Don't believe their lies. The enemy are all better than you - Elite and Crack experience, and they outnumber you. They're also hellishly aggressive and have some very sneaky AI plans going on. They will surprise you - the designers, Bil and Warren, are better than you.

    In terms of tips:

    You're playing the doctrinal infantry heavy mixed mech inf/tank company of the period, which I've grown to kinda love over this launch weekend. This is a combined arms formation, and its strength is gained through that combination - each element individually will fall apart. Field manual 71-1 (1977) is really the best guide to "how to do the NTC", since that does a really good job outlining how this works, and how to carry out the various missions you find in the campaign.
    The terrain is really hard to read at the NTC - you can't line up on a hedgerow or take a building, so it's a fascinating puzzle of reading folds in the ground, using reverse slopes, etc. The campaign gives you choices, and it's probably a good idea to try the other paths (although the last decision point seems to be broken right now).
    The two most important elements of that formation ("centre of mass" if you like) are learning to use your off-map support correctly, and how to manage a tank platoon. It's been common to be able to run up your tanks into a forward defensive position in most CM games, but here you're outranged, outgunned, and you can't really afford to take losses, since you'll need to use all of this company later on. A large part of using the off-map assets is that you need to read the terrain and the enemy lines of approach. The enemy emphasises speed and aggression, specifically to counter the threat of your off-map assets. This kind of experience is pretty much new for CM, it's rare to be faced with this kind of problem in the other titles.
    The other arms support these two core elements. Learning how to make the most of your light mortars in this context is important, and how best to site your TOW launchers - the TOWs will outrange a BMP's ATGM one on one, but again if you're in forward defensive positions you'll never be one on one.

    Infantry have a secondary role. I mostly used them to secure or deny the flanks of my armour, often in complex terrain. The Dragon and LAWs can be useful, but aren't dominant or in large numbers, but they provide the spotting and flank security that the armour desperately needs. The .50 cals of the M113s aren't something I want to be going on the offensive with, but (given how aggressive the enemy are), they certainly had their uses.
  3. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    Soviet Campaigns = Tough and Challenging:
    - First off the player has to manage an entire MRB TF (so Bn and a Tank Coy as a min) in each battle (except the last one but lets leave that one for now).  Over the Campaign the player is basically managing an MRR across the campaign scenarios, so 3 x MRBs, a TB and AT Bn as they fight down towards Alsfeld.
    - The Campaign reflects Soviet doctrine (and POV to be honest) so there is very little RRR between battles (in March or Die it is zero).  So if one loses the better part of a tank company in Battle #1, you have to live with those losses for the rest of the campaign.  It is very easy to run out of gas by the end if a player is reckless.
    - Force ratios are pretty forgiving actually, Soviets will go into each fight with at least a 2:1 advantage or higher.
    - Tough as in US troops quality and positioning.  The US troops are 11 ACR and 3rd Armd Div, about the best equipped and trained the West had in this area.  They have owned the ground for nearly 40 years at this point and know every inch of it.  So each fight sees them very well positioned and with the best stuff.
    As to saving and bush-searching, well I will leave that decision to you but each fight in on the clock so don't take too long.  Bottom line is that the campaign is not recommended for first time players as it will likely be frustrating.  Veterans should be prepared for shaking hands and tears in their eyes if they make it to seeing the street lights of Alsfeld.
  4. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    First off, thank you and welcome to the game.  This post is really a place for you guys to Q&A with the game designers.  Questions on features, campaigns or scenarios can go here and we will try to get to them to help you out.
    So if you are new to the CM you probably want to start easy and small to get the feel for the game.  Check the scenario notes as designers often will highlight which side may be easy or harder.  For example, "Valley of Ashes" is by-design, pretty easy for the Blue side as an opportunity for beginners to get a feel for a larger scenario.  While the Red side of this scenario is pretty tough.  I will let the other scenario designers chime on on their babies.
    I will say that the Soviet Training scenarios by Cpt Miller are a very good place to start for a lot of people as full Cold War Soviet formations, in all their glory, are a bit of a new thing for the series.
    For the Campaigns, I highly recommend people start with NTC.  Bil and GeorgeMC did a really good job in putting together some very good scenarios that can get people into the groove of maneuvering in the context of a Cold War battlefield. 
    Then I would suggest moving onto the US Campaigns.  1982 was designed to be the primary but 1979 turned out to be really interesting, so players choice really.   1982 is probably a little easier as 1979 can be challenging with the older equipment set.
    Finally, I would then suggest that players can gird their loins for the Soviet Campaigns.  These are designed to be tough and a challenge to manage.  Every battle is battalion sized and frankly pretty tough.  The March or Die version is designed to be downright unfair to the loins, but also probably the most realistic....you have been warned.
    Anyway, enjoy and have fun!   
  5. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to akd in Panther G vs. IS-2   
    It's not a bug, it's just probability.  The gunner aims center of visible mass of the target and at very short range dispersion is small.
  6. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to SovietOnion in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    Artkin, respectfully, this is a lot of vinegar when honey might be more profitable. 
  7. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in CM Cold War - Beta AAR - Soviet Thread - Glorious Soviet Victory at Small German Town 1980   
    Ok, so as promised, for those that might be interested here is the scenario that Bil and I played (consider it bonus content) so you guys can see in detail how this whole thing went down.  I am also attaching the last couple turns from the Soviet side so people can see the final layout when we ended it.  Password is "rochette" (don't worry I don't use it anywhere else...and she is our dog).  Up front this is not a finished or official scenario (so no briefings or such), nor is there any AI, strictly H2H.  But if you guys want to recreate the fight, have at it!  Are you a Bil, leading his capitalist swine to their inevitable doom?  Or are you a Capt, who led his men to a glorious victory for mother Russia (unfortunately only a few get to enjoy that fact)?
    Note: the map is Dollbach Heights, a Pete Wenman original (seriously with this whole crypto art thing, this map might in crease in value over time).  The bare map is also included in the Master Maps folder, for aspiring designers.  Finally if you do want to play as is, I would highly recommend turning Blue EW off, as the Soviet arty is really neutered currently.  Enjoy.
    BETA-AAR Meet-Force v3.btt 1892770176_DolbachHeights066.ema 2039406995_DolbachHeights068.ema
  8. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Bil Hardenberger in Just received an email - it's on!   
    Have fun with the game guys.. please post your reactions!  Curious if you think its as cool as we do.   
  9. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to markh in Cold War Release Date Pool   
    Wow - we are cutting it fine!  We are already into the morning of the last day in April here in Australia.  Still hopeful and fingers crossed for an April release - especially with the weekend coming up!
  10. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to RescueToaster in Pre-orders for Combat Mission Cold War are now open.   
    This is really great advice! Start small and be realistic!
    In the hobby of painting (model / miniature), it's pretty common for newbies to run into this issue you're describing too. I will often hear about people who spend substantial amounts of money to buy sable brushes, paint sets, airbrush(s), etc.. But when they find out that they are no good at painting they tend to give up, and I don't think many return because the gap between reality and expectations becomes perceived as impassable.
    I say all of this because this is effectively true for most sports, hobbies, games, art, etc. - pretty much everything that takes skill to do, including map / scenario making. It's going to take time and effort to get to where you want to be, and you will still fail even when you're at your best. It's great to have big dreams, but delusions of grandeur never tend to end well!
    And then this leads to one of my favorite quotes that's (mostly) applicable:
    "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty … I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” - Theodore Roosevelt
  11. Upvote
  12. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to mjkerner in The Schizophrenia of the Tac AI   
    domfluff, I understand all that, as with Chuck’s and Erwin’s responses, cuz I have been playing and delving into the innards of the game pretty much daily for 14 years.  I guess I am asking the question wrong, or maybe asking the wrong question. I think the “answer” is “forget about it, it’s all under the hood”, lol. 
    What I’m trying to get at is why does the TacAI override your given orders sometimes, and at others, slavishly try to follow them. Specifically, in the case of enemy AI continually running through or into a kill zone without stopping. (And to a lesser degree, why do my men sometimes not hit the dirt when fired on, even in Quick or Hunt mode.) One answer would be because the game checks soft factors by individual unit (as chosen by you or the scenario author for the enemy at the moment of calculation i.e., is this only a fire team or a whole squad?).  Therefore, the enemy squad running into a kill zone will hit the ground after X volume of fire/casualties taken, but the next individual unit has to take the same check, so naturally, they will continue moving into the zone until their factors are checked against the incoming fire/casualties taken. All understandable to me so far, cuz the game doesn’t tell the unit’s commander (in computer language) “Hey, your guys are getting slaughtered...stop sending them through that kill zone!”
    Only it does, to some degree.
    When you split squads, or move units away from each other or its leader, and the parent unit (squad if it’s a fire team, platoon if a squad) takes casualties or some similar calamity happens, it does affect the survival behavior of the split-off unit. They will cower or run away...whatever. That behavior is greatly affected by soft factors, to be sure, as well as the the specific orders given, as Freyberg points out.  But in effect, the TacAI is deliberately cancelling the human’s orders, and essentially issuing its own for that immediate case. I guess I was just trying to figure out why it doesn’t go one step further and issue orders for the parent unit to hit the dirt and/or take a different path?
    Just keying all this out, I guess I found my answer. Having the TacAI read the situation and issue new orders to move here, or hit the dirt there, is already covered by the interplay of orders, soft factors, etc. I certainly don’t want the AI to override my orders (or the scenario  author’s) each and every time heavy fire/heavy casualties is taken. Regardless, my hat is and has always been tipped to Charles Brain -in-a-jar, Phil Culliton(sp?), and whoever else figured out the programming for CM. Man, my mind aches just trying to ask this question!
    It is a wonderment.
     
  13. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to mjkerner in The Schizophrenia of the Tac AI   
    Thanks fellas, but the insight I meant wasn't how to handle it in the game, but why is it that it can work well in one instance and not the other. I think it is more of a question for BFC/Steve/Elvis, but thought maybe some of the long time beta testers can weigh in. Sorry I wasn't very clear.
  14. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Ultradave in Fire and Rubble   
    They are in there. One way, in a QB, select Panzer Battalion 44 (late), then at the bottom you can select what vehicles, as the screen cap below shows.
    Also available as individual vehicles. (second picture).   
    I had the date set for February 45. Didn't check other dates.
    (It's also in FB, BTW, by picking the same formation and it was already in RT)
    Dave


  15. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to akd in Fire and Rubble   
    Sturmtiger from photo and Maus can be included in their own vehicle pack.

  16. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to sburke in Fire and Rubble   
    why are you being so obnoxious?  I haven't seen AKD or ASL throw a single insult and yet every post of yours usually has one unnecessary taunt?  ASL is pretty freakin knowledgeable.  Scary kind of knowledgeable.  If you have something to show him wrong I am sure he'd love to know as he is always looking for new sources.
     
    Calm down and trade source info but keep tossing the insults and BF is gonna give you the timeout you are working so hard to earn
  17. Like
    BletchleyGeek got a reaction from Lethaface in Infantry useless?   
    @dbsapp has a point: which is that the Red Army has been very often depicted in very unfair ways. If the same standard would have been applied uniformly across WW2 combatants... which is now starting to be the case.
    A good recent book which I recommend everyone here reading is David Stahel's "Retreat from Moscow" which takes a 360 degrees view of one of they key campaigns of the Eastern Front: that of the Red Army counteroffensives in the winter of 1941 and 1942. There are many things to take home from that book, but one that struck me deeply and is 100% relevant to this thread was the analysis that the Red Army offensives were not very successful when comparing the gains made versus the cost.
    In particular, it is noted that while the Red Army of December 1941 had more or less the "right brains" at the top (Saposhnikov, Zhukov and Vassilevsky) and a good chunk of the chaff had been weeded out from the army level command (which is basically like the German Korps level), division, regiment and battalion officers and staff were in general as green as anything can be. Which meant that tactics or competent employment of combined arms were rare, and often limited to units that had came from far away Military Districts (like the Transcaucasus or Far East). If you are forced to improvise an army  - because the one you had was already destroyed in 6 months - the results will be apparent. The difference between an armed mob and a military unit is discipline, training, command and control. If any of those four factors are not up to snuff, bad things will happen.
    The best kept secret of the Eastern Front is that for most German setbacks in 1941 and 1942, the usual explanation is that they came across a "veteran" (i.e. an outfit that had been active for a few years) Red Army unit which was well supported and sensibly deployed in good terrain.
    What made and broke armies in World War 2 was having intelligent, well-trained officers at the division, regiment and battalion levels that were able to work in positive ways with their peers and with their superiors. In my opinion that factor alone trumps almost everything else.
    And still, in some situations, mass will be right answer. For an example, consider the battles for the Anzio beachhead in January 1944. There you had plenty of examples of German (German!) armed forces using "human waves" to try and overrun the allied fortified lines (there's even one CM scenario about that, see "Lancing the Abcess").  We talk a lot about trying to hit the enemy where he is weak, and so on, but if the enemy is competent, there may not be weak points to exploit, unless you create them by firepower and attrition. While the German Army bled at Anzio very badly, the US, Polish, Indian and Free French armies bled profusely over the Rapido and the mountains around Cassino. 
    So you can find examples of using infantry as "cannon fodder" pretty much across every WW2 combatants. Some of those examples have become ingrained in popular culture more strongly than others.
    Are these examples of military genius? I wouldn't say so. But I think that even Napoleon - a military genius and one-man-staff for the Grande Armee - would have had a hard time to overcome reliably and any given Sunday problems like having to crack the Anzio perimeter or breaking out of the Korsun pocket.
  18. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek got a reaction from dbsapp in Infantry useless?   
    @dbsapp has a point: which is that the Red Army has been very often depicted in very unfair ways. If the same standard would have been applied uniformly across WW2 combatants... which is now starting to be the case.
    A good recent book which I recommend everyone here reading is David Stahel's "Retreat from Moscow" which takes a 360 degrees view of one of they key campaigns of the Eastern Front: that of the Red Army counteroffensives in the winter of 1941 and 1942. There are many things to take home from that book, but one that struck me deeply and is 100% relevant to this thread was the analysis that the Red Army offensives were not very successful when comparing the gains made versus the cost.
    In particular, it is noted that while the Red Army of December 1941 had more or less the "right brains" at the top (Saposhnikov, Zhukov and Vassilevsky) and a good chunk of the chaff had been weeded out from the army level command (which is basically like the German Korps level), division, regiment and battalion officers and staff were in general as green as anything can be. Which meant that tactics or competent employment of combined arms were rare, and often limited to units that had came from far away Military Districts (like the Transcaucasus or Far East). If you are forced to improvise an army  - because the one you had was already destroyed in 6 months - the results will be apparent. The difference between an armed mob and a military unit is discipline, training, command and control. If any of those four factors are not up to snuff, bad things will happen.
    The best kept secret of the Eastern Front is that for most German setbacks in 1941 and 1942, the usual explanation is that they came across a "veteran" (i.e. an outfit that had been active for a few years) Red Army unit which was well supported and sensibly deployed in good terrain.
    What made and broke armies in World War 2 was having intelligent, well-trained officers at the division, regiment and battalion levels that were able to work in positive ways with their peers and with their superiors. In my opinion that factor alone trumps almost everything else.
    And still, in some situations, mass will be right answer. For an example, consider the battles for the Anzio beachhead in January 1944. There you had plenty of examples of German (German!) armed forces using "human waves" to try and overrun the allied fortified lines (there's even one CM scenario about that, see "Lancing the Abcess").  We talk a lot about trying to hit the enemy where he is weak, and so on, but if the enemy is competent, there may not be weak points to exploit, unless you create them by firepower and attrition. While the German Army bled at Anzio very badly, the US, Polish, Indian and Free French armies bled profusely over the Rapido and the mountains around Cassino. 
    So you can find examples of using infantry as "cannon fodder" pretty much across every WW2 combatants. Some of those examples have become ingrained in popular culture more strongly than others.
    Are these examples of military genius? I wouldn't say so. But I think that even Napoleon - a military genius and one-man-staff for the Grande Armee - would have had a hard time to overcome reliably and any given Sunday problems like having to crack the Anzio perimeter or breaking out of the Korsun pocket.
  19. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Lethaface in Infantry useless?   
    My response to your original post 'infantry is useless in CM' would be 'than you didn't learn how to play CM yet'.
    Anyway regarding the stock campaigns of CMRT, imo sometimes the point of a mission is to show the strengths and weaknesses of the depicted forces. And or maybe force you to still use them in suboptimal conditions (resembling SNAFUBAR 'Real Life' a little bit), perhaps in creative ways, to achieve objectives.
    For example if you throw enough infantry into the fray you can overcome very sturdy defenses, however you will take heavy casualties. The USSR campaign in CMRT has a couple of scenario's which represent that. I enjoyed them, although I can understand they're not everybody's cup o tea.

    Still most often the infantry is key (especially in complex terrain) and they are the main tool in dismantling defenses, other assets provide support.
    In more tank friendly terrain tanks can be the main asset, but they still need infantry to support them for various tasks. 
    But yes in general the infantry task is to do the dirty work: finding the enemy and endure the artillery, dying. There is a reason they called infantry 'cannon fodder', their job is to do or die not to question why 😉
    And obviously infantry are squishy, especially compared to armored vehicles and usually they don't stand a chance against them 1-1 in the open or at distance. However, go into close quarter combat in complex terrain and the infantry will dominate unsupported tanks.
    CM has a rather long learning curve, I guess it's reasonable easy to get into the game (although harder than the average RTS), but it takes a long time to master. 
    The finesses of infantry combat are among the more complicated affairs in CM, imo.
  20. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to akd in September is coming   
    Last time I checked Mexico and Canada have autonomy and territorial integrity. Haven’t occupied or annexed any part of them in a long, long time (but I’m still eyeing parts of Canada).  Cuba and Venezuela also seem bizarrely free of US troops or proxies, despite their hostility to US gov.
     
     
  21. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to 37mm in Fire and Rubble   
    We'll agree to disagree over whether "slight delay" was an appropriate term... however I think this highlights the most likely avenue for improvement.
    Create some more forum moderators, I suspect there's not enough for a forum of this size anyway, and as part of their remit they can manage a stickied reporting thread (keeping it clear of useless discussion or fake bug reports) for each game family.
    That means you guys & the Beta testers will only ever have to visit that one thread to find issues that have been raised & we will at least know that an issue has been seen.
  22. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Flibby in Trying to use real world tactics   
    Sorry to resurrect the thread somewhat, but I just wanted to thank you guys - something that I can be guilty of not coming back to threads to do.
    Having built on my skills using lots of the advice here, I am improving! This is from a recent CMBS small battle against the AI only, but it was a mission that previously I had no hope of winning, but now, using realistic tactics, I was able to do just that.
    I think the best advice was 1) To slow down; 2) To zoom down to eye level and think "would I run over there?" before placing a move order, and 3) For every movement I make a fire plan. I work out what enemy positions, or possible positions will be able to see me when I move, how I am going to deal with that, i.e. which of my over watching squads can open fire, and so on.
    It has made the game 10x more enjoyable.
     

  23. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Rice in Pre-orders for Combat Mission Cold War are now open.   
    Hint at a game that includes the Spanish? Spanish Civil War, or maybe very interestingly, the Ifni War? The Spanish could use some CM love haha.
  24. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Commanderski in Fire and Rubble   
    Sounds like...
  25. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to benpark in Fire and Rubble   
    Similar models, with new textures and a few new things to work with. Churches and Commercial have some new adds- Central European churches, a domed building, a factory. These are based upon the footprints of existing ones.
    Yes, adapted to Central European cities. The roofs have been changed on some to better simulate urban rows.
    Berlin has it's own set of textures, which would do for most cities. A destroyed texture as well, with the windows punched out- remember talking about that one years ago?
    The flavor objects round it out, as well. Some destroyed stuff, and some things to make towns and cities look a bit more previously inhabited.
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