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The death knell for CM1 tactics?


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Dietrich - Crew's for spotting in CM1? Crewmen can be very expensive. As I understand it they cost the proportion of the dead vehicles cost - that is a five man crewed Tiger knocked out costing 250 points would be 250 points if they all die. If two escape and are later shot that is an extra 100 points even more points if captured. I like people who let me capture crews : )

I have to say I have never proved it, and I am not sure if it applies in CMBB - I think it does. Certainly sniping a Tiger commander is very points effective. : )

IIRC that ain't so. Points for crews are rather 6 pts per man. Which is a lot compared to inf.

But small crews (2 or less when bailing or total, dunno exactly) profit from the stealth bonus of small teams like snipers or THs, thus are harder to spot and even harder to kill. The last 2 men of a squad will (on average) go down quicker than a 2 men crew. So sending a 12-pt HT crew on a dangerous recce mission has a lower expected loss than sending a halfsquad.

Gruß

Joachim

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I've always got my crews out of the danger area, where possible, but often they do the crawl of death straight towards the AT team who KO'd them. Do AI routines in SF still insist troops move to the closest cover after taking a morale hit, or is it now towards friendly cover?

New sub-topic, what is artillery like in SF, are the delays after calling for fire more realistic?

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Aha! I am wrong. I was taking the points for the death of a TC whilst the tank remains. On two MkIV's costing 200pts the death of two t/cs to snipers was 75points total.

A dead Brumbar costing 280 with rarity on dies for 169vps including 2 crew members. The 3 captured crew are worth 38 points. So bizarrely killing T/C's is very points efficient and worth more than the entire crew dead. You can understand the confusion. Major re-think required here : )

I did understand that crews spotting was degraded though I have never carried out tests to see if this was true.

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New sub-topic, what is artillery like in SF, are the delays after calling for fire more realistic?

artillery in general is very much improved in CMSF.

on the downside there are no command delays what comes to ground units. to be honest i never really managed to figure out how the apparently highly modelled (???) chain of command had any effect on the ground combat.

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Because MG's/PAK's are not overwhelmed by return fire after 1-2 shots gunners can now mutually support each other. If the infantry can see the PAK's they cannot tell the tankers, if the tankers can spot the MG's they cannot communicate with the infantry.

Yes, I do know about the use of non verbal signaling methods but these would be deployed individually, not allowing massed return fire.

while i agree with that specific scenario, i don't think it should be generalized to include all infantry-tank communication.

especially the troops specifically trained for that stuff should be handled a bit different. after all their specific task was that very inter-arms communication (besides direct protection). though they would also fight together with the tanks, not separately like in your given scenario.

i think simulating this type of stuff (together with the effects of having a shared radio net) would do good justice to some early war armor battles.

I know that CM has command delays but I find it strange to penalise a platoon and not an HQ. Most accounts I have read of Soviet platoon actions were full of the use of initiative and quick commands, the trouble seems to have come about when the company commanders got involved, then the incompetence and inertia set in. The, what is an HQ unit in CM for is for another thread though.

one thing about CMBB which i always have wondered about is how much the game would have changed if target orders would have command delays as well. i play a lot of battles with early war Soviets and the huge command delays (in CM perspective) you get with radioless buttoned up tanks with low crew quality feels good to me. reaction times are so short in CM. sometimes i end up choosing to not fire (cause commander to button up) just so i can issue commands faster. anyway, i enjoy how this stuff with radioless tanks adds another layer to the game. if the delays would also effect target orders it would feel even better.

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Whilst I do agree that Pz grenadiers/tank riders should have a better chance at tank-infantry cooperation, due to doctrine, training and shared battlefield experience (especially if veteran) I do not think my scenario would vary much in an most ambush sitautions. The infantry would seek cover as would the tanks, after the initial shock and rallying phase the dedicated infantry/tank teams would put into practice various well practiced drills so both arms faught as a combined team. Basic leg infantry, riding on supporting armour, would react similarly in an ambush but far more independently, often conflicting with each other and, in the worst cases, causing each other casualties. After both armour and infantry had recovered from the initial contact their respective responses would be far less unified, in fact the armour might just retreat leaving the infantry stranded (again, after action reports sometimes show infantry units begging retreating tankers to stay). This, after all, was the problem with the British in the early Normandy battles, tanks were allocated infantry support but often neither had trained with each other, the results are well documented. Talking of that, why can experienced PzG's not keep pace with advancing armour? To get back to the original point, perhaps the individual spotting mechanism, as used in SF, could reflect the difference, by giving dedicated tank troops faster spotting times against targets located by their supporting armour and vice versa

I certainly like the idea of a delay in fire commands being carried out as it could simulate a whole host of differences between well trained and poor troops. I'd never really thought about it before and it certainly would help our ambush debate. I always wondered why a green commander took longer to issue highly complex orders to his men, do they mumble? Surely a green commander does not issue highly complex orders, unless he has a veteran sergeant nearby (but that is whole new topic). I always wanted different command menus for different ability/doctrine troops, green commands would perhaps have most of the commands of an elite unit but would have to wait several turns to access particular options. This delay would be affected by morale state and any units out of command control would either automatically try to regain contact or stay put, unless highly motivated or with a history of independent action. Again, playing Russian infantry is like playing slightly crappier Germans, oh but they can human wave charge!!

What role do HQ units, both platoon and company play in SF, do the units out of control magically lose their ability for stealth or fire power discipline? Are there command delays, because the game can be played in RTS mode? Do US troops have more command options than the Syrians, to represent far greater battlefield flexibilty. Another question, is there any game, both pc or board or miniatures rules that CMers think is a 'realistic' simulator of command and control. Thanks URC, I was feeling sluggish after a busy week now I'm a thinking again!

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To get back to the original point, perhaps the individual spotting mechanism, as used in SF, could reflect the difference, by giving dedicated tank troops faster spotting times against targets located by their supporting armour and vice versa

yeah, that was what i was thiking about as well.

I always wondered why a green commander took longer to issue highly complex orders to his men, do they mumble?

now that you mention it, thru all these years of playing CMBB, i have never really paid attention to how much HQ quality makes a difference in the delays. i have always pretty much assumed only the quality of the unit receiving the order mattered. for unexperienced unit it would take longer to execute given orders. i'm not even sure if the HQ quality matters for the delays.

I always wanted different command menus for different ability/doctrine troops, green commands would perhaps have most of the commands of an elite unit but would have to wait several turns to access particular options.

different quality units already have different commands available in the command menu. for example low quality infantry doesn't have advance.

the unit quality also effects how likely they are to automatically pick a target. that is both cool and annoying. it's cool because it partly accomplishes what a delay for target commands would do. it's a bit annoying because during the command phase you have to manually check wether or not a unit has LOS to some enemy units (with higher quality units you would know they will automatically target the high value enemy unit if they have LOS).

This delay would be affected by morale state and any units out of command control would either automatically try to regain contact or stay put, unless highly motivated or with a history of independent action.

might be nice to have such mechanics.

Again, playing Russian infantry is like playing slightly crappier Germans, oh but they can human wave charge!!

i'm not sure wether you are talking about your idea or CM. :) if CM then there are some other differences, but they have more to do with different equipment than troop quality or doctrine. for example Soviet recon troops have lots of ammo so you can have a bit different tactics with them (trying to utilize superior amount of ammo by opening up at greater ranges for example). then there's the cheap but extremely lethal (at close range) Soviet SMG troops.

What role do HQ units, both platoon and company play in SF, do the units out of control magically lose their ability for stealth or fire power discipline?

like said i didn't really notice how the chain-of-command made a difference to combat. i think it has most of all to do how long it takes for the given unit to call offmap assets. people on the CMSF forum could answer better. i haven't played the game for a good while now.

Are there command delays, because the game can be played in RTS mode?

no real command delays. just delays for calling down offmap fires or setting up a crew served weapon for example.

Do US troops have more command options than the Syrians, to represent far greater battlefield flexibilty.

US can split squads into teams. Syrians can't split squads.

Another question, is there any game, both pc or board or miniatures rules that CMers think is a 'realistic' simulator of command and control.

Point of Attack 2 (a PC game) has quite interesting rules for command & control. for example you don't necessarily even know where exactly your units are located if there are CC issues. :)

Thanks URC, I was feeling sluggish after a busy week now I'm a thinking again!

thank YOU, i like to talk about game design stuff like this :)

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No, in my game playing Russians would reflect commanding troops who had different tactical doctrines due to wider national priorities. Russians should not be allowed to have a default option to assault, whatever their experience, then again just because they decide to run should not make them more vulnerable. You therefore get ludicrous situations where running troops are more vulnerable than slow walking ones, especially ludicrous when they are moving perpendicular to the line of fire. I think Diesels comment about tanks first, infantry as a supporting role makes a lot of sense. In soft issues, morale command control etc, I think CM represents the transition of first/second generation miniatures wargames rules to the pc screen. The behaviour of machines is easier to reproduce than flesh and blood, with all the attendant problems. Hopefully CM2 will represent a move towards the latest systems/ideas where simulation of soft issues has parity with hard systems. As an Israeli veteran said of the fighting in 67, if we swapped equipment we would still have won.

As for the LOS/targetting issues surely a good unit would target the unit that posed the greatest threat to it, not the greatest points value, though I guess the later is easier programme. I would be nice in CM2 if squads could target multiple targets, especially with automatic weapons, after all that is what they were designed for. Talking of engagements, can infantry use hand grenades speculatively in SF, or do they have to have a confirmed target, which wrecks the point of having grenades.

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This thread is such a great read, even though as a noob to CM forum jargon (albeit a vet of all CM games) I find myself having to do a little research sometimes to find out what abbreviations mean or even what people are talking about in general...also the amount of in-depth historical and gaming research some of you guys do to make points about realism and the strengths and weaknesses in the CMx1 engine is really commendable. I must admit my thoughts on CM never went that far before, for me it has always been about the feel of the total experience and not so much about the details. Though of course I have certain issues regarding realism on a more intuitive, common sense level. I actually loathe violence and war in the real world and therefore cannot really bring myself to read historical or technical documents about WWII, or modern warfare in the case of CMSF (beyond reading the extensive game manuals so I know what I'm doing, and what it's all based on). Sometimes I think it's weird that I get such a kick out of slaughtering virtual soldiers in my spare time, but then weirdness, like everything else in life, is always a function of the indivdual perspective, so whatever. I digress.

So for me it's things like (in CMBB):

Why do soldiers who panic under fire often run towards where all the bullets and shells are (very obviously) coming from. I know that's been worked over here already, so here's a better example that I haven't found anyone complaining about (though of course I haven't scoured every topic, of course, just being chatty, really):

Why don't ATGs and mortars which, according to the mission briefing, have been dug in in excellent positions for several hours or even days to ambush enemies they more or less know are going to come through a certain area or corridor, have massive numbers of target reference points on exactly that terrain, particularly on roads that the enemy tanks are going to have to use, or along the edge of the forest that the enemy infantry battalion is bound to come out of? Wouldn't that be the next thing for them to focus on as soon as they'd finished with the shovels and spades and before they started picking their noses in anticipation of the action? Of course I'm unaware of the technical possibilities those historical weapons offered in that respect, but I'm pretty sure they could at least have made a list of or even memorized quite a few sets of settings on their guns that they had been able to work out with test rounds in all that time they were waiting for the attackers...dunno...I actually edited several scenarios to this effect when I thought it was realistic for it to be so. And when I shifted the balance too much that way, I'd go back and fiddle with unit size, type and experience as well as ammo allotments till I got a good feel. Again I have little to no military knowledge, but everyone seems to agree that a well-prepared defense can fairly easily overwhelm far superior numbers of attackers, even when the attackers have a pretty good idea of what they're up against (in which case they probably wouldn't attack at all but go around another way or shell the entire area to smithereens if they had the assets). That is a generalisation, I know, and blatantly disregards the whole doctrine issue and also situational options, like attempting to break out of encirclement and all kinds of other stuff, but please tell me I'm not totally wrong in this point...

And of course, spotting (regardless of borg) has it's weirdnesses in CMBB, and obviously units 500 meters away from their commander and with no radio can't seriously be expected to be able to know what he wants them to do right now. IMHO I kind of doubt that a commander in a massive firefight where literally hundreds of small arms and MGs are firing more or less constantly within a 200 meter radius around him, possibly arty shells coming down relatively close by or a platoon of tanks manouvering and/or firing in the vicinity, can give any more than the very barest of orders (i.e. "CEASE FIRE!!!", "HEADS DOWN!!!") to his men at all, and can consider himself lucky if they register whith them, regardless of which means of communication he's trying to use. Even if neither he nor his men are actually under heavy direct fire themselves. Sensory overload is a serious obstacle to that sort of thing just like fear of death is...put them together and the cognitive, logical and rational faculties of even the best human being are reduced to a pretty low level....

But luckily, CMBB in this case is a game and lets me make some of my own decisions about realism so that I can adjust my gaming experience to my expectations somewhat. I just don't give units complex orders under aforementioned circumstances, and if I lose an potential advantage because I don't employ (or should it be exploit??) all the possibilities the game offers me at all times, then I still feel I've made the right choice. For me and my idea of gaming anyway.

I believe one's personal gaming experience depends on how one chooses to play the game at least as much as it is on how the game is designed. And in CM, I have found my own personal workarounds for basically all the inherent shortcomings in the game design that might have bothered me if I were stubborn about sticking to all the "rules" and using all the possibilities to their full extent.

That's one of the main reasons why I love the whole CM series :). Why I'm cracking so wise about it I can't seem to figure out right now, but it does seem to me that several people here appear to complain about problems that are theirs to change. ;-)

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@Vark about grenades in CMSF:

Not sure about how that is yet...there is a lot of urban combat in CMSF, assaulting buildings floor by floor, rooftop to rooftop and so on, so that the use of grenades is certainly an important issue (pop a grenade through the door or around the corner of the corridor, wait for the boom or flash, then quickly follow up with small arms fire and manpower, we've all seen it on tv, some of us in real life too, i guess...). Having only started three weeks ago, I have been playing CMSF in real time mode so far because I wanted to see how it works for me (I'm a die-hard, pause-every-5-seconds micromanager) and because I like the idea of the advantages it offers regarding timing and reaction to surprises. However, the lack of the good old replay makes it impossible to watch the action close-up for any length of time, which is frustrating sometimes, so I haven't been able to analyse unit behavior in any detail yet. The Army boys seem to do pretty well assaulting buildings so far, so I've been focused on other things, like pathfinding, which is vastly different than in CMx1...I haven't really decided yet on which time-style I prefer for the new challenges in CMSF, both have their pros and cons. For detailed testing purposes, classic WEGO is of course the only option, and I'm going to go back to that for a while now to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanics. And I'll be pleased to try to answer your question(s) when I find the answers, as I'm attempting to become an active member of the community :).

Might I ask why you don't play CMSF? You stated that you didn't further up in this thread but I didn't seem to catch why not...just wondering. Is it the gazillion bugs in the original release? The modern setting? Or something totally different? I grant that it's a very different experience than CMx1 in some ways, but in all the right ways it's very CM to me, and I'm sure enjoying the heck out of it (not least because it REALLY positively surprised me by looking extremely good graphically, post-bugs that is, which is something I would never have expected or needed from a CM game, but it adds another level of immersion that gives me some mighty good kicks).

Anyway, get back to you asap on the grenades thing...

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In soft issues, morale command control etc, I think CM represents the transition of first/second generation miniatures wargames rules to the pc screen. The behaviour of machines is easier to reproduce than flesh and blood, with all the attendant problems. Hopefully CM2 will represent a move towards the latest systems/ideas where simulation of soft issues has parity with hard systems.

what are these latest systems/ideas you mention?

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Talking of sections (squads to you) do you have doctrinal differences represented in SF and if so how does it affect playing each side..

Yes, in at least a couple of important ways:

- US squads can split into fire teams and/or detach assault or anti-tank teams, whereas Syrian squads and Unconventional (insurgents, 'combatants', etc.) forces cannot.

- US forces can request artillery and air support more quickly and receive it more quickly, thanks to the state-of-the-art communications technology (i.e., practically every unit has a radio, and most vehicles have both a radio and GPS tracking); whereas all but the best-equipped Syrian units have to rely on relatively few radios, so it isn't so easy for them to request support and it takes longer to receive it. (Besides, Syrian artillery operates on more or less Cold-War-era Soviet-style inflexible centralized doctrine.)

I'd like CM2 to represent the central role the German's LMG's played in manoevre, they led the section followed by the commander whose job was to position the LMG to support any offensive action.

Agreed. Did not German small-unit tactical doctrine call for fire to be opened first by the LMG, while the riflemen held fire until the enemy was close unless ordered otherwise by the squad leader? Was not the MG-34/-42 the key weapon in the German infantry squad, whereas the BAR in the American squad and the Bren in the British section played supporting roles? Whether in defense or offense, being able to open fire just with a squad's LMG would both conserve the riflemen's ammo and help them keep unspotted.

CMSF improves on CMx1's targeting options (despite the lack of the "Use Main Gun?" option) with "Target" vis-a-vis "Target Light", which limits fire to a few aimed rounds from an infantry unit or MG fire from a vehicle. Considering that the UI allots a whole tab to targeting options and that the available space is only half used, why not an even wider range of targeting options? For infantry, the options could be "Target" (with all weapons), "Target with designated marksman" (i.e., whoever in the squad is the best shot), "Target with MG" (handy for long-range recon-by-fire; this could also apply to vehicles), "Target with grenades", etc.

In game ammo resupply sounds promising, do vehicles, in SF, have the option to increase ammo loads, at an increased risk of brewing up?

Not that I know of. Unlike CMx1, CMSF does simulate 'cook-offs', especially when a tank brews up. In a scenario with armor vs. armor, you hear what sounds like tank cannon fire but then realize it's just the ammo of brewed-up tanks going off.

Crew's for spotting in CM1? Crewmen can be very expensive. As I understand it they cost the proportion of the dead vehicles cost - that is a five man crewed Tiger knocked out costing 250 points would be 250 points if they all die. If two escape and are later shot that is an extra 100 points even more points if captured.

Like I said, it's one of the gamey tactics which should die a horrible death once the nature of CMx2 tactics sinks in. I've never used crews of knocked-out vehicles as disposable recon units (then again, I almost never play QBs; I much prefer historical scenarios), but I've read on forums about its use.

Given the time span of CM1 games the concept of replenishment of ammo does not really hold water. However scavenging ammo from fallen friends might be thought possible if there were 5 minutes or so free of enemy fire.

If I were sharing a foxhole with one or two other guys and they got killed, it wouldn't be no five minutes before I snagged their ammo and grenades. =P

there are no command delays what comes to ground units. to be honest i never really managed to figure out how the apparently highly modelled (???) chain of command had any effect on the ground combat.

No command delays? Doesn't seem that way to me. In CMx1, if you tell a tank to target something, it starts bringing its gun to bear more or less right away, but in CMSF, when you specify a tank's target, it can take a few seconds before it brings its turret around, which to me reasonably simulates the time it takes for the tank commander to specify the target ("Gunner - second floor balcony - 11 o'clock" etc.) and for the gunner to acquire said target.

artillery in general is very much improved in CMSF.

Agreed. In CMx1 the only options were "fire on this area" or "fire on this area" (with one arm waving). In CMSF, you can call for fire on a point, on an area, or along a line (which is handy for bombarding trenches, treelines, rows of buildings, etc.). You can specify approximately how much ammo you want expended in a given fire mission, and you can specify the rate of fire. And, of course, you can call for smoke instead of HE.

In CMSF, pretty much any US unit with a radio can call for artillery support. But CMSF does (I think) a good job of simulating the advantages of using forward-observer units for requesting artillery: the requested fire support comes more promptly and is definitely more accurate when you use the right sort of spotter.

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Following up on what Stalin's Organist said, I think overwatch will have much more difficulty in identifying and neutralizing enemy targets. In CMSF, we don't see this as a huge issue (especially for the US) because of the advanced sensors, optics etc. But imagine buttoned T-34's trying to pick up MG-42's in cover. It will probably take a while. This will also likely make PAK much more effective and concentrated tank attacks more risky.

This assumes the modeling is done to people's satisfaction and that the units aren't revealed on map too quickly as a balancing mechanism by the game engine.

Whilst I do agree that Pz grenadiers/tank riders should have a better chance at tank-infantry cooperation, due to doctrine, training and shared battlefield experience (especially if veteran)

How often do you think mech infantry actually got to rehearse or train with increasingly scarce tanks by 1944? Basic training was something like 8 weeks long before their replacements (16 years old by then) were thrown into action. How much 'tank-infantry' coop did they really demonstrate in 1944-45, especially on the defence, and how do you model that in a game in which command and control issues are largely simplified for playability?

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How often do you think mech infantry actually got to rehearse or train with increasingly scarce tanks by 1944?

Tanks weren't scarce - up to date tanks were. And for infantry training (and tank crew basic training) purposes all you needed was something with tracks and a turret, whether a PzKpfw I or a T-38 or a captured Czech or Polish tankette.

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Pz grenadiers/tank riders should have a better chance at tank-infantry cooperation, due to doctrine, training and shared battlefield experience (especially if veteran)

Yes, but in what sense should Panzergrenadiers/Tankovyidesantniki, in your estimation, "have a better chance at tank-infantry cooperation"? Do you mean better communication between infantry and tank crews?

From what I understand, 'better tank-infantry cooperation' would be a matter of the player's sense of effective tactics rather than of the game's unit-modelling.

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Sergei, absolutely, there are pictures of German troops, in 44, practising on tanks from the early war, it does look a little strange. Watch-man I thought that, up until very late on, German infantry training times were not reduced causing replacement shortages, unlike the allies, where it was slashed dramatically due to the loss rates, late 44.

Dietrich, the context in which my comments were made was a discussion about the reaction times of infantry and armour in CM1 and how CM2 might change the ambush beating tank/infantry combo's using borg spotting, in CM1. So yes, you are right, a dedicated tank infantry team should be able to pass on spotted targets to each other faster than infantry hitching a lift. How a player uses these teams is of course the players responsibility but some units should be more effective, when the player uses them, than others.

Perhaps we might have proficiency slots for different troops allowing for differing capabilities, and better reflecting specialists in combat, or troops who have received specific training for a particular operation.

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In CMx2 units within the same organization are quicker to share information about targets, so eg. platoon mates get the information quicker than other platoons in the company, and so on, other things being equal. Which they of course normally aren't, so there are also the factors of distance and visual contact, are there radios or other com equipment present etc. So an infantry company within the same mother unit as a supporting AFV element would have a better target sharing capability than let's say a paratrooper company.

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