Okay we have some SOPs which pretty much apply to all orders, since they pertain the intrinsic movement behavior which is available in every order.
Let me start by saying that:
(1) I don't understand BASING.
(2) I have asked why AMBUSH is an SOP, since I would think it only applies at the location of a DEFEND Order.
So, as Forest Gump said, "that's all I have to say about that".
Let me say something general about these SOPs which I am going to discuss. First, in all cases, you could have dealt with these matters arising in other ways. However, it would be tedious and also result in replans which cost you precious time. As a gamer, you make look at these as the AI getting smarter. However, as a simulation of command, you may regard these as additional autonomy being given to your subordinates at the tip of the spear.
AMBUSH tells your units to hold their fire until the enemy is close. As I mentioned, I have questions posted on its usage.
Now, the other three are interesting and quite useful. Let's look at STRAGGLERS first. When you issue an ATTACK from the FUP to the LOCATION, units will move in formation. This could mean that a couple companies of an infantry brigade could end up moving through some very hard terrain across the assigned frontage. Then, throw in some combat and being barraged, and a couple of companies could be completely exhausted. Now, if you want this brigade to go on to do something else, these two companies could hold up every body. Obviously, this becomes more of an issue the larger the force involved, since the chances of this happening increases and the impact is greater on your plans.
So, by turning STRAGGLERS off, you can maintain the tempo of your plans even though a few units may need to fallout.
BYPASS and ATTACKS ... First, I should state that this capability was their for the AI OPFOR from more or less the beginning. If you watched the Task Info Box for the OPFOR, you will see the AI do this on its own when hits a block position. However, now these capabilities are being made available for the player as well.
These pertain to travel and what a force does when it runs into the unexpected.
With BYPASS, rather than fighting their way past, your HQ will try to find another route. So, your usage of this will depend very much on time, the type of units, and potentially the terrain. Like if you are moving armor and there are only two widely separated roads through woods, then BYPASS doesn't look like such a clever move.
With ATTACKS, your force will go into a little huddle and kick some butt. Of course, this also makes them very eager to stop and kick butt whenever the chance presents itself rather than thinking about the big picture like where they are needed.
Again what makes these so useful to you as the player/commander is that this will happen quickly and effectively. You are basically choosing to loosen the reigns on your subordinates.
I also see this as being very useful in terms of recon style missions. How so?
For example, you send out a platoon of stuarts to a key town 20km away where the main attack is going to take place. You want to know where the enemy's main line of defense is so that you can plan your attack. Thus, you don't want your recon effort getting bogged down shooting it out with a German tank crew that took a break to roast sausages on the back of their tank. So, you can just tell them to BYPASS. In the past, all you could do was lower their AGGRO setting suggesting to them not to get into fire fights.
Another example ... suppose those stuarts or a small force are on more of a search and destroy mission. Their orders are to find the enemy positions and neutralize them before the main body comes up the road and gets delayed. Then, normally, the small force would have simply been in a weak bounding overwatch mode. This will cause them to apply maximum fire power to try dislodge the enemy. Also, because it is an assault they will remain in close contact. Now, that alone may not result in "destroy", however backing them up with heavy arty support will do it. In COTA, it is possible that they could have ultimate slipped by enemy units and given up the chance to take them out before the main body followed up. Thus, the ultimate consequences could have been massive confusion and delays.
Going back to RDOA, there was an illustration in the manual of how you could use a MOVE order (shortest path) with infantry and a large frontage to conduct a sweep. Suppose you wanted to clear a wooded area. For those of you who have played this game for a while, you know sometimes it can be very hard to really secure a VL in closed terrain when just a few enemy units keep popping up. As I see it, this gives you both the tool to conduct a sweep through closed terrain and when contact is made to maximize your fire power. In the past, this was not possible.
Part of the reason it was not possible is that the retreat/rout behavior of OPFOR AI units is much more spontaneous than you can give new orders. I also see some potential for this when you are trying to finish off and destroy enemy units. In the past, it was very hard to finish off enemy units if you could not pin them against impassable terrain. I suspect that this option might also help with this problem. It is about the closest tool you have to aggressively pursue and destroy enemy survivors. (I've run into a number of cases such as finding an enemy firebase and wanting to do more than simply displace his guns, but to destroy them. Now, maybe I can sweep and attack.)