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Centurian52

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Everything posted by Centurian52

  1. Ah, I see what you mean. The type of object that the M60 was spotting was different (it was spotting a T64, rather than an M60, while the T64 and T80 were both spotting an M60). I assumed a tank sized target was a tank sized target, and simply playing the test scenario from the other side was the easiest way to keep all other variables identical (with the one caveat that I went back into the editor to change which crew was mounted and which was dismounted to avoid any shooting interfering with the results). But since the M60 is taller than T72oids that might not have been a valid assumption (that a tank sized target is a tank sized target). Perhaps I should try the test again with an M60 as the target for the M60.
  2. ???? We are in agreement that a larger sample is needed to make any definitive conclusions. But what do you mean that I am "not controlling for all tanks spotting the same object"? There is only one object to spot (the M60 at 2k), and only one tank doing the spotting (the T80B). There are no other forces on either side. And apparently I got roughly the right figure anyway, since it seems to be in agreement with The_Capt's tests. Based on his earlier tests spotting time should be inversely proportional to the number of tanks in communication with each other. If that is true then if my lone T80 could spot a single target at 2k in an average of 126.8 seconds, then I would predict that a platoon of four T80s would spot that same target at that same distance in an average of 31.7 seconds. And The_Capt got an average of 31.4 seconds, which is pretty close to what I would have predicted. The numbers by themselves mean very little. But as we run more tests we gain confidence that the numbers are accurate. And as we run different tests we see how those numbers differ in relation to earlier tests with different conditions. The first tests I did with the T64A meant very little besides "here are some numbers". The_Capt's tests demonstrated a linear relationship between spotting times and distance and the number of spotters within C2 communication. My second set of tests suggested similar spotting performance between the T64A and M60A1, and my latest set of tests suggest that the T80B has poorer spotting performance than the T64A and M60A1. These tests are revealing interesting information, even if it isn't perfectly precise of exhaustive yet. I would like to do more exhaustive testing (100 trails for every variable changed, and try changing more variables such as trying the whole list of vehicles, trying at different distances, with different crew skill levels, buttoned up and opened up, with different lighting conditions, both single vehicles and platoons, in the open, in hull down, in trees, etc...). But I only have so much time.
  3. One more time with the T80B. Surprisingly it did significantly worse than either the T64A or the M60A1. I suspect the issue is that 10 tests is too small of a sample size and it just had a run of bad luck. Or maybe it actually does have worse spotting. T80B spotting M60 at 2k (?) spot firm spot (in seconds) 32 39 207 221 59 80 99 106 252 259 75 82 115 115 84 91 173 173 94 102 average for (?) spot: 119 seconds average for firm spot: 126.8 seconds
  4. Ran my earlier test again, but with the M60A1 trying to spot the T64. I remounted the crew of the M60 and dismounted the crew of the T64. Lighting and conditions are identical to my earlier tests (clear, 1100, dry). Because the T64 crew in the earlier tests were regular with +2 leadership I set the M60 crew to regular with +2 leadership. The results were as follows: (?) spot firm spot (in seconds) 18 18 213 213 133 133 50 50 98 98 22 29 81 81 58 72 92 92 17 34 average time for (?) spot: 78.2 seconds (a lot of the spots on this run resulted in instant identification) average time for firm spot: 82 seconds Overall the results for the M60A1 were about the same as the T64A. So I don't think it's a matter of American tanks spotting better than Soviet tanks. I think it's a matter of the M60A3 and M1 Abrams specifically spotting better than every other vehicle in the game, American or Soviet (although maybe I should test the M60A1 RISE). Tbh I was expecting the M60 to do slightly better. Not because it has better optics, but because it has one more crewmember to help spot.
  5. That is very interesting. And it means we can start making testable predictions. If this pattern holds then it should take an average of ~20 seconds for a lone T72 (of the same model, with the same crew experience, and the same visibility conditions) to spot an enemy tank in the open at 500 meters. It should take an average ~5 seconds for a platoon of 4 T72s to spot an enemy tank in the open at 500 meters. And an average of ~170 seconds for a lone T72 to spot an enemy tank in the open at 4000 meters.
  6. So I thought I might jump on the spotting test bandwagon. I set up a simple scenario with an M60A1 and a T64A facing off at 2 kilometers. I dismounted the crew of the M60 since I was interested in the spotting times for the T64, not who shoots first. The results were: (?) icon firm spot (in seconds) 73 87 36 64 54 68 0 0 (T64 spotted the M60 instantly upon the start of the test) 199 199 (T64 identified the M60 instantly upon spotting it) 13 83 115 143 13 21 98 98 48 62 average time for (?) spot: 64.9 seconds average time for firm spot: 82.5 seconds I have all sorts of ambitions for follow up tests. Such as repeating it at 1500, 1000, and 500 meters. Repeating it with the spotter at the edge of a tree line. Repeating it with the target at the edge of a tree line. And remembering to control for skill and leadership next time (I left it on default for these tests, with the crew coming out with regular skill and +2 leadership). But I probably won't get around to those.
  7. So my feeling is that SB and CM are both highly realistic wargames that aim to model real combat as closely as practicable. Because they are both trying to model reality you would expect their results to converge, even though they are starting from very different engines. But, no one has infinite resources, so both had to make choices about which things to model in detail, which things to abstract, and which to ignore. Meaning the results won't converge perfectly. So which simulation do we trust to be more accurate when the results diverge? If the argument were over armor penetration then I would place a higher premium on the SB results, because I expect them to have modeled armor and projectile performance in greater detail. But to my knowledge CM puts a far greater emphasis on modeling realistic spotting than any other wargame, SB included. So the fact that spotting results between SB and CM are different is probably a stronger indicator that SB has unrealistic spotting (at least for AI crew) than that CM has unrealistic spotting. Of course as @The_Capthas pointed out multiple times, we can't tell how far a sim is off from reality by comparing it to another sim. If we want to be truly confident that either sim is getting it right (or at least getting it close) then we need to compare them with real world data. Of course now that I mention it, if there is any unclassified and non-proprietary data on real world spotting that could be shared I'm sure the community would be happy to have it, since spotting isn't exactly the easiest subject to google (any books, websites, or studies that you would recommend reading? free or paid access, so long as it is available to the public). My impression is that CM has it about right, since most of what I've read suggests that pretty much everything (from spotting, to shooting, to decision making) is harder in actual combat than in an exercise (and of course even spotting an enemy in an exercise is much harder than spotting a marked target on a range). I assume my ability to spot targets in games like Steel Beasts, GHPC, Arma, and Operation Flashpoint (on the first playthrough of a mission (on the second and subsequent playthroughs I already have some idea where the enemy is)) is roughly equivalent to an exercise, not actual combat. The enemy is wearing camouflage and trying to be sneaky, and I don't know exactly where they are. But I do know they are out there, and I am not as suppressed by their fire as I would be in actual combat (both because my life is not in any real danger, and because the incoming bullets are not as loud as real bullets). That I am playing from the comfort of my own desk means that I am also not as fatigued as I would be in either an exercise or real combat (of course I also lack peripheral vision, since I am viewing the world through a monitor). And yet I still often have a very hard time finding the enemy the first time I play a lot of missions (the second time I play those missions it isn't as hard to find the enemy because I already vaguely recall where they were the first time I played that mission).
  8. I've been playing a lot of CMx1 recently (CMAK so far, but I'll get to CMBB). Until Battlefront makes CMx2 games that cover the early war I feel that the CMx1 games remain an essential part of the collection for anyone who wants early WW2 content. But I definitely feel that going with no orders delay is better than the orders delay implemented in CMx1. The orders delay in CMx1 feels a little too arbitrary. Rather than being given an arbitrary number of seconds that increases with more complex orders, I imagine the orders making their way from a commander avatar present on the map (sort of like how in SoW there is a commander on the field who is "you") to the intended recipient of that order over the same C2 links that spotting information currently proliferates over. Implementing this properly would require competent subordinate AIs at all echelons which can make decisions without direct orders from the player, either because they need to react to something that the player can't tell them how to react to in time, or because the C2 links are cut and they need to operate independently for a while until the links are reestablished. I've also been toying with the idea of information delay. Basically the player does not have borg knowledge of everything their subordinates know, or even the positions or activities of each of their subordinates. Information about both friendlies and enemies is updated for the player whenever the commander avatar receives a report from their subordinates (with reports proliferating over the C2 links). The player can directly see the 3d models of the friendly and enemy troops that their commander avatar can see. But otherwise sees icons representing the last reported positions of their subordinates (and clicking on those icons will give their last reported condition and activities (ammunition, casualties, strength, idle, in-contact, retreating, pinned down, etc...)), or last reported positions of enemy forces. The idea is to make the player as blind as an actual commander would be. The kinds of orders which would be sent would be completely different. You might give each subordinate an objective, a lane, a start line, a start time, and attached support. But since you can't micromanage with a delay and limited information the details will have to be left up to the subordinate AI commanders. At this point it's basically a completely different game, which is why there is no chance of this ever being implemented in Combat Mission. But items don't have to have a realistic chance of being realized to go on a wishlist. Perhaps another developer will take some inspiration from these concepts. Or maybe someday I'll get some game development skills and do it myself.
  9. More of a pipedream for CMx3 than a real CMx2 Engine 5 item (for Engine 5 just focus on the promised performance improvements). But the perfect war sim to me would combine the exquisite tactical detail of Combat Mission with the attempts to simulate realistic command and control difficulties made by Command Ops 2 and Scourge of War. In other words, introduce orders delay. "You" are one of the officers on the field (presumably the top officer), and all orders to any unit need to travel from you to that unit through some sort of medium (voice, runner, hand signal, radio net, etc...). Because I'm a glutton for punishment I would also like to add information delay, meaning that all information about both enemy and friendly positions (that can't be observed directly by the commander) have to reach the commander through those same communications channels before the player can see those positions. Basically I want to get as close as possible to having all of the difficulties and considerations of a real world commander, while still being able to do it all from the comfort of my own desk with only digital lives lost. This is never going to happen of course. There are all sorts of considerations that would make it impractical to implement into the Combat Mission engine. For one the AI would need a complete overhaul. Orders delay just can't work unless you have competent subordinate platoon and squad AI commanders (and company AI commanders if you are commanding at the battalion level) that can do a reasonable job of reacting to their own local situation without orders from the player while they are waiting for new orders from the player to arrive. CO2 and SoW manage it, but the level of abstraction in those games is much greater than in CM, greatly simplifying the problem. It is a dream of mine to create a competent command AI for wargames as detailed or more than CM. But alas, I'm not a good enough programmer yet.
  10. I just created a thread in the CMCW forum hoping to coax people into posting more interesting Cold War era training films. But one thing that interested me about the video I posted was that the squad in the video was clearly using the 11 man format used from 1956-1963 (when one man was dropped, resulting in two asymmetric teams of five and four men, plus a squad leader) and from 1973 to 1984 (in the light infantry, while the mechanized infantry used 9 men). That got me interested in having a discussion about historical squad organizations (or changes to any layer of organization, such as platoon or company if you have something interesting to say on those), but I felt that such a discussion deserved its own thread so here we are. Numerous studies in the 50's and 60's seemed to keep concluding that the optimal squad format was the 11 man squad of two balanced five man fireteams plus a squad leader, with a light machinegun on each team. The reasons were: 11 men can absorb casualties better than any smaller squad (it was concluded that the squad should anticipate operating at 25% below its authorized strength), two teams is better than no teams since the squad needs to be able to conduct its own fire and maneuver (rather than having to depend on the fire and maneuver capabilities of the platoon), two teams is easier to control than three, about five men was the most that a single leader could reasonably control, and a light machinegun will significantly increase each team's firepower (and was more effective than having to request machinegun support from the platoon). It saddens me that we never got the squad format that was recommended by these studies. We've had 11 man squads. And we have squads with a light machinegun on each team. But we've never had 11 man squads with a light machinegun on each team. In the periods during which we had 11 man squads the lightest machinegun available was the M60, which was belt-fed and as such was considered to be most effective when operated with a crew of three. As such it was believed that assigning an M60 to the fireteams would hinder their mobility too much, and the M60s were kept in the platoon weapons squad (although apparently it didn't hinder mobility so much that the mechanized infantry couldn't carry an M60 in the squad). When the M249 entered service we finally had a machinegun that was considered light enough to put on every fireteam, but by then we had dropped to the 9 man squad (both the move from 11 men to 10 in 1963, and the move from 11 to 9 in 1984 were motivated by a need to economize on manpower to fill out enough divisions (also in 1984 mechanized infantry were becoming more common, and designing an APC/IFV that can fit 11 men in the back isn't easy, and there are argument's that it would be putting too many eggs in one basket anyway if that APC/IFV were destroyed)). My source for most of what I know about post WW2 US Army squad organization: https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA293440.pdf
  11. I'll start One point I found particularly interesting (since it never seems to come up) is that during bounding overwatch the squad leader is constantly shifting position to be with the rear team. This makes a stupid amount of sense now that I think about it. He needs to be with the team that can actually maneuver in the event that the lead team is pinned down by enemy fire (it's no good if the squad leader himself is pinned down, since he won't be able to lead his squad). Also, if no enemy fire is encountered, it is the rear team that he'll be wanting to give the next instructions to anyway (the lead team already has its instructions). These sort of command and control considerations never come up in CM because we have perfect borg control over our troops. But I've been giving more thought to them recently since I've been playing a fair amount of Command Ops 2 and Scourge of War with max orders delay set. When every order you give needs to reach your pixeltruppen through some sort of medium (such as a radio net, or a courier) then command and control becomes a lot more important.
  12. One thing to keep in mind is that CM is modeling spotting under combat conditions. I feel like the issue may be that people have an inflated idea of how well humans perform under combat conditions. It's why everyone thinks that Stormtroopers are bad marksmen (when by all accounts they are actually pretty amazing marksmen). It's why my mother is harshly critical of military leaders who made famous historical blunders (and I have to keep pointing out "actually you probably would have made the same mistake or worse", or "based on what they knew at the time, that was actually the right call"). And it's why CM players are constantly complaining about the spotting mechanics. Your intuition is telling you that you would be able to do better in the same situation. But the truth is that your intuition is a big fat liar. Our threat-response systems evolved to keep us alive as hunter-gatherers. Not to make us effective modern combat soldiers. It assumes we have already identified the threat (which is why we tend to get tunnel vision, making it difficult to spot new threats). It assumes that we are either going to run away, or fight the threat off with either our bare hands or a rudimentary tool like a pointed stick (or a particularly sharp mango). Neither of which requires clear thinking or the ability to shoot accurately. Your body is putting all of its resources into the functions it thinks it needs (the ability to run fast or fight hard), and is pulling resources away from the functions it doesn't think it needs (including but not limited to your situational awareness, your ability to think clearly, and the concentration you need to line up accurate shots). The spotting mechanics in CM are a bit abstracted, so of course it's possible to find situations where units spot too quickly or too slowly (and of course we are more likely to complain when they spot too slowly). But I feel like they've gotten the spotting mechanics about right on average, and the outlying situations aren't so far off as to bother me to an unacceptable degree. It might be nice to refine the mechanics a bit to get rid of some of the abstractions, but that would almost require a full overhaul of the entire game since it would mean eliminating abstractions from all aspects of the game where spotting could come into play.
  13. So, with the accusation that US/NATO tanks spot better than red tanks. My experience so far is that this is only true provided you have an M60A3 or better. And this is, as far as I know, entirely realistic. An M1 Abrams does spot better than a T64A. And an M1A2 SEP Abrams definitely spots better than a T72M. But I don't think the "Blue always spots better than Red" accusation holds up when you look at anything that predates an M60A3. I have not so far noticed a significant spotting advantage for M60A1s over T62s. And M48s definitely don't seem to have a noticeable spotting advantage over T55s. We can't directly test the WW2 equipment since the US/Commonwealth and Soviet WW2 forces are confined to separate titles. But comparing them by proxy with how they perform against German forces, they feel like they are probably about on par with each other. One thing that could be skewing the results in favor of the US in CMCW is that the Soviets are more likely to be on the attack. And a stationary and partially concealed defender definitely has a huge spotting advantage over an attacker that is only making short stops and frequently has to cross over open ground, even given identical training and equipment.
  14. Any of those updates include SteamOS support? I'm thinking of giving Windows 11 a miss, which means switching to Linux by 2025. I would very much like to continue playing Combat Mission past that point.
  15. Since these are pouring into my YouTube recommendations now (thanks for that), here's another How To Fight video featuring Soviet ATGMs
  16. The probability only remains static for events that are independent of each other. Die rolls are independent events because there is no way for the first roll to influence the second roll, and so on. So the probability of rolling a nat 20 on a d20 will always be 5%, each and every time. But shots fired by an intelligent gunner are not independent events. The gunner may lose his sight picture when he reloads, but he still knows he was low or high, or too far to the left or right, and that is going to influence how he aims the next shot, changing the probability of a hit. Anyway, if I haven't already skimmed over the answer, my bet is a hit on the second shot.
  17. Had the Soviets produced enough AK47s by 1957 to arm every rifleman? Or was the SKS still filling some gaps? I actually can't find any information on that. Every time I try to search AK47 production I get figures in the tens of millions, which are probably including AKM production.
  18. This sounds like it will be a nice hack to have on hand as a work around for a little while. I haven't tried it to see if it will work for me yet (sounds like it works well for some people, and does squat for others). With any luck it won't be necessary for long. I recall reading somewhere that the next engine upgrade is going to focus on performance rather than features, so we should soon be able to make use of more cores and more graphics RAM.
  19. 20 minutes is short enough to fit into a CM scenario, so I don't think it's entirely outside the scope of Combat Mission. Of course I have no idea how BFC would implement deploying a snorkel, or a vehicle being able to ford a 5 meter deep river while still disallowing it from fording a deeper body of water. And it's possible that very few players would be willing to have their tanks out of commission for so long, and most would rarely or never use the feature anyway. So it might not be worth implementing. Still, I'd add it to the list of features that would be nice to have. I'd just add it towards the bottom of that list (it is definitely meant more for operational mobility than tactical mobility anyway).
  20. Your options in the NTC tank missions are fairly limited since tanks are the only thing you have. But when you get into the other missions, as has been mentioned before, combined arms is the name of the game. Each arm has different strengths and weaknesses. If we had an arm that could do everything better than every other arm, we would only have that one arm. When they work together they augment each other's strengths, and cover for each other's weaknesses. As you gain experience you will develop your own tactics, but that will be easier if you have a good understanding of each of the arms under your command. The most important arms available to you in Combat Mission are: infantry, tanks, artillery, and aircraft. I would also add in ATGMs (for the modern titles)/AT guns (for the WW2 titles), since they are a distinct and critical tool in your kit. Infantry are the queen of battle. They are sneakier than your tanks, and have better situational awareness. They are essential for clearing woods, buildings, and trenches where the enemy could easily remain hidden from your tanks. They are also very useful for spotting potential threats to your tanks before they spot you. Their weaknesses are that they are soft, squishy humans who will die quickly to anything that can spot and hit them, and they lack heavy firepower of their own. They will need the help of tanks and artillery to achieve fire superiority. Artillery is the king of battle. Your artillery accounts for the majority of your firepower. It is useful for leveling buildings, destroying identified ATGM positions, and suppressing enemy infantry positions. Its weaknesses are that it has no eyes of its own (it relies on forwards observers to spot and relay targets) and it isn't available at a moment's notice (it will take several minutes to arrive). With cluster munitions available it is significantly more useful against tanks and other armored vehicles than in other titles, but that is still a relative statement (AFVs have good odds of getting through a target area if they just spread and keep moving). They are also unlikely to get every last man in an entrenched position, so if you want an area clear you will need to follow up the bombardment with an infantry assault. Your aircraft work similarly to artillery in Combat Mission, in that they need an observer on the ground to call them in. They don't carry as much firepower as your artillery, but they have the advantage of being able to spot and aim at specific targets. They can hit targets that you can't see yet and that your tanks don't have a line of fire on. But like artillery they aren't readily available at a moment's notice, and will take several minutes to come in. There is also a danger of them getting shot down by enemy anti-air assets. Your tanks account for the majority of your readily available firepower. They have the firepower to destroy anything on the battlefield. Their main guns can clear out enemy armored vehicles, as well as deal with infantry in buildings and bunkers. And their machineguns will shred infantry that are caught out in the open. Their weaknesses are that they are very large and hard to hide, and they have poor situational awareness (the crew see the world through a handful of vision ports and periscopes). They will need the help of infantry to provide security against ambushes and to have the best chance of spotting the enemy before they spot you. ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles)/AT guns. These are your primary anti-tank asset. The greatest threat to your tanks isn't other tanks, but ATGMS (although other tanks are probably the second greatest threat to your tanks). When I spot an enemy tank I always prefer to kill it with an ATGM if I can, rather than with one of my own tanks. Since a tank on tank engagement is a fair fight, and I prefer to avoid fair fights when possible. ATGMs will either be mounted in vehicles or carried by infantry. When carried by infantry they share the advantages of infantry in that they will be very sneaky and easy to conceal. But infantry carried ATGMs also share the weaknesses of infantry in that they are squishy and easy to kill. Vehicle mounted ATGMs are harder to conceal than infantry carried ATGMs, but are still usually smaller and easier to hide than tanks. The main advantage to vehicle mounted ATGMs is that they are significantly more mobile. While ATGMs are deadly against tanks, they are pretty useless against infantry. When it comes to the WW2 titles you have AT guns instead of ATGMS. AT guns aren't tremendously less effective than ATGMs, and you mostly use the same tactics to employ or deal with them. The differences are that AT guns are significantly less mobile than ATGMs and they aren't as abundant. I should also mention anti-air for completeness sake, but it honestly isn't hard to use them. Just keep them behind your main battle line, where the enemy ground forces can't see or shoot them, and where they have a good view of the skies (don't place them in thick woods or inside a building where they can't see the sky), and then just leave them there all mission and they will do fine.
  21. For the most part in Combat Mission if you can see it you can shoot it, although accuracy will drop off at longer ranges. But even at longer ranges the chance of hitting usually isn't so low as to make it not worth taking the shot (unless you've cooked up a plan that requires extra sneakyness). ATGMs have harder limits on their range, but they will all be able to engage at at least 1 kilometer, and most of them will be able to engage at much greater ranges. As far as tactics, I've got some WW2 field manuals that go into detail on German, Soviet, and American tank tactics that I got from the Nafziger collection. They are 40 years out of date for CMCW, but the basic principles still apply. In general combined arms is the key. Everything is stronger when working together. Of course that doesn't apply to the NTC tank missions, since combined arms really require that you have more than one kind of arm, and those missions only have tanks. For those missions I'd just say spread out and try to control the long sightlines (a.k.a. take the high ground). I also like to avoid cresting ridges one tank at a time, since that runs a danger of an enemy behind the ridge destroying my forces one tank at a time. So I like to form into a line before cresting a ridge in order to get all of my guns pointed at whoever is behind that hill at the same time. Maintaining spacing between vehicles is also helpful. I like to follow the German WW2 doctrine of at least 50 meters between vehicles (available space permitting). https://nafzigercollection.com/product/german-panzer-tactics-in-world-war-ii-combat-tactics-of-german-armored-units-from-section-to-regiment/ https://nafzigercollection.com/product/soviet-armored-tactics-in-world-war-ii-the-tactics-of-the-armored-units-of-the-red-army-from-individual-vehicles-to-battalions-according-to-the-combat-regulations-of-february-1944/ https://nafzigercollection.com/product/employment-of-tanks-with-infantry-fm-17-36/ https://nafzigercollection.com/product/american-tank-company-tactics-fm-17-32/
  22. Having just looked up the M85 it looks like it might have been perfectly fine. Unfortunately, while it took the same ammo as the M2, it took different links. But the ammo came prepackaged in links, and relinking was not practical in the field. I got that from Wikipedia, which I realize not everyone considers reliable (it's a short article, which usually means not many people have contributed it, meaning not many people have fact checked it). But if true then I imagine most soldiers' experience with it really would have been that terrible, even if the weapon itself was basically fine.
  23. I have removed it from my dropbox, so the link will no longer work. There's no reason to shout or use so many exclamation points, I am perfectly willing to comply. All you are accomplishing by shouting is to create a hostile interaction. There is a need for a CMAK Western Front mod, and I haven't been able to find any others out there (some textures for late war, but none for early war). So if you aren't comfortable with other people sharing it then you might consider uploading it yourself. Since it's a mod and not a commercial product (no one can sell it or make any money on it) I seriously doubt you have to worry about copyright.
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