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CMBB Infantry Too Brittle?


PeterX

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OK, maybe I'm just dumb- or novelty resistant but so far I find it impossible closing with the enemy with infantry in CMBB. I tinkered with a few scenarios and QBs but so far all my side ends up with is routing, demoralized grunts hugging the ground or scampering off the map edge. This applies to both sides and all experience levels.

I know BFC offers the new harsh environment as more realistic, but... Maybe they got carried away. Until now, it seems like a continuation of the infantry ennui from the Demo battle, Yelnia Stare.

Perhaps it's a question of mastering the new commands. I don't know, but it's not fun yet. And I have trouble believing that the actual troops were this skittish. The armor model seems right on.

Although, as I said, it could be my lack of skill/experience. But I was an above average player in CMBO.

Anybody had any luck attacking with infantry?

(Mild Spoiler)

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Is it possible to get the German infantry up the hill in'Gefechtsaufklarung'? I tried different routes, smoke, leading with the 2 AFVs. Nothing.

[ September 25, 2002, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: PeterX ]

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I did a Inf vs. Inf QB in 1941 where I had a green Russian SMG coy and two platoons of green Cavalry and human wave assulted a more experienced army of Germans and swept them from the field! Of course. . . I did have two to one odds. . .and heavy tree cover. . .and SMGs. . .and. . .the cavalry attacked the flank. . .

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Guest Panzer Boxb

PeterX, I had the exact same problem as you described until I started using the real-world tactics of utilizing supressive are fire and bases of fire to support the advance. Works much better now.

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Yelnia Stare should've been a good preparation for how best to accomplish an assault, PeterX. What CMBO allowed players to get away with was unrealistic, because the suppressive effect of fire was minimal, especially area fire.

This has already been said before in previous threads, but what you need to do as the attacker is:</font>

  1. Lay down heavy area fire on suspected main enemy strongpoints. This can be determined sometimes by the flag locations, or barring that, subsequent sound contacts as the enemy tries to bog down your advance with mg/artillery fire. Lay it down heavy and long, say, no less than a turn of just sheer area fire.</font>
  2. Send out a minority of units to advance after at least a turn of area fire has been ongoing, maybe no more than a third. If your area fire was close to enemy units and of sufficient volume, then your troops should have little trouble advancing a maximum of 100m at a time. And make sure area fire is continuing during the advance.
    </font>

Only by suppressing the enemy through superior firepower will you enable your troops to maneuver in CMBB.

[ September 25, 2002, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: Grisha ]

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I might have agreed with you after first tinkering around. I too was a little shocked at how quickly my men went to ground/broke. The only thing I might say is that they do seem to rout a bit quickly (rather than just "going turtle"), but I need more research. Now, I am generally very pleased. I've played four scenarios, and the last one really demonstrated how necessary real-world tactics are in CMBB (vs. CMBO).

SPOILER ALERT>>>>>>

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The scenario I just finished was Hill 321. Basically, the soviets are defending a hill, Germans are trying to take it and destroy the pillboxes on top. Very little cover on the way up (what there is has wire/Russians in foxholes lying in wait), and my boys just took a pounding at first. I put a lot of care into getting them into position, laying what smoke I had, and area firing my 81mm mortars and HMGs to suppress the defenders.

I managed to get about half my original force to the top of the hill, but they couldn't do much once they got there. Too tired and beaten up. Pillboxes were still in action, and I only managed to challenge for one (of three) flags. Several squads broke (some more than once) on the way up, and I would have to regroup with officers and wait for them to recover....then another rush. Ended early with a surprise cease-fire; I scored a tactical defeat.

Bottom line: it was a lot more difficult than it would have been in CMBO, and, I think, more realistic. Sgt. Rock doesn't exist in real life; there's no "charging up the hill through a hail of bullets". Most all my men were "brittle", exhausted, and generally cranky by the end. Which is pretty realistic, IMHO.

Now, off to gather more info with another scenario!

Edit: In 'Gefechtsaufklarung', I feel your pain. Just got the crap beaten out of me in that one. I think it's a bit difficult, to say the least.

[ September 25, 2002, 09:20 PM: Message edited by: Jack Arilliac ]

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Edit: In 'Gefechtsaufklarung', I feel your pain. Just got the crap beaten out of me in that one. I think it's a bit difficult, to say the least.
And that's against the AI....

Make sure you are using the advance command as you main movement command once you reach the battle area. *Never* use run if you think that there is any chance you guys will be shot at
That's what I'm doing. The inf can't stand up long enough to lay down a base of fire. And we're talking German Vets. They just get trashed. I'd really love to see a film of infantry successfully closing in this game- with reasonable cover.
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Keep the faith, man. In my last example, I held about a third of my infantry back in cover/concealment to provide suppressive fire for the poor bastards that had to go up the hill. That's in addition to the mortars and HMGs in the distance putting rounds on target.

Again, I think it's far more realistic. You definitely need a good base of fire for your advancing troops to have a chance, especially against prepared positions. As you mentioned, the moving troops are pretty ineffective at firing while advancing, which is also realistic---they're too busy running/dodging/diving for cover as they move.

Just keep in mind that you'll want to put a massive amount of fire on the defenders to cover your advance, and you'll start having success.

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No, PeterX. If you're in the attack lay down as many Target commands as you have units on areas that should contain enemy positions. Do that before you do anything else. Start the beginning of the game firing with everything you've got. Then, and only then, think about moving.

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Just keep in mind that you'll want to put a massive amount of fire on the defenders to cover your advance, and you'll start having success.
I'm getting my A$# handed to me, which is fine. I know the pace is slower, I need to supress, I can't run as far, etc...

I think I'm making progress (de-gameyfing my tactics), but what is the average time it should take for me successfully take the VLs in a 900 and 1500 pt attack, respectively?

Also, it seems like I need to utilize my armor earlier, ie: less cautiously than in CMBO. Is this true?

Would the CMBB troops rout at the sight of schoolboys armed with slingshots? ... me thinks so.

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Guest Panzer Boxb
Originally posted by f1shlips:

Would the CMBB troops rout at the sight of schoolboys armed with slingshots? ... me thinks so.

Not if they had an MG42 laying down some area fire whoopass. :D
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Would the CMBB troops rout at the sight of schoolboys armed with slingshots? ... me thinks so.
Me, too. They've been detesticled. I've tried most of the suggestions in this thread- thanks, guys!- and have come to the reluctant conclusion that a patch may be needed to boost the troops' morale above girly-men levels. Or Siegfreid and Roy need to toss them some red meat. Or steroid shots- they didn't check back then.

I've seen crack grenadiers crawl to the security of the nearest woods square, panicking from a single 60m mortar lob that caused no casualties. They spent a few turns out of harm' s way whimpering and, presumably, exchanging warm hugs before rejoining the fray just in time for the Battle Report (Tactical Defeat).And they considered themselves the Master Race....

I wrote a little AAR about my experiences in Gefechtsauflkaerung in this thread in Scenario talk.
That's an adimrable victory, Andrew. But I noticed you virtually eliminated the oppfor before moving the grunts forward. And this was accomplished, once again, against the AI, not one of the human wizards of CM.

[ September 25, 2002, 11:28 PM: Message edited by: PeterX ]

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Originally posted by PeterX:

That's an adimrable victory, Andrew. But I noticed you virtually eliminated the oppfor before moving the grunts forward. And this was accomplished, once again, against the AI, not one of the human wizards of CM.

I think that's how you have to play this scenario, though - I don't think that there's a technique that will allow you to run the guys in the platoon in this scenario across the that open space so close to unsuppressed troops located in the buildings.

In QBs, though, I don't find the troops to be so brittle that they can't move - the flip side of your troops being easy to suppress is that the other side's troops are also easier to suppress. Just make sure that you (1) have a non-moving unit firing at every unit that can shoot at your moving unit; (2) use the Advance command; (3) leapfrog, rather than trying to plot long movements; and (4) always stay in command.

Here's something that sort of suggests how much better the advance command works than run. I was playing a scenario with a village in it and was moving my troops into the village by advancing through a series of small one-story light buildings set in a line (the kind of buildings that will just hold a squad plus a leader). The buildings were about 50-70 meters apart, which meant that the open ground was easy to cover in one turn using the advance command. A couple of different Sov troops would have LOS to my guys during part of the turn; the firing units weren't at full strenght and may have been partially suppressed not in command. They were about 150-200 meters away. Because the enemy had sporadic LOS, my other troops couldn't alwyas suppress them. Anyway, when I moved using the Advance command, I would be shot at, but I didn't take any casualties and, although my troops might drop to a crawl for a couple of seconds (no more than that), they would make it into the target building in good order.

Well, after a few turns of doing this, I got cocky and gave one of my squads orders to do what the other squads had been doing, but using run instead of advance. The difference was dramatic - the squad ran toward the other building, made it about 20 meters into the open, and was fired upon by one of the enemy squads. My 6 man squad took 3 casualties almost immediately, panicked, and crawled back to where he started. So it would appear that Advance no only allows you to fire at enemy troops, but it means that you are much better protected than running troops.

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Originally posted by Panzer Boxb:

PeterX, I had the exact same problem as you described until I started using the real-world tactics of utilizing supressive are fire and bases of fire to support the advance. Works much better now.

Agreed, without supression fire & maybe a little arty supression as well, your troops are not going anywhere.
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Regarding the general notion that infantry is too brittle. I always felt (and my reading on WW2 action indicates that that feeling is correct), that casualties in CMBO were far too high in a battle. I am much happier with my men no longer pressing on in the face of a dug-in defense. Casualties are lower in CMBB, and that is good. It also means that the super-human performance under fire that we have seen in CMBO is no longer going to make up for the tactical failings of the commander/player. CMBB rewards real life tactics much more than CMBO ever did. I would be fundamentally opposed to a patch that takes us back to the bad old days of super-hero infantry. In all, CMBB is a slower game, rewarding good planning, forward thinking, tactical acumen, and patience, as well as the knack of knowing when the time for some drastic action has come.

Regarding Gefechtsaufklaerung - SPOILER!!!

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The German force in that scenario has a platoon of infantry, and a veritable sh*tload of fire assets. Anyone thinking that you should even use the infantry before you have exhausted your fire assets very seriously needs to re-examine their tactics. As the two AARs show, there is a way to win this scenario that makes it 'too easy' for the Germans. This is what it should be like if you use real world tactics.

If you use the old CMBO tactics of smoke/run/bit of suppressive fire into the teeth of an intact defense, you will get your ass handed in almost any CMBB scenario. Which is again as it should be. On your return to your unit you would probably be cashiered into the bargain.

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Casualties are lower in CMBB, and that is good. It also means that the super-human performance under fire that we have seen in CMBO is no longer going to make up for the tactical failings of the commander/player. CMBB rewards real life tactics much more than CMBO ever did. I would be fundamentally opposed to a patch that takes us back to the bad old days of super-hero infantry.
Andreas, it's laudable to attempt to portray a more accurate battle environment. In a PBEM battle I played before the Nvidia bug, Bridgehead at Benicourt, EVERY SINGLE AFV was destroyed before the morale level trip meter of 25 was reached. (And why isn't Global Morale adjustable now in CMBB?- but that's another question). Definitely not realistic, although I felt infantry losses were ballpark.

In another of your scenarios, The Bridgeheads, you seem to sense the CMBB infantry dilemma by endowing every single Soviet platoon HQ with +2 morale. Should this be necessary?

I have the conviction that BFC went too far in softening the infantry. Pushing them forward under fire has become a miserable, frustrating grind. I really don't anticpate EVER losing an infantry heavy game to the AI on defense. It would be incapable of the meticulous micromanagement now required. Or beating a skilled human with me on offense.

I really want to like this game. It looks great, the scope is breathtaking, the mechanics innovative. But who wants to take the field with these wimps? I'd rather undergo dental surgery.

My verdict: infantry morale needs to be revisited in 1.01.

[ September 26, 2002, 11:59 AM: Message edited by: PeterX ]

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Originally posted by PeterX:

My verdict: infantry morale needs to be revisisted in 1.01.

I strongly disagree. After playing a couple of battles, I think that infantry moral is just fine. Even in Yelina it seemed about right to me. With proper tactics I was able to even get about half my conscript company to advance all the way to the VLs. Sorry, but I think you have unrealistic expectations of what men should do under fire. CMBB conforms much better to actual battle accounts than does CMBO.
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Originally posted by PeterX:

Pushing them forward under fire has become a miserable, frustrating grind.

Peter, I think that is quite realistic, really. I have read many battle accounts, and the thing is that you don't just advance under fire. You try to maneuvre around it, shell the sources of it, or do anything to avoid having to advance under fire. That is why the Germans had Stugs, lightweight infantry guns, very portable HMGs, and Stukas.
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Originally posted by Marlow:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PeterX:

My verdict: infantry morale needs to be revisisted in 1.01.

I strongly disagree. After playing a couple of battles, I think that infantry moral is just fine. Even in Yelina it seemed about right to me. With proper tactics I was able to even get about half my conscript company to advance all the way to the VLs. Sorry, but I think you have unrealistic expectations of what men should do under fire. CMBB conforms much better to actual battle accounts than does CMBO.</font>
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