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My top three tips in CM2 series


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I've been playing the CM2 series of titles since 2011 with Combat Mission Battle for Normandy being my first experience with Battlefront. Since then I have purchased every WW2 title and every single addon since. Of the four main WW2 titles I would say Fortress Italy is my favourite closely followed by Normandy, then Final Blitzkreig and finally Red Thunder. After spending hundreds upon hundreds of hours playing these games there are many things I have learnt but the following are what have made me a more successful player:

1. Don't watch the clock. In my early days of Combat Mission I focussed far too much on how much time I had left to complete my objectives. This resulted in me 'rushing' meaning excessive losses or stupid tactical decisions. So slow down. You almost always have more time than you think.

2. Use your artillery,  in particular any off map big guns if you have them. And planning artillery strikes prior to mission commencement will result in more accurate fire missions. Even if the artillery doesn't kill a whole chunk of pixeltruppen it may at the least disrupt the opfor's movements, deny or otherwise dislodge a force from a defensive position. For offence or defence artillery is a godsend. 

3. Assess the terrain prior to mission commencement and use it to your advantage. Spend plenty of time 'down in the weeds' at pixeltruppen level understanding the terrain nuances and then plan your attack or defence around the terrain and objectives.

4. Ok I said three but what the heck. My bonus tip in particular if you are a noob is to spend plenty of time experimenting in the training campaigns and custom quick battle to really understand the game mechanics and AI. Once you get a good understanding of how it all works your enjoyment level will go up while your frustration levels will more be as a result of your own silly mistake or just down to lady luck or the fog of war.

I would love to know what other experienced players think? I absolutely love the CM2 series and it is the game series I always go back to above anything else. I might have to break the WW2 fix with Combat Mission Cold War however when it is released. 

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1 minute ago, Aussiegrit said:

I would love to know what other experienced players think?

I use SMEAC when I read the scenario. Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and Logistics, Command and Control. Each HQ gets its own mission and use the Acronym: METT-TC which varies from unit to unit. Terrain comes under Mission, Enemy, Troops on Hand, TERRAIN-Time, Civilians. Terrain split up which units can share the same approach, then we encounter Obstacles, natural and manmade. Civilians read cities and towns regard it as obstacles to be avoided but often it is the objective. Troops on hand. See which units are capable of plunging fire and grazing fire LMG+HMG and light mortars. Split platoons, companies or battalions in three. Alpha Capture Terrain, Bravo attack enemy troops Charley is the reserve. Artillery is area denial you can lose a battle if you wait too long to commit. Three types of Artillery Missions: Preplanned, Priority Targets and Opportunity. Don't waste shells on spotting rounds if you can have up to 15 minutes into the battle with a preplanned strike (You can adjust) give your OP the dignity of risk, protect him but don't hide him. 

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1. Read the Briefing Carefully.

2. Take your time during the all important set up and planning stage,

3. Don't advance troops before scouting the area you wish to move to.

4. Be patient and thoughtful. Treat your digital troops as if they are flesh and blood.

Most importantly, if you continue to lose against the A.I., don't blame yourself...........it's Battlefront's fault for designing a half decent A.I.

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Don't be scared to withdraw units if you think they're going to meet devastating force - they're better kept alive to fight elsewhere on the map.

Take the time to best figure out sightlines and overlapping arcs when you're moving people - it's fustrating to see your guys being hammered because a cover team or base of fire can't shoot at the enemy.

In the countryside, it's worth figuring out when to get your dismounts back in the wagon (shrapnel, withering MG fire) and when to keep them out (tanks, AT teams).

It's worth gaining the experience to figure out the sort of places where ambushes & AT teams will be placed, so as to advance carefully and detect/avoid them.

 

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7 hours ago, z1812 said:

4. Be patient and thoughtful. Treat your digital troops as if they are flesh and blood.

I agree with this in the most part but sometimes to achieve objectives you have to be aggressive. And sometimes pixeltruppen die. I learned this the hard way playing as the Soviets. I'd lose less men, but I'd always come out with only half a victory due to the objectives.

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I agree with all of your points, especially the first one.  Don't rush.  There are only a couple of times I've found myself up against the clock, and countless times I should have waited until I'd scouted a bit more before committing a large force.  

I would add some additional tips for single-player:

1.  Keep your tanks and vehicles buttoned if you're within 500m of the enemy or unless there is a very specific reason to have them unbuttoned (e.g. you're expecting a long range tank battle).  Unbuttoned vehicles are a death trap and your commander is usually KIA within one or two light mg bursts.  It's even worse for half tracks.

2. The TAC AI is good, but aside from scripted events, the AI is not capable of reacting to you on a tactical level.  In other words, it can't reinforce a weak flank once it becomes apparent you're going to break through.  It can't move its troops once spotting rounds start falling around them.  You on the other hand, you can should modify your plan once you make contact with the enemy.  As well, you can have some confidence that, once you've found a weak spot, the AI is not going to be able to do much to prevent you from exploiting it.

3. Keep a reserve.  A full strength platoon at the end of a battle can make much more of a difference than it can adding one more platoon to the initial attack.  

4. Split up your squads.  It makes fire and maneuver easier.  It reduces casualties when the squad takes high caliber fire or would otherwise get wiped out (you just lose the team, not the whole squad).

5. Never just advance the main body of your infantry force at the enemy.  You need suppressing fire at the very least, but ideally smoke, tanks to provide immediate direct fire, and artillery spotters at the ready.

6. Dismount your infantry early and often.  If your half-track takes an AT gun hit, you're likely to lose the whole squad in the half-track.  While you might expose your troops to long range MG fire that they would otherwise be protected from, chances are you want to attract that fire as it gives away the enemy position and you can respond.  Even then, losing one or two guys to harassing fire at long range is much better than the risk of losing the whole squad. 

7. With tanks, use target briefly and target light.  Put one or two rounds in a building if you suspect that it may be occupied; target briefly allows you to do this.  If you're running low on HE, give it a turn of target light.

8. Avoid a fair fight wherever possible.  Sending your platoon to fight an AI platoon in the woods, for example, leaves the result mostly up to luck.  You hope your smg guy will spot the other squads smg guy first.  There is very little you can do to affect the outcome.  This plays to the AI's strengths, not yours.

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Adding to the Target Briefly info just above:

You can combine the Target Briefly command with movement waypoints and pauses to use one unit to attack multiple targets in one turn (best used with AFVs).

So, for example, if you have one tank and three potentially enemy-occupied buildings you could do the following:

  • Target briefly for 15 seconds on building A with a 15-second pause on your tank.
  • Add a movement waypoint (could be very close to the tank) with a 15-second pause and 15-second TB (must select the WP to add) on building B.
  • Add a 2nd waypoint with a TB command on building C.

The above works great for shoot-&-scoot tactics as well, like crest a hill, take a shot, and reverse back to safety.

I seldom use the regular Target command. Instead, I use TB with extra time (add 15 seconds per click). For area fire, I put in at least 15 seconds over a minute to "refresh" the option to continue next turn. If you only use 60 seconds, you might lose the ability to continue the targeting next turn, due to dynamic LOS obstructions (dust, smoke, etc.).

Another piece of CM advice is to get a feel for the Command & Control system and how it spotting information flows. This is most important for AFVs. If a tank has been given spotting intel and knows where to look for an enemy unit, he will spot faster than if he is spotting cold. If the situation allows it, a good trick is to have an open AFV paired with adjacent infantry with binos to help spot and pass info within voice range.

Another tip:

Keep your HQs safer by putting a close-range circular target arc around them to stop them from engaging targets at range. Barring desperate situations, your HQs should be used for their command and intel-passing benefits, not for actual combat. A follow-up tip on this is to make the circular arc 50 meters. That's a good balance between hold-fire and point-blank security and is the maximum non-radio command range. So, it acts as a visual reference for keeping your non-radio units in command. Final note, you can use the target arc command to fine-tune unit facing on a waypoint for best spotting position. Then, on the next turn, you can change it to a circular arc. The units will keep the fine-tune position.

Last point on arcs: I like to issue a force-wide 50-meter circular arc on all infantry at start and remove the arcs as needed. That saves a lot of lives. I also tend to put arcs on infantry to keep them from firing beyond a usable range -- generally 150 meters. I use 50 to 100 for scout teams, depending on the situation.

 

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11 minutes ago, Macisle said:

Keep your HQs safer by putting a close-range circular target arc around them to stop them from engaging targets at range. Barring desperate situations, your HQs should be used for their command and intel-passing benefits, not for actual combat. A follow-up tip on this is to make the circular arc 50 meters.

Works for western HQ's, but Red forces like Syrians have large HQ squads that have 1/3 of the firepower of the whole platoon, so may need to be used.

AT the very start, it's also good to try as much as possible to have all your units out of sight of any potential enemies so your oppo (AI or organic) can't get any early spots.  Also, start them on HIDE. 

And also when moving into possible enemy LOS, it's also useful to have you inf end their turn with a HIDE command, as that can help break any unexpected enemy contact.

Edited by Erwin
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14 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Works for western HQ's, but Red forces like Syrians have large HQ squads that have 1/3 of the firepower of the whole platoon, so may need to be used.

AT the very start, it's also good to try as much as possible to have all your units out of sight of any potential enemies so your oppo (AI or organic) can't get any early spots.  Also, start them on HIDE. 

And also when moving into possible enemy LOS, it's also useful to have you inf end their turn with a HIDE command, as that can help break any unexpected enemy contact.

For any units with HQ squads (Soviet 44, US Armored Platoons, etc.), I split off the HQ team from the rest of the squad and use it as per normal HQ. Works fine. The remaining teams from the HQ squad can be used as a smaller squad.

Yes, I follow the same SOP for using Hide.

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22 hours ago, Erwin said:

Works for western HQ's, but Red forces like Syrians have large HQ squads that have 1/3 of the firepower of the whole platoon, so may need to be used.

AT the very start, it's also good to try as much as possible to have all your units out of sight of any potential enemies so your oppo (AI or organic) can't get any early spots.  Also, start them on HIDE. 

And also when moving into possible enemy LOS, it's also useful to have you inf end their turn with a HIDE command, as that can help break any unexpected enemy contact.

Totally. Some units are misleading a bit to refer to as "HQ". An Officer sure, but otherwise they're infantry and it's over the top with the rest of their men when I give the order. 

 

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On 4/19/2021 at 6:07 PM, Macisle said:

 

I seldom use the regular Target command. Instead, I use TB with extra time (add 15 seconds per click). For area fire, I put in at least 15 seconds over a minute to "refresh" the option to continue next turn. If you only use 60 seconds, you might lose the ability to continue the targeting next turn, due to dynamic LOS obstructions (dust, smoke, etc.).

 

 

Hadn't thought of that! Good idea cause that happens a lot.

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On 4/19/2021 at 5:14 PM, Kommissar said:

I would add some additional tips for single-player:

2. The TAC AI is good, but aside from scripted events, the AI is not capable of reacting to you on a tactical level.  In other words, it can't reinforce a weak flank once it becomes apparent you're going to break through.  It can't move its troops once spotting rounds start falling around them.  You on the other hand, you can should modify your plan once you make contact with the enemy.  As well, you can have some confidence that, once you've found a weak spot, the AI is not going to be able to do much to prevent you from exploiting it.

8. Avoid a fair fight wherever possible.  Sending your platoon to fight an AI platoon in the woods, for example, leaves the result mostly up to luck.  You hope your smg guy will spot the other squads smg guy first.  There is very little you can do to affect the outcome.  This plays to the AI's strengths, not yours.

No. 2 is too true. I have trouble finishing scenarios because either I am too beat up or it just gets boring and of course that's when I get careless and... unfinished games all other the place.

 

However No. 8 is the most fun! Fighting in the woods is the best.

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On 4/19/2021 at 6:07 PM, Macisle said:

 

Another tip:

Last point on arcs: I like to issue a force-wide 50-meter circular arc on all infantry at start and remove the arcs as needed. That saves a lot of lives. I also tend to put arcs on infantry to keep them from firing beyond a usable range -- generally 150 meters. I use 50 to 100 for scout teams, depending on the situation.

 

I thought I might be able to figure this out but what is a "circular arc" at best I can only get 1/2 circle arcs?

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From the Few Good Men Forum, not my work.

 

I'm no expert, so please real experts correct me where I am wrong:

  • Use keyhole positions; let it cover a tiny bit of your killing field (preferably where it can flank-shot a tank), so it can only be shot at from that keyhole. Do not make the keyhole too small, leave time for the crew to load the gun (unlike tanks, who always seem to have a shell ready to fire instantly, guns need to load the proper shell first) and aim.
  • Overlapping fields of fire; preferably let two or more guns overlap their fields, with (semi-)crossfire being the best of course
  • Foxholes are great, once the gun is seen and fired upon, your men will cower inside the foxhole and be very hard to kill, except for a direct hit by HE or being overrun by infantry Foxholes can be seen at a distance of around 140-200 meters (there's a nice post on this over at BFC forum)
  • Put the gun itself on hide, if needed with a covered ARMOURED arc. Guns have a hide bonus before their first shot (camouflage is assumed) if set up during setup phase, so you want to make that first shot count. Place their HQ unit nearby with a short cover arc (to prevent it from firing and giving away their position) to do the spotting. They will pass the info the gun, who can then spot the target quite fast. I usually manually unhide the gun and give them firing arcs when I want them to engage. Be aware that things like halftracks and scout cars also count as armor for the covered arc, and usually you do not want to spoil your first shot on them.
  • Trenches are not good at all, foxholes are always better. If you get trenches from the scenario designer, I wouldn't put a gun in them myself, since they are too easily spotted. But I have no experience with guns in trenches
  • I usually assume my oppo can see anything at ~150 meters (if clear weather during day) with infantry / unbuttoned tank, so I rarely bother trying to be stealthy, especially with an AT gun, below those ranges.
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On 4/18/2021 at 10:45 AM, Aussiegrit said:

I've been playing the CM2 series of titles since 2011 with Combat Mission Battle for Normandy being my first experience with Battlefront. Since then I have purchased every WW2 title and every single addon since. Of the four main WW2 titles I would say Fortress Italy is my favourite closely followed by Normandy, then Final Blitzkreig and finally Red Thunder. After spending hundreds upon hundreds of hours playing these games there are many things I have learnt but the following are what have made me a more successful player:

1. Don't watch the clock. In my early days of Combat Mission I focussed far too much on how much time I had left to complete my objectives. This resulted in me 'rushing' meaning excessive losses or stupid tactical decisions. So slow down. You almost always have more time than you think.

2. Use your artillery,  in particular any off map big guns if you have them. And planning artillery strikes prior to mission commencement will result in more accurate fire missions. Even if the artillery doesn't kill a whole chunk of pixeltruppen it may at the least disrupt the opfor's movements, deny or otherwise dislodge a force from a defensive position. For offence or defence artillery is a godsend. 

3. Assess the terrain prior to mission commencement and use it to your advantage. Spend plenty of time 'down in the weeds' at pixeltruppen level understanding the terrain nuances and then plan your attack or defence around the terrain and objectives.

4. Ok I said three but what the heck. My bonus tip in particular if you are a noob is to spend plenty of time experimenting in the training campaigns and custom quick battle to really understand the game mechanics and AI. Once you get a good understanding of how it all works your enjoyment level will go up while your frustration levels will more be as a result of your own silly mistake or just down to lady luck or the fog of war.

I would love to know what other experienced players think? I absolutely love the CM2 series and it is the game series I always go back to above anything else. I might have to break the WW2 fix with Combat Mission Cold War however when it is released. 

Time is the biggest thing I struggle with. If I take the opening scenario of broken shields in the F&R campaign - no way does an hour and 10 seem enough to get it done. Any tips ?

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11 minutes ago, zulu1966 said:

Time is the biggest thing I struggle with. If I take the opening scenario of broken shields in the F&R campaign - no way does an hour and 10 seem enough to get it done. Any tips ?

One can always cheat a little and extend the time allowed by using the editor. 

I read in another thread that benpark will provide a download for the campaign with increased times. 

Edited by z1812
inserted almost
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3 hours ago, z1812 said:

One can always cheat a little and extend the time allowed by using the editor. 

I read in another thread that benpark will provide a download for the campaign with increased times. 

Thanks - I always do that for scenarios but campaigns are a closed book - I will have to find that thread.

Edited by zulu1966
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