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Does anyone manage to occupy overwatch/base of fire positions without being spotted?

 

Despite crawling into cover I find it difficult to get into positions with HMGs/Mortars not being spotted. This sometimes leads to the base of fire being suppressed which is obviously the complete opposite to what I intend. Am I the only one with this issue?

I may be overthinking this, i.e. I should just be moving up to the overwatch/BoF position with enough force that I can suppress anyone else who fires at me, but I would prefer a stealthy approach, and I don't see how it would be particularly easy to spot a MG team 500m+ away - i've attached an image to give you an idea, with the green building being where the enemy are locating

 

1.jpg

 

 

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@FlibbyBased on your picture, here is what I would do: 1. Check your mortars to see how many smoke rounds they have. If they have some, great if not, fine. 2. Use one of your HQ units with y

Yeah, it's tricky. The scheme that Heirloom_tomato outlines is good, but it's worth breaking this down a little. Defining the problem: Setting up an MG takes time, so in an even fight (an MG and

We've discussed this before, but to a large extent the strength of CM as a simulation is that, to a large degree, the real-world stuff works very well in game. There are exceptions - hugging the ma

@FlibbyBased on your picture, here is what I would do:

1. Check your mortars to see how many smoke rounds they have. If they have some, great if not, fine.

2. Use one of your HQ units with your SBF and get them to the edge of the hill and then have them move at SLOW until they can see the target house. Have them call in either a smoke mission or short HE mission on the target house. Take note of how long it will take for the fire mission to start.

3. Either have the HQ  team HIDE  in place or have them slow just back over the edge of the hill out of site. Once your mortar team fires its first spotting round, have the HQ either UNHIDE or move SLOW back over the ridge. They need to see the spotting rounds land in order for the mortar to fire effectively. 

4. Move the MG teams up the crest of the ridge while the mortar team is prepping their mission. Once the smoke starts to billow or the HE rounds strike true, have them pop over the ridge, deploy their weapons and rain down suppressive fire on the house.

5. Move your flanking assault team into position and have them start their attack while the smoke is billowing or HE is still falling. They should be in position and moving in for the kill as the last HE rounds are falling. The MG's can fire away while the assault teams move in.

Edited by Heirloom_Tomato
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Depending on the situation is often hard - if not impossible to get the SBF into position safely. Largely because many maps force the SBF to be overly close to where you want fires to go.

If its a small map I usually just have the SBF shoot their way into their position. Depending on the terrain you can also do a LOS trick where you have your men crawl to a location where they do not have LOS to the target and keep the on HIDE until their weapons are deployed. Then un-HIDE them so that they kneel and gain LOS to the target.

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Yeah, it's tricky. The scheme that Heirloom_tomato outlines is good, but it's worth breaking this down a little.

Defining the problem:

Setting up an MG takes time, so in an even fight (an MG and an opposing squad rushing up to facing covered positions), the squad will probably win, simply because the MG needs time to set up, and the squad has much greater situational awareness, owing to a greater number of eyes. Once set up, the MMG/HMG should win the eventual firefight, but if it doesn't get the chance to do so because the MG is suppressed, then you're not getting anywhere. That means that you need something to shift things in your favour.

Compounding this, tree cover is ambiguous. Particularly in CMFI, terrain can be sparse and inconsistent, and it can be hard to mask an entire unit. It only takes on chap being spotted to rumble the whole thing.

In the above screenshot it also looks as though the wall is down the slope. That means that the appropriate position for observation is not the facing wall, but instead the hillcrest covered by forest. The alternative is that you'll likely be spotted through tree gaps as you make your way to the downsloped wall. 

In terms of concealing this movement, it's important to play the odds. Slow movement helps, and definitely setting short cover arcs to hold fire. What also helps is using the minimum possible number of troops.


So, in this scenario I think what I would do is scout with the platoon leader, which would hold fire. The mortars deploy behind the ridgeline, within shouting distance of the HQ's intended position on the ridgeline (four action spots is reasonable). I'm going to assume that you have zero smoke available - there's not much smoke for US forces anyway, and there are too many factors that can come into play - wind direction, weather, etc.

The HQ (and only the HQ) Slow-moves to the ridgeline, to a spot with LOS to the house. Since you'll be moving a small number of troops, slowly and through woods, holding fire, you'll have the maximum chance of doing this undetected. If you can't, then a mass-assault may be the only way - rushing up and overwhelming them with fire. That's not the first plan though.

After gaining LOS on the target (which we're assuming you know is occupied already - if not then this HQ is going to be observing for a number of turns, since you won't have many eyes to spot with. This is where good C2 links and multiple scouts with radios become useful), then you do two things - start planning your mortar fire mission, and start planning your MG placement. When the HQ has spotting contacts, you can move up the MGs (still behind the ridgeline) to collect these using horizontal C2. That'll be important in a minute. The same applies for any rifle squads that are joining this base of fire, but the deployment of the MGs need the most thought.

When the fire mission has been plotted and starts landing, now is the time to rush forward the MGs. Mortar rounds suppressing the enemy give your MGs the time to set up in your pre-planned positions, and the shared spotting contacts allow them to find the targets most effectively. You're stacking the deck in your favour. Once the MGs are deployed then you should have sufficient firepower to allow the supporting rifle squads to move up, and eventually to give the manoeuvre elements freedom to move.

MGs are important in the attack as well as the defence, but they do require some more thought. 

Training film, with some useful things, including a depiction of this kind of leader recon at the six-ish minute mark.

 

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Quite a bit of that video is about indirect MG fire, which we can't do in CM. The point still holds though.

13:15 is where the "how to get into position" starts, which mostly involves "just rush into position if you don't have cover". The part where the squad leader is picking targets for them is simulated in CM by sharing spotting contacts though, so paying attention to those is important.

Edited by domfluff
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Whilst on the subject - this is a battalion MG section in the 1943 US TOE for CMFI, as depicted in the above video.

OtbxPhx.png
 

Of particular note is that the above section has no radios - neither the section leader, nor the jeeps have them. The only radios in the platoon are with the platoon HQ unit.

That means that this section will have to fight within close range of themselves by necessity, and share information manually - the section HQ (which is one chap) is going to be running around a lot. The jeeps contain additional .30 cal ammunition (1500 rounds), which might be fairly obvious.

 

Edited by domfluff
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One piece of the puzzle is to always drop the camera all the way down to pixeltropper eye level and have a look at the terrain. Use the zoom feature and you may find your men can actually see the target building from an action square or two further back than you thought possible from a higher camera angle or there may actuly be a path the assault troops can take that will keep them under cover.

Remember in this game you are the commander of every unit, it is not being a gamey bastooge to look through their eyes.

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13 hours ago, com-intern said:

Depending on the situation is often hard - if not impossible to get the SBF into position safely. Largely because many maps force the SBF to be overly close to where you want fires to go.

If its a small map I usually just have the SBF shoot their way into their position. Depending on the terrain you can also do a LOS trick where you have your men crawl to a location where they do not have LOS to the target and keep the on HIDE until their weapons are deployed. Then un-HIDE them so that they kneel and gain LOS to the target.

Bingo. Map's too small for the given scenario and forces involved. The player doesn't really have many options and the one he has is very exposed to return fire. 

The map i'm looking at seems appropriate for a squad+ size engagement at most. Even a pair of Platoons can make a 500m area pretty lethal. 

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In most cases, you don't sneak up the SBF element. You gain fire superiority through maneuver elements and then shift to the SBF element to make the rifles able to get closer.

I don't think you're gaining any real advantage by flanking right, and the small farm seems to control the low wall you need to take in order to take the big buildings, so here's what I would do:

Run the maneuver element through the trees to the first low wall. Immediately fire all rifles at the big buildings.

Once they are suppressed, run up your fire element and set up MGs and mortars. Small mortars are nearly useless against buildings, except for (short lived) suppression. Use them to take out enemies behind low walls.

MGs now take over suppression while the rifles flank left to take up positions at the low walls left of small farm (which is also suppressed by your MGs). Then the rifles take the small farm and you can then approach the final objective through the trees or along the low wall.

Typically in CM scenarios, you never reach the final objective, because the enemies surrender before that.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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3 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

In most cases, you don't sneak up the SBF element. You gain fire superiority through maneuver elements and then shift to the SBF element to make the rifles able to get closer.

I don't think you're gaining any real advantage by flanking right, and the small farm seems to control the low wall you need to take in order to take the big buildings, so here's what I would do:

Run the maneuver element through the trees to the first low wall. Immediately fire all rifles at the big buildings.

Once they are suppressed, run up your fire element and set up MGs and mortars. Small mortars are nearly useless against buildings, except for (short lived) suppression. Use them to take out enemies behind low walls.

MGs now take over suppression while the rifles flank left to take up positions at the low walls left of small farm (which is also suppressed by your MGs). Then the rifles take the small farm and you can then approach the final objective through the trees or along the low wall.

Typically in CM scenarios, you never reach the final objective, because the enemies surrender before that.

Thats interesting. I've never thought of using the rifle squads to enable the sbf position, more that the SBF would cover the rifle squads.

 

Wouldn't the rifle squads be likely to suffer if they advanced over the hilltop without any overwatching units?

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This would be an even more interesting thread if I knew what SBF stood for.  Single Black Female?  Small Block Ford?   Stupid But Funny?  Singapore Bowling Federation? I assume it means Support Base of Fire or some such, but you know what happens when a person assumes.....

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One thing I have found as an amateur is any suppression is good suppression...on the enemy.  I used to spend an entire scenario working MGs forward into a perfect LOS position on a building, fortification, etc.  What I found through experience is that if you move the MG forward through woods, stop as soon as you have a shot at any part of the building in range.  I then fire on that part of the building with area fire.  Eventually, unless they are crack troops,  you'll have enough suppression on them, you can move rifles forward to add to it.  Then, you can move the MG into a better position to hammer on the enemy.  Several assumptions here:

1) Against the AI.  The AI won't fire back at your MG unless it has a clear and targeted shot.

2) No flanking fire on your MG

3) Enemy troops are veteran or less.

May be a little gamey because of AI/area fire thing, but it works.

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46 minutes ago, mjkerner said:

This would be an even more interesting thread if I knew what SBF stood for.  Single Black Female?  Small Block Ford?   Stupid But Funny?  Singapore Bowling Federation? I assume it means Support Base of Fire or some such, but you know what happens when a person assumes.....

Support By Fire

https://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/2014/Apr-Jun/ConradTinsley.html#:~:text=During a deliberate attack for example%2C the assaulting,to the deliberate attack as conducting the assault.

Support_by_fire.jpg

Edited by com-intern
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21 hours ago, domfluff said:

MGs are important in the attack as well as the defence, but they do require some more thought. 

Training film, with some useful things, including a depiction of this kind of leader recon at the six-ish minute mark.

That was a really good summary - thanks. Also, I like those old training films and that was a really good one, thanks again :)

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The other thing I should ask Fibby is if he's playing Syria. I'm not sure if he's using standard icons and such. It's just that with REDFOR in particular you really don't have much to gain splitting your forces into a fire base and maneuver element typical of western infantry tactics. Needless complication of what should be simple straight on pummeling. Mass your whole force on the high ground and hope the guys can bag a few hits on the structure with their RPGs which can devastate buildings with thermobaric rounds. Then just advance straight on. 

EDIT: Looking at it might also be Fortress Italy but tbh, there's just about no advantage to be gained that I can see from executing a Fix-and-Flank from the given position. The enemy is in a hardened structure with superior overwatch on both flanks. The disadvantage is that the enemy's position is obvious, and you should be able to overpower it eventually in a simple uncomplicated gun battle. 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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I never-never-never put my on-map mortars in direct line of sight with the enemy unless I'm absolutely positive the enemy has nothing that they can shoot at them with (which is a rare thing on a CM-size map).  Using a spotter may be burdensome but I'd rather have my mortar crew inefficient than dead.

The trick to having a secure base of fire is having sufficient resources to punish the enemy for firing on you. In the CMFI Rome To Victory module I did a scenario with Germans attacking up a mountain slope with three HMGs on the next slope providing covering fire for them. The German HMGs were just outside of effective rifle range and if anyone was brave enough to try firing on them they attracted incoming fire from three widely spaced MG positions. If the defenders fired on the advancing troops they got noticed by the HMGs, they fired on the HMGs they got noticed by the advancing troops (not to mention risking a mortaring). Awh, I'm all nostalgic for that scenario now. ^_^

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The HMGs are best used from very long range. This is why I kind of find them less useful in Normandy (outside of defending), whereas in Italy they are awesome: You put them on some hill on the back line and have them hose away.

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13 hours ago, SimpleSimon said:

The other thing I should ask Fibby is if he's playing Syria. I'm not sure if he's using standard icons and such. It's just that with REDFOR in particular you really don't have much to gain splitting your forces into a fire base and maneuver element typical of western infantry tactics. Needless complication of what should be simple straight on pummeling. Mass your whole force on the high ground and hope the guys can bag a few hits on the structure with their RPGs which can devastate buildings with thermobaric rounds. Then just advance straight on. 

EDIT: Looking at it might also be Fortress Italy but tbh, there's just about no advantage to be gained that I can see from executing a Fix-and-Flank from the given position. The enemy is in a hardened structure with superior overwatch on both flanks. The disadvantage is that the enemy's position is obvious, and you should be able to overpower it eventually in a simple uncomplicated gun battle. 

To be honest the scenario played out with losing a lot of men to take the buildings which were occupied with a whole squad each. 

 

I think it sums up how futile it can be to attack occupied buildings without high explosive shells in one form or another.

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None of those wooded areas are very thick.

I think CM underestimates the concealment potential of thin woods (especially when there is any rise in the underlying terrain)... in fact, I think I recall that it is confirmed that ALL units in CM are FAR more visible than they should be for gameplay reasons (there's a reason small unit skirmishes can last many hours in real life).

We're not talking "health bars" here... but it is an ahistorical engine quirk that one needs to get used to & plan for.

I agree with @Bulletpoint that the (thin) wooded terrain suggests, to me, "assault route" rather than "base of fire position".

However, there are usually advantages for doing something unexpected (especially considering all the murderous scenario creators out there, all of whom seem insanely desperate to brutally murder my poor, innocent pixeltruppen... what did my pixels ever do to you @George MC? We can't take a nice "walk in the sun" without you flinging various kinds of explosive sh*t at us?).

Edited by 37mm
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20 hours ago, Flibby said:

Thats interesting. I've never thought of using the rifle squads to enable the sbf position, more that the SBF would cover the rifle squads.

 

Wouldn't the rifle squads be likely to suffer if they advanced over the hilltop without any overwatching units?

Yes, they will take some fire and casualties, but in a WW2 setting, it's often a trade off worth making. If casualties can be expected to be at reasonable levels, you trade a couple of riflemen for many minutes of time. That time can then be used in the later part of the battle to prevent casualties by having more time to take the buildings.

But it always needs a close evaluation. Where do your guys crest the hill exactly? How far do they have to run to cover? How much concealment will they have by the sparse trees? What's the range to the enemy position? How much time do you have in total? Etc.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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2 hours ago, Flibby said:

To be honest the scenario played out with losing a lot of men to take the buildings which were occupied with a whole squad each. 

 

I think it sums up how futile it can be to attack occupied buildings without high explosive shells in one form or another.

It sounds like there were a lot of them. Like too many for the attack to be reasonably conducted without more support, men, or both. 

Most commanders in 1944 would've elected to just avoid this battle, and just feed back to their superiors that enemy resistance was too heavy to press on then maybe say they took lots of casualties to please the Party Representative or whatever. If their CO isn't a sod he'll understand. 

We really need to score these battles way more heavily on casualties. Almost all of the scenarios seem to place objectives as a higher priority than casualties but objectives in wars don't exist unto themselves. They exist to create external-context to the game's battles in way that should compel commanders/players against 100% optimal play. 

The Defender on this map should've had the hill as a hold objective. It is not immediately dangerous for them to lose, and they might chose to simply avoid defending it entirely so as not to split their forces. However, in the days following your skirmish with the enemy the hill could take on new importance in a follow up attack, or serve as spotting point for artillery later on. So it would really be unwise for the Defender to simply give it up to you. Could they? Sure. "Both sides declare victory" Oh wait, 45min into the battle a "Howitzer" reinforcement appears for the attacker hmmm maybe should've contested SBF after all. 

As designed this battle strikes me more as a skirmish or a probe. It should be scored more with that it mind. "Do not become decisively engaged etc" just capture the ground around the Villa to make a follow up attack more favorable. The enemy will probably withdraw during the night anyway. 

Quote

The HMGs are best used from very long range. This is why I kind of find them less useful in Normandy (outside of defending), whereas in Italy they are awesome: You put them on some hill on the back line and have them hose away.

HMGs are useful at all ranges, although they are indeed more useful for picking off targets a km away. I'm sort of wondering if part of the reason snipers are such a problem today is because all those water cooled .30cal machine guns have disappeared from inventories, and those guns had some conspicuous advantages over their air-cooled competitors like greater effective range, continuous fire output, etc. Certainly they were heavy, complicated weapons that needed a mule team to keep fed with ammunition but vehicle mounts are everywhere and could easily accommodate all the ammunition, spare water, etc. 

Did I just invent the Infantry Tank? Oh dear.  

Edited by SimpleSimon
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24 minutes ago, SimpleSimon said:

Almost all of the scenarios seem to place objectives as a higher priority than casualties but objectives in wars don't exist unto themselves.

I'm not too sure that is correct... during large battles/offensives (where most CM scenarios take place) you have very high casualty rates where units are trying to stick to some timetable of objectives (if your unit fails to meet its objectives, both the flanking units are left in horrendous danger).

Operation Goodwood was a two day battle which saw the Allies lose 500 tanks... Normandy, day by day, was considered to be as bloody as WW1's Battle of the Somme (although, obviously, ending up more decisive... and with more movement).

Compared with most wars* the World Wars really were staggering in terms of bloodiness... and CM scenarios are usually representing the very bloody tip of that truly outrageous carnage.

CMSF1/2 is probably the outlier here... as it is difficult to imagine, considering the BFC hypothetical timeline, why "objectives" (any objective) would be worth as many casualties as one usually suffers  during a scenario... however, clearly, CMSF1/2 is a fantasy sandbox.

 

 

 

* Just as a random comparison, the British suffered 256 dead from the four year (1936-39) revolt in Palestine... a butchers bill perfectly comparable with todays "small wars".

Edited by 37mm
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I think that part of the problem comes from traditional army "battle drills". These documents always use scenarios where you have a platoon attacking a single enemy squad. That squad is sat in a Bush and they've seemingly been left all alone like some sort of punishment.

 

Of course a text book fire and manoeuvre approach is easy here, but how often does that scenario occur? 

 

I understand the need for the rank and file to have simple and easy to understand instructions, but is not as easy to find instructional materiel for lieutenants and captains on how to approach attacks to more complex defensive setups. I guess most of that relies upon the same principles being applied with a dollop of common sense.

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