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BFC - please check - probable Bug regarding Tank MGs

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After seeing several instances where tanks (Stuarts, PzIIIs, T-34s that I recall) have simply been overwhelmed by infantry walking up to them, I set up a test.

The biggest problem noted from my watching it happen in a normal game, was that the tanks often seemed to forget to use their MGs even when infantry were right on top of them. Not such a problem for tanks with big guns and large blast values which would scatter infantry anyway, but a massive problem for smaller gun armed tanks with low blast values.

The tanks often seem to fixate on one infantry target and use their MGs very occasionally or not at all. This doesn't happen all the time, but often.

So in the test I have 3 Stuarts, with 3 companies of German infantry at @100m away from them. Plain flat map, perfect visibility. Initially I just let the German infantry sit there and see what the Stuarts do. All three button up, fire their MGs once, and then fire with their Main Guns only, no further MG fire at all.

Then I have the same setup but with the infantry ordered to Move past the Stuarts, almost literally right on top of them. I wondered if previously range was the problem, or if the TAC-AI thought that the infantry weren't a threat as they were just sat there and declined to use the tank MGs.

Well, the Stuarts continued to fixate on one target, and halfway through the move one of them started using it's MGs at various other nearby squads. However, the other two still did not use their MGs at all, even when the infantry were just a few meters away or strolling right past them.

I have these simple tests saved if they need to be mailed, although testing other kinds of small caliber tanks as well could be very useful. I hope BFC or anyone else can comment or perhaps do a bit of testing themselves. With a bit of luck I've missed something obvious, but I can't see it at the moment.


[Edit] After further testing I notice certain patterns appearing. If a tank begins it's move with a target already aquired, it will just pump it's gun rounds at it and not use it's MG.

If it aquires to a new target it will *frequently* fire one burst of MG at it and then just use it's gun again.

[ December 31, 2002, 12:14 AM: Message edited by: Rex_Bellator ]

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My biggest problem is that sometimes, the AI's AFVs will "get comfortable" in a particular spot (usually safe) and won't move, even after their target has moved. They won't move to the VL, they just sit there in that safe, comfortable spot. Stugs LOVE to do this for some reason.

The fact is, I think it's nifty when the infantry attacks the tanks and takes it out (even if I'm the tank). I'm sure this happens as you say, but I don't want BFC changing any code to pin every squad that comes anywhere near a tank. The infantry should have a chance, and it's not like those tanks of yours are unbuttoned.

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So what's the point of having those MGs on tanks then, if you don't want them to use them? I'm pretty sure they were used historically, or those 5 man crews had some very cosy labour practices back then smile.gif

I love it when infantry kills tanks as well, but to do so they should have to use cover, stealth and attack from different locations using a good plan. If they can't be seen by the tank then it doesn't matter how many MGs it has firing.

However, they shouldn't simply be able to stroll over wide open flat grassland right up to them because the tanks have forgotten what those pointy black things sticking out of their machine are for. I suspect that in RL it never happened.

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Originally posted by Rex_Bellator:

they shouldn't simply be able to stroll over wide open flat grassland right up to them .

How far are you running over "flat grassland"? If it's 30-40 meters or so, I think the infantry should be able to get there if you have more than one squad going (which, as you said, the MG's will fire at a single squad). There's only so many MGs on board, so shooting at 9-11 guys (one squad) and no more sounds about right to me.

If those infantry are running over a lot more flat ground than that, and are still getting to the tank without being hit by something, than either you or the AI has FAR worse problems than that tank not shooting! ;)

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They are not running, they are simply walking from over 100m away. The tank usually fires an MG only ONCE at one squad when it first targets it and then uses its gun exclusively. It's MGs stay silent while squads converge on it to pointblank range in plain view.

All is explained (I thought) in the first post.

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Yes, but I put ZERO emphasis on artificial, contrived "testing" where nothing else is happening. The fact is, that in every game I've played it is VERY difficult to get near the tanks if they're supported by infantry, and still difficult with no infantry (in fact, in RL, tanks with no infantry were as good as dead, so the game is actually harder on infantry than in RL). In real games that you have played, is it really THAT easy to get to the tanks, because no one else seems to think so. If it isn't that easy, what is the point of your post?

I believe, that when the game was designed, it was designed as a WHOLE, and not by the parts, and I think this is as it should be. BTS, when they made it, most likely designed it to act in a believable way in 95% of the situations encountered. They most likely did not look to see whether every tank would annhilate every infantry on it's own accord, it was assumed that infantry would be there. Combined Arms was emphasized. Because of this, there is no doubt in my mind, that certain things were adjusted to make the entire game playable. If that means reducing the firing rate of an AFV, because it is assumed that infantry will ALSO be there, then so be it. Despite claims, the game is still a game, and people expect to be able to move their infantry a few feet, which is not going to happen if you give every AFV perfect accuracy, perfect shooting, at infantry, even while buttoned.

If you want BTS to change the code to make those AFVs perfect killers, fine. But then expect four dozen posts complaining that the infantry can't move two feet towards a tank in a combined arms setting without getting pinned, and that that is NO fun.

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Hi Rex -

I was under the impression that the way CMBB models machine gun fire is to allow it to have an area affect as opposed to just a single target affect.

This prevents the problem you are describing from happening to the non-vehicle machine guns.

I haven't run the test, but I'd be curious to compare the same walking advance on HMG (say in a foxhole or fortification).

Perhaps tank MG's aren't modeled the same?

I'll have to test when I get home from my New Year festivities.

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I've noticed the opposite problem. I've seen tanks shoot MG's like crazy but not open up with the big guns even when they have plenty of HE rounds.

I've also noticed the comfortable tank syndrome.

They will sit in one spot.

I have noticed that they will move toward the VL if it's owned by the opposing player.

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I think the M3A1 is at a disadvantage because after it buttons up and with no cupola its going to be hard to spot all the infantry when they are within a hundred meters.

I did a test with a regular rifle company and an axis platoon of panzer 38(t), which did have a coaxial and bow MG plus a medium turret with a cupola.

The panzer’s after spotting the infantry buttoned up and opened up with only their machine guns and routed two of the platoons and the other platoon laid low and didn’t move.

I think the Stuart just has a very big blind spot when its buttoned and without a cupola it will be hard to spot all the infantry platoons

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"..in fact, in RL, tanks with no infantry were as good as dead.."

What do you mean? If infantry has no atw (molotov,panzershreck e.t.) and is on open ground, whos gonna be dead? O what crews see enemy infantry , stop, jump out of tanks and run away screaming.Tanks without infantry are "dead" as you say only in cities, there enemy infantry is "all over them",using everything they have to destroy tanks.

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A couple of quick comments - and thanks for the feedback guys.

The fella who set up a 'test' with 5 Pz whatever shooting down a single Co of infantry has done it in exact reverse. The tanks are supposed to be under pressure from infantry, not the reverse :D

And, ahem, I have reported 4 bugs to BFC all of which (to their eternal credit for listening to a limey) have been corrected in v1.01.

Happy and prosperous 2003 to you all.

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You have to look at the way the machine guns are aranged on the tanks you mentioned. All of them have hull mounted guns and coax guns while the Stuart has a commanders gun that can only be used while standing outside the turret. Gunners are more likely to use their main gun even if they are small just because they are HE (tankers love to use HE agains us grunts). The other guns have a limited field of fire and are fired by a guy looking through a vision block. This guy is also usually driving or working the radio as well. (I don't know how accuratly the AI models this but during a fight I was constantly telling my driver to move a few meters or less this way and that leaving him little time to do much else.) The fact that a tank may have half a dozen machine guns hanging on it doesn't mean that they are all easy to use.

For comparison the M1 has 3 machine guns. The commander's M2 and two M249s mounted on the loader's hatch and coaxially. During combat the TC will only use the M2 in an emergency as he is busy fighting the tank. The loader is feeding the main gun and it takes an act of god to make the gunner flip from main to coax. So in RL you will rarely see crews firing a lot a machine gun rounds. Remember that tank crews are trained to rely on the power of the main gun and in the heat of battle you tend to fall back on how you have been trained.

[ January 01, 2003, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: Sgtgoody ]

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