Reconnaissance improvements

Grognerd

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So after the .46 patch coming up hilltops might be more important for artillery spotting. Maybe some future patch can add some more recon functions as artillery spotting is not really their job.

Add a mechanic to "roll for surprise" for combat purposes - roughly said attacking units may be surprised/ambushed by enemy units that were not reconned out in some type of game mechanic.

Recon units would greatly reduce the risk of surprise when they have surveyed an area. Some mechanic would show what ground has been covered by recon.

Recon units could identify boggy ground unsuitable for tracked movement - ahead of units getting stuck.

Roughly what I am trying to express here is what I have read that recon battalions do, they are not just another combat unit but have special purpose to be out ahead of a rapid advance.
 
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So after the .46 patch coming up hilltops might be more important for artillery spotting. Maybe some future patch can add some more recon functions as artillery spotting is not really their job.

Add a mechanic to "roll for surprise" for combat purposes - roughly said attacking units may be surprised/ambushed by enemy units that were not reconned out in some type of game mechanic.

Recon units would greatly reduce the risk of surprise when they have surveyed an area. Some mechanic would show what ground has been covered by recon.

Recon units could identify boggy ground unsuitable for tracked movement - ahead of units getting stuck.

Roughly what I am trying to express here is what I have read that recon battalions do, they are not just another combat unit but have special purpose to be out ahead of a rapid advance.
I haven't seen many OOBs for fully mission capable maneuver units at regiment and above level that lack dedicated recon units, or which lack a unit with the spotting and maneuver capability to tend to reconnaissance as a secondary duty.

The trick isn't adding artificially designed reconnaissance battalions, but using those assets which provide a good reconnaissance capability to the maximum benefit by maneuvering them along paths that need to be scouted, assigning them to approach (probe) suspected enemy positions to determine resistance strengths, or siting them in more advantageous locations (hill tops and heights are already prime observation locations) to support the rest of the force's combat capability.

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

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM2-30.PDF

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

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM17-22.PDF

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

GoodGuy

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I haven't seen many OOBs for fully mission capable maneuver units at regiment and above level that lack dedicated recon units, or which lack a unit with the spotting and maneuver capability to tend to reconnaissance as a secondary duty.

I disagree there. German artillery units had artillery observation detachments. They used a range of recon vehicles/methods, and even obervation balloons (until 1942), which provided a safe method to gain extreme far-sight and to save resources (dedicated obs. planes, that could be of better use elsewhere), well .... until the Russian Air Force grew stronger. Such detachments, organic parts of German artillery units, are NOT present in the game.
Such detachments had a triple role: Artillery detection (sound ranging/flash spotting), battlefield observation to identify potential threats/targets and to create accurate maps and matrices, if there was no proper material. They could also send out scout detachments.
Some of their vehicles (trucks and armored cars) had additional EQ, like extendable telescope poles (some could be extended to a height of 6-8 meters) and also long range radios with extendable pole antennas (~9 meters or even higher, iirc).
If the player wants to simulate such historical method, he has to "misuse" the scout elements of tank/mechanized formations, which are then unable to fill their intended roles (to spot for their respective parent units), plus he has to bring such elements relatively close to the enemy, to a distance that seems to correspond to the view range of some medium-sized binoculars on flat terrain.

The US Army employed artillery observation Bns, like the 285th Field Artillery Observation Bn, for instance. That unit's task was to identify enemy artillery using sound ranging and flash spotting, and it did - unlike the German Obs Bns - not employ other observation methods, afaik.
The British Army employed quite a few similar units, and also a dedicated aerial spotting branch, as TMO (iirc) pointed out in the Market Garden thread.
So these "dedicated recon units" aren't rendered either.

EDIT: The method/tendency (during the several Battles of Hürtgen Forest and during the Battle of the Bulge) of US forward observers, just equipped with a radio and a jeep, to get near or even inside villages occupied by the enemy to direct artillery strikes, can't be recreated either. Spotting and recon on the ground remains to be an unresolved issue, imho, at least with the current tools at hand. And aerial recon is conspicuous by its absence.

The trick isn't adding artificially designed reconnaissance battalions, but using those assets which provide a good reconnaissance capability to the maximum benefit by maneuvering them along paths that need to be scouted, ...

The question here is, do recon vehicles have advanced view ranges? Does the engine render different view ranges (for different units/vehicles) and are these implemented/set for recon vehicles? Does a hilltop say like the one in the Hürtgen Forest (eg. the Burgberg near Bergstein) provide extreme far-sight? In reality the hill provides up to 40 km view range under perfect weather conditions, even though it just has a height of ~400 meters. The hill "Dagon's Rock" provides a view range of up to 100 km, height: only 321 meters.
The Greek terrain depicted in the original COTA should have delivered view ranges of 20-40 km, from some of the depicted mountain ranges, yet the the view ranges amounted to a few km only, IIRC.

How does CO2 handle terrain- or viewpoint-specific view ranges?
 
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I disagree there. German artillery units had artillery observation detachments. They used a range of recon vehicles/methods, and even obervation balloons (until 1942), which provided a safe method to gain extreme far-sight and to save resources (dedicated obs. planes, that could be of better use elsewhere), well .... until the Russian Air Force grew stronger. Such detachments, organic parts of German artillery units, are NOT present in the game.
Such detachments had a triple role: Artillery detection (sound ranging/flash spotting), battlefield observation to identify potential threats/targets and to create accurate maps and matrices, if there was no proper material. They could also send out scout detachments.
Some of their vehicles (trucks and armored cars) had additional EQ, like extendable telescope poles (some could be extended to a height of 6-8 meters) and also long range radios with extendable pole antennas.
If the player wants to simulate such historical method, he has to "misuse" the scout elements of tank/mechanized formations, which are then unable to fill their intended roles (to spot for their respective parent units), plus he has to bring such elements relatively close to the enemy, to a distance that seems to correspond to the view range of some medium-sized binoculars.

The US Army employed artillery observation Bns, like the 285th Field Artillery Observation Bn, for instance. That unit's task was to identify enemy artillery using sound ranging and flash spotting, and it did - unlike the German Obs Bns - not employ other observation methods, afaik.
The British Army employed quite a few similar units, and also a dedicated aerial spotting branch, as TMO (iirc) pointed out in the Market Garden thread.
So these "dedicated recon units" aren't rendered either.

EDIT: The method/tendency (during the several Battles of Hürtgen Forest and during the Battle of the Bulge) of US forward observers, just equipped with a radio and a jeep, to get near or even inside villages occupied by the enemy to direct artillery strikes, can't be recreated either. Spotting and recon on the ground remains to be an unresolved issue, imho, at least with the current tools at hand. And aerial recon is conspicuous by its absence.



The question here is, do recon vehicles have advanced view ranges? Does the engine render different view ranges (for different units/vehicles) and are these implemented/set for recon vehicles? Does a hilltop say like the one in the Hürtgen Forest (eg. the Burgberg near Bergstein) provide extreme far-sight? In reality the hill provides up to 40 km view range under perfect weather conditions, even though it just has a height of ~400 meters. The hill "Dagon's Rock" provides a view range of up to 100 km, height: only 321 meters.
The Greek terrain depicted in the original COTA should have delivered view ranges of 20-40 km, from some of the depicted mountain ranges, yet the the view ranges amounted to a few km only, IIRC.

How does CO2 handle terrain- or viewpoint-specific view ranges?
1. The game is designed at the operational level -- largely dealing in units at company and above with a scattering of platoon-sized units where portions of a full company were split and cross-attached to higher echelons (such as a mortar platoon from a regimental heavy weapons company assigned to a battalion). For those who play, that leads to a manageable number of combat units on a side.

2. All you describe is contained in the field manuals I included as an attachment. Those field manuals discuss tactics, techniques, and procedures for company and above-sized formations in concert with the game's design parameters.

3. Viewing capabilities for units take into account the unit's mission, manpower, and standard hand-held visual enhancement. It is sufficient to deal with observation at normal game scales.

4. The game doesn't model radio or tele-wired long range communications but emulates it by revealing the real time health and disposition of all friendly combat units regardless of their distance from command centers. The reaction time to execute an order is based on distance, but the information necessary to judge whether a unit is capable of accomplishing an order is immediate.

5. Parameters on how visibility is determined (capability to observe and capability to accurately assess enemy unit threats and capabilities) is described in the manual.
 

GoodGuy

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1. The game is designed at the operational level -- largely dealing in units at company and above with a scattering of platoon-sized units where portions of a full company were split and cross-attached to higher echelons (such as a mortar platoon from a regimental heavy weapons company assigned to a battalion). For those who play, that leads to a manageable number of combat units on a side.

I didn't suggest to render each and every historical observation device. But Grognerd came up with a few valid points, and one or another brilliant suggestion, actually. I don't think that his suggestions would lead to a myriad of additional units.
For instance, each arty regiment could receive 2 subunits, 1 Recon platoon and 1 battlefield observation platoon with soundranging/flash spotting EQ for counterbattery missions. That would enhance gameplay quite a bit, and it would up historical accuracy.

EDIT: The current air strike capability could be slightly expanded to offer an additional ability: instead of placing a strike the user would then be able to remove the fog of war within a certain perimeter, with a left click, simulating a recon or artillery obs. plane. Any visible enemy units would then carry the "current" or even "excellent" intel tag, in good weather conditions, at least. Nearby AA equipment would then limit this ability, or even reduce the time the enemy units are visible.

That would be an easy way to introduce aerial spotting. Scenario designers could then deny/reduce the amount of missions to/for one side, to cater for the historical usage of aerial recon. Example: Even though the Germans had planes available, they never performed proper recon east of Stalingrad, so that they were unaware of the Russian build-up. A scenario designer would then set the number of recon missions to zero.

3. Viewing capabilities for units take into account the unit's mission, manpower, and standard hand-held visual enhancement. It is sufficient to deal with observation at normal game scales.

And even with some regular 3x or 4x/5x binoculars, I'd be able to spot columns and vehicles at large distances, from the Dragon's Rock. We're probably talking about 20-35 km, here. Scissor scopes probably delivered a slightly better magnification/view, and they were hand-held devices. A number of German Tank models and the 88mm-Flak guns had optics that provided for aimed shots at targets at 2,000 meters (and further away, when using a curved trajectory), and could be used to spot movement several thousand meters away, Tigers could engage fixed gun emplacements at Kursk at distances of 3,000 meters. Some scout cars used the same optics. And artillery observation tools mounted on vehicles were standard equipment in Arty Obs Bns, so to limit the game engine to hand-held equipment seems ahistoric to me, imho.

I've been up there (Dragon's Rock) a few times and used the installed telescopes (the ones eating up all your coins ;) ), but never brought binoculars. Maybe next time. :)

4. The game doesn't model radio or tele-wired long range communications but emulates it by revealing the real time health and disposition of all friendly combat units regardless of their distance from command centers.

That's why I suggested to implement proper radio ranges a few yrs ago. A tank unit dashing into enemy territory, usually left the voice-comm. range after some 8-15 km, and was then bound to use morse comm. (20-30 km range iirc, depending on terrain), depending on the power level of the radio equipment. Some recon elements had better equipment, but they often went out far (and out of any radio range) and then raced back to a perimeter where they could use their radios again (either morse or voice comm.).

5. Parameters on how visibility is determined (capability to observe and capability to accurately assess enemy unit threats and capabilities) is described in the manual.

Well, I thought you might know some details off the top of your head, as you are usually quite knowledgeable when it comes to details in the manual. :)
 
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Grognerd

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I didn't do a very good job of expressing my thoughts on this thread!

For all the 100's of board wargames and few dozen digital wargames I've played, the special support units generally have limited functionality and just act as another combat unit. I just was suggesting giving special support units a support skill that makes them more meaningful in their role. I leave the details up to the programmers.

Recon units perform a function beyond just a probe attack. a motorcycle company or armored car unit does not operate as a discrete counter on the map (I don't think). They are spread out a bit scouting the land, looking for enemy positions and ambushes, scouting the approaches to the main body's objectives, looking at ground conditions for the armor.

But as you know I love the game, so I just was passing a thought over.
 
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I didn't do a very good job of expressing my thoughts on this thread!

For all the 100's of board wargames and few dozen digital wargames I've played, the special support units generally have limited functionality and just act as another combat unit. I just was suggesting giving special support units a support skill that makes them more meaningful in their role. I leave the details up to the programmers.

Recon units perform a function beyond just a probe attack. a motorcycle company or armored car unit does not operate as a discrete counter on the map (I don't think). They are spread out a bit scouting the land, looking for enemy positions and ambushes, scouting the approaches to the main body's objectives, looking at ground conditions for the armor.

But as you know I love the game, so I just was passing a thought over.
The limiting factor may be unit footprint / formation type.

If I understand it correctly, individual units are configurable for facing and combat status (ready, attack, probe, defend, etc.), but their frontage and depth are configured as a game default primarily for game combat calculation purposes. This limits the capability of a armored car platoon to expand the breadth or depth of it's footprint beyond the standard, and thus truncates the region where LOS-gathered intel can be fed back to the higher echelon formation command staff.
.
 

Perturabo

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4. The game doesn't model radio or tele-wired long range communications but emulates it by revealing the real time health and disposition of all friendly combat units regardless of their distance from command centers. The reaction time to execute an order is based on distance, but the information necessary to judge whether a unit is capable of accomplishing an order is immediate.
Isn't lack of friendly fog of war mainly because of hardware limitations?
 

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