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tactics (the way they fought)


Eric
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I've played many computer wargames. From old Apple II games to more recent ones ( I still think some of the older ones are better but they aren't as pretty as the new ones). One thing I've noticed about all of them is that none of them seem to employ tactics that were used by certain nations/armies of the appropriate period. The A/I is generic. For example (and I hate to say any references to competition) Talonsofts East and West Front games. If you play against the computer A/I it deploys, moves, and fires it's units the same way regardless of which nationality you play against. I enjoy the game but I'd like to play a tactical wargame that actually incorporates doctrine into the computer A/I that was used by that specific army. So my question is if Combat Mission will do this? Will the Germans fight and use tactics like the actual Germans did? The same question applies for the American forces. Regardless of whether or not you incorporate this into your A/I routines or not I'm still going to purchase Combat Mission smile.gif! It sounds interesting and I can't wait to play it. Thanks and my best to everyone and anyone that replies. Have fun!

Eric

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Guest Big Time Software

Good points and good questions. Let me take a stab at answering them...

The first thing that you should understand is that at CM's tactical level, time scale and time period, German and Allied tactics were not very different. What *was* different was the approach to operational doctrine, general roles (i.e. offensive vs. defensive), equipment, and the ability to call on other branches of service.

The Germans, for example, believed that the best defense was an offensive action, even if not enough to achieve the desired ultimate goal in one go. This meant that the Germans would counter attack with very small groups of combined arms (when possible) to at least unbalance Allied actions/intentions. The Allies, on the other hand, tended to wait until sufficient reinforcements arrived before launching a counter attack on all but the micro-local level. And between the Allies, the British were more cautious about this than the American were.

Other differences between the two sides are there as well, especially conditions for attacking. Germans would attack at night, in crappy weather, and even in terrain that wasn't ideal if they thought it would give them some sort of an edge for future operations. The Allies, on the other hand, often blew opportunities to follow up on initial successes because they thought too short term. Maybe the worst example of this in CM's area was the British's failure to seize the Scheldt estuary (or at least a single bridge over the Albert Canal) when they had an easy chance to do so in late August. This kept Antwerp closed for several months and also allowed some 86,000 German troops to slip out of their grasp, who caused them much grief later on. Other examples can be found here and there, the most controversial of which was closing up the Falaise Pocket. Part of the problem was that the Allies didn't like to utilize night actions to further their goals, while the Germans did exactly the opposite.

But when you actually get into a battle, the two sides generally fought along the same lines. This is NOT surprising since the Allies had practically copied basic German combined arms doctrine and organization. Not completely the same, of course, but very similar. Some of these differences, like the Allies pounding the Hell out of the German forces with Heavy Bombers and loads of artillery, are not within CM's scope. Others, like the US having loads of tanks assigned to infantry divisions, comes out by simply simulating who had what in a particular battle (i.e. the US generally have armor, the Germans often don't).

So how does CM simulate all the rest? Well, the Scenario itself simulates much of the other differences. For example, you will probably see several German night attack scenarios, but don't expect to see the same from the Allied perspective. You will also likely see scenarios that have the Germans attack with odds that aren't exactly favorable. On the other hand, the Allies will have a couple of scenarios/campaigns where they assault with massive furry, and large numbers of armored vehicles, against relatively weak German positions.

Another part of CM's realism comes from "national tolerances" with victory conditions. The Allies, especially the British, are likely to "pack it in" earlier than the German side would in the same position. This simulates the Allies general cautiousness and the German's often reckless behavior. So another piece of the realism puzzle falls into place.

The rest comes into play quite naturally at the local level. Each side will use its men and equipment according to their strengths and weaknesses. Expect German tanks to be more bold, Allies more cautious. German heavy, veteran infantry will likely lead an assault or counter attack, while Volksturm will pretty much stay put. US Rifle Squads will be used as general purpose everything troops, but veteran formations will likely take the lead. Etc.

The difference in tactical AI would be much more pronounced in games taking place in early war battles (Poland, France, North Africa) before the Allies learned how to fight the Germans by, essentially, copying them. The Eastern Front is even more diversified, with BOTH sides changing tactics year after year. That is going to be a real challenge to design and code for sure!

Ah, I hope that gave you some idea about how CM will play out... smile.gif

Steve

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Guest Rhet Schmidt

Thanks for the in depth reply. I think you hit the nail right on the head. On the Amis copied the Jerries doctrine I think Patton was the first to really master it. He learned it in North Africa and his break out from the beachhead was very reminicent of Guderian.

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Rhet

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Guest Michael emrys

Interesting footnote to that in Ladislas Farago's biography of Patton. According to him, Patton spent his honeymoon in Normandy driving all over the countryside planning how he would move an army through it. Mind you, this was before the *First* World War! Maybe this is all BS, or maybe it was just the kind of thing Patton did wherever he went. But it does kind of feed into the legend of Patton's prescience.

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There were at least a couple of US divisions that decided on their own to train and use night attacks and did so effectively. Occasionally in other divisions a night attack was also employed, eg. in river crossings.

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