Sunday, May 16, 2010

TacNuggets #3: If insurgents cross the street and there is no Marine aiming at them, is the town already lost?

I was a believer that defeat in tactical combat is always due to the cumulative effect of several small, apparently irrelevant failures ...

The game: Combat Mission Shock Force-US Marines Module
The Scenario: Circle the Wagons, by George McEwan
SITREP: A two tank section is bogged down in the middle of an insurgent-controlled town. One platoon of US Marines is on site and will protect the tanks until reinforcements arrive.

The star symbol is the position where the tank section is stranded. I moved one Plt. of Marines forward and I am trying to position them inside buildings, in a wide arch (blue line) located forward from the tank. A long time ago I played this scenario and deployed the Marines in an arch behind the tank section (dotted blue line). This was a mistake; infantry-tank cooperation in these situations needs the infantry ahead of the tank. For the most part, the Marines near the tanks are doing a great job. Now another Plt. has arrived (blue icons in the far background). Just in time, the insurgents are getting really nasty.

The plan is to have the reinforcement Plt to move into the town and move downtown in an axis perpendicular to the position of the Marines near the tanks.

The reinforcement Plt. moves its AAVs through the open using standard bounding overwatch technique. Lots of suppressive fire, these AAVs are surely thin skinned and I don't want to loose any of them to a lucky RPG shot. As planned the AAVs stop short of the town and the Marines disembark under the cover of smoke. The Marines occupy a narrow ditch and orient towards the town. After a few minutes, they move forward to take a foothold on the town. More suppressive fire. Things are going well, but an insurgent team appears on the left flank and draws the attention of everybody. 

In the foreground, an AAV and a two Marine fire teams take aim at an insurgent team that suddenly appeared on the left flank. Another Marine fire team moves forward into the town. In the far background, a mob of insurgents crosses the street towards the immobile tank section. A full Marine squad is in a building at mid-distance between the AAV and the insurgents, but they don't have an angle to shoot at them.

I counted the insurgents that crossed the street to feed the carnage downtown. 25 of them. If this AAV would have been aiming in the right direction, this battle would have ended in an early victory.



Anonymous said...

This is a great scenario by GeorgeMc. I've played it several times myself. Looks like you've got the winning strategy. You really have to form that defensive wall along that main road, as well as the grazing fire down the road. That way, whoever makes it through the grazing fire will be met with a squad or two of mean Marines. ;)


JC said...

Thanks for your comment.

The main road, you mean the elevated road at the edge of the town?

Haven't tried that yet. These AAV are tin cans, I'm being conservative. :)


Anonymous said...

You know, as much as I wanted to get into this new series after many years of playing CM, I just couldn't. The initial release was a disaster to say the least, compatibility issues with drivers, GPU's, processors, even OS problems.

All that coupled with BF's seemingly nonchalant attitude when it concerned these items.... well.... it simply turned me off to it. You think it might bewho of me to revisit the series?


JC said...

Hi DD!

I hear you. If you didn't like the "brave new Combat Mission" back at the release time, there is no reason to bother. :)

Stay safe man! I've seen your pics at and I've learned you dodged an oversized bullet already.


Anonymous said...

You guys are sadly mistaken, imo. The CM series has moved forward by leaps and bounds since 2007 release. No where on Earth will you find a more realistic tactical wargame. Hundreds of bugs have been fixed and improvements made. And having a (very narrow) inside view of Battlefront development, they are in no way slouching and do take their customers seriously. Download and play the USMC or UK demos and then decide what you want to do.

JC, by the main road, I mean the one shown with all the local fighters running across it. If you can control not only down the road (as you are), but looking down perpendicularly toward their avenues of advance. Also, have some guys slightly back from there in case they do make it across the road. You don't want them taking out your tanks so you ambush them as soon as they cross. Even with urban warfare, you've got to get those interlocking fields of fire set up.

I've used the guys on the elevated road to clear the roofs and to call in a ton of mortar rounds into the red-controlled portion of the neighborhood.

JC said...

Hi tFS,

I see, I just wanted to make sure we were talking about the same road. Too late already; many have crossed. :( I'm going to pay a very hefty tall. Yikes!

As for the series itself, I will not contest that BFC has fixed lots of things and that the game is in great shape compared to the version they first released.

But the basic design of the game and the deep inner works remain the same. In particular I am still aghast at how the maps are now smaller (given the range of modern weapons one should have wanted bigger maps) and how the single player experience is completely left to what the scenario designer can anticipate about the actions of the player. The AI has no smarts to cope to the actions of the player beyond taking cover from a well placed weapon. There are no triggers in the scenario editor, so all the scenario designer can do is to put plans that counter what the player can do rather to what the player is actually doing.

Warts and all, there are some good scenarios around. I've played yours too! :)

Last but not least, this BFC guy Steve ... Ah, man. Worst PR ever.


Anonymous said...

Well, I understand your points and agree on a couple. Development time could be faster and more efficient with more people/programmers. With more money and man-hours, they could accomplish a lot more. Sadly, they are not rich enough to be an EA type of company that can hire teams of engineers, etc, to roll out title after title using the newest technology. For a single programmer and a handful of other working non-stop, I've become a fan of their stuff.

LOL! My scenarios aren't all that great, but I had a lot of fun making them. ;)

JC, keep up the good work, I've started visiting this site often, as you're obviously into the same things I am. Our hard drives seem to be quite similar. :D tFS

JC said...

Thanks, tFS!

Great minds think alike! :p


Anonymous said...

If you like that battle, check that AAR, full of videos : (use the link to the forum or the jukebox)

JC said...

Merci! :)

That's a great website. Bookmarked it for later (at the office right now).


Olav said...

Hi JC!

Some opinions in this thread:


JC said...

Ey Olav,

:) You had to make me go there, didn't you? :)