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Night Fighting Tactics


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Hi,

I ran a search on night fighting tactics and found only one with some information. It still left many unanswered questions and I would appreciate any advice on these.

1. How to use overwatch at night, this is very problematic due to the short LOS. Also relevant for dusty operations, etc.

2. How to perform useful recon. It seems that recon elements are very vulnerable given the limited ability to support them, plus they seem to garner less information, i.e. many more sound contacts at night that would be full IDs at day.

Thanks in advance.

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Personally I don't really like CM night combat.

It is missing some real-world capabilities like illumination artillery rounds. In WW2, one side side would usually figure it benefits more from light and fire illumination rounds more or less permanently.

You also miss light from buring vehicles or houses and that firing weapons are easier to spot due to their muzzle flashes.

And of course CM applies huge combat resolvement factors to night combat. Infantry morale collapse very quickly, it even seems smallarms fire is more effctive (might be my imagination). Firendly fire is bumped up a lot and as usual in CM the friendly fire occurances are not really filtered to make realistic cases more common than exotic ones. You frequently see defenders fire at their own people, without those even moving, and with those still in the same foxhole or trench spot than at battle start. Can happen? Sure. Should happen as regularily as firing on moving friendly squads as it does? Nope.

In particular, all these factors make evehicles relatively much more effective in CM night compared to CM days. I don't think that is realistic, a vehicle not allowed to turn on its light should be realitivly weaker, not stronger, at night.

So in CM, if I want to fight low visibility I use fog. You don't miss real-world visibility enhancement and the mentioned extra combat factor do not apply or only moderately.

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Well, here ya go:

forget about infantry, it will only panic on slightest traces of smallarms fire and often get that fire from friendly units. You want a few tank hunters, though.

The best thing to buy are M3A1 halftracks which have the bug that .30cal and .50cal is not seperated so you get 250 shots of .50cal ammunition. You have half of them area-fire on suspected enemy positions, the other half you move in on enemy infantry or behind the cheapest vehicles you can buy.

That will get rid of the enemy infantry.

For enemy armor you need your own armor since you can neither use bazookas (will panic to easily) nor AT guns (cannot fire at range).

There is one totally overwhelming factor in your choices of armor: very fast or fast turrets. Being swift can't hurt either. Shermans, Stuarts and a number of British ACs have it.

For the Germans Panzer IVs with proper turret mechanism are a good choice but there are some Italian exotics which might be suitable. The PSW 222 is also good, it has a very fast turret and the autocannon with high hit probability.

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Prep fire with arty is very effective at night due to the increased morale effects. A quick prep bombardment followed by a very rapid attack can make excellent progress in a night fight.

With your infantry you want to make sure you have signficiant numerical superiority at the point of attack. It's more difficult for you to use overwatch but it's also more difficult for the defender to create interlocking defensive fields of fire. Initially fire will suppress and disrupt your infantry, you want to have enough to be able to keep pushing. As the attacker at night it's easier to concentrate your forces since you can use the cover of darkness to manuever undetected.

Lead with expendables (lmgs/half squads) to get an idea of where the enemy is. You won't get exact IDs but if you have supporting hmgs in position they can provide very good area suppressive fire. When your units take fire look to see where the shooter could be. Given the LOS restriction you can often narrow the shooting position options down to 1 or 2 locations. Hose those down and move forward to close and get positive IDs.

Naturally you want you heart-bonus commanders in control. A heart bonus company HQ is particularly valuable.

Unlike daytime warfare, you can operate your tanks and infantry in very close proximity. (since long range AT fire is impossible) Your tanks won't panic in the same way as infantry and as long as the lead is flying you have less to fear from enemy infantry close assaults on your tanks. The tanks really help you hold your attack together. And keep those tanks together, don't send them off in penny packets.

A second use of tanks is to create diversions. The tank noise contacts will be picked up by the enemy. It will be hard to distinguish a tank feint from a full on attack.

Onboard mortars can be very effective at night, make sure you havea double command bonus HQ targetting for them so you can stay outside the minimum range restriction. The HE shells of mortars in woods are also very suppressive.

Just some things to think about.

The worst way to conduct a night attack is to spread out your attack and mount weak attacks at multiple points. A weak attack can be easily turned back a night.

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If you have infantry only or armor only but not a mix of both things look a little more realistic in CM.

I am not sure concentration is a good thing, though. If that mass runs into anything supressive the result is devastating.

The military concept that comes to my mind for this kind of CM battle is binding.

You bind all defending forces you can with as few forces of you own as you can. The goal being that at a certain point in time all the opponents troops are bound with what is not all your troops and you take your remaining troops on a free ride to strike at the weak enemy rear (HQs, artillery).

Not very realistic either because this raiding party would have an unrealistic advantage in CM. In the real world no soldier would know his way in the enemy zone right after breaking in at night. They would have no detailed maps, they could hardly use maps (lights) and would have to keep radio silence and/or the radio is of no big help either. In CM you know precisely where everything is, houses, cover, roads and if anybody finds some enemy element everybody knows it.

I stand by my opinion that CM works a lot better for battles in full or moderate visibility and if you want low visibility fog is better.

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