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Sorry to say it, but suppression doesn't really work


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At least not reliably.

Situation: There's a sniper in a 3-storey building, distance 246 metres.

I need to cross the open ground, so I target the building with three units:

  • 1 squad of airborne infantry, regular, rifles, sharpshooter and M1919A6 machine gun

  • 1 squad of HQ support, veteran, 6 rifles

  • 1 BAR, regular.

Another squad is running over the open ground, but the sniper keeps firing at them without a problem, even though the sniper is visible to my troops (sniper status is "Pinned").

If suppression doesn't, you know, SUPPRESS the unit, what's it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Should I see this as some kind of weird glitch in an otherwise functioning system?

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Well, an enemy unit in a building does have some protection.. and to be honest 250 meters or so is fairly long range for rifles so I doubt their fire was very effective. Also, did you have to advance your maneuver element through the open? There was no ground or terrain to use to mask their advance? How far did they run, short rushes, or a long sustained jog? Makes a difference.

Nothing in this game is automatic.. nor should it be.. all you can do is continue to apply the principles and the odds will favor you.

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Well, an enemy unit in a building does have some protection.. and to be honest 250 meters or so is fairly long range for rifles so I doubt their fire was very effective.

I don't have the knowledge to say for sure if my weapons should be able to punch through walls at 250 metres distance. I assumed they would be.

Also, I thought the suppression indicator saying "pinned" meant that the volume of incoming fire was having effect. Maybe that's a misunderstanding?

Also, did you have to advance your maneuver element through the open? There was no ground or terrain to use to mask their advance?

Yes, unfortunately. Ground is flat and featureless like a pancake. It's the map "Holding Action" from the good old Montebourg campaign. The sniper was in the 3-story building with the red roof in the centre of the map.

How far did they run, short rushes, or a long sustained jog? Makes a difference.

A sustained jog. But how should that affect the suppression of the sniper? Pausing while running over open ground wouldn't be wise, I assume. Maybe there's something I'm missing?

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A sustained jog. But how should that affect the suppression of the sniper? Pausing while running over open ground wouldn't be wise, I assume. Maybe there's something I'm missing?

Pausing would allow them to take advantage of micro-terrain and also allow them to return fire, which should add something to the suppression of the sniper.

What I suspect is that you are simply not putting enough firepower on the sniper to achieve the desired level of suppression. Pinned is a fairly low level and mostly seems to mean that the unit cannot move about freely, but the sniper does not need to move. You want to ratchet him up to a higher level, and for that you need either more firepower devoted to the task or more time to allow the allotted firepower to do its job. My own favorite solution is to roll up a tank to fire a turn's worth of HE or more into the building, but it sounds like you might not have that option available. But in any event, let me tell you that suppression does indeed work, you just have to bring a big enough hammer to the party. You can never have too much firepower, especially if you are attacking.

Michael

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When things go wrong you can have a devil of a time determining whether it was due to skillful enemy action, you messing up, or simple bad luck.

Ex: In my current PBEM my Bren gunners have been killed within moments of opening up just about every time, it seems. Most of the way through the scenario I'm still not sure if it was something about the buildings I was using for cover, better-than-I-thought weight of fire from my opponent, or bad luck.

Heck, maybe Ive simply had *good* luck in the last few urban scenarios.

Or maybe there's something about the game engine I don't understand. Or a misunderstanding with the terrain. Or the weapons. Or good ol' observer bias. And, yeah, there's always the small but confounding possibility of a bug.

I think the only thing to do is keep plugging away at the game, remain open to experiment, ask questions occasionally, and vent in exasperation when necessary.

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I don't have the knowledge to say for sure if my weapons should be able to punch through walls at 250 metres distance. I assumed they would be.

Also, I thought the suppression indicator saying "pinned" meant that the volume of incoming fire was having effect. Maybe that's a misunderstanding?

Take any indications like that with a grain of salt.. you never know when an enemy unit is going to temporarily recover and send a few shots your way.

Yes, unfortunately. Ground is flat and featureless like a pancake. It's the map "Holding Action" from the good old Montebourg campaign. The sniper was in the 3-story building with the red roof in the centre of the map.

In this case I would use Fire and Movement to advance on the enemy occupied building.. your fire will get more effective the closer you get. As Mr. Emrys said, it looks like you are not applying enough firepower for it to be totally effective.

A sustained jog. But how should that affect the suppression of the sniper? Pausing while running over open ground wouldn't be wise, I assume. Maybe there's something I'm missing?

In an advance like this always use short rushes, then, when halted order that team to fire on the enemy occupied terrain.. meanwhile advance the other team that had been providing suppression in a short rush forward.. you would be surprised how your enemy will lose his spot on your unit as soon as it drops to the ground. Even in open ground. Try to not have more than one team moving at a time, and minimize the time your units are exposed and upright.

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On another note, there is definitely something wrong with that tall building. There's no LOF from the bocage at the US starting line, even though there's perfectly clear view.

Seems this is due to the building being recessed a tiny bit into the ground, consequently none of the stories are targetable, despite units having perfect blue targeting lines to the ground right next to the house.

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At least not reliably.

Situation: There's a sniper in a 3-storey building, distance 246 metres.

I need to cross the open ground, so I target the building with three units:

  • 1 squad of airborne infantry, regular, rifles, sharpshooter and M1919A6 machine gun
  • 1 squad of HQ support, veteran, 6 rifles
  • 1 BAR, regular.

Another squad is running over the open ground, but the sniper keeps firing at them without a problem, even though the sniper is visible to my troops (sniper status is "Pinned").

If suppression doesn't, you know, SUPPRESS the unit, what's it good for? Absolutely nothing.

There are a whole lot of factors going into this. The first is your perception of how much firepower goes into suppressing a unit. I had to learn that it takes a LOT of firepower to really suppress a unit. It was more than my perception when I first started playing CMBN. I think I was used to the formulaic and predictable suppression results from CMx1 engine.

Anyway, like I said there's a lot to consider in your situation mentioned above:

  • Quality of the Sniper
    My bet is that the sniper is a Veteran and that will probably be a huge part of why he is still getting shots off. A regular or green unit will indeed get suppressed easier although it still wont be as easy as you think.
  • Distance to Sniper
    250m sounds close but really it's quite far to be very effective. Yes, rifle and MG bullets will still be very deadly and penetrative but distance does matter.
  • Effectiveness of Sniper's shots
    Just because the sniper is getting shots off doesn't necessarily mean that they're well aimed. I think the current status of unit does play into the quality of their firepower.
  • Amount & time of suppressive firepower
    You didn't really mention how you conducted your suppressing firepower. This leads me to believe that your assaulting team started it's run at the same time or soon after your supporting units started. To be really effective at that range with that little firepower I would have done this: Start the MG at least 3 minutes before assaulting - Start the other units firing (including the assaulting unit) 1 or 2 minutes after the MG starts. When it's time to assault, use the squad in the best condition, split into 3 teams with the plan of having the BAR or MG team laying close fire support inside of 100m.

You're still likely to lose a couple of men, it's the nature of the beast. But suppression does work. You can setup simple scenario to test the exact same situation as above: Run it once without suppressing firepower, run it again with my suggestions. You will see a difference. Also, play around with the sniper's quality.

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On another note, there is definitely something wrong with that tall building. There's no LOF from the bocage at the US starting line, even though there's perfectly clear view.

Seems this is due to the building being recessed a tiny bit into the ground, consequently none of the stories are targetable, despite units having perfect blue targeting lines to the ground right next to the house.

hmm, seems like an action spot issue. When doing an area target on a building there are some rare cases where the target command can't "see" the center of the action spot. It seems to happen when the face of the building is at an extreme angle to the targeting unit and there's some other obstacle partially blocking the building.

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In an advance like this always use short rushes, then, when halted order that team to fire on the enemy occupied terrain.. meanwhile advance the other team that had been providing suppression in a short rush forward.. you would be surprised how your enemy will lose his spot on your unit as soon as it drops to the ground. Even in open ground. Try to not have more than one team moving at a time, and minimize the time your units are exposed and upright.

Well, in this particular case the enemy is elevated so I doubt it will lose sight of a unit as it drops to the ground.

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One problem that took me ages to overcome was using the 1 min 'turn' as a SL/ASL turn. I would fire for a minute, (aka SL 'prep fire'), then up and move. 1 minute is not nearly enough. You need suppressing fire for at least 2-3 mins most of the time. Best to wait til you havent had any fire from the location for a minute, then move. Also, are you sure it was the sniper firing? Is there someone else with eyes on you?

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It's a tough brick house if I remember correctly. I also had the targeting problem with the house. Units could only suppress when sniper was visible to them. Sniper must indeed be of tough quality since he shoots pretty darn good. Dropped my two scouts with 3 or 4 shots as soon as they revealed themselves to him. That little bugger practically prevented my whole right flank to advance so I had to proceed in earnest on my left flank.

Pretty good scenario with that surprise that awaits you when you get when you need to be, wink, wink. Would be awesome to see this scenario play out with new triggers.

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You neglected to mention which building type. The bigger the building the greater the protection. Small houses and barns are as porous as a sieve to incoming fire. Suppression is pretty easy. Bullets simply bounce off cathedral buildings.

Now you tell me!! I unleashed a hailstorm on Elvis in Sacrifice for a New Religion and was unable to drive him from that damned steeple.

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Another factor that is probably in play here is the "difficulty level" you're using. Since you can tell the precise status of the sniper, you are apparently using a low difficulty level. That probably means troops "rally" a bit quicker, so the Sniper will recover from "Cowering" more frequently as your fire waxes and wanes (as it certainly will with the number of weapons you have engaging it at that range. 250m is going to have some fairly desultory fire from the rifles and the LMGs aren't going to be hosing the place down.

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One problem that took me ages to overcome was using the 1 min 'turn' as a SL/ASL turn. I would fire for a minute, (aka SL 'prep fire'), then up and move. 1 minute is not nearly enough. You need suppressing fire for at least 2-3 mins most of the time. Best to wait til you havent had any fire from the location for a minute, then move. Also, are you sure it was the sniper firing? Is there someone else with eyes on you?

This.

Try Light Area fire for a turn, then Target Area for a turn, then move your unit while the overwatch guys go back to Target orTargetlight.

Area fire will keep them shooting even if the sniper goes out of LOS.

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Another factor that is probably in play here is the "difficulty level" you're using. Since you can tell the precise status of the sniper, you are apparently using a low difficulty level. That probably means troops "rally" a bit quicker, so the Sniper will recover from "Cowering" more frequently as your fire waxes and wanes (as it certainly will with the number of weapons you have engaging it at that range. 250m is going to have some fairly desultory fire from the rifles and the LMGs aren't going to be hosing the place down.

I'm playing on "Veteran" difficulty level. Having clear visual on the sniper, that's how I am able to say for sure it's him popping off shots calmly like on the training range, even though the building is being peppered with bullets.

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If the sniper is 'fanatic' and 'elite' he'll fight on like a zombie until you chop his head off. If he's 'conscript' and 'poor' he's likely to run out the back door if he comes under fire. :D;)

Just went back and checked the map.

The sniper team is not that great really, just "regular", with a -1 leadership and -1 morale state.

Very effective at 250m range though. And very difficult to suppress. Probably it's due to the building. The texture suggests that the walls are made from irregular stones with a plaster facade. Doesn't seem like my weapons can penetrate, even at close ranges (50-60m).

But I did some tests, and fire and movement is in fact effective. Closing the distance a bit seems to be doing the trick for the suppression. Probably because of accuracy more than anything. Less shots missing.

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it's him popping off shots calmly like on the training range,

even though the building is being peppered with bullets.

I suspect you're reading too much into the game's lack of facial animations or movement graphics to reflect an individual pixeltruppen's feelings.

What we can actually see - rate of fire, say - is ambiguous with regard to the unit's simulated mental status. It's all a big, fuzzy ball of probabilities created by a host of variables that are difficult to determine from our end.

You may be looking at one data point of a trend showing that suppression isn't strong enough in the game. But the game's got too much going on under the hood to demonstrate that from the behavior of a single pixeltruppen ... at least one in the ambiguous situation you've outlined. But it's especially fruitless, I think, to ascribe a particular mental attitude to a pixeltruppen and then judge his behavior against that attitude. Of all the fuzzy, hard to determine factors, what any single virtual-trooper "feels" at a given instant is probably the fuzziest and most difficult to determine.

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I suspect you're reading too much into the game's lack of facial animations or movement graphics to reflect an individual pixeltruppen's feelings.

Ah, come on, I zoomed all the way in and bore witness to the evil nazi hatred burning in his eyes :)

Joking aside, you're right. The game often seems very "what you see is what you get", to the point that it's easy to forget that at the end of the day, the graphics are just a facade over the massive spreadsheet working away beneath.

The sniper did keep up a steady rate of fire though. But it must be said that he missed much more while under fire.

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If you want some guys who are really insanely indifferent to bullets and shells, try suppressing one of those British 50mm mortar guys.

I recently had a game where one unit, at the edge of a forest, calmly loaded and fired away while 2 MG42's area fired on their location ( the MG guys couldn't see them ) AND an 81mm mortar barrage fell all around ! :eek:

I guess I couldn't see the 3rd member of the team brewing their "anti-suppression" tea 1 AS back :D

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I'm playing on "Veteran" difficulty level. Having clear visual on the sniper, that's how I am able to say for sure it's him popping off shots calmly like on the training range, even though the building is being peppered with bullets.

So how do you know that his morale status is "Pinned"? Veteran doesn't display enemy suppression status. If you're basing your assessment as seeing the guy "Cowering" some of the time, you're probably overestimating the effect your fire is having. And even if you're hitting "Cease Fire" to check, "Pinned" only lasts 30s if the incoming slackens off.

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Once more, just in case you missed it: Area fire is needed for suppression.

If you aim at the sniper, he'll duck. Then, with him out of LOS, your men will stop shooting, his morale will recover, he'll pop up and shoot your guys, in turn they will shoot at him, he'll duck, recover, repeat.

Area target will keep the incoming fire at his location even if he is out of LOS.

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