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Steel Beasts vs Combat Mission t-72 visibility test


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1 hour ago, The_Capt said:

The only comments I have made about SB

Well, I guess you got me.  I didn't realize you I couldn't force you to do something.  I'll have to change my entire internet comms strategy.

You can comment on anything you want.  It is the internet, after all.  My comment was just advice to help you stop looking like a CM homer and reinforcing the BFC beta tester stereotype.  But fell free to not follow my commands.

I like CM and I like SB.  But I haven't played CM modern in almost three years, other than playing a bit of CMCW to see if anything was changed.  I still play some WW2 CM, but even that's getting a little old.  Anything close to modern though, I play SB.

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15 minutes ago, Thewood1 said:

Well, I guess you got me.  I didn't realize you I couldn't force you to do something.  I'll have to change my entire internet comms strategy.

You can comment on anything you want.  It is the internet, after all.  My comment was just advice to help you stop looking like a CM homer and reinforcing the BFC beta tester stereotype.  But fell free to not follow my commands.

I like CM and I like SB.  But I haven't played CM modern in almost three years, other than playing a bit of CMCW to see if anything was changed.  I still play some WW2 CM, but even that's getting a little old.  Anything close to modern though, I play SB.

I think this might go beyond "strategy" and deeper into personal philosophy.  Try not coming across as a rude troll, for a start.  This is our house and "no" you cannot comment on anything you like...try it and see how fast this thread gets locked up and you facing a ban.  

I am not a "CM homer" (seriously how that poor name got dragged through the mud us beyond me and a testament to a big problem of our time.  How one of the greatest writers of all time got that name hijacked by a yellow cartoon character makes me cringe)...I am a CM "owner".  Bil, myself and Cpt Miller, with BFC and some outstanding beta-testers built this floor of the house and frankly I find it offensive when someone comes here to promote an outside game while denigrating ours.  I would never think of, and would condemn in the strongest terms, anyone going over to the SB forums (or any other wargame forum) and exhibit this same behavior.

CM is not perfect, no wargame can ever really achieve that, but it is the best in the niche it has (my opinion) and we are going to work very hard at keeping that up.  Go play SB, hell after all this talk I am getting tempted to really go try it out...it looks like a good game and I wish them all the luck the angels of heaven can spare.  Wargaming is a niche market so anyone playing anything is a win for all of us working in it but, for the love of all that is good and righteous, try not to be a rude jerk about it....the internet has enough of those already.

Edited by The_Capt
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What is missing from this discussion (in my opinion) is how easy it is to lose sight of something previously spotted. Without the spotter moving, which would be understandable.

When I sit there saying "it is right there, fire on it you ^&#^^@" it usually is something that had been spotted by that unit before.

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Yo, crazy. I played this game, and in my CW tournament we *might* have access to atgm carriers and even on top of a hill with total overwatch (Thick haze though), t64B gets a spot on firing tanks. Thr Shturm that might be there were in overwatch positions and never saw a thing. I cant really talk about the tournament until the rounds over. 

Ive had success with shturm in the open, and on firing range tests, but in pbem... :angry:

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Wanted to jump in real quick... 

There is a lot going on in a combat formation, spotting is only one aspect and one of the many things they juggle at the same time.  The way a real world formation works is they spot for activity in a sector or general area, each part of a formation having a different assigned sector, then as potential areas of interest start to pop up (in CM terms FOW icons) these formations can conduct a detailed focused search of those areas to determine what, if anything is actually there.  This takes time.  Just like it often does in CM.

It is rarely fast, unless the enemy units are moving or firing... then units get identified very fast indeed.  Works the same in CM by the way.

I truly believe that CM has spotting about right.. not perfect and there are always odd situations... but its close enough to be a very good representation of small scale combat, in my opinion.

As for Steel Beasts.. I have played it many times though I sold my license several few years ago.  I also preferred to play it as a wargame, but I had a lot of frustrations doing so that I would prefer not to get into on this forum.  Suffice it to say that SB is a wonderful game that has a lot of wow moments, but it has a much different focus than CM.  They are not really comparable, other than the fact that they represent combat in 3D... the approaches are miles apart.  I would be curious to know how detailed the SB spotting system actually is.. but to be honest, the fact that many say they prefer it, and that spotting is easier in SB than CM tells me that it is probably more abstract than you might think it is.  In my experience if some aspect in a simulation is easy and works as expected, that simulation is probably flawed in some way.

Bil - Co-designer/creator of CMCW

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There was an unusual spotting bug discovered with Tiger I some years ago. The tank commander had bad forward spotting ability. It was found that the (invisible) tank commander was sitting sideways in his seat and the vision block wasn't in front of him. That was our first indication that there's more going on 'under the hood' with situational awareness than we imagined there was in the game. I recall spotting targets with the good-old T34-76 where the commander also acts as gunner. Commander up in cupola spots a target, slips down to his gunner seat and loses the target, pops back up and spots the target again, back down to the gunner's seat and loses it again. The 3 foot(?) height difference between commander's and gunner's station was the difference between seeing and not seeing the target.

Edited by MikeyD
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I think both CM and SB generally handle spotting about the same.  Each have different areas where its more detailed and more abstracted.  CM has its spotting cycles and action squares.  SB has lack of experience/morale.   And they both suffer numerous similar issues like spotting missile teams, as well as AI seeing through pinholes in cover.

esims has added a number of capabilities to support playing it as a wargame in the last 4-5 years.  My real point here is it is absolutely not comparing apples and oranges.  Both are 3D representations of tactical combat with relatively real life tactics and tools.  Both have relatively sophisticated FoW capabilities.  Both can run in real-time.  An AFV and an infantry team/squad are the lowest levels of combat unit you will see.  They both have other capabilities that add to their game experience, but they have the exact same level of granularity and expected outcome.  I can take a scenario in SB and pretty quickly convert it to CM, depending on maps.  I  did it once before with an SB scenario, almost unit for unit.

The main difference between SB and CM is that CM is a micromanager's dream.  In SB you can script and plan out an entire engagement with almost no direct intervention, unless you want it.  With CM you can only plan a few turns ahead, especially on attack.  SB also skews towards the platoon as the main unit to direct orders to.  The order system is built around that.  But working with individual units is possible and it happens quite frequently.

The biggest issue with SB is its development is majority funded by DoD/MoD projects.  Players are left to hope and wish for changes that impact the game aspect of it.

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6 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I truly believe that CM has spotting about right.. not perfect and there are always odd situations

It is OK if you play the AI. My issue is trenches and foxholes scout A makes contact with an MG42 in a foxhole. The foxhole is automatically updated on the map and can be used as a reference point. I would like to see a more realistic model that the map only update it for the units with a direct LOS. Kind regards. 

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This thread is not about Steel Beasts, it's about Combat Mission.

Comparing what any person likes better, be it CM or SB, is indeed comparing apples to oranges, because we are speaking about personal taste. Personally, I prefer CM lately. CM has a better representation of tactical element, better modelled infantry and more diverse units to choose from.

I'm found of SB, it's a decent game, but as everything else it has its own flaws. To name only a few, apart from ATGMs, infantry in SB is almost absent and doesn't play any significant role, so the gameplay feels a little artificial and hollow. The route planning is a headache and tank platoon could be stuck between 3 buildings easily. Map making is very hard. There is no convinient quick battles option as in CM. And yes, AI has its spotting issues. 

What I was trying to convey is that CM can learn something from SB (and visa versa) to continue development and improvement. I guess, everybody would agree that there is no shame in learning something from others.

The strong point of SB is that it's basically tank gunnery simultator used in militaries in several countries. It's not like reference to War Thunder or World of Tanks.

classroom_2018-1024x768.jpg

All of their AFVs that have interiors and direct control option are modelled based on real life measurements of  abilities of the actual tanks. 

For example they were asked to model real life performance, including gunner's and tank commander sight, of T-72A. So basically you won't get any better RL data than represented in SB in regard of T-72 gunnery and spotting performance. 

They also have T-80 and T-90 in game, but they decline to model it up to simulation and gunsights level, because - unlike with T-72 - they didn't have access to real machine.

Based on my experience in SB and impression I got from reading corresponding literature on modern tanks there is no question that T-72 can spot another tank at 2 km distance (in fact, even much further).

I'm not speaking about infantry hidden in the building or enemy tank disguised in the bushes. I'm talking about tank that sits in the open field. It's an easy target and even average trained crew must spot it very fast. 

I really hope that we can have productive discussion, based on arguments, that can make CM better and benefit the community. 

 

 

 

Edited by dbsapp
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Here's a screenshot I found from the Beta, August of 2020 (long before release). Perhaps the title's first deep test map, perhaps the first long rage spotting test. A T72 spots and squarely nails a M60A2 from 2100 meters. At the time there was no gnashing of teeth over T72 underperforming. Quite the contrary, Beta testers coming off CMSF2 were in for a rude awakening. Far from being 'meat on the table' (Syrian army vs M60A2). the Russian tanks in Cold War were kicking __ and taking names.

T72 hitting 2100m.jpg

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6 hours ago, dbsapp said:

Based on my experience in SB and impression I got from reading corresponding literature on modern tanks there is no question that T-72 can spot another tank at 2 km distance (in fact, even much further).

And it can in CM. Yea! We’re finished. ;)  

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So digging around on this (now a side hobby), does anyone know if the commanders sight on the T72 was fixed or free.  I think it was fixed, which means the whole turret had to spin for target acquisition but I can't seem to find easy proof.

Starting to see a trend on T72s spotting ability (about 14:24):

And from wiki:

"The basic T-72 design has extremely small periscope viewports, even by the constrained standards of battle tanks and the driver's field of vision is significantly reduced when his hatch is closed."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-72

This matches a lot of the western post-Cold War analysis I have heard before, but how much of that is biased is an interesting question.

I don't think there is any doubt the T72 can see a target at 2kms in either game, the question is how easy it could do this in RL? 

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49 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

So digging around on this (now a side hobby), does anyone know if the commanders sight on the T72 was fixed or free.

It's fixed to the cupola but the cupola can rotate independent of the turret.

Way too much information follows:

The commander's main means of surveying the battlefield is a forward-facing TKN-3M pseudo-binocular periscope, augmented by two rectangular TNPO-160 periscopes on either side and two TNPA-65A periscopes embedded in his hatch. The TKN-3 periscope is aimed directly forward and is aligned with the centerline axis of the cupola. The two TNPO-160 periscopes are oriented 45 degrees from the centerline of the cupola.

With just these two periscopes, the commander has vision in a 176-degree frontal arc with a blind spot of 22 degrees to the direct front which is filled by the TKN-3. Because the cupola can rotate, the five periscopes in the cupola provide the commander with an all-round view when he is buttoned up. There is no periscope that allows the commander to see directly behind the turret. For that, he must spin the cupola to one side and look out of either one of his TNPA-65A periscopes, although the anti-aircraft machine gun would usually be in the way as it is stowed directly behind the cupola in the 'travel' position when not in use. Due to the conformal slant of the gunner's hatch on the left side of the turret, the commander's view to the left of the turret is largely unimpeded. Even the gunner's night vision sight does not completely block the commander's view as the height of the sight housing does not exceed the maximum height of the turret roof.

However, the commander's view to the left of the turret in the 10 o'clock sector was obstructed when Kontakt-1 reactive armour blocks were installed on the roof of the turret beginning with the T-72AV modification in 1985. This problem persisted when Kontakt-5 blocks replaced the Kontakt-1 blocks in the T-72B obr. 1989 model and continues to plague the T-90A. For these later models, the burden of monitoring these sectors falls upon the gunner.

For general vision, the commander is provided with four periscopes to supplement the TKN-3. In total, the field of view of the commander from the cupola (without head movement) is 288 degrees, with a 72-degree dead zone to the rear.

The commander's cupola of the T-64 lacked an anti-aircraft machine gun and was furnished with only one TKN-3M periscope and two TNPO-160 periscopes. The field of view (without head movement) was 144 degrees. This cupola was carried over to the T-64A. Given that a successful template for a periscope layout in a cupola of this design was already established since the T-54 obr. 1949, it is a mystery why the T-64 cupola had such constricted visibility. Needless to say, the T-72 was vastly superior in this particular aspect. In 1975, a new and much more technically advanced cupola with a ZU-64A remotely controlled anti-aircraft machine gun system was implemented on the T-64A obr. 1975. Two TNPA-65 periscopes were finally added to the hatch of the new cupola, but to accommodate the PZU-5 sight for the ZU-64A system, the TNPO-160 periscope on the left of the TKN-3 had to be removed. As a result, the commander's visibility was still not on par with his T-72 contemporary. In fact, the higher statistical weight of forward-facing periscopes compared to side or rear-view periscopes makes the new cupola a downgrade over the older version, despite the increase in the number of periscopes. These nuances are important when evaluating the validity of various cupola designs.

Compared to a typical Western tank cupola, the number of fixed periscopes in the T-72 model is clearly less, but the number alone is not necessarily indicative of actual utility. For example, the Leopard 1 provided its commander with eight periscopes arranged around his circular cupola, but only five are aimed in the forward 180-degree sector and two of them are partly obstructed by the loader's cupola, loader's machine gun skate mount and loader's hatch opening mechanism on the left side of the turret. It is also important to note that the commander's cupola on the Leopard 1 does not rotate and the forward-facing periscope has a very high periscopicity so that the field of view is inherently narrower. In other words, the number of vision devices providing a view towards the forward half of the turret is not more than in the T-72 commander's cupola and there are other secondary factors that affect the commander's visibility. A T-72 commander only loses out in convenience when directing the driver to reverse the tank as he must rotate his cupola in order to see behind the turret or have the turret aimed to the rear.

To further expand our perspective, it should be noted that the commander of an M60A1 is furnished with eight M41 prismatic vision blocks arranged around his oblong M19 cupola, with one aimed forward to cover the 11 o'clock sector, two of them aimed in the forward arc to cover the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock sectors, two of them aimed to the sides, and three of them aimed in a 7 o'clock to 5 o'clock arc. There is one wide-vision periscope installed just behind and above the M85 machine gun in the cupola and aimed directly forward. Adding on the fact that the M19 cupola can rotate, it is clear that an M60A1 commander has much better visibility than a T-72 commander under practically all circumstances. However, none of the M41 vision blocks are heated, so fogging will tend to seriously degrade visibility in chilly weather. Also, the objectively poorer rearward visibility from the T-72 cupola compared to Western tanks does not necessarily translate into objectively poorer combat performance as the value of observation devices depends on the context in which they would be used. It is a perfectly valid observation that when the tank needs to reverse, it is often in a non-combat situation where it is safe for the commander to be outside his hatch. In combat, it may be necessary to reverse in order to change positions or to reverse into turret defilade after firing a shot. In both cases - and in general - the driver would have approached the firing position from behind in the first place so he already knows that the area behind the tank is clear of obstructions and that he can freely reverse without fear of running into obstacles. If it is truly necessary for the commander to direct the driver when reversing the tank, the commander can rotate the cupola and use one of his periscopes for the task or open his hatch and peer out.


Furthermore, the fundamental purpose of the fixed periscopes has to be understood in order to assign them with their proper value. In combat, such periscopes are generally only useful if the enemy is very close to the tank (500 meters or less). Otherwise, they are only good for viewing the surrounding environment in order for the commander to gain a sense of spatial control over the tank, and this is done by finding landmarks. When the tank is moving speedily across rough terrain, observation through fixed unmagnified periscopes becomes ineffective due to the oscillation of the tank and the restricted field of view. The commander only sees an oscillating flicker between the ground and the sky, with no possibility of reliably discerning camouflaged enemy forces let alone identifying them.

For a modern tank created and fielded during the mid to late Cold War era, it is only practical to see and identify targets using a magnified optic and some form of stabilization is mandatory to allow it to be used effectively in a moving tank, as the narrower field of view through a magnified optic will exacerbate the negative effects of the oscillation of the tank. The TKN-3 periscope for the commander of a T-72 fulfills this purpose as it has a reasonably high magnification with a reasonably large field of view, and it has handles to allow the commander to hold it steady.

The characteristics of a tank commander's observation practices when buttoned-up in a fixed cupola with eight periscopes and one fixed forward-facing sight in the turret were examined in the 1974 study "Некоторые Статистические Характеристики Процесса Наблюдения Командира Танка" (Some Statistical Characteristics of a Tank Commander's Observation Processes) by G.G Golub et al. Three special cupolas were constructed to replace the original commander's cupola of a T-64 that was used as the experimental platform. The frequency and duration of usage of each of the viewing devices was recorded using a small forward-facing lamp on the commander's headset which would illuminate an array of photodiodes (light sensors) placed on top of each viewing device when the commander looks through the viewfinder. The first cupola design was a fixed type with eight fixed and equally spaced unmagnified periscopes arranged radially around the circumference of the cupola and one forward-facing TPD optic (modified periscopic sight with optical rangefinder removed). The second cupola design was the same as the first design but it had a stabilized electric drive for cupola rotation. The third cupola design was a manually-rotating type analogous to the T-72 cupola, having a total viewing arc of 206 degrees (± 103 degrees from the centerline axis of the cupola).

These cupolas were tested in various simulated combat conditions. The simulations were carried out in field conditions with moderately hilly terrain partly covered with bushes and trees. The targets included four tanks showing their frontal projection, three tanks in hull-down positions, two armoured personnel carriers, three ATGM teams, five recoilless rifles, and five anti-tank guns. All of these were arranged in such a way as to ensure that they would be uniformly concealed from the tank commanders as the tanks traveled down the pre-planned routes from a full 360-degree arc and at distances of 0.5 to 1.5 kilometers. The positions of the targets were shuffled throughout the experiments.

It was found that in general, 30% of all battlefield observations were carried out using the forward-facing unmagnified periscope and at most, 5% of observations were done using the magnified 8x optic with a stabilized field of view. However, it was also found that in tactical situations such as carrying out a breakthrough mission, the frequency of the use of a magnified optic to search for targets increases up to 50%. Overall, more than 70% of observations were made using only three periscopes at the front of the cupola covering a 100-degree frontal sector and over 95% of observations were made in a 200-degree frontal sector. Most interestingly, the experiments revealed that the highest recorded frequency of usage of the rear-view periscope was only 0.8%. It was also noted that the periscopes installed at more than 110 degrees off the centerline axis of the cupola (8 o'clock) were difficult to use due to neck strain when the tank was in motion. This was most likely why the commander's cupola of the T-80 used a rear-view prism embedded in the roof of the commander's hatch instead of a conventional periscope placed behind the commander's head.
 
Based on these results, it can be seen that in a fixed cupola with all-round visibility, five unmagnified periscopes covering the front 180-degree sector provide 95.3% of the total visibility needs of the commander under various combat conditions. The rear-facing periscopes are rarely used. A rotating cupola that provides vision in a 206-degree arc will fulfill 98.1% of the commander's visibility needs under the same combat conditions. In other words, the practicality of the T-72 cupola design can be considered to be experimentally validated. Even a T-64 cupola with just one TKN-3 and two TNPO-160 periscopes can theoretically fulfill 70% of the visibility needs of its commander, but on the other hand, the improved visibility from the two additional TNPA-65A periscopes in the T-64A obr. 1975 or T-64B cupola is offset by the loss of one TNPO-160 periscope.
 
Of course, the configuration of observation devices in the T-72 commander's cupola is certainly not perfect. A panoramic sight is ergonomically superior as the user's head does not need to move when the sight head rotates. The Leopard 1 is exemplary in this regard as it provided its commander with the excellent TRP-2A panoramic sight featuring a variable magnification of 4x to 20x, and beginning with the Leopard 1A4 in 1974, the commander was provided with the advanced PERI-R12 stabilized panoramic sight with a variable magnification of 2x or 8x. Panoramic sights were developed in the USSR during the 1930's and the PT-1 sight was the first to enter service, being installed on the T-26. Later, the PT-K panoramic sights were used on various modifications of the KV-1 and T-34, and indeed, Soviet engineers in the prewar era saw much greater value in panoramic observation devices compared to cupolas with multiple vision slits or periscopes and favored devices like the MK-4 rotating periscope (Gundlach periscope) and PT-1 for all-round visibility, but for one reason or another, postwar Soviet tanks were no longer equipped with such devices. Instead, all postwar Soviet armoured vehicles built in the 1950's standardized on the binocular TPK and TPKU periscopes paired with the TKN-1 night vision periscope, and beginning in the early 1960's, the TKN-3 series of combined periscopes became the new standard.
 
 
 
Edited by Vanir Ausf B
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47 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

And from wiki:

"The basic T-72 design has extremely small periscope viewports, even by the constrained standards of battle tanks and the driver's field of vision is significantly reduced when his hatch is closed."

 

Fair enough, but we are talking about spotting difficulties straight forward.

Narrow angle optics could actually help here.

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VAB, thanks for that, I think I may be starting to unpack this mystery a bit.

Ok, so out of an abundance of curiosity I ran a series of ten tests on a different test set.  I remembered something Steve once said about flat ground "not being flat and empty ground in CM".  So even though it may look like a bald grass covered plain, in CM the numbers under the hood take into account small divots, grass clumps etc.  So I tried an trick from the old days and put these tanks on pavement (see attached) and comparing to VABs original test it seems to make a significant difference.

If you recall (third post on this thread) ranged from 9 sec to 443 (7min, 23 sec) for the T72 to spot at 2000m.  In my test series it saw nothing nowhere near as long.

image.png.34008512212567310c8793292aedd113.png

So the longest for the T72 to do a (?) spot (i.e. there is something there) was 1 min and 28 seconds.  Shortest was 15 secs.

Longest to clear spot (I see an M60, lets kill it) was 2 min and 5 secs.  Shortest was an immediate clear spot at 24 secs (gotta be honest, that one feels a little fast)

The T72 won 8 out of 10 engagements but I had the M60 turned around backwards (the fact that it managed 2 wins is pretty interesting, that beast can see).  With the longest time to first hit at 3:02 (but this was really crappy gunnery because they had a clear spot at 2:03).  The shortest was 55 seconds.

So what?  Well first off we cannot look directly into the scopes of the gunner and commander in CM.  I suspect that the TACAI basically scans the horizon until it "sees" something.  To scan a 90 degree arc at 2000m is covering approx 3100m of scan distance (https://www.omnicalculator.com/math/arc-length, note I am not sure it works this way in RL and my math may be off), at the noted 

39 minutes ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

It was found that in general, 30% of all battlefield observations were carried out using the forward-facing unmagnified periscope and at most, 5% of observations were done using the magnified 8x optic with a stabilized field of view.

looking for a 3.6m tank...that is not something done in a few seconds.  Then the TACAI has to fully identify the threat (is it a tank or a barn? It is a tank, ok whose tank?) 

So where does this leave this whole discussion.  Well first off there does not seem to be much distance between CM and SB as originally proposed.  Someone would need to do a series of AI-only test in SB to see how the numbers stack up.  I also suspect that the game engines model open ground differently based on this pavement test.

Some of the RL data is pointing to the T72 having visibility issues

29 minutes ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

Adding on the fact that the M19 cupola can rotate, it is clear that an M60A1 commander has much better visibility than a T-72 commander under practically all circumstances.

And probably should be seeing worse than the M60.  Still at an average Zero to See/Start Shooting time of about 85-86 seconds at 2kms, for a last gen tank than is not bad at all.  That may feel like a long time for a player with his feet up and ass in a chair, but for a crew operating a tank that is not a long time at all.

Tank Spotting.btt

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So I decided to rerun your test @TheCaptain because I was curious to see how the M60's spotting times differed from the -72s. Overall, the M-60 got off a first round shot in 8 of 10 tests (very scientific sample size), hit the -72 in every test, and only died once. That test was really weird, as both tanks died at the exact same moment, and in fact their rounds passed right overtop one another as they flew across the map. The M-60 only lost its commander while the -72 was labeled 'Knocked Out.'

Given that this whole thread started over the -64 and I was curious, I also tested a T-64A, buttoned up, against a backwards facing M-60. The results were strange, as you can see from the data that I produced. In three tests the -64 never produced a (?) contact. In one test the -64 ate multiple rounds without spotting the M-60, though it lost its gun on the first hit and the TACAI decided on its own initiative to displace the tank, then died during that maneuver. In three tests the -64 began processing either a (?) or a real contact within the first 10 sec of scenario start, but in another it took over four minutes!

If you look just at the raw averages of the data I collected the T-64 seems to take about twice as long to develop each phase of its contact as the M60A3TTS, and about twice as long to transition from one phase to the next. An average of 60 sec for first contact and 120sec for first hit, in noncombat conditions, also doesn't strike me as that unreasonable. Though I will say I dont have experience as a tank gunner or commander. If anything it seems to me that the lesson here is that the Russian tanks need to operate in groups, with proper spotting and C2, and preferably at shorter ranges. I think @TheCaptain said this a couple dozen posts ago. This is also pretty in keeping IMO with Soviet doctrine. The M60A3, OTOH, probably doesnt benefit as much from the spotting help since it doesnt need it, and likes to stay at range and pick its targets off. Again, very in keeping with US practice. It would be interesting to compare the Soviet tanks to the A1, IMO that would actually be a better apples-to-apples comparison, and I suspect performance metrics would be more similar. 

IMO my data also highlights why some people are having issues. The performance of the T-64 isn't unreasonable in the aggregate, and I suspect if you ran these tests many more times the outliers would wash out better. But the T-64's performance, for some reason, is very uneven. Sometimes its like the Terminator in the turret, sometimes its Bill and Ted. Overall it washes out, but when youre playing in a high stakes PBEM it would suck to realize you had Ted and not Termie. 

VSKVn8v.gif

I dont know what lessons to draw from that conclusion. Im not a game designer. I for one dont find too much to complain about with the system, and like others I would explain it away as 'combat realities.' Maybe the commander was looking left and didnt see the tank on the right. Or he has a smudged periscope. Or he was shoveling an MRE into his mouth and not paying a lot of attention. For me that adds to the story of the battle. But for a competitive player I can see how the volatility and unpredictability would be frustrating. Assuming my data holds true, again it was only 10 tests each and I could have just been unlucky. 

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7 minutes ago, BeondTheGrave said:

So I decided to rerun your test

Interesting, so I assume you turned the M60A3 back around.  This is not surprising in the least to be honest as the M60A3 has TTS which means that the T72 is a glowing dot on the horizon.  It also matched some of the RL commentary VAB turned up.  That plus an onboard real targeting, computer I am surprised the T72 stood a chance at that range.

9 minutes ago, BeondTheGrave said:

Though I will say I dont have experience as a tank gunner or commander. If anything it seems to me that the lesson here is that the Russian tanks need to operate in groups, with proper spotting and C2, and preferably at shorter ranges.

Absolutely and I am more and more convinced this was why Soviet doctrine was what it was.

Not sure what the spotting capability of the T64 was but those results are also pretty telling, it won 8 out 10 engagements (not counting mulligan)?  I am starting to wonder if it needs a nerf.

Ya the unevenness we see is really how CM models tactical friction, which is highly realistic.  Crew commander spills coffee on his lap, get a bug in the eye or happens to see the silhouette perfectly and the gunner is actually sober for once, all this is very realistic in warfare and every wargame models it differently, hence why I am not a huge fan of cross comparisons.

As akd, just noted, at this point we are beyond spotting and really looking at engagement results. 

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16 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Interesting, so I assume you turned the M60A3 back around.

Yes, when I tested the M-60 I turned it to face the T-72 and reversed the T-72 so it faced the mapedge. I left it unbuttoned, didn't feel that it made much difference and I dont think it had much impact. For the T-64 test I once again reversed orientations. I had intended to leave it unbuttoned, but for some reason that setting didn't "stick" in the scenario editor and it ended up buttoned up. Everything else about the test was exactly as you had set it in your battle file, except as I repositioned the M60 I also moved him to the map edge (he was about 5m further forward?) Again not a very big change I think. And the mulligan was not counted in the averages data, as the tank moved from the starting position. It was the only test in both batches where that happened, interestingly. 

16 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Absolutely and I am more and more convinced this was why Soviet doctrine was what it was.

That and Soviet doctrine was inherently offensive. Even in a defensive scenario their doctrine was to hold the armor back for the counter attack. I have my doubts as to how closely they would have followed that concept, and US tacticians certainly believed that armor would be emplaced inside the defensive zone as well, so thats worth considering RE scenario design. But in terms of doctrine and, as you point out, the design of weapons and systems IMO the Soviets had wrapped about around to the 1940s mindset of the massive armored punch on both offense and defense.

Bit of a chicken and egg situation, does technology drive tactics or does tactics drive technology. No good answers for that one, but you could write an entire book on the subject. 

16 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

As akd, just noted, at this point we are beyond spotting and really looking at engagement results. 

Id also agree with this, probably most of all. I ran the tests but IDK what it really proved. A couple days ago I was testing  a scenario Im working on and it features a potential tank duel ~2000m. Anecdotally the Soviets do well because A) its a combat scenario and not a 'gunslinger duel,' B ) Soviets are in good C2 with lots of spotting help and C) theyre hull down so they can afford to lose the first shot. To me this seems like the correct result and, I hope, a pretty good depiction of what this kind of sniper tank duel would look like. 

Edited by BeondTheGrave
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16 minutes ago, BeondTheGrave said:

Bit of a chicken and egg situation, does technology drive tactics or does tactics drive technology. No good answers for that one, but you could write an entire book on the subject.

Oh man, those two snakes have been wrestling in the jar since we invented the damn activity.

Another spin is time of day, I am seeing a lot different numbers for lower light (duh) but I am starting to think sun position may matter - not sold on this yet but...

Also interesting is that for the T64A in your test (and someone check my math) it looks like the time-to-"I see it. let's shoot" is also 86 sec? But with larger outliers.

AKD is right, one would have to do this 100 times to get a really good sense of the curve. 

 

Edited by The_Capt
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16 minutes ago, BeondTheGrave said:

Id also agree with this, probably most of all. I ran the tests but IDK what it really proved.

Well it proves that spotting is a range of outcomes and that you are seeing similar behavior across platforms.  None of it points to Soviet tanks being totally blind at 2000m, in fact in some circumstances I think we are being too generous (2 second to clear-spot?!  So that one definitely landed directly on the scope.)

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7 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Also interesting is that for the T64A in your test (and someone check my math) it looks like the time-to-"I see it. let's shoot" is also 86 sec? But with larger outliers.

Fair point didnt think of including that information. Back of napkin guess, probably averaged four shots per hit. The first few tests it was closer to 1st-2nd rnd hits, but after that super long match (both tanks probably fired 10 times at each other) the average started going up. The M-60 only missed the T-72 once, but IMO a better version of this test should probably consider both time-to-shoot, time-to-hit, and time-to-kill. But again were no longer testing spotting but overall engagements, and the tests would have to be run a LOT to establish a true range & frequency of outliers. 

At least I think, statistics was never my forte. 

Re the 2 seconds shot, that was also surprising. Not sure what happened there. Even more shocking is that it took 25! more seconds to go from "oh **** American" to rounds down range. But that seems, for some reason, to be a thing with the Soviets. Lot of lag time from ID to engagement. Unless maybe its a laser range finding thing, which is why I think the M60A1 might be a better comparison. 

Edited by BeondTheGrave
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So my feeling is that SB and CM are both highly realistic wargames that aim to model real combat as closely as practicable. Because they are both trying to model reality you would expect their results to converge, even though they are starting from very different engines. But, no one has infinite resources, so both had to make choices about which things to model in detail, which things to abstract, and which to ignore. Meaning the results won't converge perfectly.

So which simulation do we trust to be more accurate when the results diverge? If the argument were over armor penetration then I would place a higher premium on the SB results, because I expect them to have modeled armor and projectile performance in greater detail. But to my knowledge CM puts a far greater emphasis on modeling realistic spotting than any other wargame, SB included. So the fact that spotting results between SB and CM are different is probably a stronger indicator that SB has unrealistic spotting (at least for AI crew) than that CM has unrealistic spotting.

Of course as @The_Capthas pointed out multiple times, we can't tell how far a sim is off from reality by comparing it to another sim. If we want to be truly confident that either sim is getting it right (or at least getting it close) then we need to compare them with real world data. Of course now that I mention it, if there is any unclassified and non-proprietary data on real world spotting that could be shared I'm sure the community would be happy to have it, since spotting isn't exactly the easiest subject to google (any books, websites, or studies that you would recommend reading? free or paid access, so long as it is available to the public). My impression is that CM has it about right, since most of what I've read suggests that pretty much everything (from spotting, to shooting, to decision making) is harder in actual combat than in an exercise (and of course even spotting an enemy in an exercise is much harder than spotting a marked target on a range). I assume my ability to spot targets in games like Steel Beasts, GHPC, Arma, and Operation Flashpoint (on the first playthrough of a mission (on the second and subsequent playthroughs I already have some idea where the enemy is)) is roughly equivalent to an exercise, not actual combat. The enemy is wearing camouflage and trying to be sneaky, and I don't know exactly where they are. But I do know they are out there, and I am not as suppressed by their fire as I would be in actual combat (both because my life is not in any real danger, and because the incoming bullets are not as loud as real bullets). That I am playing from the comfort of my own desk means that I am also not as fatigued as I would be in either an exercise or real combat (of course I also lack peripheral vision, since I am viewing the world through a monitor). And yet I still often have a very hard time finding the enemy the first time I play a lot of missions (the second time I play those missions it isn't as hard to find the enemy because I already vaguely recall where they were the first time I played that mission).

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