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Tactics Tutorials for CMSF


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About Fallujah, the SOP was effectively to dispose of fortified houses with satchels explosive if on hand and or a tank first and if that was not possible, a plane was called to drop a 500 pd LGB even at danger close, since a ring had to be kept around the house to prevent them to get in another one. Once blown, it happened that one guy high on drugs still managed to get out of the rubbles to be shot and one even raised one arm, being trapped to throw a grenade !, that to say how they fought

The main problem, however was, that the guys getting into a house to clear it had no warning that it was occupied, besides sometimes fresh relics found in a outhouse. Once they were engaged in the house, the enemy drew fire on them pinning and or trapping them. The guys had to back up, if they were unable to keep a higher volume of fire in order to suppress and move to a commanding spot. Unfortunately it happened that one guy or two were trapped inside and pinned down besides being wounded and worse killed. Only, when the unscathed guy, the WIA and KIA were gotten out, the house could be blown up.

I have looked at the town attack. Pretty good job done, for the videos, besides the tactic shown.

I have however a remark. In RL we can order a mortar and or artillery and even a plane on target, without actually seeing it, as long as it is not danger close or after having been cleared in doing so (the guy has even to give its name !). In CMSF the FO or an SL has to have a LOS to the objective. So, we have to move them preferably on higher spot or in a place with a good field of fire. That is not always easy to be done depending on the time it takes and or of the exposure that has to be taken to get them, there.

So, when we want to call a curtain of smoke, besides the timing that has to be looked at closely – troops ready to jump from the start line, once the smoke is effective, wind speed and direction- we are more than often unable to have the FO targeting the right place since he is seeing it partially or not at all.

That is why, I am not using smoke barrage, mortars, artillery as they should be used, like in RL, since CMSF has a limit which is the LOS. I could have thought that if a forward squad had a good view of an objective, its SL could relay the coordinate to the FO and have him to fire within 3 to 5 minutes at the most. Instead the SL is obliged to order the shots and it takes longer than the FO delay. By the time the shots are coming the squad is usually engaged in a fire fight and no longer available for the assault.

We then have to apply tactics, due to the time usually left, without the mortars and artillery assets, particularly when the landscape does not provide any sufficient heights.

Could you give us some advices for CMSF, taking these facts in account, knowing that in RL that would be only done if there is no alternative?

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Erwin:

HHmm, I guess I would ask in return what good is an asset that is saved but never used? You dont get points at games end for saved ordnance. If you are just moving a few meters across a street, two grenades should suffice. Depending on wind conditions you should have enough time to cross the entire platoon sequentially or simultaneously (just at different crossing points that are concealed by the same smoke). That gives you three opportunities per platoon to use smoke to conceal movement. If you are moving father than just across a street then you need to call for arty or mtr smoke. As to the second question, smoke only offers concealment. If I see smoke being used in a street or piece of open ground I usually automatically assume it is being used to conceal movement and will fire what assets I have using area fire. If I pour enough fire into the area, particularly a funnel like a city street, I am bound to produce casualties. That is why it is so important to use smoke in conjunction with suppressing fires. I have also seen units use smoke as a deception. Toss a couple smoke grenades out one side of a building, wait for it to build, then run out the opposite side. But that usually only works once. ;-)

Snake eye:

I am very familiar with the particular fight you are talking about and I think it is one of those cases of sh&^ happens in war. Perhaps that particular squad got a little over aggressive and entered that particular house before conditions were set. But like I said earlier I cant really comment on that, I wasn't there.

Not sure what this comment means would appreciate you expanding on it: "Pretty good job done, for the videos, besides the tactic shown."

Actually, in my experience, CMSF arty rules are not that far off from reality. Artillery is anything but responsive unless you are working off a timeline where they have prearranged fires that are triggered by a time hack or code word. Which I havent seen anyone use since before 9/11. And its not the math or the gun crews that keep it slow. Its the communication piece, the clearances, and the checks and double checks that take place. Over ten minutes is not that uncommon a wait for fires that are called on the spot. It can really get ridiculous when they have to go wake the battalion commander back at the FOB and he has to come in the TOC and get briefed on the situation before he will provide clearance to fire. 5-6 minutes in CMSF is a luxury. This is another reason why having a PLAN is a good idea. If you know when/where you think you might use arty/mtrs you can plan ahead to get your FO/FIST in a location where he can do the call for fire.

A squad leader does not have a direct line to the FO. When the PL is calling for fire it is assumed he is using the FO that is assigned to his platoon and stays attached to his hip, so he is a little quicker than the SL. When the SL calls for fire, his data gets passed to the PL or the PL's RTO and then it goes to the FO. Who in most cases, has to send it to the Lt. FSO who is with the company commander. That entire process takes minutes not seconds. A detailed call for fire can take a minute or so just to call in from one party to another. When you consider it goes from SL to PL to FO to FSO to FSC(bn) to the arty unit you can begin to imagine the times that are required and why CMSF replicated them the way they do. Its frustrating in RL too, believe me.

As far as spotting goes, yes I think this is a flaw in the game. As a commander, if I want to shell the enemy's rear I should be able to do that. But look at it this way, due to the intricacies of the modern battlefield and the propensity for it to be populated by friendly units or civilians that the calling unit doesnt know about, no one in the US Army today can call for unobserved fire. At least not in Afghanistan and I imagine not in Iraq after about 2005 or so. The likelihood of a friendly fire incident or civilian casualties is too great. So next time you are frustrated because you have to get a spotter to observe your target pretend you are cussing ISAF rather than BF.

Advice for CMSF: place a high priority on placing your arty spotters in an advantageous spot. Use the full range of options for call for fire. Your spotter might not be able to call for the perfect linear target but if an area fire or point target will achieve close to the same effect, use it. Use subordinate leaders for spotters but plan on the extra time. Consider using area suppressive fires and conducting the movement without smoke obscuration. Use vehicle smoke dischargers. Of course in real life you would not do that because smoke dischargers are not made for use with friendly troops nearby but if the game limits you in one area, exploit it in another.

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jnt62006

I've found the information you have provided thus far (along with videos) very useful. Due to lack of any formal training, my knowledge of tactics etc was patchy, good in some areas, non-existent in others. Your blog is filling in those gaps for me. I particularly found your writing on how to determine the best avenue of approach extremely useful (based on enemy fires crossing each path).

Using your planning considerations playing the Task Force Thunder campaign, I managed to pass the second to last mission (Heads Up) where you have to clear urban high rises and slums, while sustaining only two wounded (out of over 150 men) and winning the mission in half the allotted time.

Keep up the good work mate.

After watching your videos, I do have a couple of tips for you that I have learnt purely from a gaming perspective that I feel would be used in real life. You can correct me if I am wrong:

1. When assaulting buildings, I find it always best to split squads and send a fireteam in. The advantage of this over the assault command is that you can control the bounds yourself, and also there is a bug with assault where if one team gets suppressed, the entire squad gets suppressed.

Too many times in the game (especially with some of MikeyD's missions) have I sent an entire squad in to a building and found a tank,IFV, or reverse slope position waiting on the other side of the building. :)

2. If you give the fireteam an area fire command on the building floor you are assaulting, they will throw grenades in through the windows as they approach. This makes it considerably safer on the off chance the building has not been suppressed and enemies still are inside.

These of course are in game tips that have no reflection on your tactical ability.

Again, thanks for your hard work. Looking forward to more real life templates.

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Dave,

Thanks for the tips. I am aware of the benefits of moving by teams. But I rarely employ it if I feel the target building is adequately suppressed. (Has a lot to do with me not having the patience to hit the pause button and give individual commands, I have never liked micromanaging.)

Try to establish your supporting positions at 90 degree angles to your assaulting element. That is normally what happens in RL because it maximizes time on target yet minimizes the danger to the assault force as they advance laterally across your supporting unit's front. It will also cut down on those nasty surprises using your target building for cover. But then in RL you're going to hear a BMP sitting at idle behind a building from a few blocks away. ;-)

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Dave,

Thanks for the tips. I am aware of the benefits of moving by teams. But I rarely employ it if I feel the target building is adequately suppressed. (Has a lot to do with me not having the patience to hit the pause button and give individual commands, I have never liked micromanaging.)

Try to establish your supporting positions at 90 degree angles to your assaulting element. That is normally what happens in RL because it maximizes time on target yet minimizes the danger to the assault force as they advance laterally across your supporting unit's front. It will also cut down on those nasty surprises using your target building for cover. But then in RL you're going to hear a BMP sitting at idle behind a building from a few blocks away. ;-)

I tend to hate losing any of my virtual guys more than I hate micromanaging, so much so if any are wounded I will rush a fireteam or vehicle to their position to perform buddy aid and security.

Good advice on the 90 degree angle, I'll try to position my assaults with that in mind. It's not always possible though.

In your video you called down hefty artillery that was pretty danger close. I imagine they wouldn't call that down that close IRL, right? AFAIK 155mm has a 150m kill radius.

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Well it was 105mm which are like pop guns in the arty world. Little bigger than 81mm Mtrs and actually smaller than the 120s you find in mech and striker units. But they are easily airmobiled and parachute dropped so the Army keeps them in the light units. I did call it on a little danger close though in that environment the concern would be stray or short rounds rather than effects of the bombardment which would be absorbed by the structures. But it served to illustrate how to use indirect to isolate locations and suppress suspected enemy positions.

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I found this somewhere else on this board. Thanks to whomever posted this:

The term "danger close" is included in the call for fire when there are friendly troops or positions within a prescribed distance of the target, specifically 600 meters for artillery or mortars and 750 meters for naval gunfire. This is simply a warning and not a restriction to both the maneuver commander and the fire direction center to take proper precautions. Minimum safe distance (MSD) is defined as the distance in meters from the intended center of impact at which a specific degree of risk and vulnerability will not be exceeded with a 99% assurance. MSDs allow for the maximum use of indirect fire while ensuring the safety of friendly troops. MSD's and not "danger close" distances should be used when in close contact or as a planning figure when echeloning fires. Minimum safe distances are computed by adding the maximum pattern radius plus three circular error probable. The 1,2,3,4,5 "rule of thumb" is a good guide. This translates to:

100 meters - M203 & 40mm

200 meters- 60mm mortars

300 meters - 81mm

400 meters - 105 mm

500 meters - 155 mm/naval gunfire

Nothing contained in MSDs precludes the furnishing of close fire support to maneuver combat elements. The supported maneuver commander submitting the fire request is responsible for the decision to call for fires when those fires are less than minimum safe distances to friendly positions. The warning "danger close" is given by the requester to indicate friendly troops are within danger close distances to the target. A recommended techniques is to initiate fires at MSDs and to then "creep" fires onto the target.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/indirect-comp.htm

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Jnt62006,

Thanks for the updates and movie!

The video coupled with the text really makes a lot of difference. It did make me realize at which points I always SNAFU my troops hehe.

You show good discipline and patience while capturing towns. I tend to rush after the first line of buildings, losing ample man in unlucky alleys and street crossings. But perhaps that might also be due to the imposed time limits in many scenario's.

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The "problem" with the mech stuff is the map sizes.

If you are talking about armd spt to MOUT then fine but a rural versions of the above three are impacted by the map size limitation.

Bounding overwatch, etc. only works for a bound or two and usually you are already inside the range envelope for ATGMs and tank main guns.

If you want an hand with "non US" variants happy to chip in.

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You are right of course with max ranges of 2 to 3 Ks for most main guns and up to 4 or more ATGMs it would take a massive, flat map to tackle maneuver outside of the effective ranges of most of the gun systems. But most of the planet isnt that flat. Even the great open flat expanses of the southern iraqi desert was deceiving. There were elevation changes, they just occurred over kilometers and were so subtle a man driving at 30mph wouldnt even be aware of them. Until he all of the sudden found himself among a crap load of enemy armor (73 Easting being a good example).

The best you can usually hope for in even slightly rolling terrain is perhaps a klick or two of standoff. There are plenty of maps available in CMSF that are around 3km square and you could drive around and never find an enemy unit (provided there was only one to find). ;-)

So I dont agree. Maneuver on a map thats 3x3 can be just as challenging and enjoyable (perhaps more so) than one thats 7x7 or larger.

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How about a mechanised assault into an Urban area? Seems to crop up in the game often. ;)

I want to see how you use vehicles to support your infantry, especially against an ATGM threat.

I tend to have a bunch of infantry to use as my eyes, then a vehicle in a hull down position with trees as cover, pop up, get one to fire off some rounds, then reverse back down the slope. Hopefully luring an ATGM shot that my infantry can see to destroy with artillery or Javelins. I prefer Javelins, since it doesn't give the enemy time to reposition (not a problem against the AI).

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Gibson-

Thanks for the offer of assistance. I might actually need an opponent for some of these more complex missions, the AI just isnt up to it. I am guessing by your signature you are or were active duty/reserves, so perhaps you have a good idea of how red forces doctrinally fight and would be willing to help out in that regard.

Dave-

AFVs in urban terrain just give you mobile gun platforms that can serve as moving SBF assets. They stay well back and dont move forward until the infantry encounters something they might need them for, like crossing a wide danger area or reducing an enemy strongpoint. Urban is an infantry fight 110% of the time. It is fairly easy to suppress likely enemy positions with direct/indirect fires while you bring up your vehicles and have them perform a task. But they should never be in the vanguard and should never be a part of your street clearing technique, more of an enhancer or supplement to your infantry. Now the first thing you or some other smart guy out there is going to say is "But hey what about Iraq, I saw Brad and M1 in the citys all the time." And you would be correct. But it comes down to threat. In CMSF the syrians are all fairly well trained soldiers or (unbelievably) well trained insurgents with access to some very powerful ATGMs. I have yet to read or speak to anyone who came under AT-x fire while in Iraq. The heaviest they could bring to bear were always some of the deadlier RPGs. So it was common practice to use a bradley as a street sweeper or drive right up to an objective building, blast the hell out of it and then dismount your infantry on the door step. Cant do that in CMSF can you? ;-)

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Yes an "active duty", in your lingo, armoured O4 (qualified O5 but awaiting the magic letter). :)

Have served as an S2 while at our equivalent of your War College so happy to play "red".

Some time ago I did something similar but in a "comic" / "graphic novel" format:

http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=82081&highlight=comic

Unfortunately, time (and the ever changing simulation, multiple builds meaning results sometimes weren't consistent) made finishing it difficult.

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AFVs in urban terrain just give you mobile gun platforms that can serve as moving SBF assets. They stay well back and dont move forward until the infantry encounters something they might need them for, like crossing a wide danger area or reducing an enemy strongpoint. Urban is an infantry fight 110% of the time. It is fairly easy to suppress likely enemy positions with direct/indirect fires while you bring up your vehicles and have them perform a task. But they should never be in the vanguard and should never be a part of your street clearing technique, more of an enhancer or supplement to your infantry. Now the first thing you or some other smart guy out there is going to say is "But hey what about Iraq, I saw Brad and M1 in the citys all the time." And you would be correct. But it comes down to threat. In CMSF the syrians are all fairly well trained soldiers or (unbelievably) well trained insurgents with access to some very powerful ATGMs. I have yet to read or speak to anyone who came under AT-x fire while in Iraq. The heaviest they could bring to bear were always some of the deadlier RPGs. So it was common practice to use a bradley as a street sweeper or drive right up to an objective building, blast the hell out of it and then dismount your infantry on the door step. Cant do that in CMSF can you? ;-)

This is pretty much how I use them. Usually in keyhole positions down streets in order to cut the town into sections. I then use infantry to clear the buildings on either side, then move up the IFVs or Tanks. This serves to isolate parts of the town and enable my Vehicles to help overcome strongpoints, like you said. I also rely on them heavily to create breach points, since going through doors or around walls strikes me as a very bad idea.

I would love to see proper doctrine in action though.

The only time I can think of armour and IFVs being unsupported in Iraq was the Thunder Run into Baghdad, but that was up wide sweeping highways, and yeah there were no serious ATGM threats.

Also, I believe the insurgents in CMSF represent reserve army units in civilian clothes, or well trained Fedayeen. Think Hezbollah. That explains their combat discipline and weaponry compared to the Iraqi insurgents.

I did a whole bunch of tests a while back to test how armour in CMSF would fare in a Thunder Run scenario. I put them up against the poorest equipped insurgents. Conclusion was the Brads got utterly wasted, but the newer M1s, ie M1A2 SEP etc were pretty much invulnerable to the RPG-7.

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Trying to decide what to do next, looking for input.

COA1: Mech defense

COA2: Mech attack

COA3: Mech meeting engagement

Open to other suggestions as well.

I, for one, would love to see your tips for a Mech attack over a large open area and how you go about dealing with hidden RPG and AT weapons at range and what would be the best way to approach such a situation. JMHO. Really apreciate what you've done so far and your taking the time to detail it all. Thank you!

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A new tutorial up. Quick, down and dirty, with accompanying video. I didn't go much into the why of what I did in this one. Hopefully guys will come forward with questions/comments and we can discuss them in the forum.

http://cmsfwarchest.blogspot.com/2010/12/tutorial-30-stryker-company-in-attack.html

Excellent. Will check it out shortly.

I also like to do what you do regarding BLUEFOR. There is a very challenging and excellent British scenario called 'Cain and Abel'. After starting with the Brits, getting absolutely trashed, I decided to change the scenario with the equivalent US Army units. Made quite a difference. :D

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Excellent. Will check it out shortly.

I also like to do what you do regarding BLUEFOR. There is a very challenging and excellent British scenario called 'Cain and Abel'. After starting with the Brits, getting absolutely trashed, I decided to change the scenario with the equivalent US Army units. Made quite a difference. :D

I'm playing this scenario right now against in a PBEM, hope my opponent doesn't get any tips :)

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