The Relationship between Soft Factors, Morale & Fatigue

Josey Wales

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#21
@Badger73

thanks for this. The reason I put it up here was for peer review like this so that my findings can be challenged and I can look deeper into things I maybe missing.

To give some answers on my current findings relative to your questions;

1. After mixed results using infantry squads, I used 2 crack sniper teams as part of my accuracy testing. One was unfit and kept in a Fatigued and Exhausted state whilst the other was kept Rested to Ready. Accuracy appeared to be unaffected. I have recently noticed something with the Rattled state however, and I think it affects spotting but I need to do further testing. Fatigue definitely showed no affects on Morale states or suppression recovery time.

EDIT - just retested accuracy with a sniper firing at an enemy squad (same setup each time);

Fit Regular sniper kept Rested, 20 shots fired - 5 casualties caused
Unfit Regular sniper kept Fatigued, 20 shots fired - 8 casualties caused

Conclusion - Fatigue state has no effect on accuracy

2. I'll check deeper to see what impact Leadership has on C2 communication, initial tests showed no benefit/penalty.

EDIT - no I still am unable to verify any benefit from +2 Ldrshp or penalty from -2 Ldrshp for all units concerned over C2.


3. The Leadership modifier of a Plt HQ definitely does not pass any Morale modifier benefit/penalty down to subordinate units . I have added a new subject to the OP called 'HQ Leadership Modifier Example' which explains how poor Leadership affects a Platoon. I intend to back this up with a video as its a contentious issue but I can prove these points.

4. Leadership does 2 things (as it currently stands) - it provides resistance to the persistent Morale effects of casualty build up, and it speeds up recovery from suppression. Motivation does 3 things - it provides resistance to the persistent Morale effects of casualty build up, provides resistance top the temporary Morale effects of suppression (different from recovery speed) and reduces the likelihood of Panic and Broken Morale states. I see your point so I'll dig deeper to see if Leadership can do more.

5. Yes haven't got to vehicles yet. The more I play around the more sophisticated the systems reveal themselves to be so still ironing out the basic infantry stuff.

Cheers.
 
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Concord

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#22
Well, I think I'll stop buying up the leadership of Platoon HQs to +2 and instead buy up the individual squad's leadership bonus. I always (wrongly) assumed that subordinate units benefited from the HQ's leadership bonus, like they did in the Squad Leader board game (when stacked with a leader).
Me too. I had been operating for years on the assumption that the platoon HQ's leadership was affecting the whole platoon. And in turn, the company HQ.
But no. Mixed feelings about that. :)
I suppose the HQ leadership does still affect subordinates indirectly...by keeping the HQ in good order so they can keep C2 intact.

I am going to have to get used to this way of thinking!
One of many examples; in the past, I'd put a good HQ next to a key gun emplacement, thinking it made them better shots and have better morale.
But it is only the leadership bonus of the gun crew that would have a direct affect on their morale status.
And it appears that leadership bonus's never affect accuracy or spotting? Only the unit's own experience would affect that? Wow.

The information here was invaluable @Josey Wales thank you!
You just made me a better player in under 5 minutes. :D

P.S. @Meat Grinder I was a Squad Leader player too. Maybe that's why I assumed the 'stack bonus' concept was a thing!
 

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#23
Coming late to this thread but nice work Josey Wales.

I've never focused on the soft factors as much as some of the people post in this thread. If I'm launching an assualt on a building I'll look more at the weapons the squad/fireteam has available to them and their relative positioning on the map rather than deciding based on the +2 Leadership modifier. An SMG is always far more preferable than a bolt action rifle with good leadership.At this pointy end of a series of orders I find you're usually committed already to start worring about the little things. Saying that when looking at the battlefield more holistically and preparing platoon/company level movements, that's when I'll take a look at the soft factors and experience levels in a more detail a decide accordingly. A platoon with a solid +2 leader (and good squads underneath him) will probably get the mission of taking the farm house over sitting back and providing overwatch. But again sometimes positioning on the map decides this for me. And all this is not mentioning the elephant in the room: that there is an enemy in front of me trying to kill my guys and wrecking my plans. :D

From a different angle the soft factors actually give scenario designers a lot of leeway to tweak the OOB's of forces, particulaly if they are trying to replicate a historical engagement/units. Granted the overall experience level of the squad is probably the most important, but the editor does allow designers to reflect 'Green' troops that may have one 'veteran' as their leader who is a solid leader. At the same time you can flip it around the the Lt Dyke situation of having verteran troops with poor leadership. I'm unsure how many other computer wargames have that flexibility to tailor the forces.

I've sweated a numbers of times on soft factors for the scenarios/campaign I've created, going back and forth over source material for explanations of the forces involved on both sides. The latest OOB's I've put together is for the unreleased Arracourt Scenario Pack I'm working on (slowly - RL issues :( ) with the other members of the team. Earlier in the year we had to to put together two OOB files, one for most of CCA, 4th Armored Division and the other for two Panzer Brigades. The Americans had solid leadership and a good mix of veteran and regular tank crews but the Germans were a bit trickier. The panzer forces may of had factory fresh Panthers at the time of the battle, but many of the crews had been rushed through tank school with some not even sitting inside a Panther until they drove them away from the staging area and towards the front. This does appear to be an easy 'Green' rating across the board for the Panzers, but then you read some more sources and you discover that the officers with their crews, particularly Company level and higher, were all pulled from highly experienced units who had been fighting on the eastern front. As a result you go through and bump up the experience rating and be a bit more generous with the Leadership value for the HQ units to reflect this. It's an ongoing process you need to manage across the design of your OOB.

Some of the tips I follow:
- If you are not going to focus on soft factors in your OOB / Scenario design stick with the 'Typical' setting in the editor. Switching to any other setting will make your chosen forces a homongenous clone army.
- While researching, keep notes on explanations and opinions on how the unit performed overall. Keep in mind that some well led and experienced units may of just had 'a bad day' and were overwhelmed by what they were up against or the terrain they fought over, not at any fault of their own.
- Read material not for the engagement you are replicating, but also the days leading up to it. Maybe the US Company of Infantry you are replicating had just taken an influx of replacements a few days before including a new Luitenent who had never been tested in battle.
- After you lock in your OOB in terms of units chosen take the time to review each unit individually for each of the soft facter settings. The Typical setting that automates this process to a general historically plausible level for this period will never get the mix right based on the formation you are trying to replicate, (how could it! CMx2 sadly can't read your source material for you)
 

MOS:96B2P

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#25
@Badger73

4. Leadership does 2 things (as it currently stands) - it provides resistance to the persistent Morale effects of casualty build up, and it speeds up recovery from suppression. Motivation does 3 things - it provides resistance to the persistent Morale effects of casualty build up, provides resistance top the temporary Morale effects of suppression (different from recovery speed) and reduces the likelihood of Panic and Broken Morale states. I see your point so I'll dig deeper to see if Leadership can do more.

Cheers.
I found the below information in the 4.0 engine manual. If it is accurate (not everything in the manual is) I thought it might provide some insight as to what is going on in the game mechanics. Or at least give you some more information to think about.

Engine manual v4.0 page 68: Leadership bonuses help "direct fire to be more effective".

Engine manual 4.0 page 61: Syrian, Soviet & Italian Armies will suffer a morale penalty if split teams are out of close visual and voice C2 of the Platoon HQ.
 

Josey Wales

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#27
@MOS:96B2P as much as I'd love to find more benefits of good Leadership, I'm afraid to say that my findings show no observable effect on accuracy based on this attribute.

Whereas I can say without a doubt based on the data I have collected that more Experienced units repeatedly hit more targets in a given time frame than less experienced units do, I cannot make the same claim for Leadership.
 
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Concord

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#28
In situations where I had a platoon leader with a negative modifier, there have been times where I would deliberately have him out of contact with his men, to avoid a negative effect on them.
It now seems that while the HQ will be more fragile as a unit because of their modifier, it would be best to keep in contact with the platoon, so they get the benefit from being in command.

@Josey Wales I wonder what effect company and battalion HQ's have. I assume that like platoon leaders, their modifier only affects themselves.
But would each successive level of C2 make all subordinate units more stable?
And if so, does that make it more difficult to break a side, the bigger an organizational group they are?
 

Josey Wales

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#29
@Concord

Yes, as the -2 Leadership modifier for the HQ unit does not get passed down to the subordinate units it becomes clearer that C2 should always be maintained.

The C2 effect is noticeable with senior HQ's over their junior HQ subordinates. For example, a Plt HQ being in close visual C2 link with a the Co HQ provides a clear resistance to the temporary Morale effect of being suppressed.

Its not apparent at this point if the other forms of C2 link (voice/far visual/radio) have any effect on the temporary Morale effect of being suppressed.

The C2 effect is not stackable in that a squad in close visual C2 link with its Plt HQ gains no additional benefit from the Plt HQ additionally being in close visual C2 link with the Co HQ.

The Leadership modifier for all units (from Btn Hqs through to Plt Hqs down to squads and teams) only effects the unit that the modifier is for, in the same way that a -2 Fitness modifier only effects the unit that the modifier is for.

It helps to think of the Leadership modifier in the same was as the Fitness modifier. An unfit Plt HQ does not make all the platoon's squads unfit.
 
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Concord

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#31
Thinking about how these insights might affect my tactics.
Obviously it is a good idea to keep squads in C2 with their platoon HQ...but a negative modifier HQ should be kept in cover more, with their 'fragile' state.
And a positive platoon HQ would be better suited to moving into more risky combat situations with their platoon, because they are less likely to break and affect their men.

In the Combat Mission series (and games of Squad Leader in years gone past), friends and I would hazard guesses as to why the leader had a negative modifier.
Were they poor at their job...like 2nd Lt Thomas Peacock from Band of Brothers, who was easily confused?
Were they a complete ass...like 1st Lt Norman "I gotta go make a call" Dike, also from Band of Brothers?

Or was it something more extreme, verging on the comical?
Were they a raving nazi and a stickler for rules and regulations? Many German officers fit this description in the books by Sven Hassel, following the exploits of a German Penal Battalion.
Were they a total narcissist, wearing a tailor made non-regulation cavalry uniform, and strutting around boasting about their achievements?

A -2 modifier HQ leader:

klink.jpg
 
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A Canadian Cat

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#32
In situations where I had a platoon leader with a negative modifier, there have been times where I would deliberately have him out of contact with his men, to avoid a negative effect on them.
It now seems that while the HQ will be more fragile as a unit because of their modifier, it would be best to keep in contact with the platoon, so they get the benefit from being in command.
Yes, Steve on the BFC forums has on a number of occasions said that being in C2 with a -2 leader is still better than being out of C2 all together. Sadly I searched hoping to be able to quote a specific comment but could not find it - sigh.
 

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#33

Concord

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#34
Most battles I've played the troops have normal or high motivation, which gives them a good chance of resisting the temporary-effect-on-morale-due-to-suppression,
but usually they do become suppressed anyway at some stage. So having good a leadership modifier on the unit that makes them recover more quickly,
gives them a better chance of quickly return firing or bugging out. Many times I've watched enemy maneuvering towards one of my suppressed squads,
while I hope that they recover in time to avoid disaster. Or urging a tank crew who is wildly backing up to steady and fire.
 

Josey Wales

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#35
@Concord

I've just discovered that Leadership also provides a resistance to the temporary affect on Morale from suppression (as well as the quicker recovery time). Not sure how I missed it before but it means that Leadership has 3 characteristics and not 2.
 

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#37
@Bootie
Can I humbly (choke, what!!) request that this post be pinned - @Josey Wales has produced a VERY useful (He's being nice to you Josey, check your wallet quick), informative and valuable collection of observations.
Your humble, nay grovelling, servant
Zinzan
@Bootie
I second this request (and most especially liked the grovelling part) ;)
 

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#38
Hey @Josey Wales, I copied your OP, formatted it (I can't resist - I'm a graphic designer) and distilled it for my own reference.
Rather than keeping it for myself, I thought I'd post it here as well. I think I have retained all the most relevant info while condensing it.

Morale

Morale states from highest to lowest are;
Ok > Cautious > Nervous > Rattled > (Shaken) > (Panic) > Broken
States shown in brackets () are temporary states.

- The states Ok through to Rattled are simple gradations and a Rattled unit will not behave differently from an Ok one.
- Pinned troops within C2 link of a Rattled HQ tend to run for cover more often.
- A Shaken/Panicked HQ cuts the C2 links.
- Shaken troops will cower in their current position in the hope that the pressure will ease.
- Panicked troops will try and run away from the perceived threat to save their own hides.
- Shaken and Panicked troops (temporary states) will not respond to orders.
- Broken troops (persistant state) will respond to orders but are brittle and will quickly become Shaken or Panicked if fired upon.

Morale is affected by 2 conditions of the battlefield and each of these conditions impact on Morale in different ways.


1. Casualty build up (persistent impact on Morale)
Taking casualties affects the Morale of the unit, and to a lesser extent other units closely connected organisationally.

2. Suppression (temporary Impact on Morale)
Suppression has a temporary impact on Morale and the affect is removed once the suppression is lifted.
The duration of suppression and the impact on Morale depends on the amount of incoming firepower,
the immediate casualties sustained, Experience & Leadership of the unit.

- If the Suppression Indicator becomes full the unit becomes Pinned.
- Stationary Pinned (or heavily suppressed) troops will return fire but will not respond to movement orders until the suppression has reduced.
- Troops which become Pinned whilst moving to a waypoint will attempt to dash for cover. If no cover is nearby, they will hit the deck.
- Inexperienced poorly led or motivated units suffer the greatest Morale impact from being suppressed and take longer to recover.
- Experienced troops recover from being Pinned quicker than inexperienced troops.



Experience

Experience levels from least experience/training to most experience are;
Conscript > Green > Regular > Veteran > Crack > Elite

Experience has 6 characteristics which impact on the unit;
1. Spotting - troops with higher experience are able to spot enemy contacts sooner.
2. Firepower - higher experienced troops will engage at longer ranges and have greater accuracy.
3. Resistance to the persistent impact on Morale caused by casualty build up
(this characteristic is cumulative with Leadership and Motivation).
4. Resistance to the temporary impact on Morale caused by suppression
(this characteristic is cumulative with Leadership and Motivation).
5. Suppression Recovery - experienced troops recover quicker from being suppressed
(this characteristic is cumulative with Leadership).
6. Experienced units communicate quicker (includes verbal, visual and radio communications).



Leadership

Leadership is shown as a simple modifier ranging from;
-2 > -1 > 0 > +1 > +2
A Leadership modifier only applies to the unit with the Modifier (like all other modifiers). It does not filter down to sub-ordinate units.

Leadership has 3 characteristics which effect unit behaviour under duress;
1. Resistance to the persistent impact on Morale caused by casualty build up
(this characteristic is cumulative with Experience and Motivation).
2. Resistance to the temporary impact on Morale caused by suppression
(this characteristic is cumulative with Experience and Motivation).
3. Suppression Recovery - well led troops recover quicker from being suppressed
(this characteristic is cumulative with Experience).



Motivation

Motivation from best to worst ranges as;
Poor > Low > Normal > High > Extreme > Fanatic

Motivation has 3 characteristics which effect unit behavior under duress;

1. Resistance to the persistent impact on Morale caused by casualty build up
(this characteristic is cumulative with Experience and Leadership).
2. Resistance to the temporary impact on Morale caused by suppression
(this characteristic is cumulative with Experience and Leadership).
3. Resistance to Panic and Breaking
Highly motivated troops can be Shaken but are less likely to Panic and try to run from the fight to save themselves.
They are also more likely to recover to a positive morale state after being Shaken and are less likely to become Broken and Brittle.
Fanatic units will not surrender.



Fatigue

Fatigue states best to worst are;
Rested > Ready > Tiring > Tired > Fatigued > Exhausted
Tired troops cannot Fast Move.
Fatigued troops cannot Fast, Assault or Hunt Move.
Exhausted troops cannot Fast, Assault, Hunt or Quick Move.

- Tired troops do not move slower - they just won't be able to keep up that pace for as long.
- Keeping troops stationary allows for maximum recovery. Hiding troops has no additional benefit.
- Troops will recover fatigue while moving, but at a slower rate.
- Fatigue has no effect on Morale either persistent or temporary.
- Fatigue has no effect on accuracy nor the range at which targets are engaged at.
- Experience, Leadership and Motivation do not effect Fatigue states or recovery times.



Fitness

Fitness states from best to worst are;
Fit > Weakened > Unfit

Fitness has 3 characteristics which effect unit behavior under physical exertion;
1. Fitter troops tire less quickly from Fast Move (sprinting), Slow Move (crawling) and Quick Move (jogging).
2. Fitter troops recover from tired states sooner than less fit troops.
3. Weakened and Unfit troops recover fatigue on the Move extremely slowly.



C2 - Command & Control

The range of visual and audio C2 is fixed but will vary by terrain. In open ground;
Voice range < 50m (unless the HQ is hiding in which case audio range drops to <25m)
Close visual range <100m

Being within a C2 link does provide resistance to the temporary effects of suppression on Morale.
Being within a C2 link doesn't provide resistance to the persistent impact on Morale caused by casualty build up.
More experienced units pass on information to their buddies and superiors quicker than less experienced units (includes verbal, visual and radio communications).
 
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