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Tanks - standoff or keep moving?


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In the game, do you typically keep tanks stationary in a standoff position or do you fire and move, fire and move? I like to keep them in standoff, but find that a well placed arty strike will show up in a matter of minutes. However, when I go to move them they are most vulnerable to direct fire and I typically lose many tanks that way.

In real battles, what was the preference? I always thought it was standoff battles (ala, North Africa).

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Jeff Abbott

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I think this is heavily dependent on the tactical situation. Standoff is nice, and takes advantage of the long range capability of the tank's gun, but if you can't see important targets it doesn't do you much good. Moving in close allows you to support your infantry better in close terrain, but the danger level goes up by quite a bit unless you are very diligent about using your infantry to protect your tanks from enemy anti-armor teams.

Its really a question of mutual support - you have to put your tanks in a position to do their job, and use your infantry and artillery to make sure they don't buy it in the process.

In tank-to-tank battles, standing off the target is fine as long as you have the capability to inflict damage on your target. In North Africa, the Germans would frequently stand off British armor charges with 88s, which outranged any British tank gun. Additionally, few early British tank guns had any HE capability, so the Germans could operate with impunity until accurate artillery showed up. However, this is really not a factor in any but the largest battles in CM - terrain and map size make engagement ranges well below both sides maximums.

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One thing you must allways remember about a tank: It was built for maneouver. Armor can be penetrated, guns can miss, but a mobile and lethal steel box showing up on a flank can be down right murderous. There is a saying amoungst tankers..."Speed is Life".

One thing I have noticed is that most CMr's don't use tanks to their fullest potential. Think of a tank as a squad member, alone, it really can't do much, sure it gets in a few licks, but more often than not, it is dead. This is even true about German tanks, a lone tank is a dead tank. Use your tanks in platoon sized forces (5 tanks for WWII)or greater and at the minimum in section sized forces (2 tanks) This doesn't mean that you can't seperate them, it just means that they work as a team...it is better to show all your tanks to the enemy at one time than it is to piecemeal them out. 5 guns are waaay better than 1 or even 2. Use bounding overwatch for tanks, just like you do with your grunts...remember, Tank = squad member.

Thus endeth the sermon... wink.gif

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One shot...One Kill

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Move them Tanks!

If they try to act like wheeled pillboxes, they will die!

I like to move them in with a hunt command (even if I have a target) and immediatelly plot a reverse order behind a terrain obstacle.

Repeat, shift to a different "front", or back out completely and show up somewhere else with the AFV. You can fake numbers and keep your opponent twitching in anticipation anxiety.

I call it the Ali method, "dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

A live tank is worth 2 or 3 enemy tanks, especially if he is an armour oriented opponent (i.e., fixated on destroying AFVs above all else.)

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Good point Iron Duke. But even using bounding overwatch with a platoon, you still have to move your tanks. I agree terrain plays a major factor on what you do with your tanks.

The question is, once you find a good standoff position, do you move your tank out of that position once you're in it? Or do you find it better to constantly move your tanks, whether they be hunting solo or in packs?

I have found that if I do not move a tank, eventually arty will rain down upon it. Yet moving from that nice juicy piece of ground usually causes me to move into the LOS of an enemy tank. If you're the Germans, you have to stop and fire. If you're the allies, you can shoot while moving but with terrible accuracy. But more often than not, the enemy has the upper hand when I move and I take one in the flanks while maneuvering. Furthermore, leaving a nice standoff position allows the enemy to move in the location that was being overwatched without any interference from you.

So I tend to leave my tanks on favorable ground then tend to lose those tanks to arty. Sometimes there is no favorable ground and the best option is to shoot and scoot. I'm trying to figure out if, in the long run, it's best to shoot and scoot ALWAYS.

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Jeff Abbott

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It really just depends on the terrain and what you are trying to accomplish.

If you are concerned with close in support for your Infantry then you have to move you tanks as your infantry moves. If all you care about is overwatching then stand-off is good. Also the terrian is dependent on this.

If you have heavy woods you don't have to worry about DF HE as much thus your infantry doesn't need as much close in tank support, and the opposite is also true.

Jeff

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Ok fellows. Using the team effort with armor is the most ideal situation - given that you USE tactics. If your armor (number of tanks irrevelant)is in a position to through rounds onto the enemy armor as suppressive fires and keep their attention, then split your forces and conduct a flanking or enveloping maneuver to put the enemy forces under a cross fire. Same thing applies with Mech forces or mixed. Head to Head combat results in high losses on both sides. mad.gif

Now, your recon elements will give you the intel needed to know when and where to apply this tactic as well as to how much force is needed.

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Ok fellows. Using the team effort with armor is the most ideal situation - given that you USE tactics. If your armor (number of tanks irrelevant)is in a position to through rounds onto the enemy armor as suppressive fires and keep their attention, then split your forces and conduct a flanking or enveloping maneuver to put the enemy forces under a cross fire. Same thing applies with Mech forces or mixed. Head to Head combat results in high losses on both sides. mad.gif

Now, your recon elements will give you the intel needed to know when and where to apply this tactic as well as to how much force is needed.

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I agree wholeheartedly with the input from most others here in that movement is not really an option, it is a necessity.

For me, it is not a matter of whether to move, it is a question of how to move. For example, with the German heavies, your greatest asset is the thick frontal armor. That allows these tanks to standoff (preferably at ranges above 500M) and go toe-to-toe with virtually anything the allies can throw at them. However, that generally doesn't mean that you park it and forget it on some hill near the rear of your deployment zone. Biggest reason: artillery. A stationary tank makes a wonderful target for artillery. May not be KO'd, but will usually suffer some sort of damage. Now, sometimes I will park a tank hulldown if it can cover a relatively small zone of fire that is a likely avenue of advance. The German tank destroyers are particularly good at this. In this measure, it usually serves as some flank protection. But I have to be careful here, I usually want to make sure I can spot any FO's that could draw a bead on it and I will then start moving it pretty quickly once it starts to engage any targets. And of course, I want to make sure its flanks are protected. That is always paramount with German tanks.

Now, allied armor requires movement of a different sort. In terms of tank vs. tank capability, the main advantages of allied tanks are their relative mobility and speed (especially turret traverse speed) and gyrostabilized gun. These strengths require a different philosophy. Whereas movement of German armor is largely defensive in nature, allied armor requires more offensive maneuvering. I agree with the poster that movement in sections is ideal. Paricularly if you can "grab 'em by the nose and kick 'em in the rear" (paraphrase) as Patton would say. But the bottom line is, when allied tanks face German tanks their best chance (and sometimes only chance) is to get to the enemy's flanks or rear. Sitting hull down in ambush is simply a more dangerous proposition for most allied tanks. But a couple of Stuarts running wild on the flanks or in the enemy's rear can do some remarkable damage to all but the heaviest German tanks.

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Using tactics will get you the best results in every case. When the assets are available you should use two or more tanks to apply suppressive fires on the EN; during which time you can manuever your other two or more tanks to flank the EN. Armor and infantry mix works good with this as well. Keep in mind (those of you killed by ARTY) most arty takes a minimum of one minute to get on target, longer for larger calibers. If your armor is stationary for more than two-three minutes. . .he should be killed for not taking arty in consideration.

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I think this is in the "it depends" catagory.

Case in point. In a game I am playing now my favorite tank (KT) has command of a hill top that over looks nearly the entire approach for the enemy. He's already dispatched a fast moving Sherman from 980 yards while laughing off hits from a Stuart and another Sherman from 500 yards. (Toasted the other Sherman shortly after that)

Now I am moving him off the hill to go engage some other threats. But his initial mission was successful. Don't let any armor move in the open, use the 88's long range superiority and massive armor head to head. Worked great.

On the other hand a 105 Assault gun is moving around a bit lending support to my defense in hammering the approaching Americans.

Different tanks, different battle fields, different tactics.

[This message has been edited by Phoenix (edited 11-22-2000).]

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With Armor comes many different tactics and they all apply on the terrain. Armor strategies are much more vast in my opinion than infantrymen and support. Although I think in some terrain and missions they might go side by side and depend on each other all the more.

I have started a Units Statistics on my website and you are all welcome to come by and visit it. I suggest once it all done you can print the pages for your reference on armor, vehicles, support or infantry and use them as a direct comparison when meeting opposing forces or just choosing a set-up. Currently only the infantry and support is done but I should have the vehicles and tanks done by the end of the weekend.

Johnno

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Dogs of War,CMBO Online Players Club

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>"I like a man who grins when he fights."

- Prime Minister Winston Churchill<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> biggrin.gif

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Sometimes the way I play is this. I use my AFVS, in teams and in standoff, and then once I bust through the first "line' of enemy AFVs, I move forward in order to get a better bead on subsequent AFVs. I this case, it's sorta line bounding overwatch, but all together. Buta again this tactic depends on terrain and objective.

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So what I'm hearing/reading is to find a spot, fire at targets, pick a new spot, fire some more. Shoot and move. Do not hold one position for more than 2 60sec turns unless you know there is no more armor and arty left. Even if this means vacating a perfectly good spot. And when you do move, make sure your flanks are covered as well as they can be (I wish there were formation commands ala M1 Tank Platoon 2).

Looks like I need to practice some more. What started this was an all armor battle I was in. I lost all my armor and was left with a platoon of grunts to take on 8 German tanks, assault guns, armored cars, etc. Wasn't pretty at all smile.gif

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Jeff Abbott

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kunzler:

Jeff,

In the case of our PBEM, the answere is....

back your tanks slowly into the middle of the map. That should clear the way for your infantry to come later. It works. Really. Trust me. smile.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Kunzler my man, I was thinking I should rush them to your side of the map with guns blazing all the way. When I get the edge, turn around and come back biggrin.gif. That should work don't you think?

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Jeff Abbott

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Juardis,

Abandoning a good firing position just for the sake of moving is not what I am saying. Now, if you have a plan of action, say a deliberate attack in conjunction with your infantry, mech forces, and the like, WHILE your artillery is dropping, then ok, but you still may want to keep an Armor section or Platoon in those good positions to provide your base of fire. They will occupy the enemy while your maneuver forces conduct their attack/flanking move. A tank should only stay in the up or "tophat" position for no more than two shots, i.e. in CMBO, 1 turn, then they should pull down or "lowsky" for a few seconds and repeat the process. Anytime you are going to place an Armored force in static positions ALWAYS have 2 things ready: 1) Alternate firing positions for each tank while ensuring enough space in-between the tanks for artillery protection. And these only need be a few meters from the initial position, say 50 to 100 meters. This simple move will give your tanks a whole new set of LOS's, and make the enemy's life even harder. When you do position your tanks, try to stay away from the classic, straight line placement if at all possible. Place your tanks in depth if you can but remember...ALL or NONE. For example: IF you have say 5 Hellcats and you are facing 1 King Tiger, how will you kill it? If you have smoke, blind it and use the Hellcats speed. If you don't, what will you do? Hunt 1 Hellcat forward while trying to race one around him? This will lead to 2 dead Hellcats. Now, if you pull all 5 up, you have a 5 to 1 advantage right off the bat...sure you may not kill the KT right off, but more often than not you will get the first round hit. So lets examine what that means...You hit the KT, now he buttons up, a KT buttoned up loses much of his sighting capability, with 5 shots coming at him, all that needs to happen is 1 of those shots getting a gun hit and that KT is as good as dead. Now, if you have properly spaced your Hellcats with 50 to 100 meters (for the artillery defense) you will have a front that is between, 250 and 500 meters across! That KT has to swing his turret sometime...and that means weaker Armor for at least 2 of your Hellcats, so you see, its really a numbers game, you could even send the "Out" Hellcats in a "fast" move to flank the KT, but you may run into unseen trouble there, its best to use the "Hunt"..."reverse" combinations and allow all 5 of your boys to gun him down.

2) This is more important than #1: Each tank should have a fallback firing position just incase you get flanked or your initial position gets smoked, assaulted, etc. This is ESPECIALLY true if you are in a defense. Recognizing when it is time to move to an alternate firing position may result in victory or defeat.

I guess the main thing to pull out of this is Have a Plan of Action: Use ALL your forces in a coordinated Attack/Defense. That's what Combined Arms is all about! Don't wait until your Artillery runs out to attack! Attack while it is falling. Use smoke! Everyone can't fathom why anyone would use smoke, but man...smoke is a combat multiplier...you can "section" off his forces and make yourself have a 5,6, or even 10 to 1 advantage! If he does not react to your smoke...great! Kill him piece by piece, let him lumber those precious KT and Especially those Panthers out of their hull-down positions...With smoke, you make HIM fight YOUR battle...you have the initiative, he has to react to you!

Combined Arms my friend...that's the road to victory.

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One shot...One Kill

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Doug Beman:

That last post of mine was supposed to be in the thread about off topic posts.

Ooops.

DjB<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I thought it fit rather well here. wink.gif

I agree with you Duke. I've learned that lesson well. There is no substitute for concentrated firepower. But sitting on a hill for 10 turns will lead to death. What you're saying, if I understand you correctly, is fire for one round, two at most. Then move or reverse. Wait for another target of opportunity then repeat the process. You can press forward if attacking, reverse then reappear at the same spot if that ground is favorable, or reverse to a new spot if being flanked. But the key is ONE to TWO turns in the SAME spot should be the limit before moving somewhere. Right?

I agree with smoke. The good General Petrovsky will attest to the effectiveness of smoke (eh Comrade wink.gif). The only negative on smoke is that it takes away HE rounds from your FOs and/or requires area fire from your tanks hence causing you to lose opportunity fire.

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Jeff Abbott

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