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Steel Beasts vs Combat Mission t-72 visibility test


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So I thought I might jump on the spotting test bandwagon. I set up a simple scenario with an M60A1 and a T64A facing off at 2 kilometers. I dismounted the crew of the M60 since I was interested in the spotting times for the T64, not who shoots first.

The results were:
(?) icon    firm spot (in seconds)
73            87
36            64
54            68
0              0 (T64 spotted the M60 instantly upon the start of the test)
199          199 (T64 identified the M60 instantly upon spotting it)
13            83
115          143
13            21
98           98
48           62

average time for (?) spot: 64.9 seconds

average time for firm spot: 82.5 seconds

I have all sorts of ambitions for follow up tests. Such as repeating it at 1500, 1000, and 500 meters. Repeating it with the spotter at the edge of a tree line. Repeating it with the target at the edge of a tree line. And remembering to control for skill and leadership next time (I left it on default for these tests, with the crew coming out with regular skill and +2 leadership). But I probably won't get around to those.

Edited by Centurian52
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14 minutes ago, Centurian52 said:

So I thought I might jump on the spotting test bandwagon. I set up a simple scenario with an M60A1 and a T64A facing off at 2 kilometers. I dismounted the crew of the M60 since I was interested in the spotting times for the T64, not who shoots first.

The results were:
(?) icon    firm spot (in seconds)
73            87
36            64
54            68
0              0 (T64 spotted the M60 instantly upon the start of the test)
199          199 (T64 identified the M60 instantly upon spotting it)
13            83
115          143
13            21
98           98
48           62

average time for (?) spot: 64.9 seconds

average time for firm spot: 82.5 seconds

I have all sorts of ambitions for follow up tests. Such as repeating it at 1500, 1000, and 500 meters. Repeating it with the spotter at the edge of a tree line. Repeating it with the target at the edge of a tree line. And remembering to control for skill and leadership next time (I left it on default for these tests, with the crew coming out with regular skill and +2 leadership). But I probably won't get around to those.

That matches what BTG and I saw, so pretty consistent.  You might want to check weather conditions and time of day as well.  I ran tests unbuttoned and in platoons and times were much faster.  

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5 hours ago, The_Capt said:

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 i just used your scenario to get some data:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18Ma_-1Wl273jK9zck8gmlmqj1FPw2uQGNvbe90ZwuVI/edit#gid=0

I gave the m60 a short firing arc because the test isnt about comparing t72 to m60 yet. At this point its a simple test to see how long the t72 takes to spot. Ill replace the t72 with an m60 and a t64 later to get the comparison between them. Also a 1000m experiment.

 

Things that i noticed:

- Some of the crews are legally blind. A third of them took over two minutes to get a contact. Who let those guys into tanks?

- Only two would qualify as per german tank gunnery standards and then only when applying emergency mode times. (normal ones are 15s from target presentation to target hit and emergency with the backup sight and controlls its 30s)

5 hours ago, The_Capt said:

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 

Id assume 60° for such a caslulation (basically gunner from 11 to 1) but thats variable. Working as a platoon generally each tank would have even less space to cover.

5 hours ago, The_Capt said:

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?) 

CM doesnt see to differentiate between cluttered and clean environment. A tank sitting somewuere between the buildings of a village should be much harder to spot than one sitting in the open but this doesnt appear to be the case.

5 hours ago, The_Capt said:

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

Id love to see which ones. None of its technical data suggests it should be worse than any contemporories.

I wouldt take the gulf wars results as an indicator that t72 had bad visibility. Thats more a case for how much thermals outperform non thermals in bad visibility conditions.

5 hours ago, The_Capt said:

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. 

 

In broken up terrain or bad weather id agree but the test was in clear weather and open and flat ground. And even then the times are quite long for a fully exposed tank.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Testing's all the rage these days!  :D

How else are you going to gather ingame data?

2 minutes ago, Redwolf said:

I don't think range is a primary factor involved here. We can easily make Soviet tanks spot at 2000m in isolated tests.

How do you do that because all the testing ive done so far points towards them having quite a bit of trouble spotting at that range.

 

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4 minutes ago, Artkin said:

I dont think it's range either, as I said before. The flat range tests all passed great for me. I elevated my troops and they all had spots past 5km (Max CM engagement range for CW atgm)

The Shturms even killed some shyt. But in pbem they have performed god awful.

Ive looked at your pbem files and your troops did spot ok.

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54 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Testing's all the rage these days!

At least somebody talks some sense. It is like bullseye shooting most people manage a group inside the 8 ring the elite keep 80% in the ten ring and the flyers go in the 9 ring. All can see the bullseye target. Spotting doesn't mean you will hit the target. In the game if your unit spots, his weapon will fire automatically. 

Edited by chuckdyke
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1 hour ago, holoween said:

Things that i noticed:

- Some of the crews are legally blind. A third of them took over two minutes to get a contact. Who let those guys into tanks?

- Only two would qualify as per german tank gunnery standards and then only when applying emergency mode times. (normal ones are 15s from target presentation to target hit and emergency with the backup sight and controlls its 30s)

Sorry I am not familiar with german tank gunnery standards.  Which ones?  Which tanks?  When?  

1 hour ago, holoween said:

CM doesnt see to differentiate between cluttered and clean environment. A tank sitting somewuere between the buildings of a village should be much harder to spot than one sitting in the open but this doesnt appear to be the case.

Not sure, would have to test.  Again CM is simulating RL, not RL, so how it creates delays of RL situations is bound to vary.

1 hour ago, holoween said:

Id love to see which ones. None of its technical data suggests it should be worse than any contemporories.

I wouldt take the gulf wars results as an indicator that t72 had bad visibility. Thats more a case for how much thermals outperform non thermals in bad visibility conditions.

You and me both, probably should have said "RL commentary" VAB posted a lengthy commentary, am seeing stuff around but no actual honest data on T72 spotting and gunnery ability...that might take a trip to library.

 

1 hour ago, holoween said:

n broken up terrain or bad weather id agree but the test was in clear weather and open and flat ground. And even then the times are quite long for a fully exposed tank

Agree to disagree.  T72 (or T64) has no thermals and is doing this thru an 8 power sight, or zero power periscopes.  The time to spot "something" is less, time to identify that something with enough resolution to engage (CM does not model free-fire zones), 1 minute and 25 seconds is not crazy.  I think this is the heart of the matter...how long should a T72 tank take to see, identify and start shooting at a stationary, none firing, tank 2000m away, in 1979?  As I posted well back, I have tried to spot someone firing at 1500m and it probably took us at least a minute (we weren't really timing) with binos and to get sights on that target, it is the only real reference that I have but we all do have opinions I guess.

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3 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Sorry I am not familiar with german tank gunnery standards.  Which ones?  Which tanks?  When?  

Currently in place so Leopard2.

Though the measure im applying is the one for Emergency use so no electric turet drive and only an 8x magnified backup sight.

Targets are nicely illustrated here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235040314_Canadian_Army_Trophy_Analysis

 

3 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Not sure, would have to test.  Again CM is simulating RL, not RL, so how it creates delays of RL situations is bound to vary.

It does make a difference though. If units spot others in the open and in broken terrain similarly the distinction starts to matter less than it probably should.

3 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

You and me both, probably should have said "RL commentary" VAB posted a lengthy commentary, am seeing stuff around but no actual honest data on T72 spotting and gunnery ability...that might take a trip to library.

At least from the technical specifications i cant see any reason why they should perform worse. And since crew performance is a seperate stat that should have by far the largest impact.

For the technical comparison i can send you some documents.

3 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Agree to disagree.  T72 (or T64) has no thermals and is doing this thru an 8 power sight, or zero power periscopes.  The time to spot "something" is less, time to identify that something with enough resolution to engage (CM does not model free-fire zones), 1 minute and 25 seconds is not crazy.  I think this is the heart of the matter...how long should a T72 tank take to see, identify and start shooting at a stationary, none firing, tank 2000m away, in 1979?  As I posted well back, I have tried to spot someone firing at 1500m and it probably took us at least a minute (we weren't really timing) with binos and to get sights on that target, it is the only real reference that I have but we all do have opinions I guess.

I havent sat inside a T72 yet so i cant say it exactly but for a Leopard2 even just using the backup sight it should be far lower if its in an open field.

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35 minutes ago, holoween said:

Currently in place so Leopard2.

Though the measure im applying is the one for Emergency use so no electric turet drive and only an 8x magnified backup sight.

Targets are nicely illustrated here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235040314_Canadian_Army_Trophy_Analysis

 

It does make a difference though. If units spot others in the open and in broken terrain similarly the distinction starts to matter less than it probably should.

At least from the technical specifications i cant see any reason why they should perform worse. And since crew performance is a seperate stat that should have by far the largest impact.

For the technical comparison i can send you some documents.

I havent sat inside a T72 yet so i cant say it exactly but for a Leopard2 even just using the backup sight it should be far lower if its in an open field.

Oh that is exactly the kind of study we need on the T72, except I cannot find the range to the targets...did you?

I agree on terrain effect, I suspect that is why we see a disparity between CM and SB, or more directly in CM between "open ground" (which really isn't) and pavement.  

I think it is a leap to say that a Leo II and T72 has the same optics (even without using the thermals) but both are using an 8x sight.  Questions remain: how quickly/easily is the sight traverse?  How clear are the optics? Ergonomics of the sight itself. Stability.  That said crew quality definitely matter and I would say the Leo II crews were not "Regular" by Soviet standards but that is again a guess.

 

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And for those still tuning in, ran a couple more tests.  Lone T72 at 1000m vs M60A3 (had to dismount the A3 as it was starting to see a lot better even from the back at 1km)

image.png.851b92de01a3f54572a3cf24ea63591c.png

So interestingly, the arc length the tank has to scan (at 90 degrees for arguments sake) is half that of that at 2000m (1570m, makes sense) and its mean time to full spot drops from 85 secs to 39 secs...slightly better than half.

And then back out to 2000m but I put a full platoon of T72s (4 tanks) on a line about 100m apart...very interesting.

image.png.56cc83159b205b9b0f7ac6074636d982.png

So as we can see, spot times go way down when these tanks are working together, but that is not the interesting part.  The arc length at 90degrees/2000m is 3141 and 785 is about 25% of that per tank if they divide the arc up evenly (again makes sense).  21.5 seconds is 25% of the 86 seconds we saw in the original to-full-spot time for a lone tank at 2000m.  Not definitive but those tricky lads at BFC appear to have linked spot time to scan distance, or at least this is a working theory.  

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21 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

How clear are the optics?

I remember reading something about the protocol. Commander spots a target and lines up a laser, the laser paints the target and by a computer adjust the optics for the main gun. The technology ensures a 90 % hit probability not the optics itself. 

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1 minute ago, chuckdyke said:

I remember reading something about the protocol. Commander spots a target and lines up a laser, the laser paints the target and by a computer adjust the optics for the main gun. The technology ensures a 90 % hit probability not the optics itself. 

Not for either of the tanks in this scenario (M60A1 & T-72 'Ural').....Both relied on optical rangefinding.

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44 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Oh that is exactly the kind of study we need on the T72, except I cannot find the range to the targets...did you?

https://mcoepublic.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/library/ebooks/Canadian Army Trophy Book_2018.pdf

Thats the best i could find regarding ranges at the CAT. Up to 2000m

 

44 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

I think it is a leap to say that a Leo II and T72 has the same optics (even without using the thermals) but both are using an 8x sight.  Questions remain: how quickly/easily is the sight traverse?  How clear are the optics? Ergonomics of the sight itself. Stability.  That said crew quality definitely matter and I would say the Leo II crews were not "Regular" by Soviet standards but that is again a guess.

 

The traverse is going to be better for the t72. the Leo2s backup is very slow so usually its brought roughly on target by the driver neutral steering before doing anything more if the commander sees something on the flanks.

The T72 optics at least have 9° fov which should make them comparable. How clear they are i cant tell.

https://imgur.com/a/JrioHHQ

Ths document gives a nice overview on early cold war tanks stats. The t72 fits right in there so should probably be on a similar capability scale as far as spotting goes.

And crew quality is a seperate stat so soviet standards being lower should be reflected by the crews being lower veterancy rather than the equipment being made worse.

34 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

And for those still tuning in, ran a couple more tests.  Lone T72 at 1000m vs M60A3 (had to dismount the A3 as it was starting to see a lot better even from the back at 1km)

image.png.851b92de01a3f54572a3cf24ea63591c.png

 

Are you removing outliers? At 10 rounds at 1000m i already have one taking 177s to spot and one taking 255 yet im not seeing such results for your tests.

34 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

image.png.56cc83159b205b9b0f7ac6074636d982.png

So as we can see, spot times go way down when these tanks are working together, but that is not the interesting part.  The arc length at 90degrees/2000m is 3141 and 785 is about 25% of that per tank if they divide the arc up evenly (again makes sense).  21.5 seconds is 25% of the 86 seconds we saw in the original to-full-spot time for a lone tank at 2000m.  Not definitive but those tricky lads at BFC appear to have linked spot time to scan distance, or at least this is a working theory.  

Or each tank has x chance to spot each cycle and you have 4 tanks therefore dropping the expected time to spot for any of them.

 

19 minutes ago, chuckdyke said:

I remember reading something about the protocol. Commander spots a target and lines up a laser, the laser paints the target and by a computer adjust the optics for the main gun. The technology ensures a 90 % hit probability not the optics itself. 

Were discussing sights before laser range finders in case of the t72 or without them active in the Leo2s case.

Also for spotting the FCS and laser are irrelevant.

Edited by holoween
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15 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

And for those still tuning in, ran a couple more tests.  Lone T72 at 1000m vs M60A3 (had to dismount the A3 as it was starting to see a lot better even from the back at 1km)

image.png.851b92de01a3f54572a3cf24ea63591c.png

So interestingly, the arc length the tank has to scan (at 90 degrees for arguments sake) is half that of that at 2000m (1570m, makes sense) and its mean time to full spot drops from 85 secs to 39 secs...slightly better than half.

And then back out to 2000m but I put a full platoon of T72s (4 tanks) on a line about 100m apart...very interesting.

image.png.56cc83159b205b9b0f7ac6074636d982.png

So as we can see, spot times go way down when these tanks are working together, but that is not the interesting part.  The arc length at 90degrees/2000m is 3141 and 785 is about 25% of that per tank if they divide the arc up evenly (again makes sense).  21.5 seconds is 25% of the 86 seconds we saw in the original to-full-spot time for a lone tank at 2000m.  Not definitive but those tricky lads at BFC appear to have linked spot time to scan distance, or at least this is a working theory.  

That is very interesting. And it means we can start making testable predictions. If this pattern holds then it should take an average of ~20 seconds for a lone T72 (of the same model, with the same crew experience, and the same visibility conditions) to spot an enemy tank in the open at 500 meters. It should take an average ~5 seconds for a platoon of 4 T72s to spot an enemy tank in the open at 500 meters. And an average of ~170 seconds for a lone T72 to spot an enemy tank in the open at 4000 meters.

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1 hour ago, Artkin said:

I feel like a Shturm should be able to see something like this:

shturm.png

I had three and they all got owned by M60A3 and M901, but still, they couldn't see an entire battalion tactical group

Are you saying the entire BTG had reciprocal LOS to the 3x Shturm  at the start of the test?

Also, you all are going to find all units underperform range standards because battlefields are not ranges.

Edited by akd
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1 hour ago, holoween said:

Are you removing outliers? At 10 rounds at 1000m i already have one taking 177s to spot and one taking 255 yet im not seeing such results for your tests.

I feel like I am going to have to repeat this over and over again until somebody listens or I just do it myself: you cannot make judgements about relative spotting ability or average spotting times using small samples in CM unless all you are testing for is can spot / can never spot.  And you are going to have to control the test so you are only testing spotting against the same target in the exact same conditions (including all soft factors).  One spotter, one target.  Arguably all spotters should be C2 isolated in case proximity to ? spots increases spotting probability (I’m not entirely clear on that), that is if you are trying to increase testing efficiency by having multiple units in each test.

Nope, not going to do it myself.  All I am seeing is noise, no real indication of problem worth isolating and testing.

Edited by akd
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2 minutes ago, akd said:

I feel like I am going to have to repeat this over and over again until somebody listens or I just do it myself: you cannot make judgements about relative spotting ability or average spotting times using small samples in CM unless all you are testing for is can spot / can never spot.

With a controlled test environment you can remove any influence apart from spotting ability.

Youre getting low confidence with the results from the few tests and the variance means the average spotting time isnt immediately relevant ingame but as a comparison it certainly works.

2 minutes ago, akd said:

 And you are going to have to control the test so you are only testing spotting against the same target in the exact same conditions (including all soft factors).

That is easy to do:

make a scenario to test it and simply run the scenario as often as you want to get as much data as you want.

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22 minutes ago, akd said:

Are you saying the entire BTG had reciprocal LOS to the 3x Shturm  at the start of the test?

Also, you all are going to find all units underperform range standards because battlefields are not ranges.

At the start they were obscured from those particular 3x of shturm. I had set up a whole battery (9 of them) in groups of three in different positions on the map. The group that was in the open field spotted great! The group in these trees, didn't spot a thing. And there was another group that was behind a low bocage, and they performed awful. They got spots, but constantly lost them immediately after before getting pwned..

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49 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Not for either of the tanks in this scenario (M60A1 & T-72 'Ural').....Both relied on optical rangefinding.

Big factor in the time from contact to round. IIRC both the M60A1 and T-72 use a coincidence rangefinder. I've read that on the M60 it was much improved over earlier versions, but most rangefinders of that type suffer from.... difficulties for the user. Either its easy to use but gives inaccurate readings or its accurate but is challenging to operate. I think it was the M48 where you had to rotate and manipulate the after image of a hostile tank in order to produce your range estimates? Either way, coincidence rangefinders are neither fast nor good when compared to laser rangefinders with are both instant and highly accurate. So worth keeping that in mind. 

18 minutes ago, akd said:

All I am seeing is noise, no real indication of problem worth isolating and testing.

The more data we collect, such as it is, the more I'm convinced everything is more or less working as intended. Even if we could prove that Soviet tanks have a broader range of spotting times (and at this stage I think its probably a Soviet thing, not a T-64/72 thing) again I'm not sure that its an issue. 

Given the fundamental assumptions and limitations of the CM system, I feel like these are pretty good and historically accurate, to the period, results. Even if there are some slight issues, @TheCaptain's several tests seem to suggest that they push the Soviet player to behave historically (closer engagements with plenty of backup) anyway. To reduce it to simple nerfs and buffs, I dont know that the Soviets need their long range spotting buffed really. If youre having trouble, the solution ought to be to keep pushing in, and to bring more tanks, which is Soviet doctrine anyway. As an American once said, "grab their nose and kick 'em in the ass." Just my .02$

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