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Everything posted by SimpleSimon

  1. 100%. Stuff like this is usually the result of script-style thinking in scenario design. Some fixed stuff is reasonable but most of the time tiny deploy zones and what's outside of them are really frustrating to see. The deployment phase is literally the most important thing going for both players and if there's a reason we have so little control at times it had damn well better be a good one.
  2. Some of the scenarios involving attacks in bad weather seem pretty dicey to me regardless of the conditions. It's bad enough if you stand to lose any vehicle to bogging, but when the scenario also involves an attack right into the teeth of the enemy defense with no prospect of maneuver and scores you viciously for failing in spite of these conditions I rapidly lose patience with the scenario designer and whatever his intent was and head to the editor. Weather is great contextual stuff, but the scenario designers need be aware that it can radically and unpredictably alter the circumstances of the scenario. That's fine as long as the expectations on the player are reasonable...
  3. Totally. Some units are misleading a bit to refer to as "HQ". An Officer sure, but otherwise they're infantry and it's over the top with the rest of their men when I give the order.
  4. It's a movie made by guys with pretensions of fidelity but is really fairly by-the-numbers American Action-Melodrama. The action sequences in it are certainly problematic-but I think the biggest problem is that they're not very exciting and are badly planned. Why are the Germans in X treeline? What's the reason for approaching them head on? When I watched interviews with the Director and Producer years ago they both seemed to have a very foggy idea about the kind of film they wanted to make. In the end the whole film really just feels like recordings of re-enactors fighting mock battles you could see at...well...your local re-enactment group. By comparison Saving Private Ryan and Thin Red Line are both way better movies in just about every sense-with Directors who understood that their first objective was a compelling drama merely backgrounded by-the Second World War. That's where Fury just totally fumbles to me. It's a movie that's trying to be about World War 2...a subject far too dense to confront with a 135 minute film by itself. This confusion of setting for story and story for setting is the underline to me.
  5. Well you can de-couple infantry from their entrenchments by using different AI plans and leaving the entrenchments out, i've fooled myself a few times in some of my own scenarios by forcing myself to guess between whether the positions I observed were actually occupied or not. It's a sort "maybe the Germans aren't there any more" sort of thing that leads to another awkward question which is "if they're not here then where are they???"
  6. I tend to think the problems with fortification visibility make them surprisingly handy for dummy positions myself...
  7. I also think that's the big difference between small arms from 1944 to 2007 Khalerick. Mistakes are punished far more viciously than in World War 2 titles where automatics are much less ubiquitous, and you might even be able to run off a group of riflemen with an attack straight at them using enough men. By 2007 however the firepower of an infantry platoon is now wielded by a squad. This configuration wasn't possible in the early half of the 20th century when the prospect of needing million man armies was real and you pretty much had to keep using cheap stuff like 19th century bolt action rifles because they're the only thing you have millions of-and you still might come up short in a few places. The priority was that a frontline needed to be composed-and maintained-because frontline density was everything and the worst thing you could do was allow gaps to open up between formations.
  8. I tend to think that new people expect way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way too much of light rifle infantry conducting unsupported attacks.
  9. Imagine actually having your Puma shot out from under you by a Jeep. Realistically I've heard the .50cal Jeep wasn't terribly viable. The M2 shook the vehicle violently when it fired from its mount and I imagine if the crew would usually dismount it whenever able. We definitely need something like a recon campaign-which in the theory the game engine should support well. Imagine a campaign mostly focused on own-objective sort of stuff like unit survival rather than enemy destruction and yeah it could work great.
  10. Certainly it'd be more reasonable to use them like fighting vehicles if the threat environment consisted almost entirely of infantry in soft positions. I'm not saying it never happened, US Army doctrine even pushed it to a degree. Just that the designs were not generally built for it. Like by comparison the Universal Carrier was a widely produced APC, was hyper successful, and couldn't even carry a full squad of infantry. It was a carrier for the heaps of heavy equipment and specialist troops the British envisioned they'd actually have an enormous number of cases for. Really if we're precise about the terminology the Universal Carrier was correctly described as an Armored Carrier minus the personnel part-because it didn't carry many heads. Course you also had infamously bold stuff like the WASP flamethrower and Boys-Rifle Carrier. Like don't get me wrong there's plenty of places a barely bulletproof battlefield taxi might be able to be handy in a fight. Kubelwagons and the Jeep had a machine gun sometimes, and it wasn't always dismounted. It's just that the situations you can use them in are very "circumstantially limited".
  11. APCs are for splinter protection from all the ubiquitous and unceasing artillery fire that saturated battlefields of the 20th century. Like it legit rained HE frag everywhere. Most of them were "bulletproof" only in the barest sense and in practice it was generally understood that infantry should dismount for a fight at the first opportunity. They are not really fighting vehicles. They could be used in a fight, but their weapons were mainly intended for self defense.
  12. I'm pretty sure the BAR found its way in, but according to the description the Browning .30cals and M2s on the halftracks could be dismounted from the vehicles and tripods were provided. I would not be surprised if this was almost always done when the whole Platoon dismounted.
  13. One of the most understated issues was that the Red Army-like every Army of the interwar period-was in the middle of a huge re-armament program. Aside from the obvious dangers posed by Fascism, observations from the Spanish Civil War, especially the debacle in Finland all made it clear that the Red Army was in a lamentable state in the 1930s. Stalin just gambled that Hitler was more rational than he was, believing at one point during the opening of the invasion that Hitler didn't even know it was happening-that a group of rogue German Generals were behind it! Sounds familiar doesn't it? The author of this article crucially points out the often unstated degree of consent and even collaboration there was to be found inside the rank and file of the nation for Stalin. No authoritarian-even totalitarian-could truly rule without some degree of cooperation, Stalin was just really good at masking how much of that there really was, and as a result-it was hard to trust peers and colleagues. The whole event was definitely bad for morale and squashed a lot of interest officers might've shown in low-level initiative. If this would've enabled the Red Army to suffer Barbarossa a bit better i'm unsure, but initiative and independence among Junior Officers was never much valued in the Red Army. The twisted byzantine political games of Stalin's Soviet Union implies to me that the whole purge might well have been orchestrated just to take down one guy-Tukhachevsky-we will never know for sure, that's just my own observation.
  14. It's a shame we don't have horses in the game. Quite a few armies were still using them-Cavalry Divisions especially-in reconnaissance. Germany had at least one Cavalry Division at the start of the war and it was still around during Operation Barbarossa I think. Not sure how its Aufklarung might've looked or if it even had one.
  15. I've considered designing a few scenarios when the module is released that basically incorporate a combination of exit zones and touch objectives to better convey what recon is up to than stuff like the explicit "probe" rules. Exit zones in particular seem very important to me as recon would rarely be camping anywhere for very long. The pressure is to push on forward and outwards and continuously verify the Division's path ahead. As we can see from your demonstration, armored recon need not much concern itself with scattered infantry remnants-probably most the Division won't either. Infantry Divisions in the next echelon can handle that...
  16. A pleasure. Do you happen to know what the Infantry Divisions would typically have in the way of a recon? How it was configured etc? Were they expected to behave differently from their armored counterparts? I guess the doctrine split could be expressed as "Russian School" and "African School" and was influenced a bit by the way in which German Officers observed the Russians using tanks in their recon squadrons. What better way to shut down the enemy's recon than to just kill it right? That's the Red Army for you. "All or Nothing". It's not that the Russians didn't do recon, it's just that when they did it was pushed quite aggressively and seriously or just not done at all. The Sherman was favored for this job because its mobility and rubberized tracks made it a great road cruiser-the Valentine was also handy because it was tiny. Both of them were becoming surplus as the war went late... It doesn't seem that armored recon in the Red Army was ever up to local or Division Commanders though, it was a General HQ asset. Although there was always a Division/Corp recon group-it seems to have been quite small. The Russians had a very atypical approach to battlefield intelligence gathering it seems. They didn't seem to value it much since they figured it was a waste of time-the Front's assault was meticulously researched at higher levels and all they want subordinates to do is execute time tables without much thought as to whatever is in their way. This kind of top-down imposition of control is still pretty alien to western observers who see the "two way street" of interaction, communication, and feedback between commanders and subordinates. So i'm to take it that "African School" of doctrine resembles something much like the lighter armored-car and infantry style reconnaissance of the early war period. You're not expecting to fight predominantly-just find the path of least resistance. So it's pretty handy when you've got something like the Luchs that can sneak through someone's backyard and give no hint of its presence until you see the tire tracks it left over the rose garden next morning. Off-topic a bit but the Americans seem to have generally rolled up reconnaissance into the Combat Commands-which operated in theory like Kampgruppen but not nearly as well in practice due to the way the Americans seem to have been unable to divorce themselves from old Cavalry traditions. Kampgrupper were tailored formations designed to match a highly specific scenario-Combat Commands existed for their own sake and about the best they managed a lot was...not getting killed? Since they were Armored and Mechanized they were hard to kill but if they ran into something like a full-strength Infantry Division they were too small to overrun it and most of the time their story ends with "withdrew to own lines-reattached to Division and fought as 7th Armored". Anyway I promised myself i'd stop looking for opportunities to roast the Combat Commands but here I go lol.
  17. Another word, the full title for German reconnaissance formations was Aufklarungsabteilung which was something of a translation complication in western circles for years because the term abteilung is used frequently in German documentation and has no direct English translation-but generally means office of or administration. So the whole term could properly be thought of as "Office of Reconnaissance" but native German speakers are more than welcome to correct me on this. In theory the Panzer Divisions would always have an armored recon attachment with attached infantry and anti-tank guns too, sort of functioning as a "mini division". Posting in the Aufklarung was considered both prestigious and risky and they had higher-than-average casualty rates even in good times. Many of a given Division's best Officers and staff would be assigned to it, and the combination of talent pooling and mechanization frequently and unfortunately meant that as the war went sour Panzer Aufklarungs would frequently be asked to serve as Armored Infantry-aggravating the casualty rates of such valuable troops. Aufklarung's were predisposed by training-and reality-to prioritize evasion and subtlety over direct fighting. Being armored meant that there were many kinds of threats the Aufklarung could in fact-ignore and bypass like outposts or suppressing artillery fire or enemy light recon-much of which for the era might well just be some guys on horseback or on bicycles. Otherwise, priority was on finding the path of least resistance through enemy lines that the rest of the Division could exploit later on. As is well known, the Panzer Divisions were ridiculously good at disappearing and seemingly reappearing out of nowhere, taking catlike advantage of the narrowest unobserved ground between enemy observers to appear abeam or even behind enemies before leaving them in the dust of a glorious Blitz. That ground-sometimes no wider than a single dirt track-had been inspected by the Aufklarung ages ago and the reason you can't get through to your Regimental HQ is because by the time you all realized this had happened the Panzer Division had already overrun your HQ. As the war went on it got harder and harder for the Panzer Divisions to gather reconnaissance. The Russians checked German recon formations by putting battle tanks in their recce groups when able-squadrons of Valentines and Shermans as much as possible, especially as the lend lease stuff wasn't as critical to compose Mechanized and Tank Corps anymore. Which also had the effect of confusing German commanders as to where the main body of Red Armor actually was. Increasing head counts and frontline densities meant that the fighting became positional again-in many places resembling 1918-and there was little use for armored cars in such circumstances. Any road you pick is likely to be under observation... Loss of air supremacy meant that the Aufklarungs were frequently restricted to moving at night and were more likely to stumble into bloody disasters without the Luftwaffe providing advance warning of local enemy Armored Divisions. Then of course they were favorite picks of all those Kampfgruppen commanders who needed them to serve in rearguard duty-another great way to get them all killed...
  18. A lot of that is basically available in the HUNT command. Again, we're playing a game that is heavily focused around facilitating set-piece battles and sieges. The CM games can do maneuver well enough, but the designers don't seem to have a very good of picture of the sort of "day to day" routines military forces follow that don't match up to the "pitched battle for hill 235" picture they usually hold. German Armored Recon had a saying that went like "see much and be seen little". The motto was an overall abstraction of their training that emphasized avoidance all but the most helpless of enemies and even more importantly, that it was preferable to avoid danger entirely than to "fight it out" against enemy forces. You don't really know how strong the enemy force is, and fighting will be a distraction from the Panzer Aufklarung's job which was to find safe avenues for the rest of the division and potentially save the formation too if it turned out they were walking into a trap. That may sound like what all recon does, but tbh there's quite a bit more nuance in each Army's approach to battlefield intelligence gathering than we often picture and a given designer's inability to distinguish between kinds of recon that could be either "searching" and "screening" or something else kinda just highlight's my point about how much myopia there is about this lol. I think sources are sort of hard to parse too because while there's plenty of guys who wrote books on their experiences in recon or armored recon the overall context of what they were doing and what they were up to exactly is hard to place without some "high level" understanding of the local situation and the routines. Then of course there was a lot of overlap with main bodies and such like the infantry who were expected to be both searching and screening everywhere they went but what exactly that involved between Rifle Infantry and dedicated Recce Troop could be substantially different.
  19. CM scenarios are usually a bit overpopulated to execute proper recce missions as designed unfortunately. It can be done, but the scenario designers don't usually seem to have a good picture of how recon works and what it's doing. So the player always gets asked to do insanely dangerous stuff like close probes and infiltration. Recon typically tried to avoid fighting as much possible except against targets they could obviously trounce, think a 232 vs a pair of guys in a fox hole. If you try to use armored cars like tanks you will be very disappointed. If you try to use them like a Kubelwagon but with armor and a 20mm gun you will turn up better results. The Americans and Germans had some of the most heavily armed and armored recon of any of the Allied/Axis armies-a fact which tended to compel German Generals to use and expend them as armored infantry which also wasted such a valuable asset. American commanders seem to have granted their armored recon a ton of latitude and independence-old cavalry traditions probably-and so they tended to end up surviving more often but also tended to end up driving out into the middle of nowhere, negatively impacting their HQ's situational awareness. These are big reasons why the Russians gave battlefield commanders just about none of it for their own use and withheld armored recon squadrons at higher levels. They didn't have many of them-so they had to be used somewhat more carefully than a Division commander might be inclined to.
  20. Been a problem for years unfortunately. The game needs a "path forecaster" tool of some kind to more precisely show what you're going to get from what you lay down. At the very least a wall/door highlighter of some kind would be extremely useful for avoiding some entirely avoidable pathing snafus.
  21. HEAT rounds weren't provided for the 25 pounder until 1944, and not many were made because by then the 17 pounder was available. An AP round was provided instead-in theory for self defense-but in North Africa guns and sometimes whole batteries had to be set aside as anti-tank guns for a while until the 6 pounder became more widely available. In general it wasn't preferred to use the guns that way-it removed them from the overall fire control network they were a part of-but necessity often required the guns be employed in forward positions. Then of course there was doctrinal stuff like the Wehrmacht who would actually set aside individual "wandering" guns to mislead sound ranging and confuse or decoy counter-battery fire. Frequently though, the positions were just overrun when the enemy got too close. Especially in the Eastern Front where a frontline rarely existed at all and movers were either immobilized by mud or out of gas the positions had to just fight it out. This could be a problem since when deployed for support fire batteries would usually be in low ground and in the edge of readily "flankable" terrain like forests. On the other hand, there was more expectation that the guns and crews would have to fight than is often understood-because US Army practice was to do everything possible to prevent batteries from being enveloped-while in the Wehrmacht gun crews typically had priority for allowances of machine guns for instance. Whether this was a circumstance of the Eastern Front or just tradition
  22. A whole class of guns existed during and before the war you know that had big guns but lacked the benefit of things like protection and self propulsion. They were known as "infantry guns" and they were designed entirely for direct fire on positions they had line of sight toward. That sounds pretty silly at first-but at the ranges of intended use, such as a kilometer or more-most infantry weapons had great difficulty hitting you and you could just bombard them. Infantry guns were slowly being supplanted by mortars as the war went on, but stuck around for a bit when the tank began to appear on the battlefield because anti-tank guns were always in short supply and the infantry needed absolutely anything that could sling a respectable AP or HEAT round into a Panzer. But regular field artillery often had substantial mechanisms for direct fire built in as well, and were given that job frequently in some armies in spite of the risk. Because in fact as long as the gun was kept a safe distance from the enemy (or in defilade) the advantage rested with the big gun chucking 15lb high explosive rounds. So with that in mind, it's not that extreme to see something like the Hummel or Priest-which at least had the benefit of armor and mobility-pressed into infantry support. You're right, they're not tanks, but there should still be a lot of work a self propelled 105mm gun in 1944 can do.
  23. Speaks for itself. The LMG conversion failed because ARs don't make good MGs, but as we can visibly see today politicians and the public don't see a difference. What are the chances a budget committee did in 1959?
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