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MOUT: Abstractions in building clearance


Bahger
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In MOUT missions such as the second US campaign scenario, there are many very large, four or five storey buildings that can either be cleared or bypassed. Clearing these buildings with one squad of infantry is a slightly abstracted affair given the relative sizes of the structure and the squad. I have a couple of questions that I know many of the more experienced players here will be able to comment on very knowledgeably:

- If I want to move infantry through a multi-storey office building for cover rather than systematically clearing it, and I decide to restrict the passage of my squad to the ground floor, will my infantry always be spotted and attacked by enemy troops on other floors?

- If I want to move infantry through an office building on the top floor, can they bypass enemy troops on lower floors or will they always have to fight their way through the building?

I ask these questions because in MOUT battles it is often advantageous to move infantry through buildings rather than in the open, yet the size of an infantry unit disembarked from a Bradley is not suitable for systematically clearing a five-storey office complex. Obviously, much of this is (necessarily) abstracted in CM (i.e. there are no stairways or routes through buildings) but this makes the tactical judgement call re. whether to move through a large building or bypass it a difficult one. It would be good to know that, by moving my squad through the ground floor only they would not automatically be picking a fight with enemy troops on an upper floor when I should be bypassing them in favor of mobility. Thanks.

Edited by Bahger
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- If I want to move infantry through a multi-storey office building for cover rather than systematically clearing it, and I decide to restrict the passage of my squad to the ground floor, will my infantry always be spotted and attacked by enemy troops on other floors?

No. Not "always". Troops on immediately adjacent floors will have a better chance of spotting you. Troops further away than that probably won't. But "never" and "always" are dangerous assumptions.

- If I want to move infantry through an office building on the top floor, can they bypass enemy troops on lower floors or will they always have to fight their way through the building?

Assuming you're using breaching charges to move from an adjacent building's equal floor, the same applies as above. Note, however, that just because a Breach move can be plotted between two apparently-adjacent floors, and the explosion will make a hole big enough to drive a small vehicle through, if there is any difference at all in the ground elevation beneath the two buildings, you will not be able to move through the breach, and will head to the ground floor, outside and back in through any convenient entrance. Again, this is true at all levels.

...the size of an infantry unit disembarked from a Bradley is not suitable for systematically clearing a five-storey office complex...

Are you thinking it's too big? The first thing I reckon you should do for MOUT is to split your squads into their fireteams. Having an entire squad on a single floor can present a very dense target cross section. There's a good article over in the SF tactics forum on clearing buildings "Fast and Agile" that is relevant to all the CMx2 titles.

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 There's a good article over in the SF tactics forum on clearing buildings "Fast and Agile" that is relevant to all the CMx2 titles.

I would offer the caveat that friendly fire from suppression is a lot more severe in Black Sea. I've learnt the hard way! 

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Very useful info, thanks.  I assume that using "Assault", which automatically splits squads into teams, offers the same advantages as manually splitting the squad.  Unless I want to assault two floors simultaneously, I guess, in which case I'd be better off splitting the squad first and moving both teams independently.

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Very useful info, thanks.  I assume that using "Assault", which automatically splits squads into teams, offers the same advantages as manually splitting the squad.  Unless I want to assault two floors simultaneously, I guess, in which case I'd be better off splitting the squad first and moving both teams independently.

 

The only downside is you can't control tempo with the assault order, which means there can be a wait before the two teams really get going, which can be costly. With a manual split you can move them as you please. 

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The downside to the assault command is they all end up in the same place. If you have split squads you can set things up so that they spend very little or even no time in the same floor as the move.

 

I think @Womble has good answers to your questions.

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Assault command is the lazy way to control your squads rather than actually splitting them. The price you may pay is they will perform based on timing etc controlled by the TAC AI. If you are just wanting to blast through a scenario and have limited time it makes perfect sense, but for my two cents I'd prefer to just save the turn and take it slow knowing I may not complete the scenario in a sitting. I like seeing all the action as opposed to worrying about when I finish

The other oddity about buildings is adjacent modular buildings have a gap. I assume it is a set issue in just how the game deals with building outlines etc, but frequently I will find lines of sight that in an actual building would not exist. Be wary. You may find fire coming sometimes from non adjacent floors. If possible it is always nice to have an over watch team with eyes on the facing of the complex you are entering so if you take fire, they can immediately open up on the enemy. In those cases it is worth doing a bit of recon by fire before you even send a team into the building. This can cause the enemy to reveal themselves before you are vulnerable.

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Assault command is the lazy way to control your squads rather than actually splitting them. The price you may pay is they will perform based on timing etc controlled by the TAC AI.

 

Except the nice thing is that the timing is actually coordinated and does not need to be guessed at by the player.  While it is true the player can get good at that guess with experience but having your guys actually coordinate themselves is kinda nice.

 

I think that the big draw back of the assault command is that everyone ends up in the same AS at the end and even during transition.  I would probably use it more if that were not the case.

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realistically speaking most of the large apartment buildings in CMBS are company sized objectives. The way to clear buildings with smaller forces is, in order of safest to least safe:

1. blast into rooms with engineers

2. breach into rooms with breach kits

3. suppress the rooms with HE/machine guns/TOWs/javelins etc.

4. target light inside the room (they will throw grenades in) then rush another team in

5. Have one teach watch the room, and the other team enter it.

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If you don't have more or less overwhelming force clearing gets very expensive, very quickly.  If you have the artillery, and there not some large overriding reason why not, you should just level them.  Remember if are relatively sure a building is going to be a problem your arty is far easier to use in the set up phase.  Only clear if you can't level it or bypass it.  The same goes for woods mostly.

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If you don't have more or less overwhelming force clearing gets very expensive, very quickly.  If you have the artillery, and there not some large overriding reason why not, you should just level them.  Remember if are relatively sure a building is going to be a problem your arty is far easier to use in the set up phase.  Only clear if you can't level it or bypass it.  The same goes for woods mostly.

 

Excalibur fired at the ground floor can take down a single story building in a single shot. That's pretty nice to have.

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Can you fire Excalibur at the bottom floor of a taller building?

 

In the setup phase, under UAV observation or near a TRP, yes. They don't as readily collapse the building, but the defenders sure as hell don't enjoy the experience.

Edited by Apocal
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If you don't have more or less overwhelming force clearing gets very expensive, very quickly.

Quoted for emphasis, and to add: And this is right and proper.

And also to note that Bahger asks a question that allows us to make the point:

Only clear if you can't level it or bypass it.

Yes you can bypass other infantry in the same building if it's large enough and you have enough breaching charges. And you're sure you have a good fix. Though since you're breaching, you might be as well to breach aggressively if there's just the one team in the frontage that you're entering from the side: the Blast will incapacitate the defenders and you can be rid of them.

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It's also what the AI has to use, so if you want to be fair to the computer player, arguably you should use it too.

Pshaw on the computer. If it wants a fair fight it should get smarter. Damn thing is always talking about how superior it is and flaunting it's calculating ability and it can't even split a team. I am betting half the bugs I have run across that crash the game are simply the computer flipping the board when it is losing. It is a poor behaving opponent that cheats and I won't adjust my behavior to reward it's gamey behavior. :D

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It's also what the AI has to use, so if you want to be fair to the computer player, arguably you should use it too.

By that argument, you should never use Target Area, either. And you should expend your artillery in first turn barrages just outside the opposition setup zone. And shouldn't call fire missions on TRPs that you can't see. And never remount dismounted troops, or rearm them. You shouldn't re-unbutton once your TCs decide it's gotten too hairy out there to open up, even if the situation becomes calm again. You should never use Target Light to restrict your teams' use of heavy weapons. Or split teams that weren't split at start up, and that includes always putting A and B (and C where appropriate) teams of the same squad into the same vehicle if you want them to start mounted, so that squad can never be split. Nor should you use Target Arcs much, nor Hide to mitigate incoming artillery. And you should never flee from spotting rounds. You shouldn't put troops in rides that aren't organic to their formation.

And that's just off the top of my head. The AI is gimped; we're stuck with that. Doesn't mean we can't run our forces the way they're meant to be managed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm following this thread, as I'm on the same scenario as the OP. I spent he first half hour lining up the majority of my recon and rifle squads on the buildings over looking the main square. Probably too slow, but since I have another hour to advance, sending my breach teams into the buildings on the right side of the square is taking time and I mean to use it.

In response to the posts regarding using artillery, part of the VP is in the preservation of key buildings due to civilian population. I've used Excalibur twice and that was to kill a Tunguska threatening my drone, and clear the second checkpoint (actually the second one wasn't Excalibur, but tight spread of AP).

I have yet to finish the scenario, so it'll be interesting to see how pace/resistance picks up.

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If you wanto to be fair to the computer player drink half a bottle of vodka before playing and then a shot of vodka for every tank that you loose. It helps a lot with hampering all the unfair human advantages like rational thought, reason, reluctance to do suicide charges etc. BANZAI!

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I'm following this thread, as I'm on the same scenario as the OP. I spent he first half hour lining up the majority of my recon and rifle squads on the buildings over looking the main square. Probably too slow, but since I have another hour to advance, sending my breach teams into the buildings on the right side of the square is taking time and I mean to use it.

In response to the posts regarding using artillery, part of the VP is in the preservation of key buildings due to civilian population. I've used Excalibur twice and that was to kill a Tunguska threatening my drone, and clear the second checkpoint (actually the second one wasn't Excalibur, but tight spread of AP).

I have yet to finish the scenario, so it'll be interesting to see how pace/resistance picks up.

 

The Russian campaign has a couple of maps that are urban. Even back in CMSF I found the environment extremely taxing; there's often no way to take objectives without heavy losses as gaining fire superiority is challenging especially if going around the buildings exposes you to more fire (it usually does). 

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Quick question; what does MOUT stand for? I don't remember hearing the acronym when I was in the grunts, albeit that was more than 40-years ago. I imagine the "UT" stands for urban terrain. Is it an Army acronym?

Edited by Vet 0369
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Another acronym that got used but I think has become defunct is "FIBUA" (Fighting In Built Up Areas). Might've been a British Army one, that...

 

Oh, here ya go:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_warfare

 

MOUT is out of date.

 

And this bit:

 

The British armed forces terms are OBUA (operations in built-up areas), FIBUA (fighting in built-up areas), or sometimes (colloquially) FISH (fighting in someone's house),[1] or FISH and CHIPS (fighting in someone's house and causing havoc in people's streets).

I simply love.

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