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Advantages of the "sneak" command....


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Am I just imagining this or is the sneak order vastly underrated? Units appear to start sneaking with little or no command delay and are very hard to detect. They also don't seem to pin under fire. I have seen a sneaking TH team stop to sit up and destroy a tank which unexpectedly appeared. Any comments? How do you guys incorporate sneaking into your game?

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If I plan in sitting in one place for any length of time I will advance up to the location, HIDE if beind fired at and sneak a short distance to try to get out of the line of sight or to mostly cause the enemy to lose good contact and have to area fire and guess where my unit is or not fire at all.

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Originally posted by wunwinglow:

Wouldn't a squad of troops 'sneak' and 'crawl' on their own initiative, as the situation demanded? I can't imagine real soldiers waiting for an order from HQ to take this sort of action!

They do, when under fire. And just for the record, "crawl"="sneak" in the more recent two CM games. I do use sneak in battle, usually when there is little cover other than wheat or brush. It is great for moving a short distance but can tire out troops, especially heavy weapons, over any serious distance. So I use it sparingly, and only over small distances when there is little cover.
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Originally posted by wunwinglow:

Wouldn't a squad of troops 'sneak' and 'crawl' on their own initiative, as the situation demanded? I can't imagine real soldiers waiting for an order from HQ to take this sort of action!

Yup - the tac ai will make units sneak around if under fire. The command is best used for moving troops when they are not spotted, not under fire etc...

"Hey Joe, you and your section see if you can sneak over to that house over there."

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I never use 'sneak' and when the Tac AI makes my squads and teams bloody 'sneak' when under fire etc, I immediately change it to something else cos they are usually 'sneaking' in a ridiculous direction and not returning fire.

OTOH however I'd like to use it more since I recently played a game where I tried to close assault a gun damaged SU-76 in a wheat field approximately 70-80 metres away from a couple of my units. I sent a Pltn HQ, a Squad and a 1 man TH team against it. These units arrived in that order and I ordered them all to follow the vehicle. IIRC only the HQ threw a grenade at it and missed while the Squad fired off its 3 rifle grenades while negotiating a wooden fence as it approached to under 50 metres. In the end they all chased their target into the LOF of my lone 37mm PAK 35/36 which knocked it out with one AP shot.

I thought later that after I had moved my troops into the wheat field that I should have ordered them to 'sneak' upon the vehicle rather ordering them to follow and close assualt the SPG. I think it didn't notice my approaching troops until the HQ threw its grenade at it, then it moved forwards and back like a yo-yo until it was forced to move from the field by the presense of all these infantry units. Mind you I was surprised that it eventually took the little PAK to get it considering all my infantry efforts!

Anyway, I would just like to ask for some advice on using the 'sneak' command effectively since I am coming round to thinking that I ought to be employing it. Anthing good and definate please would be great before I have to carry out my own tests thanx.

[ September 24, 2005, 07:30 AM: Message edited by: Zalgiris 1410 ]

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I rarely use it and find it not very effective.

In open ground, my experience is stationary and hiding at long range is the only way to avoid full ID. Any movement including sneak and you get spotted. Often you are spotted even while stationary.

In marginal forms of cover - steppe, wheat, brush, rocky - it would be most useful, if it seriously diminished spotting ranges and did so reliably. But I've been spotted by e.g. a halftrack with AA MG, at 500m, while sneaking in brush. Stationary and hiding, I fade to a lost contact marker, but moving I am seen. At ranges too long to make approaching by sneak feasible.

When advancing under fire, I find short "advance" commands are usually more effective. They are speedier. The men spend a third to half the time stationary on command delays and rest during them. They also spot and can shoot during these pauses, or at longer range in any sort of cover can switch to "hide" and make the enemy lose the contact. A continual "sneak" for not have these effects.

In heavy cover, I find I can move without using sneak without being spotted, at medium range. Going stationary loses enemy spots rapidly. A move to contact order is therefore usually the best way to avoid lasting fire. I use advance if I need to push the move to the last waypoint even if fired on.

There are some occasions when I will use sneak. When the ranges are short but the cover is good, I will sneak to infantry AT range from tanks. While advance is faster, it is more likely to draw fire, and infantry AT attacks are much more likely to be delivered and effective if the shooter is not pinned. Similarly, I will sneak bazookas and schrecks the last 10m or so to a treeline. That matters for them because any significant amount of woods in the flight path of the shot seriously degrades the hit chance. I will sometimes sneak-n-hide in urban fighting, to reposition from one window (side of a building looked out) to another, for example.

Units shot in the open or in poor cover frequently sneak when in "cover panic". If they are headed for better cover and within about 20m I let them continue. Otherwise I typically void the order and tell them to sit still, firing back if they have spots and hiding if they do not. Occasionally I change the order to "advance". They will crawl anyway until they rally above "pinned", then typically stand up and accelerate to advance.

Occasionally I will try a sneak of 20m or so to get from one area of dead ground to another, through marginal cover like brush etc. They will sometimes make it without drawing fire. This is common early on. When speed is more important I will use advance or sometimes risk a run, hoping to cross the open area before anyone who can see, has their next firing chance.

One man's experiences.

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Thanx JasonC for your insights base on your extensive experiences, I had always switched those "taking fire'" 'sneaking' troops just to 'move' and let them fire back as much as they possible can while still in their delay period.

I now think that I'll take it on as an advisement to give them 'advance' orders from Tac AI inposed 'sneaking' after cought under fire. Sounds effective if the troops will first start to crawl from under fire and then get up and advance faster when they can, that sounds a bloody lot better than leaving them to 'sneaking' at a snails pace with their faces in the dirt.

Actually I must admit that I haven't employed much tactical subtility while manoeuvering Infantry since I've mostly been on the defence and only 'moved' them while trouncing the enemy with coup de grace counter attacks. But I'm learning, hopefully.

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You can throw magnetic mines and the like while sneaking if the target is within your forward LOS window. This is extremely useful. If done correctly there's vitually no way you'll be spotted until you toss a few mines.

Also consider experience is a huge factor in the stealth of a sneaking unit. It's very difficult to pin the precise distances that various units are spotted, because the terrain, weather, time of day, and wind have a big impact on it.

But here's a related example to demonstrate the point: On a clear mid-day, an elite sharpy can sprint over open ground at 115m+ distance from an enemy unit and he will not be seen by anything. Even if elite binocular equiped enemy units out at 116m and staring straight at him! In sharp contrast, a green sharpy can be seen running out somewhere closer to 400m+ under the same set of circumstances. Huge difference.

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I think it can be a huge advantage to know when you are spotted in which circumstances and when you can spot other units.

I found out for example that a firing unit can be spotted by a binocular equiped unit within 200m, which is very good to know if you are attacker. Especially, if you want to deal with those MGs. Sometimes I try to sneak a sniper in the vicinity of suspected MG positions to get a full ID on them. And as Walpurgis stated, high experienced snipers are very good at remaining unseen, even within 100m of enemy troops should not be too difficult.

As a defender it is useful to know how to let your troops change from full ID to generic markers, which is very frustrating for an attacker. I think in the future I will experiment a bit more with that, trying to use sneak and hide to avoid overwatch fire.

Does anyone here uses that in their defence? Any tips for doing that?

@Walpurgis

About what kind of terrain are you talking in your first example about magnetic mines?

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If I have to cross an open area I will sometimes do the first part on sneak and the last 40 meters or so on advance. The idea is to get within reach of cover without drawing fire, if the enemy is not too close and is busy with other contacts. I don't know objectively if it is a great method.

If any serious volume of fire seems likely, though, you do not want to be crawling around in the open like that.

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Well I just did some tests, by no means exhaustive, and they lead me to substantially revise my opinion. As the original poster says, sneak is underrated and it can be quite useful. Thing is, its strength depends critically on what you are sneaking up on. A good guess as to what the other guy has waiting, where, can make "sneak" highly effective.

First the evidence from my tests, some comments along the way. I ran 2 separate runs, under good spotting conditions. The sneakers were regular German grenadiers, 10 man squads, no stealth bonuses but in command of + command rating leaders. The spotters in the first run were all US MMGs, 5 men with binocs. In the second run, half were MMGs again, the other half 10-12 man squads.

In both runs, the conditions were warm, still, midday, clear skies. The Germans had continuous "rocky" for cover, 50% exposure and no LOS degradation from progressive depth of the terrain type. The Americans were facing directly at them in the first run, as were the MMGs in the second run. The squads in the second run were initially facing the wrong way (directly away), and turned at the end of the test.

In the initial test, the MMGs were all about 10m deep in woods, which I found degraded their spots considerably. In the second, half were in light buildings, and half were at the very edge of woods - which behaved similarly, neither being degraded by what they were in, that I could tell. In all cases the terrain was flat, no height advantage for the spotters, which might make a difference.

I started the sneakers from various distances but they did not matter, time spent did not matter, it was the range that mattered plus the LOS degradation from facing and/or woods. In the first test, none of the sneakers were spotted beyond 100m. They were picked up rapidly at 95m or so. Thus, you can sneak up to a binoc equipped team looking straight at you, to a range of 100m, and stop, and go heads up (not even hiding), with cover no better than rocky, and remain unspotted. *If* the lookers are 10m deep in woods, rather than at the edge.

In the second test with the MMGs at the edge or in buildings, the story was the same except the spotting distance was 195m rather than 95m. I was able to reliably sneak to within 200m of the enemy positions without being detected. Any movement inside that and they spotted me and fired. I found a single short advance would carry me from 200m and upspotted, to 175m and spotted. At that distance, I readily spotted the shooters in return, full IDs not sound.

As for the squads with their backs turned, I could get to 100m no problem, unspotted, even in buildings or the edge of woods. To get the 200m distance they had to be facing at the sneakers rather than away from them. When they turned, they readily spotted the men at 100m, even while stationary and hiding. Rocky and the like is not good enough to hide in at close range, if they are facing you.

But the upshot is, 200m range is possible even vs. the vigilant, and 100m range is possible against single teams too deep in woods, or units facing the wrong way. These are very useful ranges to reach without being seen. And I got there with only "approach" cover, stuff insufficient to truely fire-fight from (25% exposed) but useful to cut fire on the way in. Or in this case, spots.

I also noticed things about sneak and fatigue. The units hit their first tiring after 5 minutes of sneaking. A minute of rest let them go another 5 minutes. They made a little better than 25m per minute while moving. If you use a 100m sneak order and then pause (hiding) a minute at the end, you can get back to "rested" and average 20m a minute rate of advance (4 minute sneak, 1 minute hide and rest).

That is competitive with short advance and hide drills - half as fast as those go under moderate fire with some pins. You wind up allowing 10-15 minutes or so to close from decent MG range to your own range to shoot back, but against some enemies at least, and with cover on the route, you can make it without even been seen.

So why have I seen spots at much longer ranges sometimes, trying to use sneak? Several reasons it seems to me. Higher elevation may make light, 50% cover much less concealing. Vehicle spotters with height and no obstruction from cover they are in may have better ranged spots, when CE, or with optics, etc. Short spans of open ground between 50% or better cover areas may hurt seriously - moving in the open even for a short distance is a lot easier to see than moving in rocky, wheat, or brush.

Also, large numbers of spotters may occasionally create the illusion of longer spots, when one unit actually is within 200m, while a prompt "borg" shooter is farther away. If the spotting unit is not itself seen, you can easily get the impression your sneak isn't worth anything when an MG or vehicle lights you up from 400-500m. When really, it is that unseen HQ in the treeline 175m away that got you.

I did not test all the effects of skill level and stealth bonuses, on either the spotted or the spotter sides. But on this evidence, I'll be trying out long sneaks through marginal forms of cover, a lot more than I have to date. YMMV, and further testing is clearly called for.

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I should perhaps have explained, each of my test runs involved 8 different "lanes" of sneakers, total 16 of them.

Things to test further - brush and wheat rather than rocky. Steppe. Near the edge of scattered trees, while being various distances from the spotters. Vehicle spotters, CE and buttoned. Intermediate facings, half-at (45 degrees, 90 degrees). Larger spotting groups e.g. full platoons. Veteran sneakers, +1 and +2 stealth bonuses, green ones without bonuses. Sneaking fast small teams (half squads, infantry AT, LMGs), and slow weapons teams (HMGs, mortars) instead of squads. Spotters on higher ground. Varying light and weather conditions.

I did not see a lot of variation, lane to lane, so a set up with only 1-2 instances of each match up should be sufficient.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

Well I just did some tests, by no means exhaustive, and they lead me to substantially revise my opinion. As the original poster says, sneak is underrated and it can be quite useful.

Well,like,duh :rolleyes: I wonder if that is why it is in the game?It's just like another poster said:

Wouldn't a squad of troops 'sneak' and 'crawl' on their own initiative, as the situation demanded?
Yes.Except that they can't,for obvious reasons.Just play the game like it's a realistic FPS.Have your men do what you would do if YOU were the one doing it :D
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I have to stick up for JasonC here (and I bet he's bloody supprised), there are many things in CM that I amoung others haven't mastered or don't know about such as how to effectively employ the sneak command and all the game tactics involved. Since there is so much to learn each player is gonna miss things for a long time, however I don't think no one has yet run the tests on the operation of the sneak order and spotting distances etc, as JasonC is evidently in the process of doing and which he will do well I'm sure. From this thread alone I think it is clear that we need 'sneaking' to be properly looked into and explained.

JasonC is a master of this kind of CM game play grog stuff, so no one get in his way and let him inform us of all the details, and if I have any problem with what he posts I let him know later as he very well knows - from experience.

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I disagree.These tests--no matter how many you do--will never give the full reality of the situation.Piss on scenario editor tests.If you want to learn how these things work employ them within the actual games that you play.Experience,in this regard,is far more valuable than these statistical excursion.

What if sneak were used for shorter durations,making sure that the unit in question is hiding at the begining of the turn,and hiding at the end of the turn.What if they are in command to a HQ with stealth bonuses..would experience of the HQ matter?What if there is unspotted,distractionary fire on or around the spotting units?Etc,etc....

Don't waste your time checking these things in editor tests.Use them in real combat and gain experience,not data that isn't always fully applicable to your situation.

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Fair point of view for no one to hold, but the point of the tests is also to learn through experiment what the basic funtions are from which players can then attempt to employ while in real the real CM combat environment against an opponent. True there are going to be multiple factors that are going to mess with the best tabulated results of testing out the 'sneak' command, but it will help me to know at least the ways to try to use it in the game properly.

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Ok,I can see where you're coming from,and I can see how this will help you in CMX1.However,with a dynamic environment in CMX2 there won't even be static numbers like this anymore(atleast I hope so!!).So,if you are planning/hoping that it will help you transition to it(CMX2),it will probably do more bad than good.Old habits die hard.Besides,that exhilaration that you get from not quite knowing if the tactic will work or not is what it's all about.For me anyhow.

You also have to consider that,in all honesty,scenario editor tests are gamey,and I sincerely hope that it is impeded in some manner in CMX2.

Sorry if this doesn't apply to you,but that is my mind set now.But,this is how I learned to play CMX1,and I am surely not all that bad.

Anyway,good luck in your pursuit of CM knowledge smile.gif

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no_one - If I went by my experience alone, I'd say sneak is not reliable enough to be useful. As I said in my first post, my game experience with it is that it has only limited usefulness, for infantry AT and getting right to treelines, and getting to nearby cover when in cover panic. I mentioned I'd had little luck, in practice, trying to sneak through brush as an approach march tactic.

But I suspect that was due to unnoticed enemies close enough to get spots, and/or sighting conditions unfavorable for it. Because my testbeds have shown infantry is quite easy to sneak up on, under good conditions for it. Meaning, if I went by experience (with lots of factors, not carefully controlled) I'd falsely conclude I can't rely on "sneak", when in fact there are opportunities for it in my games, that I haven't been properly distinguishing from cases where it won't work, because I need to control its use based on who I'm sneaking up on, etc.

Once you get burned a few times trying to do something, you can find an alternative that works better most of the time, and not bother to go back and explore possible sub-cases. I rely on short advance drills for the approach march, for instance, and in general those work.

Since sometimes I've seen sneakers shot at when the nearest enemy I *saw* was 500m away, I thought it didn't help enough to make it a reasonable alternative to "advance". But the testing is telling me, those were either special spotting cases, or cases where the greater fog of war "real experience" brings, fooled me as to how close I was spotted - because the shooter and the spotter weren't the same distance away.

Testbeds are useful and I encourage others to do them. Not, pace Zalgris, to wait for me to do them for them. Nothing like seeing for yourself. Also, I'd point out that I while I know a fair amount about CM and write about it more than most, there are plenty of other experts at least as knowledgable about this kind of detail as I am. Some undoubtedly more knowledgable, across the board, many more knowledgable about particulars they have looked at more closely. All it takes to know such things is the desire and a little care in testing. There is nothing special about it.

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"...You also have to consider that,in all honesty,scenario editor tests are gamey..."

Your opinion... I reckon scenedit tests are like actually having gone through training (in whatever aspect of warfare you're testing). The game is so ginormously variable that experience won't necessarily be the best tutor.

An example: I wanted to find out how to make a gun fire one round of smoke rather than its whole load. Fiddling in Scenedit showed me how so I didn't have to account for all the extraneous factors. Integrating those factors into the method is what the scenario was for.

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