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SimpleSimon

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Everything posted by SimpleSimon

  1. Close call between Shock Force 2 and Fortress Italy. Both of them have really broad kinds of situation and the scenarios are constructed that felt more intuitive than usual rather than relying on scripting of some kind.
  2. Are we even playing the same game? The Browning .50cal is utterly brutal toward the enormous number of paper-armored German recon cars and half tracks they've got tons of. Murphy didn't kill anything bigger than a man with that Browning. He fought extremely hard and by all accounts did something very heroic and selfless in the face of a terrifying situation. The overpowering imagery and depictions of his fight are universally illustrating events which Did Not Happen Like That and paint an embellished idea of the battle obviously to sell war bonds and support Hawk policies post war. Incidentally, it was not even the first time Murphy did something worth earning a Medal of Honor for. The man's entire career was an insane defiance of death and odds and it left him by the way - with no shortage of emotional and drug problems after the war. He clearly felt that his life and exploits had been violated to some degree by a system with an ulterior motive. That's a far more interesting discussion to me than "oh if only CM would model the special AP incendiary round I read about on wikipedia".
  3. In the Campaign brief Erwin theres a subnote for mission "x variants" which I think kick in after....some number of scenario failures in a row. I cant remember if it was 3?
  4. Almost all of the campaigns use core troops to some degree - unfortunately. For a number of them is does more harm than good since the scenarios are all designed to be challenging and this means that any one of them has the power to cripple your force before you get anywhere near the end of the campaign. Narratively, this was sometimes the case, especially for such infamous campaigns such as Market Garden or Bagration. For some of the Normandy campaigns I found it really unwelcome however. The other really great campaign in the game to me was Road to Nijmegan because the designers of the campaign have a bypass option that allows you sidestep the regular campaign difficulty if you get screwed over by one of the scenarios. That way you can still play the rest of the campaign but with more flexibility. Some other reasons I really liked Road to Nijmegan was the breadth of scenario types, situations, and units. It is a good "variety platter" of situations in the game. Unfortunately the reason I place it second to Spear is because when it was designed the rules governing air strikes in the game were very different and now they've been changed and the scenarios have not been rebalanced to reflect that. It's not crippling thanks to the bypass option - but I had to use the campaign decompiling tool and scenario editor to edit nearly the entire campaign (which was so heavily built around the old air support rules - which predate CM3.0 even) to basically abstract the airstrikes or just give the player more of other things to properly negotiate the scenarios. Note: They are and should still be difficult, Market Garden was doomed from the start.
  5. Blunting the Spear - The ultimate in Glorious Panzer Death Ride. This campaign is very big, so it requires some confidence and patience while you manage your force comprising full strength battalions + support assets. The plus is that - it captures the scale of operations on the Ostfront like few other games ever get near and "core troops" mechanic is well utilized in the context a pair of German Kampfgruppe being asked to conduct a challenging attack with zero prospect of reinforcement and little of resupply. CM's mechanics in both the clear and metaphorical sense very much favored this sort of campaign, even the briefings are well written, the entire campaign opening with... The last several months have been a series of painful setbacks as the inexorable Soviet drive inches closer to the heartland of the Third Reich... Which is putting it charitably - I sense the author was fully aware of the understatement within his prose. Another very wise element behind this campaign's design is that both sides are making use of core troops. The AI can find itself punished down the road for taking too many losses to the player's attacks. This is a big deal-because it means casualties are affecting the metaplay and thus matter far more than they usually seem to in a CM campaign...
  6. I think ultimately it was an operational mobility thing-not a tactical one. The Russians just got tired of all the times the Germans used rivers to construct defensive barriers and frustrate an advance. I would think it'd be reasonable enough to have it in game nonetheless, but it can be abstracted with deploy zone/map design construction well enough too.
  7. Comparing the M48 to the Abrams is putting the cart before the horse. The M48 was designed with the last generation of WW2 heavy and medium tanks in mind and is not a modern MBT. It is more like a Super World War 2 tank, and much of the thinking behind it is both literally and figuratively closer to 1945 than 1989.
  8. The Cold War stuff will require the most analysis now I think. There's a degree to which vehicles like the BMP are definitely only as good and perhaps worse than World War 2 tanks even just because of where the Commander sits and the Gunner taking up the whole turret. Russian tanks definitely have very little provision for fighting unbuttoned. I think it was heavily discouraged if not banned entirely. With only 3-4 crewman losing that TC hurts way more than in a western tank.
  9. From the way the campaigns and scenarios (such as Red Dawn) are designed it does not look like the Germans are on the ropes. We're back to situations with 4 Pak40s and 3 88s watching stretches of highway with no safe path of maneuver toward and totally insufficient firepower on the Soviets' end to just crush. Some of the guns in scenario 2 of To Berlin were spaced less than 200m from eachother-the defense line was so dense. The very next scenario featured for air support...a single IL2. Lmao "Historic" The designers of scenarios like these read heaps but understood little. Doesn't bother me all that much since I can just use the Editor to fix everything and I have the knowledge to do so but it's really unfortunate for people who were hoping to use RT/FR as a learning experience.
  10. It's funny that the things that bug me about campaigns are way different from the things that seem to bug others. Bugs and technical glitches and the Brandenburg gate looking like a Lego House are just really trivial stuff to me. Games are complicated software to make and I'm not terribly miffed that BF sometimes tries to feature memorable or set piece locations with a bit of imagination on my end. "Pretend this shack is the Eagle's Nest" works for me since that's all just contextual stuff. Nah, things that annoy me with Fire and Rubble's scenarios are situations like "historically this attack failed and we're sending you in with same historic loadout so you can fail at it too." Lmao nope.
  11. Barbarossa's win conditions were more reasonable than Russian and some Western Historians have summarized, however the greatest irony of them all is that as long as the Nazis were in charge-the plan was unlikely to succeed. (This is not to say that a hands off approach toward OKW as claimed by German Generals after the war would've enabled victory.) In spite of all of the dehumanizing rhetoric, death squads, and starvation policies some one million Ukrainians, Balts, Latvians, etc still turned up at German recruitment posts to fight for the Wehrmacht. This number potentially could've been much higher had the Nazis not fired up everyone in Germany on their dehumanizing race rhetoric-but it's hard to tell. The Wehrmacht did not outnumber the Red Army overall-but they did possess a temporary numerial and material advantage over the Red Army contingents in Belorussia and Ukraine during most of the invasion. This is a big reason why the Nazis were so unmotivated to recruit anyone. Even through the Red Army was proving larger and more formidable than planned-there was still little discernable reason to foresee catastrophe. One thing is certain, Stalin's decision not to abandon the Kremlin and Moscow was probably the single most important move in the Soviet's defense of the city. The decision fight on-ruthlessly-probably saved the entire Union and it just goes to show how flimsy the whole plan for Barbarossa was and how fragile the entire German War Effort was if Just Anyone happened to decide to fight to the end rather than just give in that the entire invasion could be derailed. Forcyzk was pretty livid that Polish Leaders conspired to simply abandon their country when faced by invasion-because the Army was clearly quite willing to fight to the end and who knows what the consequences of that might've been if they hadn't just surrendered? Victory most certainly not but the whole war would've looked a lot different if the Germans had emerged from Poland without their precious myth of invincibility. Look what the consequences of Red Army troops fighting down to the last foxhole had on all of Barbarossa and Nazi Germany in the end... Just look at what Mers El Kebir did for the British in the long run. No single event turned around public attitudes and ended the mythology of Defeated Britain faster than blowing up the Navy of their former Ally. For all their bluster-the Nazis and their grip on power was quite fragile-and they depended considerably upon the flimsy willpower or even sympathy of their enemies to enable quick victory and subsequent plunder. When they ran into a bunch of other authoritarians who were far more serious about maintaining their Authority With a Capital A than just robbing people in their country like most European Dictatorships and running away...they couldn't really win. The Soviet regime was bloody awful but when faced with annihilation they made the correct choice. When we run out of tanks go to the cannon. When we run out of cannon go to the guns. When we run out of guns go to the bayonet. When we run out of bayonets go to your fists. Return with your shield or upon it as the Greeks used to say...
  12. We've all been wishing for a FOLLOW command for years. I know i'm really starting to desire that the MOVE command default to the prone state when under fire rather than converting inexplicably to QUICK. It has very little contextual usefulness right now as a result. I also think that AT guns and especially light guns should have their QUICK move enabled, and are far too unwieldy in their current state especially being unable to re-crew. I can see it being very tiring for the crew, but you can literally watch YouTube videos of 2-3 reenactors shoving the Pak 36 or 19-K around with some serious dash.
  13. Stuff like this kind of just emphasizes to me how over-configured CM is for the Panzer Blitz style operation, and how much we all seem to be very captured by very "Prussian" ideas of fighting. Moonscaping the land with thousands of rounds of heavy artillery fire? Measure coverage by gun per 7 meters or gun per meter or guns per meter even? Yet for Allied Commanders such questions were the norm, not the exception. Rolling barrages can be managed with the tools CM happens to have, but admittedly only very crude ones. CM just isn't configured around operational or the sort of day-to-day activities of fighting Armies-the support tabs are both holdovers from Shock Force's 2007 design and philosophy and are aging the fastest, second only to the non-contextual hard map edges...
  14. I think the thing about Fire and Rubble I did like along with RT in general was how non-combined arms many of the scenarios are. The Panzer Blitz style of design tends to obscure how often it wasn't possible to construct the stereotypical Tank-Infantry-Artillery triumvirate-especially when the frontline wasn't established and units were engaged in maneuvering. The Germans were generally able to show up with a Combined Arms kit in these circumstances-because they built so much organic support into formations at the Division Level and downwards. Thus the Panzer Divisions and Motorized Infantry Divisions were the ultimate "medium" formations of all times-ready for anything but not the best at anything either. This is why the Panzer Divisions tended to do so well in running campaigns and the infamous Blitz they were known for. The Allies seem to come off a little worse in these situations, all the cases of Russian Units showing up without infantry or without artillery but heaps of something else like 100+ SU-85s or T-34s. A toolkit imbalance, but this pretty much a result of the way the Allies fought-configured heavily around sieges and cracking a frontline. As long as the enemy mostly wasn't motorized it worked well but it could lead to infamous bloody disasters if your unit ran into say...a Heavy Panzer Battalion but how many of those do the Germans have? The Russians gambled a bit on that and answered "not many" and 1944-45 proved them right. Thus you had lots of cases of German units just being overrun by the infamous T-34 hordes that their luxurious combined arms kit couldn't do much about. There just wasn't enough of anything to stop the SCALE of the Eastern Front and this slope only got steeper from 1942 onwards. So that's what I like about Fire and Rubble, I think they got that a lot of the time the Russians show up to scenarios and seem really uneven-but that's because a balanced tool kit isn't necessary. Your tanks all have 85mm or 122mm guns and pray tell what on Earth could the Germans possibly have that is proof against those in a given scenario or map?
  15. Fortress Italy has the widest variety of campaigns and scenarios and features the Italians-an Army pretty representative of the shape most of the world's Armies were actually in during the 2nd World War. The terrain of Italy and the nature of much of the fighting there fits the model of predominant Company-scale engagements very well. Everything happened in Italy from trench sieges more in style with 1918 to Glorious Panzer Death Rides to restore lost segments of the line.
  16. I think the net effect of many decades of media familiarization, video games, movies, tv, books, etc is that there's an inability to see things the way people saw them in 1941. Many people in the world in 1941 did not have electricity or indoor plumbing, had never seen a car or an airplane before, and essentially still lived as peasants. Even the ones that did had very little familiarity with something like a tank aside from maybe hearing about it as the nebulous "land battleship" of the Great War. If a T-28 emerged from the treeline it would for many soldiers I think it would be equivalent to something quite actually biblical, and would not be laughed at. It just so happened that by 1941, German troops were pretty seasoned and also probably had a pretty good idea of what its limitations would be. (Avoid its line of sight, wait until it runs out of gas). If you were green and did not know these things as many conscripts in many armies in 1939-41 it would be much worse. Until the advent of credible infantry anti-tank weapons though, such as the Panzerfaust and Bazooka there really wasn't much you could do to challenge a tank assault except hope engineers chose your sector to mine. Most early war infantry anti-tank weapons were improvised weapons or just placebos. By 1943 there was enough warning, enough collective experience, and most importantly of all just enough anti-tank weapons around to at least keep the frontline from melting rapidly in a tank assault-as long as it was a smaller than a Corp attack. It really wasn't until the 1980s that there was much prospect of stopping a Tank Army though...
  17. I've seen the Panther in real life and while its smaller than I thought it would be it's still a very...sinister looking tank. Has a predatory vibe like its namesake. The multi turret monstrosities look pretty stupid-the rationale behind them was that they could multitask and cover each other or suppress multiple enemy positions etc but in practice it didn't work on only one tank commander and tanks with all those turrets just look really crowded. I certainly wouldn't laugh at a T-28 if it came at me, but the turrets definitely don't contribute to why i'd view running into it as a major bad day for me and the boys.
  18. Big ooof when you get sent into Aachen or Cologne for infantry support. US Army TDs had a tendency to end up playing Assault Guns. A job for which they were fairly unsuited given their height and open top. Hope the GIs cleared the upper floors of the opera house you're driving by before it starts raining potato mashers.
  19. I think people care too much about armor. Someone would always turn up with the gun to defeat it, and tanks were generally killed by AP shot from anti-tank guns which were way common. Fact was even armor that technically "overmatched" the oncoming projectile was still vulnerable to spall/lucky gap hits. Savvy crews understood the only thing their tank was actually proof against was bullets and fragmentation. Anything else needed to be dealt with before it got a shot off. The Panther looks really survivable in theory, but the side armor in the track wells was only 40mm thick and could be penetrated by anti-tank rifles and definitely so by the tiny 45mm anti tank gun the Russians had tons of. Other than that distance was also pretty equivalent to safety for a tank, since physics meant lots of small rounds lost performance rapidly over wide areas and there'd be fewer hiding options for anti-tank guns that would put them close enough to endanger your tank. Even something the size of the Tiger is pretty hard to hit at 1000m and if you're in something like that or the Panther looks good right? At the kinds of ranges they could fight at the T-34 and Sherman would have extreme difficulty even hitting you. Unfortunately, shortages of infantry mean that your tank will frequently be sent into close fighting a lot-Rattenkrieg'ing it up along with the bloody Landwehr. Since "Divisions" are down to single Regiments or even Battalions at this point that's just how it's going to be. Crew losses in the Panzer Divisions accelerated throughout the war for this reason, and it was major element in the decision to expend so many of them in Glorious Panzer Death Charges where the chances of survival might actually improve with operational mobility and disruption of the Allied line. Maybe if you're lucky you'll be able to extract the crews too once their tanks run out of gas. Yeah, gonna go with the Sherman.
  20. I watched the video. I think what's often not brought up is that the manner in which the Allies were conducting strategy in the ETO often required attacks up predictable routes due to the all the wrecked bridges and need to capture Ports. Market Garden was a pretty infamous case-literally up a single highway-but there plenty of times in Italy Allied commanders had to do the same thing because there was no alternative. This meant the unfortunate Division Commander often had no choice but to send his troop into Pak country. I've heard the often quoted readiness figures in American Armored Divisions which are quite impressive-but so were losses overall. By 1944 however it was pretty much accepted that tanks were going to suffer many losses no matter what they did. Frontlines were way more dense than in 1940-so there was little hope of achieving clean breakthroughs anymore, calibers had increased-so hits were more likely to be fatal, and finally tanks of peer tonnage were being mass produced-so tank Armies were large enough to be held in reserve now to plug breakthroughs. I was just reading Zaloga's book on US Army Armored Divisions and he was highlighting the different manner in which the British and Americans viewed their armor for consideration. The British tended to view their Armored Divisions as anti-Panzer Divisions-deliberately to be used against German armor. whereas the Americans saw their Armored Divisions in the 1940 sense of the Breakthrough Force. Chief difference between American thinking and similar German school of thought is that the Germans felt the infantry shouldn't do anything except bottle up and "deal with" stragglers caught in a kessel. The Americans felt the infantry should be the ones to actually punch the line open-which Armored Divisions (formed up as Combat Commands) would then exploit. This was pretty much Operation Cobra in a nutshell and later on the Battle of Remagen. There was a greater degree of cavalryman thinking going on in US Army Armor than in British and definitely German Panzer Divisions.
  21. Well just about every tank during the 2nd World War was a death trap. By today's standards they'd all be unacceptable. Most of them stored ammunition in open racks for instance. The Sherman was literally the only one at least trying to decrease the brew up chance. I'm sure it's going to be mentioned ad nauseum too but Ronson didn't come up with the slogan "lights first every time" until the 1950s either. I think Tommy Cooker was in use during the war, but no one's sure if that was just meant for the Sherman or any tank the British were using. The fact that crews were running around complaining about the Sherman all the time is sort of interesting-because it implies the crews tended to survive enough to complain at all. I definitely do not want to turn this into another Defense of the Sherman thread however lol...
  22. Statistically the Sherman. Grand scheme you'll probably be fine but even if you're unlucky, the Sherman is the only tank of the war with wet stowage for its ammunition and an escape hatch beneath the hull. Very important for evacuating the vehicle under fire. The Sherman's sheer mass went a long way into enabling crew survival by making it easier to evacuate and taking hits from shaped charges a bit better than smaller tanks. Mainly due to greater volume between ammunition and fuel stowage. If you're a tank crewman there isn't a lot of certainty, but one thing that's bound to happen to you? Your tank will be shot out from under you at one point or another. Whether you can get out of it easily enough to fight another day is the big priority for me.
  23. It sounds like this was the intent of the directly attached mortars that were given to the infantry in British Divisions. This is why the Bren Carrier was so common and so valuable. That it was barely bulletproof or splinter proof was just the bonus-it's main job was to huff the Vickers and MkII mortar around with their crews and ammo.
  24. Think part of the problem is different combatants used the term "effective" with wide latitude. It could mean quite different things from Army to Army. I believe the PPsh sight has settings for 100 and 200 meters. Germans used to capture them whenever able as I recall though-they found it a very favorable weapon for assault troops. Although this might've reflected shortages of the MP40 more than it being a "better" SMG. Most sub-machine guns were pretty similar during the war, and seem to have been valued for the service they provided storm troopers and assault teams than being quality guns. Most of them were manufactured with surprisingly low tolerances-some were made entirely out of metal stampings with just the barrel and bolt being lathed, and have a bargain basement feel in my opinion. Earliest models of the Thompson had an insane leaf sight up to 600 yards as I recall. This was dropped, but it might've been intended to be used in semi-auto. The Thompson's problem is that it was basically a World War 1 design, huge, heavy, and expensive. It fired a cartridge notorious for rapid muzzle energy loss after about 100m.
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