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Marine vs Army scouts.


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Just looking to start a friendly discussion on the pros and cons of the TO & E of each. I am still learning and by no means an expert so please don't hesitate to correct me if I use the wrong terms or you can see obvious holes in my arguments.

At first I was really excited with the prospect of having the 25mm cannon on the LAV's with the marines. It really gives them that nice little bit of extra firepower to fight through any CSOP they might stumble across and not lose their momentum, as you don't have the time or room to find a way around or through in your typical combat mission game.

When there's a lot of ATGM's present though, and you cant use the LAV's to support the scouts properly, I really really miss the MG's that the army teams have. I find it a lot harder to get the marine teams out of danger once the lead starts flying, especially at longer ranges where the GL's cant put down enough accurate fire fast enough to suppress the enemy.

Another thing I really miss with the marines is any kind of medium to long range AT capabilities, which does seem to be a recurring problem with the marines. They could really benefit from having a panzerfaust or something similar in the LAV's instead of the AT4's and LAW's. This goes for the army too in my opinion, while it is nice to be swimming in Javelins, the panzerfaust would be a far more economical and practical solution to the problem. Especially when combined with a vehicle mounted ATGM for longer range engagements.

Sorry for the wall of text everyone, and may I just say that ive never played such an infuriatingly good game before. Best couple bucks ive ever spent.

-James

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I can see how that would make sense, supply would be a lot easier to handle with equipment built in your own country. Ive been rather underwhelmed by the performance of the smaaw in-game, although I have no idea what they perform like in real world situations, nor really how to use them properly. It seems to miss 50% of the time out past 200m or so, rather like the at4. Ive taken to pretty much only using them for ambushes and pre-assault barrages. I have yet to try the carl gustav. Thanks for being patient with me, theres a pretty steep learning curve but its really fascinating stuff to discover.

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When it comes to RPG, PzFausts, M3s, SMAWs etc they all got one thing in common: Iron sights (or sometimes optics as well) but no assistance in distance, lead calculating and stabilizing. Well except from the SMAW who have a spotting rifle (cant see anyone actually use that nowadays...)

That means that the success is much depended on the crews skill, fatigue and suppression. Ideally you want a crew who haven't been fired at and haven't been running for longer periods of time with good experience to take out targets far out.

Still you have to accept that they are not 100% hit accuracy guns, I am trained on the swedish M3 Carl Gustav and all you need to do to miss a target is to have a high pulse, breath or just jerk a bit when pressing the trigger.

This is also recognized in real life so even if a gun has a range of 800m it doesn't mean you actually engage targets at that range.

Here is the Swedish armys list for the M3 to give you an idea of the ranges you are expected to hit a target at:

Static armor: 200m

Moving armor: 150m

Static vehicle: 400m

moving vehicle: 300m

HE against troops: 700m

SMOKE round: 1000m

Googling the SMAW you get ranges of around 250m effective to 500m max so you can pretty much assume that tubes in CSMF that isn't a missile have an "usable" range of around 200m.

And that pretty much how I use them in the game as well, never expect much over 200m and only engage if I can afford to re-engage (like firing at trucks, buildings etc instead of BMP, Tanks etc that will start shooting back at you).

Boy, this is getting a bit off topic from your original question though :D

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Thanks for the information Chainsaw, appreciate it. Its nice to know that my issues arent purely because of my poor command skills lol. Must be a lot of fun playing with toys with like that, when you arent getting shot at that is! I had wondered whether fatigue etc affected accuracy much, I'll be a bit more cautious about running my AT teams too much in the future. Time to go and re-read the manual I think!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The CG, AT4, RPG, and PF fill the same role. They are basically the same as far as penetration, range, weight etc. Minor differences and everyone has their preferences. The key is the weight. Every infantry squad requires a light anti-tank, bunker busting, building entry creating weapon system. These low tech, light weight weapons are some of the attempts at fulfilling that need. The key limiting factor is the weight. Lighter is better and that limits its capabilities. If you want greater range/penetration then you need a vehicle mounted system. The US Army has gone almost exclusively to the AT4 (see any youtube firefight video from the last ten years and you are bound to see one being fired at real targets). There is a push to go to the CG (it has a small increase in penetration and a versatile array of warheads - which to an infantryman just means more stuff to carry) but due to current budget constraints this will probably not happen (Again. the CG has been around since the 90's).

As to your original question: Scouts and their mission cannot be accurately portrayed in CMSF or any CM game really. Now, I know there is always an uproar when someone makes this statement. I have been playing CM and around these forums since the original game came out so I know what I am writing out. If you want to read about this issue until your brain explodes just do a search for scouting, scouts, recon, etc.

Essentially scouting/recon falls into two categories. The grognards (hardcore realists) and the gamers (those who just want to figure out how to beat the game or manipulate the game mechanics to beat an opponent). To a grognard reconnaissance follows the doctrinal (i.e. original design/theory) purpose for those units. Which means a lot of passive, stealthy, slow movement and observation. The spotting rules, time limitations, aggregate movement/hiding factors of the game engine make this almost impossible. CMBN is getting closer with its two man scout teams and improved spotting rules, but CMSF lacks these refinements. To the gamer reconnaissance means sacrificing fast, low cost units (jeeps, trucks, fire teams, etc) to push forward and draw fire. This will show you where your opponents positions are located and help you develop a plan on the fly.

Reconnaissance should be conducted prior to the type of engagements usually simulated in CM (i.e, what military professionals call "actions on the objective"). Before you conduct that company/battalion attack the commander should have already sent his scouts forward (days/hours before, not minutes before). He should have conducted a thorough map reconnaissance, looked at some SAT imagery if available, etc. All of this should build a picture of the terrain and how the enemy is arrayed on it. This allows the commander to pick his forces, place them in attack positions (or defensive positions) that support his overall plan. In CM this all comes in the scenario briefing. Unfortunately, the scenario designers usually do a very poor job of providing this so the player is usually conducting a movement to contact and trying to develop the situation as the game progresses rather than conducting the deliberate attack the designer might have wanted to portray, hence everyones frustration with reconnaissance in the game. Everyone sees the need for it since in most cases you are forced to do it because the scenario briefing did a horrible job of painting a picture for you. Unfortunately, the game mechanics just dont portray one well camouflaged guy belly crawling up to the crest of a ridge and remaining in an OP for 8 hours watching an enemy build his defenses. Of course, there are plenty of examples where this sort of reconnaissance just isn't possible and so you get your movement to contact/running battle and CM excels at showing that, its just not a comprehensive blanket for offensive/defensive operations.

So, in game terms the scouting abilities of a marine or army scout platoon doesn't really matter. And that is what their component built their TO&E on. Scouting, not fighting. But CMSF forces you to rely on their fighting capabilities and so their shortfalls in this area will become self-evident.

I have some old tutorials from years ago if you are interested in reading more of my opinions/viewpoints. http://cmsfwarchest.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2010-11-01T00:00:00-04:00&updated-max=2010-12-01T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=1

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Very interesting summary. Thanks...

Question: With the new emphasis on asymmetric actions and enemies that blend in with civilians and don't build the sort of prepared defenses seen in Soviet days, doesn't that require a more on the fly recon? Or has sat intel replaced it?

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Not really.

Doctrinally, reconnaissance requires a task, a focus point, so if you are running a presence patrol or establishing a checkpoint or other type of reoccurring bread and butter COIN task you are still looking at a movement to contact type scenario.

In an asymmetrical environment recon missions usually consist of setting an OP on a known/suspected enemy location in an attempt to spot a High Value Target in order to carry out an on-order raid to kill or capture. Or setup an OP on a known IED location and attempt to conduct a sniper attack or call for fire when Mr. Bombmaker tries to set up another IED. Still a lot of sitting and waiting from a hidden location.

Most units just don't have access to the high tech "eye in the sky" sort of intel resource gathering. The US military has UAVs at the company level but they are slow and loud, so the enemy is always very aware when they are up and reacts accordingly.

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  • 8 months later...

Reconnaissance should be conducted prior to the type of engagements usually simulated in CM (i.e, what military professionals call "actions on the objective"). Before you conduct that company/battalion attack the commander should have already sent his scouts forward (days/hours before, not minutes before). He should have conducted a thorough map reconnaissance, looked at some SAT imagery if available, etc. All of this should build a picture of the terrain and how the enemy is arrayed on it. This allows the commander to pick his forces, place them in attack positions (or defensive positions) that support his overall plan. In CM this all comes in the scenario briefing. Unfortunately, the scenario designers usually do a very poor job of providing this so the player is usually conducting a movement to contact and trying to develop the situation as the game progresses rather than conducting the deliberate attack the designer might have wanted to portray, hence everyones frustration with reconnaissance in the game. Everyone sees the need for it since in most cases you are forced to do it because the scenario briefing did a horrible job of painting a picture for you. Unfortunately, the game mechanics just dont portray one well camouflaged guy belly crawling up to the crest of a ridge and remaining in an OP for 8 hours watching an enemy build his defenses.

When i am building scenarios i pay a lot of attention to the briefings because i dont like playing scenarios with unclear/bad briefings as well. I especially pay attention on the commanders intent because going into a fight without knowing what you want to accomplish is truely a worst-case scenario, IRL as in CM. There is no way of systematically pursuing a goal if you dont know what your goal is. However when it comes to the description of the enemy forces (i.e. the results of the reconnaisance conducted in the days before the attack), i often find it very difficult to give the player the 'right' amount of info that is on the one hand helpful and at least credible if not realistic but on the other keeps enough information a secret so that the player will still have to deal with some nasty surprises. I honestly have to say that i have no idea how much information on the disposition and composition of the enemy forces a real life commander would have. Should i tell the player in the briefing exactely where the enemy forces are? Should i tell him what is their equipment, how many there are, what they are going to do during the battle, what is their commanders intent? Usually i drop a bit of information on all those topics, trying to give the player a rough idea of what he has to expect during the upcoming engagement, but i dont have any idea weather or not a military professional would consider that realistic.

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