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Total beginner - first tips?


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explicitly instructions to hold their fire until a target enters the area of the TA.

Ha! My target arc didn't reach the enemies. I thought it meant "shoot that way" But it means "don't shoot unless anyone over there gets this close." Thanks for the explanation.

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I think you have answered your own questions.

 

Ok, so you won that battle. so you are learning. Good

 

But you say you notice that you are not really winning the fire fight with overwhelming firepower.  if you were, your men would not be getting pinned.

 

So all I am saying is don't waste playing all your battles until your skill level is good. because playing scenario's the first time is the only time to enjoy a truly crafted scenario. After that much of the fog of war is lost forever. So playing them again is a place to work on your skills.

 

So you pointed out you still need to learn when and how will your men spot and shoot. So replay battles until you have a understanding and skill to make that work.  (One thing you can do is learn to check locations you are moving troops to, is to click on the dot where they will be located and check the line of sight from there before ever moving there - that is a skill most beginners do not understand)

 

And that skill will help with your other task. That is engaging in firefights with overwhelming firepower. Any fire fight you get into should have the goal to be a one sided affair. You should not get into a fight where you are only exchanging fire. Either, you better have more troops that you can bring in and position to engage the enemy to get the upper hand or you should be disengaging.

These things should be easy to control on offense. Learn to scout when moving into new terrain so that your main forces do not get ambushed, just expect maybe a scout unit here or there getting hit.

 

On defense, it is much harder to develop skills to win engagements when you have less troops than your enemy.

 

But skills to do it include learning to have light front lines that can withdrawal. Setting up kill zones with a major portion of your force where you see the enemy moving into that you can temporarily overwhelm. Having a reserve unit that is able to move into any needed area to help balance a bad situation or take advantage of a weakness in the enemies attack.

 

And it goes on and on and on. Buying the game does not make you a tactician. Its just a tool to craft them skills. And this is the best game out there to learn them skills that reflect real life tactics. So enjoy.

 

As many say, doing real life tactics  is the best way to be good at this game. So any source teaching them skills will help you.

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Ha! My target arc didn't reach the enemies. I thought it meant "shoot that way" But it means "don't shoot unless anyone over there gets this close." Thanks for the explanation.

You're welcome. I did wonder whether that was what had tripped you up. :) "Short" Target Arcs are, IMO, a key tool for fighting your troops well. They help you keep a low profile until you've got (what you think is) enough firepower concentrated to be quickly effective. They used to be pretty much essential for keeping FOs alive, but apparently the TacAI behaviour has been changed for FOs so they're less eager to give away their position by shooting, but scouting elements still should be given some additional fire discipline to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to small units that can't necessarily fight back effectively. They might help you with your firebase too: if you sneak them into position, with short Target Arcs, and wait until you've got all your "ducks in a row", you can open up all at once, hopefully suppressing your targets, rather than your elements being suppressed piecemeal as they get to position, spot an enemy, open up on him and are, in turn, suppressed by the greater return fire. It takes less fire to maintain a suppression than to slap it on in the first place, so being the first to start making heads go down behind cover is pretty important.

 

Don't make the mistake of using "Hide" willy-nilly, either. Those teams you sneak into position first are also the eyes that might spot the enemy in the opposing hedgerow if they're moving while you're still, or if they shoot at another target. Hiding will not only make them less likely to look about (Spotting in the status text at bottom left of the playing screen), but may well keep their posture low enough to be unable to see over the berm at the foot of bocage. And you're likely to be unable to put "Area" Target orders out through the hedge, for the same reason, until you unHide them.

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 (One thing you can do is learn to check locations you are moving troops to, is to click on the dot where they will be located and check the line of sight from there before ever moving there - that is a skill most beginners do not understand)

 

Brilliant tip! That's what I need to check out the lie of the land before manoeuvring. "If I was over there, could I see the other side of that?"

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Brilliant tip! That's what I need to check out the lie of the land before manoeuvring. "If I was over there, could I see the other side of that?"

Though it sounds less gamey if you put it as "When my guys get over there, will they think it's a good place to stop?" :) Some people object to the idea that you can scout out vistas without actually going there...

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Gamey, whatever.

 

The truth is, that dot does not always tell the truth either. So you still likely need to look at the location from a ground level view and decide if it is worth trying.

 

A examples of what I mean.

 

In a present battle the dot informed me the unit would not be able to look down a street that I wanted them to once I moved them behind the low wall that gave me a view to do just that.

 

So I moved the unit there anyway. Guess what, once they were behind the wall, some of the unit could see down the street.

 

Why did I know that. first my eyes told me it was a location with good line of sight. Second, the dot judges from the center of the action hex to the center of the other.

 

once my men fanned out along the wall. the ones on the right side had the view because they could see the needed location whereas the ones on the left could not.

 

That is stuff that you can only learn by playing the game and paying attention to how it works. So playing well with the use of good tactics will do you the most good.

 

But playing the game with the mechanics of how it works and learning its ins and outs is also important. It has nothing to do with tactics, but playing well requires it and it is the second most important skill to learn.

 

And no matter what . You will find at times there is locations that for all logical sence should give you the view you want and they will not. (just learn to live with it)

 

And there is times unit will spot and see through woods that they should never be able to (but again you will have to accept it because that is how the game works)

 

The good news is these type of spotting issues are few and far between. And once you have seen them a few times, it does not bother you as much. Its just the limitations of what they can do.

Edited by slysniper
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I've read a couple of threads with long discussions about LOS from/to a waypoint and what is gamey and what's not and how accurate it is. Personally I've no opinion on either question, there is a limit when simulation becomes unplayable, but I'm new here so I don't know where that is for Combat Mission. The issue I needed to know was "Why does the line not come out of the waypoint?" Eventually, I found out – it just doesn't – but the LOS is being drawn from the waypoint. Once I knew it was working it was very useful.

 

As for the training it is going well. Smeared the first Raff mission with less than 10 percent casualties. Lost an armoured car, but in a worthwhile manoeuvre: it was hit doing its job scouting for the tanks.

 

How do you order a vehicle to reverse? When the armoured car identified that there was a real AT threat down there (by bursting into flames) the tanks needed to pull back, but they turned round first and one of them was lucky to survive a rear hit from some kind of rocket/grenade/shell. Is there some combination of face/target arc that will make them use reverse gear?

Edited by Azinctus
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There is a specific Reverse movement command if you're wanting/needing to do that.  If you plot another movement type behind you, the vehicle will turn around as you describe.

The LOS trick I think is gamey is plotting a fake move TO a point among enemy positions (or potential positions) and then checking LOS back towards your men in an attempt to see what the enemy sees.

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How do you order a vehicle to reverse? When the armoured car identified that there was a real AT threat down there (by bursting into flames) the tanks needed to pull back, but they turned round first and one of them was lucky to survive a rear hit from some kind of rocket/grenade/shell. Is there some combination of face/target arc that will make them use reverse gear?

 

there's a reverse command for vehicles.

 

A word about casualties: Most battles are designed to be challenging to the player and often you will have lots of casualties as a result. So it's quite normal to experience these results. Clearing woods is a frustrating job. Low visibility leads to close firefights. I often use split squads close together with the hunt command. Units will stop immediately upon seeing enemy and have a better chance of inflicting casualties before taking massive losses themselves.

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Sounds like you're doing good so far. I remember playing the Raff campaign as a complete beginner and only winning by the skin of my teeth, all my squads out of ammo and traumatised. Such a long time ago.

 

When you move on to the "real" campaigns, remember that many of the missions are designed to test the old timers here. Don't despair though, there's nearly always some clever part of the game you overlooked that will win the day.

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I'm out of the tutorial and on my first campaign Courage and Tenacity or something like that. The first mission was a real challenge. I won with 20 percent casualties and half of them were in the last minutes when I had I rush because it took so long to figure out a plan.

My first idea was to deploy all my heavy weapons along the ridge and dominate the valley. What I didn't realise was that the Huns had already thought of that. FortunAtely I'd only sent out half a dozen scouts as a prelude to that, when they were all killed I needed to rethink. My flanking manoeuvres with the infantry platoons worked and I took up positions on parts of the ridge gradually with support from the mortars.

I'm doing alright becuase I learned the hard lessons playing thousands of hours of Steel Panthers. I'm astounded by the detail in this game - burning tank ammunition cooks off round by round!

But all that detail makes it slow going. Patience is the watchword.

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I'm out of the tutorial and on my first campaign Courage and Tenacity or something like that. The first mission was a real challenge. I won with 20 percent casualties and half of them were in the last minutes when I had I rush because it took so long to figure out a plan.

My first idea was to deploy all my heavy weapons along the ridge and dominate the valley. What I didn't realise was that the Huns had already thought of that. FortunAtely I'd only sent out half a dozen scouts as a prelude to that, when they were all killed I needed to rethink. My flanking manoeuvres with the infantry platoons worked and I took up positions on parts of the ridge gradually with support from the mortars.

I'm doing alright becuase I learned the hard lessons playing thousands of hours of Steel Panthers. I'm astounded by the detail in this game - burning tank ammunition cooks off round by round!

But all that detail makes it slow going. Patience is the watchword.

 

Courage and fortitude is brutal, be warned the next mission is probably one of the most difficult the game has to offer especially with all of the improvements/changes made to machineguns in previous upgrades to the game.

Edited by Raptorx7
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Courage and fortitude is brutal, be warned the next mission is probably one of the most difficult the game has to offer especially with all of the improvements/changes made to machineguns in previous upgrades to the game.

Oh dear. I guess I'm going to find out how far I can push the infantry. I noticed that the Airborne units weren't easily discouraged.

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I wish the campaigns were sorted according to their difficulty. I wonder how many beginners tried Courage and fortitude as their first campaign and then quit after thinking the game is broken. Usually only a very small percentage ever sets foot on the forums and actually asks for help like this.

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Since you're a complete beginner, I recommend leaving Courage and Fortitude aside for now and trying the Road to Montebourg. (which is also difficult at times, but less than C&F). Also, Montebourg is just better designed and more fun, I think. It shows that the whole campaign was designed by one person, rather than being cobbled together from the maps of various designers like C&F. Also, the Montebourg campaign briefing texts are calm and serious, which sets a good amosphere, rather than being a bit "trying too hard to be cool" like the C&F ones.

 

You could also try to do some of the single missions, especially the smaller ones to begin with. Platoon Patrol for example.

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Thanks Bulletpoint. I'll do just that. Platoon Patrol sounds more like my level. I'd like to try some scenarios that are a bit quicker to set  up and play.

 

Some of the maps included with the game are brilliant to the point of genius, some look and feel like they were designed by a child. When you're ready to step up the scale a bit, but still looking for a manageable mission, I recommend "Busting the Bocage". It's not part of the base game, as far as I remember, but it can be downloaded for free at the repository.

 

It gives you a nicely designed map, and you get Shermans with the dozer blade attachment to breach hedgerows, as well as plenty of troops and artillery support. It's not very difficult, but should be a nice challenge for a beginner with a bit more experience.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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