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Question on Casualties Inflicted/Caused - KIA:WIA


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Hi all,

 

I've been using Ithikial_AU's awesome career recording system and I've come across something interesting. I am finding that I am consistently suffering more Killed in Action than Wounded in Action. Now I know that a general rule of thumb for battlefield casualties at nearly any scale (tactical to strategic) is that those wounded are usually double those killed. At the very least, The amount of wounded and missing is at least double the number killed. This is a very consistent trend throughout military history from ancient to modern times. My main question here is what is causing the opposite to be the case in CM?

 

Some technical data that may help in answering/speculating:

  • I tend to play on Warrior difficulty, but I have found that whether I play on Warrior or Basic Training the ratio of KIA:WIA tends to be the same, more KIA than WIA.
  • The vast majority of battles I have fought and recorded are infantry dominated battles. I know that generally speaking the amount of killed crewmen is higher than wounded crewmen due to the various factors that go into vehicular combat, primarily that weapon systems are more deadly to the target crew (if penetration is achieved and other factors) The battles I have fought and recorded data for do not have enough vehicle caused casualties to explain the higher amount of KIA to WIA.
  • I have noticed this trend of more KIA to WIA in other CM titles, such as CMFI+GL, CMSF, CMRT and CMBS.
  • I do not have an abundance of data currently, only a handful (5 give or take a few) battles per game that I have recorded data from, but in all of them the amount of killed is higher than wounded, and when all the data is combined the amount of killed still outnumbers the amount of wounded.
  • The ratio (more KIA than WIA) is the same for both sides in the battles. As in, both armies suffer more Killed than Wounded

 

Is there a reason that the amount of KIA is higher than WIA, despite historical data that shows the exact opposite? Is this some form of game/engine limitation or simulation that I am not aware of? Personally I do not think that this is a bug or a gamebreaking issue or anything drastic like that. Just an observation I have made that I was hoping others in the community here have noticed and may be able to shed some light on for me. Let me know if more information/data would be helpful in explaining this. Thanks in advance!

 
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Is there a reason that the amount of KIA is higher than WIA, despite historical data that shows the exact opposite? Is this some form of game/engine limitation or simulation that I am not aware of? Personally I do not think that this is a bug or a gamebreaking issue or anything drastic like that. Just an observation I have made that I was hoping others in the community here have noticed and may be able to shed some light on for me. Let me know if more information/data would be helpful in explaining this. Thanks in advance! 

 

 

The game is hilariously over the top lethal, yeah. But part of the reason is that a lot of casualties in real war occur "off-map" to CMx2. You lose guys to mines while securing an empty objective, disease and injury, being ambushed on a patrol, vehicle accidents and especially to enemy artillery/mortars. Fortunately, the majority of the wounded return to service, about half of them in a few days time.

 

But CMx2 doesn't model the off-screen grind of day-to-day war.

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I've been using Ithikial_AU's awesome career recording system and I've come across something interesting. I am finding that I am consistently suffering more Killed in Action than Wounded in Action. Now I know that a general rule of thumb for battlefield casualties at nearly any scale (tactical to strategic) is that those wounded are usually double those killed. At the very least, The amount of wounded and missing is at least double the number killed. This is a very consistent trend throughout military history from ancient to modern times. My main question here is what is causing the opposite to be the case in CM?

This comes up from time to time. I have to report that I really don't see that ratio for my side of fights very often.

 

I tend to play on Warrior difficulty, but I have found that whether I play on Warrior or Basic Training the ratio of KIA:WIA tends to be the same, more KIA than WIA.

"Difficulty" level won't have any effect on the ratio. The injury mechanics are identical across all the "levels". Total casualties might even be more in lower difficulties, as arty comes in faster.

 

 

 

The vast majority of battles I have fought and recorded are infantry dominated battles. I know that generally speaking the amount of killed crewmen is higher than wounded crewmen due to the various factors that go into vehicular combat, primarily that weapon systems are more deadly to the target crew (if penetration is achieved and other factors) The battles I have fought and recorded data for do not have enough vehicle caused casualties to explain the higher amount of KIA to WIA.

As you note, vehicle kills tend to have larger crew kill ratios, and so the times I see ratios approaching what you're experiencing are when the fight is armour-heavy.

 

 

  • I do not have an abundance of data currently, only a handful (5 give or take a few) battles per game that I have recorded data from, but in all of them the amount of killed is higher than wounded, and when all the data is combined the amount of killed still outnumbers the amount of wounded.
  • The ratio (more KIA than WIA) is the same for both sides in the battles. As in, both armies suffer more Killed than Wounded

 

Is there a reason that the amount of KIA is higher than WIA, despite historical data that shows the exact opposite? Is this some form of game/engine limitation or simulation that I am not aware of? Personally I do not think that this is a bug or a gamebreaking issue or anything drastic like that. Just an observation I have made that I was hoping others in the community here have noticed and may be able to shed some light on for me. Let me know if more information/data would be helpful in explaining this. Thanks in advance!

There are a lot of reasons the end-of-game screens show higher killed:wounded ratios than the historical "norm". For starters, the casualties are at least partially inflicted by rifle-calibre bullets and directly applied HE, which tend to generate more K than W, and the casualty figures that people are comparing the CM results to generally include "behind the lines" casualties which were more likely to be shrapnel, and less lethal. Another reason might be the method of casualty recording: does Ithikial's tool count all the yellow silhouettes? I would think at least some of those would be casualties which would be counted in the figures as "wounded". Then we've got the way some people treat their poor pTruppen (Ken, I'm looking at you). My style of play is cautious almost to the point of timidity sometimes and I don't see the "more killed than wounded" thing over time. Many people play more aggressively, and will expose more troops to the more-lethal effects of aimed rifle-calibre and tank fire: the AI's casualty ratios, once it has either banzaied a company into a kill sack on the offense or repeatedly dropped just far enough back off a piece of cover that my arriving Assault teams have the cover from which to SMG them down at close range when it's defending, are often very skewed towards the dead rather than the maimed. When I see the movies of tanks dogfighting within 100m of each other in HvH play, I am thoroughly unsurprised that the aggressive style of play produces more killed than wounded.

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Another reason might be the method of casualty recording: does Ithikial's tool count all the yellow silhouettes? I would think at least some of those would be casualties which would be counted in the figures as "wounded".

 

The tool allows you to record the number form the AAR screen. I think that means the yellow based wounded but still fighting are not counted. Someone correct me if I have that wrong.

 

Then we've got the way some people treat their poor pTruppen (Ken, I'm looking at you). My style of play is cautious almost to the point of timidity sometimes and I don't see the "more killed than wounded" thing over time. Many people play more aggressively, and will expose more troops to the more-lethal effects of aimed rifle-calibre and tank fire: the AI's casualty ratios, once it has either banzaied a company into a kill sack on the offense or repeatedly dropped just far enough back off a piece of cover that my arriving Assault teams have the cover from which to SMG them down at close range when it's defending, are often very skewed towards the dead rather than the maimed. When I see the movies of tanks dogfighting within 100m of each other in HvH play, I am thoroughly unsurprised that the aggressive style of play produces more killed than wounded.

 

I think this is possibly a significant factor too.

 

My numbers from 33 games are around 3.1 to 2 in KIA to WIA (both sides have very similar ration) so I am seeing similar to IICptMillerII.

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Thanks for all the great feedback guys!

 

Good points from all, and thank you IanL for clarifying how the Career Recording System works. Saved me some typing haha. 

 

As to the point about the difficulty level not changing the amount of casualties caused/suffered, it appears that the game manual does not quite agree with you. From the Combat Mission wiki: "Troops suffer slightly fewer casualties and are less likely to panic" (http://combatmission.wikia.com/wiki/Skill_level)

According to this it does in fact appear that at the Basic Training skill level (friendly forces at least) tend to take slightly fewer casualties. Not sure if it is significant enough to factor into all of this, but it is worth noting as a possible variable. 

As you mentioned, casualties may in fact be higher at the Basic Training skill level because of how fast artillery and other support can be brought on target, however it may be the case that the overall lethality (at least to friendly troops) of weapon systems is toned down to account for this. Pure speculation on my part but it would make sense. 

 

As to style of play, I tend to be very cautious. Call me a sap, but I dislike seeing my pixeltruppen get killed/maimed, so I tend to take the more cautious route when doing anything. I do agree that this can be a factor that varies in impact from player to player based on their play style. I will note however that at least for me, both the enemy and I tend to suffer more KIA than WIA, regardless of whether or not one side is on the defensive or not. 

 

I also think that it is a good point that off-screen casualties could be a small factor here in some limited way. It would help to explain the total casualties suffered per battle. Speaking of that I would like to note that on the whole I've found the number of total casualties (KIA, WIA, MIA) seem to be very accurate based on the battle itself (troop formations/sizes, attacker/defender, etc) It just seems that the KIA:WIA should be flipped.

 

Thanks again for all of the great feedback! maybe this is something that could be addressed with a simple config change, simply changing the KIA value to WIA and vice versa. I'm not a modder so I wouldn't know the details on how to do that or if it is possible but it could be something to look into. I suppose in the meantime I could always just manually reverse the results myself when entering them into the Career Recorder. I may give it a go as a test and see what the results look like. 

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 It just seems that the KIA:WIA should be flipped.

 

Yeah. This controversy has been going on for years. Steve mentioned a while ago that they would be looking into this.

 

The final screen doesn't tally the yellow icons. But these never seem to accumulate sufficiently to redress the discrepancy. A poster (JonS?) posited last year that extremely minor wounds are not counted, i.e. sprained ankles, minor flesh wounds and the like that would be tabulated on the official AAR, hence the odd ratio. I don't know. Another culprit may be the- alleged- forgiving suppression factors. Soldiers are attacking or exposing their bodies when they should be hugging the dirt. Or aggressive and impatient players.

 

One suggestion is that the game simply add up 'casualties'. These are then distributed by some algorithm among WIAs, MIAs and KIAs at game's end. But that could mess with the Buddy Aid sequence.

 

If nothing else, the current numbers contribute little to the immersion factor. But if one looks simply at viable soldiers removed from battle, however classified, then it works.

Edited by Childress
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Ah ok so it is a known phenomenon by the developers. As I said I don't think that it is game breaking or anything like that, just that I think its odd that there are more killed than wounded. Maybe the developers get around to addressing it, but if they don't do that anytime soon it shouldn't be a big deal as it really doesn't negatively effect gameplay at this point. Still, it would be nice to have it sorted out to make the numbers add up more realistically. 

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Still, it would be nice to have it sorted out to make the numbers add up more realistically. 

 

I highly doubt this will ever happen, the numbers were "wrong" since the beginning of CMx2 7 years ago and nobody can tell me thats not enough time to "fix" them.

I dont believe they ever intended to "fix" the numbers.

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I highly doubt this will ever happen, the numbers were "wrong" since the beginning of CMx2 7 years ago and nobody can tell me thats not enough time to "fix" them.

I dont believe they ever intended to "fix" the numbers.

sure I can.  That is not enough time to fix them. *

 

 

 

 

 

* Assuming BF doesn't care to make your priorities theirs. 

 

 

See that was quite easy.

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Burke does have a good point. BF clearly has some bigger issues that they are working on and the issue of skewed casualty numbers is a pretty low priority I would imagine. Plus a thought just occurred to me, is it possible that at the level we are fighting battles, that there are in fact more killed than wounded? I suppose that this does make some sense. Perhaps it is only on the large scale where wounded begin to outnumber killed due to off-battlefield factors such as disease and accidents, etc. For instance in the Pacific in WWII many soldiers (I believe more than combat casualties) became casualties from malaria than enemy fire. Similar thing happened in the Spanish American War, where more US Soldiers became casualties due to bad meat in their rations than became casualties due to enemy action. Perhaps this is the answer, that on the scale we are playing (especially if an attacker is successful in his attack) the amount of killed actually outweighs the wounded. Can anyone lend advise or possibly data to back this up? Or refute it?

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ha I was just being a smart ass and rising to the challenge, the thrown gauntlet, the... well you get the picture.  glass of wine will do that. I am curious as to what the numbers really represent, but not enough to put it before anything else.  All I really need to know is those are the guys who won't show up in the next battle of a campaign assuming they were core units.

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That is a really good point you make, that the numbers represent the soldiers that will not be returning in the next battle in the campaign. I think this is the primary reason why this discrepancy has not been addressed, because while it may not appear to be completely historically accurate, it is accurate in respect to the player and his forces moving on in a campaign. 

 

I think this lends more support to my idea, that on the smaller scale battles tend to be more deadly, and that the amount of KIA is higher than WIA, but once you include all the numbers from the small and large scale (where factors such as disease, accidents, malpractice and all the others) it flips the WIA to be much more than the KIA. 

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How about this:

Presently we have three classifications: lightly wounded (yellow icons), life threatening wounds requiring Buddy Aid intervention, and Dead.

 

Then you add a 4th intermediate state: disabling wounds that leave the guy inert on the battlefield, but the victim is not under immediate threat of death. When the smoke clears he eventually crawls - or staggers off on his own power, or supported by his buddies. Seems plausible, if not downright common. The game operates on the numbers at battle's end and spits out a realistic ratio for the sake of immersion.

 

O/T Question: why is that troops can harvest weapons from wounded soldiers but not dead soldiers?

Edited by Childress
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O/T Question: why is that troops can harvest weapons from wounded soldiers but not dead soldiers?

 

They can take them from dead soldiers. Sometimes it doesn't happen because the guy is already carrying a "shiny" weapon (SMG, LMG, AR, etc.) or because the weapon itself was damaged/destroyed, but usually they'll snag it, along with the ammo.

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How about this:

Presently we have three classifications: lightly wounded (yellow icons), life threatening wounds requiring Buddy Aid intervention, and Dead.

 

Then you add a 4th intermediate state: disabling wounds that leave the guy inert on the battlefield, but the victim is not under immediate threat of death. When the smoke clears he eventually crawls - or staggers off on his own power, or supported by his buddies. Seems plausible, if not downright common. The game operates on the numbers at battle's end and spits out a realistic ratio for the sake of immersion.

Isn't that covered by (some of) the "red cross" casualties that don't convert to KIA?

 

They can take them from dead soldiers. Sometimes it doesn't happen because the guy is already carrying a "shiny" weapon (SMG, LMG, AR, etc.) or because the weapon itself was damaged/destroyed, but usually they'll snag it, along with the ammo.

And getting them from dead soldiers is quick, because there's no associated "bandaging and morphine stick" or whatever Buddy Aid can render...

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Isn't that covered by (some of) the "red cross" casualties that don't convert to KIA?

 

I don't think so. Maybe some CM grog can chime in.

 

You need some way to account for intermediate casualties: your average grunt sprains his knee, his pinkie is blown off, he's shell shocked. He can no longer contribute to the battle so doesn't classify as a 'yellow icon'. I submit these are the most common wounds registered as such on the company rolls. Keep in mind this proposal just amounts to chrome. The number of useless combatants removed from the present battle is all that matters.

 

But chrome counts. Otherwise this topic wouldn't be recurring on a regular basis over the past five years.

Edited by Childress
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How about this:

Presently we have three classifications: lightly wounded (yellow icons), life threatening wounds requiring Buddy Aid intervention, and Dead.

 

Then you add a 4th intermediate state: disabling wounds that leave the guy inert on the battlefield, but the victim is not under immediate threat of death. When the smoke clears he eventually crawls - or staggers off on his own power, or supported by his buddies. Seems plausible, if not downright common. The game operates on the numbers at battle's end and spits out a realistic ratio for the sake of immersion.

 

That would still be someone who would need medical aid and thus still fall under the red icon category.

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