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Urban Combat: share your tips and techniques that work for you


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With the market garden module on the way and some improvements to urban combat mentioned by BFC I thought now would be a good time to start a thread about what works *now*. Share what works and how to execute it.

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I'll start with something I discovered about a week ago.

I was fighting the scenario that @umlaut put together on his map Large urban map, Ciembienne, released and I ran into that annoying problem of not being able to target a building containing the enemy just because they ducked down from the windows. My recon unit rounded a corner in their Bren carrier with the Staghound right behind them. An enemy MG42 at the end of the street opened up on them and the recon team bailed and ran for cover. The Staghoud returned fire. The enemy ducked down from the windows. As the turn ended I had men in the street and no spotted enemy in the building where everyone knew they were hiding. As I started creating a plan to dislodge them I, or course, ran into the problem that my main asset, the Staghound, could not target the known enemy position. Hell, even the Staghound crew new there was an enemy MG there because the fired on them already. Grrrr.

Then I had an inspiration. As I looked down the street I realized that they could see a lot of the building and it got me to thinking about a discussion a while back where Steve described how when you give infantry an area target each man will shoot at what ever part of the action square they had LOF to. I wondered would that work for an AFV as well? Combine that with a recent LOS technique that someone described (sorry I cannot remember who) where you place a move way point in a location where your unit can see the target and then move the way point back and see what happens to the target line. I thought why not combine those two ideas and try it in this situation.

Aces.

I placed a way point down at the end of the street and targeted the building from there. Then I pulled the way point back right in front of the Staghound. Press the big red button and boom the Staghound opened up on the building and I was able to get men closer and get more guns on without the MG42 popping up again.

I recreated the situation in the same place on the map to show how this works. Here is a Sherman in the very street unable to target the building at the end of the street.

UCT01CannotTarget.jpg

So I set a move way point down at the end of the street and target the building from there.

UCT02CanTargetFromWayPoint.jpg

Then move the way point back...

UCT03ThenMoveTheWayPointBack.jpg

...right in front of the tank.

UCT04ThenMoveTheWayPointBack.jpg

And the tank moves forward a bit and lets loose on the building for a full minute.

UCT05HappyResult.jpg

This works with mixed results on the buildings on the side of the road as well. I have done this many times with Shermans and Panthers and sometimes it works and some times it does not. What is clear is that the more of the building your AFV can see the better it works.

Here is a video showing how this works:

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My tips for urban combat right now are kinda cynical.

Move in all your heavy armour assets into the streets and alleyway.

Infantry are no real danger to them as long as they stay in the buildings so keep the open areas covered with your infantry from further behind and you can just annihilate the enemy infantry with your tanks.

Barring any major changes in infantry AT behaviour in buildings, this will remain a valid tactic.

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My tips for urban combat right now are kinda cynical.

Yeah, I know that one. Truthfully I really want to hear people's techniques for dealing with your tactics:D I know my first post was about *helping* tanks but we all know we need better ways to *deal* with tanks in an urban setting. I hope some more posts get made on that subject. I have some urban fighting happening in my 20 000 point Quick Battle that may be relevant here but first I will have to see if it works:)

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One thing you can do to alleviate the pain of the urban uber tanks, is to design maps that give infantry enough places to prepare an ambush within the streets of villages/towns.

I have made a scenario that was published today in the repository: "In the heat of the morning". The scenario deals with a company sized attack on a village. There are tanks in support. I tried to make the village a very inhospitable place for tanks.

It is my first scenario ever, so don't be too hard on me if it's not any good.

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"I placed a way point down at the end of the street and targeted the building from there. Then I pulled the way point back right in front of the Staghound."

I am testing a Ciembienne scenario right now and had exactly the same problem.

Stroke of genius! Invaluable trick. Thank you.

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Sorry man I put this video and screen shots together this morning instead of playing my turn for our battle. I thought it would be worth it.

It makes me wonder about a few other spotting issues that something similar might be able to work around.

Now I am intrigued I have not considered other uses - what did you have in mind? Let us know when you try it out.

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My tips for urban combat right now are kinda cynical.

Move in all your heavy armour assets into the streets and alleyway.

Infantry are no real danger to them as long as they stay in the buildings so keep the open areas covered with your infantry from further behind and you can just annihilate the enemy infantry with your tanks.

Barring any major changes in infantry AT behaviour in buildings, this will remain a valid tactic.

Someone, just had to complain. (Oh, the game is not perfect)

Well, some simple tactics against such play. Keep your men behind the buildings, not in them. That is safe as can be from tanks. plan ambushes from alleys and around corners so that as the tank approaches, your AT assets can fire first. plan for multi attacks locations from different directions, A tank can only take on one defender at a time. The second will have plenty of time to destroy the Tank with multi AT shots.

If a town has any decent amount of cover to move around and i have infantry with enough AT assets, I have yet to have a problem with a fool that sends armor first. It still require combined arms to clear a town.

Yes, things need improvement. But good tactics can cause problems for armor in towns presently.

Now small villages with space between buildings and only a few buildings, not a place to take on tanks. But really in the real world it was not either.

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One thing to combat the lack of AT assets whilst in buildings is to play only on maps with a realistically detailed depiction of an urban enviroment.

For example the ciembienne (sp?) map is perfect for this.

The ones included in the games QB maps are not.

What i mean is to play on maps that have small open areas between buildings where AT teams could be hiding in ambush waiting for tanks.

Place your AT teams (either dedicated ones or split up from squads) in the small cramped spaces between buildings. Have them facing the road but dont place them too close to the road.

This will let them fire off one round if they are lucky when a tank passes by.

If you have a careful opponent who uses slow moves alot in cities and tends to have his tanks pause every 10 meters or so you might even be able to get off more than one shot.

But the main point is to attack the tank without getting noticed.

And then have infantry teams (split up so as to be harder to detect and to give a broader area of coverage) in the surrounding buildings. Make sure to face these inwards at first and then have a cover arc that only extends to the inside of the building, to take care of any potential infantry that comes along and give the valuable AT teams time to retreat if things get hectic.

Make sure you have a deep defense. Don't just put your troops on a thin frontline, saturate the enire town with your units. Small pockets of AT troops supported by small infantry units.

And then have one or maby two main lines of defense. Usually in areas where it opens up a bit, like squares or the likes.

There you can put your AT guns or tanks to cover approaches that might be used by the enemy.

But the key to it all is to make the terrain so hostile to tanks that the enemy will not move up his armour assets until he has (hopefully at high costs) cleared the area with infantry.

This lets you wear down either his infantry or his armour before it reaches your main line of defense.

And if you face a skilled opponent that manages to get most of his assets to the main defensive line intact, try to hold him off there for a while, but then pull back to your second line of defense and again leave pockets of AT troops and infantry to harass and ambush his units.

How's that for advice? (instead of my cynical one earlier)

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Sorry man I put this video and screen shots together this morning instead of playing my turn for our battle.

That battle is like watching paint dry.

I am having to push myself to do turns for it.

A long slow process

At least your on defence, not much to have to do.

I have tons of poor tired slow moving grunts to keep having to give orders for to move and keep organized. So that when they get lucky they can approach your shooting gallery.

So smile, you have the side that is easy to put a turn together for.:)

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Someone, just had to complain. (Oh, the game is not perfect)

Well, some simple tactics against such play. Keep your men behind the buildings, not in them. That is safe as can be from tanks. plan ambushes from alleys and around corners so that as the tank approaches, your AT assets can fire first. plan for multi attacks locations from different directions, A tank can only take on one defender at a time. The second will have plenty of time to destroy the Tank with multi AT shots.

If a town has any decent amount of cover to move around and i have infantry with enough AT assets, I have yet to have a problem with a fool that sends armor first. It still require combined arms to clear a town.

Yes, things need improvement. But good tactics can cause problems for armor in towns presently.

Now small villages with space between buildings and only a few buildings, not a place to take on tanks. But really in the real world it was not either.

But like i said in my post after yours, the current stock CMBN urban maps really dont work well with this kind of (realistic) defense since they feel pretty unrealistically built with no alleyways and just lots of modular buildings clumped together in groups that do not allow you to put units in good ambush positions.

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So smile, you have the side that is easy to put a turn together for.:)

Indeed. I can see your side being a bit tiresome. I hope that once you chip away some more you can find some interesting things happen. Now that you are in contact things could swing towards your guys.

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the current stock CMBN urban maps really dont work well with this kind of (realistic) defense

Yes, I believe the biggest determiner for a good urban fight is starting with a good map. @umlaut's Ciembienne map is excellent for CMBN. I am currently experimenting with @sburke's Venafro map and so far it looks superb for CMFI.

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One thing to combat the lack of AT assets whilst in buildings is to play only on maps with a realistically detailed depiction of an urban enviroment.

For example the ciembienne (sp?) map is perfect for this.

Happy to hear this. Creating a realistically looking town and an urban environment that allows for AT weapons were my main ambitions when making the map.

Very cunning trick there, ian. I´ll make sure to remember it this time (I think I have "used" it accidentally a couple of times, but never thought of exploiting it further).

As Erwin said, he has kindly offed to help me testing a scenario for the Ciembienne map. But when he has finished testing, I am going to need voluteers for a second round of testing. Perhaps one or two of you "urban combat grogs" ;) would be interested?

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Yes, I believe the biggest determiner for a good urban fight is starting with a good map.

You notice that the map featured in Bil and Ken's AAR has virtually no buildings. Was this deliberate? BF hinted at some city fighting improvements. Maybe they're not ready to show 'em.

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Happy to hear this. Creating a realistically looking town and an urban environment that allows for AT weapons were my main ambitions when making the map.

Very cunning trick there, ian. I´ll make sure to remember it this time (I think I have "used" it accidentally a couple of times, but never thought of exploiting it further).

As Erwin said, he has kindly offed to help me testing a scenario for the Ciembienne map. But when he has finished testing, I am going to need voluteers for a second round of testing. Perhaps one or two of you "urban combat grogs" ;) would be interested?

Wish I could help, but my computer cannot handle urban maps larger than 350x350 meters without slowing down to a snail pace.

Its fine for making quickbattlemaps and testing the AI, but I simply do not play on urban maps that large in general.

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You notice that the map featured in Bil and Ken's AAR has virtually no buildings. Was this deliberate? BF hinted at some city fighting improvements. Maybe they're not ready to show 'em.

Could be it is Beta after all. Bill did say that there were plans for an AAR based in a more urban setting. I am looking forward to that.

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Wish I could help, but my computer cannot handle urban maps larger than 350x350 meters without slowing down to a snail pace.

Its fine for making quickbattlemaps and testing the AI, but I simply do not play on urban maps that large in general.

Have you considered dropping the graphics qualities back for larger or more dense maps? I mostly play with 3D Model Quality and 3D Texture Quality set to Better but for large maps (such as the 20 000 point quick battle and Monty's Butchers) I drop them back some times as far as Balanced. Clearly this is a compromise but if it means being able to fight the battles you want it is worth it.

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