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Modern kill ratios v. CMBS


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My impression from CMBS is that a full on, conventional modern peer v peer war would be insanely attritional to the initial forces - think early WW1 effects on the regular BA.

Within an hour of gameplay, with just a battalion worth of material and FS I can wipe out an opposing force. 50%+ casualties are common. Retreating forces cannot physically move fast enough to escape the envelope and are attritted further. 

None of the above is particularly new in war, obviously the winning side causes more damage to the "losing" force.

I'm curious what people think of just how survivable a modern PvP battle is, for the forces involved (not the lowly grunt), using CMBS scan "guide"...

It *seems* that most forces now have the tech and ability to mutually inflict massive early casualties at the same rate and at the same time. 

 

Edited by kinophile
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Kill ratio and especially KIA/WIA proportoin is a weak point of CM engine, which should be fixed when sometime data export tool for outer campaings will appear. 

Donbas war almost hadn't examples of "classical" clashes battalion vs. battalion. But in many cases both sides terminated own attacks after loses even several KIA or 1-2 armored vehicles through the company size unit. 

There was an rare example of classical battle 20 Aug 2014 between three not full UKR companies (the third with 2 tanks arrived later as reinforcement) with arty and helicopter support against Russian task force - two VDV companies, supported by two tank platoons and separs mortars and MLRS. There was fierce fight, where Russians like a steamroller attacked from two directions, overran several reinforced platoon outposts and then for some time could capture the important hill, though were forced to retreat after artillery strike and counter attack. Several hours battle completed with such results:

losses of UKR side: 7KIA (two of them are pilots of downed Mi-24), 15 WIA. Vehicles destroyed: 4 BMP-2, 2 MTLB, 1 MT-12, 1 truck, 1 Mi-24P, vehicles damaged: 2 BMP-2 

losses of Russian side (probably not full, but this result is close to the true): 5 KIA, at least 20 WIA (in one company, there is no data for the other). Vehicles destroyed: 2 T-72 mod.1989, 2 BMD-2. Vehicles captured: 1 BMD-2. Vehicles damaged: 2 tanks.

In this battle there is a single confirmed episiod of successful destroying of Russian tank with helicopter and other Russian tank with MT-12 AT-gun. Both sides actively used artillery, mortars, MLRS, square of the battle approx. 6x11 km. 

Edited by Haiduk
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I recall in WWII when John Huston was filming newsreals on the Italian front he'd reenact assaults for the camera because, according to him, real world battlefields look uninhabited. Because anyone exposing themselves to view is liable to get killed. That holds true x10 for the modern battlefield. CM battlefields have  more open movement that would be prudent in the real world. The joke is CM players would make good WWI French generals.

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3 hours ago, MikeyD said:

I recall in WWII when John Huston was filming newsreals on the Italian front he'd reenact assaults for the camera because, according to him, real world battlefields look uninhabited. Because anyone exposing themselves to view is liable to get killed. That holds true x10 for the modern battlefield. CM battlefields have  more open movement that would be prudent in the real world. The joke is CM players would make good WWI French generals.

FOW with a camera setting 4 is unrealistic to say the least. I play on Iron mostly against AI and Hotseat once a week. We have some rules. Camera settings according the unit. If you want camera 4 for the FO when his air support arrives and only when you select the FO. Ground units Camera Positions 1-2. HQ, or units with binoculars add Camera 5-6. I assume these units have a map. Company HQ and above Camera position 9 the other settings depend on location. Takes a while to get used to but it is a little more realistic. 

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@Haiduk was that the battle for Savur-Moyhla?

6x11 km is the real determinant here.

In CMBS , even on the larger scenarios, we're pretty "squeezed" in.

For the various scenarios I put together for my personal UKR campaign I tried to justify that squeezing - eg. A battalion escaping encirclement through a closing gap. 

Haiduk, I know you've noted the disparity before, of men/km2 in CMBS vs Donbass.

In a proper peer v peer, I would wonder if that spacing could, or would want to be maintained. 

In Donbass,it appears, to my limited knowledge, that RUS did not use it's deep strike doctrine, focussing instead on a limited theatre with limited aims.

In a PvP fight that limiting would spell death, as modern war heavily favours the attacker - long range attrition is do effective and sustainable now that staying in place, putting down roots, even 100km+ back, opens you up to S2S strikes.  Where as before it would have taken a complex aerial operation  AD suppression, overwatch CAP, feint attacks in order to punch through a strike flight.

Now, we can HIMARS the **** out of a corp level HQ, from our own deep rear.

Stay put,even in rear/repair = vulnerable.

Bunch up, even on the theatre LOC, = vulnerable.

I wonder, once the the heavy shooting begins, if brigade level formations will rapidly reform/deform into more granular, self contained units, company size.

A la the late WW2 German battle groups, but for somewhat dissimilar reasons.

 

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1 minute ago, kinophile said:

@chuckdyke good ideas, I like.

Naturally it is based on trust, you get done if you play with these rules against a seasoned PBEM player. Playing against the AI has become more challenging. Using camera 9 depends on contact with the C2. Experiment and you get more out of the game. See all my comments as my Beta experiments. 

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@kinophile, apart from maps being too small

  1. CM packs too many men per each square for infantry units. Thus a well placed HE shell can cause too many casualties within a SINGLE unit. So to compensate for this...
  2. HE damage radius is artificially reduced so that this lucky shot won't kill half the units on hands.

Add to the this the fact that HEFRAG damage to vehicles is drastically reduced and you'll end up with a model that's hardly comparable to RL. However were it ever made as close as possible to RL then it would be pretty boring a game.

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41 minutes ago, IMHO said:

@kinophile, apart from maps being too small

  1. CM packs too many men per each square for infantry units. Thus a well placed HE shell can cause too many casualties within a SINGLE unit. So to compensate for this...
  2. HE damage radius is artificially reduced so that this lucky shot won't kill half the units on hands.

Add to the this the fact that HEFRAG damage to vehicles is drastically reduced and you'll end up with a model that's hardly comparable to RL. However were it ever made as close as possible to RL then it would be pretty boring a game.

8*8 is even too small for a fire team of 4. Yes 81 mm mortar shells don't even break roof tiles in the game. Soldiers can't enter houses through windows and the list goes on. Just go through the editor of which I know zilch it sums it up I can't make a better game.

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19 hours ago, Haiduk said:

Kill ratio and especially KIA/WIA proportoin is a weak point of CM engine, which should be fixed when sometime data export tool for outer campaings will appear. 

Donbas war almost hadn't examples of "classical" clashes battalion vs. battalion. But in many cases both sides terminated own attacks after loses even several KIA or 1-2 armored vehicles through the company size unit. 

This is true but it should be kept in mind that if the Russians are pulling back after a few casualties this is likely for political reasons.  High casualties in his invasion of Ukraine is not likely to boost Mr. Putin's popularity at home even if he can jail his opposition.  That Russia is capable of sustaining high casualties and stay in the fight is obviously proven during WWII.  If Ukraine is pulling back after a few casualties, I suspect it is because they genuinely cannot sustain higher casualties.

So if you are tying to play a war game it is not much fun if you have to retreat and end the game after only a few casualties.  You would rather risk more casualties to keep playing.  I think one way to solve this is to increase the overall map size for scenarios or at least the maximum size possible.  That way there is more room for maneuver and you could have a platoon or even a company retreat in one area but keep playing the game.  Just my opinion.

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2 hours ago, samuraiman said:

if the Russians are pulling back after a few casualties this is likely for political reasons.  High casualties in his invasion of Ukraine is not likely to boost Mr. Putin's popularity at home even if he can jail his opposition.  That Russia is capable of sustaining high casualties and stay in the fight is obviously proven during WWII.  If Ukraine is pulling back after a few casualties, I suspect it is because they genuinely cannot sustain higher casualties.

I told about fights on tactical level and not only Russians, but separs too. Neither Putin, nor Poroshenko didn't give orders to company commanders. Russian capability to sustain high casualties in modern warfare is mostly a myth. Despite Russian propaganda works on full, private Vanya in 1941 and private Vanya in 2021 is two different persons. Average modern Vanya have (or will have) comfort appartment, gadgets, social networks, TV, night club parties, girls, entertaiments,  trips to all-inclusive Egypt and Turkey. He has a lot to lose. Like all modern people in all countries. Because of the war now is more "remote", without Verden-type battles.

In Aug 2014 near Dzerkalne Russian VDV - elite of their troops were shocked, when their half-platoon cought fire from UKR gun and lost own BMD. When they later were engaged by UKR recons, they just surrendered w/o fight - that was the same paratropers, "lost during maneuvers", which showed on TV. 

When in Jan 2015 PMC Vagner detachment, where the "dogs of war" were mostly enlisted, in the force about two companies with tanks and light armor suddenly stumbled upon UKR platoon strongpoint, they withdrew after several their vehicles were hit, though they had full advantage in the force and could overran it.  

Russians in this war fought tough, but when they encountered strong and organized resistance, they couldn't do much more. All determines with moral and motivation of personnel and quality of low- and mid-level commanders, if we speak about tactical level. 

19 hours ago, kinophile said:

was that the battle for Savur-Moyhla?

No, this is second battle for Georgiivka near Luhansk. When UKR troops assaulted Savur-Mohyla it defended by platoon-size separs forces. During one of assault attempt, their spotters set the wall of fire on the way of about two UKR battaliones, which advanced to assault. MLRS, several Russian batteres out of the border and mortar battery from nearby village forced UKR troops to make evasive maneuvers and partilly forced them to scatter. And again, both sides had only several killed, for several hours, but assault was foiled. 

CM has a situative task - to win the one battle. But if you will have next tasks after this battle, like in real war, you will think about how you will complete its and with what forces. Because there is no relatively quick reinforcement for substitution of losses, like in WWII. 

Edited by Haiduk
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On 2/16/2021 at 7:40 PM, samuraiman said:

That Russia is capable of sustaining high casualties and stay in the fight is obviously proven during WWII.  If Ukraine is pulling back after a few casualties, I suspect it is because they genuinely cannot sustain higher casualties.

  1. On a strategic level modern wars are both won and lost long before human losses reach staggering levels - see the Second Artsakh-Karabagh War: Armenia lost relatively few men if compared to its manpower pool yet to continue fighting would have been pointless. Armenia still had plenty men-at-arms but neither heavy equipment nor (and that was crucial) trained men to operate it should they somehow procure any.
  2. On a tactical level if your attack meets an unexpectedly high level of resistance you must pull back and seek a weak point in enemy defenses. Modern battlefield is VERY lethal so if you press on you'll be incinerated.
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Excellent points.  I stand corrected that we are not dealing with the Russians of WW2 fighting for the Motherland, fighting to the death in Stalingrad, and encircling Paulus and his quarter million man 6th Army. The modern battlefield is indeed VERY lethal and it is perhaps good that there are not so many examples of full on, conventional modern peer v peer combat particularly at the battalion level, which is one of the intriguing elements of the CMBS GAME.  I'll just say though that we are dealing with a game that can have a huge variety of different scenarios, including 'What if' scenarios even if somewhat "squeezed" in.  With any game, play-ability is a factor.  It would be nice to have that 6x11km in the game but I know that's difficult to develop.

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22 hours ago, IMHO said:

On a tactical level if your attack meets an unexpectedly high level of resistance you must pull back and seek a weak point in enemy defenses. Modern battlefield is VERY lethal so if you press on you'll be incinerated.

This is somehing that I feel should be given a lot more attention in modern scenarios.....Much stricter parameters and serious Destoy Unit Objectives that massively outweigh those gained for terrain (unless fighting a set-piece batlle for possession of such terrain).

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It's still a game and 'accelerated' compared to reality. Probably for good reason as I'd expect the more usual platoon - company actions for limited objectives would often take many hours, and in the end often get called off. 

While, like others said, in CMx2 players not often chose to 'cancel' an attack before serious casualties are taken. Actually they probably only cancel after their formations have become unfit for any further action.

The same goes for Plt. / CO / Bn HQs; they are all operated in such a way to win the current battle/scenario at any cost, especially H2H. Casualties are only a concern because of the loss of combat power, not because those are 'your dear men'. And indeed the player having unity of command over all HQs through direct telepathy (or rather just by using 1 brain to control all: the players), will be much more efficient in giving out orders compared to reality. Probably there are more factors, but I guess those all contribute to the speed, intensity and lethality of CMBS vs the conflict in Ukraine. OTOH I'd expect casualties to mount in case there is fighting for important strategic objectives in a full fledged war (for example in the CMBS backstory Russian forces are pushing towards Kiev in full force). 

Retreat to fight another day with perhaps better chances for success and less casualties, is not an option in CM.

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3 hours ago, HUSKER2142 said:

I have a term paper somewhere on this topic, I will look for and briefly describe the difference between the First, Second World War and modern conflicts. 

Perfect,please do.

It's perfectly possible to put build in the option of calling off an attack - put in exit zones. In my own UKR campaign most UKR  battles revolve around escaping and/or fighting retreat/delaying actions., With concomitant exit zones on the players side and weight the OBJs appropriately.

I have yet to build the counter attack battles but one will definitely have an exit zone on the far side if the map - ie break through.

Edited by kinophile
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46 minutes ago, kinophile said:

It's perfectly possible to put build in the option of calling off an attack - put in exit zones. In my own UKR campaign most UKR  battles revolve around escaping and/or fighting retreat/delaying actions., With concomitant exit zones on the players side and weight the OBJs appropriately.

That sounds excellent.....Could you point me to them please.

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On 2/18/2021 at 9:29 PM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

This is somehing that I feel should be given a lot more attention in modern scenarios.....Much stricter parameters and serious Destoy Unit Objectives that massively outweigh those gained for terrain (unless fighting a set-piece batlle for possession of such terrain).

IMO:

  1. PvP play will be uninteresting as the scenario would imply a massive imbalance. Playing for an "underdog" side would mean witnessing your meagre forces being annihilated while steadfastly building for the only lucky break you can hope for.
  2. PvE scenarios are useless within the current CM engine/AI concept. I did some AI scripting for ArmA3 just for fun and I'd say as a platform/engine for near-RL scenarios (albeit smallest scale) Arma3 is insanely more useful than CM. PvE games with the current StratAI CM an one-off exercise - you play a scenario once and then AI side always plays a pig head and repeats itself time after time again. I actually believe that's the reason for the very unfortunate and (I believe) obvious CM stagnation. Normally if a game includes both PvE and PvP (and they are more or less balanced out) then PvP community will always be most vocal and visible yet it brings in little revenue overall.

PS Though I truly believe newbie community does underestimate how much ingenuity and effort was put into TacAI. Though faulty sometimes yet a true marvel it is. Just give the ability to somehow react to human actions instead of stupidly following the preplanned course of action :)

PPS Sorry for bugging out on Bulat. It's a hot topic now and we live in "interesting" times :(

Edited by IMHO
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1 hour ago, IMHO said:

PvP play will be uninteresting as the scenario would imply a massive imbalance. Playing for an "underdog" side would mean witnessing your meagre forces being annihilated while steadfastly building for the only lucky break you can hope for.

Probably agree.....But perhaps not.  I suspect I could write something (2p Only) on these lines that could keep both sides interested.  The important thing would be to have a map that's big enough and complex enough for the small elite unit to maneuver and then to have his opponent actively searching for him with sufficient firepower to crush him like a bug if they can corner him and concentrate.

1 hour ago, IMHO said:

PPS Sorry for bugging out on Bulat. It's a hot topic now and we live in "interesting" times 

No worries dude.....We do indeed (But I suspect that's also been the case for every other human being who has ever lived too.....If it isn't the politicians, it's the kings and those sabre toothed tigers were a pain in the **** too!)  ;)

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@Sgt.Squarehead

31 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I suspect I could write something (2p Only) on these lines that could keep both sides interested

Can you elaborate?

31 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

If it isn't the politicians, it's the kings and those sabre toothed tigers were a pain in the **** too!)

It's no joke in Russia now. We have quite a real guy serving quite a real time with his only offense being an off-hand analysis of two **official and properly vetted** articles by Russian weapons producers. It was a forum discussion on a well known Russian weapons community. He had no direct or indirect access to the relevant classified information. Just he had the knowledge of the underlying physics so he was able to put two and two together. And he got jailed for that :(

Edited by IMHO
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@Sgt.Squarehead

You yourself have a decent command of Russian and an enviable understanding of Russian weapons production yet you do not seem to be a Russian native speaker. How come? :)

42 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

I'll have a thnk about it.....Do you have CM:A? 

I did - it was a co-production / co-distribution or whatever with Russian 1S Games. Though it was a CD version and I lost the disk long ago - CMSF1 back then was much better.

Edited by IMHO
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7 minutes ago, IMHO said:

You yourself have a decent command of Russian and an enviable understanding of Russian weapons production yet you do not seem to be a Russian native speaker. How come?

Google Translate (plus many failed attempts at self-tuition) and a general fondness for the place & people (and especially your tanks).....I'm British BTW.  ;)

Hoping to make it over to Moscow (with my nephew, who's becoming a junior-Russophile) once Covid ends.....We had planned to come for the GPW 75th, but you know how that all worked out.  :(

The reasons I asked about CM:A are:

I have a map prepared for just this sort of scenario already made (gazillions of exit zones, so the Mujahideen can bug out once they feel they have done enough damage).

Mujahideen vs. Soviets/DRA is very well balanced (unless the Mujahideen try to stand and go toe to toe, in which case they are f**ked, as they should be) and neither side have the sort of 'cyber-spotting' that would mess things up.

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1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

(many failed attempts at self-tuition) ;)

"Not so far" (c) Not me :)... Certainly I wouldn't nearly call your progress the way you do :) 

1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Hoping to make it over to Moscow (with my nephew, who's becoming a junior-Russophile) once Covid ends

Write me in advance if you please. I'll show you around.

1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Mujahideen vs. Soviets/DRA is very well balanced (unless the Mujahideen try to stand and go toe to toe, in which case they are f**ked, as they should be) and neither side have the sort of 'cyber-spotting' that would mess things up.

For me - I stopped playing anything but CMBS because after CMBS everything else looks too easy. 

Edited by IMHO
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