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Tigers Breaking Down - Should it be modelled in the game?


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Hi Gents,

I have just started playing Flames of War WWII 15mm Miniature Wargame rules.

In the rules they model Tigers breaking down if they move at the double.

This represents the fact that Tigers were unreliable.

In CM terms should this be modelled?

I realise all games are abstractions of real life and wonder why something like this is not modelled in CM, (as far as I am aware.)

H

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I originally thought Panther Ds should occassionally burst into flame spontaneously too, to mimic thir initial deployment for Kursk (a problem our own Abrams tanks still sometimes have today!). I guess the next time you purchase a couple Tigers with an infantry company, set the game's initial casualties, then find a Tiger missing on setup you can imagine it had broken down earlier during the road march :D

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I doubt that Flames of War rules are where to look for more realism to CM. Is that rule based on real life? Is there any evidence that Tiger drivers were advised not to speed during combat unless absolutely necessary or they'd risk busting the engine? Which is more likely, that the engine will fail during the 4 hour approach march or during less than hour of combat?

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Hi Sergei,

In no way or shape would I compare FOW to CM for realism.

However, it is interesting that in their rules system they penalise Tigers and Crusaders for being unreliable.

This is expressed as a 1 in 6 chance of breaking down and being out of the game if the tank tries a double move. (i.e. Drive fast).

Now it is a fact that Tigers did suffer mechanical problems. From what I have read.

How far should a game go to represent those problems?

Is FOW being more realistic by trying to model that problem?

BTW FOW models bogging by having a tank have a 1 in 6 chance of bogging while going over rough ground. CM models bogging, so why is this different than Tigers breaking down during combat?

Did Tigers break down during combat?

I post this just to see if anyone has any views and as an interesting debate on how far do games designers go to represent reality?

H

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CM does have that vexing 'Bogged/Immobile' thing going on, especially with the big stuff travelling where they hadn't ought. If your Sturmtiger or Ferdinand finds itself immobilized while attempting to travel off-road (a common enough problem) you could either credit it to bad terrain (deep mud) or to something breaking on the vehicle due to overstress.

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I think games need to be as realistic as computerly possible. At least for war stradegy games. Because thats why we play them is to kind of see history before our eyes. In my experience most people who play WWII stradegy games and others like it are usually older than the younger arcade game playing crowd.

People who play games like cm tend to be interested in history. I myself am some what a history buff, so I would like my games to reflect history as much as possible.

As much of a pain in the rear it would be to lose a tiger or panther due to it breaking down, I think it would be good to have this in the game.

p.s. Didn't the germs fix the problem with the tigers in later versions?

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Somewhere there is an enormous thread on tanks breakingdown so perhaps a search under bogging will be of help to you.

Some tanks are more prone to bogging and I think the thread covers this and also what effective crew quality has : ) It also expands on what causes tanks to break down - just calling it bogging is perhaps a little misleading as there are other reasons for it to stop moving.

I would say 1 in 6 a little arbitrary unless your rules allow you to move at 90% of top speed also : )

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Hi DieselTaylor,

I just had a quick look at that bogging thread and yes bogging does cover breakdowns.

So that makes me think should Tigers and other unreliable tanks have a greater chance of bogging (breaking down) than other tanks.

If I remember the tests done at the time showed that all tanks had equal chances of breaking down and it was something more prone for bad terrain? I could be wrong on this?

H

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Bogging depends on ground pressure. Tigers have wide tracks, so they bog less than, say, PzKpfw IV which has rather narrow tracks.

While some tanks suffered from engine problems, CM doesn't model these things because it is unlikely that the engine would fall apart by itself during a battle, which CM is about.

Rather, when you are told that Tiger was unreliable, it means that it would not always make its way TO the battle.

If there really was a 1/6 chance of Tiger's engine popping each time it drove above walking speed, the tank would never have been accepted into service. Those kinds of rules give you only comic book realism.

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Sergei,

Thanks for that on Bogging so in actual practice in CM Tiger stand less of a chance to Bog? (I have forgotten that from the threads.)

smile.gif

I saw some stats showing that around 600 Tigers were destroyed by their own crews.

Would that indicate that Tigers broke down in combat and this should be modelled?

I understand what you are saying about Tigers making the battlefield should be shown as fit and that is kinda my view.

I am just trying to see if there is any evidence out there that backs up Tigers breaking down during actual combat. And if so was that a greater chance than other tanks. (Enough to deserve a seperate model of breakdowns?)

H

P.s. I agree about comic book realism and this can be levelled at FOW. However if they are modelling something that CM is not, do they know something CM does not?

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Other reasons for destroying own tank:

1. being immobilized in combat by enemy, mines or rough terrain and being unable to retrieve it

2. having it break down or run out of fuel on retreat, with no resources to repair or transport it

I think especially the second one of these applies very much to Tigers.

The reason why BFC haven't modelled this is probably because there isn't reliable data on just how often the engine broke down on each tank model, and because there doesn't seem to be indication that that would have been a problem during tactical engagements. I don't think FOW designers had any proof that Tiger would break down one time out of six when it drove 'fast', but I assume that they had other reasons (different design philosophy - hey, comic book realism is fun if it works!).

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Hi Sergei,

Yeah D6 mean that you have a limted range to work with. Abstraction at its best.

smile.gif

It makes you realise how much better it is to have it all done on the computer.

Another "fact" I read about Tigers that it took on average ten hours of maintenance to get 1 hour of combat from it.

Now I could not see how this compared to other tanks. I just presume that is a high ratio?

As for point two if indeed I gave it much thought rather than relying on the brains here I would guess that accounts for a lot of Tigers in Russia?

I also seem to note that Tigers were used as mine clearance vehicles as the Germans did not invent something like the fail tank.

Seems odd the Germans missed that trick?

H

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I thought in the thread I had mentioned the road wheels being a problem on Tigers in that they were good for catching boulders small trees and frozen snow - not necessarily all at once of course, and the re-design leading to other problems.

Furthermore

"In the spirit of boggedness and to help those who chose the boggier tanks I have just completed a 30 minute test - in wet.

Stug III Green - two out of three immobilised

Stug III Crack - none immobilised

Stug IV Crack - none immobilised

Tiger II Crack - one out of four

Tiger II Green - two out of four

It seemed that the crack crews would bog but extricate themselves. The III had the heaviest PSI and the IV the lightest. The IV's had one bog only whilst the crack Tigers had three - excluding the fatal one.

BFC fix it or sumfink - better crews unfairly benefit!!!!

BTW the TigerI was known for getting ice,rocks and other obstacles caught in its interleaved track wheels jamming the tracks - slightly improved design for the TigerII from the rock point of view but the new design had a twisting motion on the tracks. They both suffered from freezing snow gumming the tracks."

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Originally posted by Holien:

Another "fact" I read about Tigers that it took on average ten hours of maintenance to get 1 hour of combat from it.

Still, I have my doubts about the source of this fact, and the source of that source. I definately don't find it implausible under circumstances - but whether that is an overall average, and whether that only has to do with the engine, and whether that is representative of the combat reliability of Tiger (once it has been repaired for ten hours, will it serve without breakdowns for the next hour? < more than my Opel, anyway :mad: >)

I also seem to note that Tigers were used as mine clearance vehicles as the Germans did not invent something like the fail tank.
I suppose most tanks could be used as mine clearance vehicles in the case of anti-personell mines - or for anti-tank mines, for a PARTICULARLY limited period.
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Some links with facts on Tigers,

I am sure you know these anyway.

As this was posted in another thread.

http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/fulcrum_main.pl?database=ft_u2&searchid=109558764828166&keyfieldvalue=ADA415948&filename=%2Ffulcrum%2Fdata%2FTR_fulltext%2Fdoc%2FADA415948.pdf

This link notes the problem with the transmission and says that vehicles were lost in combat due to the weakness.

http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/tiger1.htm

I guess your Opel is not having a good time of it?

H

P.s. Diesel I think Stugs are a good investment based on your exhaustive tests. ;)

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Another "fact" I read about Tigers that it took on average ten hours of maintenance to get 1 hour of combat from it.

Actually ten hours for every one hour, sounds about right for almost any AFV. My time as a modern Bradley crewman was mostly spent in the Motor Pool in garrison, and throwing track (a good deal of what "being immobilized" really is in CM)happened at least twice per two week field problem. Armored vehicles take alot of TLC and sweat to maintain.

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I just finished reading Max Hasting's Overlord and remember at least two or three references to Sherms throwing their tracks while attempting a breakthrough. In fact, that is by far the most common source of immobilization, outside of enemy fire, I remember reading from any source.

Except for stories from 1941 on the Eastern Front where inexperienced and panicked tank commanders would lead entire regiments into soft terrain and lose 70 percent of their vehicles.

Seems to me that tanks were only likely to break down if arriving on the battlefield in need of category 3 or 4 maintenance. I'm sure the odd AFV simply imploded (especially the newer models), but in general, I don't think vehicles would break down so spontaneously. Normally, wear and tear over the course of a long journey or days of combat would be necessary.

Having said that, breakdowns (the number of vehicles not "combat ready" at any one time) according to Guderian was always around 25%. In 1941, It seems to have been a constant struggle to keep higher than 60% in good enough shape. Not sure about France, but at least during Barbarossa the number of tanks lost to mechanical failures was higher than those lost to combat. Of course, it needs to be remembered that AFVs were required to travel interminable distances on their tracks and that the infrastructure of Eastern Europe did not compare to that in the west.

Anyways, I imagine that, generally speaking, breakdowns were caused by stress and insufficient maintenance over a period of time. Tracks were very vulnerable to failure, and motors sometimes simply burst into flame, but overall, an AFV would usually only die if too much were asked of it.

Cheers

Paul

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To me the difference between adding the realism of terrain effects and mechanical reliability is this:

The game is supposed to simulate a set of circumstances such that two players can overcome thier own forces' and the terrain constraints to achieve an objective.

Terrain effects are tangible constraints/risks that ought to be factored into any plan. On the other hand, mechanical unreliability can't practically be planned for after you choose your forces.

Look at it this way; the relative cost of a late-model Tiger that you can deploy as part of the combat force could be considered to have taken into account the number of total units one would have to choose in order to get 'x' functional ones, via the rarity factor.

IMHO of course.

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Tigers breaking down should not be modeled in the game.

1.)It would be annoying to have an expensive tiger, which probably has a small chance of breaking down in an hour battle actually break down. Anything that seriously depends on a dice roll is troublesome, ever played HPS Modern Campaigns and see a sure assault get poor results? It can drive one insane.

2.)Tanks breaking down was more of an operational/strategic concept. Tank breakdowns occurred from heavy traveling and took hours, the battles in Combat Mission are minutes (Except Operations). An unlikely break down (even though it can happen) will be highly frustrating and will leave the player feeling cheated since he lost do to bad luck.

3.)Even if a tank did break down, it should be remembered that battles are huge affairs, a single break down would not shift the big picture.

Tank mechanical durability should be added to the cost of the purchase. However it is alright in briefings to simply state the Tigers will not be available do to breakdowns.

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