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Tactics question


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Is there a place where I can find some sort of a tutorial on how to fight using the mechanized forces in CM games? I know all the commands and what each button does more or less and how to fight using regular infantry, but I can't find a tutorial on how to use vehicles like bmp, btr, stryker,etc. in coordination with the infantry, like when to dismount (although the common sense would say when you are in reach of an atgm, at gun), like when does infantry go ahead and when next to/behind the IFV's, also where does the tank go if they are present and so on, also its not really the topic, but is there a regular field manual that explains the same question for the ,,real world"? I have the bradley platoon field manual, but I didn't get to read it yet, so I don't know if it will solve those questions or not.

Edited by JakeRS123
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I always follow the tried and true system of never send a sqaud where a scout team has not gone. Never send a platoon were a squad has not gone.  Your vehicles should generally be at the rear.  They only have to advace if they do not have a weapon that can provide effective fire to cover your advancing teams.


A tank or IFV can sit back at several thousand meters if it has good enough weapons and a clear line of sight.


You should learn how to use UAV's in conjonction with artillery, they are possibly the most powerful item in your arsenal



Edited by michael Dwyer
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A few...
This link is probably the one you are looking for,.  Very well done:



Good hunting.

Edited by Blazing 88's
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A good manual is the Armor and Mechanized Infantry Company Team FM, which is ATP 3-90.1 I believe.  The Bradley Platoon FM is good, but a lot of it is stuff that's more focused on stuff that the game will more or less do for you.  The Armor-Mech team stuff is much more the operations side of using both armor and mechanized infantry.

Some short stuff:

Re: Dismount

The right answer is wherever is best.  The real answer depends on what you want the infantry to do.  The US Army for instance, considers dropping infantry before, on, or even after the objective acceptable as theoretical answers...but it depends on what you're doing.

Broadly you're trying to balance the speed offered by the IFV/APC vs the increased vulnerability of  the infantry when buttoned up and in a vehicle.  Ideally you want to create conditions to allow the carrier vehicle to move the infantry practically onto the objective.  This of course is normally impossible.  However by using terrain, smoke, indirect fires, and support by fire* you can often get the PC much closer than otherwise.  

Re: Positioning

Visualize a 90 degree angle.  The objective is where the two lines meet.  Ideally, the end of one of the legs is where the vehicles shooting at the objective is firing from.  The end of the other leg ideally is where the infantry is assaulting from.  In real life, this allows for the infantry to flank the enemy, and also allows for shifting of friendly fire to keep the enemy under fire....while keeping the attacking infantry safe**.  This is less of an issue given the reduced threat of errant rounds, sabot petals etc in CMBS, but it does present the ideal situation.  A good practice, using a tank-infantry company team, would be to establish an attack by fire using your tanks and one platoon of infantry to fully engage the enemy on the objective (preferably with artillery too).  Then use the remaining platoon's IFVs to move the infantry to a safe dismount point within less than say, 500 meters or so***.  Once the infantry has taken the objective, call forward the tank platoon to help secure the objective, while preparing the infantry for follow on operations (either remounting the supporting infantry platoon to help defend the now taken objective, or remounting all the infantry to prepare for the next attack.

Re: Tanks vs infantry leading

In more open terrain, leading with armor is likely the best.  The sensors on the tanks, firepower and armor will likely let them deal with things more effectively than infantry.  In wooded or urban terrain, lead with the infantry.  In this environment, basically your infantry is making a "safe" path for the armor.  Once the infantry encounters heavy resistance, pull the tank (or IFV!) forward to engage the enemy (using an area fire command in CMBS usually, often you'll be able to figure out which building needs to drop before your tank does).   

*friendly forces dedicated to shooting at the enemy on the objective.  This usually is a suppression sort of deal, prevent the enemy from engaging the assault force.  You can focus on more of an "attack by fire" which is more reducing the enemy and trying to push him off the objective by firepower before taking it.  

**This is often coordinated through pyrotechnic flares or radio code words.  Once the infantry signals it has begun its assault, the supporting element shifts its fire outside of the area the infantry is about to assault into.  Often reference points are used to coordinate this to allow fire to continue on the objective, but allow both the infantry and supporting elements to know where it is safe for infantry to travel without fratricide.  

***I've forgotten the doctrine, but within infantry weapons range is best, standoff favors the defender, closer the better

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A lot of it is common sense,  the objective being to retain your force's capabilities and cohesion while destroying the enemy's. 

Generally,  I take men out of the vehicles ASAP - I pretty much never lead with the IFV as its heavy support, cover and mobility is vital.  Without it your pixeltruppen are just so much....pixels.... 

Bounding is by far the simplest and most effective tactic,  and usable with men AND machines. 

Lastly,  I always,  always have a reserve,  even if it's just a platoon. I'm playing a very large PBEM with @Abbasid111 and my reserve has already saved my bacon from a potentially disastrous out flanking. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have another question that I might as well ask here, instead of opening new threads, its a little complicated question and English is not my native language, but I hope that you'll understand...

I don't know a lot about how wars work, so I might be completely wrong, but aren't units like platoons and companies generally supposed to advance in a sort of a line formation?  I ask this because in some missions in CM games you have the pre-setup area that is really tight, for example in the center of the edge of the map, instead of covering the entire edge and you have a large force there, company or battalion sized and because of that you have a bunch of vehicles that can only be moved in that small area until you start the ,,match".

I know that in real life you have those lines between units that mark what is whose territory (not the phase lines, but the other ones that say this brigade is advancing on this part of the map, this on that part,etc., does anyone know the name of those lines btw? )  Anyway, since you have those lines for brigades and upper levels, don't smaller level units like companies also have those lines, in which case company A should only be responsible for taking of village A, which is in its path, B company village B,etc..? In CM you for example get 3 platoons and 3 villages and you can use all of your forces on taking villages one by another, so would this be realistic or would you in real life have 1 platoon/company for each village in this ,,3x3 scenario"? (if mettcs is decisive, then each village has the same amount of enemies and villages are next to each other, not behind one another)


Edited by JakeRS123
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As to your first comment, it depends.  A unit's formation may vary wildly based on terrain or circumstances.  As a rule you want the formation that best masses firepower on the enemy.  This can vary, a line is the best example, but a wedge might be better when dealing with an uncertain enemy location, or even an echelon (diagonal line basically) if you're moving with a flank to the enemy.

There are of course limitations and sometimes (often?) scenario design compromises to accommodate these.  


The term you're looking for is "unit boundaries" which can exist at all levels of military organization.  As far as allocating objectives, it really depends on the mission.  In the US Army sense, it might be difficult for a platoon to secure two villages, because that implies taking it, and preventing the enemy from taking them back.  On the other hand a platoon might "clear" several towns because that's just making sure there's no enemy in those towns before carrying on.  

The mission you describe for a Company likely is more of a "clear" than "secure" so in that regard it's not asking to use one platoon to clear each village, it's asking the company to clear a village three times.  There's some adjustments to this (like the assault platoon for the first village likely will be in support for the next village).  On the other hand, against a fairly weak enemy all three villages may be attacked by a platoon each to overwhelm the enemy in the area of operations by not allowing him mutually support his positions, or to force him to choose which positions he will be unable to support and abandon those.  

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to panzeralphabetsoupname's point, the example you used might have some terrain issue which weights those three locations differently.  For example a river bisecting the terrain would allow you to attack one objective and limit the enemy's ability to respond.  Once that objective is secured you might now have a firebase on their flank that would need minimal force to defend it.

As to that actually playing out in CM- well that is really a designer issue.  Some players prefer you organize the players forces in their ToE structure so they can easily visualize and place them- in which case they aren't in a tactical formation at all.  Some designers set them up in combat formation to proceed straight into the battle,  Scenario design is more an art than a science and player preference can also influence what a designer decides to do.

A really good game series for discussing this is the TCS tactical game series.  They went to great lengths to get players to visualize the battlefield and apply orders in the manner a battle commander would actually do.  They promoted the use of operations sheets (op sheets) that showed your intent as a battle commander.  Changing op sheets was designed to reflect that difficulty for a commander to actually control his units on the battlefield.  Depending on whether it was a company commander or a Bn commander that had access to a planning staff and the actual historical capability of the unit, the ability to change orders could be better or worse.  Below is a link to an article that gets into the thought behind op sheets, how to use them etc.  My dream for an OP layer game is to actually incorporate this into how you play the game but as they note, it requires a lot of honesty by the player.  There are players who have done things similar - Both Bil Hardenberg and I believe Peregrine have both developed ways of playing CM that force the player to account for C2.  Bil's is more formalized and easier to track, but I kind of like a mix of the two.  Those are more about how the player runs the units and the types of commands they can issue and when.  They don't necessarily incorporate the battle planning that goes into an OP sheet, but one assumes Bil does.  :D

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gkik977ujq2cwn1/TCS Op Sheets.docx?dl=0

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Here is a scenario that I had in mind when I asked the question, the first mission in the german campaign in the nato module for shock force, its 2 villages actually, so what should I do here? All units are located on that small setup area, there is that small village down in the valley and that big one to the right, so I have no idea what to do.. (I opened the scenario in the author test mode, so that the enemies can be seen) Let's say just for the smaller village, how should I take it, should I advance on the road or should I spread units both on the road and next to the road in a line/wedge formation?



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Also more than anything start playing people. While the ai is good for learning the mechanics of the game itll teach you bad tactical habits and be basically like playing t ball as an adult. You.ll be handicapping yourself and setting your own bar lower.

Cold hard experience gentlemen. Best teacher there is.



Edit - shock force is a very diff beast than the other titles because the disparity in equipment in sides and long lines of sights. Usually and especially in campaigns its less about whether you can win the battle more can you win it and take under x amt of casualties.

In the case above you want small inf teams with binoculars and other spotting equip on rooftops and ridgelines. Also pull some of your armor up too but keep it dostant from the enemy.

Either use arty to shell enemy positions that unveil themselves amd or direct fire from mbts and ifvs. Also if i recall this mission correctly you get air support. Id hit the right village with several diff simaltaneous airstrikes.























When i played using arty and airstrikes along with several ifvs and mbts opening up on atgms and spotters or hqs first followed by enemy inf. ( except vehicles they got priority)  i really decimated the enemy before  advamcing. Then i advanced slowly with some armor and ifvs leading about 100m in front of only a spread out ( broken into teams ) inf platoon. You dont want to risk an ifv of inf rolling into view of a kornet.

I basically ignored the right village seized the left and by then a culmination of enemy losses firepower etc caused the Syrians to flee.

Always remember some fundamental tactics are good for almost any CM but a lot of the specifics can really change wildly per game. The lethailty goes way up in BS and the OpFor is waaay more capable. Ww2 goes without sayinh except expevt to take at least triple the casualties you would in SF crossing the street even. Greatest generation my  @$$ ;)  jk jk

Edited by Sublime
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