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Combat Mission for Newbies Guide


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I'd like to assemble as much information as possible in this one thread to then be consolidated into an easy to read .pdf or stickied post as threads can quickly become convoluted.

So feel free to comment and contribute in here and it'll all be condensed into something easier to read when we have the a good chunk of material.

About the guide

It appears that new players could use a guide of CMSF(and even CMA) basics to ease them into the game. The goal is not to provide an advanced or highly technical guide, but try to boil it down to the basics needed to get started and learn the game. As such, if you contribute material (of any length, all comments and additions are helpful), try to focus on primarily conceptual information that is concise and easy to understand. The manual provides much of the technical information and basics, I think we need to fill in the gaps and practical application. Screen shots/graphics can help.

I'll start by picking up where I left off in the "marine AT assets thread". Please let me know if I miss anything or make any mistakes :D .

Ammunition types

Ammo often goes by it's acronyms for it's warhead/type and caliber(dimensions). The name of the corresponding weapon is generally not listed, so be sure to check the caliber of the weapon you want to acquire ammo for (sometimes possible in game, if not, you can check a manual).

Learning the acronyms will make it easier to understand the roles of each type of round. When acquiring rounds, "ATM" at the end of the name stands for "Anti Tank Missile", “ATGM” is “Anti Tank Guided Missile”.

-No acronym/size 14.7mm or less = "standard" bullet. Unremarkable solid metal round used in machineguns and small arms. Best employed on soft targets. Note that rounds under 12.7mm (.50 cal) and hand grenades will NOT cause friendly fire (game abstraction). All other rounds should be employed with much more care INCLUDING ARTILLERY SMOKE AND THE CHALLENGER 2's CANNON FIRED SMOKE ROUNDS!

-WP = White Phosphorus, an incendiary used in smoke rounds used to create a concealing smoke screen. Note that large WP shells for artillery and cannons can cause friendly fire on impact. However, it is not dangerous to then move through the smoke or over the point of impact. Smoke grenade discargers on tanks or thrown smoke grenades ('pop smoke' command) are not dangerous to your troops.

-AP-I = Armor Piercing Incendiary. Generally used with heavy machinegun ammunition, a dense/hard bullet combined with an incendiary element for "after armor" effects (causing internal fire/setting off ammo).

-HE = High Explosive, just explodes on impact, lots of shrapnel and blast effects, good vs infantry, light building walls, in windows, and other soft targets. Not good vs armor or hard targets (think of throwing a water balloon at a wall, the explosion, like water, will take the easy route and "splash" off the surface). Related round type is HE-I, high explosive incendiary. However the incendiary seems to have little effect ingame.

-PPHE = Programmable Prefragmented High Explosive, anti-personnel round that can be programmed to air burst at a certain range (generally over the target so as to be render most cover useless) and is designed for effective fragmentation.

-HESH = High Explosive Squash Head, a variation of the HE round where the plastic explosive “head” of the round “squashes” on impact. Much like throwing clay at a wall, the explosive flattens and spreads across the impacted (hard) surface before detonating. This sends a powerful shock wave forwards into the target. As a result this rounds is more effective against structures and armored vehicles than standard HE. Against buildings the powerful shock wave directed into the target has devastating effects on walls, making it one of the most effective rounds against hard concrete structures (it'll do much more structural damage than the armor piercing HEAT round or plain HE). When employed against armor it relies primarily on internal spalling to cause casualties, it will not penetrate most armor (spalling is the deadly spray of armor fragments thrown into the crew compartment, in this case caused by the shock wave impacting the outer armor and being transmitted through the armor, causing spalling on the inside). This is only effective against older tanks without spaced armor or internal “spall liners”.

-HEAT or HEAA= High Explosive Anti Tank or High Explosive Anti Armor. Shaped charge warhead with metal pentrator cone (short version, explosion liquefies and propels metal penetrator in warhead through armor). Also known as a Chemical Energy (CE) or Explosively Formed Pentrator (EFP). The combo of shaped charge/pentrator makes it good vs armor and though buildings.

-T-HEAT = Tandem High Explosive Anti Tank. Two HEAT warheads, one behind the other. In front is a small "precursor" charge that is designed to set off any addon-armor like Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) on the tank. The main charge then reaches the armor unhindered.

-HEDP = High Explosive Dual Purpose. Generally a HE warhead warhead with a smaller HEAT warhead at the front. As the name implies they can be used against armored or soft targets, but does not excel in either role.

-NE or Therm: Thermobaric (aka Novel Explosive for SMAW) warhead. Fuel-air explosive (mixes a huge cloud of fuel vapor into the air and detonates it), kills via overpressure and blast effects. Deadly in enclosed areas like buildings where pressure reaches massive levels.

-APFSDS = Armor Pricing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot, it's essentially a big solid metal armor piercing dart, relies on kinetic energy to penetrate armor. Also known as a Kinetic Energy (KE) or sabot round. It's sub-caliber and has a 'sabot' to stabilize it in the barrel, falls off on exiting muzzle. Two things to note, sabot rounds rely heavily on their velocity and contain no explosive. This means they lose penetrating power over distance and kill vehicles by a direct hit on a vital component or spalling for the most part. They can pass through thin surfaces with little effect and are really only useful against vehicles. Some of the highest quality western ammo found in CMSF is made of depleted uranium. DU is not only a good penetrator as it's self sharpening, it's also pyrophoric (short version, small particles of DU thrown into a vehicle after penetration of the armor will catch fire on contact with the air, increasing chances of a vehicle fire or ammo detonation).

That should be all the ammo types to start, giving an overview of each type without going into specific rounds.

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Glad someone has started this project! Thanks Ryujin!

My first contribution is a correction: Frag grenades can in fact cause friendly casualties. It happens rarely but it does happen, usually when clearing buildings or when the thrower is shot while throwing and drops the grenade among his buddies. There were screenies of the latter case in a thread a while back, but I can't find them. Friendly casualties are (of course) also possible from 40mm UGL (underslung grenade launcher)/GMG (grenade machine gun) rounds, just for the record.

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The most basic infantry sub-unit is a team. A single team occupies a single 8x8 metre action spot tile. A squad can be made up of two or three teams depending on numbers of men, the highlights under the cursor show how the teams will deploy in the 8x8 metre tiles.

To get the teams in a squad to align into different action spot tiles, the FACE comand is used. If the slope is sufficient to create a crestline, the men will deploy along that crestline in the direction of the FACE command.

LOS (line of sight) is calculated from tile to tile, team to team, with three LOS heights for infantry: prone, kneeling and standing. If any man in the team is doing any of these then that team has LOS traced from the highest height. LOS is possible if a line traced from the highest level of one team in one tile is uninterrupted to the enemy team in their tile. "reverse slope" means that the target is in marginal LOS behind a wall or terrain and can't be targetted.

SLOW makes your men crawl, HIDE makes them go prone, so they have the prone LOS height and can hide behind low walls and below windows in buildings. All other move commands make them walk, but they will take the lowest LOS height that gives them good situational awareness when they reach their destination.

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You should contact hcrof about this. He's already got something similar going on.

I'd like to assemble as much information as possible in this one thread to then be consolidated into an easy to read .pdf or stickied post as threads can quickly become convoluted.

So feel free to comment and contribute in here and it'll all be condensed into something easier to read when we have the a good chunk of material.

About the guide

It appears that new players could use a guide of CMSF(and even CMA) basics to ease them into the game. The goal is not to provide an advanced or highly technical guide, but try to boil it down to the basics needed to get started and learn the game. As such, if you contribute material (of any length, all comments and additions are helpful), try to focus on primarily conceptual information that is concise and easy to understand. The manual provides much of the technical information and basics, I think we need to fill in the gaps and practical application. Screen shots/graphics can help.

I'll start by picking up where I left off in the "marine AT assets thread". Please let me know if I miss anything or make any mistakes :D .

Ammunition types

Ammo often goes by it's acronyms for it's warhead/type and caliber(dimensions). The name of the corresponding weapon is generally not listed, so be sure to check the caliber of the weapon you want to acquire ammo for (sometimes possible in game, if not, you can check a manual).

Learning the acronyms will make it easier to understand the roles of each type of round. When acquiring rounds, "ATM" at the end of the name stands for "Anti Tank Missile", “ATGM” is “Anti Tank Guided Missile”.

-No acronym/size 14.7mm or less = "standard" bullet. Unremarkable solid metal round used in machineguns and small arms. Best employed on soft targets. Note that rounds under 12.7mm (.50 cal) and hand grenades will NOT cause friendly fire (game abstraction). All other rounds should be employed with much more care INCLUDING ARTILLERY SMOKE AND THE CHALLENGER 2's CANNON FIRED SMOKE ROUNDS!

-WP = White Phosphorus, an incendiary used in smoke rounds used to create a concealing smoke screen. Note that large WP shells for artillery and cannons can cause friendly fire on impact. However, it is not dangerous to then move through the smoke or over the point of impact. Smoke grenade discargers on tanks or thrown smoke grenades ('pop smoke' command) are not dangerous to your troops.

-AP-I = Armor Piercing Incendiary. Generally used with heavy machinegun ammunition, a dense/hard bullet combined with an incendiary element for "after armor" effects (causing internal fire/setting off ammo).

-HE = High Explosive, just explodes on impact, lots of shrapnel and blast effects, good vs infantry, light building walls, in windows, and other soft targets. Not good vs armor or hard targets (think of throwing a water balloon at a wall, the explosion, like water, will take the easy route and "splash" off the surface). Related round type is HE-I, high explosive incendiary. However the incendiary seems to have little effect ingame.

-PPHE = Programmable Prefragmented High Explosive, anti-personnel round that can be programmed to air burst at a certain range (generally over the target so as to be render most cover useless) and is designed for effective fragmentation.

-HESH = High Explosive Squash Head, a variation of the HE round where the plastic explosive “head” of the round “squashes” on impact. Much like throwing clay at a wall, the explosive flattens and spreads across the impacted (hard) surface before detonating. This sends a powerful shock wave forwards into the target. As a result this rounds is more effective against structures and armored vehicles than standard HE. Against buildings the powerful shock wave directed into the target has devastating effects on walls, making it one of the most effective rounds against hard concrete structures (it'll do much more structural damage than the armor piercing HEAT round or plain HE). When employed against armor it relies primarily on internal spalling to cause casualties, it will not penetrate most armor (spalling is the deadly spray of armor fragments thrown into the crew compartment, in this case caused by the shock wave impacting the outer armor and being transmitted through the armor, causing spalling on the inside). This is only effective against older tanks without spaced armor or internal “spall liners”.

-HEAT or HEAA= High Explosive Anti Tank or High Explosive Anti Armor. Shaped charge warhead with metal pentrator cone (short version, explosion liquefies and propels metal penetrator in warhead through armor). Also known as a Chemical Energy (CE) or Explosively Formed Pentrator (EFP). The combo of shaped charge/pentrator makes it good vs armor and though buildings.

-T-HEAT = Tandem High Explosive Anti Tank. Two HEAT warheads, one behind the other. In front is a small "precursor" charge that is designed to set off any addon-armor like Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) on the tank. The main charge then reaches the armor unhindered.

-HEDP = High Explosive Dual Purpose. Generally a HE warhead warhead with a smaller HEAT warhead at the front. As the name implies they can be used against armored or soft targets, but does not excel in either role.

-NE or Therm: Thermobaric (aka Novel Explosive for SMAW) warhead. Fuel-air explosive (mixes a huge cloud of fuel vapor into the air and detonates it), kills via overpressure and blast effects. Deadly in enclosed areas like buildings where pressure reaches massive levels.

-APFSDS = Armor Pricing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot, it's essentially a big solid metal armor piercing dart, relies on kinetic energy to penetrate armor. Also known as a Kinetic Energy (KE) or sabot round. It's sub-caliber and has a 'sabot' to stabilize it in the barrel, falls off on exiting muzzle. Two things to note, sabot rounds rely heavily on their velocity and contain no explosive. This means they lose penetrating power over distance and kill vehicles by a direct hit on a vital component or spalling for the most part. They can pass through thin surfaces with little effect and are really only useful against vehicles. Some of the highest quality western ammo found in CMSF is made of depleted uranium. DU is not only a good penetrator as it's self sharpening, it's also pyrophoric (short version, small particles of DU thrown into a vehicle after penetration of the armor will catch fire on contact with the air, increasing chances of a vehicle fire or ammo detonation).

That should be all the ammo types to start, giving an overview of each type without going into specific rounds.

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That's an impressive quote you got there :D .

Anyway, I do remember a thread on internal armor arrays and one on the RHAe penetration values of weapons. I wasn't thinking of an all inclusive guide, just something to address basic questions.

I'd leave the advanced stuff to other guides and not get too technical too fast.

Another FAQ that popped up in the CMA forum, different small arms rounds and acquiring them.

Ammo and corresponding weapons

Pistol rounds

Used in SMGs and handguns, not acquirable. Makorov PM is 9x18mm, M9 is 9x19mm, PPSH submachinegun is 7.62x25mm.

Intermediate rifle rounds

Intermediate rifle rounds are smaller/cut down rounds for assault rifles. They offer light weight, lighter weapons, and often lower recoil when compared to full size rifle rounds. Effective range is generally 500m or less and penetrating power is low.

5.56x45mm

Standard NATO round for assault rifles. In CMSF 5.56 is abstracted as belted and magazines, so can be used as magazines for rifles and 200 round belts for the M249/Minimi. Used by:

-M4/M16A4/C7/C8/M16A1

-L85A2/L86A2/L22A2

-G36

-MG4

-M249/L110/C9/MINIMI

7.62x39mm

Older Russian assault rifle round. Abstracted as magazines and belts. Listed as just “7.62mm” in Syrian vehicles.

Used by:

-AKM/AKMS/RPK(-47)/Type 56

-RPD

5.45x39mm

Newer Russian assault rifle round. Magazines only.

Used by:

-AK-74/AKS-74/AKS-74U/RPK-74

Rifle rounds

Full size rifle rounds. In many armies these are found primarily in medium machineguns and Designated Marksman's Rifles (DMRs) and sniper rifles. Effective range can often be around 1,000m.

7.62x51mm

Standard NATO round. Can only be aquried as belted ammo for machineguns*, you cannot aquire more ammo for rifles. Listed as just “7.62” in BLUFOR/NATO vehicles.

Used by:

-M110/Mk11

-M40A3

-M240/MAG/C6/L7A2 *

-MG3*

-L96

-C3A1

-AR-10

-FAL

-G3

7.62x54R

Standard Russian rifle round. R stands for “rimmed”. Cannot be acquired in CMSF, however can be found in vehicles in CMA as belted ammo only*.

Used by:

-SVD

-PK*

-SGM*

-RP-46

Special rifle rounds, not acquirable:

.300 WM .300 Winchester Magnum, “sniping” round 1300-1500m effective range based on round used.

-G22

.303 old British round.

-Bren

-SMLE Mk. III

.338 LM Lapua Magnum, “sniping” round. 1,800m effective range.

-L115A1

-C14

-AWSM-F

That's enough for one sitting. Takes into account NATO and CMA. Will add more later.

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7.62x54R

Standard Russian rifle round. R stands for “rimmed”. Cannot be acquired in CMSF, however can be found in vehicles in CMA as belted ammo only*.

Used by:

-SVD

-PK*

-SGM*

-RP-46

Confirmed not possible in NATO module?

[My first contribution is a correction: Frag grenades can in fact cause friendly casualties. It happens rarely but it does happen, usually when clearing buildings or when the thrower is shot while throwing and drops the grenade among his buddies. There were screenies of the latter case in a thread a while back, but I can't find them. Friendly casualties are (of course) also possible from 40mm UGL (underslung grenade launcher)/GMG (grenade machine gun) rounds, just for the record.

My favorite is the point-blank M203 suicide coup de grâce sometimes seen during room clearing.

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If you reload with 7.62x51mm will these units use it, or is the reload wasted?

-SVD

-PK*

-SGM*

-RP-46

You can only give ammo to the PK/SGM and then only the 7.62x54R, they cannot use the NATO round (or NATO denigrating linked ammo belts for that matter, Russian machineguns tend to have reusable belts). SVD and RP-46 cannot acquire ammo.

So, no, each weapon can only use it's intended ammo.

Confirmed not possible in NATO module?

Note I am not a NATO tester and I don't know if it is in or out. However... certain :D 's have been exchanged by certain members of the community..... When I meant it took NATO into account, I just used the confirmed information available and the current version of CMSF. Perhaps some additions may be required when NATO is released.

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I know, but he's got a beginner's FAQ as well :). Just thinking that a collaboration might be more fruitful. Of course the choice is entirely yours.

Just saw that he had that on the repository! While aimed at the CMx1 player, it has lots of good stuff. So I think some collaboration would be good and maybe a form a larger version of the FAQ.

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Well, there is the CMSF FAQ by Stikkypixie and myself, I also am still working on the community strategy guide. The only reason why that wasn't published 'officially' was because of the lack of a good example of a mechanised assault.

I would be happy to join forces and make a mega guide with chapters dedicated to FAQ, glossary, newbie tutorial, basic info and strategy if that is what people want. I have a very nice, professional looking cover page waiting to go and I can provide a certain amount of graphic design to finish it off.

Would anyone be prepared to do something like that? I could finish the strategy guide, provide the FAQ and glossary and do the graphic design, we would need volunteers to finish and compile a basic info and tutorial chapter. I suppose the info would also be relevant to CM:A as well so we could have a cross game mega guide :D

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i would be happy to help! what do you need specifically? info based on tests? guidelines on the basics of game play? graphs? I have been doing some basic testing already. the first one has been on how fast vehicles can actually go over the different terrain comparatively...

contact me with specifics needed: plootens(at)comcast.net

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Good ideas, guys. I'll be honest upfront and say I'm not volunteering to do any work just yet. I'm a newbie with CMSF, and am still learning, but did want to make a quick point about gameplay choice...

When in PBEM or WEGO mode one must be very wary when issuing direct targeting orders, especially to AFVs with limited supplies of HE shells. This ammo is really quickly used if an AFV is left firing for even 1 full minute.

I have started to use the real time gameplay mode. Using frequent pauses to issue orders; particularly targetting AFVs to fire HE rounds into buildings where suspected/spotted AT teams or other infantry lurk. In these situations just a few (2-5?) well placed HE is often enough to render the people inside not keen on shooting back for some time.

Hope this observation is of some use.

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