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Full ID and disengaging from contact

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At what point is your unit fully ID [as opposed to a sound contact] and in particular, how can you execute a "hit and run"? I would like to temporarily engage/disrupt the enemy and then move to a new defensive/offensive position. However, this seems difficult to achieve if the unit is already engaged or in LOS. So in short how do I disengage a unit that has LOS to one or more enemy units?

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First off, I'm assuming you're talking about infantry.

Secondly, it probably makes a difference whether you are on extreme fog of war or something else. But I haven't a clue what that difference is because I play on extreme.

Also, bear in mind I don't know what I'm talking about. Someone who knows a bit more about this will probably be along in a bit to give a more authoritative answer, but here's how I do it:

Depending on the terrain I'll take a few shots and then either sneak away or withdraw. Both methods have their drawbacks, and a lot depends when whether or not there's a reverse slope to get behind (in which case I'll probably sneak so as to make a smaller profile on the horizon), a lot of tree cover around, or whether I just have to make sure that unit gets out of Dodge.

Withdrawing gets the unit out quickly, but leaves it exposed when doing so (because it's running) and a bit rattled after the experience. It's very useful at the start of a firefight, though, because it causes the unit to break off rather than stand there and trade shots. But if you use it when too much lead is flying around you may have a shot up or broken unit on your hands if you try to withdraw too late. Withdrawal seems to be something you have to do almost at the moment of contact if you don't want to suffer deleterious effects. And remember to set up a protected line of retreat before you start anything - running in the open in plain sight of enemy machine guns is a good way to buy the farm. Scattered trees and brush don't make for good cover -- what you need is thick woods to cover your run and a reverse slope to hide behind. Failing that crawl back out of sight.

I haven't tested it lately but I think you need about ten to twenty meters of woods and maybe as much as forty of scattered trees to vanish. You can figure it out by playing around with the line of sight tool -- when it blocks your sight to the target, it probably blocks his sight to you. And don't make the mistake of positioning your unit just inside the edge of scattered trees or woods because you think you're under cover -- you're not.

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Once you fire at the enemy and are ready to disengage, hopefully you are in cover that helps you withdrawl.

I find that I want out of there quickly normally, because either I am stalling a larger more powerful group or will be receiving heavy volumns of supporting fire soon. Either way I do not want to get pinned and into a fight I cannot win.

Try the move option and set your cover arcs so that no enemy is within it, if desperate run can work also, but is riskier.

With move, unless the enemy pins you, your units will progress as ordered, do it safely and normally will iqnore the enemy if the cover arc tells them to.

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A good defence is planned ahead. This is particularly true for a fall-back defence where you plan to use infantry platoons and maybe some armor to engage the enemy in a series of ambushes throughout the depth of your defence.

When you set up your forces, put them in locations where they have covered routes that they can use to withdraw into. A good covered route allows your ambushing units to fall back and break LOS with the enemy relatively quickly. Large blocks of woods work well for this. Dead ground also works (eg you are on the forward slope and withdraw to the back position, behind the crest).

A fall back defence may also work with less covered routes. That is, small 'islands' of cover (woods, pine etc) separated by open steppe or ground maybe. Just keep in mind traversing the open areas during a withdrawl can lead to many dead men if the enemy opposite has odds or isn't suppressed adequately. Another danger when retreating across 'islands' of cover is that flanking forces may gain LOF across your witdrawl routes and effectively cut off your forces, making them easy prey for his heavy weapons once he brings them up. So watch your flanks and make sure he can't cut up and chop away portions of your force.

Its important to know when to withdraw. If you have odds and the right combined arms counters to his force, sit their and shoot it out. If you are only using a thin OP line, kill his scouts when isolated, but bug out as soon as the enemy main body is identified.

If you are using significant portions of your force in a heavy OP line, withdraw when:

1. The enemy is bringing up superior numbers of infantry into cover opposite you, within good rifle range of your force. If you stay, you'll be suppressed and be unable to withdraw.

2. The enemy brings up a strong HE chucker (eg T-34). Armor with a 75mm plus gun with 30HE rounds or more will demolish a platoon in a minute or two. You can't absorb that firepower, so skulk away.

3. The enemy is calling artillery onto your position. Sometimes light mortar fire can be absorbed if the following up infantry assault is weak or uncoordinated, but it is still not a good idea. It is more likely though that the enemy will use heavy artillery on thick targets such as a platoon. So if you see a spotting round fall near you, pull out.

Besides good cover,your other forces may help with a withdrawl. Keyholed armor or a fire mission can suppress some of his units long enough for your men to get away. HMG's and/or supporting platoons can also cover the open ground preventing him from easily running across it right up to your men. Smoke can also be used to temporarily block LOS. I don't recommend calling smoke with an FO though unless if it is absolutely necessary. Their HE shells will always be more valuable than smoke. Obstacles can be used too to slow down the advance of the enemy as he pursues you. Mines and wire covered by fire should also cause him some casualties before hand.

Stay in your position only as long as you can win the firefight. This may mean you stay for a few minutes, or maybe just one. If you want to launch an ambush but not stay long at all, you can give your men covered arcs and a pause delay just over a minute. When the enemy comes into their arcs, they will open up. If the enemy is immediately following up with strong forces though, you will be ready to withdraw almost immediately next turn, because of the pause.

As for the actual orders I use when withdrawing, I almost universally use advance. Run and move leave the men to vulnerable, while withdrawl usually results in panicky soldiers. That has been my experience anyway.

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Withdrawl with the advance command is a little overkill, the only time that is useful is when you expect a lot of enemy fire coming in, then this is the correct choice, that best chance of getting you men to keep moving and hopefully not pin. But for many situations it is too slow and also tires your men quickly. Great if maybe your moving back to a second set of fox holes 70 meters

away. Not good if you are bugging out and have ground to cover and not all day to do it.

Which movement command to choose is part of understanding the game and the situation you are in. One command is not always the correct command.

I have had units crawl out before and have it work, but it does not mean its the way to recommend or not recommend.

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Well obviously withdrawing is easy when your units are not under fire. In this case move or run will work fine. But the original poster says the player is having difficulty withdrawing from enemies within LOS, and is thus presumably under fire. In this circumstance I find advance to be the best command, though sneak works too. In fact, I often do use the sneak command to move a short distance into deeper cover to break LOS with a HE chucker. Move or run however will just result in pinned men.

Of course, I'm not saying use the advance command the whole way, wherever you are withdrawing to. Use it as long as you are in LOS of the enemy and under fire. Once you break LOS and are in deeper cover (woods, dead ground, etc) by all means switch to move so you don't tire out your men.

And if your defensive setup requires you to withdraw a long way under fire using the advance command, that does not mean there is a problem with the commands you are using, but there is a problem with your defensive setup. During a withdrawl you should only have to use the advance command over short distances because your men should be in positions where they can break LOS with the enemy relatively quickly.

[ November 09, 2007, 11:18 AM: Message edited by: Cuirassier ]

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While this question has already been answered pretty well, I'll add my two cents about the key idea involved. It isn't a matter of the in game command to use, primarily. And it is less general than the (entirely true) advice to plan ahead and such. It is mostly a matter of looking at cover the right way.

Cover helps infantry when it takes (mostly small arms type) fire while inside it, but that is its second use, within an ongoing firefight. Its main use, for both infantry and armor, is simply to determine what the firefight match-up is, and whether there is one. It does this not by reducing incoming fire at the resolution stage, nor by degrading IDs, but by breaking LOS entirely.

You have to think of the terrain as composed of "cells", each "visually integrated". They overlap at the edges and use of that is important. But to first order, everyone in cell A sees everyone else in cell A and can't see beyond it. Such cells are created by successive ridge lines, by lines of buildings (especially more than one or set at odd angles), and by large blocks of woods.

These cells frequently have a "grain", and it makes a big difference for both attack and defense which way that grain runs. Imagine 4 parallel ridge lines as an example. Attacking across them one after another means there are 5 "cells" - sides of each crest - and they are layered in lines from attacker side to defender side. Instead attack along them, and there are still 5 cells, but now they divide the field into "pipes", relatively isolated fights.

The former dramatically helps the defense, and the latter dramatically helps the attack. Why? Because in the first case, the defenders at each successive ridge position can fully integrate their fires, hit only the attackers who have reached their own "cell", and can then safely break contact into the valley between their ridge and the next - and do it all again. But in the second case, only a fifth of the defenders can stop an attack up one of the "pipes", which the attacker can pick and overload, while screening or feinting in the others.

Real terrain is never that stylized. But it always has some configuration of possible LOS isolations, and exploiting them is the main use of terrain. Obviously you want to exploit them to engage modest pieces of the enemy force with more of your own - "many on few". You can also use it to pick combined arms match ups - e.g. to isolate your ATGs against his tanks, or your tanks against his infantry. In paper scissors rock fashion, fighting each thing with its best, non-symmetric counter.

The art of defense is largely about planning integrated fire zones that hurt leading attack elements, while avoiding the bulk of the attacker's generally superior firepower. The art of attack is largely about overloading a piece of the defense with more firepower than it can stomach, while getting the force for it by economizing in other areas, putting the defenders opposite those out of position to help.

The whole subject is summed up as "differential LOS". Meaning all the ways of breaking a general "if I see you, you see me, so all fights are fair" situation. Even for individual pairs there is differential LOS e.g. one side moving and visible, the other stationary, not firing, and hidden. Or firing but from long enough range to remain sound. That matters, but even without it, differential LOS applies above the individual pair level, when e.g. my entire A company sees a single lone position, that has no help that can see them.

I hope this helps.

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I would say that withdrawing in CM is mainly a waste of time. You're better off sacrificing your lead elements but making sure they use all their ammo first.

IOW, sell them, but make sure you don't sell them cheap.

To do this correctly you need to get them into a position where you will only be fighting his infantry; before his support weapons or HE chuckers are brought up. Set up ambushes, make them very quick and very bloody so his infantry have to focus on them.

What this does is drain him of ammo, so the next defensive line he faces he'll have to do it with different infantry.

So what you're doing is swapping the minority of your men for the majority of his bullets, so the next time you're in contact, you have men with bullets and he doesn't.

He will have to lean more heavily on his support elements, which generally will be armour. He'll have forced you back into your rear areas where you have your gun line, so by the time you have to deal with his armour you're dealing with it with its counter - ATG's.

Disentangling combined arms is the defenders problem. If you do that you can choose what fights what and can leverage yourself out of the odds disparity.

IMHO of course.

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