I have created a very simple scenario to test certain AI and game features. The scenario tries to mimic an early World War One or the Boer War situation in that it pits a 4 Company Battalion of British Infantry armed only with Lee Enfield against a German Infantry Company dug in on high ground armed with Kar98k rifles and lashings of Maxim machine guns. The attacking British have a Secure objective and the Germans a defend objective. Both sides have a 300 man strong base units with 300 horse drawn wagons. Lots of goofy details I know.
The problems I’m having are:
a) The high ground should give the defenders the ability to see the attackers as they move across open ground. In the game, despite the LOS tool showing uninterrupted LOS from the high ground, the attackers disappear after a few minutes moving about their deployment zone then reappear within a few hundred metres of the defenders. This seems to happen whether the attackers come straight down the middle, or hug the edge of the map. I don't understand why this is happening. I increased the "Recon" value of the unit's estab to >200 but the result was the same. Regardless, the problem is that the Germans are unable to spot and therefore pin the British with long range MG fire and so the British close with and overpower the Germans.
b) Ammunition, German and British, is quickly depleted within an hour or two of combat. All of the Germans run out of ammo before all of the British do, because not all the British are engaged at once, so the British win by default. I added in a base unit for either side and positioned the defenders SEP right next to the objective so that resupply would be quick (for them). Still, even with a full supply of 7.92mm ammo (used by both the Kar98 and Maxims) the Germans still cannot hold their position. I reduced the attacking Bn to two companies, and the result is the same almost every time. The British appear out of nowhere and the Germans come off worse in the short range fire fight, even though the British only have 2:1 numerical superiority.
As the Rifles and MGs use the same ammo, which is burnt through rapidly, I thought the lack of ammo might be preventing the ammo hungry MGs from contributing their full firepower to the short range battles. At short range the MGs should have a significant impact on the combat. I am not seeing this, instead, even with full ammo (and five times the number of MGs as I thought realistic) the Germans are still defeated at close range.
To understand what is happening I differentiated the Rifle and MG ammunition for the Germans (by cloning the 7.92mm ammo entry, renaming it and specifying it as the new ammo type for the Maxims) and saw that, as with the British, the Rifle ammunition is depleted really quickly, and needs restocked, but the separate MG ammo hardly ever seems to be expended, at least not in the quantities I would expect, and never nears exhaustion.
I reproduced this test using a stock German infantry estab in the place of my custom estab. The "WF - ID - Gren Coy" unit had 85 Rifles and 15 L/S MG42s (plus some MP40 which I didn't count). The figures in the attached spreadsheet show the ammo counts every time the units fired, in separate scenarios, during which time each retreated a little, but neither was terribly suppressed, and both fought back well for a while until they eventually routed. Neither unit ever ran out of Rifle ammo.
The 1st and 2nd columns give ammo levels, the 3rd and 4th give the drop in ammo after every burst, and the 5th and 6th columns give the average rounds fired per rifle or MG in the unit.
As you can see the ammunition expenditure (per gun) is significantly different for both Rifles and MGs and between my estab and the stock one. Perhaps the two scenarios played out slightly different but nevertheless, neither unit held off the two opposing companies, despite the Germans having MGs (and even SMGs) and the British having none. The "WF - ID - Gren Coy" was outnumbered 3.5:1 and my custom company 2:1. In my opinion, given what I have read, either company should have held off the poorly armed attackers. Why do machine guns expend so little ammunition and why are the attackers not being engaged at long range with MG fire?