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A little advice please and maybe a slap in the face would help--


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Hi guys (assuming there are no females interested in this stuff). I'm new to Combat Mission and new to this forum so I could use a little advice.

I just bought the whole tamale for this version of Combat Mission and decided to start off learning version 3 as the Russians. Considering my prior gaming experience, both computer war simulation games and Squad Leader back in the 70's, I'm having a surprisingly hard time catching onto it.

I keep checking this forum for answers that I can't find in the manuals and I'm not having much luck. I'm wondering if I'm missing some vital part of the forum or some addendum or wiki somewhere that explains details of playing the game.

For example, right now, I'm wondering how to make my snipers work right. I never had any experience using snipers in any other board or computer game, and I can't figure them out. I try to sneak within range of the enemy and have them take a shot, but I keep ending up with dead snipers. So I search the forum threads for a little advice.

What I find on the forums is typically discussions of whether the snipers are overpowered, or underpowered, why their range should be over a mile distant (you know, there's always this one time when something bizarre happened in Russia, ie in this case it would go, "this one time in Russia a sniper took an SS General's head off from over a mile away..."--you know how those conversations go) and whether the color is off on the little pictures of the German sniper's buttons, etc.

What I don't find is things like, what is a good range for snipers, how do I get them to act like snipers instead of submachine gunners, what can I realistically expect to effect upon the target, etc.

This has been the case with almost everything I've tried to search for information for. Richly opinionated discussion, but not much "How To" stuff.

Understand, my question about how to get sniper's to act right is secondary to the larger question of is there someplace I should be looking for the How To discussions.

Also, can someone tell me how to buy a single truck and designate it as a "weapons" truck? Here's what I want to do. I want to buy a company of, say, riflemen. Then I want to give them a platoon of light mortars and give the mortar platoon a weapons truck so they have some extra ammo.

The only way I've so far found to get a weapons truck is to buy a brigade of motorized riflemen, and then some of the trucks will be designated as weapons trucks and by using the options tree just right I might be able in some cases to change some of the weapons trucks to regular ammo or vice-versa. But I don't see how I can buy a few light mortars and assign them their own weapons truck (and incidentally, in no Russian formations do I see any light mortars used anywhere, which I recollect they had in abundance, but that's been decades since I've studied that kind of thing, and now my brain is old and full of fat and cholesterol--I seem to recall using a line of heavy machine guns to direct fire and then putting light mortars right behind them to lob shots onto the enemy units right behind the enemy's front line).

Thanks so much, in advance, for any advice you give me.

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Can't really help you with the snipers in particular, since I never use them, but welcome to the forum :)

About spotting in general, lots of factors play a part in if they see your guys or not. The terrain your troops are in, how many troops there are, if they are moving (and how they are moving), and if they are firing or not.

Distance also plays a big part, as does weather and time of day - light levels.

Oh, and how many eyes can potentially see your troops, and which way those units are facing.

At the end of the day, there's also a random element to spotting in this game. So you might just have been unlucky. If your sniper is seen and starts taking fire, see if you can sneak him back into cover (use "SLOW" order). Then relocate him or sneak back up to the vantage point to have another go.

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snipers- distance and concealment. and don't tell em what to aim at. They pick targets just fine. Whether they are good enough to hit something or just help suppress units is another question. You might want to give them a nice short cover arc and let them observe for a while. You want them to find high value targets and not just waste their rounds on grunts.

In lieu of a slap, here is a link to Bil's primer. An excellent place to start.

http://battledrill.blogspot.com/2013/08/combat-mission-tactical-problems-cmtp.html

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Talespin Jim,

Welcome aboard!

Let me start out by informing you that you don't have snipers. You have sharpshooters, which you can think of as being what the US calls designated marksmen. They are better trained/mpre gifted at shooting than their comrades, and may have better grade ammo, but they lack the specialized rifles, tremendous fieldcraft, camouflage training, camo smocks/ghillie suits and patience real snipers have. To my knowledge, not even CMRT models snipers.

Whatever you call the shooter, in the two-man team, you need to be careful with the spotter, who, left on his own, can and will open up when it's wholly inappropriate to do so, betraying the position and blowing the shoot. The solution is a short cover arc (say, 10 meters) on the spotter, but let the AI run the sharpshooter, who functions best when the enemy comes to him.

On a real battlefield, a sniper team may accompany a maneuver unit, but the sniper team will merely use that formation as a point of departure, will pick suitable ground and set up an ambush or observation hide. In the attack, sniper teams will trail the line infantry and will seek to eliminate key personnel impeding the advance, but this is not their strong suit, and it makes them pretty vulnerable in consequence. Your sharpshooter team, if you want it to have any real combat utility, shouldn't go gadding about the battlefield, lest your current outcomes repeat! If (note conditional) you have a lot of cover and time (or a vehicle, a covered route and adequate cover once there), you can work a team into position, but this is the exception, rather than the rule, especially since your sharpshooter team can't avoid being seen anywhere nearly as well as a sniper team can.

I can't speak to your other items, since I've played no QBs since my CMx1 days. I find the canned scenarios for my all-up Version 2.12 CMBN/CW/MG to be more than adequate to keep me out of mischief.

In closing, here is a very good thread which discusses the issues of sharpshooters in CMBN. It provides a historical context, a fairly extensive discussion of game observations and several independent sets of tests, not to mention combat insights from several CMers who are ex-snipers!

https://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=99964&highlight=sharpshooters

Regards,

John Kettler

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Actually, both of your comments are particularly useful and Bil's primer looks like just what I need.

Any other links to reference material would be appreciated. I tend to eat this kind of thing up. Sometimes it's more fun than actually playing the game.

Can anyone answer my last question about how to add a single truck onto a formation and designate it as a weapons truck? I'm kind of thinking that it can't be done.

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Talespin Jim,

Glad to help. Be sure to read the utterly engrossing interview with three surviving German snipers. The link's in the thread I provided. For a look on the other side of the fence, may I suggest you hie over to IRemember.ru? The section on snipers here

http://english.iremember.ru/snipers.html

will give you quite an education on sniping a la Russe. The only male sniper account there isn't all that useful and is quite short, but the three female sniper accounts are fabulous. The site itself is worth its weight in gold to Eastern Front buffs. While German snipers were certainly threats, mortar fire put paid to many a Russian sniper. Russian sniper losses were enormous, but then, so were Russian infantry overall losses, which occurred !

As far as I'm concerned, sharpshooters aren't worth having unless Veteran, preferably higher if budget permits, and ideally, in command radius of a high quality leader.

Regards,

John Kettler

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One point about sharpshooters/snipers is that you actually shouldn't expect them to do anything at all. Hollywood has over-sold the drama of WW2 snipers. They had an effect and certain special cases were stunningly interesting, but these were definitely not typical. Trying to base your CM planning on that standard will not get you very far.

I typically use them as scouts and then leave them in positions to shoot targets of opportunity, but I don't expect anything to hinge on their performance.

I'm not sure I understand John Kettler's point above about setting a cover arc on the spotter and letting the AI handle the shooter. A two-man sharpshooter team is one unit, and a cover arc on it will prevent the sniper from firing as well.

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Let me start out by informing you that you don't have snipers. You have sharpshooters, which you can think of as being what the US calls designated marksmen. They are better trained/mpre gifted at shooting than their comrades, and may have better grade ammo, but they lack the specialized rifles, tremendous fieldcraft, camouflage training, camo smocks/ghillie suits and patience real snipers have. To my knowledge, not even CMRT models snipers.

Utter nonsense, as usual. For one thing, yes, there are snipers in the game. They are the ones who aren't part of a squad but instead operate on their own. The Germans had them and so did the Russians - in fact, that's all the Russians had; they didn't have squad DMs. But yes, the Germans did have squad DMs.

Whatever you call the shooter, in the two-man team, you need to be careful with the spotter, who, left on his own, can and will open up when it's wholly inappropriate to do so, betraying the position and blowing the shoot. The solution is a short cover arc (say, 10 meters) on the spotter, but let the AI run the sharpshooter, who functions best when the enemy comes to him.

Do you even have a clue about how the game handles cover arcs for infantry units? No? OK then, quit giving out bad information.

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Whatever you call the shooter, in the two-man team, you need to be careful with the spotter, who, left on his own, can and will open up when it's wholly inappropriate to do so, betraying the position and blowing the shoot. The solution is a short cover arc (say, 10 meters) on the spotter, but let the AI run the sharpshooter, who functions best when the enemy comes to him.

Martyr has already addressed the issue of CAs, so I will just say that he is correct. But it is worth mentioning that I have noticed that in RT the observer appears to be much more disciplined about holding fire. I think as long as the team remains 100m or more from enemy troops and well concealed this should be the case. If the team should start to take fire, the observer is apt to return fire if the range is not too great. But as sburke posted, if they start to receive fire, probably their best bet is not to try to duke it out, but to break contact and withdraw into better cover.

Michael

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But as sburke posted, if they start to receive fire, probably their best bet is not to try to duke it out, but to break contact and withdraw into better cover.

Michael

heh heh, not sure I actually said that but if Michael wants to say I am right, I'll be happy to include that in a sig. :D

as to the point, yep. Time to split, you want to have your sniper shooting people who can't see him and yes it is possible and extremely annoying when you are on the receiving end. You not only get suppression on the target, but if you are up against a human opponent, suppression to some degree on the whole enemy force. That is the real value add you want to be striving for.

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For example, right now, I'm wondering how to make my snipers work right. I never had any experience using snipers in any other board or computer game, and I can't figure them out. I try to sneak within range of the enemy and have them take a shot, but I keep ending up with dead snipers. So I search the forum threads for a little advice.

What I don't find is things like, what is a good range for snipers, how do I get them to act like snipers instead of submachine gunners, what can I realistically expect to effect upon the target, etc.

The following is the way I generally use sniper teams. I try to set up a sniper net of three to five different sniper teams (depending on the size of the map) across the map in observation/listening posts (OP/LPs) to spot OPFOR units and feed the information to the rest of my force. I put them in positions that offer good line of site to an area of interest like a ford across a river, an avenue of approach, key terrain etc. I also slow them into their OP/LP, make sure they are set on short target arcs and alternate having them on the hide command every few minutes or when I think an OPFOR unit is getting to close. I have the most success with this sniper net tactic on defense when the OPFOR is moving into my area. The job of my sniper teams is to gather and report intel. I will sometimes have them take a shot at an unbuttoned tank commander however that usually results in a tank main gun round hitting the OP/LP and no more intel...........

Trucks: When you are selecting your troops and equipment for a Quick Battle you can keep some of the trucks that are included with your selected battalion organization, or purchase some from the left side of the screen or purchase a supply platoon of four trucks. Order troops to enter the truck. Hit the acquire button and a list of available supplies will appear. Select what you want. However, I don't think mortar ammo is ever a choice. Good luck.

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Huge difference between a regular sniper with average motivation than a veteran or elite sniper with a high motivation level.

Regardless of the skill level and motivation, moving snipers usually get them killed if the enemy is near by.

Better off placing them in key locations or flanks and let the enemy come to you. I've placed snipers on my flanks to protect it and seen them gun down 2 then 4 man elements trying to sneak around my flanks. It helps if you also have a covered escape route as your sniper won't last long once the enemy knows one is lurking and they come looking for it.

You may want to consider a small 2 or 3 man security force to assist the sniper team. If 1 man on the security team has an automatic weapon all the better.

I recently had a turn where my opponent tried to rush a position. He had 2 elements rush forward and a bazooka team sneak up behind the forward 2 elements to provide fire support. My security team hosed down the lead elements with automatic fire and grenades. My sniper team picked off the bazookaman then tossed a couple of grenades at the bazooka team fro good measure.

Had the sniper not taken out the zook, it would have fired on my troops and caused losses.

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Welcome aboard.

The best advice I can give to a new CM wargamer is to think of yourself (the player) as one step removed from the battle. You're giving the tactical orders to the forces available on the field to meet an objective, but like a Battalion CO slightly behind the lines you can't guarantee every company and platoon is going to be able to follow your orders to the letter every time - so you'll have to adapt to the ever changing situation. The variables in what can occur are enormous and that's what makes this wargame standout above most others IMO.

Don't think of it as: "I place my sniper team in that clump of tree's he should be able to hit 50% of the time."

Instead: "I place my sniper team in that clump of tree's and they should have advantage over 'X' enemy, though could be at risk from 'Y' since I have nothing covering that flank."

Think that one level up, as a planner, not as someone who can dictate every situation on the battlefield. The pixeltuppen on the field can pull the trigger themselves.

Hope that helps.

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Martyr has already addressed the issue of CAs, so I will just say that he is correct.

I read John's post as meaning to put a short cover arc on the sniper team so they will not fire and let them observe for a while before letting them go.

I am not totally sold on that advice. I tend to set my snipers up in a good place and let them do their thing. Sometimes when I see a sniper team rack up some kills I will hide them for a turn or two. Just to help keep their location a secret. I also might change floors after a while just to make it harder for speculative fire to mess with them.

But it is worth mentioning that I have noticed that in RT the observer appears to be much more disciplined about holding fire.

Yes, they are better in recent versions. I am not sure if there is anything new in CMRT. I think they tweaked that behaviour in the 2.0 upgrade for CMBN.

Huge difference between a regular sniper with average motivation than a veteran or elite sniper with a high motivation level.

I agree with this. I have to say I am a sniper fan - I just find them fun. When I am purchasing in a QB I always pick up a sniper team or two and usually crank them up to the best they can be. The cost could go from 21 to 26 points but that is cheap.

I favour them on defense. On offense they are harder to get into a good position. Find a place where the have good visibility to somewhere. I have had success with positions where they can see a large portion of the battle field but the down side is once they get spotted they can take fire from all over the battle field :(. Or give them a place where they can see a key avenue of approach but nothing else. You don't want them to have choppy LOS they tend to want to watch the enemy moving forward and then strike (I have no idea if they are really coded this way but it sure feels like it). They will strike out to 600m and you defiantly want them to be observing an area further away than usual infantry rifle ranges 200-400 is a good range. Also position them away from other units of yours. Nothing crazy but for example the third story of a house can be a good spot for snipers but then don't put an MG team on the second story. All that will do is draw fire on the MG team which will certainly effect the sniper team.

One of my favourite things to do is position them in a good church tower and have them switch floors from time to time. There is nothing more satisfying than having a sniper team move from the top floor to the middle floor just before some tank starts shooting up the top floor. A few minutes later your sniper is being a pain in their side again.

In many games my sniper teams come out with only a handful of kills or even none. But sometimes they will score 20 - that keeps me coming back.

Welcome aboard.

The best advice I can give to a new CM wargamer is to think of yourself (the player) as one step removed from the battle.

That is excellent philosophical advice. I know you were looking for some "do this, don't do that" advice and you got lots of good stuff. This might be the best "keep this in mind and you will be happier" advice you can get. If you keep thinking your guys will be perfect you will be in for a frustrating time.

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Bear in mind, also, that using area (as opposed to linear) vegetation for cover, you can probably see out from the second or third row "back from the edge" and that each complete Action Spot that the enemy's LOS has to cross to spot you has double the concealment effect (on average) of the AS your sharpshooter is in. So being in the "edge" of the woods is one third as much concealment as being one AS deeper, and a fifth as useful for hiding as being 2AS into the woods (assuming you can still see what you want to see from there).

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