[Combat Mission] Where to learn about field level tactics

I’ve had CM since the early days, and never really got into it, mostly because I have no idea what I’m doing on the battlefield.

Could someone please suggest some sites that teach WW2 field level tactics? How did those of you who’ve played CM extensively learn to play better, without years of pre-knowledge from reading every WW2 book you could find :)

I am in the same position. Only difference is I bought all the books and read up on it all and STILL haven’t made time to play the game yet :-O too busy trying to finish Fallout Tactics! (one game night a week = slow progress!)

The CMBB Strategy Guide has a bunch of good solid basic info in it. Too many pages of statistics but it’s a fine newbie primer.

Googling for
“combat mission” “tactics guide”
is also a good one.


Thanks Rob, I googled that, and found this:


which is a pretty good list of CM sites, some of which have strat guides. Cool, thanks!

I can only imagine that it would be pretty difficult to understand what is going on as each year of the war things were radically different.

If you are talking Western Front (U.S. and Brittish Forces vs Germans) you can pretty much assume that the Germans have superior firepower. Their tanks fired higher velocity and larger rounds than ours, and had far superior armor protection. So if you are playing the Allies, you will want to close the gap between your armor and theirs to increase your penetration. And if you are playing the Germans you will want to keep your distance and remain in a hull down position. (This is a generalization as a Pershing tank against a Panzer III would be the exact opposite situation but was an unlikely match-up during the war.)

If it’s early in the war, the Allied infantry are inexperienced (Dough Boys) and the Germans are typically battle hardened from the Russian front. If it’s late in the war the Germans are old men and young boys and the Allies are seasoned veterans.

Artillery of all sorts is best used as a way to weaken the morale of the enemy. And soften hardpoints. Units that are taking artillery fire will not advance and can often be flanked.

Start with small missions with a few units to get used to their strengths and weaknesses. Keep your leaders near your troops to keep their morale up. Use all your units as a team and concentrate your fire. If you divide your fire up against your opponents you’ll end up wasting ammo. By keeping teams together and firing on individual targets you will drop their morale much quicker and overtake them rapidly.

Don’t drive your tanks around by themselves thinking they are impervious to infantry. Just the opposite. They are better used to the rear so your infantry can flush out the ambushers and then you can mow them down with machine gun fire.

Of course, everyone’s tactics are different. Just some helpful suggestions there. You can always watch the Hitler channel (History) on cable. There is something on about the Nazis every night.


Thanks for the tips, Kevin.

My friend and I did start with a very small map, and only 12 turns in our PBEM game, till we get the hang of things.

Thanks again for the writeup, it’s helpful.

Next on the History Channel … Our seven episode series on Hitler’s Cat: Paws of Evil.

Tag team, back again.

I’ve had CMBB and CMAK for quite a while now, but had yet to do more than half-heartedly play through the beginner tutorial scenario. After reading the reprint of the Tom Vs. Bruce and seeing that Battlefront is working on a campaign overlay for CMBB, I figured that I would go ahead and give this a shot in earnest. Is the strategy guide worth it at this point? I’ve found it for $14.99 from direct2drive, but that just seems retarded to me.

Battlefront is working on a campaign overlay for CMBB

Whoa, what? Really?

I remember some dude on their forums worked up a pen-and-paper campaign that you use to generate a series of scenarios, keeping a core group throughout. I don’t recall getting it to work very well, but I love the idea of moving persistent units through a set of dynamically generated Combat Mission scenarios. Of course, an AI that can do more than defend would help…


I saw it here.

If you’re buying just a strategy guide, obviously no. But if it comes in a shiny box with the game… maybe. Sometimes even my (powerful) cheapskate drive loses to my lust for shiny packaging.

The thought was nice, but there are no faqs for any of the Combat Mission games there.

Huh, I haven’t played Combat Mission at all, but looking at the OP, I recalled playing Tacops (Tacops version 1 – a long long time ago). Then I looked it up, and lo and behold: 1) Tacops 4 is the current version from Battlefront, and 2) hey, they make Combat Mission too.

So if Combat Mission is at the same detail level as Tacops, well, you need to go to tank commander school or whatever the army calls it to really know what the hell you’re doing out there… But Tacops was certainly fun to play, though.

If I were to claim any competence at all at this kind of game (and what I have has probably escaped me long ago), I would guess that it came from playing the original Squad Leader board game. That was a great introduction to the variety of WW II weapons and units and many of the very detailed scenarios directly suggested the tactics to use… (try to avoid crossing open terrain in front of those nasty German machine guns, that was an early lesson, as was not putting any valuable soft targets anywhere near a Katyusha truck :))

So are those two games (CM and Tacops) related, or do they just happen to be from the same publisher?

Combat Mission, Miramon, is way more detailed than TacOps. It’s more detailed than anything. I mean seriously, any game, ever, anywhere. From a historical and realism perspective. I will prove it thusly. Did you know that the original Panther (Mark V) design had a shot trap having to do with the design of the turent armor, but it was corrected in the Auf G (Panther model G). This is modeled and simulated in Combat Mission. Sherman tanks come in several varieties in CM, but one of the big differences is the ones that “cook” easily (early models) and the ones that have their ammo stored outside the main turret so they don’t become fireballs when a turret penetration nails them. They also come in a wide variety such as the HVSS (for better handling in the mud), 76, 105, etc. BOOOOOO fuckin’ YA.

The Churchill VIII has 250 mm of front armor. The Tiger bogs down pretty easily in mud/heavy snow conditions. The Pupchen is pretty good on it’s first shot but highly visible afterwards.

The Combat Mission series has NO EQUAL when it comes to tactical, realistic WWII games. I’ve heard about the strategic layer for a long time and it’s a Day One purchase for me when it comes out.

One of the things that strikes you after a few times through is the roll that luck plays.

Sorry bout the pun, but seriously, you can play the same battle virtually the same way and do quite well one time, and horendously the next. Fact is, sometimes luck is a much bigger factor at this scale, and this game captures it.

Also, prior planning prevents…you know the rest…

ElGuapo… Turret??

I found the best way to learn was to play some of the included scenarios against the AI that are “Small” or “Very Small”.

You get a fairly balanced force that way to play around with and the small games are quite fun too. You should play each different side as well. You also get to see some units you may not necessarily pick in a random match.

Some basic tips:

  • Unsupported Tanks advancing out on their own = dead (Particularly the later in the War it is - regular infantry squads slowly get more and better short range anti tank weapons, especially the Germans)

  • Hold your fire - Everything has limited ammo, so in many cases you are better off holding fire until the enemy is within your effective range. This is more for rifle squads than stuff that is supposed to engage at a decent distance

  • Similar to the above, once you start shooting the enemy knows where you are. So do his artillery observers :-) So if you are a particularly “juicy” target like a gun or machine gun with a particularly commanding position, prepare for incoming artillery fire

  • Stuff should advance supported - eg 1 rifle squad advances, supported by 1 -2 shooting to keep the enemies head down (pinned)

  • Artillery is fun, but one well placed smoke barrage can “neutralise” many more emplaced defenders as you advance than high explosives ever could. Use smaller, less expensive artillery for this (76mm - 81mm ish) as they have more ammo. Things dont really start to go “boom” until the artillery gets to 105mm or greater size.

  • There is nothing more satisfying than a very large artillery round violently disintegrating a large building that housed several enemy squads. Except possibly setting it exceedingly on fire with a flamethrower tank.

  • The specialised infantry squads are great fun when engaging in their speciality - eg. SMG squads ambushing someone at short range :-). One of my proudest moments was pulling off a smoke and artillery covered advance / rush assault with German Panzergrenadiers mounted into halftracks against an enemy holding a line outside a village. The panzergrenadiers dismounted and promptly rolled the enemy line in short fashion.

  • Allied “Vanilla” infantry are usually pretty boring, and have significantly less fire power compared to the Germans. This goes double for Russian conscripts

  • Make at least one custom scenario where your team consists of 4 -5 artillery observers with VERY large guns (and extra ammo), hiding in the top floor of a building right atop an unscaleable cliff. Overlooking an enemy infantry battalion (or two) in open ground, with no cover at all… :-) Great way to see how the various artillery pieces work (rockets vs guns vs mortars etc).

The best place for more advice is Battlefront’s tips & Tricks forum:


Also check the “Useful Posts” thread in that forum:


Woah, so I googled this game and I found out that this thread is like number 20 on hits. No wonder there were no faqs. I still don’t think the internet will let you down (http://www.combatmission.com/articles/articles.asp), but maybe the strategy guide isn’t as bad an idea as it usually is.

Just go to the Tips & Tricks section on the Battlefront forums - pages and pages of well written strategy/hint articles. The threads are old (like 2003 - 2004 ish) but the forum is (or was) exceedingly well moderated. All the posts are on topic and generally useful.

A few more tips - probably repeats of other things…

  • Again hold your fire. This is especially true with infantry, even more so when playing a defensive battle. Don’t open fire with an MG or anti-tank gun unless the target is in relatively open terrain or close, especially when your troops are green.

  • I love, love, love anti-tank guns. If you’re on a defensive map it probably better to purchase anti-tank guns than getting tanks for you’re anti-armor defensives.

  • Self propelled guns. Cheaper than tanks and other than the fact that you usually have to rotate the entire machine to rotate the gun just as good at a tank. Some are particularly good - the German Stug for instance was perhaps the best anti-tank vehicle I noted in Africa Korps, low profile and a good gun. Most of these lack good anti-infantry weapons though, so beware and try to keep them hulldown as much as possible.

  • Echoing other comments tanks cannot be sent out without support, even a King Tiger will get knocked out quickly without support. I suppose you can use them as long range fire support, but thats still slightly problematic.

  • Advance with fire support. Generally you’ll have artillery or aircraft so when launching your attack use it. Especially go after buildings close to your axis of advance cause this is where the most probable ambush point will usually come from.

  • Purchase some recon units such as armored cars or scout infantry, sure they die easy but I’d rather use a cheap unit like them than move with tanks or regular infantry.

Ah… Combat Mission. I have CMBO and CMBB and have spent about 10 hours playing them and hundreds reading about how others played.
My main problem is the turn constraints in attacks. I always feel that I have to advance at full tilt with all the units just to be able to reach the targets in time, but obviously rushing the defenders never works. So I follow advice and go ahead carefully only to get bogged down and finish halfway there.