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The effectiveness of mortars


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In Red thunder, I didn't lose nearly as many men to mortars as I am in Normandy. I'm finding that, as the Americans, the enemy mortars are very accurate and very destructive. They can shred a platoon to the point of being almost useless.

Is this historically accurate?

I'm just asking out of curiosity.

It's making the less than 10% losses objective very difficult.

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I've not played RT, but I'd imagine your infantry tempo of movement is faster than in Normandy. With all the bocage, it's relatively easy to sit still for long enough for German 81mms to start spotting, and then, yes, you're cruising for a hosing.

Do you have the v2.x upgrade? In v1 there was a mortar bug and a setup time bug that made "direct lay" fire particularly deadly, and if you've just got the basic CMBN 1.11 you might be running into that, though the AI doesn't tend to use mortars in direct lay so much.

Assuming that's not the problem (you're suffering from indirect fire missions) there are a few things you can do to make it so that an entire platoon isn't gutted:

  • Spread out. Split your squads into teams, and spread those teams out over the terrain so that a single shell won't shred an entire squad.
  • Run away. When you see spotting shells coming down, if you can do so without exposing yourself to unwelcome direct fire attention, leave the area. You can always come back.
  • Hide. If you can't (or really don't want to) run away, put as many elements as possible on "Hide". More of your troops will spend more time prone, and shrapnel fragments travel horizontally.
  • Use available cover. If your troops are prone right next to bocage or a wall, then 50% of the mortar shells that land inside the lethal radius will be on the far side of the linear obstacle. If you can get in a house and hide, that's even better, and best yet is probably hiding on Level 2-Leveln-1 of an n-level house: you're well protected against ground bursts by the window sills and roof bursts will mostly only affect the top floor.

Then again, this is CMBN, and you've just gotten it; are you by any chance suffering through School of Hard Knocks? In that situation, you'll be suffering perhaps disproportionate and unrepresentative mortar casualties because of the deep supply of 120mm mortar ammo that's directed via TRPs, and so is both accurate and arriving without warning, as your troops are mired. That particular problem is... situational, rather than systematic...

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IIRC, mortar fire was historically the single largest cause of combat casualties to U.S. infantry in the Normandy campaign.

The difference you're experiencing between CMRT & CMBN probably has a lot to do with terrain. The bocage which is predominant in CMBN provides very good cover from direct fire small arms and shallow-angle (high velocity) HE, but is not as good against mortar fire. Also, the bocage provides very good hiding places from which enemy mortar teams can fire on your infantry "direct lay", without the delay that comes with radio-called fire. Direct lay mortar fire is extremely dangerous because it comes down with very little warning so there's often no chance to move out from under.

All this probably probably makes light & medium mortars proportionately more dangerous than e.g., MGs in CMBN when compared to CMRT.

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I've not played RT, but I'd imagine your infantry tempo of movement is faster than in Normandy. With all the bocage, it's relatively easy to sit still for long enough for German 81mms to start spotting, and then, yes, you're cruising for a hosing.

Do you have the v2.x upgrade? In v1 there was a mortar bug and a setup time bug that made "direct lay" fire particularly deadly, and if you've just got the basic CMBN 1.11 you might be running into that, though the AI doesn't tend to use mortars in direct lay so much.

Assuming that's not the problem (you're suffering from indirect fire missions) there are a few things you can do to make it so that an entire platoon isn't gutted:

  • Spread out. Split your squads into teams, and spread those teams out over the terrain so that a single shell won't shred an entire squad.
  • Run away. When you see spotting shells coming down, if you can do so without exposing yourself to unwelcome direct fire attention, leave the area. You can always come back.
  • Hide. If you can't (or really don't want to) run away, put as many elements as possible on "Hide". More of your troops will spend more time prone, and shrapnel fragments travel horizontally.
  • Use available cover. If your troops are prone right next to bocage or a wall, then 50% of the mortar shells that land inside the lethal radius will be on the far side of the linear obstacle. If you can get in a house and hide, that's even better, and best yet is probably hiding on Level 2-Leveln-1 of an n-level house: you're well protected against ground bursts by the window sills and roof bursts will mostly only affect the top floor.

Then again, this is CMBN, and you've just gotten it; are you by any chance suffering through School of Hard Knocks? In that situation, you'll be suffering perhaps disproportionate and unrepresentative mortar casualties because of the deep supply of 120mm mortar ammo that's directed via TRPs, and so is both accurate and arriving without warning, as your troops are mired. That particular problem is... situational, rather than systematic...

Well. I did play the courage and fortitude campaign....I decided that I will tackle that at a later date. It's probably the most extreme campaign of all time.

I'm on the road to Montebourg. I don't normally reload, but I think I'm going to in this case. The Germans called two arty strikes and effectively ruined a whole platoon. I sent the platoon running after the spotting shot, but I figured I'd better send them running forward instead of back. Those who weren't taken out by mortars were shredded by machine guns.

I really should've sent them running backwards to what I knew was safe, just felt strapped for time.

:/

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I appreciate the responses guys. I will definitely be handling things in a way that is more conscious of mortar survival. Splitting the squads is probably something I should really start doing.

Yeah, it's SOP for me. For Amis, I split the Assault team off first, so it gets all the grenades and the tommy gun. Then either an AT team if the squad has a Zook, or a scout team otherwise, usually. Give the AT team a short cover arc or a 80-100mTarget Armour arc right out the gate, so they don't take potshots at unlikely infantry targets, or iffy armour targets and keep them back out of the way so they don't stop accidental bullets.

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The Road to Montebourg is more reasonable. (Though, its author, Paper Tiger has made, I understand, an upgrade to it because, as he wrote on these boards, he thought it might be too easy.

Initially, the CMBN mortars were incredibly accurate. That, I think has changed. Certainly in CMRT I am, truly, enjoying the artillery "spread"--seems much more realistic.

What Wombie said--his is exactly my SOP also. Every platoon is broken into 2-3 squads.

Keeping most of my men back, so that they did not receive collateral casualties, was probably the hardest lesson for me to learn in CMBN. I wanted to increase mass, to get that firepower advantage. But bringing the right 2-4 men, "the right knife" is what is important in CMBN.

I find it interesting that you did the Soviet campaign in CMRT evidently without splitting every squad. That actually might make it more likely that I will play that campaign.

And, wow, Squallion, you sure have played a lot of CM2, and quickly.

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IIRC, mortar fire was historically the single largest cause of combat casualties to U.S. infantry in the Normandy campaign.

Yep. A favorite tactic of the Germans in bocage country was to let the GIs cross the hedgerow into the field, then open up with MGs. When the Amis went to ground and became pinned, the Germans would then drop mortars on them to do the wounding and killing. Until the Americans worked out tactics that allowed them to cross the fields quickly (by getting tanks through the hedgerow so that they could silence the MGs) and close with the German positions, they paid very heavily for each field taken...or in some cases, not taken.

Michael

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The Road to Montebourg is more reasonable. (Though, its author, Paper Tiger has made, I understand, an upgrade to it because, as he wrote on these boards, he thought it might be too easy.

Initially, the CMBN mortars were incredibly accurate. That, I think has changed. Certainly in CMRT I am, truly, enjoying the artillery "spread"--seems much more realistic.

What Wombie said--his is exactly my SOP also. Every platoon is broken into 2-3 squads.

Keeping most of my men back, so that they did not receive collateral casualties, was probably the hardest lesson for me to learn in CMBN. I wanted to increase mass, to get that firepower advantage. But bringing the right 2-4 men, "the right knife" is what is important in CMBN.

I find it interesting that you did the Soviet campaign in CMRT evidently without splitting every squad. That actually might make it more likely that I will play that campaign.

And, wow, Squallion, you sure have played a lot of CM2, and quickly.

Gaming is my main pass time. And combat mission is about all I can play anymore. Normandy is really tying me up, though. I haven't beaten Courage and Fortitude, not sure I ever will, but I will try hard. Still working on the Road to Montebourg and Panzer Marsch. THEN, there's two more modules. lol :]. Much content.

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Gaming is my main pass time. And combat mission is about all I can play anymore. Normandy is really tying me up, though. I haven't beaten Courage and Fortitude, not sure I ever will, but I will try hard. Still working on the Road to Montebourg and Panzer Marsch. THEN, there's two more modules. lol :]. Much content.

If one did all the scenarios and campaigns, and played at 15minutes a turn, I did a rough estimate that there was about 1000 hours of play time in the series, without any Repository material and without the issue of QBs, and that was before CMRT came out. That is half a standard work year. And that is if one only played a scenario/campaign once, and many seem to be designed to need several attempts before obtaining a victory.

Maybe you can do faster than 15 minutes a turn. But I also probably put several hours of (pleasurable) thought and analysis prior to starting a battle, and periodically the same amount of time at points during the battle.

The down side to that is that, in effect, very few people are actually playing the same CM2 game. I tried to start a scenario-specific thread for comments, but, except with some notable exceptions, most CM2 players are not going to be playing, or even have played, the same content. Add in the periodic engine version upgrades, and the variation in experience among players is amplified.

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I think I can safely say that nothing got especially tweaked in mortars. I must be a function of the theater. One big thing might be the much-reduced access, in CMRT you can't have every Tom, Dick & Harry calling in a mortar barrage and radios are as rare as hen's teeth. And you're limited to one mission per spotter so no single guy calling in five missions at once.

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The one mission per spotter change was pretty huge, I felt a little bad about it sometimes 'cause it was a little sily but I couldn't help myself from just calling everything at the same time from the same guy in the best spot. But it seemed obvious that in real life the single 3 man team would not be able to spot for all 6+ of those firing all over the place at the same time. I've barely played any CMRT h2h so far havent been playing much at all but I bet the whole h2h community artillery metagame got more realistic with the new feature.

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If one did all the scenarios and campaigns, and played at 15minutes a turn, I did a rough estimate that there was about 1000 hours of play time in the series, without any Repository material and without the issue of QBs, and that was before CMRT came out. That is half a standard work year. And that is if one only played a scenario/campaign once, and many seem to be designed to need several attempts before obtaining a victory.

Maybe you can do faster than 15 minutes a turn. But I also probably put several hours of (pleasurable) thought and analysis prior to starting a battle, and periodically the same amount of time at points during the battle.

The down side to that is that, in effect, very few people are actually playing the same CM2 game. I tried to start a scenario-specific thread for comments, but, except with some notable exceptions, most CM2 players are not going to be playing, or even have played, the same content. Add in the periodic engine version upgrades, and the variation in experience among players is amplified.

I do not take 15 minutes per turn. That could be why I've drawn or lost most campaigns I've attempted. I don't necessarily let that get me down, though. I'm glad to go back through and play them later, and I often find myself saying "doh!" and learning from stupid mistakes.

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Yes....I am probably optimistic about my taking only 15 minutes for a turn....

On the one hand, I am trying to move faster, otherwise those 1 1/2 hour plus battles take an enormous number of nights....but my efforts at speeding up my turns is counterbalanced by the time I take to take a walk, or do something else, while still thinking about the battles.

Still, the point is, the amount of content in CM2, as far as playing time, is enormous--almost staggering as far as thinking about actually playing it all--indeed, almost unrealistic. (I know some people will now write in that they have played everything--but it has to be rare.)

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