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German Halftrack Doctrine?


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Can any grog enlighten me on the German doctrine torwards the use of halftracks versus how they are used in CMX2.Im aware of their many different operational roles from recon to armored transport to ambulances.

But in the game I basically use halftracks as mobile ammo dumps and keep them in the rear out of los only bringing them up quickly to a relaltively cleared area for re-arming the men.I also use them in long range suppression roles.How do you guys use them in game?

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How do you guys use them in game?

Pretty much the same way you do. There isn't a lot of scope in the game IMO to use them any other way. Historically, their primary use was getting the troops to the battlefield, a job that is more or less already done at the start of a CM battle. The troops were meant to debus either on safe ground or at extreme range of defending weaponry and proceed on foot. The actual occurrences of riding right into the midst of the enemy with all guns blazing—while perhaps looking good in the movies—were exceedingly rare. Mainly because that was an excellent way to get blown up or otherwise mortified.

Michael

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It is possible to use them to get right onto the target, but you have to have overwhelming superiority of fire to do it without disastrous loss. You can also use them to augment suppression once it's largely been achieved, at closer ranges, allowing the infantry elements that have gained fire superiority to move. On the whole, what you're describing is the extent of their use on the CM field.

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I admit, I sometimes use them to race to the objective, but I am not aware that they were used "historically" in such an agressive role. For that the German half tracks were too thinly armoured and too lightly armed. The MG42 had the higher rate of fire, but not the punch of the US cal 50 MG.

So, yes, drop the troops at a safe place and try to keep the half tracks out of harms way.

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It is possible to use them to get right onto the target, but you have to have overwhelming superiority of fire to do it without disastrous loss. You can also use them to augment suppression once it's largely been achieved, at closer ranges, allowing the infantry elements that have gained fire superiority to move. On the whole, what you're describing is the extent of their use on the CM field.

Yes, I use them like this also at times. But you need to weigh in the fact how they can affect the scoring of the game or needed future use in campaigns.

Because even in this limited roll of additional firepower help, thay have a high chance of getting waxed. But why not use them if the game is not going to punish you in scoring.

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Usually at this point someone will bring up the topic of German training manuals on the use of HTs circa 1942. Training manuals and propaganda videos tend to be very aggressive, very 'Blitzkreig'. But anyone who has played CM for awhile knows how that usually works out. The modern equivalent would be early 1980s tactical doctrine on use of IFVs. Again, very aggressive. The IFVs at the time were festooned with weapons ports for infantry to fight from. Nowadays the weapons ports are mostly deleted and replaced by layers of extra armor.

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Yes, I use them like this also at times. But you need to weigh in the fact how they can affect the scoring of the game or needed future use in campaigns. Because even in this limited roll of additional firepower help, thay have a high chance of getting waxed.

Oh, definitely. It can go horribly wrong :)

But why not use them if the game is not going to punish you in scoring.

I've had a couple of occasions where having my assaulters protected from my own artillery's fragments has been worth a couple of M3 in terms of VP damage to my pTruppen avoided. Gotta lean on that barrage!

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Except once

I have to mention back when playing CMX1,

I had this fellow pull off a perfect Blitzkrieg move on me.

My right flank was defended by engineering and infantry units placed in the backside of some light woods with armor reserves in my middle area that could give them support fire if needed.

I felt good about holding off any armor or infantry attack there.

Then all at once this fellow sends two armor platoons followed closely by two infantry platoons in HT’s at full speed across a stretch of open ground into them woods, tanks firing smoke as they approached.

It turned into hell on earth in moments, the tanks were suppressing much of my infantry with point blank fire and then I watch as German HT’s rolled up and troops debarked to finish off the job their task force had started. It was over so quickly my supporting armor could not get in place and aid much before it was done.

It was really a memorable moment and was a joy to watch except for the fact I was on the receiving end, not the person that had achieved it.

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Except once

I have to mention back when playing CMX1,

I had this fellow pull off a perfect Blitzkrieg move on me.

My right flank was defended by engineering and infantry units placed in the backside of some light woods with armor reserves in my middle area that could give them support fire if needed.

I felt good about holding off any armor or infantry attack there.

Then all at once this fellow sends two armor platoons followed closely by two infantry platoons in HT’s at full speed across a stretch of open ground into them woods, tanks firing smoke as they approached.

It turned into hell on earth in moments, the tanks were suppressing much of my infantry with point blank fire and then I watch as German HT’s rolled up and troops debarked to finish off the job their task force had started. It was over so quickly my supporting armor could not get in place and aid much before it was done.

It was really a memorable moment and was a joy to watch except for the fact I was on the receiving end, not the person that had achieved it.

Were his initials B.H.? :)

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As mentioned they are basically taxis. I think many like the Israelis who used surplus M3's deliberately removed the MGs to discourage use as fire support vechicles due to vulnerability.

One advantage of HTs is they are more mobile over poor terrain and mud.

Aggressive use in game against any opposition that shoots back never ends well for any HTs.

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The Germans also made extensive use of half tracks in the SPW or recon companies. Which were often composed of infantry mounted in Sdkfz 250 derivatives. As i'd heard though these companies were quite often depleted of their armored vehicles though because they just had to be pressed into combat so much as armored infantry that the vehicles were usually lost.

Plus, the Germans emphasized a very aggressive form of reconnaissance that basically called upon picking fights with enemy recon and infantry screens in order to divert their attention from the main force. Recon was about the toughest job in the German Army short of the Engineers.

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Aggressive use in game against any opposition that shoots back never ends well for any HTs.

They work well enough for sustaining suppression on already pinned-down enemy units, having MGs and plenty of ammo for the job. But yeah, you have to be mostly cautious with them, otherwise bad things happen.

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I think the problem with using halftracks in a historically correct way is the distances, most CM-Scenarios are offering to the player. The doctrine of using them to bring infantry directly to the battlefield and to take the HT for fast and agressive attacks is right ---- but, in reality, the so called battlefield includes a territory of some squaremiles, while in CM most battles are made for distances smaller than 1500m. So, the actual attack on a target in reality is starting from a much longer distance than suggested in CM. This means, attacking HTs, bringing infantry about 2km near the target, will play an important role on the real battlefield (for example with direct fire support) and there´s not too much risk for them to become victims of enemy AT activity. However, in CM these vehicles are used to bring their passengers into target distances of less than 1000m and this makes such runs as deadly as they usually are :)

my two Cents ;)

Regards

Frank

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They work well enough for sustaining suppression on already pinned-down enemy units, having MGs and plenty of ammo for the job. But yeah, you have to be mostly cautious with them, otherwise bad things happen.

Thats true and usually at the end of the game when one side basically breaks down HTs are great for running down broken stragglers and machine gunning the fleeing pixeltroopen.

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I just recalled an anecdote told me by an old Pacific jungle fighter years ago that I had completely forgot about. He said when his unit reached their Pacific destination the CO called the men together for an impromptu 'demonstration'. Without warning the CO pulled his pistol from its holster and plugged a hole right through the armor of the half track parked next to him, gave the men quite a fright! He ordered that while in combat they were NOT to rely on their half-tracks for cover. That impromptu demonstration did the trick, inside a HT was the last place you wanted to be when bullets started flying.

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All the SPW lovers need to take a German armored recon formation without heavy AFV accompaniment and put it up against some Russians without all the light armor (just a few BA-64s), but with a flock of ATRs plus --- wait for it --- one platoon of lowly T-70s. After half an hour of simulated CM fighting, you will be forever cured of thinking the T-70 a piece of junk, or the SPW an early BMP.

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Except once

I have to mention back when playing CMX1,

I had this fellow pull off a perfect Blitzkrieg move on me.

My right flank was defended by engineering and infantry units placed in the backside of some light woods with armor reserves in my middle area that could give them support fire if needed.

I felt good about holding off any armor or infantry attack there.

Then all at once this fellow sends two armor platoons followed closely by two infantry platoons in HT’s at full speed across a stretch of open ground into them woods, tanks firing smoke as they approached.

It turned into hell on earth in moments, the tanks were suppressing much of my infantry with point blank fire and then I watch as German HT’s rolled up and troops debarked to finish off the job their task force had started. It was over so quickly my supporting armor could not get in place and aid much before it was done.

It was really a memorable moment and was a joy to watch except for the fact I was on the receiving end, not the person that had achieved it.

Classic! Hard to pull off but amazing when it works :)

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That thread George linked to has a lot of information, but this thread has covered most of the high points. Halftracks are more robust and flexible than trucks, but they aren't meant to lead the charge.

I had this fellow pull off a perfect Blitzkrieg move on me.

Most players lack the patience to do something like this :D

Halftracks are good for going from Point A to Point B when the path is not necessarily safe. Their good cross country performance also allows for a lot more flexibility in choosing a safer path. Especially because roads were often under observed fire and trucks are basically limited to roads.

The key thing is choosing a place to disembark that is relatively safe. That's true even for modern APC/IFVs. I remember playing a CMSF scenario during Beta testing and I found that I had much better results disembarking behind a small berm and going on foot than I did trying to go right to the objective and hop out.

Steve

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All the SPW lovers need to take a German armored recon formation without heavy AFV accompaniment and put it up against some Russians without all the light armor (just a few BA-64s), but with a flock of ATRs plus --- wait for it --- one platoon of lowly T-70s. After half an hour of simulated CM fighting, you will be forever cured of thinking the T-70 a piece of junk, or the SPW an early BMP.

You can do it in CMBN or CMFI with like a rifle platoon and a Stuart pair lol.

Most players lack the patience to do something like this :D

The key point I took away from that was tanks providing covering fire enable otherwise risky maneuver. A platoon of tanks hitting every bush, building, ditch, shrub and crest is pre-emptive forgiveness for a lot of tactical sins.

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Usually at this point someone will bring up the topic of German training manuals on the use of HTs circa 1942. Training manuals and propaganda videos tend to be very aggressive, very 'Blitzkreig'. But anyone who has played CM for awhile knows how that usually works out. The modern equivalent would be early 1980s tactical doctrine on use of IFVs. Again, very aggressive. The IFVs at the time were festooned with weapons ports for infantry to fight from. Nowadays the weapons ports are mostly deleted and replaced by layers of extra armor.

Reminds me to: in my Bundeswehr days the manual for the tank reccon troops said something like: "The Panzeraufklärer makes contact with the enemy forces and detroys them."

I could never imagine, how this would work.

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Reminds me to: in my Bundeswehr days the manual for the tank reccon troops said something like: "The Panzeraufklärer makes contact with the enemy forces and detroys them."

I could never imagine, how this would work.

Yeah. A proper scout radios back with the message: "The enemy forces up ahead used to be..." :)

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I think many like the Israelis who used surplus M3's deliberately removed the MGs to discourage use as fire support vechicles due to vulnerability.

On the other hand, their M113s were armed to the teeth, even mounting small mortars. I think their feeling was that Arab morale was so brittle that this kind of aggressive use stood a good chance of working.

Michael

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I think the problem with using halftracks in a historically correct way is the distances, most CM-Scenarios are offering to the player. The doctrine of using them to bring infantry directly to the battlefield and to take the HT for fast and agressive attacks is right ---- but, in reality, the so called battlefield includes a territory of some squaremiles, while in CM most battles are made for distances smaller than 1500m. So, the actual attack on a target in reality is starting from a much longer distance than suggested in CM. This means, attacking HTs, bringing infantry about 2km near the target, will play an important role on the real battlefield (for example with direct fire support) and there´s not too much risk for them to become victims of enemy AT activity. However, in CM these vehicles are used to bring their passengers into target distances of less than 1000m and this makes such runs as deadly as they usually are :)

my two Cents ;)

Or in other words, historically their use was more operational than tactical.

Michael

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