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Has cmbb killed maneuver?

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Most of the problems I've seen with not being able to maneuver are due to trying to move too quickly in the open or maybe I should say too soon.

You have get a good base of fire going and pin down or destroy whatever it is that is stopping your men from moving. MG's can be suppressed to the point where you can move across open ground.

Tanks are another story. But they can be smoked, killed, or buttoned and may not see your guys quickly enough to shoot them before they get to cover.

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I don't think the advancing tactics described in the test are the best ones. And the defense would not work, as run in the test.

"Run" is hopeless, one shot and you go to ground, and the morale impact is heightened. In addition, when men pin in the open ("cover panic", start "sneaking" the wrong way) is it pointless to try to force them to continue to move, before they rally. Just halt them and leave them stationary for a turn. Yes, Virginia, in open ground, 70-75% exposed.

The initial move should be "advance". (Although one half squad can "advance to contact" the turn prior if you like - and come right back after drawing fire. Gives you sound contacts and an idea what is out there, anyway). 50m is a good bound distance, but you can push them to 100m if you must. They will say "tiring" but will continue to move. Rest after.

When they get to pinned or try sneaking the wrong way, halt and rest until you see "ready" or "rested". Then advance again, a 50m bound or to the next cover.

Do not try to shoot up the defenders with your ordinary squad infantry at 300m range. It burns too much ammo, you can't afford it. What you -can- do is use the rest of your infantry depth to absorb firepower and increase the number of men rallying each turn. If one platoon is bogged down and pinned, you can send another, again "advance" order. It will draw more fire if it is moving and the other isn't. Then walk on two legs instead of trying to ram forward one.

Overwatch is not effective with infantry weapons until you have full IDs. But HMGs have enough ammo to "area fire" at range. They will typically only cause "alerted" results, though. -After- you have spotted something, or if the sound contact is obviously associated with one patch of woods or a spotted trench, you can use the mortars. 81s are much more effective than 50s, but their ammo is limited and they are best used on targets you are pretty sure of (e.g. spotted trench plus sound contact, or full ID).

The best suppressor for a distant sound contact on an obvious area of cover is an FO, with an abundant HE tank next.

I think if you used all three platoons, you'd find you could not only reach the next cover, but could assault the defenders. Not by blowing your ammo inefficiently, but by absorbing theirs, and rallying over a long time scale.

When you have overwatchers in cover close enough for full IDs, -then- you can simply firefight the defenders, suppress them, advance some, etc. That drill works from 150m down to the final assault. What you are discussing is an "approach march" problem, earlier - getting close enough for IDs in the first place.

The reality is defenders cannot afford to continually fire at long range even at such groups in the open. They have to pick their shots. The HMGs last longest, certainly, but they are not unlimited and rally is. At long range and against men advancing or stationary, they will mostly just pin, not kill. And pinning passes. Ammo does not recover.

Your test had 3 HMGs to cover the same area of open ground, and they were able to expend their full ammo loads merely delaying one platoon. Defenders cannot in practice afford that sort of thing. They typically have fewer HMGs than the attackers have platoons, to start. If those expend all of their ammo in the first 10-15 minutes merely delaying distant attackers, they simple take themselves out of a battle that starts at the 15 minute mark.

"But I can't let my men be shot at in the open by HMGs minute after minute." Um, if the range is long sure you can, just so you rest them and rotate who is up and moving, use you higher HQs to rally the ones that break and feed them back into the line, etc. Nowhere is it written that infantry shall fight without being shot at.

HMGs are a maneuver problem, certainly. But it is not because they make movement impossible, it is because they give the defender the -option- to spend ammo when -he- chooses to stop ongoing movements. Defenders cannot "decide" the answer to that "when to stop movement" question is "always". They don't have the bullets for that.

In a recent fight, my defense featured 4 HMGs with interlocking fire zones meant to cover open ground areas and obstacles. My opponent naturally spent as much of his time as possible in the scattered tree, rubble, and light building cover available, but some men moved in the open for short stretches, others got caught on wire. The ranges weren't even that long - in some cases the shooting was only 125m away to scattered trees, but most shots were 250-300m. 3 out of 4 HMGs expended roughly 2/3rds of their ammo loads, and they certainly pinned a lot of people and dramatically slowed his progress. But at game end, they had hit all of 7 guys.

Fire discipline intimidation (aka, the need of the defenders to save their bullets for close range and open ground shots) is what first frees up the attackers. Not hosing with every rifle and squad LMG at excessive ranges. If hosed at range, bear with it and absorb the fire; he can't do it all day. If not hosed at range, or after it, get close enough for IDs and then overwatch all further movements from cover.

Firefight with squad infantry only from nearby cover at full ID ranges. Once the squad infantry is that close, have all the support weapons contribute their now accurate suppression from medium range (like those in your examples - those are fine for HMGs, light mortars, and snipers - but after somebody gets close enough for IDs).

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To Stellar Rat - not quite. The real problem is closing enough to get full IDs, to allow overwatch and suppression to kick in. Covering fire doesn't work very well when all you have are sound contacts. Once squad infantry is close enough to ID things, it is also close enough to provide meaningful suppression, from within areas of cover. And all the other support weapons can contribute.

Before they infantry is close enough to ID things, the shooting is quite lopsided. That does mean it is the defenders that are burning their ammo, though - a silver lining. Ranges are reasonably long because otherwise you'd have IDs.

Doctrinally, it is artillery that was supposed to be falling at this point. That works in CMBB too, if you have enough shells. People just rarely do have enough shells, particularly in meeting engagements (in assaults, some of the "odds excess" can be spent on FOs).

With only sound contacts, they'd hit the whole zone with "target wide" and have a whole battalion blast the area for 2-5 minutes. Right after it ended, the infantry would advance close enough to ID things. QB players can't afford that many shells (although e.g. a fire plan migth include something like it for a pre-planned "approach march" period).

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In your post you said that if you want to cross an MG swept cover gap with infantry, just keep sending in more waves, because some will get through, and the others will pin, recover and then get through. But what happens when you have your company all bunched up together when the waves collide and an infantry gun (i.e. 150mm), infantry tank (e.g. SU-152), or a medium (or heavy) arty barrage comes in on top of you? End of company.

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Jason, I believe you're correct. HOWEVER....

Leaving a few MGs on the flanks for flank protection is sufficient to pin and moving infantry. Certainly long enough to bring reinforcements to bear if that is a necessity. And the bad thing about laying down cover fire to advance over open area is that it DOES pin the defending troops to some extent, which means they use LESS ammo. They have doubly accomplished their goal. Pinned the enemy and conserved ammo.

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No, don't just "send more waves". Advance the other platoons, but beside the original one, not through it. Do not turn the company into scrambled eggs pushing too hard on one line.

You have to "listen to the men", in the sense of regulating how hard to push and how much time to spend motionless and rallying vs. trying to "advance" the next 50m. You can rally while in the open, but only if you don't try to move and if somebody else attracts enemy fire by doing so.

Yes, when cover fire pins the defenders it stops their ammo use and starts the attacker's. That is why you want to use squad infantry for such fire only once close enough for full IDs. You want to break, not just pin, if possible. And close with those broken or pinned to finish them off. You don't care how much ammo remains to a squad that never gets up before it dies.

See, if the defenders spend -their- ammo trying to stop attackers at 200-300m, and then the attackers spend -their- ammo firefighting from cover at 150-100m, and after pins from that, closing to 40m - then the higher firepower of the lower range shooting will make up for the cover difference.

Whereas, if the attackers spend theirs at 300m in cover fire at sound contacts, they are just sunk. And defenders can't afford to blow most of their squad infantry ammo just delaying the attacker. That is what the high ammo, good FP at range HMG teams are for. The squad infantry ammo is needed to defend closer in - some of it at least.

The defender's dilemma about when to open up comes from (1) the fact that attackers are making for nearby -cover-. The cover differential is going to go down. And from (2) once the attackers are close enough for full IDs, the defenders may be suppressed and not have a chance to fire back.

If neither were true, the defenders would just spend their ammo at close enough open ground ranges, and then it would be enough to break the attackers - 100m and under plus open ground is killing fire. But the attackers won't get that close without going to cover, getting IDs, and shooting back.

Is an opposed attack through open ground slow? Certainly. A few MGs can say "wait a minute", and the defender has time to shift reserves over. It is dangerous to commit to an advance across open ground, obviously.

The worst that can happen is to make it half way, and then have a pair of enemy tanks show up. You will rout if that happens. This is not too surprising, though - 2 tanks plus the initial HMGs means you are attacking a prepared defender over open ground with negative odds.

But just a few HMGs - the right combined arms weapon, but not high enough odds - can't stop a full company advance forever, if it doesn't push. They can blow it away easily if it does push.

There is a mindset change involved here. Do not focus on accomplishing the movement as the success. Let that come when it does, like you used to deal with fire ascendency issues. Focus instead on the state of the men.

You want them straining but not breaking. The harder you push the harder they will work. If you see them seriously deteriorating you must ease off, and give them more time. Rally is a multiple of time. It is not distant cover fire that will get you across the distant open areas, it is "rally power". Rally power also eats enemy ammo.

I hope this is useful.

[ February 18, 2003, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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FWIW, I've developed a tactic for crossing open ground. It isn't too dissimilar to JasonC's comments, but I've only ever tried it against the AI.

Advance and hide. leap frog your squads forwards (I use half a platoon at a time) using bounds of 40-60m, depending on the level of fire incoming. It's especially effective against guns, more so if you can advance two platoons widely spaced. The guns spend all their time traversing between the two targets, and rarely fire, as by the time they've traversed to target, they've lost contact.

Using this kind of manuever enabled me to score a draw against Soviets in a probe, over open ground, against 2 76.2mm guns, 2 45mm guns, 5 45mm armed tanks, a KV1 and a couple of tankettes

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very interesting Jason. I will have to practice the art of advancing.

I tested a HUGE QB map last night and sure enough, there is PLENTY of room to manuever. 30 turns, 1000 points, huge map. Should be much more fun. The only drawback to a 1000 point QB is there is a high probability of getting only one large flag. It would be better to have three small flags IMO.

Anyway, thanks to all who responded.

[ February 18, 2003, 11:43 AM: Message edited by: Juardis ]

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In order to work around the flag problem, I tried to make a map without flags in the editor. However, when I tried to load the map as ME QB, flags magically appeared on the map. When I played a flagless map as a scenario, the flags stayed gone. Obviously this removes some of the unknown elements of a QB, but that is one solution. It would be great if you could do a QB without flags, at least for MEs.

Dr. Rosenrosen

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I played about 4 scenarios without flags in CMBO. The winner is obviously the one who killed the most units. Since that is how you would win a flagless map, all 4 battles devolved into standoffs with each side hoping to kill the other side with stand off weapons. The results would be even worse in CMBB I think (with regards to lack of maneuver).

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You really should think about putting this all down as a small unit tactics guide for CMBB. If players master this aspect of combat, then everything else just falls in place. I've copied and printed every post of your last two threads, they're that informative and helpful smile.gif

The Soviet regulations on this support much of what you're saying, but having you place it all in proper perspective has made all the difference for me. I think what really hit home was the sense that infantry don't necessarily assault into enemy positions, so much as they absorb them.

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