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another round of questions ...

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1. How do you attack at night ? Can the numbers simply win ?

2. Can a couple of LMG make do for an HMG ?

3. Is there a typical "platoon layout " while advancing ? Someone can shoot my HQ systematically .........

4. How do you use 'Self propelled artillery '( especially the thinly armored german ones ) ?

Thanks again !

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"How do you attack at night ? Can the numbers simply win ?"

No, other factors are more important than numbers in night fighting.

Morale is much more brittle at night and the ranges short. This makes squad infantry more effective compared to longer range weapons. It also raises the importance of getting the first trigger-pull, and the importance of having unsuppressed "free" shooters in a firefight.

Just numbers don't typically give you those things. Instead they often turn on which side has more ground to spread out through, with reasonable cover. Shots within 25 meters readily pin men at night. Once pinned, they find it quite hard to rally unless their friends get the shooters off of them, by pinning those shooters with their replies.

This makes any initial edge tend to snowball, and can lead to quite lopsided firefight outcomes.

It is possible to set up pretty clever cases of "differential LOS" at night. Meaning, 3 of your teams can all see some one enemy, and none of his friends can help him - at all, or much, because they can only see one of your guys.

Ammo use can be an equalizer though. Meaning, the winning side burns half its ammo in its first lopsided win, and doesn't have a lot of "ammo wind" left for the next fight or two.

There are a few other night tactics. Mortars often have minimum range difficulties, especially in the darker conditions (overcast, or night and fog or falling snow, e.g.). But when the full command distance plus the spotting distance do exceed their minimum range, you can often set up shots with mortars that the enemy can't reply to at all.

Similarly, FOs often can't see far enough to call down a barrage at a safe distance, or in time to matter. But TRPs can change that, letting a defender drop arty on brittle morale troops, just because they walk past a hidden listening post next to a TRP.

There is also just the issue of how confidently either side moves, beyond the sighting distance of the enemy. Intel from screens and scouts is important, because it lets you move rapidly in perfect safety even without cover, if you just know you are beyond LOS of any enemy. On the other hand, getting caught moving in the open at night can lead to a break at short range that you'll never rally from.

So battles tend to turn on who gets an intel edge and how effectively either side uses it, how good they are in the small scale placement of their squads, and the like. Infantry playing skill and infantry quality level are the premium items. (Greens are especially brittle at night, etc).

"2. Can a couple of LMG make do for an HMG ?"

No. The HMG hits a lot harder, hard enough to pin or break men in the open. LMG fire tends to just "tickle" them - by which I mean, suppress them a little but they rally right out of it. HMGs also have a lot more ammo to fire - the ammo times FP of a full HMG is much higher, over its life, than the same for 2 LMGs, even without the greater rally the target get against little shots.

In addition, the HMG is more robust under reply fire. Lose of a man or two has no effect on its own outgoing fire. It only reduces the amount of ammo the team can move, somewhat. By mid firefight you've burned lower than a smaller team can move anyway, and you typically are stationary and shooting, not moving around. An LMG team, on the other hand, can pin under the first few squad shots and never get up again, and loss of 2 men means loss of half the pair's firepower.

LMGs aren't really useful as shooters. They are recon and decoy units. They have binoculars, they are relatively expendable, they are relatively stealthy, being small teams. Hide them forward, and they give good intel about approaching enemy. When they fire, they can confuse the enemy with multiple sound contacts, some of them being full HMGs firing, and others just the LMG "dummies". The enemy may set up elaborate assaults to silence a mere LMG and leave an HMG alone because of it.

On the attack, a platoon with some LMGs attached and some squads split can look like a company main effort. Or a single split squad and LMG can look like an attacking platoon. So they can help cover areas you aren't pressing for real, and hide your point of main effort until later in the fight.

These are the ways LMGs pay for themselves, when they do. In pure fighting power terms, HMGs are better by miles, and LMGs alone are not substitute.

"Is there a typical "platoon layout " while advancing ?"

"Blob" is my own favorite. Which is loose, but basically means two squads on-line side by side, with another squad and the HQ in second line behind them. Needs less cover along the route than more spread formations. Sometimes a half squad goes ahead 50m or so, "on point". Slower weapons trail the second line.

But people also use wedge - a triangle of squads with an HQ in the middle - or line, with 3 squads up even with each other, an HQ trailing somewhere behind, toward the middle. Lines are often used in woods terrain, to envelope an enemy. Wedge is often used to cross open, and can put a longer lead between the leading squad and the main "firing line". The line hopes to find gaps and put multiple shooters on one enemy on contact. The wedge hopes to overwhelm with fire anyone who "blows up" the point.

Naturally, not all platoons need to have 3 squads. Some come with 4, and you can always use the company HQs to lead a "main body" pull from any number of platoons. I often will have a company column attack, for example, with a reduced platoon "on point", 2 half squads leading, only one squad and HQ immediately supporting them. Behind them, the main body under command of the company HQ, with up to 6 squads "blobbed" around it. Other platoons can be online or trailing the main body - give on a bunch of weapons to "overwatch" from a treeline or starting hill e.g.

Overly standardized formations are rarely the best use of the available command ability - why leave 4 squads with a platoon HQ that has +1 stealth and nothing else, if you have a company HQ with +2 morale and command? - for example. The higher HQs are the "flex taskers" that give the platoons options. Squads can be passed from company to original platoon HQ and back, etc. The squads aren't tethered to a single point in space that way, and they become much more useful.

"How do you use 'Self propelled artillery'

Keyhole, that is the main tactic with thin SP guns. What that means is pick a spot that peeks out through a narrow window between obstacles, as though "peeping" through a keyhole, instead of placing the SP gun someplace with wide LOS. Just sight along a thin "pencil" into one chosen spot in enemy territory.

The point is, you only need one target, since you can only shoot one enemy at a time. And the smaller the area on the enemy side of the field that can see your gun, the less likely it is he'll have a strong anti-tank weapon able to see you and take you out.

Before you have a target, SP guns "live" in full defilade, unable to see the enemy side of the field at all - and therefore safe, themselves. Infantry scouts see something that needs killing. Then you select your "keyhole", to see that one spot and to see nothing else. Drive there, set up, fire away for a minute or two to smash that target. Reverse back into full defilade, and reposition before doing it again.

Thin armor also makes good "bait" for enemy tanks, which tend to come looking for you. If you are properly "keyholed", they can't see you right away, and they have to move to get a line of sight. Don't stick around too long. And look for chances to catch enemy tanks moving sideways and showing a weak side, chasing the last "keyhole".

As for using SP guns against enemy armor - using e.g. the Marder SP anti-tank guns - that uses the same idea, but since they are hunting stuff that can usually kill them back, more is still required. You want to catch the target already engaging somebody else, and facing the wrong way. Then you want to be in a position were a short movement can let you get LOS, and then lose it again. E.g. just out from behind a house, then back behind it again.

Then you use the "shoot and scoot" order. That moves "fast" to the chosen firing point, stops and fires, and then continues to the next plotted point - which can be a reverse back into cover. The idea is to get your shot off and get back out of LOS, before the enemy can see you, change facing, aim and fire. You can keep the first "see you" part longer, if you button up the target first (by e.g. firing at it with a machinegun or sniper).

Another useful rule of thumb with thinner armor is to bring it out relatively late in the fight. The enemy loses anti-tank weapons in the early and mid battle, as the biggest tanks and guns trade off in their duels. In the bottom half of the clock, he will have a lot fewer items alive and shooting, that can kill armored anything. One Hummel (or several Stummels, sometimes) brought out after he lost his last tank, can wipe out half his infantry.

At the force selection stage, though, it often pays to get something a bit more robust. The StuH is a better all around HE chucker than the thinner SPA, for example. And an SPW 251/2 that can fire indirect from full cover, can be a better buy than a SPW 251/9, that has to expose itself to do so (even if keyholed), and can be penetrated by an ATR.

Fine questions BTW.

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Fine reply.

What Jason does not mention, and the reason I am not keen on night fights, is the laser range finder syndrome. One of the unfortunate facts is that in game you can establish to the yard where night makes you invisible. If I know I will be seen at 200 metres but not at 201metres you find players using this game weakness.

Secondly the plentiful German HMG's are the FP equivalent of a full UK squad at, AFAIK, 100 metres. If you play around with the purchasing company's and battalions you will see that this is quite a bonus.

In 1944 cheapest German company is 358points and at 100 metres its total squad and HMG fire power is 1105fp. The cheapest Brit company is 365 and its fp is 801. Cheapest US is 514 and 1077fp. This does ignore the 3 mortars the Allies have each.

On a clear night viewing is about 170 and overcast 70metres.

Of course a flaw with CM infantry is that all men fire at the same target so that with no split fire they can be pulled to fire at one unit and then receive fire from another - and at close range that could be fatal very quickly.

Basically the game engines two main flaws are shown up together in night fighting. This is not to say you cannot have fun night battles but an expert game engine technician could really make hay using these flaws in known scenarios.

IF you wish to make things as confusing as possible play night battles with random casualties on or something. This will mean that you can have understrength units but more of them which may go someway to solving the problem of only being able to shoot at a single unit and also confuse anyone who routinely practices with full strength units. Historically you will be correct as no formation ever fought at full strength.

Incidentally the AA Bren for the Commonwealth troops is an LMG with a 70 ammo load, and unlike HMG's never jams.

But do have some night battles they can be fun.

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Jasonc ,

Thank you very much for your detailed answer ! A lot of things I wasn't even aware of... especially the flexibility with HQ company units and the management of the various bonuses . So many valuable lessons learned here , I probably had everything wrong : numbers instead of quality in night battles , wide LOS instead of Keyholing with SP guns , no platoon "management in relation to the specific qualities of HQ units and so on ... lol

Thanks a lot !

Dieseltaylor ,

Thanks for your input . Good point about the "down to the yard " visibility . I'll check my opponent's behavior in the next vid ... ;)

Thank a lot for your help guys !!!!

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