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Armor oblique facing

Mark L

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Interesting discussion over there in the "Ammo management" thread, tho just a tad off-topic smile.gif, so I'm creating a new one. However, the discussion does seem to be bogging down into a bit of a stalemate...

Nevertheless, I thought I'd weigh in (wearing an asbestos suit smile.gif), more from a semi-dedicated wargamers' perspective, than as a devout student of the military arts (which I'm not).

First, IMHO, Fionn has supported his opinions fairly well on German use of offset facing. It seems to me that German tactics in Africa as observed by the British are essentially maneuver doctrine, and can probably be duplicated in CM very well by just moving the tanks so as to approach the enemy position obliquely. The trickier question is how CMs TacAI should handle this when the tank isn't on the move or encounters an unexpected enemy during a turn.

Let's not forget that CM is still a warGAME (and that is not meant to belittle CM in ANY way! smile.gif). As players, we still have far too much omniscience of enemy strength and battlefield events. We also benefit greatly from hindsight, both in terms of tactics and capabilities of the military hardware. Therefore, we have the luxury of trying tactics that our real-world counterparts never would have considered 55 years ago (not to mention the fact that it's only cyber-soldiers who we are leading into the meat-grinder).

Also, as a game, CM allows us to simultaneously assume numerous battlefield roles - company CO, platoon leader, or even squad leader or tank commander to some extent (when the TacAI doesn't take over <g>). IMHO, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun locked only into the role as battalion or company commander, with the limited perspective that would entail (not to mention that you would need an extremely sophisticated AI for friendly troops that was borderline sentient).

In keeping with this spirit of CM as a game, and considering the apparently VERY detailed armor model, I think it's only appropriate to allow the PLAYER the ability to apply the offset-facing tactic (yes, even my Shermans! smile.gif). If a tank is already positioned obliquely to it's threat, I would prefer that my tank KEEP that offset (if that offset is within, say, 30 degrees, for example). Of course, to preserve battlefield chaos, there should still be a probability of it not maintaining that offset and instead turning to face the threat directly - and this probability could possibly be based on nationalty, training, and morale (i.e how much "stress" the crew is currently experiencing). That way, I could yell "Dumkopfs!" at the veteran Tiger crew that suddenly decides to rotate to face the Hellcats, or award medals to a Sherman crew for their innovation and calmness under fire. smile.gif

If the intended target moves during the turn or a more dangerous threat appears such that it is outside of the 30-degree (for example) arc, and the AI decides it would be in it's best interest to pivot the tank, it should just face the new threat directly (no offset). Keeps things simple, IMHO. Plus, it's also consistent with the pure "battlefield perspective" of the unit under TacAI control, IMHO (i.e. "There's one Hellcat... now where did the rest of his platoon go? If I offset left, are the other's gonna show up suddenly on my right?!?") You can just chalk that up to "the best plans not surviving contact with the enemy".

And of course, at the beginning of the next turn, if you aren't happy with the TacAIs decision to directly face a new threat, and through your battlefield omniscience you know that the other Hellcats are maneuvering to your left, you can order the Tiger to reorient itself as you see fit. But if your decision to micromanage causes the Tiger's next round to miss because the tank was jockeying around, it serves you right if the first Hellcat cleans your clock! smile.gif

I must admit...I haven't actually played the demo enough yet to decide if it already plays that way (but it was GREAT fun watching the shells fly around my maneuvering Hellcats in Last Defence!). But that's how I would like to see it work. And if it doesn't work that way in the release version, well, I guess I'll just pout. smile.gif


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