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tankovyi desant headache


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I think I will never get this game...it seems to me every mission is almost impossible. In tankovy desant I scout the hell out of the map and I reach the villa ok. Then I have a couple of squad cross the river while I pound the few squad I spotted with tank fire.

Then Tank hell starts out as german sort of tanks hidden in forest (grill? Stug?) start to snipe my tanks from the uphill. They are very far away and I spot them only when my tanks are already toasted. One of them destroyed 5 of my tanks in 2 minutes!!

My rage is quickly mounting...I love the concept of the game but I have huge problems in getting visibility and I always end up ambushed like in this mission here.

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I bet Michael Wittmann had similar feelings as his tank erupted into a fireball on Aug. 8, 1944 and propelled he and his crew into never-never land.

Tanks in open fields surrounded by woods, usually don't fair to well. Best to keep them hull-down and clear the wood line with infantry.

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You identify the location of the enemy tanks with infantry. Then use smoke shells (from artillery or tanks) to obscure the Stugs visibility. While the enemy asset is "blind" maneuver your tanks into position to either area fire or direct fire into his position.

If you don't have smoke available, then maneuver one or more of your tanks into a hull-down position to fire on the enemy location that was identified by your infantry. Area fire may be enough to force the enemy vehicle to move, hopefully giving your tanks a better shot.

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Well thanks... still it seems steep to me...the stugs are 3 and spotting them with infantry is no easy task either. I need tha tank fire to cover the infantry advancing but I have problems manouvering my tanks with stug danger still on.

Also I hwte thr fact that info dont get passed fast...infantry spot but tanks cant see them so I have to area fire.

maybe it's me but red thunder seems to be way more difficult than fortress italy

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Hi Patgarret

This is one of mine - so my apologies for being the root cause of your frustration. I'll not give away any spoilers but I'll support the comments of the guys above.

Another approach is scout with infantry (You can either use the scouts in the scenario or split off some two man teams). Use them to go forward under cover. The key here is move forward to cover, stop and wait. Give them time in location to scan the terrain. After a turn no ID - rinse and repeat.

Now passing info back is slow with the Russkies as they have no radios at the platoon level. So if you can have a higher command unit spotting as weel that helps pass the info down. Once you ID some armour you really need to send in a whole platoon of T34s to get him. One tank going for one hidden tank will mean the hunting tanks gets burned. There is another thread about how to do this. It might help.

Hope these tips help you overcome the frustration bump :)

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I really enjoyed this scenario and wish the campaigns had more missions like it. Like the OP, I have seen my tanks decimated on several occasions in this one, usually when they are in the open. My best success has been to have my tanks move through the woods to the right of the road and then take up hull down positions on reverse wooded slopes. The only trouble is, the tanks have to find a path through the trees and sometimes take unexpected routes.

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The big mistake to make is to rush. You have to go very slow and steady. Everytime I get abit lax with my play, break concentration and try to speed things up it ends in disaster. Als give lots of recon by fire, suppress any possible ambush position with area fire.

Well thanks... still it seems steep to me...the stugs are 3 and spotting them with infantry is no easy task either. I need tha tank fire to cover the infantry advancing but I have problems manouvering my tanks with stug danger still on.

Also I hwte thr fact that info dont get passed fast...infantry spot but tanks cant see them so I have to area fire.

maybe it's me but red thunder seems to be way more difficult than fortress italy

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I just rushed the first little farm, bailed the riders there, while the pioneers got off their trucks a bit earlier and went east of the road, toward the bridge. No long scouting prep.

I triggered the entire ambush this way, and the first set of riders caught hell. But the T-34s soon shot the heck out of everything. The second rider platoon went left and cleared the farm within 2 minutes of contact. The T-34s then crested to the right of the road, drew StuG fire that penetrated one T-34 twice but he didn't die (just luck, that part). All his friends shot the crap out of each StuG in a minute flat, for each. They failed to engage together and they died separately to high odds each time.

The key to that outcome was just super tight positioning of the tanks in a big fist. Never sent singles to get whacked without reply, and kept both platoons within a minute of seeing anything that any of them could see. Yes I still had lines of sight broken up occasionally by the lay of the ground or particular angles through the trees, but only for 1-2 of the 6 - and even those could see infantry targets so the could still fire at something. The tanks moved most turns, but often by a short amount to spend most of the time firing not moving, once to the farm area. They then set up shop on that rise right of the road and just pulled triggers for like 3 minutes, and killed practically everything. All 6 T-34s were within a circle 100 yards wide at the widest, and for the main firefight period in less than 60 yards right to left and 10-20 front to back.

The riders took hits in all that, it wasn't painless. But the tanks lived - with only so-so luck maybe only 4-5 would have, but that is enough. Next the riders scrambled to the bridge area, with the pioneers joining them pretty much entirely intact, one T-34 platoon stayed on overwatch and the second crossed. But the back of the German defense was already broken and this was just mop up.

The Russian mech way of war is not perfectly avoiding all enemy fire by super scouting ahead of time and careful scalpel positioning to pick through defenders one at a time. It is instead based on daring the enemy to challenge, and outshooting them when they do. Trigger the ambush on one chosen axis of advance, kill the ambush by outnumbering it and having more armor in one spot than the enemy can stop everywhere, quick regroup if needed then rapidly push on, before the other guy has time to reset, reposition, or make a new ambush.

Will it always work? No. Is it cheap? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Is it hard to construct a defense that can reliably stop it everywhere, everytime? You bet, and that is all that is required. Pick the shot and go all in - if the enemy isn't super strong right there, he loses.

So, I violently disagree that the big mistake is to rush. The big mistake is to pussyfoot around and feed the defense little packets it can kill easily. If you shove your entire force down the German's throat, he'll choke to death before he can kill you. You do need to understand this is not a matter of movement or a race, it is about your firepower protecting your force. You want to be far enough in and tight enough together that everything you have can shoot. Do not get stretched out front to back trying to get farther. Everyone right where the farthest tank has gotten to, one minute behind the first tommy gunner. Fire every turn from then on, short moves to pick up new targets as the old ones go down. All fire priority on anything that can hurt the tanks, the riders just take their lumps until all AT shooters are down. Once the enemy AT net is smashed, the tanks kill everything else, and the riders step out again into mess and silence. Repeat as necessary.

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JasonC - interesting alternative approach. This chimes in with my own readings on Soviet tactics, admittedly more 1980s era, although the tactics learned the hard way during The Great Patriotic War certainly must have been a major influence.

The gist of what I read back in the 80s was that the Russian way of doing things was radically different to the tactics taught in military academies in the West, with the central underpinning theme being the reinforcement of success. I forget the author's name now but he was some sort of Soviet defector.

So, say you are advancing on three fronts. Your left flank runs into stiff opposition, your centre encounters average resistance, and your right flank encounters virtually no opposition. Where do you throw in your reserves? The Western way would be to throw them into the left flank battle, to overcome the stiff resistance there. The Russian way would be the complete opposite. They would instead throw everything into the right flank, where only minor resistance had been encountered, and just bulldoze through to achieve a quick victory on the right. With that flank blown completely open the rest of the enemy force would presumably then have to fall back anyway to avoid being surrounded.

Applying to a CM:RT battle you would have to keep back a reserve force, and probe the enemy position for weak spots. Any probing force that encountered light or no resistance would then be reinforced with the reserve - which could be maybe half your tanks - and would just motor like hell for the other side of the map.

Obviously the terrain has a part to play as the fords create bottle necks in this battle, but I think the principle is worth a try.

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George, I apologize for using the word "frustration". I do believe this word is tied to the concept of the game being unfair.

Well, It is not. I find the game to be very enjoyable and fair too.

The situation you propose in your scenario is a very interesting one. The real point here is that Combat Mission does not pull any punches. One error and you're punished. And that's the way it must be in order to be what it wants to be, a simulation.

So the point for me is trying and learning and that's it. The only thing I would have included in the game in some way is some sort of difficulty progression. The campaigns are not easy in the beginning missions and the scenarios are mixed as for difficulty...so I'm having a hard time finding missions tailored to my being a newbie... :-)

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Steiner - no, there is nothing Russian about that idea. People in all armies have known to reinforce success not failure since WWI - it was the foundation of infiltration tactics in that war, for example. Yes the Russians knew that principle and used it, especially in the mech portion of the force and the second half of the war. No it was not specific to them, and if anything their rifle force did the opposite quite a bit (as stubborn attritionist pressure on a chosen frontage, losses be damned).

They also were not nearly as big on the probing ahead everywhere idea as western and German doctrine were and still are. Instead they stressed command push to a chosen plan, not recon pull, then combined that with flexible formations with stock responses to common developments. Those could then be applied mechanically and quickly, without waiting to coordinate a plan or process lots of reports.

E.g. The first element if it hits anything attacks it, it doesn't deploy to find a way around or a weakness. If it is checked by a strong defense, its role transitions to fixing force - it just stops the forward movement and fires in place. It has no further responsibilities, so its command is dead simple and no time is lost. The second element follows in the immediate wake of the first, or slightly displaced to one flank as well as trailing. If the first element attacks and succeeds, the second just shift into its wake if necessary and follows. If the first is halted, the second immediately attacks itself just to the right or left of the first's attack. If it succeeds it turns toward the first's sector to roll up that flank and get the whole formation moving again (note, a form of reinforcing failure for that bit, but as a flanking attack not reinforcement of the failed axis). The third element trails second, offset to same side if offset at all. It exploits through the second's hole and goes deep if the second succeeded (reinforcing success for that bit). If the first did, it just stays in column behind the others. If both first and second are stopped, third tries to extend around the same flank the second hit. If even that doesn't find any edge, the combat is broken off with a screen left, the formation regroups for a new plan.

But nobody even needs to get on the radio to know what to do, short of that. At most, each element reports its own position and status and the plan for each element immediately follows without being stated. Those elements could be the size of whole tank brigades or the could be as small as reinforced companies - they wouldn't divide below that. (An armor force less than a company has no local mass, it hardly even counts as armor at that point).

The whole system was designed for speed and simplicity, not perfection or fine adaptation. It did not require great initiative or skill reading the battlefield from the lower officers, just aggressiveness, bravery, and following orders. And it stresses defenders quite well without any more finesse, simply because any attack by a full formation with concentrated armor is hard for any defender to stop everywhere. The overall commander picks a point of attack he expects to be weak, if possible. The defense needs to be strong there instead, and still strong to one extended flank, or the attackers will be in the house before the defenders even have time to think.

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Thanks for the corrections JasonC - my recollection of that book is a bit vague.

I just tried this battle again, this time using the trees as cover as much as possible, and I did get 2 out of the 3 StuGs. I found that the best way to avoid your tanks going AWOL in the woods is to use the Slow move order and actually pick your way through the trees with short waypoints, looking for gaps that would fit a tank. They are more likely to behave themselves and move through the woods along the path you intended that way.

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The gist of what I read back in the 80s was that the Russian way of doing things was radically different to the tactics taught in military academies in the West, with the central underpinning theme being the reinforcement of success. I forget the author's name now but he was some sort of Soviet defector.

While I think it's true that the Soviet doctrinal concepts such as the so-called "Deep Operation" have substantial qualitative and quantitative differences compared to e.g., contemporary Western European doctrine, it's easy to overstate these differences.

The fact of the matter is, concentration of force and reinforcement of success rather than failure have been a fundamental precepts of military theory at least since the time of Alexander the Great, probably earlier. It's not something that the Soviets invented, and there are comparable ideas expressed in the military doctrines of other nations.

Again, this is not to say that Soviet doctrine is the same as e.g, German or British or American. There are some very interesting unique aspects to Soviet theory both at the higher operational levels and also at the lower tactical levels. But there are also a lot of broad similarities. By 1944, everyone was cribbing off of everyone else's playbook, and ideas that worked well got copied pretty quickly.

The Soviets fought the war differently than other nations did, but this was as much due to the substantial differences their strategic and tactical situation, as it was any doctrinal differences, per se.

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I think I will never get this game...it seems to me every mission is almost impossible. In tankovy desant I scout the hell out of the map and I reach the villa ok. Then I have a couple of squad cross the river while I pound the few squad I spotted with tank fire.

Then Tank hell starts out as german sort of tanks hidden in forest (grill? Stug?) start to snipe my tanks from the uphill. They are very far away and I spot them only when my tanks are already toasted. One of them destroyed 5 of my tanks in 2 minutes!!

My rage is quickly mounting...I love the concept of the game but I have huge problems in getting visibility and I always end up ambushed like in this mission here.

This is a mission in which I had to resort to unconventional tactics. I let my tanks pound the enemy infantry that I had spotted from afar(That's while having them in positions that the stugs hadn't spotted them.).

After the infantry was weakened and nearly taken care of, I sent one lone tank on fast speed across the river on the left, he charged at that stug, full speed ahead. The stug couldn't see him, you see, because my tank was below him. By the time my tank was in sight of the stug, he was already flying past the stugs left. My T-34 got behind him, turned around, fired his turret AND MISSED.

The stug turned around just on time to get one shot in, he busted my T-34's tracks. My T-34 got his second shot in and took that stug out for good.

Then I had a whole flank to play with, and the battle was won from that point forward.

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