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Real life or gamey? (newbe question)


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Your faced with the task of taking a town with mech infantry (Strykers, Bradleys, BMPs, whatever.). The civilian density is medium. Is it appropriate to start unloading with your 12.7mm or 25mm guns on the buildings in the town to surpress them or is that gamey (as in real life there would be some concern for the civilians -- or at least I think you would)?

I realize this is a bit of a noob question, but nevertheless, I'm asking! :D

Bob

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Your faced with the task of taking a town with mech infantry (Strykers, Bradleys, BMPs, whatever.). The civilian density is medium. Is it appropriate to start unloading with your 12.7mm or 25mm guns on the buildings in the town to surpress them or is that gamey (as in real life there would be some concern for the civilians -- or at least I think you would)?

I realize this is a bit of a noob question, but nevertheless, I'm asking! :D

Bob

Well if you are a US player you can arguably flatten the place and sort it out later.

People from other armies that are constrained by the International Criminal Court have to tread more warily.

Having said that, killing the local population is not a good way to “win hearts and minds” and that tends to be important once the conventional forces move on and the next wave actually have to build a relationship with the inhabitants.

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Well if you are a US player you can arguably flatten the place and sort it out later.

People from other armies that are constrained by the International Criminal Court have to tread more warily.

Having said that, killing the local population is not a good way to “win hearts and minds” and that tends to be important once the conventional forces move on and the next wave actually have to build a relationship with the inhabitants.

Major, I resent that :-)

Our ROE are some of the most annoying that any army in history have had to put up with. In general a literal application of them, would allow an enemy to, in full view of our troops, unload his magazine firing on them, lay down his weapon when the ammunition depletes,and walk away to buy more, as a literal interpretation prevents us from firing on unarmed people...luckily we can avoid that sometimes depending upon who is interpreting the ROE.

This exact situation has happened many times though...and it is hopeful that if the current situations ever are repeated, a better way can be found to deal with enemy who attempt to just blend in and become civilians as soon as it is disadvantageous to them to be a fighter.

Just my 2 cents :-)

Mostly what you said, I agree with though.

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As an active duty US Army infantry officer, my 2 cents are this:

1. CMSF is a game thats is designed to simulate modern ground combat. Not counterinsurgency operations. There is a significant difference. You can play a scenario in a COIN environment of course, but the game is designed to simulate ground combat and thus thats all it can do. In other words, you cant simulate a sit down with local elders, you cant simulate a presence patrol, you cant simulate building a school to win hearts and minds. It says right there in the game guide that civilians are abstracted simply to model the ability of the unconventional forces to blend in (ie disappear). But thats it. If the game were meant to simulate civilians on the battlefield, you would see civilians and there would be penalties for killing them. Anyone who designs a scenario and tells you in the brief that you cant kill civilians just isnt getting that. Yes you can preserve structures, the understanding being the civs will return. But beyond that, worrying about civ casualties is a none issue. IN GAME TERMS.

2. Major Mark just lost MAJOR points with me regarding his comment re US ability/habit to support and follow the ROE. Stop watching youtube and the media. US forces are in contact a thousand times a day across the planet. Yes there are times when the ROE is violated and it makes the headlines. But the percentage of violations to the number of troops in contact at any given time is actually very, very small.

3. Sierra, the ROE is not annoying, its just a fact of life. And if the enemy has time to empty a magazine in your direction and lay his weapon down then 1, you need to retrain your soldiers on the actual ROE or 2, you need to send them all back to the range so they can relearn how to shoot. Thousands of armed insurgents have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan because they pointed a weapon at US forces and pulled the trigger, usually with little or no effect other than they died a horrible, violent death. Thats why they all resort to IEDs and long distance attacks, the ROE is clear and easily understood by most. Yes, joe is going to bi%^& about it. He will and does Bit%^ about everything under the sun. Like any leader you have to take the complaining under advisement, listen to it but also weigh other facts and figures to get a clear picture of whats actually going on.

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A question for you guys: in a non-coin conflict like the one CMSF portrays, would the ROE be 'relaxed' regarding civilian casualties? For example, if you know there are enemy in a village also containing civilians, would you still have to wait to be fired on first, or would you flatten the place with arty/heavy weapons. Or maybe use something in between, like a real life 'target light' command?

I like to role-play the scenarios, but if I waited to be fired upon in every situation I'd lose every mission instead of the usual three quarters :)

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jnt, I agree with what you said. What I said, was not that the insurgents have time, but was rather that a literal interpretation of the ROE, or, I should say, a "Legalistic" interpretation, would allow that type of situation. US forces have shown amazing restraint, it is only the fact that on one-in-a-million times when there is a slip,that makes headlines. It is not "newsworthy" when we do the job correctly,in the other 999,999 situations. I have personally been in situations where our forces were specifically not authorized to engage, simply due to the fact that the possibility of collateral damage was too great, never mind that we had clear view of hostile intent.

And the Major is a good guy, as well as a serving officer of an ally. I am sure he meant his comment tongue-in-cheek.

Hairy Pie, in a hot war, usually the civilian population does its best to clear out of the area. The ROE is not really relaxed, it is what it is, but there is less chance of civilian presence, so the ROE specifically designed to protect them, would not come into play nearly as often.

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As an active duty US Army infantry officer, my 2 cents are this:

2. Major Mark just lost MAJOR points with me regarding his comment re US ability/habit to support and follow the ROE. Stop watching youtube and the media. US forces are in contact a thousand times a day across the planet. Yes there are times when the ROE is violated and it makes the headlines. But the percentage of violations to the number of troops in contact at any given time is actually very, very small.

Well mate whilst it was mostly tongue in cheek I can tell you (not from watching YouTube but actual observation and reading post activity reports during a couple of rotations through both AOs) from both some time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan that sometimes (note: not always which is in line with my the intent of “arguably” in the initial response) US forces were able to use overwhelming firepower to preserve their guys lives (at a sizable cost to the local population) whilst we were not allowed access to the same assets due to our legal constraints and had to work out other options.

Similarly I’ve seen UK forces also restrained to say a “show of force” overflight (low pass lots of noise, no ordinance dropped) whereas in an American scenario the same “show of force” overflight was in fact a bomb run.

But certainly yes CM:SF is designed for the conventional land warfare stage and not the COIN type operations that tend to follow.

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Regarding Smash's original question, I find that it's rarely necessary to recon by fire so long as you take your time hunting or crawling to good observation points.

It's frustrating to play this way as it requires a lot of patience and accepting that very little may happen for the first half of the scenario other than "recon and observe." But, you can at least get a "?" if not actual ID of a lot of enemy units this way, and THEN you blow em to hell. As a Brit I enjoy being very economical with ammo lol.

Admittedly, I may get 3-4 KIA and some WIA this way. But, compared to killing 100+ red team, that seems "realistic." We DO have thousands of Allied killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, so getting thro scenarios with 0 KIA, while a fine objective, I don't see as necessarily reflecting RL when you are trying to reduce civilian casualties. I can't help but think that if we were doing this in an Anglo country with Anglo civilians we'd be a LOT more carreful cos they "look like us."

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Personally, I think it is ridiculous for armies to be burdened with ICC constraints. War never has been, and never will be, a civilized act, and for one side to play by rules,while the other does not, may be politically correct, may be what we are supposed to SAY...but it is a fantasy, and a dangerous one at that...if those with political power are left with the easy belief that wars can be fought "nicely" there will be more wars to fight, not fewer.

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Oh, and Smash: Here's something I posted to help another newbie. Hope it's useful:

One of the reasons the CM2 game has a linited appeal compared to mass market is that it is the opposite of an exciting action-packed wrist-twitch game. The Major and others can tell you about RL tactics, while I just use "gamer common sense" in terms of playing the game:

CMSF usually requires a lot of patience especially in the first 10-20 minutes. Firstly, (unfortunately) recon troops (and snipers) seem to have no particular spotting or hiding advantage. Yes, that sucks, but there are so many other super features, and hey, it's a game. So, you use em as recon cos of their label, but they do not have some form of invisibility shield. Also, generally, the last thing you want to do is race vehicles around to do recon as they will just get killed.

The first turns are critical. As an experienced player, I have found it most successful to start thus:

1) ensure most units esp AFV's are hidden from enemy POV.

2) move "recon"/inf teams using HUNT with multiple waypoints maybe 10-50 meters apart depending on the map and a 15-30 sec pause at each waypoint to allow time for spotting. (Your biggest enemy is/are enemy ATGM's (anti-tank guided missiles) which can kill just about anything you have at long range.)

3) So, the name of this game is ID the ATGM's and kill them (preferably with mortars and airpower) BEFORE exposing any important vehicles like tanks

4) Only after you have established as much as possible a safe zone clear of ATGM's should you bring up your AFV's like tanks (which I find rather brittle and usually are only useful (in CMSF) as heavily armored HE chuckers).

5) Use vehicular direct fire weapons (AFV's) to demolish enemy positions as much as possible BEFORE sending in any inf.

6) NEVER, NEVER rush into an unknown/building or area (unless it's been under observation for several minutes by many, many eyes with binocs - you acquire a feel for what's safe to do and what isn't with experience).

There's lots more that comes with experience, but the above imo should keep you alive long enuff to become a vet.

Note that once you see a "?" enemy sign, you should leave as many units as practicable just observing that location. It can take several minutes of nothing but observing (and that can suck if you're used to action games), but your units will start to ID the enemy units.

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Regarding Smash's original question, I find that it's rarely necessary to recon by fire so long as you take your time hunting or crawling to good observation points.

It's frustrating to play this way as it requires a lot of patience and accepting that very little may happen for the first half of the scenario other than "recon and observe." But, you can at least get a "?" if not actual ID of a lot of enemy units this way, and THEN you blow em to hell. As a Brit I enjoy being very economical with ammo lol.

Admittedly, I may get 3-4 KIA and some WIA this way. But, compared to killing 100+ red team, that seems "realistic." We DO have thousands of Allied killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, so getting thro scenarios with 0 KIA, while a fine objective, I don't see as necessarily reflecting RL when you are trying to reduce civilian casualties. I can't help but think that if we were doing this in an Anglo country with Anglo civilians we'd be a LOT more carreful cos they "look like us."

I agree mostly with this idea. A couple of notes...the KIA in Iraq/Afghanistan have been in nearly a decade of war (Afgh) and only slightly less (Iraq).

In modern war, it has become expected to have few casualties, but then, it has also been mostly fighting far less equipped enemies. If we really went toe to toe with an enemy army, equipped to at least try to fight back, there would be casualties.

When I play this game, I usually will not area fire artillery in a city, and will usually only fire when I actually ID an enemy. Even with this constraint, I seldom lose very many in the "uncon" scenarios, lose more obviously against enemy heavy forces. The advantage in a wargame is mostly that you already know all of those "red"markers are enemy, while in the real situation, it takes more than that to know.

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Good mini-tutorial there Erwin..

A couple of add ons..

If you see tracers (and if hard to see, download one of the mods that make them easier to spot) pay attention, backtrack where the fire is coming from...many times you will take fire without having any contacts seen, especially if your units have been moving,or looking in a different direction.

Target Arcs improve spotting, and keep your units aimed in one direction,improving the odds of finding an enemy in that direction, but at a cost to other directions. It is good to overlap target arcs, and make sure to have at least some units, covering all approaches visually.

The tanks are quite powerful tools, but not really able/designed to trade shots sitting still. Major Gibson actually has a very good visual of good armored tactics, and works quite well.

And lastly, most of the scenarios were designed by people who on average will think like yourself, so it is a safe guess to just think what you would do, if you were the enemy...don't discount other approaches, but that is usually the best starting point.

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My apologies to Major Mark. I thought he was trashing US ROE standards and adherence, rather than making a comment on frustrations Allies have with ICC. I didnt realize they operated under different rules. I always thought ISAF rules were ISAF rules, for example. Didnt realize some nationalities upped the standard so to speak. Good to know.

Listen guys, if you want to roleplay, buy a roleplaying game.

CMSF is about a shooting war in which people shoot, a lot. If you want to enjoy the game, play it as such. Don't get bent out of shape or frustrated when you are trying to get the system to do something it can't.

Its obvious I dont mind speaking my mind, so apologies to anyone who might be offended by my rather blunt infantry approach. Just button your hatches and ride it out.

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I suppose if you really wanted to try and replicate COBs (civilians on the battlefield) you could populate a map with a large number of uncon fighters with the lowest possible morale and material. Then only have your units engage when you have positive ID of an enemy unit. If most of the uncon units survive than you can say you acheived your objective by displaying remarkable restraint. Objectives and victory conditions would have to be terrain based, but you could possibly get the feel for having to preserve life that way. Of course, due to game mechanics you would have to micro manage every unit to ensure your AI squads didnt blaze away at every enemy they saw.

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....

Its obvious I dont mind speaking my mind, so apologies to anyone who might be offended by my rather blunt infantry approach. Just button your hatches and ride it out.

It is good to have people, especially officers, who will speak their minds. Nothing to apologize for. Air Assault here, and pretty blunt as well.

Ron

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2. Major Mark just lost MAJOR points with me regarding his comment re US ability/habit to support and follow the ROE. Stop watching youtube and the media. US forces are in contact a thousand times a day across the planet. Yes there are times when the ROE is violated and it makes the headlines. But the percentage of violations to the number of troops in contact at any given time is actually very, very small.

In the light of this:

Well if you are a US player you can arguably flatten the place and sort it out later.

People from other armies that are constrained by the International Criminal Court have to tread more warily.

Not to be disrespectful but I have to agree with the Major to some degree.

The US is has NEVER and will probably NEVER let a US serviceman face an International Criminal Court for warcrimes in den Haag. Neither will Russia or China and in truth Britain was "immune" for a long period as well.

Knowing that you have the backing of your nation when you decide to be "better safe than sorry" regarding the lives of the men under your command will let you do things that commanders from other countries never ever would (as that would most certainly mean a trip to Haag, all cheered on by the very nation that you fought for).

That said I think that opening up with larger weaponsystems in urban areas in CM is largely dependent on enemy concentration of force. If there are tons of hostiles in a building then blowing it to pieces shouldn't be a problem. Advancing down the steet and suppressing every building that could contain enemies, calling in arty on places where you don't want the enemy to be and so forth IS a bit gamey. That said it's important to play the game as one feel provides the most fun.

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Notwithstanding the arguments about who, in reality, follows the ROE - the simplest way to acknowledge the presence of civilians in CM:SF is to use the Preserve function as an integral part of the VC. That way, if you demolish a structure, you lose VPs.

I had always presumed that was why, cunningly, the creators of CM:SF had included it.

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While I'm not liable to be hauled in front of a an ICC tribunal just for playing this game, I find that I do "roleplay" to an extent. I will not fire on town centers "just in case" if I'm Blue. If I'm Red, well, then I'm a bit looser with the big guns. And over in CM:A, if I'm Soviet, the town gets flattened.

This is behavior I've noticed in myself, not behavior I planned on. The power of suggestion/propoganda.

Ken

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The game does not per se have civilians in it ( ie. pixelcivvies moving around the map) so any consideration of civilian issues is including victory conditions to simulate such issues.

Likewise, there is no pixel CNN or media following your pixeltruppen around to report your 'disregard for civillian casualties' and that is the real issue. Morality aside, it is very bad press to be the side committing atrocities or perceived atrocities.

ROE are not set to represent the moral high ground - they exist because of political reasons. Seeing video of your troops shooting unarmed civilians doesn't play well to public opinion at home, opinion among populations of your allies and is political capital for your enemies.

Most of these considerations are not factors in the game. If a person wants to play with such political correct baggage, then do so. But to consider it gamey is it is not played that way is not supported by the game engine per se (though it would be fun to have pixelmedia in the game chasing after your units and their presence would give or take away VPs based on what your forces are doing while in their LOS).

Remember, in WW2, both sides bombed the crap out of civilian populations centers and it was 'accepted' conduct of war for that time period. No one batted an eye.

The 'aversion to casualties' is a construct of late 20th century western democracies - aversion to civilian casualties, aversion to too many friendly troop casualties. Once can argue whether such notions have any role in a tactical level wargame like CMSF.

Gamey is what you (and your pbem opponent) make it. Play how you like to play.

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Most of these considerations are not factors in the game. If a person wants to play with such political correct baggage, then do so. But to consider it gamey is it is not played that way is not supported by the game engine per se (though it would be fun to have pixelmedia in the game chasing after your units and their presence would give or take away VPs based on what your forces are doing while in their LOS).

And there was much lamentation from the mortar crews as smoke requests started pouring in even during the calmest of moments.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reeling it back in a bit, remember, in the CMSF backstory, Syrian-backed terrorists just nuked a bunch of white people, the Assad regime has refused to disavow it and their armed forces (and populace) are resisting actively to the NATO smackdown. Media reaction I suspect would be more like the early reporting from 2002 Afghanistan where the press actually seemed gleeful at reporting the devastation being wrought on Taliban forces (and presumably their hideaways, including buildings) by the B-52s.

So I suspect the Western ROE in the above case reverts to standard US policy in 1945: if your cute little gingerbread town flies white bedsheets out all its windows, we assume you surrender. But as soon as our men take fire, we will ****ing annihilate the entire place. Don't bother whining that it's SS fanatics and they had guns -- you should have talked them into leaving or else told us where they were. They are you and we have been forced to come here because of you. Talk to the hand, dirtbags.

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