Combat Mission

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Related websites

  • Wikipedia - Combat Mission
  • Battlefront ← The maker of the game
    • Forums ← These are the 'official' forums.
      • Prominent members
        • Berlichtingen (Berli)
          • Mentioned by JasonC as being a better player.
          • Died in 2017 from leukemia.
        • Fionn
          • Mentioned by JasonC as being a better player.
          • An Irish doctor, was banned from the forums for being too inflammatory. (Source)
          • How he played:
            • His style of play was very aggressive and manoeuverist (one of his AARs, the Sunken Road, is typical). Not sure it still applies in CMBB and CMAK age-- very much the waltzing CMBO style. (Source)
            • From his AARs......He is a big proponent of using heavy armor and lots of light/medium artillery in QBs. He uses very little infantry and likes expensive, elite troops. He also talks a lot about the value of risk-taking, moving fast and surprise. I think he likes "Russian doctrine" although he and Jason C fought about what this really meant. I also get the sense that he liked a mobile, counterattacking defense and mobile weapons in general. (Source)
        • JasonC ← This guy seems very knowledgeable.
          • JasonC interesting posts.txt ← This is a great collection of (most of?) JasonC's greatest posts in which he goes in-depth on some topic. The posts here seem to be almost entirely military history posts (especially WW2 and the Napoleonic warfare era), so there are probably a lot of in-depth CM-specific posts by JasonC that are worth searching the forum for. This document was created by LongLeftFlank, a long-time member of the CM community, and I got it after I saw a post in which he referenced the document, and I sent him a PM asking for a copy.
          • I like small scenarios, company or less. I like Berli's scenarios - quirky little fights with interesting situations, small amounts of quality infantry, and some sort of twist (weird item, conditions, terrain, etc). I enjoyed the byte sized battle series or whatever it was called. Monster sized games feel like work, in contrast. (Source) [NW: The "byte sized battle series" he refers to seems to actually be called "Byte Battles".]
          • How good was he in matches?
            • JasonC: I'm not remotely the best CM player. Plenty of experts are by all reports much better at the game than I am - Walpurgis, Wreck, Fionn. In the couple times I've played him Berli beat me easily. Any number of solid players who have probably clocked much more time in human games are probably better, too. (Source)
            • Panzer76: I know he has played a few top dogs and lost. Take it for what you want. (Source)
        • walpurgis nacht (walpurgis)
          • Mentioned by JasonC as being a better player.
        • Wreck
          • Mentioned by JasonC as being a better player.
  • Boardgamegeek - Combat Mission (Series)
  • Lists of CM-related websites
  • Scenarios
    • CMx1-specifc
      • The Scenario Depot / DragonLair.net
        • The admin's host apparently deleted all his stuff at some point at the end of 2004.
      • The Scenario Depot II
        • This website seems to have been created almost immediately after the original Scenario Depot had its host delete its files.
      • AlternateWars.com - The Combat Mission (x1) series - This is basically a back-up of all of the CMx1 scenarios the guy could find: "It's quite possibly likely that when combined with other scenario packs on this site, you will be able to recover over 85% of all CMx1 scenarios posted."
  • Mods
  • Utilities
    • PBEM Helper
      • Found out about this from The Scenario Depot II's signup process.
  • Clans
  • Real military manuals

Overview for non-players

  • I think Combat Mission is best thought of as mid-20th-century chess. It's a two-player tactical / battle-level game, like chess is, rather than a high-level strategy game like Risk or Diplomacy. A major innovation over chess is that chess is necessarily abstracted from true combat, whereas Combat Mission is able to get much closer to accurately simulating real combat.
  • Combat Mission is a spiritual descendant of the paper-and-pencil game Advanced Squad Leader (ASL), which is apparently the most-famous realistic paper-and-pencil WW2 combat game.
  • The innovations of Combat Mission when it came out that I'm aware of include:
    • it allowed any necessary calculations to be done by computer rather than by hand (as in ASL)
    • it allowed for a much-more detailed level of calculation / simulation than in ASL, since the calculations were being done by computer.
    • the WEGO system (simultaneous play), where both players choose their moves and then watch what happens, which eliminates any first-or-second-mover advantage.

Improvements / differences in the gameplay of each game of the series

  1. Background: This is useful to know what you can and cannot do in each version of the game.
  2. CMx1
    1. Summary: I'm kind of surprised at how little there seems to be that is different between CMBO, CMBB, and CMAK. The main differences between the games seem to be the units / visuals, while the gameplay/UI differences are just tweaks that would only really be important for people to know about when playing at a very-competitive level.
    2. CMBO - This is the original game. It's still possible to list its improvements over ASL, though.
    3. CMBB
      1. Battlefront - New features in CMBB
        • Note: The link above has a long list of changes. Below are the changes that I think are more important to be aware of.
        • Artillery
        • Optics
        • TacAI - Minor improvements, but nothing that would dramatically shift the outcome of most missions.
        • Close Air Support - no longer have a 10% random chance of scrubbing a mission
        • Weather and Terrain
          • Fires often start "small" and have no effect on gameplay. But they can grow (and spread) to large fires which cause all units to exit.
          • Trees are taller now, especially pine trees.
          • Units move through pine trees faster than heavy woods (due to less underbrush) and LOS is a little bit clearer through pine trees too.
          • Some terrain has visual "doodads" for "height", e.g. grass, brush, rubble. These have no implications on the game engine but are for visual depth only (i.e. the terrain modifiers do not change by presence of doodads)
          • Night when the weather is other than "clear" is considered "extra dark", and the maximum visible range is 75m or even less depending on weather.
          • When a line of sight passes through a good bit of concealing terrain, infantry units are harder to spot than previously.
          • Minefields can be reduced or eliminated by shellfire (though this will not be explicitly shown - you just have to judge roughly by how many craters you see, and hope).
          • Warm temperature reduces fatigue-recovery rate by 15%. Hot temperature by 40%.
          • Base chance for MG to jam is reduced somewhat overall, but is then increased at the following temperatures:

            • Extreme Cold: +100%

            • Freezing: +25%

            • Warm: +50%

            • Hot: +200%

        • Buildings
          • Large stone and factory buildings are harder to destroy.
          • Small-caliber guns are less likely to cause significant damage to buildings.
          • For internal LOS calculations, rubble is considered taller than before.
        • Vehicles
          • Standard grenade attacks versus tanks are reduced in effectiveness.
          • Buttoned vehicles have a blind spot for infantry (who’s not targeting the vehicle) within 15m provided the infantry is not in the front 60-degree arc centered on the turret facing.
          • Nearby artillery strikes cause vehicle morale effects.
          • Crews bail out of soft-skin vehicles much faster.
          • If vehicles reach "Broken" morale state, they may retreat off the map if that provides a nearby escape from a threat (similar to what infantry does).
          • Unbuttoned crew are more likely to be hit by small arms fire.
          • Halted vehicles rotate their hulls more slowly.
        • Orders - Hiding units with covered arcs will UNHIDE as soon as they know a spotted enemy enters their covered arc. This is a handy way to trigger an ambush. HOWEVER, note that covered arcs do not FORCE your units to fire on any and all enemies inside the arc. Your units will not waste ammo on lousy shots.
        • Fatigue - Fatigue seems to be a more serious issue in BB than in BO.
          • Recovery rate from fatigue is reduced by lower global morale. So when forces are beaten up, you’ll find that your ability to conduct mobile operations is curtailed. Defensive capability won’t be harmed much, but attacking gets progressively harder to do. This helps lead to a "natural end" for a battle.
          • Fatigue for running is increased.
        • Defense
          • The defenders on "Assault" missions now have the option to create fallback foxholes for their infantry in addition to the units' normal foxholes: Press ALT-F to enter fallback foxhole placement mode. Click the map to place the foxholes you like, and click a foxhole to remove it again if you make a mistake.
        • Misc
          1. SHIFT-Q hides play-aid graphics – great for taking screenshots!
      2. 2002.09.27 - GameSquad Forums - Combat Mission 2: likes and dislikes
        1. I haven't played the game in any depth yet, just the demos so far. I have looked over the mechanics and numbers though and these are my impressions.

          PROS:
          1. new infantry movement - very badly needed. No longer will we suffer moronic troops following waypoints to their obvious death before arriving.

          2. improved to hit, to kill and penetration tables - desperately needed. Hopefully common place cmbo impossibilities have been removed. How often have you seen a buttoned up enemy tank moving fast across open country, gun and viewport bouncing around, instantly spot your tank, that fired and missed, even though it's 800 mtrs away and camo'd in a thin screen of trees and hull down. Meanwhile it spots, rotates turret, acquires and places a one shot kill and all within 10 seconds.

          3. covered arcs - very needed. Finally the ability to hide and ambush at the desired range and not having to reveal hidden guns that previously automatically gave away their positions when an enemy half squad showed itself 600 mtrs off.

          4. improved artillery - I haven't looked at this yet but any improvement is a good thing.

          CONS:
          By the fire power factors (fp after this), here are my first impressions.

          1. feeble German rifle units - in CMBO the heer and Brit rifle were quite feeble and few of my opponents ever picked them, instead choosing the strongest inf they could buy. In CMBB in 1941 the average Russian rifle squad is 172 to 185 fp while the standard German rifle is 124 fp. A sizable difference there and at first glance I'll give a big edge to the Russians.
          While on the subject of fp differential, the Russians have abundant cheap SMG units ranging from 7 to 11 man squads at a huge 350 fp to a terrifying 550 fp! There isn't a German unit in the game, particularly in 1941, that can stand up to this. Of course I haven't played this out yet but my money is on the Russian SMGs.

          2. a greatly pared down MG34 - the MG42 light and heavy is 50 and 155 fp while the MG34 is 36 to 120. Does anyone know the historical truth of these guns? Was the MG42 that much better?
          My understanding is these are basically the same weapons with the '42 tweaked and improved. They both had cyclic ROFs of 1200 rounds per minute though, so I wouldn't give the '42 that big of an edge. This has the effect of making the German rifle even weaker than in CMBO.

          3. no nationality traits and generic qualities in terms of morale, training, discipline and leadership to all units of all nations.

          QUESTIONS:
          1. was the MG42 that much better than the MG34?
          2. at 40 mtrs the MP40 is equal in fp to the MG34. Considering about 450 RPM for the MP40 and 1200 RPM for the MG34 would this be accurate?
          3. the Russian SMGs (PPD and PPsh) are rated at 46 fp and 50 fp making them even more effective than the Thompson. Is this accurate? Are the Russian SMGs that superior to the MP40 at 36 fp? I always thought the thompson was equal to or better than any SMG of that era.
          4. there's nothing in 1941 that can touch a KVI or II frontally except the 88mm AA gun and obviously those won't be racing around the battlefield. How did the panzer units deal with this historically? I'm guessing they relied on out manuevering the KV's to get flank and rear shots with their 50mm L\42's?

          Overall the fp numbers seem to give the Russians a big edge. Imagine several Fusilier COs facing off vs several Brit rifle COs. There's a big advantage to the Fusilier in fp - 324 to 161 or 163 fp. This edge is potentially greater in CMBB, particularly if SMG heavy battles are played. Here we're looking at 324 vs 550 = 226 fp, or worse: 550 to 350 vs 124 = 426 / 226 fp differential!!
          If completely unrestricted QBs are played I can see the Russians using vast numbers of dirt cheap SMG units. Apparently unit restrictions may be necessary.

          In 1941 the Germans blew away the Russians, capturing vast numbers and gaining much ground. This was done with superior tactics of blitzkreig on a large scale, pincer operations, destroying rear communications and causing great panic, etc, etc.
          In a tactical level sim like CMBB this success is very difficult to portray, particularly without nationality traits. The on-paper numbers are quite misleading and given the current values one would think the Germans would have had their asses kicked in 1941 rather than the opposite. These numbers will probably give quite different results in QBs than what really occurred.

          Just my first impressions, likes and dislikes; feel free to rebut.

    4. CMAK
      1. ...it introduces new desert environments and terrain types, as well as features like multi-turreted vehicles and dust clouds from explosions and moving vehicles. (Source)
      2. A guy in the forum: Fewer improvements - adds dust, tweaks a few parameters, more new units, adds multi-gun tanks. (Source)
  3. Differences between CMx1 and CMx2
    1. CMx1 has a larger maximum map size.
      1. The great advantage that CM1 has over CM2 is the huge maps.  These huge maps allow for mobile recon using the large number of interesting recon vehicles available to all sides (esp the Brits). (Source)
    2. CMx1 has a random-map generator.
  4. CMx2

Inaccuracies / Differences between CM and reality

General
  • In CM your units don't have much (any?) programmed sense for the state of the battlefield, and so it's usually possible to give units suicidal orders that real troops would either refuse, or would not try to complete, or that would lower the general morale among all of your units to a point where you might get fragged. I don't know enough about CM to say whether there's some way to use this unrealistic feature to win in a way that would not work in the real world.
  • The WEGO system is a great improvement over turn-based rules, but it still seems unrealistic / arbitrary to say that the commander can only issue commands at particular times during the engagement, rather than it being a continuous stream of orders (like with RTSes).
  • Also, being able to pause allows an unrealistic amount of control over what all of your units are doing.  You don't need to prioritize your attention; you can give full attention to everyone.
CMBO
  • In the real world...
    • fog of war is thicker (Source, '02)
    • troops are far less aggressive / reckless (Source, '02)
    • troops are far less willing to continue (Source, '02)
      • it's not uncommon to see small squads of 2-4 men that are all that's left of a platoon continuing to push forward to fight, especially at the end of the time limit when the AI seems to get desperate and just has all available units rush forward.
    • everything is much, much slower (Source, '02)
      • I 100% agree on the "time compression" shown when playing CM. The battle recounted in SUA spanned several hours and ended more because the US forces decided to try again later than either side was completely destroyed. In my scenario (not that I'm stating it's THE authority!) one or both sides are usually combat-ineffective in 35 minutes. (Source)
      • The short turn limits on many missions really seem to hurt the realism; they don't allow the attackers enough time to build a base of fire. I feel like I'm rushing the entire time on many missions.
    • forces may be far more depleted (Source, '02)
    • spotting men in cover may be "much" harder (Source, '02)
    • people / commanders may behave in "tactically unsound" ways
      • Tanks probed following barrages. The tanks led, infantry did not lead them. Tactically unsound to be sure (Source, '02)
      • I remember reading accounts from American soldiers and there was a Captain who had been in the army for a few years before the war started and took out enemy pillboxes by focusing his fire on each one at a time and having a team go up and throw satchel charges in while it was suppressed, and when he told his commander that he'd done his job in a short amount of time with no casualties, his commander was shocked, because the other companies were suffering lots of casualties. That anecdote in particular really opened my eyes to the idea that real situations aren't like Starcraft, where best-practices are well-known; instead they're often more like when a game first comes out and it's more like a free-for-all, where few really know what they're doing. In other words, the winner isn't determined by one person being a higher level of genius than his opponent, but instead by the fact that his opponent has no idea what he's doing, and the winner actually knows a little about how to win.
  • It's annoying that I can't give a mortar an order like "go to the edge of the woods and then target whatever you see around position X". Which means that I seem to need to take one turn to tell the mortar to get into a position where he can observe the enemy unit, and another turn to tell the mortar to actually target the enemy unit. I could be wrong about that, but I think that's what I've observed in CMBO.
  • Annoying thing: I had 6 men on the second floor of a house, shooting at enemy infantry. During the course of a single turn an enemy assault gun turned and started shooting at them, and rather than getting out of there, they stayed in place, and the house got destroyed and they all ended up as casualties. So there's no ability to give your units common sense orders like "If that tank starts firing at you, get out of there."
  • It seems to be unrealistically quick and easy to "communicate" between distant units.  For example: Two platoons of infantry on the left flank spotted a two-man infantry squad making a run for the house that my center was occupying; I immediately had the CO inside that house (~100m from the left flank) run to meet the threat. That kind of communication could only happen with radios.

Differences between CM and tabletop / board games

  • With CM you don't lose as much time debating the rules.
    • In one Battlefront thread a guy said he'd seen a lot of time-consuming debates over the meaning of certain rules in in-person wargames before CM came out.  Having played a lot of Risk, I find that totally believable.
  • In CM it's harder to gauge the likely effect of a particular order.
    • One of the crucial differences, I am begining to find in playing CM rather than board games, is that with board games, you can work out the odds with the information to hand (usually an attack value, a terrain modifier and a table to roll agains). With CM there is no table, so you have to really know (at least roughly) the effectiveness your weapons against the enemy (range / terrain and if applicable armour). I appreciate that CM does give you a rough 'to hit' percentage, but that's only once you're committed. So I guess experience is a great teacher in this game and reconnasance is hugely important. (Source)

Misc thoughts on the game

  • CMBO
    • There are around 200 individual battles
    • There are around 10-15 operations in addition to the battles above, each of which has ~6 battles
    • They explain how to gauge how well you did in the AAR section. Basically you look at the ratio of points you scored to the points the opponent scored.
  • Don't be surprised by heavy casualties: "companies and even battalions were often totally wiped out after an hour of intense fighting".

Tutorials / Tactics / How-To's

Manuals

References

Videos

One-off / individual articles of written advice (eg forum / blog posts)

Collections of advice / websites

Tutorial scenarios

Unit/element-specific information

  • Terrain / cover / concealment
    • 2003.01.20 - Battlefront forums - JasonC - How exposure works
      • On "Hide" or pinned behind Wall - 0% exposed
        Trench, even in the open - 9%
        Heavy Building - 10%
        Foxhole in Wood or Pines - 14%
        Wood or Pines - 15%
        Light Building - 20%
        Foxhole in Sc. Trees - 23%
        Rubble, any type - 25%
        Sc. Trees, Rough, Wall not on "Hide" - 30%
        Foxhole in Open, Brush, Wheat, etc - 44%
        Brush, Rocky, Cemetary - 50%
        Wheat, Hedge, Wood Fence - 60%
        Steppe, Marsh - 65%
        Pavement - 70%
        Open, Soft Ground, Wire in Sc. Trees - 75%
        Wire in Open, Bridge, Ford - 100%

        That doesn't quite rank them, because some give concealment and others give cover, which are different. The exposure number reflects both, but HE pays attention only to cover, trees allow airbursts to mortars and indirect artillery, buildings can be damaged or destroyed particularly by direct fire HE, etc. So, for example, foxholes in brush or wheat have about the same overall exposure number as troops in wheat without foxholes, but they are much better protected against artillery.

        Also, you will see figures that differ slightly from these numbers, particularly downward, due to LOS degradation. Firing into or out of trees, or across appreciable distances of brush or wheat, deeper into rubble or rough, the LOS line is not as "clean" and the %exposed of the target will fall somewhat. The higher the original exposure number, the bigger this potential effect. So you can see some guys in brush get a 41%, when the shooter is well back into woods himself.

        The truly effective forms of cover are trenches, intact heavy buildings, and foxholes reasonably deep inside woods or tall pines. The building is a bit more vunerable to direct fire HE, and the woods foxholes are more vunerable to airburst artillery. No, Virginia, trenches aren't just connected foxholes, they are way way better, and no, rubbled heavy buildings aren't still heavy building level cover, they are much worse.

        But each of these is very good cover for infantry fighting. Enough so that small numbers of defenders in such positions can duke it out with superior numbers of enemies in inferior terrain and expect to prevail. Men in intact heavy buildings are receiving only half the "incoming" men in light ones or in rubble receive. Men in a trench, even in the open, will receive only a third of the fire that men approaching even through scattered trees will get from replies.

        Woods and Pines are excellent cover against small arms even without foxholes, but considerably more vunerable to indirect arty or mortar fire than the low % exposure number indicates. Intact light buildings are better cover than being at the -edge- of rubble. But farther back inside rubble, they are similar. Not as good as heavy buildings by a long shot, but good cover in the overall scheme of things. And unlike the woods-pines case, more of it is "cover" rather than "concealment". A foxhole in scattered trees is about as good in pure infantry fighting terms, but more vunerable to artillery and much worse than a foxhole in full woods or pines. Each of the above can cut incoming small arms by a factor of 3 compared to open ground, which makes them effective defensive positions.

        Below that level, you leave the cover good enough for defenders, and arrive at decent cover for attackers or otherwise moving troops. Obviously the woods, pines, and buildings are fine, and the place to fire-fight from, particularly if you have to take on men in trenches, heavy buildings, or wooded foxholes. But scattered trees and rough are quite good cover compared to all the worse forms of terrain, as points to make for during an approach. There is no comparison with the brush-wheat sort. The decent types will absorb half of the infantry fire troops in open ground will receive, and men in them do not get "cover panic" and change course.

        Being behind a wall would be in the same category, but for the fact that the tac AI doesn't really know it has the benefit of the wall. When up and firing, men behind a wall have 30% cover, akin to the edge of scattered trees or rough. Their own LOS is completely clear. And anyone behind a wall benefits from the complete 0% exposure when they go heads-down, which they can when they pin.

        Behind a wall is a very good position for panzerschrecks, because it combines perfect cover hidding, decent when up, no LOS obstactles to cut your own accuracy, and no backblast effect from being in a building. It does help if there is any moderate form of concealment or cover behind the wall, not because it combines with the wall's 30% (it won't), but because it will avoid "cover panic". Scattered trees are best, a foxhole, brush, or wheat is better than nothing.

        Brush, rocky, and cemetary are better than nothing and can avoid "cove panic". But the reduction in fire compared to open ground is small, less than a factor of two. A foxhole in the open or in concealment-only terrain is similar. Of these, the foxhole is best as "cover" and the brush is worst as all "concealment" - you'd rather be mortared in foxholes than in bushes.

        Think of most of these as "approach march cover" or as "open steppe, poor-man's cover". It can sometimes be worth it to use e.g. foxholes in brush in very open terrain, to avoid the predictability of placements on the limited areas of trees. Trenches are far, far superior if available, however. In large bodies, wheat is similar to brush if you stay a ways back into it, though at the edge it is considerably worse.

        Below even those types, in the category of "better than nothing", come hedges and woods fences. They have the same "cover panic" issues as the wall, without any of its strength. You might be surprised that wood fences give any benefit, but they do. Think upright planks rather than three boards sideways and mostly open. Basically, a wood fence is a form of hedge, for cover purposes.

        Steppe and marsh are forms of open ground, but with a bit better concealment than "open". Soft ground is the same as "open" in cover terms. Pavement, perhaps surprisingly, is no longer the "hazardous" 100% exposed terrain form it was in CMBO, but is a marginally better form of "open" than "open" is - presumably because there are things here and there to hide behind in cities, even on the streets.

        Finally, there are the remaining forms of "hazardous movement" - crossing a bridge or ford, or crawling through wire. These bring 100% exposure, or 1/3rd more incoming fire than open ground. Wire placed in other forms of cover gives something akin to open ground, not full "hazardous" but not well covered either.

        As you might have guessed, then, you want to be in a trench while the enemy is hung up on your wire (11 times cover differential). Or in a heavy building while the enemy is in the street outside (7 times. Or, in a pinch, in a wooded or pine foxhole while the enemy is crossing an open field (5 times).

        It is worth thinking in terms of achievable local odds ratios and their relation to typical cover ratios, to see what you can expect to accomplish - in infantry vs. infantry fighting, mind - if you just have more guys to bring to the party.

        Typically you can get 2:1 local infantry odds if you have the men. More than that is quite difficult, both because of global odds, and because you need to avoid bunching up too much and cover often limits the men you can get close enough to shoot at one enemy position without overcrowding.

        Odds are a two-fer, because they generate twice the firepower along with twice the depth for suppression and casualties. So in principle, a 2:1 odds ratio might equalize a 4:1 cover differential. In practice, it doesn't, because the guy in the better cover is typically stationary and shooting, and some of the attackers are not firing because they are moving, while others are pinned. But 2-3:1 cover differentials, odds might handle.

        That means to tackle men in trenches or heavy buildings or wooded foxholes, you need rubble or better in addition to odds - scattered trees will not cut it. Against the "second tier" of defender cover - woods or pines without foxholes, light buildings, foxholes in scattered trees, rubble - scattered trees, rough, or better will serve, while brush to wheat is marginal. This often applies in meeting engagements, when the "defender" is whoever reached the good cover first.

        Men just in foxholes (or brush etc), you can defeat with odds even over open ground, provided "cover panic" doesn't completely disorganize your force, you can avoid hazardous movement or crossing wire until after gaining local fire ascendency, etc.

        Trenches are quite powerful, incidentally. They do not have the direct HE weaknesses of even heavy buildings - which can draw rubbling fire even before defenders are spotted, if the attacker has enough HE ammo aboard tanks etc - or the indirect HE weakness of wooded foxholes - which are vunerable to heavy artillery airbursts, though adequate against light mortar fire. Trenches can also be placed just about anywhere (except rough etc). Concealment terrain is useful to prevent immediate ID of the trench, though a reverse slope serves that purpose just as well. Don't think they are a waste of points because you get foxholes free.

        I hope this is the sort of tactical terrain guide you were looking for.

        P.S. - as for craters, they seem to act like foxholes in open ground. As such, they are "approach march cover" in the scheme of things discussed above.

  • Infantry
    • Half-squads
      • 2006.07.02 - Battlefront forums - Attack or Defend with Half Squads???
        • stoat: You will often see half squads used as scouts ahead of the rest of the platoon. They'll also be the first to assault across a road when the enemy is suspected to be near, so that the whole squad isn't lost in one turn. Half squads do panic faster than whole squads, and though HQs with morale bonuses can help, that only goes so far.

          It is actually considered gamey to use half squads while defending as it will give you double the number of foxholes as combined squads would. These extra foxholes make for easy fallback positions that can make a defence line harder to break.

          I personally don't use half squads all that often, but there are situations that cause me to break my units apart. I would suggest trying various combinations of whole and half squads until you find what works for you and your tactics.

        • HarryInk: I use 'em cos doctrine says you advance to engagement with the smallest tactical unit. So, the forward squad of my platoons is usually split as scouts. I also use 'em to inflate numbers when traversing exposed ground, especially in feints. The full squads though deliver the big bangs, so when I need steady firepower I keep 'em whole.
          (...)
          Oh, getting extra foxholes on the defence is not gamey, by a long shot. It's SOP for me. Set up a defensive position with fall back holes just out of LOS,then bring with rear half-squads up to the forward line in T1 before he draws LOS on me. That way the tea party lasts twice as long.
        • jBrereton: The only thing I find half-squads genuinely good for is mechanised reconnaissance. That's because they can fit in Universal Carriers, unlike full squads, and are safer in those that on top of tanks. That also allows, very rarely, for mechanised attacks, if one of the half-squads is quite well armed compared to the other, as I can use the APC's machine guns to pin down the defender when the half-squad attacks. Still, the only real use for them is for platoon-level reconnaissance for tanks, armoured up (although I've had good results with them being moved around in jeeps, too).
        • Lanzfeld: one thing I did learn from my tests was never try it with anything less then vets. [stoat replied: Did you try this with HQs that had different morale bonuses? That might allow you to get the same result with regulars.]
    • Scouting
    • Conscripts (CMBB)
      • "Human wave" command
        • https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/webandofbrothers/human-wave-in-cmbb-t18045.html
          • Someone quotes JasonC from another thread:
            Only Russians in command radius can initiate it. Somewhat longer command delay to initiate.
            The first portion of the path - about 200m - will be human wave. The remaining portion will convert to a "run" order. The human wave portion has similar characteristics to "advance", but isn't as tiring - middling movement rate, willing to fire, enhanced morale, and much less likely to hit the dirt or change waypoint due to light enemy fire. Especially compared to "move".
            The "run" portion is fast but highly vulnerable to enemy fire. A human wave order that is too long will therefore tend to fall apart toward the end, unless the remaining leg is short enough that the men reach cover.
            Human wave is available to conscript troops, that is its main useful point. Advance is not. Using only "move", which is highly sensitive to enemy fire, plus having low morale, it is virtually impossible to get conscripts to advance over any length of open ground against enemy fire. But it is possible with "human wave".
            Most formations are better off using staggered "advance" commands instead. But all at once moving up 200m or so on "human wave" can work. You should not try to "human wave" right onto unsuppressed enemies, it just gets lots of people killed. The destination should be cover within small arms range of the enemy. Firefight the enemy from the cover reached. You can human wave onto already suppressed defenders, though, to e.g. bull through light fire from the flanks, and the like.
            The single biggest cause of failed human wave attempts is crowding. You need to keep sufficient intervals, that fire at one unit does not suppress the whole lot of them. Sufficent means 26m apart at the time the burst hits. In practice, that means you want 30m intervals between the squads, both side to side and front to back. To keep platoons in command while spread sufficiently, use 2 lines of units, not one, with the HQ inside the second line.
  • Mortars
    • 81mm
      • Mortars are the precision munitions" of WWII. Mortars are best used against point targets. They have the advantage of being able to fire on the enemy without return fire hitting them, and they are relatively accurate and lethal enough to knock out enemy support weapons.
        The 81mm mortar is about as heavy as a weapon can get and still be regularly man packable (broken down), thus able to reach any terrain. It has enough range to hit MGs without reply, and the mobility to move after firing to avoid counterbattery (which was rudimentary at finding them in that era). The casualty radius of an 81mm mortar round is not much below that of a 105mm round. However, it is much less effective against men with cover, because it is getting that effect from smaller fragments.

        The effect of the shell is quite high, when a target is caught moving. Infantry mortared in the open will be stuck there like cement as long as your ammo holds. You watch them, when more than two get up you drop another several rounds on them. The German combination was MG42s if you leave cover and 81mm mortars if you stay in it but try to move around at all. The typical result is simply paralysis - the targeted formation will not move. Net result is, a targeted platoon is lucky if half of it can continue the mission half an hour later. If they are under immediate attack, maybe they can fire back with 2/3 to 3/4 strength in five minutes.

  • Machine guns
    • If you have your machine gun in a building that has infantry approaching it, put an SMG squad in a further-back position on the first floor of the building where they can take out any infantry that try to approach the machine gun. (Source)
  • Fixed defenses
    • Foxholes
    • Trenches
      • 2003.01.23 - Battlefront forums - foxholes, trenches, and terrain
        • walpurgis: The exposure percentages for units in trenches are the same in and out of natural cover. Why is this? I would think a trench placed deep in the woods would be much more "defensible", and certainly aid the already exceptional exposure ratings of the trench. But it doesn't.

          In fact, entrenching in trees actually seems to be a disadvantage because of potential treebursts, right?!? same with foxholes.

          So why use the cover of terrain at all on defense? concealment? you still get concealment in a trench (not very mobile, but you can hide).

        • JasonC: Foxholes are different from trenches in this regard. Trenches already give the best cover in the game, except heads down behind a stone wall. Foxholes in woods or pines are a close third (intact stone buildings come in second). Whereas foxholes in the open are mediocre cover at best, worse than scattered trees and not much better than brush. Craters are like foxholes in the open, whatever the old terrain was - because the old terrain is in the air.

          Putting trenches in terrain that gives some concealment may make them a bit harder to spot, but the protection certainly comes from the trench, not bushes etc. You should appreciate just how good trench cover is compared to the other types. The reduction in "incoming" compared to being is scattered trees is a factor of 3. Trenchs are about as much better than typical forms of decent cover as those forms of cover are better than open ground (rough, deep in scattered trees, rubble e.g.). They certainly don't need any additional boosting to be extremely effective.

          As for tree bursts, yes trenches are less effective when they are possible than when they aren't. Overhead is about the only place they are vunerable. Vs. infantry fire or direct HE, foxholes on the other hand are considerably more effective in woods or pines, because those forms of terrain on their own are better cover than foxholes are on their own.

          Compared to being in woods or pines without a foxhole, the improvement against small arms from adding the foxhole is marginal. But foxholes provide "cover" rather than mere "concealment", which means foxholes do protect against HE, significantly more than trees or pines alone. If you think airbursts are bad when you have the foxholes, try them when you don't.

  • Light armor
    • JasonC: Light armor is most useful late, not doing recon by death but acting as mobile MG nests when people are out of ammo and the defense it getting thin on AT weapons. (Source)

Unit statuses

  • What the different unit statuses mean:
    • http://community.battlefront.com/topic/11484-description-of-unit-condition/
      • Alerted means normally that something is shooting at that unit, and is the first sign of trouble and that the TacAI might take over.

        Shaken means that the unit will take cover or for example re-evaluate the order it has been given (e.g. if ordered to move, it might choose a different path with more cover, or it might simply disobey any orders and hunker down)

        Pinned means that it will go for the next cover and hit the ground. This also has an impacton its ability to return fire.

        Panic means that you cannot give the unit any orders, it will react on self-preservation only (and usually try to run away). Panicked units can recover once out of harms way.

        Broken means that the unit has had enough and it will do whatever is necessary to get out of trouble. Broken units can also get so seriously shaken that they will panic much quicker even after they recover (which takes much longer), this is indicated by the "!" in the unit window.

        Routed units get the heck out of there and remain useless for the rest of the fight most of the time. They always get seriously shaken, i.e. get the "!".

  • From doing tests, units can recover from the 'broken' and 'routed' statuses.

How to create custom missions

  • You can choose an elevation from "0" to "19". From running a simple experiment, it seems that the number corresponds to tens-of-feet, so that "19" is 190 feet higher than "0". (This is useful to know if you want to use real elevation data to create a scenario.)
  • The minimum map size is 240m x 240m.
  • The max map size I was able to create was 1200m x 4000m. The editor was extremely (unusably) laggy with a map that big, but in-game it didn't seem to lag at all.
    • It even crashed when I was using it.
  • You can have the editor auto-generate terrain for whatever map size you decide on.
  • A mission can be between 1 and 120 turns in duration.

Tutorial Missions

  • General advice / notes
    • When creating tutorials, get rid of the zones.
    • A flag shows up as captured *after* you click "Done" and the next chance to choose orders happens. You *can* capture a flag on your last turn, and you can see it's captured by looking at your score, but you'll never see the flag change in-game.
    • It seems if you give a "Move / Disembark" order to a unit at its current location, it's executed without any delay.
    • It seems if you order a unit to embark in a jeep that has an order to move to that embarking-unit's location, the jeep will stop as soon as the other unit beings moving towards the jeep, even if that unit is very far away from the jeep.
    • It seems that units (at least Jeeps) will "cut corners" if you give a series of waypoints. In my case I ordered it to fast-move to a building and then fast-move to another point, but when it was within maybe 100m of the building it just kept going towards the second waypoint without actually driving up to the building.
    • If you don't have a jeep keep going on its own, you lose 10 seconds + (the extra time you had in the last turn - 10) seconds.
  • Before I start to suffer from feature creep it may be a good idea to think about what the most crucial tactic to teach is. Maybe...OCOKA? Fire superiority? Being patient?
  • Maybe rewatch the Armchair General videos and see what he says. I think it was mainly OCOKA and the 5 questions he keeps asking himself.
    • Major ideas he covers:
      • Fire superiority.
  • You can really just look at the CMBO manual's table of contents and make each subsection a different mission or series of missions.
  • You can make tutorials of the form "get this unit to this position in this amount of time". That would be very helpful for a player.
  • You can make tutorials of the form "estimate how much time it would take to get this unit to get to this position".
  • Have a puzzle where you control a jeep and you need to navigate it through a city / woods / etc. terrain with lots of obstacles blocking off routes, and you need to get the jeep to a particular location in a single turn.
  • The idea is to teach the player how a jeep moves through various terrain.
  • Have a puzzle where you need to drop off a MG, pick up another MG, and then drop that MG.
  • Misc observations
    • You can't capture flags using a Jeep (and presumably using other transport units).
    • If the opponent doesn't have any units when the player hits "Go", the mission will immediately end, without even playing the moves the player has set up.
    • It seems you can't have an '@' symbol in your scenario name or it'll crash CMBO when you try to click the 'Load' button when editing the scenario.
    • The audio file that plays the AAR sound is 00000129.WAV. It might be a good idea to remove or change it if you're going to be doing a lot of testing of a scenario (like my tutorial scenarios).
    • 00000170.WAV is the drum roll that plays when you go to the main menu.
    • 00005010.wav is the theme that plays when you start the game.
    • Jeeps can rotate in-place.
  1. Unit-specific missions:
    • Infantry
    • Guns
    • Mortars
    • Vehicles
    • Tanks
  2. Group-size-specific missions
    1. Squad (4-12 men)
    2. Platoon
    3. Company(?)
  3. Have multiple missions for each unit type to cover different major abilities.
  4. Aim to have each mission take 15-30 mins.

After-Action Reports (AARs)

  • Combat Mission HQ - After Action Reports
    • This is a great resource, it has AARs from Fionn, who was apparently one of the best players of CMBO.
  •  JasonC
  • 2005.03.16 - ROW IV: a few more AARs published
  • B&T Rumblings of War V AARs
  • By George
    • 2015.04.18 - CMRT - Combat Mission Red Thunder AAR
      • It's a meeting engagement against a human opponent and each side is able to choose their units.  He's playing as the Germans, the opponent is playing as the Soviets.
      • The first 50 minutes are a long-range tank duel between his ~10 Tiger tanks and his opponent's ~10 ISU-152s and ~7 T-34s.  His Tigers dominate because 1) the ISU-152s are inaccurate at long range, 2) he did a fairly good job of getting his tanks into hull-down positions, and 3) the Soviet player did not do a good job of getting his tanks into hull-down positions.
      • At around the 50-minute mark he seems to do something unwise by having his entire battalion of infantry advance into the town at the same time, with each squad in column formation.  He loses a fair number of infantry to enemy artillery.  He also brings his Tigers in closer, which results in a couple of them getting taken out by remaining ISU-152s up on the ridge (the 152s are apparently more deadly at shorter ranges).
      • My thoughts:
        • If I was the Soviets, with that unit composition, it might have been wiser to rush the tanks into town (assuming they could move quickly enough; the 152s might not be able to) and then try to engage the Tigers at a closer distance.  Also, maybe try to hold the 152s back and bait the Tigers closer to the town, and then move forward with the 152s over the hill.  It definitely seems like the kind of thing where he could have wargamed out the likely result in a custom scenario and seen what the best path forward was.
        • It seems odd to me that the German player was awarded a "Total Victory" despite taking roughly even casualties with the Soviets.  It seems like, from a strategic standpoint, that unless this was in service of some crucial objective, that the Germans would probably want to be aiming for a higher Kill:Death ratio than the Soviets.
        • Someone in the comments mentioned something I found persuasive, which was that in reality hills were more important objectives than towns.  So it might have been more realistic to have the battle be about one of those hills rather about than the town between them.
  • RockPaperShotgun Communal Combat Mission
  • Edward Windsor

YouTube

  • Dak Does
    • His videos are great because they stay at ground-level and he doesn't talk, so it has a more immersive quality.
  • Rinaldi (YouTube)

User-generated content

  • It looks like Battlefront apparently sent cease-and-desist notices to shut down modding websites and instead requires hosting all mods on their website. (Source)
  • It seems Barbarossa to Berlin has by far the most mods out of the CMx1 series. (Source)
  • CMBO (purchased from GOG) actually comes with a bunch of mods that can be installed. They're in the "Mods" subfolder of the CMBO installation folder.
  • Martin's Combat Mission Mod Manager

Scenarios / Missions

CMBO

  • Denhost CMBO Scenarios Collection
    • This seems to be the scenario collection to have. It has a ton of CMBO scenarios.
  • "After doing a little research on scenarios it seems that "Any Port After a Storm" and "No Rest for the Weary" by Patrick Ware are two of the most highly regarded user-made operations" (Source)

CMBB

Alternative play-styles

Limiting yourself to a realistic perspective / "Franko's True Combat Rules"

  • NW: This is pretty cool; it basically just makes CM a strictly-first-person game, with the aim of making it more immersive, which is what OFP / WW2OL do so well.
  • Source
  • Selecting units
    • Use "+" or "-" keys to move from friendly unit to friendly unit. Then, use the "tab" key. You can then only rotate in place to scan the surrounding terrain.
    • If there is friendly unit within the line of sight (LOS) of the unit you have currently selected, you do not have to use the + and - keys. Instead, you can simply point and click on that target unit, THEN hit the tab key. Any other way of accessing an enemy unit is forbidden.
  • Looking around - After accessing the unit and hitting the tab key(which orients the view of the unit forward), you can only "look around" by using the pivot keys (1,3,7,9) on the keypad.
  • Buildings - If a unit icon (such as vehicle), blocks your view, you can use the "8" key to click ahead only such distance which is necessary to clear the sprite.
  • Elevated views - Once turns begin (after setup), you may use only the lowest-level view ("1" on the keyboard), unless the following apply:
    • A. If your unit occupies are a two-level building, you may use View 2
    • B. If you are on the top floor of a church, you can use View 2 or View 3, whichever you prefer
  • Enemy units - You may not "click on" or "select" an enemy unit. Use the "N" key to select targets.
  • Zoom keys - You may not use the "zoom key" (the brackets), unless:
    • A. You may use up to Zoom 2x if you're unit you are "looking from" is platoon leader or above.
    • B. Your unit may use up to Zoom 4x if it has optics (e.g, an artillery observer, an AT gun, a tank). Buttoned tanks or tanks that suffered casualties can only use up to zoom 4x in the direction of their turret facing, because, that's where the gunners optics are facing! American tanks may not be able to zoom at all.
  • Weather
    • You must always have weather and fog set to "full".
  • Setup phase
    • Attacking - During setup you may use View Level 7 to aid in setup, in addition to the views you are permitted in Rules 1, 2, or 3, above. This "attacker's map" rule represents the "map" your troop commander would use to help prepare your troops for the assault.
    • Defending - During setup you can use the map rule, above, if your signal corps has its act together. In addition, you can freely move about the map in level 1, or view level 2 (or 3, if a church) if that part of the map your viewing from is a multi-level building
    • Meeting Engagement - Both sides may only view using the Attacker's map rule, or from any spot in their setup zone (only). Again, if a spot in their setup zone has a church or building, adjust accordingly.
    • (Optional) During setup you may print out a map (by taking a screen shot and printing the .bmp file) for use during the battle.
      • This map should be at the minimum View Level 7.
  • Game settings
    • Use only "Realistic" Sized units.
    • Always have "full terrain" on.
    • Turn unit bases and detailed armored hits "off".
    • Generally speaking, use only those feature that the troops could use.
    • Needless to say, Fog of War is ALWAYS set to FULL!

Multiplayer

  • It seems like some people would play using "Franko's True Combat Rules" on the honor system.

Answers to misc questions

Active ways to find opponents

Sites no longer up

Settings to use

  • Mirrored matches
    • Some games are mirrored as well so you can get two players playing against each other in the same scenario simultaneously as opposite sides. In that instance if the same side wins in both games you can make an observation that the scenario may be unbalanced since the same side won in both instances regardless of the player, but by the same token if the same player wins as both sides then it could mean the skill level is the deciding factor. (Source)

CMBO

  • Fion Kelly's "Balanced Force Rules"
    • FIONN KELLY'S OFFICIAL COMBAT MISSION BEYOND OVERLORD
      "BALANCED FORCE" RULES

      PLEASE NOTE - This document cannot be guaranteed as either the correct or latest Official Version of Fionn Kelly’s CMBO ‘Balanced Force Rules’ and is issued for guidelines only. Please refer to Fionn Kelly's CMBO 'Balanced Force Rules' on the Rugged Defense web site for the definitive current Official Version of Fionn Kelly’s CMBO ‘Balanced Force Rules’.
      Version 1 - Created May 2002, Updated with corrections June 2002

      Tired of Combat Mission small scenario imbalance caused by one player choosing too many heavy tanks or yet another Pershing vs JagdPanther slugfest? Then why not try some pbem games using one of the 'Balanced Force Rules' below devised by Fionn Kelly to try and eliminate the prevalence of overmatched weapons systems and reliably create parameters within which certain types of balanced Combat Mission Beyond Overlord battles can take place.
      Please Note: These 'Rules' are guidelines only and provide a solid basis for players to set up balanced battles without worrying about whether your opponent has bought a killer heavy tank or over-sized artillery. If you play by these 'Rules', you should ensure all points are agreed with your PBEM opponent before starting the battle.

      Summary of Updates to Fionn Kelly's Rules:
      February 2001. Change to 'Panther-76 Rule' to cater for the armour changes applied to Combat Mission with effect from version 1.12.
      May 2002. Changes as follows:
      1. Inclusion of an 'Infantry-Only Rule'.
      2. Change in the Artillery Rules to make them mandatory by default.
      3. Elimination of VT Artillery and reduction of maximum artillery size for 'Panther-76' games to 120mm.
      4. Use of all Fortifications (except TRPs) and Aircraft banned.
      5. All FlaK Vehicles and Towed FlaK Systems banned.
      6. 'Recon Rule' to include German 75mm HTs.
      7. Change to 'Short-75 Rule' to allow British Sexton.
      8. Addition of an 'Unlimited' Rule.
      9. Commentary and explanation regarding common multi-player pitfalls associated with force selection and implementation of the 'Balanced Force Rules'.


      FIONN KELLY'S OFFICIAL COMBAT MISSION BEYOND OVERLORD
      "BALANCED FORCE" RULES

      FIONN'S INTRODUCTION

      Initially these 'Rules' were only an ad hoc creation used to ensure my own PBEM games wouldn't become inanely and predictably dominated by whichever player bought the heaviest tank. One of my opponents suggested that I should write down these 'Armour Rules' and make them publicly available so that others who also wished to avoid armour overmatch scenarios (the stereotypical Sherman 75 vs King Tiger game being something I've actually seen happen in reality) could have a readily available, third party and unbiased set of 'Rules' to refer to when attempting to avoid an armour overmatch battle.
      As time passed, the 'Rules' became extremely popular and had to be updated both because Combat Mission changed (eg. use of tungsten changed dramatically from v1.05 to v1.12 as did the armour values for certain tanks) and because I never envisioned the 'Rules' becoming as popular as they have. As such, I felt the need to tighten up certain grey areas and correct minor errors since the 'Rules' were no longer being used by a half-dozen of my friends, but were now being used by several thousand gamers every day of the week.
      When I initially wrote the 'Armour Rules', they incorporated no artillery calibre limits and had no mention of special weapons systems. As time passed, extempore artillery calibre limits have been introduced, but these were only included as an afterthought as, at the time, I really didn't expect to see the 'Armour Rules' being used to set the parameters within which competitive tournaments would be fought. In addition, I have become aware of many ways to exploit the game code to create unbalanced forces whilst sticking to the letter of the 'Armour Rules'.
      Therefore, after much prodding from Robert Hall, whom you all have to thank (or blame as the case may be) for these new 'Balanced Force Rules', I decided that rather than simply updating them again slightly, I would change the entire ethos behind the 'Rules' and create a new Rule-set which would address the current needs of the CM community in recognition of the fact that needs today are very different from when the original 'Armour Rules' were created.
      Instead of posting a new set of 'Armour Rules' with some slight updates to non-armour sections, I have endeavoured to create a Rule-set, which, if its spirit is followed, will create a more balanced overall set of forces for CM players. In other words, I've taken a more holistic view of proceedings and have abandoned the previous method of integrating artillery into the 'Armour Rules' in favour of a method that integrates artillery into the entire Balanced Force. As you can see, the name of the 'Rules' has also changed to reflect the change in ethos. The name change isn't merely cosmetic. It is central to understanding the changes that have been made.
      The new set of 'Rules' has been designed with a view to ensuring that each combat arm is balanced relative to the others. In the 'Short-75' or 'Panther-76 Rules', the tank arm is no more or less capable of destroying an infantry unit than the largest artillery calibre available. The 'Balanced Force Rules' should, if applied correctly, lead to more balanced force purchases which should lead to players having to stretch themselves and become comfortable and proficient with all combat arms instead of, as currently often happens, relying on 155mm or VT artillery to pound anything and everything in their path and only moving tanks and infantry forward when artillery has already won the battle. If these players wish to continue relying on the crutch that their artillery has become, they are perfectly free to do so if they can find players willing to play with such internally inconsistent forces, but I feel most players will prefer to play with internally consistent forces.
      No longer will a weapons system which can be exploited in an unrealistic manner be allowed in a battle under these 'Rules' simply because it cannot kill certain enemy armoured vehicles. No, instead, the weapons system will be banned so that such exploitation and unbalancing of the force on force match-up (as opposed to the armour on armour match-up) cannot continue to occur. In cases where a weapons system has many valid realistic uses but can also be used to exploit loopholes in the game, the weapons system will be allowed but I will mention it, discuss how it can be unrealistically exploited and suggest some "common sense" limits on its use.
      What do I mean by common sense limits? Simple. When I deem it unsuitable or unnecessary to completely ban a weapons system, I will suggest what it can reasonably be used for and in what numbers. I won't proscribe either side from using them in another fashion or purchasing more than that number, but describing what reasonable use and numbers are will prevent any and all honest players from inadvertently purchasing a company of flame-throwing half-tracks to support an infantry company without realising that is unrealistic and likely to cause some players to react badly. I can't and won't legislate for players who actively seek to exploit the game in order to win at all costs. The best advice I can give regarding these players (and there are many of them), is simply to disregard any result they achieve, cross them off your play list and move on. I also hope that by putting something down on paper regarding fair use of some controversial systems, relatively new players will be able to negotiate the extremely tricky minefield of purchasing allowed units but then finding that the way they use them or the number they purchase causes offence.
      So, I hope you find the 'Balanced Force Rules' useful and I confidently expect them to eliminate much confusion and controversy amongst CM PBEMers and TCPIPers. I am certain that several players will object to the banning of certain units (especially Towed FlaK) but I can see them being used unrealistically in PBEM after PBEM and believe that once tactical allowance is made for their banning and their role is fulfilled by another unit, even these players will realise that the overall Force Balance will be superior.
      If you wish to comment on the 'Balanced Force Rules, please do so on the Battlefront CM forum. I will read and carefully consider any comments posted there and take them into account for future revisions. I have changed things in the 'Rules' as a result of such comments in the past. Without constructive and impersonal criticism the rules wouldn't be nearly as effective and balanced as they have become.
      As regards Combat Mission Barbarossa to Berlin, I welcome constructive comments and critique on these CMBO 'Balanced Force Rules' and will utilise them when creating the CMBB equivalent to this Rule-set if I feel it is worth producing and there is a demand. I hope that you all find the first edition of the 'Balanced Force Rules' useful in creating multi-player games in which player skill and not purchase screen machinations determines who shall win the game. That is, when you distill it to its essentials, my aim.
      Fionn Kelly


      FIONN KELLY'S OFFICIAL COMBAT MISSION BEYOND OVERLORD
      "BALANCED FORCE" RULES

      IMPORTANT INITIAL NOTES

      1. Force Purchases
      As you read these 'Rules', some of you may note that many forces come with organic fire support that would make them illegal under the 'Rules'. Unless exceptions to the 'Rules' are granted, these forces cannot be purchased. That is unfortunate but unavoidable. If the German player wishes to purchase a Battalion that comes with 120mm FOs and the artillery limit is 81mm or 105mm, then the German player has to either just do without that unit or negotiate an exemption (gifting the Allied player a similar artillery exemption for example). If both players agree to different artillery limits then that's their business. It will unbalance their forces and result in a game which favours the player with more skill commanding artillery, but if that's what the players want, the 'Rules' will not legislate against it.
      Fionn recommends that all 'Rules' are best played on computer generated or human designed maps with a neutral third party actually performing all the purchases (and thus being able to carry out any necessary force deletions), performing a Tournament Save and then sending the saved game to the first player. However, note that a Tournament Save is not an infallible method of preventing the first player from looking at the second player's forces. Refer to Force Selection Guidelines for playing CM on a Custom Map to determine the various security options available in CMBO for selecting forces on this type of a map.

      2. Artillery
      In order to clarify the situation with Artillery, the Artillery Rules described below now automatically apply by default. This prevents one player thinking Artillery limitations are optional and the other player that Artillery limitations are mandatory and thus avoids potential disputes. Limiting Artillery size inevitably follows from the application of the 'Balanced Force Rules'.
      Levels of Artillery consistent with a Balanced Force are as follows:
      1. 'Infantry-Only' - allows up to and including 81mm calibre.
      2. 'Recon Rule' - allows up to and including 81mm calibre.
      3. 'Short-75 Rule' - allows up to and including 105mm calibre.
      Note 1: British and American 4.2" calibre artillery is not permitted under the 'Short-75 Rule' unless specifically agreed by both players in advance of selecting forces.
      Note 2: There is a valid argument the artillery limit under the 'Short-75 Rule' could be increased to 120mm. However, by forcing players to rely on artillery with slower response times, a 105mm limit focuses attention on the proper coordination between infantry and armour, is less forgiving of tactical errors and does make for a different game. After careful consideration, the "Official Artillery Limit" remains at 105mm for 'Short-75' battles, but may optionally be increased to 120mm for both sides by prior mutual agreement between both players.
      4. 'Panther-76 Rule' - allows up to and including 120mm calibre.
      5. 'Unlimited Rule' - any and all artillery calibres allowed.
      6. VT Artillery is not permitted under any circumstances since it is too devastating for its cost.
      7. TRPs are always permitted.
      All artillery limits are open to change by agreement between the two players prior to forces being selected.

      3. Fortifications
      The implementation of some fortifications and mines can be used by unscrupulous players to create unacceptable blocking conditions for one player which are impossible, or nearly impossible, for the other player to overcome. The implementation of some fortifications is also considered flawed due to the fact some fortifications cannot be detected in a realistic manner and several systems used in their clearance (flail and mine-roller vehicles) are not modelled. Because of these considerations, all Fortifications, except TRPs, are banned.
      TRPs, as outlined under the Artillery section above, are always allowed even though, technically, they are listed under Fortifications in the CM purchase screen.
      In conclusion, all Fortifications including pillboxes, bunkers, barbed wire, roadblocks, AP mines and AT mines, but excluding TRPs, are banned.
      As always, exceptions can be made to any of the above given the explicit consent of both players prior to force selection.

      4. Aircraft, FlaK Guns and FlaK Vehicles
      These optional components of a battle can have a very unbalancing effect on the game and go against the spirit of the rules which are trying to define as evenly balanced a game as possible. In addition, the implementation of FlaK weaponry vis a vis building destruction and stationary troops is flawed and open to serious abuse by players.
      By preventing players from purchasing Aircraft, there is no longer a justifiable requirement for access to FlaK weapons. Light anti-tank guns can reliably handle half-track rushes just as happened in real life.
      There is, however, justification for retaining the big 88mm and 90mm FlaKs because they are not prone to gamey abuses in the same manner as the more rapid-firing, lower calibre AAA systems are.
      In conclusion, all Aircraft and Flak weaponry are banned.

      5. Purchase Settings
      It is assumed that CM Force Purchase Settings are set to Unlimited for 'Balanced Force Rule' purchases. So long as no player is allowed to buy an individual weapons system that can, unreasonably, dominate the battlefield due to superior technical or tactical characteristics, the 'Rules' are satisfied. If a player chooses to purchase a particular unit en masse and attempt to dominate the battlefield that way, then good luck.


      FIONN KELLY'S OFFICIAL COMBAT MISSION BEYOND OVERLORD
      "BALANCED FORCE" RULES

      FIONN'S COMMENTARY AND EXCEPTIONS

      Negotiating Exceptions
      Many players will dislike certain components of the new 'Balanced Force Rules'. This is understood and accepted whilst standing by the statement that the new 'Rules' provide for extremely balanced forces where the skill of the player, rather than purchase screen antics, determines the victor.
      Since the 'Rules' were first made public, players have sought to secure exceptions from certain components of the 'Rules' in certain games. The 'Rules' were never intended to be a straightjacket forcing people to play Combat Mission in only a certain way, nor is this an attempt to prevent people having fun with imaginative forces - CM is, after all, just a computer game. The 'Rules' have been provided only to try to ensure that skill will win out. Many sections of the CM community appear to have difficulty grasping that simple truth and have, continuously, sought to ascribe other motives to the 'Rules' so this statement bears repeating. The 'Balanced Force Rules' have only been provided to try to ensure players have an unbiased, reliable, third party source to draw upon when attempting to set in place parameters for a CM battle. The CM battle should then be decided by the players' relative tactical skills and not by the players' purchase screen cunning.
      It is, however, realised that the majority of players have neither the depth of Combat Mission experience nor an encyclopaedic knowledge of weapons systems and their relative strengths necessary to accurately assess the impact of Rule exceptions sought by their opponents. Even those intimately involved with the creation of the 'Rules' are still surprised by the unexpected effects of some exceptions. So while the use of explicit, mutually agreed exceptions to the 'Rules' are fully accepted, it was felt useful to provide certain comments to help players avoid some serious potential pitfalls unscrupulous players may exploit to severely skew the balance of a game.
      One cannot state strongly enough that unless you absolutely know what you are doing andor trust your opponent a great deal, you should just stick with the 'Balanced Force Rules' as stated in this document. Unless you are extremely experienced, doing otherwise leaves you open to all the pre-game machinations and advantage seeking the 'Rules' are designed to prevent.

      Commentary and Notes for the Unwary
      1. Exceptions to any of the 'Rules' can be made if both players explicitly agree to an exception before finalising their purchases. If at any point during a game, a player finds that his opponent has breached the agreement, the game should be declared null and void. If this occurs during a tournament and the tournament organiser feels the breach was intentional (or the result of excessive neglect - eg. the player was referred to this page but simply didn't bother reading the 'Rules'), it should be considered as sufficient grounds for elimination or disqualification.
      Example. If one player states that he wants Panthers to be available under the 'Short-75 Rule' and receives no answer to this request, it is assumed that the request is denied. There have been verified instances of players burying an outrageous exception deep in the middle of a paragraph and claiming that since the opponent did not specifically decline the exception, he was justified in assuming the exception was granted. The key here is that both players must read the requested exception and agree to it. The only way an unfair exception can thus be incorporated into the game parameters is through inexperience on the part of one or both players.
      Please Note: A player may, on occasion, request to be allowed to purchase larger artillery calibres than are allowed under the 'Rules'. If you accede to this request you should bear in mind that the player may:
      a) Take advantage of this Rule in a way you hadn't expected by purchasing say a dozen 150mm Nebelwerfer FOs instead of the one or two 150mm FOs you had expected.
      b) Decide to merely ask for the exception but not take advantage of it in order to create an expectation regarding his force structure in your mind that is not borne out by reality. For example, a defending German player may seek to remove tank limitations from the 'Balanced Force Rules' in the expectation that you will assume he will use this exemption to purchase myriad King Tigers. In response to this assumption you will, undoubtedly, purchase your own heavy tanks to tackle his King Tigers. Then, when you find that the enemy player has, instead, merely bought large numbers of rocket-propelled anti-tank rounds (capable of killing your heavy tanks as easily as their lighter cousins) and purchased no tanks of any sort, you may realise that he sought the exception merely as a form of PsyOp designed to cause you to spend far more points on tanks (and fewer on infantry and artillery) than would otherwise have been prudent.
      2. If both players specifically agree to an exception before finalising their purchases, then the newly created parameters shall be valid for the course of that game (and for that game only). Players are advised to keep a copy of the email where any exceptions are agreed in case their opponent decides the exception made was detrimental to his cause and tries to get the game declared void.
      3. Once both players agree to an exception, the validity of the exception cannot be challenged. You may, of course, question the sportsmanship of a player who seeks utterly outrageous exceptions when facing an inexperienced player, but for the sake of tournaments it must be made clear that no player can void a result after agreeing to an exception, no matter how much it skewed the game. Perhaps the exception did doom you to lose and perhaps the other player was extremely un-sportsmanlike to ask for the exception, but the losing player could always have said "No". Again, this underlines the necessity of saying "No" to any and all requested exceptions unless you really know what you are doing.
      4. Ideally, exceptions should apply to both sides. So, for example, if the German player wishes to increase his artillery limit under the 'Panther-76 Rule' to 150mm and the Allied player agrees, the Allied artillery limit is also increased to 150mm.
      Note: Be wary of players attempting to trick you by using specific wording. While a 150mm artillery limit would serve the German player in this situation extremely well, the Americans would be less well off, finding that they still wouldn't have access to their equivalent, the 155mm artillery piece. Seldom has 5mm made such a difference!
      5. If your opponent seeks an exception in one area of the 'Rules', you have the right to ask an exception from him. Most players seeking an exception do so in order to gain an advantage so you would, quite frankly, be extremely foolish to allow him or her that exceptionadvantage without securing one of equal advantage for yourself.
      Note: In some cases the exception gifts almost equal advantage to both sides. If you agree to up the artillery calibre limit to 155mm, then you both get access to artillery in the 150 to 155mm range. This is a relatively bilateral symmetrical advantage, although, to be fair, it ends up benefiting the player with more experience handling larger artillery more than it does the weaker player, and generally, larger weapons calibres benefit the attacker more than the defender. In a case where an exception benefits both sides equally, one should simply either turn it down or accept it without tacking a second exception on to it.
      On the other hand, sometimes a player will ask for an exception for a specific tank that is excluded under the current Rule-set. In such a case the advantage gained would be unilateral and you would be advised to gain a separate exception that unilaterally benefits your own side equally. For example, if your opponent sought to allow Panthers under the 'Short-75 Rule' then you might well make acceptance of that exception conditional on your opponent accepting your right to purchase any and all 17 pounder armed vehicles.

      Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
      So, your standard operating procedure when asked to accept an exception should be:
      1. Assess exactly why your opponent wishes the exception to be made and what advantage it will give him. If you don't have the experience or knowledge to assess what advantage he'll gain, refuse the exception. Ask other CM players regarding the exception so that next time you do have the knowledge to accurately assess it.
      2. Determine whether or not you are comfortable gifting him that advantage.
      3. Assess whether you can obtain an equal and opposite advantage by granting that exception. If you do not, then you should make acceptance conditional upon your opponent's acceptance of an exception that benefits you as much as the first exception benefits him.
      4. Explicitly and mutually agree to whatever exceptions you've worked out and confirm in writing through an exchange of emails.

      Conclusion
      As you can see, the whole issue of exceptions to the 'Rules' is fraught with pitfalls for the unwary and opportunities for un-sportsmanlike conduct. Unless you really know what you are doing, it is strongly suggested you just stick to the 'Balanced Force Rules' as written. As Chester L Karrass, a noted negotiator and author once noted, "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate".
      If you stick to the Official 'Balanced Force Rules' as published in this set of pages on Rugged Defense you will get what experienced players deem a "fair outcome to unbiased negotiations". If you choose to deviate from these 'Rules' then you will only get as good a deal as you, individually, can negotiate. If you are inexperienced, what you can negotiate will not be as balanced as you deserve.
      Fionn Kelly

      [Note from Nathan: everything above is the original text; everything below was translated by Google from a Polish translation of the original text, which I found here.  I then cleaned up the translation based on the text above.]

      FIONN KELLY'S OFFICIAL COMBAT MISSION BEYOND OVERLORD "BALANCED FORCE" RULES

      DETAILED "BALANCED FORCE" RULES

      1. Infantry-Only Rule

      The infantry-only rule is for players who would like to experience a fight without any obstacles. It is also a very good set of rules for players who would like to gain experience because the player can focus on developing infantry fighting skills without being threatened by destructive artillery attacks or massive armored attacks.
      The "Infantry Only" rule allows the purchase of all possible infantry units and any guns, but does not allow the purchase of any vehicles (even unarmed jeeps and trucks). Some tournament rules require the purchase of transport for each cannon, so you can agree an exception and allow the purchase of jeeps or trucks.

      Summary:
      INFANTRY-ONLY RULE
      Infantry: Any (all types)
      Vehicles and tanks: None
      Artillery: max 81mm
      Towed: Any except light and medium anti-aircraft guns (flak)
      Mixing forces: It is not allowed to mix nationality or type of military force within nationality.
      Fortifications: Only TRP


      2. Recon Rule
      The "recon rule" is intended for players who want to experience a fight with the participation of light scouting vehicles or who want to experience the atmosphere of light armed and armored reconnaissance forces. None of the available weapons is particularly strong, so it forces the use of vehicles and artillery to crush the enemy, whose elimination will take care of his own infantry. Maneuverability and flexibility in the face of the changing situation on the battlefield are the most important, so the player who will master them better will have a better chance of winning. The game using the principle of "reconnaissance" teaches the use of realistic tactics of the use of armored weapons. Talented armored commanders will have a greater chance of showing up in it than playing on the principles of "Short-75" or "Panther-76".


      "RECON" RULE
      Infantry: Any (all types).
      Vehicles and tanks: All for 50mm caliber (see below).
      Artillery: max. 81mm
      . Towed: Any light and medium anti-aircraft guns (flak)
      Mixing forces: Mixed nationality is not allowed or type of military force within nationality.
      Fortifications: Only TRP

      Notes:
      1. A German player can purchase transporters and armored cars armed with 75mm guns. Vehicles are so armed with weapons used mainly against infantry and are sensitive to the fire of any Allied reconnaissance vehicles including those armed only with a 0.5 inch HP. In fact, German reconnaissance units were equipped with many transporters and armored vehicles armed with short-barrel 7.5 cm guns. This rule therefore allows the German player to use historically correct light reconnaissance forces while maintaining the balance of the game.
      2. Mortar transporters and flamethrowers are allowed, but flamethrower tanks are not (as their armor is resistant to 50mm guns). It is recommended to determine before the game whether and how many vehicles with flamethrowers can be used in the game.

      Americans - Allowed vehicles: M5A1 Stuart, M8 Greyhound, M3A1 Scout Car, M20 Armored Utility Car, T8 Reconnaissance Car, M3 HT, M3A1 HT, M4A1 Mortar Carrier HT, M21 Mortar Carrier HT, Jeep, Jeep MG, Truck

      British - Allowed vehicles: Stuart V, Daimler Armored Car, Humber Scout Car, White Scout Car, Stuart Kangaroo, Ram Kangaroo, M5 HT, M5A1 HT, Universal Carrier, MMG Carrier, Wasp Flamethrower Carrier, Jeep, Truck

      Germans - Allowed vehicles: H-39 Hotchkiss, Lynx (Pz IIL), PSW 2341 Armoured Car, PSW 2342 Puma Armoured Car, PSW 2343 Armoured Car, SPW 2501 HT, SPW 2507 Mortar Carrier HT, SPW 2508 Assault HT, SPW 2509 HT, SPW 2511 HT, SPW 2512 Mortar Carrier HT, SPW 2519 Assault HT, SPW 25116 Flamethrower HT, SdKfz Gun Tractor, Kübelwagen, Truck

      3. SHORT-75
      The "SHORT-75" principle allows players to experience the battles in which Panzer IV and Sherman 75 reign. It also allows players to experience tank fighting in which almost every hit involves the elimination of the opponent (which is rare in the case of Jumbo vs Panther) and play in an environment where towed guns are the most effective.

      Summary:
      "SHORT-75" RULE

      Infantry: Any (all types)
      Vehicles and tanks: All for caliber 75mm guns (except 7.5cm L70)
      Artillery: Maximum 105 mm
      Towed: Any light and medium anti-aircraft guns (flak)
      Mixing forces: It is not allowed to mix nationality or type of military force within nationality
      Fortifications: Only TRP

      Notes:
      1. Sexton is available to the British since its armor is vulnerable to 75mm guns.
      2. Vehicles whose main gun does not serve as anti-tank guns and their armor can be pierced by the best available armored weapon on the vehicle are allowed (eg Churchill AVRE).

      Americans - tanks allowed: M5A1 Stuart, M4, M4 Crocodile, M4 (105), M4A1, M4A2 (French), M4A3, M4A3 (105), M4A3 (75) in, M7 Priest, M7A1 Priest, M8 HMC, M24 Chaffee

      Americans - forbidden tanks: 
      M4A3 (75) w +, M4A1 (76 )in, M4A1 (76) w +, M4A3 (76) in, M4A3 (76) in Easy 8, M4A3 (76) w +, M4A3 (76) w + Easy 8, M4A3E2 Jumbo, M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo, M26 Pershing, T26E4 Super Pershing, M10 TD, M18 Hellcat, M36 Jackson, M36B1 Jackson

      British - allowed tanks: Stuart V, Sherman II, Sherman III, Sherman V, Badger (Canadian), Centaur IV, Cromwell IV, Cromwell VI, Cromwell VII, Cromwell VIII, Churchill VI, Sexton, Churchill AVRE

      Brits - forbidden tanks:
      Churchill VII, Churchill Crocodile, Churchill VIII, Comet, Wolverine, Achilles, Archer

      Germany - tanks allowed: H39 Hotchkiss, Lynx (Pz IIL), Panzer IVG, Panzer IVH, Panzer IVJ, Wespe, Marder II, Hummel, Marder III Late, StuH42, StuH42 Late, StuG IIIG, StuG IIIG Late, StuG IV

      Germany - Forbidden tanks: 
      Tiger, Tiger Late, King Tiger, King Tiger, Panther P, Panther G, Panther G Late, JagdPanzer IV, JagdPanzer IV Skirt, Nashorn, Panzer IV70 (V), JagdTiger, JagdPanther, Flammpanzer, Hetzer 38t, Ostwind, Wirbelwind


      4. "LONG-76" RULE
      The "Long-76" rule allows almost all tanks (except those heaviest armed and armored), but limits the artillery to 120 mm.
      The artillery caliber was limited to 120mm due to the fact that players extremely rarely use their heaviest tanks to fire at an infantry position, instead using them to settle armored duels. The firepower from vehicles to infantry positions is no bigger, and often much smaller than in the "SHORT-75" rule.

      Summary:
      PRINCIPLE "LONG 75-KA76-KA"

      Infantry: Any (all types)
      Vehicles and tanks: All for caliber works 90mm (see below for exceptions)
      Artillery: Maximum 120 mm
      Towed: Any excluding light and medium anti-aircraft guns (flak)
      Mixing forces: It is not allowed to mix nationality or type of military forces within nationality.
      Fortifications : Only TRP

      Americans - tanks allowed: M5A1 Stuart, M4, M4 Crocodile, M4 (105), M4A1, M4A1 (76) in, M4A1 (76) w +, M4A2 (French), M4A3, M4A3 (105), M4A3 (75) in, M4A3 (75) w +, M4A3 (76 ) in, M4A3 (76) in Easy 8, M4A3 (76) w +, M4A3 (76) w + Easy 8, M7 Priest, M7A1 Priest, M8 HMC, M10 TD, M18 Hellcat, M24 Chaffee, M4A3E2 Jumbo, M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo, M36 Jackson, M36B1 Jackson

      Americans - Forbidden tanks: 
      M26 Pershing, T26E4 Super Pershing

      British - tanks allowed: Stuart V, Sherman II, Sherman IIA, Sherman IIC Firefly, Sherman III, Sherman V, Sherman VC Firefly, Badger (Canadian), Centaur IV, Cromwell IV, Cromwell VI, Cromwell VII, Cromwell VIII, Challenger, Churchill VI, Churchill VII, Churchill Crocodile, Churchill VIII, Comet, Wolverine, Achilles, Archer, Sexton, Churchill AVRE,

      Britons - Forbidden tanks: no
      ne

      Germany - tanks allowed: H39 Hotchkiss, Lynx (Pz IIL), Panzer IVG, Panzer IVH, Panzer IVJ, Panther A, Panther G, Panther G Late, Wespe, Marder II, Hummel, JagdPanzer IV, JagdPanzer IV Skirt, Flammpanzer, Hetzer 38t, Marder III Late, StuH42, StuH42 Late, StuG IIIG, StuG IIIG Late, StuG IV, Tiger, Tiger Late, Nashorn, Panzer IV70 (V)

      Germany - Forbidden tanks: King Tiger, King Tiger Porsche, JagdTiger, JagdPanther, Ostwind, Wirbelwind


      5. "UNLIMITED" RULE
      "UNLIMITED" allows you to buy everything except fortifications (except TRP). The reason for this limitation is that mines, roadblocks, etc. are not realistically detected and cannot be realistically removed. Their presence, therefore, violates the balance of the game. Airplanes, plotting vehicles and plotting works are allowed, but they can be excluded by mutual agreement.

      Summary:
      "UNLIMITED".

      Infantry: Any (all types)
      Vehicles and tanks: All, including gamey vehicles.
      Artillery: Unbound, permitted planes
      Towed: Any, including gossip.
      Mixing: Mixing nationality or type of military within nationality.
      Fortifications: Only TRP

CMBB

  • 2002.10.27 - Battlefront forums - CMBB QB Settings - what do u use?
    • I think it's very important NOT to set everything to random. This is because it's quite possible to get VERY unbalanced games with all settings random. A very significant reason for this is that the amount of cover available on maps varies greatly from north to south across the various regions. Some southern maps are so open that you must give the attacker considerably more, or the defender considerably less, points.

      So before starting a QB, you 1st have to make a decision as to what type of battle you want. Do you want something more similar to the CMBO experience, or do you want the vast, open steppes? If you pick the former, you have to set some variables to makes sure you get that. If you pick the latter, you not only have to set the same variables, but a few more to make sure it's a good fight. And while you're setting variables anyway, you might as well set the date.

      Here are my recommendations:

      1st Screen

      1. Date (Optional)

      Huge effect on how the game will play due to the different units available at different times. Do you want KVs vs. PzIIs, T34s vs PzIIIs, PzIVs vs T34s, or King Tigers vs. JS2s? But sometimes it's fun to have this be a surprise.

      2. Region (mandatory)

      This has a great effect on the map. Any given tree setting seems to give more trees the further north you go. So if you don't want the extra hassle of tweaking points balances, set the battle in the north region.

      Also, region affects what nationalities are available. Finns, for instance, are only available in Finland. So if playing certain nationalities is important to you, you need to set the region.

      2nd Screen

      1. Nationality (optional)

      Only set if you want to play with or against a specific nationality.

      2. Purchase Units (optional)

      I usually like to pick my own forces. Among other reasons, how else do you learn when what units become available?

      3. Fitness (mandatory)

      Fitness has no effect on purchase points but has a HUGE effect on combat effectiveness. Thus, it can't be left to chance and still result in balanced games very often. Having unfit troops SUCKS, especially for the attacker, it's worse in combination with inclement weather, and it's a near death-sentence in snow. So unless you really want to tweak MANY other settings (handicap, cover, weather, game length, etc.) to balance things for the unfit side, set this to fit. Always.

      4. Ammo (mandatory)

      This also has no effect on cost but a huge effect on effectiveness, so always set it to full at least for the attacker. If you don't want to set which side is the attacker, you have to leave this as full for both sides.

      5. Battle Type (dependent on other settings)

      A lot of other settings (fitness, ammo load, and map type especially) can combine to make things impossible for the attacker. If you insist on playing with these other settings, or risking them to chance, then you have to handicap the axis or the allies. But before you know which side to give more or less points to, you have to know which side is attacking.

      6. Map Size (dependent on other settings)

      A bigger map spreads the defender. So if you've got some settings that suck for the attacker, or can suck depending on what comes up randomly, it's a good idea to go for a larger map to help balance things.

      7. Points (mandatory)

      Always set this to the base size of the battle you want to fight. Not that you have any choice smile.gif .

      8. Handicap (depends on other settings)

      Depending on what sort of horrible things the attack must or might face, you need to tweak the point ratio or you'll have an unwinnable battle. Which side (attacker or defender) and how much is a matter of judgment, but should consider what sort of map you're going to have, and you haven't even gotten to that screen yet. This is why you have to decide on this before you start setting up the battle.

      9. Rarity (optional)

      If you want quasi-historical OOBs, you'd better use rarity. Furthermore, you'd better set it to variable, which is much more interesting than normal rarity ;) .

      10. Length (mandatory)

      Even in a battle with a fair amount of cover and attackers unencumbered with unfit troops and limited ammo, the game system changes mean it ususally takes more than the CMBO default of 30 turns to get there. So I recommend always setting for at least 40 turns. And if you're attacking with some severe problems (unfit troops, deep snow, etc.) you'd better max this out at 60 turns. And always use the variable ending option to make things a bit uncertain for you.

      3rd Screen -- the Map

      Always set all the variables, to make sure the map fits in with all the settings previously chosen.

      One thing especially to note: damage. This has a big effect on play at the heavy and extreme settings. The damage is concentrated around the objectives, which does 2 things. If you have a village map, most of the buildings will be rubble. This helps the defender because rubble seems to be better cover and he doesn't have to worry about you collapsing the buildings on him. OTOH, all the craters can give cover to the attacker, allowing him to advance in short spurts over what otherwise is open ground. And unlike most other forms of infantry cover, supporting vehicles can move through it.

      So use the damage option wisely. It can really sway things one way or the other, but usually it seems to help the attacker more.


Gamey tactics

  • DrVonCool - Force picks, tactics etc. that your opponent may consider gamey
  • Go through this thread: 2003.03.10 - Battlefront forums - Question on "gamey" game play
    • Just a couple things may seem "gamey" or otherwise detract from realistic play IMHO.

      1. bringing towed guns (without transport) to a meeting engagement. (some may also argue that attackers should bring guns embarked to a battle)

      2. using "unrestricted" division type in an effort to maximize points/firepower. An example of this is purchasing Guards/Airborne SMG/Infantry pioneer at the same time in companies or less).

      3. using flamethrowers to burn buildings before enemy infantry can arrive and thus limit approaches to a defensive position. (this one is also iffy since now it seems in CMBB that infantry can_enter_burning_buildings) Not sure about it but BFC may have allowed this to prevent gamey tactics but in the end it seems unrealistic for infantry to fight from or pass through burning structures.

      All this being said the following practices can be followed: Always use rarity. Always use EFOW. Always use units from a single division type. No more than 1 coy per battalion of SMG troops.

  • Shooting buildings to demolish them so fixed guns can gain LOS behind those buildings.
    • There's just one thing that I find gamey, and it's destroying buildings to gain LOS.

      I hardly think this is the way it happened in real life: "Hmm, this field gun is hard to maneuver, and our troops need heavy support just a couple of blocks ahead of us. So maybe we'll just demolish the buildings in front of us to get a clear view!". (Source)

  • Using bailed-out crews to trigger ambushes.
    • Fionn: What worried me re: crews in the front line is that they can be used to trip ambushes saving SMG units etc from being anihilated in surprise attacks, thus making the enemy's eventual victory more likely. Crews in the frontline are mostly valuable as ambush trippers. Sure there's a cost in points but if one's attack succeeds because of those 2 or 3 platoons of SMG troops you saved from being ambushed then you more than recoup the cost. (Source)

Vocabulary

  • borg spotting
    • There's a lot that has already been posted about this subject. If you're interested in details, I suggest using the search button.

      However, since some don't bother searching, I feel it's important to point out that there are two seperate game mechanics issues that are often lumped together is "borg spotting," but are actually totally seperate things.

      The first is the aforementioned god-like player omniscence -- once any one unit spots an enemy, the player instantly knows about said enemy and can react accordingly. Obviously, IRL this would not be the case. While the unrealistic effects of this kind of Borg Spotting can be limited by game features like command delay, units dropping completely "out of command" if they stray too far from C&C, etc. it probably can never be completely eliminated unless you want to turn CM into a very boring game where player control of the action after setting the initial battle plan is very restricted.

      The other big Borg Spotting issue in CM is TacAI Borg Spotting. That is, the computer TacAI for each individual unit "knows" about any enemy unit that *any* other friendly unit has spotted. For example, an overwatching MG instantly knows of an enemy infantry contact in woods 800m away the moment a closer scouting infantry team sees the enemy. Obviously, IRL it would take some time for the info about the enemy contact to make it to the MG team, and then they would have to do some searching on their own to establish hard contact.

      This second Borg Spotting issue has far-reaching effects on CM tactics. For example, It makes scouting infantry ahead of tanks MUCH more effective than in IRL. In CM, most players put infantry at least 200m in front of tanks to spot threats. As soon as anything opens up on the infantry, the tanks take it under fire. IRL, tanks following hundreds of meters behind infantry might have real trouble spotting threats on their own, and there would be considerable delay while forward infantry units communicated to their armored support where they needed fire support. When you consider C&C issues, it suddenly makes more sense that IRL the infantry were often just a few meters ahead of their tanks. While not ideal in terms of providing a distance buffer, at least with proximity the infantry and tanks could communicate more easily.

      The good news is, this second Borg spotting issue is probably more fixable. It's still complicated, and involves some challenging programming and conceptual problems (example: how to efficiently model radio nets?), but BFC has made it clear some kind of fix to the TacAI borg spotting problem is a major priority for CMX2. (Source)

  • "Casualties" setting in the Quick Battle menu
    • This setting will result in a percentage of your starting units getting removed.  Apparently which units get removed is random.
    • The Casualty setting is what creates missing units. Thus, you think you're getting ten tanks, but at a 20% Casualty level, you wind up with eight. This can get really hairy in that it is applied against the total force buy in a given QB, sometimes resulting in crippling losses to key weapons and troops. (Source)
  • "Rarity" setting in the Quick Battle menu
    • Rarity (Source)
    • From the CMBB manual: can be fixed, variable or turned off. All unit costs in the editor are rated for their performance, but also for how rare they were on the actual WWII battlefield. Fixed Rarity will always apply these rarity modifiers in the unit purchase screen. Variable rarity introduces a random element, by which a rare unit can occasionally become much more common, and therefore cheaper to purchase. Turning rarity off means that unit costs are not adjusted by their rarity at all and units are rated for performance only.
    • 2011.04.10 - Battlefront forums - Question about rarity points and force composition.
      • the German player - even with rarity on - is generally better off buying a dozen Tigers/Panthers over buying twice as many PzIVs and Stugs because the big cats have better guns and are much more likely to survive a hit or two. It comes down to having one tank that survives the whole game versus two or three that are taken out easily early in the game.
  • "Variable" game length setting in the Quick Battle menu
    • This setting prevents human players from knowing exactly when the battle will end to prevent unrealistic ("gamey") rushes for flags on the last turn.
    • From the CMBB manual:
      • Variable-end scenarios are capped at a maximum of an extra 10 turns or 25% of the original length of the scenario, whichever is less.
      • the game length can be fixed (ie. the battle will end automatically after the final turn as set here) or variable, ie. the battle will end after a variable number of additional turns played after the max. number set here (the number of extra turns depends on how much combat action takes place)
    • Once more, flag rushes and Turtle style play are a thing of the past with variable game length and the feature of importing custom maps into QBs. Players will actually have to manuever during an ME rather than wait around till the last 10 turns to make a move (Source)
    • Some missions have variable mission time, the battle can take up to 15 minutes after the regular time is over. If you are playing WeGo, just fast forward until you reach T+15. If you are playing real time, you will have to wait for 15 minutes or try to kill the last two stragglers. (Source)

Advice from players known to be knowledgeable

Miscellaneous players

  • 2014.01 - BattleDrill - LTC Scott Coulson - The Patience to See ← Discusses reconnaissance
    1. Main idea of the essay: how do you plan and execute a recon plan that actually finds enough of the enemy to let you make informed decisions without losing half your force in the process? The answer is, largely, through patience, planning and attention to detail.
    2. The first thing a commander must do to 'see' the enemy is to look at the terrain through his enemy's eyes. 
      1. If you have the patience, screenshot the map and draw pretty arrows and blobs on it in Photoshop to represent the different elements in OCOKA.
      2. at least do the following: take a blank sheet of paper and a pencil and then fly the camera to the far side of the screen and look at the terrain from the perspective of the enemy. Scribble down a few notes or pictures to represent his top 2 or 3 likely plans.
    3. Now, spin the map around and try to figure out where on the map fhe would be if he went with plan A.
    4. Identify a point or two on the map where he would either have to position a unit or would have to pass through to do A.
    5. Now do the same for his plan B and plan C.
    6. Try to find points on the map that will discriminate between A B and C. The doctrinal US term for what you have come up with is a Named Area of Interest or NAI, and these are what US planners build reconnaissance and surveillance plans around.
      1. If one or more of your NAIs represents a critical capability or unit for the enemy (if I see his heavy AT gun 'here' it represents the key position on this side of the battlefield) you could designate it as a Targeted Area of Interest or TAI.
    7. TODO: Finish summarizing this.
    8. Recon takes time, as well as planning. It will take time to get your recon forces into position, and more time for them to learn anything useful. If you can build a plan to place observation on all of your NAIs, and direct or indirect fires on all of your TAIs, you will find that it will take you half the scenario to execute it and you won't have moved the bulk of your force one meter.
      1. Do not assume that once you get to your NAI they will instantly and automatically spot all enemies there and give you perfect understanding. Your scouts may be in position several turns with enemy directly within their LOS, but not spot them. Advance your scouts a bound or two, then let them sit for a turn... or two or three. Frequently, you can have them ‘hide’ for their first turn or two in a new position, then ‘unhide’ them to look around a bit later. Then advance them again. 
    9. For mounted recon, consider whether to actually dismount at some locations (yes, vehicle crews can perform limited scouting and get back in their vehicles) and check around the corner or over the little rise. Also consider noise and how much your vehicles make
    10. Another thing that works well that CM players are reluctant to do is to simply back up. If your recon element encounters the enemy and gets fired on, run away!
    11. As a young lieutenant told me that the solution to nearly every tactical problem is to make your enemy fight in more than one direction at once. Find the enemy with recon, fix his attention to the front with suppressive fires, then maneuver to a flank and shoot at him from there. The element putting down supporting fires to help the scouts disengage becomes the base of fire. The guys behind them do the maneuvering.

JasonC

Misc forum posts

  • 2003 - Fighting MGs, infantry in trenches etc
  • 2005.11.11 - Infantry Tactics - I have structured his prose so that it's easier to see how different ideas relate to each other.
    1. On the subject of books, Guderian really doesn't discuss tactics at the level relevant for CM. Rommel does, not in a WW II context but in his book about his WW I infantry experiences, "Infantry Attacks". That is a pretty good book, though most of the stuff in it is well known these days. (Covering fire, fire and movement, the importance of suppression to restrict enemy observation, etc).
    2. Many of the most useful tactics date to WW I anyway.
      • Examples
        • reinforce local success rather than failure,
        • attack in depth with scouts leading, designed to blind specific portions of the enemy defense before the main body moves over that route,
        • deal with the threat of enemy fire by "packet movement" (sending only a few at a time from cover to cover, most stationary and therefore not exposed, at any one time),
        • defeat thin forces with concentrated maneuver units and thick ones with artillery instead,
        • attack with infantry immediately behind a barrage,
        • fire dominance takes ground rather than sending bodies - bodies hold stuff,
        • the strength of a tactically defensive posture (stationary, in cover, firing),
        • many on few engagement (a platoon against a squad, a company against a platoon),
        • escalation counters (spending reserves as needed to beat whatever appears, quickly).
    3. What is added in WW II is mostly a more elaborate set of combined arms to counter each other, essentially a whole separate "armor war" as the top of the escalation chain. It is more important to use weapons or unit types for the things they are specifically good at, the things they can hurt without getting hurt themselves e.g. Instead of putting your As up against his As and "exchanging off", you want paper to his rocks and rocks to his scissors etc.
    4. What are those relationships, at the CM scale?
      1. Hidden guns kill tanks.
      2. Mortars kill spotted guns.
      3. To spot things you have to get somebody close, usually infantry.
      4. Stealthy shooters with good range can pin infantry before they get close:
        • heavy machineguns,
        • snipers, 
        • light Flak,
        • hidden mortars
        • artillery FOs.
      5. Such light stuff can't hurt real armor, though.
      6. And around we go.
    5. Then there are specific target relationships.
      • Examples
        • Artillery
          • which AT gun can kill which tank,
          • does it need a side shot or to be under range X?
          • Direct fire, flat trajectory HE deals with men in buildings better than mortars or off map artillery.
          • Mortars and off map artillery will get "tree bursts" against infantry in woods, making them more effective against those.
          • Mortars or direct HE are effective against trenches, off map stuff isn't accurate enough.
          • Direct HE has trouble with stuff right behind a slope, mortars and FOs don't.
        1. Infantry
          1. Infantry can kill other infantry cheaply if it catches them in the open under 100 yards, or if it can wade into them while they are cowering from prior fire.
          2. Otherwise, if close they tend to exchange off bloodily, and run out of ammo just keeping each other's heads down if the range is too long.
          3. Higher quality infantry handled well to get "many on few" match ups against just the forward crust of the enemy, can roll through equal numbers of enemy in tight terrain (woods interiors, inside a factory e.g.)
          4. Infantry can even kill armor at around 30m range, from ambush, but is hopeless if the tanks can stand off at even 100m in open ground, and have functioning (with ammo) MGs.
      1. A lot of these details are things common sense might suggest. Some of them are specific to CM and you just have to learn them.
    6. You will find the basic story is usually trying to "disarticulate" an enemy force, in the sense of picking apart its mutually supporting weapon types, more than wiping every last unit. Once articulation is gone, you can use everybody for the thing they are best at, and rack up lopsided local win after lopsided local win. But beforehand, it is hard.
    7. An integrated defense has a counter for every move, and any single thing you try can fail.
      • Examples
        • Send infantry, MGs pin them and you can't see them.
        • Send tanks and ATGs you hadn't spotted yet blow them up.
        • Send shells while still far away and you have to hit everything, and the enemy rallies too fast, before you can follow it up from so far away. A few MGs slow you down.
    8. There are various ways around that, all of which turn on eventually disarticulating the enemy defense so your mortars, not your tanks, fight his guns; and your tanks, not your infantry, fight his machineguns.
    9. They have different ways of getting there.
      • Feints,
      • speed,
      • an expensive exchange-off attack to get close enough in one area,
      • a cleverly timed prep barrage.
    10. My favorite is the stubborn infantry attack.
      • Explanation: It works by outlasting the enemy rather than razzle dazzle.
      • Step-by-step process:
        1. You absorb the enemy fire while still at range, rally through it, and gradually but stubbornly accumulate in cover near his positions.
        2. Meanwhile all your own ranged weapons ("overwatch" - tanks, guns, mortars, FOs, etc) blow up anything spotted.
        3. Each individual unit he can pin or break, but he doesn't have the firepower to break whole companies at 400 yards.
        4. If he uses only a few stealthy shooters, you just take the pain and close in.
        5. If he fires with everything he has, your infantry stops while still at range, and your overwatch cuts his shooters down before they proceed.
    11. On defense, a different approach is the reverse slope defense.
      • Explanation:
        • Instead of trying to keep the enemy at a distance, you want the opening range to your nearest units to be nearly point-blank, but only a few of the attackers to be across some LOS blocking feature (like a crest), so your whole defense clobbers a few of them at a time.
        • Or you can build a defense out of local traps - a minefield here, a TRP for artillery there, a cul-de-sac here from wire across the last bit of cover on an otherwise promising route, etc. [NW: Is this generally solely used as part of a reverse-slope defense? Or is "Or" referring to this being an alternative to the reverse-slope defense?]
      • NW: This is what you're doing when you play a FPS or Action RPG and camp outside a room filled with enemies, taking them on one at a time as they come through the door to fight you.
  • 2005.11.28 - Re: Winning in a hurry
  • 2006.08.05 - The German Tactical System
  • 2012.05.14 - Woods fighting


Operational Principles for All Time

  1. your whole army can readily destroy any small portion of the enemy force. If you could arrange to do this many times in sequence, you'd easily win. War is about not fighting fair, and the fundamental original way to be unfair is dead simple. Gang up.
    • NW: Most of the rest of the points below are just implementation details for this idea.
  2. it is easier to gang up on people if you surround them and their friends are far away. Little separated clumps that don't support each other are fresh meat, dead already and just don't know it yet.
  3. therefore, to live and support each other, a side's forces need to stop the enemy from "running rings around them". Hence, lines. If you don't have one, see 2 then 1 - the enemy is going to kill you effortlessly.
  4. just because the enemy has a line right now doesn't mean he still will at the end of your combat phase. Blow holes faster than he can close them, and you get to go to 3, and you win.
  5. to patch holes, reserves are needed. Somebody not absolutely needed to hold the line in his own sector is free to move where he is needed. Others can't or they just move where the hole is, they don't close it.
  6. "overprotected" points or sectors can supply reserves to either side of themselves. They can also attack in their own sector.
  7. multiple options are good. Taut ropes barely enough to do the job will get cut.
  8. someone is hammering and someone is getting hammered. Someone is calling the tune and someone is being forced to dance in response. This is called "the initiative" and other things being equal you want to have it, not give it away to the other guy.
  9. the single most important thing is always to keep your own force alive and in being effective at supporting each other. The second most important thing is killing the enemy. Terrain, objectives, scenario victory terms and rules don't matter. If your force is alive and the enemy force is dead, you will win regardless.
    • NW: Jeffrey Paulding would seem to say "Getting and keeping fire superiority", which sounds very similar to this, maybe just a better-stated version of what JasonC is trying to get across here.
  10. have a plan. Use options for yourself and forced reactions on your opponent to "command both armies" and steer to some way you can win. You can be sure your enemy has a plan, and if you don't have one, his will wind up coming true almost by default.
    • NW: "Forced reactions" are a very big idea in chess.

Summary of Jeffrey Paulding's 'Armchair General' series

Summary of advice given

General advice

  • The single-most-important thing to know is that gaining and keeping fire superiority is how you win. Gaining fire superiority should be your highest priority.
  • Use OCOKA as a checklist to maintain situational awareness. Use it during the setup phase and at the beginning of each turn to analyze all relevant characteristics of the battlefield.
  • Maneuver to match up your units against the enemy units they are effective against, and to not allow your units to be matched up against enemy units that they are easily destroyed by.

Attacking

  • Be patient. Attacking is about moving forward slowly and carefully and figuring out how to destroy each enemy position in such a way that they cannot "hit back".
  • Move the smallest-possible infantry force forward until they are attacked, and then use your supporting fires (tanks, machine guns, mortars) to suppress / destroy those enemy forces.

Defending


Episode summaries

Episode I - Key Concepts for Combat Mission

  • Link to the video
  • Summary of the mission: He controls a company(?)-sized US force as it attacks down a road towards a light German force holed up in a few houses.
  • 1:00 - The screen lists three key concepts: 1) Situational Awareness, 2) Vulnerability, and 3) Fire Superiority
  • 1. Situational Awareness
    • Read the briefing
      • Read each section carefully, looking for clues that will help you.
        • Pay particular attention to the 'Enemy Forces' and 'Situation' sections.
      • Examine the tactical map to get an overview of what to expect in the battlefield.
        • Note the 'Reinforcements', 'Support Available', and 'Objectives'.
    • Initial phase (set-up)
      • Review your troops
        • He does this by tabbing through each unit (Ctrl + '-' and Ctrl + '=')
        • He takes note of:
          • The quality.
          • The organizational structure.
          • The weapons they possess.
            • He pays particular attention to the heavy weapons and anti-tank weapons.
    • Put yourself in your men's shoes:
      • Move the camera down to their level.
      • Zoom in like you were using binoculars to see what their leaders see.
    • 2:30 - OCOKA is a classic method of situational analysis of the battlefield [which you should use]
      • It stands for Observation, Cover and Concealment, Obstacles, Key Terrain, and Avenues of Approach.
      • It is important to look at the elements of OCOKA as an integrated whole, and not in isolation.
      • Buildings and forests are obstacles for armor (because they restrict movement, limit fields of view, and can hide ambushing anti-tank infantry).
      • Buildings and forests are cover and concealment for infantry.
      • Key terrain is terrain that gives an advantage to whoever holds it.
        • It may include forests (or other sources of cover and concealment) that provide good (long-range?) observation and fields of fire.
      • "A thorough reconnaissance and understanding of the terrain before the battle starts is crucial. It is an essential part of situation analysis."
  • 2. 4:15 - Vulnerability
    • Knowing what will get you killed is extremely important.
    • For your infantry, the key to survival is the proper use of terrain.
      • This begins with understanding the difference between cover and concealment.
        • For example, stone walls and buildings (and to a lesser extent, trees) provide good cover because they stop bullets and shells, and bushes provide good concealment but poor cover.
      • 4:50 - Indirect fire (mortars and artillery) are the real killers of infantry on the WW2 battlefield.
      • Walls provide poor cover against indirect fire (obviously).
      • The best protection from indirect fire is dispersion or staying well-hidden.
      • Hedgerows provide excellent protection and concealment for infantry and antitank weapons.
      • Buildings are good to fight from.
        • The top floors frequently provide long-range observation.
        • They provide good concealment but limited cover.
        • Buildings are easy targets for tanks.
        • Against tank fire and concentrated small arms, buildings are often death traps.
    • AFVs provide speed and protection on the battlefield.
      • Half-tracks give limited protection from small arms and indirect fire.
      • They're good targets for antitank weapons.
      • They're vulnerable to the smallest caliber of cannon fire (20mm from other AFVs, for example).
      • You should avoid exposing them whenever possible.
    • For armored fighting vehicles, vulnerability is all about 1) armor, 2) angle of fire, and 3) weapons ballistics.
    • American 37mm from an AFV is effective against the frontal armor of a German armored car.
    • The frontal armor of a Panther tank is nearly invulnerable to the fire of a Sherman.
    • The Panther's cannon easily penetrates the Sherman's frontal armor.
    • You can minimize your vulnerability by knowing both your own and your enemy's fighting vehicles' strengths and weaknesses.
      • Check the weapon and defensive data at the bottom of the screen.
  • 3. 6:50 - Fire Superiority
    • On my first combat exercise in basic training, I asked my drill sergeant, a Vietnam War veteran, what was the most important thing to know about winning a firefight. He said–without hesitation–fire superiority. In combat, you must work continuously to gain fire superiority, keep fire superiority, and prevent the enemy from gaining fire superiority. When on the attack, you can't advance without fire superiority. When on the defense, you can't stop the enemy without fire superiority.
    • Gaining fire superiority should be your highest priority.
    • Advance is not possible without fire superiority.
    • Fire superiority is the key to all combat.
    • As a defender, your plan for gaining fire superiority begins by analyzing enemy avenues of approach, then positioning your weapons to create a kill zone where you will have interlocking fields of fire that will quickly overwhelm the enemy forces. As a defender, knowing when to open fire is very important. You don't want to reveal key weapon systems such as a antitank guns, prematurely. But you also want to make sure you overwhelm the attacker with your fire as quickly as possible to obtain fire superiority. Gaining fire superiority is a race to see which side can build up a volume and weight of firepower that will overwhelm the other side.
      • Heavy weapons such as antitank guns, mortars, and machine guns are the foundation of your defensive fire strength. As your shots hit home, your fire begins to gain superiority over that of the attackers. The attack starts to falter, and the attackers become pinned down. The attackers' fire slackers, and then is suppressed. The enemy's morale collapses. They cower and seek cover. Finally, the enemy runs. The attack is defeated.
    • When attacking, gaining fire superiority is an essential prerequisite for all forward movement. Usually, advancing without fire superiority means exposing your forces to excessive casualties. Often, the enemy is hidden from view. An analysis of the terrain will allow you to predict where they may be hiding. Position forces capable of delivering a heavy volume of fire, such as machine guns and mortars, to fire upon possible enemy locations. The first step to gaining fire superiority is discovering the enemy's position with the least possible force and loss. The majority of your maneuver forces position themselves to fire on enemy locations. You advance small forces until contact is made. Once the firefight begins, build up your fire quickly to overwhelm the enemy and gain fire superiority. The use of light armored vehicles such as half-tracks and fire support is effective once the enemy heavy weapons are suppressed. Move forces to where they can fire on revealed enemy units to suppress them before attempting to advance exposed troops. Tanks hammer suspected and known enemy positions to ensure fire superiority is gained and maintained throughout the attack. Use combined arms to deliver devastating firepower in support of advancing infantry. Position attacking forces to ensure fire superiority, even if the enemy moves up new forces or attempts a counterattack.
  • If you take one concept away from this video, it should be the following: gaining and maintaining fire superiority is key to success on the Combat Mission battlefield.

Episode II - Attacking a fortified position

  • Link to the video
    • Summary of the mission: He is controlling a battalion(?)-sized US force as it conducts a frontal assault across ~1km of open ground against a fortified German position. He needs to cross a bridge as part of the attack.
    • If you read the comments, this is apparently a really hard mission.
    • He fought on the "Warrior" difficulty. I'm not sure what that entails.
  1. Planning for the attack - 0:21
    1. Begin by reading the briefing.
      • Pay particular attention to:
        • Any information about enemy forces.
        • What indirect support you have available.
        • When and what reinforcements will be arriving.
    2. Look over the battlefield and form a plan.
      1. Have the objective area highlighted.
  2. Movement to Contact
    • In most scenarios, the attacker starts with little or no information about the enemy's positions.
    • In those situations, you should perform a movement-to-contact, with a small group of your forces moving forward while the bulk of your forces provide supporting fire.
      1. He shows the avenue of approach he plans on, which is just straight up the middle of the map.
    • Once the enemy is located, we will perform a hasty attack.
    • Since there's a bridge that we must cross, there's no opportunity for a flanking attack. Thus, this will be an exercise in brute strength. Success will come from good execution of a simple plan.
    • He starts the mission with an infantry company and a weapons company which has 81mm mortars.
    • He places his mortars and machine guns in a position where they can overwatch his advancing units.
    • He decides to advance only one platoon while keeping the other two concealed.
      • NW: That still seems like a lot to me. I guess you have to advance the entire platoon since it isn't realistic(?) to have squads and 6-man teams going out by themselves. And I suppose for the platoon, you'd have maybe a single squad leading out front...(?)
    • A key element of the plan is to use heavy supporting fires to gain fire superiority and allow his forces to advance.
      • Much of this will come from the mortars and supporting artillery.
    • To effectively employ these indirect fire assets, we need forward observers positioned well-forward. Thus I have my FO teams ready to move forward. (2:40)
    • In CMx2, the organizational relationship between a unit calling for supporting fire and the support unit (eg mortars) will affect the time it takes for that supporting fire to arrive, so make sure you have these relationships clear in your head before you decide which units go where.
    • Be patient when you're attacking. When attacking in CM(x2?) he rarely worries about running out of time; instead he worries about taking too many casualties. (3:30)
      • NW: He says in this scenario he's been given 90 minutes (90 turns). In a similar scenario in CMBB I'm given 25 turns, so it may be a change from CMx1 to CMx2 to give the attacker more time.
    • When advancing, he breaks his squads into teams, which reduces casualties from direct and indirect fire.
  3. Use of Engineers
    1. Engineers are used to destroy obstacles.
    2. Engineers are very valuable, so it is important to keep them dispersed, and only bring them up as you need them. (4:00)
    3. If you hit mines, move your engineers to them to have them mark the mines so that future infantry don't hit them. Engineers can't mark mines until you find them 'the hard way'. It takes a few minutes to mark the mines. (6:20)
  4. Use of Supporting Fires
    1. The most effective way to eliminate antitank guns is with mortars. (4:35)
    2. When calling for fire, he looks for a spotter that 1) can see the target area, and 2) will get the best response time from the indirect fire unit. (5:30)
    3. For small targets, he usually uses a short-duration shoot at a slow pace to save ammo. (5:40)
    4. He doesn't use 'Emergency Fire' unless firing at a TRP because otherwise the chance of hitting the target is too low (5:55).
    5. From time to time you should unbutton your tanks to allow them to search for enemy positions. If they come under fire they'll button up automatically (9:00)
    6. When using indirect fire on a large target (like a trench system) in preparation for an assault, he uses a medium or heavy bombardment at a more-rapid pace. (10:00)
  5. Combined Arms
    1. While it's unclear whether there are AT guns around, he has his tanks sit hull-down behind a ridge and provide supporting fire with their machine guns and main guns from afar, while the infantry advances and spots AT gun positions.
    2. He has an FO team follow his infantry as they advance so that the FO team can call for fire on enemy positions as they reveal themselves.
    3. When HMGs arrive as reinforcements, he spreads them out and uses them as long-range support to suppress enemy forces. (6:50)
    4. After each turn, figure out which of your squads are getting fired at and from where, and, if necessary, shift supporting fires to suppress those enemy units. (7:00)
    5. Use your infantry to spot enemy positions, and then have your tanks use 'Area Fire' to suppress those enemy positions. (9:10)
      1. NW: One mistake I made on a recent similar mission was to have my tanks / supporting MGs suppress suspected enemy positions from the very start, which depleted my ammo too quickly.
    6. Keep your tanks behind your infantry and at least 200m from suspected enemy infantry positions to protect the tanks from enemy AT teams (Panzerschreck, Bazooka, etc.).
  6. How to Maneuver
    1. Once the obstacles across the bridge are cleared, he has the mortars create a smoke screen on the opposite side of the bridge and advances the rest of his infantry company across the bridge (6:40).
    2. If you are taking too many casualties because you do not have sufficient fire superiority, have your infantry stop and hide until you can regain fire superiority. (7:20)
    3. After destroying all observed enemy AT guns and taking the opposite side of the river bank, he advances his tanks across the bridge to provide supporting fire against the enemy's second line of defense. (7:30)
      1. NW: It isn't made clear what determines when the "coast is clear" and it's safe to move the tanks across. The bridge seems to be only maybe ~500m from the fortified position, and I would've thought that the enemy would have AT guns hidden there to attack tanks as they cross the bridge. I guess it's relatively safe because that position is to the front and further away? Now that I think about it, the AT guns that were knocked out were positioned well to the side, so that they would have flanking shots at the tanks as they cross the bridge. I guess what I'm not sure about is how dangerous these AT guns are to a tank at various ranges and angles.
    4. His first company was used to assault up to the enemy's fortified position, at which point he brings up his second company for the final assault(?). (9:40)
      1. NW: It isn't clear whether he uses both the first and second company together or if he just uses the second company.
    5. He has his infantry stop a few hundred meters from the enemy's fortified position to wait for an artillery barrage before their final assault. (9:50)
      1. NW: It looks like around 200-300m.
    6. He gives his infantry a "hunt" order as they get within 3m-10m of the trench system, but has them doing short rushes before then. (10:30)
    7. NW: Strangely, he has his tanks advance alongside his infantry for the final assault. I guess they get better visibility that way?
  7. Conclusions
    1. We could have suffered far higher casualties if we had lost our tank support or if the enemy indirect fire had caught our infantry bunched up.
    2. If you are to remember one thing, remember this: When attacking, the key is to be patient. Never be in a rush to die.
      1. NW: I agree with what he's saying here, but because of the tight turn deadlines you're given in some CMx1 missions, you really need to know how to schedule the movements of your forces so that units aren't generally waiting too long for any other unit to get into position.

Episode III - Key Principles of the Attack

  • Link to the video
    • Summary of the mission:
      • First mission: A US infantry company supported by some tanks must move through bocage and woods to attack a German position on a ridge.
      • Second mission: He is controlling a German company attacking from a corner of the map towards a town in the center of the map. This was played against a human opponent.
  • Background
    • Modern infantry tactics were developed in the late stages of WW1; they were referred to by the German Army as "Stormtrooper tactics". The idea was to:
      • use small groups of infantry...
      • to attack the weakest point in the enemy defense...
      • using coordinated fire and movement...
      • and to gain fire superiority to suppress the enemy.
    • In WW2, armor support was added to the tactics.
    • NW: This is exactly the description that JasonC gives. He goes into a bit more depth.
  • First mission
    • Setup phase
      • He uses OCOKA as a checklist to identify the key characteristics of the battlefield.
        • He identifies an infantry avenue-of-approach through woods on the right flank.
          • The forest is surrounded by bocage, but engineers can use explosives to create holes for the infantry to pass through.
        • The far ridge is key terrain both because it gives the Germans good observation and fields of fire, and (relatedly) because it is our objective to occupy it.
        • The main road and open field on the far side of the forest are avenues of approach for the tanks.
        • The ridge we start on is key terrain because it gives us good observation and fields of fire.
        • A big question is whether the enemy has any infantry in the woods.
      • He creates a plan from the information he has gained from running through OCOKA.
        • The plan he arrives at is to send a platoon of infantry through the woods with some engineers to blow holes in the bocage, and to send another platoon down the road in support of some tanks, while other tanks provide supporting fire.
          • NW: It would not have occurred to me to send a tank down the main road. I guess it does a good job of suppressing enemy MGs if they're not visible to tanks up on the ridge.
        • The plan is to then advance towards the "center" of the ridge from the right flank of the ridge. Doing it this way will avoid having the infantry caught in the kill zone that is the open ground on the left flank.
      • The basic structure of all attacks is the same: find, fix, destroy.
        1. find the enemy with the smallest possible force to minimize casualties,
        2. fix the enemy with suppressive fire,
        3. and then destroy the enemy by advancing your forces into a position where they can overwhelm the enemy.
    • In the first few turns, the engineers blow holes in the hedge rows, scouts begin to move through the forest, and spotters for the indirect fire crawl to the top of the ridge (using the "SLOW" command) to scout enemy positions.
      • He doesn't want his spotters getting too far up on the hill, so he uses the "T" command to check the line-of-sight from various locations to see where it'd be best to have them.
      • It is also worth noting that he seems to have his spotters hidden from the ridge directly opposite them (on the left flank) by some forest, but they are able to view the opposing ridge on the right flank. It seems he wants them to be able to see both the right flank and the center of the opposing ridge.
      • An AT gun fires at the spotters(?), and he has his 60mm mortars fire on the AT gun.
      • "The American 60MM mortar is one of their most effective weapons, especially in the direct fire mode."
      • He also has the 81mm mortars fire a 'short - light' mission against the AT gun.
  • TODO: Finish this.

Episode IV - How to Conduct a Fixed Defense

  • Link to the video
  • It's a good idea to have an outpost line of defense, particularly when the enemy has a lot of artillery.  The outpost line will "force the enemy to deploy and often expend much of their artillery fire on this thin line of troops".
    • NW: Hmm...I don't know what he means when he says it will "force the enemy to deploy", and I don't see why an outpost line would necessarily lead to the enemy using more than an appropriate amount of their artillery.  I can see how an outpost line would provide an opportunity for an inexperienced attacker to waste their artillery.
  • In order to set up a successful defense, you must be thoroughly familiar with the terrain.  He begins his analysis by using OCOKA.  You begin by imagining how the enemy will probably attack you, and then prepare a defense around that.
  • K: Key terrain – The key terrain is the objective of the town.
  • A: Avenues of approach – Since he knows from the briefing that the enemy will have lots of tanks, he thinks about the easiest way for those tanks to get into the town.
    • One approach is to come down the main road and then fan out once they get to a field within view of the town.
    • The right road avenue of approach will be difficult because there are so many obstacles placed by German engineers.
    • There's also an approach on the left, through a farm.
  • O: Obstacles – The town itself presents a significant obstacle to the attackers.
    • The large church provides excellent observation, fields of fire, cover, and concealment. 
    • Walls form obstacles to armor and canalize infantry into kill zones.
  • He has 1 weak(?) infantry company (3 platoons), a heavy MG platoon, and 1 AT gun.  He's required to set up one platoon in the outpost line.
  • He starts setting up his defense by positioning the obstacles.
    • Use hedgehogs and anti-tank mines to close off particular avenues of approach.
    • This way he can use just a few troops (AT hunters and scouts) to overwatch the obstacles and make sure the enemy doesn't slip around that flank.
    • On the right flank:
      • he moves some AT mines and hedgehogs to a key road junction.
      • He moves some AP mines around a farmhouse that he will have part of his forward platoon holding.
    • In town:
      • He moves hedgehogs to block entrances into the town, slowing the enemy's advance.
  • He then places his troops, with an eye towards covering the obstacles with observation and fire.
    • He always places his heavy weapons first.
      • He places his AT gun towards the rear of the town, covering a key entrance to the town (which is also obstructed with hedgehogs), but far enough back to be concealed and somewhat protected from enemy infantry and artillery attack.
      • He then places his machine guns.
        • He wants to give them good fields of fire without leaving them too exposed.
        • Ideally, weapons will have cover to their front, and fields of fire to the flank.  This way they are not easily suppressed by direct fire from the enemy.
        • They should be positioned in mutually-supporting positions of interlocking fire.
        • He aims to have his entire defensive perimeter covered by machine gun fire.
        • He places two teams in the church.
          • This is a trade-off because they have excellent fields of fire but are also exposed.
          • The fact that the church provides excellent cover somewhat mitigates the extra exposure.
          • The key to the church machine guns' successful use will be opening fire at the right time so they can do as much damage as possible before the enemy is able to assemble enough firepower (e.g. a tank's main gun) to force the machine guns to leave their position.
        • He also makes sure the machine guns are within communication range of their leader.
    • He places his platoon leader high in the church, but not on the same floor as the machine gun team.  His goal is to be able to use his platoon leader to direct his mortars (which are his only indirect fire).
    • He then positions his platoon in the outpost line.
      • He positions some teams on the right flank to cover exits from the farm complex.
      • He positions other teams to cover key road junctions on the left flank so that 1) he can get an early warning if the enemy tries to go around that way, and 2) to hopefully ambush some of the enemy tanks.
    • He then positions his platoons in the town.
      • He keeps them away from the forward edge of the town so that enemy armor can't hit them from afar.
      • He wants to force the enemy to come in close.  If the enemy infantry come in first, he can ambush the enemy infantry with his infantry weapons.  And if the enemy armor comes in unsupported, he can ambush the armor with his anti-tank weapons.

Episode V - How to Conduct a Hasty Defense

  • Link to the video
    • Summary of the mission: He is controlling a company of German forces defending a French town against a British attack in somewhat dark conditions (overcast? evening? early morning?). There are some small woods on his right flank, bocage on his left flank, and a collection of buildings in the center of the map. This was a game against a human opponent.

Episode VI - How to Fight

  • Link to the video
    • Summary of the mission: There are two missions. In both he is controlling Italian forces against US forces, and both take place on the same battlefield, a valley with a river running down the center of it, from the Italian side to the US side, and woods at the top of the hills on both sides of the valley. In the first mission, the Italians need to take a small "town" (a few buildings) in the center of the map. In the second mission, the Italians need to defend the town against a US counterattack.
    • "...this video focuses both key concepts, as well as the details of how to fight at squad level. We go over the use of area fire, the assault command, the importance of understanding ballistics, understanding match ups, as well as the use of terrain. A review and primer all at the same time"
    • This video is twice as long as his other videos, and he covers two battles on the same battlefield: one in which he is attacking, and a second in which he is defending.

Advice from players of unknown sophistication

Websites

Articles / Forum threads

  • 2005.05.20 - WeBoB - Obscure tactical facts
  • 2006.10.12 - WeBoB - Generals tips
  • 2007.02.21 - WeBoB - Terrain modifier tables
  • 2008.04.30 - WeBoB - Very Useful Tactical Facts
  • 2008 - QuarterToThree Forums - Where to learn about field level tactics
    • There's other advice in here I need to summarize.
    • CSL
      • Again hold your fire. This is especially true with infantry, even more so when playing a defensive battle. Don't open fire with an MG or anti-tank gun unless the target is in relatively open terrain or close, especially when your troops are green.
      • I love, love, love anti-tank guns. If you're on a defensive map it probably better to purchase anti-tank guns than getting tanks for you're anti-armor defensives.
      • Self propelled guns. Cheaper than tanks and other than the fact that you usually have to rotate the entire machine to rotate the gun just as good at a tank. Some are particularly good - the German Stug for instance was perhaps the best anti-tank vehicle I noted in Africa Korps, low profile and a good gun. Most of these lack good anti-infantry weapons though, so beware and try to keep them hulldown as much as possible.
      • Echoing other comments tanks cannot be sent out without support, even a King Tiger will get knocked out quickly without support. I suppose you can use them as long range fire support, but thats still slightly problematic.
      • Advance with fire support. Generally you'll have artillery or aircraft so when launching your attack use it. Especially go after buildings close to your axis of advance cause this is where the most probable ambush point will usually come from.
      • Purchase some recon units such as armored cars or scout infantry, sure they die easy but I'd rather use a cheap unit like them than move with tanks or regular infantry.
    • Janster
      • Infantry should never move unless they have to.
      • Tanks should be still while shooting.
      • Rifles suck, get bigger guns...make sure you have lines of sight..open ONLY when you know you can do some damage.
  • 2010.09.04 - WeBoB - Help for New Players to play CM like the Pros ("stuff they don't want you to know about")
    • Check out the HISTORY AND TACTICS forum. There are several threads that will provide you with critical information to enable you to learn how to play CM well. In particular, check out the GENERALS TIPS; VERY USEFUL TACTICAL FACTS and OBSCURE TACTICAL FACTS threads in the HISTORY & TACTICS DISCUSSION forum.
    • There are ways to help you play faster and read the maps much more easily re hull-down positions and routes to take that are free from enemy LOS and fire. GRIDDED TERRAIN is a highly recommended MOD that you can d/l for free and easily install just like any other terrain mod.

Videos

My thoughts

Questions

  • Should you use Green troops as your forward scouts, since they're less valuable? Or should you use Regular troops, since they'll be more likely to get away without getting hurt?
    • A: I think the answer is, "For any particular task, you want to use the least possible amount of your force needed to accomplish the task."  In the Battlefront forums, it seems the tactic that emerged in multiplayer was to use bailed-out vehicle crews as forward scouts to trigger ambushes, so that would suggest the answer is "use your Green units as scouts".  But I can imagine the answer going the other way if more-experienced troops were more likely to spot the enemy from further away, and/or were less likely to get killed once fired on (e.g. doing a better job of hiding behind cover).  So ultimately I think it's an empirical question that would require testing to produce a definitive answer on.
  • If a tank is angled (like, its right side is higher than its left), does that affect accuracy?
  • What is the radius of an 'area target' when using mortars?
  • Just how much cover do craters give you? How deep are these craters? Is there a limit to how many men can be hiding in a crater?
  • How should an attacker combat a reverse-slope defense if the enemy is on the far side of a forest?
    • Maybe have your units charge in immediately after a mortar barrage.
  • What does "25+" mean for the length of a map?
    • A: It means that the mission lasts a random number of turns beyond a 25-turn minimum.  I think it's something like up to 15 more turns.  So the match could be between 25 and 40 turns.  This was added to keep people from rushing objective flags on the last turn with jeeps (i.e. units that could obviously not hold the position on their own).
  • What kind of spacing should you have on your platoons?
    • A: Well, given that MGs will suppress anything within ~25+ meters, you probably want your lead squad ~25m+ in front of your main force if you can do it.
    • Also, enemy artillery strikes are about 50m wide and 200m long, so it'd probably be a good idea to have your squads spread out so that no more than one or two of them will get caught in the same artillery barrage.
  • How far away can sound contacts happen?
    • It looks like the distance is limited to maybe 200-300m(?).
  • What happens when a Jeep hides? Does it do anything?
    • A: I think so, because when I tried to move a hiding Jeep it got blown up.  I should do a test.

Questions for Jeff Paulding

  • More guidance on how to do OCOKA

Lessons learned

CMBO

  • General
    • Start by playing the smaller scenarios (the ones with fewer turns).
    • Think about and treat the game as a puzzle game. Be willing to save-scum to win! The fun is in learning how to win (how to "solve the puzzle")!
    • Save your game every time you're about to hit "GO"! Part of playing Combat Mission is learning how certain units behave in certain situations, and so you may have counter-intuitive things happen. Saving allows you to not suffer from those annoying issues.
      • Example: I un-hid a platoon and the AT gun started firing at infantry instead of waiting to see a tank, and was knocked out that same turn by an unseen enemy tank.  This behavior is fixed in CMBB because there you can assign covered arcs, and for AT guns you can assign armor-only covered arcs.
    • Think of platoon, company, and battalion-level fights as being lots of individual-level fights. In other words, your AI troops aren't smart enough to maneuver themselves appropriately given high-level orders (there isn't even really a way to give high-level orders), so even if you're playing a platoon / company / battalion-level mission, you're still going to have to check on every single squad and give it specific orders to make sure it behaves intelligently.
  • Setup
    • Strategizing
      • Flags / Objectives
        • Note whether there is a flag that is bigger than other flags on the map. If there is, that is the "main" objective. When planning your strategy, don't worry about the other, smaller flags; just worry about that big one. Worrying about the smaller flags can make you take unnecessary risks.
        • Flags seem to take into account the number of units on each side that are within maybe 100m of the flag. But not beyond that.
          • Example: In "Son", I was defending a bridge, and in the last ~2 turns I made a dash for the opposite end of the bridge with maybe a platoon's worth of soldiers, and there was still at least a platoon of enemy soldiers on the other side (after the mission I learned they were broken/routed), but the flag didn't seem to take them into account.
      • Forces move maybe ~75 meters a minute, so depending on how forward-placed you and the opponent is, it can take 5-6 turns before you even start to encounter the enemy. So factor that in when thinking about how much time you have.
      • Don't assume the way that your units start out is a good way for them to be arranged. It may be a terrible way for them to be arranged.
        • Example: In "Son", you're defending a bridge with a company, but you're arranged in three different lines instead of a single line. The first time I tried the mission I tried keeping the platoons like that, but it ended up being a disaster: the first platoon was surrounded and annihilated.
  • Sending an entire squad across a field at once at ~100m from the enemy will attract a lot of enemy fire. I had an enemy AT gun fire at a squad that hadn't appeared at all before that. So it's kind of tricky, because I had one squad suffer a casualty because they were fired on by enemy infantry, but on the other hand I had another squad reveal the position of an enemy AT gun. So it's not clear if you should send full squads or just split squads. I think Paulding's advice has generally been to just send split squads.
  • Your troops and tanks carry very little ammo. An attack on just one lightly fortified position (1 platoon and an AT gun) held by veteran troops may require basically all of the ammo that a platoon is carrying to attack in a "safe" way (where the enemy is suppressed enough to keep your troops from being killed).
  • One of the main types of actions that you take is directing your infantry to fall back when they're under heavy fire (from multiple squads, or from enemy mortars / artillery, or an enemy tank).
  • If you press "Shift-S" in-game it will not only mute all sound in the mission, but when you quit the mission the menu will *also* be muted.

  • If you have your tanks too close together, one enemy smoke round will blind all of them.

  • The reason to shoot machine-guns at tanks is to force them to button, which greatly reduces their ability to spot enemy tanks.

  • It's really convenient to place your tanks in scattered trees or behind 1 square's width of forest such that they don't have LOS to a kill zone, and then just tell them to move up a few meters when you want them to be within view of the kill zone.

  • Useful commands to know:

    • Shift-C to switch the unit sizes.

    • Tab to jump to the selected unit.

    • Ctrl+Click to jump to a particular place.

    • Use Win+PrtSc to take a screenshot without using Greenshot. It's saved to your 'Pictures' folder.

  • AI Commander
    • General
      • The AI will behave in a "Capture the Flags" way: if there's a meeting engagement scenario with a "bridge that needs to be captured", but all the flags are on the enemy's side of the bridge, the AI will *not* necessarily attempt to cross the bridge.
    • Attacking
      • It won't follow up on clues.
        • Example: I had a company defending a bridge, and had one platoon on the far side of the river off to the side to attack from the flank, and early-on the AI had a tank attacked by one of the bazooka teams from that platoon, but they never sent a force over to clear out my units.
      • It won't necessarily use all of the units available to it.
        • At the end of "Son" (defend a bridge), the enemy still had a bunch of half-tracks in the rear that he never attempted to use.
      • It won't necessarily attack with everything it has at once.
        • In "Son", the enemy had an insane number of tanks and half-tracks, but kept bringing them in one or two at a time instead of all ten or twelve at once.
      • They don't use their indirect fire.
  • Missions
    • There may be some absolutely-critical units that, if you lose them, you may as well just start over or load a save-game from earlier.
      • In "Son", the enemy had a crazy number of tanks and half-tracks, and I just had two AT guns and three bazooka-teams. I had to keep those units alive or there was really nothing I could do against the enemy's armor.
  • Recon
    • It's not realistic, but you can place units well-forward of your line and receive real-time information on what's going on, even though those units don't have radios.
      • Example: in "Son", I had a crack sharpshooter hide in a forward position so that I could hear and even see where the enemy's half-tracks and tanks were.
  • Unit-specific
    • MGs
      • I'm honestly really surprised at how effective area fire from MGs is at suppressing the enemy. It will suppress any enemy within ~25+ meters, even if they're 10-20+ meters in the woods, which I would assume would allow for some measure of protection (maybe not).
    •  Spotters
      • If you have your spotters positioned forward and hiding, and then have them target a particular area, they will unhide, making them instantly visible to any enemy (if they aren't concealed by their surroundings). I had an 81mm spotter broken in under a minute this way.

CMRT

  • The actual CMRT manual doesn't contain all of the information you need to do to play the game. To get the rest of the information you need, refer to the CM Engine Manual.
  • Navigation
    • Your perspective is far easier to move around by solely using the keyboard than by using the mouse. Use WASD to move the position and the arrow keys to move your perspective. R and F to move the camera up or down.
    • So far I'm finding it much more of a pain than in CMBO to get a rough idea of what will happen if I move my units to a particular position (like, what will they have LOS to / who will be able to attack them).
  • UI
    • The three round buttons are shortcuts to give orders to the selected unit: Halt/Resume, Cancel, and Evade.
    • It isn't as easy to tell where to tell your men to go because you don't have the ground colored the same way it is in CMBO.
  • If you tell infantry to enter a building, they will always enter through the door. They won't enter through windows if those are the closest / safest entrances available (ie the only entrance not facing the enemy).
  • If you lose your platoon commander you can still give orders to his units.

Specific Missions

CMBO

5th Glosters go east / 5th Grenadiers

  • Turn 4:
    • It was a good idea to try to get different angles on the town, but I think I may not have put enough thought into how I would respond to enemy infantry in various inner locations of the town.
  • Turn 6:
    • Heavy churches provide a TON of protection. I had two armored cars firing shells at an enemy squad and they weren't even getting suppressed!
  • Took fairly heavy casualties taking the town. Lost the platoon leader for the smaller platoon. I just couldn't figure out how to navigate my supporting weapons (machine guns, mortars) into a position quickly where they could lay down fire on the enemy. I brought one carrier into the town but a panzerschrek got it. None of the crew were injured, though. I think I may have been too careful with my supporting carriers / mortars at the expense of my infantry. I should have been more willing to maneuver my carriers / armored cars sooner to put supporting fire on those enemy infantry positions, and I should have backed my infantry away from fighting until the supporting fire was ready. It's tricky, though, because the time limit creates a lot of pressure.
  • One thing I realized is that it's really useful to keep any jeep / carrier close to your mortars / AT gun so that they can be moved quickly.
  • Another thing I should've done is had the 3" mortars fire on the *suspected* AT gun location, rather than waiting to see if the actual location would be identified.
  • Turn 16:
    • Had my infantry moving up the right flank and they were caught off-guard by an infantry squad I had seen nothing of up until that point. I had already given them orders to enter the woods, and they just kept following the orders rather than stopping.
    • Foxholes are really effective, and machine-gun fire from ~500+ meters is apparently not very effective at eliminating an enemy machine gun that's in a foxhole.
  • Carriers are super-fast in scattered trees, while trucks are super-slow.
  • Veterans are much, much more effective than regular troops. That MG42 team was so, so hard to take out.
  • Question: What's the best way to make use of more-experienced troops?
  • One thing that seems strange in CM is that withdrawing is never an option. You *have* to take the flag. It's never like, "Find out what's out there, and if it's too strong, make the correct decision to withdraw before you suffer too many casualties."
  • Another thing that's different from reality is that in CM you *know* you are going to encounter the enemy, and you *also* know roughly what they're going to look like (for the standard scenarios, where there's no picking of units). If you have an AT gun, you can usually bet on enemy armor support.
  • It may be worth seeing how well an AT gun can suppress units in the churches. When my infantry was in the church, the enemy AT guns (88mm) were very effectively suppressing my units. But the 88mm guns are obviously much, much larger than the AT gun I had.

A Ranger Challenge

  • 2017.10.07
    • This was my second time playing the mission.
    • I didn't notice the pillbox that showed up on my right on the first turn (but wasn't visible during the Setup phase), and it killed one of my bazooka teams that I'd ordered to run right past it.
      • It would be nice to have the AI say something like, "Hey, that's going to put us in dangerous range of that pillbox, are you sure you want to do that?"
    • I assumed that the enemy would spawn on the other side of the map, and so I ordered my units to rush to the buildings that it was my objective to take.
      • I lost most of one of my two crack squads because it rushed headlong into about a platoon of enemy infantry, including one squad that was in the house I wanted to take.
    • At that point I realized I had made a critical error and ended the mission (after just one turn).
  • 2018.06.27 - Third attempt
    •  
    • Third time was the charm, although I benefited from knowing where the enemy pillbox was.  I should make another attempt while using the deployment from my initial attempt.
    • Allied Major Victory
      • Allied Attacker:
        • 25 casualties (6 KIA)
        • Men OK: 53
        • Score: 77
      • Axis Defender
        • 49 casualties (11 KIA)
        • 1 mortar destroyed
        • Men OK: 61
        • Score: 23
    • I put ALL of my forces in the tiny square to the side, since it seemed to offer a better avenue of approach: I could avoid the pillbox, I could have the light and heavy buildings in line with each other, preventing the infantry in the heavy building from seeing a lot of my infantry as they approached, my machine guns and mortars would be in a position to attack any reinforcing enemy infantry coming from the town, and the scattered trees near the light building seemed like the best way to assault the two buildings.
    • I kept my machine guns and mortars in the rear, hitting infantry squads and enemy mortar from afar.
    • I sent in my least-depleted crack unit to seize the light building and then the heavy building, then I sent another crack unit to follow it a turn or two later, and then I sent in my other (veteran) units after them after that.
    • On two different occasions I had enemy mortars targeting my squads, and in both cases I ordered the squads that were within LOS of the enemy mortar to move to the side in such a way that the light building (one of the two objectives) was blocking the LOS for the enemy mortar.
    • I lost my more-valuable CO (Lt. Roberts), which apparently mirrors what happened in the real event, where one of the COs was killed by a sniper.
    • One of the interesting differences between CM and OFP is that in CM you find yourself ordering men to do things which in OFP you'd have trouble getting human subordinates to do, like to charge a building while the enemy is only 30m away, because you can see that it's necessary to take that location to maintain a positional(?) / defensive / morale advantage against the enemy, meaning a small sacrifice now will lead to saved lives later and a better chance at achieving your objectives. But in OFP multiplayer missions, there's really no morale / defensive bonus to different terrain or buildings, and so there's no incentive to sacrifice men to take those positions. Which I think contributes to the feeling in OFP of having a shoot-out in an empty parking lot. In OFP multiplayer I've found COs to be more of coordinators, where all they do is go, "OK guys, we're going to go this way, and then this way", but the COs don't really seem to be making tactical decisions; it's just a shoot-out: "see which side can shoot the other side first".  There's no suppression and no modifiers for likelihood-to-be-suppressed.

    • Bazookas are useful for suppressing enemy infantry in buildings.

    • It's *very* helpful to order a bunch of squads to all target a single enemy squad if you want that squad suppressed, even if that enemy squad in a heavy building.

  • 2020.03.17 - Played as the Germans for the first time
    • My plan was to abandon the light building at the beginning and instead put my men in the heavy building and the scattered trees behind it, and defend from there.
    • As my reinforcements arrived, I had the infantry run to the woods on the right side of the burning building, and had one squad occupy the second floor of a light building behind the burning building.  I had my sharpshooter stay where he started (he had visibility on enemy units from there), and had the reinforcement MG42s move to the top floor of a light building which was close to where they started (so they wouldn't waste too much time walking to where the infantry were fighting from).
    • Result: Axis Major Victory
      • Allied Attacker: 68 casualties (20 KIA); Men OK: 10, Score: 18
      • Axis Defender: 22 casualties (5 KIA), 1 pillbox knocked out; Men OK: 88; Score: 82

Combat!

Played as the Allies
  • 2018.06.29 - First attempt
    • Allied Minor Victory
    • Allied Attacker: 11 casualties (3 KIA), Men OK: 44, Score: 25
    • Axis Defender: 6 casualties (1 KIA), 1 pillbox knocked out, Men OK: 24, Score: 18
    • Deployment: 
    • One squad ordered to run forward, another squad ordered to run into the house: 
    • Advancing on the pillbox after it'd been knocked out: 
    • While deploying I saw that there was a clearly-superior avenue of approach up the right flank, but I wasn't sure how far my men could run in 8 turns, so I didn't move as aggressively as I could to get my men over to that flank on the first turn.
    • I made the same mistake here as when I played A Ranger Challenge the first time, which was to not notice a pillbox that appeared after I had finished deploying and was choosing my moves for the first turn.  In this case it was a pillbox on my left flank.  On my first turn my lieutenant got pinned by both pillboxes and suffered a casualty.
    • My supporting tank arrived on turn 2 and knocked out the pillbox by around turn 5 or 6.
    • I suffered most of my casualties while my men were close to their starting point.
      • I lost several men when I had a squad move up to the main wall before the pillbox had been taken out, and IIRC they ended up in the LOS of the other pillbox as well.  I should have just had them move up to the rightmost part of the wall, where they'd be out of the LOS of the left-flank pillbox.
      • I also lost several men when I had my platoon running to the scattered trees on the right flank.
    • I had the 81mm fire on the bunker but I'm not sure what, if any, effect it had.  It may have been better to have the 81mm fire on the woods on the far side of the bunker on turn 7, to get any remaining enemy squads to flee away from the flag.
    • I'm reminded of the real-life account I read of a Captain who'd taken out multiple pillboxes by just having his men focus their fire on one at a time while another approached and attached demolition charges, and I wonder if it would be possible to similarly-suppress the pillboxes in this game.

Periers-Roaring Rescue

  • 2018.06.30 - First attempt
    • This is a "just for fun" scenario" where you control a single Panther (Crack) and need to rescue some wounded soldiers on the far side of the map.
    • I guess I sort of "won", in that I retrieved the 'wounded soldiers' and brought them back to the starting point, but I don't think I played the mission the way it was intended, and I think I inadvertently gamed the AI. What I did was to have my Panther immediately go back to the flag and go all the way around the right flank. The Panther never got into a fight until it was back at the starting point, where the enemy AI had ordered all of their men and tanks (it maybe would have made more sense to not have the flag at all so the AI would stay in their defensive positions). So I think I inadvertently gamed the AI by taking advantage of the fact that they would head straight for the flag at my starting point. But even back at the start neither the Panther nor the enemy Shermans were able to hit each other in the several shots they took (inexplicable to me).  I think it would be worth replaying the mission while going right down the middle of the map.
    • I was shown as controlling the flag for most of the last few turns, but on the very last turn it turned grey as the Allied forces got in closer to where the flag was, even though it was within view of my Panther.
    • It seems like the main disadvantage of going straight down the middle of the map is that you have to worry about enemy tanks shooting at your flanks once you get into town. It might be better to go into the town via the right flank (the way I did on this first attempt), but then come out of the town through the center, because by then the Allied AI would have moved out of the town and would be funneled between the hedgerows that line the road down the middle of the map into the town. One downside of this is that your wounded would be in danger when the enemy Shermans open fire on the Panther with their machine guns.
    • The scenario gives you so little time (15 turns to get across the map and back) that you're forced to do reckless things, like Fast Move in areas where there's a high danger of encountering enemy tanks / AT guns.
    • The plan I came up with during the Set Up phase: 
    • Where my Panther and the wounded soldiers ended up meeting up: 
    • Up-close-and-personal duel with the enemy Shermans back at the extraction zone / flag: 

Son

  • 2017.10.07
    • I played as the Allies, defending a bridge from an attack by a mechanized force.
    • An important characteristic of the mission is that visibility is limited to ~140m (because it takes place at night).
    • I had to play the mission twice; the first time I tried defending using the set-up the mission-maker gave me, which was to have one platoon in a forward position, one platoon at the bridge itself, and one platoon in the rear. That was a disaster: the first platoon was surrounded and annihilated, making the mission probably-unwinnable because it had two of the company's three bazooka teams, and on the next play-through those bazooka teams were really important. So on the next play-through I used the kind of strategy I would use in Shogun, which is: wait on your side of the river and position yourself so you can hit any units that attempt to cross the bridge, but can't be hit by units on the other side of the river.
    • I had the forward platoon immediately walk to the back-left corner of the land on the far side of the river, and then used them to flank the infantry that showed up on the opposite bank of the river. They also took out two light tanks that ended up in the vicinity of where they were hiding.
    • I had my rear two platoons both on the left side of the two bridges, because I had learned in the first play-through that the visibility was better there, and that the enemy infantry was more likely to sprawl out on the opposite side of the river on that side of the bridges.
    • One issue I noticed was that by having the AT guns behind the line of my troops, the enemy tanks and half-tracks were able to set up in a position where they could shoot at my infantry without getting within visible range of my AT guns.
      • This was only an issue because the visibility was so dramatically limited. But I guess the more-general question you can ask yourself is, "Is there a way for the enemy armor to hit my infantry without being visible to my AT guns?"
    • One thing I learned was that veteran bazooka teams are extremely good at what they do. They can take out a light tank or half-track at 100-140m with the first shot.
    • Mortars and artillery really do work well for separating armor from its protective infantry support, just as Jeff Paulding recommends doing.
    • After the mission ended I saw that the enemy had an 81mm spotter in their rear that they had never used for some reason. That could have made the mission a lot harder.

The Farm

  • 2017.10.09 - Playing as the Allies
    • Axis: 86 casualties, 20 KIA, Score of 21
    • Allied: 25 casualties, 8 KIA, 1 gun destroyed, 1 vehicle knocked out, Score of 79
    • I had a bad break at the beginning where my AT gun was firing at an enemy assault gun, trading shots, and the enemy assault gun won the duel and took out my AT gun. I was so despondent at that point that I quit, but after maybe 30 minutes I remembered the chess lesson that it's really important to "never give up", and so I decided to keep fighting, and I was pleasantly surprised at my good fortune from then on.
    • otherwise-useless crew or ammo-less spotters can be used as recon: have them keep an eye on any angles that you don't otherwise have eyes on.

    • the AI finally used their assault gun on turn 11 of 15 for some reason (VERY late), by which time I had assumed (from its lack of firing) that it was stuck in the mud or otherwise out of action, and so I had used up my PIATs on enemy infantry.

      • Lesson: Maybe always keep at least one AT round in reserve...? But it can take 3+ rounds to take out a tank...and the mission worked out fine, so I'm not convinced I made a mistake.
    • I was constantly directing my infantry to fall back when they started coming under heavy fire. That's something I used to not do, and it really helps. It's one of the single-most important things to do in the game.
    • Just as in chess, one of the main things you want to be thinking about is, "How can I make maximum use of the resources I've been given?" Meaning, if you were given mortars, and bazookas, and an AT gun, you ideally want to spend all that ammo.
    • One thing I was trying to figure out at the beginning was, "How can I create a reverse-slope defense here?". But because the AI ended up trying to advance on the sides (rather than a head-on assault), I ended up being able to put my MGs and squads on the far side of the two-story buildings, so that the enemy supporting fire couldn't hit them, but they could still hit any advancing infantry. If the enemy had tried a head-on assault, I think I would have just put squads in the heavy buildings and tried to take them on as they tried to get through the bocage. I was afraid they would mass infantry outside the bocage, but I guess the AI isn't smart enough to try something like that.
    • Weirdly, the enemy didn't use their artillery support until turn 13 or so.
    • If I was attacking, I would probably have a platoon or two of infantry move through the woods on the left flank as quickly as possible, and then use them and the assault guns to provide a base of fire so that I could advance another platoon of infantry to the bocage, but on the left-flank side of the bocage, out of sight of the right-flank woods. ...Hmm...but then I'd need to worry about the units on the right-flank woods shifting to the farmhouse to meet any infantry coming through the bocage...This seems like it would be a really fun mission to play from the German side.
  • 2019.03.14 - Played as the Axis
    • On YouTube
    • Thoughts:
      • It may have been a mistake to have my tanks area-fire against the houses rather than allowing them to choose their own targets.  On the other hand, if there was an enemy FO in those buildings, that would have made it a good idea.
    • Big questions:
      • Was it a bad idea to have my company so close together?
      • Was it a bad idea to send all three platoons rushing across the field at the same time?

Wittmann's Last Hour

Played as the Allies
  • General thoughts:
    • I did eventually succeed, but my successful attempt seems significantly dependent on knowing exactly where the enemy would go and when reinforcements would arrive that I wonder how I would have done if I'd had the same tactical knowledge that I gained from repeated failures, but without the knowledge of where the enemy would go.
  • First attempt: failure
    • Deployment: 
    • My main memory of this attempt was that I had no idea what the enemy Tigers were going to do.  I suspect a human opponent would not just advance right down the road into the town, but would instead try to move up a flank, clear out one side of the map, and then advance to the town with their front-armor protecting them from the enemy armor on the other side of the map.  I would probably have one Tiger go down the road to be in a position to capture the flag, maybe another Tiger go down the Allied left-flank, and then another two Tigers go down the Allied right flank.  Or maybe just have all of my Tigers go down the Allied right flank, take out the reinforcements when they arrive, and then wrap around back to the town.
  • Second attempt: failure
    • Just for fun, I put all of my armor just behind the rise that the Axis tanks start behind, all the way forward on the Allies' left flank. I wanted to see if getting all of my tanks firing up-close and all-at-once would help.  They were positioned as close to each other as I could get them
    • I did do better than my first attempt (I knocked out more Tigers), but the enemy Tigers shot smoke to blind my tanks, which allowed them to focus on fewer tanks at a time.
    • I learned that having the tanks that close together seems to maybe make it difficult for the AI to move the tanks when they want to.
    • When the reinforcements arrived I tried to have them do a fast move up the right flank to the woods but they were blown up before they could get there. So that was a bad idea. I rectified that in later attempts.
  • Third attempt: failure
    • Serious attempt but I still failed.
    • Deployment: 
    • My main idea for this attempt was to get the Shermans as close as possible to the Tigers by putting almost all of them on the right flank, and just have my Firefly on the left flank since it was more powerful at long-range.
    • Attempting to save the reinforcements: On the third turn I had a tank on the right flank fire smoke rounds onto the road so that the enemy Tigers wouldn't see the reinforcements arrive on turn 5. I then tried to have the reinforcements do a fast-move towards the town on either side of the road to get to those scattered trees, with the idea of keeping them out of the LOS of the Tigers. (Picture: ).  Unfortunately I think the smoke didn't last long enough and the scattered trees on the right side of the road weren't easy enough to get behind, so again, all of the reinforcements were destroyed without being able to do much damage themselves.
    • I ran into the same problem as with my second attempt, where, because my Shermans were so positioned close to each other, the enemy Tigers were able to fire a single smoke round and have it blind four of my tanks, making it easier for them to focus their fire on my other tanks.
  • Fourth attempt: Axis surrender, Allied Total Victory
    • Axis: 11 casualties (3 KIA), 9 captured, 4 vehicles knocked out, 0 men OK, Score: 9
    • Allied: 4 casualties (1 KIA), 1 vehicle knocked out, 55 men OK, Score: 91
    • Deployment: 
    • I really learned my lessons with this attempt.
      • I spread out my tanks on the right and left flanks so that the Tigers wouldn't be able to blind more than one with a smoke shot.
      • I deployed all of my Shermans far back enough so that they did not have LOS to the town or its avenue of approach, so that I could choose when they would engage and be engaged.
      • I kept my Firefly and a single Sherman in the scattered trees in the center but deployed them far back enough that there was no LOS to them from the town or its avenue of approach (the idea being that I could advance them forward when the Tigers had turned to the Shermans on the flanks, exposing their sides to my Firefly and Sherman in the center).  There was only one spot in the center that I found that blocked LOS to the town, which is why the Firefly and Sherman are deployed so close to each other.
      • On turn 3 and turn 5, I had one or two Shermans on my right flank shoot smoke rounds onto the road on our side of the town, so that the Tigers wouldn't see the approaching reinforcements.
      • I had all my reinforcements do a fast move to the scattered trees and small woods on the left side of the road, and they all survived the move.
      • IIRC the engagement began when the reinforcements arrived on turn 6 because the smoke from turn 3 was starting to dissipate and the Tigers were shooting at my reinforcements on turn 5, so I had my Shermans on both flanks 'hunt' forward into LOS of the road to help distract the Tigers from the more-exposed reinforcements.
      • At some point (maybe turn 7 or 8) I had my Firefly and Sherman in the center to 'hunt' forward.
      • I only lost one unit, the Firefly reinforcement, and it was while it was hunting forwards from its safe position in the scattered trees.  I suppose I could have made sure the Tigers were facing away from it before I ordered it forwards.
      • I really did a great job in this attempt of having all of my forces engage the Tigers simultaneously.
      • IIRC turn 8 had me simultaneously destroy maybe 2 or 3 of the 4 Tigers at once.  I luckily saved right before I hit 'Go' for that turn.
    • Lessons:
      • Because you get aircraft support, it's worth holding back a bit and letting your friendly aircraft provide some help.
      • Keep your tanks spread out to avoid having enemy tanks blind more than one at a time with a smoke round.
      • It's really useful to have your tanks (and possibly AT guns?) deployed far back enough behind scattered trees or woods that they can't be seen, but in a position where, if they move forwards, they do have LOS to some area of interest / kill-zone.
      • Be sure to use smoke rounds to temporarily deny LOS to some area of interest.
    • Save game: Wittman's Last Hour - Turn 08.cmb

CMBB

  • Balkovzy Surprise
    • As the Germans 
      • 2020.05.26
        • Against AI
        • Total victory, I caused something like 6-7x as many casualties as I took.  The AI commander was incompetent.  The Soviets have a crazy number of tanks.

CMRT

Demo mission

  • I lost my platoon commander and half a squad because I ignored Paulding's advice: make contact with the enemy with the smallest-possible force. I should have sent up the scout team.
  • It didn't occur to me that enemy troops might be on the far side of a building, waiting to attack infantry that entered the building. The enemy infantry would have no way to escape, so I figured they would just fall back when they heard my guys approaching. I was following Paulding's advice to "imagine what you would do in r/l, and then do that".