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Why I like playing the underdogs (Commonwealth, Free French, etc.)


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14 hours ago, SimpleSimon said:

Where? When? How? It's a machine gun. It's likely competition was to be bolt action rifles and pistols which the British expected would make up the grand majority of the enemy's small arms stocks as they had in the last war. They could not have foreseen it would be the MG34 when the Bren was selected for service in 1935 and the Bren wasn't going to be selected with what the Germans had in mind anyway. It was selected to replace the Lewis. Did it make a better machine gun than the MG42? Sadly no. It was another example of an Allied "good enough" weapon that equipped their Armies. Their victorious Armies. 

I actually think by the way that the MG42 was one of the war's best weapons all around, so much so that by itself it basically bought Germany 6 months of survival. It was made almost entirely of stampings so despite being introduced mid war it made up considerable ground and still managed around 420,000 copies in a war where only weapon systems that can be produced in such numbers would have any measurable effect. Availability was king in 20th century battlefields and the MG42 was seriously everywhere (to no lesser extent the MG34) and frequent enough to push those Tommy and Rusky Infantry companies to the ground so much in so many places that it led to what must've been many cancelled attacks and frustrating delays while artillery support had to be called up all the time. Gotta delete every tree berm in a 2000m radius just to get moving again. The effects of its legendary muzzle report require very little input from commentators...

I just read the other day that in spite of the MG42, MG34, MG13, enormous numbers of captured Czech, French, and Russian small arms the Germans still had to issue MG08s to Security and reserve units a lot. Obsolescence is truly a meaningless concept when "nothing" is the alternative it seems. Also I can't find production figures for the Bren for some reason but I would not be surprised if overall fewer Brens were built than MG42s. The Bren was specifically intended for the Army infantry so it wouldn't compete with Royal Air Force demands (who had the Vickers K and Browning), the Royal Navy (who had the Vickers. 50 cal) the Royal Armored Corp (who had the BESA) and well, the Army itself who still had over a million Vickers HMGs from the Great War. The Lewis still appeared every now and then, especially when the 30,000 Brens issued to the BEF were all lost during the evacuation. I suspect many ended up equipping Dominion troops but the Bren's production must've been quite high because despite losses from early war setbacks the weapons could still be seen in the hands of Dominion troops in the Pacific.

Now the STEN? Yeah that one's hard to apologize for. Did bag Reinhard Heydrich tho...

 

 

Good points SimpleSimon.  When I've read about actions where stens were involved these are generally only mentioned because they went off by accident, giving away a patrol or causing friendly casualty.  And I can't count the number of first person accounts I've read where an allied unit was stopped completely by an MG42 or two.  The germans had lots of MG42s, the allies had lots of artillery.

Fortunately the MG42s are on my side right now as I am playing the Road to Bastogne campaign (downloaded from Few Good Men, author Lille Fiskerby).  Speaking of underdogs, I just spotted an american M4a2(76) w muzzle brake -- hadn't seen one before in the game.  I looked it up and saw that it had 108mm of front glacis armor!!!  That's a serious weapon w that gun & armor.  I am trying to take St Vith, campaign scenario #3, and ran into this nasty surprise on my flank.

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On 1/1/2021 at 11:57 PM, Anonymous_Jonze said:

Are we playing the same game? The mg42 absolutely shreds in CM. Even far away it puts enough bullets downrange to suppress a whole platoon. 

Talking about the LMG42, it's very inaccurate beyond 2-300 metres. Unless you're playing crack troops maybe. I usually play regulars.

The LMG42 is the best LMG in the game, yes, but only by a small margin.

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13 hours ago, Drifter Man said:

And I hoped I settled this with my tests last year, including counting of bullets in drums and belts... :)

 

 

My point about the LMG42 not being massively better was in fact based on your tests.

There's this myth of German superiority, but when I look at your tests results, I see that while the LMG42 is slightly better than comparable LMGs, it's only by a margin that doesn't really mean anything in practice.

It makes a lot of noise and sounds scary, but it's not that accurate, and it doesn't dominate ground. It boosts squad firepower at rifle ranges. At longer ranges, you can suppress with it, but you can do that with even rifle squads.

 

Edited by Bulletpoint
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Not sure about historical accuracy.  But in CM2 the game demonstrates the superiority and deadliness of the MG42.  Check out the "Scottish Corridor" campaign where in the first two missions (played so far) an overwhelming Brit force (3:1 to 4:1 odds) can be cut to pieces by a dozen or so one, two and three man German teams mostly equipped with MG42's.  If sited cleverly these small MG42 teams are very hard to suppress.

 

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There are plenty of youtube video's about the (L)MG-42 vs the Bren. I think it's a bit of a pointless discussion, they are different weapons. The MG-42  (and MG-34) are GPMGs and can be configured as LMG/MMG/HMG. For running and gunning the Bren is probably superior. However on defense with a good fire position the MG-42 can put out massive amount of fires which are accurate enough. So it shines there. While on offense if you can get it into a good fire position to suppress the enemy defenses it's also great. In CMx2 they aren't accurate when fired standing/kneeled, while the Bren is. So that's where the Bren is better imo.

This seems quite plausible compared to the historical info's.

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27 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Not sure about historical accuracy.  But in CM2 the game demonstrates the superiority and deadliness of the MG42.  Check out the "Scottish Corridor" campaign where in the first two missions (played so far) an overwhelming Brit force (3:1 to 4:1 odds) can be cut to pieces by a dozen or so one, two and three man German teams mostly equipped with MG42's.  If sited cleverly these small MG42 teams are very hard to suppress.

 

I played through the campaign twice. It's a great campaign, but the maps are also heavily designed to prevent the attacker from bringing his forces to bear. And as far as I remember, the Germans are veterans, while the poor Brits are mostly green. At 300m+, you won't usually get instantly cut down by LMG42.

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Just now, Bulletpoint said:

the maps are also heavily designed to prevent the attacker from bringing his forces to bear.

As am discovering.  :(

Very well designed CMBN campaign tho'.  Very impressed that Paper Tiger designed "Scottish Corridor) with multiple levels of difficulty.  If you lose a mission, the next will be easier.  If you win, the next will be harder etc.  Wish other campaigns had that feature.  

 

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4 minutes ago, Erwin said:

As am discovering.  :(

Very well designed CMBN campaign tho'.  Very impressed that Paper Tiger designed "Scottish Corridor) with multiple levels of difficulty.  If you lose a mission, the next will be easier.  If you win, the next will be harder etc.  Wish other campaigns had that feature.  

 

Yes, it's a brilliant campaign, and I highly enjoyed playing it... even though it's definitely a challenge.

Fun fact: The first post I made on this forum many years ago was a complaint that I had bought the game and found that the scenarios and campaigns were made by regular nonprofessional users.. among them Paper Tiger who made the Scottish Corridor campaign. I was very unsatisfied, because I assumed these campaigns would be substandard.

Hmmm... Let's just say that I had no clue what I was talking about.

 

Edited by Bulletpoint
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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

Yes, it's a brilliant campaign, and I highly enjoyed playing it... even though it's definitely a challenge.

Fun fact: The first post I made on this forum many years ago was a complaint that I had bought the game and found that the scenarios and campaigns were made by regular nonprofessional users.. among them Paper Tiger who made the Scottish Corridor campaign. I was very unsatisfied, because I assumed these campaigns would be substandard.

Hmmm... Let's just say that I had no clue what I was talking about.

 

Lol :)

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7 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

My point about the LMG42 not being massively better was in fact based on your tests.

I think it depends then what you count as "massive". The MG42 produced 40-50% more kills than Bren at longer ranges around 300 m, 60-80% more kills at closer ranges around 100 m. I'd call that massive - but that's just me.

About the feed system capacity, no need to count bullets, it's all counted on page 8 :)

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5 hours ago, Erwin said:

Very well designed CMBN campaign tho'.  Very impressed that Paper Tiger designed "Scottish Corridor) with multiple levels of difficulty.  If you lose a mission, the next will be easier.  If you win, the next will be harder etc.  Wish other campaigns had that feature.

Wow.....That is impressive.  B)

While it might not be quite as much work as some other branching options (as I've found out with my own attempts), the sheer amount of extra effort required to do that really does deserve comment.

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8 minutes ago, Drifter Man said:

The MG42 produced 40-50% more kills than Bren at longer ranges around 300 m,

One aspect to consider is that due to most CM maps being small, or at least usually having relatively short LOS/LOF ranges, most CMBN (at least) scenarios have firefights in the 50m-150m range.  That may well skew the competitive results re MG42 vs Bren.  

It would be great if we had more large map scenario where the ranges were in the 300m - 600m ranges.  But, CMBN scenarios seem to mostly feature bocage country.

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There's way too much small arms fetishization if you ask me. HE-Frag was the overwhelming contributor of the combat casualties of both wars. Something in the realm of 4/5 of them. The Royal Artillery conducted research after the Great War showing this and in spite of the new weaponry of the next war records from casualty clearing stations on both sides still bore that out in 1945. This is a big reason why there were so many delays replacing the Lee Enfield and ultimately why it wasn't replaced until the war ended. Riflemen don't kill much, they need their weapon more for personal protection so they can reasonably sit on ground and call it the property of His Majesty and back that by a visible symbol of force. The overwhelming majority of what you'll run into can be stopped by a .303 round, and if it can't than a FAL or M-16 won't do you much good either. 

 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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35 minutes ago, SimpleSimon said:

HE-Frag was the overwhelming contributor of the combat casualties of both wars. Something in the realm of 4/5 of them. ...Riflemen don't kill much, they need their weapon more for personal protection so they can reasonably sit on ground and call it the property ... and back that by a visible symbol of force.

We probably all agree about that.  Of course battering one's enemy with HE and then simply walking in over their corpses doesn't make for an entertaining game.  Hence these games are not realistic, other than depicting the outlier situation when one's forces are without sufficient HE support, or armor support, or MG support, or etc.  ie: The SNAFU situations.  

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Well infantry attacks were by no means abnormal operations-despite the findings of the Royal Artillery after all, it was agreed that heavy fire by itself was usually not decisive. What I'm just noticing these days is that broken scoring mechanics and map context are really corrosive to the scenarios often more-so than balance.

Like Hammer's Flank drove me nuts in base but really it'd be easy to fix by just relieving the player from the insanity of having to capture and clear an entire 2km map covered with overlapping entrenched MG42, flak, and anti-tank positions with some mortars and gun carriers. "Just reach phase line alpha and you can progress. If you're nuts and really want that medal then go for phase line beta but I warn you Comrade, Stavka gave you no artillery support and you will not be rewarded for such reckless conduct in our Army as you would be in the Fascist Army." 

Infantry did a lot during the big wars, it's just that it didn't usually look like how it looked in a movie or pop-history book. The frontline was generally way more permeable than maps made it look. German withdrawals were thwarted all the time by Battalions of Russians appearing-literally-right behind them. This is what I see really. Little in the way of firing and maneuver at the same time, more usually maneuver today, fire tomorrow if you get what i'm saying. This is why the Germans valued weapons like the Pak 40 and MG42 so much, because of the value they got out of restricting enemy movement. Not because movement itself was dangerous but because if allowed unchecked the end-result of the maneuver would be an Allied force in a position from which they could fully apply the mass of their firepower. That's why the Allies didn't value such individually potent weapons like the MG42, they saw the whole mass of the platoon mag dumping on the four of five guys left of a squad who miraculously survived the 25pdr and 4.5 in fire that was falling on them. 

 

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On 1/9/2021 at 1:28 AM, Drifter Man said:
On 1/8/2021 at 5:54 PM, Bulletpoint said:

My point about the LMG42 not being massively better was in fact based on your tests.

I think it depends then what you count as "massive". The MG42 produced 40-50% more kills than Bren at longer ranges around 300 m, 60-80% more kills at closer ranges around 100 m. I'd call that massive - but that's just me.

My point is that while the LMG42 is theoretically better in a relative sense, (because it causes 40 percent mre casualties than the Bren at 312 metres), in absolute terms, we're still only talking 0.10 kills per minute for the Bren compared to 0.14 kills per minute for the LMG42.

That means a Bren gunner has to fire away for a full ten minutes before causing one single casualty on average, while the LMG42 gunner "only" has to keep firing for seven minutes. My conclusion is that both weapons are inefficient at this range. In a game that features mortars, artillery, and tanks aplenty, with the power to wipe out whole squads in seconds, that difference in small arms firepower is pretty much negligible.

The only reason I brought up the LMG42 was as an example of a "mythical" German weapon that many people seem to have an exaggerated idea about. Yes, it's a little better, but no, it's not any gamechanger by any means.

I don't mean to say the Germans are rubbish in CM, but I feel that they lack an edge compared to the US forces. Especially when you factor in the US 60mm mortars, ability to split squads into three teams, and fast artillery call times.

So while the Germans are not true "underdogs", like the Italians for example, I still feel they are quite limited in many ways. Please note that this is not a complaint, but an observation.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

My point is that while the LMG42 is theoretically better in a relative sense, (because it causes 40 percent mre casualties than the Bren at 312 metres), in absolute terms, we're still only talking 0.10 kills per minute for the Bren compared to 0.14 kills per minute for the LMG42.

Small arms are only really usefull within 200m and even then only pick up much killing power below 100m

Beyond 200m heavy weapons like hmgs, mortars, tank guns, arty matter and small arms fire only serves a purpose in the absnece of these. If they are available small arms fire beyond 200m simply makes the unit a target for larger weapons.

Within the 200m though the lmg42 on its own has the same firepower as half an american infantry squad (1bar+4m1). And thats not counting supressive ability.

2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

The only reason I brought up the LMG42 was as an example of a "mythical" German weapon that many people seem to have an exaggerated idea about. Yes, it's a little better, but no, it's not any gamechanger by any means.

Its one of the weapons that massively outperforms the allied counterparts. The issue is that all those weapons keep getting treated like magical superweapons. Once they are used with proper care and their inteded tactics they do show their potential.

2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I don't mean to say the Germans are rubbish in CM, but I feel that they lack an edge compared to the US forces. Especially when you factor in the US 60mm mortars, ability to split squads into three teams, and fast artillery call times.

Id argue the plentiful radiaos and quick artillery calltime are the primary edge the us has. The mortar is nice but personally i find mortars at platoon level overkill and for company level 80mm mortars seem more useful to me. And splitting into 3 teams is only rarely usefull for at or scout puropses and at least at i find is better dealt with by an additional team for the platoon.

2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

So while the Germans are not true "underdogs", like the Italians for example, I still feel they are quite limited in many ways. Please note that this is not a complaint, but an observation.

The germans work differently but aside from scenarios putting them into the underdog role i cant see them as such.

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