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Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued unit survivability.

 
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Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued unit su... - 5/28/2011 5:14:42 AM   
Lieste

 

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Posting these together as the example occurred with this group of remnant unit(s) after a few days of continuous battle.

Terrain is open/heath with modest cover/concealment, and light village with some prominence. There are also additional small-arms armed units in church towers and on nearby ridges.

The armoured strength at start was 23 Universal Carriers, within the support and HQ units of a British Infantry Battalion.

Player forces: a Battalion of Grenadiers, with 90 Pz Faust Warheads, and 10 mortars (4 12cm, 6 8cm).

The U/C mortar platoon was isolated and disbanded itself early on (IMO it was at no risk, and could merely have re-bypassed the Grenadier company, without entering AT range). Apart from these losses (7 U/C with 6 mortars) the entire remaining Carrier force survived until the last days without loss. This despite heavy fighting in built-up-areas in which both sides exhausted all their ammunition and had to break-off for resupply several times.

I thought/felt that the enemy casualties became harder to obtain once he was fatigued, even when hitting with fresh troops - is it possible that the fatigue 'owner' is set incorrectly - the last 13 man HQ with 1 U/C remaining survived for 3 days while under fire from 3 companies, all the Hvy weapon direct fire groups, and eventually even the Mortars, brought forward for their direct fire contributions. The enemy was isolated from supply, fatigued at 90+% and had run out of ammunition, yet the morale had increased to 88 several times, and despite burning through 6 or 7 'basic loads' of ammunition I was incapable of pushing it below 76% where it was on mission end. The unit basic stats should have been 50% for unit factors and 50% for leadership without variation in the mission editor.

What exactly a 13 man remnant of an entire 750-800 man battalion, out of food/fuel/ammunition and surrounded by 470 very active and hostile infantry with heavy weapons, is doing with morale significantly above the base value is a little oddity all in itself, but I more am interested in why not a single vehicle was knocked out in 90 PzFaust shots*, and many thousands of rounds of HE from 12cm and 8cm mortars. All were captured during routing/rout recovery with the vehicle & crew the last to 'go' in each HQ, and the Carrier platoon being a tough nut, untouched until it finally routed three days after being out of supply. *And how I am looking forward to seeing these generally replenished

This very high toughness of open-topped Universal carriers was also apparent in early scenarios with German Tank Bn struggling to kill enough before their AT ammunition ran-out to rout/destroy even a single Mot Infantry Coy, and being thoroughly distracted by these horrid little things that they completely ignored the Challengers working their way around their flanks (if left to their own devices - even overridden, they still preferred firing at the U/C if they could wangle it )


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RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 5/28/2011 6:32:00 AM   
Lieste

 

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Some of the mystery might be that the units weren't surrendering, but were being disbanded - often with significant quantities of material remaining - so the next units were bigger than reported during the running... so perhaps I did hit a few U/C, but the unit(s) were above TOE so it had minimal observable effect?

It seems that disbandment can occur with little or no casualties taken, which can be annoying if the unit is carrying the AT assets or Mortar/IDF assets for the entire force (still annoying if it is only half the force, as it eliminates much flexibility and resilience even if all equipments find a new home. We don't really want a horde of ants (sections in a company sized unit game, or platoons in a battalion one, but it seems that platoons should be tolerated in a company level action, and platoons/companies shouldn't be merged/eliminated until they are below ~30% of the larger strength, and can be merged without this larger unit going above TOE.

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 2
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 5/29/2011 2:16:53 AM   
Lieste

 

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While thinking about vehicles... what exactly does the hulldown modifier do? Most are at 1 (or 1 and change), does this represent 'normal' 'high' or 'minimal' exposure?

How much reduction in enemy accuracy/friendly vulnerability/friendly firepower do you see for the various values this can take?

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 3
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 5/30/2011 11:06:01 PM   
Lieste

 

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I'm not sure about this, but after some consideration of a 'typical' Estab entry:

leMG42
Min range 1
100 0.85
200 0.75
etc

...it occurred to me that there is no explicit definition of "what happens" inside the lowest range value and outside Min range.

(In fact I'm still unsure whether the hit% does vary by linear interpolation (ie is 0m .90, 500m 0.4 the same as 0m 0.9, 100m 0.8, 200m 0.7 etc??)
On the assumption that this is the case, I plotted the hit% for this weapon, and extrapolated to 1m in a copy of the weapon and a using formation (plus similar for the other carried weapons).

Interestingly, the fight was pretty one sided - a close-assaulting UK force of similar size was thrown back far more consistently than I think I was seeing with the unmodified versions (The UK formation had the original values for accuracy and range, with the 1m min range and 100m minimum accuracy data-point).

My casualties were zero, despite a counterattack to drive the enemy force off my position. Action was indecisive due to single ammunition load in the test scenario, but under similar circumstances in a larger scenario the fires seemed much less effective once the enemy closed inside the unit footprint.

Edit I'm certainly going to test if it improves the lack-lustre performance of German close-assault infantry anti-tank weapons, as there is essentially no margin between the two existing range-bands, and min-range is much shorter. However, I suspect that a lot of the shots are at extreme range so there may be little practical difference even if this is a more-than-hypothetical problem.

< Message edited by Lieste -- 5/31/2011 12:16:57 AM >

(in reply to Lieste)
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RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 6/2/2011 1:48:37 PM   
Lieste

 

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This last may be working as designed, taking shot-shot variations into account there is pretty much no variation in effectiveness of the original and modified versions (but some differences in reported Firepower (due to range brackets?)

So the close range firefight IMO isn't working well - mostly because the terrain effect (fine for mid-long range fires) should begin to reduce/disappear once the units are inside the same terrain feature - fighting in the same trench systems/buildings etc tends to be intermittent but violent, fast and decisive - even after all ammunition is gone, fighting can be decisive with edged weapons (including entrenching tools etc, and bayonets on rifles) - this aspect is missing completely, as well as grenades etc. These would need to be handled as secondary weapons so they don't get culled during retreat calcs - but secondary weapons don't compile in the way I'd expect - I did try adding a short range, high effectiveness CC weapon or Hand Grenade to a copy of each infantry weapon, but it failed.

The ability of units to rest and gain morale well above the scenario designer's intent, and up to 100% without regard to supply and casualties taken makes the 'end game' increasingly difficult.

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 5
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 6/9/2011 6:22:46 PM   
Lieste

 

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More on this:

I've modified my unit's weapons to fire half as often, but at twice the effect -

ROF the same, Accuracy from 200% at close range, Reliability ~40-50%
The long range 'overall effect' in open ground is similar, except that a little more movement is seen - the slightly longer gaps between effective volleys means that an assaulting force isn't continually pinned. The casualty rates are very similar to 'new engagements' of the original units. The longer intervals also seem to spread 'first fire' between the attacker and defender more evenly - it used to be very hard to manoeuvre forwards without a lot of artillery support neutralising the defenders first (not that that isn't desirable where possible of course) - the defender's first fire also sometimes comes after the attacker has been halted and deployed, so casualties are not always as high as previously.

The close range engagement with all weapons still active (7/8mm not usually used up before the range has closed to 9/11mm effective range - previously it tended to be either/or) is more decisive - not necessarily more casualties, but a greater likelihood that both assaulter and defender will enter retreat/retreat recovery. I think it might even revolve around the theoretical kill-power, and not require actual firing, as I've seen occasional retreat results on contact without my unit expending ammunition.

More significantly, the short range effect of cover/entrenchment is negated to some extent - the (terrain) reduced accuracy of the more accurate weapons is still sufficient to cause casualties at a lower rate, so the dug in defender is no longer virtually immune from combat effects in direct fire, and sufficient overmatch in numbers will eventually force the defender to retreat/surrender, even if only once his ammunition is depleted.

I am running lower visibility limits (100-200m for towns/woods, not above 1km for any 'terrain' for deployed troops/guns) but with reduced terrain modifiers for direct fire if that is significant.

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 6
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 6/10/2011 1:37:40 AM   
Arjuna


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Very interesting observations. Thanks.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 7
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 7/12/2011 1:19:27 PM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17793
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From: Canberra, Australia
Status: offline
Lieste,

I looked into the issue of APer fire effectiveness this this afternoon and worked up a test scenario in which I had a Bn of German Inf attacking an entrenched American Inf Coy in forest. The Germans took a few casualties in the assault as they closed with the American defenders, losing about five or so men. The American Coy lost ten and routed as the Germans closed to within 100m. they lost a further five in the ensuing withdrawal. I thought this a reasonable outcome. I didn't think the defenders were invulnerable.

I suspect that as you mentioned earlier fatigue might be the factor responsible. I will investigate this further.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 8
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 7/12/2011 1:59:10 PM   
Arjuna


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Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
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It looks like the responsible bit of code is a call to GetUnitEffectiveness() which is an average of the cohesion, fatigue, experience, training and morale. The trouble is it is at the moment that this is a straight linear progression such that if you have say low cohesion and fatigue as you get in an assault then your going to get a low effectiveness value and this is then applied to the hit probability. Eg if the hit prob after all other factors is say 40% and you have an effectiveness value of 40%, then your total hit prob is now only 16%.

I am going to reduce its impact and restrict the effect.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 9
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 7/12/2011 2:37:26 PM   
Lieste

 

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Joined: 11/1/2008
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It doesn't seem unreasonable to hit the values very hard, but I feel that much should be a reduction in volume of fires, rather than full ammunition usage for minimal effect.

If you spread the current penalty half to effectiveness and half to ROF/ammunition used then highly fatigued units will still be ineffective, but won't expend all their ammunition in just a few minutes/hours. Thoughts?

I do notice that units which have expended all their ammunition will still be sitting 'firing' according to the blue marker - If the unit isn't firing then it is easier to read the low ammunition state if the 'fire marker' is only applied on actual expenditure of a round. These units will also struggle to disengage - even if given direct orders to do so.



(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 10
RE: Anti-Armour (open topped vehicles) and fatigued uni... - 7/13/2011 12:30:11 AM   
Arjuna


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From: Canberra, Australia
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The effectiveness mod currently applies both to rate of fire and to hit prob.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 11
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