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 Post subject: 7 Using Armor
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Now for a bit of a history lesson. Players may assume that tanks often rolled along firing and scoring
kills on enemy tanks. This is just not fact. During WW II tanks stopped to fire one or two rounds
and then moved to a new location before the enemy had a chance to swing the turret around and get a good aim on them. What this means is that in combat tanks are almost always moving and stopping and then moving and stopping. The game does factor this in. Units that have moved and are traveling at higher speeds will be less accurate then units that are stopped or moving slowly. Because of this there are some ways you can take advantage to help your own tanks survive longer and to allow you to take better shots on the enemy while still moving, What you want to avoid is moving more then 1 or 2 hexes if you plan to shoot that turn. If you have a target and still want or need to move shoot first and then move. If you don't have a good shot or target resist the temptation to move until you have a target and fire a low percentage shot off hoping for a hit. This is how you lose tanks to op fire. And how you lose tanks to special op fires. Not something that you want to do with your expensive high value units. If you have no target in LOS but know that there are some nearby but your too far away and have to move closer to see them, your best move will be to show patience and move closer but not to the point that the enemy will see you yet. Stay out of their LOS and wait for the next turn.

If you got lucky the enemy moved and entered your LOS and your op fire took them out. If not, you're
in position to move a hex or two and get the LOS on the target, your speed will be low and while you may suffer a penalty for movement it will not be as high as if you had moved 8 hexes and tried to take a shot. Your odds of scoring a hit are better since your speed is low. Obviously the enemy tank may op fire back at you but if it moved it will suffer a penalty and since you are also moving your going to be harder to hit. For you this is all good, but the enemy is in a bad way. He has tanks in LOS but is taking poor percentage shots while you have tried to maximize your own chances of scoring a hit.

Now for the real key to winning a tank duel. NEVER EVER fire all of your shots off and lose movement ability, I'll say it again... NEVER EVER fire all of your shots off and lose movement ability.
If you have 5 shots possible and fire off 3 of them and they all miss the odds are not good that you will manage a kill shot with the last two rounds. IF you fail and you probably will your going to be sitting there with the enemy tank taking his shots on your now stranded armor.

Once you're done shooting you want to expend your remaining movement if your still in LOS of the enemy tanks to get out danger. Rather then use your full number of shots use the remaining movement to attempt to find a place where you can move to get out of LOS. This will force the enemy player into looking for you and you should have op fire on him if he finds you since you did not fire off all your shots. Your goal here is to attempt to get more shots of better quality then what your offering the enemy on your own armor.

Now you thinking how the heck do you know if you are out of los. If you have something to hide
behind like a building, hill or other obvious LOS blocking terrain you made it. If you're using dust or
smoke about the only way you can tell if you found someplace is to watch the number of enemy
seen number in the unit display and see if it gets smaller. You would of course need to know
what that number was before you started moving looking for a place to hide.

If you can not get out of LOS you want to turn your tank before you end your turn to give it just a
slight angle to the enemy so that rather then allowing the enemy to shoot at the frontal armor
head on it has to shoot at it on a slight angle. Doing this will increase the chances for a ricochet

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The best reason I can give you for not being in the same hex when your done shooting as you
were in last turn is that a top hit from a mortar will ruin your day just as much as taking an a
hit from an 88 at point blank range.

Before we go too much farther let me say something about Op fire. Most players have lost a lot of stuff over the years to op fire. The computer will op fire when ever it thinks it can score a kill shot.
It does not use the same data to make that choice as you should. Players often make a mistake of firing back in their turn on an enemy that op fired on them from long range. The computer will op fire at a very low hit percentage chance because it can score a kill IF if hits. The mistake players often make is staying where they are and trading long range shots. This is a recipe for losing tanks. The game cheats to make the computer AI more challenging. This doesn't change even if your playing a human. Any time your units op fire they do so using the same rules the computer AI uses with one big difference. You as the player can limit the range at which your units will op fire. This allows you to keep units hidden that the computer would expose. It allows you to choose at what range your units op fire at and this should be set to a range where your own calculations show you are inside effective range to score not only a hit but a shot with sufficient penetration to be a kill shot. The op fire done by the computer does not factor in the hit percentages only the kill shot chances. You as a player want to hold your fire until your chances of scoring a hit are good enough to warrant showing your armor to the enemy and taking an effective shot. If you do stay in LOS of a long range enemy unit sooner or later you're going to lose to the computer AI controlled op fire which is not playing fair with you. Don't take that challenge. You will lose more often then you will win. Remember the computer cheats to be a better player.

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 Post subject: Re: 7 Using Armor
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:01 am 
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How and when you employ your armor can alter the course of the game. Often the guns on those tanks can make short work of a defense and send the infantry running. The challenge you face is getting them there in one piece so that they can do just that. You have been told over and over again never to lead with your armor. That is good advice.

You need to have recon information about where the enemy has his guns waiting in ambush for your tanks to arrive and you sure could use information on not only where but what type of armor you may run into when your own armor moves in to attack the enemy. All of these things should be going on before you start to expose your armor to the enemy. But your never going to be able to find it all and you may have to accept the fact that your going to have to deal with the enemy who brings up guns or armor once your spotted. Face it your probably going to have to fight your way in. There are formations in use for armor and tactics just like the infantry. In the picture below I have shown you several of them but I have taken the steps of moving the HQ unit or command tank in some of them to a bit safer location inside the formation. I have done this because the loss of a HQ or command tank in the game is such that it precluded the real world advantages of having the command tank leader in the front of the formation. In the real world that leader is going to be more skilled then the men under him, While that too is most likely true in the game. The penalty the game imposes on the loss of that leader is greater then that of the effects on a real world unit. In the real world one of the section leaders would take over or the original leader would jump out of his tank and take over one of the others. We can not do that in game. When the HQ is dead the next unit in line becomes the new HQ unit and often times that means a loss of orders and reduced efficiency. There is no chance to swap a crew out so the more skilled leader who may of survived a hit can go back into the fight. So the best we can do is make an allowance for that and not put the HQ unit at risk of taking that first op fire attack that is the usual first sign they have found the enemy.

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Over watch and bounding over watch are two military concepts you should already be familiar with
and using. If your not familiar with them you need to go and learn about them. I am not going to
spend much time here to teach you the basics. But the bottom line involves moving one part of a
formation while the other part watches the movement and takes under fire any enemy unit that
shows itself. This is often done with all types of units not just armor but armor is going to use it
as the basic method of movement for almost every move it makes.

To do this you have to start by moving your unit one unit at a time only 2 or 3 hexes and then
move another unit 2 or 3 hexes. And so on. NEVER EVER even on a bad day or in your rear area
move any of your armor or transport more then 2 or 3 hexes at a time before you move the other
units in the formation up with them. Stop making large movements with one unit and then going back and making another large movement with the next unit. Stay closer even as you move.

Larger movements increase the chances for a breakdown. If you have a few of them while making
those large movements you may find your formation strung out in a long line or units stuck waiting
for someone to come back and pick them up. By staying in a group as you move and by moving
in bounds you decrease your chances for a breakdown and when one does happen the other units
in your formation are close enough that you can deal with any passengers that might of been stranded
with out having to spend more then a turn to do something about it.

The picture above suggests that you dig in a part of the formation and while that does help a unit to
hide and it does allow them to take up the hull down positions that they should be in. The orders regeneration may not make that a practical option. Save the digging in until your taking incoming
fire. At that point slow it down and start digging in the over watching units. it is going to slow your
advance down but it gives your over watch units a much better chance to score killing shots on the
enemy units they can see. If you choose to keep rolling then at least attempt to keep the units in the over watch position moving as slow as possible perhaps slow the whole formation down to a movement of only 2 or 3 hexes per turn. This will keep your own op fires from taking to large a penalty for movement and it gives you some bonus from incoming fire since you are moving.

I think I have also failed to tell you until now that once you start your armor on the move unless
they are going to dig in and stop with the goal of dropping from view of the enemy. You want to
keep them moving at all times. Even if you move only 1 hex a turn. The movement will increase
there ability to survive incoming fire and will not effect your shooting to the point you can not hit
anything. This is extremely effective. Keep you speed to less then 10mph if possible. So dig in or keep moving with your armor avoid coming to a stop if your not going to dig in.

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 Post subject: Re: 7 Using Armor
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 11:42 pm 
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How To Use StuGs

StuGs were designed to be a low cost armor vehicle that could be built much quicker then
tanks. The guns had only a slight side to side movement allowance so the whole vehicle
had to be turned to make larger aiming adjustments. This makes them much less effective
as a Tank would be when in a similar situation. They make poor Anti tank weapons if in the
open and should be looked on as maybe the 3rd best choice when it comes to taking on
enemy armor. The first choice would be your AT guns the second your own tanks and then
StuGs or Tank Destroyers.

Your StuGs are considered Assault Guns and were intended to support infantry units as they
attacked. They started out life early in the war with short barrel guns that fired High Explosive
rounds and only latter were they upgraded with larger guns that could also fire Armor Piercing
shells. They also tend to lack good machine gun placement due in part to the lack of a proper
turret to allow for all around fire. They depend on the infantry for support.

To use them effectively your going to need to keep them with your infantry and treat them
as assault guns and not armor hunting anti tank weapons. They are not Tank Destroyers
despite sharing many of the same characteristics. They are best used in mass in packs
where the limited amount of shots they have can be used to take out enemy infantry and
guns that are slowing your own infantry down. Should enemy armor show up they would
be better used if they retreated rather then stay and duel tanks which will attempt to get
them to into the "StuG Spin" by firing on them from different angles looking to get flank or
rear shots on them. The StuG makes a good weapon to call up to break the backs of
any enemy infantry line. They are good for taking on bunkers once they are suppressed to
the point they are not going to to big a threat to the StuG. They are also good to take on
machine gun nests and as a fire brigade that can be sent in as a counter attacking force to
break up an enemy infantry attack.

If you stop using your StuGs as mobile AT guns and begin to let them work hand and hand
with the infantry they are there to support you may find that your own infantry attacks are
having more success. If your expecting armor don't buy StuGs to counter that threat buy
AT guns or at the very least Tank Destroyers to do that work if you can not afford to buy
tanks or don't want to use your tanks to take on the enemy armor.

From the F8 Model and up StuGs had good armor and Good AT abilities but they are not
intended to be AT guns. Keep that in mind. The ability to fire AP was added to allow for
more AT support to Infantry units which often had StuGs in support rather then tanks.
The Germans did not use Tanks to support infantry. Don't skimp on your AT guns because
you have bought StuGs. Consider there AT abilities as a bonus to be used as a last resort.
Let your AT guns speak first and follow up by using the StuGs which fell back to get on the
enemy flank and take flanking shots on the enemy armor. Keep them with the Infantry
at all times. Always use the shoot and scoot tactics with your StuGs. The "StuG Spin"
makes them way to easy a target if left in the open to take fire during the enemy turn.

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 Post subject: Re: 7 Using Armor
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 12:23 am 
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Using Tank Destroyers.

Tank Destroyers are best described as mobile AT guns. They are not Tanks and should not be used
as you would use a tank. Tank Destroyers or TD's come in two main flavors. Turreted and non-
turreted. The turreted ones look like tanks The non-turreted ones look like assault guns or StuGs.
They also tend to have a powerful gun mounted on them. While early war TD's often lacked any
decent armor and may not of had all that great of a gun they did provide a mobile AT gun to the
units they were attached too. As the war progressed the armor on some of them became much
thicker and the guns much more powerful then most of the guns mounted in tanks. They were
at that point designed to take out enemy armor at longer ranges. Because of these differences
we will have to look at them in different ways depending on what version we are looking at.

Early TD's could come in the form of Portee mounted AT guns on the backs of trucks or AT guns
mounted on an older tank chassis and given a gun shield to protect the crew. They were fast
and easy ways to provide Mobile AT gun support. The best way to use these is not to place
then in the front lines or along a tree line or even on a hill top overlooking the open ground.
They are very vulnerable to Artillery fire and AT fire themselves. When on Defense the best use
of them is to put them in a reverse slope position or to place them with a very narrow los and
with solid cover to make them very hard to get at. Let them op fire on they enemy as they
come into los and then Run Away. They can not get into a duel with enemy armor and win.
You want to avoid allowing them to enter City blocks where enemy Infantry can get at them
since they are often open topped or had open crew compartments they are easy to take out
with small arms fire and gernades. Even some Mg's can cause them no end of grief. Do not
be tempted to use them as assault guns just because they can fire HE rounds.

When using them on the Offense put them to the rear of your armor formation and bring them
up into los or range as the tanks begin to take each other on. They can get a few kills in this
way and if the enemy goes after them your own tanks will be taking less fire. Avoid using them
as you would your tanks and always keep your own tanks between them and the enemy
armor. Let them take longer ranged shots from dug in positions. Do not move and fire in the
same turn if at all possible. They will not score many kills if they moved that turn. They also
have low ammo amounts in most cases and need to make the shots count. If you move only
1 hex to gain los you may be fine but longer movement and more speed will make them miss
too many shots.

The latter model TD's which have larger guns and more armor on them were Tank Hunters in
every sense of the word. If the enemy armor was going to be around the TD's would get the
call. Just because the armor was thicker does not mean you want to expose them to the
enemy return fire if possible. So your tactics should be similar to the way you would use the
early versions. The one difference is with the more powerful guns and thicker armor you could
use them to pop up on to a hill top or out of the wood line and fire a few rounds before falling
back out of los of the enemy return fire. The better guns which were more accurate allowed
for longer range fire to be used. Check the stats for your guns and the enemy armor you have
as targets and if you have a range advantage over them use it. These latter version often had
more speed then some of the Tanks which were lugging around more armor this makes them
good for use as part of a fire brigade force to be sent to stop enemy armor from breaking through
your lines.

Like all armor they were intended to have infantry support when working close but when used
as Hunters they were often paired up with a lot of recon forces to find the enemy armor. They
would then use the speed advantage they had to get into a good ambush location and wait for the
enemy to enter the trap. They would then take the kills and leave the area to set up again some
place else. They were not there to duel the enemy armor on equal terms. Shoot and Scoot and
Ambush were the Tank Destroyers tactics.

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 Post subject: Re: 7 Using Armor
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:41 am 
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Light Tanks and Armored Cars.

While I look at these sort of units as reconnaissance units I have seen them used by some
players as light armor and with good effect. These units often have a small gun or Mg and
some armor so they withstand fire from small arms and Mg's better then unarmored recon
cars and motorcycle units. I put this post here because they are armor, but this post can
easily be put into the Recon area. That is what these units were designed to do. Recon.

I think a lot of players tend to look at these units and want to use them to get into a fight.
They figure they can hold there own. I don't see them as the best choice for that. I think
I made it clear in my posts about recon that these sort of units are better used to brush
aside light resistance and to get your scout teams out of trouble so that the recon mission
can continue on.

The advantage these units have is that they tend to be fast and are small. They pack a
a fair amount of fire power considering what they are. However, even when they are
classed as Elite Recon units they do not spot all that well. You can park them in over watch
and the enemy can walk right past them if careful enough when doing it. They tend to
do recon by being shot at and then living to run away and report it. They are the best
choice to send up the road when your expecting contact and don't want to send out an
unarmored car that will be killed with rifle fire or on the first shot. Risking a tank that is too
expensive to risk in this sort of situation is also not a good choice. Motorcycles might be
but they often do not draw out AT fire they tend to find Mg's. Which makes the Armor
Car the unit to call when looking to find AT guns.

When doing the task of recon they are best used when they have built up some speed.
They are small and hard to hit and the bonus they get when moving fast makes them
even harder to hit. When doing this they make poor shooters. They are not going to see
the enemy until they start taking incoming fire and the very speed they have that is making
them hard to hit makes them less likely to win any fire fights they might get into. Once
they take fire they should use the remaining movement they have after a rally if necessary
to get out of los of the guns firing on them. They have accomplished the task they are
good at and found the enemy AT or MG that opened up on them. It is really not the task
of the recon forces to do anything else about those enemy forces. They found them and
reported them. By looking for ways around them they may find more enemy or they
may find a way into the enemy rear. Only as a means of last resort should they risk
losing movement by firing on a unit that has them under fire. Popping smoke or just
flat out moving out of los at high speed is the way they will survive the encounter.
You should use them with scout teams watching them as they advance at speed. The
scout teams have a much better chance at spotting the guns that fire on the Armor Cars
or Light tanks then the the units taking the fire.

Should the time come where you need them to help defend your main line or help stop an
enemy attack you should use them much like the Early Model Tank Destroyers and use
terrain to limit the los they are covering and let them op fire on units that come into view.
They really do lack the armor and fire power to do much more then support infantry against
other infantry. Some heavy mgs and most all of the AT weapons and rifle gernades will
be capable of killing these units.

My advice for these units would be to avoid looking at them and using them in roles they are
not well suited for. They are not main battle tanks and can not duel other tanks and they
are not all that good of a spotter. They don't find units by looking around they find them by
being shot at. They lack enough firepower to be a good defensive weapon and that more or
less puts them right back there where they belong. As part of your Recon forces used to locate
the enemy and run away to do it again in another location.

Now I also mentioned Motorcycle units above. They work just like the Armor Cars they are
best used when speeding along at a high rate and finding cover when shot at. They too will
not see much when moving and they tend to draw MG fire and small arms fire so they team
up well with Armor cars and are often found as part of any Armored Recon formation. They
do tend to spot better then Armor Cars and Light Tanks when not moving and they do have
a decent amount of firepower. Consider them to be good companions to the AC and Lt Tanks.

Speed keeps these units alive and makes them poor shots and poor spotters. The guns they
have are defensive in nature and should be used to get them out of trouble and not into it.
They can not move at speed and provide accurate killing fire. They will be useful only in
adding on suppression when other units are around to do the actual killing. Keep them out
of the big fight and keep them on the Recon missions they were designed to do. If you can
get them into the enemy rear area they can cause a lot of problems by popping out and
shooting and then running away to do it again next turn.

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