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Dual MG American halftracks can't fire secondary guns


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I'm playing a quick battle right now where I've got a force of mostly halftracks and engineers. Several of the halftracks are the dual MG variety, with one gun mounted on the back for use by a mounted squad. Throughout the entire game I have not seen these rear guns fire a single time. I thought there might just be limitations about their range of fire, since they're mounted on the rear and I try not to expose the rear of my halftrack to the enemy. But, I wanted to find out for sure what they could and could not engage, so I made a quick scenario. I put one of every American halftrack on a map, surrounded by bailed out Panthers to use as targets. I was expecting to see the secondary guns only being able to target enemy units towards the rear of the vehicle. Imagine my surprise when the guns NEVER fired at a single target, even when specifically told to target!

Here's an M3A1 (2xMG) model. You can see that the commander is on the .50 cal and the driver is in the driver's seat.

Screen%252520shot%2525202011-06-17%252520at%252520June%25252017%25252C%2525209.56.31%252520PM.jpg

Here's the same vehicle, but I've selected the FO team that's mounted in the halftrack. You can see that the second, .30 cal MG has a man at the controls. You can also see in the UI that the second man in the team is shown with an MG for a weapon:

Screen%252520shot%2525202011-06-17%252520at%252520June%25252017%25252C%2525209.56.24%252520PM.jpg

Despite being literally surrounded by enemy targets, the second gun did not fire once. Even when I ordered the FO unit to target a vehicle directly in front of the gun (behind the halftrack), it did not fire. The main gun has no problems and engages targets on its own or when given an explicit target order, but the secondary gun will not shoot!

The same thing holds true for the M3 (2xMG). The commander mans the primary .30 cal gun and the driver is in the driver seat:

Screen%252520shot%2525202011-06-17%252520at%252520June%25252017%25252C%2525209.56.56%252520PM.jpg

I put a scout team in the back. It's obvious from the picture that one of the three scouts is manning the MG in the back, but if you look at the UI it shows two men with Thompsons and one man with a Garand. So that, by itself, is a problem. But the bigger problem is the gun doesn't freakin' fire! Screen%252520shot%2525202011-06-17%252520at%252520June%25252017%25252C%2525209.56.50%252520PM.jpg

I tried everything I could think of, getting guys in and out of the halftracks, moving the halftracks around, targeting, canceling targets, issuing cover arcs. Nothing worked. The rear mounted guns never fired a single time. And, as I said already, I'm playing a game right now with several halftracks and I don't think any of the rear guns have fired the entire game (we're on turn 20 or so). Note that if I give an explicit fire order to the mounted teams, the guys standing in the back WILL fire. But the MG will not fire.

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I just tried this myself with both the M3 and M3A1 2MG halftracks, in each case with a scout team on board. Giving the scout team a target did nothing, but giving the halftrack a target order made both machine guns fire. I was using area fire on empty terrain rather than enemy units.

In the case of the M3 the 2 MGs cannot fire at the same target at the same time, but if you target behind the halftrack the rear MG will fire until the HT rotates the target area outside its arc.

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Did you try giving the unit a fire order instead of the h/t?
Yes. I gave both units fire orders. The main gun would fire, but the secondary gun would not fire in any of the circumstances I tried.

I just tried this myself with both the M3 and M3A1 2MG halftracks, in each case with a scout team on board. Giving the scout team a target did nothing, but giving the halftrack a target order made both machine guns fire. I was using area fire on empty terrain rather than enemy units.
I didn't try area fire. I tried allowing the on-board teams to select their own targets (they did nothing) and tried manually targeting enemy units (again, nothing). I had 8 Panthers encircling the halftracks so that there would be one enemy about every 45* or so. Even when targeting enemies to the rear, and even when the halftrack itself (not the on board team) was given a fire order, the secondary gun would not fire.

In the case of the M3 the 2 MGs cannot fire at the same target at the same time, but if you target behind the halftrack the rear MG will fire until the HT rotates the target area outside its arc.
I tried that and it did not work. The secondary guns NEVER fired. Not a single shot.

I wonder if this is Mac specific?

Edit: Just tried more tests. Area fire targets work correctly. If you choose an area target, both guns will engage (if they can traverse that far). If you specify an enemy unit, the secondary gun will NOT fire. If you don't target a specific unit, the secondary gun will NOT fire. If you target an enemy unit to the rear using the M3 (2xMG) the halftrack will NOT fire at all and it will NOT rotate to get the target into view. If you target an area behind the halftrack, it will engage that area with the rear gun and rotate the halftrack to align the main gun with the area target.

So, there are at least three bugs here that I can see:

1) When a unit mans the secondary gun on the M3 (2 x MG), it doesn't show that the unit is manning the gun in the UI.

2) Secondary guns ONLY engage area targets. They do not engage targets on their own, and they do not engage specifically targeted enemy units.

3) The M3 and M3 (2xMG) halftracks will not target enemy units on their own at all. Also, they will not target enemy units if given an explicit target order. These two vehicles will ONLY fire at area targets, even with their main .30 cal guns.

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"Area fire targets work correctly. If you choose an area target, both guns will engage (if they can traverse that far). If you specify an enemy unit, the secondary gun will NOT fire. If you don't target a specific unit, the secondary gun will NOT fire. If you target an enemy unit to the rear using the M3 (2xMG) the halftrack will NOT fire at all and it will NOT rotate to get the target into view. If you target an area behind the halftrack, it will engage that area with the rear gun and rotate the halftrack to align the main gun with the area target."

Good spot, Mr. Griswold, I am indebted to you. Until BF "fix or do sumfing" this sort of information is valuable stuff.

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I had 8 Panthers encircling the halftracks so that there would be one enemy about every 45* or so.

Maybe use something other than a tank for the MG target? I guess they might fire at unbuttoned guys, but it is an odd choice of target.

They shot at infantry on their own for me and I saw a guy change from Thompson icon to MG when he started engaging.

th_CMNormandy2011-06-1913-27-07-17.jpg

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2) Secondary guns ONLY engage area targets. They do not engage targets on their own, and they do not engage specifically targeted enemy units.

3) The M3 and M3 (2xMG) halftracks will not target enemy units on their own at all. Also, they will not target enemy units if given an explicit target order. These two vehicles will ONLY fire at area targets, even with their main .30 cal guns.

I don't think this is correct. Are you aware that the rear MG has a limited arc? If the target is outside of the gun's field of fire, it can't fire at your target. As far as I have witnessed, they engage targets just fine, provided that they are in the correct direction. Too far to the sides, and it can't do anything.

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Maybe use something other than a tank for the MG target? I guess they might fire at unbuttoned guys, but it is an odd choice of target.
I used tanks because you can shoot at them a lot without them blowing up (ideal for testing) and because you can exit the crews so they don't shoot back (unlike infantry and other vehicles).

They shot at infantry on their own for me and I saw a guy change from Thompson icon to MG when he started engaging.

th_CMNormandy2011-06-1913-27-07-17.jpg

Well, it's good to know they shoot at something, at least. But it seems extremely odd to me that infantry will engage tanks at long range (even guys with Thompsons and short range weapons), but a mounted .30 cal won't engage certain targets, even if you specifically target an enemy tank. Ditto for halftracks not turning to face a threat if it's a tank. If I order my halftrack to engage an enemy vehicle I expect it to do so, not just sit there doing nothing. There's nothing to indicate that this behavior is, or should be, expected. It certainly isn't intuitive.

I don't think this is correct. Are you aware that the rear MG has a limited arc?
I'm aware of the limited arc of the gun, but it will not engage certain targets even if they are directly behind the vehicle, and even if you manually designate the target.
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If I understand correctly, your test conditions won't work and that's why you seem to think you've found a bug.

let me try to explain what I think is actually happening.

Your set up is several empty panthers, correct?

Weapons in CM will only engage targets they have a chance of damaging. The .50 might be able to do a little damage to something on the panther, .30 cal can barely scratch the paint. When you see infantry engage tanks at a distance, it's because they are shooting at exposed crew members, they do not fire on buttoned tanks.

I'm pretty surprised the .50 would even fire.

So as long as you use buttoned/empty tanks, the .30 will not fire. Try this test again with trucks or anything the .30 can damage and you should see it shoot.

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If I understand correctly, your test conditions won't work and that's why you seem to think you've found a bug.
My test conditions didn't work AND I hadn't seen them fire in a game where I only have halftracks AND there's nothing in the manual to indicate that they shouldn't fire under the conditions I tested with AND the .50 cals fired without a problem.

Weapons in CM will only engage targets they have a chance of damaging. The .50 might be able to do a little damage to something on the panther, .30 cal can barely scratch the paint.
So, let me get this straight. Tanks can be damaged by driving over a wooden fence or through hedges, but .30 cal armor piercing bullets won't do anything at all?

When we have other threads with units firing without any real chance of damaging the unit they're firing upon the answer is always something like "They're firing to keep the vehicle buttoned" or "There's a chance of a vision slit penetration" or "They could damage the optics or the radio". So, shooting in those circumstances is legitimized, but shooting in this circumstance isn't. That is totally inconsistent and makes it difficult for the player to know what behavior to expect.

So as long as you use buttoned/empty tanks, the .30 will not fire. Try this test again with trucks or anything the .30 can damage and you should see it shoot.
I tried the test again with trucks and infantry and the secondary guns DO fire. So, you are correct. I didn't try with unbuttoned tanks because I think the tanks will button too fast for the test to work anyway.

Regardless of the fact that the truck test worked, my point above still stands. If these guns are not going to fire on certain targets, then at the very least the manual needs to make that explicitly clear. Additionally, I can understand the TacAI not independently firing upon vehicles that it doesn't think it can damage, but it is not intuitive at all for a unit to completely disregard an explicit target order, whether or not the TacAI thinks that there is potential for damage. The game needs to either carry out the command or not allow the player to target units if it's not going to fire anyway.

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My test conditions didn't work AND I hadn't seen them fire in a game where I only have halftracks AND there's nothing in the manual to indicate that they shouldn't fire under the conditions I tested with AND the .50 cals fired without a problem.

I'm amazed that they fired at all, the .50 shouldn't do much either.

So, let me get this straight. Tanks can be damaged by driving over a wooden fence or through hedges, but .30 cal armor piercing bullets won't do anything at all?

Correct, .50 cal should have little effect too, unless maybe fired at the rear or engine deck. Fences are more dangerous, they can jam up and damage tracks, although I think they may be a bit too dangerous ingame.

When we have other threads with units firing without any real chance of damaging the unit they're firing upon the answer is always something like "They're firing to keep the vehicle buttoned" or "There's a chance of a vision slit penetration" or "They could damage the optics or the radio". So, shooting in those circumstances is legitimized, but shooting in this circumstance isn't. That is totally inconsistent and makes it difficult for the player to know what behavior to expect.

Ingame the small arms only fire at unbuttoned crew. They don't shoot at buttoned tanks (although they may fire for a few seconds after they button). They at least thankfully will refuse to shoot at something they have zero chance of damaging. The whole concept of massed small arms fire to take a tank out is pretty much an outlier, in theory yes maybe you could do some tiny damage. Most likely it'll do nothing but make you easier for the tank to spot.

While people do make excuses for it, the AI does not shoot small arms at buttoned tanks (with .50 apparently being a bit of exception). So game behavior wise "There's a chance of a vision slit penetration" doesn't factor into the TacAI.

I tried the test again with trucks and infantry and the secondary guns DO fire. So, you are correct. I didn't try with unbuttoned tanks because I think the tanks will button too fast for the test to work anyway.

Regardless of the fact that the truck test worked, my point above still stands. If these guns are not going to fire on certain targets, then at the very least the manual needs to make that explicitly clear. Additionally, I can understand the TacAI not independently firing upon vehicles that it doesn't think it can damage, but it is not intuitive at all for a unit to completely disregard an explicit target order, whether or not the TacAI thinks that there is potential for damage. The game needs to either carry out the command or not allow the player to target units if it's not going to fire anyway.

Try it with unbuttoned tanks, the TCs will button only after being fired on. Then all your half tracks will be killed.

The half tracks should accompany their refusal to fire on buttoned tanks with some choice language, it's suicidal and I can't imagine why you'd ever want them too. They do at least let you fire on unbuttoned crew, which is still pretty dangerous, but at least might accomplish something.

Targeting a buttoned tank is basically saying "keep them buttoned". The half track will prioritize firing on anyone who sticks their head out, but not just try to scratch up the paint.

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