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In CM are recon units kamikaze units??


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Are recon elements suppose to die upon fullfilling their duties, i.e. spotting enemy?

In CM it seems that recon units are only good for positively id'ing the enemy and then promptly dying. At least that's what happens to me.

I can sometimes keep them alive with only minimual damage if I keep them hiden after contact until the battle outcome is well determined in my favor. Even then sometimes a hidden enemy atr will take them out.

I'm I not using them correctly, or is CM not a good format for using recon units. Maybe CM is too small a playing field for proper use of recon. I was hoping recon units would play a bigger role in CMAK but it appears they are still just target practice for the enemy.

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FM Paul Heinrik,

Since you don't specify which kind of recon units you mean, it's hard to give you a detailed answer, but here goes.

The presumption in the CM series is that prebattle recon has already been done, thus recon proper isn't all that well implemented in the game. Some brave souls, though, have built some ops in which you actually have to go find the enemy, locate major fighting positions, etc. Generally, the CM games don't see true recon, for the time constraints, especially in a Quick Battle, don't allow it. This directly affects both the utility and survivability of recon units.

If you're talking about motorized or armored recon, the other major factor is that the game has no provision for dismounted crew elements to scout ahead on foot before the vehicle exposes itself.

Exceptions would be a jeep/Kubel, which can carry a team, or a halftrack, but the typical armored car can't dismount anyone, when in reality it could and did, as noted in the Recon thread above yours.

Use cover and concealment, look before you leap, and if operating an AC or similar, use overwatch, practice mutual support, get hulldown and in brush or scattered trees whenever possible.

The games don't allow the even better turret defilade in which the vehicle commander is the only thing up.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Do you keep a cover arc on your recon infantry - Move to contact >hide for your split squads followed behind (a few metres) by the other half of your split squads by move to contact (limited cover arced) - Plus other units in over watch (with a limited cover arc)

Units shooting are the primary way of giving themselves away - you want to trigger the enemy to to do so by reccie - with the smallest amount of crunchies possible with the most capable eyes possible (i.e. HQ units with experience & binos) with an aware proportion as close as possible (thereby capable of accurate fixing IDs) not disclosing themselves (hence cover arc) and with support capable in the background of pumping firepower into the mix if you choose to do so (cover arc again).

Generally the moment any direct fire weapon shoots in CM it gives its self away - You need to try control who does what & when, so you can decide what to do - ID, suppress, flank, over run and ultimately win.

If AFV that's a another story - try a search for similar threads

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Sorry, I was referring to ACs survival ability, but also to the in-game reconnaissance in general.

PFMM, yes that is a very accurate description for CM ACs. They are even piss poor against unsupported infantry. I'm still under the impression that they are much more usefull in "real life" than CM models them though.

"prebattle recon has already been done" Ahh...that makes sense. Sometimes I forget the scope and timeframe of this game and on huge maps I tend to think strategically not tactically.

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Scouting in CM is absurd - until you read-up on how it was done in real life. Yes, for the most part it was a couple guys in a jeep driving up the road to see what's over the hill! Some people just get all the fun jobs. Of course this wasn't the technique for a static defensive position, but when you've got a breakout situation with units covering 40 miles a day and not sure where the next pocket of resistence is, that was how they did it. Only the lucky ones got issued an AC. ;)

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Sorry to be purely negative, but it is a "whole thread" of four posts and they are all pretty darn stupid.

Light armor is meant to deal with enemy infantry and only infantry. It is not meant to scout into an intact defense because intact defenses have more than just infantry. The proper time to use it is late, before then it needs to keyhole on single exposed enemies, take secondary missions like guarding flanks, or just plain sit it out.

Scouting is done with a full infantry platoon maneuvering behind 1-2 half squad "points" on move to contact. It is also done by putting multiple small dismounts in reachable cover to cast a net of eyeballs rather than bodies - especially binoc types like ATRs, snipers, HQs, MGs, FOs. Who can also cover open areas with stealthy fire (in the case of HQs, by spotting for mortars).

Recon by death with light armor is a stupid AI trick - it doesn't know when to hold fire, which weapons are stealthy enough to use at range without revealing themselves, etc. So it will show a full kill sack to a jeep MG or MG only scout car. Humans aren't mindless and won't - the stuff just dies pointlessly without even finding you anything you can kill in reply.

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In CMBB, it's much more useful to scout using your infantry, generally in small formations.

I generally 'scout' with platoons of Mech. or SMG infantry, for the large amounts of firepower which they can provide at short range, which is when they normally detect enemies in deep cover such as pine or woods.

Outside of that kind of terrain, I generally rely on the bonics of units - I usually take a few LMGs for this purpose - a unit between 9 and 12 points (usually), but due to the binoculars inside these units, they make good spotters.

In cities, however, things get a bit more complicated. Infantry get absolutely leathered unless they stay in buildings, and tanks become extremely vulnerable. Oftentimes, I'll take a couple of assault guns in cities and annihilate anything that looks a bit shifty - although that brings with it the risks of enemies advancing under the smoke created by destroyed buildings as well.

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These recon threads to my mind illustrate the results of three unrelated points of view.

The first is the player myth of recon units lurking in their super stealthy vehicles spotting the enemy with their super seeing scopes.

The second is the compromise that is CMBB that allows instantaneous feedback so we can game. So I can sacrifice my pawn(light tank) to your castle(AT gun) so my knight(HE thrower) can take it.

And lastly the reality, which has these formations in a multitude of roles which are difficult to render with a single system.

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Originally posted by FM Paul Heinrik:

"prebattle recon has already been done" Ahh...that makes sense. Sometimes I forget the scope and timeframe of this game and on huge maps I tend to think strategically not tactically.

A bad joke actually since nothing of it is really considered in the CM games. It´s completely up to a scenario maker to give the so called pre battle reccon to a player and to be honest, most scenario makers do it plain wrong if you take it all a bit more serious with regard to how it was done historically. In fact as a base any CM game gives you the intel as normally available in meeting engagement games, means "you know the enemy is anywhere on the map". Doh. :rolleyes: That means you have to make the normal "battle reconnaissance" as has to be done anyway. ;) If it comes to "prepared assault" style battles, you are in fact in a situation that forces you to attack just like you stumble unexpectedly for the very first time on the enemy. Quite unrealistic. Before the battle you know at least parts of the enemy whereabouts, some of his strongpoints (incl. fakes), HMG, gun positions, minefields, wire, ect. Only then you are to make the attack plan, decide for the main effort, position support units, ect. Most of the CM assault style battles put you in a situation where none of the vital info is known (usually known by a battle commander due to airial reccon, patrols sent out earlier, simple observation of the enemy lines from friendly positions ect.) If the scenario designer gives you unrealistically short time to conduct the attack based on non information, well..then have fun! tongue.gif Gladly you can make out those scenarios by just reading the brief, telling "you are to attack bla bla, no enemy armor is expected..." and those crappy info that personally makes me hit "Alt-A" instantly. :rolleyes:

The above said counts more for games vs. the AI. Games played H2H off course can´t be that specific, since most players prefer to reposition their units the way they like (me incl.), but still some credible info can be given in the brief by the scenario maker. QB´s of any sort are always to be handled as meeting engagements in any way, although I see no reason that BFC did not include any generically generated intel for the enemy player. Off course, the more you take CM just as a game (and not serious simulation of military actions), the less you miss the above mentioned intel procedures and have fun just "seeking and destroying" the enemy. Simple matter of preference. smile.gif

Know HPS Tigers on the Prowl/Panthers in the Shadows series games? Good example for how pre battle reccon can be done in some realistic ways! Parts of enemy improved positions (foxholes or trenches) are revealed instantly, depending upon battle type, range to friendly lines ect. Same goes for minefields and wire. Wire is not completely hidden, and lanes (purchased and set by attacking player) through known or suspected minefields are always known. Some enemy minefields are revealed pre battle as well. Depends also upon percentage of engineer troops in the force mix.

I have raised expectations for CM2x, although I´ll skip the Shock Force something for my lack of interest in post WW2 combat. :(

"Move to contact" command and "covered arcs": Be careful with that, as units most of the time only react to enemy units within the covered arcs, unless in emergency situations (beeing shot ect.). A more secure method is to give "move to contact" without setting covered arcs, followed by a "hide" command for infantry type units. It off course depends upon the terrain the scouting unit is moving through to make sure the "hide" does not take place in unsuited terrain (non cover). This helps survive infantry reccon better IMO.

AC´s normally conduct tasks independently as part of a larger reccon unit (Cpy or Btl) or as part of a mixed battle group (mobile advance/point force, rearguard or in emergency situations). For the former in order to get it to work you need at least a map large enough and a task suitable to use AC´s (seek enemy, shield flanks in mobile operations ect.) For the latter there´s no rule actually. AC´s are just mobile MG platforms or when heavier armed, are of limited use vs enemy armor and heavy weapons. I personally opt for halftrack born reccon infantry (preferably a small HQ), since it can be used in more stealthier ways and when running into ambushes has slightly more survival (self defence) capability as crews enforced to bail out from a knocked out AC´. Again matter of preference.

Food for thought:

http://www.combatmission.com/articles/panzer_forward/panzer.asp

http://www.25panzergrendiv.com/main_folder/Wermaht_Tactics/patrolling_from_static.htm

http://www.25panzergrendiv.com/main_folder/Wermaht_Tactics/german_patrol_methods_in_italy.htm

http://www.25panzergrendiv.com/main_folder/Wermaht_Tactics/Tactics_of_a_german_patrol.htm

http://www.geocities.com/desertfox1891/articles/GermanRecce/GeReccBtl.html

http://www.geocities.com/desertfox1891/articles/GermanRecce/GeRecce_USview.html

EDIT: The Panzergrenadier links obviously don´t work anymore. :( Maybe I find the site at another web address again.

[ December 08, 2006, 06:21 AM: Message edited by: RockinHarry ]

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"The best patrols I had were those with clean guns. Even worthwhile targets were only reported and not engaged; that is the business of others. A troop leader with a tendency to bang away is useless for reconnaissance purposes since he is soon located by the enemy and chased like a rabbit. A report giving the location of an enemy tank laager is of infinitely more value than five shot-up lorries."

Also noteworthy is the statement that the fighting element of the recce battalion was the infantry and heavy company, and on defense it had front line assigned to it, while the ACs themselves were typically used elsewhere on independent mission (screening flanks etc). Quite clear that dismounts fight and mounts avoid it.

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You could get some reasonable recon action out of the CM engine ('move to contact' combined with a short 'withdraw' command to safety works wonders ) except there's always a time constraint in the scenarios. You simply can't waste the first twenty turns out of a thirty turn game reconnoitering every potential AT gun location. Plus if its a 'capture the flag' meeting engagement, after 20 minutes of careful recon you'll probably find a whole company of well rested enemy infantry sitting under the flag when you get there!

I have occassionally tried opening a scenario in the editor and doubling the time. This either:

a- Works great;

b- Makes for a remakably tedious game;

c- Causes all my units to run entirely out of ammo with ten moves left.

;)

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