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mg42 query

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The MG42 was a "general purpose machine gun" and could be used with just a bipod as a light machine gun, or on a tripod as a sustained fire heavy machine gun.

Infantry squads and LMG teams have MG34s / MG42s with bipods only. Dedicated machine gun teams have MG34s / MG42s with sustained fire tripods, although these can also be used in a light role off their bipods when undeployed ("semi-deployed" text in game).

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They could be deployed on bipods instead of tripods. The same thing could be done with it's contemporary/predecessor, theMG-34.:


The bipod could be placed on nearly anything and was quite a bit lighter, although the tripod was more stable when firing. In other words the bipod traded the tripod's stability for mobility.

It could also be used like this:


Although I am not sure I would want my back to the enemy while someone fires a machinegun next to my ear.

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There are all sorts of benefits to mounting a MG on a tripod vs a bipod. A bipod is actually the least preferable way to do it. A MG becomes wildly uncontrollable after 3-4 rounds and as such are often defined as area fire weapons valued for their suppression qualities rather than accuracy. Tripods are preferred because they offer more stability to the weapon, giving you a tighter pattern. And at 400-500 meters the pattern (or beaten zone) can make a big difference in a guns effectiveness.

You can set up a tripod to limit the gun's arc of fire. This is particularly useful in the defense. MGs are often set up at key points that allow them to fire along the front of their platoons defensive positions as a sort of final wall of lead. By using the tripod to limit the "swing" of the gun a gunner can get heavy on the trigger and know he isn't in danger of swinging too far and firing into his own troops. This is key when defending a position at night or in low vis conditions like fog.

Tripods can be used to quickly bring guns onto the enemy by using preplanned target ranges. Experienced gunners can use a range card and with the assistance of an assistant gunner (AG) could quickly shift from one target to the next (inexperienced gun crews often consider range cards a waste of time, just like they fail to keep their ammo clean and then wonder why their gun keeps jamming when they need it). For example, a gunner may know (from his prior planning and his range card) that a certain tree is at 300m and a house is at 500m. He can quickly zero his aim with just a few twists of his elevation adjustment to the desired target based on that data, without having to send a few bursts just to get the range estimation right. Therefore, he can deliver rounds right on target with his first burst and avoid alerting the enemy.

MGs at the rifle squad level (honestly, in German WW2 doctrine they should be called MG squads not rifle squads) are there to simply provide as much suppression firepower as possible. They typically engage at shorter ranges (inside 300m) and so aren't as concerned about accurate fires beyond that. The prevailing thought (particularly outside Brit and US doctrine which tried to hold onto the Rifle is king mentality as long as possible) was that everyone else in the squad existed simply to support the machinegunners. The squad leaders primary maneuver elements were the guns themselves. This became less important as "Assault Rifles" were introduced but it is the foundation of the organization you see in German WW2 squads.

BFC used to publish some small texts on small unit tactics from WW2 (they still may) which go into all of this in some detail. Other great sources are On Infantry by John English and Infantry Attacks by Erwin Rommel. English goes into the history behind the development of the squad from the British, American and German perspectives and Rommel writes very informatively about the use of heavy machineguns at the rifle company level in WW1. Both fascinating reads and eye opening. I also think I might have a digital copy of a US Army Machine Gun manual or two laying around if anyone is really interested in the science.

Now, as far as how those benefits for tripod vs bipod translate into game terms, someone else will have to enlighten us. I would imagine over the years someone has ran a few tests...

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Great info there. I suppose its safe to assume that these effects are modelled in CM?

There are large differences in effectiveness in the game, especially at long range, between the "spandaus" (to use a generic term) that are on tripods or other mounts and those that aren't. Accuracy, cone of dispersion due to recoil and RoF are both greater for the tripod-mounted version. Range cards are probably a bit too detailed, and should probably be assumed to be incorporated in the soft factors of the unit: well led, highly experienced troops get accurate fire onto the target faster than inexperienced troops with poor leaders and the same equipment.

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