Reconnaissance Capability

Urquhart_1

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I feel that the game would benefit from "reconnaissance" being available as an option under "Orders". Ideally (in my conception of it) it would function as an even more cautious form of the "Probe" order, with the primary objective being gaining information on enemy dispositions while avoiding engagement whenever possible.

Any thoughts on this (or additions) are welcome; if this is already in the works, that is even better.
 

Grognerd

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Absolutely agree - recon might have to be simulated as additional intel on enemy positions within so many meters/kilometers of recon unit. Less likelihood of ambushes, greater likelihood of surprising enemy units.They also gave feedback on ground conditions for tanks.
 

Urquhart_1

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I suppose one could achieve this effect by using a "Probe" order with ROF, Losses, and Aggro all set to the most conservative values, but this is obviously sub-optimal compared to a dedicated recon order.
 

Grognerd

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Considering recon units probably broke down to sections/teams or platoons from a company that's why I stated "simulated".
Some form of an algorithm to simulate smaller units poking around trying not to get shot at while noting enemy locations and other pertinent information.
This game is such a good simulation a recon ability seems like a natural fit.
 

GoodGuy

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Considering recon units probably broke down to sections/teams or platoons from a company that's why I stated "simulated".
Some form of an algorithm to simulate smaller units poking around trying not to get shot at while noting enemy locations and other pertinent information.
This game is such a good simulation a recon ability seems like a natural fit.

Yep. I suggested to implement dedicated recon units, like say platoon-sized formations, along with the corresponding view ranges, after the original COTA was released, iirc, already.
My very first suggestion was to introduce single scout cars, actually, but it seems like the engine seems to have problems with employing single vehicles (I can't remember the reason, maybe because they get killed instantly when they get in effective range of larger calibre guns or maybe because they tend to surrender instantly?).
While recon Coys or even Bns were often "misused" as spearheads and agressive probe forces in WW2, the standard procedure still was to employ 1 car or a pair of recon cars to recon a given sector (say a regular scout car and a long/medium range radio version).

The Germans employed their 6- and 8-wheelers, used halftracks and recon cars with retractable telescopes/periscopes, the US mainly employed Greyhounds - sometimes even Jeeps - for the recon role, the Brits had their scout cars (but also american Greyhounds) and all of these vehicles sported speeds between 70-100 km/h.

The Sd.Kfz 233 had 8 wheels, a top speed of 85 km/h, the 231 a top speed of 100 km/h, all 8-wheel versions of the series (231, 232, 233 and the 263, all were 8x8 vehicles) could change the movement direction within 10 seconds and could then go backwards with the same top speeds. That enabled the armored car to peek, like you suggest, and disappear again in no time. A derivate, the 8-wheel 231 (Fu) was a radio and command vehicle that was equipped with the star antenna in 1942, instead of the old frame antenna, for extra range.

The Greyhound (M8) could go 97 km/h on roads and around 48 km/h off-road, if I am not mistaken. Some of the British scout cars reached similar top speeds, iirc.
Yet, in the game, quite some recon elements seem to have one or another vehicle in the pool that slows the whole unit down (say within a recon Coy), so such units can't reach road speeds of 100 km/h

Aerial recon would also be a nice addition. This could be abstracted and probably implemented as an air strike (instead of placing a strike, it would remove the fog of war within a defined view range, where units in woods would not or rarely be spotted, and where spotted units in the open would carry the "excellent"/"current" intel tags, or maybe even implemented as flying unit, that can be controlled by the player, and that has to return to the airfield say after 1 hr - to refuel - and which can be attacked by enemy MG/flak units.

I have wished there'd be proper ground Recon, spotting, long range observation (eg. from a mountain top), aerial recon and off-board artillery (navy) capabilities for years already. :)
 
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I feel that the game would benefit from "reconnaissance" being available as an option under "Orders". Ideally (in my conception of it) it would function as an even more cautious form of the "Probe" order, with the primary objective being gaining information on enemy dispositions while avoiding engagement whenever possible.

Any thoughts on this (or additions) are welcome; if this is already in the works, that is even better.
The probe command is pretty much a recon tactic.

It can be adjusted on the task dialogue for the amount of aggressiveness the troops use when approaching enemy formations, and the maximum casualties the probing unit would accept before breaking off the operation..
 
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Yep. I suggested to implement dedicated recon units, like say platoon-sized formations, along with the corresponding view ranges, after the original COTA was released, iirc,already.
My very first suggestion was to introduce single scout cars, actually, but it seems like the engine seems to have problems with employing single vehicles (I can't remember the reason, maybe because they get killed instantly when they get in effective range of larger calibre guns or maybe because they tend to surrender instantly?).
While recon Coys or even Bns were often "misused" as spearheads and agressive probe forces in WW2, the standard procedure still was to employ 1 car or a pair of recon cars to recon a given sector (say a regular scout car and a long/medium range radio version).

The Germans employed their 6- and 8-wheelers, used halftracks and recon cars with retractable telescopes/periscopes, the US mainly employed Greyhounds - sometimes even Jeeps - for the recon role, the Brits had their scout cars (but also american Greyhounds) and all of these vehicles sported speeds between 70-100 km/h.

The Sd.Kfz 233 had 8 wheels, a top speed of 85 km/h, the 231 a top speed of 100 km/h, all 8-wheel versions of the series (231, 232, 233 and the 263, all were 8x8 vehicles) could change the movement direction within 10 seconds and could then go backwards with the same top speeds. That enabled the tank to peek, like you suggest, and disappear again in no time. A derivate, the 8-wheel 231 (Fu) was a radio and command vehicle that was equipped with the star antenna in 1942, instead of the old frame antenna, for extra range.

The Greyhound (M8) could go 97 km/h on roads and around 48 km/h off-road, if I am not mistaken. Some of the British scout cars reached similar top speeds, iirc.
Yet, in the game, quite some recon elements seem to have one or another vehicle in the pool that slows the whole unit down (say within a recon Coy), so such units can't reach road speeds of 100 km/h

Aerial recon would also be a nice addition. This could be abstracted and probably implemented as an air strike (instead of placing a strike, it would remove the fog of war within a defined view range, where units in woods would not or rarely be spotted, and where spotted units in the open would carry the "excellent"/"current" intel tags, or maybe even implemented as flying unit, that can be controlled by the player, and that has to return to the airfield say after 1 hr - to refuel - and which can be attacked by enemy MG/flak units.

I have wished there'd be proper ground Recon, spotting, long range observation (eg. from a mountain top), aerial recon and off-board artillery (navy) capabilities for years already. :)
Every nation's Estab has units and vehicles that were dedicated to reconnaissance operations.

In general they were assigned as platoon or squadron slices of a reconnaissance battalion or troop assigned to an armored / mechanized brigade or combat command levels and above in armored formations or as division assets in infantry formations.

If they're not found in a particular scenario, either the formation for that era dropped the capability and made do other organic units, or that type of unit was not present in the historical account of the battle and thus not included in he OOB.
 

GoodGuy

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The probe command is pretty much a recon tactic.

It can be adjusted on the task dialogue for the amount of aggressiveness the troops use when approaching enemy formations, and the maximum casualties the probing unit would accept before breaking off the operation..

I think Urquhart has a certain approach in mind, where a recon option would maybe even force a given unit to keep a safe distance from the enemy and completely hold fire, while maintaining visual contact at the same time.
That was a part of a recon element's job, at least, at the time. Quite a few crews maintained a strict "spot-and-run/hide" regime. Other units trailed enemy units for hrs and quickly probed say villages, like US units in France or German units in Russia, to establish if and how many enemies are there. And some nuts even just fired into villages, to see if there'd be a reaction, when they had spotted some "suspicious" movements, like some German units in Russia.
 
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GoodGuy

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If they're not found in a particular scenario, either the formation for that era dropped the capability and made do other organic units, or that type of unit was not present in the historical account of the battle and thus not included in he OOB.

You misunderstood my post.
I described the lack of recon capabilities, not a lack of recon elements in a given game/scenario OOB.
That comes down to game design/programming, not scenario or OOB research.
 

Grognerd

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Yes I use probe for all recon assignments. However the units and the recon skill are more than just probe attacks. Quietly spotting movement from hilltops & cover are also part of the recon skill mix.
On a clear day with binoculars you can see for miles (Famous quote from the Who).
In my minds eye I have often envisioned how to make recon more of a thing in wargaming.
Maybe some arbitrary process that the longer a recon unit sits still in a high point the more units start to show up as vague intel.
 

GoodGuy

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In general they were assigned as platoon or squadron slices of a reconnaissance battalion or troop assigned to an armored / mechanized brigade or combat command levels and above in armored formations or as division assets in infantry formations.

What you describe goes for many recon elements in many infantry divisions, as their vehicle pool was limited/quite small.
Many of them just had 3 recon cars at their disposal, the rest were bicycle elements sprinkled (if they were lucky) with a few krads + a few other vehicles (eg. Kübelwagen).

(Panzer-)Kradschützen coys were often employed as a whole, though, which was depicted correctly in COTA.
There were also Panzer-Recon Bns that could equip 2-3 coys with Panzerspähwagen (light scout cars and medium or heavy armored recon cars or halftracks), where then sometimes even 1 coy remained to be a Krad coy even after the introduction of the new layouts, other coys had to be equipped with Kübelwagen and trucks, and in late 1944 even with bicycles.

For instance, the 2nd Coy of the Panzer-Recon Bn 23 (23rd Panzer Division), a light Spähwagenkompanie (light recon car coy), was converted to a Panzerspähkompanie "c" (armored recon car Coy "c") in Nov. 1943:

https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn1162c1nov43.htm

A Panzerspähkompanie in 1941:
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn11621nov41.htm

Such coy's heavy platoon in 1943:
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn11381nov43.htm

The entire 2nd Coy was then part of the armored Kampfgruppe of the 23rd Panzer Division in March 1944, but in fact, the Coy was the only armored element in the KG, as the tank division did not have a single operational tank, StuG or recon car at its disposal, the equipment was either under repair, or destroyed. The KG received 2 Wasps, 2 Hummels and 2 Pak 40 (the Recon Bns 5th Coy provided the AT guns) and was restricted to perform deep gun-and-run attacks on the Russian's right flank, as it had no tanks at its disposal. The KG (means mainly the Recon Coy) attacked Russian horse- or tractor-drawn supply columns and performed deep interdiction missions on the Russian supply routes. As almost all of the long-range radio equipment of the coy and the Division had been damaged/had failed, the actual recon role (say for another tank division) couldn't be fulfilled anymore, that's why the KG opted for the interdiction role.

Panzer-Recon Bn 7 was formed in 1943 (by renaming and reorganizing the Krad rifle Bn 7) and it was committed as a whole by the Panzer Division 7 in Russia and Poland until its remnants (coy-sized) were evacuated by ship from the Danzig area in January, 1945.

In general, quite a few Panzer-Recon Bns and a few recon coys were employed as a whole, because their equipment level (until 1943 often Krads or halftracks, then medium and heavy recon cars or halftracks, depending on layout) was well above average and because their level regarding mobility and speed surpassed the level of other units.
The deployment in the recon role would involve the employment of platoons or even single vehicles, ofc., but these units were often committed (as a whole) as combat units, this goes especially for the Füsilier-Bns (introduced in 1943, they replaced the recon Bns in Infantry Divisions), which consisted of Inf Coys and recon coys, because they were way more mobile (bicycles) than the actual inf Bns of a given non-motorized Inf Division.
 
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What you describe goes for many recon elements in many infantry divisions, as their vehicle pool was limited/quite small.
Many of them just had 3 recon cars at their disposal, the rest were bicycle elements sprinkled (if they were lucky) with a few krads + a few other vehicles (eg. Kübelwagen).

(Panzer-)Kradschützen coys were often employed as a whole, though, which was depicted correctly in COTA.
There were also Panzer-Recon Bns that could equip 2-3 coys with Panzerspähwagen (light scout cars and medium or heavy armored recon cars or halftracks), where then sometimes even 1 coy remained to be a Krad coy even after the introduction of the new layouts, other coys had to be equipped with Kübelwagen and trucks, and in late 1944 even with bicycles.

For instance, the 2nd Coy of the Panzer-Recon Bn 23 (23rd Panzer Division), a light Spähwagenkompanie (light recon car coy), was converted to a Panzerspähkompanie "c" (armored recon car Coy "c") in Nov. 1943:

https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn1162c1nov43.htm

A Panzerspähkompanie in 1941:
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn11621nov41.htm

Such coy's heavy platoon in 1943:
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn11381nov43.htm

The entire 2nd Coy was then part of the armored Kampfgruppe of the 23rd Panzer Division in March 1944, but in fact, the Coy was the only armored element in the KG, as the tank division did not have a single operational tank, StuG or recon car at its disposal, the equipment was either under repair, or destroyed. The KG received 2 Wasps, 2 Hummels and 2 Pak 40 (the Recon Bns 5th Coy provided the AT guns) and was restricted to perform deep gun-and-run attacks on the Russian's right flank, as it had no tanks at its disposal. The KG (means mainly the Recon Coy) attacked Russian horse- or tractor-drawn supply columns and performed deep interdiction missions on the Russian supply routes. As almost all of the long-range radio equipment of the coy and the Division had been damaged/had failed, the actual recon role (say for another tank division) couldn't be fulfilled anymore, that's why the KG opted for the interdiction role.

Panzer-Recon Bn 7 was formed in 1943 (by renaming and reorganizing the Krad rifle Bn 7) and it was committed as a whole by the Panzer Division 7 in Russia and Poland until its remnants (coy-sized) were evacuated by ship from the Danzig area in January, 1945.

In general, quite a few Panzer-Recon Bns and a few recon coys were employed as a whole, because their equipment level (until 1943 often Krads or halftracks, then medium and heavy recon cars or halftracks, depending on layout) was well above average and because their level regarding mobility and speed surpassed the level of other units.
The deployment in the recon role would involve the employment of platoons or even single vehicles, ofc., but these units were often committed (as a whole) as combat units, this goes especially for the Füsilier-Bns (introduced in 1943, they replaced the recon Bns in Infantry Divisions), which consisted of Inf Coys and recon coys, because they were way more mobile (bicycles) than the actual inf Bns of a given non-motorized Inf Division.
That's probably why the recon / recce units in scenarios were structured the way they're refleced in the Scenario Author's OOB.
 

Perturabo

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Yep. I suggested to implement dedicated recon units, like say platoon-sized formations, along with the corresponding view ranges, after the original COTA was released, iirc, already.
My very first suggestion was to introduce single scout cars, actually, but it seems like the engine seems to have problems with employing single vehicles (I can't remember the reason, maybe because they get killed instantly when they get in effective range of larger calibre guns or maybe because they tend to surrender instantly?).
Isn't them getting killed instantly basically what happened historically? With the WWII saturation with AT weapons, it's basically recon by death.
 

Grognerd

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Isn't them getting killed instantly basically what happened historically? With the WWII saturation with AT weapons, it's basically recon by death.
No, at least from my reading of a couple of good source books, they developed a real good sense of danger. When they did not refuse combat it was because they were doing recon in force.
 
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Isn't them getting killed instantly basically what happened historically? With the WWII saturation with AT weapons, it's basically recon by death.
No doubt dedicated recon units were more vulnerable to combat than line units based on both their relatatively light armored protection traded for speed and their overall firepower compared to a defending force.,

But the tactics recommended move to contact (which could be an opportunity to observe from a covered position), and use maneuverability as a defense by withdrawing from contact on being discovered or moving to avoid hard contact while scouting.

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM2-20.pdf

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM17-20.PDF

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM18-22.PDF
 

GoodGuy

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No, at least from my reading of a couple of good source books, they developed a real good sense of danger. When they did not refuse combat it was because they were doing recon in force.

Correct. The German tank units dashing through France in 1940 were headed by their complete Recon Bn pools. These fast spearheads employed light and medium recon cars and also a number of 8-wheel heavy recon cars, along with large numbers of motorbikes with side cars, at the time. Even these early recon Bns had enough fire power to clear inf road blocks, AT gun positions and other defensive positions. They could disengage quickly when the opposition was too strong or when French tanks appeared. The Germans then employed their tank elements. In other sectors, following motorized infantry had to bring forward flak guns to deal with heavy enemy armor, as the low calibre guns of AT inf elements failed to penetrate the French tanks, while the fast units had already detoured to continue the push elsewhere. For instance, Rommel's tank spearheads caught the B1 tanks of the French 1st Tank Div. during a major refuel operation, he then ordered the tank elements of the 5. Panzer-Division to engage the surprised enemy but continued the dash with his Recon Bn and the rifle elements right away.
 
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