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Using Stummels


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Do you guys find Stummels useful at all? I'm struggling to find a way to use them without getting them (more specifically, their entire, incredibly *$(#ing fragile crew) killed. They aren't well enough protected to use as assault guns unless you have pretty much the entire map suppressed, but in a long range direct fire role, their spotting hamstrings them, and sometimes their crews STILL get picked off by small arms fire at 1000m+...

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I find the best way to use them is to destroy or bombard nests of resistance from as far as possible. You really don't want them facing against something that can fire back, even lying in ambush against tanks, it would be best for them to get out of sight as soon as possible after the first shot or two. They are a force multiplier for your panzergrenadiers, not a force unto themselves.

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They are fairly useful during the later stages of a battle for mopping up or for the final push, once you have won the tank vs tank or tank vs anti tank engagement. Of course in practice you can never be sure that there is not an anti tank gun hidden somewhere. But since even a HMG can wreck them, it is never really safe to use them even if you keep them in the rear at first. So long range, hull down and in a key hole position with only a line of sight to a small part of the battlefield, the area you want to target. Fire once or twice then pull back and either reposition or do it again from the same spot 2-3 minutes later. Yeah there is no magic trick.

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Most Combat Mission scenarios are pitched assaults (without any recon info for the attacker...*sigh*) on maps with relatively short lines of sight. Also, both sides usually have at least some (anti) tank capabilities. These are big handicaps for Stummels (and other non-armored infantry support assets). I suppose that Stummels would be much more usefull in those types of engagements that cannot be translated into Combat Mission scenarios that well/easily: asymmetrical delaying/rearguard actions.

E.g. the enemy - let's suppose it's an infantry battalion - is on the retreat because tank formations have broken through his main line of resistance in some other sector of the front. In order to secure his retreat, he leaves behind small detachments (most likely MG nests) in strongpoints/villages along his path of retreat. It's rather unlikely that anti tank guns are part of such detachments. Now, your task is just to "work" your way through the enemy delaying efforts: push through minefields and road blocks, clear the villages. This is WWII day to day business. Such scenarios would be rather frustrating and dull to play. Most of the time, the enemy would just fire from a distance, forcing you to deploy from marching column to battle formation (which takes time) and once you enter the village, the enemy is already gone. I suppose that Stummels would be quite usefull in these situations (knocking out enemy nests of resistance "on the fly"). 

 

Edited by Kaunitz
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Yes, they are very useful if you know how to. They're probably my favourite AFV.

Move them along together with infantry, but always be careful of long sightlines. Jump in short fast hops from cover to cover. Always park them where there is LOS blockage. Behing a building for example. Then when you need them, move them out and into a similar firing position.

Ideal targets are infantry in sturdy buildings, at 300m+ range. But from the front they are pretty resistant to small arms, and I've used them at much closer ranges. The thing to watch out for is bazookas, so don't go closer than about 160 metres unless you feel like throwing the dice. At 100m they become really vulnerable, both to small arms and rifle grenades.

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What @Bulletpoint said is largely how I use them. Essentially they are a mobile, lightly armoured version of the smaller German infantry gun and quite handy. I use the latter when I can’t get the Stummel, but when possible, I usually buy a couple of Stummels to support each infantry company. I find them more useful on the offence than the defence, where I can take advantage of their mobility and that their armour will keep their crews alive where an infantry gun would be much slower and more vulnerable. 

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I do have a habit of losing Stummels at a rate close to the generic poor pixeltruppen that has to be a halftrack gunner. :P

The big trap is expecting them to do miracles alongside say a StuG. As mentioned above they really can't go toe to toe with anything that can look at them funny.

The key uses and my tips:

- Building destruction to clear LOS or eliminate enemy strongpoints in an urban environment. Save the ammunition of your more versatile and resilient panzers.

- Long range direct support - particularly when your mortars are out of ammunition.

- Keep an infantry screen in front of them when deployed within 500 meters of a known enemy. There's a good chance there are enemy even closer than can take a shot at them with a HMG/Anti-Tank Rifle/Bazooka/PIAT/Grenade.

- Use together if possible. Particularly the Stummel formation that is groupped together in the armoured panzgrenadier formation. Multiple 75mm HE rounds hitting the same target will clear an area each turn in WeGo with minimal expenditure of ammunition from each vehicle.

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  • 3 weeks later...

They're comparable to the MGS Strykers in CMSF. Which is to say that I end up losing a lot of them.

Still, breaking down the theory:

- Panzergrenadiers only make sense when paired with armour, so consider them in that context. They're a supporting arm to the armour, and the armour is what defines the engagement.

- Panzergrenadiers do the things that armour can't do. Enter complex terrain, spot well, and (most importantly) call in indirect fire, particularly on AT guns.

- Typically, Panzergrenadier roles in a CM context might (among other things) include hunting down isolated AT guns after the Panzers have won the engagement. That means they can concentrate on a relatively small target, and bring their considerable firepower to bear at once, which is important since they don't necessarily have the depth to survive an extended engagement. Other roles include a quick reaction force to an enemy breakthrough, which similarly needs to defeat the enemy quickly to have any real success.

- Stummels are direct fire support, and are integral to the infantry formation. That means they'll be available when the tanks are off doing something more important. They're not your first choice for the job.

- All the halftrack weapons (MGs and the 75mm KwK 37) are supposed to be used in the infantry assault. This means ideally hull down, some distance away from the target (500m-1000m, perhaps), and concentrating fire. Multiple 75mm rounds and Mg fire should be enough to suppress essentially any isolated target, allowing the infantry to do their thing.

- Speaking of halftracks, the number one tip I have for their use in CM is to *not* unbutton them, and to keep the engagement to their front. The halftrack gunners will pop up to fire by themselves, then hunker down again when they're done. Keeping the fire forward means that the gun shield can do it's job - shots from outside the fairly narrow frontal arc will result in dead gunners really quickly.

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5 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

How so? They're perfectly fine infantry even without armour... 

As individual squads? Sure, and particularly with points-buying lists like in Quick battles. As a formation, not so much.

If you're looking at how to use Stummels in the context of a panzergrenadier unit (e.g., a platoon attack), then you need to understand the context of how they're intended to be used - the squads are smaller, they lack in AT weapons, etc. It's not a unit that's supposed to be working independently, it's something that's supposed to be a supporting arm. They're also very expensive, so exist in small quantities, and as a quick reaction force - if you use panzergrenadiers to hold a line, they're a waste of a resource, in exactly the same way that using any specialised infantry (paratroopers, mountain troops, recon units) to do generic infantry tasks would be.

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5 minutes ago, domfluff said:

As individual squads? Sure, and particularly with points-buying lists like in Quick battles. As a formation, not so much.

If you're looking at how to use Stummels in the context of a panzergrenadier unit (e.g., a platoon attack), then you need to understand the context of how they're intended to be used - the squads are smaller, they lack in AT weapons, etc. It's not a unit that's supposed to be working independently, it's something that's supposed to be a supporting arm. They're also very expensive, so exist in small quantities, and as a quick reaction force - if you use panzergrenadiers to hold a line, they're a waste of a resource, in exactly the same way that using any specialised infantry (paratroopers, mountain troops, recon units) to do generic infantry tasks would be.

Thanks, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Are panzergrenadiers more expensive on a pr. man basis though? I was under the impression that the game calculated price mainly based on the weapons carried, so there's a basic price for a soldier, and then a rifle adds X points, and an MG42 Y points, and a Panzerschreck 20 points?

In that case, the Pz Grenadiers wouldn't be a waste of points as such.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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I'm reminded of Belgium who, in the 1970s, was in the market for a cannon-armed infantry support vehicle. Rheinmetall offered them a stripped-down Leopard 1 for the role. Belgium instead chose the JPZ Kanone. Their justification was if the vehicle looks too much like a 'tank' commanders will be tempted to use them as tanks. But they're not tanks, they're infantry support guns. Stummel in the game also suffers from players attempting to use them as tanks. Actually, pretty much everything in the CM series that's not a tank suffers from players trying to use them as tanks. ^_^

 

 

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2 hours ago, domfluff said:

- All the halftrack weapons (MGs and the 75mm KwK 37) are supposed to be used in the infantry assault. This means ideally hull down, some distance away from the target (500m-1000m, perhaps), and concentrating fire. Multiple 75mm rounds and Mg fire should be enough to suppress essentially any isolated target, allowing the infantry to do their thing.

Given all the same questions and threads about proper use of halftracks and Stummels over the decades that CM2 has been available, this should be printed in big RED words printed and stuck on the monitor when playing CM.  However, on the relatively small and relatively short LOS of the majority of CM2 maps this can be challenging.

"- Stummels are direct fire support, and are integral to the infantry formation. That means they'll be available when the tanks are off doing something more important. They're not your first choice for the job."

Also very good advice.  However, in the game I make every effort to find good locations for the Stummels so that their ammo is used up first (before they get KIA).  It seems easy to run out of tank HE ammo, but rare to run out of Stummel HE (b4 they get KIA).

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a big fan of the Stummel. It's an infantry gun in a half-track. I mostly use them in two ways:

1. Close support for infantry platoons. The opened top nature works great when supporting infantry assaults. It's very quick at establishing fire superiority in an infantry firefight. Especially in an urban setting where a Yank with a Browning would be able to hold of a panzergrenadier platoon.

2. Overwatch. I've seen it work well, when placed slightly behind a hill top. While my panzers advance, any sort of movement is quickly detected and an HE placed on target. Again, an advantage of the open-topped nature.

The Stummel isn't an IFV, and it shouldn't be treated any tougher than an ordinary halftrack.

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Edited by DerKommissar
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I think a main reason that Stummels are so much fun is that they can have a crucial role in actions that are not dominated by tanks, and that cos they are so vulnerable, it's a real challenge to use em while keeping em alive.  However, maybe that is only fun for experienced players once the fun of using heavy armor like Tigers etc wears off?

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I been watching WW2 documentaries and early war is fascinating.  I recall that in CM1 the early war was much more fun as it often took multiple hits to kill anything and weapons systems were less standardized.  It was fun to play campaigns or a series of scenarios that took one from early war to late and experience how the evolution of weapons system changed the battlefield and tactics used.

One can appreciate the marketing reasons for starting with late war since nowadays everyone wants to play the victorious Allies (I suppose).  But what a shame...  By the time we get to early war, players may have drifted away.

 

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