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Tank Self-Preservation Instincts?


Tux
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Hi all,

I recently played a PBEM and have a question to ask about tank self-preservation as modeled in the CMx2 engine: A Pz IIIN of mine had run dry of ammunition and was busy area-firing all MGs at a distant target when an enemy SPG pulled into view. The Pz III commander spotted the Priest but sat perfectly still while it took one, then two, then a third and very final shot. Considering that the Priest was an undoubted threat and the Pz had no means by which to combat it, why did it not reverse the ~10m necessary to break LOS? I can't remember the motivation of the regular tank crew but I almost never use anything above 'normal'.

I am not one of the brigade who remember everything CMx1 in a rosy light but I am sure, in that game, tanks would regularly reverse away from threats they felt unable to combat before they took a damaging hit. In CMx2 I think I have only ever seen my tanks reverse of their own accord once they have already been damaged, as if a Sherman 75 facing a Tiger or an empty Pz IIIN facing a Priest SPG do not realise the threat they face until it manifests itself in the form of actual damage suffered.

I am genuinely interested to know whether tanks in CMx2 properly 'assess' threats they face before hanging around for combat, or at least their own chances of damaging the enemy? If not, should they?

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Question for you. Did the Pz III have a target order given by you?

I ask because I have watched in horror a few times when well motivated crew have continued to area fire a building containing suspected enemy infantry when an enemy tank rolls into view. Since they were doing what I told them to do they did not engage the enemy.

Thank you for target briefly - I use that a lot now.

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Yes, they were area-firing their machine guns at a building, as per my orders. I agree that this may have contributed to the problem, especially if they were highly motivated (although I don't think they were).

I think the fact that engaging the enemy AFV wasn't even an option in my scenario (all main gun ammo was depleted) is what makes me think that breaking contact could have been an automatic reaction.

I don't remember ever having had a tank assess the threat it was facing as 'unmanageable' and attempt to break contact before engaging in combat. I was just wondering whether anybody else had encountered that kind of behaviour or could otherwise enlighten me as to whether tank crews are coded to make this evaluation at all, prior to taking damage.

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Asked this same question against my pbem opponent just recently. In cm1 Sherman's used to have a sense of self preservation against a Tiger, deploying smoke and/or withdrawing into cover whereas now they appear fearless and try and duke it out with them! Needless to say they rapidly succumb to a fiery end.

So have pixel tankers had their fear glands removed? ;)

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IIRC, there were moans- in CMBB- over outgunned tanks reversing too quickly. So, perhaps in CM2, BF 'sinned' too much in the opposite direction with the goal of not taking control out of the player's hand.

No, I moaned against non-outgunned, ammo-having AVFs backing on and thereby ruining their hit chances (because they started moving before firing).

It was a ISU-122 with AP directly facing the side of a moving Pz IV - and losing.

http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=58077&highlight=monster

In this case I'm glad if this code has been toned down or turned off. It deserved to die.

Either way I don't think this code in either CMx1 or CMx2 would ever take into account that yes, theoretically I can wax that guy but unfortunately I don't have any of the ammo I would need for that left.

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Does anybody have similar experiences with the infantry? I have the impression, my lads are holding out far too long.

What motivation levels are you using? "High" motivation troops are pretty durable, but "Normal" will usually break before they're eliminated (absent some catastrophic multi-kill).

Even the Italians, at least on defense. Hardly anybody runs away.

A "Normal" motivation Italian has exactly the same criteria for breaking as a "Normal" motivation SS guy (or Landser, or Dogface, or Tommy, or ANZAC). I'd guess "Typical" motivation and leadership levels are a bit lower than other nations, and they face other handicaps (difficult C2, no Asst leaders etc) which will mean those criteria are fulfilled sooner than other armies might see, but there's no inherent "Italian penalty" on morale calculations.

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Did the panzer himself actually spot the priest?

I'm pretty sure tanks have self preservation built in. I once had a Sherman who made a lucky shot vs a Tiger which caused the Tiger crew to bail. But the Sherman crew was still too afraid of the Tiger and withdrew. Until I had the Sherman back in position the Tiger crew was, too, and killed the Sherman... :(

Btw, if you are already out of main gun ammo you should use target light. I think(!) this makes it easier for the tank to break your order and re-target or withdraw.

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Yes, the Panzer crew were unbuttoned and almost instantly spotted the Priest as it hove into view.

I have managed to check and the Pz III crew were normal motivation.

It's interesting and gratifying to hear that people have seen a range of self-preservation behaviour. Perhaps the only thing I would question is whether "out-of-ammo" should have a significant added impact on the likelihood of a tank crew attempting to break contact.

I suppose then you have to ask what "out-of-ammo" means. Do smoke rounds count? HE? It could quickly get annoying if attempts to smoke or disable an enemy tank with an AFV that was out of AP rounds repeatedly failed as the crew refused to remain in LOS.

Like I said, it's just good to hear that, by my interpretation of events and feedback, it was probably a combination of my orders and other specific circumstances that resulted in the lost tank, rather than a lack of modelled behaviour.

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What motivation levels are you using? "High" motivation troops are pretty durable, but "Normal" will usually break before they're eliminated (absent some catastrophic multi-kill).

A "Normal" motivation Italian has exactly the same criteria for breaking as a "Normal" motivation SS guy (or Landser, or Dogface, or Tommy, or ANZAC). I'd guess "Typical" motivation and leadership levels are a bit lower than other nations, and they face other handicaps (difficult C2, no Asst leaders etc) which will mean those criteria are fulfilled sooner than other armies might see, but there's no inherent "Italian penalty" on morale calculations.

Interesting. I thought the ratings like "Normal", "Veteran", etc. are mere experience levels. Is there no such thing like "morale" in CM? I would think, even a veteran tends to go home, when motivation is lacking.

To date we are playing the set scenarios only as PBM. Currently Lemon Hill, before that Avanti. In Lemon Hill my Bersaglieri get butchered, but do not break(yet). In Avanti I won with the Italians, despite horrendous losses. I lost something like 78 dead and wounded and yet they held, even advanced, when ordered.

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Interesting. I thought the ratings like "Normal", "Veteran", etc. are mere experience levels. Is there no such thing like "morale" in CM? I would think, even a veteran tends to go home, when motivation is lacking.

The manual will explain the difference between experience and morale ratings more accurately than I can. "Normal" is a motivation/morale rating. "Veteran" is an experience rating. They do different things. And Leadership affects things in yet different ways. They're collectively referred to as "soft factors".

The fact remains that a given element with the same soft factors will behave the same in the same conditions as a similar element of a different nationality. Or so BFC have attested.

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