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Has anyone else noticed that regular infantry in CMSF2 (and perhaps CMBS) seem to spot much better/faster than FO's or even the MBT's like the M1.  

Have been playing a lot of CMSF2 and find that to spot enemy AFV's the most successful SOP is to always lead with inf to spot enemy AFV's.  One would think that M1's and other MBT's as well as FO's would spot more effectively/quicker.  But, they do not.  AT teams with Javelins who do not have binoculars spot more effectively than M1's or FO's.  (Perhaps the javelin optics are better than using binoculars?)

The other oddity, is that if one has an inf unit that has ID'd an enemy unit, and one moves an FO or an M1 literally on top of the inf unit, the FO or tank STILL will not spot the enemy even after sitting there on top of the inf for several minutes.  There is no communication apparently.  

What that means is that SOP for a modern title is to always lead with inf and Javelin AT teams as all other units are relatively blind. Does that reflect reality or a weirdness of the game?

On a related note, there was recent news that the Brits will not build any more tanks.  It must be a lot cheaper and easier to build and transport large numbers of ATGM's than MBT's.  In the games, every western squad can field a Javelin. which easily kill anything the Red forces field  If the Red forces are similarly equipped, it does seem to indicate that given sufficient ATGM's like Javelins, tanks are obsolete. 

 

 

 

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Infantry squads have more sets of eyes than an FO team, or a tank crew.

The mechanics of spotting are obfuscated, but they're clearly decided per-soldier, and there is a random element. All things being equal, a squad is making more dice rolls, and therefore has more chance of seeing something.

In addition, all things are not equal. US rifle squads that pick one up will carry the Javelin CLU, which has tremendously powerful spotting abilities - to the extent that they remain useful even if they have no missiles. They are some of the best optics available in the game. You'll likely see similar or better results with other purpose-built spotting kit, for example the M1151 Reconnaissance Humvee with the LRAS3 system in CMBS.

Now, should your SOP be to lead with an infantry squad? Not necessarily. Spotting passively requires time and location, and a smaller FO team will be harder to spot, and will not reduce your available combat force by devoting a squad (and perhaps a Javelin) purely to spotting duty - sitting quietly in a location with good visibility is pretty much what you want to be doing with an FO, whereas a squad is a manoeuvre element.

Further, the FO isn't a scout. Their job is to control fire missions, and therefore they need information relayed to them through the C2 network. They don't need to be spotting the enemy, as long as they can call down fire onto areas where fires are needed.

Quote

On a related note, there was recent news that the Brits will not build any more tanks.  It must be a lot cheaper and easier to build and transport large numbers of ATGM's than MBT's.  In the games, every western squad can field a Javelin. which easily kill anything the Red forces field  If the Red forces are similarly equipped, it does seem to indicate that given sufficient ATGM's like Javelins, tanks are obsolete. 


Heh. So, step aside from the world of Javelins and Abrams tanks for a second, and look down a couple of rungs. Ukraine vs Russia or Syria vs Syria, perhaps.

At that level, access to ERA can become a serious benefit, and APS is a "magic shield", as per reports in Ukraine. ERA is no good against tandem warheads, and APS in CMBS has no protection against the top-attack Javelin, but if you don't have access to that (or, more importantly, if defences exist to defeat these), then suddenly this isn't true anymore. There is no plausible defence against the main round from an MBT of any reasonable size, and that doesn't look like something which is likely to change any time soon.

In “Lessons Learned” from the Russo-Ukrainian War by Phillip Klaber, he lists four tactical lessons, applicable (and predictable!) from CMBS:

- Ubiquitous Presence of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
- Increased Lethality of Indirect Fires
- ATGMs and Armor’s Counter-revolution
- Declining Survivability of Light Infantry Vehicles

That is to say:

- UAVs are used en masse, especially to plan and direct artillery. Not necessarily for Precision attacks, as in the US, but for sighting massed bombardments.
- Indirect fires are called faster, and with increased numbers. Since these are co-ordinated over UAV, indirect fire is more important than ever.
- The above mentioned technological advancements - first ERA, then APS, have fought back against the supremacy of ATGMs predicted since 1973 or so.
- Conversely, IFVs are more suspect than in previous conflicts - there's a push towards developing heavier APCs/IFVs, since light armour is so vulnerable. Infantry are fighting dismounted, without direct support from their vehicles. As you can see from CMBS or CMSF, fighting without a BMP strips the squad of much of it's needed firepower.

So... no. ATGMs do not make tanks obsolete, any more than they did in the Sinai. The game has certainly changed, but it's not as simple as "you can do without armour", in a purely tactical, wargaming sense. Now, what the role of the British army should be, and what's motivated this announcement are very different questions.

Can you get away without them? Sure, if you can guarantee that you stay at least one generation ahead of the armour/anti-armour race at all times, and that this is even possible conceptually. The minute that isn't possible, you run into major problems.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, domfluff said:

At that level, access to ERA can become a serious benefit, and APS is a "magic shield", as per reports in Ukraine. ERA is no good against tandem warheads, and APS in CMBS has no protection against the top-attack Javelin, but if you don't have access to that (or, more importantly, if defences exist to defeat these), then suddenly this isn't true anymore.

What may be being missed is that one can pay for and build MANY more ATGM's and other AT weapons than a modern MBT with all its bells and whistles.  It's not like one is talking one ATGM vs one tank.  Let's think 10+ ATGM's per enemy tank.  It's way easier to transport a hundred ATGM's by air to where they are needed than a single MBT.  What the modern CM titles are clearly teaching is that with sufficient ATGM's tanks don't stay alive long.  If that is not accurate in RL, that is a different question.

The modern CM sims indicate that what is needed is a much more heavily armored AVRE or "SturmTiger" or Brummbar" tractor with 150mm+ HE launcher that can withstand multiple AT rocket and even ATGM hits so it can be used for urban close combat (50-100 meters range).  One doesn't need all the bells and whistles that are on modern MBT's.  Sure, keep a few around for contingencies.  But, it's hard to imagine the sort of armored clashes of yesteryear in an era of large numbers of effective Javelin-like ATGM's.

Re spotting issues, I recommend playing George MC's NATO TV 95-5 Steelers scenario(s).  In these scenarios the challenge is to spot enemy AFV's at ranges from the low 2000 meters to almost 3000 meters.  Inf squads and Javelin teams spot em within a few minutes.  FO's never seem to spot them ever - even when positioned on top of the spotting inf/Jav unit for many minutes.  Similarly, the M1 tanks can't see the enemy AFV's when on top of the inf spotters who have clear LOS for several minutes.   (Usually after that the M1's get hit by Red ATGM's.)

I thought that at the very least, the units would communicate with each other as in in "Look over there you blind idjit!"  Why doesn't the C2 system work as in RL in this situation?

Edited by Erwin
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Which has been the conclusion before, until ERA was developed.

Javelins in CM have no defence - if top-attack APS can and do become a typical thing (or any other defensive measures which don't currently exist), you'll be right back to wanting a tank main round.

That was my point - you're more than capable of getting by without an MBT, as long as you have the massive technological edge that the US and NATO forces enjoy in the CM titles. There's no reason to expect that to continue.

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Seventy years ago the US Secretary of Defense gave a speech talking about the tank being obsolete as a warfighting concept. Literally days after his speech the Korean war started. And literally day after that the US went on a tank designing frenzy.

Not every war (or hardly any war these days) is against a peer nation with advanced industrial resources. But the roadside fertilizer bomb has done as much to neutralize the impact of invading armor as any fancy top-attack anti-tank munition. Hegemonic military domination of small third world countries has become increasingly problematic. Full-up war against a technologically advanced peer state has become almost impossible. In CM there's often a 'gentlemen's agreement' between players to limit the use of land mines, rocket artillery and air power.Because its too easy to bring gameplay to an abrupt stop.

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Modeling spotting correctly has always been more art than science. We all know what the human eye can potentially see, modeling what the brain perceives and when however, especially  under very stressful conditions like combat is infinitely harder. On the whole, CM gets it right, despite the occasional hiccups.

re: the game. I find the best use of AFV/dismounts is to work as a team, with AFVs close to the infantry, that way AFVs are always just there if the infantry spots an enemy unit. Yes, you run the risk of losing more AFVs that way, but I think the advantages outweigh the risks.

re: evolution of tanks. I doubt AFVs will ever go obsolete since the reason why they were invented in WW1, i.e. help infantry cross the battlefield, still exist. That does not mean however that the concept cannot evolve. For example the BMP-3 is often though of as just a modern Halftrack, but it is more powerful than any WW2 tank and can carry and protect infantry as well.

Edited by Sgt Joch
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13 minutes ago, Sgt Joch said:

re: the game. I find the best use of AFV/dismounts is to work as a team, with AFVs close to the infantry, that way AFVs are always just there if the infantry spots an enemy unit. Yes, you run the risk of losing more AFVs that way, but I think the advantages outweigh the risks.

Disagree.  Again, I recommend trying George MC's NATO TV 95-5 Steelers scenario(s).  It's very common that the M1 or Bradley is spotted by enemy ATGM's quite quickly and it's usually suicide to have them close to the inf unit that has successfully spotted the enemy AFV. 

In my example I learned where to place the inf spotter, plus the tank (in relatively safety), plus the FO so that all should have had the same opportunity to spot the enemy AFV(s).  The inf spots within a few minutes.  The tank and FO never spotted any AFV.  So, not only should the tank have been able to easily spot the enemy AFV with its superior tech, but both the FO and the tank should have been able to glean that info from the inf unit if it communicated in the way that we are told the game simulates.  As a game anomaly, it's not a big deal.  But, in a sim that aims to be realistic enuff for RL training?

Rather than theoretical discussion, it's recommended that folks actually try testing this out on a NATO TV 95-5 Steelers scenario and see how the ATGM's dominate the battlefield.  

I do agree that in colonial wars against inferior opponents, the tank is still very useful.  But, does one need such expensive sophistication which is clearly designed to fight a peer adversary like Russia or China?  

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Well "close" on a modern battlefield is always relative. The ideal position is in a relatively hidden/hull down/protected on the sides position where the AFV is relatively secure, but in a good shooting/overwatch position where it can engage threats immediately as they are spotted by the enemy.

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On 8/30/2020 at 6:10 PM, Erwin said:

On a related note, there was recent news that the Brits will not build any more tanks.  It must be a lot cheaper and easier to build and transport large numbers of ATGM's than MBT's.  In the games, every western squad can field a Javelin. which easily kill anything the Red forces field  If the Red forces are similarly equipped, it does seem to indicate that given sufficient ATGM's like Javelins, tanks are obsolete. 

Try a Blue vs Blue game in CMBS, Trophy Aps will generate a magic shield to stop Javelins. The next round Arms race began. 

Oh, and to the argument of field 100 Javelin team to counter a MBT,  after a 20kt tactical nukes denote the one left to be operational is probably the MBT :)    

Since 1920's people think tanks are obsolete , history proves they are wrong. In my humble opinion, the tanks will not be obsolete, but they may go through an evolution that makes us no longer recognize them anymore.     The future tanks could be a UAV carrier. It can carry dozens small to medium size UAV by itself , and can function as a FARP for larger size UAV. There could be some arguments saying that the inf squad can carry UAV too, but the weight they can carry, maintenance service and the electronic support they can provide does not match the ability of a tank. The future tank will carry alot of EW device as its defence , survive the battlefield by jamming enemy's UAV's communication , surface movement radar.  Some UAVs carry LGB and ATGM, others carry short range AAM, and to address the EW/communication disruption from the enemy,  we may see some UAVs connect to wires . Tanks will use CIWS style guns to defend them from ATGM/JDAM/LGB, of course when enemy tanks get close, they can have a gun battle just like good old days.

 

My two cents.  Thank you for listening to my crazy mumble. I took too many Vodka this evening  :) 

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I assumed he meant that Jav terms are easily killed.    True, but you can pay for, manufacture and carry hundreds of javs on a transport plane forn maybe 1 MBT.   There is no tank  defence system that cannot be overwhelmed by multiple ATGM's.  (Maybe when they get Starwars-like laser defense?)

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<sigh>  Alright... Ran another spotting test:

Moved a scout team (NO BINOCULARS, only Mk 1 eyeballs) plus a FO with targeting tech and a JAV AT team to exactly the same location where I knew from past tests they should be able to easily spot an enemy AFV.

1)  After about 3.5 minutes, the SCOUT team with NO BINOCULARS spotted the hulldown enemy AFV. at 2,658 meters distance  The FO and JAV team have not positively spotted the AFV despite having high tech optics and binoculars.

2)  After 6 minutes the SCOUT with NO BINOCS has spotted a 2nd enemy AFV at about 2,789 meters.  The FO and JAV team have still not positively spotted any AFV despite having binoculars and the JAV optics.  Neither has the SCOUT communicated anything about the AFV to the FO or Jav team as one would expect if the C2 system is performing as advertised.

3)  After 10 minutes of no change to the above situation I quit the test.

Questions:

Why is a scout with no optical tech able to spot the AFV at over 2.6Km when the FO with its targeting tech and the Jav with superior optics and binocs cannot?  

What hasn't the scout communicated this info to the other teams which are lying on top of him?

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Hmm... since no one else wants to examine this, I did another test using "Tactical Vignette Attack in Brandenburg" (another good scenario by George MC).  I thought that perhaps long range spotting is bugged.  So, the Brandenburg map is much smaller - so distances are in hundreds of meters rather than thousands.

However...  once again scouts with NO BINOCULARS or any other aid, are able to spot enemy ATGM's with ease - within a couple of minutes.  The HQ cannot see them even when the HQ in on the same roof as the scout for several minutes.  Why don't they communicate?

Ditto: The Javelin Teams also cannot spot the ATGM's.

Also, the Bradleys and M1's also cannot spot the ATGM's after many minutes.  One has to Area Fire em at where the scouts know the ATGM's are located.  

Unless someone has an explanation, this seems to indicate that SPOTTING does not work as advertised.  But, please do your own tests.

 

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On 8/31/2020 at 1:34 AM, domfluff said:

There is no plausible defence against the main round from an MBT of any reasonable size, and that doesn't look like something which is likely to change any time soon.

I think people said the same about battleships before the outbreak of WW2.

"There is no plausible defence against the main guns of a battleship - but bombs and torpedoes can be defeated by AA guns and torpedo nets".

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It's still true though - the main gun of a battleship would still be an effective weapon against anything afloat, it's the delivery method that's the issue.

This isn't true for ATGMs, and whilst it's possible to discuss this in terms of scale, that's inevitably an argument with sliding boundaries. ATGM countermeasures are usually extremely cheap compared to ATGMs, and allegedly pretty effective in percentage terms, based on the available data.

Now, in terms of hard data, it's the case that the trend - particularly from experience in Ukraine - has been that heavier IFVs seem to be needed for peer on peer conflict, and that tanks are still useful, even as the modern battlefield becomes more lethal. Whether that's always the case is a different question, but experience of fighting from <<current year>> would suggest that giving up armour now is not the way to win a peer on peer tactical fight, at least from a wargaming sense.

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26 minutes ago, domfluff said:

It's still true though - the main gun of a battleship would still be an effective weapon against anything afloat, it's the delivery method that's the issue.

Battleships were made obsolete, and not because their guns were no longer effective against other ships, but because aircraft could do the same job better and at longer ranges. Also, aircraft made it near impossible to protect the battleships, which are extremely costly investments.

So today, we still see many armoured ships on the world's oceans, but they are smaller, lighter armoured, and their guns are much smaller, because they are only there to deal with small threats. All the heavy damage is dealt by missiles and aircraft.

I believe we will see the same thing happen with the heavy tanks. The only reason they are still in use is because they are extremely useful in wars against lightly armed insurgents, especially in a political environment where each dead soldier has a lot of impact on public opinion.

This political climate also means that the nations powerful enough to develop cutting edge tech focus more on finding ways to protect their own main battle tanks using all kinds of ERA and APS technology than to develop better ATGMs. Because the Taliban, Islamic State, etc. don't really have much armour to deal with anyway. And all the major powers know that a war against another major power will be over in 30 minutes, and not decided by lumbering tank divisions.

But if we imagine that another great war broke out, without going nuclear somehow, then I believe we would very soon see ATGM technology catching up and starting to defeat the protection systems developed after the end of the Cold War.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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24 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

I believe we will see the same thing happen with the heavy tanks. The only reason they are still in use is because they are extremely useful in wars against lightly armed insurgents,

+1  Agreed.   What aircraft did to battleships, the ATGM is doing to MBT's.  

We all love tanks.  They are so much fun to use in a CM game.  But, in the not too distant future, that will be thought of as nostalgic - like trying to find a use for horsed cavalry in WW1.  

Now... has anyone tested the spotting issues that are outlined at the start of this thread?  It's strange that all went quiet about that.  Unless this spotting problem has been fixed in a recent patch it seems very unrealistic that a two-man scout team with no optics/binoculars - only their eyeballs - can spot enemy tanks and ATGM's at the long ranges that were tested in the scenarios mentioned above when HQ's, FO's, and even tanks cannot.

Edited by Erwin
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On 9/10/2020 at 11:29 PM, Erwin said:

Now... has anyone tested the spotting issues that are outlined at the start of this thread?  It's strange that all went quiet about that.  Unless this spotting problem has been fixed in a recent patch it seems very unrealistic that a two-man scout team with no optics/binoculars - only their eyeballs - can spot enemy tanks and ATGM's at the long ranges that were tested in the scenarios mentioned above when HQ's, FO's, and even tanks cannot.

There is a problem on the side of the Syrian army, armored units often do not detect NATO armored units, even at close range. Situation - 3 pieces of BMP-3 at positions of different distances, looking in the same direction, could not find the Striker who drove up the hill in line of sight. Stryker took turns destroying 3 BMPs and none of them even after Stryker's shots found him. It was 150 meters from the nearest BMP-3 to Stryker.

A similar situation constantly arises on the side of the Syrian army, you have to blindly give the order to shoot at an empty spot on the map. And the funniest thing is that BMP-3s kill Striker blindly. To be honest this mechanic is very annoying because of which you have to hit the enemy with a similar method.

On the NATO side, I did not test this since NATO forces easily detect any enemy object without any problems, as it seemed to me.

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3 hours ago, Uffest said:

NATO forces easily detect any enemy object without any problems, as it seemed to me.

The point of this thread is that a US 2-man scout team with NO BINOCULARS nor any other optical technology can spot an enemy tank at over 2,500 meters in a couple of minutes.  However, FO's, HQ's and Javelin teams sitting on top of the scouts (ie in exactly the same location) could not spot the same tank even after 6-10 minutes (when I gave up and quit).  

I did not test this with other NATO nations, but that would be a useful test.

This test seems to indicate a problem with spotting routines since Javelins are supposed to have sophisticated spotting tech and the others at least have binoculars.

In the same scenario, I had an M1 tank sit on top of the scout team which had spotted an enemy tank at over 2,500 meters, and the the M1 tank also did not spot that same tank even after 6+ minutes.

Check this out for yourselves on George MC's NATO TV 95-5 Steelers scenario:

1)  After about 3.5 minutes, the SCOUT team with NO BINOCULARS spotted the hulldown enemy AFV. at 2,658 meters distance  The FO and JAV team have not positively spotted the AFV despite having high tech optics and binoculars.

2)  After 6 minutes the SCOUT with NO BINOCS has spotted a 2nd enemy AFV at about 2,789 meters.  The FO and JAV team have still not positively spotted any AFV despite having binoculars and the JAV optics.  Neither has the SCOUT communicated anything about the AFV to the FO or Jav team as one would expect if the C2 system is performing as advertised.

3)  After 10 minutes of no change to the above situation I quit the test.

I then played another scenario with much shorter ranges ("Tactical Vignette Attack in Brandenburg" (another good scenario by George MC).  In this instance the 2-man scout team was able to spot enemy ATGM's at 300-400 meters in a couple of minutes, whereas FO's, HQ's and Javelin teams could not even after 6+ minutes.  So, same spotting issue.

Questions:

Why is a scout with no optical tech able to spot the AFV at over 2.6Km when the FO with its targeting tech and the Jav with superior optics and binocs cannot?   Ditto for enemy inf at much shorter ranges.

What hasn't the scout communicated this info to the other teams which are lying on top of him?

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