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Why is there no tips and tactics subforum for CM:BN


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The decision is achieved by fire. Firepower kills. Firepower is delivered by effective forces continually. The longer they last in contact with the enemy, the more firepower they deliver. In o

dt - I deliberately downplay the role of movement because commanders new to tactical combat always overrate its importance. I also stress fire over everything, including terrain, because the next mos

What i mean by flight, is sensing when a situation is turning against you, and then getting out of that situation as quickly as possible, if you suffer casualties so be it, but it's better than standing and losing everything, this is especially relevant on the attack, if an attack fails, i will try and pull out as quickly as possible and relocate to hit another point, this is preferable to reinforcing a bad situation, and sucking reserves into a meat grinder.

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What i mean by flight is sensing when a situation is turning against you, and then getting out of that situation as quickly as possible, especially on the attack, if an attack fails, i will pull out and relocate to hit another point, rather than reinforce a bad situation and suck reserves into a meat grinder.

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New players retreat too late and get cut to pieces as a result. Then they swear off trying to retreat under fire. They hear from more experience players that they should pull out sooner - but find it hard to evaluate whether to pull out. They also put forces in places from which withdrawal alive is difficult or impossible, either immediately / always or as a side effect of waiting too long. When those pull out attempts likewise fail, they give up trying to break contact as too hard.

There are two main factors producing those outcomes. The first is incorrect terrain analysis and use of cover. The second is reactive rather than foresight-driven command, always being a move or two behind the proper tactical pace. The admonition to pull out sooner is trying to teach them the second, but without good guidelines - and without correction of the first, fails, and leaves the learner unconvinced by the advice or just aware of his own inability to apply it successfully.

Start with the terrain analysis mistake, because it is fundamental.

New players think a good position is one that combines physical cover to situate your own troops in, plus wide fields of fire to cover as much ground as possible and so appear tactically relevant and powerful, no matter how the tactical flow of the battle develops.

So they put their forces on the top of a hill, on the forward edge of a treeline, on the outermost buildings of a built up area - all "up" positions, all with wide fields of view. They look for the wide views so much they aren't looking at other aspects of the position. They view cover as an absolute matter, this physical location either has cover painted on the map or it doesn't, and consider only locations with cover painted on the map as possible locations of friendly forces.

The place to start to correct all this, looking back to my previous post, is the comments about differential LOS as the most important single tactic. This means the first way to look at "cover" is as LOS blockages, not painted locations on the map that protect physical occupants. LOS blockages *interrupt lines of sight* across the map. They are "relative" cover - full protection against areas A and B that cannot see you, no (or some, but less than full) protection from area C that can see you.

The map is cut up into separated regions by its LOS blockages. A woodline is cover in this sense if and only if it is deep and thick enough to completely block sight and fire through the wood patch. A ridgeline is cover in this sense when there is lower ground behind it. A line of buildings is cover in this sense if there are enough buildings with small enough gaps between them, properly angled etc, so that their "shadows" overlap to create large blind spots to other parts of the map.

The first thing we look for as we scan a map is these blockages and the dead ground areas they create - "defilade", it is called. Friendly forces in defilade are safe there - from enemy direct fire weapons, but also from observation and so from his intelligence, as well. Connected regions of defilade - "dead ground routes" - are the "highways" of the position. It doesn't matter how difficult physical movement is along them, it matters that men can move along those routes without being seen and thus without being harmed by the enemy.

Defensive positions are built around such defilade "bastions", preferably connected to each other by such covered routes. And they are also picked so as to *block* such covered routes *for the attacker*. A defensive scheme is not sound if it leaves covered routes clear into its own positions, unguarded. "Into its own positions" means, able to reach locations that can see these otherwise dead ground areas, and thereby "cut up" your highways and prevent your forces from repositioning safely.

Take a simple case, the linear reverse slope defense. You've got a hill. OK, the enemy can't see anything on your side of the hill - it is all defilade. That is a great defensive position therefore. You can move about freely on your side of the hill in complete safety. "But wait, I can't see the enemy from my side of the hill". Well, can you see a crestline? Can you get "firepower integration" on that crestline, able to saturate it with firepower? Then you own it - nothing enemy can live there. It doesn't matter if he can move there, it matters if he can *live* there - if he can't, then you own it. This is much better than being halfway down the *front* side of the hill, with wide fields of fire that go both ways, so the entire enemy force can see your positions and bring all his firepower to bear on any part of it, while you have to cross an open crest he can see from his side of the field, just to break contact.

Just illustrating defilade as a defensive principle.

Now, what does this means for that forward infantry platoon position whose withdrawal under fire is giving our newer player such trouble? It means it should be located on a location that if not already in defilade, is two steps away from defilade.

See, it is the *edges* of your fully-safe areas that form the "up" positions you can use as a "fire step" to engage the enemy approaching your forces. That treeline, that forward crest, the front windows of that first layer of buildings. Those are not themselves the defensive "bastion", the whole defilade area is. They are just the "fire step" of that position - the place you can walk to with a short movement *when* it is time to engage the enemy. You shoot from there *when* the firefight conditions are favorable (e.g. there are enemy in the open in front of them). When those conditions are no longer favorable (e.g. the enemy in the open are down or broken, but all their overwatch friends back in the next spot of cover are firing back at you, and there are lots of them), it is time to get out of Dodge City.

Which, since you picked the spot as a short firestep away from your connected defilade "bastion", is only a short step backwards, breaking LOS. And not a short step to a hole from which you cannot peak or slither without dying, but a whole connected region of covered routes, letting your men reposition safely to anywhere you please.

Correct the original placement errors that are coming from an incorrect terrain analysis when the whole defense plan was designed, and most of the problems breaking contact will disappear. Most, but not quite all. There is still the matter of timing.

Why did you want to pick this particular firefight? I mean, if you didn't, you didn't have to open up and show your positions, or be on the fire step in the first place. You picked this fight for a reason. The normal reason is, exposed enemies you can shoot the heck out of. OK, so the goal was just to shoot up those exposed enemies. When you've accomplished that, don't stick around for their friends to make you pay for it.

Known enemy positions attract unengaged units. If you just won a firefight with an exposed squad or three trying to make a movement, chances are they have a whole company of friends just itching for something to chew on with their rifles and machineguns. The enemy exposed them for a reason, and from a formation designed to back them up. Don't think that just because you won that first trigger pull, that you won the firefight or that you are favored in it.

As long as you leave men in up positions, firing, the enemy is going to flock to the cover opposite, that can see those up positions. Your shots into the open are never going to go up, his shots back from cover are going to go up continually, as long as you stand there.

Maybe you want this. Maybe you are hanging around precisely to draw out a whole company because you have a big artillery "stonk" 2 minutes out, targeted on their treeline. Maybe you have 2 tanks on the way, with great "keyholes" picked out that can hose that treeline without exposing themselves to anything else. Maybe you've just got a second platoon in hiding and a third on the way and think you can roll up their left once they are fully "fixed". Maybe you are planning ahead, in other words, and you have a valid reason for sticking around.

But if you don't, get out right after that first win against the guys in the open.

There is a mental shift involved in that, which new players find hard. They are thinking in terms of holding ground, and they don't want to give up any ground unless and until they are forced to do so. Hey, this platoon is holding, its not all shot up yet, I can trust it to keep holding that position. Lord knows I have other trouble elsewhere, this is one of the bright spots, I am happy about that last couple of minutes. Why would I run?

Because combat is an escalation chain and if you aren't the one escalating, you are the target. Look around. If you don't have something god awful nasty right about to be sprung, you're the patsy.

As another useful principle here, if you see enemy forces moving up to a location that will get LOS behind you, onto the route of retreat of your "up" force on its "fire step", it is already time to get out of Dodge. (Unless you have an unpleasant surprise for those flankers and high confidence in the outcome of that surprise). After they can put bullets on your line of retreat is way too late.

I hope that helps.

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  • 4 years later...
On 1/6/2013 at 7:07 PM, JasonC said:

New players retreat too late and get cut to pieces as a result. Then they swear off trying to retreat under fire. They hear from more experience players that they should pull out sooner - but find it hard to evaluate whether to pull out. They also put forces in places from which withdrawal alive is difficult or impossible, either immediately / always or as a side effect of waiting too long. When those pull out attempts likewise fail, they give up trying to break contact as too hard...

...As another useful principle here, if you see enemy forces moving up to a location that will get LOS behind you, onto the route of retreat of your "up" force on its "fire step", it is already time to get out of Dodge. (Unless you have an unpleasant surprise for those flankers and high confidence in the outcome of that surprise). After they can put bullets on your line of retreat is way too late.

This (entire) post is quite possibly the most useful thing I've ever read concerning CM. And now I've read it several times, it needs to be removed ;-)

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