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This game is confusing!

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I have never really fully gotten into CMBO because of the really confusing instructions that come with the game. For example:

Highly detailed numbers and descriptions of each unit are given, but nowhere in the instructions does it say what these numbers and letters mean. We are just supposed to figure out that LMG means "light machine gun".. how in the world are people supposed to know what their units strengths and weaknesses are, the unit information is so highly detailed and essoteric and unexplained... how could the average gamer know what all the armor piercing statistics are about, and make sense of all the other unit information...

This really goes for the entire instruction manual, I feel like they are explaining this game to someone who is already an expert in WW II weaponry... I'm not General Patton!

Can someone tell me how to make sense of this game?



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Unlike RTS action games where "unit strengths and weaknesses" are simply artificially created by the game designers, CMBO is using real-world statistics and values for (almost) everything in game. It's impossible to explain the entire evolution of WW2 weaponry in a game manual. Somewhere in the intro of the manual I believe it's mentioned that for a deeper understanding of the equipment, you should use real-world historical sources. What you learn there will also be applicable for the most part in the game.

Another reason why such explanations are missing in CMBO: you don't need them to play them game. CMBO is designed to "shield" you from the need of knowing weapon capacities to the fullest in order to be able to win or enjoy the game. The average WW2 grunt didn't know what a Tiger was capable of doing any more than a WW2 newbie knows now (and perhaps even less). Learning by doing works in CMBO.

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Wahooka, Congratulations on getting into CM - even if it is the least developed of the series it is still great fun.

I think if you know nothing at all about WW2 weaponry it is a drawback but if you quickly play a few games you will certainly lose but that is your learning curve. The game AI is not very clever and any human with a little practice will win.

The important information is obtained by clicking on enter when you have say a tank highlighted. If you read say the details of a Sherman - armour, gun penetration figures and compare them say to a MkIV or a Tiger* you will appreciate exactly why some tanks were very much feared and some seen as easy meat. If your gun can nail any other tank at 1000metres and they need to get within a couple of hundred you can afford to be confident!

My strong personal opinion is that the CM series is generally excellent on tanks and that the infantry, artillery, and support weapons allow you to play a good combined arms game. I avoid infantry heavy games as infantry I find the least satisfying module.

However each to their own : )

Have great fun.

*Funny you should mention Patton - he told the troops that Shermans could take Tigers when they landed in Normandy - he was so lying/wrong

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The more I play this game the more I learn and I bought the game the first time it was released since I was a regular with the Steel Panther series from SPWAW 1, modern etc and even SP 3. I rarely look at the screen with regard to the ins and outs but sometimes I have to look if its a weapon or vehicle I rarely use. What I am learning about more and more and realizing especially against email opponents is the importance of experienced troops and keeping your units together. Furthermore, I find the German troops fire faster especially the vehicle gun reloading, make s abig difference in some battles. Then when you play CMAK more units to read about. I have almost every game out there and I am still playing this one all the time, its simple, precise and what every wargame should have, great email program and the thing I would like to see in the future would be a server area similar to Theatre of war where you could get on and play, plus an in-game talk similar to Battlefield 2 (voip)but that will all be in the future, great game and the guys above always provide some great help

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What exactly did they improve with the new versions? The graphics look to be about the same, even Shock Force looks similar to CMBO...

Is it still possible to find e-mail opponents for CMBO?

Anyhow, I'm sure I'll have more questions later, as I try to learn this game... still having trouble mastering the basics, like how to use a spotter, tank tactics, where to put a machine gun unit, etc..



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hi, i,m a real newbie here, even though i have owned the combat mission games for a few years now.sorry to butt in on someone else,s thread, but i wonder if anyone can tell me how to start my own thread, there seems to be every option available but starting your own thread!! apologies once again fellas, thanx, chocice.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wahooka, huhr and bernmeister,

Welcome aboard! It's a wargame/combat sim, as opposed to shooter, and as you can see from my sig, I do have some relevant experience from which to make that statement. Suggest you all start simply (ISTR there's a tutorial scenario, and the manual has a tutorial starting on page 135) and build from there. If you want to see what martial excitement and terror await, please see the Invitational Tourney and related AARs (After Action Reports) here. No sandbagging the hapless by reading the AAR first and then finding someone to fight who hasn't seen the scenario before!


Several key systems in CMBO were radically changed in the later games CMBB and CMAK, so if you harbor such ambitions, please don't expect such ultra responsive artillery or not so intimidating machine guns as you'll find in CMBO. What it will let you do, though, is fight with practically anything that appeals to you in Western Europe from D-Day through VE Day. This includes battleship fire support (if historically available and in range), flamethrower tanks and air support. One important note: Friendly fire isn't! I say this as someone who managed, by following too closely, to drop a Nebelwerfer (multiple rocket launcher) strike smack on his own men. I leave it for you to ponder what a 14" shell will do to your infantry in the wrong place, at the right time!

Once you understand the basics, I suggest you seek out your fellow newbies

and play via PBEM or TCP/IP. This will improve you far faster than any number of battles vs the AI will. Play the scenarios before getting into Design Your Own. Why? It's an art unto itself, and you can easily wind up on the short end of the stick unless ground rules are agreed in advance by both players and are adhered to. Certain force types and weapons, because of the way they were modeled when this then revolutionary wargame emerged, wound up being far more powerful in the game than in reality, and adjustments were made in later games to reflect this. Even so, the game's so good that some of us spent months endlessly replaying two Beta Demo scenarios--and counted ourselves blessed to have even them. You're in for a treat!


John Kettler

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Wahooka, huhr and bernmeister,

Regret to inform you that the Invitational Tourney and ROW link I posted works fine, but the links at my post to the above items don't--cause unknown. Have notified Moon. If we do get them restored, be advised the Invitational Tourney was with picked forces under various limits agreed by the players, whereas all the ROWs (Rumblings Of War) were conducted with scenario assigned forces. As you'll see, the former wasn't my strong suit!


Welcome aboard!


John Kettler

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Here is a sample AAR for the ROW scenario Polish Push. Spoiler alert!!! Do NOT read if you plan on playing this scenario! If anything's unclear, just ask!






Polish Push

John Kettler vs. Ugbash

From : Capt. Januscz Kettleriwicz

To : OC, 1st Inf. Battn., 1st Polish Armored Div.

Subj : After Action Report, St. Martin-Bocage


In a vicious eighteeen minute action fought in the rain, this command and attachments, subsequently reinforced, succeeded in overcoming unexpected, powerful enemy resistance, including veteran and regular motorized troops, mines, an AT gun and armor, and completely clearing the town of all hostile presence. The surviving enemy troops were seen fleeing toward their own lines.

77 casualties (24 KIA, 53 WIA). One Cromwell total loss; two require REME attention, being immobilized.

Present Status

108 effectives remain, with casualties as high as 90% in some squads, others largely intact. Urgently need ammo of all types and desperately need more infantry to ward off the inevitable counterattack. Have a depleted platoon well beyond Objective A and other elements including multiple PIAT teams holding the crossroads. Objective B is held by what’s left of C platoon and the engineers, including one flamethrower. All functioning armor (two tanks) is presently vicinity of Objective B. This armor needs 75mm and 95mm HE ammo.

Initial Dispositions

Though this command arrived in combat line, formation adjustments were made to facilitate the hasty attack, and TRPs were shifted

to support the plan of maneuver. When the execute order was given, B platoon (Lt. Klimek) was on the left, straddling the N-42, intermingled with the platoon mortar, the Vickers MG and the FO (Lt. Grzybowski) in support positions next to the N-42 overlooking the town, followed by Lt. Barzowski’s engineers near a major gap in the bocage, and C platoon (Lt. Wisniewski) by the next gap over. The plan was to probe carefully for resistance, then use mortar fire and tank fire, in conjunction with infantry fires, to suppress and destroy it. The engineers were to lag a bit, enabling them to get into cover, undetected if possible.

Turn 1

Tanks and mortars paste west end of town. Church receives particular attention since it commands primary approach via N-42 Troops jump off as scheduled.

Turn 2

Mortar fire shifted to eastern TRP begins to fall. B platoon advances, and the lead section takes 70% casualties from Germans in the church, in an adjacent house, and many in the buildings behind the church. The CS Cromwell delivers punishing fire into the church, causing the Germans there to depart in haste. Two sections make it to cover, the brutalized one to an occupied house and the other to the church, having found an AP minefield by running through it. Other units advance as ordered, encountering no resistance.

Turn 3

B platoon attempts to destroy enemy squad with fire while flanking to left with one section. Cromwell IV and Cromwell CS support advance by demolishing or obscuring identified points of resistance. Mortar fire now directed slightly to the right of initial TRP in an attempt to disrupt defense without endangering own troops. Good pattern. Badly hurt section down to one man, but German veteran motorized squad takes three casualties and retreats. C platoon emerges from last row of W-E bocage and comes under enfilade MG fire from right front.

Turn 4

Objective A’s mine! Damaged German squad is driven from its refuge by tank fire. Mortars are ordered to add range and continue, but can’t be fired promptly. Tanks pound identified infantry firing positions. Engineer platoon minus also emerges from last row of bocage and moves into houses on outskirts, with flamethrower teams in deep trail, still behind the bocage. What looked good before turns out to be bad indeed, though, for no less than three different German positions pop up on the approaches to Objective B, one in a stout multistory stone building overlooking the outskirts. The engineer HQ takes a casualty.

Turn 5

Resistance stiffens, and my troops pay. My left Cromwell is engaging infantry in buildings, is hit by something, and explodes. The CS Cromwell finishes off a damaged large wooden building. A priority fire request leads to a lateral shift of my engineers away from the eastern TRP and into another house mere seconds before desperately needed suppressive fires come crashing in. A spirited engagement rages between the enfilading MG on my right and C platoon, with no apparent casualties to either. One section is advanced into the corner of town, and the platoon mortar begins firing on the MG. Not only is the shooting not inspired, but it is brought to a shattering halt by a hail of lead from the road east of town, followed by a big explosion which destroys the mortar. Gun front! C platoon is now under fire from two perpendicular axes.

Turn 6

Action left front. Armor! Two StuGs, I think. Worse, they’re accompanied by infantry. CS Cromwell fires one hasty round (near miss) at trail StuG and scoots forward behind cover. StuGs abuse my infantry in the church, inflicting two casualties, receiving small arms in reply. Mortar fire is now targeted between two strongpoints and falls there and deeper. This seems to calm things a bit in the center, but my right is being blasted and shot to pieces. Platoon HQ takes a casualty, but the rightmost section loses five men in seconds, thanks to the deadly perpendicular problem just described. The lead section advances into town in fine order, then is shot to pieces by something, losing four men and breaking, then fleeing the town, pursued by MG fire, which takes out another man. C platoon is in real trouble. The Germans smoke the one intact squad and pound everything else. Am attempting to get the Vickers into action. Have also ordered another mortar section to move to reinforce C platoon and kill the gun and MG. The PIAT tries to kill the gun. No joy. Intact squad takes three casualties from shellbursts.

Turn 7

A furious turn, with firefights raging everywhere and armor hammering infantry in buildings. The Germans own the board, but I make them pay. I take a few losses on the left, but more than make up for it in the center, where mortar fire drives the Germans out of a small wooden house, which promptly explodes, then into a wooden building, which a mortar shell sets ablaze. The resultant mad dash into the road brings the section into tank and infantry sights, costing five it men and its combat effectiveness. Sadly, there is yet more bad news. A runner informs me that the engineer HQ is simply gone. No word as to cause. One of the two sections is hit and falling apart. C platoon is all but wiped out. Platoon HQ is one man, the former lead section is in rout and also one man, and the most functional section is blasted down to two thirds strength and panics. Well, at least the Vickers is in action.

Turn 8

Shall I rejoice or weep? Both! I shall rejoice because reinforcements arrive, the trailing infantry platoon and two more Cromwells. I shall weep because C platoon has a grand total of four infantrymen left. Four! The HQ survivor also has a Vickers and a newly arrived 2” mortar team, plus a badly hurt PIAT team down to its last two shots. PIAT continues to engage gun. No joy.

The MG in its foxhole is likewise impervious to the new mortar. Maybe it’s because the HQ spotting for the mortar team is pinned?

I shall rejoice because my left flank attack struck home, and weep because the StuGs screened most of the base of fire. I hurt the Germans with the storming, but the section loses half its strength and pins. I shall rejoice because the CS Cromwell is wreaking havoc on the Germans in the stone building, and I shall weep and rejoice because my smokescreen arrives, blocking LOS to my target, but enabling my engineers to advance. I shall weep because a Panzerschreck team appears in the street near the burning build and rejoice because it comes under fire, is put facedown, and loses a man!

Turn 9

Too wild for me! My four regular guys in the house rally and fight three veteran Germans, supported by deadly StuG MG fire.

Luckily, the smoke clears, allowing my base of fire to assist a bit. My four become one, his three become zero. I win! The Panzerschreck team, which is in killing range of two of my tanks, comes under so much MG and infantry fire that it bolts and is gunned down. Even more exciting is that I now have LOS from the other new tank to the dread gun which has shattered C platoon. My tank tries to kill the gun as the gun traverses. Three agonizing rounds later--dead gun! C platoon is now up to six effectives, the routed section remnant having been collared and rallied, happily with more men than first thought. And still the MG rips my flank!

Covered by the damaged engineer section in cover, my intact one advances to the stone building, right after the Germans abandon it, presumably in fear of the CS Cromwell.

Turn 10

My sole assault survivor duels with a German section near the StuGs, which torment my men in the church. Losses reach 50%, and the remnant pins, but is rallied by Lt. Klimek. Meanwhile, my leftmost tank plays hunt and reverse, shelling a building next to the StuGs, with the objectives of preventing reoccupation by German infantry and maybe buttoning the near StuG. This seems fairly assured when the building disintegrates. My engineer section occupies the upper level of the stone building, chases the former occupants back another row of houses, then comes under fire from the adjacent one. The laggard flamethrower team catches up with the base of fire engineer section, enters a stone house and hides. The now identified HMG-42 on my right flank takes a final casualty and dies. Platoon strength will be up to a full section shortly, for a broken half section is now up to panicked.

Turn 11

Havoc on the left flank! The StuGs systematically shatter my forward infantry, putting my Horatius into ultimately fatal flight, and driving another sole survivor from his building. Screened by smoke from one tank, its sibling advances as E platoon

moves into assault formation on my extreme left. Things are better in the center as one Cromwell destroys a presumed infantry position and the CS Cromwell blasts the building (and its former stone building occupants) one short of the flag. The engineer section in that captured building cuts four men out of a German half section, losing one man in the process. The remaining engineer section and flamethrower team advance to that building.

C platoon is up to eleven infantrymen.

Turn 12

In a wild turn I still don’t entirely understand, there is a deadly clash of armor. Originally, I think I kill a StuG

at a cost of two immobilized Cromwells. In reality, my wing tank

firing smoke hits an AT mine, while the other one gets into a wild duel with two StuGs, kills one, and is immobilized. The other StuG apparently reverses out of LOS just as a third Cromwell works into cover to the right of the remaining StuG. Nearby German infantry gets tired of explosions and lead and splits. The CS Cromwell levels its target building, frightening my advancing second engineer section into the stone building, and then harries the survivors in their new refuge, the building closest to the flag.

C platoon shifts direction and resumes its attack on the village proper, covered by the resited Vickers.

Turn 13

More confusion! The green tank crew sees the other StuG die, and having laid an ambush, naturally, wrongly, assumes it did the deed. Actually, the killer of the first StuG breaks off bombarding a brick building near German infantry and targets one round on the StuG when it comes into LOS. That’s all it takes. Lumps are taken elsewhere, though. My damaged engineer section gets caught in a crossfire and loses two men, then pins, plus I lose a man from the flamethrower team. C platoon advances into town, losing two more men for its pains.

Turn 14

Bad turn for both of us! I destroy two crews with mortar and infantry fires on the left and drive a third into the woods, but I lose five men from the cut-up engineer section, which then panics, via enfilade fire before the CS Cromwell in turn evicts the infantry causing such havoc. The infantry hiding in the building by Objective B decides the area’s unhealthy, but the street’s worse. That remnant winds up in a heavy building. C platoon takes a morale hit in one of its section remnants, but the Vickers is now pouring streams of .303 into the building holding one of the last German resistance centers, aided by the nearly intact engineer section firing at right angles to the left.

Turn 15

The Germans may be yielding ground, but do they have sharp fangs!

E platoon’s lead section gets into serious trouble after being shaken earlier and losing two men. This turn, it loses two more from three German units and being out of command, panics. Offsetting this is that the German infantry which does this, pulls back to the woods, doubtless encouraged by the building blown up next to them. Armor converges on the roads to and near Objective B, and German infantry retreats from the building in the Vickers and engineer crossfire, allowing that building to be taken.

Turn 16

Exploitation phase begins as E platoon begins to pass beyond Objective A. Infantry and tank fires are poured into retreating German infantry. Objective B finally falls. Armor reducing one of the strongpoints reports fleeing Germans and takes many under fire. Strongpoint is blown to bits. C platoon, what’s left of it, is on the verge of carrying the building next to the objective. Most of an engineer section and a flamethrower team are also on line and ready for the last push.

Turn 17

Objective B carried and occupied by engineer section and flamethrower team, with C platoon in echelon right. Engineer section remnant now functional, but the C platoon section remnant remains panicked. Armor pours unrelenting HE and MG fire into retreating Germans. Some sort of German section a mere 40 meters from the wing Cromwell near Objective B continues to receive fire from ammo depleted half section atop church.

Turn 18

E platoon begins general advance and pursuit. Crossroads covered by B platoon remnants and PIAT teams. German section put to flight by platoon HQ observed mortar volleys and small arms. Armor advances past Objective B and chases Germans from the field. C platoon moves adjacent to Objective B building and places section minus in one house and the Vickers in the one able to see both up the road and across the front of Objective B. Remaining elements are in row of houses immediately behind these.


Allied Major Victory, 76 to 24 my favor. The big surprise is that

broken German troops near my infantry and armor didn’t surrender, further fattening the win, my first in this tournament. Of a company plus committed on my end, little more than two platoons remain. Of a complete troop of Cromwells, two tanks remain operational, with two immobilized and one a total loss.


I nearly soiled myself when I encountered veteran motorized infantry, for much of my force was green, though fortunately with good HQs. I came close to getting my clock cleaned and my head handed to me, but I was lucky for once and also planned and played well (if we ignore C platoon’s near annihilation by PAK 40 and HMG-42s and getting the engineers almost destroyed). Repositioning the TRPs probably won me the game, for they enabled me to make rapid target shifts to respond to battle developments. 4.2” mortar fire helped create openings I systematically exploited to the hilt, as seen in several sections reduced to single men, but in command and fighting throughout. Armor was vital, both in reducing one position after another and in destroying those deadly StuGs. One Cromwell IV got both StuGs, the second kill after being immobilized. The CS Cromwell did yeoman work, winding up with nearly empty ammo racks. The 2” mortar continues to suffer from inadequate smoke loads. All in all, combined arms worked quite well in this engagement. For once!



John Kettler

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