CMBS Rolling Thunder

About the scenario
This is the same scenario as appeared on the Battlefront CMBS Demo

The scenario recreates a US company team attack against a Russian Forward Security Element or FSE. A Russian FSE is a usually a reinforced company sent forward of the regimental axis when the threat is weak but more commonly sent ahead of a first echelon battalion or battalion operating away from the main body. Motorized rifle companies are often used in this role, even in tank units.

Both sides have a fairly ‘typical’ OOB (organisation, units and vehicles) plus supporting arms (air assets, anti-aircraft assets and artillery) for the missions they have been tasked with. As such this scenario serves as a useful introduction to commanding a modern combined arms unit at the company level.

This scenario was originally designed to be played first and foremost from the perspective of the US side against the Russian AI. It is playable head to head (H2H) but has not been playtested for balance in this regard.

There are three distinct Russian AI plans and two distinct US AI plans – thus allowing some level of re-playability.

How difficult is the scenario?
As stated this scenario is really designed to be played as US attacking Russian AI (or possible H2H). The designers intent is that a ‘good’ player i.e. a player used to the Combat Mission game engine and practiced in using modern core combined arms tactics would find this fun but not over the top challenging. A new player i.e. unpractised in either modern or Combat Mission should be able to play this (TOP TIP – make liberal use of the ‘save game’ option – so you can rewind if things go horribly wrong) – and most likely at least pull a draw. So bottom line is experienced players will most likely find it fun but straightforward, less experienced might find it challenging initially but soon becoming easier. Once the US side make it over the reverse slope position they have a very good chance of winning as the fire-power of a US mech company team is pretty immense!

Tactics and Play tips
Some top tips – applicable to either side.


Give your guys on the ground more time. If they are on the move they will not spot as well. Don’t rush too much. Move and pause. Also mind if you can see you can be seen. In modern combat he who sees first usually kills first.

Consider the terrain very carefully. If your guys are in the field and the enemy is in the treeline in front of you – guess what? They will see you faster than you will see them. Don’t forget to turn on trees from time to time to see what things really look the .

Use UAVs. Your troops will spot the real enemy units faster if they already have an idea of where they are. If the UAV starts seeing ‘?’ icons or real contacts and the information gets through the C2 net both you, the order giver, and your soldiers will have a better idea of where the enemy is and they will spot them for real faster. Note they still have to get into line of sight to actually spot them but the point is they will have a hint as to where to look. Use one of the FOs or for the Russians an air controller. As an example a US platoon has a fire support team and a Raven as part of it (or perhaps the Raven is at the company level I forget) but the point is if you use the platoon fire support team from 1 Platoon to launch a UAV mission once the UAV spots something the fire support team will get a solid spot on it. What you will notice is that pretty quickly the rest of 1 platoon will have ‘?’ icon where the fire support team sees an enemy tank. If you wait a little longer the Company CO will see the ‘?’ icon. If you wait some more members of 2 platoon and 3 platoon will see the ‘?’. After a while the battalion commander will have passed on the information to the tanks in D company etc…

Many of the AFVs in this scenario have modern armour systems including Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) or Advanced Protection Systems such as ‘Trophy’ or ‘Arena’. APS does make AFVs seem invulnerable as the APS intercepts inbound missiles. However even APS can be defeated. Here is how to do so when using ATGMs (except the Javelin):

Bullets are faster than missiles. The further you fire the missile from, the longer it takes to impact, the more time the enemy has to react to the missile. It takes a TOW missile about 30 seconds to reach its max range around 3750 meters, that’s enough time for the enemy to pop smoke, or return fire with a tank gun, which could very well kill the launching crew before the missile is even close to the target. To this end it can be wise to ignore max range shots in favor of letting the enemy close in a bit (or it takes a tank shell 2ish seconds to go to 4 KM, it’s flight time is fairly constant, while your missile fired at 2000 meters will only take 15ish seconds, which is a much harder thing to react to than 30 seconds)

ERA is built to ruin your ATGM. APS also will wreck your day. With that said, both systems degrade the more missiles they have to deal with. To that end firing more missiles is often a good solution, so rather than spreading out your fires, massing 2-3 missiles on one tank will often overwhelm the APS (or deplete it’s ammunition), and strip away a lot of the ERA protection.

Also when playing against other players, it’s much more likely they’ll reverse out of an engagement if one of their tanks gets piled on by a few missiles, vs the fire being more spread out.

Reloading takes a bit. This is especially true with vehicles like the Bradley or BMP series that have their launchers external to the vehicle. When engaging with ATGMs, don’t be afraid to mass like I said earlier, but hold a few launchers in reserve to continue to engage while your first salvo is being reloaded.

Mass your missiles. If you’ve got two or even three different flavors of missiles, find their average optimal engagement area, and plan to hit the enemy in that range. Using the Americans as an example the max effective range on the Javelin is 2500 meters or so. To that end, holding off on firing off your TOWs until the enemy is 2000-2500 meters out ensures that target area is saturated with missiles, and rather than returning fire effectively, the enemy is evading and trying to leave the kill zone.

Trees give bad vibes. Anything that is described as “wire guided” needs to be kept away from trees and similar obstructions to ensure the missile’s guidance wire doesn’t get snagged and cause the missile to rather dramatically miss the target.

Designer:
George MC. A massive thank you to all the BFC playtesters who took this for a spin during the design/testing process and for Imperial Grunt for reworking the briefings.

As stated this scenario is really designed to be played as US attacking Russian AI (or possible H2H). The designers intent is that a ‘good’ player i.e. a player used to the Combat Mission game engine and practiced in using modern core combined arms tactics would find this fun but not over the top challenging. A new player i.e. unpractised in either modern or Combat Mission should be able to play this (TOP TIP – make liberal use of the ‘save game’ option – so you can rewind if things go horribly wrong) – and most likely at least pull a draw. So bottom line is experienced players will most likely find it fun but straightforward, less experienced might find it challenging initially but soon becoming easier. Once the US side make it over the reverse slope position they have a very good chance of winning as the fire-power of a US mech company team is pretty immense!

Designer: George MC. A massive thank you to all the BFC playtesters who took this for a spin during the design/testing process and for Imperial Grunt for reworking the briefings.

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