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Demo READ ME file....Enjoy...Get back to work!

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Guest Madmatt



Copyright © 2000 Big Time Software, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Visit us at battlefront.com for more information about the full game and how to purchase!

Hello there!

Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord is a tactical 3-D game of World War Two combat. It's played by giving orders to your troops each turn, and then watching them carry out your commands in simultaneous real-time action. Combat Mission is only available through Battlefront.com and will not be found in retail stores.

If you're new to Combat Mission, the best approach is to play intuitively. Think of how you'd best command a company of infantry and tanks in the real world, and just do what makes sense to you. We've done our best to create a realistic "world" in which good tactics work, and "gamey" tricks don't.

For those of you who have already played the Combat Mission Beta Demo, much of this documentation will seem very familiar. However, we have introduced new features and subtle changes so it is worth rereading.

Combat Mission is intuitive enough that not much instruction is needed for general game play. However, there are dozens and dozens of cool features lurking beneath the surface that are not mentioned in this documentation. If you don't think some critical aspect of warfare is simulated, or question how we simulate something, please check out our discussion forum to get more information. All we ask is that you use the BBS' "search" feature first. There are now over 43,000 posts that cover most aspects of Combat Mission, both obvious and obscure, located on the web at:


Wait for the page to load and click on "Discuss" in the lefthand frame. Please remember that we are not looking for bug reports, only discussion of the game itself. However, if you have hardware conflicts there is a thread entitled "Demo Driver Conflicts" where you can post.

Basic Instructions

Demo vs. Final

Starting Up a Game

Navigating In the Game

Accessing Unit Info

Winning/Losing The Game

Game Phases

Setup Phase

Orders Phase

Action Phase

Major Game Elements


Unit Experience

Unit Morale

Unit Fatigue


Command & Control



Armor Penetration

Chance of a Kill


Combat Engineers






Basic Instructions

This section helps you understand the very basic elements of starting up a game of Combat Mission.

Demo vs. Final

The Combat Mission Demo was made from the same code and art that will be found in the full version. Everything that you see in the Demo is in the full version, but not everything in the full version is represented in the Demo. This means that various aspects of Combat Mission have been either disabled or cut down in order to make the Demo functional (and small enough to download) but not a complete game in its own right.

Here is a short list of some of the features that await you in the full, final version:

Units from Germany, US, UK, Canada, France, and Poland. This includes national formations, equipment, and native language voices for each. The total number of units represented is:

35 Squad types

50 Support Weapons (HMGs, AAA, 105mm Howitzer, 88mm Flak, etc.)

126 Vehicles of all types and variants

12 Defensive Elements (pillboxes, mines, barbed wire, Registration Points, etc)

40 types of terrain (including destroyed versions)

9 types of ground conditions and 6 types of atmospheric weather

Quick Battles: on-the-fly, random battle generator

Powerful, fully-integrated scenario and operations Editor (the same one we used)

Head to Head play via PBEM or Hotseat (TCP/IP to be released as free patch as soon as possible)


CD quality sound effects (we downsampled the Demo's for a much smaller download)

Fifty (50) scenarios, both Battles and full-scale "Operations"

176+ page printed manual

OK, so when is the final version going to be released? We can not specify an EXACT day since until we get the CDs and manuals back in our warehouse all bets are off :) But it appears likely that somewhere around the first week of June is likely. The D-Day anniversary is approaching...

Starting Up a Game

Double click on the Combat Mission Demo application.

(Windows only) A small window will appear asking you to click on a button if you can see it. This is Combat Mission's way of calibrating the use of your 3D video card with DirectX. Depending on your type of card, you may be asked to click twice. This only happens the very first time you run Combat Mission, and thereafter your video settings are automatically stored in a "preferences" file in the CM directory.

When the main menu screen loads, click on "Play Scenario". A window will appear, and you will see two file names listed. These are the two fictional battles included with the Demo. "Chance Encounter.cmb" is a meeting engagement, "Valley of Trouble.cmb" is an American attack on fortified German positions. Chose one or the other, read the Scenario Briefing, and select the side you want to play. At this point there are three options:

Fog of War - Information gathering and spotting are difficult (Full), information is known instantly once a unit is spotted (Partial), or all units are always spotted and identified (None).

Computer Player Setup - Determines if the AI is allowed to set up its own units. If you are playing a scenario against the AI for the first time, we recommend choosing the "Stick to Scenario Default". NOTE: this option doesn't do anything if you are playing against a Human.

Play Balance - Gives one side or another extra units based on the % increase or decrease selected. Added units will always be simply more of what is already in the game. So selecting this will not suddenly give one player entirely different units.

After you decide what side you are going to play, you then choose the method of play. You can either play 1-Player, Hotseat, or Play By E-Mail (PBEM). TCP/IP is currently not available, but will be released as soon as possible as a free patch. This will allow LAN and Internet Play. Windows and Macintosh computers can play against each other so long as the PBEM files have the ".txt" in the file title and the method of emailing attachments is compatible for both sides. Note to Mac users... HQX and SIT files can not usually be read on a PC, so either send uncompressed or as a ZIP file if you have a Macintosh ZIP program.

After the player options have been determined, CM presents a Briefing specific to your chosen side. This will give you all the information you need to know about the battle ahead. It is pretty important stuff, so it is unwise to skip it. Yes, we all want to get right into the game and play, but you might be sorry for rushing when halfway through the game!

The game starts out with you looking at the battlefield from a predetermined viewpoint which gives you a nice feel for where it is you need to go or where the enemy will come from. The map and/or your forces are spread out before you, ready to be placed on the battlefield. Before you can proceed with getting your units set for battle, you must first learn how to move around in CM's battlefield and interact with it...

Navigating In the Game

When no units are selected you will see the scenario information panel at the bottom of your screen. This tells you information vital to the particular scenario you are playing. The "Morale" value tells you the condition of your Global Morale, which adversely affects your troops willingness to fight as the number drops (this happens with each casualty you take). The "Victory" score simply tells you the percentage of Victory Locations currently under your control. There is a "Hotkeys" button in this panel, and it contains ALL the hotkeys in the game except the Number Pad (see below for more). This is a very important source of information as many features can only be invoked through keyboard commands.

Each "camera" position (i.e. view of the battlefield) is numbered 1-8 and has the same corresponding keyboard shortcut. Camera 1 is at ground level and looks parallel to the earth, while Camera 8 is more like a high altitude satellite. Although each player will develop their own camera position preferences, here is our recommendations for their use:

Cameras 1 and 2 - cool playbacks and really sensitive Line of Sight information.

Cameras 2 and 3 - plotting short distance and tweaking moves.

Cameras 3 and 4 - plotting long distances and getting the lay of the land (esp. Setup)

Cameras 5 and 6 - plotting short distance and tweaking moves.

Cameras 6 and 7 - plotting long distances and getting the lay of the land (esp. Setup)

Camera 8 - getting a sense of the BIG picture and also good large moves in Setup.

Note that increasing the units' visual size helps in some cases. Use Shift-C to toggle through the sizes.

The major camera motion is achieved by using the arrow buttons and "mouse scrolling" (placing the mouse to the edge of the screen). Hold down the SHIFT key when moving to the edge of the screen will make the camera move Right/Left instead of rotating. The second most important set of camera controls are the graphical arrow buttons at the bottom of the screen. The function of each is duplicated on your keyboard's Number Pad. If you want to micro control your position, there are various keys to do this (see the Hotkeys display for these). A cool thing to do is to select a unit during the Action Phase and hit the Tab key. This will "lock" you onto the unit and you go where it goes. Tanks with turrets are especially cool if they are shooting and on the move! Try this with Camera 1 especially. The Tab key also helps when you wish to reposition the camera to center on a unit very quickly. Any movement of the camera after locking on to the unit will free it.

Accessing Unit Info

The most important information about a unit is located in the Unit Display Panel at the bottom of your screen. The information there is pretty intuitive, but here is the full story. From left to right, top to bottom, the elements are:

Unit Name - Unit ID - Command and Control yes/no - Unit Type

Experience Level - Physical Condition - Active Men - Incapacitated Men (casualties)

Ammo Load - Special Squad Weapons (usually blank for US units) - Unit State

Action - Terrain related to Action - Morale

All units have a secondary "Info Panel" which contains additional information for each unit. This is accessed by hitting Return while a unit is selected. This tells you what weapons the unit has, firepower ratings at different distances, armor information, etc. If you click on "Kills" it toggles the display to show what KNOWN casualties your units have caused. Clicking outside of this box, on anything but a unit, dismisses it.

When you select a unit a line draws from itself to its HQ. If the line is maroon, the unit is in C&C (See the radio icon in top row too), otherwise the line will be black to show that the unit is out of C&C. Teams have no permanent HQ and will be automatically attached to the nearest HQ unit. Squads, on the other hand, can only be commanded by their own HQ or a higher HQ (like Company or Battalion). Make sure you pay close attention to C&C. Delays and other penalties abound without C&C, but vary greatly from unit to unit depending on their Experience Level. Note, all vehicles are independent and do not benefit from HQs in any way.

Winning/Losing The Game

CM's unique game system often leads to battles that are won or lost through a few instances of bad luck or poor planning. A little bad luck can spoil even the best-laid plans, just as it can in real war. Keep this in mind as you are playing. There is no one right way to play, no one way to win or lose. Lady Luck is the Queen of the battlefield. If she smiles upon you in the right circumstances, you are more likely to carry the day. If she frowns in your direction, and smiles at your enemy... you might as well start thinking of what you are going to tell your Commanding Officer when he asks why you lost!

Do not be too quick to judge your performance (good or bad) based on one game of Combat Mission. Even the best players can be dealt a bad hand or make mistakes, just as a mediocre player can get lucky when executing an otherwise uninspired plan. Sometimes the best forces, or largest forces, don't win. That is reality, and it is a reality that CM simulates VERY well.

Also keep in mind that once you have played a battle all the way through, the balance will forever more be in your favor vs. the AI. It is just like playing the same battle against two different human players that have never played that battle before. So from our perspective, each battle has (practically speaking) about 2-3 games' worth of play. Since the full version of Combat Mission ships with 50 scenarios, an editor, and a random scenario generator... you will effectively never run out of fresh scenarios to play :)


Game Phases

Combat Mission is divided into 3 Phases; Setup, Orders and Action. The Setup Phase is a one time occurrence which allows you to position your troops at the beginning of the game, the Orders Phase is where you issue orders to your units, and the Action Phase is the automated 60 second resolution of those orders.

Setup Phase

This is, without a doubt, the most important aspect of Combat Mission. Do not rush through this Phase or you will likely regret it. Although the default positions are carefully laid out to be positive ones, you will at least want to see if they are in positions that allow you to execute your own plan of action. Keep the Combat Briefing in mind while you do this and you will likely play a better game. You can bring the report back up, if needed, by ALT-B (Win) or Cmd-B (Mac).

The first thing you should do is move around the map and check out the lay of the land. Knowing where the rises, dips, and thick and thin areas are is critical for your planning. Above all, keep that 3rd Dimension in mind or you might be unpleasantly surprised later in the game. After you feel you have a good sense of the map, check out your units.

Notice that all of your units have a colored square (Base) underneath them. Also note that there are dotted lines of the same color/s sectioning off parts of the map. These are Deployment Zones and the units which have the same colored bases are assigned to that particular zone. You are free to move any unit anywhere you like within that zone, provided the terrain you are trying to move the unit to is "legal" (i.e. don't try moving a tank into a river or house). Zones can be any size and shape, with up to three different colored zones per side. For example, a squad with a red base can be positioned within the boundaries of a red zone. There may also be more than one red zone to choose from, so any red area is fair game even if they are not connected. However, you cannot put a red unit in a blue Deployment Zone.

To position a unit simply right-click on it (Mac folks can click-and-hold), and an Orders Menu will appear. Then select the "Place" or "Move" order from the Menu by clicking it (or use the keyboard equivalents). A line will draw from the unit to your cursor. Move the cursor over the terrain you want to move to and click. The unit will instantly move to the terrain so long as it is allowed to be there (e.g. tanks can't be placed in a river). If you used the "Move" command you will then see a purple colored line drawn from the unit to your mouse. Wherever you click, the unit will face. If you use the "Place" command, you will NOT be asked to choose facing. This is good for doing quick, rough placements. Note that you can also bring up the Orders Menu by (left) clicking on a unit and then pressing the SPACEBAR.

Another very handy feature is the Group Select. Simply click somewhere on the map, hold down the mouse button, and drag to make a selection box. When you release, all units inside that box will selected. You can add or subtract units by SHIFT-CLICKing on the specific unit. Note that one unit is highlighted in Yellow and displayed at the bottom of the screen. This is the "reference" unit. You can issue a PLOT order and all units will move to wherever you click in relation to the "reference" unit. This is an easy way to move a large number of troops to another side of the map quickly. Other orders work as well, like Rotate and (during the Orders Phase) Hide.

You can select all units within a platoon (including nearby teams) by double clicking on the Platoon HQ. This is an easy way to see who is attached to who, and also is a great way to move the whole platoon at once using the PLACE order.

Other things can be done like change facing. Units may be "Embarked" or disembarked at will, provided that such actions are allowed by the units involved, by ordering the unit to move onto a vehicle with the PLACE or MOVE command. You should also check out LOS to make sure your units have clear fields of fire. This is absolutely critical if you are on the defensive!

Note that most orders have key equivalents noted in the unit's menu. You can use these keys to issue orders to the selected unit instead of bringing up the menu.

Position and reposition your units as much as you like. Once you have your units in place, click on "Go!". This either bring you to your first Orders Phase (single player or second player in multi-player) or switch the turn over to the other human player (if playing a hotseat or PBEM game).

Orders Phase

What you do in this phase will determine what happens during the Action Phase AND, more importantly, future Orders Phases.

Your units can perform many different possible actions and functions. The exact range of choices depends on the selected unit and sometimes its condition. Generally speaking, there are two parts of an order; selection and designation. This means you tell a unit to do an action, then click on the place/target for that action. Example, to make a unit "Move" you hit the "M" key and then click on the place to move to. If you want a unit to target something, hit the "T" key and then click on the enemy unit or terrain (area fire) to shoot at. The unit's menu is context sensitive, so it always tells you what you can and can not order the unit to do at the moment.

Notice that most orders draw a line from the unit to the cursor. Each line is color coded for a specific order. The mouse also gives important information while an order is active. Some orders, like "Pause" and "Hide", are instant the moment they are issued. Use Shift-P to toggle the display of all movement orders on or off.

To issue an order click on the desired unit, then either use a hot key or the menu to select an order. Once the order is issued the unit will be ready to carry it out. If the order involves movement there will be some sort of delay to start the action. This delay is displayed in the unit interface and will vary depending on the unit's nationality, experience, type, condition, and if the unit is close enough to its HQ. Targeting orders don't normally cause delays, but off-board artillery has its own delay built in.

The most important aspect of the game is moving units. The system is simple: just select a unit, issue an order, and then LEFT-click (Mac single click) on the map to choose a destination. Alternately, to make waypoints, RIGHT-click (Mac click-and-hold) and the movement line becomes "anchored" and a new movement line formed. To change the current order type your cursor is ready to plot, ust use the hot key for the desired order and the change will be immediate.

When you have a movement path plotted you can edit it without totally starting from scratch. You will notice that there are white pyramids at each waypoint and a cube at the end of the path. To edit a leg of a path the unit must be active first. Then you can simply LEFT-click on a waypoint and then use a hotkey or the menu to change it to a different movement type (i.e. "Run" to "Crawl"). This will change the path previous to the waypoint. These changes can be done any time during any Orders Phase without penalty. There is no delay or penalty for changing an order in this way.

You can also reposition a waypoint by RIGHT-clicking (Mac users click-and-hold) on it and dragging it to a new location. However, in subsequent turns you are restricted as to how far you can move the waypoint because your unit is committed to the whole path (note: you can still change the TYPE of movement as stated in the previous paragraph). Waypoints that are part of an active path are colored red. Normally the end point is also Red. You can, however, make new orders at the END of an active path, but upon reaching that point your unit will take a command delay before starting on the new path.

Action Phase

After each Orders Phase CM computes both side's orders and resolves them. After it is done you can watch the action using standard VCR type playback controls. The 60 second "movie" can be replayed as many times as you like, but once you have clicked on "Done" you will be in the Orders Phase and the movie will no longer be available to watch.

This Phase is completely interactive in the sense that you can click on any unit you like, reposition the camera, toggle various features (see Hotkeys for these), replay the action, etc. However, the actions and results you see unfold before you will NEVER change no matter what you do. No orders may be issued at this time.

Everything you see gives back some useful game information, whether it is a unit hitting the dirt or something changing in the Unit Display Panel. The results are self-explanatory, even if the underlying causes are not immediately apparent. There is a lot to take in sometimes, and that is what the "rewind" button is there for ;) If you are like our beta testers, after a game or two you will really know what is important to watch and when.

One fun thing to do is click on a tank that is in motion and targeting stuff, then hit the Tab Key and the "1" (one) key. Cool for infantry on the move as well.


Major Game Elements

There is so much in Combat Mission that these instructions don't even scratch the surface of what it has to offer. If you don't find an answer in this documentation, see if you can figure out what is happening (and why) yourself. If you know a lot about WWII combat you should be able to pick up on many of the more subtle elements within the game. If you are still puzzled, go to our website and search through the more than 40,000 posts there (using the automated Search function if you like). Still can't find the answer? Post a question and someone will give you an answer.


During the Orders Phase you can give a number of different orders to your units depending on what they are and what state they are in. This list is always accessible in a context sensitive menu by using the spacebar on a given selected unit. Here is a brief description of the orders available to you:

Movement Orders

Halt - Cancels all Movement orders. (Delete key wipes out last waypoint only).

Fast/Run - Move at unit's top speed, low interest in engaging enemy targets.

Move - Normal walking speed, moderate interest in engaging enemy targets.

Hunt (vehicles only) - Medium speed, extremely high interest in engaging enemy targets.

Reverse (vehicles only) - Variable speed based on unit and length of path, low interest in engaging enemy targets.

Sneak - Move slowly in as quiet a manner as possible, high interest in engaging enemy targets.

Crawl (infantry only) - Slow and tiring move in order to avoid detection and/or casualties.

Withdraw - Emergency order allowing unit to move immediately, without delay. Risk of Panic.

Special Orders

Hide - Instructs the unit to attempt concealment. This can either be at the beginning or the end of a unit's string of orders.

Pause - Adds 15 seconds of delay to the start of the unit's move orders for each Pause order issued.

Rotate - Instructs the unit to rotate to face a certain direction. Must be last order or the ONLY order.

Button Up (vehicles only) - Tells your crews to close up their hatches, or at least get out of the open air. Opposite effect if already Buttoned Up. Vehicles that have sustained one crew casualty cannot unbutton. Unbuttoned vehicles have better spotting and target reaction times.

Line of Sight - Allows you to check out your unit's current LOS.

Split (Squads only) - You can split a Squad into two roughly equal teams. You have no choice about which team gets which weapons. Note these units are less effective than an undivided squad.

Targeting Orders

Target - Designate the primary target. Unit will try hard to stick to your request, but may switch if need be.

Target Wide (artillery only) - Allows rounds to fall in a more spread out pattern.

Smoke - Some artillery, mortars, and vehicles have the ability to fire smoke shells.

Ambush (HQ units only) - Sets up an Ambush spot that other units may be assigned to Target.

Unit Experience

Unit Experience is of the utmost importance. There are 5 levels, but only 3 are represented in the two demo scenarios. They are:

Green - Decent training, minor combat experience. Better on the defensive than offensive.

Regular - Good training with some combat experience OR fantastic training and little experience. Good for all around use.

Veteran - Superior training and fair amount of combat experience, or exceptional training and some combat experience.

The three others in the full version are Conscript (below Green), Crack (above Veteran) and Elite (above Crack). You will notice right away that you can rely on the Veterans more than your other units to get the job done.

Unit Morale

Keep in mind that your units think about self preservation all the time, and therefore will abandon your orders if they see it (from their perspective) as being in their best interest. The main factors are enemy fire, exposure, casualties (both recent and since the beginning of the game), Experience level, Physical Condition, and Morale. Morale is one of the single most important factors in Combat Mission, as it affects practically everything that your unit does.

In general your units are geared to do exactly as you have ordered. However, units will routinely ignore your orders if you lead/leave them in serious harm's way. This can be as minor an alteration as hitting the dirt for a couple of seconds and then continuing on, or as serious as running for home. Worse still, your units can surrender. The chances of something happening depend heavily on the individual unit and the specific circumstances it is under. The general rule is that the poorer the unit Experience, and the more trouble it is in, the higher the chance that the unit will do something other than what you want it to do.

Panicking is a temporary state that even seasoned units can suffer through if the going gets too rough, but Broken is much worse and has serious consequences for the unit. The better the unit, the less likely either of these will happen. However, when it does happen, unit Experience partially determines how quickly the unit will get its act together. If a unit is either Panicked or Broken, it will not pay any attention to you until it has pulled itself together. HQ units with strong Morale ratings can help speed this process up if they are close enough. If a unit Breaks and then recovers, you will see a red "!" icon next to its Morale rating. This signifies that the unit has already Broken once, and is therefore much more likely to Break again. Recovery from a second round of being Broken is very slow.

Unit Fatigue

The faster you move your guys, and the worse the terrain, the more tired they will become. Best to let them rest up every so often if the going is tough. And if you don't, they will. Units might ignore orders depending on how tired they are. If you tell a really spent unit to run from A to B, don't expect them to even budge. They will sit there and wait until they are rested or you give a more acceptable order.

There is no special accumulation of fatigue from turn to turn. This pretty much happens on its own. If you have been moving your guys and having them do heavy combat turn after turn after turn, they are going to be pretty much used up. So if you don't pace yourself, all of your troops might be exhausted in the first couple of turns. It can take several turns to recoup unit condition (Exhausted units take about 2 turns to get back into shape). However, the demo goes easy on you as the weather is dry and warm. Deep snow is a very different experience!

Units generally are serviceable for the whole game if you use "Run" sparingly, don't get them into tough firefights, or put them in situations were they can panic. Realistically combat conditions make it difficult to keep men on the move and actively engaged without running them down.


Combat Mission does not differentiate between WIA and KIA during the game. Rather, any man that is incapacitated enough to be "Ineffective" is subtracted from the squad. This can be through wounding, death, or total panic. The reduction of effectives makes your unit weaker, not only because of the individual weapons lost, but also because the unit is more likely to panic under extreme punishment (or not, in the case of poorer units). Also, the rate of casualties is also a factor in determining things like panic. There is a huge difference between losing three men from one shell than losing three men, one at a time, over several minutes.

When an infantry type unit is totally eliminated a casualty marker - a soldier's body - is placed where the last man of that unit became a casualty.


All enemy units start out hidden from view while in the Setup Phase. Once you enter the first Orders Phase all bets are off! Units from both side will instantly attempt to spot each other. To minimize the chances of this happening, you can order your units to Hide during the Setup Phase.

As the Action Phase unfolds units are constantly keeping their eyes on the lookout for the enemy. The specific unit type and current action/condition of BOTH spotting and enemy units largely determine if the other is spotted. It is far easier for an unsuppressed squad to spot a tank than a tank to spot a squad. Distance, cover, intermediate terrain, and luck also play key roles.

Once a unit has been spotted your units must identify it. The better the conditions are (terrain, distance, etc), and the higher the quality of your spotting unit, the greater the chance that you will identify the unit sooner rather than latter, correctly instead of in error. There are various levels of spotting, all the way from sound contact to nearly full knowledge. The feedback in the game shows this graphically.

You may turn off "Fog of War" in the Options panel accessed from the startup screen. This makes both side's units visible to the other. It also disables the "Ambush" command since you can't very well have an element of surprise when everybody knows where the other is.

Command & Control

One of the most important aspects in CM is Command & Control. This simulates your units' ability to communicate with each other and be effectively led. All units normally have a time penalty (delay) when starting new movement orders, depending on the unit and its Experience level. Units in C&C have shorter delays than they if they were out of C&C. Also, units in C&C can benefit from their HQ's special abilities (denoted by icons and listed in the unit's Info Panel) such as Morale Bonus keeping units calmer under fire, or helping them recover more quickly when Panicked.

Each Squad is assigned to a specific Platoon HQ. When you click on a Squad a line draws from it to its HQ. If you click on an HQ it draws lines to all units under its command. If you double click on the HQ all units attached to the HQ are selected.

A unit in C&C has a dark maroon line while a black one shows that the unit is out of C&C. A small radio icon in the Display Panel also shows if the unit is in or out of C&C. The distance a unit can be from its HQ, and still be in C&C, changes depending on terrain. Woods make communication more difficult, so men have to remain closer than if they were in an open field.

Teams behave like Squads in terms of C&C, but have no single, assigned HQ. Instead, Teams are automatically attached to any nearby HQ. This is because Teams were more independent and were supposed to be left on their own. However, it is better if a HQ can be nearby to keep them steady in the face of combat, or aid them in retreating faster if need be.


Formations in real life have HQ units, starting with the Platoon and going up. A Platoon HQ unit varies in size and effectiveness, some being almost the size of a squad, others are just 4 men. They are armed with light weapons, such as SMGs and Rifles, giving them some combat value. Combat Mission does not simulate, for obvious reasons, the various non-combat attachments such as field kitchens, carts, horses, medics, etc

The problem with HQs is that you must keep them in the front in order for them to be effective, but you must also try to protect them. This does not mean leaving them behind the lines. However, it isn't a good idea to put your Platoon HQ in the lead Halftrack, for example. If you get ambushed, and the HT burns up with your HQ, then you have 3 leaderless squads. You won't be happy if this happens. Put the HQ in the 2nd or even 3rd HT, but not the 4th (too far away from the 1st). Still very much in the front lines and in harm's way, but with a slightly minimized risk of destruction.

More senior HQs (Company or Battalion) are also very useful in the front lines. But again, not in high risk situations. It is a good idea for a Company HQ to have a small reserve clustered around it so that these units can be dispatched with the least amount of C&C delay. It is also its responsibility to act as a second rallying point and to help keep slower moving units, like HMGs, directed when on the march. Stick such HQs under a rock at the edge of the map and you get no such bonus.

HQs are made up of men, so they are on foot. They are depicted as a single figure with a pistol. If you want to stick them in a vehicle, go right ahead. The scenario's designer decides what vehicles are given to the player. So if you have no Jeep or Kübelwagen for your HQs, you are just going to have to deal with it (like a real HQ would!).


There are basically three ways to ambush an enemy unit:

Hide, enemy target selected - unit will stay hidden until a really good shot is available (at any target, not just the one you selected, though preference is given to that one).

Hide, no enemy target selected - unit will attempt to stay hidden until an enemy comes very close (about 40m) or a nearby friendly unit starts shooting. The unit will select its own "best" possible target.

Target an ambush marker - you can order a HQ to make a particular area a "trigger" for an ambush to be sprung. When the first enemy unit moves near the marker, all units that are hidden and have the marker as a target will open up on the best possible enemy unit available to them. If there isn't one available, they might stay quiet, depending. When you target an ambush marker the unit will automatically Hide.

The downside of an Ambush Point is that you basically have to assign units to hold their fire and not take any opportunity shots that may come up. This is realistic. Also note that the more cautious the enemy, the more likely things will not go as planned and opportunities may be lost because Ambushes were either bypassed or neutralized before they could spring into action.

Also keep in mind that holding fire until the right moment takes a great deal of discipline, so don't be surprised if your Green units fire a wee bit too early!!

Note that Ambush is not available when Fog of War is turned off.

Armor Penetration

Here is the "nutshell" description of how Armor Penetration is calculated in Combat Mission.

Determine (with some randomness) where the shell strikes the vehicle (facing, turret or hull, etc.)

Calculate "armor basis" at that point. This involves many factors including armor thickness, quality, brinnell hardness, face-hardened (depending on incoming shell type/cap), slope, side angle, skirts, and more.

Determine shell's velocity and by extension, its kinetic energy.

Determine shell's penetrating ability, taking into consideration piercing caps, structural weaknesses, T/D ratio, etc. Some randomness is added here, because no two shells are constructed equally. Even on a closed firing range under test conditions, armor penetrations from the same gun can vary.

If penetration value is greater than armor basis, penetration results. Extent of damage is determined by hit location, shell size and type, and target vehicle size and type.

Chance of a Kill

Combat Mission does not compute or use any sort of generic kill percentage. There are no mushy average of various armor sections to arrive at a generic conglomerate armor strength.

CM determines where the shell strikes, e.g. turret side, hull glacis plate, lower rear hull, etc. It is not figured down to the square centimeter or individual polygon, but instead a target plate is selected which corresponds to the positioning of the target relative to the firer, and which plates are visible from that angle and to what degree. Then the armor of that plate, and that plate only, is considered in the resolution of the attack. If you fire at a tank from a 45 degree angle off from the front, you might hit the front or you might hit the side. You might hit the turret or you might hit the hull (upper or lower). And a shot hitting a turret front will generally behave quite differently from one hitting the hull side, as you might expect.

Toss into this the fact that CM is 3D, and therefore the angle of the target and firing unit also counts in terms of how it sits on the ground. A tank on a side of a hill at, say, 15% leaning TOWARDS the shooter effectively subtracts 15% from its armor slope. At 15% away from the shooter there is 15% added to the slope. Also relative angles mean rounds do not hit armor at a perfect perpendicular to the armor, but at some angle to the left or right. This can cause a round to "slip" off the armor instead of penetrating it.

Crew casualties are also considered, and even if the tank sustains no significant physical damage, if a crew member or two becomes a casualty, the crew might bail out. (Sometimes elite crews won't bail out after only one casualty).


The scenario "Valley of Trouble" has a number of different fortification types manned by German troops. The basic types are:

Bunkers - Wooden structures with an HMG42 and crew inside. Pretty tough to knock out with small arms and light mortar fire, but tanks and heavy artillery will not find these to be too much of a problem.

Pillboxes - Concrete structures that either house multiple HMG42s or antitank guns. These are tough buggers to knock out because pretty much only a direct hit to the firing slit (or the door in the rear) will take it out of action.

Barbed Wire - Any unit can move through barbed wire, but at a greatly reduced rate to simulate the troubles getting through such an obstacle. Remember, the purpose of barbed wire is to get an enemy unit stuck or force them to go someplace else. In either case, there should be lots of MG fire at the ready.

Minefields - Minefields are lethal to both sides, but the side that places them always knows where they are. The enemy generally only finds out when someone sets one off. They are, designed to hurt infantry OR vehicles, never both. Additionally, there is a hasty form of antitank defense available where "daisy chain" mines are simply tossed on a road or ground. Generally these are spotted very easily by the enemy, but unless Combat Engineers are nearby, it effectively blocks the road to vehicular traffic.

Combat Engineers

Combat Engineers are armed with Demolition Charges, which can be tossed into a fortification (bunker or pillbox) or onto an enemy vehicle. They pack a LOT of punch!

Engineers also have the ability to clear mines. This is done by moving an Engineer Squad up to a detected Minefield and letting them sit there. Depending on how many Engineers are near the minefield, if they are being shot at, and some random factors, the mines will be cleared enough to allow vehicles or infantry to pass through safely. Some mines are easier to clear than others, but in general it will take several turns, and at least a full squad's worth of men, to clear even the easiest mines (daisy chain AT mines). The removal of mines (other than daisy chains) requires the use of a Demolition Charge (which happens automatically).




If you can't get Combat Mission to run at all, or just get a "black screen" and nothing else, you most likely made a mistake when unzipping the Demo. Make sure that you used the "preserve directory structure" option of your Zip program. An easy way to check to see if CM was unzipped properly is to look inside the Combat Mission folder. All BMP and WAV files should be in their own directories (named BMP and WAV). If they are not, you can do this manually and things should work fine.

NOTE: The first time you run CM, it checks your graphics hardware by asking you "Can you see this?" and having you click a button to verify. It then saves your monitor settings. If you ever want to change them (e.g. you buy a new graphics card or monitor) just delete the CM "preferences" file (called "Combat Mission Bynd Ovr Prefs") and the process of checking your graphics hardware will be reset and begin anew the next time you run CM.

System Requirements

Combat Mission requires Windows 95, 98, or 2000. Combat Mission will not run under Windows NT so far as we know, because NT does not have full support for DirectX.

Drivers and DirectX

The most common problems can be solved by upgrading to the latest versions of DirectX and/or video and sound drivers for your hardware. So if you have some strange video or sound problem, this is exactly what you should try first. This cannot be stressed enough!

Version 6 of DirectX is the minimum requirement, but later versions are preferable. DirectX is available at http://www.microsoft.com/directx/homeuser/downloads/default.asp.

Mouse Pointer

If your mouse pointer behaves strangely (disappearing, jumping around, etc.) make sure you are not using any form of custom mouse cursor. If you are, simply revert to the standard Windows pointer. We have worked around this problem as best we can, but there is a chance that some video cards/drivers might still have a problem with this.


MacOS 7.5 or greater is required, and a 3-D graphics card is heartily recommended. To hear 3-D sound, you must have Apple's Sound Sprocket installed. This is the only part of Apple's Game Sprocket set of extensions that CM uses. It can be found at http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n11167.



Unfortunately, some older graphics card drivers have limitations which do not allow transparency to be displayed properly: mainly apparent in CM's smoke and buildings. That's why we provide "fast and compatible" options for those who encounter problems with this. Simply leave the "Occupied Building Transparency" option (Shift-O) OFF, and set smoke effects (Shift-I) to "Fast and compatible".


We have provided several ways to enhance game performance for slower systems. Try any or all of the following to get a smoother running game:

(Windows only) Make sure that graphics acceleration for DirectX/Direct3D is ON (in the DirectX control panel).

toggle TREES (Shift-T) to "moderate" or "sparse" or turn them off completely

toggle the HORIZON (Shift-H) to a lower setting than infinite

toggle SMOKE (Shift-I) to "fast and compatible" or turn it off completely

toggle SQUAD SIZE (Shift-M) to "2 men per squad"

toggle WEATHER/FOG (Shift-W) OFF

toggle SOUND (Shift-S) off or disable ambient sounds

buy a modern 3D graphics card with more VRAM (16MB or more for best results). This one hardware option will yield the best results instantly.


All contents Copyright 2000 Big Time Software, Inc.


If it's in Combat Mission, it's on Combat Mission HQ!

And if it's NOT on CMHQ then its just GOT to be on CMHQ-ANNEX...

CMHQ http://combathq.thegamers.net

CMHQ-Annex http://cmhq.tzo.com

Both now proud members of the Combat Mission WebRing

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