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  #1  
Old August 7th, 2005, 02:38 PM

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Default what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

Just wondered what sort of percentages of points people spend on Arty, Infantry, Engineers, Special Forces,Max number of Snipers etc. To produce a reasonably realistic mix of forces.

I realise there will be variations depending on the type of engagement and maybe even the nationalities. but I am curious as to the variation in what is considered realistic. So I can draw up my own "rules of thumb" for PBEM proposals
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Old August 11th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

I try to get a realistic mix...the bulk of my force is usually equal parts infantry and Armor. I usually try to include 1 recon element, 1 arty element, 1 anti-air element and 1 Helo elemnt. If there are enough points I then add Spec Forces, Engineers. etc. As part of my recon force I usually have a sniper or two.

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Old August 11th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

It depends on the type of engagement and on the layout of the map.


I always think about my strategy, than think about the possible strategy of the enemy and than I decide what to use. I don't have a fixed percentage for all type of forces. All is decided at the moment...sometimes you choose the best, sometimes the worst!


Anyway, the choosing of the forces is a very critical and enjoyable task and if one start to always choose the same forces over and over again, he will lose part of the joy of the battle!


At the end, I can tell you that sometimes, balancing the forces is not the key.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 02:45 PM

embis embis is offline
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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

Quote:
FJ_MD said:
I always think about my strategy, than think about the possible strategy of the enemy and than I decide what to use. I don't have a fixed percentage for all type of forces. All is decided at the moment...sometimes you choose the best, sometimes the worst!
(SNIP..SNIP)
At the end, I can tell you that sometimes, balancing the forces is not the key.
Thanks, maybe I wasnt clear, you seem to have missed the point, I am not asking about how to maximise my chances of winning but how to maximise the realism of my chosen mix of forces.

Oddly enough, perhaps uniquely, I dont worry too much about whether I win my games or not, my main interest is whether I am modelling something closer to realism than to fiction.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

Yep! I missed the point here!



Anyway keep in mind that more than often, reality is much more weird than fantasy!


So, "balancing the forces is not the key" will surely come handy in this situation
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Old August 11th, 2005, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

Quote:
embis said:
Just wondered what sort of percentages of points people spend on Arty, Infantry, Engineers, Special Forces,Max number of Snipers etc. To produce a reasonably realistic mix of forces.

I realise there will be variations depending on the type of engagement and maybe even the nationalities. but I am curious as to the variation in what is considered realistic. So I can draw up my own "rules of thumb" for PBEM proposals
it's not really a rule based on points, but more about what the normal balance of forces would be, that you are trying to get at, in order to stop scout/sniper hordes, or forces that consist of 12 FOOS and a zillion batteries with not much else?.

I'll assume a meeting engagement (with some notes on other types).

General buy policy
You should try to build your forces based on purchase of full companies - not a mish-mash of in dependant platoons bought separately. Generally, all your mech inf coys should use the same model of APC, and your armoured battalions the same model of MBT. It's extremely rare for mixed types within a battalion - as that is a maintenance nightmare!. Your infantry companies should all be of the same type as well - it is highly unlikely for a battalion combat group to be say 2 line rifle coys and a Para and a commando coy al under the same command. allow maybe 1 "foreign" company - so if you have a line rifle bn, you can buy any number of line rifle coys, and maybe 1 Para coy, or if a Leo 2 MBT battalion, allow maybe a company of older tanks like Leo 1, but the main force will be Leo 2 based.

That is possibly a major "unreality" thing (it is also the way the AI buys ! - Players will turn up with a force of say 1 leg rifle coy, 1 mech coy (BTR), 1 mech coy (BMP+3 tank), 1 13 tank T-64 coy and 1 10 tank T-62 coy. Try to avoid such unrealistic "pick and mix" forces if you want to be more reality-based!. (Exceptions would be rag-tag militia forces perhaps, where pick'n mix would be more the rule as opposed to regular armies)


Field Artillery
Most armies work at about 1 battery per battalion in a brigade. There may well be a few more reinforcing units available, but not massive amounts.

Rough guide - allow 2 or 3 tubes of arty (on or off map) per full company bought. (In WW2, playing USA or UK 1943+ then double this maximum). Consider the battle group HQ a "company" (it will be controlling any free unallocated platoons)

Example - My force is 3 rifle coys and a tank coy. 4 coys + BGHQ times 3 = 15 tubes of arty.

So long as the amount is roughly there, no point in quibbling about a tube or so in excess. so in the above example, say you have a UK force which at that time point uses 8 gun batteries and 4 gun troops (half batteries) - 16 tubes for 2 batteries/4 troops of 4 is fine, even if it goes over by 1. 24 arty tubes would not be on!

In an advance - double the limit for the attacker.

In an assault - the sky is the limit for the attacker as this is a prepared assault.



Mortars
As with the Field artillery but 3/4 per full company fielded (including BGHQ company).
Ignore any 60mm or lesser popgun mortars IF these are bought as part of a full rifle companies TO &E (not separate).

do not increase if attacking in an advance, or if assaulting - attacking forces will get extra tube arty, but will still rely on the formation mortars which will not usually be reinforced (even reserve bns in the same brigade will hold onto thier mortars for thier own phase of the attack).


Snipers
Are rare beasts indeed. (ignoring marksmen - real snipers with added FC here, which are merely uncommon).
Any that come as part of the normal TO &E of elite companies (paras say) can be ignored.
Any "extras" bought as separate units - allow a max of 1 per full infantry (not tank!) company fielded.

Scouts - as Snipers.
Generally - recce should be limited to about a section of 2-3 scouts or recce vehicles per full company present (counting BGHQ as a company). If a scout section of 2-3 vehicles comes with integral scouts (say 3 BRDM with 3 scouts as dismounts)- count each BRDM and scout as 1 for totals, ie ignore the dismounts in mech recce platoons. If delaying or defending - allow a platoon under the BGHQ, and that's it. (Ignore any elite companies which come with integral leg scouts.)

Armoured cavalry and similar forces are a pain here. These tend to be a large amount of recce type units!. if a player wants to use armoured cavalry then his force should be an armoured cavalry battalion. All companies should be armoured cavalry in that case, and allow him 1 non armoured cav company (tank or infantry) per 3 full armoured cav companies equivalent bought may be a work-around.

Engineers
When not assaulting - limit to any integral with bought rifle coys (e.g. VC sappers say). Allow a platoon under the BGHQ, whether armoured vehicles or leg. In an assault - a platoon of leg/mech or an AVRE platoon per company fielded perhaps.

Air defence assets
Allow about 2 AA assets (whether AA guns, SPAA, LR-SAM, inf-SAM etc) per full company fielded. Ignore any inf-SAM which come integrated in full infantry company or platoon buys (e.g. Soviet forces). Count the BGHQ as a company as usual.
Allow 1 battery (up to 6) of AAA assets (usually would be area AAA assets like LR-SAM or AA guns) at BGHQ.
Allow double the AAA limits if delaying or defending.

Special farces
These should only ever be used in a scenario game. They are not even likely to be on the same battlefield as your line formations, and definitely not "chopped" under your command even if in the area. Basically - do not use SAS, Spetznatz etc in a normal PBEM game as that would be totally unrealistic.

Anti tank assets
Once upon a time 4-6 ATG or ATGM per battalion would be realistic, but these numbers are increasing as time goes on. I would not bother with any limits here. You probably should not have more AT weapons than your total of rifle squads on the map, though. So with a force of say 40 tanks and 10 rifle squads it would be OK to have 10 AT assets as well, 24 ATGM would probably be a tad too many here.

Paratroopers
if used in a PBEM, these should really only ever be thrown out of perfectly good planes by the assaulter in an attack/defence pairing (Para missions will take time to plan and are not done ad-hoc). Parachute missions really should be limited to scenarios (paras tend to drop on a lightly defended area, if they do not want to die . If you do a para assault in a PBEM assault - limit any heavy weapons and vehicles of any type being air dropped by parachute to about 2 per full para company dropped by parachute. (Any that start on the ground are outside this calculation).


PBEM and Insurgents
When playing against guerilla type armies in PBEM where oe side is regular army, then really about the only time the insurgents will sit still and accept a battle is when they are pinned to a place, or they have selected a spot to inflict casualties on the regular forces. Any PBEM game where you play regulars against insurgents should therefore be an assault by the regulars on the defending insurgents. The insurgents then get to have prepared positions, IEDS and so forth. in such a battle in real life the regulars are not trying to take specific geographic objectives (An exeption would be something like a training or supply base which has value - that would be a regular assault with objective hexes), and the insurgents are more interested in causing regular force casualties, and minimising thier own by being in cover and fighting from ambush, and also by slipping away from the contact once it gets too "hot" (Apart maybe from fanatics who will try to extract a price while dying in place - most guerilla types will break from a contact sooner rather than later).
I would suggest that in this case, you make all objectives worthless (zero points) as they are totally irrelevant here, and so where they are placed is also of no consequence.
The regular force player therefore will have to advance to find the (human not AI here! insurgents, which the insurgent player has set up in cunning ambush positions. The regular force cannot dawdle as the insurgent player has the option of exiting off his map edge where things are not going too well, as there are no "objectives" for him other than a) preserving his force and b) causing government casualties (ie gaining points by destroying high value regular force units liek tanks and the more expensive APC models). The regular government force player will therefore want to whack as many insurgents as possible while not losing high value units, and he also will probably want to get a blocking force round behind the insurgents to stop them voluntarily exiting the map as soon as he can (perhaps by inserting a helicopter desant force in the insurgent's rear area, while trying not to lose an expensive helo in the process !).



There will always be exceptions - you should discuss with your opponent, wheter to skip any of these suggested guidelines.
A force entirely of RPG-7 inf-AT gunners is not all that realistic, and would be the same "gamey" tactic as an army of snipers and scouts, except maybe for a Chechen force (in Grozny say) where it would quite likely consist of 50% rifle squads and 50% snipers, scouts, and AT teams and that mix would be reasonably historically ok (but number of indirect fire assets or AAA weapons would be very little, and vehicles nil or maybe 2 or 3 in an entire batallion sized force).
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Old August 12th, 2005, 04:58 AM

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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

Second russian-chechen war was fought mostly with recce, spetznaz and artillery/CAS. Modus operandy was - recce or int were locating insurents groups, spetznas or other recce were fixing it in plase and CAS/arty doing the killing. Assault on the prepared insurgent positions was not often - mostly it was cat and mouse game. Armor and line ifantry were used mostly for occupation and mopping up operations. From other hand for chechens, in urban comabt main unit were weapon squad - one MG, one sniper and/or infantry-AT and one-two AK. Chechen used a lot of vehicles - common civilian cars, that gave them quite high mobility. They used tanks only in the first war AFAIK, but not attached to battalions, they concentrated them in company strength and used under command of their HQ(in Grozny). Havn't read anything about use of ATGM. Chechens hadn't used any inderect arty, but used a lot of indirect mortars.

So for contrinsurgency based on the chechen-like war I'd say
realistic mix would be :

For government - incompetent leadership(like first chechen war): classical mix of forces, as Mobhack recommend, or even armor without infantry. Or low quality infantry.

for government (more competent leadership like second chechen war):
A lot of arty/CAS, a lot of recce and different kinds of special forces, some armor/SPA and infantry - could be mix of different type as they are attached from different units to this area/operation.

For insurgent/separatist: If it is a first stage of government invasion - some armor, no air units, no artillery/MRL, lot of mortars, lot of highly-trained weapon squads with utility vehicles, militia, infantry-SAM. In the cource of war amount of armor, vehicles and weapon sqauds should be gradually reduced in favor of militia and mercenaries/mojaheds.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 03:28 AM

Marek_Tucan Marek_Tucan is offline
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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

I try to get a realistic composition and I everytime forget one-two things to buy (like ammo trucks or MANPADS teams etc))
I haven't played all that lot of PBEM games, but usually I follow the pattern of equivalent units of tanks and infantry (meaning size). I also try not to have lots of arty and as on-board I often prefer SP mortars.
I don't use on-boards long range SAM's.
In one WW2 PBEM (small sale) I played I got a total of four light tanks and two 47mm AT-Guns (OK, since it was 1938 Czechoslovakia vs. Germany, LT-35 was still a tank compared to Panzer IIIa) and a lot of infantry (tried to play it realistically) against a German juggernaut of MANY Panzers. Ended up as draw though I lost no tank and last remaining Panzers were hiding between the village houses, praying for mercy But it was a short game and I didn't have time for counterattack.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

Agree that the mix depends on the players. Some are hardcore realists, others want to use misc. systems and units, some like to experiment.

There are the acts of a scoundrel however!!

Buying a battalion of snipers would certainly qualify!!

I did once play an opponent who demanded that SAM's and AAA be severly restricted, then he flooded the battlefield with airmobile infantry. What a rat!!

Seems that some people favor restrictions on weapons that they have not learned to deal with.

I personally don't really care what an opponent purchases; most of the time it is a learning experience anyway.

Helo gunships are deadly in the later years. One has to use terrain in movement, and not neglect air defense.

But infra-red vision is also nasty when one is one the receiving end.

Don't quite agree with Mobhack's denial of special forces in PBEM, within reason, airborne in meeting engagements, and rather strict limitations on engineers.

Though again, If I use the above, I don't mind if they are used against me.
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Old August 28th, 2005, 01:50 PM

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Default Re: what mix of forces do you use in PBEM?

My preferences are for no snipers at all or if the opponent insist on having some, at most 1 per infantry type company.
Also, I prefer no (gunship) helicopters. I personally feel that both snipers and gunships are somewhat outside the scope of the game and not very well modelled compared to other elements of the game.

Scout, AT, mg and other infantry support teams a max of 1 section per company if none are provided in the company itself.
Except for ATGM's, if you want those, buy a company that has them. These weapons aren't/weren't nearly as common on the battlefield as many a PBEM game would have you believe.

My opponents can get as much arty as they want. For more modern games in particular the increased ranges of artillery and C3I inprovements make it possible for a lot of artillery to be concentrated in a small area fairly quickly. If my opponent wants to 'waste' his points on lots of arty, let him do so.

I do prefer limits on ammo units though. Ammo carriers and Buratino's for example make for a bad (balance wise) combo.

I don't mind some mixing of types of forces. There are many conceivable instances where such a thing could happen on the battlefield.
Nor do I mind cut & pasting companies. It is quite likely that at the moment of combat companies are not fully up to their TO&E (maintenance problems, acidents, previous combar losses, not fully mobilised or simply not fille dto the required strength due to manpower shortages) or have been reorganized (into combined arms formations for example).

Narwan
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