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I'm at a loss to understand the different kinds of spotting devices for vehicles in the game. Maybe there's someone with more experience or information out there to help me out? 

Apparently, apart from plain eyeballs and ordinary binoculars, there are more sophisticated spotting devices in the game:

  • IR optics: Infrared optics are represented by the night-vision-googles in the "special equipment"-panel and by "IR optics" in the damage-panel of a vehicle-unit. I suppose that this determines the unit's spotting capability in night-time scenarios? 
  • thermal optics: According to the manual, some vehicles feature thermal optics. I can't really make out how/if this kind of information is represented in the unit-information UI. It might be the ordinary binocular-symbol? E.g. I noticed that the T-72 has binocluars shown in the panel (in addition to the night-vision googles), while the BMP-2 does not. In the damage-panel, I couldn't find any entry for "thermal optics" (but maybe it is not shown because the list is too long). I suppose that thermal sighting greatly boosts a unit's spotting capability both at night AND at day? So I wonder: does the same symbol (binoculars) refer to varying degrees of spotting capability? I would assume that a binocular-symbol for an infantry-unit represents ordinary optical binoculars - except for some special weapons that might have thermal sighting as well, while a binocluar-symbol for a vehicle-unit represents thermal sighting? Vehicle-binoculars=thermal vision would be far superior to optical vision? 

Also, I wondered which type of optics can see through (black or white) smoke?

Last but not least, I've read that spotting might indeed work on a very detailed basis, so that vehicles have worse chances to spot into a direction where they has no/fewer vision slits (this obviously refers to WWII titles...). 

EDIT:

I figured out that the equipment shown in the special-equipment panel has nothing to do with the vehicle itself, but rather with the crew. E.g. let a tank-crew bail out and you'll see that they still have the binoculars and the night-vision-googles with them.

Edited by Kaunitz
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Okay, after some more research, I make myself look like a total newbie again. Apparently, irl, you can differentiate:

  • image intensification - basically a sight that is more sensitive to tiny amounts of light. As it works just as ordinary vision, it is not any more capable when it comes to detecting concealed enemies or seeing through smoke - it just gives you better vision at night.
  • infrared/thermal imaging - shows the heat of a surface, doesn't need any light at all. Excellent for spotting concealed enemies at night AND at day, can also see through smoke.

So, apparently, all vehicles that have an "IR optics" system come with thermal sighting.

The night vision googles of infantry or vehicle crews, however, could refer to image intensification OR thermal imaging (under the assumption  that the game actually treats intensification and thermal imaging differently)? As the name "night vision" suggets, I assume that it rather refers to image-intensification, not thermal sighting. Unless of course the unit comes with a weapon that gives them thermal sighting, like most ATGMs or the M107A1 sniper rifle (and only as long as the weapon is still intact?!). Special weapons have no damage-panel, so you can't look up the weapon's optics.

 

 

 

Edited by Kaunitz
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There's a lot to go in here, but the simplest way I can explain night vision at least is this:
Ukraine: Night vision devices on some weapons, a handful per squad. Recon teams have every man equipped with a night vision device on weapon.
Russia: Night vision devices on more weapons in a squad. Recon teams have every man equipped plus night vision monocular on their helmets.
USA: Night vision binoculars on everyone. Some thermals on weapons

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2 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Okay, after some more research, I make myself look like a total newbie again. Apparently, irl, you can differentiate:

  • image intensification - basically a sight that is more sensitive to tiny amounts of light. As it works just as ordinary vision, it is not any more capable when it comes to detecting concealed enemies or seeing through smoke - it just gives you better vision at night.
  • infrared/thermal imaging - shows the heat of a surface, doesn't need any light at all. Excellent for spotting concealed enemies at night AND at day, can also see through smoke.

So, apparently, all vehicles that have an "IR optics" system come with thermal sighting.

The night vision googles of infantry or vehicle crews, however, could refer to image intensification OR thermal imaging (under the assumption  that the game actually treats intensification and thermal imaging differently)? As the name "night vision" suggets, I assume that it rather refers to image-intensification, not thermal sighting. Unless of course the unit comes with a weapon that gives them thermal sighting, like most ATGMs or the M107A1 sniper rifle (and only as long as the weapon is still intact?!). Special weapons have no damage-panel, so you can't look up the weapon's optics.

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Unfortunately both image intensification (night vision) sights and thermals sights are listed as "IR optics."  Units with thermals can see through regular smoke.

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Kaunitz,

Your list doesn't include active IR systems such as Luna, in which tanks so fitted have a big coaxially mounted light and a smaller one for the TC. Active IR requires no environmental light whatsoever, but is relatively short ranged and can be seen from considerable distance when used.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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Michael Emrys,

The principle is exactly the same as when employing searchlights, lasers or typical radar. Every last one is an active emitter which can be detected from ranges much farther than it can see. The key, though, is you have to be equipped with the correct sensor, in the case of any non-visual emitters, in order to determine you're being illuminated in the first place. When the Germans first used their active IR night fighting equipment on some Panthers, the Russians thought they were in a minefield. In the Yom Kippur War, Syria's Russian-supplied active IR allowed the Syrians to operate around the clock, practically unhinging western military and defense analyst minds when it was realized the Syrians were only doing what the Russians had taught them as standard doctrine!  Many more examples could be adduced.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Andy,

You're thinking of Tabby, extensively discussed, with photos and drawings, at the bottom of the link. It was for driving only and had no weapon application whatsoever. By contrast, the German active IR gear, both on the Panthers and aboard the special Uhu 251, was geared to actual combat. The same article talks about its  use by the Germans  in battle and why it was employed only against the Russians.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106513&styleid=100

Contrariwise, there is some evidence, which is disputed, that the German IR night fighting gear was also used in the West. News to me! If one of those reports is credible, an entire Comet platoon was destroyed by such Panthers near Uelzen.

http://www.achtungpanzer.com/german-infrared-night-vision-devices-infrarot-scheinwerfer.htm

There's a list of units assigned IR Panthers at the top of the link, and a return, of sorts, to Tabby in the remarkable story almost at the bottom.

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=279824

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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That's the fella, cheers JK.  B)

Found a bit more info here:  http://arnhemjim.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/wwii-cutting-edge-night-vision.html

I'm pretty familiar with the various German systems and the Comets story is not mentioned in any of my books, several of which are focussed exclusively on  the Panther.....More bad news for the Reichsfrothers I guess.  ;)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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Thanks for all the answers and info! :)

I'd be very interested in the differentiations the game makes and uses. 

@akd Do you think the game is just using the same symbol for both types (and treats them differently) or is there indeed no differentiation between thermal/IR and intensification in game-terms? I would assume that thermal/IR should also give a huge bonus to discover concealed enemies even in daylight as you don't need to spot them via shape and "natural" colour-contrast (which is what camouflage tackles), but rather via heat (converted to artificial colour-contrast). Subjectively, I did notice that a T-72 tank with IR optics was exteremly good at spotting my infantry deep in the wood in daylight.

@DougPhresh

I noticed that many russian vehicles are noted in the manual to have IR-blocking smoke for their smoke-grenade launchers. By contrast, I couldn't find a single US vehicle with IR-blocking smoke. Do you think this is an oversight in the manual or actual fact? 

Edited by Kaunitz
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15 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

Thanks for all the answers and info! :)

I'd be very interested in the differentiations the game makes and uses. 

@akd Do you think the game is just using the same symbol for both types (and treats them differently) or is there indeed no differentiation between thermal/IR and intensification in game-terms? I would assume that thermal/IR should also give a huge bonus to discover concealed enemies even in daylight as you don't need to spot them via shape and "natural" colour-contrast (which is what camouflage tackles), but rather via heat (converted to artificial colour-contrast). Subjectively, I did notice that a T-72 tank with IR optics was exteremly good at spotting my infantry deep in the wood in daylight.

 

They are treated differently, but both displayed under damage panel as "IR optics."  Easiest way to check is with LOS through regular smoke like artillery smoke (units with thermals will not have blocked LOS).  The T-72B3 in game has a thermal sight for the gunner.

I believe all the US vehicles in game deploy smoke that blocks IR.

Edited by akd
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To block / degrade thermal images you need fairly large particles or ones with their own heat. Some white phosphorus shells do throw lots of little burning smoke discharging bits (not the correct technical term :-) into the air. That would cause thermal images to be less than useful but as soon as the burning phosphorous is out of the air (i.e. falls to the ground) the remaining smoke does not block thermal images so the effects are very short lived. Rounds the sit on the ground and billow smoke will not even have that effect.

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29 minutes ago, John Kettler said:

DougPresh,

Ref your remark about no NATO IR-blocking artillery shell, this segment from Future Weapons, starting about 7:16, indicates the Germans have exactly such a shell. Needless to say, I find this confusing.

Regards,

John Kettler

Disclaimer: When I went through Artillery School in 2005 there was no such shell and in my time in since then I haven't seen it in hundreds of shoots with the Canadians and Americans.

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Andy,

That piece on the Tabby at Arnhem Jim was terrific! Loved the comment about the two officers being arrested for driving without lights while road testing it. A super meaty post. Also of interest to me was the existence of a previously unknown variety of grog, which I'll call a military canoe grog!

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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