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ATGM ambush scneario - A few questions *spoiler alert*


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Hi all,

I am fairly new to CMSF, but not to the CM series. I am really amazed at the lethality and range of effective fire in CMSF - but that is all good.

In the aforementioned scenario, I am struggling to get past the first few turns without loosing at least 1 Bradley. You essentially begin the scenarios in LOS and range of ATGMs and this leads me to ask a few questions.

I am pretty certain that if I just target the likely places for ATGMs and start blasting away from the get-go that I would resolve this problem. But this seems a bit gamey to me. I mean, do the US forces just plaster anything that *might* be a possible site without any regard to the ROE and to the presence of civilians?

2) When you send a squad into a Bradley to get a Javelin, there is also what I assume to be a reload there as well. Can you take both the Javelin and some reloads at the same time?

3) One of the big differences I personally am struggling with from the previous CMs is that you have many less personnel on the ground to accomplish the mission. I keep wishing I had twice as many troopers (I don't need any more Bradleys) to accomplish the mission.

4) My number one question though is this: Why did the US quit using/deploying small diameter mortars with its troopers. I mean, I would give up half of my Javelins in exchange for some 81mm mortar sections. Especially if there were reloads in the Bradleys. Al of these slightly reverse-slope or key-hole ATGMs would be easier to deal with if I could drop some mortars to suppress.

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At the start of that scenario just "Fast" your vehicles behind some trees for some cover. You can get through it without losing a Brad but you have to assume that you KNOW that there are ATGMs out there before the battle begins.

Thanks. If I am reading between the lines overall. You have to always assume that there are ATGMs out there and place your vehicles accordingly, correct?

I would have thought that using the same approach as when you know there are German 88s out there would have led to a decent approach plan, but so far it hasn't been the boon I had hoped.

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Yes you can reload lots of stuff at the same time from a vehicle. It's one of the things many people do right at the set-up turn.

Only the Brits have on-map small mortars. The scale of CMSF is smaller than CM1 so no on-map mortars. In CM1 it was easy to KO guns with on-map mortars. (Loved the accurate Brit 3" mortar for example.) But, were mortars in CM1 unrealistic, anyone?

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I am pretty certain that if I just target the likely places for ATGMs and start blasting away from the get-go that I would resolve this problem. But this seems a bit gamey to me. I mean, do the US forces just plaster anything that *might* be a possible site without any regard to the ROE and to the presence of civilians?

ROE considerations aside, recon by fire (i.e. sending hot steel instead of men) has long been a time-honoured US tactic, fully levering their massive logistical advantage. I haven't played the scenario in question, but I assume it's in fairly open terrain so ROE isn't a huge inhibitor, right?

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OK a few pointers here. The first thing to keep in mind is that the restrictive ROE that you are concerned about would not be possible in the sort of fight that CMSF depicts. The invasion of Syria is basically a "hot" war or a "total" war type scenario. In other words, two conventional forces are facing off not quite like a WW2 situation but more like that than say Iraq or Afghanistan. And the problem you are facing with the ATGMs illustrates that more than you might think. ROE is not fixed, it changes as the situation changes. I think a lot of civilians misunderstand that. The ROE we used for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was much, much looser than the one we have today. It had to be because we had no idea exactly what kind of threat we would be facing. It turned out to be one that was more complex than we expected but were still able to handle (the added fedeyeen unconventionals). There were civilian casualties as a result of that comparatively unrestrictive ROE. As the war progressed and security levels increased we transitioned to stability/counterinsurgency operations and the ROE became more and more restrictive in order to safeguard civilians (the key here though is that it was done AFTER the threat to our own forces was considered to be fairly low - small arms and IEDs). If the US had faced a serious ATGM threat in Iraq or Afghanistan the transition to stability/counterinsurgency operations would have taken much longer. You just cant move freely on the battlefield with ATGMs around. IEDs are a big enough challenge to deal with but they are static and reactive. ATGMs can move, are proactive (in that they can be anywhere and fired at any time) and this would make the opposing commander want to hunt down every last one of them (and the skilled operators) before he could say the security level in his area was high enough that he could safely switch to stability operations.

What does this mean in game terms? Yes, from a US perspective, if you are in an ATGM environment and you expect ATGMs to be used against you then you utilize terrain, cover and concealment, and suppressive fires to mitigate the ATGM threat. Would I fire indiscriminately on a house or village? No. A woodline or a hilltop? Yes. If I had received fire from a farmhouse or village? Most probably. IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE THREAT. My priority is mission accomplishment and the safeguarding of my men. Not protecting civilians who dont clear out once heavy armor and the big guns start making an appearance. Please keep in mind, that is for a full on conventional fight, like the Syria scenario suggests (at least at the beginning). And in my analysis, as long as there is a viable ATGM threat, the kid gloves stay off and the steel gauntlet has to stay in place.

Explaining why you have less infantry than a WW2 scenario would take hours to fully explain. The short version is with four Bradleys in a platoon you have immensely increased the amount of firepower over a WW2 platoon. So you need fewer crew served weapons (none really) and that requires less people. At least half of the manpower in a WW2 rifle company basically just served machines (machineguns and mortars). Its still about half for a Bradley company but a Bradley company commander can call on 14 M240 machineguns, 14 25mm cannon, and 28 TOW missiles. The frustration you are experiencing is what the US commanders in Iraq experienced about a week into the invasion (the Army commanders anyway). With the apearance of the fedeyeen in the large cities they realized they had to clear them out in order to secure their supply lines. The plan had been to drive straight for Bahgdad and deliver a knock out blow, super quick, that would destabilize the entire country. The US planners had not planned on needing a lot of infantry to do this. So they pulled the 101st from its leap frogging air assault mission and the 82nd (which was in reserve but had been planning a drop on Baghdad International) and gave them the infantry intensive mission of clearing the cities. Eventually the bradley units had to start clearing large urban areas as well and their comparatively low number of infantry turned into a liability.

Units with Infantry Fighting Vehicles (Bradleys/Warriors/BMPs) are designed to fight other units with IFVs. A small infantry mortar (60mm/50mm) will have no effect on a IFV so there was no need to keep them in those unit's inventory. If you play a US light rifle company you will have access to the company's infantry mortars (60mm), albeit still offboard. I dont understand this really, as US forces fire their 60's in direct lay all the time so they should be represented in the game just as the british light mortar is, but in the long run it doesnt matter. Doctrinally the 60mm mortar is to be used as an indirect fire weapon and in game terms you cant have a unit on the board and then give it indirect fire orders. So I see why the designers did it that way. Personally, I would rather have them as an indirect asset anyway. Of course then you get into issues of spotter LOS vs reverse slope targets etc, etc. Bottom line, the infantry mortars are in foot infantry units because thats what they will fight (other foot infantry) and thats all the infantry mortars are really effective against.

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This is a tough scenario the first time through. The title of the scenario says it all but, at least for me, I didn't think that meant that you'd be in range from the get-go. Lesson learned. Anyway, a few thoughts:

I am pretty certain that if I just target the likely places for ATGMs and start blasting away from the get-go that I would resolve this problem. But this seems a bit gamey to me. I mean, do the US forces just plaster anything that *might* be a possible site without any regard to the ROE and to the presence of civilians?

I don't consider this gamey but you also have to be fast and get into the ballpark of where the ATGM is before it gets you. As a result, I think the better strategy -- as mentioned -- is to get into cover ASAP. The two hills on the left and right of the road are steep but provide a good vantage point and allow you to remain hull down. I used a combined arms approach: get your scouts on the hill, start to suppress the enemy or their suspect positions, and then crest the hill with the Brads and let their gun take care of the rest. The small arms fire won't do much damage. The M203s may get a few enemy soldiers but the real damage will occur when the Brads open up.

2) When you send a squad into a Bradley to get a Javelin, there is also what I assume to be a reload there as well. Can you take both the Javelin and some reloads at the same time?

Yes. When I take the Javelins, I tend to grab all three reloads and the launcher. Keep in mind, there is no "drop" command. So, once you pick them up you can put them down. So, make sure you're going to use them. For this scenario, I consider the Javs because there was no armor, vehicles or bunkers.

3) One of the big differences I personally am struggling with from the previous CMs is that you have many less personnel on the ground to accomplish the mission. I keep wishing I had twice as many troopers (I don't need any more Bradleys) to accomplish the mission.

Yes, the lack of troops is challenging, especially having played mostly the demo. This was one of the first scenarios I played after buying CMSF and it was very foreign compared with anything in the demo. I lost two Brads the first time through as I tried to advanced up the road. I quickly realized this approach was not going to work. This scenario helped me to really evaluate the terrain before you click "Go".

4) My number one question though is this: Why did the US quit using/deploying small diameter mortars with its troopers. I mean, I would give up half of my Javelins in exchange for some 81mm mortar sections. Especially if there were reloads in the Bradleys. Al of these slightly reverse-slope or key-hole ATGMs would be easier to deal with if I could drop some mortars to suppress.

It's my understanding that rifle mounted grenade launchers are today's small diameter mortars. In fact, this was the first scenario where I really saw the grenade launchers in action.

Bob

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Small error above: "So, once you pick them up you can put them down." You CANNOT put any ammo down.

You can however SHARE ammo in the latest patched version of CMSF. So, if you are close to another unit that is "out of ammo," that "ooa" unit will draw on a nearby unit's ammo. Note however that (IIRC) it will become "ooa" again if the "resupply" unit is no longer close by.

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Hi all,

I am pretty certain that if I just target the likely places for ATGMs and start blasting away from the get-go that I would resolve this problem. But this seems a bit gamey to me. I mean, do the US forces just plaster anything that *might* be a possible site without any regard to the ROE and to the presence of civilians?

3) One of the big differences I personally am struggling with from the previous CMs is that you have many less personnel on the ground to accomplish the mission. I keep wishing I had twice as many troopers (I don't need any more Bradleys) to accomplish the mission.

I think the premise for Syria is that this is what is termed a Hybrid War rather like Iraq 2003 involving both conventional and unconventional (insurgent type) forces, potentially operating on the same battlefield at the same time.

Regarding Point 1. Yes, you could plaset everything in site with artillery or smother the area with airpower. But the scenario designer can set up the scenario victory conditions to model the ROE. For example he can restrict the air and artillery available. He could set up the victory conditions such that certain buildings such as schools, mosques and hospitals should not be damaged during the operation. Usually you would be briefed about that in the scenario. The way you would do this is to go into the mission parameters fieldand selct the terrain objectives field. (Assume for our purposed this is a mosque.) You will then select the Preserve option, Then you select the side to which this objective is known, It could be both sides, just the blue side, jest the red side or it vould be unkown to anyone,Finally you decide how many points achieving this objectve us worth. In the Data Section of the mission setup you can also set the civillian density which tends to influecnce the range at which insurgent types can be spotted. You can choose anything from None to Very Heavy (which would be a good option for a large urban area from which civillians have not yet fled.

Now, if I was taking heavy fiore from that particular mosque I would still call in artillery or airpower but there might be a greater delaybefore it arrives and you might not get it all. Even if you do then you will get a penalty or partial penalty if the damage is significant enough/

On Point 2. NATO and particularly the US does seem somewhat short of leg infantry and often you have less than you would like, particularly if operating in an urban area. This is the situation as it appears to be in real world operations such as those in Iraq or Afghanistan. Interestingly this exact situation was predicet by Daniel P Bolger in the conclusion of Death Ground: Today's Americain infantry in Battle. This could well be a key US weakness in present and potential future conflicts like the Syrian campaign portrayed in the game. Another potential weakness is the vulnerability of the Stryker brigades given the vulnerability of their IFVs to any halfway decent anti tank equipment, the poor armour of their anti tank company and the lacl of any integral heavy armour capability.

Luke

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Thanks for all of the replies. It has really helped me to come up to speed on changing my thinking about CMSF.

The one thing I have decided that I don't like about this scenario is the size of the map. It should be longer and the US forces should not start in LOS of the OPFOR.

My reason for this is as follows:

Given the ATGM environment, why would you advance up a road in the open towards a crossroads that you suspect might be held against you?

What I don't like is the fact that you have to race the AFVs off into a semi-wooded,terrain-masked part of the map. Perhaps things have completely inverted from everything I thought I understood about employing armor, but it doesn't seem healthy to race buttoned-up AFVs into un-scouted, un-observed, un-infantry swept wooded terrain.

But anyway, thanks again for all of the comments. I have compelted the scenario twice now, once on Veteran and once on Elite and only lost one Bradley (on Elite) due to my mis-judging a ridge.

That is the other thing I find more-difficult in CMFS. For all that the terrain is modeled at a "higher" resolution, having the movement marker jump by such large amounts make it difficult for me to have confidence that I am creeping up on a ridge correctly. I guess I have to learn to trust that when I move Slow and select are area that clearly looks like it covers both sides of a ridge line, that the AI will move the troops correctly.

SNAFU

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Another potential weakness is the vulnerability of the Stryker brigades given the vulnerability of their IFVs to any halfway decent anti tank equipment, the poor armour of their anti tank company and the lacl of any integral heavy armour capability.

Luke

When playing Syrian in CMSF, I find Strykers often survive a RPG7V1 hit, and MGM's sometimes even survive RPG29 and Kornet hits. And survivability of Stryker passengers after a hit is also pretty good.

They are only poor with extremely super high standards.

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When playing Syrian in CMSF, I find Strykers often survive a RPG7V1 hit, and MGM's sometimes even survive RPG29 and Kornet hits. And survivability of Stryker passengers after a hit is also pretty good.

They are only poor with extremely super high standards.

Agreed on that alhough Strykers, and indeed any armoured vehicle is much more vulnerable to such weapons in close terrain such as the urban combat environment.

However. what I had in mind here was more an operational vulnerability taking into account the lack of a heavy integral MBT capabilty within the Stryker brigades. In a situation where you are up against heavy mechanized forces such as a Syrian armoured/mechanized/Republican Guard opponent that matters a lot. A cross attachment in theatre of a platoon to company sized armoured unit should solve most of your problems there.

For going into less hostile combat environments such as those involving insurgent types only the Stryker brigade is probably just as good as a heavy armoured unit and has the strategic advantage of being more deployable.

Luke

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Thanks for all of the replies. It has really helped me to come up to speed on changing my thinking about CMSF.

The one thing I have decided that I don't like about this scenario is the size of the map. It should be longer and the US forces should not start in LOS of the OPFOR.

My reason for this is as follows:

Given the ATGM environment, why would you advance up a road in the open towards a crossroads that you suspect might be held against you?

What I don't like is the fact that you have to race the AFVs off into a semi-wooded,terrain-masked part of the map. Perhaps things have completely inverted from everything I thought I understood about employing armor, but it doesn't seem healthy to race buttoned-up AFVs into un-scouted, un-observed, un-infantry swept wooded terrain.

But anyway, thanks again for all of the comments. I have compelted the scenario twice now, once on Veteran and once on Elite and only lost one Bradley (on Elite) due to my mis-judging a ridge.

That is the other thing I find more-difficult in CMFS. For all that the terrain is modeled at a "higher" resolution, having the movement marker jump by such large amounts make it difficult for me to have confidence that I am creeping up on a ridge correctly. I guess I have to learn to trust that when I move Slow and select are area that clearly looks like it covers both sides of a ridge line, that the AI will move the troops correctly.

SNAFU

I'd much rather that CMSF had a hulld down order like the original CM games. On the other hand, learning to master the skill of going hull down in CMSF is very challenging.

Sometimes you don't have much choice about where you attack as this is often decided by your senior commanders represented by the scenario designer in game. However, I would not want to advance accross open terrain without at least a smoke screen either. Actually, I have found that the best thing to do in a scenario like this is to do a dismounted infantry attack, keeping the IFVs back to give the infantry fire support.

Luke

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I'd much rather that CMSF had a hulld down order like the original CM games. On the other hand, learning to master the skill of going hull down in CMSF is very challenging.

Sometimes you don't have much choice about where you attack as this is often decided by your senior commanders represented by the scenario designer in game. However, I would not want to advance accross open terrain without at least a smoke screen either. Actually, I have found that the best thing to do in a scenario like this is to do a dismounted infantry attack, keeping the IFVs back to give the infantry fire support.

Luke

Agreed. But that is a long way to hump javelins + reloads ;)

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