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I'm new to strategy games like this (Well, I used to play Western front on an Atari 400 around 20 years ago, but I'm not sure that counts!!)

The whole thing looks a bit mental to me - but potentially a very good game!

I was wondering if anyone had any hints or tips about to play and how to approach the game (I'm probably in the wrong forum for this?)

Also, are there any other tutorials you can do? The manual doesn't seem to offer much in the way of tactics and operations - and I don't want to ruin a good game by trying to play it like Command and Conquer or something?

Any help anyone could give would be MUCH appreciated!


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Infantry support tanks, tanks support infantry.

Getting HQs killed or separted is bad.

Your troops do not like dying, but are fairly stoic.

When arty comes down, things are not good.

Check the tips and tactics forums...

Lets see...theres a couple of tutorial scenarios on the battle list, and any pre-made medium or small can get you grasping the basics quickly.

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The recruits keep pouring in. Welcome to the best tactical wargame ever invented. Well, except for the real thing but this way you can be home for dinner.

Yes, it is a bit mental. Particularly a good many on this here forum. I meself would start out agin the AI, go at it until you can thrash it pretty good, get your ego all bolstered, then play for real against another opponent so's you can deflat that ego. Best way to learn is by making mistakes, take lessons in what does and does not work. Also, read the mutterings on this forum. Everything imaginable has been covered, or uncovered as the case may be.

The manual was just a technical resource. I think their working on a Latino translation, or Finnish or something. But this here ain't no C&C Son, this here is rip yer guts out action what makes ya wanna pull yer hair out, and jump up and cheer all in the same turn. Now you jess wait, and a crowd'll be along any minute now and tell ya more than you ever wanted to know. :D

[ August 20, 2002, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: Bruno Weiss ]

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The recruits keep pouring in. Welcome to the best tactical wargame ever invented. Well, except for the real thing but this way you can be home for dinner.

War is a game? what? you get shot and end up swaering at the dice rolls or something.

think of it as war, but theres a way you can get home AT ALL.

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Hi all,

Thanks for replying..

I've had a little look at the tips forum, but that is even too advanced for me at this stage.

I played the tutorial out of the manual, and although I could see the general plan (Advance and show both tanks at once and attempt to flank the enemy) once the combat kicks off, it feels like you're not really in command..

Once my troops started getting fired at, loads panicked, ran round like morons and got shot.

Some kept their heads down and I had no idea how to get them to move somewhere else, or return fire?

Also, the Shermans didn't seem to want to try and use any cover and merrily blasted away (Seemingly confident they weren't going to get fired at - one was spectaculary wrong!)

I couldn't work out how to use my Artillary spotter to actually direct artillary fire into the opposition, and I wanted my lads to harry the germans as they legged it into the woods - but again wasn't sure how to get them to hunt..

I won comfortably, but felt my troops seemingly random firing had more to do with it than I did!

My second go at a map was the Walk into Paris one - the whole thing was hopelessly big and I had no idea of a strategy to defeat the enemy (Though I've sussed driving along LONG roads when there are big german tanks at one end and you're just in a titchy Sherman with seemingly half the range isn't a winner!!) :D

Is this a game where you should just muck about for a week or two and then try and analyse it?

Also, although you're allowed to whizz up and down the battlefield during the battle and rewind, because I'm not really sure what to look at I'm struggling to think this isn't just a gimmick and the temptation to view the whole thing from above is getting stronger..

Can someone offer hints/tips and an opinion on what I've said in this thread so far?

Cheers guys!

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Artillery -- If your spotter as a line of sight to the target, you can target the area and call down your artillery. It takes a couple minutes of game time before the shells land, to simulate the time it takes back at the artillery emplacements to plot the target, load and fire.

The whole game is amazingly simple to play, but maddeningly complex to "learn." Effective use of cover, suppressive fire, and especially keeping your units within the command radius of an officer are not easy.

After you've played the game a bit, you can really challenge yourself by playing only on Level 1 (ground level). Even harder: select an officer, hit the tab key, and you will see everything from his point of view. Trying doing that for an entire game and you'll appreciate what they really mean by "fog of war."

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Originally posted by scoop88:

Artillery -- If your spotter as a line of sight to the target, you can target the area and call down your artillery. It takes a couple minutes of game time before the shells land, to simulate the time it takes back at the artillery emplacements to plot the target, load and fire.

The whole game is amazingly simple to play, but maddeningly complex to "learn." Effective use of cover, suppressive fire, and especially keeping your units within the command radius of an officer are not easy.

After you've played the game a bit, you can really challenge yourself by playing only on Level 1 (ground level). Even harder: select an officer, hit the tab key, and you will see everything from his point of view. Trying doing that for an entire game and you'll appreciate what they really mean by "fog of war."

Cheers for that!

Do you constantly rewind the battle (or is there even a need to?)

Also, how intelligent are your troops? If you've stationed them somewhere will they take action - like pursuing or firing when you're not 'telling' them what to do?

My biggest problem at the moment is 'losing' my bods - they're all over the place and It's hard to keep up - how long does it take until you can actually get the hang of co-ordinating them?

Also - once they start legging it (out of panic or rout) can they be turned around and does cover actually provide cover?

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Hi X... I don't play CM so can't be of much help to you there but I do know that this forum is pretty friendly and any problems you have with the game will always be answered...

Just wanted to say hello really especially since you are from Liverpool which is right next door to me...

Welcome aboard


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I echo what everyone else has said, CM is easy to play, but hard to master.

If you find yourself losing sight of your troops, try turning on the unit bases, shift B, IIRC

I also find it helpful to have both the movement lines and firing lines on during your movement plotting phase( the non-movie part) That way you can remember where you sent those troops smile.gif

The AI does a fairly good job overall in controling the troops but I warn you if you have them wander willy-nilly into danger there is no telling what they might do tongue.gif

And yes, I have been know to rewind a particularly complex or exciting turn several times just to make sure I didn't miss anything...but then I think we have all done that.

Good luck and keep with it, for a real blast try playing against another player either TCPIP or PBEM, that is where the real fun is :D

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Originally posted by YK2:

Hi X... I don't play CM so can't be of much help to you there but I do know that this forum is pretty friendly and any problems you have with the game will always be answered...

Just wanted to say hello really especially since you are from Liverpool which is right next door to me...

Welcome aboard


Hi Y2k!


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It took me quite awhile to really get a hold of everything. There are alot of commands and things to remember, but oncer you get there, it all comes together.

Some things I wish I had someone tell me but learned the hard way;

HQ units are MUY IMPORTANTE. keep them in range with thier respective sqads\units. If a squad is out of C&C, its almost useless.

On the control bar at the bottom of the game screen is a little {keyboard} button, it can show you all of the commands, try them out and see what helps you.

Have your troops scout out potentially hostile hiding spots ahead of your tanks. A hiding bazooka or panzershreck can really ruin your day.

Patience. Its a big game, it takes time, trial and some memorization to get the feel for it.

Its the best there is out there. I used to go through a new PC game every month, but since this one I have'nt bought anything. That was almost a year ago. Welcome to the battlefield.

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This is a strategy game?

I thought it was a make-you-own war movie! I would've sworn the object of the game was to maneuver your troops and tanks around until you get that perfect 'Steven Spielberg' war movie shot -- The troops rushing the bunker through the fog, the Sherman getting the dramatic rear penetration on the Tiger.

Remember it's not whether you win or lose, it whether you get to perfect combat photo screenshot out of the game!

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Here are some things it sounds like might help you out.

Your troops will try to carry out your orders during the turn. However, you must remember that your troops have morale (and not just the Global Morale -- each unit has morale). So if you order your troops to move and no one is providing supressing fire on the enemy, then there is a good chance you'll see results like saw (panicing, getting all shot up). So move in a leap-frog manner with heavy weapons and other infantry providing supression.

Once you plot your orders (move, targetting, etc) the turn is generated. Then the movie is played back, and that's what it is, a movie. You can change your viewpoint but not the actions of your troops or anything. That's why your orders in the orders phase are important ;)

As for your Shermans, you have to put them into positions of cover smile.gif Vehicles will usually back out of sight if something they can't handle comes into view, but otherwise they'll do just what you tell them.

As someone said, Artillery takes a while to come down. Plot a fire mission, you'll see the time remaining until the fire mission starts. If the spotter has LOS to the target, the time shown is the time it will take. Without LOS, the time is more indeterminate (around 2x as long though). Once the fire mission starts, it will continue unless you cancel it or run out of ammo. You can also adjust the targetting point for only a minor delay (instead of the full delay -- the targetting line will be green instead of blue).

The general thing to remember is that real-world tactics work (and are necessary) in Combat Mission.

Yes, cover acts as cover. Heavy houses are better than light houses, woods are better than scattered trees and so on. Foxholes provide better cover in any terrain.

The ability to move around, rewind etc is definitely not a gimmick smile.gif Since you're in charge of your whole force you've got to know what's going on in each sector all the time smile.gif

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try this:



Member # 3395

posted June 07, 2002 07:11 PM

One Primer, Soon to be sent somewhere...

My First Burning Sherman, a CM primer.


1.The Really Basic Stuff

1.1 The CM Camera

1.2 Selecting Units & Issuing Orders

1.3 Movement Orders and Waypoints

1.4 Targeting Orders

1.5 The LOS tool

1.6 Hiding

1.7 Ambush

2. HQ Concepts

2.1 Command Radius and Platoon Leaders

2.2 Command Delay

2.3 Command Bonus

2.4 Higher HQs

3. Indirect Fire

3.1 Forward Observers and off map Arty

3.2 On Board Mortars

Chapter 1: The Really Basic Stuff

1.1 The CM Camera

First and foremost, CM involves a 3D battlefield. This often makes for an initially confusing experience,

as you whip around a lot and tend to lose track of things, but is quickly overcome.

Controlling the camera is relatively simple. Merely place the cursor at the top of the screen as if you

were scrolling to go forward, bottom of the screen to reverse, and left or right to turn the camera that

direction. Alternatively, the arrow keys may be used with the arrows all performing the same function

as placing the mouse on that portion of the screen. ( Up goes forward, left turns left, etc.)

Next, there are several different camera angles the player can work from, being numbered 1-8. You

may switch to a view at any time by pressing the appropriate number. The first four views are

complete 3D views, as follows:

1. Ground Level: The camera is kept skimming just off the ground, about the height of a soldier’s

head. This is useful for plotting sneaky movements along depressions and watching replays, but easily

becomes thoroughly confusing. I recommend staying away from it during the orders phase.

2. Not Quite Ground Level: To be honest, this is the least useful view in CM. It angles the camera

downward, but remains fairly zoomed in, and as such you can’t see much beyond the immediate area.

Makes for some cool screenshots though. (Which, by the way, can be taken w/ alt + print screen)

3. Local Command View: This is the equivalent of having the camera hovering in a church steeple

above the ground. It is useful for judging elevation, lines of sight and so forth, and is essentially the

view from which to micromanage. Usually this view can be used to command a platoon or two, or

individual tanks, without any difficulty.

4. Command View: If you are ever confused by what the camera is doing, hit 4, center the cursor, and

rotate until you see a friendly unit or particular landmark. This view lets you examine the entire

battlefield in 3D, and is thus the most important one in the game.

Views 5-8 are top down maps of various zoom levels. Not particularly useful compared to View 4, but

they do have their moments.

Note: Shift C can be used to increase the image size of your units, making finding them easier. Shift B

toggles unit bases on or off, providing large squares of color to highlight units.

1.2 Selecting Units and Issuing Orders

To select a unit, place he cursor over it and left click. You can then either ENTER to view the unit’s vital

statistics, TAB to center the view behind the unit, or an orders hotkey to, well, give an order. To select

a group of units, drag a box around them, or double click their HQ (see HQ concepts)

To give orders to a unit, right click on it. For a group, right click one unit of the selected group. Upon

your click, a list of orders will appear, as well as an orders line (a colored line with a white box at the

end) what you do with this depends on the order. Either way, you move the orders line as you would

the mouse cursor.

1.3 Movement Orders

Once you have selected a unit to give orders to, as mentioned above, select a movement command

(see list at end of this numeral). You will now have an orders line with a white box at the end of it. This

white box represents where you will tell your unit to move upon left clicking, the orders line represents

the path they’ll take.

Often enough, however, you will not want your units to move in a straight line to a destination. To

create waypoints in a movement path, drag the orders line to the designated waypoint and right click.

You will now have locked that waypoint in, and will have a new orders line originating from that point.

On the final leg, left click to seal the orders.

Note: Group orders cannot be waypointed. They also just replicate an order for the entire formation.

Thus, run 250m at 27 degrees to that building becomes run forward 250m at 27 degrees to all units in

the group.

Movement Orders (Infantry)

Run: Men run forward without stopping until they reach their destination, are all killed, or more likely,

become damn fed up with being shot. They will fire at targets of opportunity. Some units, like MGs,

cannot run.

Move: Men walk forward as per conditions of run. Less fatiguing.

Sneak: Unit treads forward stealthily (less likely to be spotted, won’t commence fire while moving) and

will stop and return fire if fired upon. Typically they’ll find cover as well.

Crawl: Units crawl forward with a low tolerance for incoming fire. Best used behind walls/hedges. Will

not fire while moving. Very stealthy, very slow.

Withdraw: Unit runs away as fast as possible with no command delay. (See HQ concepts) can only be

used towards friendly map edge, and risks severe morale penalties.

Halt: Cancels all movement orders.


Move: Universal walking pace.

Fast: Vehicle zips at top speed towards destination.

Hunt: Unit moves forward at a medium pace, and will stop to engage any vehicle sit spots.

Reverse: Vehicle will move backwards to destination at a medium-fast speed.

1.4 Targeting Orders

There are two basic targeting orders in the menu. The first is the simple TARGET command. Upon

clicking this, an order line will appear for you to drag to either a target unit or terrain feature. If you

highlight an enemy unit, a small data readout on your firepower and their exposure will be shown for

infantry targets, or a hit chance/kill chance if you target a hard vehicle with a non-small arms weapons.

Small arms versus vehicles only display the target name. Left clicking on this unit will make it the

primary target of your selected unit.

Note: If you do not have LOS to the target, (the orders line will turn orange up to the point of

blockage and black thereafter), left clicking will just set it as a priority target for your unit, which will try

to fire on it if it comes into view.

The TARGET command, when used on a terrain feature, creates an area fire order. The unit under

command will fire to try and suppress that patch of ground until the TAC AI decides it’s a really bad

idea (i.e. enemies show up 10m on the left of the unit) or you cancel the order. This is NOT as effective

as targeting individual units.

The NEXT TARGET command rapidly cycles you through targets the unit can see and the TAC AI

thinks worthy of shooting full of holes. Note that this sometimes means you won’t be able to target

some units with NEXT TARGET.

1.5 The LOS tool.

Essentially, the LOS tool functions exactly like a TARGET command, but clicking will not assign a


1.6 Hiding

In order to generally remain unseen, the HIDE command is used. There is no order line. The unit

merely hits the dirt and qualifies as hiding. Once a until is hiding, it will try to refrain from opening up

until it has a good chance to kill enemies (or the unit “freaks out”, more likely with low experience

troops), it starts receiving heavy fire, or it gets the bejesus beaten out of it and runs away (Usually

accomplished with artillery). While hiding, troops are very difficult to spot, but suffer a minor spotting

penalty themselves.

To stop hiding, re-issue a hide command or give any regular order.

To Hide at the end of a movement order, plot the movement order, and then issue a hide order. The

unit will move to its destination and then hide.

Note: Vehicles and HIDE are just a bad combination.

1.7 Ambush Markers

Sometimes you’ll want to custom tailor an ambush beyond just hiding and hoping something wanders

into range. To do this, select either an HQ or a crew served weapon (like a bazooka) and then select

the AMBUSH command. This will generate a targeting order, which you can then drag to anything

within ~400m.

Upon left clicking, an ambush marker will be set at the end of the targeting line. In the case of HQs,

this marker represents a pre-planned ambush, and other units under the HQ’s command (see HQ

concepts) can target it to participate in the ambush. When an enemy unit crosses this point, the units

that have targeted the marker will fire on the enemy.

For crew served weapons, the marker merely serves as an ambush for that weapon, and other units

may not target it. This would be the equivalent of telling a bazooka to fire when a tank shows up at

that break in the hedgerow.

2 HQ Concepts

2.1 Command Radius and Platoon Leaders

All infantry squads in the game are assigned to a particular platoon. Ever platoon has an attached HQ

unit which is its commander. In addition to representing the actual command staff of the platoon, this

unit represents its center of effort and cohesion. As such, all units must stay within a certain range of

their HQ in order to be “In command.” This range is the command radius of the HQ. The radius

increases with experience and particularly good leaders, and decreases in thick terrain or if the subject

unit is out of LOS.

Units that are in command have a red line leading from them to their command unit. Units that are out

of command have a black line. A Platoon HQ shows all lines, red or black, to its organic squads.

Note: Infantry squads cannot be commanded by platoon HQs from other platoons, but crew served

weapons can be under anybody’s command.

Units that are out of command suffer morale and fighting penalties, delayed reaction times to orders,

and do not get the benefits of any command bonuses that HQ might have.

2.2 Command Delay

For movement orders, your men do not react automatically. Every movement order has a time delay

before it actually begins. More experienced troops, troops who aren’t being suppressed, and troops

that are fully rested have better reaction times than their counterparts. The biggest factor, however, is

whether or not the unit is in command. Units that are out of command seem to suffer an additional

66% time delay. This doesn’t mean much to the best of the best whose reactions are incredibly fast

anyhow, but for regular troops that’s an additional 13 seconds at least.

2.3 Command Bonus

Not only do HQ units allow those under their command to fight to the fullest extent of their abilities,

but often they add bonuses to unit performance. Units must be in command to receive these bonuses.

The 4 areas of command bonuses are:

Combat: Adds to the firepower/accuracy of the firing units as if they were more experienced. Is

represented by a lightning bolt in the unit bar.

Morale: Troops have the morale equivalent of an additional level of experience for each level of this

bonus. Heart in the unit bar.

Stealth: Troops are generally stealthier and spot other units better. Question mark in the unit bar.

Command: Command delay is changed as if the unit were one level of experience better for each level

of this bonus. Also creates a larger command radius. Star in the unit bar.

Each bonus may be either one level (represented by the symbols above) or two, (above symbols

surrounded in a gold box)

2.4 Higher HQs

Besides platoon HQs, there are also Company and Battalion HQs in CM. One of these HQs

automatically assumes command of any infantry squads in command radius not in command, and all

crew served weapons in its command radius. They will not, however, assume command of infantry

squads under the command of their platoon leaders.

3. Indirect Fire

3.1 Forward Observers/Off board artillery

Off board artillery in CM is abstracted through the forward observer unit. Each FO is a team of two

men that represents one off board battery. An FO does not fight like a traditional infantry unit, rather

when the TARGET command is used, creating a blue target line. An artillery strike is requested on the

targeted location. In the unit information bar, you should see the time remaining until the artillery

strike arrives. Allied times are usually better, and smaller caliber weapons are typically faster to

respond as well.

Once there is one minute left until the strike, the time will start counting down in seconds. Around

halfway through a few spotting rounds will fall, and then when the timer hits zero the battery will start

firing for effect, unleashing volleys of four shells at a time. It will keep firing until the battery runs out

of ammo or you cancel the fire mission.

It is possible for the FO to request artillery strikes outside of its LOS. Simply drag the target line out

of LOS (it will turn orange and black, orange for what he can see, black for what he can’t) and select

an area to target. However, these strikes take about twice as long to arrive, and are inaccurate in

comparison to a spotted strike.

Also, you may wish to shift a fire mission a minor distance to accommodate for enemy movement or

targets of opportunity. To do so, select the TARGET command again, and drag it around the current

targeted area. As long as this line remains green, you may re-set the target line for a minor time delay.

If you place the new target outside the region in which this line is green, you will have requested a new

fire mission, and will have to wait for the full battery reaction time.

3.2 On Board Mortars

On Board mortars must have LOS to a target to fire on it, unless they are in the command radius of

an HQ unit. If a mortar is in command, it may fire at anything the HQ unit can see, even if the mortar

itself cannot.

Most mortars on board also have a minimum and a maximum range they can fire. These will be

indicated by an “OUT OF RANGE” readout above the point of the target lien when issuing a firing order.


Play up! Play up! and play the game.

Arko, Redsylvanian Army Strategic Gun and Rocket Forces

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Hi Xinebbsa ,

One trick that I like is Shift-T, it removes the trees. It doesn't look as cool but you can see all the units on the map. Also, if you hit the "-" or "+" keys you will cycle through your units one a time so you can look at them, check LOS, move accordingly, or just make sure that they are still alive.

Arty was a hard one to get used to but by far the most effective tool you have in your inventory. Keep reading on the forum and adapt what you learn to your game and you will be fine.

Good luck.

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Welcome to Combat Mission Xinebbsa! I am glad to see so many others welcoming you to a great discussion board also.

My suggestion to all new CM players is to play one or two games against the AI to get down the VERY basic game commands, and tactics, ect. Once you feel comfortable with how to command things, then I biggest suggestion is to play either a Play-By-Email (PBEM) or a TCP/IP game (live with another player). I would more so recommend a PBEM game because then you have all the time that you need, and you can ask lengthly questions in you emails.

If you need someone to play against, you could either post here or start a new topic under the Opponent Finder forum. Either way, just let people know that you are new to the game and are wanting some advice/practive playing. The best ways to learn how to play CMBO is to have the stratagies used against you (visible ones) and the less obvious ones being posted in a million places on this forum. Read a lot, and more importantly, play a lot.

Enjoy the game and welcome aboard!

Chad Harrison

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