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How to - Recon with AFV's?


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5 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

In CM, scout cars and other light armour are not really for scouting on their own, but for adding fire support to your outer infantry screen as it advances.

Without the light armour, your thin infantry screen would often be unable to push forward against MGs in houses etc. Concentrating your infantry makes it vulnerable to mortars. But scout cars carry just enough firepower and armour to overcome those defences.

If you used your main tanks for this, your opponent could then trade revealing an AT gun for taking out one of your tanks. This would be a good trade, as a Sherman costs more than double the points of a PAK40. However, trading a PAK for a scout car is a bad deal, as the car costs a bit less than the PAK (and the attacker has more points anyway, making it an even worse deal).

This is why having infantry AT rifles can be an advantage. It forces the attacker to commit heavier tanks earlier on, before having much intel.

At least this is how I see it.

This seems to be the spot the game finds itself in. It have been better for the designer to introduce infantry units first rather than the recon AC's.

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Just now, RMM said:

This seems to be the spot the game finds itself in. It have been better for the designer to introduce infantry units first rather than the recon AC's.

Some scenarios will somehow assume scout cars spot better on their own than they actually do.

For example there's a scenario called "Rainy River" where you're given a couple of British scout cars and you have to overcome quite a lot of opposition. If you stay in the cars, you're pretty much blind. If you dismount, you're cut down.

Even after playing it a couple of times I don't think I ever won that scenario - I try not cheating on replays by mortaring known AT guns etc.

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10 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

In CM, scout cars and other light armour are not really for scouting on their own, but for adding fire support to your outer infantry screen as it advances.

In the modern games there are dedicated scout vehicles with enhanced optics for the job, such as the Fennec, and the LRAS3 device mounted on Humvees and Strykers.  I'm not yet sure what advantages they actually give in the game, though.

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2 minutes ago, Jabble said:

In the modern games there are dedicated scout vehicles with enhanced optics for the job, such as the Fennec, and the LRAS3 device mounted on Humvees and Strykers.  I'm not yet sure what advantages they actually give in the game, though.

I don't know about the modern games, but I'm sure they are very different. I'm only playing WW2. Probably should have mentioned that.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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6 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

I don't know about the modern games, but I'm sure they are very different. I'm only playing WW2. Probably should have mentioned that.

I'm only considering WW2 era things too.

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If you're playing a single-player scenario, you can actually use light AFVs to scout in some cases.

Say you're approaching a bridge and there are some buildings close to it. You want to find out if there are infantry in there.

So you start by opening up your scout car at around 600m distance and see if they start shooting at you. If they do, you have a pretty good chance of them missing at that range.

If they don't you then drive slowly closer till about 400m using HUNT.

If they still don't shoot, you button up and drive up to just within bazooka/schreck range.

If they still don't fire, you drive up to about 100m range and see if they fire rifle grenades at you.

If they don't you drive up to 50m and at that range, you can probably spot them inside the buildings if they are in there.

If the buildings are empty then you just wasted a lot of time...

Murphy's Law of CM dictates that every time you are careful, the buildings will be empty, and vice versa.

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Recon vehicles tend to spot faster than tanks (even in WW2), because they're usually open-topped. The difference is larger in the modern titles, of course.

Dismounting crew to recce is standard doctrine everywhere, and there is nothing weird about it.

The vehicle lets you get into, and importantly, out of trouble, quickly. The vehicle in most cases will also have a radio, so you can send those spots up the C2 chain.

Whether the vehicle itself is heavily armed and/or armoured depends on doctrine (which is and was a fluid thing), but it's not a co-incidence that recon elements tend to be very heavily armed - whether the vehicle is a basic jeep or a Sd.Kfz. 234.

The point of the firepower is typically that a battle will (should) start with both sides sending out recon elements, to find the enemy. These recon elements will inevitably clash at some point, and it's generally a good idea to win that skirmish if you can - or at least use the firepower to extricate yourself.

In CM it's quite common to have a battle that starts at the actual point of main contact. That's not the case in all scenarios or every situation - a large enough map with small enough forces will create something like this "recon phase".

In that situation, you have to ask yourself how important winning that recon fight is, and what resources you can afford to dedicate to it (especially in points, if this were a quick battle) - it might well be that you want to aggressively dominate the recon fight, both getting eyes on the enemy, and also denying them the terrain that would give them the observation points that they would need to spot you.

If you can pro-actively win this battle-before-the-battle, you're setting yourself up to do very well from the start, so there's every justification for a fast, high-firepower recon vehicle. If there's no way to achieve this (based on terrain, force size, etc.), then recon vehicles are pretty pointless, and you're better off with just infantry eyeballs.

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This is a good report on recon through the ages.  Its lengthy, but worth the read if hung up on "realistic" recon operations.  Osprey also has a couple good books dedicated to recon tactics in WW2.

https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/combat-studies-institute/csi-books/scouts_out.pdf

I tried to attach it as a PDF, but NFC says it only allows 22k attachments.

The type of recon assets most scenarios include wouldn't normally be in a full on battle in WW2.  CM-level The recon assets are more for recon vs recon, recon vs screen, or scenarios where spotting a unit gives you points.  That's if recon assets are used properly.  But true recon assets were rarely used that way in WW2.  They were used as screen or flank protection.  Many times used as reserves.

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43 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

If you're playing a single-player scenario, you can actually use light AFVs to scout in some cases.

Say you're approaching a bridge and there are some buildings close to it. You want to find out if there are infantry in there.

So you start by opening up your scout car at around 600m distance and see if they start shooting at you. If they do, you have a pretty good chance of them missing at that range.

If they don't you then drive slowly closer till about 400m using HUNT.

If they still don't shoot, you button up and drive up to just within bazooka/schreck range.

If they still don't fire, you drive up to about 100m range and see if they fire rifle grenades at you.

If they don't you drive up to 50m and at that range, you can probably spot them inside the buildings if they are in there.

If the buildings are empty then you just wasted a lot of time...

Murphy's Law of CM dictates that every time you are careful, the buildings will be empty, and vice versa.

I think I can attest to that particular law 😅😅!

That's some very good rules of thumb; although there really sin't any 'slowly' move using Hunt. Vehicles seem to move on that command at the same speed as Quick, which was something I commented on in the beginning. In Hunt, they really should be moving at speeds more akin to slow or certainly no faster than Move!

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37 minutes ago, domfluff said:

Dismounting crew to recce is standard doctrine everywhere, and there is nothing weird about it.

While I can see the Commander getting out, I would have thought it odd for the entire crew, but that's a game limitation rather than RL I expect. it is an interesting tactic, and I'm planning on trying it in the game; although not with all the crews. Maybe just a couple!

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17 minutes ago, Thewood1 said:

This is a good report on recon through the ages.  Its lengthy, but worth the read if hung up on "realistic" recon operations.  Osprey also has a couple good books dedicated to recon tactics in WW2.

https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/combat-studies-institute/csi-books/scouts_out.pdf

I tried to attach it as a PDF, but NFC says it only allows 22k attachments.

The type of recon assets most scenarios include wouldn't normally be in a full on battle in WW2.  CM-level The recon assets are more for recon vs recon, recon vs screen, or scenarios where spotting a unit gives you points.  That's if recon assets are used properly.  But true recon assets were rarely used that way in WW2.  They were used as screen or flank protection.  Many times used as reserves.

That's quite the read, but I've downloaded it and thanks for taking the time to do that!

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If you find that all units are spotting around the same, I wonder if it's because you're playing mainly at very close ranges..?

It simply isn't that hard to see a moving object at 300m, whether you have binoculars, cupola, naked eyes (in my case with some myopia) or whatever, so unless the target has begun the game hidden (assumed to be camouflaged) I'd expect most vehicles to be of similar capability at that range. The situation is very different at 1300m.

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Just drive along till they start shooting at you. Not his exact words but it was the sentiment of Patton. 'The Mace' in battle of Normandy. *Spoiler* do exactly this with your Panthers to the Knob. If you have the approach of avoiding the barrage with your halftracks dismount infantry, you lose time, and the Poles will occupy this objective. Patrols which one? Scouting, fighting, listening the choice is ours. Open AFV's should have the same spotting ability as infantry. Look at the experience level first. Light armored AFV's or jeeps, let them travel fast it is their best defense. Modern warfare the Scimitar this excellent vehicle in conjunction with helicopters get you all the intel to kick start your attack. On battalion level dedicate a company to get the intel for the other two companies. Read your situation if you attack you get intel by capturing territory, the other two companies will assault read destroy enemy forces. You can't see a camouflaged enemy the use of combined arms will enable you to find them. Your scouts should be the best troops you have crack and elite have the best spotting abilities. 

Edited by chuckdyke
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The problem is that unlike Patton's Recon guys, our pixeltruppen don't know what to do if they get shot at.  If they are on HUNT, they immediately stop and make lovely targets.  Speed is their only weapon and safety.  In the open desert of CMSF it's good to run em FAST across the enemy front.  It's hard to hit a fast-moving vehicle.

In WW2, as mentioned above, run em FAST down a road to a waypoint and have em REVERSE immediately.  After i dunno how many hurs of playing and experimenting it's the best way to locate an enemy and have the recon vehicle stay alive.  Nonetheless, they are always in significant danger of getting hit or KIA.

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2 hours ago, Freyberg said:

If you find that all units are spotting around the same, I wonder if it's because you're playing mainly at very close ranges..?

It simply isn't that hard to see a moving object at 300m, whether you have binoculars, cupola, naked eyes (in my case with some myopia) or whatever, so unless the target has begun the game hidden (assumed to be camouflaged) I'd expect most vehicles to be of similar capability at that range. The situation is very different at 1300m.

Right, well the thing is that the Recon AC's are just getting taken out by the hidden ATG's without even 'seeing' where they're firing from. I can obviously do some omniscient work of my own looking at the where they hot hit and the rough direction the shot came from, but when one has three out of five AC's burning after just two minutes, can't help but take a step and wonder if either I'm missing something or just need steep education in how to properly recon with such units.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Erwin said:

The problem is that unlike Patton's Recon guys, our pixeltruppen don't know what to do if they get shot at.  If they are on HUNT, they immediately stop and make lovely targets.  Speed is their only weapon and safety.  In the open desert of CMSF it's good to run em FAST across the enemy front.  It's hard to hit a fast-moving vehicle.

In WW2, as mentioned above, run em FAST down a road to a waypoint and have em REVERSE immediately.  After i dunno how many hurs of playing and experimenting it's the best way to locate an enemy and have the recon vehicle stay alive.  Nonetheless, they are always in significant danger of getting hit or KIA.

With ya there! I'll certainly be experimenting with that method as well as some others mentioned herein!

Am I only the only one who suffers from having to remind myself that this isn't RL with one chance; that do-overs are perfectly ok? 😂😂

Edited by RMM
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2 hours ago, RMM said:

With ya there! I'll certainly be experimenting with that method as well as some others mentioned herein!

Combined arms, experiment with artillery light + large area fire. Then send in your ACs to do their recon in that area. I did it in modern warfare, but it seems to work. 

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9 hours ago, RMM said:

although there really sin't any 'slowly' move using Hunt. Vehicles seem to move on that command at the same speed as Quick, which was something I commented on in the beginning. In Hunt, they really should be moving at speeds more akin to slow or certainly no faster than Move!

Yep, agreed. But you can artificially slow down your vehicle by adding in some short 5-second pauses along the way.

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20 minutes ago, George MC said:

Recon in light vehicles was risky in RL as it is in the game 

 

Great find. Nasty pic. 


Some people can imagine my chagrin when we were stuck doing route recce in G-wagens whilst on exercise (in another life, it seems at this point), and we were watching Coyotes prance about. We thought the grass was greener. Then I got familiarized and chance to crew with some active guys after a few summer rotations. We heard the MILEs go off a lot. When you're expected to do less sneaking and peeping and more fighting for information, you're going to get shot. A lot.

It's a fine balance. Less info, more survivability, or kicking over the hornet's nest. God forbid if you're a peeper and you get caught, though. I imagine its why most recce battalions tried to ride the fine line between the two. Lots of light skins, under armed cars, etc coupled with squadrons of heavier fighting vehicles or, in the case of the Commonwealth forces, straight on assault companies of motor infantry. 

Recon is a lot more nuanced than drive forward until someone gets pissed at you, and its an operation that never stops even once you've gained contact. Wish more people understood this.

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Its already been mentioned, but recon in CM doesn't work because the recon/scout unit has only a limited scope of reactions.  Its either keep driving or stop when fired on.  Of course die is also an option.  There should be a scout order that lets a unit either reverse or seek cover immediately.  In steel beasts, the scout SOP allows the unit several options, including reverse along the path just used, take a different pre-planned path, return fire, or move forward to cover.  You can also set the orders to stay on the road or go off road.

CM should have at least a scout order.  Its been asked for a few times, but its considered a low priority.

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