Monday, September 28, 2015

Combat Mission Black Sea - A Poor Man's "Follow" Command

We have seen it in movies, in real combat footage and we discussed it exhaustively: infantry moving directly behind tanks or IFVs.

Ukrainian infantry moving behind their BMP-2 IFV.

Deemed as too dangerous (ricochets, exploding armored vehicle knocking down the soldiers walking behind) elsewhere, I tend to agree on that assessment. Yet I reckon that when there is no risk of AT guns the armor-infantry trailing works kinda well. Leaving the armored vehicle in over watch while the infantry moves against just hidden MG hideouts is over-rated by a lot of people. It is very easy to get the infantry out of the battlespace of the armor (dead ground is a b!#%h). I've tried in ArmA 3 and boy my squadies were not happy.

But this is not the point of this blog entry. I want to show you how I move the infantry right behind a vehicle with less micro management. Keyword is "less". There is plenty to do to get the infantry behind the armor.

I do not claim author/owner/ship of this sort of a cumbersome thing. If you know about somebody using it, please comment below. I am interested in reading about somebody else's take on this. For the time being let's say that Combat Mission still lacks a "follow" command and this could be useful. Sometimes.  :)

To get an infantry squad to move behind a BMP-2: give the IFV a "slow" path/command and give the infantry a "move" path/command that ends in the vehicle (as if you were ordering them to board the vehicle).

The purple line is the path the IFV will take by its "slow" command. The blue line is a "move" command given to the infantry. Look how it goes from the infantry towards the vehicle.

This is how it looks after one minute of action. The infantry will follow the IFV, trying to mount on it. However they will not mount if the vehicle is moving towards its waypoint in the background.

Over time, the distance between the IFV and the infantry increased quite a bit. This example was a bit unfortunate because some of the most adventurous grunts wandered through backyards and fenced real estate. But in any case, all I had to do to have the IFV and the infantry keeping a short distance was to use the "pause" command for the IFV. When the infantry was just about to get near the IFV, I just removed the "pause" command for the IFV.

Some additional exploration: if you order the infantry to mount by using a "quick" command ending in the IFV, the infantry will pass through and move on front of the vehicle. In this case, they are moving faster than the IFV. The infantry will attempt to mount only after it has reached the "slow" move waypoint of the IFV, which is very neat.  

All of the above in real time mode. What about in turn based mode?

The thing that worked best for me was to cycle the infantry from "move" to "quick" (waypoint is the IFV) every single turn/minute. The IFV still moving with a "slow" command, off course.

The turn based version. Walking in a highway not recommended!
All of the above allows to move the infantry and their IFV with a common final destination. Or you can just use regular waypoints for each the infantry and the IFV ... :p



Johan said...

Great post, tactical discussions are always very interresting... your tests shows one of the big limitations of games like Combat Mission. You are pretty much limited to the commands that are available in the game, unlike in a first person game/sim, where you can move more freely.

Kenny OLeary said...

Interesting video. Fighting in Ukraine. BTR80's w/troops engaging a tank? (hard to see)

Johan said...

Kenny, I've seen that video before, and the information I got then is that it's from a Russian attack in Aug 2014. Infantry attacking over open ground with 4 BTR-80 (identified to belong to the 23d Russian motorised brigade from Samara).

They are engaged by an arriving Ukrainan T-64, which knocks out a couple of the BTRs.

Wargamer said...

Johan, You right, this fight took place near Pridorojne village to south-east from Lugansk. Tank T-64BM "Bulat" belonged to 1st Guards armoured brigade of Ukraine.

Bil Hardenberger said...

JC, I think this is a brilliant technique.. won't work except for vehicles that infantry can mount (as you of course are aware)... so for most of the titles that leaves halftracks.. which you probably do not want to lead a movement to contact.

Still, I can see some applications where this will indeed come in handy, especially in CMRT where infantry can mount some tanks. Thanks for posting it, I'll try it out in my next game.