From: Tucson, AZ
I mentioned some of these things in other threads, but thought it might be nice to open a thread on Direct Fire tactics.
You've probably noticed that your first DF shot tends to cause some casualties, but subsequent shots on the same target have a much decreased effect.
This is often due to the 'stance' of the target. By 'stance' I mean whether the target is 'Ready', 'Pinned', 'Retreating' or 'Routed'.
When presented with a number of infantry targets that are in Ready stance, I take one shot at each until I cause that unit to go to a Pinned stance. Often, this can garner a casualty or two with the first or second shot. Then, rather than continue to pound on that unit, I move to another unit in Ready stance and repeat until I've run out of shots or targets.
Particularly in H2H, this tactic can make the MG the feared weapon that it truly was. :D
Using this method, a single MG can pin an entire platoon and cause a larger number of casualties than if you empty your shots on a single unit.
Switching your fire to units that have just Opfired at your unit can often cause them to stop Opfiring. Assuming you've got the means to actually apply some suppression to the enemy unit.
Virtually any unit with a weapon penetration value greater than zero has the possibility to cause discomfort to virtually any armored unit.
Although you might have no hope of penetrating their armor, you might still be able to force them to button up or disable their maingun or gun optics. More commonly, you can damage or disable their mobility. This can be devestating to an armored unit with a non-turreted gun.
The tactic here is to draw of their Opfire with other, more resilient units (like infantry) and then pop at them with the AT units.
Alternately, take long range, low probability shots with the hope they won't blow you off the hill top. Then move in with units already closer to the enemy that might have a chance of causing some damage to the monster.
Even fire that has almost no chance of causing damage to the target should cause the commander to button up. This will reduce their return fire effectiveness somewhat.
When you're preparing a 'gun line' to take a ridge and establish an overwatch position, move your units onto the ridge one at a time. As they receive Opfire from the enemy, DO NOT return fire from the unit that just moved. The enemy already has you targetted with 2 or 3 guns. That first return shot might just get you killed.
After the first unit is shot at, move another unit onto the ridge with as much separation as your platoon formation will allow. In other words, move up the leftmost tank first, then the rightmost tank, then the second leftmost tank, then the second rightmost tank, etc.
After moving the second or third tank onto the ridge, go back to the first tank and fire ONCE. Pick a target that you have the best chance of damaging and/or causes the greatest threat to units in your gun line. If that target is destroyed, nearby enemy targets are going to take ancillary suppression. This will further reduce their ability to Opfire effectively.
After all the 'gun line' units have fired once, evaluate the situation. If you're getting your butt handed to you, use their remaining movement to retreat into defilade. If you're experiencing some success with this tactic continue to fire, in rotation, one shot from each unit in succession.
When you're ready to fire a platoon, cycle through each of the units and fire those that see the LEAST number of targets first, They have the least number of possible return Opfires to deal with and may be able to reduce the threat to those units in the platoon that can see a large number of targets. Then fire that unit with the second least amount of available targets. By the time you get to the unit seeing the most targets, he'll hopefully have a few less threats to deal with.
When fighting armor in close quarters, try to arrange for flanking shots. An armored unit will do a full hull/turret rotation whenever it is threatened by an adjacent enemy unit. Move your units in concert to force that rotation with the first adjacent assault. Then follow up with a second unit that can get a flank shot on the now-rotated enemy.
Even at ranges greater than adjacent, you can get a tank to rotate his turret, allowing for the possibility of a side turret shot. When a non-turreted unit does this, he's still going to present you with a side hull/turret shot.
[U]Artillery (ATGs, AA):[/U]
These units have the decided advantage of being difficult to spot at range. This gives the crews an opportunity to fire several shots and remain hidden.
I have noticed, though, that if you fire ALL of your shots, you're very likely to become spotted after the 3rd or 4th shot. Have patience and only fire 1 or 2 shots per turn to retain your unspotted status.
Once you've finished firing for that turn, reset your range to 0. These means that the enemy won't be able to draw Opfire from that artillery and force it to reveal it's presence on the enemy's turn. When that happens, you're likely to lose that artillery piece.
Once the enemy has gotten closer, (within a single movement to your position), it's time to leave the range alone and allow the artillery piece to take whatever shots they can get.
Knowing the battlefield situation determines where that optimum return fire range is. The weather, visibility, your unit's capabilities and size and the enemy unit's capabilites will all determine when to hide and when to 'fire at will'.
For instance, a German 88 is huge. Its not likely to stay hidden after the first or second shot. Once you've been spotted, you're probably going to stay spotted. Be prepared to move.
A 37mm ATG is a small target and may be able to get off 3 or 4 shots before being spotted. A bazooka team (very small) may be able to remain unspotted even when very near to or even adjacent to an enemy unit. Providing you maintain tight discipline with that unit's Range response.
One major impact on the amount of movement can come in the form of weather effects. Some severe weather types can substantially affect the unit's movement. (yours AND your enemy's) This can go a long way in determining an appropriate response to an advancing enemy formation.
[U]Other items of interest:[/U]
If you're moving adjacent to a vehicular unit with your infantry, you can increase that unit's chance of survivability by approaching under terrain cover AND setting their range to 0 prior to the move. Often, a vehicle will not spot the approaching infantry until they're right on top of them.
Vehicles escorted by dismounted infantry or nearby scouts might still spot your unit, but your chances are greatly improved if you use this tactic. This tactic also doesn't work well if you're approaching across open terrain or have moved more than 1 or 2 hexes.
In a staggered defense, set the ranges of the rearmost units in your formation to fire at the same range as those in the foremost part of your formation. In other words, set the range of the rear units so they engage the enemy at the same location as determined by the front unit's range response. This way everybody fires when the frontmost units see the 'whites of their eyes'.
I've also noticed that infantry units can take long range shots (10-12 hexes) at armored units without fear of return fire. This can go a long ways in causing armored commanders to button up, again reducing their fire effectiveness
The key points to these tactics are:
* Understanding the effects of the battlefield conditions (weather, visibility) on you and your enemy.
* Understanding the effects of Range response discipline.
* Taking the time to force the enemy to deal with multiple targets during Opfire one at a time, rather than singly.
* Understanding what it takes to conceal as much of your force as possible, while revealing as much of the enemy force as possible.
Using these tactics, I've been able to increase the lethality and improve the survivability of my forces, most of the time. (Polish forces, notwithstanding. :rolleyes: )
I'm looking forward to the collective forum to embelish on these basic tactics and add some new insights as we did in 'Artillery Management - T.O.T.'
Good Hunting! :cool:
"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible. "
- Stonewall Jackson