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US Minefield Markers


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I'm working on a pair of US minefield markers for CMBO that might work in CMAK. These markers are only supposed to be used when playing the Americans, and complement the German and British-style markers that were originally developed for CMBO. I don't have CMAK yet, so I'm not sure if I need to make a second pair with different numbers for CMAK. Can anyone fill me in on this?

Here is the current state of the anti-tank mine marker:


And here is the anti-personnel mine marker:


In the background you can also see the Northern European pine tree horizon that I am working on for CMBO. I expect to be able to adapt it to CMBB and CMAK as well.

[ September 20, 2004, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: Philippe ]

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The rationale behind the text on the markers was that both would have been used, but I have arbitrarily decided to assign the shorter one to daisy chains and anti-tank minefields.

I've interviewed several WWII veterans who were sensitive to mines (one even jumped out of a car in a panic after the war when his parents drove it off the side of the road to turn around). These are people who remember every minute of what happened fifty years ago, but aren't so sure about last week. I've drawn a blank. I don't think there was an official method of marking minefields that was actually used. Colored string and tape for paths through minefields, but the minefields themselves...

So the signs are intentionally impromptu affairs of white paint slapped on to one of Gordon Molek's wooden signs with the message area torn off. The text was made to look like it had been painted by someone who didn't know how to paint (simulating that was very easy!).

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Good story Phillipe. The city of Edmonton had a parade for returning peacekeepers after a tour in Bosnia. Someone planned for the parade to march off the concrete and onto a grassy field in front of city hall. I wasn't there, but I heard from reliable sources that every man in the parade visibly flinched as their foot set foot on the grass. Walking off the road is not something that you did on that tour.

I like very much the "impromptu" looking signs; very nice. If you want to use the actual terminology that they used on roadside signs, try VERGES MINED. This was seen in all theatres of war. A "verge" is a ditch. After the engineers went through, they would put up signs saying VERGES CLEARED. Would look silly in the middle of a field, though, I guess.

You know, that might make an interesting road mod - if someone were to put lengths of white mine tape down each side.

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Incidentally to this modding issue, I've been reading recently about actual German mine practice and I've concluded that CM minefields are far too small, but also have a higher hit chance per unit of distance travelled than is realistic for typical German AP minefields.

In CM, a single unit crossing a single 20m tile of AP mines has about a 50% chance of detonating one. Mines then cost 5 points per tile. The only way to get the effect of a lower density is to scatter dense tiles across a wider area. This then makes a porous minefield. Every time a detonation occurs the other side knows one full tile to avoid.

Real German minefields - even small nuisance ones - were often several hundreds of meters long, by a hundred meters thick or so on their short axis. Which could be parallel to a road minefield, or to the front line for an offroad one. But a minefield that covered what in CM would be 30-45 tiles might contain as few as 50 actual mines.

If you think about it for a minute, it is clear a mine density so high the area is clearly impassable is rarely an efficient use of mines. The enemy will avoid the area, and the area is small and thus easily avoided. A thin minefield denies the enemy a large area, or forces him to risk actual detonations. Thin invites the enemy to try to cross. And makes it hard to go around. Scattered locally thick subfields have no such effects.

When the Germans wanted to prevent anyone try to cross, they occasionally used a thin, thickly laid edge belt one or two layers deep, followed by a deep field that was much less densely laid.

In CM terms, a mine tile that covers 40x50m but has only a 10% chance of a detonation for each 20m crossed would be more realistic. Nuisance fields would then consist as little as a pair of these, up to 20 of them covering half a kilometer. For the price of a platoon.

Notice, reducing the chance of a hit per meter travelled does not appreciably reduce the chance of a hit crossing the whole field, if you make it deeper. 10% per 20m travelled will still give a 35% chance if the field is 80m deep. And the area denial effect, inability to avoid the mines by just going around, ability of the mines to separate force elements, etc - are all superior. And a dense but thin 100x20 50% field would use more mines than a 120x80 10% per 20m field.


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... which can be modeled by specifying the amount you want to spend on a minefield then drawing the area that is mined. A high spend coupled to a small area gives high density. A low spend and a large area gives a low density. Etc. Max spend in any given QB would be related to the number of pioneers or engineers also purchased (not strictly accurate since engineers tend to supervise laying a minefield then depart, but near enough)

Different densities on the same map can easily be accomplished.

Only the friendly player will know the true extent and density of the field, with the enemy player having to discover its limits by scouting and inspection, though in some cases a minefield (or a dummy minefield ...) may be roped off by barbed wire.

However, the modeling of minefield breaching needs to be tidied up considerably to make the above practical.



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As an update, I have uploaded the markers to the CMBO section of the usual place (www.cmmods.com).

I tried making exit markers out of them as suggested by junk2drive, but didn't like the way they looked. I find that I prefer the Murpes variations, particularly the floating one. If I were to make my own it would probably be a stylistic cross between Murpes' Floater and MikeyD's North indicator.

An interesting variation, for Asian theater modders, would be to make exit markers with a bamboo texture. Not quite right for Korea, but would make sense in the Solomon Islands.

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