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comparing US vs. german infantry


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I wanted to test the effect of hiding infantry in different depths of wood. Therefore I wanted to have same strength (as in 'combat strength') squads on both sides to be able to compare effects.

I created the usual shooting range setup (9 lanes with high walls on all sides, flat grass) and put different types and numbers of infantry in each lane.

TLDR: the US infantry came out much better than I expected. All things equal and even when the germans had IMHO the superior weapons (fusiliers) the US won.

A 'v' followed by a number is the number of the scenario I used. The scenarios can be downloaded here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8811801/Schiesstand%20v1_v8.zip

The results were calculated after 10 minutes or if no opponent was left. If after these 10 minutes a lane only contained survivors from one side this was counted as win. If both parties were still present it was a draw (not counting the number of remaining soldiers).

All tropps are regular, 0 , fit, etc.. except that they are all fanatics. Didn't want them to run away :) All troops were out of C2. The troops were oriented and given no orders.

For the US I always choose infantry without bazookas. First at 100% (12 men) - later reduced. German squads are always 9 men each.

There were always 9 squads on each side. Their HQs where way back and later outside of the walls.

The results are noted as: US won/ draw / german won

v1:

US vs grenadiers (standard)

Distance: 230m

1st try:

Result: (7/2/0)

2nd try:

Result: (7/1/1)

Thoughts: the advantage in numbers (12 vs 9) is in favour of the US

v2:

US vs grenadiers (grenadier config - with fausts and AT rifles and such)

Distance: 230m

1st try:

Result: (7/1/1)

Thoughts: could have skipped that - fausts and AT don't help here

v3:

US vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 230m

1st try:

Result: (8/1/0)

Thoughts: the fusiliers have more MP40 and MP44 - but the range is to long to make an effect - lets try closer

v4:

US vs grenadiers (standard)

Distance: 130m

1st try:

Result: (9/0/0)

Time: 3 minutes (!)

Thoughts: ouch - not the direction I wanted - lets try the fusiliers even closer

v5:

US vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 60m

1st try:

Result: (8/0/1)

Time: 3 minutes

2nd try:

Result: (7/0/2)

Time: 2 minutes

Thoughts: battles tend to be quick at that range but still not the result I expected. It must be the numbers

Here I changed the map so that each lane is now 5 AS wide (instead of 4) (makes it easier to position in the middle) and created areas to hide the HQs in.

v6:

US reduced to 80% strength (9-10 men per squad) vs grenadiers (standard)

Distance: 230m

1st try:

Result: (7/1/1)

2nd try:

Result: (6/2/1)

Thoughts: hmm now I'm starting to scratch my head

v7:

US reduced to 70% strength (7-9 men per squad) vs grenadiers (standard)

Distance: 230m

1st try:

Result: (6/3/0)

2nd try:

Result: (6/3/0)

Thoughts: last try with the fusiliers

v8:

US reduced to 70% strength (7-9 men per squad) vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 60m

1st try:

Result: (7/0/2)

Thoughts: no luck

SO, is:

a) my setup wrong

B) the US infantry so much better

c) the game at fault?

One thing I noticed (not measured, just subjective) is that the US seems to always shoot first. This caused higher suppression on the german side and once the bullets fly only in one direction its hard to recover.

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I used fantics to prevent them from running away. I didn't want to test morale. If you run away in this kind of scenario you are dead anyway.

@akd: I didn't know that is possible. How do I do that? In the scenario editor I can only buy axis units for the axis side?

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I used fantics to prevent them from running away. I didn't want to test morale. If you run away in this kind of scenario you are dead anyway.

@akd: I didn't know that is possible. How do I do that? In the scenario editor I can only buy axis units for the axis side?

In the scenario editor go to "Data" and at the bottom change the "force vs. force" setting to "Axis vs. Axis"

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You know, I've felt the US INF was more uber in this game due to the garand. The thompson seems leathal up close as well. I wish buddy aid would allow you to aquire STG44s and MP40s from the dead. So many times I have a depleated squad of 3 men running around with mausers, which is totally worthless in CM. Bolt action rifles suck unless there's a sniper scope on it.

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I used fantics to prevent them from running away. I didn't want to test morale. If you run away in this kind of scenario you are dead anyway.

The problem is that morale and suppression play a major role in the outcome of firefights IRL and eliminating these factors may dramatically change the likely outcomes, including changing the relative effectiveness of certain weapons types. For example, SMGs aren't very accurate beyond very short range, especially in the hands of a mediocre shooter. Generally, only the first shot of a burst has a good chance of hitting what the shooter is aiming at. But following shots in the burst may still have a substantial suppressive effect on the target and anyone near him.

In other words, testing with both sides as fanatics may well have reduced the effectiveness of SMGs relative to semi-auto weapons, not the other way around, since it largely eliminates the automatic weapons' very important advantage in suppression effect.

Setting both sides as fanatics is basically looking at how well the game models something like a firefight in Mogadishu between two rival groups of Islamic radicals hopped up on khat, or something like that. There may or may not be some issues here that need to be looked at, but I wouldn't consider this a good test of how firefights between "normal" soldiers play out in the game.

As a closing note, I do find your results interesting enough to merit further examination, but I'd definitely like to see tests done with more normal motivation level forces before drawing any conclusions.

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I came to the same conclusion during my mp-games. The US infantry (squad er squad) is in an inherent advantage no madder what range.

Imho its due to the bad representation of the abilities of light and heavy maschine guns. They shot not accurate enough, they dont shoot in fast short burst and they shoot with to long intervals.

While the german light mgs gave the allied some hard time to overcome, you can almost ignore them in cmbn. This ruins the german idea of a mg-centric squad and looks like a bad historical representation.

But you can overcome these shortcomings a bit if you split into teams and so build a force of a) troops with many automatic weapons b)mg units.

Place the autos in good positions for ambushes and use massed mg´s for overwatch work etc. I tend to play wit splitted teams most of the times as germans while i almost never do so as US.

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I have kind of the same trouble in the Farm tournament.... a German squad with a HQ close, laying in wait on a US squad, will be outgunned by just 2 or 3 US soldiers. Right now I have a squad covering an opening in a bocage wall, 2 US soldiers pop up - 20 seconds later half the German squad is gone, with no us casualties. Earlier I had a squad in the second store of the Cafe, firing down on two US teams. Took about 20 seconds to reduce the squad to 3 wounded riflemen, I think I only got one US soldier.... The only time I could get enmy casualties was when they crossed the road running, so they could not fire back, or when my men used grenades.

What I noticed was that each time (well, it was only a few squads), the LMG gunner will be hit the first, after which there are only 7 Mausers against 2-3 garants - and then the Germans just havent enough firepower to compete...

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Ok, I ran some more tests. Same settings as above. The scenarios can be downloaded here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8811801/Schiesstand%20v1_v12.zip

TLDR: morale didn't make much of a difference. What can be seen however, is that the US is spotting much faster than the germans.

v9:

fusiliers vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 60m

1st try:

Result: (5/0/4)

Time: 4 minutes

2nd try:

Result: (5/0/4)

Time: 10 minutes

Thoughts: this was the control group - two (close) draws so the setup seems ok

Now I change the motivation to normal. Eliminations now happen very rarely. Usually a win is a surrender from the other side.

v10:

US reduced to 70% strength (7-9 men per squad) vs grenadiers (standard)

Distance: 230m

1st try:

Result: (7/1/1)

Duration: 10min

I had the direction for the own lines for the axis wrong so they ran towards the US.

2nd try:

Result: (8/0/1)

Thoughts: not much of a difference. Lets try the fusiliers

v11:

US vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 60m

I measured the spotting time. It is represented in number of enemy units spotted and identified per second. so 0/4/9 means: nothing spotting in second 0, 4 units spotted after 1 second, 9 (=all) units spotted after 2 seconds

1st try:

Result: 7/0/2

Spotting:

US: 0/4/8/8/9

DR: 0/4/5/6/7/8/8/9

2nd try:

Result: 6/0/3

Spotting: forgot :(

3rd try:

Result: 7/0/2

Spotting:

US: 0/5/8/9

DR: 0/4/6/8/9

Thoughts: the US boys ate more carrots ;) Earlier spotting leads to earlier fire and suppression of the enemy. Lets see if I can give the germans a hand.

v12:

US vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 60m

Now the germans get 100% intelligence. That means they have all US units as unidentified enemy contacts from the start

1st try

Duration: 5min

Result: 5/0/4

Spotting:

US: 0/3/6/7/8/8/9

DR: 0/3/5/7/7/9

2nd try

Duration: 1min (!)

Result: 7/0/2

Spotting:

US: - forgot :(

DR: 0/4/5/6/7/8/9

3rd try

Dauer: 1min (!)

Result: 8/0/1

Spotting:

US: 0/7/9

DR: 0/4/5/7/8/9

Thoughts: in the first try when the spotting of the germans was better they achieved a close draw. In the two other instances the US spotting was (probably for 2nd) better and they won as usual.

Conclusion: now I think I've found a slight bug or misadjustment. Being equal in numbers and spotting equipment (both have binocs) the spotting time should be the same.

In this very artificial setup shooting first is a good guarantee for a win. In most cases the US could shoot first and thus gain an advantage.

The M1 can put out more bullets than the K98. But OTOH the germans have one MG42 per squad and in the case of the fusiliers additional MP40 and MP44s. That should IMHO bring the number of bullets again in german favour. Testing this is difficult because of the difference in spotting which will supress the germans before they can shoot.

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LMG - MG42... that weapon was designed to pawn in any firefight at ranges over 500m, but at 230m you are caught in close fire where several semi-autos are an advantage over a fast firing death machine like an MG42 in his bipod configuration.

You need to repeat the test at ranges over 600m, and in normal circumstances, the german squad should win if the weapons and tactis are well modeled in-game.

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poesel71, first off good work. I downloaded it and I took at look at #11. There is one small error you have: you forgot to make the Americans "Regular" experience; instead they have two veteran and one green squad. This may help their spotting slightly, but a quick test shows, not enough to change the outcome.

My immediate reaction is, holy crap, two squads lying in the grass at 60m! This is very unlikely... but then I had to admit to myself that it still seemed like all the German SMGs should carry the day. Obviously they don't. The Americans do spot first and fire first, which snowballs rapidly.

I changed the test to be more realistic, or at least, more like I play the game. I:

* changed the map so that all units can see their platoon HQ (distant). The HQ itself is hiding behind a hedgerow, and so is immune to fire.

* put a wall in for units to set up behind

* split all squads

Testing with with this setup does cut off the turn 1 surrenders. But the outcome is the same: Americans win handily. The Germans take significantly more casualties than the Americans. Even in the first minute, on scenario author test. I am not sure why this is -- probably just more lead downrange.

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Hmm... the spotting thing is weird and makes it difficult to draw any conclusions about weapon advantages as it my be muddying the results considerably. Who gets the first shot definitely matters a lot in firefights, in many cases even more than any weapons tech advantage. So if one side is consistently spotting faster than the other, even by just a second or two, it will have a strong effect on outcome.

Offhand, I can't think of a good reason why 9 G.I.s should be inherently better at spotting than 9 Landsers. BFC has repeatedly stated that there are no "hard baked" national differences between soldiers in the game -- any differences are due to either equipment, or morale/fitness/experience settings.

Other than some kind of strange bug, only thing I can think of is that the game is considering the darker German uniforms slightly easier to spot against the predominately verdant green grass background. It would very much surprise me if this was actually what was going on, but it's all I can come up with at the moment.

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Maybe the 3-team vs. 2-team composition of the squads is playing a role here. There is also the possibility that one is not better than the other at spotting, but that one is easier to spot (that should be testable to a degree).

Zoiks, Scooby! I didn't think of that... 9 men divided into two teams distributed across 2 action spots may very well behave differently than 9 men divided into three teams distributed across three action spots... overall, an American squad organized as three teams will be more spread out, which may make them a little harder to spot, and may also mean that each soldier is perhaps a little less likely to get hit or suppressed by bullets actually fired at someone else in the squad.

IIRC, you can force a German squad to split into three teams by splitting off a 2-man Scout or AT team first; then the remaining 7 men will organize into a team of 3 and a team of 4. So one way to test whether number of teams and team distribution is having any effect on these tests would be to pit two identical German squads against each other, but have one squad spawn a Scout or AT team, so it's split 2-3-4. Then you could see whether the 2-3-4 squad has any advantage over the squad deployed in the more usual 4-5 formation.

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Here's a contrary reading. The setup is similar. Teams, can see HQ, 80m distance, each side behind its own tall hedgerow. Here, the Germans win handily. Americans still seem to spot first, but this doesn't matter much because of the cover. I am guessing that the better penetration of the MG42 matters more. Or perhaps the ability to reload it while "down". The Germans seem to get disproportionate woundings.

Edit: tried giving the Americans 100% squads. They still lose.

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There may also be a fundamental issue with flat-trajectory auto weapons shooting at close range targets on open, table-top flat ground. The first round in a burst tends to be at the correct level, but subsequent rounds tend to string higher. Consequently you either get a one bullet hit followed by a bunch of high misses or just a bunch of high misses. Compared to bullets that impact the ground in the area of the target, high misses cause little (or maybe no) suppression. The MG42 ends up have the same effect as a less accurate semi-auto rifle on targets in these circumstances. If the target were in cover with a significant vertical face, however, many more shots would impact in the target area, causing higher suppression.

Trying to figure out a way to test that little hypothesis, but haven't come up with anything yet.

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@cid250: the range for M1 is 400m and for the K98 is 500m so at 600m the MG42 would most probably rule, yes :)

@YankeeDog: if the colour of the uniforms is simulated then - well I don't know what then but my mouth would be wide ajar...:)

@cool breeze: both teams have the same number of officers in range (0) and one binocular per squad. I changed the time to 12h to rule that out

I ran three more tests. akd you got it (probably) right (phew - glad it was not Mr. Emrys...). The US squad always gets three action spots (AS) per squad. Even if they are at 70% and so have the same or fewer men than a german squad they will get 3 AS.

@YankeeDog: I couldn't get the germans to split in three no matter what: I know I have done that in a game in the past but here it didn't work. Dunno why.

TLDR:

- german SMGs give you an advantage only when in very close range (<50m)

- split a german squad for better spotting but less morale

- US infantry works better than german in open terrain over distances >50m

v13:

US vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 20m(!)

Lets see if these SMGs work or not...

The germans have still 100% intel - not that it helps much.

1st try:

Result: 5/0/4

Spotting:

US: 0/4/7/9

DR: 0/3/5/5/7/8/9

2nd try:

Result: 3/1/5

Spotting:

US: 0/6/8/9

DR: 0/3/5/7/7/8/8/9

Thoughts: they work but german spotting is awful. 6 seconds to notice that GI Joe is 20m away and shooting at you? I don't want to know where Franz got this Schnaps from yesterday... If made a small video of one of the extreme situations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XWBWUA84Pw

v14:

US vs fusiliers (without HMG)

Distance: 40m

The time of day was changed from 9 to 12h.

The germans don't have intel anymore but each squad is split in two. I couldn't split the US in two equal squads so I split them in three and put the 2- and 3-man teams into one AS.

Distance was also changed to avoid too many hand grenades.

1st try:

Result: 5/0/4

Spotting:

US: 0/4/7/9

DR: 0/6/6/7/9

2nd try:

Result: 6/0/3

Spotting:

US: 0/5/8/8/9

DR: 0/4/6/6/7/8/8/9

3rd try:

Result: 7/0/2

Spotting:

US: 0/5/6/7/7/9

DR: 0/3/6/7/8/9

Thoughts: the US is still spotting better but the advantage is not soo terribly off. My guess is that its still 3 vs 2 AS who spot. The results were all very close ones so its more like three draws than anything else.

v15:

US reduced to 70% strength (7-9 men per squad) vs grenadiers (standard)

Distance: 210m

Back to long distance fights. The squad setup is the same as in v14

1st try:

Result: 9/0/0

Spotting:

US: 0/6/8/8/8/9

DR: 0/4/6/7/8/9

2nd try:

Result: 7/1/1

Spotting:

US: 0/4/5/8/9

DR: 0/1/5/6/8/9

Thoughts: spotting is now on par. But the results for the germans are depressing. Splitting the squad seems to lower german morale. Units tended to run away sooner than unsplit. I have not seen a single US squad run in this scenario.

Conclusions:

- the US seems to get a spotting advantage through their 3 AS wide squads. Even if the actual number of men is less than a german squad which will get only 2 AS. Looking at the bad spotting of unsplit german squads it may be that such a squad gets only 1 AS to spot. Otherwise I cannot explain why theres such a spotting improvement through squad splitting.

- splitting german squads seems to lower their morale (which is stated IIRC as such in the manual). US squads OTOH don't seem to suffer that much from splitting. I'm not sure about this one however.

- US infantry is much better in situations as given above. I'm not much of a history buff to judge if that is wrong or right. I just can state that after my tests I'm not getting my Pixelsoldaten caught in the open...

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LMG - MG42... that weapon was designed to pawn in any firefight at ranges over 500m, but at 230m you are caught in close fire where several semi-autos are an advantage over a fast firing death machine like an MG42 in his bipod configuration.

You need to repeat the test at ranges over 600m, and in normal circumstances, the german squad should win if the weapons and tactis are well modeled in-game.

Yes, while MG's are generally strongest at long ranges, the MG42 and MP40 were also lethal in short range firefights due to their ability to effectively interdict enemy movement through gaps in the bocage with a steady stream of hot lead (as long as the ammo lasted, which in a prepared position was generally longer than the will of the attackers). The MG42 especially has been badly nerfed IMHO by being restricted to short bursts -- you might knock down one or two Yanks but the rest pour through and start shooting back and your soldaten then lose fire superiority pretty fast vs the Garands.

To compensate, on my Carillon map I am toying with "marking" bocage gaps with a Mud instead of a Dirt tile, just so attackers will get hung up in them long enough for the defenders to kill/pin more of them.

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I ran three more tests. akd you got it (probably) right (phew - glad it was not Mr. Emrys...). The US squad always gets three action spots (AS) per squad. Even if they are at 70% and so have the same or fewer men than a german squad they will get 3 AS.

The only three-team German squad in the game right now is the motorized Panzergrenadier squad with the panzershreck option selected. However, I have access in a development version to another one that is basically a Fusilier squad with 3x 3-man teams. I tested this unit type in your v11 setup (with all soft factors equalized and the lines of squads formed up straight). Outcomes were typically 5/0/4 or 4/0/5, an equal number of times in favor of the Germans.

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I ran a longer range test (200m or so) where each side had a hedge. Squads were split up into teams. Basically nothing happened -- some initial shooting with a few casualties, but then the sides stabilized into not shooting. The teams with binoculars could see the enemy, but they had SMGs and few rifles they plinked a bit with. Very few of the heavy weapons ended up in teams with binoculars: few on the American side, none of the Germans. Thus, even though the team w/ binocs was sitting right next to them and could see enemies, the LMG could not fire because all it had was ?s.

poesel, I do wonder if facing is part of what causes the spotting problems. In that video you linked it looked like the Germans were facing somewhat off to the right of where the Americans were. I know that squads Face a particular action spot. It might help to carefully make sure that both sides are facing one of the action spots where the enemy is.

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This may be more of a rationale than anything to do with how the game actually models a firefight, but I have read in more than one place that one advantage that the Garand, and other semiautomatic rifles, possessed over bolt action rifles is that the firer did not have to go through the motions of chambering/cocking his weapon after each round. Since motion makes for easier spotting, it gave the semiauto-using rifleman a slight edge in remaining unspotted. Against that though must be weighed the German use of flashless smokeless powder that was much less likely to give away the rifleman's position.

Michael

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