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Sweeping woods for enemies


DarkFib3r
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How do you effectively conduct a sweep through woods that you suspect hides enemy squads?  In CMSF, the Hunt command seemed effective in spotting and then engaging enemy squads under concealment, but in CMBS it seems like the enemy always gets the jump on you, inflicting significant casualties before your squads can neutralize them, even when they are initially facing the opposite direction. 

 

Normally, you would try to suppress possible enemy locations, but that is not always possible, especially if the enemy is hiding deeper in the woods and when you do not have a solid contact fix.  Perhaps CMBS is simply more deadly than CMSF and this is part of it?

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Recon by fire. Target any terrain tiles you can get a grey or blue los that is in the general direction of the suspected enemy positions. Woods are rarely so thick that you can't get any los at all in front of your troops. Many of the bullets and rounds will fly deeper in to the forest and might reach and suppress hidden enemies.

 

Use two man scout teams to find the enemy. They might be dead for sure but at least you have not sacrificed more troops to find the enemy.

 

Use hunt with many waypoints and maybe even give each way point a 5sec pause so that your troops stop to listen and look around for a while before moving to next waypoint.

 

Use arty.

 

Avoid the woods if you can.

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Look at the map and think about if you were going to fight yourself, where you would place the infantry.  Also keep in mind what the enemy's objectives might be.  Once you've sort of templates where you'd put an AT team, or where you think a platoon fighting position, then move/plan accordingly.  I like artillery set for airburst, heavy intensity short to medium duration for preparing the treeline, while sniping buildings that look like good defensive positions (again, look at the fields of fire) the building offers) out of spite.  Also ask yourself if you really need to kill the enemy.  If you can take two out three of the minor objectives, and the major objective, sometimes it's just best to let his blob of infantry hang out while you do other things.

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My close terrain recon technique is outlined in this post (from my CMRT BETA AAR):

 

Close Terrain Recon Technique

 

If you don't want to waste ammo using area fire, this technique should at least help you ID where the enemy teams are located and you can then plan with that knowledge as you move forward.

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Good advice.  The challenge, of course, is trying to spot those enemies in the woods for the mortars to soften them up.  But if they are close to a treeline, dropping some high explosives on them seems prudent.

You don't have to spot 'em. You just have to have LOS to the middle of the woods where they roughly are. Tricky in Normandy '44, but with UAVs available, a much more frequently practicable option in Ukraine '17.
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You don't clear woods using an equal number to the troops you're facing. You need overwhelming superiority. If the enemy opens fire he gets return fire from four times his number.

 

You only need superiority at the point of contact... find him, then concentrate against each enemy position with overwhelming firepower to suppress the enemy unit (fix him), maneuver to his flanks (flank him), then assault the position (finish him).  

 

Eat the elephant one bite at a time.  You do not need 4:1 odds to accomplish this.. especially for a defending enemy that is probably spread out to cover all avenues of approach.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger
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Determine if it's necessary to even clear the forest to begin with. Who cares if a whole company is half a km inside a deep forest if they're not on an objective? They're irrelevant to the rest of the battle. 

 

If clearing is necessary drop artillery on the forest liberally. Split squads into teams, and plot, many, waypoints. Take any number of men you plan on sending into the forest to clear it and add 50%. Sending in a platoon? Borrow a squad from another platoon.

Edited by CaptHawkeye
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Or, you could try the Iron Broom technique by massing your vehicles with infantry just behind, blowing the crap out of each line of action squares as you advance  (pause for 15-30 sec, target for that long, advance 1-2 action squares, repeat). I used it a few times in CMRT and was trading 1-2 men for whole platoons of Soviet infantry. -Not sure if it would work as well with modern gear--but it is FUN to do (if a bit tedious)!

 

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Mortar them, seriously.  Competent troops competently emplaced are going to make you pay to dig them out.  Very close support with thermal equipped vehicles can be effective if possible, but even with APS its risky

 

Treebursts make HE in woods especially effective.

 

Also good idea Macisle.

Edited by agusto
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Treebursts make HE in woods especially effective.

 

Also good idea Macisle.

 

Thanks. It's more of a fun experiment than a standard tactic, as the ammo and time consumption are prohibitive. That, and a human opponent might dump lots of arty on you!

 

Still, it can work a treat against the AI in a WWII setting!

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Wooded terrain is always a big challenge in the WW2 titles-especially h2h against a good opponent. I'm not 100 convinced that targeting an area where you think or last took fire from is always the best solution. I've used it in over a dozen or so battles in wooded terrain and it seems hit or miss. It could just be that they were h2h battles on elite or iron level against good opponents so against the AI it may be a different story.

 

What I'm really interested to see is how it all plays out in Black Sea. Against German Paras or other troops with automatic weapons it could get very bloody very fast if you're not careful or unlucky and the times when German troops with MP44's got into he act it could become an outright sausage factory.

 

Now in Black Sea where just about everyone has an assault rifle, machine gun or auto grenade launcher and carries an obscene amount of ammo it seems like you have the potential to have a situation where every wooded area could be a potential Hurtgen Forrest type battle.

Edited by db_zero
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my general rule with entrenched targets is if you cant achieve fire superiority by direct fire before you assault them then its not worth it and you should just flatten them with mortars or the like if possible, the hardest part is when the missions built in a way that it forces you to take loses and coming to grips with that.

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Mortar them, seriously.

 

Lately I've been buying lots of artillery and enough TRPs to put one in any suspicious looking patch of woods. I find a troop of 155s firing airbursts for a couple minutes of intense bombardment can definitely sweeten the process. Anybody left alive is not likely to have so much fight left in them. Sometimes Monty had it right.

 

Michael

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Lately I've been buying lots of artillery and enough TRPs to put one in any suspicious looking patch of woods. I find a troop of 155s firing airbursts for a couple minutes of intense bombardment can definitely sweeten the process. Anybody left alive is not likely to have so much fight left in them. Sometimes Monty had it right.

 

Michael

That will work...until someone designs a scenario or you just find yourself in a situation where assets like artillery is limited and you have to fight it out with grunts mano a mano....

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The best solution will have to be a combined arms approach as with urban warfare. Probably best to send infantry dismounts in first supported by the tnks. Problem is that woods are definately not tank terrain so you may wellbe limited to tracks for armoured vehicles. And, of course a sensible pponent will know that and have those axis of advance covered by short range anti tak systems such as the RPGs. Air and/or artillery preparation would help but you are going to have to take your lumps if you cannot bypass such terrain..

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