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StuG III - will patch correct the MG-bug?


Hellas
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I'm not aware of that being marked as a bug. Rather, if you get too close to enemy infantry, the Stug will automatically try to defend itself with its MG. I think it's a design feature.

You definitely have to be careful to avoid crew casualties from it. However, from the front, the bullet shield seems to work quite well. I've been using my MGs a lot in a recent game for fire support and have not lost any crew members by being very careful about distance and angle.

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I've been annoyed by that feature as well. Really close to the enemy the commander unbuttons to fire the MG even though I targeted manually (not light). He got killed, and two seconds later another crewmember unbuttons and gets killed as well. The Stug panicked and retreated without ever firing its main gun. n:mad:

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I haven't done any testing to verify things, but I've been pretty impressed with the effectiveness of the MG gun shield on the Stug when it faces incoming small arms fire from the front with at least a little distance.

Several times in the game I mentioned (just played over the weekend), I've had hails of bullets from SMG troops that would have wiped out infantry teams just bouncing off and not hurting the Stug MG gunner. Of course, if they get a shot from the side, he's toast, and if you're very close, they're gonna' get a shot from the side...

A Stug is not a close support tank. It's basically a motorized infantry support gun that can also take out tanks. Trying to use it in a way that goes against its intended role is asking for trouble.

You need to keep it back and make sure that your infantry is providing flank support so small arms can't get around the MG gun shield.

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Just ran a quick test:

Open ground, 1 Regular-Normal-0 Stug IIIG (mid) vs. 2 Soviet SMG squads facing each other at 65-70 meters, with the Stug being the player and having a Target Light order on the Soviet location.

Ran it 3 times, with the result the same each time. The SMGs let a hail of bullets fly but the MG gunner survived, with the Stug switching to main gun fire on its own, resulting in destruction/surrender of the Soviets and a completely healthy Stug crew.

Ran the test once at around 30-40 meters and the MG gunner was taken out quickly. At that range, perhaps the bullets penetrate the shield? Or, maybe they can get at the sides?

So, from the front at 60+ meters, the MG gun shield seems to provide very good protection. At close range, the gunner is a dead duck from any angle.

Moral of the story: don't get that close with your Stugs and keep your front to the enemy!

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A Stug is not a close support tank. It's basically a motorized infantry support gun that can also take out tanks. Trying to use it in a way that goes against its intended role is asking for trouble.

All the pocket battles in the east! For many units it became almost standard procedure to be pocketed and act as magnet. For the breakout it didn't matter if tank or StuG, the Germans and their alliies didn't have the luxury of that. But StuGs are not intended to be used as close infantry support. It is asking for trouble to use them that way.

I guess that's the outcome when Angloamericans project the walk in the west into the war in the east. :D

If RT can't model breakthroughs with StuGs I think an important chunk of tactical warfare in the east would be missing.

The best solution would be, if the AI would understand the tactical situation and therefore how dangerous it was, to open the hatch to use the MG.

But if that is too much work or too difficult to program, maybe a simple solution would be, if one crew member was lost at the MG, that the game no longer automatically opens up to use the MG?

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If your Stug MG gunner is popping up automatically then enemy infantry is in close combat range and the whole crew is in danger of dying to close assault/AT grenades. It's an act of desperation and a pretty logical one (side note, in my game this weekend, I actually had the gunner pop up and drive off an advancing enemy squad at very close range. They exchanged fire and he survived, though they immobilized his Stug).

CMRT can model breakthroughs with Stugs very well. I just cleared a city full of two companies of Soviets with one company of grenadiers and a platoon of Stugs with light casualties, one immobilized Stug and one crewman dead in one Stug. I've also burned up almost all of my Stugs' mg ammo in support fire.

What the game can't do is make players use the correct tactics for the correct situation. Nor should it try.

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CMRT can model breakthroughs with Stugs very well.

Now you contradict what you wrote yourself two sentences earlier. If it opens up automatically because enemy infantry is in the deep flank or even behind, then this is how it is rendered useless in breakthroughs.

I just cleared a city full of two companies of Soviets with one company of grenadiers and a platoon of Stugs with light casualties, one immobilized Stug and one crewman dead in one Stug. I've also burned up almost all of my Stugs' mg ammo in support fire.

Clearing? I am talking about brekthroughs. That means the enemy stays in the deep flank and then behind. No clearing.

And I am also talking from the perspective of scenario design, not only playing one or two scenarios. Probably I have watched the StuGs behaviour two- or threehundred times and it's simply not possible to use them correctly in the situation I described. Even if they have friendly infantry cover against close assault nearby, they commit suicide instead to use the main gun. The only solution is to switch to different weapons which would be ahistorical.

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No screens because it would spoil the scenario I am working on.

Just set up a realistic MLR with a dug in strong defender. No units without foxholes or trenches. At least two lines in depth, covered by ATGs denying tanks rushing through.

Then try to break through the MLR with StuGs followed by infantry. The StuGs commit suicide as soon as they halt to engage ATGs or infantry in front.

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All the pocket battles in the east! For many units it became almost standard procedure to be pocketed and act as magnet. For the breakout it didn't matter if tank or StuG, the Germans and their alliies didn't have the luxury of that. But StuGs are not intended to be used as close infantry support. It is asking for trouble to use them that way.

I guess that's the outcome when Angloamericans project the walk in the west into the war in the east. :D

If RT can't model breakthroughs with StuGs I think an important chunk of tactical warfare in the east would be missing.

The best solution would be, if the AI would understand the tactical situation and therefore how dangerous it was, to open the hatch to use the MG.

But if that is too much work or too difficult to program, maybe a simple solution would be, if one crew member was lost at the MG, that the game no longer automatically opens up to use the MG?

Amen. Totally agree with you on this. Just played a QB in which three crew members died within two minutes. I had no control as they went into rattled as soon as the commander lost his dome. Then two more of his buddies popped their heads out to take a look and the game of Whack-a-mole continued.

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I do understand what you are saying now, Hellas.

I just set up a quick scenario in the Editor where I had two platoons of Stugs without infantry support trying to advance through a battalion of infantry. I used a QB map and put a dug-in company of Soviets in the open center, with another company on each flank in the trees.

I then tried to advance the two platoons using slow, pauses, and covered arcs to get them to chop up the center without engaging the units in the woods on the flanks. However, they still tried to use their MGs, which made them vulnerable to casualties, breaking up the attack and causing them to fall back in disarray.

So, yes. The current MG behavior seems to prohibit Stugs from being used as a continuously-moving, breakthrough spearhead across a map. At first, I didn't see the problem, because I really never use Stugs specifically in that way. I'll leave it to others who know more than me to chime in on the realism of Stugs being used in such a tank role and how it went in the real war when they did. But, if they were used successfully in this role and the game currently doesn't let them do it, due to the MG gunner behavior, then also yes--I'm up for tweaking things to allow the player to fine-tune the MG-gunner behavior so they will stay buttoned-up.

Think I'll test it again...

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Good that you understand my/our problem now, Macisle.

The question that interests me the most: will it be corrected in the patch for Red Thunder or anytime soon?

I just tried it again with a less aggressive attack plan. I sent the two platoons in one line forward with arcs on the center area and let them sit there for a few turns. Then inched forward and repeated a couple of times. When they got within about 125 meters of the flank trees, they started engaging targets (maybe still targets in their arcs focused on the center area--didn't verify) with their MGs and that was that.

Interesting. Funny I never noticed what a problem it is as I use Stugs more than any other German AFV. I guess with the scenarios I play and the tactics I use, they are almost never in a situation where the MG gunner behavior becomes a serious issue.

Anyhoo, I'd like to hear what others have to say and see where BF is on this as well.

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-Did one last test before calling it a night. Same results, but I held the Stugs further back. At 250-300 meters from the center infantry, with arcs on the center, some Stugs started engaging with their MGs The flank woods infantry was about 185 meters away and started picking the MG gunners off.

One thing I've noticed before during play that was really obvious in the testing today, was the MG gunner popping up for an instant and going back in. It happens quite a lot. That does seem like an odd behavior, in addition to the issue we are discussing with him engaging targets when we have the unit Buttoned up.

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firt of all dont use stugs that way and if you are 100% sure you want to use them on spear head , buy then late model where crews dont had to jump out to shoot whit mg. there is nou bug in stugs , they work fine . tjust use them beter.

Slow down and read the thread again. It is not a matter of using the unit wrong. If the unit comes under fire from small arms the commander will pop out of the hatch to use the MG. If he gets hit then another crew member will take his spot and also pop out thus getting hit. The crew should stay buttoned unless commanded to unbutton - especially when taking incoming MG fire. Unless you always play on HUGE maps the chance of coming under small fire is pretty good.

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I believe the code does not know what to do in the situation of coming under small arms fire. Tanks with coaxial or ball mount integral MG's will fire upon infantry with no problem. The tank commander stays buttoned unless you tell him to pop up. In the case with the Stuh or Stug which has neither of these but does have a pintle mounted MG the code does not seem to know what to do. Its only option is to use the pintle mounted MG in which your men have to pop through the hatch to use. In later models you will see that the gun can be controlled from inside the tank. So this does look like a small coding issue to me. Probably fixable later down the line.

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I believe the code does not know what to do in the situation of coming under small arms fire. Tanks with coaxial or ball mount integral MG's will fire upon infantry with no problem. The tank commander stays buttoned unless you tell him to pop up. In the case with the Stuh or Stug which has neither of these but does have a pintle mounted MG the code does not seem to know what to do. Its only option is to use the pintle mounted MG in which your men have to pop through the hatch to use. In later models you will see that the gun can be controlled from inside the tank. So this does look like a small coding issue to me. Probably fixable later down the line.

That's a good observation.

My first idea, as a hopefully low-expense coding option would be as follows:

For Stugs (and AFVs suffering from this issue), add an "Enable MG" button to the UI below the "Open Up" button. So, MG use on the Stug would work like this:

When buttoned-up with the "Enable MG" button off, the MG gunner will never pop up and fire, unless the "Target Light" button is specifically used by the player.

When buttoned-up with the "Enable MG" button on, the Stug/AFV will behave as it currently does.

Here's a quick mockup with the "Enable MG" added:

15529360951_75debabfc9_o.jpg

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So this does look like a small coding issue to me. Probably fixable later down the line.

You know this company long enough, so you don't believe this will be fixed with a patch ASAP? It's already six months for the patch?

I stopped making scenarios in FI because of the fortifications bug and now I am stuck again. To exhange the problematic StuG with another vehicle is not such a deal breaker like the other bug in FI for me. And it's a great game but buying another game to notice one of the more common German AFVs is rendered useless in not so uncommon tactical situations in Russia I find a bit disappointing. :(

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You know this company long enough, so you don't believe this will be fixed with a patch ASAP? It's already six months for the patch?

I stopped making scenarios in FI because of the fortifications bug and now I am stuck again. To exhange the problematic StuG with another vehicle is not such a deal breaker like the other bug in FI for me. And it's a great game but buying another game to notice one of the more common German AFVs is rendered useless in not so uncommon tactical situations in Russia I find a bit disappointing. :(

Bugs are a way of life with programs.

This thread has identified behaviour that's less than ideal ( not necessarily even a bug ) - but it's with a particular model of AFV.

As Eniced73 pointed out, you can use a later model of Stug with the remote-controlled MG and the problem is at least alleviated.

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Good starting post.

After that there should not have been any justifying on how the game presently acts.

A question like this should be whether the player should have control over the action or should the AI. Who cares if the AI is doing something that might be logical, that only matters as long as the AI is the source that should be controling the action.

The answer is simple, button or unbutton should be in control of the player.

The player is the one who should decide if a stug will try to man a external MG (just like any other unit within the game)

As has been pointed out. Either this is a oversight from BF or more likely a programming challenge they have not addressed because of the fact it is not the commander but another unit doing the action.

Either way, it is good to point it out and to express the fact that this is a item that should be addressed and somehow placed within the players control instead of the present functioning of it.

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hmm, from a current PBEM game...

order 1 of my 2 Stugs to "target light" suspected enemy MG nest...

commander pops out, starts hosing down the area...

enemy MG starts firing back...

lucky shot from the enemy kills the driver?!?!...

crew panics..dismounts from Stug!!!!

gunner gets shot running away!?!?

the remaining 2 crew member are now hunkered down behind a tree still "panicked".

Feature or bug? This game never ceases to surprise me. :)

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