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Hesitant Tanks

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Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum, but I've been playing CMBB and CMAK for more than a year off and on. I figured out a lot of quirks about the game, but some things still puzzle me. Chief among these: what makes my troops and tanks hesitate so often?

For instance:

I play Soviet. An elevation is flanked by forest on both sides, and the Germans have a vehicle there. It is listed as a PzIII?, but it shoots like a much bigger vehicle. I send some infantry to get a better ID, and it turns out to be a StuGIIIF/8. There's no way I'll kill it through the front, so I decide to send a veteran T34 around the back. It does a fast move (obliterating 2 HMGs in the process, yay!) and pops up 100 meters straight behind the StuG before being spotted. The AI places a target line into the exhaust pipes of the StuG, and I wait for the shot. The StuG starts turning in place. My T34 doesn't dip its barrel. It's not reloading, it's just standing there. The minute ends with the StuG turned three quarters of the way.

I maneuver two of my other T34s into firing positions from the opposite direction, just to be sure. The next minute has my flanking T34 still not firing, and the StuG kills it with one shot.

My other two T34s then get target lines into the back of the StuG. One of the two suddenly shifts fire onto a mortar in the distance, the other (regular) keeps its target, but doesn't fire. The StuG starts turning in place again. The T34 suddenly starts doing the dance of death, and doesn't fire at all. The StuG proceeds to immobilize the dancer and kills the one shooting at the mortar.

I've had the same thing with a SIG33B that popped up in an ideal firing position behind a field gun, but didn't fire and got killed. Flame thrower troops sometimes refuse to fire for no apparent reason. I don't get what I'm doing wrong.

How do I get my little virtual men to fire?

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I can´t tell you exactly what to do, as I´m also quite mystified as to why the T-34 hesitates. But one thing you CAN do which might help in this kind of situation is to give the tanks a "cover armor"-order. That should at least make sure that they don´t get distracted by mortars and other low-priority targets at the most crucial moment.

If you´re not familiar with the "cover armor"-order, I think the best solution is to select the tank and then press "v". Then a green(blue?) line stretching from the tank to the cursor should appear. Let the green line pass through the StuG (preferebly all the way out of the map) and then hold down "shift" as you right-click. You should now have a "cover armor"-arc with the StuG in the centre. This will ensure that the T-34´s gun will always be pointing towards the StuG and that it will only fire at armored targets within the arc (or at immidiate threats).

But whether it will still be reluctant to fire - that I don´t know.

Hope this helps.

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Make a short hunt order at the end of the fast move. The buttoned T-34 crew might have still orientate at their new location, after the fast move and thus take their time to start normal spotting of enemies around. The T-34 commander can be left unbuttoned at this stage and dives back to his loader/gunner duties if enemies have been spotted worth to shoot at. The blue armor covered arc, as mentioned, helps as well. That should do it actually. :)

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How do I get my little virtual men to fire? quote.gif

Play CMAK : )

BTW you did not say what period you were playing in. You do know that for the early years the Russian units are dumbed down by one experience level - reaction times etc etc.

Despite it being cheaper to buy by tank platoons it is tactically better for the Russians not to.

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Be careful forcing the commander to unbutton in a T34. Most of them have the commander as the loader and won't fire unbuttoned.

I thought the commander doubled as gunner, and once a target is spotted the tank will automatically button up so the commander can take aim. This is of course only for the 4-man crew T-34s.

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The advice to add a hunt order at the end of the movement is actually very bad. Hunt is the movement command that encourages "cower" behavior. It basically tells the tanker to engage only targets he thinks are equal or inferior, and to deliberately cower from those he thinks are superior. And this assessment does not know diddly about current facing. It is plain broken for the typical case of flank-and-close tactics using high mobility T-34s.

You want to use fast move and shoot and scoot, exclusively. Shoot and scoot with the shoot location next to the target is your best best for forcing a shot, much better than hunt. Buttoning or not won't make a difference, it isn't a target acquisition issue when the range is 100 meters.

The only other thing that helps is high unit quality or being in command of a + morale tank HQ. Scaredy cat tanks are a German physics, untermenschen game quirk, completely unjustifiable but we just have to live with it.

Oh and BTW, if your opponent is always taking StuGs and keyholing them, (1) get a new opponent who takes Panzer IVs sometimes or (2) pull out all the unrealistic "stops" and gamey him to death until he agrees to (1). That means rariety off, T-34/57s, lend lease Shermans and Valentine IXs, SU-152s, Sturmoviks, conscript 122 and 152 gun FOs with TRPs, 57mm ATGs, 37mm AA. Don't let him see a single T-70 or T-34 or 45mm ATG for months. When he gets sick of this, tell him you will take T-34s when he takes Pz IIIs 50L60 in 1942 and Panzer IV longs in 1943, and not before.

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Thanks for all the replies, this is a very lively forum for a game that is so old.

The problem is not that my tanks won't target. Even if I don't manually assign targets I get red target lines from the AI. My guys spot the target, proceed to set up an attack, but never pull the trigger. This is a problem that surfaces intermittently, mainly with vehicles, and on both sides. It doesn't seem to have much to do with troop quality, either. I'm puzzled. Human opponents suffer this too sometimes, but I've never seen the AI hesitate.

As for scared tanks, I've had Tigers do it too, so I don't think it's exclusively Soviet. I have the impression that Soviets do it more often, but this could be because I have many more tanks when I play Soviet.

I don't mind my opponent keyholing his StuGs. It's only common sense. I do think the StuGs get some lucky breaks in the modeling, but they suffer disproportionally from the sucky vehicle turn modeling, so if I can exploit that I'll just hope that they cancel out.

I don't like buying air strikes. Suddenly the Hand of God strikes down the opposing armies without any control or merit to me. No fun, and too strong if you ask me.

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German tanks do, occasionally, retreat when they might be better advised staying for an easy shot. Soviet tanks do it an awful lot more often though, and sometimes even when they should outmatch the opponent they're cowering from!

The vehicle turn rate doesn't make up for StuGs being inpenetrable by Soviet 76mm AP at point blank range. If both issues were corrected it wouldn't matter where a StuG's frontal plate was facing or how quickly it could be brought round to face a threat.

I don't like buying air strikes either, but not because they're too powerful. To get over this just imagine you've 'bought' an air strike by a whole flight, rather than the game's unrealistic single aircraft. The reason I don't buy them is because they're so unreliable. First off, they may not show up. Second, you don't know when they'll show up, so it could be after you've already lost the fight. Third, they're almost as likely to attack your own troops as they are those of the enemy, especially if the two are closely engaged at the time.

As for your firing problem, I have only experienced this when a tank has been ordered to rotate to face a certain direction at the end of a movement order. When this happens the turret must keep rotating to compensate for the rotating hull, and so the gunner can never 'freeze' the turret's angle, adjust his elevation and fire. I have a feeling that more experienced crews may occasionally have the initiative to halt the rotating order in order to fire, but in far too many instances it can be a fatal problem for your tank. The solution? Don't give your tank huge on-the-spot-rotation orders to carry out if you expect to be engaging a target - let the crew decide whether they need to rotate of their own accord.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Leave aircraft as available for purchase. It will stop gamey German players from not buying AA guns but paying for a Panther instead - do not make it tooo easy. It also means that they will not be encouraged to spread their tanks out a little more just in case a plane turns up.

If you have a regular opponent buying them every now and then will help him play honestly : )

It is true that they can be unreliable and if the German has bought adequate AA they can be ineffective. However banning Soviet aircraft is only to the advantage of the German player.

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I'm not really looking to ban anything. As German I always buy FlaK anyway, since it is quite decent at dealing with light armour, infantry and the occasional plane, whilst being hard to detect.

Apart from any discussions about over/undermodeled units, does anyone know what the AI uses to decide to pull the trigger after it's spotted, targeted and slewed the gun around?

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