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streakeagle

Learning the game the hard way :)

65 posts in this topic

From the time I first got Steel Beasts, I played through the tutorials and experimented with some small missions I made, but have mainly played the M1 quick mission as a gunner (for me, it plays like Battle Zone, which is a good thing). However, with the release of 2.642, I have started working on learning how to play the game as an overall commander from the map.

I played "cold war gone hot" board games and miniatures from the early 80s. I know the units, the order of battle, the formations, and the tactics used at various levels of abstraction: units scaled at 1:1, platoon, battalion, and even division level. However, all of this knowledge is difficult to apply in this sim.

The "Hasty Defense 01 (US)" scenario is nearly identical to my favorite scenarios I played over and over with miniatures and board games. So, I have been repeatedly playing this scenario to learn how to translate the strategy and tactics I already know into "plans" and "routes" on the map.

In most of the games I have played, a platoon of 4 M1s can easily wipe out a company or two of 10 T-72/T-80s trying to advance on their position. Getting similar results with this sim has been a challenge:

1) Very few of the board games or miniature rules bothered to keep track of ammo and for those that did, ammo was usually not a factor as the M1s were always accurate enough to hit almost every time and eliminate all enemy forces before either side had to worry about ammo. In this Steel Beasts' scenario, getting the M1's fully loaded out and keeping them resupplied well enough to hold out for 1 hour has proven to be a significant key to winning. If the supply unit is eliminated or is too far away for depleted units to access, the enemy will simply drive right by and win.

2) Board games and miniatures rules are turn based and rarely have time limits for each players turn. There was usually no need to have detailed battle plans when one player controls all the units for one side, as the player can take all the time he needs to evaluate terrain, lines of sight, movement paths, etc. Effectively, all units are in perfect communication at all times and can immediately take the best course of action. In Steal Beasts, the player has to constantly hop around from unit to unit. While focused on any one spot, another area might be getting overrun and the AI may not be handling as well as it could under player control. With a well thought out battle plan and detailed routes, the AI handles combat and movement much better in the absence of player attention.

3) Units in board games and miniatures rules only do EXACTLY what you want them to unless they are suppressed, broken, or destroyed. The AI may be better now than it has ever been, but it is nowhere near smart enough to receive vague directives and get the desired results. I constantly have to go to the 3d view to make sure units have a good line of sight while maintaining good cover/hull down AND make sure no units are stuck or bogged down by terrain features. A T-72 may be at point blank range and about to fire on an M1, but the M1 either doesn't see it or refuses to engage it due to some other AI logic taking precedence. Of course the enemy AI sees the M1 and promptly toasts it with a single point-blank shot. Basic tasks like marching on a road, shifting to a battle line, and engaging the greatest threat first are so easy to accomplish in board games, but can be very difficult to achieve in Steel Beasts. I have gotten the best results whenever I break the units down to single tanks and continuously micromanage their positions. But I can't always jump around fast enough to solve all of the immediate/critical situations. When you only have 10 M1s to stop the horde, merely losing one too early can start a domino effect that leads to a total defeat.

So, I have only won the "Hasty Defense 01 (US)" scenario twice so far. The first victory (last week) was a slaughter: I lost only one M1 and almost killed every enemy asset on the map. In my second victory tonight, I lost 3 M1s and the enemy had substantially more units still alive and probing for an opening in my defenses. The AAR for the first victory is corrupt. But having viewed the AAR for the second victory, I can see that if I had not run out of time, I was probably going to kill just about everything without any units breaking through.

In both victories, the keys to success were:

1) A battle plan with extensive waypoints and routes laid out and saved to make replaying the scenario and fine tuning the plan as easy as possible. I like using the guard tactic with a series of automatic retreats to alternate positions rather than trying to hold a fixed position and getting obliterated by an artillery strike. The more time spent learning the terrain and sprinkling the map with plenty of alternative battle positions, the better the results.

2) Loading up all the M1s with full ammo prior to following routes to their assigned positions.

3) Breaking up M1 platoons into individual tanks to provide greater depth and width of coverage and to minimize losses due to artillery strikes. Individual tanks are more likely to find and hold a good hull down position with a decent line of sight.

4) Luck. Sometimes the AI executes my battle plan as well as I wanted or even better than expected. But most of the time, some AI limitation results in an M1 either out of the fight while stuck on a terrain feature or getting blind sided and killed by a tank that it should have seen and killed.

As great as Steel Beasts is (there simply is no competition for realism, detail, or gameplay), the AI requires far too much player intervention to function realistically. Even a lowly platoon leader should not have to worry about making sure his unit follows him on a road or get in a proper firing position with a good line of sight and good cover. I am not talking about board games versus Steel Beasts, but real life versus a supposed simulation. I understand the AI should require good orders from the player for the sim to teach tactics, but should a company commander have to "jump" to a unit that is hung on a terrain feature to back it up and get it back on it route? Should a CO have to "jump" to each tank and verify it is in cover/hull down AND doesn't have its line of sight severely blocked by a tree or a building?

I am trying to be the overall CO and not a gunner or TC, so I am not assuming any crew positions, just using observer view or watching things unfold on the map. However, sometimes I have to manually position a unit and/or struggle to get it to see a nearby tank rather than engaging a distant BRDM. Yet, for all the trouble I have getting my units to be effective, the enemy AI seems to be much more effective aside from a few units getting stuck on narrow paths/roads.

When things do go as planned, I have a lot of fun watching Soviet armor getting shredded with little or no chance to retaliate. Take me back to so many games I played so many years ago...

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Even a lowly platoon leader should not have to worry about making sure his unit follows him on a road or get in a proper firing position with a good line of sight and good cover...

For what its worth I can assure you that in RL that is one of the fundamental requirements of the Tp Ldr (and or Tp Sgt) to ensure the junior callsigns are following (i.e. haven't got lost) or are in a good position / formation and to order corrections as required.

You don't get off the vehicle and go to them (unless something is really wrong) but one of the key differences between a green unit and an experienced one is the amount of radio traffic about "keep up", "push out", "where is X?", etc.

Edited by Gibsonm

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Some times, during my 3 years as tank platoon Leader, I had to go on feet to one of my young wingman, and to explain him why he has a bad position, and what to do to improve his defensive position.

One time, I had to explain that the platoon he was following was not his, because we were 4km behind the rest of the tank squadron, assuming a reserve force role.

But once the action starts, no time to explain. I fight first, and try to sort him later, if he's still alive... and radio net will be a litle bit agressive: "33, come on xy coordinates from south, and take part of the platoon war!"

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Of course real people make mistakes, but the things I am seeing are gross violations that anyone could see are wrong, not just a well trained tank crew. How many people would park with an entire building or dense vegetation blocking their view in the direction assigned to overwatch? Or ignore the T-72 that is in plain sight (sometimes even obstructing the view) and going to kill him, to waste APFSDS shots at a wheeled vehicle 3000m away? Sometimes, they won't even respond to the nudging I give them from the observer position and die as I try to force them to reassess the situation. In real life, you could simply call over the radio and direct them to engage the tanks at such and such range in such and such direction. In the game, I can either turn their battle line on the map, issue a new route order, or nudge them with the WASD keys. The only "sure" way to get them to do what I want is to issue an "Assault" route, and that always has dire consequences and sometimes they still ignore the immediate threat in the direction of the "Assault" in favor of some other unimportant situation.

Clearly, board games/miniatures rules are far too perfect. Aside from possibly having a referee or using flipped decoy counters, there is very little fog of war. Steel Beasts is much better for this. Another great aspect of a PC simulation is the ability to change scale: from 1:1 in a 3d view with a direct understanding of the line-of-sight issues with a given position to a fully zoomed out map view with a pretty good overview of the situation. Recon units were rarely of any use in board games, but in Steel Beasts, some infantry hiding on a hill with hold fire orders makes a world of difference. A couple of hummers with TOW missiles can stall an advance long enough to get an artillery call right on top of a dense formation. So, I am really enjoying the game. But I can see that it would play much better if there was at least one human player per platoon and having such a number of human players would even more realistically duplicate the problems with communication. Steel Beasts units may not always react the way I want due to AI limitations, but they always receive the orders. Real people would avoid the mistakes I hate seeing the AI make, but might not get the verbal orders due to being overwhelmed with the combat situation. Of course, there is still room for misinterpretation as well. There is simply no substitute for a good battle plan and subordinates that understand it well enough to get the job done with only a minimum of additional instructions. Steel Beasts lets you build pretty good battle plans, but I would take real people over its AI any day. At least a total newbie would learn and get better with each death/defeat as opposed to me as the CO trying to learn how to plan/override each AI problem I encounter.

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You could upload the PLN file here for others to have a look at it, and give you some direct feedback on it. Generally I have to say that we try to award platoon coherence with better chances to spot a new target, or to react to flank threats (also coordination among platoon members who opens fire on which target).

Also, which difficulty setting have you selected?

What's your gunnery rating?

These two things also play an important role. Finally, there's the matter of ammunition selection. Entire threads could be devoted to that issue alone.

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Realistic and Hard.

Gunnery: 95%

As for ammo selection, my experience as an M1A1 gunner in the quick mission is that the TC has a unique ability to choose the round I don't need. The AI frequently picks the round I needed for the last shot rather than the next one. I always get jammed with an HE if my last target was a PC. I am being overrun by tanks and I would rather have an AP for flexibility than splash a T-72 and get destroyed by his counter fire. I prefer to kill AVLBs with HE, but the AI classifies them as tanks and makes me waste AP rounds on them. Many times, I could have done better if the AI TC gave me the opposite of what he called for... unless I miss, then the next round is usually what I need.

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Have you tried a Friday night online battle yet? I'd highly recommend it!

I would love to play online, but I have a wife and 5-year-old son that dominate my schedule until both are asleep. I can only play on my PC uninterrupted after they are both asleep, and then I can't make any noise, so no teamspeak or other voice chat. I typically get to play after 10 pm EST and I have to get up before 6 AM for work on weekdays... so if I want to play a lot, I have to sacrifice sleep and work performance. Often, I am too tired to do anything but browse the web by that time.

I am more of an air combat flight simmer than a tanker and have fallen asleep in the middle of many dogfights. But as with my board games, I like rotating between air, land, and sea combat simulations. I spent 8 years in the Navy as a submarine sonar tech, so I don't spend too much time on the sea part--had enough of the long hours of boredom waiting for something to happen.

I only recently got SB Pro PE when the M60s were about to be added with my itch for tactical land warfare being adequately satisfied by OFP/ArmA despite its limitations. I don't see SB and ArmA as competitors, but rather complimentary. Clearly, ArmA is not the sim of choice for armored combat, but it is still the best as what it does AND gives you the ability to have useful/playable air and armor assets. Clearly, SB Pro PE is in a class by itself for simulating modern armored warfare, but doesn't have anywhere near the flexibility of ArmA. Neither can provide me with my fix of flying jets, though ArmA makes a token effort.

The scale of SB Pro PE when played from the map view matches my favorite board games: West End Games "Air Cav" (1:1) and GDW's "Assault" series (each unit represents a platoon). The equivalent miniatures rules I played were "Close and Destroy" (1:1) and GDW's "Command Decision:Combined Arms" (platoons). The one I played the most was "Combined Arms" because I enjoyed seeing all the GHQ 1/285 miniatures. But the game with the most "flavor" was "Air Cav". SB Pro PE gives me both: the detailed 3d models of individual units and the fast paced exciting action of "Air Cav". Where was this pc sim when I was in high school in the early to mid '80s? Of course, my "pc" at the time was a Timex/Sinclair 2068 (Sinclair Spectrum based clone).

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I am more of an air combat flight simmer than a tanker and have fallen asleep in the middle of many dogfights.

I'm with you there, haha!

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Realistic and Hard.

Gunnery: 95%

Gunnery is ok, but hard gives the enemy AI an advantage and penalises friendly AI behaviour. For a balanced experience you should select medium difficulty.

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Realistic and Hard.

Well, "hard" difficulty will make things difficult. For a more realistic comparison with your miniature game sessions, I strongly recommend to cut it back to "medium" which sets balanced reaction speeds and a more normal gunnery accuracy for OpFor.

With difficulty set to hard, there's an artificial tilt to your disadvantage which arguably isn't very realistic.

As for ammo selection, my experience as an M1A1 gunner in the quick mission is that the TC has a unique ability to choose the round I don't need.

That's not what I was about to mention. I'm talking about the ammunition loadout of both your own and OpFor unit selection. There's a world of a difference if the enemy is reacting very fast and shooting with near perfection and having ammunition that can seriously hurt your M1s from 3,000m distance, or if his ammo will create serious damage only from distances 1500m and less.

There's a document "Choosing ammunition" in the "Other Documents" folder that you may want to check out.

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Interesting thread, thx streakeagle !

"Hasty Defense US" is a difficult mission in itself in SP, due to the rather large terrain (7 X 8 KM) that you need to defend, so lots of movement are required, so a lot of AI-herding is necessary.

Also, your M1's (not the stronger M1A1) fight in that - interesting - scenario with M753A1 KE from 1979, which makes it even more difficult (unclear now for me what Red fights with & what ammo they use).

So congrats with your victories, I think I never got there one :-)

NB As you seem to be interested in planning, here are some tips re planning in SB: http://www.steelbeasts.com/sbwiki/index.php/Planning_Phase#A_Practical_Guide_to_Quick_Planning

Proabably you won't learn something from it given your sim-experience, but I prefer to share it anyway.

Rgds, K

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I always thought in sims, "Hard" meant full realism, not "harder than real" :) I am far from fully learning how to play this game, hence the post. My plans are fairly elaborate in terms of the number of waypoints, but not very intricate in terms of options: Guard, Retreat to next Guard, Retreat to next Guard, etc. ... Retreat to final Defend waypoint with no alternate routes. Then, (if the route/waypoint doesn't disappear with the arrival or death of a unit) I override the options or the units' decision to leave as the situation requires. This becomes a problem if several units across the map aren't doing what they need to be doing at the same time. This is when I will lose an M-1 and start the domino effect that ultimately loses the scenario.

Another area I need improvement is artillery calls. I am finally getting artillery where I want it when I want it when I have infantry accurately monitoring enemy positions. But I can't seem to get very good effects. ICM versus HE? I prefer ICM to get at the tanks, but I don't seem to get very many very often even when I lay it down right on their position.

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I agree with GH_Lieste and Ssnake that setting difficulty to Medium may make your overall experience versus Warsaw Pact opponents more realistic. There's a helpful thread on the topic here: http://www.steelbeasts.com/sbforums/showthread.php?t=15588&highlight=difficulty.

After reading the whole page... I find that I am largely doing what is being suggested, almost exactly! But, I got to that point through repetitive catastrophic losses ("learning the game the hard way"). There is a healthy balance between no planning and covering with map with routes that cause confusion, fail to work, or will never be used. Military KISS principle seems to apply. Sprinkle the map with battle positions at key terrain points, connect the best ones with retreat orders, set up marching orders to get the units in their initial positions, and start the scenario! Whenever I fail to give a unit a way to retreat, they do just what the article on planning said: "die in place". The little tidbit I just picked up from this article that I was not doing is automated rotation of firing positions using delays to avoid artillery strikes. I have been counting on manually using "continue" for premature retreats followed by hastily clicking a return to a good position after the threat has passed, but I often lose units or have them retreated out of the battle because too much is going on to manually manipulate this behavior.

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Well, "hard" difficulty will make things difficult. For a more realistic comparison with your miniature game sessions, I strongly recommend to cut it back to "medium" which sets balanced reaction speeds and a more normal gunnery accuracy for OpFor.

With difficulty set to hard, there's an artificial tilt to your disadvantage which arguably isn't very realistic.

That's not what I was about to mention. I'm talking about the ammunition loadout of both your own and OpFor unit selection. There's a world of a difference if the enemy is reacting very fast and shooting with near perfection and having ammunition that can seriously hurt your M1s from 3,000m distance, or if his ammo will create serious damage only from distances 1500m and less.

There's a document "Choosing ammunition" in the "Other Documents" folder that you may want to check out.

In all my years of playing pc sims, I have always cranked the difficulty to max and tried to win using what was given to me. Playing at less than max difficulty/realism settings usually taught bad tactical habits that would could back to haunt me as the realism was increased. Altering a standard scenario so that I will win defeats the purpose of playing. Of course, some scenarios may be written for the express purpose of requiring the player to make decisions about equipment/ammunition being used by both sides to better understand the simulation and real world combat situations.

In ALL of the wargames I played in the '80s, the Soviets had to get to close ranges to penetrate the front of hull down M1s. The accuracy and rate of fire advantages of the M1s ensured that the Soviets needed much better than 3:1 odds to attempt a head on assault at hull-down M1s, or be completely obliterated trying to get within effective range. Only carefully executed flanking maneuvers could catch the M1s weaker side at range. But that only worked if the terrain permitted. Otherwise the M1s could use terrain to mask themselves against one force while facing the flanking force.

It was very hard to win as a Soviet player against M1s without overwhelming numbers and/or extensive support from air/artillery. If you split your forces, the M1s would use speed to easily engage each smaller force with advantageous odds. If you concentrated your forces, the M1s could find a good position to go hull down and snipe your forces before you could get in range to fire. Of course, if you played the same scenarios with M60s/M113s in place of M1s/M2s/M3s, it would be lopsided the other way. Just as I found it a fun and interesting challenge to beat M1s with T-72s/T-80s, it was just as fun to try to stop T-72s/T-80s with M60s. I guess I always enjoy being the underdog. Of course, still being relatively new to Steel Beasts, I am always the underdog no matter which mission or side I play due to incompetency. But in general, I do learn fairly quickly from my own mistakes and use repetition when I am not learning so quickly. If you bang your head against the wall long enough, you will figure out a way through it :)

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In all my years of playing pc sims, I have always cranked the difficulty to max and tried to win using what was given to me. Playing at less than max difficulty/realism settings usually taught bad tactical habits that would could back to haunt me as the realism was increased.

Fair point, and I would agree with respect to most other games that I know. For Steel Beasts, we decided that there would be no compromise in the core parts of the simulation. Realism settings toggle certain helper elements that allow for better orientation in the virtual environment, but the do not change the damage model or anything. Difficulty simply balances reaction speeds, and sets the gunnery proficiency of the opposing force (while your own force's gunnery skills are set by your profile's gunnery rating). That's it.

So, once that you have succeeded on the tank range, the only ways to influence the balance further is by adjusting the armament in a scenario, or to change the difficulty settings. Only "medium" difficulty will give you balanced perception of computer-controlled units.

It is still possible to win with bad tactics if only the technological gap is large enough and you are at least somewhat competent in your gunnery, e.g. going in M1s against a T-55 equipped force. But generally I think that SB Pro is helping with most settings to separate bad from good tactics. Sometimes people complain that SB is "too hard" when in fact their tactics simply aren't suitable in a given scenario. And, of course, it could very well be that certain scenarios simply offer no win option. Hopefully this is rare, but if your one M1 platoon faces an entire battalion of T-80s, supported by lots of artillery and helicopters, it may be smart to simply step aside unless there are terrain-specific choke points where the enemy cannot bring his numerical superiority to bear.

Altering a standard scenario so that I will win defeats the purpose of playing.

It depends, IMO. The question is why one would be doing it - just in order to win? I think it would be a valid reason to try and see how much the change of one or two parameters can shift the balance of a scenario. It could help you to find out under which specific circumstances a given tactic will still work, and at which point the technological gap reached a threshold that forces you to reconsider the entire plan.

There is no guarantee that a stock scenario is designed to be winnable.

It can happen that with certain changes in our underlying model of armor protection, vulnerabilities, and terminal ballistic performance a scenario that used to be well balanced in an older version suddenly becomes much harder (or easier), simply because we had to re-assess certain fundamental factors. We don't do that to keep the mission designers busy. It's a natural consequence of ongoing, continuous research and development.

In ALL of the wargames I played in the '80s, the Soviets had to get to close ranges to penetrate the front of hull down M1s.

...and that will be the case in SB Pro too, if you equip the vehicles with ammunition of that time (or older). Notice however that the default munitions are from the mid to late 1990s, and that will make a noticeable difference. This is a great way IMO to directly experience the consequences of technological progress and to re-trace the constant race between armor and armament.

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I think one lesson to take away is that even with the heaviest armour package in the world it is only intended to protect against some hits, not all possible damage.

You should train and employ your vehicle as if he can damage you frontally, because even an M1A1(HA) can and will sometimes be penetrated from the front by any significant ammunition that strikes a weak zone (sight hood, cupola, driver's hatch area, turret ring, mantlet edge etc.)

The tactics you use shouldn't really differ much between a Leopard 1A5 and an M1A1(HA) - you do gain a few additional options with the slightly better ammunition, and the heavier armour gives a higher probability of surviving any return fire you draw - but the systems are not all protected (suspension and tracks, gun-tube, sights etc are all outside the armour envelope, and stabilisation and electronics are vulnerable to non-penetrating shock damage) and the flanks of the heavy tank are not significantly better than those of the lighter vehicle and are vulnerable at all ranges to tank ammunition.

Given the choice I'd operate in the heavier armoured vehicle, but it cannot be assumed that protection is equivalent to invulnerability.

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Sometimes I find it satisfying to be the last member of my company left, with a badly damaged tank clinging to life. That way, if I win, I can gloat over my enemy. And if I lose, I can die with honor. (And have my own memorial ceremony for myself and get sauced.) ;)

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After all the losses, I thoroughly enjoyed the one run where the enemy was totally obliterated for the loss of 1 M1. The only reason I didn't clear the map completely is that I had been burned one too many times by an unspotted vehicle slipping past my rear guard. By the time I had carefully verified the rear area was clear, I was just reaching some of the remaining opfor when time ran out. The AAR revealed that all they had left was a smattering of wheeled vehicles (BRDM / BTR) and some deployed troops, which the remaining M1s would have clobbered with little effort.

I fully subscribe to the idea that it is better for the enemy to die for his country than for you to die for yours :)

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What's your gunnery rating?

I was really interested in the discussion of “gunnery rating” here and searching older threads I now realise how important this is for BLUE gunnery performance (I’m not sure why I didn’t understand this earlier). Anyway, I checked my gunnery rating for the first time and it was… 41%! This gunnery rating is more or less equivalent to AI OPFOR gunnery on Low difficulty (35%); wowsers! :(

It was being dragged down by my statistics when I first started playing the game plus the fact that I focus mostly on command and only on gunnery when the AI gunner is being “dumb”. Suffice to say I’ve deleted ‘Lt De Fault’ and I’ll be blasting away on the range as a gunner using my new profile as soon as I can. Scenarios should get a little bit easier from here on in.

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As for ammo selection, my experience as an M1A1 gunner in the quick mission is that the TC has a unique ability to choose the round I don't need. The AI frequently picks the round I needed for the last shot rather than the next one.

You can fix this issue, at least. If you are gunner, the TC determines the loadout. If you finish the engagement, and a type is loaded that you don't want to battle carry for the next engagement, hop into the TC position, and double tap the ammo selection. That will override and re-load the round you selected.

Along the theme of micro-management: Yes, it's a fact of SB life that the CC crews require some minding. Hell, I worry less about the poor positioning and more about their apparent urge to go LOOK at the enemy when I'd prefer they not. :) (Especially when said enemy is a tank and the offending curious cat was a Mercedes jeep...)

I am a firm believer that a company is just a little too much for one player to handle WELL. It requires very careful minding. A single platoon seems a more useful span of control. And while that limits some SP actions, it is the reality. I still play company-level missions, but it requires a lot of prep work in planning and such to be successful. Then again...if you think about the real planning cycle, an hour in the planning phase is nothing compared to the real thing, :)

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I am a firm believer that a company is just a little too much for one player to handle WELL.

The same studies which determined the size of the US Army and Marine Infantry squads would agree with you; they are largely applicable to higher formation command as well. The conclusion was that a single leader could only effectively lead three to five subordinates. Any more and you had inefficiencies crop up, any fewer and you had too high of a leader:lead ratio.

We see this played out throughout many levels of organization. For example, the US Fireteam - as most others are - is four men, with one of them being the fireteam leader. The squad or section consists of two fireteams, their leaders reporting to the squad leader: the squad leader thus has responsibility and command over eight men, but in combat only has to issue orders to two whose fireteams are not monitored directly by him, so the span of control is merely two, and for the fireteam leaders it is three.

In the USMC, a similar proposition: three teams of four, the squad leader controls three subunit leaders, the subunits are similar to the above example.

In the platoon, the subaltern controls three or four section commanders.

In the company, the coy commander controls three or four lieutenants.

And it builds up from there. So it seems pretty clear that the maximum span of control you could be expected to mind at any time in SB Pro PE, especially given the need to watch over the AI with the all-seeing eyes of Heimdallr, is the platoon. In MP, perhaps a company consisting of human leaders could get some pretty large battles going: a human coy commander, and human subalterns is a mere four/five players, if you have ten on a side you've got two companies going at it with full leadership and maximum efficiency (according to the above model) and given the experienced players here who can handle a company on their own (or at least half a company) then any discrepancies in player pool size might be made up for by someone who's familiar enough with the AI and their behaviour to corral/command more subunits than is suggested by the above model.

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Adding to this is the fact that most of your subordinates have a functioning brain and can be counted on to react to situations intelligently. If you are a new troop leader, you probably aren't the smartest crew commander in the troop either.

A SB troop with one human and two to three AI doesn't act like an actual troop; it is more like a single callsign with a local reserve - more like being a cav trooper leading a string of remounts.

The AI gunners can be deadly if faced head-on, but the AI just doesn't react well to flank attacks. It can be very frustrating troop leading that gang of idiots.

DG

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